Status: 05.12.2023, 17:00 PM
By: Julian Limmer
Defrost please! A passenger plane will be cleared of ice at Munich Airport on Tuesday. © Cheplyakov/DPA
Johannes and Marianna Altmann experience an odyssey at the airport – and their luggage has also disappeared. Due to the onset of winter, the couple has been stuck in Munich for days.
Munich - Johannes Altmann (75) is a frequent flyer, but he has never experienced such chaos on his travels: "We've been stuck in Munich since Friday - without luggage," he says. He actually wanted to fly with his wife from Cyprus, where they live, to Frankfurt to visit friends. Instead, the couple experienced an odyssey of several days in the Erdinger Moos – from hotel to hotel, from disappointment to disappointment. They haven't been able to leave for almost five days!
"We sat in the plane for about four hours": The plane simply did not take off from Munich
It all started last Friday evening: Johannes and Marianna Altmann (55) started from Cyprus to Frankfurt. Stopover: Munich. Until then, everything was going normally. But after they boarded the Lufthansa plane to Frankfurt in Munich, nothing worked: the plane did not take off. "We sat on the plane for about four hours," says Altmann. At some point the announcement came: flight canceled.
Smiles in chaos: Johannes Altmann and his wife. © private
The reason: Due to the onset of winter, many planes had to wait so long on the tarmac that many crews exceeded their legal duty hours, many take-offs were cancelled, Lufthansa said on request. Rebookings were only possible in isolated cases due to the weather.
So we went back to the departure hall. The problem: The couple had run out of suitcases, they had checked them in beforehand: "Many people waited annoyed for their luggage, but nothing came," Altmann recalls. The baggage tracing at the airport had already closed. "Some travelers were really angry."
At the same time, almost all hotels in the area were fully booked, and the couple spent the night at the airport with many other passengers. Many would have laid down on the floor. However, the Altmanns still had hope of advancing soon. But no: The airport closed completely on Saturday due to the winter chaos – no plane took off until Sunday morning. When the couple heard about it, they booked a hotel in Kirchheim: "We just wanted to lie down."
Replacement flight cancelled again - couple desperate
From the hotel, Altmann tried to call Lufthansa, but he was on hold for more than four hours, without success. On Sunday, they drove to the airport to look for the luggage – again without success.
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Altmann was on hold for four hours. © private
After all, they were able to rebook their flight, which was supposed to leave for Cyprus on Monday morning: "Finally we were able to relax." But they were disappointed: On Monday, they boarded the plane, but it again did not take off. Again we went back to the hotel. Another suitcase, which they had bought in the meantime, was gone.
On Tuesday, the airport had to suspend flight operations again due to black ice (see box) – only a few flights took off. Now the two hope to finally be able to fly on Wednesday. "We are cautiously optimistic."