Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – part 2

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Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The planning & changes – Part 1
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – Part 2
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Westin Chicago & UBER Black & SUV – Part 3
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Chicago & United Global 1st lounge Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Part 4
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The brand new and amazing Boeing 747-8 & 1st class seating & experience – Part 5
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The 1st class terminal in Frankfurt – Part 6
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Porsche ride & domestic business class – Part 7
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Gothenburg Sweden & business class to Munich Germany- Part 8
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Mercedes ride and the 1st class lounge in Munich – Part 9
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Airbus A330 & 1st class experience – Part 10
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: An overnight in Toronto Canada at the SPG Four Points by Sheraton – Part 11
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge- Part 12
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: United business class back to Chicago & South Bend Indiana – Part 13
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Final thoughts & Delta comparison – Part 14

sbn south bend airport

The day had finally arrived and I don’t mind admitting I did not sleep that great the night before as I was really excited about this trip. Everything was in place including a ride to the South Bend airport from a good friend and a United ERJ to start the trip (ok that last bit I was not really looking forward to). I had used the United app to check the gate we arrived and departed from in Chicago (ORD) and they were practically next to each other so great for my tight-ish connection. Then, half way to the airport, I get a push notification from the United app that my flight to Chicago was delayed by 1 hour and 15 minutes, I found out later, due to an FA not showing up on time for our inbound flight. Since I only had 55 minutes to connect things were not looking good so time for plan B.

On a side note, the United app did work very well in telling me about this situation (I had picked “push” and I don’t know if that helped as I use the app like once a year). It even alerted me before TripIt Pro that is usually quicker than the Delta app to let me know about changes. Overall the functionality of the United app is not bad but I still like the Delta app better. It could just be I am used to it. Anyway back to the trip report and plan B.

Normally with Delta I know the routes in my head but a bit less so with United & Lufthansa. I did however well know that there is daily service from Chicago to Frankfurt. I got on the phone to United and got an amazing rep; I mean truly stunningly good. But there was NO way to get us out on Lufthansa 1st class that day even going as far as selling me a revenue seat. So what about the next day from Chicago to Frankfurt then on to Gothenburg? I also told the rep I was happy to take care of my own hotel in Chicago but I want to stick with Lufthansa 1st class. She found the space the next day with a long layover in Frankfurt! SOLD and perfect – book it “Danno”! Ticket reissued while I sat in my friend’s car in the parking lot in SBN. All we had to do is now go check in and get to Chicago. What could possible go wrong now that all was fixed and reissued?

Check-in for United SBN South Bend Airport Delta Points blog

I really know the Delta SBN ground staff as I am in and out of there a bunch. They are good and know me and clearly being a Diamond Medallion helps too. Having no status with an airline is just not good in today’s world. Many say just book 1st and you will have no issues and will have no need for status – yeah – really not so much! Let me say the UA ground staff in SBN is, well, bad! No, bad is not the right word. Unpleasant & disagreeable and down right nasty are better words. I feel VERY sorry for anyone who has to fly UA out of SBN.

the double carry-on bag checker unit at united check-in sbn delta points blog

You see since I was on a 1st class Star Alliance ticket Lisa & I could EACH check 3 bags free up to 70 lbs. We had 3 total under 50 lbs each. The agent at the desk wanted to charge me $200 for the 3rd “extra” bag (one each was free due to booking with Chase United card I had used to pay at the time of booking). He told me there was NOTHING he or his supervisor could do as the computer would not let him override it – so pay up! Attempting to reason with this “agent” was impossible. I was NOT about to pay $200 for a bag to ride from SBN-ORD on a regional jet. Time to call United again.

must use the automated kiosk to save bag fess delta points blog

This time I get a rep who says I have to pay as the $200 fee as the 3 bags free ONLY applies when flying United and I was on Lufthansa for part of the trip. Really? When did Lufthansa leave Star Alliance I asked. She would not budge and was stuck on United flights only to get free bags. I asked for her supervisor and explained the situation again. The supervisor was stunned and says yes you should have 3 free bags each. I ask “can you tell this to the UA rep in SBN”? She says sure but the SBN rep flat out refused to take the call and just says “NO-NO-NO and I can ONLY do what the computer tells me”. Sigh. The rep says test the kiosk and see what happens. That works and bags fly free. Desk rep smugly grabs bags and sends me on my way. Unbelievable! #FlyerUnFriendly to say the very least.

delta-FA-hand-unit sales

The ERJ at long last arrived and I got a glimpse of what could await us on Delta in the near future with on-board selling of upgrades. As a reminder ORD is just a 22 minute flight from SBN. The FA, who made us all late to begin with, had the gall to try to offer to sell us an upgrade to premium economy (and it sure looked the same as the rest of the bad coach seats on this ERJ)! Really? We are already over an hour late and United wants to take time to process an onboard upgrade before we fly? I do get there would be no time during the 5 minutes at cruising altitude before our descent into Chicago to get this done but we are already late and others may have tight connections they could possibly make. Just unbelievable and bewildering. Gosh, I am happy I don’t fly United and that NO ONE onboard took them up on this “amazing” upgrade offer!

Next up my review of my very nice overnight at the Westin near ORD and my UBER Black & SUV ride back to and from the airport that, shall we say, did not take the most direct route to the airport! – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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12 comments

  1. René,

    Nothing chaps my rear end as much as a GA who knows they’re wrong and won’t budge. I once had the Diamond line tell me to put the phone on speaker and place it in front of the GA where the Diamond rep ordered her to pick up the phone because the GA said it’s “Delta policy to NOT TAKE CALLS”.

    After a bunch of, yes, ummm, yes, ummm, yes. Yes ma’am. I was on my way. Yeah, that GA doesn’t work at Delta anymore.

  2. This post made me shake my head the whole time while reading it, and sadly surprises me in no way. I briefly considered switching to UA (and this was even pre-CO merger) and after dealing with sour customer “service”, RJs everywhere and the mess that are their ORD and EWR hubs, I went back to DL. It just amazes me that a customer, much less one flying in premium cabin, has to go thru these gyrations to obtain service they’re entitled to by their ticket. I’m sure many passengers less confident in knowledge of the baggage policy would’ve coughed up the $200.

  3. @Aleks is so right. Horridly inexcusable experiences such as this are why I’m willing to pay a little more (and endure connecting flights) from time to time in order to have status on Delta. I’ve had a few snippy ticket agents but never have seen anything like this. I can tell you that the ticket agents in MCO routinely assist tourists who’ve never used a kiosk before and the most commonplace questions are about luggage.

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