Yesterday, 14 of June was my birthday.
I believe that it was the saddest birthday I had, and that is all Lufthansa’s fault.
To make you understand the situation, I must first tell you about my dog and the special bond that connect us.
I admit, I bought Molly not because I wanted to, but because my wife, girlfriend by the time, pressured me immensely into buying one and so the little puppy came into my life. A selfish and boring life I had.
Walking up late, having just a coffee for breakfast and running to work. Same routine every day.
And so the little border collie arrived.
I had all reasons to hate her! She ate all my video games controllers (twice), destroyed every chair, wood footer and even the wall she managed to eat.
But no. Since the first moment our eyes made contact, the single selfish man had died
Now I wake up every morning to play frisbee. No leash is necessary because I am her universe. Doesn’t matter if there are other dogs, kids or anything around, Molly is always looking for me.
Even at home, she is always looking for my eyes, as if she is trying to understand what I am thinking.
What I have done to be awarded with such devotion and trust? I don’t know, but I always tried to pay back this unconditional love.
On 11/06/2015, I have failed her trust in the moment I sent her in a box to Lufthansa.
My wife is now living in London and we believed that Molly would be much happier living in England then in Brazil, so we decided to send her there.
We hired a company called Flying-pet to prepare all procedures to accomplish this decision. I had just an task: Deciding which cargo company I should hire for her flight.
When I fly, I always decide on which company to choose based on price. The lowest price wins! In Molly’s case, it was completely different. I had chosen one of the most expensive ones: Lufthansa.
Why? Because I love my dog so much that I cannot take any risk. Because I know the journey will be stressful so I would pay anything to make this path as painless as possible.
So the day of her travel had arrived. I drove Molly myself to the cargo terminal at the airport in São Paulo, put her in her box, and hoped that her smart eyes couldn’t catch the emotions I was trying to hide. Sadness and worry.
My heart had broken twice. The moment the cargo staff picked up the box and when the box had disappeared from my sigh. The last time her smart eye made a connection to mine.
Then I collapsed. I am not a man that cries easily, but I did. Not shame in telling that. I cried like a baby.
On my way home, I was trying to convince myself. “It is okay, everything is gonna be alright, you have paid the most secure air company in Europe”
OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH MOLLY???
I am so sorry Molly… I really am…. I didn’t know.
She was supposed to arrive in London in the next day at 4:00 PM São Paulo time. My wife hadn’t called me yet. Something is wrong. I called her.
“Molly was not on her flight to London. Lufthansa had lost all her papers, they are looking for them and they will send her on the first next flight today”, she said.
The world didn’t collapse. I believe errors cannot be avoided, even for a huge air company. I trusted the company would quickly find this documents and send her as fast as possible.
I tried to get the phone number of where Molly was located with Lufthansa Cargo offices in Brasil. Dead end there. Basically it is easier to get water in the desert than information from the manager who picked up the phone.
I got the number through the company page on Facebook, contacted them and they sent a message explaining the situation.
I called the Animal lounge in Frankfurt, where I was told they were sorry, Molly was fine and they were looking for the documents.
The company did not find the papers. Molly would not fly this day anyway. My dog would have to spend a night in Germany, in a kennel, with strangers, alone.
Saturday morning. It seems that Lufthansa had not only lost the documents, but also the hope to find it too.
A new strategy was going on. They were trying to talk with the inspectors in the London Airport to get authorization to export Molly only with document copies.
I spent all day calling to the Animal Lounge in Frankfurt looking for news about this negotiation. The answers were always the same: We are waiting for London’s decision on either accepting the copies or not.
At one moment I asked them: “What would happen if they say no?”.
“We should not think about that possibility” was his answer.
At 1:00 PM (São Paulo) after I called Lufthansa (again), I received the most disturbing news: London had answered no.
Do you know the solution they gave for the NO scenario?
Sorry, we have done everything we could.
You should look for a new document with you vet or talk with your English broker, because we cannot do anything else.
How can a company that failed and committed such a negligence answer that?
How does a 89th year old airline company, one of the biggest organizations in the world, believe that a single Brazilian IT-developer has more power to solve airport problems then themselves?
How can my wife and I sleep, when there is no hope to see this problem solved?
How could I trust so blindly in a company image? That tradition means trust? That size means competency?
Since it is obvious that there is a lack of creativity to solve problems, let me try to give some options:
- Place in mind that a Pet it is not a CARGO!!! There are a lot of feelings, emotions, history in every relation between an animal and a human.
- Lufthansa is a big company? Use your size to solve your problems. Make connections, if you can’t solve them by yourself, scale the situation.
- Keep in touch. Give feedback! Since all this problem had happened, do you know how many calls I received? ZERO!
- Documents are huge pillars in your business model. Take it seriously.
- Watch the cameras, track down all the possible moves of this document. FIND IT!If there is a scenario where a NO is a variable, create a process to deal with that.
- And finally, a lesson that I shouldn’t be giving since it is one of the most valuable lesson that all children should have learnt. BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS! You lost my documents? Deal with that. Resolve it. I shouldn’t be writing this to a 89 year old company, but here goes: Grow UP!
Today, after 4 days we managed to solve the problem. My wife was the great heroe here. She managed to get the authorization from the British authorities by herself and send it to Frankfurt.
And I have to thank all Lufthansa staff at the Animal Lounge. They were really helpful and sensitive about the situation.
But it was stressful. Really long and hards days of worries, sadness and sleepless nights. For that I unfortunately also have to thank Lufthansa Company!