With a check-in time set for 2 AM 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 2 AM 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.
LIVERPOOL -- On 11 Jan 2010 my partner flew in from Afghanistan to Germany and then Germany to London Heathrow on Flight LH4740 to find his luggage missing. At the baggage tracing desk at Heathrow Terminal 1, he was given File Reference: ** for his Tag No. ** and a sheet of paper with contact points for lost luggage. He was instructed to buy what items he needed until his luggage was found and delivered. He was promised he would be compensated at 50% for clothes and 100% for toiletries. His missing luggage was located and delivered within a week.
Subsequently he sent a fax to the Lufthansa Customer Feedback Europe fax number (0049 6969 055171) with a copy of all receipts. This was followed up with a hard copy of the same information to the mailing address (Lufthansa Customer Relations, PO Box 1289, Liverpool L69 3AX). He waited but nothing happened. He tried calling the London Heathrow telephone number and was given the run-around. He then resubmitted all information and receipts by letter and fax and email. He received an automated email reply on 17 March (feedback reference number **) but no further action from Lufthansa.
My partner has now been re-deployed to Afghanistan and left the matter in my hands. I sent a letter dated 29 March 2010 with full details and receipts requesting a refund. I have received no response. I resubmitted all details on the online Customer Feedback email form (www.lufthansa.com) and again received an automated response but no action. A hard copy was also resent. This is now the 4th time of asking for reimbursement.
Our customer feedback states that this is totally unacceptable service by Lufthansa and we demand that the claim be dealt with immediately and the promised reimbursement made. Moral: do not check your luggage, do not let it out of your sight, do not trust anything they say, do not fly Lufthansa ever again.
On 9 April 2010 Lufthansa responded by email apologising for the delay but refusing to reimburse the replaced items because the luggage had been returned prior to the date of the receipts. They stated they required proof of my partner's movements in order to reconsider his claim.
My partner responded on 9 April with exact details of his onward connections to Belgium on 11 Jan 2010 and his subsequent movements until he was reunited with his luggage in London.
Finally on 20 April 2010, more than 3 months after losing his luggage, Lufthansa finally agreed to reimburse £115.27 for replacement items.
Moral: never give up - don't let them grind you down.
Lufthansa lies on their website about the benefits of their "Miles & More" program and won't change the information that is wrong. I am under the impression that lying is part of their marketing strategy, obviously they do it because it does not have any consequences other than losing a few customers who are pissed off. I have a Lufthansa "Miles & More" card and they have a list of partner airlines on their website.
According to LH Miles & More members can get an upgrade if they book a flight with one of these "partners". Only because I believed that I could get an upgrade I booked a flight with SIA that was more expensive, had longer flight times and more stopovers than a flight with a competitor. When calling LH to get that upgrade, it was "sorry, the upgrade does not go through". I called SIA and they told me that Star Alliance members can only accrue miles but not upgrade unless it is a code share flight.
According to SIA only members of their own frequent flier program can get upgrades. I have this in writing and submitted it to Lufthansa. They still insist that they are able to upgrade a flight that is booked through the SIA website. They don't want to comment the discrepancy between their "partner's information" that contradicts what they say, it's like they want to say "SIA is our partner but we don't talk to our partners..."
In regards to the United First Class lounge: LH's website states: "A First Class ticket holder can use any lounge of any Star Alliance partner". Still, United refused to give me access to their First Class lounge when I showed them my First Class LH ticket. I have contacted both airlines, LH never responded, United made some explanations that are contradictory to what LH explains on their website. No comment about Lufthansa's promise that a First Class ticket gives access to any Star Alliance lounge.
For someone who considers paying $ 13,000-(!!!) for a LH First Class ticket: don't expect that Lufthansa will give you any response if there are any issues. Once they receive your money, they are happy and don't care if you use their services again. By the way: the main dish on that flight was "Fish and Chips", I could have gotten this meal for $ 1,99 + tax from Long John Silver. Not really what I expected in First Class.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- On November 9, 2008, Lufthansa Canceled their San Francisco to Frankfurt flight around 3:00 pm. (Just writing from memory, it was supposed to take off around 2:15 pm). Then after keeping everyone standing in line at their counter upwards of THREE HOURS (STANDING OF FOOT -- no exaggeration), they called my name, not from the counter, but around the corner from departure floor -- around 6:40 pm (3 hours, 40 minutes standing on feet).
A very rude female Lufthansa Employee pointed to some luggage and demanded that I pick mine up! (I had already checked in two pieces, each over 50 lbs and had Lufthansa Checked in tags). It was physically impossible to have picked them up. When I asked for a luggage cart, she said "you go get them..." Then having finally reached my turn really close to the counter, I went to process my ticket (passed 6:40 PM), then paid $4.00 for a luggage cart that Lufthansa was too cheap to obtain, or too dumb and condescending to know.
At the luggage cart stand, an airport security on bicycle approached and asked what I was doing. Turns out the Lufthansa Lady HAD LIED TO AIRPORT SECURITY ABOUT UNATTENDED LUGGAGE (I had LH checked in Tags, plus both pieces had my name address and telephone number). By the time I went back to retrieve my luggage, about a dozen Uniformed Airport Security were around them. Security Level was intermittently announced as Orange! Just because of her (willful & irresponsible Lufthansa employee) lie, security was tied up attending 2 pieces of luggage that were checked into Lufthansa already.
Heaven forbid, a couple of irresponsible employees who lie through their teeth, in a real security situation can put the whole Airport and the public at real danger... Lufthansa has been dragging their feet with this complaint that I made in December 2008, after returning to the US.
FRANKFURT-SFO FLIGHT, CALIFORNIA -- I have come to USA - San Francisco as a tourist from India - Dehli on 25th Nov. 07 by Dehli-Frankfurt Lufthansa flight and United Airlines UA901 from Frankfurt to SFO. I had chosen Lufthansa this time thinking it is a high standard airline caring decently the customers and my journey will be comfortable and enjoyful. My dream of enjoyful traveling vanished during the journey especially from frankfurt to sfo due to No Customer Care AND air Hostess rude smiles.
It was a journey of 24 hrs including 7 hrs waiting at frankfurt. I had requested for an indian non-vegetarian food and it was confirmed to me as Asian food/Hindu meal with non-veg chicken at the time of booking ticket as well as at checking time. I am unable to understand why food served was Hindu vegetarian meal. When I asked air Hostess "where is chicken", there was no reply. I refused to take food. There was no concern to the air hostess. She told me "you have to be without food for 9 hrs journey."
I don't understand the behavior and the humanity lost by the flight staff, at least she could bring something or pacify me. I was so much tired of the journey and the way the food service was dealt, I asked for a can of beer, the air Hostess asking me 5 dollars. What is this. After spending so much money for the air ticket, you have to pay for a small drink.
I decided not to travel by lufthansa/United Airlines any time in future. I felt regret and cheated to take this airline. I may think of other flight even I have to pay a little more. The Lufthansa flight timings are very odd from delhi which is at 3:00 AM. I hope something on the Hindu meal (non vegetarian) to be focused, the airline should understand what customer desires, and it should be clear. Also there should not be any charge for a drink for passengers traveling a long journey.
FRANKFURT -- I wish I had the problems the other reviewers did instead of the ones we experienced. First, we purchased 4 tickets from the Lufthansa website, paying Lufthansa rates for what we expected to be a premium German flight--comfortable seats, good food, etc. In fact, Lufthansa sent us on a bankrupt airline.
When we left at San Francisco, the bankrupt airline was so inefficient at issuing boarding passes and checking baggage that it took 3 1/2 hours to service the twelve or so parties in our line. We barely made the gate and had no lunch. But, it got worse. On our return flight from Rome through Frankfurt (which actually was on a Lufthansa airplane), the flight was delayed -- not Lufthansa's fault for the delay -- Frankfurt had fog.
However, when we were dropped off in Frankfurt, along with hundreds and hundreds of others going through their hub, there was absolutely no customer service to help us get rebooked. In fact, we were misdirected away from the Lufthansa agents to the agents for the bankrupt airline, only to find that when their plane left, so did all their personnel. From 1:30 pm until 7:30 pm we stood in all sorts of lines trying to get rebooked. We went through immigration on misdirections so many times we no longer had to show our passports -- the guards just waved us through -- laughing at us.
I was one of the lucky ones. I went to a Lufthansa agent in a "transfer" line (while my companion waited in the regular line--hundreds of people long). As a result, a kindly soul took pity on me and gave me a pass to get rebooked and a hotel room in the Business Class line. Like I said, it only took us 6 hours. I ran back to get my companion. She was still several hours back in the regular line and we got out of there.
One couple waited in that line for hours only to be told that since they had used frequent flyer miles to upgrade to business class, they had to go into the business class line and start all over (a mere 1 1/2 to 2 hour wait). If you choose to fly Lufthansa, watch your ticket and carrier closely to make sure that you fly on the airplane you want. In San Francisco, the real Lufthansa flight passengers on their real flight for which we purchased tickets were quickly and easily boarded.
Also, expect no customer service or help. When we got to Frankfurt the first day and complained about the bait and switch, Lufthansa told us to present ourselves in person in New York City. Don't forget that during all this, Lufthansa had our luggage including all toiletries etc pursuant to new TSA guidelines. Nothing like putting on sweaty dirty underwear the next day for a 12-hour flight home.
HONG KONG -- My father, my brother and I went to Hong Kong for a vocation a while ago. We flew there with Lufthansa airline. It was the first time we used Lufthansa but it was the last time ever too. The journey between UK and Hong Kong was fine but when we left the Hong Kong International Airport, the Lufthansa's ground crews treated us EXTREMELY poorly. We were told between 3 of us, the total luggage have gone 6 kg over our limit. The ground crews said to us we HAD TO PAY EXTRA for the additional weight. We tried to associate with the crews and hoped that they could let us go without paying extra money, but the crews did not accept our request.
In fact one of the crews, Pui Yee Poon (Ivy Poon) even humiliated us in front of the other crews and customers. She said our tickets were CHEAP TICKETS. We've got to pay the exceed weight. She even said it loud that she knew where we got the tickets from. We were shocked and embarrassed with her comments. I don't know if our tickets were what she called 'Cheap Tickets', but as far as I am concerned I purchased the tickets via a travel agent and it was the travel agent suggested us to go with Lufthansa. Anyway, we ended up paying two thousands and something Hong Kong dollars to cover the extra '6 kg' luggage.
Besides I was also not impressed. When we were boarding I saw some Lufthansa staff standing next to the gate with a BATHROOM SCALE. They asked people to put their baggage onto the scale then again most of them were told they were over the limit and had to pay extra to cover the baggage. The staff just acted ridiculous and so unprofessional!! When we got back home in the UK, the nightmare had not yet ended; I discovered some contents of my luggage were damage. I flew between UK and Hong Kong with several other airlines before and I never had any damage with my luggage.
I guess it was because my luggage had not been handled properly (I mean someone had dropped or thrown my luggage during the journey). So I wrote to Lufthansa in the London office to complain the damage and the humiliation from the ground crew. I received a couple of replies for the London office regarding the damage. The office offered me some money for the damage but they did not say anything about our embarrassing experience in the HK Airport.
I take that my complaint to the crew did not go any further and she still works as usual for Lufthansa in Hong Kong. After all Lufthansa decides to ignore the problems and carry on the inferior customer care, the majority of customers just take their business elsewhere. I am sure the competitors would love to see that!!
DENVER -- I've been flying Lufthansa for over 12 years. In general I was pleased with their service. During all these years I used United Mileage Plus program to collect miles from all Lufthansa flights. During last Flight in Nov/December for reason unknown to me, Lufthansa opened Miles account for myself and credited all 38,000 miles to their program.
The only thing I did differently this time was using online check-in program that I never used before. Once I realized what happened I called Lufthansa to release my miles but Lufthansa refused saying I cannot move the miles between partner programs!!!
After about 15 calls to both US and Germany, I was finally told that I need to close my Lufthansa account by written request and that my Miles will be annulled. Let's hope that United will be able to pull them in after account closure. Not to mention I need these miles to keep my 1K status with United. What a mess.
We were flying Lufthansa last week for a one week vacation abroad. Two out of three suitcases didn't arrive with us. We only got them 2 full days later. Both me and my son only had no clothes and had to spend the short vacation time on buying a few necessaries, about half we can prove with receipts. In reality it was quite a bit more since we needed transportation to the stores, we didn't think about taking receipts till after our shopping was well on the way - we were a bit tired after a day of flying topped by 2 hours of waiting for luggage and filling out the forms.
Imagine my disappointment when I was told at Lufthansa Lost & Found that I am not even entitled to the compensation I can prove with my receipts, but just to a half of it, because "I get to use the bought items". I don't need a second toothbrush, shaving set or another 3 pairs of trunks! (No, I forgot to take receipt on the first two). I'll give the sandals and the shorts to Lufthansa! I feel I should be compensated in access to the receipts I have submitted, using common sense (they are all for clothes, I forgot the receipt for the toiletry items). Also, credit cards charge extra for currency conversion (US dollars to Israeli NIS), I should be paid that as well.
You can buy flight tickets and make use of bonus points via the Lufthansa Miles and More program BUT be careful! Just bought 3 flight tickets for my wife and two children for our summer holiday in Spain; decided to make use of points for my own ticket, which turned out to be bad business for us: Miles and More - on some routes - make use of expensive tickets and claims accordingly tax, meaning that you will be charged extra (besides the used points).
In our case I ended up paying much more for the same ticket as rest of the family and at the same time lost a lot of my bonus points. As a consequence of that - and because Lufthansa will not refund - I have cancelled my membership of Miles And More and I have changed my business travel profile to exclude Lufthansa in the future.