Lufthansa's website talks about Lufthansa's "Quality partners" - the company claims to be very concerned about customer service, reputation and quality standards.
On December, 30, 2006 I planned to travel with two separate Lufthansa partners, Air India and Condor. I had to purchase two tickets for that specific trip, a normal thing if you plan to go from Phoenix, AZ to Palma de Mallorca (Spain). There would have been a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt, more than enough time even if the Air India Flight would have been delayed.
What I did not take into consideration was the fact that it is a normal procedure for Air India to cancel flights if there are not enough passengers. In 2006 this happened about 16 times. So, it is some kind of a lottery game if they actually fly or not. I was put on a plane to Paris and then onto another plane to Frankfurt, arriving too late in Frankfurt in order to get my flight to Palma. I had to spend the night in Frankfurt, buy a new ticket for my destination and lost the money that I had paid in advance for the rental car for my arrival in Palma. (the car rental company was another Lufthansa "Partner")
Air India's position is that it was OK for them to cancel the flight since there were not enough passengers to fill up the plane. Since there are no laws like the one that protects passengers from being bumped from an overbooked flight, Air India only flies at their discretion, no matter if the passenger suffers a finacial loss. Their position is: "we took you to Frankfurt, that's all we had to do..." I wrote a letter to Lufthansa's "Dialogue with the customer" in Guetersloh, Germany and asked them how this complies with their concept of "Quality partners" I also wanted to know what their policy regarding cancellations due to the lack of passengers is. They never answered or acknoledged the receipt of my letter. When I sent them an email asking them if that's what they understand under "Dialogue with the customer", I received an email from Antonia Romero, Customer Relations in New York with the standard "We apologize the inconvenience..." For my fincancial loss she offered me 2500 points on my Miles & More card. (These points might have a value of $ 20 - $ 25 and won't buy me anything).
Her evasive anwer to my question whether a passenger has to expect financial losses anytime when travelling with 2 or more Lufthansa partners was: "(...) regretably we cannot predict occurrences, nor guarantee handling of our partner carriers."
That means: Anytime you travel with different Lufthansa "partners" on separate tickets it is like playing the lottery. Don't expect any compensation for your losses, free flights or upgrades like other airlines would normally award in such a case. Unfortunately, she considers the matter as closed and won't give me an answer how this complies with Lufthansa's concept of "Quality partners" and high standards of customer service and reputation.
apache junction, Arizona