We had flown in from Zagreb to Munich with a 4 hour layover until our flight to Hong Kong. Plenty of time to enjoy what the airport had to offer. The first worrying signs were the delay in getting our bags from the short flight over the Alps. It took one hour! No explanations, and no interim advice on the monitor. Still, no panic. 3 hours to play with. Moved from bag collection to flight checkin. We were flying Premium Economy and moved to the Business class counter (which in most airlines attends to premium passengers as well). The counter had no other business than ours, yet we were told to check in at economy. I turned around to see a line at least 80 metres long with just 5 persons attending to that mass of humanity. It took one precious hour to get to the counter. All the while, surplus Lufthansa personnel appeared to be standing around. Why they weren't shifted to the hot spots is beyond me. It seemed that every third customer had a problem at checkin!
When we finally reached the counter, we too had a problem. They discovered our confirmed flight was not actually confirmed, despite the record of payment on the screen. We were informed they could not fix it there. We were now directed to ticket sales. Yes, another queue. By now, our blood pressures were rising in inverse proportion to the rapid decline in our appreciation of German efficiency.
Another hour passed in the company of highly agitated customers, which only heightened our own agitation. At last, with one hour before departure, we finally had a person who was extraordinarily efficient. It still took him time to sort it all out, even though the lost "confirmation" baffled him. We finally got to the departure gate mid-way through boarding – not the way I would prefer. Our transfer boarding passes for the Hong Kong to Auckland flight had been arranged to be collected in Hong Kong.
I must give full marks to that last Lufthansa gentleman who tidied all the problems.
But I have still not had an explanation as to how the error happened. Air New Zealand have stated that they have no explanation, but Lufthansa and Flight Centre have not replied yet.