I arrived at check in at 1:30 pm on January 16th on flight LH535. I was scheduled to depart from Caracas to Frankfurt, and then Frankfurt to Kuwait, my final destination. I flew to Caracas from Kuwait with my Dog in flight with me on 12-12-12. The complaint that I want to file regards the check-in service and customer care (or lack thereof) of the Lufthansa-Caracas airport service. In particular, I would like to file a complaint against the Lufthansa agent in charge of my check-in, Jose Gregorio-Rivas, and the manager of Lufthansa at Caracas airport, Sonia Petrica.
The details of my check-in are as follows: I was scheduled to travel with my pet, a small Pomeranian dog weighing a total of 3 kilograms. To ensure that there would be no travel issues with my dog, not only
did I have all necessary documentation (a recent vaccination card, an import visa from the Kuwaiti Minsitry of Agricultutre, and health certificate from a Venezuelan veterinarian) but I also took the steps to notify Lufthansa that the dog would be travelling with me. [continued below]....
..... I did so on december 18th 2012. During this phone call there was never an indication that traveling with my dog with me in cabin would be a problem. And it is here where the problem begins.
At check-in Mr. Rivas told me that my dog would need to be checked in as cargo, and would not be able to fly in cabin with me to Kuwait. Needless to say, I was immediately distressed by this news; for one, I would never put a 3 kg dog in the cargo of an airplane for 13 hours of flight. But secondly, the Lufthansa agent who I notified about the dog, had said that everything was set for travel. When I pleaded with Mr.
Rivas that your agents had been notified, he enthusiastically accused me of lying, telling me that I had never notified them of this fact. When Sonya Petricka, the Lufthansa manager, arrived on the scene, she also continued to accuse me of lying. I will note here that three different agents to whom I spoke with after this incident, in Kuwait, Germany, and Venezuela, all have confirmed that they saw the notification on my
flight itinerary in your system. But this is only a part of the problem.
As the situation became emotional, these two agents, Mr Rivas and Mrs Petricka, began to insist that not only was I lying about contacting Lufthansa about the dog, but that I did not have the necessary paperwork to travel with the dog. However, when I would try to show them the vaccination sheet, the import visa or the health certificate, they continued to push me away saying they did not care what documents I had, again insisting that I was lying about the documents. After about 30 minutes of this, I became livid . But the story does not end here.
After all of this, they then told me that it was not because of a Lufthansa policy, but a Kuwaiti policy, that the dog could not fly in the cabin with me and therefore would have to be shipped via cargo. It was here that they showed me the Lufthansa-Kuwaiti Timatic-3, wherein it states that pets are allowed to be brought into Kuwait in hold baggage or in cargo. I objected vehemently, because for one, I travel all the time with my dog in and out of Kuwait with her in the cabin. (the Kuwaiti embassy I contacted gere said that provided I had all the documentation, I could fly with the pet. They also supported me in saying that is was the Airline who was wrong). Secondly, they could not show me where in the Timatic it states explicitly that dogs are not allowed to travel in the cabin. When they could not show me where it stated that dogs are not allowed in the cabin, they began to threaten to have me arrested by calling security;
they told me that they no longer would allow me to fly with or without the dog. When I asked them to change my ticket so that I could figure out this issue, they asked for a penalty fee and then threatened me by saying that if I did get out of line they would be cancelling my ticket all together and would make me pay for an entirely new flight.
I have called several representatives of lufthansa in kuwait and Germany who informed me that the staff in the airport was at the wrong and they were unjust with me and my dog.
This situation has also created substantial problems with work in Kuwait. The personal / emotional damage was and still is great. I am still in Venezuela, have no return ticket set up and no one at Lufthansa returns my calls or emails regarding this issue.
I seek some sort of fair resolution on this matter that caused so much grief and the certainty that my dog and I will travel together back to Kuwait as per our right that was denied to me on the 16 th , in the most ignorant and rude of manners for no reason but the unwillingness of certain members of Lufthansa's check in staff