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Star Alliance / no customer service

1 CA, United States Review updated:
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I have discovered there is clearly no working relationship between Star Alliance airlines, specifically, United and Thai. My experience demonstrates the Star Alliance to be a fake alliance. I have never had a journey as bad as this in 20 years of traveling.

This is my story:

I left JFK on UA 839 on Sunday 13th July. Departure was delayed by 3.5 hours, arriving in LAX at 11.45pm so missing my connecting flight at LAX by only 35 minutes: TG795 which left at 11.10pm. A common story, perhaps, but what followed, I hope, is rare:

I spent 12 very stressful hours at LAX trying to get both United and Thai to assist me. Whilst a few United staff made positive noises in an attempt to appear to help, neither airline provided hotels nor flight solutions. In fact Thai customer service staff were non-existent at LAX, despite the fact the pilot of UA839 contacted customer services on my behalf to let them know I was on board and arriving late. I received a message back on the flight saying that TG795 would not wait and was departing on time at 2310.

I was well and truly abandoned, Thai saying it was United's responsibility and United saying it was Thai's responsibility. To cap it all United lost my suitcase and at time of writing it is still lost in space.

Twice I was lied to at LAX:
1) At 2am on the 14th United said they would put me on their flight via Narita, then at 8am said they would not.
2) Having finally contacted Thai in LA at 10am (by 40 minutes holding on the phone) they said they would route me back via Seoul on Asiana; then 2 minutes later they retracted this offer.

Extraordinary behavior. I eventually paid United for a one-way to Bangkok (US$ 998.40) via Narita on Tuesday 15th July. It took me 43 hours to travel from Manhatten to Bangkok (door to door) with not a hint of assistance from either Thai or United.

Don't ever fly United. Be very careful if you expect Star Alliance airlines to work together on your behalf. They can't, but what's worse is they won't try to.

Gillem Lawson.

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Comments

  • Fl
      6th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I totally agree: I have had the impression that "Star Alliance" member airlines don't really work together more than once.

    On one occasion I booked a flight with Singapore Airlines that took me over 40 hours because I believed that I would be able to uprade it with my Miles and More miles that were about to expire. Lufthansa explicitly states that Miles and More members are able to upgrade their Singapore Airlines bookings. After I booked the flight it was, sorry - the upgrade is not going through. When I contacted SIA I was told that their flights are not upgradable for Miles and More members, only if it was a Code share flight that was originally booked by Lufthansa. i even have this in writing. When I submitted a copy of their letter to Lufthansa their response was: "We are unable to comment this" A second letter that I submitted to Lufthansa asking them if they don't communicate with their partners has never been answered, that's why I am assuming that my assumption is true. It is very convenient for Lufthansa to say "we cannot tell you in advance if an upgrade is possible, go ahead and book the flight" They make customers believe that Star Alliance is like one big company but if there is any issue that involves two different Star Alliance "partners" then it is "we don't have any control over this, we don't know why you were told this, we don't know why this happened..."

    On another occasion I was denied access to a United First Class lounge despite my First Class Lufthansa ticket. Lufthansas website clearly states "A First Class ticket holder has access to any (!) Star Alliance lounge" When I mentioned this to the lounge receptionist the answer was "we don't care about what Lufthansas website says". Again, when I contacted Lufthansa they preferred not to comment this and never answered.

  • St
      26th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Booked Lufthansa and then discovered that I was actually flying United Airlines to Europe. I had wanted United, I would have booked United! Star Alliance, what a joke!

    The check-in at LAX was a hassle - self check in for hundreds of people- the plane was completely booked, which shouldn't be a problem for the staff. However, the restrooms were dirty and weren't cleaned once, only one dinner and a small breakfast during an 11-hr. flight. Snacks were available for $3 ... I had never heard of buying food on an international flight, other than alcoholic beverages.

    The staff was extremely rude and acted overworked. Nobody spoke German, of course. Not a problem for me, but for older Germans this is a problem.

    On my second leg of the journey, I flew BMI/Lufthansa to Berlin. LH yes, but once again, nobody spoke German! Pretty outrageous.

  • Ga
      27th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I travelled on business trip on Egypt Air to Cairo and Casablanca from Johannesburg recently. The business class service is sub-standard with no service between meals. They seem overstaffed but pretty lazy. That brings me to my main bone of contention. For a month now my wife and I have been trying to get Mr Ashraf Ahmed, the Johannesburg Station Manager to return our baby's stroller. They had located it but simply refuse to return our property which actually cost more than the return ticket to Cairo. The staff at the Egypt Air office in Johanensburg were blatantly rude to my wife and have absolutely no idea of the concept of customer service. Egypt is now the last destination she will chose to visit again. I have to travel there regularly and enjoy the country and the people, but the national carrier is a disgrace to the good people of Egypt. None of teh South African offices actually answer their phones, so its impossible to trace a responsible senior person to help solve our problem. EgyptAir is part of the "Star Alliance" but it seems this non-alliance has no form of actually assessing or monitoring the performance of its alliance members (they're certainly not partners). I will intruct my travel agent to book me on a different alliance e.g. one world whenever possible.

  • Ho
      27th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hi,
    Today 22nd Sept I travelled on flight 1826 from Changzhou to beijing. I just want to say upfront I am a gold frequent flyer with Thai Airways, United and Singapore Airlines.I travel extensively all over the world.I also live in China and fly alot around here as well.
    This I might say was one of the worst flights I have experienced, not anywhere up to the standard of other star alliance airlines i use. I only try to fly with these group but in China I will do my best NEVER to fly with your airline again.
    The crew were very unfriendly and rude not one of them were happy or smiled and virtually threw the food, which was peanuts only, at all the passengers. For the last 45 mins of the flight all the crew were in the back galley laughing and joking, totally different to their attitude towards the passengers. When we were coming into land they all moved about 5 mins before landing and 3 walked past a lady lying across three seats with NO SEAT BELT ON and not one crew did anything, she stayed like that until the plane landed then immediatly turned on her mobile phone and started talking on it, nothing done again, about 10 or more people were doing this as well, the crew did nothing, then before the plane had reached the gate 60% of the passengers were up getting their luggage standing up, not one crew member asked them to sit down they just ignored it.
    I went to speak to 2 of the crew about this and they did not care at all, in fact when i went away talking amongst themselves they were speaking badly of me for saying anything about this.I can understand more chinese than i can speak, they were extremely rude about me, calling me bad words. I tried to speak to the person in charge of the flight about my unhappiness but he pushed me to someone else of the crew, who told me to contact ground staff about this, I was really upset over the whole matter. If this is the standard of service customers get i will chose other airlines whenever i can. it was a continuation of the bad service i have experienced on other Air China flights as well.If this is the standard you set I will be telling as many of my friends as i can not to fly with you as your standards of service and safety are very poor.

    I hope i get some answers over this .

  • Gl
      4th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have travelled recently on Egypt air from Sharm El Sheikh to cairo and believe me it was a mistake, the take off was the worst and the landing was a disatster i almost saw the wing tip about to hit the ground we were drifting from the runway and it was really dangerous, i had a pilot sitting beside me he said that a take off like that can casue the air craft to stall, and in similar wind conditions the pilot should have choosed to make a cross windd landing but he went for a normall landing, thank god i arrived safe even its 1 hour late but i will never fly wioth that carrier again.

  • Ta
      23rd of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hi
    On my way to Russia, Air China flight CA917 (ticket # 999-4476836058-6) on Dec. 30th 2009 was canceled and I had to travel by car, bus and train to get to my final destination that time, No help or compensation was given. On my way back my Air China flight CA918 (ticket # 999-4476836058-2) was delayed over two hours, on 2010/1/08, I had missed my connecting flight on Hainan Airlines HU7102 (ticket # 880-2111281066) from Hailar to Beijing, and had to book another flight on Air China CA1132 (ticket # 999-3855897352) on the same day. This flight was ALSO late to Beijing, and I missed my Beijing connection flight to Shanghai on China Eastern – MU5138 (ticket #781-3859667046). Then, I had to book yet another ticket on Shanghai Airlines to be able to travel to Shanghai on the night as my original plan – FM9116 (ticket # 774-3861072059). This cost me 2 EXTRA FLIGHT FARES and a totally cancelled flight to Russia in the beginning. Air China agents were also not helpful at all, and refused to put me on Air China or Air China partner (Shanghai Airlines), even though this was clearly and Air China problem. This is unacceptable behaviour, and I demand FULL compensation for the lost Air China flight CA917 to Chita (Russia) plus for two extra tickets I had to buy as a result of Air China flight delays, an apology, compensation for lots of phone calls I had to make (roaming cost) to even be able to fly that day at all.
    Summary:
    CA917 cost CNY 1100,
    CA1132 cost CNY 1250,
    FM9116 cost CNY 1230,
    Telephone roaming cost to book these flights from Hailar and Beijing – around CNY 500.
    I demand to be compensated for the extra costs incurred total of CNY4080.
    Please address this issue ASAP!

    My contact details are:
    Tatiana
    E-mail: tatiana.ltshanghai@gmail.com

  • We
      26th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    i used voyager miles to book a flight from johannesburg/singapore/johannesburg

    i then had to change my return flight from singapore/johannesburg
    saa said they couldnt change it and singapore airlines say couldnt change
    it

    so my question to WHO DOES CHANGE the booking

    Help this is so frustrating as nobody wants to change the flight even though
    the flight class was avalible

    I would and airline to responded to me and tell me how and with whom i change this booking

  • Mr
      19th of Jul, 2011
    0 Votes

    I would like to inform about the situation I faced with during my vacation. Having choosen Lufthansa and TAP Portugal as a reliable airlines, I booked my flights via Expedia.com.
    The current itinerary was chosen because I found it suitable for my schedule. Already being in Portugal, I received an email from Expedia.com as follows:
    We have received notice from TAP Portugal that they have made significant changes that impact your itinerary. We must speak with you as soon as possible to discuss the airline's available options, which may be very limited.
    Having given them a call, I found out that TAP Portugal cancelled my flight from Lisbon to Moscow on 07/17/2011 WITHOUT ANY REASON. Firstly, I was suggested to fly Faro-Lisbon as was booked and Lisbon-Moscow the next day. I was NOT suggested ANY accommodation for a night. For sure, I refused. The agreed option was the following:

    Sunday, July 17, 2011 | duration 3:05 TP 6671 confirmed
    D: 04:10 PM Faro, Portugal | Airport FAO
    A: 08:15 PM Munich, Germany | Munich International MUC | Terminal 2
    Operated by TAP Portugal

    Sunday, July 17, 2011 | duration 3:00 LH 2530 confirmed
    D: 09:30 PM Munich, Germany | Munich International MUC | Terminal 2
    A: 02:30 AM Moscow, Russia | Domodedovo DME
    Operated by Lufthansa

    (In practive, both flights were operated by Lufthansa.)

    This itinerary was not as suitable as initial – but I had no choice. Besides, these flights cost LESS than I chose by myself. NOBODY suggested me to pay back the difference. I was NOT suggest for Business Class as an excuse for troubles and stress you cause me either.

    I have received the link to my itinerary as a confirmation of my flight changes. Then I asked both Expedia.com and TAP Portugal to provide me with a new e-ticket (or at least with its number). I am a frequent flyer and make up to 30-40 flights per year. I know well negative consequences that could happen. Expedia.com assured me that my e-ticket had the same number. TAP Portugal ignored my alarmed email. It was impossible to reach Lisbon office of the airlines by phone ether.

    What happened when I arrived to the FARO airport? I was not allowed to fly and was suspected in falsification of e-ticket. After my detailed explanations, it took over 1h to find out my e-ticket number. Lufthansa and TAP Portugal were refusing from their responsibility and were blaming each other.

    Finally, I came back home but this situation cost him a lot of trouble and the situation I had should not happen to a dog.

    Maria Frolova

  • Ma
      19th of Oct, 2012
    0 Votes

    I was traveling from Berlin to Cairo on Lufthansa (LH 582 on 5 October) . The airplane was very bad, one toilet was not working and closed and only one toilet was available for all passengers. added to that the airplane stopped broadening after few minutes of its opening and they announced that is was due to technical problem. the same airplane had another major technical problem few days earlier. we can understand that technical problem could occur at any time but not with this frequency and what is more important is the bad response of the captin, he refused to talk to the passengers and said that if there is any defect you can complain.

  • Vi
      28th of May, 2013
    0 Votes

    I had an outrageous situation occurred with me during the flight OS No. 064 by Austrian from Beijing to Vienna on May 27, 2013.
    Flight was approaching to its end and passengers in of the Economy were served with the final meal. A stewardess passing by my seat gave me the main food set but failed to offer me the rolls. In the latest moment I touched her elbow to draw her attention and it turned into loud shouting at me, telling me not to touch her.
    I realize it may be annoying for attendants when passengers touch them, and I apologized right away for that. But on the other hand I felt offended with the way I was warned as I neither meant anything wrong nor touched her in an inappropriate way. Couldn’t it be less effective of her just to approach and told me politely about all that?
    Lately the stewardess noticing my depressing mood and probably realizing that it may would have turned for her in troubles because of my possible complaint to a senior attendant went away behind the curtain to the front and came back soon with a man in the uniform whom I took as a senior member of the team.
    I could expect everything but his first words that were: Why did you hit my attendant? The attendant herself in turn started to show a little red spot on her arm.
    I depicted to the man all what happened before but he refused to accept my explanations and told me that nobody was allowed to touch the attendants. The attendant herself didn’t stay silent and spoke loud about her abilities of communicate in German and English. By the moment half of the cabin was entertained by the scene.
    I realized that it was obviously a “teamwork” and there was no use of any longer appealing for the man’s understanding as he was not willing to listen to me and all his speech was just a way of disgracing me.
    I asked if I could know the attendants name for a future complaint and his answer was just “No”.
    Was it a top secret information or just a way to avoid troubles?
    For the second day in a raw I have been feeling depressed by the situation and very much regret of my addressing the famous air company brand representative in that way. But what I still cannot understand is if I really deserved for such a disrespect and humiliation.
    It also should be noted that right in front of my seat there was a young man who seemed to be in close relations to the youngest attendant and they did not much care about other people seeing them hugging and caressing each other during the whole flight. It was romantically nice to observe but it should not be acceptable for a respectable air company attendant behavior let alone the strict “No-Touch rule” I was accused in.
    Victor.

  • Fr
      15th of May, 2015
    0 Votes

    I recently travelled on Singapore Airlines Melbourne to Delhi via Singapore return. I am a member of Air India's Flying Returns frequent flyer program. At check- in i clearly asked staff to note my Air India frequent flyer number which they did. This was clearly noted on all my boarding passes.
    On my return to Australia I noticed that no frequent flyer points were awarded to me. On contacting Air India they told me I needed to produce the boarding passes and ticket and, if eligible, the points would be awarded. This process would take about four weeks.
    It would appear that Star Alliance is a disorganised entity, unable to coordinate movements between partner airlines. Not only is this a bad reflection on the organisation itself, but individuals are being penalised for airline incompetencies. What, in effect, is the purpose of Star Alliance, or any alliance for that matter, if they are unable to coordinate basic functions.
    Frank
    .

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