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Eventful ZRH-FRA-YYZ On LH  
User currently offlinePilatusguy From Switzerland, joined Jan 2004, 315 posts, RR: 0
Posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6230 times:

It was time to go on summer vacation to Canada. This time, may girlfriend and I choose Lufthansa, because we had some vouchers from them.
The trip turned out to be very eventful……

June 19th, 2004
LH 3723
Seat 27D

We arrived at the airport about 1.5hours prior to departure. As check-in for Star Alliance Flights is in Terminal 2 you have to allow for a little bit more time.
There was a short line for Lufthansa Economy Class this morning so we were checked-in in no time at all and could head over to get some Canadian $$$ from the bank.

After passport control, we proceeded to Starbucks to get us started… there was a fire alarm somewhere in the Terminal so all fire doors were shut automatically – pretty nice experience.
ð more about fires to come….

Boarding through gate B29 was easy – as was the whole flight to FRA. Standard.

June 19th, 2004
Seat 52K

Arriving in FRA we made our way to gate B46 already seeing a huge line in front of the Toronto gate. Oh well – there’s no way around it so we waited for about 45 minutes to get passport-checked again.
Once on board we were greeted by some nice FA’s. We started our “journey” along the aisle to row 52 – this plane is looooooooong!
We taxied to the rwy right on time and after a long take-off roll on a bumpy rwy started the famous A340 climb up to FL350. Soon after, drinks were served, news showed and promises made regarding the movie to follow.

Now the fun starts: We were about 150miles west of the Irish coastline when I realized a long left turn. Told my girlfriend that this is very unusual and realized that the air show information changed to “Distance to Destination: 200miles”.
30 seconds later the captain came over the PA and announced that we have some technical problems and need to land immediately in Shannon, Ireland. People started to get nervous, FA’s running around checking for seatbelts on, etc… Next thing, the plane is descending, and let me tell you, this was more like a dive than a normal descend – we were at FL370 by that time and had only about 180 miles to SNN. People getting even more nervous…. Anyway: we made it to Shannon and used every single inch of that RWY there (don’t know how long it is, but certainly not the most “comfortable” for a A346.
While taxing to the gate I joked to my girlfriend about how the heck we will get out of here again, hoping those guys in SNN have a proper tow-bar for the –600 (the A346 can not use the same tow bar as the 342 and 343).

At the gate, the captain told us that there was a burning smell in the rear galley, which left him no other choice than diverting to SNN. LH would now work out something for the pax and we have to wait. Well, some Aer Lingus technicians came on board, disembarked, came back, etc… After approx. 1.5hours we were told to disembark and come back to the gate after 1 hour.

Back at the gate after a refreshing Guinness we were told to wait for another 30 minutes. OK, boarding commenced again – they told us that the rear galley has been shut down and that there’s no problem anymore. We will make it to YYZ with approx 1.5 hours delay due to favourable winds. WELL… guess what’s next?
Captain: “Ehm, we seem to have some trouble with the towing equipment, ground staff is working on it”

30 minutes passing

Captain: “Ehm, we’re sorry but the problem still persists, LH Technik in Frankfurt has been contacted to find a solution”

1 hour passing

Captain: “We are highly frustrated here in the Cockpit but it seems that there is no appropriate towing equipment at this airport. Seems like we stranded somewhere in Africa” (no kidding)

30 minutes passing

Captain: “Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is definitely no way we can get away from here. Lufthansa is now arranging for a tow bar and a new crew to be flown in from Frankfurt (!), they will be arriving here in approx. 5.5 hours – terribly sorry”……

Can you all feel the frustration and anger the pax felt?
To make a long story just a bit shorter, we were to disembark and come back when our flight is called – this happened 6 hours later (and various Guinness’ richer) when a A310 from FRA arrived. Boarding started again, this time with a very unfriendly crew. Doors closed, announcement from the Captain that we need to go immediately because we have a special clearance to land at YYZ until 3am (Airport officially closes at 2am). Due to the rush, they were not able to re-cater the plane, so we had no food for the remaining 6 hours flight time – GREAT!

Remainder of the flight was uneventful….
We landed at YYZ at 3.30 am (instead of 3.30pm) and taxied forever. Of course, at that time it wasn’t easy to find a bus driver, so we waited again for 30 minutes to be bused to immigration.

Outside of the Airport there was no taxi, no help from Lufthansa for stranded passengers, no Hotel arrangements made etc…. very very bad service indeed. I at least expected some sort of help to find a hotel for people unfamiliar with the area.

Well, this was certainly an experience….


4 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6164 times:

Thanks for the report, I am sad to read that LH proved again that they are one of the worst airlines around.

Due to the rush, they were not able to re-cater the plane, so we had no food for the remaining 6 hours flight time – GREAT!

Very unprofessional behavior, why didn't they start to load the catering when the A 310 with the tow bar and the replacement crew was on the way from FRA? Or why didn't they simply delay the flight for another hour to load the catering? I mean it doesn't matter anymore if you have 12 or 13 hours delay, better one more hour delay than letting the passengers with no food on a 6 hour flight, that is simply outrageous!

Outside of the Airport there was no taxi, no help from Lufthansa for stranded passengers, no Hotel arrangements made etc…. very very bad service indeed. I at least expected some sort of help to find a hotel for people unfamiliar with the area.

I agree with you, they had 12 hours time to organize hotel rooms, food, taxis, etc. If I were you I would complain at LH's cutomer service about the non-existent service, they even didn't try to offer a little bit help and comfort.

I hope that your next flight will be better!


User currently offlineDens From Switzerland, joined Sep 2001, 313 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 6016 times:

Hi Pilatusguy,

the only time, I flew with Lufthansa, I also had a lot of problem. I was flying Malta-Frankfurt-Geneva. Due to a technical problem, the plane took off with 4 hours delay in Malta. I missed my connecting flight in Frankfurt. I had to sleep in a hotel because the last flight of the day to GVA was overbooked. The hotel was paid by LH.
The next day, I boarded the 1st flight of the day to GVA. Unfortunately, the captain announced, 30 minutes after boarding that the flight was cancelled due to a technical failure... The 2 next flights to GVA were full, so I got a ticket to fly with LX... to GVA... but via ZRH.... Imagine... 30 hours for a flight from Malta to GVA...
I think I had a lot of bad luck, but the way LH dealed with the problem was very unprofessional...

After this horrible trip, I wrote a letter to LH Switzerland. There I realised the professionalism of this airline. I received a phone call from the Manager of LH in GVA and, as it was in December, I received a very nice christmas gift.

Conclusion, write a letter to explain what happened... The customer service of LH is very good....


User currently offlineSn26567 From Belgium, joined Aug 2004, 131 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5807 times:

Hi Pilatusguy,

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. It is in such moments that you can really appreciate the difference between a good airline and a catastrophic one. Apparently, your experience puts LH in the second category.

Just one question: did you get any kind of compensation according to the new EU rules (yes, I know, they are only to be implemented in 2005, but a good airline should already compensate you now!).

ex-Sabena #26567
User currently offlineStarFlyer From Germany, joined Sep 2002, 987 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 5746 times:

Hi Pilatusguy,

I hope the rest of your holiday was a little less "eventful"! Big grin
I wonder why they did not park the Airbus somewhere where I could just taxi without being pushed back? I have no idea if Shannon has parking positions like that but I imagine most airports do...
If I were you I'd write up a nice little letter and see what they say - this delay was definitely their fault (technical) so you should be in for some sort of compensation.



Yours truly - StarFlyer
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