HON - minor musings...

Old Apr 9, 08, 5:33 am
  #1  
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Unhappy HON - minor musings...

Don't know if it's just me, but I somewhat have the impression that HON is slipping...

Had two flights recently (intra-Europe) and since the load was light asked for seat blocking. Ended up in both cases with a fellow traveller next to me. In the first case we were the only ones in C, in the second case I moved to the rows way back, which were all empty.

Apron position yesterday evening in FRA. No car. Not that I mind, but it would have been handy this time as I wanted to meet up with somebody at the FCT... 20 minute sightseeing instead and drop-off at Schengen B with another 20 minutes for the transit to the FCT.

Had to wait for one hour today to get my luggage in JNB as HEL did not sticker the HON tags on them. (In JNB they hand-pick the luggage and put it on the belt first...)

Had some unpleasent and incompetent dealings with LH / LX in CAI recently when eralier on rearranged a full-fare C from transit MUC to transit FRA through the HON line...

Often get called in the FCT in the last minute and am then expected to jump on immediate notice

Seat reservations seem to go all over the place, profile doesn't seem to be consultated any longer

Somehow the attention seems to slip and the service seems to be more and more casual...

On board is a hit and miss... Can be very nice and attentive and can be completely ignorant.

There was a time when the whole experience was seemless, now there seem to be more and more - minor - hickups...

Somehow I am wondering...

JNBHEL
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Old Apr 9, 08, 5:55 am
  #2  
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Come on you other HONs, let the argument begin. . I will go to the SEN lounge and watch the proceedings.
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Old Apr 9, 08, 6:11 am
  #3  
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If I know about the problem with the baggage in JNB I would be extra careful that I get the HON stickers on my bags. Maybe even carry a few with me in case the check-in has none ready (especially the outsourced ones or when checking in with another carrier than LH).

Service slipping? Maybe... !

But ask us SEN's whats happening to our status and privileges

Last edited by skywalkerLAX; Apr 9, 08 at 8:21 am
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Old Apr 9, 08, 7:49 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by JNBHEL View Post
Don't know if it's just me, but I somewhat have the impression that HON is slipping...
...
Somehow I am wondering...

JNBHEL

Had two flights recently (intra-Europe) and since the load was light asked for seat blocking. Ended up in both cases with a fellow traveller next to me. In the first case we were the only ones in C, in the second case I moved to the rows way back, which were all empty.
>>> I was told once, that seat blocking is an IT thing and can not be requested by any human. If so, we are dealing with the IT guys, so what do you expect?
Can not really comment, if it works or not, since most of my flights are at prime times and fully loaded anyway. However, I have a free seat next to me now and then.

Apron position yesterday evening in FRA. No car. Not that I mind, but it would have been handy this time as I wanted to meet up with somebody at the FCT... 20 minute sightseeing instead and drop-off at Schengen B with another 20 minutes for the transit to the FCT.
>>> So far I had only one failed car service, means they forgot my name on the sign. I did show the driver my card and was entitled to enter the van. Other than that I could even arrange upon FRA departure for a companion (when travelling with me) for the expected arrival pick-up. Worked like a charme so far. I was never unloaded at Schengen B, always Schengen A or Non-Schengen B.

Often get called in the FCT in the last minute and am then expected to jump on immediate notice
>>> Never had that. Sometimes it is vice versa and they call to early, but in 8 of 10 cases the timing is okay.

Seat reservations seem to go all over the place, profile doesn't seem to be consultated any longer
>>> Can not comment on that, since my requests depend on aircraft type and time of day. So I always book the seats individually.

Somehow the attention seems to slip and the service seems to be more and more casual...
>>> I had the same impression last year, but somehow thought that service improved back to expectation since late last year.

On board is a hit and miss... Can be very nice and attentive and can be completely ignorant.
>>> Agreed for the short jumps, but I don't care and prefer they do their service rather than holding small-talk with a few.
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Old Apr 9, 08, 9:30 pm
  #5  
 
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I am with you! I am especially disappointed about the faded express service through immigration in the US, which was really an added value. Cannot comment on checked luggage since I haven't done that for a loooooong time (much to risky, doesn't matter if your HON or not). In total the service is still pretty good most of the time, but I agree that sometimes it feels like everything is getting the touch of an old-samo-samo-routine.

My wishlist for the the months / years to come:

1. Bring back the VIP-Service through imigration at arrival
2. Transfer direct to the FCT from the apron after arrival rather than having to get out at a bus stop at either A or B
3. Change the menues at the FCT and Lounges once in a while (it tastes all great, but it gets boring after 2 1/2 years)

cheers
HON_Hunter
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Old Apr 10, 08, 2:28 am
  #6  
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i think i is clear and has been discussed frequently that HON circle performance is becoming worth and LH seems to do nothing against it. starts with a more and more dirty FCT, attention of Do&Co people missing, van drives to the airplanes and no mre recognition in he air.
reason: too many HONs.
so LH should either make sure it can handle the high number of HONs or just make it harder to become HON.
i really fear they will even cut down service more.

after all, HON service is still better than most of what you can get from other airlines ... .)
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Old Apr 10, 08, 2:29 am
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Yes, I also think the service is not as good anymore. Especially on intra European flights it is more miss than hit. On domestic you are now one of many. Longhaul is still the closest to the beginning (in C I still get the wine/cheese from F if I ask for it ;-) - and for domestic/European flights I don't care at all.

I also agree that the service in the FCT is no slowly getting better - when they changed the staff (I think the maximum time allowed is 2 years) it was really, really bad - and the menu becomes really boring as they seem to have only 15 dishes or so they rotate through the year spiced up by some special themed menues.

Most disturbing is the change of quality at the HON hotline. Generally the German number is ok (with some exeptions) but the ones outside are useless, especially the UK one. Often they even don't know about the 24 booking guarantee, they send you booking confirmations and later cancel (!) the flight with out telling you because they made a mistake in fare calculation...

Not to to start the discussion about the crowded FCT and the waitlist for the showers in the morning...

Regards

IKA-HON
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Old Apr 10, 08, 2:46 am
  #8  
 
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I am connecting in FRA regularly. And just as regularly cars don't show up and I receive lukewarm letters of apologies ("no cars available", "other HONs with shorter connects", "connection was also delayed anyway"). And this goes on: Luggage is on the belt in the last third, no PAs, no seatblocking (I had a half full plane and was the only one with a seat neighbor on a Canadair jet in Eco).

I agree with SleepOverGreenland, longhaul is way better than intra-Europe (forget your status on Cityline, you can just as well use BA). Seems like the whole program is geared towards that.

I will requalify until 2011 but I definitely won't after that. I found the letter from Mr Antinori ridicolous, trying to sell the cut from 50% to 25% Exec Bonus with "improvements in service quality".


Christian
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Old Apr 10, 08, 3:11 am
  #9  
 
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Interesting topic, and let me start with one statement:
whatever the service is today, i fear the day that i will fall back to SEN, as in general, the offerings for HONs are still outstanding and keep me loyal.


Now to be on topic, my observations:

reservations:
Hotline always works for me, not a single exception so far, that applies to me for both LX and LH Hon line. They quickly answer the phone and in general are competent and helpful.

Lounges:
give me the FCT at anytime. It is full at times, yes. But the same goes for Munich. The food is still great and I have no complaints about FRA, I simply love the Do&Co stuff, which is much more quality than the LSG stuff in MUC. MUC is good quality but nothing outstanding. The whole experience is...how can i put it....everything is there but it lacks imagination, phantasy and presentation. it is great to have octopus as a starter, yes, but if it is the stuff that is premarinated and they only empty a jar of that stuff into a serving dish...hmm....i pass....same with i.e. the filled peppers, all nice but i can get the same at any supermarket. FRA however, for most parts is really fresh and quality stuff.
ZRH is nothing to write home about. Nice interior, nice view, but the whole restaurant/buffet concept I dont get. Plus at odd times of day all you have is nuts and coffee.
GVA is even less, but I guess good enough for the amount of passenegers and considering it is mainly departing and no transit.

Pickup time for transfer to the aircraft:
either on time or a bit too early, but in a complex environment such as FRA and MUC it is good enough for me. BTW, i dont mind the van but heard that there had been stand-offs in FRA with HONs refusing to be taken in a van (bus)...oh dear...

on the ground:
I have given up to understand when i am supposed to be picked up and/or sent to the aircraft by limo, but I take it as a nice surprise. MUC seems to work perfect, FRA is a bit of a hit and miss. ZRH and GVA I dont even know what the standard is.

in the air:
seatblocking works for most parts on LH flights, as long as i am in the first rows in economy cabin. apparently only the first three rows allow for seatblocking, at least that is what i was told in MUC.
It doesnt work for LX flights. in fact on LX it more often than not is the back of the bus. And neither does it work for LH Regional flights.
MdC in 9 out of 10 cases comes to me to introduce him/herself and in 5/10 I even get an upgrade. On LH it would be 3/10 that the Purser takes notice and 1/10 that i get an upgrade. On LH Regional, i have yet to experience a cabin crew/purser to take notice of me (not that i need it, but I am not sure if they have the same training or if they are supposed to introduce themselves).

preseating/profile:
apparently, HONs get auto checked in, and lately I noticed that this no longer corresponds with my profile (Window), in addition, somehow, the earlier the check in, the more often i end up in the back, which then manually gets changed.

Again, it is overall a bit deterioating, no doubt, and LH (or M&M) should work on delivering consistency, however, once in a while, bring a coworker to the FCT and see her/his face....like a child staring at a christmas tree!
We are all whining and winging on a very high level, and my the day never come that i dont requalify. Frankly, if you fly that much but just not enough to qualify, you will really miss all the nice little goodies.

happy moaning...,
yapak2
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Old Apr 10, 08, 4:18 am
  #10  
 
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Nice topic, so here we go... my 2 cents

Over all experience:
very good so far, most of the services work and I am a happy bunny most of the time

reservation/seat blocking:
works like a charme. Regardless where flying to.

HONline:
the easy ones foreign HON lines can answer and deal with, too, but the german HON line is really outstanding in 95% of cases. Charming, professional, efficiant - the way I really like it to be.

Lounges:
FCT is avoided since it is simply getting too packed. No wonder that the experience of the beginning is gone with degradation in personal service. But if FRA can not be avoided, there are FCLs elsewhere in FRA as well (but don't tell the others, otherwise it will be packed soon as well )
FCT limo to plane: the timing had been okay, mostly too early as I hate to wait longer than necessary on board. One of the last times we were that late that they had to re-attach the finger, re-open the door - but we still were on time at destination.
Totally happy with MUCs FCL and really happy when comparing to sitation and service in FRA
ZRH has to grow in service, and hope they are on their way. Last time they had on-site training by german based LH staff - hope they achieve the improvement necessary to catch up a bit.

FRA, as I heard and had been mentioned here previously, is working on how to set up the direct service from apron to FCT. Not an easy one, as it seems. LH and Fraport have to work on..

We seem to really enjoy the high standard of HON service, looking at other airlines Top Tier service is mostly not worth comparing. When having guests with me when flying, enjoying lounges and limo service, they feel impressed and enjoy the service so much. Maybe we should try to step back and enjoy service rather than looking too much at minor details.

LH has to watch out that service will be maintained at a certain level - and if they fail more and more, we should make them aware of, no question about it.

Happy flying ^
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Old Apr 10, 08, 4:18 am
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Originally Posted by berenike View Post
I will requalify until 2011 but I definitely won't after that. I found the letter from Mr Antinori ridicolous, trying to sell the cut from 50% to 25% Exec Bonus with "improvements in service quality".
I agree, that letter was a shame. But it triggered me to report each and every inconvenience since then. Before that letter I didn't care about minor or even moderate lack of services. Due to that letter of shame my expectation is high and my level of patient understanding has been significantly lowered. Whenever I report bad service now I mention that shame letter as introduction and main reason for my report.
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Old Apr 10, 08, 5:07 am
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Originally Posted by SleepOverGreenland View Post
I agree, that letter was a shame. But it triggered me to report each and every inconvenience since then. Before that letter I didn't care about minor or even moderate lack of services. Due to that letter of shame my expectation is high and my level of patient understanding has been significantly lowered. Whenever I report bad service now I mention that shame letter as introduction and main reason for my report.
so what is LH´s response in these cases?
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Old Apr 10, 08, 5:16 am
  #13  
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I'm only HON since last year, so I've never encountered the good old days. But I'm not really overwhelmed with the features of the program.

The actual benefits while really nice are few:
  • the D class booking guarantee comes in very handy
  • the FCT and FCL are very nice. Especially in MUC as I now happily take the train there with a longer margin and just work there instead of at home for an hour ot two
  • The HON line is another tad better than the German SEN line

But that's about it. I can't remember anyone going the extra bit, e.g. no bending of ticket restrictions when that means getting around a weather or similar delay, no waitlist clearing of Z fares, etc.

Also as mentioned a few times I never got a PA service and I never got an invitation to one of the infamous events. Also I might get into nitpicking here, but the free newspaper and magazine selections in Austria are quite bad compared to the ones in Germany Yeah, I just go my own for a few bucks, but it's sad we're treated different from people a few dozen miles north..

And all the snail mail spam I get in HON Circle envelopes is indeed rather annoying, especially as I have mentioned in my profile that I don't want anything from "partners".

Last edited by hch; Apr 10, 08 at 5:24 am
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Old Apr 10, 08, 5:20 am
  #14  
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Oh and as everyone is talking about the FCT in FRA: While I never found it crowded services has always been quite sub-par. MUC otoh has perfect service and contrary to the others I prefer the food there too. Maybe FRA has slightly higher quality but I much prefer "Hausmannskost" over all the pseudo-exotic schmug in FRA. The menu in MUC also changes more often and they actually have more choices available than printed on the menu!

Generally I'm quite happy with the HON benefits as I get them, but it definitively doesn't live up to the hype created around it.

Last edited by hch; Apr 10, 08 at 5:25 am Reason: remove quote
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Old Apr 10, 08, 5:49 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by yapak2 View Post
We are all whining and winging on a very high level, ...happy moaning...,
yapak2

A quick comment on that - it was LH that set the level that they wanted to be measured against with the introduction of HON and thus creating certain expectations - though since then many parts have headed in only one direction - the wrong one.

There are parts which are still fantastic - but I feel more and more punished for wanting to enjoy these certain parts.

Cheers

Thomas

Last edited by tcswede; Apr 10, 08 at 5:55 am
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