Whenever I fail to offer a glowing review of a business class product, it seems the following disclaimer is necessary: context matters.
There is no question that Lufthansa Business Class aboard the 747-8, offering a lie-flat bed, enhanced service and meals served on “real” dishes offers a far better product than in economy class and premium economy class. There is also no question that the flight was fine overall.
But remember that I compare business class products for a living and this flight once again confirmed that Lufthansa is uncompetitive in many ways on longhaul flights in business.
I flew upstairs on the 747-8. The upper deck is arranged in a 2-2 configuration with eight rows (32 seats) on the upper deck. I chose a window seat in the bulkhead row because the foot cutout offers additional legroom. Even so, the Lufthansa business class seat is simply not the most comfortable any position, especially in the lie-flat position when my feet were mere inches from my seatmate.
Lufthansa now has excellent bedding plus a mattress pad in business class, so that is a nice improvement.
Service was the most disappointing aspect of the flight. The ladies working upstairs were pleasant, but either very recent hires or just having an off day. Lufthansa does not use trays in business class. Prior to meal service, a FA floated a tablecloth to me…it landed halfway on, halfway off the tray. Moments later, she handed me a bread dish, butter dish, napkin with cutlery inside, and salt & pepper shaker. Service protocols calls for a FA to step in and arrange it on the tray table.
It’s not that I could not do it myself. Rather, it struck me as odd an unprofessional that this was handed to me without any explanation. Furthermore, the tablecloth was stained. Attention to detail is vital.
Throughout the meal service, empty plates were not collected nor were glasses refilled. I was not offered wine during dinner, nor was the HON member sitting next to me.
The meal itself was fine. It is asparagus season in German and the main course of asparagus and veal was tasty. While the appetizer and salad were fine, what struck me was that there was no Laugenbrötchen (pretzel bread) available. Come on, even United manages this favorite German bread on all of their flights in business class. When a U.S. airline has better bread than a German airline, something is wrong. Call it idiosyncratic, but the pretzel bread is one of my favorite parts of the meal.
With the exception of a brief appearance during the German World Cup match to offer snacks, FAs disappeared until the pre-arrival service 90-mintues prior to landing. Pretzels did appear with the pre-arrival meal of soup and salad. Sadly, they were not served warm. The soup was also lukewarm.
A couple other notes. The internet did not work for the entire flight and the cabin became so hot upstairs that I could not sleep…a far cry from my ice-cold cabin from Los Angeles to Munich earlier this year. There are no individual air vents.
I credit Lufthansa for its improvement in business class over the last couple years. The mattress pad and plush comforter were very much appreciated. But part of me feels Lufthansa still “throttles” service in business class deliberately. If the service is too good or the amenities too nice, passengers will never pay extra for first class. Whatever the case, Lufthansa should realize that in many ways its business class is mediocre to average at best. The seat is below average…I don’t see how anyone can argue otherwise.
Thus, the flight was “fine” but hardly memorable in a good way. That’s disappointing.