Flying with Luxair, not a good experience – 1/5 stars

Dec 22, 2009

So, I’ve had the “great pleasure” of kicking my well deserved holidays off with a bad case of the flu, maybe even the famous one. Ever since friday night/saturday morning, I’ve been very feverish, dizzy, coughing and feeling as “wimpy” as men do that catch a virus. As you can imagine, and as my holidays were well deserved, I had had other plans: London!

Going back just a slight step, some may remember my episode with Luxair in 2007? Where I was not allowed to “lateboard” (or JIT-board if you like :)) a plane in London City Airport as I looked like a student? If you don’t, here’s the brief summary:

was travelling the UK for a few days to meet the EF School staff on site as this was helpful for sales in the Luxembourg office. Extremely exhausting as it was, I arrived at London City Airport late, 30 minutes before departure, but I had one bag filled with all the stuff that needed to be scanned, and in the other hand my papers (no checkin luggage), so in theory, I could have been at the gate in 8 minutes (I’ve managed that in the past). The guy informed me it was too late, and when I pointed my preparedness out to him, he agreed to call the gate. Whilst in call, he looked at me, replied to the other person: “no, a student”, hung up and informed me that it was indeed too late, and I needed to buy another ticket. It took me a few minutes on my way to ticketing to realize what had happened, and so for the longest time, all new EF students would fly with VLM instead of Luxair – I couldn’t risk them being refused boarding just because they looked like a student!

Then however, I managed to get a hold of the marketing director at Luxair, a very friendly fella, who apologized for all the mishaps (there had been quite a few after that), and asked what it was he could do for me. So I informed him I was not the goal, that it was the students that should get a good deal, which he gladly agreed to, and this is how Luxair got back to being in my good books, and we sent quite a few students to London, Nice, Barcelona with Luxair after that.

And as a good planner, for this holiday, I decided to compare offers, and funnily enough, I found the best deal for me to be flying with Luxair, so I booked the ticket a good month and a half in advance at 165€. When I was feeling so off the day before the flight, I decided to ring Luxair and seek out options, coughing and drowzy as I was. I pressed 2 for french, and then explained to the german (?) service rep that I was really quite ill and looking for options, not reimbursement, just ideally the chance to fly a day or two later. He informed me it would certainly cost something, and I said I totally agreed to it, that I was just happy to be able to change the departure flight as I was feeling really rather terrible.

After a couple of minutes waiting, the guy got back to me and said he was afraid he had bad news. In my ticket, it was saying something along the lines of: you can not change this flight, and you can only get reimbursed in case of death, or in case of death from a person of the closest family.

  1. This is the kind of information they should give you at booking: not changeable, or changeable only under these conditions. To me, their terms only meant: changes cost money.
  2. If I was to die, who in their right set of mind would think of calling Luxair to get a less than 200€ ticket reimbursed?
  3. If you have someone call, that is very obviously very sick, very open to suggestions, and absolutely ok with paying an additional fee to change one of the “flight-legs”, you really shouldn’t close down all options at the first opportunity.
  4. The fee he could have charged me could have been up to the price of a new ticket, my price-sensitivity was at its lowest as I was just hoping to find any kind of solution. Today, I am feeling much better, as anticipated, and because of their lack of flexibility, London was ruined for me.
  5. If you give people a choice for language, make sure it works.

As the typical annoying customer that I am, this can only mean one thing to me: Luxair, you’re back in my bad books, and this time, I won’t continue trying to support local businesses: you ruined my trip to London just before Christmas! **two thumbs up – yay**

In case you didn’t know, VLM changed names to Cityjet: New Name, Same Great Service. I remember flying VLM when I was still at Uni in London (Luxair’s student fee was only valid until the age of 24, and a good friend pointed out VLM to me), and I flew back to London once with a case of the flu that wasn’t as bad as this one, but upon entering the cabin, I asked the crew if it was at all possible to seat me somewhere without anyone next to me as I did not wish to pass the flu onto anyone else. They agreed in a very charming manner, got back to me with a glass of water even before departure to make sure I could take any medicine I might wish to take, and came to see me regularly to ask if everything was ok for me. This is what I call a good memory of flying, and this is what I will choose again in the future.

I still leave it up to you though what company you decide to fly with, but my priorities are set: VLM (Cityjet), Eurostar, Car, Bicycle, Walking, Luxair.

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