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Spanair / Inappropriate booking & lost luggage

1 Spain Review updated:
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My spouse and I booked a Spanair round trip flight from Frankfurt to Seville. The outward flight was fine, but the return was to put it mildly, a bumpy flight, not just because things went wrong; this can happen on any flight these days, but because the way we were dealt with by the airline staff and because they simply were not honest with us.

Our return flight was canceled because of mechanical problems with the plane. We were told to retrieve our luggage and proceed to the ticket counter of Spanair in the Seville airport for rebooking. After waiting about an hour in line, which by the way was utter chaos, since the staff allows others to interrupt the work they are doing with one customer to answer questions and deal with problems from other customers who come to the counter without queuing. This of course means they have to multitask and right then we knew there would be problems. When we made it to the counter, the attend first said the only thing they could do was load us on a bus for a two-hour ride to Jerez where we would then catch a late flight to Barcelona and eventually connect to a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. This would have gotten us to our final destination in Germany in the early hours of the morning as we still had to take a two-hour train ride. We then asked if we could stay over in Seville and take the same flights we had booked for the day of the cancellation. The attendant said she could book us on the same morning flight out of Seville with a connecting flight to Frankfurt but with only a 50-minute time window to catch the flight. I said that I had originally opted against that flight because of frequent delays. I had booked a later afternoon flight with a 3-hour window. The attendant assured us that this wasn't necessary and insisted that we would be foolish not to take the earlier connection, because 50 minutes was plenty of time to make the connection. Figuring that because Spanair and Lufthansa are Star Alliance partners, we took the attendants recommendation. She printed out the confirmation and we were off to spend one more night in Seville.

The next morning we arrived at the airport at 8am and were the first customers in line when the check-in counter opened. The attendant book us to Barcelona but said that she could not give us a boarding pass in Seville and that we would have to get a boarding pass at the Lufthansa counter in Barcelona. I said that we had been issued boarding passes the day before for both flight. Her response was that there was nothing she could do about it because the "computer" would not allow her to issue the boarding pass. So, off we went to await the flight to Barcelona, which arrived from Barcelona 30minutes late. We suspected that we were in trouble. However, once the flight left, the pilot assured us that because of a strong tail wind we would arrive on time. Indeed, we arrived in Barcelona 5 minutes late and we figured we had plenty of time to catch the flight. However, rather than disembark on a jetway we were taken on a 15-minute bus ride, which began about 10 minutes after we boarded the bus. We were taken to the far end of the Barcelona airport--Model 1 and Lufthansa, the Star Alliance partner of Spanair, left from Module 4, which meant we had to run through a very grounded airport. We arrived five minutes before the flight was to leave and were told that the flight had closed and that our seats had been given to stand-by passengers. The agent said that he would book us on the next flight, which of course was the original flight with a 3-hour window and that he would book us into Business class. He also said we had access to the VIP Lounge of Spanair. However, he was unable to issue boarding passes at the time and that we would have to wait until the next Frankfurt flight opened. We went to the lounge and because I have a United (Star Alliance) Gold Card, we assumed that we would have easy access to the lounge. Not so. The agent said we could not go in without a boarding pass. My spouse then explained the situation in English to the agent. The agent then proceeded to call Lufthansa to check if we had been booked on the flight. She spoke in Spanish, not knowing, that I am a fluent speaker of the language. She told the agent on the line that she was uninterested in stories that passengers tell her and in fact repeated this line again before hanging up. I just looked at her as I was not in a mood to have an argument. She admitted us to the lounge.

We made it to Frankfurt more or less on time, but when we went to pick up our luggage, which had been fitted with a priority label (because of my Gold Card Status!) in Seville, it hadn't arrived. We went to the Lufthansa counter and after checking the agent informed us that it hadn't been loaded in Seville ! What is more, there were only six passengers in Seville who had checked baggage. The rest had carry on bags only. While in Barcelona I searched in vain to find a Spanair supervisor to lodge my complaint about the inappropriate booking in Seville. I was given a major run-around. There was no Spanair supervisor to be found. When we arrived at our destination in Germany, I tried looking up a complaint service for Spanair, and so far, I have been unsuccessful had locating anyone to speak with about the very bad service we were given and so far, no bags!

Never again we will fly Spanair!

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  • Ko
      12th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    So sorry for your trouble! I really feel your pain- Did you ever get your luggage back? SpanAir and AirCanada have doubled up to keep me from getting my luggage back for a month now.
    Fingers crossed- I'm still hoping to get it back someday!

  • Ve
      15th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Spanair is a complete joke. They don't even man their own counters it's done by a 3rd party company called Newco. What does that mean? They have to accountability.

    Spanair lost one of my bags and when they found it they told me I had to come and fetch it myself at my expense. Every time you ask to speak with a manager they refer you to contact their head office in writing. Well I did that and it's been 9 month's and have not heard back.

    No wonder this airline is up for sale and no one is interested in buying them. They are a mickey mouse airline. How they are a part of Star Alliance is beyond me.


  • Pa
      8th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    Spanair lost my luggage too but be honest they stollen my luggage and their strategy is no to answer to any written forms. But finally very good question is about Star Alliance. How Lufthansa main partner of this programmme invited and accepted Spanair to be a member of this alliance. This is Mickey Mouse airline how Verge summarised.

    Practically I have few questions:
    1. Does Spanair belong to Montreal convention from May 28th, 1999 ? If yes then they have to reimburse 1000SDR in case of not finding lagguge
    2. How long Spanair has time to find my lugguage 21 or 30 days before giving him status 'lost'?
    3. My national air carrier LOT Polish Airline suggested to be prepared to create civil court action. What do you think about it?

  • Ev
      14th of Sep, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Dear PaulFromPoland,

    I am one of Spanair "victims". They permanently lost my lugagge in July 2007, and do you know when I received a cheque?

    Two days ago - that is, exactly two years, one month and 20 days after they lost it.

    In the meantime I spent incredible amount of time and money phoning them, writing e-mails etc. Of course, I wrote to Star Alliance, some EU institutions and some Spanish media - no result.
    I have been told that the lawsuit would be too expensive comparing to money they would pay me for lost suitcase. In short, story is to damn long for this space here.

    Therefore, here are my answers:

    1. Yes. They reimburse ehat they think they should, while 1000 SDR is only maximum amount.
    2. They told me 100 days but you have to call them again and again. That is, they won't call you after those 100 days to tell you that.
    3. As I said, I was told it would be too expensive.

    In spite of everything, I hope you'll have more luck than me.

  • Pa
      18th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    Congratulations Eva

  • Pa
      18th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    Just I have very simple but practically very hard question to you. Can you try to analyse what did you make/write (special kind of sentences) that finally you got positive result? Any tips will be more than welcome

  • Te
      18th of Sep, 2009
    -1 Votes


  • Ev
      6th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Sorry Paul, haven't been here for some time.

    Well, last thing I did was this spring when I 'threatened' them with media, then I got the first ever phonecall from them saying they will pay in two weeks time, that turned out to be four months at the end.

    I did write to some Spanish medias (El Mundo and some others), but there was no reply.

    But all in all, they don't react to anything - being kind, being rude, it is all the same to them because they are probably listening to it every day.

    What did you do in the meantime?

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