Itinerary was Boston to Manchester on Thomas Cook Airlines, and Manchester to Munich on Lufthansa. Computer system was down for Thomas Cook. 300 passengers checked in with hand-written boarding passes. Poor communication between airline and passengers. Delayed departure. Arrived in Manchester at 5:55am, an hour late. Misinformation in Manchester about what would happen with our checked bags. We were directed to transfers, only to find out that the hand-written bag tags were not accepted by transfers and we had to exit transfers to claim the bags. This delay caused me to miss my 7:25am connection to Munich. Better information and communication would have allowed me to make the flight. Was rebooked for 10:50am flight but at gate found out it was oversold, I had no "priority" because it was a rebooking, and my seat was given away to another passenger. I was then rebooked for 17:55 flight. I was told that my checked bag would be on it. At the gate for this later flight, I asked about my checked bag but was given no information, and the staff was not helpful in confirming my bag would be loaded. After a 12 hour layover in Manchester (should have been 2 hours), I boarded the 17:55 flight. I arrived in Munich and of course my bag did not make the flight. Effectively I lost a day on my trip, and this was a terrible experience. Flying multiple airlines on a single trip can really be awful if there is rebooking involved, as they don't work together, and neither treats you like a paying customer. I also would advise against flying Thomas Cook. Their computer system going down is inexcusable, and created a massive headache for not just me, but many passengers who missed connections.
It wasn't clear that we would need to pay to check our luggage, especially since every international flight I have ever been on allows you a checked bag at no cost. When we got to the airport it cost us $130 each to check our bag which we were told it would have been around $50 if we had done it online ahead of time (if we knew). $130 per bag is excessive for checked luggage and we were extremely frustrated and disappointed. I like to fly Virgin when I can due to comfort but that experience left much to be desired.
I was pleasantly surprised on my flight from JFK to Manchester because I had read some bad reviews. The only bad thing on my outbound flight was that the boarding pass they gave us made the TSA agent pause for a bit because she had never seen one and it looked homemade. Not that that's an issue, but just was odd. The crew were fantastic and the food was surprisingly tasty for airline food.
On my return flight from Manchester to JFK I was told to weigh my carry on baggage, and it was 11.5 kilograms, too heavy for the 5 kilo limit. Luckily my ticket apparently included a checked bag that I didn't know about, but had it not it would have cost me 65 British pounds, or about $100. What bothered me about it is that the same bag weighed more with gifts in in it on my way over and there were no extra bag fees. Why is there a small weight limit on the way to NY and not on the way to England? I always knew European airlines had strict baggage limitations, but this seemed a little off. They also charged my father 2 pounds for an Orange Juice on the flight back to NY, but there were no such charges on the flight to England. Does anyone know why there's fees one way and not the other? It just didn't make sense.
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