When is a bad seat better than no seat at all?
You can soon fly eight hours aboard a Lufthansa A319 between Frankfurt and Pune. I can think of much better ways to torture yourself.
Some background, though. Lufthansa recently dissolved its partnership with Privatair, which used to operate a handful of routes on its behalf using premium-heavy, narrow body aircraft. One of those flights was Frankfurt to Pune, a perfect route for Privatair due to limited demand and a short runway in Pune unable to handle wide body jets.
But with the partnership dissolved, Lufthansa was forced to cancel the route. Now it is bringing it back, but with a big double twist. First, the route will operate using a shorthaul A319. Second, the flight will stop in Baku, Azerbaijan in both directions for refueling. Passengers will not be able to get on or off in Baku.
Lufthansa doesn’t offer in-flight-entertinament on its narrow body fleet. Nor does it offer any decent padding on its horrid Recaro slimline seats. Internet is coming, but the rollout has been slow. There is also no in-seat power on these aircraft.
Put simply, I cannot think of a more horrible way to spend eight hours. And yet look at the fares Lufthansa is charging:
Seriously? An 11hr35min redeye aboard an A319? What is Lufthansa thinking? I feel sorry for the corporate travelers who are forced to travel on Lufthansa. They are in for a rude awakening if they book business class and find this:
Lufthansa may figure it has a captive audience, but its stop in Baku takes out the competitive advantage of flying Lufthansa nonstop or others. Even for entertainment value, I cannot imagine myself ever taking this flight, especially from Pune to Frankfurt. Other carriers do operate long routes using small airplanes…United’s “Island Hopper” comes to mind. But at least that aircraft has in-seat power, IFE, a real regional business class seat, and great views out the window. What a joke on the part of Lufthansa…