I love Lufthansa. It may not have the most glamourous product in the skies, the largest seat pitch in economy, fully flat beds in Business or a mammoth selection of entertainment options on only recently installed front-to-back IFE. It has never failed, however, to deliver a consistent, efficient and friendly product; one that I had not experienced in a long time. I have flown some frankly terrible flights in the last half-year which were full of delays, cancellations, and a that were made up of a number of sectors on North American airlines (which I tend to avoid). This, along with a number of complications while claiming milage on a frequent flier account may have caused the average person to loose hope in the commercial aviation sector. I am not a normal person, however, as flying will always keep a special place in my heart.
This flight was the first leg on my return trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Vienna, Austria. I had spent seven months in South America and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It was time to head back home, however, and to prepare for my move to the U.S. where I will be working on my new product design startup LittleBonsai for one year.
My outbound itinerary was very exciting, to say the least! I had booked a airline enthusiast’s dream itinerary after finding very reasonable fares on United.com, which took me from VIE-FRA-EWR-IAD-(JFK-EZE) on a mix of Lufthansa and United. The last sector is in parentheses as it was in fact a re-routing due to a delayed connection from EWR on United that caused me to miss my original flight to EZE. Flights down south were fully booked for the next three days and United was only able to book me on a full Y fare on American Airlines, my first time on the oneWorld carrier (those who have read my previous trip reports know that I am an avid Star Alliance flier). The United ticket (listed in dollars and paid in Euros) worked out cheaper than many of the more direct alternatives and also gave the added benefit of an extra long-haul sector worth of miles. My return flight was initially booked as EZE-IAH-FRA-VIE, however, I ended up having to leave Argentina earlier than expected and I was only able to re-book on to the direct EZE-FRA flight, with most other options being completely full over the holiday season.
One thing I will give United credit for is a very friendly call center. I have become very familiar with it over the last year (using it mainly paying tickets with foreign credit cards and to do re-bookings) and, although each endeavor has taken over an hour, the staff has always been incredibly friendly and helpful. This ticket change clocked in 67 minutes, lengthened by the fact that I was on a relatively unreliable internet connection in Argentina that disconnected the Skype call twice. Luckily, however, the agents keep the last transaction (and the most recently quoted offer) on file so I could I pick up the re-booking process with a new agent relatively quickly. I ended up having to pay a $100 re-booking fee and my new ticket was issued along with a new Lufthansa booking code.
Although the new return itinerary was less exciting, I was looking forward to the reliability of Lufthansa, on trying out their longest sector and on flying the 747 again. This trip was also exciting as it would be boosting me to Star Alliance Gold status on Aegean Miles and Bonus, which I had recently signed up for. I am currently a loyal Lufthansa Frequent Flyer (Silver), however, even though I love my home airline (group), I am very discouraged in knowing that there is practically no way anytime soon that I will reach 100k miles in one year; Star Gold on Miles and More is, therefore, out of the question. I hope they introduce an intermediate tier between Frequent Traveller (35k miles/year) and Senator (100k miles/year), similar to Asiana and a number of other Star partners.