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LH: Biz/F Brilliant Marketing Or Cheap?  
User currently offlinealaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 905 posts, RR: 4
Posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5353 times:

Hello,

This post is more of a question to everyone to see if my observations link up to what you have experienced, or if it has just been me.

I have flown with Lufthansa a few times now over the past year.
first time from FRA-LHR (having flown in on SA from JNB) in J with their new slim seats and found it to be a joke. But i figured I would give their long haul product a try, which I did. I find transferring in FRA to be a nightmare, buses everywhere, I've never had a walk shorter then 20 minutes etc...

This part might seem to be a rant, but its leading to a point:
I just came off of LHR-FRA and am sitting in the 'J Lounge' in terminal 1 C waiting for my flight.
First, checking in was a nightmare, no signage nothing pointing the direction to the J line as the Y line wrapped around the building and the reps kept pointing me back into the LONG line. then the agent I finally got in the J section was plainly rude and unhappy working.
so here I am in FRA. I had planned on taking a shower and enjoying the lounge I had ever so briefly seen on my last transfer through (dont remember which one) and trying out those sleeper chairs that rock, as Ive been working and only sleeping 2-4 hours a night for the past week. After a 15 minute bus ride and a 25 minute walk I arrived at the business class lounge. No shower, not really anything in regards to food, no converter plugs, and 3/4 of the chairs are airport terminal style (actually less comfortable then the other ones I've used in the normal terminal here)!! The agent would not print my onward SA boarding passes (although SA has printed there's for me...?) which puts me into a right state about transferring in Nigeria as I had a NASTY experience in Cameroon a few months back trying to transit with visa and ticket issues arising. - and i repeat, no shower, and the closest shower is a 20 minute walk one way the agent said (maybe its just me but when flying a 31 hour one way, showers are a god sent). -Almost forgot to even mention the glaring fact that their J seat is not up to industry standards... Airlines in America have all out shined them here even (except AA)

I regularly travel First, Business and Economy. I have no qualms flying any class, and I've learnt what to expect from each. If I choose to fly First, it's for a reason, same for business and same for economy. One of the reasons I chose Business is so I can arrive rested and ready to work, I know it doesn't have the frills that first does, but the basics are what are required, sleepable seat / bed, shower, and a quiet environment that allows work (or relaxation) to occur.

as Quince would say in A Midsummer nights Dream 'and so grow to a point' Kyle!
My point being, as I've travelled more on LH I've seen more and more the effort they put into their F product. (at current I do not want to use the extra money or miles to go F until they've updated more of their fleet with the new seats) coming off of a European flight they're waiting outside with a sign and private car. They take you where you need to go: The lounge, you get out relax, have, what seems to be, an amazing terminal all to yourself, then (gate depending) they drive you to the plane. Everything is catered to you- As first should be, but they do have an edge with their ground support for F passengers, that other airlines, such as CX lack (whose cabin product is outstanding) .


So, as my topic asks: Is this clever marketing on LH's behalf to get more people to fly F?- if so LH must be brilliant because now if I fly LH in a premium cabin again i will not fly J.- They make it obvious the step between F and J (especially with the new F seats) and if i have to fly them im now willing to pay the difference.

OR

Are they being cheap? -Because I honestly don't feel like I want to fly LH in the near future, so they probably wont get my business for a while.

I guess either way its a fine line how you draw the distinction between the two classes.
and in answer to that a lot of airlines have removed F from all or part of their international fleet to focus on J, and I commend LH for making their F stronger, but is it at the loss of J?

Have I just had bad LH J experiences? or is it the airline.


Cheers,
Kyle


to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSASDC8 From Norway, joined Mar 2006, 763 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5239 times:
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Interesting questions you ask here.

LH long haul C has great paying loads (unlike US carriers) to pretty much all their destinations, so I guess the product is deemed good enough by the LH bean counters. From a FF point of view their hard product in C is not up to par with LX, BA, VS etc. but it is equal or better than OS, AF, SK, IB and KL. I guess one could say that LH is smart, when they can keep good loads in C, with a older and inferior product than their main competitor BA.

LH F is something very different: their ground service is excellent, their lounges in FRA are the best in the world, their in-flight catering (starters, caviar and dessert, mains not so much) are excellent, their in-flight hard product are old and outdated but still cool and has very German exclusive feel to it, their cabin crews are like their European main competitors a bit of a hit and miss and IMHO their weakest link after F on the 747 went from 16 to 8 seats.

To justify paying for F I need it to be much better than C and it should be an experience and one should feel special. There should be a wast difference between C and F. Thanks to great ground service and great catering LH ticks all the right boxes for me and I like you would return, but only to fly in F.



2-3-2 is NOT a premium configuration
User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9536 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5155 times:

If you don't like to walk, use LH F class. They pick you up at the aircraft with a Porsche, Mercedes or Audi and they bring you to the aircraft as well, from a dedicated F class terminal. Or, you qualify as HON by making 600 000 miles within 2 years. HON is the highest grade, starting with Frequent flyer, as a HON you always get that treatment even when flying J or Y.

Now, FRA is my home airport. I never spent 15 minutes on a bus to or from a remote stand and I never had to walk 25 minutes, not even to or from the farthest gate in A which is A42. Arriving at A42, walking to my car in parking takes less than that. Even to the platfor of the long distance rail station it takes less time. Snce I live 20 minutes from the airport I never had to use the showers here, not sure if there are showers available for J class, but simply check the website, it's all there. They also show you the locations of the lounges, there are lounges across the building, in alls ections and they signs are OK. not better but certainly not worse than in most airports.

We recently discussed the C section, here which is still not up to par with A and B, indeed the longest walk I experienced in that section was coming in from TLV. I should have used the gate taxi, which is available in lieu of moving walkways which they seemed to forgot in that section. Next time I know.

But 25 minutes? get your watch checked.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineORDflier From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4581 times:

I would agree with the previous poster in that I have rarely if ever had to walk for more than 10 minutes in the Frankfurt airport - and that is after more connections and arrivals in Frankfurt to count. That said however, the airport authority needs to get some control over the scene of constant construction which lends itself to a visual point of chaos. The construction I am referring to is the facility updates in the gate / transfer areas which I think has generated quite a bit of the bussing activity we have seen over the years as well as a perception problem with signage, etc.

As to the Lounge comments, I have found when arriving/connecting in Frankfurt during the peak morning period from 1000-1200 it is quite challenging as given the multitudes of passengers making connections to/from almost all points in the world even the Business Class and Senator Lounges capabilities can be stretched almost to the point of being unuseable. Lufthansa's Tower Lounge while very nice is almost chaos around 1000 as Lufthansa has a heavy number of departures to the USA at that point. At less utilized times I have had the place almost to myself.

Part of the challenge is the combination of the number of Star Alliance partner operations in addition to Lufthansa's very premium heavy seating capacity on their aircraft which drives a lot of lounge visitations. I hope that with the addition of the new gates that the chaos will be more stretched out and that the ability to increase the size of some of the lounges will be also implemented.



ORDflier
User currently offlineFURUREFA From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 805 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4072 times:

Quoting SASDC8 (Reply 1):
LH long haul C has great paying loads (unlike US carriers) to pretty much all their destinations

Really ? Do you work in revenue management/network planning for a US carrier? If not, how do you know that's true?

That's a common misconception on a.net that irks me to no end... DL, CO, AA, and UA specifically do a lot of corporate traffic, and their J cabins are mainly occupied by paying customers on a great majority of international routes. I know one carrier specifically, and this carrier seldom has international upgrades.


User currently offlinealaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 905 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3669 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):

I feel like I touched a nerve here, and I didn't mean to. I was simply stating my experience, and granted with LH it is limited, but because of my re-location I'm trying out new airlines so in the flights I've had with them they've lost my interest, so it got me thinking about what I earlier asked.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
But 25 minutes? get your watch checked.

I thought my transfer in April was slighty long so out of curiousity I timed it this time: 23:40. That included standing for a while after getting off the bus and everyone trying to ask questions about transfer and pushing my way through etc. (I include standing around and waiting as part of the transit)

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
not sure if there are showers available for J class, but simply check the website, it's all there.

I use to check the websites and do all the research on lounges and which was the best etc, but now that I fly a lot I tend to turn up at the airport and expect that if I'm paying to fly in a premium cabin I'll have standard international lounge amenities. (and there were showers in a lounge for European flights I've experienced before, so you'd think they'd have them in the lounges by the long haul flights as well).

Maybe I made the post more subjective then I should have. Take from it what you will.

(I'm in the Lagos SA lounge getting ready for my flight down to JNB now- and there are showers! so I'm a happy camper)


Best,

Cheers-
Kyle



to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
User currently offlinebavair From Germany, joined Jul 2011, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3299 times:

I think a general recomendation I would make is that when flying Business, go through MUC. The terminal is much newer there, and designed in coorporation with LH, meaning that all the lounges are also purpose built, overall making for a much better experience. When flying first I would stick to FRA simply because of the First class terminal which allows you to avoid FRA's often rather packed and sometimes rather unwelcoming terminals.

User currently offlineiainbhx From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2008, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3287 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
If you don't like to walk, use LH F class. They pick you up at the aircraft with a Porsche, Mercedes or Audi and they bring you to the aircraft as well, from a dedicated F class terminal. Or, you qualify as HON by making 600 000 miles within 2 years. HON is the highest grade, starting with Frequent flyer, as a HON you always get that treatment even when flying J or Y.

Now, FRA is my home airport. I never spent 15 minutes on a bus to or from a remote stand and I never had to walk 25 minutes, not even to or from the farthest gate in A which is A42. Arriving at A42, walking to my car in parking takes less than that. Even to the platfor of the long distance rail station it takes less time. Snce I live 20 minutes from the airport I never had to use the showers here, not sure if there are showers available for J class, but simply check the website, it's all there. They also show you the locations of the lounges, there are lounges across the building, in alls ections and they signs are OK. not better but certainly not worse than in most airports.

We recently discussed the C section, here which is still not up to par with A and B, indeed the longest walk I experienced in that section was coming in from TLV. I should have used the gate taxi, which is available in lieu of moving walkways which they seemed to forgot in that section. Next time I know.

But 25 minutes? get your watch checked.

I've transited FRA about 50 or so times now and I don't disagree with some of this guys comments and I don't disagree with some of yours.

In terms of plain walking time, I'd have thought that 20 mins would be about the tops (C17-A42) just for pure walking time and most transits could be done in 10-15. However, if you throw in immigration and transit security it can add another 15 minutes easy. I've taken over 20 mins just to go through transit security at FRA using the Business Class line. I certainly wouldn't book an MCT connection at FRA myself, as my experience is that it would be pushing it timewise. Remember, this guy was transiting FRA, when I've arrived and/or departed FRA, I would agree that I'd be on the kerb in a pretty short time.

Yes, the bus journeys are more like 5-10 minutes, but by the time you've loaded the bus and unloaded the bus, it can be more like 15-20. It always seems the hotter the day, the longer the bus journey and the less said about the B5x bus arrival point the better.

F-class can walk at FRA and can use the bus. If you are in transit, you are encouraged to use the F-lounges in the terminal, there is no car service from the A-pier F lounge and if you are going from the B-pier F lounge, they will only car you to remote stands. Also car service on arrival is only for remote stands and subject to capacity, I have had to get the bus off a BHX before now. If they do pick you up, they do not take you to the FCT, but to the bus arrival points.

I would point out, btw, that the FCL's are damn good and have all the facilities of the FCT, so there's no loss there and the food is brilliant, best to eat in the lounge and then pick out the good bits (caviar, soup, cheese, dessert) of the F meal on the plane, although since they have introduced Lufthansa Classics, there's an improvement there. The C mains often seem better than the F mains to me.

I certainly think that FRA signage is adequate (in fact the best way to get around FRA is to follow the signs) and the lounge signage is pretty clear. There are showers in all the Business lounges I've been in at FRA (that's A Schengen and both the B Non-Schengen), the B lounges are pretty decent, the A-Schengen lounge is unpleasant and overcrowded at peak times. I understand this will get better with the A-0 pier opening. However, it depends what you are used to, the Business lounges are a bit of a comedown compared to, for instance, BA's Terraces and Galleries lounges. If you are travelling intercontinental business class, then the Business lounges are not really up to par. The Senator lounges are better, but can still get pretty damn full.

Transiting at FRA isn't as bad as inter-terminal at LHR or CDG, but it's no AMS or MUC either.

I will route through MUC (and DUS if possible) as a preference, but in general FRA works.



iainbhx
User currently offlineVC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 2941 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3267 times:
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The angled business seat on LH is really bad. I know they are updating F too which was a comfortable bed, but not private 2 x 2 on top of a 747. THE disconnect between the new F lounge and car to airplane then to old seat never made sense.
I recall seeing a picture of the new F for the 748 and it looked like a single bed with a la-z-boy lounge chair next to it. Like a visitor chair next to a hospital bed!
Do they plan to change business to something like BA or even UA?



The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
User currently offlineiainbhx From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2008, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3236 times:

Quoting VC10er (Reply 8):
The angled business seat on LH is really bad. I know they are updating F too which was a comfortable bed, but not private 2 x 2 on top of a 747. THE disconnect between the new F lounge and car to airplane then to old seat never made sense.

I've run into worse C seats over the years than the LH skijump   It's actually a pretty comfy seat for sitting in, so if you are like me and so a lot of work on the longhaul (because I can only sleep decently in SQ Suites   ), it will do fine. I'm doing MUC-SIN//BKK-FRA in them unless the upgrades clear and I'll live. LH C is better on the Airbus than the 744, the seats are the same, but the 2-2-2 layout works better.

F on the 7-4-4 is now limited to 8 seats upstairs even if it's the old seats. I think the rather cunning idea is that you get one to sleep in and one sit in.



iainbhx
User currently offlineSemaex From Germany, joined Nov 2009, 827 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2791 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
If you don't like to walk, use LH F class. They pick you up at the aircraft with a Porsche, Mercedes or Audi and they bring you to the aircraft as well, from a dedicated F class terminal. Or, you qualify as HON by making 600 000 miles within 2 years. HON is the highest grade, starting with Frequent flyer, as a HON you always get that treatment even when flying J or Y.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that on top of the 600k within 2 years you also have to be suggested by LH management to get to use HON privelleges.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
We recently discussed the C section, here which is still not up to par with A and B, indeed the longest walk I experienced in that section was coming in from TLV. I should have used the gate taxi, which is available in lieu of moving walkways which they seemed to forgot in that section. Next time I know.

TLV, C13. I hate that gate, it lacks the feeling of space you'd expect when boarding an aircraft you know has more than 300 seats.
Anyhow, the gate taxies are a good way to get around. Of course only, (1) if there were enough of them and (2) you wouldn't have to take an elevator every couple of yards because the thing can't drive down five flights of stairs.

Quoting alaskaqantas (Reply 5):
I feel like I touched a nerve here, and I didn't mean to. I was simply stating my experience, and granted with LH it is limited, but because of my re-location I'm trying out new airlines so in the flights I've had with them they've lost my interest, so it got me thinking about what I earlier asked.
Quoting bavair (Reply 6):
I think a general recomendation I would make is that when flying Business, go through MUC. The terminal is much newer there, and designed in coorporation with LH, meaning that all the lounges are also purpose built, overall making for a much better experience. When flying first I would stick to FRA simply because of the First class terminal which allows you to avoid FRA's often rather packed and sometimes rather unwelcoming terminals.

Exactly what I would've recommended. Transit through FRA in F and through MUC in C. No need to change the carrier  



// You know you're an aviation enthusiast when you look at your neighbour's cars and think about fleet commonality.
User currently offlineiainbhx From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2008, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2739 times:

Quoting Semaex (Reply 10):
Exactly what I would've recommended. Transit through FRA in F and through MUC in C. No need to change the carrier

MUC F Lounge has a lot of good points, such as being able to go Schengen-non-Schengen within it.

Also remember, at FRA, FCT supposedly isn't for transit, you have to be landed and then make your way to it landside to use it as a transit terminal. Some people do, but I found B Non-Schengen FCL to be fine.

But , yes, MUC is better in C.



iainbhx
User currently offlineogepma From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2739 times:

I have flown through FRA several times and I certainly see no lapses with the signs at the airport. They are pretty clear and I was there 2 weeks ago so i doubt if there have been any changes made. The airport is not a nightmare at all IMHO but it is no MUC or HKG either an the business lounges are decent enough (for some one who is used to VA's clubhouse). Funny enough i always thought they were one of the least crowded lounges i have been to but that might be due the time of the day. The airport is going through a major modernisation/renovation process so it might seem cold in some parts but in general I love the airport. The fact that there are a lot of parking stands at the airport should give more than enough eye candy to aviation enthusiasts!  and the variety of plane there is divine! But bus gates are at every airport sometimes you just have to get on them that has to be gotten over

Quoting VC10er (Reply 8):

The LH seats are not ''really bad'' i am 6'2 and have gone on them several times. I had my best sleep on a plane in 2008 on an LH biz seat  its funny but true and I always find the service good. The first class seats you saw where for the 744's not 748's as those will have the A380/A340/A330 type first class seats (standard new first) and LH is coming up with a new flat bed product on the 747-800 as well testing of the seats began earlier this year.


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