Lufthansa Check-in Desk in Johannesburg

Posted on Monday, May 1st, 2006 at 5:20am CDT by 687c38ea

Company: Lufthansa Check-in Desk in Johannesburg

Category: Other

I was travelling from Durban to Istanbul via Johannesburg and Frankfurt since there is not a direct flight from Durban to Istanbul.

It was a business trip for a global business meeting. The reason why we chose Lufthansa was our trust to your company in terms of comfort, experienced staff and safety.

Before I went to Durban my company and I checked with Turkish and South African Embassies and learned that I did NOT need a viza for the entering South Africa if my stay is not more than 1 month, which is the case.

I also informed them about my flight details. I mean, they knew that I would travel from Istanbul to Durban via Frankfurt.

I went to Durban. I transit from Frankfurt. There was no problem.

On the way back I experienced a serious problem which will prevent me and my company from working with Lufthansa anymore.

I was at Lufthansa contuar in Johannesburg Airport in order to take my boarding passes. I had already checked-in and gave my luggage in Durban.

The lady in the desk told me that I have to have checked my passport first. I did.

Two ladies checked my passports. They spoke each other in a language which I did not understand. I thought it was South African. The the dialog went on as below:

Me: Can I help you? Are you looking for something?

Staff: Yes. I am looking for your visa.

Me: but I do not need a visa for South Africa.

Staff: No madam. You have to have a Germany visa to go Frankfurt.

Me: But then how come I can be here in Johannesburg if I needed a visa.

Staff: I do not know m’am. You need a visa.

Me: Could you please explain why I did not need before. I used similar routes several times and I do not need a visa. I think there is something wrong.

Additionally how come I got in the Johannesburg plane in Frankfurt. They also checked my passport and there was nothing wrong.

Staff: It is not my problem m’am. This lady is duty, she will explain you.

Then a duty came and told me the same things. She claimed that I might use a direct flight from Istanbul. I tried to explain that I did not take a direct flight, indeed there is not a direct Lufthansa flight from Istanbul to Johannesburg.

She was not so willing to listen me.

Then a gentelman came and said similar things. I was still trying to explain the situation and trying to understand their point. However they kept on saying me that I am not allowed to get in the plane.

The gentleman’s comment about my flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg was as below:

“You did not have trouble in Frankfurt when you were coming because they probable did not ckeck your passport. Sometimes they check sometimes they do not. If we allow you go we may pay fine because of that!”

I tried to explain that my passport was screened in the Frankfurt Airport but he was far away from being willing to listen me.

The only thing they recommended me was going to German Embassy. It was FRIDAY EVENING and I had to wait 2 days just for learning what is going on.

I requested them to call Turkish or German Lufthansa desks to recheck but they did not.

As a last conversation I told the duty lady that I have a US passport just by coincidence.

She said “then it may change”

They just had a look at my US visa and said “ you can go to check in desk”.

I do not remember exactly how long it took. I think it was more than 45 minutes.

And they even did not apologize for the inconvenience.

I went to check in desk and asked once more about my luggage with the exact wordings below:

Me: I did not pick up my luggage. It is transferring to the Frankfurt plane, right? Could you confirm that there is not a problem.

Staff: No. Everything is ok. Your luggage has already transferred. Do not worry.

When I arrived at Istanbul my luggage was LOST! I asked for it at the desk and I was informed that my luggage is still kept in JOHANNESBURG due to a prolem with check in.

My keys for my home was in my luggage so when I arrived home I had to call a locksmith service to open my door after 24hours TRAVELLING!!

Now I have some questions for you:

-When I arrived at Frankfurt Airport, I asked the duty police if I need a visa for Germany for just transitting to Turkey or South Africa.

He said “YOU DEFINITELY DO NOT NEED A GERMAN VISA FOR TRANSIT. YOU ARE NOT ENTERING THE COUNTRY: YOU ARE JUST TRANSITING FROM ONE GATE TO ANOTHER”

When I arrived at Istanbul Airport, I asked the passport desk (for 4th times) if I need a visa for Germany for just transitting to Turkey or South Africa.

He said “YOU DEFINITELY DO NOT NEED A GERMAN VISA FOR TRANSIT. YOU ARE NOT ENTERING THE COUNTRY: YOU ARE JUST TRANSITING FROM ONE GATE TO ANOTHER”

And South African Embassy thinks so.

1st Question: WHY LUFTHANSA STAFF AT JOHANNESBURG AIRPORT DOES NOT AGREE WITH TURKISH, GERMAN PASSPORT DESKS ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

2nd Question: ASSUME THAT I NEED A VISA FOR TRANSIT JOURNEY FROM JOHANNESBURG TO ISTANBUL. IF A US VISA IS ENOUGH FOR TRANSIT THEN WHY THEY DID NOT SEE IT AND MADE ME WAIT FOR ABOUT 45 MINUTES UNDER A SEVERE STRESS.

IS IT MY FOULT THAT THEY DID NOT SEE THE US VISA THERE?

THEY REALLY DID NOT SEE IT, OR CHANGED MIND AFTERWARDS?

IF THE DUTIES CHECKING MY PASSPORT DID NOT KNOW US VISA IS ENOUGH FOR THE FLIGHT, WHY ARE THEY RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING PASSPORTS?

3rd Question: AFTER THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED AND I WAS ALLOWED TO GET IN THE PLANE WHY THEY REMOVED MY LUGGAGE FROM THE PLANE. DO THEY HAVE A GOOD REASON FOR MY TROUBLES HERE (I AGAIN WAITED FOR 45 MINUTES FOR MY LUGGAGE, LEARNED THAT IT IS NOT ON THE PLANE, REPORTED IT, I HAD TO CALL A LOCKMITH AND PAID FOR THE SERVICE AFTER A 24 HOURS’ TIRING TRIP)

I have decided to report this issue to my company as well. I have decided not to use Lufthansa anymore personally and for business purposes. So I will inform my company travel agency in order not to arrange travels via Lufthansa, especially to South Africa.


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