When I wrote here about flying on Air Berlin, I didn't realize how lucky I was.
To be clear, the flights in both directions were fine Not bad flights – besides, all I really most care is that a flight lands a) on time, and b) safely -- just that the service was cold and distant. (Flying out of L.A., a flight attendant stood at the door and offered you candy. Flying out of Berlin, there was no flight attendant, just a basket with candy sitting by the door.) There was very little smiling -- unless you were German -- and lots of odd ways of handling baggage at the ticket counters.
But I’d take them again for the reasons I took them this time – direct flight (!) from Los Angeles, and bizarrely low price.
But when I say, "lots of odd ways of handling baggage," little did I know how I lucked out.
A friend just sent me this article here from Slate about an Air Berlin flight two weeks ago, and the result public relations disaster in how they handled it. It turns out that an Air Berlin flight took off from Stockholm...and left all 200 pieces of baggage behind!
"But the company’s best-kept secret—now a secret no longer—is that it is a portal to a strange, disorienting, Kafka-esque universe in which bags disappear or are abducted, and the bureaucracy in charge of locating them tweets bromides at you while adamantly refusing to help."
And it turns out further, from a press release finally put out by the airline before things spun too far out of control from all the media attention, that the pilot knew the baggage was still on the ground. But it was a financial decision to stick to the schedule, rather than wildly inconvenience the passengers...who continued to be inconvenienced trying to rectify the situation.
Some of the comments left on Air Berlin's Twitter feed and Facebook page have been "amusing" --
“Wurde von einer @airberlin Stewardess bestohlen!” (“I was robbed by an @airberlin stewardess!”)
“Service ist Katastrophe!”
“I rarely complain to the world wide web, but @airberlin and @airberlin_US = worst customer service ever."
And according to the article, the airline lost all the equipment of two rock bands last year -- during the same month. The article is worth checking out, if only to see some of the Twitter exchanges. All this aside, the flight for me went smoothly and I loved having it non-stop. I'd fly them again...but I'd do my best to have my luggage all carry on...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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