Champagne Trails: A bone to pick with Lufthansa

Ever since my cat Champagne started travelling with the Star Alliance airlines this year, she has accumulated quite a bit of milage:
July – 11301 KM – Turkish Airlines
October: 3008 KM – Lufthansa
November: 2415 KM – Lufthansa
… and everything in-between has been covered with the train! She has been a paying customer for each leg of the flight, as a live cargo passenger for the intercontinental flights and in-cabin passenger for the intra-European flights. So I decided she might as well apply for a Miles and More card with Lufthansa, since that has been our preferred airline thus far. After all, a paying customer accumulating miles should have the right to a card, or am I wrong? In fact. several Lufthansa crew members seriously asked me if she was already a Miles and More card holder because if not, she should be.

Rejected by Miles and More

I wrote Lufthansa, requesting that they add a feature on their online ticket booking: a simple addition of a box to indicate that the passenger will be travelling with a pet. At the moment, each time I travel with Champagne on Lufthansa I have to call customer service and spend valuable time on the phone just to inform them that I am travelling with a pet. Then, when I check it, I always have to go to a operate counter to pay for her flight. Why can’t this be integrated in the online booking features? I can understand if the pet is flying as cargo, that is a different procedure altogether, but as an in-cabin passenger, it should be a simpler process.

Also, in the interest of the other passengers who might end up sitting next to me, there should also be an alert feature when doing online check-in to inform the passengers in the seats in front and beside me that there will be a cat onboard in case anyone has any allergies. So far I have informed the passengers personally and it works, but this last trip from Rome to Munich, I had a Chinese seatmate who spoke no English. He gave the cat a dirty look at first but luckily he turned out to be cat-friendly and spent half the flight making faces at a bewildered Champagne, who wondered why this human kept making funny faces at her.

The second part of my mail to Lufthansa was the request for a Miles and More card for Champagne and I explained the background and her accumulated miles thus far. I wasn’t really expecting them to jump up and down with enthusiasm, but considering that they should value each paying customer… A week later,  this is the reply I received :

Dear Ms Herzog,
We at Miles & More cannot assist you with this matter. Please contact the Lufthansa Customer Relations Team direct at > Contact < and address your suggestions to them.
As to your second and third requests, we can neither register your cat into your Miles & More profile, nor can we issue a membership card for Champagne because participation in our programme is only person-related. For more information about the transportation of pets in aircraft, please contact the service teams of the relevant airlines direct. In our capacity as a mileage programme, we cannot help you.
Your understanding is appreciated.
Your Miles & More Service Team 

No, I don’t understand and don’t appreciate their lack of service.  Moreover, I would also like to point out the great disparity between pet handling in the various airports. Berlin, as I wrote in an earlier blog, is the worst, and Munich the best thus far, closely followed by Turkish Airlines Manila. The only standard there is in the whole procedure is the payment, but the priority boarding was unique to Munich.


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