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Tech Delay And A Go-around: DTM-MUC-CDG-MUC-DTM  
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4859 times:

About the trip
Although I usually take Air France from DUS (or lately the direct EasyJet flight from my hometown DTM) to fly to my favorite city, I decided to take Lufthansa this time in order to check out their new Terminal 2 in MUC. The flight was booked well before the new Miles and More regulations took effect, so I was expecting 4.000 miles for these four legs; instead I will now receive 1.250 miles, which is one of the several reasons, why I will no longer take Lufthansa for my private travels (except if there is no other choice). But I digress…

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Dortmund Airport (DTM)
I arrived at the airport about two hours form departure, parked my car at the remote parking lot P7 and took the shuttle bus to the terminal. Unusually for Dortmund, a fairly small provincial airport with about 2 million passengers per year, the terminal was fairly crowded. This effect is based on the currently ongoing main travel/ holiday season in this part of Germany and the new EasyJet hub, which commenced its operation in mid July.

The queue at the two remaining Eurowings/ Lufthansa check-in counters was fairly short, with two families checking in a huge pile of suitcases for their flights to Teheran. Since I had already selected my seats via internet check-in the evening before, I wasn’t in a hurry, so I waited patiently until these quite anxious and nervous travellers had gotten their act together.

The Lufthansa presence at the airport is only a shadow of Eurowing’s former glory days, when Dortmund’s hometown airline operated to a large variety of primary and secondary cities within Europe. However, since Lufthansa has assimilated Eurowings in 2000, the usual anti-competitive game has started, and all Eurowings routes from the airport save the one to MUC were discontinued. Today, even the flight to MUC is no longer operated exclusively by EW, instead there is a mixture of EW/ Contact Air and CL flights. Thankfully however, EasyJet has started a new hub in Dortmund, and I strongly hope that they will give Craphansa a run for their money in this part of Northrhine-Westphalia.  Big thumbs up

I spent the rest of my waiting time on the airside, watching a fairly tranquil apron with only an EasyJet A319 being prepared for its flight to ALC and an LGW DO-228 sitting idly in the August sun, waiting for the evening rotation to such illustrious places like THF, STR or ERF  Big grin. Except for a very obnoxious First Officer dead-heading to MUC on our flight, who kept talking loudly into his cell-phone to some colleague, trying to impress the other waiting passengers with his “importance”, all the other travellers, among them six UM’s, a wheelchair passenger and two passengers with broken legs, were really calm and well mannered.

Boarding commenced a little late due to the delayed arrival of our ATR from MUC, and we were further set back by the complicated and time-consuming boarding procedure of all our passengers with special needs today (i.e. the UM’s, the wheelie guy and the broken leg dudes). Finally, however, it was time for the remaining passengers to walk down the stairs towards the apron and take a short stroll across the concrete where our ATR was waiting for us.

The flight (DTM-MUC)

Dortmund Holzwickede (DTM) - Munich Franz Josef Strauss (MUC)
Flight number:LH2106 (Operated by Contact Air)
Scheduled block time: 1250h - 1415h
Off-block: 1305h
Take-Off: 1308h (RWY 06)
Touch-down: 1418h (RWY 26R)
On-block: 1423h

Aerospatiale/ Alenia ATR 42-500
D-BPPP
c/n 581
delivered: September 24, 1999 to Eurowings


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Photo © Sven Pipjorke



When I boarded the cabin, which is performed on the ATR from the rear of the aircraft, I was greeted by a friendly, blonde middle aged flight attendant. Some passengers had already taken their seats, but despite our small delay, no one seemed to be in a hurry, so I leisurely made my way to seat 06A, stored my backpack in the overhead compartment and took my seat.


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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt



While I was looking around the cabin of this ATR-42, I noticed a striking similarity with Eurowing’s former ATR-42’s, in fact the blue leather seats were the same original equipment, which was installed when the aircraft was first delivered to EW in 1999. In the meantime, EW has retired their smaller ATR’s, only keeping the ATR-72, so most of the -500’s have made their way to other Lufthansa Regional partners like Contact Air. The seating standard can be described as fairly typical - or shall I say - notorious for a regional prop, i.e. it was very, very cramped even for a fairly average sized guy like me. Luckily, sitting next to me was a kid of maybe ten years of age, who still hadn’t fairly small shoulders, so I was able to use his “air space” during the flight.  Smile

A few minutes later, boarding was completed, and with a dark rumble, the engines were started - first the turbofan engines began to spool up, followed a few seconds later by the propellers. At this moment, finally the air condition started to kick in, giving us a well-needed break from the stirring heat inside the small metal tube, which had been sitting in the glistening midday sun for more than half an hour.

Our fully booked aircraft left its parking position, spooled up the engines and turn towards the left on the taxiway in order to travel towards the threshold of RWY 06, leaving behind the brand new terminal building. While an Air Berlin 737 was touching down in front of us, we waited for another minute until the charter Boeing had vacated the runway, the engines spooled up again to a loud roar, brakes were released and our ATR thundered and rattled down the runway, lifting off into the blue afternoon sky after a 30 to 40 second takeoff run.

Gear was retracted a few hundred feet above the ground, and while we were travelling across the green outskirts of Dortmund, passing the “Kamener Kreuz” highway junction below, the flaps were retracted and speed increased while we were making a gentle southbound turn over the city of Unna. Unfortunately, the hazy sky soon started to obscure the outside view while we were travelling above the dark green forests of the “Sauerland”, a mountain range to the south of the Ruhr District, and a few minutes later clouds started to appear on the horizon, increasing in size and density on our journey to the deep south of Germany.

The cabin bell chimed, indicating the release of the cabin crew for their service run, and the two girls soon started their fairly standard service program on an internal German flight, i.e. a drink service. Unfortunately, the times where one could expect at least a roll, a piece of cake or a few cookies on a trip onboard of one of Germany’s regional airlines, is finally over - thanks to the assimilation by “Big Brother” Lufthansa, the cabin service has now degenerated to the same minuscule standard offered on Lufthansa’s mainline domestic flights.



The rest of the flight went by fairly quickly, and I dozed off a few minutes after the drink service was completed. The monotonous roar of the turboprops, which is so much louder on the “Lada of the skies”, compared to his commercially unsuccessful, but from a passenger’s point of view, so much more advanced and comfortable brother, the Fokker F-50, really took its toll on my concentration, so I decided it would be better to just spend the rest of the flight sleeping. Our flight path BTW took us from Dortmund via Frankfurt, Wuerzburg and Landshut to Munich at a cruising speed of 250 kts.

Regaining my consciousness while ouraircraft was just passing through a thick layer of rain clouds, shaking and rolling, I noticed that we were only a few hundred feet above the ground on our final apporach into a rain-soaked Munich. Under the heavy influence of cross wind, the pilot’s effort to point the nose of the plane into the strong winds were fairly noticeable. The ATR soared across the perimeter fence, and with some last minute maneuvering we were finally back again on terra firma.

The turboprops were put into reverse and within only a few hundred feet, our decelation had reached a virtual stop, so we exited the runway and proceeded towards the large apron adjacent to MUC’s new Terminal 2, which was filled with a variety of regional Dash-8‘s, ATR’s, CRJ’s and even a few Dorniers from Lufthansa Cityline, Air Engiadina, Lufthansa Regional, Cirrus Air and Eurowings. We reached our parking position in what seemed like the very last corner of the apron a few minutes later, props finally fell into a deafening silence (ever noticed how much louder and uncomfortable the ATR is compared to other regional turboprops?) and we left the aircraft through the rain and entered the bus, which brought us to the terminal, passing, among the more mundane 737’s and A320’s, a few Lufthansa A340-300 and even a -600 on our way.

Munich Airport (MUC)

Originally, I was scheduled to have only a brief layover at MUC, so I explored just a small portion of the huge new terminal before I decided to walk to my gate, which was, like the other regional departure lounges, located at the ground level. Here I picked up a news paper from the free selection of papers and magazines, Lufthansa is offering even to its Peasant Class customers, prepared a tea from the coffee and tea maker, which is also one of the few reaing extras Lufthansa is offering to its passengers compared to other so-called “Full service airlines”, sat down in front of the gate and waited.


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Photo © Michal Buciak [epwa_spotters]



In my humble, the professionalism and reliability of an airline is not only indicated in times of smooth operations, but rather when something goes wrong. Lufthansa prides itself with the fact that it is not only a reliable airline, but also that they sort out any problems with your ttravel plans in case something goes wrong. I was about to test this for myself.

About 30 minutes from scheduled off-block time, a gate attendand appeard at the very modern, stylish and flat-screen decorated gate and announced ”Ladies and gentlemen, Lufthansa regrets to inform you that due to technical problems with our aircraft, our boarding will be delayed. We have not yet determiend what is wrong with the jet, but expect to annoucne more news at four o’clock.” Well, things like these happen, and at least they were acknowledging the most important strategy in case something goes wrong, i.e. giving the passengers ample information.

More minutes passed, and three more gate attendants arrived. Since I was sitting next to the counter, I was able to overhear most of their conversation. Obviously, something more difficult had happened to our Canadair, and they were discussing whether to cancel our flight and rebook our passengers onto the next Lufthansa- and Air France flights. Unfortunately for us - by this time I would have longed to travel again on good old Air France, my favorite carrier - this plane was about to leave Munich and the next possible Lufthansa flight at 1710h was scheduled to be a 737-500 with too few vacant seats in order to carry our “full house” of 70 passengers to Paris.

In the meantime, it was already a quarter past four, the passengers remained remarkably silent, and although I was growing increasingly impatient, I had to acknowledge the professionalism of the Lufthansa ground crew, which was really trying to sort out every viable way to bring us to Paris close to our original schedule.

Finally, about half past four and fourty minutes past our original off-block time another annoucnement was made, much to the delight of the waiting passengers: “Ladies and gentlement, we are now ready to start boarding in a few minutes.” The display on the flatscreen monitpr changed from “delayed” to “expected departure 1655h” and people were finally showing signs of relief that they were about to depart. A bus arrived in front our our gate briefly after half past four and within a few minutes, all passenegrs had boarded the vehicle which brought us to our CRJ through the poruing rain, which had increased in intensity during the last two hours.

The flight (MUC-CDG)

Munich Franz Josef Strauss (MUC) - Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
Flight number: LH5774 (operated by Lufthansa Cityline)
Scheduled block time: 1540h - 1710h
Off-block: 1705h
Take-off: 1714 (RWY 26R)
Touch-down: 1830h (RWY 27L)
On-block: 1834h

Canadair CL-600-2C10 Regional Jet CRJ-700
D-ACPK
c/n 10063
delivered: November 2, 2002


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Photo © Jerome Zbinden



The bus stopped in front of the CRJ, doors opened and passengers hurried to the welcoming 1L door through the heavy rain. We were greated by a young and quite friendly flight attendant, and I passed through the narrow and long tube towards my seat, which was located at 06F. This flight was again totally packed, with the majority of travellers being tourists either flying to Paris for their vacation or returning from their travels abroad to thei hometown, which is arguably the most beautiful city in the world.

A few minutes later, boarding was completed and an announcement was made from our pilot, Mr. Sasse: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome onboard this Lufthansa Cityline Canadair Jet to Paris. We would like to apologize for this delay. Your original plane has suffered a technical breakdown, and unfortunately, the replacment aircraft also went unserviceable. Therefore, our aircraft was pulled from its original rotation, which was supposed to be DUS-MUC-TXL. Instead we will now fly DUS-MUC-CDG. Please be patient for a few more minutes, since catering has to be loaded.”

Again thumbs up for the very positive information policy of Lufthansa! Keeping the passengers informed really helps to ease any potential tensions. The catering truck arrived soon afterwards, and within record time, the small gally was loaded with all necessary food and beverage items. Even before the truck had pulled away, the engines were started (barely noticeable when you are sitting int eh front part of the cabin)

Passing a few Lufthansa 737’s and A320 sitting at Terminal 2 on our way to the active runway, our pilot certainly cut some corners and chose not to depart from the threshold of RWY 26R, isntead taking an earlier access to the runway. Engines spooled up, and we shot down the runway like a white arrow, the pointy nose rotating briefly, before we pulled away from Bavarian soil and into the gey rain clouds.


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Photo © Vasco Garcia



The next few minutes of our ride were really kind of bumpy, much to my amusmenet but quite frightening for a few other passengers. Finally, about twenty minutes after takeoff, we levelled of at FL 340, our speed increased to our cruising velocity of 450 kts and the Canadair Jet proceed on its flight path to Paris via Würzburg, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Reims.

While the three cabin attendants prepared the food and drink trolley, I took a look around the cabin. The CRJ-700 is really one looong tube - the tunnel effect is still very evident despite the attempts of the cabind esigners to reduce it through clever lighting and curvature of the ceiling.


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Photo © Bjorn Alegren



The seats were again the usual regional jet standard, i.e. very thin and very narrow. At least Lufthansa has decided to keep their trademark grey leather seats in these birds instead of their unwise decision to replace them with cheapo fabric seats on some of their 737’s (although I have heard that they are reverting back to leather after an abundance of customer complaints).

Cabin service today consisted of a drink and a meal service, the food options being “ham or cheese”. Yes you are right, the ubiquitous epitome of Economy Class standard food nowadays thrown at the passengers on short to medium haul routes! It is hard to say anything at all about the baguettes, which were offered in Peasant Class, their production must have cost only a few cents judging fromt heir taste or the lack of it.



The rest of the flight proceeded fairly quickly and soon we were starting our final descent into CDG through some scattered clouds and across the flat farmlands of the Picardie


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Photo © Vasco Garcia



We were passing over some small villages and roads, and somehow I noticed a slight difference from the regular approach I have expereinced countless times on my previous voyages to Paris - it seemed like we were much too high. Soon enough, this subjective impression was validated, since engines suddenly spooled up and our Regional Jet began to climb again, soaring over the RWY 27L and regaining altitude before making a sharp turn to the north, away fron the airport. Gear was raised and flaps retracted to a smaller angle in order to stabilize the aircraft at a slightly higher speed while we were making a gentle right hand turn in order to line up again with the ILS to RWY 27L.

It has to be said that despite this unusal incident, the whole cabin remained totally calm, and even an air of amusement arose and quite some laughter started after the following annoucnement from the cockpit was made: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is once again your captain. As you will have noticed, we had to abort our landing and make a go-around. The reason… well… the controller inside the tower has dropped his microphone during our final descent and destroyed it, so we were without ground contact in the final phase of our flight.We will now line up again for approach and be on the ground soon….”  Big thumbs up

And so we did, in “Ground Hog Day” fashion, we were experiencing the same approach over the same well-known raods and villages once again, and this time touched down firmly, before decelarating and leaving the runway in order to reach Satellite 6 of Terminal 1, where we came to a standstill about one and a half hour after our scheduled time of arrival.

While we were leaving the aircraft into the balmy evening sun, I quickly snapped two pictures of an Air China B747-400 and A340-300 sitting at the adjacent satellite, the proceeded into the building, where I picked up my bag and took the RER (i.e. local train) downtown.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Our short family reunion was over much too soon, and I was back again at the airport only four days after my arrival in wonderful Paris.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

It has to be said however, that CDG’s Terminal 1 certainly isn’t very wonderful. In fact, I cannot think of a greater difference between and city and its airport terminal. Constructed in the early Seventies as part of a revolutionary terminal design comprising a central terminal building and a ring of satellites with the boarding gates and -bridges, this place today is totally crowded, dark, run-down and, to use a much-used to term in the most appropriate manner, “a total dump”.


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Photo © Jonathan Derden - SPOT THIS!



Once you have passed through the ordeal of the dark and crowded, smelly and loud check-in hall and have arrived at your airside satiellite, there is actually nothing you can do but just to sit, stare and wait for your flight to arrive and put you out of this misery. No shops, limited apron view through a double glass window and only a small bar. In one of the worst terminal layouts I have ever experienced, there are even no resttrooms on the airside, so once you feel a pressing urge, you are forced to go back to the non-sterile portion of the satellite, take a leak and pass through security again. Now how narrow-sighted and dumb is that?

Thankfully, our CRJ arrived very much on time, boarding started in typical Lufthansa fashion - right on time - and after a short walk through the midday sun, I was climbing up the stairs and entering the jet.

The flight (CDG-MUC)

Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) - Munich Franz Josef Strauss (MUC)
Flight number:LH4245 (operated by Lufthansa Cityline)
Scheduled block time: 1310h - 1450h
Off-block: 1310h
Take-Off: 1332h (RWY 28R)
Touch-down: 1441h (RWY 26R)
On-block: 1447h

Canadair CL-600-2C10 Regional Jet CRJ-700
D-ACPP
c/n 10086
delivered: February 7, 2003


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Photo © JetPix



I won’t go into much details regarding this flight. Everything was very standard. Our lightly booked aircraft (about 30 passengers) left the gate on time, proceeded towards the threshold of the southern ruwnay 28R, where we waitied for a few minutes before finally commencing take-off.


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Photo © Vasco Garcia



This time I was sitting at the very rear of the aircraft, seat 20F thanks to the “wonderful” automated web check-in, and noticed that the cabin noise was much more evident or shall I say deafening, here in the rear of the cabin right next to the engines. After we had levelled of at FL 230, proceeding on our flight path (Paris-Reims-Luxembourg-Frankfurt-Wuerzburg-Munich), cabin service started once again.

We got thrown another sterile ham or cheese baguette at us (well, at leats the three girls of the cabin crew were really friendly)…



... got another drink service and I dozed of to the dark rumble of the engines for a good 45 minutes before our final descent started.


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Photo © PatrickB



Soon enough, we had touched down on RWY 26R, decelerated and proceeded towards the regional jet- and prop-filled apron under a clear bue and white Bavarian sky. After leaving the aircraft and sying goodby to the cabin attendants, bus took us to the terminal, where I proceeded to the landside part.

Munich Airport (MUC)

My main motive to fly Lufthansa this time to CDG was to check ou the new Terminal 2, so I had scheduled a six-hour layover before my onward journey to Dortmund. After spending two and a half hours on the visitors deck, where I noticed, among the more mundane AF, KL and BA 737’s and A320’s, quite a few Tu-154’s (i.e. Aeroflot, Siberia and Tajikistan Airways), I walked back to the Terminals, grabbed some dinner and explored the landside portion of T2.


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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt



The terminal certainly is an improvement over the original Temrinal 1, which was not designed for hub operations - the old building was eperated in sveeral units, which made transferring between flights definitely a trick task.


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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
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Photo © Michael Fritz



The new terminal is a long, but nevertheless easy to navigate constructions with ample waiting space next to the gates (which are located at the eastern front of the temrinal), a central infrastructure line with restrom, shops and bars and, at the western front of the terminal, the “traffic zone” with moving walkways and a lotof maneuvering space for pedestrians. I will now stop boring you with more details, but being an airport planner myself, I found hardly any major flaws with the design of the finctional zones on the airside portion of the terminal.

Boarding for our short hop to Dortmund started in the evening, the sun was already going down and in the red lights of the dusks, the Boeings and Airbusses of Lufthansa’s continental European fleet looked so much more enchanting and full of life than during their everyday operations at airport sall over our continent.

The flight (MUC-DTM)

Munich Franz Josef Strauss (MUC) - Dortmund Holzwickede (DTM
Flight number:LH2153 (operated by Lufthansa Cityline)
Scheduled block time: 2045h - 2150h
Off-block: 2056h
Take-Off: 2105h (RWY 08L)
Touch-down: 2150h (RWY 24)
On-block: 2153h

Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-100LR
D-ACLQ
c/n 10086
delivered: July 7, 1995


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Photo © Johan Junemo



Boarding our very well-booked flight (about 40 passengers, most of them wearing busienss attire) via bus was completed with only ten minutes delay, the cabin door was closed and soon enough the engines spooled up again in order to propell our little Canadair to the runway.


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Photo © Bjorn Alegren



We took off eastbound into the night, turned to the north and proceeded with our climb until we reached acrusing altitude of 24.000 feet. Night had already fallen on Europe, so there were millions of small lights of cities and towns, streets and railway lines visible in the pitch dark below us on our way from Muncih across Wuerzburg and Fulda to Dortmund.


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Photo © Max Teuber



Cabin service was pretty standard - another round of drinks - and the cabin interior very much resembles the one of the CRJ-100’s larger sibling, which I had flown on my previous flights. The mood itself inside the cabon was tranquil, almost somber - many fellow passengers were sleeping, others reading the newspaper or staring out of the window into the dark.



All too soon, descent was initiated and we touched down on Dortmund’s ruwnay 24 after passing over Unna, the Kamener Kreuz and Holzwickede. Reversers roared, and while we were vcanating the ruwnay for the short taxi towrds the well-lit and welcoming terminal, we were bid a final farewell from our captain, who seemed to be very much at the end of his motivation, too: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Frankfurt… err, Dortmund. You see, it was a long day, time to go to bed. (Laughter inside the cabin). We wish you a pleasant stay here in the Dortmudn are or a safe travel home.”

Right when a thunderstorm began to rumble in the not too distant west of the airport, we left the CRJ throught he front door and walked towards the terminal. A very long, but nevertheless very interesting trip was finally over and I was happy to drive back home, where my girfriend was waiting for me.  Smile

Conclusion
Lufthansa offers a reliable, no-nonsense product. If you are travelling with the German national airline, you can be sure that you will reach your destination on time or close to on time. In case something goes wrong, they sort out these problems and make their utmost efforts to bring you to your desired location.

Whenever I am travelling on business and take Lufthansa, I can relax and be confident that they will “deliver” me at my destination on time, so I can reach my appointments. This is worth a small premium, however, with “upscale” low cost carriers like Air Berlin, Germanwings or EasyJet available in my home market now, our company is increasingly taking the LCC approach, because the “service plus” Lufthansa is offering, is not worth double or thrice the ticket fare on a short or medium haul flight.

As a private traveller with more time to spare, Lufthansa is now only one of several options, and it is certainly not worth any ticket price premium compared to low cost carriers anymore. In my humble opinion, they have done away with many of the small amenities and gadgets, which made flying “full frills carriers” something more desirable and attractive than flying “low cost”. Now, with only a marginal cabins ervice, abysmal seat pitch and a frequent flyer program without any chance to accrue sufficient miles if you are a “seldom traveller”, it makes more sense to fly a low cost carrier or other competitors.

For my part, I will continue to fly LH when flying on my company’s expense (if they are allowing it) or if there are no other viable options. However, every other route will most likely see me take flights on Skyteam airlines, where I have the majority of my frequent flyer points and where mileage accrual is still positive, or take the “no frills” approach, which offers a productwith high value for money.

Thank you for your patience! Big grin Comments, questions or just a small “thank you” note are highly appreciated by your humble author.  Smile


Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMerC From Sweden, joined Dec 2003, 590 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4617 times:

Hi Jens,

Great report! And as usual very interesting and detailed. One knows what to expect when opening your trip reports - quality.  Smile

Sad to see LH cutting down on their service, as well as the regulation changes in Miles&More. As you said, it is almost impossible to reach any form of status if you are a seldom traveler which is very negative. I think Spanair did something similar too, with their FFP. Not that I would reach any status in the foreseeable future, but still.

Looking forward to more reports from you!

Regards,

Marcus




It's Scandinavian
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 4557 times:


>>>fairly small provincial airport with about 2 million passengers per year

You talking Mars years (= 686 Earth days), right?  Laugh out loud

RE the M&M changes, in a way I can understand them, I guess in today´s economical environment it´s not feasible any longer to give the same 2000 miles to the 92 EUR T and 400 EUR Y ticket. Plus, they lowered the miles needed for award levels quite significantly in some cases - benefitting old miles. E.g., before I had two fly smart trips within Europe, now I have three.

Thanks for the report, your efforts are highly appreciated.

Daniel Smile


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4552 times:

An extremly detailed report as always, reading (and watching) was a pleasure!

...so I was expecting 4.000 miles for these four legs; instead I will now receive 1.250 miles...

What a joke, 1.250 miles for four flights, I can't stop laughing. This is one reason why you will never see me onboard of a Craphansa flight again (except for spending the rest of my miles on an intra-Asia flight, but the service on these flights suck as well, as you can read in the latest report of fellow A.net member Lufthansa747).

Patrick



User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4510 times:

Hi Jens,

Great report as usual! It seems Lufthansa is starting to piss off more and more people which doesn't surprise me. Their new mileage rules are one more example to show that "there's always a better way to fly".

Btw, Patrick, I like your "Craphansa" expression but I will stick to my favourite "Affen-Hansa"...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineGodBless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4491 times:

Great Report Jens.

This is worth a small premium, however, with “upscale” low cost carriers like Air Berlin, Germanwings or EasyJet available in my home market now,
I would not mention 4U as an alternative to LH as you basically speak of one and the same with 4U being LH-run. Germanwings is certainly not set to go the way of Go or Buzz but rather will streghten Lufthansa's position in the German market.

I can only look back at a single flight on the CRJ, which was a -700 series a/c from ARN to MUC, and must agree with what you wrote about the noise in the back of the plane. It was terrible, and even if the Canadair CRJ is "Made in Canada" I have to say that I am not too keen on flying on one again.

Regarding Lufthansa I must say that I still consider them one of my favorite airlines even if their service is not as good as it used to be. I do not belong to those people who expect the world for nothing and thus I can even live with the fact that LH does not have PTVs [yet] and that the food isn't that great on shorthaul. Jens, I think you take the right move looking at LH very realistically.
I ask myself why we do not see any Iberia-bashing from our Spanish members here...

Max


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4471 times:

@Marcus
Thank you very much for your kind words! It is small "thank you" notes like yours, which make all those hours and hours of work worthwile.  Smile

@Daniel
You know, it is not only the really cheap fares, which are now down to negligeable mileage levels. It is the medium fare levels, which receive the same laughable treatment.
One example: I will be flying to VIE with LH from DUS next Wednesday/ Thursday on a business trip. I (i.e. my employer) paid 250 Euro r/t for a Peasant Class ticket, which isn't among the cheapest fare groups on this sector, but how many miles will I receive for this round trip? 500 !!!
Sorry, that's just ridiculous - instead I will continue building up my mileage account with AB on this route - three more flights and I have received my first free flight - after just 15 sectors, including friendly and courteaous cabin service with free drinks and a sandwich.

BTW - I am not totally certain about DTM's yearly passenger count, but always thought that "we" were close to 2 Million... Big grin

@Patrick, Udo
I know we have the same opinion here.  Big thumbs up Lufthansa is totally overrated compared to e.g. Air France, but unfortunately many people still believe all the hype and myths regarding our "beloved" national carrier, so I fear that LH will not suffer any consequences from their snobistic and arrogant behavior.  Sad

BTW - I think the "Craphansa" trademark belongs to me. Big grin

@Max
You are somewhat right about 4U not being a real alternative, since it is basically just a tool of LH to weaken their competition. Still, just judging from a value for money perspective, their product is equivalent or even superior to Lufthansa's mediocre but overpriced product. In case there is an alternative, I usually try to avoid the LH group and strengthen the competition. Unfortunately, on some parts of the network (e.g. domestically) this is only possible on a few trunk routes.

Don't know why there is hardly any IB bashing by our Spanish friends. I guess there is less national pride among Germans clouding their objective view regarding their "national" carrier.

BTW, Max - I'll try and finish my part of our Easyjet trip report within the next days. Unfortunately I have both a lot of private and professional appointments right now reducing my "editing time".  Sad



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 4452 times:

Very detailed report, I really enjoyed reading it, well done!

Oliver



Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4450 times:

Ahhhh...a bitchfest about Lufthansa, count me in as always, so here we go:

Their new mileage rules are one more example to show that "there's always a better way to fly".

The new rules of Miles & More are a complete joke, compare them with the rules of any other frequent flyer program and you will find out that Miles & More has become the worst of all. Another way, beside their onboard service, to show Economy Class passengers that they are not welcome. But the service in their old Biz Class isn't any better, I flew in it a few weeks ago and it felt like a Premium Economy regarding comfort and service compared to SQ's or BA's Biz Class.

Regarding Lufthansa I must say that I still consider them one of my favorite airlines even if their service is not as good as it used to be.

Then I wish you a lot of fun on your flights with them, enjoy every second of their outstanding service. I am also sure that their frequent flyer program will be a great benefit for you, you can already look forward to exchange all your miles for a super neato umbrella or an airbed with a crane logo from the LH shop. Even better is when you are belonging to the elite who manage it to fly that often that they are a proud owner of an intra European Fly Smart Eco award ticket after three years. Make sure that you claim your ticket within these three years, otherwise your hard earned miles start to expire.

I do not belong to those people who expect the world for nothing and thus I can even live with the fact that LH does not have PTVs [yet] and that the food isn't that great on shorthaul.

Then you obviously belong also to the group of people who pay the same (or even more) money for a product which is much worse compared to the product of the competition.

I ask myself why we do not see any Iberia-bashing from our Spanish members here...

Maybe it's because IB is, uh, a better way to fly?  Insane

Lufthansa is totally overrated compared to e.g. Air France, but unfortunately many people still believe all the hype and myths regarding our "beloved" national carrier, so I fear that LH will not suffer any consequences from their snobistic and arrogant behavior.

I am quite sure that they will lose some customers since they introduced the new Miles & More program because it is harder to maintain or to get a certain status. It is also ridiculous to read what a treatment you receive when you are flying as a Senator in Economy Class (see Lufthansa747's report for details). It is certainly not smart to treat your loyal customers good in the premium classes but treat them like self loading cargo when they are flying in Economy Class.

BTW - I think the "Craphansa" trademark belongs to me.

I second this.

Patrick

PS: I can only look back at a single flight on the CRJ, which was a -700 series a/c from ARN to MUC, and must agree with what you wrote about the noise in the back of the plane. It was terrible, and even if the Canadair CRJ is "Made in Canada" I have to say that I am not too keen on flying on one again.

How about asking for a seat in the front part of the cabin next time? I can assure you that it is quiter there since the engines are rear mounted.

PS 2: Hate mails from LH supporters will be ignored, so don't go to the time and effort of writing them.

[Edited 2004-08-21 20:06:11]

User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5171 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4419 times:

Hi Jens,
interesting and detailed report as usual. You know, I do my last MUC T2 experience 2 weeks ago. Needless to say more about the LH discussion,
there are lots of miles on my LH account from the good old M&M days but its time to fill up my also well feeded Frequence Plus account the next time.
Rumours said that AF and KL´s programme comes together next year.
One more reason to do it.
Best Regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: Capital travel on schedule!.
User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4408 times:

Oh, I must have overread the first "Craphansa" comment in the report! Sorry for mixing it up.

Since the bitchfest has now officially begun, why not start a "nickname contest" for Lufthansa? Suggestions welcome. Besides Craphansa and Affenhansa I could think of "Ryanhansa", "Hansaplast" and "Schufthansa"...  Wink/being sarcastic

"LH - there's no better way to fly...worse"  Laugh out loud


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4395 times:

Hello Jens,

wow, you always manage to write a very detailed report, even of a short-haul trip. Great work, thanks for taking the time to write down everything - I enjoyed reading about your experiences a lot  Big thumbs up

But in one point I have to disappoint you: I won't step into the LH-bitchfest... You are definately right with the service reduction on LH short-haul flights. But according to my experience, this has happened on nearly all European carriers. I'm not such a frequent flyer, but I can say from my own experience that BA and AZ offer a similar service level on short-haul as LH does while LX, OS, IB and EI have completely stopped free food and drink service within Europe. By the way: what does Air France offer on short-haul flights? (I really don't know - my last AF flight was in 1994). So the value for money on LH is still all right for me as long as you get one of the cheaper tickets (which I assume you did as your stay included Sat/Sun).

Regarding Miles and More, I agree with you that the medium prized tickets don't get enaugh miles (the 500 miles for a 250 EUR ticket you mentioned are rather poor indeed). But I do understand that LH has reduced the miles for really cheap tickets. On the other hand, they have also lowered the number of miles you need for a free flight. But maybe they should modify the M&M programme in the medium price sector and give out the 250 miles only for the really cheap tickets.

Regards

Christoph


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4398 times:

But according to my experience, this has happened on nearly all European carriers. I'm not such a frequent flyer, but I can say from my own experience that BA and AZ offer a similar service level on short-haul as LH does while LX, OS, IB and EI have completely stopped free food and drink service within Europe.

I agree that a few other European airlines also cut their service lately but, firstly I would prefer to buy my meal instead of getting a cookie and a 0.1L can of water without the chance of getting anything else, and secondly, the main thing is not what they serve you but how they serve it to you. I really prefer a F/A which is serving me only a drink with a smile, instead of a F/A which is serving me a drink with a I-don't-give-a-f**k-about-you facial expression while slamming the tray on the folding table in front of me.

By the way: what does Air France offer on short-haul flights?

On the early morning flights you have the choice between two different kinds of croissant, on the mid-morning flights you have the choice between a sweet or a salted snack mix, on the afternoon flights (no lunchtime flights) you get a snack mix (consisting of pretzels and similar stuff), and on the evening flights you get served a baguette [I am referring to flights from DUS to CDG and CDG to DUS, respectively]. Of course are all kind of drinks (incl. booze and long drinks) available except on the first flights of the day, there you have the choice between coffee, tea, water, apple and orange juice.

As I already wrote, the point is not how much they serve you, but how they serve it to you, and there is LH's service clearly the looser. They simply lack friendly and attentive cabin crews, even in Business Class, as I saw by myself, which is a real shame in my opinion. Seems that the only requirements to become a F/A at LH are: 1. finish a third-class hotel/restaurant apprenticeship and 2. be gay, then you get the job for sure. Don't get me wrong, I am not bitching about F/A's in general (my girlfriend has the same job) but especially about LH's, until now they only managed it three or four times to provide me a pleasant flight.

Regarding Miles and More, I agree with you that the medium prized tickets don't get enaugh miles (the 500 miles for a 250 EUR ticket you mentioned are rather poor indeed). But I do understand that LH has reduced the miles for really cheap tickets.

As I already wrote, the new Miles & More program is a joke. Not only medium priced tickets get less miles, but also certain Business Class fares, a great way to get rid of your top tier customers btw. But more important for folks like us, LH reduced the miles for really cheap Eco tickets while other airlines didn't. Let's compare my latest trip which I had to paid by myself: I had to fly from DUS to MAN, LH offered DUS-MAN-DUS nonstop/each way for a little bit over 150 EUR (1000 miles incl. according to the old M & M rules, 500 per flight in cheapest Eco), whereas AF offered DUS-CDG-MAN-CDG-DUS for a little less than 200 EUR incl. four flights instead of only two, 4000 miles instead of only 1000 (and also a cockpit jumpseat flight with drink and meal service on the jumpseat!). Which airline would you pick? Even without the jumpseat permission I had pick AF because of the two additional flights and the additionally 3000 miles.

Also, as a German resident you need 50000 miles to get LH Frequent Traveler status (25000 for people who live outside of Germany), but you already get AF Frequences Plus Bleu status, as a German, for only 25000 miles. It is quite easy to get 25000 AF miles if you are a regular Eco Class flyer because you still get 1000 miles per intra European flight. I will get FP Bleu status from next year because then I flew on the following flights within this year:

- DUS-CDG-DUS
- DUS-CDG-MAN-CDG-DUS
- DUS-CDG-BKK-MNL
- MNL-BKK-CDG-DUS
- DUS-CDG-AGP-CDG-DUS

At the end of September I have earned exactly 25336 miles for 16 Eco flights for only 1400 EUR altogether, please show me how you get Frequent Traveler status at LH while only spending 1400 EUR/year, it is simply impossible!

On the other hand, they have also lowered the number of miles you need for a free flight.

Yes, they are so kind, now you only need 15000 miles for a Fly Smart flight within Europe instead of 18000  Yeah sure (note that the possibility to rebook your Fly Smart flights doesn't excist anymore, even not for a fee).

Ok, let's also here compare M & M with FP: Assuming I am a guy who is always traveling on the cheapest Eco fare within Europe: I get 250 miles per flight on LH and I need 15000 miles for a free intra European flight, while I get 1000 miles for each flight on AF while I need 20000 miles (for most European destinations). Again, which airline (frequent flyer program) is better?

To make it short, LH has become real crap since the M & M changes! I will not fly them anymore except to reedem my miles, but hopefully I will get 4000 miles more until next year to fly on TG or SQ instead of LH).

Patrick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4362 times:

@Everyone
Thank you for all your comments and the really interesting and passionate discussion.  Smile I think we should put this into perspective. Lufthansa's product - even in Eco - is not extremely bad, it is a moderate product with quite a few vital advantages, which are unfortunately negated by several flaws, which have been increasing within the last few years.

However, with all the latest watering down of their service levels, "full frills" airlines like LH, but also carriers like LX, IB, OS etc. are reaching the point where their product is indistinguishable from the "no frills carrier" product. And here lies the real danger for the incumbent national carriers.

They might get away with a reduced service level at comparatively higher fares for a while, but IMO they are forgetting that once their customers get the chance to compare e.g. Lufthansa's product to EasyJet's, HLX's and especially AB's, people will notice, how the no frills carrier will most of the times offer a slightly inferior product for a immensely better price. This is a real danger in higher Economy Class fare levels and on domestic or European business flights, where, as Patrick has written, the service and mileage now resembles the Economy Class levels of five or ten years ago.

To put it in a few words: Lufthansa and other are alienating their most important customers, i.e. the business flyers, who are getting increasingly cost-conscious.

And like the example in many other branches will show - a customer lost once is a customer, who is very hard to regain. Let me make this clear, I am in no way opposed to Lufthansa or other "full frills carriers", who are currently running a customer-unfriendly policy.

After all, these companies generate - either directly or indirectly - highly qualified jobs for many thousand men and women. I am just not a charity, which will spend its hard-earned money for a product with an inferior value for money "just for the people", when there are now so many good alternatives available.

I sincerely hope, however, that Lufthansa et al will get their act together, see the errors of their ways and try to win back their customers by improving their product and strengthening efficiency and cost-cutting in places, where the customer does not notice (unlike what their strategy seems to be right now).



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4362 times:

Hi Jens (and others),

Once again congratulations with the excellent trip reports! In my opinion, trip reports like this one are the topics with the highest quality that can be found on airliners.net.

I'm not going to reply about all what has been posted in the replies, as it is my impression that some people are quite 'sensitive' towards the subject  Big grin

Just a few remarks from my side:
x Patrick writes that IB is better than LH. Just a short observation: I would prefer the drink and the small snack LH serves on a 1h-flight, instead of what IB served me on a 1h flight a few weeks ago (i.e.: nothing: no drink service, even no option to buy anything on board)

x Although I hope that AF keep their generous way of earning miles up, I will be surprised when this FF-programme will still be as generous as it is today within 1-2 years. Due to the merger of AF/KL, I would be surprised not to see a new FF-programme (with new rules) being implemented in the future.

x Flying an airline of which I know that they are very reliable in terms of operations/rebooking in case of problems/... would be a very important factor for me to take that airline. To give you an example: a few weeks ago, I encountered a problem with AZ in FCO airport. I took us more than 10 minutes before we had found somebody speaking English. The same with IB in MAD. Is this customer service?

I understand that catering, FF miles etc are important factors to distinguish yourself from the competition, and this is why I also have to agree on the fact that the service offered by LH on several flights is crappy. A friend of mine who flew BRU-FRA-BRU a few weeks ago got a chocolate bar on the BRU-FRA and a small sandwich with a drink service (without choice, everybody had to take OJ) on the flight back operated by LH Cityline. He had paid more than €600 for this flight (full fare Y-class). The cheapest ticket between BRU and FRA is almost €300. The service offered by LH on this route is, for the price you have to pay, a big shame.

Almost all airlines see their costs increasing, mixed with pax running to lowcost carriers. Some carriers have seen that reducing their service levels was no solution to the problem, so they increased them again (for example SN and AY).

Maybe it's only a matter of time before full-service airlines will again be real full-service airline?

I know that a certain airline (can't name it yet) is studying the possibility to offer their customers the following option to avoid that too much food is wasted: if you book your ticket, you get two options: 1) pay the full price for a flight inclusive service or b) get a small reduction on your ticket, but you don't get a meal. Is this the system of the future?

Frederic


User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2901 posts, RR: 23
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4336 times:

Hi Jens,

yet another high-quality trip report! I won't join your discussion about Lufthansa / Miles&More, just this one: I never used to fly LH very often, and I probably won't do so in the future. I never had enough miles for an award flight (my few miles expired before it was enough for an award flight), and I certainly won't have in the future. You see, not much has changed for me.

One question regarding the trip report:
...to MUC’s new Terminal 2, which was filled with a variety of regional Dash-8‘s, ATR’s, CRJ’s and even a few Dorniers from Lufthansa Cityline, Air Engiadina, ...
Air Engiadina? Haven't they ceased operations a few years ago? Have they re-started now? I haven't heard anything about this, but on the other hand, airlines in Switzerland seem to come and go during the last few years, so I wouldn't be surprised if I had just missed something here.


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4296 times:

Patrick writes that IB is better than LH.

No, I didn't. I wrote: Maybe it's because IB is, uh, a better way to fly?

Although I hope that AF keep their generous way of earning miles up, I will be surprised when this FF-programme will still be as generous as it is today within 1-2 years.

If their FFP will become as worse as LH's, they lost me as a customer too. Although it would be sad because AF is a very good airline.

Flying an airline of which I know that they are very reliable in terms of operations/rebooking in case of problems/... would be a very important factor for me to take that airline.

I experienced often enough that my LH flights were delayed and I experienced also a few times that they were unable to reebook me. Until now I had to take the ICE twice to get from FRA to DUS, so much for their great reliability in terms of operations and rebooking.

Ok, so much for this discussion from me, tomorrow I am going on holidays Big grin.

Patrick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4272 times:

@Oliver/ LHR27C
Thank you very much for your kind words! I will certainly write more trip reports in the future and sincerely hope that you will enjoy them!  Smile

@Frederic
The customer-tailored catering concept sounds promising in theory. However, I see several major stumbling blocks: how will the cabin crew be able to determine, who is eligible to onboard service and who has chosen the "no frills" option? In case the seat assignments are changed at the very last minute or after passengers have already boarded, the flight attendants have no easy way to identify and categorize their customers.

@Alex
Sorry, I meant Air Dolomiti - you are right, Air Engiadina is still bankcrupt, but those Italian sounding names are confusing me sometimes.  Smile

@Patrick
Enjoy your holidays! Big grin I would like to second your comments regarding the consequences of further cutbacks of the service levels at any airline - if a product deteriorates to a level, where it is no longer competitive, I would also close my long-term loyality. Let's hope though that AF stays a quality carrier - it would be such a pity to lose another good travel option!  Smile



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineBeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 734 posts, RR: 14
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4241 times:

@TriStar500

Hey Jens,

Good to read from you again. At least you got to where you wanted to go in one piece. Craphansa is good at this, at least.  Smile Just got back from a trip to Germany myself and will produce a trip report.

What did I read in another report? You are in VIE every so often. Drop me a line next time.  Wink/being sarcastic

Nick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4199 times:

Hi Nick!
I am sorry, if I sounded too harsh when criticising your employer. I would like to stress my last paragraph in reply #13:

I sincerely hope, however, that Lufthansa et al will get their act together, see the errors of their ways and try to win back their customers by improving their product and strengthening efficiency and cost-cutting in places, where the customer does not notice (unlike what their strategy seems to be right now).

I am really into constructive and not destructive criticism - after all, I am an engineer and not a streamlined consultant.  Smile

About Vienna - I will be in your capital this week on Wednesday and Thursday, but unfortunately my schedule is totally packed - however, I will be in Vienna about once every one or two weeks all this year, so I am sure, we'll find a chance to finally meet.  Big thumbs up



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineBeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 734 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4134 times:

@TriStar500

Hi Jens,

No, your criticism wasn't harsh at all. I basically just agreed with you.  Smile Regarding VIE, yep, lemme know when you've got some time!

Nick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 21, posted (10 years 1 month 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4028 times:

Hi Nick!
Good to know you didn't take my comments the hard way - you know that Germans are notorious for their whining and constant moaning about the smallest flaws. Big grin

I will be in VIE again in mid to late September, and I'll contact you as soon as I know my appointments and whether there is some time left for a meeting.  Smile



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineBeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 734 posts, RR: 14
Reply 22, posted (10 years 1 month 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4026 times:

@TriStar500
Oh no, the Austrians are the real whiners. Compared to us, the Germans are real tough men.  Smile

All right, I'll contact you serperately with points of contact.

Nick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 23, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3963 times:

Hi Nick!
Well, at least when it comes to non-robotic service mentality, the frontline staff of your national carrier usually (please note that there are exceptions like in your recent trip report) beats ours by lengths...  Smile



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
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