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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Up, up and away…

It seems all my check-in hassles have been a direct result of Lufthansa not being able to handle online check-in for a code-share on a route operated by BMI, which is odd because the latter has been a subsidary of the former for over a year now, and a partner for even longer. You would have thought in this day and age they would have made it work by now. Anyway, having been fobbed off with various excuses and having to call a sometimes not very helpful helpdesk for my last 12 flights in order to check-in ahead of getting to the airport, yesterday  I was finally able to check-in online for my regular flight which departed this afternoon.

The solution it seems, is to book direct with BMI and then check-in on the BMI website which works as you would expect, which is what I did for todays flight.

I have to say that Lufthansa have provided absolutely astonishingly bad levels of customer service over the last 5 months, in many different ways. That includes not responding to complaints raised via their website despite them committing to do so ‘in a few days’, not responding to e-mails to the their customer support e-mail address, sending me a response to someone elses complaint, and being bounced around between call-centers by call-center staff who can’t help. However, my personal favourite is being lied to outright by a UK Support agent who told me that all of Lufthansa’s systems were down and no one could check-in online or over the phone anywhere. I pulled him up on this just to be sure I understood what he was saying, and he confirmed what he had told me – no one could check in anywhere but the airport. Clearly that message hadn’t gotten through to the German Support team who took my call immediately after I hung up from the UK call center, and who managed to check me in no problem.

So, problem solved – don’t fly with Lufthansa.

Airline Update

Having bleated on about how rubbish the customer service I got from Lufthansa was, I thought it might be an idea to knock up a quick update on my experiences.

In short, nothing has changed. Despite having an apparently helpful contact at Lufthansa customer relations in Frankfurt, I still haven’t been able to check-in online for any of my Lufthansa booked, BMI operated, code share flights since April. On each and every occasion it’s taken Lufthansa Online support about 20 seconds to resolve the issue and get me checked-in over the phone. Of course, that’s only when I’ve called Lufthansa’s German support desk in Berlin, not the English one who have insisted that they can’t do anything to help and that I would have to check-in at the airport on the couple of occasions I’ve called them. Funny how the German help desk could help immediately after I got turned away by the English one.

So last Sunday was my last flight booked via Lufthansa. On Saturday I fly the same route, but booked directly with BMI who operate the flight. There is little if no difference in cost, if anything BMI are slightly cheaper, and clearly the experience on-board is going to be identical. I’m sure BMIs customer service can’t be any worse than Lufthansa’s and I’m really hoping that I won’t have to find out. If all goes well, I’ll pass some ‘feedback’ to Lufthansa and continue to book via BMI from here on in. If not, I’ll have to figure out what the least painful option is.

 

Professional Courtesy

As a frequent flyer, you begin to learn the ways of the airlines you fly with. You might even start to recognise some of the cabin crew, and I certainly recognise some of the aircraft, especially my old favourite A319 with the dodgy connection which causes the seat belt sign to flicker when taxiing. One of the things I have noticed about the particular short haul route I fly with BMI is that the business class section is usually pretty empty.  Usually there will be 1 or 2 people seated there at most, and often it’s empty, even when the rest of the flight is pretty full. On rare occasions, business class has actually been pretty full also, and those flights are the exception in my experience rather than the rule. I suspect it very much depends on the times of flights, and I deliberately choose my flights to be away from peak business time.

Anyway, something I noticed on my last flight a week and a half ago has been buzzing round my brain and won’t settle down, so I though a blog about it might quell my inner torment.

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