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Do NOT Mess with German Middle Managers Outside an Airport Lounge…

One final note from last week’s trip:

I was approaching the Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul’s airport, when I noticed a bit of a brouhaha unfolding at the entrance. I pretended to ignore it and showed my card so I could get in, but I was told the lounge was only open to Business Class passengers and not to Star Alliance Gold cardholders (if you’re not into this kind of detail, they were basically not letting in anyone who wasn’t flying business class, although a bunch of other people, like myself, are usually permitted into the lounge because of reciprocal blah blah blah). I was a bit annoyed because I was too cheap to buy a soda in the terminal, and was looking forward to 4 ounces of Coke Light in the lounge. Damn you, Turkish lounge!

I was preparing to walk away, when I noticed that the brouhaha was basically 2 German middle manager types (if they were not middle managers, they would’ve been flying business class, and they would not have been turned away like so much trash….like I was) becoming increasingly agitated and aggressive toward the poor woman manning the door. They were upset because their status on Lufthansa (usually) provided them access to such lounges, and, despite this one being under construction and, hence, not large enough for everyone, they took out their frustration at not getting a free soda out on this woman.

And man, were they rough. I thought I might be able to glom on to their aggression and weasel my way in, but — and I’ll give the staff member credit here — no matter how much they swore (this is bullshit!) or threatened (give me your name so I can write a letter!) or whined (I’ve never been treated this way before!), she would not let them in.

They asked to speak to a supervisor, who eventually came over, and, again, to her credit, she was even more aggressive with them. The 2 travelers tried to drag a youngish fellow from Korea into this whole thing by saying that he was given a pass to the lounge, and that they DARED not to let him in, even though he had a pass. Then things got confusing, as that guy (who spoke little English) said that he was traveling from Sao Paulo to Toronto to Istanbul (where we were) to Seoul, but I’m not sure that makes any sense. The supervisor cut him off, saying that his pass was only good in Toronto and shame on him for trying to lie his way in (even though it was the original 2 Germans who got him involved in the first place.)

They then asked for HER name so they could write a letter because they’ve never been treated like this before, and Lufthansa would never permit this, and this is bullshit, and this is crap, and why is Turkish Airlines in the Star Alliance if they’re not allowing other Star Alliance members to use the lounge, and give me the name of the President of the Star Alliance, and I’m going to walk in anyway.

That’s when I left.

I’m not sure there’s really – as we said in business school – a key takeaway from this whole thing, other than do not attach your coattails to two German middle managers who cannot get into an airline lounge.

I bought my own soda.

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  1. For what it’s worth, the official Star Alliance policy for *G lounge entry for “all classes” (i.e. economy) says that you have access to any lounge displaying the *G logo. Which I don’t think the TK lounge displays. I flew Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Istanbul last summer and on the return, I had to use the Millennium lounge which is at the opposite end of the concourse on the second level above the food court (turn right after passport control). I think the LH check-in agent may have given me a voucher. There could be a *G logo displayed outside…I’ve been to this lounge many times in the past and never had an issue. You’re not missing anything – I’ve visited the TK lounge on other trips and didn’t think it was all that exciting. TK is a relatively new member to *A so maybe they haven’t felt any pressure yet to offer similar reciprocation as everyone else.

    Ironically, if those German managers were on the other side of the argument, it is likely that they would have acted the same. Germans are not known for being very flexible – zee rules iz zee rules.

  2. Germans. Middle managers or not, I’m still not messing with them. I think we’ve all learned our lessons, haven’t we? :roll: (I’ve never used an ’emoticon’ before. Why not start here.)
    :idea: :mrgreen:

  3. An attention-grabbing discussion is worth comment. I believe that it’s best to write extra on this topic, it won’t be a taboo subject however usually individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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