Q – We were assigned a three and a half-hour layover in Frankfort on a cruise we booked online that is due to depart in three weeks. Now, it turns out that the United flight we were promised is being flown on a Lufthansa airplane.
My wife and I are booked in an Oceania Suite and I am extremely upset about this air schedule to Venice. Who can we speak to at this point. I know you will likely pooh-pooh this question because I booked it online but I can tell you that my wife is traveling completely free except for her air cost so it was a pretty great deal. Just found this site and don’t know if you answer such questions.
A – Thank you for your charming note. Of course we will respond as you have raised questions we see rather frequently. You are booked on a code-share flight. United and Lufthansa are partners. Of the two airlines, Lufthansa is somewhat higher-rated so be thankful for small blessings. In Frankfort you will be going through both passport control and security even though you are just “In Transit”. Frankfort is an airport that does its best to destroy the myth of German efficiency so a three-four hour connection is what we normally recommend to our cruise guests. While it is true that a two-hour connection can usually work at virtually any European Airport, that would place pressure on you if your flight was delayed. But, quite frankly, we are more concerned with your luggage missing the connection. Starting a cruise without luggage is really stress-inducing and think how badly it would make your suitcases feel. It is best to enjoy the extremely high quality coffee and strudel available in the Frankfort airport. We think your basic assumption may be wrong. It is highly likely that you got this excellent flight connection specifically because you are booked in one of Oceania’s premier suites. We do suggest that you have your online agent arrange for flight monitoring service for this trip. We are going to send you a report that explains how cruise line air programs really work with a number of recommended strategies.
As to your wife’s “Free” Cruise. Oceania has featured “Two-For-One” Fares with a 50% reduction for each guest off the published or List price of the cabin for some time. That can be packaged by an agency as a “Free” cruise for the second guest if the first guest (you) pays the full fare. Although they made you feel great about our purchase, the fact is that the vast majority of your fellow on-board guests will have received the same offer. Enjoy Frankfort Airport.