India is a focus market for almost all carriers these days, given that with the huge number of people who are starting to fly outside the country, they all want to pick a piece of the pie. With only two long-haul carriers out of the country, namely Air India and Jet Airways, people around here look at the European and Middle-Eastern carriers to travel to Europe & Americas, which is a prime market for everyone now. Anyhow, Lufthansa India has been trying to get a piece of the action for a very long time, and they have indeed succeeded as well. Lufthansa and group companies Swiss & Brussels Airlines fly about 3% of India’s international traffic per annum as of Q22017.
They indeed made an advertisement as well to this effect where they claim to be More Indian than you think. Have a look.
Now, I’ve never flown Lufthansa from India so I won’t comment on their services personally, but there seems to be a large trend of their European operations mistreating the Indian passengers in case of irregular operations.
Just last week, there was an incident where Lufthansa flew a plane out of Frankfurt, heading to Houston. However, they brought back the plane to Frankfurt after flying it to Iceland on the back of a problem with the plane.
On this flight, there was an Indian passenger who clearly got taken for a ride because Lufthansa did not want to accommodate her, seemingly because she was brown. The full narrative has been deleted to protect the privacy of the concerned passenger, however I would sum it up for you via highlighting some part of the incident.
Lufthansa brought back LH440 flying from Frankfurt to Houston on September 11, 2017 on account of oil leakage issues. There were 500 people to serve, and one of them was this passenger who had already flown 8 hours from Delhi and had connected on this flight Frankfurt to Houston.
Lufthansa did not make adequate arrangements while they had 4.5 hours to do so when the flight was turned around. So, one had to wait in line to get to an associate. Only 7 associates worked the customer service on this flight, and as per the passenger 6 of them went home at the end of their shift.
An old lady who was waiting started to take pictures of the chaos, and Lufthansa called in the cops on her to get her to back off. After 4 hours of waiting our passenger gets to the front of the queue, she is re-accommodated on the same flight for the next day and is told she cannot be given accommodation since she does not have a Schengen Visa. She asks to be hosted in the hotel on the airport premises, and the airline tells her it is reserved for families and not for singles. On asking about how is she supposed to sleep, she is told to sleep on the floor.
Subsequently, she is refused food vouchers as well, and on pressing hard, she gets food vouchers, however the outlets have already shut down by this time. Also, the airline apparently deliberately gave her vouchers for September 11, 2017 telling her that she could use it for breakfast the next morning.
The lady passenger eventually paid for the room on her own and went to sleep. It was 288 USD for the night. On arriving at the hotel she realises other people who were behind her in the queue (including a single), were allocated the rooms by the airline. The passenger states that these were not Indian passengers and hence got the rooms.
— Aneesh Bhasin (@aneeshb) July 5, 2017
Anyone have a contact in Lufthansa? Missed connection in Frankfurt due to their delay, then given a ticket for 2 days later by rude staff.
— Aneesh Bhasin (@aneeshb) July 5, 2017
And the Internet is peppered with other instances of how Indian passengers specifically are treated like this at Frankfurt and I’ve read some more back in the day.
Now, I’m not sure why exactly Lufthansa wouldn’t really put their best foot forward with the Indian crowd, but clearly an Indian airline behaved much better last year at an out-of-country station when I was almost going to miss my flight.
What has been your experience with respect to the German Efficiency v/s Indian Hospitality of Lufthansa? Any one else has had a similar experience on Lufthansa?