Written on: 02/12/2011
I had been using Lufthansa frequently to reach Hyderabad in India. This airline stopped operating out of Hyderabad and booked me on an Air India flight from Hyderabad to Mumbai.
The flight to Mumbai was delayed by four hours, Air India assured me that I will be assisted by Lufthansa staff upon my arrival at Mumbai for facilitating expeditious check-in at Mumbai. I was standing bside them when they were sending a message to Lufthansa.
However, there was no such thing. It took me usual time to collect the baggage and reach departure terminal only to find that the counter is closed.
I contacted their back office and they denied getting any message from Air India and suggested me that I should ask them to make alternate arrangement. I had to leave my baggage unattended and rush to Air India to hear that Lufthansa first endorse the ticket as it was issued by them. When I asked this, the Lufthansa staff said they can't do any sort of thing and the only alternate is wait until the morning and contact their customer care. At least they had provided me the number to contact.
One of the senior Lufthansa staff members asked me to leave the terminal and only thing he can do is to accompany me to the exit gate as the secuirty personeel will not let me leave.
I spend my night outside the terminal building as it was close to dawn and checking in a hotel was not good as I predicted a tought day ahead as I already had previous worst experience with the customer care, which is a call centre only. As I had prediected, the customer care in the morning asked me to buy a fresh ticket as according to their record the ticket I have been holding can't be used now. The reason behind mentioned was that the record shows 'No Show'. The alternate they gave was to contact the travel agent in Canada to get this issue sorted out. I called the travel agent on her celluar as it was past 11pm in Canada. She immediately rebooked me on a flight same night and asked me to get the revised ticket issued by Lufthansa in Mumbai.
When asked Lufthansa that my agent has re-booked me and asked them to issue the ticket, I was told that they can't issue the ticket and it should be issued by my agent in Canada. When asked to let me speak to their senior I was given the number of their station manager Madhu. The number unreachable.
A senior person of Air India called for me the baggage department of Lufthansa and he was informed that Madhu is abroad on a training. He himself spoke to Lufthansa citing their attitude and was told that it is a call centre and can't take any sort of decision. They repeated it to me that the only option is buy a fresh ticket or let Air India give me a free ticket as it is them who had delayed me arrival.
I was forced to contact my brother at home who e-mailed me a fresh ticket by the evening to let me continue my journey.
I had filed a complaint with Lufthansa upon my arrival and what I got in response is a 20% discount coupon for my next purchase and a letter that the complaint will be investigated.
I am a diabetic, need to sleep at least 8 hours a day and should have proper and timely food. Beside, I should have access to a toilet. While outside the terminal building, I had beg the secuirty staff to let me use the toilets.
I doubt if Lufthansa will refund me value of the ticket lost or if they will take the above factors into consideration before doing so.