Lufthansa Cityline, Business Class – Bombardier CRJ-900: Frankfurt to Basel

TRANSFER IN FRANKURT

My flight from Malta comes to an end at the C pier, which is just about the worst thing that can happen to you if you’re connecting through Frankfurt onto another Schengen flight. Because although passengers exit into the Schengen area, the moment you step out of the gate, you’re no longer in the secured area, which means that for my onward flight to Basel from the A pier, I am going to have to go through security again – which is kind of missing the point.

There is a separate security line for premium passengers. But somehow they even manage to screw that up in Frankfurt, because the queue for security at the premium lane is actually much longer than the regular Economy Class queues.

LOUNGE

By the time I’m airside, it’s just coming up to eight in the evening. The flight should start boarding in about twenty minutes. As it’s on my way anyway, I decide to stop briefly in the lounge. As it turns out, the place is far more crowded than the public airside area. There are people everywhere and there literally isn’t any place at all to sit. There are people milling around randomly, holding a glass of beer in one hand while trying to hold a plate of food and eat at the same time with the other hand.

BOARDING

Boarding is from a bus gate of course, which is never pleasant in Frankfurt, because you end up driving through the bowels of the terminal facility, stop starting all the way, before being ejected on the apron.

CABIN

There are six rows of Business Class on this evening’s flight.

CREW

There are two middle aged female cabin crew on the flight and they both so couldn’t give a shit it’s not even funny anymore. The one working the rear cabin has a set facial expression that is very much reminiscent of a bulldog – I think it’s the drooping jowls that help to create the effect after having spent too many years glaring at passengers without smiling.

SERVICE

The more senior flight attendant is not much better. Her announcements are made without any interest, professionalism, intonation or even pausing. Does she ever stop to breathe? Once the service begins, 1A asks her what there’s on offer to drink. To which her only reply is that she really hasn’t got time for this and that he should just tell her what he wants. She’ll be sure to tell him if they haven’t got in on board. Charming, I’m sure.

THE MEAL

The tray table on the empty seat next to me is down. I opened it to put my glasses on it. When the flight attendant reaches my row, she unceremoniously plonks down a tray without saying a word and just moves on to the next row. Ehm, thanks?

Surprisingly, the meal looks nicer than the breakfast the day before. There’s a plate with antipasti:

Vitello tonnato

A prune rolled in bacon

A mushroom filled with cream cheese

A fig and a piece of blue cheese

The meal is served with bread sticks, a chocolate bar and a dessert. In addition, bread is offered separately.

ARRIVAL

With a flight time of only thirty minutes, it’s quite impressive that Lufthansa should offer anything at all, and I really am quite surprised by the quality of the meal.

Before the crew have managed to serve all the passengers in Economy Class a drink, we’ve already started out descent into Basel. The senior flight attendant takes another very deep breath, so as not to have to interrupt to inhale and exhale while she speaks, and announces that the service shall not be completed because that villainous cad of a pilot has selfishly started the descent. I notice also that she doesn’t even consider for a moment making an apology…

CONCLUSION

If nothing else, avoiding Frankfurt airport is a good enough reason to not fly Lufthansa. The airport is an unattractive and inconvenient mix of randomly constructed buildings that are linked together without a concept and clearly without a thought to the unfortunate souls that have to transfer through this hovel. As for Lufthansa, I think it’s really quite tragic to see what a sad state their regional operation has degraded to. If you treat the people working for you badly, you shouldn’t expect them to treat your customers any better. And that’s okay too, but customers are fickle.

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2 Responses to Lufthansa Cityline, Business Class – Bombardier CRJ-900: Frankfurt to Basel

  1. wwk5d says:

    On the one hand, it would be interesting to see you make a list of the top 5 or top 10 inter-European airlines (I’m not sure if Lufthansa would make that list…certainly not the top 5).

    On the other hand, I am not sure there is enough product differentiation at this stage to make a top whatever list. I suppose instead a list of airlines to avoid (British Airways, Lufthansa, etc) and those to not avoid (Air France, KLM, etc)…

    • I suppose it also depends about what you’re measuring. I mean, for connectivity Frankfurt is excellent. They have so many destinations. But I’d still rather avoid the airport because of the passenger experience. SWISS has the better service than LH but such a limited network… And I think there’s always also the human factor. Even the crappiest airline can give you a positive and memorable experience if the crew are good.

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