One of the most notable components of the Lufthansa First Class experience is transferring directly to the plane from the tarmac in a fancy German sports car. I’m fortunate to have done that several times, and look forward to doing so again sometime. On a more recent trip through Munich, I was in economy, and due to a delay, I was worried I’d even make my connection. Thanks to some attentive service by ground staff, presumably part of Lufthansa transfer service, I ended up being first to board my connecting flight.
This isn’t the first time I ended up with a short connection at a Lufthansa hub, and again I am impressed with how it was handled. I haven’t been able to find other references to this service, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience it. The Lufthansa website references Lufthansa Transfer Service, although the site is somewhat ambiguous to access this service.
Additionally, there is a separate paid Guide Service. Lufthansa Guide Service is for those needing language help (besides in German or English) or other assistance navigating the airport. Frankfurt airport is a bit of a maze, so I can see how this might be a good idea. There is also a paid gate to gate service in Frankfurt run by the airport. I’ve had several tight connections before, and at least once in Frankfurt, and once in Munich, I was picked up at my plane, and driven directly to passport control. That was my experience on this flight, but it ended up even better than that.
On this trip, I was traveling from Heathrow to Torino through Munich. My connection was short, but doable. We left London late, but things were still looking reasonable. As is common for European flights, we landed at a bus gate, which would add more time. I made to down the stairs, when I saw an agent holding my name on a sign. There were several others agents for the various other passengers on short connections.
With my one million miles on United, I have Star Alliance Gold status. Still, I don’t think I received any special treatment in this case other than the fact that I had a short connection. There was one other passenger on my flight who rode in the van with me to a remote passport control area. We were stamped into the EU (since we were arriving from the UK, non Schengen), and then taken directly to the next flight. In my case, I was connecting to an Air Dolomiti flight at another bus gate and my van arrived before the bus full of passengers from the terminal. Not bad!
I usually get through passport control in Germany quickly thanks to registering for EasyPass. But in this case, there was no line for passport control at all. Can’t beat that. We entered a room in the main terminal with a single border agent. It took maybe a minute for us to be stamped in. The other person in my van who flew in from Heathrow was going elsewhere. Once we got to my plane, she transferred to another van. All told this transfer took maybe 15 minutes total from arrival until I was waiting to board. That is some German efficiency.
I’ve had late connections into Heathrow (is there a pattern here?) on American, connecting to British Airways. In that case, I was given a pink “Express Connection” envelope which allowed me to cut some lines. Despite the delay I made my onward connection. I remember another delay into Madrid, where I got no support. I rushed to the gate in time only to be told I could not board. Thankfully in that case, I was rebooked on a flight a few hours later, so I had time to shower before my next flight.
On United, I recall a lot of auto-rebooking for misconnections. In some cases that worked well, but others not so much. I haven’t flown United enough recently to have useful data points.