Lufthansa is the national carrier of Germany and covers a large global route network out of its two main hubs, Munich and Frankfurt. We have travelled with Lufthansa many times between Munich and London and on a number of German domestic flights. We have been impressed by the quality of its aircraft, the efficiency of boarding and disembarkation, and the good quality catering service.
As with most airlines, Lufthansa have had to make some adjustments to compete with the abundance of low-cost airlines that operate in Europe. However, quality and service are still high and, if you are able to get a competitive price for your route, they are the preferable option, in our opinion.
Our test flight was a return, economy journey from Birmingham International Airport in the United Kingdom to Munich in Germany. Online check-in was fast and efficient, but severe storms had delayed the arrival of the incoming flight. Both ground staff and on-board crew were apologetic and, once it did arrive, turn-around time was impressive and boarding organised with precision, as we raced to meet a new departure slot from air-traffic control.
Lufthansa have recently refitted most of their short- and medium-haul flights to a specification they call the ‘Lufthansa European Cabin’. One of the key elements of this is a new slim-line chair, which they claim gives more room for your knees and enables passengers to always access their seat pocket and jacket even when the tray table is down. We liked the fact that all seats in the aircraft, including economy, were high quality leather. It was certainly one of the more comfortable economy seats we have sat in and the leather made it feel a touch luxurious.
Food and drink continues to be complimentary. Within short-haul economy this consists of just a roll or sandwich, irrespective of whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner time. For airline sandwiches, quality was fairly good. The range of drinks is extensive and generously served by the crew. Lufthansa flight-attendants have had, and continue to have, a reputation for being unfriendly and terse, particularly amongst non-German speakers. Whilst there are less smiles and small talk than some airlines, we generally found them to be helpful and courteous. No complaints on our flight.
On our return journey, we were lucky enough to be upgraded to its business class section. There is no question that we were grateful and that the experience was superior to that of economy. However, had we paid for a journey in business class, we would have been disappointed. The seating is exactly the same size, design and material as those in the economy cabin. The only concession is that you are guaranteed an extra seat next to you for privacy. Dining-wise, business class passengers are offered a choice of gourmet snacks or more substantial meals for medium-haul flights. On our flight they offered a contemporary twist on a selection of traditional German ‘street food’ dishes. Perhaps an acquired taste, but they were very Germanic and it may have been better appreciated on domestic flights. There was no form of in-flight entertainment available in either class of travel on short- or medium-haul flights. For us, the difference of a spare adjacent seat and slightly better meal, would not justify the significant increase in cost and we would have been surprised by this, had we been paying the bill.
We enjoyed our flights with Lufthansa and know from experience that they are a reliable airline that offers consistency in its service, even if it is done without the smiles and easy charm of some of the Asian and US airlines. With increased competition in Europe prompting many national airlines to downgrade its economy offering to compete with no-frills airlines, we believe that Lufthansa remains an excellent choice if you are able to get an attractive economy fare.
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