Lufthansa Economy Class DFW-FRA-BSL: Great Food, Horrendous Seat

I booked my flight to Switzerland using 30,000 United miles because they don’t add fuel surcharges on Lufthansa tickets, yet. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t fly business class all the time and certainly can’t afford to do so every time given how often I travel. This is especially true when I’m traveling by myself because I value saving points and spending it on a good hotel than spending it all on airfare. And besides economy class actually forces me to fall asleep and forget about the experience rather than blogging Lufthansa Business Class to death. A window seat in economy always does the job for me and luckily Lufthansa (unlike British Airways) allows seat selection after purchasing the ticket for free.

Lufthansa is now part of TSA Pre-Check so I was through security in a matter of minutes despite arriving at the airport at just 90 minutes before departure time. I started off the afternoon with a stop at the overrated AMEX Centurion Lounge for a quick shower before my flight so that I would be ready to sleep as soon as possible. I reviewed that place before so I won’t go over it again (the experience was no different).

Boarding began promptly approximately 40 minutes before departure and it was pretty much a free for all to board the aircraft. Somehow they managed to board business class before the impatient economy class passengers in front of me. I waited for a decent amount of time so that the pushy passengers could get on board first. No use fighting them!

As I mentioned before, Lufthansa operates the Airbus A330 on its Dallas route, which is pretty much the standard for non-Star Alliance hub airports. I was seated in row 35 on this flight, which is right behind the wing on this aircraft. It had been a while since I had flown LH economy class so I was surprised to find the new slimline seats already making their way onto long haul routes from Frankfurt. I had only experienced these on short flights in Europe recently.

Luckily I boarded early enough to get access to the overhead bins to store my backpack and carry on. I don’t think this flight would’ve been pleasant at all if I had a backpack under my feet. Seat pitch was absolutely pathetic at 31 inches and I have no idea what the measurements were on the leg space, but it was also worse than the competition. The bright side to this was that Lufthansa had updated it’s IFE screen to a very good resolution, though selection still sucks compared to the competition.

Boarding was completed within a matter of 30 minutes and the flight went out completely full so no luck with having an empty seat next to me :(. On the bright side it was an absolutely gorgeous summer afternoon for flying:

As soon as we took off, I pulled my laptop out to finish up some work for the day. It was a very tight squeeze with my laptop and it actually didn’t even entirely fit on the tray table. The flight was clocked in at 9 hours on this particular afternoon and meal service began about 90 minutes after departure. The service started off with drinks and a salted snack pack. Things were really starting to get a little out of hand already.

I had ordered a AVML and they brought that out before any passenger got his or her meal. What made this ordeal worse was that I was sort of getting some work done on my laptop when dinner was brought out and there was no way for me to stow the laptop while the meal was sitting on the tray table. The front passenger had his seat reclined to make matters worse. I somehow managed to stow my laptop with the help of the guy seated next to me who was sympathetic to my problem.

TO CLARIFY: special meals are brought out a good while before the food cart for the rest of the passengers. So there was no advance notice that the food was coming and so a tray was just placed on my laptop out of the blue. This made it the juggling act.

Dinner was served on one tray with salad, dessert, bread, the main course, and a cup of water. Food was quite good and perhaps among the best I’ve had in recent times. Salad was something more substantial than just some lettuce and leaves, and the Indian bread was steaming hot. So kudos to Lufthansa on continuing to have one of the best AVMLs in the sky. Service was efficient and friendly enough, but nothing stood out to me as being exceptional. I was done eating pretty quickly but my tray table wasn’t cleared for a good 1 hour, which made working impossible. I even asked and the FA just blatantly said “no.”

Anyway after dinner I just went to sleep because the working day was pretty much over. I dozed off for a good 4 hours before I woke up to this stunning sunrise off the coast of Ireland:

At this point we were only 2 hours from Frankfurt so I just ended up watching some old episodes of Big Bang Theory before breakfast service began.The meal was yet again served on one tray with orange juice being the only choice of drink:

Again Luthansa gets high marks for the meal, this time with a quick clearance of the tray. I enjoyed watching the scenery outside the window for the rest of the flight. Absolutely love European countrysides in the summer:

We made our touchdown in Frankfurt about 15 minutes late, due to some traffic at the airport, so I had to make a run for it to catch my flight to Basel (I only had about 70 minutes to connect). It was not a pleasant experience running all the way down the terminal at Frankfurt, being a little tired from the flight, but I somehow made it. My flight to Basel was on a CRJ-200 regional jet:

As is usual on these CRJ flights, I had to gate check my carry on:

This aircraft was yet again fitted with those dreaded slimline seats with zero cushioning, and horrible back support. Give me a break, I just sat/slept through 9 hours of this.

Luckily the flight was only about 45 minutes and we landed in Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport (I just call it Tri-Country Airport) on time. So slimline seats are fine for short haul flights.

The first thing I saw as soon as I stepped into the terminal were these signboards. This just agitated me a little because I never got a chance to be here for that tournament (it’s Federer’s hometown tournament).

BSL has this unique position of being at the junction of 3 major European nations: Germany, France, and of course Switzerland. And so as soon as I arrived I had some tough choices to make (not really, the obvious choice is Switzerland).

Now I just had to figure out where to pick up my rail pass and then take the 4 hour train ride to Wengen…… At no point was there any doubt or fatigue. Only excitement. After all, I had arrived in the world’s most beautiful country 😍

 


Bottom Line:

Lufthansa Economy Class was an interesting experience. I hadn’t flown their economy cabin in over a decade (I usually fly United or AA/BA economy) and quite frankly didn’t know what to expect. Finding mid-aisle IFE screens for everyone to watch would not have shocked me at all. All I can say is I am glad that I have not flown Lufthansa Economy for the past decade because the slimline seats are just horrendous! There is no cushioning or any sort of back support. It pretty much feels like sitting on cardboard. Furthermore there is almost no room to move around with the person seated in front reclining back. If you are so unfortunate to get a person that reclines his seat, like I did, you cannot open your laptop properly to get any work done.

With that being said the meal services on Lufthansa continue to be among the best, Wi-Fi is available on most aircraft, and the IFE has seen improvements over the years. Frankfurt is still a better connection airport than Heathrow or De Gaulle and once you are over this hurdle, most of Europe is within an hour. Would I like to fly LH economy again? Absolutely not! I prefer flying BA/AA across the pond any day given that they offer a better seat (or so I think). I’ll get back to you on that tomorrow after completing another AA long haul flight in economy.

Stay tuned for Switzerland and how high school French really saved the day!


What do you think of Lufthansa Economy Class?

Trip Report Index:

Introduction: Weekend Jaunt in Switzerland

Lufthansa Economy Class DFW – FRA – BSL

Train vs Car: The Transportation Dilemma

Review: The Swiss Transit System – First vs Second Class

The Advantages of AirBNB in Switzerland

Proposed Itinerary for a First Time in Switzerland

Swiss Business Class Lounge: Zurich Airport (E Gates)

Swiss Business Class: Zurich – Boston

Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor

 

More to come soon………