Misleading advertising for Lufthansa codeshare tickets

On my recent multi-city itinerary from Germany to Portugal I mixed flights from Lufthansa and TAP Portugal into one Lufthansa reservation. TAP Portugal charges ridiculous fees for credit card payments (so much to the self proclaimed status as magnificent full service carrier) and Lufthansa had the better timing for one of the flights.

Since both carriers are Star Alliance it was no problem to book them in one ticket and Lufthansa even advertised the better conditions with less payment fees, luggage included and seat selection, at least on paper…

Since I have rarely had any positive experience with TAP Portugal I usually try to avoid them as much as possible, which is not easy given the limited flights to Portugal from most German cities. When I had to book a ticket from Hamburg (HAM) to Lisbon (LIS) and back from LIS to Munich (MUC) I thought that would be a great chance to have at least one leg on Lufthansa since MUC is one of their hubs.

Sure enough when I searched the connections Lufthansa showed a bunch of one stop flights from HAM to LIS and the 2 daily TAP non stop flights while LIS to MUC had some direct Lufthansa routings available. The prices were also slightly better with the one LH flight and as mentioned the ticket would include luggage (not all TAP tickets include luggage) as well as a seat selection which was clearly advertised as the first feature of the ticket.

HAM-LIS-MUC multi city ticket for one person

Presented with the ticket features and a solid price I placed a reservation for flight TP561 marketed as LH6948 from Hamburg to Lisbon and LH1791 from Lisbon to Munich. After finalising the booking and moving on to the manage booking screen to select my seats I discovered that the main selling point on Lufthansas page seemed to be a false promise:

No seat selection for TAP flight booked through Lufthansa, despite specifically advertised

While it was possible to reserve select seats on the Lufthansa flight there was no option to select any seat at all for the flight operated by TAP.

Naturally since I was sold the ticket with seat selection I called in to Lufthansa and asked them to assist with manual seat selection. The agent informed me that there is no seat selection possible on the TAP flight. When I asked how the ticket can be sold with seat selection feature then I was told that “Lufthansa does not guarantee any seat selection, the ticket just includes a free seat selection”. So basically you buy a ticket with seat selection, but that does not mean there are seats to select, just if there are some of them will be free. Makes absolutely no sense and I would say the way Lufthansa sells is unquestionable very unethical false advertising.

As an additional “bonus” neither the reservation confirmation or the agent was able to provide me with a booking reference for the TAP flight which further inconvenienced the check-in process. Surely enough I was eventually allocated a seat in the second last row of the plane.

Given the false advertising for code share flight tickets Lufthansa is engaging in and the inconvenient check-in process due to the lack of information provided to customers I would strongly advise to avoid booking such multi city reservations with the German carrier.

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