Part 2: “Working the System” on Lufthansa
[Noob contributor, Ethan, continues on his journey to Germany.]
Part 1: BusinessFirst on United Review
Part 2: “Working the System” on Lufthansa
The Airline Has Made An Error in Your Favor!
After a lovely (albeit too short) trip in Germany and Switzerland, it was time to come home on Lufthansa’s A380! I wanted to beat the morning rush at Frankfurt Flughafen, and enjoy Lufthansa’s business class lounge, so we arrived about 3.5 hours prior to our flight. We went to the kiosk to check in, and everything looked ok, including the seat assignments I’d had for a month in business class. However, when the boarding passes printed, one was in business, and the other in economy. This doesn’t make for a happy fiancée.
This has happened to me in Frankfurt before when I moved back from study abroad, except I was in economy and had a standby boarding pass printed. This worked out in my favor, as the flight was oversold. I took a flight that left 3 hours later, made one additional connection to arrive 7 hours later, and was compensated €600!! For this reason, the slight mishap did not concern me.
The agent at the baggage drop confirmed what I thought: business class was oversold. VERY oversold. She cannot address this, but she did call the lounge to ensure my fiancée would be admitted with her economy boarding pass, and we went there.
Breakfast in the lounge was wonderful, and the lounge wasn’t crowded so early. I unfortunately didn’t take photos, since I was preoccupied with our situation, but Geoff has pics of the lounge (and the “old business class” that is on the A380) in his post reviewing Lufthansa Business Class.
After eating, I began chatting with the lounge agent (in German, for fun, because I’m a nerd like that) to see if they knew the compensation that was being offered for the oversell, and I thought I heard her offer €500 for taking a seat in economy. Thinking about the compensation I’d received previously, I thought this wasn’t great, so I told her we would consider. But, I chatted briefly with the United agent in English while the Lufthansa agent finished her typing, who remarked “€1,500 is a pretty good deal”. I clarified what she said, and I apparently missed an “Ein Tousand” (one thousand) in my German conversation! €1,500 EACH to take a downgrade! That changed things!
Now I (after checking with the fiancée of course) was all about the compensation. €1,500 (or $1,900) was more than I paid for the flight to begin with (remember the awesome Thanksgiving fares)! I verified this with the gate agent, who gave us bulkhead seats in economy, and promised to bring the vouchers on board once she was certain the oversell would go through. She also tried to block the window seat so we’d have the whole row, but some wires got crossed and we had a seatmate. But who can complain about having your flight refunded when you flew one leg in business class?!?
The A380 was HUGE. I had seen it in Houston (had it taxiing straight at us once while sitting in an 8-seat Cessna, which is terrifying), but had never seen 2 at once, which was a pretty neat sight with all the Lufthansa planes in Frankfurt. The picture is our plane with another A380 crossing behind it.
The plane seats 420 people in economy on the lower deck, in a 3-4-3 configuration. That’s 10 people across! There are also 98 seats in business class and 8 seats in first class on the upper deck, for a grand total of 536 passengers! That’s a lot of people flying through the air! I tried to take pictures that gave you a perspective of how large this plane was, but it’s hard to truly understand without being there.
The purser was aware that we had been bumped (she had been apologetic that we ended up with a seatmate), and I wanted to meet up with someone I knew was also on the flight on the top deck. So she let me go upstairs to look at the business class cabin, which also seemed huge as it extends most of the length of the plane. The seats, however, are exactly like those reviewed by Geoff. I look forward to flying on Lufthansa’s new business cabin (Geoff’s 747-8i review) someday!
I didn’t take many other pictures, but true to form on Lufthansa the food was good (for economy), the service was impeccable, and the alcohol was free and varied. A 10 hour flight sped by, aided by the fact that we still had bulkhead seats despite being in economy now.
The moral of this story is to be on the lookout for opportunities! I could have probably left her name on the upgrade list, someone else would have taken the compensation, and we would have had a lovely flight. Now, though, I can use the money for more travel in the future! It’s like having more free travel (at least, that’s how I’m going to view it)!
— Noob Master