Germanwings… never againBack to Forum
Anonymous30 Jan 2014
I am sitting gobsmaked in LHR T1. I am booked on Germanwings to TXL, and I have no access to the Star Alliance Lounge despite my SAS Gold Card. I am sorry, but to cut other Star Gold Card holders out of the lounge – when in the old days as a LH flight we had access – is just petty and stupid, for the sake of a small saving. So – good bye Germanwngs once my return flight is over, it will be BA between LHR and TXL in future, and the temptation to rip up my ~£4000 business ticket on LH from FRA to PHL is almost overwhelming.
If airlines choose to launch a “lower cost” subsidiary, just structure it carefully in case you lose you “loyal” travellers. Remember what happened to BMI after it launched BMIbaby.30 Jan 2014
Similarly even though I am a SWISS silver FTL with lounge access at some Swiss overseas destinations (used to be all destinations) this was removed last year to only lounges operated by Lufthansa.
Hence I can no longer get into the lounge in LHR T1, and many other lounges in Europe. (Places like FRA or CDG are still ok)
Hence SWISS has lost all my UK business and it has gone to BA… Call it 30 sectors to London annually!
BA offers a much better overall service in any case…. No long walks in horrible T1!30 Jan 2014
It is indeed true that he Miles&More experience as a FTL/Silver member isn’t great, had the experienced of being turned away already at various airports. To now read that it is also happening to Gold members is just beyond my reach and it would indeed make me decide to give my business to another carrier30 Jan 2014
LH have indeed pulled a fast one with German Wings but they seem intent on alienating frequent flyers of all sorts unless they choose to book with LH in the highest fare classes.
The German Wings situation is an exact copy of the relationship between Singapore Airlines and Silk Air where Krisflyer members get perks on Silk Air but no other *A members do when flying in Y. That said LH is not SQ and does not have the same market or attraction.
While I appreciate that LH might have wanted to utilise German Wings on some routes I think they have gone too far with only keeping as mainline routes to FRA and MUC. Surely the business traveler numbers are high from LHR to most German destinations and this rather strange move will push people towards BA.30 Jan 2014
LH is -and that since years- cutting costs especiylly with their most loyal customers. From their crappy cramped business class (on old LH planes similar to BA), to general service, to their M&M program….cheap, cheap, cheap.
Mainly due to their pure cost controller management who disregard customer satisfaction completely.30 Jan 2014
Whilst I may be as disgruntled as many other loyal Miles & More members of all of the “enhancements” that has come from the Lufthansa Group over the last couple of years, I still think this discussion has two different points:
1. The move away from Lufthansa to GermanWings to/from German routes with the notable exception of Frankfurt and Munich is an unfortunate direction. Nevertheless, I suspect that Lufthansa (given its cost structure) are unable to make money using the Lufthansa. GermanWings, is an autonomous entity owned by the Lufthansa Group with a different cost structure. This entity seems to be able to make money on Intra-European, point-to-point travel. The Lufthansa European operation I suspect, is left to transport the massive amount of long-haul transfer passengers to/from Frankfurt and Munich and is probably not profitable stand-alone per se.
2. Whilst disappointing, GermanWings is not a member of Star Alliance. Therefore, despite the dreaded changes to the LH Group’s operations one should not expect Star Gold privileges from a non-member. It has never been advertised as a Star Alliance member, and bar United, no one seems to offer any mileage accrual on GermanWings.
Unfortunately, this is common among other Star Alliance members as well. Over the past decade SAS has had minority or majority interests in Estonian, Air Baltic, Wideroe to mention a few. Whilst EuroBonus Gold members have been able to enjoy their perks with these carriers, no other Star Gold have. Just because an airline group have more carriers at their disposal, it doesn’t mean they will automatically enrol them into the alliance they belong to.
Now, I am not all caught up on the IAG situation with BA, Iberia and Vueling, but doesn’t this hold true here as well? IAG is moving Intra-European production to Vueling, leaving (in this case) OneWorld Sapphires and Emeralds out to dry?30 Jan 2014
This topic looks like it could form part of an article and analysis from the BT journalists.
Senator has hit the nail on the head and ultimately we all should ask where are these ‘perks’ heading in the medium term as the European airline landscape continues to evolve?30 Jan 2014
Thanks Stowage222, and one more point to make..
BA is not a good comparison in this case as they HAVE actually moved their entire Intra-European production to three London airports and left the rest of the point-to-point (in Europe) from the rest of the UK to other players.
So I suspect for BA to continue to offer excellent service to Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin they need the long-haul transfers they are getting.30 Jan 2014
Fair points Senator – but. The Germanwings flights ex LHR were all Lufthansa routes in the past, so it is a loss to us, the non-LH Star Alliance frequent flyersand therefore now a disincentive to use LH on this route. The cost of the lounge for passengers like me would be small (probably on average 1 or zero such passengers per flight?) and is it worth antagonising us?
The SAS example is, I think, not exactly analogous because Estonian, Air Baltic and so on were additions to the route network not part of the network being downgraded, Having had one dire experience on Vueling, that is certainly not something to be emulated.
When BMI downgraded the inflight service, introduced BMIbaby, and so on, it was a steep downward slope. A few BT posters may remember the short-lived website “used to fly BMI” which summed up how many of us felt at the time.
As some airlines like to say “we know you have a choice” and we do. Goodbye Germanwings.30 Jan 2014
A brief post-script. The return flight was today. On the flight, it was all right. Pleasant flight attendants, simple food, comfortable seat…
But check-in and boarding were pretty miserable. Long boring queue for check in, only two check in staff for a full Airbus 319 – and then a long shuffling queue for security.
This may all be the fault of TXL. The airport was fine in the old days of the four-power agreement, with only BEA, Pan-Am and AF to cope with, but TXL is hopelessly overcrowded, and the gates in the old doughnut crowded and slow. In recent times I have boarded KLM and SAS from TXL and that is much much better – so maybe my next London Berlin trip will be via Amsterdam, even if it mean changng flights….
The two positive features were an excellent lunch in the Red Baron cafe, and the astonished look from the Germanwings purser when she realised that I really could remember the old days of flying in and out of cold war Berlin.2 Feb 2014
The overcrowding at TXL is down to the delays in opening Berlin’s new Brandenburg airport.2 Feb 2014
Alex – of course: but I was conflating three things, nostalgia for the old days of flying over the wall to Berlin; my irritation with Germanwings; and how best to plan short hops in and out of Berlin before the new airport is open.
My best recent Berlin trip was on the excellent direct DSB/DB train from Copenhagen – pretty quick and not expensive, and you only have to get out of your seat for the time that the train is on the Denmark – Germany ferry.3 Feb 2014