Archives for November 2011

Voting on the future of Stuttgart’s station

Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof - ©iStockphoto.com/AndreasWeber

After over a year of protests, the residents of the state of Baden-Württemberg will be voting tomorrow in a referendum on the future of the main station in Stuttgart.

The project, called “Stuttgart 21”, plans to demolish part of the station and take the railway lines underground.  The so-called “Kopfbahnhof”, a station where the tracks end and trains go in and out of, would then become a “Durchgangsbahnhof”, where tracks and trains run through from one side to the other, resulting in a number of changes to the rail network in the area.

A year ago, the politicians were saying that the project had been decided on in a long planning process, and that nothing could be changed.  Then there was a conciliation process (“Schlichtung”) where alternatives where looked at, and apart from the railway being required to prove that the new station would really bring a benefit to the network, not much changed.

However after the local elections in March of this year, the political situation in Baden-Württemberg changed considerably, when the CDU/FDP coalition, who had been in favour of the project lost such a large share of the vote, that a new Green/SPD coalition was formed to take control of the local parliament. [Read more…]

Lufthansa’s excellent customer service

If I have problems with the customer service of large corporations in Germany, or indeed in some other countries, then I often write about it.

Today, I am going to do something to redress the balance and write about an example of good customer service that I experienced recently – with Lufthansa.

The suitcase on arrival in FrankfurtWhen we returned from our recent trip to Lanzarote, one of the wheels had broken off one of our suitcases by the time it came along the carousel in Frankfurt.

We duly headed to the damaged baggage desk in the basement of the airport and showed them the problem.  They gave us written confirmation of the damage without actually accepting liability, and told us to call a special telephone number once the suitcase was empty to arrange for it to be collected.

We followed the instructions on how to label the empty suitcase and called the number that we had been given.  On the other end of the phone was someone from DHL who arranged a day for them to come and collect the suitcase, and our normal DHL parcel courier turned up at his usual time on the appointed day to do so.

Only three days later we received a phone call from Lufthansa to say that the suitcase could not be repaired, so instead it would be replaced and we could choose the colour of the new one.

That was Friday, and on Monday morning the new suitcase arrived in a large cardboard box.  Not only had they replaced the suitcase at no charge to us, but they had even given us one in the same size from a well-known high-quality brand.

So thank you Lufthansa for proving that there are multi-national companies out there prepared to do everything to make their customers happy.

I am obviously not alone in my opinion of their after-flight service.  You may also like to read “Compliments and complaints with Lufthansa” on Maria Shipley’s travel blog.

 

Christmas Market time!

Oberursel Christmas Market 2011 - RathausplatzYes, it’s that time of the year again – the Christmas Markets have opened in many towns and cities across Germany this week.

Here are some of the links to articles that have appeared on this site in previous years, about the Christmas Markets that I have visited in the past:

… and some vocabulary that make come in useful if you visit a German Christmas Market …

… and a podcast in English about Christmas in Germany

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