A Lufthansa Purser Accused Me Of Secretly Recording The Crew

Filed Under: Lufthansa, Travel

Given how many pictures I take on planes I guess a situation like this was inevitable. This evening I was flying from Zurich to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. I was in business class for the short 45 minute flight, seated in row four.

Everything was normal, and during the manual safety briefing I was playing around with my phone (which was in airplane mode). Specifically, I was taking some notes in the “notes” app, and editing some photos.

About halfway through the safety demonstration the flight attendant standing at the front of the cabin walked to my row, looked around, walked back to the front of the plane, and then the safety demonstration stopped. I didn’t think much of it. The demo stopped for another 30 seconds or so, and then the purser walked up to me.

“Were you videotaping my colleague?”
“No.”
“My colleague says you were videotaping her.”
“No, I absolutely didn’t.”
“Well we saw you taking pictures before and she said you were videotaping her.”
“No, I wasn’t. Please look at my phone. You won’t find a single video from this flight on here.”

I showed her my phone, including the video and camera folders. There was nothing there. She continued to stand there and look at me. Eventually she walked away. She didn’t say “okay” or “sorry for the misunderstanding,” but rather walked away as if I was still under investigation.

To be honest I felt embarrassed. They stopped the safety demo, the purser came up to my seat speaking loudly enough so all the people around us could hear, and several people were looking at me like I did something wrong. The purser went back to the galley and talked to the other flight attendant for another 30 seconds or so, both of their heads popped out of the galley a few times to look at me, and then the demo resumed.

I was expecting at some point one of the flight attendants would say something, even if it’s as simple as “sorry for the misunderstanding.” They didn’t.

You guys always tell me I’m too passive, so I decided not to be. When the purser served me my meal I decided to say something.

“I just wanted to say that I don’t appreciate the way you handled that situation. I was doing nothing wrong, and then you stopped the safety demonstration and accused me of taking a video. That’s embarrassing.”

At first she was defensive and tried to argue semantics.

“I didn’t accuse you, I simply asked.”
“You asked repeatedly and kept standing there when I said no, it certainly felt like you were accusing me.”
“Well I’m sure you can understand the flight attendant’s concern. She’s allergic to being recorded, there’s nothing about her on the internet.”
“Yes, but I don’t even understand where the confusion came from. I wasn’t holding my phone above the seats or anything. I just feel like you could have handled it after the demonstration rather than stopping the whole thing, if you were really concerned.”
“No, I wanted to prevent problems before they arose.”

At this point I felt like she was just being pedantic. If they thought I had already been recording then they wouldn’t be preventing anything, but rather they’d be asking me to delete, which is the same thing they’d be doing if they asked me to do it after the demonstration. But I didn’t want to be too argumentative (in the US I’d probably be considered a safety risk and removed from the flight), so I took a different approach.

“I can completely appreciate where you’re coming from. I like my privacy as well. You saw me taking pictures during boarding precisely so I could avoid anyone being in them, and if you want to see them, you’ll find there’s not a single person in them. I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy.”

Then she admitted there was a misunderstanding.

“My colleague and I had a misunderstanding. She said you were recording, which I assumed to mean that you were video recording. But she thought you were taking an audio recording. I misinterpreted that. Based on your picture taking at the beginning of the flight, that seemed like the most likely.”

I wasn’t going to argue any further, though my logical follow-up question was going to be what it looks like when someone audio records. One can audio record at any time without anyone knowing. What a silly thing to try and police. Beyond that, if the flight attendant doing the demonstration (and not speaking) is “allergic” to being on the internet, then I’m not sure why she had such an issue with the audio recording she was imagining, since she wasn’t speaking.

Anyway, we had a conversation for a few minutes and ended on good terms. She sort of kind of apologized, and said “if you’re embarrassed, don’t worry, this is a short flight and everyone will be going different ways shortly.”

Did I overreact here? Am I wrong for saying something to the purser after takeoff?

Comments
  1. Ben this is truly shocking. And sadly it also underscores why I won’t fly Lufthansa. Attitude is everything. I really loved your write-up on Swiss, you were very fair and it appears their product was lacking in comparison to many of your other comparable journeys. But I can’t ever imagine this sort of nonsense on Swiss, whereas I can totally imagine that happening on Lufthansa.

    Which says a lot about Lufthansa.

  2. > You guys always tell me I’m too passive, so I decided not to be. When the purser served me my meal I decided to say something.

    Good for you! Love that! I agree with you that she mishandled the situation. There was no need for her to treat you that way. UA, AA, Delta, if you’re reading this, maybe track her down and hire her to be on your staff, she’d fit right in :-0

  3. The fact hat you kept your cool even being wrongfully accused is admirable.
    Though I’d say that the purser final words can’t even be remotely construed as an apology.

  4. Nope, good job. It would have been silly to push for a full apology, because who knows how they would have reacted. When you corner people sometimes they get stupid.

  5. @Lucky very interesting…. I think you did not overreact at all. How the purser handled the situation was certainly not up to a 5 Star airline’s service standard, let alone in business class. I certainly felt like you could have taken it a step further to write down her name and submit a complaint, you would probably get compensated. I would have been very upset if I was humiliating like that, and no apology was ever made. Maybe you could submit a complaint now. Us fans will be curious to find out how they respond 🙂

  6. I think you underreacted. I’d follow up with Lufthansa, although my experience with them is they couldn’t care any less anyway.

  7. “I’m sorry, but allergic to recording isn’t a real thing, and you need to be fired for letting someone tell you something so ridiculously stupid.”

  8. Good for you for standing up for yourself. And that was quite a half-assed apology she offered you at the end of the interaction

  9. Based on the story above it doesn’t sound like she was asking you questions and since this it her workplace she has every right toast you to ascertain that their privacy is not violated. You are a customer but you are not above the laws or rules. Can they be more polite and say something like “ sorry for the misunderstanding, we just want to make sure no video was recorded as we need our privacy at our workplace”. But then again, Germans are straight forward and to the point. It is probably not in their procedure to apolozie after making sure passengers didn’t do something that they do not appreciate or feel violated

  10. If this was on UA, AA, Delta, Alaska, etc…. you would have been escorted in handcuffs after they had turned the plane around…. Lucky you!

  11. Telling you that you shouldn’t be embarrassed because it was a short flight would have been the point where I wrote down her name and wrote to Lufthansa.

  12. You know what would have a been a smarter move on behalf of the flight attendants?

    Do a better job. Put on a show and pretend you’re a friendly, do-good flight attendant. Then Lucky loves the service and returns to his blog to rave about Lufthansa. Lufthansa perception points go up and flight attendants get recognized for doing a great job. All is well in the world.

    Instead, choose to freak out and claim you’re allergic to recording and interrogate your passenger.

  13. Wow, definitely not cool. I would still complain to the corporate office, as even the “resolution” is not really resolved, at least in my opinion. If the flight attendant is “allergic” to being recorded at all, perhaps she shouldn’t be in a relatively public job, exposed to lots of people every day. Let alone the ridiculousness of accusing someone who wasn’t even paying attention.

  14. I think you reacted with utmost restraint. Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of people being pissed-off when they see a camera, especially in public places. We, ALL OF US, are being filmed ALL THE TIME by all sorts of video devices be it for security purpose or other. These people who get pissed-off when they are being videotaped by people like you and I, are hitting on the easy target. They would never think of asking security cameras to be turned off but they will treat us videographers like dirt because it’s easy. If you are speaking to audience, you are in public. Be it on a plane, on the street or at a concert. And if you are doing something uncommon in public, your chances of being recorded are pretty good, get used to it! I don’t see what the difference is for this flight attendent to be performing her duties in front of 120 people or on the Internet. Maybe she should go work in a closed office. Last, people like us who videotape on planes usually do it to point out the positive aspects of specific airlines, cabins or flights. And if we point out something negative, it is a service to other flyers and a wake-up call for airlines who have gotten used to treat their customers like cash cows!

  15. No. You were 100% in the right.

    I’m glad you weren’t such a milquetoast and actually defended yourself. I bet you feel better too.

  16. “if you’re embarrassed, don’t worry, this is a short flight and everyone will be going different ways shortly.”

    Man, that is some awful passive aggressive stuff. Just apologize and say it won’t happen again, and thank a business class passenger for their business.

  17. If this person is “allergic” to being recorded then do they feel it’s their right when they’re out in public every person who is taking a video stop recording as they pass by? The law is pretty well settled on that issue.

    It’s also not clear how an individual employee has the authority to set when or who can be filmed so it’s not clear why the purser gave the justification they did. She/he should have quoted company policy, whatever that is.

    Hopefully at some point we’ll see some court cases that will settle the matter as to whether airlines are within their rights to regulate what can be filmed, photographed, recorded or whatever onboard their aircraft. It’s going to take the courts, or Congress, to come up with rules that balance the rights of all parties (customers, employees and airlines, etc), uniform across the industry, well understood and evenly applied the same as it did with other quasi-public spaces like as shopping malls.

  18. Were you pointing your camera/phone in her general direction? If so, she may have (wrongly) thought you were filming her…

    In today’s everything-goes-viral world I can understand a crew member being prickly about being filmed.

  19. Allergic to being recorded? Is it possible that something is lost in translation here? Because that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while. That poor flight attendant must have a difficult time getting through life. Guess she can never call any customer service line, since those are routinely recorded.

  20. I feel that this would totally happen on Lufthansa. Even when flying in Lufthansa first class I feel that the flight attendants can be borderline rude or at least stand offish, especially to non-German speaking passengers. You were completely in the right the way that you reacted.

  21. Terrible passenger treatment by a terrible airline. This could have been handled 10x more professionally.
    Then again I don’t know why you like flying that airline over and over again. Must be the feeling-special-in-first-class-terminal treatment, because their econ and biz treatment and products are abysmal. I have avoided them for ten years and still have 200K unused Miles”&More” points that I’ll eventually use on other Star carriers now that they finally allow online booking for Star flights.

  22. The purser involved and the FA involved handled this situation VERY poorly. First, unless there’s something in Germany that makes it illegal to record anyone, then it doesn’t matter whether or not you recorded anyone. Second, after being asked, you politely answered that you had not recorded…and proved it by showing there were no videos of any sort on your phone. AT THAT POINT, the purser should have apologized profusely for the obviously false accusation in the first place…but didn’t. Third, after you shared your embarrassment to the purser, the purser again should have apologized but didn’t.

    This is both paranoia and bad customer service rolled into one. The fact that they treated a business class passenger so poorly makes it obvious how poorly an Economy passenger can be treated by some entitled FAs and airline staff.

    As with all things, it only takes a few bad apples to make everyone look bad…but I’d report the purser and FA to Lufthansa so they can take action to see that never happens again. But if you don’t report this incident to Lufthansa, you are enabling the problem by being passive-aggressive: passive in avoiding reporting the incident to the airline, and aggressively taking it out by reporting it here without any chance for appropriate action by the airline or the persons involved.

  23. This seems to be the typical attitude of European (Mostly German) hospitality. I have also been criticized on Lufthansa and told specifically not to take photos.
    Regardless if you were recording or not, the way the purser handled the situation was extremely unprofessional and degrading. If I were you, I would reach out to Lufthansa about the situation.

  24. We’re truly through the looking glass here when you’re able to freely take photos on Air Astana and Sichuan Airlines, and get treated for a criminal like it on Lufthansa. What a shame. Sounds like you handled it quite well and I hope she learned some sort of lesson.

    And I only mention Air Astana because I got threatened with 5 years in a penal colony a few years back after taking a photo of the dried fruit display in the Green Bazaar in Almaty…

  25. You are 100% correct.
    i would have so pissed off and would lose my mind if accused like this. Most likely kicked of the flight

    Send the airline a complaint

  26. I think you handled it well and IMHO an apology was unlikely knowing the German mentality. (Was born there, have lived there, have family there and speak the language fluently.) On a US based airline you might have gotten an untrue apology just to diffuse the situation and end on a positive note. A German typically will not apologize unless they feel that they did something wrong and clearly by her argumentative state she wasn’t under the impression that she needed to apologize…especially if her coworker was at fault for giving her the wrong story.

  27. …”She’s allergic to being recorded, there’s nothing about her on the internet.”…

    WHAT?!?!

    Using “allergic” for imaginary condition (“don’t-want-to-be-record-itis”), she is directly offending anybody who IS actually allergic. That is discrimination and prejudice right then and there.
    Being that she is allergic to the actual recording process of her, she should have known based on her PHYSIOLOGICAL reaction that recording is happening. The absence of any side-symptoms of allergic reaction is sure sign of the absence of the irritant. Did she have an allergic reaction or not?

    Beyond that, how on earth would anybody police something like that? With mobile phones ever so ubiquitous, anybody could be recording anything at any moment without being noticed (audio and/or video). Anybody “allergic” to the recording of any kind should talk to their parliament/senate/house representatives to put in the law forbidding any and all recording of any kind that involves people not intimately acquainted with the record taker. That way we will eliminate all those obnoxious tourists taking pictures with no regards to us, passer-bys. Heck, it will also relieve me of the obligation of taking pictures of my family outside of my household, as I could never get 100% clean shot in any public space.

  28. I never understood the fuss for Lufthansa period
    The cabins are highly satisfactory in First Class but nothing exceptional IMHO
    The food awful for an on board dinner flight.Deeply disappointing
    And in flight hamburger reheated in the air as a dinner entree?Gross and embarrassing
    Hard enough to get right on the ground and a lousy sad choice for a
    dinner entree/main in the air
    The First Class lounge in Frankfurt was impressive but that’s about it on the positive side
    Is it worth flying a slightly better than average airline at extortionate revenue prices with stingy award availability to access a lounge?No
    I met a handful of uncaring clueless team members on the ground who could not explain how to get to the FC lounge or access it.They didn’t want or care to assist a First Class passenger!
    My departure airport ORD using the shared United Lounge was one of the worst experiences with awful customer service and dreadful tired offerings
    They made American Airlines look like Kings and Queens of customer service and that’s saying something
    The Luf culture generally is just satisfactory with some select team members being very good at what they do.
    The number one reason I wont fly them is expiring miles.
    That tells me exactly who they are at heart and what they think of customers and their level of personal greed

    Air crews are paranoid and uptight these days about passengers for their privacy and security
    so its understandable they are on edge with all the crazies out there
    Lets face it everyday we read about another loony tune out there
    If I was in your shoes I might ask permission to do what you do with any recording visual or audio unless your they forbid this and you are forced to sneak around to accomplish your trip reports.But a good communication and cooperation go along way for everyone piece of mind
    and a flight with a supportive friendly team on your side regardless of carrier
    Mutual respect and cooperation first and above all else
    Cheers

  29. You were treated like dirt. If anything you were too tolerant of this nonsense. You should update that tweet with an @lufthansa in it. A healthy Twitter-shaming is in order.

  30. It was an appropriate reaction.
    Just make sure to be careful if you do it on a domestic U.S. flight. We don’t want another Dr. Dao incident 🙂

  31. I think you handled it appropriately, waiting until later in the flight to address the issue with the purser, after the initial confrontation had passed. I’d include the incident in your review of the flight, as it bears on the overall quality of service. Someone from LH will likely read that.

  32. none of us were there so who knows if any crucial details have been “accidentally” left out in *his* version of the incident

    i don’t even speak half a word of German but I love Lufthansa’s friendly FA attitude, so I can’t really tell how much actual grievance was induced from the one-sided post above.

  33. She’s an F/A. Pretty much every day won’t she be going through those airport terminal security lines where everything is recorded on CCTV, and then she gets to stand in the crappy scanner thing that snoops under her clothes and takes X-ray-type video of her lady-parts, which are inspected by security officers looking at video screens in a different part of the building but, allegedly, they don’t record any of that for their own pervy uses. Oh no.

    People can be dicks.

    Nonetheless, it’s good to see exactly why Lufthansa is a 5* airline. It’s behaviour like this that sets them apart from every other European airline in the skies, a model that all the others aspire to follow. Though in truth it just makes your enthusiasm for this airline look a bit odd.

  34. In terms of not being aggressive, on a US-based carrier they might’ve called the police on you if you responded like that…

  35. @henry LAX…true that we only got Lucky’s side of the story since it is his blog post BUT just because you have had LH FAs with “friendly” attitudes doesn’t mean that they are all like that. I know I have had some not so pleasant snappy and sometimes rude interactions with LH FAs. (as well as FAs on other airlines)

  36. > You guys always tell me I’m too passive, so I decided not to be. When the purser served me my meal I decided to say something.

    *applause*

    I think you handled it perfectly. Glad to see you read the comments AND stand up for yourself.

    Mind you, had you done that on United, you’d be unconscious, so handle your new-found assertiveness with caution.

  37. I think it’s been well publicized, but Swiss is an extremely arrogant airline. It starts at the top and trickles down to the rank and file. It’s engrained in the culture. You didn’t overreact and I’m surprised the purser even gave a half-ass apology. I wasn’t expecting one at all.

  38. If you dont want to be recorded get a different job. Im allergic to these snobs who pick up after ppl for a living.

  39. Well, this post should serve as a complaint letter without having to write to LH directly. Hopefully, LH will reach out to you and apologize on behalf of their allergic and accusatory crew members. If not, boycott them!

  40. Officious. Accusatory. Overly sensitive about their privacy. Thinking it’s perfectly fine to publicly shame if you step outside what they perceive as a social norm. Unwilling to admit they were wrong or apologize. These are German flight attendants after all. Stereotypes aren’t always true but they do develop for a reason.

  41. Well, KLM, not Lufthansa. Exit row. I had tissues in my hands. Paper Tissues!!!! May be ten paper tissues folded as my nose was running due to cold. I was instructed to place it in over head bin as it poses danger in case of emergency. First I thought I had something at my feet, but no. She pointed at my paper tissues and instructed me to place them overhead bin. These are the things, like Lucky’s experience, that makes me say on European airlines , “wtf” is wrong with these people? Oh, she didn’t mind that I had a mobile phone in my hand too. That was fine.

  42. You handled the situation very well, they should have apologized immediately after they accused you of it. I find it very rude when someone makes a mistake and doesn’t apologize, acting like they did nothing wrong. If the FA is “allergic” to being recorded she probably should not leave her house as there are people taking photos or videos all the time in public spaces, its unavoidable to ensure no random people end up in photos or videos.

  43. Well done, Ben! As a German I cringe how my fellow countrymen are so rules obsessed. We need to learn to cool it and admitted when we are wrong. Shame on our national flag carrier, Lufthansa. They owe you a heartfelt apology as no one likes to be called out like that.

  44. @ Henry LAX

    “i don’t even speak half a word of German but I love Lufthansa’s friendly FA attitude, so I can’t really tell how much actual grievance was induced from the one-sided post above.”

    Yes, but none of us were there, so who knows what you’ve left out of your one-sided post which is obviously just an attack on Lucky…

  45. Seems like a lot of commentary based on US laws. In Germany, you are not allowed to record individuals without consent. I’m not sure the specifics on where the line is drawn, as you’re certainly still allowed to take pictures in public that have people in them, but you can’t record a specific individual with intent.

    And it’s pretty clear the word “allergic” here is used metaphorically. She didn’t want her likeness online, and it’s hard to argue that as part of her job she needs to accept that. Plenty of people don’t want an online presence, and their motives vary widely, and aren’t necessarily in the conspiracy theorist realm (eg, many DV victims avoid it so as to stay hidden from abusers).

    But yeah, the purser clearly went about the confrontation completely wrong from start to finish. There are far more polite ways to broach the subject, and then to apologize profusely. I’m sure it’s not an easy situation to handle, but it was clearly handled tactlessly.

  46. @Marija.. I’d say that your comment is an overreaction hah.. In Europe the phrase “Im allergic to something/someone” without actually having the physiological reaction is pretty common in other languages too…to say it’s a discrimination and prejudice is a bit far fetched.. Ofcourse I’m not saying Lufthansa handled the situation perfectly..
    Maybe @Lucky could follow up with Lufthansa, I’m curious what would their response be -they will defend the crew for being strict about it but at least they could apologize.Im also curious if and what would they offer as compensation to Ben.

  47. Please write to Lufthansa!
    Some of their FA are really great, but I have also encountered this attitude you are reporting.
    You may not get a response at all, but worth doing so.

  48. Sorry to hear about your experience. Pre-Emirates this was your all time favorite airline. I think you still love Lufthansa more than most.

    Any changes to how you feel about Lufthansa? Trying to understand the power of one bad interaction.

  49. A while back on OSL-EWR a flight attendant chided me for taking a photo of the special meal, which was really good, with my camera. “There’s no photography,” she said.

    For some reason I had Hemispheres magazine open to the page with the section which says “sure, you can take personal pictures on board this flight, it’s fine” and showed it to her immediately as she was complaining.

    She was flabbergasted but not apologetic. “Make sure none of us are in those.” I showed her my one photo from the flight, the special meal. There was no further discussion.

  50. I think you handled this situation just fine. I had an issue with a Lufthansa flight attendant who asked me to delete a video clip I took on board that was simply me panning around to my sister and parents in the seats adjacent to me, where the flight attendant was clearly not visible. I think they’re overly strict, and it certainly leaves a bad taste in your mouth after flying Lufthansa.

  51. You have no idea what an overreacting looks like. I probably would not have been so gentle with her.

  52. Yeah. I live in Munich. People here are really crazy about their privacy. I think the language played a role in the allergic to phrase. Purser definitely should have waited but I would have let this blow over without making a scene.

  53. It was a misunderstanding. End of story. Agree that the situation wasn’t well handled. But in Germany it’s certainly your right not to be recorded by someone. I don’t know whether the FA was a pretty girl, but I can imagine that there are plenty of creepers out there that take pictures and videos of FA without their consent.
    And maybe a note for some commentators: just because your boss pays for Business Class doesn’t mean you are above the law.

  54. Since lucky wrote about this issue here, I wonder what are the chances Lufthansa may know about it and if they will take the initiative to reach out to him.

  55. I flew bos/cdg Airfrance, the FA got angry and said something in French that I was filming her, filming her? I’m filming my seat lady that I’ve been waiting weeks to try out, my wife said put phone away I don’t want trouble with them (stay quiet, enjoy our flight) thankfully she was serving another side area of business so we didn’t see each other.

    After the flight I told my wife go without me (just go) I’ll be right behind you, getting some emails done soon, I sat back in my seat to wait a little until my section was off, I googled how to say in French your not worth the memory in my phone to record then I let out gas that was building up since eating at Kellys just before our flight in Revere, so as she’s finishing up in the galley she will remember to not snap @ passengers
    My wife asked did you say something? Did she apologize? I said she did yes.

  56. Did you get the FAs name? The customer is always right. Even if you get nothing in return, you have been so loyal to Lufthansa that I think you do the airline a service to let them know about this purser. Other people should get to enjoy Lufthansa the way you do, and its unacceptable that she’s working for the airline. You can do something about it. Do it.

  57. Well, they are certainly going to get a lot of bad press because of this issue. And deservedly so.
    I really respect you, Ben. You don’t go into airplanes flagging your “I am a travel blogger” card expecting people to a service which is simply not a standard. There is so much value in doing these reviews.
    You should have made the FA and the purser to apologize you and the rest of people around for the problem caused.

  58. The purser was allergic to admitting an error, even to themself. Instead, they back-rationalized what they’d done in their head and then tried to magically force it to be true by saying it to you. It’s a distressingly common reaction.

    I would never offer to show them my photos though. They have absolutely no right to look (or certainly to make you delete anything), and you’re just encouraging them by even getting your phone back out of your pocket.

  59. Was this interaction all in English? Would it gave mattered? Not in the sense of purser’s language skills but sense of commonality or something?

  60. @previous posters: Europe is a lot less open when it comes to taking pictures/ recording audio/video in public than in the states and particularly if it focuses on individuals than.

    That said, those mo rons on Lucky’s flight were wrong, acted wrong and refused to realise that they were in fact wrong. They can be happy that I wasn’t that passenger. I would’ve addressed the issue right then and there when I was in fact accused of doing something I didn’t.

    #AvoidLH

  61. I would have started filming her from that moment on, just for fun. There is nothing that says you cannot.
    You handled it fine not confronting the FA, but you surely needs to file a complaint for the embarrassing situation you were submitted.

  62. What a frustrating and embarrassing situation to be put in as a passenger and customer.

    My husband and I have had a number of recent experiences in business class on United (not surprising, I know) and Lufthansa that have been rather disappointing. About a month ago, my husband was in business on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Madrid and ordered his meal – he said the choice was between paella and a curry dish (or something of the like), which he does not eat, so he chose paella. He said all those around him ordered paella as well. The flight attendant came back to him specifically and told him there wasn’t enough and that he’d have to have the other option. He had a very rough day of international travel, flight delays, and snafus at the Frankfurt airport, so he pushed back as to why he was being told he could not have the paella. In the end, they held firm and served him a dish he could not eat…and when he went to the lavatory later, he walked by the flight attendants sitting and eating paella, of course. What a joke.

  63. Sounds like you pushed the issue in a fair manner, and you were owed a better apology than you got. That being said, you’re dealing with Germans…I think you got the best outcome possible in that scenario, but good on you for pointing out their transgression to them flatly.

  64. Lucky you are too nice.

    Next time put them on defensive. Ask them if they have a problem because you are Jewish.

    Women have no problem putting men on defensive for no reason.

  65. Oh honey you didn’t overreact! That’s extremely invasive of YOUR privacy. I would have over reacted. Taken her names and sent an email to Lufthansa Service experience. As a premium customer, I always like to make the point that I’m the one flying premium and they’re the one servicing me, that way I don’t get any attitudes from drama queens. Keep doing you boo boo!

  66. I hired two Germans in the last year to work in my business. Neither of them have Facebook accounts and they tape their cameras on their laptops. They explained to me that many Germans do not like to be on social media for privacy concerns. It seemed like an overreaction to me but that seems to be a cultural norm. On the other hand, I follow the super handsome Lufthansa flight attendant, Serkan, on Instagram and he clearly has no issues with his picture being taken!

  67. Lucky i think you handled the situation very well though i would have followed up with lufthansa after the flight i would have filed a complaint or sent an email to them.And if i were you i wouldn’t be flying lufthansa in a while.

  68. “She’s allergic to being recorded”? I’m going to put that one down to lost in translation rather than a medical condition.
    Personally if this happened to me I would be lodging a complaint to Lufthansa. As a well documented premium passenger it’s terrible the way they decided to accuse you of this in such a public forum.
    Now I don’t know how LH does their safety announcements, how would have recording the audio someone released the crew members identity?

  69. This behavior of the purser is a reason to avoid Lufthansa in future. Nobody wants to pay the pharaonic Lufthansa-fares to hear this on board. They could have asked you easily in a more discrete way.

  70. I don’t think the purser and the FA handled the situation pretty well. The purser could’ve communicated this differently and told you after the safety demo was finished thereby avoiding an embarrassing situation. Not only that, she could’ve gathered the correct information first before accusing you of things. I also question why the FA didn’t ask you personally and have to involve the purser.

  71. We heard only his side of the story, folks. Some users’ #avoidLH-hashtags are just simply childish and biased.
    Just browse through the articles here on OMAAT (or any other blog in this regard), and you will clearly see that US carriers take the lead when it comes to unfriendly, unapologetic, and overreacting FAs.
    That said, I do believe though that this situation was badly handled by the FA.

  72. Next time I fly Lufthansa I’ll let them know I’m allergic to coach and reference your story if you don’t mind.

  73. 100% accurate reaction! I feel an allergy to Lufthansa coming on… They treated you like a criminal and for what??? NOTHING!!! I would have been incensed… and quite frankly I am outraged and it didn’t even happen to me. I would have probably made a scene and said “Am I the scapegoat of the week?” or “What’s the next stop? Gestappo Headquarters? Stasi?” Of course, the point is that if they are going to insult you… better to fight fire with fire.

  74. Lucky,

    glad you handled this that way I’m so used to reading about your passive attitude, I think you maybe want to follow up with Lufthansa but that’s up to you but I’m glad to see you defended yourself.

  75. Agree with those who pointed out that laws and cultural norms on photography vary. I agree also with follow up complaint to Lufthansa.

  76. From Canadian point of view: you did have the good reaction. But, like you write, on a US-based carrier, you would have be arrested and a video of you will have make the news….

  77. I have German Citizenship, but use my US Passport so I a not separated from my spouse, and I have to say this is not only a Lufthansa problem, but a Teutonic power trip issue. Have never been hassled anywhere like I have been harassed at German Airports. We actually had to have the staff from Singapore Airlines intervene so we could board our plane after we were held incommunicado from each other for the 3rd consecutive time during the stopover in Frankfurt on our flight between SIN and JFK. And it was all at the whim of some young German policeman.
    By now, I avoid actively traveling through Germany if at all possible.

  78. Maybe they would have preferred an EMPTY SEAT in Business Class??

    The unfortunate thing about being a F/A is that they forget that for many of us, we LOVE the experience of flying and we make much of what they consider to be the mundane.

    I usually enjoy sitting around someone flying for the first time, and I am still amazed at the people who tell me they have NEVER been on a plane.

    I appears nearly unanimous that you did the right thing addressing it. The Pursuer should remember what they say about assume…. “It makes an ass (of) u ? me? “

  79. Another example of paranoid behaviour by flight crew Lucky. Most of them go around looking to be offended. I was on Aer Lingus from London to Dublin when I was ‘handbagged’ by the purser who accused me of filming the safety demo. First I don’t know that there is a law against that but second and more importantly I was simply reading my emails. At my age I have to hold the screen at arms length just to focus on the screen and I did not appreciate being aggressively questioned by this guy whose salary I was helping to pay. Paranoia rules the skys and its clearly not just in the US although I think you lead the world in this area.

  80. ‘It’s going to take the courts, or Congress, to come up with rules that balance the rights of all parties’

    Brilliant, Steve… I didn’t realise that Congress created the rules for the whole world! The lack of cultural understanding in this thread is staggering.

  81. “I had an issue with a Lufthansa flight attendant who asked me to delete a video clip I took on board that was simply me panning around to my sister and parents in the seats adjacent to me, where the flight attendant was clearly not visible. I think they’re overly strict, and it certainly leaves a bad taste in your mouth after flying Lufthansa.”
    “I have to say this is not only a Lufthansa problem, but a Teutonic power trip issue. Have never been hassled anywhere like I have been harassed at German Airports.”
    “By now, I avoid actively traveling through Germany if at all possible.”

    And after traveling through 30+ countries last year (including Germany for the zillionth time since I was a teenager) all the above statements are 100% accurate. BTW Berlin Schönefeld is still an open-air trash can. Possibly the worst airport in Europe, and possibly nowhere else will you feel more deumanized. Just saying.

  82. You should be writing a follow-up letter to Lufthansa… They both need retraining if that’s how they’re behaving. What was the flight/date?

  83. The purser and the FA did not handle the situation well. Lucky handeled the situation well. PERIOD

    Though, taking pictures like Lucky does is quite uncommon. And it is illegal in Germany to photograph people without their consent. Therefore the reaction of the purser and FA is that unrealistic. When you are in Rome do as the Romans do. Since Lucky is a German citizen he should have known that there might be an Issue.

    And, if you hate LH so much please chose the GREAT service of the US carriers in the future.

  84. I hope Lucky find a way to show this write up about your experience and all the reactions, comments and supports you got back to Lufthansa so they may learn to behave better next time.

  85. If you would have put your f…ing phone to the side and listened to the security instructions (as you are supposed to do), none of this would have happened.

  86. Quite lucky you audio recorded your conversations on your phone so you can transcribe them on the blog;-)

  87. Ppppffffttt… ….And Lufthansa has just been awarded as Europe’s only FIVE*****STAR airline, quiet a shocker really, never flown LH, there where on my list, no so sure now?
    I could expect such a thing on easyJet, (who like to think they are Paramiltary Officers).

  88. Not surprised. Have had the best and also the very worst flight attendants on Lufthansa. Your picture-taking probably raised some eyebrows and then the flight attendant got paranoid. Was definitely handled poorly because the attendant should have apologized for the misunderstanding.

  89. Wow…I tought the post is a bit overreacting, but the comments here are shocking!
    Indeed, the FA could have handeled the situation better. But how can you guys be frequent travellers, proud showing 400k miles/year balance and after all that trips abroad not showing any sense of cultural empathy?

    Okay…I saw 2 posts, who realized that personal feelings (and law) about privacy is totally different in Germany. You can compare the importance of privacy here with the value of liberty in US. Basically its illegal to photograph strangers, most Germans will consider you weird when you photograph the empty cabin while boarding, your German seat mate will feel uncomfortable when you photograph your meal. Last but not least: most Germans are quite direct. They won’t compromise their values, because you are the guest. And they will tell you.

    I saw none of the yelling posters here thinking about this. What a shame.

  90. Wow…I tought the post is a bit overreacting, but the comments here are shocking!
    Indeed, the FA could have handeled the situation better. But how can you guys be frequent travellers, proud showing 400k miles/year balance and after all that trips abroad not showing any sense of cultural empathy?

    Okay…I saw 2 posts, who realized that personal feelings (and law) about privacy is totally different in Germany. You can compare the importance of privacy here with the value of liberty in US. Basically its illegal to photograph strangers, most Germans will consider you weird when you photograph the empty cabin while boarding, your German seat mate will feel uncomfortable when you photograph your meal. Last but not least: most Germans are quite direct. They won’t compromise their values, because you are the guest. And they will tell you.

    I saw none of the yelling posters here thinking about this. What a shame.

  91. Did the entire conversation occur in German? It would have been hilarious! You should have recorded that!

  92. As previously stated, it is illegal to record or film anyone without their permission due to privacy laws in Germany. The FA may of felt It was an invasion of her privacy due to your behaviour prior .The way the purser handled the situation was tactless and bluntly German .
    In the great scheme of things , this really is a storm in a teacup .

  93. As previously stated, it is illegal to record or film anyone without their permission due to privacy laws in Germany. The FA may of felt It was an invasion of her privacy due to your behaviour prior .The way the purser handled the situation was bluntly German .
    In the great scheme of things , this really is a storm in a teacup .

  94. Good for you! I’m so glad you stood up for yourself. (My two cents, it’s always a little frustrating when you let things go and don’t let us know in your reviews how the hotel or airline responds to a service failure or complaint).

    I do think the whole thing is ridiculous. Of course you can’t be allergic to being recorded, though I did initially think maybe it was just an expression. I’ve heard the argument that photos/video on a plane is a security issue, but I don’t see how that could be the case unless you’re, say, taking photos of the emergency exit. I get an FA who might not want to have a large online presence for whatever reason, but the way they went about it (treating you the way they did, claiming she was allergic) was beyond ridiculous. Why not just say “this FA doesn’t like being recorded” and then let it go once they’ve checked your phone?

    I also admit I don’t know what the privacy laws are in Germany – my impression is that the U.S.’s are very lax, and most European countries have different. Whoever commented that German laws would apply is correct – the laws of the country in which the airline is registered apply. Still, even if they were going by German laws, the whole scenario is ridiculous – again, they didn’t communicate with you clearly and didn’t apologize.

    I haven’t flown Lufthansa in more than a decade (when that was our airline of choice to visit family in eastern Europe). It was excellent back then (and very good with kids). I guess that’s changed.

  95. In many countries it’s prohibited to film/record people without their permission

    In most airlines’ t&c’s it also mentions that the same in flight is absolutely prohibited

    The crew assumed you were filming without permission and had the right to ask. You agreed to the terms and condts when buying the ticket

    LH may apologise for how it was handled but refer to the t&c’s

  96. I think the LH purser handled the situation right. Full stop and that´s not even trolling.

    1. She stood infront of her of team and not behind, which I think is great.
    2. She confronted what she had to believe was a nasty looking, potentially sociophobic perv, likely uploading motion picture of her FA to the internet and you dont do that by kindly asking, so that´s good.
    3. She climbed all the way down from the Empire State Building and settled that in an amicable way. That´s good, too.

  97. @Flieger, please.

    I’ve lived in Germany and I can attest Germans’ idea of service is … lacking, to say the least. We used to joke when Germans aren’t busy destroying Europe, they’re busy figuring out ways to make each other miserable.

    Putting a customer on the spot like this is inexcusable, and the lack of ability to apologize when you’ve wronged someone belongs on Ukraine International Airlines, not Lufty.

    Consider this: Lufthansa actually bought a 5 star rating at Skytrax. Maybe they should start behaving like it?

  98. Interesting commentary, unfortunately most don’t take into account that the laws of the country you are visiting apply – US law is not universal!
    In Germany, it’s illegal to record another individual without their consent, unless it is a public place (think picture of a market square with people in it). It’s also illegal to publish it without consent. Your photo in this post that has the flight attendant in it would probably be illegal (although you could argue that you can’t identify the person clearly).
    So, the purser was following up on a potential privacy violation, which she is required to do as a manager. I agree she could have handled the situation better and should have apologized more directly.
    I’d recommend to look up local laws when traveling and respect them. And if you are not sure of the situation, I’d ask before complaining and demanding compensation…

  99. Onetime EK flight crew get mad to me and accused me taking photos of her… really mad and rude… the time I saw her all the photos in my phone… all are photos from screen showing the flight path…. she is just ignored me without saying sorry being rude .. I was inflight from DXB to LED at that time…

  100. This is appalling behavior from crew of an airline that you have such a high regard for ( from your previous TR’s ).

    I had a not so similar but relevant experience this morning on Emirates – my son and I were returning from a journey from Melbourne to Nairobi in F and being an 8 year old he was very excited about the whole experience albeit the tiredness.

    Nevertheless he asked if I could photograph him in the suites doing a “Bolt” and I quite happily did (after take off and seat belt sign off) and lo behold ! I was told to take care of my child in first class and how the other 3 passengers who were happily guzzling the bubbly we’re getting disturbed !

    I kind of lost it at this point and made it clear in no uncertain words that my entire family has been loyal to Emirates for the last 20 years, both my kids (5&8) have been traveling First and Business from when they were toddlers and have the ability to Marian the etiquette required for premium travel and a small Bolt pose (without noise, after take off, after the seat belt sign has been turned off) should not p*** any one off!!!

    At this point, shockingly and I am truly shocked- I was told to choose another carrier !

    Those who worship Emirates ( including me until this morning) this is perhaps a wake up call ? – I hope Tim is listening.

    (P.s: this is a post from an FB page that I wrote on earlier but since I found it relevant to this incident, posted it here too)

  101. Lucky,

    Did you tweet about it @Lufthansa?

    Would like to hear what they have to say.

    I love your website and look forward to every new article.

  102. gwayrav – People like you who have these huge victimhood chips on their shoulders are the real problem in the world today.

    Flieger – What nonsense. You clearly enjoy being belittled and have no idea about customer service. I guess you would fit in well with this crew!

  103. Lufthansa once scolded me for being in the First Class check in line. I was shocked and had an idiot-like expression as if I only spoke Zulu or Bulgarian. The lady said sorry when she found out I had a paid F ticket (it wasn’t an upgrade or award).

  104. Please send a report to Lufthansa and I am curious on how Lufthansa will react to it.
    I have a feeling that they might contact you after reading this blog post!

    BTW, this is unacceptable by any means.

    Carfield

  105. Not an over reaction at all. I wouldn’t have even offered to show the phone. She can ask once and if you say no then that is the answer. Repeatedly asking you is absurd. I have found Lufthansa crews to be among the coldest and on some flights they seemed to be rather scatter brained. Even flying in F I haven’t been very pleased with the cabin service.

  106. @docntx I agree I seem to always have some problem at frankfurt airport with security and yet I don’t have any problems at ANY other airport in the world. Having been to airports in 40+ countries that tells me its a Frankfurt issue. I actively avoid flying through there if possible now.

  107. I do an “ORIENTATION WORKSHOP FOR PROSPECTIVE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS” and have a few pointers for the Lufthansa selection panel.:
    Rule no 1 is to select for a positive, friendly attitude and train for skill.
    The LH selection criteria for Flight Attendants is pretty generic, except that education is a stronger requirements than with other airlines. They prefer graduates or post-graduates. Oh, and a ‘pleasing personality’.
    Airlines such as EK accept less than 5% of applicants and the criteria is pretty stiff. Nearly 35% do not even make the list, 25% are eliminated on Walk-in or Assessment day, 20% or more at the interview, 15% in the Psychometric and Other tests.Leaving the Magic 5%.
    Flight Attendants are important to an airline’s image and, apart from being a Safety officer, they are also a Customer Service and Public Relations Agent for their airlines.
    Many of the more senior Flight Attendants become used to the ‘glamour’ and start believing that they are more important than the passenger (who actually pays his salary). This arrogance is apparent in many airlines where the crew are hired for ‘qualifications’ instead of attitude and service orientation.
    Flight Attendants are ‘The Face Of The Airline’ and need to behave as such!

  108. I flew UAL LAX-OGG first class in November. I haven’t been in first class since… well, two decades. I took photos of the lay back seats in the 752 and everything, meals, even the mimosas. The FA working first didn’t say a word. Heck, it was fun! That’s how things should be handled. Flying should be a fun adventure. She was great, even with the crabby older Mr. Wilson type to my right. I would like to think that regardless of what you were doing, the Lufthansa crew could have handled things better.

  109. “She sort of kind of apologized, and said “if you’re embarrassed, don’t worry, this is a short flight and everyone will be going different ways shortly.””

    This isn’t an apology, it’s a slap in the face.

  110. From my point of view it was absolutely correct to address this issue to the purser afterwards. However I would recommend to file a complaint after the foolish replies coming from the purser later on.
    First of all it can be assumed that taking a video wouldn’t have violated the privacy of the FA as she can be considered a “person of public interest” in this situation – according to German law. And YouTube is full of such vids – even GermanWings captains being filmed.
    I would have been extremely allergic against having been put on the spotlight in such an unappropriate way. And you (probably) paid for the flight whereas the FA gets paid for doing what we call air hostess ballett.
    But it is not very surprising that such a thing happens on board of Lufthansa. An AirBerlin purser probably would have said: “please send us some Euros, if you make money with this video – we might go bankrupt.”
    A complaint at this point of time might be more successful as Lufthansa currently has big reputation problems even in the Germany as everybody believes that they misused the situation of AirBerlin’s bankruptancy.
    Good luck and let us know how Lufthansa will react.

  111. Not bad Lucky! So glad you finally said something. Now it makes sense to blog about it. 🙂
    PS. Isnt being allergic to being recorded the same as claiming to be solar powered? 🙂

  112. sorry to say this but I am not surprised by the purser’s attitude at all. This is what most people get on most LH flights because most people do not fly first on LH. Either german thing or lufthansa thing, they never apologize and they think they are always right. I am rather surprised that it took this long for Lucky to realize a more common side of Lufthansa. I have stopped flying them long time ago. Did i mention that their MOST recent business class is 2-2-2 and economy is always only 31inch??? Crazy that they are a 5-stars airline!

  113. You handled that well and I really respect your choices.
    What ridiculous behaviour from the purser and flight attendant, they really owed you a sincere apology at the time and have embarrassed themselves and their airline immensely by both their accusations and poor form afterwards.

  114. To be honest, you made your point and the purser made their point – Basta.
    It seems a bit over the top to say you were treated like dirt and not fair to analyze the exact words of someone not speaking in their native language. As a former flight attendant and North American living in Germany for long time three things to note: Germans are blunt, there are strict rules in Germany about filming or taking photos of people without their permission and lastly everyone flying these days is on the edge.
    Sure the purser could has been more delicate and it was embarrassing, but you left on good terms…

  115. we also use “i’m allergic to this/that/it” instead of “i don’t like it”. usually in a circle of friends… as someone mentioned above, confirm again – it’s a law in germany you must not Intentionally record someone against their wish; it’s OK to be a on a holiday etc. picture/video as a random person.

    I’ve been reading this blog for over 2 years now (yes I did read pretty much all the older articles too), and for some reason I doubt @Lucky is saying something that didn’t happen on his recent LH flight. And even if the LH FA was nice in the end, the situation somehow was still left unresolved.

    Go on Lucky, you finally manned up. You can pursue this further. Oh and yes, careful on the US airliners though, they may as quickly deplane you as you got on a plane…

  116. I think @Ben did a good job by telling the purser his side of the story. But I’m still shocked how the FA and the purser handled this situation. If this is how they treat a German passenger, who obviously speaks German (and who’s flying business class btw), I can’t imagine what would have happened to a different person. In my view, those things actually protected Ben from a much worse situation. So it’s really saddening to see how things like race/nationality/status (even FF status, or lack thereof) can really put you at a disadvantage in situations like this.

  117. If she is “allergic” to being recorded, don’t be a flight attendant. Just quit and get another job.

  118. Good for you.

    I’ve never been much of LH fan esp after very disappointing 1st class flight and nasty rude ground staff. I explore all options before flying LH.

  119. I am allergic to airlines faking 5 star ratings buy buying them from Skytrax, like Lufthansa, Garuda or Qatar.

  120. Welcome to LH group! After your issues with the LX F class award booking, your sobering review of your Business flight from SFO to ZRH, now this. Lucky, this is the essence of LH group.

    From their point of view, it’s all your (!) fault. You mustn’t (I’m using the verb must deliberately) book F awards, if the airline doesn’t want you to. You mustn’t select a ham omelette, even if they don’t tell you ham is inside. And you mustn’t question airline staff, never.

    Now, this isn’t in line with my personal values and probably isn’t with yours. In more than 1000 flights with BA/IB I had one (1) complaint, which was resolved in a civilized way (with an excuse, no compensation!) Out of th last 100 LH group flights there were 92 complaint letters, one of which got resolved with a compensation, the others still pending.

    So that’s why I decided to no longer fly with them. Period. I’m not banned or anything, but I feel less stressed on flying from Zurich to Berlin via Amsterdam (on KL, another fine airline) than directly on LH/LX, despite the connection. But with BA/IB/KL I at least share the same values.

  121. Sorry for not responding to this post, as I’ve been flying for the past 12+ hours without wifi. To answer some of the most common questions:
    — Our first conversation was in German, while the second one was in English.
    — The purser’s English was exceptionally good; while a lot of Lufthansa flight attendants speak good English, I got the sense she may have lived or studied abroad, so I don’t think anything was lost in translation here.
    — I wasn’t holding the phone “above” the seatbacks so that it looked like I was recording, or anything, so I’m not sure what made them suspicious.

    Thanks for all the interesting thoughts!

  122. You handled it correctly at the beginning. But you should have dropped it afterwards. No need to keep it going after it was resolved. I know you wanted some satisfaction, but in this situation (on a flight) best to just let it go.

    Not sure if you needed to take any pictures upon boarding an a domestic LH flight anyway. I am sure you have been on many of them. Not a whole lot to see or of value. The 3×3 with middle seat blocked for J class is well known.

  123. To all the folks bashing the use of “allergic”:

    It’s more of a lost in translation situation. It’s quite common to say “Darauf bin allergisch” (“I’m allergic to that”) to express once dislike of something. The German FA being not as proficient in English probably just translated her German phrase word for word rather than knowing and saying an adequate English phrase.

    Other German idioms/phrases that don’t translate well into English
    – Only the hardened go in the garden – Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten [comes from gardening and only the toughest and most plants resistent get planted in the garden]
    – Push a calm ball – Eine ruhige Kugel schieben [procrastinate]
    – Do an egg dance – Einen Eiertanz aufführen [to tread very carefully]
    – To have a (male) cat – Einen Kater haben [hangover]
    – Old Swede – Alter Schwede [expresses surprise and amazement]
    – To have a bird – Einen Vogel haben [to be crazy]
    – etc.

    Doesn’t make any sense in English

  124. Also – when was the picture of the LH J cabin taken (as shown here). Was the photo from this flight or an earlier LH flight – you can see the FA walking down the aisle. In either case, it might be suspect for someone to take a picture of an empty cabin with the FA in the picture.

    If this was the flight – then I can understand a FA being suspicious when there was lots of phone activity during the safety presentation.

  125. @CS – I understand if you avoid LH or QR, but why knock on Garuda? Personally I haven’t flown on GA, but from what I heard from the people I know who actually have, they’re a great airline with quality service.

  126. @idp5601. I’m not avoiding any of them. I’m just not seeing any of them as five stars as each is lacking in some regard. For Garuda it’s safety record and Jakarta airport as well as service when things don’t go perfectly. Sure there might be improvements but five stars it is not.

  127. @JZ – It’s extremely rude and arrogant thinking you have the right to take pictures of other people without asking. A flight attendant is a human being, not a thing or an animal.

  128. Taking/recording pictures and video PRIVATELY is not illegal, not even in EU (it is in Brazil, but that is not the story). What is illegal is organizations/companies/government doing that. And anybody directly (INTENTIONALLY is keyword here) filming someone else. The most annoying part: FAs never referenced any law or cultural norm, but simply created a scene, invading someone else’s privacy because she did not WANT to be filmed (and she suspected it for whatever unknown reason). The whole incident initiation (even “lost in translation” use of allergic) smacks dab of DYKWIM. Yes, Europeans are much more conservative and consider filming creepy. And no, there is no law against private video where there are non-identified people. German courts even accept private videos as evidence in court.
    Privacy laws are there to prevent abuse of data and identity, not to give power to pseudo-authority to infringe on someone else’s privacy (altough that is becoming debatable with all “terror prevention” measures everywhere). The same German law is very clear that content of your phone is your private matter, not something that FA or police can access without a warrant.

    Accusing someone of intentional video in public is scare tactic, not a protection of privacy. Do we really think that Germans will accuse anybody of intentional filming because he is holding the phone? Even with German standards in privacy and general dislike of online presence, this walks and quacks like power trip. Which is exactly what can be prevented with more transparency.

  129. Bottom line is staff in some airlines, especially the Germanic ones are in way over their stations when it comes to respecting others. It is horrific that these attitudes still pervade within certain people, and even worse that their national airlines, Swiss, Lufthansa and their ilk allow their crew the freedom to upkeep these barbaric principles. Please don’t compare this with the US airlines, who over-react to everything, which stems from poor training in profiling people, and that makes everybody the perceived enemy.

  130. “You guys always tell me I’m too passive, so I decided not to be. When the purser served me my meal I decided to say something.”

    *clap* YAS BEN YAS !!!

  131. Interesting you didn’t write anything about the family that was kicked out of a Southwest flight because someone thought their girls had lice. If you did I missed. This is exactly the same BS. Someone somehow someway think you are ding something that make them feel uncomfortable. WTH!!!!! I am disgusted with the way people act nowadays. Everyone is too sensitive. People are allergic to living a normal life.

  132. Good Lord that poor woman! Allergic? Hopefully she sought medical attention and now carries an epi pen at all times to deal with that life threatening affliction. 🙁
    Endre, I thought I’d fall on the floor laughing! Tissues a problem in an emergency? Need to be stowed in an overhead bin? Did you ask said FA to remove her jacket so you might wipe/blow your nose in the sleeve should the need arise?
    As for contacting Lufthansa with his complaint! That garnered my second laugh of the post! Your are laboring under the belief that they actually give a d—!

  133. Replying to Anne K, love your eloquent writing skill and sense of humour.
    Lets hope this sick dictatorial airline, and it’s other Germanic airline cohorts such as Swiss attitudes, remain quarantined on this side of the pond. The answer is, stick with your own airlines, and freeze them out of international business.

  134. @Scotty: Bingo. Well noted. Few will even dare to write such factual comments. Mercifully my last LH flight the crew in J were amazingly polite, even differential. But I’ve had ones where the ice crystals were literally falling from their piercing eyes. Cold and evil I can tell you. That said, the LH HR department failed in screening the video-adverse attendant. She ought be working in the back office away from the public. I have never ever understood why people who are shy but yet demand to be accommodated by the public. PC disability hire, I guess. At least Lucky had some mode of manliness left in him to address the insult. But never, ever expect an apology from the Germanics. Their way is always correct and just – i.e. you deserve whatever they dish out to you.

  135. perhaps, instead of phone diddling, maybe read a book, or meditate. Germans are quite serious folks. They love work, and they love play. However, given all the real privacy laws in Europe–they take privacy very seriously unlike the us whereby everything is fair game at work, at home, etc….no privacy.

  136. Also, if this were the us, they would likely Dr. Dao, call in the ‘rent a cops’, bash your head in the aisle, and drag you off the plane–american style.

  137. You come across as a creep. I wouldn’t want you taking pictures of me, either.

    Crew was right to put you in your place. Stop making such a fuss over nothing. Put down your damn phone and watch the security presentation, as you were told. Play on.

  138. What absurd behaviour! Ben, you had reacted accordingly and appropraitely. Besides, how could she accuse you just like that? Yet after you showed her your images, she still kept going! Well done for standing up for yourself.

  139. WOW. What kind of an attitude does she have? And stopping the safety video when she could have talked to you after? And embarrassing you in front of the plane?

    Good job for stepping up for yourself.

  140. Lucky…too many comments already but you make me smile: as a Belgian Frequent Flyer using LH a lot both in business long haul and economy….the crew is traditionally arrogant and not kind.
    When I read the comparisons with the legacy US 3…things are different: the policy in US is less flexible and sometimes short sighted, but crew seldom is. So the opposite to LH.

  141. Don’t do it on Swiss either or at ZRH airport. I had a flight attendant wag her finger at me not to take pictures of the crew, which BTW I was trying to take a picture of the business class cabin and not the crew. Oh and one of the employees in ZRH went ape sh*& on me because I was filming in terminal E.

  142. Why were you playing with your phone when the demo was going on? I really do not care if you fly more than the crew and know every plane inside out but it is the flight attendants’ job and you should have stop playing with your phone and show some respect to the crew. I always do no matter what plane, carrier, etc. Just a thought….

  143. Why are there so many inane comments on here?>

    Lucky wasn’t listening to the safety demonstration because he pretty much lives on planes. He could probably *give* the safety demonstration at this point. He’s flown more than most of us will in our entire lives, probably. He really doesn’t need to listen as they demonstrate how to fasten a seatbelt.

    Also, as has been established, very clearly, in Lucky’s post, he was not actually taking photos or videos of anyone. Stop calling him a creep and maybe acquire some basic reading comprehension? He then proved he wasn’t taking photos or videos to the flight attendant, who then continued to treat him as a suspect. I guess anyone who so much as touches their phone on a flight now is suspect.

  144. Hi Ben,

    You absolutely did not overreact, if I were you I would follow up this matter closely and complain further about the handling of the situation, it might be a possibility that they have put some notice on you for further flights with Luf so you might want to clear this out. They have a team of marketing people that will do anything to make sure this is appropriately followed up.

  145. I,m so happy you contested the topic with these daft people manning the flight.
    I just fail to understand how they could stop the flight demo even!!!!
    At the same time I feel you were very lucky not to be on any US carriers as it could have been worse and them might have env offloaded you from the flight.

  146. You do seem to get easily bent out of shape with cabin crew. Video recording the inside of a cabin is a major security issue. It’s why you’re not supposed to video inside a tube carriage, etc. Also, staff are in a very public role and may not be thrilled about winding up on You Tube. Female crew run the risk of being stalked by passengers.

    You defended yourself. The guy backed off. That ends it right there. No one called the cops. No threats were made. I see no reason to get snitty over your perception of the reaction of an underpaid cabin crew member who speaks a different language and has a different cultural background to you.

  147. Alex
    Why is videoing inside a cabin a ‘major security issue’ ? To me it sounds like more of the ‘security’ myth that some people ,usually ones wearing a uniform use to try and stop anything and everything that they simply don’t like. Most of it is total BS. I can show you the plans of every model of every jetliner there is out there…just go to Seatguru for example. Photos of almost every aircraft interior are in the public domain so please where is the ‘security’ issue.
    Trouble is, just use the ‘s-word’ and most people loose their ability to critically analyse a situation and just roll over and allow people in uniforms to control them….look where that got us in 1939! If people quiet all the time they will loose their freedom mainly because they are too lazy to preserve it. Try disagreeing with some airline employee at a check in….if you don’t roll over and stand up for your rights they will immediately call ‘security’ or the police.

  148. Actually, it is quite common for European carriers to have clear terms and conditions relating to recording crew and other passengers in their conditions of carriage. KLM and BA are two clear examples of airlines who do not allow passengers to record crew or other passengers, and reserve the right to deny you service (i.e. remove you from the flight) if you do so. You can actually find this clause clearly listed at the back of their in-flight magazines. While this is hardly ever enforced, it does provide legal ground for this incident.

    Poorly handled by the flight attendant, no doubt, but it isn’t nearly as likely as many here seem to think that the crew member in question was making up her own rules.

  149. I think you handled it very well.
    As @frank said above, Germans and some other Europeans have very “interesting ” rules.
    “Interesting” because to have employees in public places have the “right” to not have their picture taken, i find bizarre.
    But then this it’s the land where even psychopathic pilots are allowed to be pilots.

  150. Hi, just for information. Taking Pictures of other people is in Germany a quite complitated thing. It even interferes with other legislation in some situations as, for excample, security cameras of police etc.
    It also isn’t allowed to take pictures of your staf if not absolutely necessary and every person has to sign a sheet that they allow that picture to be taken. So the reaction wasn’t done well but seen on the law it was quite understandable.
    I found an article on wikipedia on the topic unfortunately only in german. But though I know lucky understands German, I hope it will be interresting.
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recht_am_eigenen_Bild_(Deutschland)
    p.s. as you see, even Candid Camera isn’t that easy in Germany because officialy forbidden. You have to ask befor taking the picture or starting to film. there is only a slight loophole for TV-stations.

  151. When I tried to recline my seat ,the man who was seating behind me was pushing my seat with his knee so I couldn’t recline it. After that i asked him not to do it. He told me that he doesn’t care,and he has not enough space for his leg. I went to attendant and ask them to help to resolve the problem. They came talked to him in german his wife also said something and attendant told me that it seems that i have enough space and i will not recline my seat at this flight.
Then my baby started to cry and the woman behind who is that man’s wife, started to yell on me, pointing middle fingers. She said something about my race and was calling me stupid and another bad words.
I went to the attendants and ask them to help to resolve the issue. The attendant told me that im problem to her crew and she can call the police or even make the landing which is going to cost a lot of money. Then she said go to your seat and VERY HARDLY pushed my arm. I said that its ridiculous and she cant do that to me and that all of them are rude to me unreasonable. I said that im going to complain about that situation and to prove it i wanted to record a video. I took my phone from my pocket and attendant-man Cassle who was the most rude to me started to pull the phone from my hands. My baby was scared to see all of this and she kept crying . I was also very scared. Now i have my arm injured and the spot she punched me is red and blue color now. After that I put my phone back to my pocket and went to my seat.
Then couple attendants ask me to come with them to talk,they told me that the capitan said to took my phone from me. I refused to give my phone, then they asked me to delete videos. I opened my phone gallery and the told me to delet two videos. On this video i recorded my baby when she was eating at her seat in airplane. 
Then me and my 2-year old baby went to the back of the plane to ask a cup of water while the seatbelt sign was OFF. The attendant gave the water and said to sit to the seat and do not walk. I said that the seatbelt sign off and I believe i can move. She said that i have to do whatehatever she says me. 
After that i went to the toilet with my baby and the told me again that i have to take the seat and that im not listening to them and they will most likely call police in Munich. I tried to asked them what i did? I didnt touch anyone on the plaine I didn’t even said a bad word. Whats the problem i cant understand. I said that I don’t understand what the problem is and in my opinion they are taking that man side because he talks german and probably explains the situation falsely. And I don’t understand what they are saying. 
Also when i asked the attendant again to talk to the guy who is sitting behind me. She told me that he is not a guy but gentlemen! I asked her whats wrong with the word guy and she just ignored me and started to talk to that man.
After all of this whenever i tried to ask for attendants for help thy just ignored me. 

While i was writing this, my baby was crying because she wanted to sleep and she couldn’t because that man kept pushing the seat she was sitting on. and women who seats 46 ?ed , who is his wife, trow the blanket to my baby’s head. She hurt my baby. I call attendant and ask to talk to the woment. She talked to her in german smiled and went somewhere. I really don’t understand what’s going on and why they are so rude and unfair to me. My sister and my niece were witnessing all of this. They are also shoked.

  152. Airlines are in the travel biz. There are people who actually travel for fun. If LH doesn’t want people to travel with them, then by all means they can be offended by stills and videos and fly around with empty seats for all I care… Some pax like to even edit their travel videos to show to their friends and family. BTW, it’s LH’s privilege to have me on their flights, not my privilege to fly them.

  153. It’s the new world EVERYONE wants to feel offended out everything especially if you get near an airport….check in staff, security, on board. They can be rude lazy incompetent and wrong but one word of criticism from the people paying their salaries and its the good old ‘call security’ response. A plague on all of them its pathetic.

  154. You just experienced the regular Lufthansa arrogance. And since thye got a 5th star at Skytrax, it got even worse. I didn’t know it was possible but it is. Lufthansa is a lousy and arrogant airline. Avoid them if possible.

    It would even be more interesting if you sent a complaint. If you ever get anything back, it’s probably among the lines of ‘we’re sorry to se that you have an issue, but it’s entirely your fault.’ As said, the trademark Lufthansa arrogance.

  155. Das ist wirklich typisch Lufthansa und auch typisch Deutsch. Sie haben richtig gehandelt. Ihr Blog ist super app. Danke für die Reviews – als öfters Langzeitflieger helfen sie mir bei der Auswahl von Fluggesellschaften. Ich habe immer das Gefühl bei der LH: es ist entweder gut bis sehr gut, oder komplett schlecht.

  156. I don’t think you overreacted. At all. In fact, I’d have written in to Lufthansa about this idiocy.

  157. Fishing for compensation, upgrade, gold star level – dear Ben? Just breathe some oxygen!

  158. classic Lufthansa… I’m also trying to avoid them.
    Last time I flew them on coach, on EWR-DUS (my favorite aircraft, the A340-600), after the few bites they call “5 star dinner”, i asked the FA if is there any way they could have any snack or something more to eat. She quite loudly said: “you just had dinner! No”. It was very humiliating (It was a full flight, I was traveling alone, strangers were all around me, and she really replied loudly, so everyone heard it). Also I am a bit overweight, so I felt really bad after these words.
    Later on that flight when I went down to basement to use the toilette, I had to wait (all lavatory were occupied), and the same FA came by and told me I can’t hang around that area, I need to go back to my seat.
    She really was talking to me like and angry mom to a 4 year old kid.

  159. When you step onto an aircraft you may be in a public space but you are on THEIR aircraft meaning you abide to their rules ,if they wanted to kick you off the would have in the snap of a finger. Sucks but that’s the way it is.

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