I travelled on my onward Journey from Mumbai to Boston via Frankfurt on 23rd July 2011. And the return trip on Aug 14th - the entire trip via Lufthansa.
Im just going to cut paste my complaint letter for which I got no response by the way. The main point is that its understandable when things are not as expected - but its the awful disgusting coldness from all the Lufthansa plane and ground staff that really makes one flip.
"Here are my 2 complaints about the outward and return legs of this trip on Lufthansa: 1) While traveling from Frankfurt to Boston on my outward trip, around an hour after the flight began, I realized my seat would not recline. I called the air hostess and she asked if it was ok if she solved the problem after serving refreshments. I said it was ok thinking that it would not take more than 15 minutes – also I assumed that your staff would have attended to me immediately if the delay was more than 15 minutes (all assumptions based on economy class travel on 100s of domestic and international flights). However, the refreshments didn’t START till after 30 minutes. I decided to wait anyway quietly. Finally, after waiting for another 90 MINUTES during which time I tried to contact your staff but no one came to even have a look, the first Air hostess arrived back. She came and simply asked me to get up. Then she tried to push the seat back, removed the bottom part and tried many other things for nearly 10 minutes. And after she tried and verified that it was not working (like I was an idiot who was lying to her before), she simply gave me a seat number around 15 rows ahead (no idea why she could not have done this 2 hours before????!!!!). Here too, please note there was no apology. No offer of help to take my luggage down and move it to my new seat. So it was nearly 3 hours after takeoff that I got into a working seat and could finally get some rest. I should mention that I had a back ache while in the US for the next 3 days which I am sure was caused by this flight.
What is most shocking is that on my return flight, this time from Frankfurt to Mumbai, I was again given A BROKEN SEAT THAT WOULD NOT RECLINE!!! Thankfully, I was better prepared this time – I checked the seat as soon as I reached it. As soon as I found out, I politely insisted to the Airhostesss that I be a given a proper seat immediately. To which the Airhostess asked me to go back to my seat and wait for everyone to board. Thankfully (by now, I had learned to appreciate greatly even the smallest things offered to me at Lufthansa), once everyone was aboard, she grudgingly gave me a seat that worked, and again, there was no apology/ or any kind of help to move my stuff and luggage to the new seat.
I just want to know whether this is the standard kind of Lufthansa service or was it some special treatment reserved for me? Do you expect anyone to believe that you were not aware of broken seats on flights before take off?
2) This second part has to do with your service at Frankfurt airport:
My return trip was from Boston to Mumbai via Frankfurt. Once I landed at Frankfurt, I quickly made my way to GateNo: which was printed on our boarding pass - I also verified this on information screens. I reached the gate and settled down with my laptop. Around 20 minutes later, I heard the announcement that the gate was changed to . So had to pack up my laptop again and started moving to this new gate. After 10 minutes of walking, I realized that this gate was on the extreme diagonally opposite side of the airport! Also, I noticed that it was more like a warehouse than an airport – it had only 2 gates, blazing white lights like an interrogation room, and a couple of shops. I didn’t mind this even as I was just eager to get on the flight home after the previous 11 hour flight.
However, once again, just as I sat down and unpacked my laptop, there was an announcement asking all the passengers seated inside the gate to "move out now” because they had to do some “immigration check”. The announcement was repeated continuously and at the same time, a staff literally came in and chased out all the people inside – all in a matter of 2 minutes. Suddenly there was a huge queue outside the gate as all the passengers had to wait outside the gate again. As I stood in the queue for another 20 MINUTES, the following thoughts ran through my mind:
A) The US has the toughest immigrations laws in the world and no one checked my Passport/Visa during my earlier stopover at Frankfurt for my outgoing flight. – why check this for India. In any case, I have never heard of immigration checks on a transit stop on any of my travels before.
B) Why couldn’t this check have been done by Lufthansa staff before the passengers entered the gate or as they boarded (when I reached the counter, I saw that the immigration check was just to look at my passport COVER).
C) Why was the announcer so rude and callous and not even apologizing for the inconvenience? It sounded more like orders to prisoners.
The mix-ups were still not over.
As soon as all the passengers were in the gate, the call was made to start boarding. There was a first call for Business class and those with children. And after that instead of having calls in groups of seats row-by-row, the next call was for everybody else. So again there was a HUGE QUEUE. You can imagine what all this will do to you after traveling for 11 hours on a plane and made to stand for another 1 hour because of airline bungling. But even after I got past the queue after 10 minutes, we were loaded into a bus PACKED with people. And even after the bus was completely filled, it didn’t move and they just kept adding people again and again into the same bus. I was standing inside the bus jammed with others literally standing on my toes for at least 20 minutes.
I have given a detailed report of what went on. I can assure you that when compared to my previous dozens of flights on Air India, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, British Airways even, this was one of the most painful air travel experiences. I can definitely say that all the shortcomings was made more clear by the complete lack of empathy in your staff. After this experience, I have decided never to travel on Lufthansa. And I am making sure none of my friends nor my company business flies any more on your flights."