Terrible Customer Relations Department - Anything but the best way to fly
With a check-in time set for 2AM in the morning, on the return leg of an international trip with my 6 and 8 year old daughters, Lufthansa gate agents forced me to pay an entire new ticket, at a cost of over $2,900 USD because, according to them, I did not have a transit Visa to make a connection on the return leg of an itinerary bought through an Expedia travel agent which the Expedia agent and Lufthansa recommended in the first place. While I could have flown from A to B to D; the itinerary that Expedia recommended, after checking in with Lufthansa, was A to B to C to D.
While there were many available options at a much lower cost to modify my trip and avoid the leg where the Visa was necessary, they only made one available: purchasing a full fare one way ticket from A to B to D. The situation was a shake down: pay up or get stuck abroad at 2AM in the morning with two children in tears. What's more aggravating is that even after I agreed to pay up, we were forced to wait at the counter for over an hour as the gate agents slowly took action with no sense of urgency while we stood helplessly watching every other passenger check in.
By the way, I am a Gold Star Alliance member - a frequent flier with one of their partner airlines - which did not help at all in terms of any consideration for service or assistance. And as a frequent flier, I can confidently rate both the outbound and the return flight with Lufthansa as terrible experiences filled with poor service, poorly maintained equipment, unorganized boarding processes and seating assignments. To add insult to injury on a 9-hour flight back, our row had malfunctioning audio-visual equipment so my children were unable to watch any of the movies, making our long-return trip that much harder and uncomfortable.
Two months since the incident, now back in the US, I have written to the Customer Service Department no less than 4 times and I have not received a personable reply and despite my requests it has been impossible to speak with any representatives. A cursory computerized reply, one month after I filed my complaint, indicated I should expect a reply in a time frame upwards of 6 to 8 weeks. Their reason for the delay in their reply: in simple words a deluge of other disgruntled travellers.
Distrust their claim that there is no better way to fly.