Flying is one of my passions (although lately i have been flying a bit too much 😃 ) and hence i normally analyze the whole experience, from booking to check-in, from boarding until arriving at destination. I just do it, cannot help myself.
Of course that because of the amount of trips, we get more demanding, but i am sure I am not alone on this one. I must say that also my 10 years in the Middle East elevated my level of expected services, as the ME airlines simply elevated the standard service levels.
Normally, I have a good experience with Lufthansa, as the check-in process is normally smooth, the food served on board (compared to others that many times does not serve at all) is very reasonable, and i even had good experiences as well with the call center team, when I was in Warsaw going to Madrid via Munich and requested to change to go via Frankfurt because the Warsaw – Munich flight was late and I would miss my connection to Madrid, and they promptly helped me and changed as per my request.
But today they did something that bothered me. It was just not worse because I managed to get my connection in Frankfurt, despite being just in time.
I was booked on a 19.25 flight from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt, to then fly at 21.00 to Madrid. As i arrived earlier at the airport (around 4pm) I realized they had an earlier flight to Frankfurt leaving at 18.20. I stopped at the check-in counter and asked I could be moved to this earlier flight, as it would give me a peace of mind of not having to rush to get my connection. The response was very “cheap”, saying that it would depend on the fare my travel agency booked the flight. After checking i was advised i could not change the ticket, unless i would pay a new ticket (!!). I passed through security and decided to try one more time, at the gate, close to the boarding time, in order to be sure that those seats would be free, and perhaps they would let me in. Same story …
Listen, I do understand the seats and fare prices and that there are limitations to cheaper fares. But a few minutes before boarding, if you have free seats in the same class and considering i have a short connection, no check-in luggage, it just does not make sense to not allow me to change and go earlier. There could have been even an opportunity (small, but there was) to find someone to sell my seat on the later flight.
The whole aviation economics have made airlines to apply those different pricing schemas, trying to find ways to grab more money from you, the minute you deviate from the original plan, which in my view affects the basic core principle of serving the customer the best way possible. In days when we have witnessed very poor behavior of United, everyone raises awareness and become more analytical of all different experiences.
Would that stop me from flying Lufthansa? Probably not because of the good experiences I had, which for now, are greater than this negative experience … however, I do hope this was an unfortunate one-off experience …
See you at the next check-in!