Lufthansa Stinks

Jun 27th, 2004, 08:51 PM
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Lufthansa Stinks

Just had the misfortune to return from a round trip from JFK to London via Frankfurt on this 3rd rate airline. My tour company put me on this airline instead of putting me on one of the many non stop direct flights from JFK to LHR. That is a separate issue which I will deal with the tour company about.

However, my experience on this airline was asinine. Somehow I was booked on a connecting flight from London to Frankfurt and then from Frankfurt to Kennedy yesterday. The arrival time in Frankfurt was scheduled for 1630. Flight time from Frankfurt to Kennedy was 1720.

Well can you believe at Frankfurt airport, supposedly a major airport, they did not park our aircraft from London at a jetway but some place in the middle of the tarmac and then had to bus us to the terminal..terminal B. Upon entering terminal B 20 minutes later, I found the television screen listing flights at about my time was out. Luckily I had the boarding pass which showed Gate A65.

I followed signs which meant going upstairs, walking through a very long corridor to a shuttle train, waiting for the shuttle and then trying to walk another long corridor to get A65. Along the way, I had to deal with a security check which included everything (even though I had been checked already in London, they made me take off my shows and wanded me and apparently all travelers to the US get this treatment at Frankfurt Airport.

To make a long story short, I made the flight just as they were closing the door....what if the incoming from London had been delayed 5 or 10 minutes...would they have put me up at a hotel for the night?

Of course, unlike modern airlines such as BA, VS, UA, AA, their 747's do not have the individual screens in coach class which is disgusting in this day and age but okay, the flight left on time and arrived on time.

Through immigration and then waited for my baggage and waited for my baggage and after every piece of baggage had come off the plane, it became apparent they had not been able to transfer my baggage to my flight (what ever happened to the rule that people have to fly with their baggage) when the plane left and they still had my baggage they were very aware my baggage had missed the connection. Although angry about it, I could have accepted that.

But what is unacceptable is why the hell they made me wait for an hour when they knew damn well the baggage had not made the connection.....upon landing there should have been Lufthansa staff there to tell me my baggage had not made the flight and deal with the claim form. Instead it was another hour waiting and then dealing with this incompetence.

Such incompetence. Folks, you must never fly with these jerks again; I certainly won't.
xyz123 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 09:21 PM
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After my parents' trip to Berlin on LH last fall, I believe my dad's comment is that it's a "4th rate" airline, so you're being generous. His impression of FRA and TXL was also very poor.

Having said that, couple of things. First, many airlines don't have personal video screens on some (or all) of their international planes in coach. For example, UA only have them on 767/777, but not 747. AA only has them on 777, not 767, etc... However, LH don't even have them on their brand-new 340-600s.

Second, there's no rule against an airline shipping luggage on a later flight because of delay. If you don't show up to board a flight, then they have to pull your bags. But if they're slow transferring bags, that's okay.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2004, 06:15 AM
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The problem is that LH schedules only 50 minutes for connections through FRA. As I was missing a 50 min connection a flight attendant told me that a minimum of 60 minutes is necessary.

Do other airlines have staff at a foreign destination to handle a baggage problem like the OP wanted? Just wondering if the low airfares mean the airlines just can't afford to provide such help.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 28th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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I agree. The standard on Lufthansa for food and cabin cleanliness is surprising as well.
pilgrim is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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If you're going to blacklist every airline that has a tight connection and loses baggage, you're not going to do much flying for the rest of your life.

And if you're getting upset at being security-checked in transit, you've obviously limited your flying experience to very sloppy - and therefore dangerous - airports.

But if you want to run a one-person boycott of an airline that's no better or worse than any other, it's your own nose you're cutting off.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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You may want to consider an anger management course.

Much of your anger is directed at things that are not the airline's fault.

Perhaps you should have dealt with LH direct instead of with a tour company. Maybe then you could have selected a plane with video screens.

As for the extra security..ALL flights into the US are subject to added a plus..not negative.

Another alternative would be to fly first or business class. I used miles to get first class travel on LH and loved the attention, food, service, etc.

Have you considered the possibility that you do not have the temperment for air travel?
Dick is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 07:52 AM
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If people accept lousy treatment then the lousy treatment becomes the norm. I won't fly through Atlanta, and I have managed quite well in this life. JFK is the largely the domain of foreign airlines because Americans will go through ANYWHERE else to avoid it. Sooner or later the bureaucrats/whoever gets the message and fixes it. Granted, it takes a while but people voting with their feet is the only way things change. Besides why should anyone deal with a company who produces an inferior product? I would say, write a letter, but frankly why do them the favor? There are other airlines and better service.
wills is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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I don't know that I indicated that I object to the security check..I merely made the point that I had already been checked at LHR and had been in a transit lounge and on the plane since then. I made the point about security simply to indicate how tight the connection that had been scheduled for me and is a legal connection according to Lufthansa was.

I stand by what I said about an airport the size of Frankfurt not being able to find a jetway for a flight from London. There were plenty of empty jetways in the A terminal as I was racing to make the flight.

I also indicated that I could accept the missing baggage on the tight connection. Go back and read what I said and believe me none of this was in anger. I was simply relating my experience as compared to other airlines I have flown on trans Atlantic routes. Almost all of my flights have the individual screens so we have a choice of movies not the one I was forced to endure like it or not. I'm sorry if that is offensive to anybody but a statement of fact that in this day and age I do indeed expect individual screens even in coach class. Obviously since they have put the individual screens in first and business class, this was a concious decision on the part of Lufthansa that the coach passengers were not worthy or whatever of this.

As far as my anger about the baggage, I stand by what I said. The instant the plane left and the baggage had not made the flight, Lufthansa knew damn well the baggage was still in their possession. You mean it would have been so hard to communicate with their service personnel in New York that my baggage had missed the connection. Would it have been so difficult upon landing for service personnel to tell me my baggage had missed the flight? Is that unreasonable? Am I missing something? The lady who took my claim, after I was forced to wait for close to an hour while they unloaded all the baggage off the flight gave me some excuse that sometimes the baggage makes the flight at the last minute. Well then they wouldn't have had the baggage in Frankfurt, would they? That is the part of the story that is downright inexcusable no matter what anybody might think of my anger.

Finally, the story is the baggage was put on a flight the very next day, arrived at JFK at 1 PM and although I live only 20 minutes from JFK, somehow they were unable to deliver the luggage until 9 PM last night after telling me it would arrive during the afternoon forcing me to wait at home. I don't think anybody can come up with an excuse for this..
xyz123 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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For the very rare occassions that my luggage didn't make the connection (or when I am picking someone at the airport whose luggage didn't make it), it's normal procedure to wait for all the luggage to come out to the carousel before the baggage people will do anything for you. I've never heard of ground personnel of ANY airline come greet the passenger and tell them their luggage didn't make the connection.

I don't know why it took you an hour to do that, but a significant delay is almost guarantee, regardless of which airline you fly.

As far as the video screen is concerned, yes, LH is ordering new planes without them in coach. And to me that also means that they have no intention in providing a quality product for their coach passengers. It's the same in the Pacific market. Look at ticket prices. SQ, CX, NH and others can charge significantly more than the Northwests of the world. By not investing in their planes, they are clearly giving up that market.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 12:00 PM
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OK--this was years ago and the airline industry has changed, but once I was flying home to DFW on a connecting flight and my bags didn't arrive. When I finally went to the baggage office, the clerk asked, "Didn't you hear us page you when the flight arrived? We wanted to tell you your bag didn't make the tight connection and it is already on its way on the next plane. We'll just deliver it tonight." (I lived an hour drive away.) Was I surprised! I don't remember if it was American or Delta.
Kay2 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 12:25 PM
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See that was what I just don't understand...okay some of the things we complain about are a product of the lowered fares such as meals (they have deteriorated greatly even on trans continental flights in the past 5 years), the fact that American carriers now charge for booze on flights (I will say this for Lufthansa, they had about 4 beverage services during the flight and beer and wine were readilly available each time)etc.

But the technology has now improved with scanning luggage and things like that. The flight left and my baggage was still in their possession clearly tagged for the flight I was on. Their technology has to tell them where I am..could they fax to NY and it would cost them nothing the fact my luggage (and several others) had missed the connection. It's not as if I went ballistic and demanded they hold up the flight waiting for my baggage. This would cost them nothing and to a degree mitigate the anger of a passenger in that predicament (look, we're sorry and we'll deliver your baggage but look at it this way, you're not going to have to wait at the carousel for an hour). Just can't comprehend why such a simple thing cannot be done and as somebody else posted is not standard practice for the airlines.

BTW while I always check my luggage, perhaps it is for this reason more and more passengers are carrying luggage onto the flights filling up the overheads and leaving no room for us latecomers to store our small bags. Just don't understand.
xyz123 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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But it would cost them something. There is that understanding customer service rep that you think they should have in JFK to inform you that your bag didn't make it. That person would expect to get paid for dealing with irate customers (I would get fired from that kind of job on the first day). Maybe a couple of those reps should be there since there were probably several, maybe dozens, of your fellow passengers whose luggage was still in FRA. There would also be those people at FRA collecting the missing baggage info and cross-checking it with the passenger manifest and then taking that info and sending it on to JFK. Those people doing the checking and faxing would want paid. The equipment that would be used to do that tracking and communicating costs money. They do have some tech for scanning luggage and they use computers to keep track of passengers, but integrating all of that (if the whole loop is there) also costs money. Then there would still be bugs in the system. All of that would have to be implemented, managed, and maintained not just at FRA and JFK but at many other airports around the world.

They should do all of that even though a lot of passengers would figure that they just spent 16 or 20 hours travelling on LH, and they travelled on time, and at a great price, and well stuff happens (like luggage missing a connection) but it will get fixed, so spending an extra hour is not a BFD. They could end up spending that money for very little gain. Ok, maybe it is not much money, but it might be money that they don't have available to spend (i.e. they may be losing money, so they would have to borrow to spend).

Sorry that they didn't deliver the luggage like you expected, but at least you didn't have to go back to JFK to get it.

Of course, if MY luggage was missing I would want that customer service person there to console me. Right now, you and I are paying for the beer but you are the only one of the two of us who is drinking it. They should use our money to pay for that helper and then charge you extra for the beer.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 09:12 PM
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Mr. Wunrfl..

I am a little dense. What does BFD stand for?

But come on, you can't be serious. There are service reps at JFK to deal with the lost baggage claims anyway. Or the fax (or e-mail if it is too expensive to fax from Frankfurt to NY) could be given to one of the people standing outside the door of the plane, you know the one who meets the plane to answer questions. Those personnel are always there. And some personnel are going to face the ire of passengers who are not cool, calm and collected as I was when they realize their baggage has not made the connection.

And the luggage is tagged with flight numbers in this day and age,n'est-ce pas (BTW [By the way] that stands for isn't it)with that info.

You can't seriously think that having the good sense to fax or e-mail ahead to NY that baggage of several pax (shorthand for passengers) did not make a connection would cost them most anything.

OTOH (on the other hand) it might cause them some good will in a situation where a passenger is going to be very PO'd (hope you know what that means).

I guess it is just a matter of perspective.

Too bad I don't drink. If I had, I might have been really plastered by the time I arrived and acted in a most irrational manner.

But I guess it is no BFD (whatever the devil that means) if it isn't your baggage not arriving or your time not being wasted.
xyz123 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2004, 11:09 PM
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That's pretty funny with the acronyms. Everything costs money and an employee with "good sense" costs more than the others. But all of that is beside the point because the problem is the airport and the fact that they (LH) schedule connection times that are too short for that airport.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 05:15 AM
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BFD = Big Frickin' Deal .. approximately
soccr is offline  
Jun 30th, 2004, 06:29 AM
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Ok (Okay), tx (thanks).
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 03:49 PM
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Well... we just got non-stop LH flights into Europe from here, so we are pretty happy with it! If you always have an individual screen at your seat, you are lucky than I, as I really don't think that it's fully wide-spread yet. The last time I connected in Amsterdam, I had an additional security check including personal interviews... and coming back through Tahiti, 3 searches in the hour layover. The baggage thing has me laughing, though. If your bags miss your flight, they are on the next one. They can't really chase down everyone in the airport to tell you your bags are delayed. You usually don't have to wait, if you would rather file the claim and have them delivered. I just have never seen it done any other way, and I honestly am surprised that you would expect different service.
spottiew is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 06:05 PM
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I don't understand your comments on the baggage thing...we are talking about one flight into JFK with 3 or 4 bags perhaps delayed. LH service reps meet every flight; this is normal. You mean it would be so hard in the 8 hour interval of the flight to have faxed or e mailed JFK from Frankfurt that the connecting baggage had not made the plane???? And I don't think any airline takes a claim until they know the baggage had missed the flight.

As far as the individual screens, almost all the airlines on the JFK-LHR route have them now and I have come to think of them as normal; call me spoiled then.

I still think the situation at Frankfurt Airport is extremely poorly done as this is a major connecting airport. The lack of a jetway, the long distance involved is certainly a problem in making a short connection. It is incumbent upon Lufthansa to schedule connections they can make....
xyz123 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 06:34 PM
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To the OP,
You don't travel much do you? Sorry, but the ONLY real complaint you have is the lost luggage. Get over the rest of it. I know that sounds rude, but.... I flew to CDG recently. Guess where my plane was.... WAY OUT THERE, we took a LONG bus ride.

You are upset that you had to walk a long way, that's just the way airports are designed.

You are upset you had to go thru security. That is just short sighted.

As for the delay in your luggage.... I have ideas.....
CarolA is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Being on the west coast, I tend not to connect in JFK - if they all have screens on the seatbacks, all the better. I guess I wouldn't miss it much if they don't, as I am one who can sleep on the plane. I do agree on the connection time- 50 minutes really is short in Frankfurt, not sure why they do that. Back to the luggage.... if you know of any airline that is going to flag you down as you exit the plane to tell you the status of your bags- then more power to you! I just haven't seen it happen, so I have not come to expect anything like that. Last summer in Hawaii, I had my bag put on a later inter-island flight (despite an early check-in)- waited an hour... they had no idea where the bag was nor no way to find out, but they offered to take the claim and deliver.
spottiew is offline  

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