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Lufthansa Business Class: A big customer service secret and a bigger fraud?

Lufthansa Business Class: A big customer service secret and a bigger fraud?

(Opinion Article) Lufthansa Business Class. Sounds good? It is good for  many on long haul flights, but what about to the large number of passengers with high expectation getting a Lufthansa economy coach seat when booking and paying a hefty premium for Lufthansa Business Class flying to a medium distance or short haul destinations?

Lufthansa is a founding member of the Frankfurt based Star Alliance Group. Here is a typical example on what is wrong with airlines like Deutsche Lufthansa. This story gives  a hint  to what is wrong in the aviation industry and  at a number of airlines today. The customer is no longer king, and airline like Lufthansa may feel customers as a threat or a necessary burden. This 5 part article will show why.

In part one it’s about Lufthansa German Airline call center. When you call Lufthansa on any of the reservation numbers in many parts of the world you may get agents working for a call centers in Canada or South Africa. Sometimes you even get someone in Germany. When reaching a call center the German language is not known most of the time.  Many airlines offer priority options to reach a more qualified and trained agent  for Business, First or Premium customer. Lufthansa doesn’t provide such an option.

I am the publisher of eTN and a 2 million 1K flyer with United Airlines of more than 30 years. For Lufthansa it makes me a Star Alliance Gold member.
When I called the U.S. toll free number for Lufthansa today (1-800-645-3880) I was connected to a Lufthansa call center  in South Africa.

The question on hand was: Would it worth changing my economy reservation on Lufthansa into business class and pay the difference. I booked a flight on Lufthansa from Amman, Jordan to Frankfurt, Germany in coach. I made this reservation through United Airlines.  I was looking for some guidance from Lufthansa before investing a substantial additional amount to change my ticket into business class. I knew Lufthansa had aircrafts with real business class seats, some with sleepers, But I also knew Lufthansa was using aircrafts with economy seats misrepresented to airline  customers  as business class seats.

The issue was not only about how to get from Amman to Frankfurt, it was to learn more about what service is offered. If a smart sales agent could  convince me I was ready to pay  $2100.00 more for a business class seat just to get 4 hours of needed sleep.

My situation. I will have a full business day in Jordan on October 26, followed with another full business day in Frankfurt and was considering a 2.45 am departure and a business class seat.

After 20 minute on hold with a general “sales agent” I asked my question about the seat configuration and service on Lufthansa’s Amman Frankfurt flight on October 27. The agent demanded to get a record locator. I responded and explained it was irrelevant, since my reservation was booked through United Airlines, and my question had nothing to do with my current reservation and is of a general nature.

The agent  now asked me for a flight number. I was driving and getting ready for an overseas trip. I did not know the flight number. I  asked the agent to pull it up, since LH only had one non stop flight a day between Amman and Frankfurt anyway.  The agent said without flight number and booking code he could not pull up any flights.

When I questioned why,  the agent said it was for my own security. Since I  did not want to change anything and the agent didn’t even know my name the response was irrelevant and flat out stupid.  I asked nicely to speak to a supervisor. The Lufthansa agent said a supervisor would tell me the same and when I kept demanding he put me on hold for almost an hour before I disconnected.

This time I was  upset and called back. I again asked the Lufthansa agent to be connected to  a supervisor. The agent said without knowing why, he won’t be able to transfer the call. I explained why,  and the agent this time demanded I should put my request in writing using the website contact page.

I told Lufthansa I was a 2 million mile flyer with United Airlines and a  Star Alliance Gold member and would ask for some courtesy. The agent put me on hold for another 30 minutes. When he came back he explained the supervisor had no reason to take my call. He also suggested to write an email or a letter to get this information. When I told him I was leaving Honolulu tomorrow and would have to change my ticket today, he was sorry and disconnected the call.

I called a third time and talked to an agent who immediately pulled up the flight information and explained this Lufthansa Airbus aircraft is using economy seats in their business class cabin. He said a middle seat would be left open. He also explained there was not a lot of service, because it was a night flight. This time I knew it was not necessary to invest into buying a business class seat for this segment. My opinion:  Selling an economy class seat as business class on an intercontinental flight  should be considered fraud.

It becomes clear why Lufthansa staff is constantly on strike. Agents constantly appear to be frustrated when asked questions. It explains why Lufthansa customers have to ask for forgiveness if they wanted to spend money on a premium ticket.

Where is  customer service?  Where is the art of selling in the airline and aviation industry? Is everything about just selling the cheapest rate with no service?

Should one look at Singapore Airlines? Etihad? KLM? Qatar Airways?  Lufthansa should understand: There is competition and spending thousands of Dollars for a reservation that can be bought for $150.00 needs some smart sales people.

It needs  a positive attitude and some psychological skills. It also needs an airline that values the wishes and expectation of a customer and not try to mislead with their products.

Premium travel is not all about getting someone from point A to point B.  Lufthansa product development people should pay attention?

Lufthansa employs highly skilled and expensive labor. Perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in training now.

Why is it such a secret to reveal Lufthansa Business Class services to potential customers?  A big customer service secret or a bigger fraud?