The decision that ignited a passenger “riot”

Airlines sometimes make decisions that generate unpredicted reactions among their passengers.

Such a decision was taken last week by Lufthansa in Israel, and immediately ignited a “riot” of the German airline’s passengers in the country – and disappointment among the many others.

Lufthansa announced that starting in October its 21 flights from Ben Gurion airport to Germany will be carried out by Airbus A321 narrowbodies.

These aircraft will not have a business class, and will lack even a basic entertainment system. Currently the flights are performed with A330s, A340s and 747-400s.

The airline explained that its financial situation is behind the decision, adding that the call was made after long deliberation. The airline said it plans to increase flight frequency on the route from Israel to three cities in Germany.

Lufthansa is the largest foreign airline operation in the Israeli market, and the decision led to an immediate reaction.

The fiercest cry was from the 280 Hon Circle passengers – the airline’s executive members’ club. This group is large in Israel, compared to the size of the country.

Following Lufthansa’s decision to change the configuration of the planes, a group of Hon Circle members met to discuss their reaction to the decision.

As a result, they sent a letter reflecting the feelings of these “super frequent fliers”: “We heard with astonishment about the fact that Lufthansa is changing the plane configuration for flights to and from Israel.

“This “punishment”, coupled with [reduced] benefits, aimed especially against its most loyal customers – Hon Circles and Senators – shows us that someone within Lufthansa decided to start a “war” against Lufthansa’s most loyal customers. We would like to ask you – dear Lufthansa executives – the following question: who is the “wise guy” that made this decision, knowing that by doing this he is destroying a reputation that took years to build up in blood, sweat and tears.

“Hopefully someone will come to [his] senses within Lufthansa and reverse the plane configuration decision. Hello British Airways and/or EL AL – here we come…”

The German airline’s decision was received with surprise in the Israeli travel industry. The travel agents said that in spite of the airline’s financial situation, the decision is “not balanced”.

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