Two weeks ago I posted about the worst first class flight I’ve ever experienced. It was Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Mumbai, and it was really unlike anything I’d ever experienced. Service-wise I hadn’t seen anything like it in coach even. I was totally flummoxed, and though folks said I should have spoken to the purser about the experience inflight and asked to be served by someone else, in the moment it was so challenging that I just wanted the flight to be over and it didn’t seem like anything could possibly be done other than wait for our arrival in India.
Well, shortly after I posted a woman working for Lufthansa posted in the comments. See, her job used to include participating in the Flyertalk forums (as “LHRelate”) and I had friended her on facebook. Since I publish the blog to my facebook page, she saw what I had written and .. on a Sunday morning.. was on the case.
I was contacted by senior folks at Lufthansa on Monday morning. They asked me for a few details beyond what I published on the blog, let me know that it would take several days to get back to me while they investigated with various departments, but that they took my experience seriously and they would be back with me.
I promised in an update on my post about the flight that I’d update folks here on the resolution, so I thought I’d share Lufthansa’s response.
It took about a week but I got a note this past Wednesday asking for a time we might speak. I sent them my cell phone number and they called immediately.
They started out with an apology as expected. They let me know that they had sent my entire blog post to a couple of different departments, including to review with the flight attendant in question.
A few details were shared with me that I won’t repeat here, but they seemed to take my concerns seriously. The man who called me said that in his years at Lufthansa he could count on one hand the number of complaints that had reached them about first class service. I understand — Lufthansa’s seats and video aren’t the best in first class (though they’re putting in new seats), but the service is at the very least overall very consistent. I wouldn’t expect many complaints about the service, and indeed my other two Lufthansa first class segments on the trip (and all of them on past trips) have always had perfectly fine service, ranging from exactly as one expects to quite good.
He did say that they wanted to compensate me for the experience, that the tickets were booked with US Airways miles and that he was limited in the number that he could offer of those, that I wasn’t much for Miles & More (though I suppose if I leave enough miles in my bmi account when it converts over that might no longer be the case), so compensating me in miles probably wouldn’t do enough. Besides, he rather guessed I had lots of US Airways miles (with a knowing laugh, he seemed well aware of the propensity for folks to buy US Airways miles or earn lots of them via promos and cash them in for Lufthansa first class).
So instead he suggested that I take my wife to a very nice dinner, and send him the bill.
It was a real gesture, one that would cost them actual money (as opposed to sending along a certificate, perhaps discount on future travel with Lufthansa or for duty free as I rather expected they’d do). And it meant a lot.
Lufthansa has certainly been paying attention to social media lately, I expect that noting my experience on a blog got more attention that it might otherwise but the egregious nature of the flight and the fact that it was in first class no doubt warranted the attention as well.
And I for one do feel like they went to lengths to demonstrate they were concerned about the service lapse, were addressing it internally, and were serious about ‘making it up to me.’