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Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: From dream travel to nightmare vacation with Lufthansa LH2982

 
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Old Oct 7, 2013, 6:58 PM
lpuri lpuri is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Hungary
Posts: 3

I could not decide which sub-forum is the right place for our experiences: Customer Service, Flight canceled/delayed or Baggage problems? Maybe all three. I have never thought earlier that an airline with good reputation is able to provide such substandard services – both in terms of luggage handling and customer care and assistance.
This is the abbreviated version of our first complaint which best describes what happened:

“Dear Lufthansa Customer Service,

We would like to complain about our cancelled/delayed flight that caused us to miss the start of our holiday trip and completely destroyed our summer holiday. Also we complain about our damaged luggage, as well as about the unacceptable customer care and all the inconveniences and conditions you created for us with the cancellation. We request a refund and compensation.

We booked a Fly & Drive round tour around Iceland and we bought our air tickets for 29. June from Budapest to Reykjavík via Berlin on 2nd February.

On 18. March Lufthansa cancelled the flight from Budapest to Berlin and offered us a less convenient solution via Budapest-Munich-Berlin-Reykjavík.
We had no choice but accept this alternative because we had already paid the tour which was to start at 9:00am on 30. June, as well as we agreed on the timing of our summer holiday with our companies and we got the permission for the day-offs for this period.

On 29. June, we started with significant delay even from Budapest. We were also delayed in Munich. In Berlin we boarded again with delay, but the plane did not start. After half an hour waiting (already boarded!) the pilot informed the passengers that 37 baggages were lost, so we had to wait until they would be found. We were waiting again while already sitting on the plane.

At midnight we were informed that our flight had been cancelled and we were instructed to leave the plane and reclaim our baggages, wait for the Lufthansa representative who will help and take care about us to arrange the night accommodation and will provide us with the information on the re-scheduled flight.

The representative could not tell anything how and when could we continue our trip to Reykjavík. But it became obvious that we will miss our tour, because - if our flight will ever be re-scheduled - it will not happen before 9:00 or 10:00am. At this point the travel became for us obsolete, there remained no more reason to continue, so we considered interrupting it and turn back. But your representative was neither able nor willing to tell us anything about our possibilities, like an alternative flight sooner or compensation for our losses. She told us that Lufthansa had not decided about the flight or how a compensation would take place. We did not get any further information, neither about the possible solution, nor about our passenger rights in such a situation, nor even the steps Lufthansa would going to take to resolve the situation. All her only effort was to decline responsibility and to avoid answering questions. It was already about 1:30am, our tour was to start at 9:00am from Reykjavík.

Having no alternative we decided to proceed and try to join the tour at a later time by all means.
The lady from Lufthansa offered an overnight in a hotel with breakfast, but it turned out that there is no organized way to get passengers to a hotel. Instead, it was a do-it-yourself action. She did not escorted the air passengers to a hotel, she only gave a hotel name and instructed us to be back at the airport no later than 7:30am. She told us to take a taxi and go to Hotel Dorint.

We tried to take a taxi in front of the airport, but we have not got enough cash and the taxi drivers did not accept credit cards. Then the rep gave us taxi vouchers. We tried again with drivers but they refused to accept the voucher as well. Again, we went back with our luggage to the LH rep. Her answer was: “It is the law that they have to accept it. If they don’t, I can not do anything.” This was the only help we got.

Finally we found a driver who accepted the voucher after some argument and threatening with police. He cursed all over the way to the hotel.

We got to the hotel by 2:00am. This was the time when our coach waited for us at the airport in Keflavík, but we were still in Berlin.
In the hotel I asked for internet access in order to contact my travel agent. They denied it, saying: “Lufthansa won’t pay for it”. I insisted on granting the access, then they told me: “ WiFi is overcrowded now because of the Mongolian groups”. (I think he referred to the passengers of the other cancelled flight accommodated in the same hotel).

We spent the remaining part of the night with continuosly trying to reach on our mobiles the contacts in Reykjavík and anyone else who could help us. It was Sunday night, and we could not contact anybody.
At 6:00 we were there in Berlin without sleep: exhausted, hopeless and helpless.

As we were instructed by the Lufthansa representative to be at Lufthansa Customer Service desk at no later than 7:30am, we asked the hotel staff to order a taxi by 6:50. At 6:20 we went down to have breakfast. First, it turned out that the buffet was still closed. Then the receptionist claimed that breakfast was not included, but he offered breakfast for 24 Euros per person. So we got nothing, not even a cup of tea or a glass of water. …
We decided not to waste any more time and to check out. By 6:30 there was such a big crowd and chaos around the concierge that it took us nearly half an our to return the key. There was about 6 taxis in the courtyard by this time, and the hotel staff was not able to tell us which one is our taxi. Nor could the taxi drivers. And the night story begun again: no voucher, no credit cards were accepted.


By 7:00am more than 200 people were fighting for 6-8 cars! The hotel staff gave up organizations (I would rather say they even increased the existing chaos) and returned to the lobby, leaving the passengers alone and let them fight for taxi seats.
We managed to catch a taxi in the street and arrived at the airport just in time.

At the airport at LH desk they refused to give any other information what to do now, if we missed our organized tour. The representative practically denied any answer. Our discussion was the following:
Q: “How can we get compensation for our losses?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q: “How can I make an official complaint?”
A: “In a written form.”
Q: “Then please give me your official Complaint Form.”
A: “I do not have such a form.”
Q: “Then please give me a piece of paper in order I can write it.”
A: “I don’t have paper and I can not accept anything.”
Q: “Then give me the contact whom to address my request.”
A: “I don’t know. Search for it on the web site, write your complaint, put it in an envelope and send it.”
Q: “Where to?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q: “Then call your manager.”
A: “I am the manager here.”

No wonder, we were delayed again to the announced departure time. Between check-in and boarding the plane we had to wait another half an hour in a stuffed and overcrowded bus until the ground staff let the bus to go to the plane.
The overall handling of the situation was amateurish, annoying and chaotic. Including the ground staff in Berlin. No organization, no information, no help, no explanation. No food, no drink. No customer care at all. No airline may allow this.

After this incredible nightmare in Berlin we arrived at about 12:00 to Keflavík and about 1:30pm to Reykjavík. So we not only lost our prepaid accommodation (with breakfast!) in Reykjavík, but also missed the start time of the round trip tour as well. The trip had a strict itinerary with a long driving each day and ending with a night accommodation at the end of the day. We managed to get a rented car by 2:00pm, but we were so exhausted, tired and stressed that it would have been a great and unreasonable risk to start driving immediately. So we had to decide to sleep in the car some hours in a parking place in order to avoid risk and troubles. This was our first 3 hours sleep in the past 36 hours. Outside temperature was 8-9 degrees. Another example of an inhuman, degrading and derogative situtation you caused for us.

At 6:00pm we continued driving, and without attending the daily program along the route, we drove directly to the second night accomodation, arrived at 9:00pm. So we lost a whole day program as well.
Next day, still tired and already with the signs of illness we had to decide again to omit the daily program. By the end of the day my wife got a cold and both of us suffered from fever – as a direct consequence of the previous days’ stress, inconveniences and exhaustion. (We both had to take medicine until the very last day of our journey.) ...
The remaining part of our trip passed with the goal to reach our next accomodation directly, as soon as possible, in order to have rest and try to recover our health. So our holiday became a complete nightmare, a waste of time, waste of money - just because Lufthansa looses baggages and cancels flights and unable to help their passengers or give a decent care.
…”
...etc


The summary of the flight delay:
- more than 3000 Euro loss (including travel cost, extra costs, phone calls, fax and of postage costs after return and not including medical costs)
- a ruined vacation
- one week sick leave
- two completely damaged suitcases (smashed corners, broken case locks, cracks, broken stand)
- disappointment forever


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customer care, irresponsible management, loss, lufthansa


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