The promise is great. Earn your miles on one airline and reap the rewards regardless of the carrier. So when I fly 50,000 or 100,000 miles on United, I should get the benefits on Lufthansa, and the other Star Alliance partners as well. But it doesn’t always work out that way. I flew today from Sydney to Los Angeles on United and got bumped up to Business. But the rest of the flight back to Amsterdam was on Lufthansa. I was told on the phone that I couldn’t reserve a Emergency Exit row until I got to the airport. United has this rule too, unless you are Premier Exec or better. But Lufthansa said it was for all passengers. When I got to the airport I was told those seats are given to Star Alliance Gold members (which I am) and have been gone for a while. So I was stuck in cattle class for 10 hours. Then in Frankfurt the Nazi Lounge guards denied me access to the Senator Lounge. I could prove that I was Premier Exec and that I was flying International on Lufthansa, but I was told that this was a Lufthansa Lounge and that I could try the United lounge several terminals away.
Yeah, I know, some of you are going to tell me that you don’t go to the lounges and its ok. But when you spend 30+ hours on a plane, spending a few in a lounge before your next flight makes things a bit more bearable. You get to unwind a bit, stretch out, let down your guard, charge the laptop, etc. It makes a big difference.
The next day I was on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Dubai and I mentioned the incident to one of my seatmates. his reaction? Ugh….Lufthansa…very bad….no go….