Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lufthansa: My First and My Last!

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a business trip to Gdansk, Poland. After three years of promise, the company I currently worked for has finally allowed me to travel to an industry training conference which is always at Europe. Being my first ever trip to Europe, what more to Poland, naturally I was very delighted with the opportunity to learn the Polish/European culture and be culture shocked by some of it.

And that started with an airline I was not familiar with: Lufthansa. Now before I proceed further, this post would only be focusing on Lufthansa's long-haul flight from Singapore to Germany as well as the return flight. I wouldn't touch on my transfer flight from Germany to Poland and vice for Gdansk itself, I'll have to save that for another post (if I do have the time!). You can however view the photos here.

Being the German flag carrier, it was not surprising that the majority of the passengers waiting at the departure lobby of Changi Airport were Germans. I can't say I was the only Asian at the lobby, but it's been a while since I had the feeling of being in the minority within a crowd. Not since my time studying in Brisbane years ago.

My flight was to Munich, Germany and it would be 12 hours long. I was given a modern A380 aircraft, on a 2-4-2 seating lane.

First impressions? I was surprised the seat was just about as comfortable as your typical Air Asia seat! The seat wasn't exactly 100% covered with cushion, so parts of was simply the plain plastic. But the huge German sitting beside me had it worst I believe; he never looked comfortable the whole flight duration. As for the air hostresses, don't expect the sexy and beautiful MAS or Singapore Airlines type. I was told prior to this flight the Lufthansa air hostresses looks like your typical aunt at a family home and all but one younger lady at my flight seemed to filled that stereotype.

Thankfully I've my entertainment screen to distract me for thinking about the air hostresses much. Their service levels is OK so far.

The entertainment screen lacked any form of interactive games, which is a shame considering I was highly expecting myself to play some SNES games especially when I get to play such on a MAS flight to/from Brisbane. Despite that, it had enough selection of movies, TV shows and documentaries (not to mention a big list of CDs to enjoy) for me to last the flight. I ended up watching "Inside Google", "The Eagle", "Tangled", "The Lincoln Lawyer" and documentaries on Franz Beckenbauer and Ronaldo (The Fat One).

As for the food and drinks, I was given some kind of biscuits to start. A variety kind of taste, some salty, some bitter. It went well with my neat whiskey though :) I love the free flow of alcohol on this flight!

This was my dinner:

The main meal was beef with pasta noodles and vegetables, with a side dish of fresh salmon with creamy potatoes and bread pudding and standard bread. It was actually very nice this meal! Oddly the air hostress gave me chopsticks too for this meal. Very considerate...or racist much?

The movie watching and some three hours of sleep later, here came breakfast:

Main course consist of omelette with tomato sauce, potatoes and a type of vegetables that I can't quite recognised. Salty greens. Comes with plain yogurt, the standard bread with butter and a very nice raspberry jam.

My butt was aching a lil bit after I arrived to Munich but so far it's ok Lufthansa. Landing was alright as well.

However, things were different when I was done with my conference and I was to head to Singapore from Frankfurt.

This time I was given their oldest plane, the Boeing 747! It was a 3-4-3 lane which was not cool because I was given the window seat and I have to ask two passangers to move so I can take a leak! But more importantly I have NO PERSONAL ENTERTAINMENT SCREEN!!! Instead I have to watch whatever they have on their overhead monitor with the others!

And annoying enough it was raining and the airline had to wait for a bunch of Singaporean tour group to arrive at the airplane, and they weren't showing anything on the monitor for 1 hour at least!

Same biscuits, but I hit harder on the alcohol due to the lack of entertainment!

In their in-flight magazine they said they were gonna show three movies, beginning with Rio.

But I waited for like 90 minutes and they were showing other shit instead:

News, a Donald Duck cartoon and Lufthansa's bloody own advertisement on in-flight entertainment later I finally get to watch Rio...



And the torture didn't end there...

My dinner was beef with rice, carrots and peas while the side dish was some salad and fruits, cheese and bread. Being asian, I've some standards on the rice and in all honesty the rice was crap, the beef was a lil bit tough and the vegetables were tasteless. The fruits and cheese was good though.

Without much entertainment, I got restless. I tried to sleep, but obviously I can't. I ended up getting to know a Singaporean sitting beside me for he shared the same angry feelings with me too.
Blessing in disguise you can say but this is not valued for money nonetheless!

And here's my breakfast:

Main course: Omelette with some kind of spicy sauce, fried onions and that same salty vegetable from before. Yogurt and bread as side dish. The omelette was a lil bit overcooked. Not my ideal last meal in flight too.

Upon arrival to Changi Airport, my butt and my left thigh was aching (despite the exercises and a walkabout). The service levels of the air hostresses in this flight is sub-par too; one air hostress was not smilling at all. Funny enough the seat was more comfortable than the other flight but it did looked old and needed a new material.

Still, it was the longest 12 hour flight I ever had to date.

So I think you know by now where was the turning point for my interest levels to the Lufthansa brand. Why don't they refit this particular plane with the modern personal entertainment screen is beyond my understanding...and even if they did planned to do so I'll say "Too late guys!". And why oh why must they turn off the screen during a movie? I don't understand that.

I can only round up my experience with Lufthansa with this:

I will not fly Lufthansa again (until I'm sure I am flying on their more modern planes!)