I don’t know what exactly got me to this point, but I don’t expect flying to be a pleasurable experience anymore.
Maybe it’s because US airlines have gotten so cheap by charging for every little thing (no peanuts or pretzels or anything, United? C’mon).
Whatever the reason, flying has become more of a necessary evil if I want to see the world. And since I don’t have the luxury (read: money) to fly first class (where I can only assume the experience is actually good), I can really only base my opinions on flying coach.
But I was so pleasantly surprised to find that some airlines still care. That’s when I flew Lufthansa.
Now I have to disclose that I’ve only flown them once, so I could be off base here, but at least this one experience was far and above what I’ve experienced with US-based airlines in the last few years. It probably helped, too, that we were on an overseas flight from Newark to Munich and you seem to get better everything on long international flights – better food, service, amenities…
Reason #1 Why I like Lufthansa: Entertainment
I can rarely sleep on planes, so I’m always looking for something to keep my attention. And when it’s a long flight, sometimes one book just doesn’t cut it.
Before we even took off from Newark, we got stuck on the runway (stay away if you can – Newark is the most delayed airport in the US). The weather was fine – beautiful for Jersey, in fact – so we really had no idea why we had to sit there (the crew never told us). But sit there we did. For 45 minutes.
Hanging out on the runaway after a “timely” push back from the gate is one of the most annoying things. And so, since I wanted to save my book until later in the flight, I had to find something else to do. Luckily enough each seat had its very own TV. I know these days everyone seems to carry around some personal device or other to keep them entertained, but when traveling internationally I try to bring as few accessories as possible. So having my own TV was a huge plus. I can keep pretty busy flipping channels if I need to.
Reason #2: Food
I won’t say I’ve ever loved any food I’ve been served on a plane, but there have been times when I’ve been impressed by the offerings.
Here’s what we were served for dinner: a chicken, rice & veggie plate; shrimp salad; cheese & fruit; dinner roll; and chocolate mousse. That’s kind of a 4-course meal. On a plane. Granted it wasn’t anywhere close to tasting fabulous – and I wouldn’t expect it to – but I have to give them at least an A for effort. (And it didn’t taste half bad, either).
Reason #3: Friendliness
As I mentioned at that the top of the post, it doesn’t cost anything extra to be nice, but the attitude some flight attendants have when supposedly doing their job is just unacceptable.
The crew on our Lufthansa flight, though, actually seemed to like their jobs. A smile, as they say, goes a long way. And they weren’t about to sit on their rear ends in between meal services. They regularly came around with water, coffee and tea. Very nice.
Reason #4: Accommodating-ness (not really a word – but they were!)
So unfortunately, due to the delays in Newark we arrived late in Munich and missed our flight to Milan, Italy. It was in no way Lufthansa’s error, but you know what they did anyway? They gave both my husband and myself vouchers worth €10 each. Not once has a US airline done that for me.
We only had a couple of hours layover, but we were thrilled to be able to fill up our bellies with yummy pizza while we waited. Thanks, Lufthansa!
To Sum It Up
Even though it was my one and only experience flying with Lufthansa, I have to say it was memorable – in a good way. I’d fly them again in a second.
Why is it that all the best airlines seem to be based anywhere but the US? I’ve loved flying British Airways, too, and have heard nothing but good thing about Singapore Airlines, JAL, Emirates… the list goes on and on. And I’ve yet to hear the same rave reviews about US airlines. Given the choice between a US-based airline and an overseas one, 100% of the time I’d choose the latter.
How about your experiences? What’s your favorite airline? Which airline do you try to avoid at all costs?