who has had good or bad experience flying Lufthansa?
I've flown Lufthansa to/from Germany many time and always had a good experience. In 2013, my partner and I flew Lufthansa to Germany and came back on United. She definitely thought Lufthansa was better.
For years Lufthansa was my airline of choice. Everything just seems to be a notch better. However, the last couple of flights have been pretty average. But I would fly them if given a choice.
Air Canada codeshares with Lufthansa, flown with them via Munich & Frankfurt the last 2 years with no problems.
In general, I have found that airlines are airlines among the major American and European brands and while each may have some small differences, for the most part they are interchangeable with decision points more likely being Price, schedule, Access to departure or destination airports, and for some, where you earn your miles.
More to your question though, I am a believer that many of us fly only a small number of times (myself 4-6 trips a year) that any bad experiences can not be attributed to a trend just due to an airline. If you fly weekly on multiple airlines, maybe you can assess that, but for the most part, my bad experience is as likely just a fluke rather than the norm. I tend to prefer Delta and its partners for various reasons, but have flown United/Lufthansa with no issues. For what it is worth, if you book on Lufthansa, take a look at the individual flights, some or even all may be operated by United or another partner.
We've flown Lufthansa 3 round trips the last two years. These were from Philly and hubbed in Frankfurt (one leg of one trip was via Dusseldorf); we also had one leg of an earlier trip on Lufthansa. Every one of those flights was superior to the experience we had on US Air, BA, and Virgin. In addition, Lufthansa uses Airbus 330/340 for Philly-Frankfurt (or Newark-Dusseldorf), a plane whose 2-4-2 seating we find preferable to to 757s, 777s, and 747s with 3-3, 3-3-3, and 3-4-.), and felt like it had a bit more room in economy. The food loaded in Germany seemed to be a level better than what the other airlines supplied. We chose Lufthansa for a trip last year, a trip which started in London and ended in Amsterdam, rejecting direct flights we could have had via US Air (now rebadged as American flights).
In addition, we have never felt any problem navigating Frankfurt Airport, nor felt in danger of missing a connection due to its size.
Edit, after seeing latest comment: In all cases, we chose Lufthansa flights, and not United/AirCanada/other flights sold and code shared by Lufthansa, but operated by the other carrier. What governs the flight is WHOSE plane it is - not who sells the ticket.
Good experience on Lufthansa, but airlines to me are a commodity and interchangeable, except for the upper tier carriers like Emirates. I prefer Turkish Air to Lufthansa. See Skytrax for ratings...they classify them by number of stars (I believe Lufthansa is considered a 3-star airline - I may be wrong but that's my recollection).
Best flights are the uneventful ones. My Lufthansa flights were uneventful.
We've flown Lufthansa many times, last time was in Dec. 2013. We've flown United, Air Canada, Air France, Swissair, SAS. After our first Lufthansa trip, they are the ones we prefer. Unfortunately, due to a big difference in price, we are looking at Iceland Air for our trip to Munich later this year. Saves us about $800 for the two of us in economy.
Our first flight on Lufthansa was appalling. The seat in front of me must have been broken, because when the occupant reclined, he was almost in my lap. I could barely get out when needing to. The food was like any other carrier's. Unappetizing. Several passengers must have had too much to drink. They kept up noisy conversations and laughter all night. The FA's wouldn't deal with it. The food on the return flight was downright disgusting.
I have since flown LH a few more times, and would rate them on par with most others. Nothing to write home about. I choose by price and convenience, and we bring a meal with us.
Other than the time I got upgraded by British Airways to business class, Lufthansa is my airline of choice for travel to Europe. And here's why.
First, I mean real Lufthansa flights and not the ones that take place on United Airlines.
Second, there seems to be just a tad bit more room between seats than on American carriers. The meals are decent if bland. And they enforce the size of carry-ons.
Finally, and most importantly, the service. My flight from Croatia to Munich was delayed to the point that my connecting flight to Dulles was scheduled to be taking off just as my flight was landing. I was resigned to having to re-book the rest of my trip. But, there was a van waiting on the tarmac (you had to debark outside and take a shuttle to the terminal). The van took the eight of us who were booked on the flight across the airport directly to the gate where our connecting flight was waiting. There was a cursory passport check and then we were on our flight albeit about 15 minutes after the flight was scheduled to leave. AND! My luggage made the flight too. Try that with Delta or American Airlines!
That being said, my only bad experience in flying to Europe was last summer to Ireland. Aer Lingus sucks.
"I believe Lufthansa is considered a 3-star airline"
SKYTRAX rates Lufthansa as a 4-star airline, along with Air France, British Air, Swiss, and Air Canada. United, USAir, Delta, and American are all rated 3-stars. I haven't flown Delta in years, so I can't comment, but I have flown Lufthansa, United, and USAir in the last few years. Lufthansa was head and shoulders better that United and USAir.
And as someone mentioned, it doesn't matter who writes the ticket, it's what airline it's on. My last flights, Lufthansa, Chicago to Frankfurt, and United, Munich to Dulles, were both ticketed from United using miles - no comparison.
I have flow Lufthansa a number of times and have never had problems. On the other hand, just about every United flight I've been on in the past 10-15 years have had problems. Everything from aircraft to service was outdated, outmoded and generally sub par.
I've flown Lufthansa several times as they share with United, and came to realize I actually prefer their service. Food is decent and they ply you with alcohol, if desired, attendants are pleasant and airplanes are clean.
For my return flight this May I was annoyed to discover that if I wanted to select a seat--as I've done previously without a fee--I had to pay $35, in economy. I could wait until check-in to choose for free, but that would be what's left and I decided I didn't want to chance sitting in the middle section, or in a middle seat of 3 so I ponied up the $35.
... if I wanted to select a seat--as I've done previously without a fee--I had to pay $35, in economy.
Seat selection premiums seem to be a new way to price flights at cheap prices but still make a profit. Our recent SAS economy class flight limited no cost seat selection to the less desirable seats. But at least SAS still fed us without an added charge.
I've flown with Lufthansa numerous times on Star Alliance code share flights with Air Canada. I've always found the service good, so no problems at all.
Re seat selection: We have found that the bulk of the seats are not pre-selected and paid for, that people are not buying into that business model. Since Lufthansa changed their policy, we have found a good selection of seats when check-in opened and we have never been unable to get either a pair by the window, or the pair off the aisle in the interior. We have also noted that Lufthansa's 24 hours before the flight for online check-in is not accurate, we have found check-in possible as much as 28-29 hours before the flight.
Janet since you fly from my area have to say within the past 5 years I have taken Luthansa, United and Norwegian to European destinations. I have really not noticed any difference in the service of any of the 3, they are all fine. Only difference is Norwegian is much cheaper out of Oakland (on your side of the bay) if you can deal with either bringing your own food or purchasing theirs, and baggage allowance limitation. Have had no trouble with the latter taking the Rick Steves bag for my main stuff and a backpack both on board with no weight problems.
Lufthansa is in my opinion one of the best airlines in the world. I often fly LH because I have lots of United miles (they are partners with the Star Alliance) and also because my home airport (and yours), SFO, is a United and Lufthansa hub, therefore they together offer plenty of flights daily to Europe (via Germany). Between United and Lufthansa however I prefer Lufthansa, therefore I always try to get on the non stop flights from SFO operated by Lufthansa to Germany (rather than those operated by United). Since you live in Menlo Park, it would be a good idea if you did the same.
The two flights operated by Lufthansa out of SFO go to FRA (on an Airbus380) or to MUC (on an Airbus340). I prefer the MUC flight, if possible. I prefer the A340, with Economy configuration 2-4-2 with all restrooms located downstairs rather than the larger A380 with configuration 3-4-3 in Economy. I also prefer the MUC airport, consistently voted the most efficient and easy to connect in Europe. Note that Swiss, which flies non stop from SFO to ZRH, is also part of the Lufthansa group and is also a good airline.
Lufthansa has always been one of the class acts in international travel. Coach class in their A320s on short-range trips within the Continent is crammed sardine-style, like everybody else's. But the long-range aircraft are fine, and squeaky-clean.
"Lufthansa is in my opinion one of the best airlines in the world. I often fly LH because I have lots of United miles (they are partners with the Star Alliance) and also because my home airport (and yours), SFO, is a United and Lufthansa hub, therefore they together offer plenty of flights daily to Europe (via Germany)."
I live in the East Bay as well and so this is my situation exactly. Unfortunately I've noticed that it's not always that easy to book Lufthansa using UA miles (not all Lufthansa flights are offered on all the days they're available). On one unfortunate flight, I was flying on miles from FRA back to SFO and only the segment form FRA to DC was on Lufthansa and DC to SFO was on UA and yep, it was that leg that was screwed up. If you know of any tricks or tips for securing 100% Lufthansa flights via UA miles, I'm all ears!
I'm sure if you cruise around the Flyertalk forum, they know all the tricks of making sure codeshare flights are operated by your airline of choice. It must be coded specially on schedules.
I fly Lufthansa or Swiss whenever possible, booking with United miles. Always in economy. I think I slightly prefer Swiss, but my recent flights from Frankfurt > Munich > Boston with Lufthansa were fine.
- Lufthansa planes always seem too cold or too hot for me. The 9 hour flight to Boston was a bit warm in the rear of the plane.
- The food was edible, but nothing special.
- They only provided water one small cup at a time, rather than leaving us bottles like Swiss did. I actually got dehydrated.
- Seats seemed slightly larger than Swiss (or most other airlines). Or maybe I lost some weight hiking around Germany. I'm not sure.
- The flight attendants were very pleasant.
Beth, planes are ALWAYS too hot or too cold. Usually the latter (I think it's on purpose to promote sleeping). And the air is bone dry as well, bring saline. I learned the hard way NEVER get on a plane without a sweater. Same thing you learn when going to TV show tapings, BTW.
Lufthansa planes always seem too cold or too hot for me.
Can't blame that one on the airline. It ain't easy to fine-tune the temperature in a long aluminum tube full of maybe 300 people, when the temperature outside goes from +70F or so (whatever it is on the ground) to minus 70 or 80F in a matter of minutes, then back again. Throw in other variables like solar heating, surface friction, changes in engine power (the heat source) necessary for climb and descent; and it gets complicated. Here's some light reading that explains some of the issues involved.
Beth, add to Pros:
Free wine! On one Lufthansa (not United) flight I discovered that after they go around pouring wine from bottles at dinner, all of the partially full bottles are back in the galley. Help yourself. I did.
I guess that I am used to planes being too cold, which is ok. I actually sleep better that way and am always wearing a sweater. But having it be too warm was more uncomfortable for me.
It's true that the wine is free. I used to drink a lot on flights on the assumption that it makes the time go faster, but lately have been abstaining because I think it makes the subsequent jet lag worse. And not that I'm accustomed to fine dining, but there is something a little awful about sipping wine out of a plastic cup :)
I take Lufthansa, it's all right, not great, used to be better. But, to be historically accurate, twice on Lufthansa going SFO to FRA my seat was upgraded from Economy upon check-in. Who knows why, certainly was a pleasant surprise and experience as they turned out. That has never happened on any other carrier I've flown doing the transatlantic route. From SFO it is also convenient as far as a direct connection to Germany.
I've flown Lufthansa round trip once from U.S. to Frankfurt and one way from Krakow to Frankfurt. I found their service from the check-in to the flight was better than normal; meals and entertainment was better. I found less issues with things out of order, i.e. the individual screens on back of the seats. As I recall the meals were above average. Very efficient in all they did. Only complaint I had was the seat was uncomfortable; it was like sitting on a piece of plywood. I was told it was an Airbus issues regardless of the airlines.
who has had good or bad experience flying Lufthansa?
I had a very good experience using Lufthansa. A young boy ran full speed down the aisle somewhere over Iceland and tackled the flight attendant who was delivering drinks. I got drinks all over my suit (yeah, used to fly in a suit)(that's how I sometimes got bumped further forward in the plane, that and being a frequent flyer, when it used to mean something). They gave me free everything for the rest of the flight and a fair amount of money for cleaning my suit and my inconvenience. $50US if I remember correctly.
They were really good at repairing what could have been a really bad flight.
It is hard to remember all the details exactly. The flight was Munich to Idlewild (now JFK) in 1971. Maybe it was Kennedy by then. I don't remember.
The temperatures aboard are not determined by the equipment or by the airline. They are often set (very cold) by the cabin crew. The crew likes to keep the cabin cold because, unlike you who are sitting in a chair watching a movie, they are actually working, often inside the galley where the convection ovens are (the little ovens that warm up the nasty airline food). Since they also have to run around, often wearing those uniforms, it gets hot for them, and so they turn the air con at full blast. Having friends and relatives doing that job, I sympathize with their needs, so I just put a blanket on me and ask for plenty of grappa or vodka, which they will gladly give you to keep you warm.