Flying Lufthansa with an In Cabin Pet!
Ah Lufthansa … I just don’t know what to think. On the one hand you provided us with some of the best customer service ever and on the other hand … *shakes head*… what a disaster.
Deutsche Lufthansa, known simply as Lufthansa is Germany’s major airline and the largest European airline, both in terms of overall passengers carried and fleet size. It operates in 18 domestic destinations and 197 international destinations in 78 countries. With over 870 aircraft, it has one of the largest passenger airline fleets in the world when combined with its subsidiaries.
So I suppose it is to be expected that, with numbers like that … things will go wrong. And do they ever.
We flew in an airbus A321 and airbus A319 and they were fine as planes go. My carrier fit under the seats if needed – but I never had to because the crew and staff did not seem to mind one bit that I was there. As long as I stayed in the carrier, I was welcome to stay on Mom’s lap. That was lovely.
In fact their pet policy is really rather pleasant and easy to understand and follow. In a nutshell you may take your small dog in cabin when:
- you let them know ahead of time
- you pay the fee for your pet to fly upon check-in
- the weight of the animal (including transport container) does not exceed eight kilograms (17 pounds).
- the carrier measures no more than 55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm. You may use your own transport box if it is the correct measurement and is watertight and bite proof. (Not sure what they mean by watertight)
- Service animals including Emotional Support Animals (ESA) fly free.
And that’s about it… simple.
For more information such as cost for your pet and so on; I invite you to go straight to their site. I don’t want to list that information here because it changes too frequently for me to keep up to date. They also have information on how to fly your pet in cargo should you have a larger dog.
Where Lufthansa has us befuddled is in the human element. There was a massive disconnect and extreme opposite in the quality of the services they provide.
We got both amazing customer service from them and absolutely horrid service; often within minutes of each other.
The staff checking us in were without exception rude, unpleasant, un-knowledgeable about options (when flights were delayed or cancelled) and knew little to nothing about checking a canine in cabin. This is a major pet-peeve of ours. Worse… one lady even stuck her tongue out a little when the bipeds pointed out that they were travelling with a dog making a “oh yuck” face. This was utterly inappropriate and stressful, since it was hard enough to be dealing with major flight delays and other unpleasantness without having to deal with poor manners.
On the flip side, the crews that worked the “delayed flight counter”, those at the boarding area, and the staff we met while waiting for flights in Munich airport not to mention the stewardesses on the plane were…lovely.
Something – somewhere is off.
I wrote about an incident as we left Sofia for Munich on our way home from our trip. To synthesize the story, one Lufthansa lady checked us in and made a big mess of it. Her attitude problem was such that I believe that my normally passifist bipeds were ready to physically punch her. On the flip side, her colleague at the gate then fixed it all perfectly and sweetly – going far beyond the call of duty to make things right. You can read the full tale in my blog post on travel plans going belly up.
Are Lufthansa staff that check-folks in not given the same training? Are they hired by the airport rather than the airline? Is it another person that overseas them? If it had happened once we’d not think much of it – but it was a pattern and occurred in more than one airport. As these staff members are Lufthansa’s chance to make a good first impression it seems odd that this would be acceptable to the airline.
So, what’s up with that Lufthansa?
Would we fly with them again? Likely. Although I am not certain they would be our first choice now.
It’s difficult to trust an airline when you don’t know what you might get. Will we be faced with a cold, stern sourpuss, unpleasant individual that sends our bag only partly through? A person that obviously hates dogs? Or will we find ourselves charmed by a doe eyed and professional young woman or a lovely well spoken and meticulously groomed young man?
Inconsistency is not a good thing for an airline… or any business for that matter. Wouldn’t you agree? Have you flown Lufthansa? Have you had that same issue? Please share in the comments below.