Originally Posted by prickly
I'd like to put out a warning to anyone flying on Lufthansa. No announcement on their site, no warning with email confirmation, but they charged me EUR40 to bring my skis onboard an intercontinental flight. Absurd. (Alaska Airlines, on the final leg of the outbound trip, charged nothing.) And here's the kicker. We booked the full trip via Lufthansa, but by chance our return (Spokane-Chicago-Frankfurt) was on partner United, which charged me nothing for the skis. Lufthansa: skier-hating *******s.
Yeah I just found that out about Lufthansa. They apparently now charge 33% of the excess baggage fee for "piece concept" routes (mainly to/from North or South America) and €40/USD50/CAD56 for "weight concept" long-haul routes. I also did not get any notice about this November change for a ticket I purchased in October.http://www.lufthansa.com/online/port...l=en#ancN65815
Just what Lisamarie and I need for our flight to Munich in March, the bastiches. Of course given the lack of snow at Kitz I expect mostly to be exploring pubs. Maybe I won't bother to bring my skis, and just rent if it seems like good conditions. I got a ridiculously cheap price on the flight so it's worth it for the miles earned alone.
Luckily our ticket is on United, our outbound has a domestic leg on United, and the Lufthansa metal from the US to Germany is ticketed with the United codeshare flight number, so UA's baggage rules should apply for the way over. I'm mid-tier elite with United so that gets me a free third bag and lets each bag be up to 70 lbs / 32 kg. But on the way back we start at Munich on an LH flight so I'm expecting we'll be screwed out of the fee, even as a partner/Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer. I'm supposed to get the free 3rd bag on any Star Alliance carrier, but I'll bet that LH claims that only refers to a "standard" bag, not sports equipment. I'm going to argue that they say the charge to the US is 33% of the excess baggage allowance for an extra piece, and that as a *A Gold I get an extra piece free, so I should be charged 33% of zero. Maybe that logic will appeal to the Germanic rules-based mindset.
Lufthansa has the gall to say "We want to you to be able to enjoy your sport on your travels as well." right on that page, just before explaining how they're going to screw you out of money to carry your equipment. Even if that's all you have and it meets their requirement of sports equipment, "Sports baggage is not part of the free baggage allowance, and in each case the respective fee will be charged." If I do bring skis, it almost is worth it to pay UA to change the ticket to get on actual United-operated metal out of Munich instead of LH metal.
And to think some people on this board routinely complain about US-based airline baggage fees and policies. The Euro airlines are far worse in my experience now with LH and previously with Alitalia, and by reading of their rules. Also based on the flexibility and common sense noted by other posters about NW, AA, and CO from their experiences, and my experiences with UA and DL in the States with skis. Unlike European airlines, they don't give you a hard time about the 2nd pair of skis in the bag, they don't try to change the rules or quote you "Der Rules ist Der Rules keine ski fur Sie!" Not that any of the US-based ones are great either, but they're a whole lot more reasonable on luggage policies.
I would rather fly LH than UA transatlantic for Lufthansa's better onboard service (and free booze!), at least if I was stuck in "regular" coach on United instead of their bigger-legroom Economy Plus which you get as an Elite. But for schlepping skis to Germany, it looks like flying on United rather than on Lufthansa is the way to go.
Interesting to see if Austrian Airlines (wholly owned by Lufthansa) and Swiss Airlines (now also wholly owned by Lufthansa) have or will have the same policies. This could really limit choices/increase costs for North American skiers hitting the Alps.
That is assuming the Alps had any snow...
edit: I just checked Swiss, since our return from Portillo this summer out of Santiago originates with them (then onto UA in Sao Paolo). Right now, Swiss still takes one set of ski equipment free
. Then again that's right now. By the time Lufthansa finishes screwing them up we could be looking at charges.