Horrible Experience Please Read If Your a Mom

Updated on September 20, 2008
E.F. asks from Milwaukee, WI
4 answers

My soldier son was already in a tour of Afghanistan and now is with a unit in Germany that is deploying to Iraq. He had this two week window to come home before the deployment. Soldiers pay for their own trips even when stationed overseas. As a side note they get paid the same even though the american dollar is so weak so they live on about 65% of their regular pay. (please bear with me for being lengthy I am very upset) I booked for him through expedia which I always use and the flight was through Lufthansa airlines.He was very unfamiliar with traveling to the airport, which involves a train and bus all in german and at a cost of around $200.00. He kept trying to ask people but nobody appeared to speak english. In the end he made it to the airport before the flight left but too late to make the flight. Lufthansa would do nothing for him, they would not put him on standby for the next flight, they would not give him a change of use fee to put him on another flight, they would not refund his money, they would not even give him a credit toward another flight. They straight out told him he lost his money and nothing, nothing would be done for him at all. (flight had cost $900.00) They grudgingly offered to allow him on a flight the next morning for a cost of $1400.00, however, they would not take a payment from us over the phone, he had to pay for it himself at the counter. This was impossible as he did not have that type of cash and they are 7 hours ahead and it was after 5pm on Saturday for us, so all banks were closed and we could not get funds into his account. We called Expedia and they tried to negotiate on our behalf and lufthansa again too bad so sad. My hubby called and was so kind and calm trying to convey to Lufthansa the situation and that he was stranded there in Germany and this was the only shot he had to come home before deployment. yet again, this was Lufthansa policy and they would not do one thing to help him out, and if he could not pay at the counter they suggested we go pay through their website. The website quotes a price of $1800.00 for the next morning flight. My son had no cell phone, its now after midnight in Germany and he basically is sleeping at the airport. I was beside myself, I have been pretty ill recently and seeing him was extremely important to me not to mention giving him some downtime before all the intense training begins to see his friends and other family. We totally understood and expected to pay some type of fee, but $1400.00? In the end we booked a flight on US AIR for $1200.00. We really did not have it and are scrambling to get bills paid another way via listing stuff on craigs list etc, and on paper this was not the intelligent thing to do, but as a parent getting my child home before going to war was all that mattered to me. When we spoke with US Air they were shocked at Lufthansa doing nothing, They advised that as a general rule the first thing is to get them on standby at no charge, the very worst generally is to do the change of use fee for another flight which is $50.00 to maybe $200.00. We have tried to reach supervisors at the airlines and have gotten nowhere. Our son is home now and for that we are grateful. We are about to start a letter writing campaign as we don't know what else to do to get Lufthansa to understand that part of running a business is to act in a humane fashion for everyone, but beyond that to go out of their way to NOT help an American soldier is totally unacceptable. I am sorry for making this so very long, but wanted to pass on to you ladies about this airline.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Dear E.,
I am so sorry to hear about this disgraceful indignity that your son has suffered. I immediatly thought of posting it on my favourite political blog, Daily Kos. Daily Kos is a respected progresssive blog with around 180,000 registered users. I have found it to be a caring online community with a political focus. I know that it's members, like me, are concerned about our soldiers. Please consider posting your story there. I'm sure the community will embrace you and help to call attention to the fact that our soldiers still have to pay for their flights home, and of course to protest Lufthansa's apparently anti-soldier policies. If you do decide to register (which is easy!), you'll have to wait one week to post your story. If you feel that you don't want to do that, but would still like to share your story please let me know. I'd be happy to post it for you and draw some attention to this important issue.

The website is: http://www.dailykos.com/

Good luck and best wishes, T.



answers from Milwaukee on

How terrible, I am sorry you and your family had to go through that. If you have not considered it yet, I would call Fox 6 News. Katrina Cravy does a wonderful service for consumer complaints. They require the complaint in writing, which you already have-copy this mamasource writing, and send it on it’s way-RIGHT AWAY. Being that your son is doing all us a wonderful service, I am sure this will get looked into. I know he is home, but you would hate for this issue to arise again and happen to another family. The Fox 6 recorded info line’s number is ###-###-####.

Good luck and please keep us posted. Thank you also for the information, I will stay clear of that airline in the future.



answers from Milwaukee on

Wow - that is really shocking. Normally Luftansa is really good about customer relations. You should contact Luft. US (don't bother about the german side of it)and demand your money back and a formal apology for the way they treated your son. It is very common for people to get lost on the way to that airport- It's not like this is an isolated incident! My husband travels a lot and he has a lot of experience dealing with the good, the bad and the unbelieveable! He speaks 5 languages and had trouble getting around Frankfurt. Don't give up on getting a full refund (or at the very least a credit towards a future flight). You will have to get a bit crazy on the phone - demand to speak to the Manager of customer relations. Send your letter to them and to the media! I bet you any money you will get some kind of response. It's a shame ffor a young man defending his country to be treated like this. Good luck and thank your son for serving our country!



answers from Milwaukee on

My thoughts are with you and your awful experience, please know that I am praying for your Son and the service that He is doing for our country. I am so happy that your Son got home for you and please conntinue to fight for the refund as it was just not fair what the airlines do to our American Soliders, as they are the backbone of our country.

God Bless the Men and Woman whom serve our country and keep us safe from harm.

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