Lufthansa Strike and Hotel cancellation

This Dutch proverb really sums up my latest travel experience, He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.

Due to Lufthansa’s pilots’ strike on 24 and 25 November, I did not even get to set my foot outside the front door.

I usually book my trips online, but this time I wanted to give a travel agent friend my business. This cost me dearly. Where one can usually cancel online hotel bookings within a certain time frame without a charge, or a reduced charge, going through a travel agency is very different.

The travel agency uses a tour operator to do the hotel booking. We paid € 452 for three nights. We were informed of a refund of € 46 for the prepaid € 452 (billed in February). Hence, a letter had been sent to TUI, the tour operator. We lost € 406 on the hotel booking.

TUI’s response was predictable. There is no additional reimbursement.

The travel agent also neglected to tell me she would process our flight ticket refund. Only after some prompting, and so-called miscommunication, I was informed that the ticket seller would be sending her our refund. Of the initial € 564 for two tickets, we got € 452,32 refunded.

I also rechecked on our ferry tickets we had purchased for the route Tallinn – Helsinki. These were non-refundable tickets at € 52.

Needless to say, we not only lost this travel opportunity, but I also have to spend a considerable amount of time on research of how to get any money back. In money value alone, my travel companion and I have lost € 599, 68.

My letter to Lufthansa, with a detailed explanation of losses incurred, was sent off today.

I had also booked ‘additional services’ with Lufthansa online, such as a checked-in suitcase. This is another item I have to see when I get my money back. My letter to Lufthansa, requesting a refund for this separate online booking, was sent off on 12 December and to date, 6 January, I have had no reply.

Frankfurt Airport

On a more pleasant note, I was home alone for four days and did not get into trouble. My husband was in Paris with his brother during that time, and both children are away at university in Shanghai and the U.K.

Compliments and Complaints with Lufthansa

On our flight back from J.F.K. New York – Frankfurt with Lufthansa, my sister and I had no monitors to watch movies or to play games. Everyone else’s was working, but ours. It took four inquiries and close to two hours to be told they were not working. In between we were told they were reloading, then resetting, then the colleague was going to check it once more and so on. The responses had seemed so lame.

Nevertheless, it was a long 7:30 hour flight without any kind of entertainment. I admit we have come to rely on being entertained a lot, but in my case – feeling claustrophobic at times – it is the best kind of distraction to keep myself in an enduring mode. And I don’t like to feel pushed aside, which was the feeling I got from the attendants. 

Of course, I was happy to arrive safely, but this sense of having been felt ignored for almost two hours still gnawed at me. So I took the time to let Lufthansa know. I am not the kind of person to complain, so choosing between “suggestions and feedback” and “complaints” was a tough choice to make for me. In the end I chose “complaints” as those matters get dealt with more efficiently.

Now if you have anything you would like to tell Lufthansa, then click here, click on Help and Contact in the upright corner, then another little window will pop up where you can choose. I clicked on compliments and complaints to state what happened.

I only stated the facts, I did not demand anything, and I just wanted to let them know how I felt the service was.

Two days ago, on Dec 6th, 2008, five days after I had filed my complaint ( I still have a disdain for this word), I got a very personal letter from Lufthansa with an apology for the inconvenience caused. It was very impressive to see how detailed they took my account. In hoping for our continued trust in Lufthansa, they will send my sister and me a separate wine selection and we will be happy to accept this gesture in redress for the negative service impression I had recently received. 

Yes, my trust is restored. They responded.

I could have easily shoved this issue aside after the trip. No, Lufthansa needed to know and I am glad I told them about this shortcoming.