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Why Are Full Service European Carriers So Good?  
User currently offlineSjc>sfo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 16 hours ago) and read 4013 times:

... compared too American carriers.

In the last month and a half I've flown quite afew sectors (well, for me), and the service on Lufthansa compared to UA and US was just far superior in everyway. Friendlier staff, cleaner aircraft, better food. Why can't UA afford to give me peanuts on an SFO-PDX segment, while LH gives me a sandwich and wine on CDG-MUC on a CRJ!? Why are european carriers able to operate at this level of service profitably while American carriers lag behind?

I was upgraded to Envoy class on US 27 (an A330) from CDG to PHL, and while the seat and entertainment system were fantastic, the service was no better than I got in coach on LH... and certainly less friendly (and this wasn't just to me).

I really just don't get it.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (12 years 16 hours ago) and read 4001 times:

On a hunch, I would suspect that the Euro (and Asian) carriers actually care about their customers, whereas the American carriers see them only as $$$ signs.

User currently onlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4776 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (12 years 14 hours ago) and read 3943 times:

Domestic travel in US is like riding a bus. Their excuse is they ferry millions of passengers everyday within the country and that becomes a norm of travelling. Very much like Greyhound.

They also have to face competition from low fare carriers. And, the US FAs are there for your safety first, then service, if they bother. Therefore, don't expect a full meal when u fly. Pretzels are the way to go...

Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineJeffie813 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 239 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 14 hours ago) and read 3902 times:
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austrian airlines has one of the best coach classes i have ever flown on. they treat you like first class. lufthansa has great service too, but austrian blows them away too.

airlines here in the u.s. just don't care, with the exception being jetblue.

User currently offlineMarcopolo747 From Brazil, joined Mar 2001, 460 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3863 times:

Catering, cabin cleanliness and comfort are better on European airlines because instead of chasing the cents to cut costs in the wrong place i.e. where CUSTOMER SERVICE is concerned , they go elsewhere to decrease costs. Service related items are generally the last resource.

While American F/As think that serving a cup of coffee is an attempt against their women's rights, European ones just see that a part of their jobs and as natural as serving it to a guest at their homes. Although AZ, AF, TP and IB crews seldom show any signs of friendliness to their passengers, LX, OS, LH, BA, AY, BD and VS crews always seem readier to do so.

VARIG was once the leading South American airline in terms of cabin service and winner of many international awards for cabin service. When they started cutting costs on customer service related items and cabin crew attitude became careless it came downhill all time. This week they finally announced their 2002 results : a net loss of US$ 842 million and a negative net worth of US$ 1.51 million. In other words , they are now insolvent and the only survival hope is a merger with TAM and government money to the detriment of the Brazilian taxpayer.

User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3833 times:

Are they really, SJC? In germany Lufthansa has good image in safety, planes are very young. But we say that Lufthansa-crews are totally arrogant.
I didn't have that experience. But LH-service is getting worse.
Years ago when you flew with LH from FRA to DFW you had 2 meals (bigger one, smaller one). AA offered meal and snack (hamburger or hotdog). What did Lufthansa do??? You're right: they changed into meal and snack.
This is just one of the excamples.
Clean cabins? Yes, i never saw dirty lh-cabins. But i also didn't see dirty AA-cabins.
Anyway: always saving and saving and trying to earn more money is not good for image cause customer see what's going on.

User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 61
Reply 6, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3821 times:

I dont think anyone can argue that BA have the best service in Y Class of any of the European airlines, with possible challengers being Austrian, Virgin Atlantic, SAS, and Swiss - none are as good though. IB and TP are both not great, though better short haul than long haul, and LH and AZ is better short haul than long haul too. Aer Lingus is better long haul than short though.

What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
User currently offlineTowerair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3783 times:

US airlines work for profit,,others do it for pride.By the way i flew jetblue and didnt see any difference (jfk-sju),,the service was peanuts.,,and the direct tv system doesnt work once you pass florida!!!!Leg room no where to be seen,,Leather seats keep your back and butt sweating!!!!Not to mention we were 1hour late!! Its just more of the same.

User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3773 times:

The LCC phenomenon is one option, but the growth of EasyJet and Ryanair will probably lead European carriers to change (if these airlines can get a greater presence on the continent). Also remember -- the flagship carriers in Europe are heavily supported by their governments, sometimes with subsidies, almost always with airport slot restrictions and barriers to market entry. These programs simply do not exist large-scale in the United States.

"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined exactly 12 years ago today! , 1532 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3761 times:
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Don't know if they areally are so good after all. Yes when compared to the no-frill carriers yes, they are a lot better. But definitely over the years one has seen a perceptible shift towards cost saving which invariably translates into lower levels of service (Stefandotde has a point there) as one cuts corners along with costs on service standards. I've observed it happen with, LH, AF, SK, KL, SR - the cream of full service European carriers over the years.


Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 13 hours ago) and read 3752 times:

chris: "I dont think anyone can argue that BA have the best service in Y Class of any of the European airlines, with possible challengers being Austrian, Virgin Atlantic, SAS, and Swiss - none are as good though."

You're right, and nobody said that BA has the best service in Y.

And, towerair: not only US-airlines work for profit, but when there are statements that say, the cabin is dirty: there are costs for the airline to clean the cabin. but a clean cabin is a business-card for an airline too. So if the cabins are dirty, they have to clean. I don't want to feel like in New York underground, maybe with Graffity.

User currently offlineMia777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2002, 1165 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (12 years 12 hours ago) and read 3722 times:

I returned a few days ago from Tanzania (flew MIA-JFK B6 A320, JFK-AMS KL 743c,AMS-JRO-DAR-AMS KL 763ER, AMS-JFK 744c) and let me tell you something, those long flights on KLM sucked!! KLM's product is awful. Their seats were falling apart and the cabin gave you a feeling of old as soon as you walked in (I am referring to the 743 now). I have not flown long haul on a European carrier in a while but I noticed they seemed a lot more lax about passengers standing up during the flight and once they turn the seatbelt sign off after departure it does not go back on until landing! It was rather interesting. The rides however were smooth and so putting comfort aside KL is a great airline that serves lots of destinations (including odd ones like Equitorial Guinea).


User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 11 hours ago) and read 3679 times:

MIA777, you can be sure that most of european companies are not "lax" as you wrote. I have seen passengers on Alaska-Airlines-flights, who walked around short before landing and crew accepted it.
So you think the european airlines are "lax" ???

User currently offlineManni From South Korea, joined Nov 2001, 4221 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (12 years 11 hours ago) and read 3656 times:

'Nobody said that BA has the best service in Y...'

Absolutely, IMO it's one of the worst European airlines I've sampled, what inflight service concerns. Last time I flew BA was in 2000 from BRU to LHR to DEL and from BOM to LHR to BRU, after these particular flights I've sworn never to fly BA again. Untill now, I kept my word.

Other than that, I agree that European airlines are by a huge distance superior to US carriers, just as Asian airlines are by a huge distance superior to European airlines, in my opinion and based on my experiences.

User currently offlineDulles From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 80 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years ago) and read 3541 times:

A factor that should not be ignored is that European carriers have not suffered as much because of 9/11 and, in fact, in some way they relatively benefited from it, at the expense of their American counterparts. They have not experienced such a dramatic drop in domestic loads, and have got quite a few new passengers on overseas flights, who previously used UA, AA, etc., but now opt for safer options. That could not go unreflected on the overall saving policy. Although, the ways the American airlines try to save are strange, to put it very delicately. I thought it was a joke that AA was proud of saving as mucg as $40,000 a year by removing olives from their salads.


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