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Mega Photo Report: DUS-PMI-DTM W/ LH&EZY  
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7111 times:

About the trip

My parents were spending some time on Germany’s favorite holiday island, Mallorca, this October and they asked me if I wanted to join them for a few days. Since I don’t get to see my old folks very often anymore, I gladly accepted to join them during their last weekend on the Balearic Island.

Being an aviation nerd like everybody else on this forum, my first objective was to book some interesting flights for this little excursion – so I decided to try out the high- and low end of the Palma de Mallorca market – an outbound flight onboard Lufthansa, supposedly a “high class airline” with a sophisticated product both in the air and on the ground, and an inbound flight with EasyJet, the epitome of low-cost, no-frills flying.

How would the two products and, dare I say the big word, philosophies compare in the end? So join me for this picture report to Palma and back to find out more about this unusual comparison!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Duesseldorf International Airport

Flying with Lufthansa permits the customer to benefit from a number of very comfortable features even before the actual start of his journey – one major factor being the advance-seat selection on the evening before your departure. I had already reserved a window seat by phoning Lufthansa’s check-in hotline on 0561 99 33 99 (alternatively, internet check-in is available, however not on paper tickets like mine), so there was no real need to be at the airport long before the actual departure.

After I had left the Skytrain peoplemover, connecting the train station to the new glistening Central Terminal, I proceeded towards the Lufthansa check-in area. There was quite a long queue in front of the check-in desks, but since Lufthansa is a pioneer when it comes to automated check-in, there were also several check-in automats both for hand-luggage and conventional baggage available to the customer. As it seems to be a regular occurrence with travellers, hardly anyone dared to use the automats, so within a matter of minutes, I had checked in my bag and received the boarding pass for my flight at one of the machines. Thumbs up for such a comfortable and hassle-free service!

After freeing myself from the hassle of hauling my baggage around any longer, I proceeded towards the security checks. After a few minutes of watching with a slight amusement, how a young girl had to remove the metallic belt from her pants for the x-ray, and then had to hold her pants with one hand and trying to free herself from various metallic objects distributed all around her clothing (serves her right for wearing those ridiculous baggy pants!), I passed through the x-ray without any incidents and arrived in the airside part of Terminal A, which is exclusively used by Lufthansa and its partners.

I spent the next hour inside Lufthansa’s pier A, which was renovated only a few years ago and offers a surprisingly good collection of fashion, souvenir and travel value stores as well as several bars and bistros. Traffic was fairly tranquil during this late Friday morning; the first wave of charter flight arrived back from their morning rotations to destinations around the Med. The Lufthansa gates, however, were almost deserted, with only a sole A320 departing for MUC and another A300-600 flying the short 25-minute hop to FRA from the gate next to us.

While our gate area was slowly filling up with passengers for the Mallorca flight, I strolled around the glass facade and watched while our “Bobby” (the Lufthansa nickname for the737, which is based on the nickname of the aircraft in a children’s book during the Seventies).

Another nice factor of travelling with Lufthansa is the fact that one gets to use some of the few remaining perks, our national carrier is offering to its cattle class customers. Positioned strategically all around the terminal are self-service beverage dispensers for tea and coffee and voluminous newspaper racks with a large selection of free national and international newspapers for the passengers to enjoy.

About twenty minutes before scheduled pushback time, the boarding announcement was made, and the passengers made their way to the gate (A72), got their boarding passes checked and then entered the jetway.

The flight (DUS-PMI)

Duesseldorf International Airport (PMI) – Palma de Mallorca Sont San Joan (PMI)
Flight number: LH4406
Scheduled block time: 1155h – 1420h
Off-block: 1157h
Take-Off: 1207h (RWY 23L)
Touch-down: 1413h (RWY 24R)
On-block: 1417h

Boeing 737-330
D-ABEL „Pforzheim“
c/n 25415/2175
delivered: December 5, 1991

Seat 8A (Economy Class)

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Photo © Avro

I quickly walked through the empty passenger boarding bridge and entered the cabin of “Pforzheim” (i.e. the name of the city, which is godfather to the aircraft). Two friendly female flight attendants greeted me at the entrance, and I made my way through the spotlessly clean aisle towards my seat, which was situated at the wing root.

The cabin of our 13-year old Boeing 737 was in a remarkably good shape and looked much better than the worn out Lufthansa 737’s I had recently travelled on. While my fellow travellers boarded the plane, I took the chance to look around the cabin. D-ABEL was one of the Boeing 737-300, which was recently reconfigured by Lufthansa into a “high density configuration”. By removal of the rear galley and the installation of new, thinner seats, another two seat rows could be added, increasing the revenue potential of these planes. Another interesting trivia fact about this subfleet is that these aircraft are based on regional German airports for tangential routes, i.e. those flights not serving one of the hubs in FRA or MUC.

Having never flown on one of the reconfigured “high density” birds, I have to admit that all the fuss and bad criticism about this very controversial Lufthansa strategy is just about right. Instead of the comfortable and very cushy grey leather seats, which are standard on the rest of Lufthansa’s “Kont-Fleet”, this 737 was fitted with the worst seats I have ever come across.

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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

The seats are covered with a cheap-looking grey fabric, the seat backs and bottoms are rock hard, which isn’t surprising at all considering that the back is now only about 3 centimeters wide and the seat pitch has been reduced to Ryanairesque proportions.

By 1157h, we finally went off-block, the trusty CFM-56’s spooled up with their characteristically dry belch, and a few minutes later, after the pushback tug was disconnected and our flight “waved off”, we were on our way, taxiing alongside the deserted LTU hangar to the threshold of RWY 23L.

After letting CityLine CRJ take off in front of us, it was finally our turn for departure, so our little “Classic 737”, slowly turned onto the active runway, the engine sound increased to a deafening roar and we thundered and rattled down the runway, rotation followed and with one minute, our wheels lost contact to terra firma and we were on our way across the lush green banks of the River Rhine to warmer climes.

While the majestic Rhine River was glistening below us,…

…our 737 slowly banked towards the left and followed a south-westerly course towards Luxemburg, passing the almost deserted “Duesseldorf Express Airport” (a.k.a. Moenchengladbach Airport) and several open-pit brown coal mines in the “Ville” region on its way.

About twenty minutes after departure, we executed a sharp right and left hand turn before finally ascending continuously to the south under a beautifully clear blue summer day A message from the flight deck introduced us to today’s flight data: “Welcome about this afternoon’s flight so sunny Mallorca. Our flight path today will lead us from Duesseldorf via Krefeld to Liege, where we have made a left turn towards Luxemburg. We are currently passing west of Strasbourg and will continue our flight towards Geneva, Marseille and, finally, Mallorca. Cruising altitude today is 35.00 feet at a speed of 500 miles per hour.”

Unfortunately, there is neither audio nor video equipment on board Lufthansa’s continental European fleet, so there was no AirShow available for the duration of this trip. Concerning cabin service, passengers on today’s flight were also treated to the new “enhanced” (that’s Lufthansa lingo for “reduced”) service concept: instead of a small cold plate and salad, the only food available for Peasant Class was either a cheese or a ham baguette, which I chose.

Not really what one would expect from a „full service carrier“, whose slogan is a big-mouthed “There is no better way to fly”. Are they really sure about that or have they just never tested the onboard product of their competitors?

The quality of this baguette was, to be very honest, rather limited. The bread was dry and the cold rut rather bland, so it was a fortunate coincidence that two drink runs were performed by the crew in the course of the flight, which made swallowing down the flour brick somewhat easier. On a comparable flight with most German leisure airlines, the food usually is much better and more substantial, unless one is travelling with the charter arm of Lufthansa, i.e. Condor (for a very fine trip report covering a Condor experience  Big grin , please click here: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/51125/).

The rest of the flight went by fairly quick. We passed along Lake Neufchatel in Switzerland…

Lake Geneva, with a snow-covered Montblanc in the background, crossed the Rhone river and finally traversed the port city of Marseille on our way to the Balearic island.

About 25 minutes before scheduled touchdown, throttles were pulled back and descent initiated. With ten more minutes until touchdown, the eastern coastline of Mallorca near Alcudia became visible in the haze,…

…our Boeing glided across the brownish and barren plains of the Mallorca interior…

… before we soared across the threshold of RWY 24L, where two Air Europa 737 were awaiting their turn for take-off…

…and we touched down, deployed thrust reversers and spoilers…

…before we vacated the runway in typical Lufthansa fashion – very much on time earlier than scheduled. A few minutes of taxiing alongside a plethora of British and Spanish holiday airliners ensued, before our bird finally came to a halt on the apron adjacent to Terminal A in the middle of the searing Spanish afternoon sun.

Two more minutes of waiting until the boarding bridge finally arrived, and we were off the plane, entered the “Iberia” bus and drove to the arrival hall at the main central terminal.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Palma de Mallorca Airport

After spending an enjoyable extended weekend with my old folks, we were again at the airport on the following Monday morning – very early in fact, because like almost any other low cost airline, EasyJet allocates their seats on a “first come, first serve” basis – if you check in early, you get a low sequence number and consequently are among the first passengers to board the aircraft.

Not really comfortable and a far cry from Lufthansa’s allocation standard, but nevertheless very efficient and transparent.

PMI is the epitome of an airport in a holiday region – struggling to keep with an onrush of travellers during high season (April –October), it is bustling with activity during June. Seriously, I have hardly ever experienced such a crowded place before, the only exception being this very same airport in the midst of the peak season during June.

There are several hundred check-in desks available in the spacious entrance level, however, it took us only a few minutes to find the check-in counters for the EasyJet flight back to DTM. With only five passengers waiting in front of us, we were finished with the check-in procedure rather quickly, and received sequence numbers 43 through 45. Therefore, we would be among the second group to board the aircraft.

After purchasing some stamps from the “Tabacco” in the entire landside terminal hall, and perusing through the Aldeasa (Spanish chain of Travel Value stores) offers, I made my way to airside via one of the two open security checkpoints.

Once inside the sterile portion of the huge H-shaped terminals after we had passed through the somewhat relaxed or even lax security check (no one even asking me for my boarding pass!), we took one of the vast moving walkways, transporting passengers to their gate areas, which can be quite far away in this huge terminal building.

The mood inside the terminal was hard to describe – PMI is made from polished beige limestone with relatively few windows and fairly massive walls in order to isolate the inside from the searing heat of the summer months. There were flights arriving and leaving at virtually every gate, but thanks to the very wide internal architecture with very few obstruction, the place didn’t seem to be overly crowded.

Within a few minutes after our arrival at gate D62 and in fact 30 minutes before scheduled departure, boarding commenced for the flight back to Germany.

Boarding procedure at Palma was conducted in textbook style, which unfortunately is not necessarily the case at other EasyJet stations: first priority boarding for families with children and disabled persons, then the first group with sequence number 1 –30, then our group (numbers 31 – 60).
After handing the “EuroHandling” gate personal our boarding passes, we entered the jetway and proceeded towards the 1L door of our EasyAirbus.

The flight (PMI-DTM)

Palma de Mallorca Sont San Joan (PMI) – Dortmund Holzwickede (DTM)
Flight number: EZY 4972
Scheduled block time: 0945h – 1215h
Off-block: 0940h
Take-off: 0955h (RWY 24R)
Touch-down: 1150h (RWY 24)
On-block: 1157h

Airbus A319-111
c/n 2050
delivered: October 6, 2003

Seat 12F (Economy Class)

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Photo © Stefan Welsch

I said “Hello!” to the young and good looking flight attendant at the door, and proceeded through the already well filled rows until I found some free seats on the left hand side of our A319 in row 12. After storing my backpack in the overhead bin, I finally settled down o n the window seat. Boarding was completed well ahead of time and both front and rear doors closed. While our aircraft was readied for its pushback, I glanced out of the window and noticed a fellow EasyJet A319 next to us, destined to return to Berlin SXF a few minutes after us.

While the cabin was prepared for take-off and push-back commenced, I took a look around the cabin.

EasyJet surely likes to “pack them in” – I have never seen such a high density of seats on an Airbus narrowbody. Coupled with the lack of any extensive galley- or wardrobe structures next to the 1L door zone, the whole aircraft was filled with seats to the maximum. In fact, the term “Airbus” must have been coined with this situation in mind – our cabin resembled a large overland bus rather than a plane.

It has to be noted, however, that despite the high density seating, the seat pitch and the comfort level of the seats can still be described as adequate. Furthermore, the cabin was clean and designed with friendly colors and ambient lighting. Flying for cheap does not necessarily have to mean crappy service on dirty planes flying from remote airports – Ryanair should take note of that.

Pushback commenced a few minutes ahead of schedule, and soon we were sluggishly making our way to the threshold of RWY 24R, passing a Condor 757-300, a few parked Futura 737’s and the odd Spanair “Mad Dog” along the taxiway.

Turning onto the active runway a few minutes later, thrust was increased rapidly, and the well-packed Airbus roared down the asphalt and lifted off well before the end of the runway.

We passed Palma Bay only a few seconds later while gear was retracted…

… and soon afterwards made a sharp left turn, and then continued our climb just south of the Mallorcan shoreline. Unfortunately for us, soon enough clouds started to blanket the ground view, and it was only until the very last minutes of our flight that terra firma was again visible.

Cabin service onboard EasyJet is –quite logically – totally different from Lufthansa’s service. The young and motivated cabin crew performed a meal and drink sales run followed by a duty free sales excursion. Much to my surprise, there was quite a large amount of passengers buying both consumable goods as well as items from the duty free selection. All in all, cabin service has to be described as efficient and friendly, but not elegant.

About twenty minutes from touchdown, descent was initiated while we were still crossing the rolling hills of the Hunsrueck. After crossing the Rhine near Cologne and lowering the flaps over Wuppertal, the final few minutes of our descent saw us lining up for RWY 24 after a gentle U-turn near the medieval city of Soest, continue our descent across Unna, with the former nuclear power plant of Hamm-Uentrop visible in the background…

…before flying across the Kamener Kreuz, one of Germany’s busiest highway junction. Gear was lowered while we were gliding across some commercial areas close to Holzwickede…

… and we touched down firmly on Dortmund’s sole runway, using full reversers and spoilers due to the relatively short length.

A few more minutes of taxiing followed, until the Airbus came to a stop next to a Wizzair A320, which was scheduled to leave for Warsaw a few minutes after our arrival. With only a few meters left, the engines spooled down and an aircraft tug was connected, pulling our nose away from the terminal in a half circle before finally putting us on block.

Deboarding was performed as quick and swift as the reverse process before our flight, and soon we were walking through the hallways of Dortmund’s new terminal towards the baggage claim.


Although there are still quite some notable differences between “full frills” Lufthansa and “no frills” EasyJet, they are located at parts of the travel chain, where most of the regular (i.e. not frequent travelling) passengers will not notice them. Lufthansa’s advantage on an Intra-European Economy Class flight is the seamless travel chain on the ground on in the air, exemplified by the sophisticated check-in options and the reliable and clean terminals and aircraft.

Flying Lufthansa is therefore a stress-free experience.

EasyJet offers a very streamlined product, which satisfies the basic needs of their travellers. While devoid of most perks other “full service airlines” might offer, their actual on board product is not too different from e.g. Lufthansa’s watered down service, while usually selling at much lower fares.

With the destruction of any meaningful mileage accrual potential within “Miles and More”, Lufthansa has robbed themselves from another very effective tool against the low cost competition.

Therefore in the opinion of this author, for Economy travels within Europe, the decision can purely be based on price, schedule and geographical convenience – if Lufthansa offers a good price and an acceptable schedule, it makes sense to use the airline. However, if a flight on a comparable rotation costs e.g. 20 Euros more than a flight on e.g. EasyJet, the comfort plus on LH can be neglected.

This is an observation, which casts some shadows of doubt on today’s full frills airlines’ strategies, because with a much higher cost base, they will not be able to compete with LCC’s like EasyJet on price alone in the long run, while differentiating their product only slightly.
One can only hope, for the sake of comfortable travelling and in the name of employees and shareholders of the “full frills airlines”, that management will no longer succumb themselves to the price dictate alone, as there are a few shining examples among the European full frills airlines, which are going the other way, increasing service to differentiate themselves from the low cost pack –and even show success with this.

Take SNBA for example…

Thanks for reading my report – questions, comments, or criticism are always appreciated.  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineINNflight From Switzerland, joined Apr 2004, 3783 posts, RR: 56
Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 6645 times:

Very interesting trip report, and nice to see the differences between Low- and NotsoLow-Cost carriers  Big grin


Jet Visuals
User currently offlineJsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2400 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6624 times:

Great report! Nice to see an intra-European photo report... very similar to a report I would write had I been on that trip.

I've always wanted to see PMI - looks like it handles a really interesting mix of traffic.

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6338 times:

Hi Jens,

All I can say is: *wow*! Big grin You made me quite 'hungry' because you didn't write much trip reports lately (I check the trip reports forum every day in the hope that people like you have posted a report), but now I've to read two reports from your side in one day! Big grin What a priviledge!  Big thumbs up

What can I say... yet another great trip report of course! Big grin

I really wouldn't spend more money to fly LH. For the few priviledges you get in comparison with EZY, it actually doesn't make any sense anymore. Miles: you almost don't get any. Food: for the dry sandwich you get, you can as well buy one on EZY if you're hungry. And for a seat: if you are early at the check-in, you'll be able to board in the first group on EZY flights, with a window seat guaranteed.

Your cabin shot is very interesting: like you say, the only thing you see are... seats.

How is EZY doing out of DTM? The loadfactor seems to be quite good on this particular flight.

Would love to have the opportunity to fly EZY from BRU, but that won't be for tomorrow I'm afraid...


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (11 years 6 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6337 times:

Something I forgot to ask: do LH still serve cold plates on longer EU flights like FRA-MAD or FRA-HEL, or are sandwiches also served on those flights?

PMI maybe get's a sandwich because it's one of those holiday destinations...


User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9320 posts, RR: 69
Reply 5, posted (11 years 6 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6131 times:

hey TriStar,

very nice trip report and really nice pictures!

But you didnt land on runway 24L, it was runway 24R, as you can see the aircrafts holding short and you can see the threshold markings of runway 24C, which is used as a taxiway and the runway 24L is on the other side of the terminal, and this terminal you can see on the next picture. Usually you land on runway24L and depart on runway 24R, but if your parking spot is closer to runway 24R you request it and LH is mostly parked near 24R, so they requested it and got it  Wink/being sarcastic

But nevermind, great report and PMI has always been fun to land there, too!


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 6, posted (11 years 6 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6127 times:

@Florian and James
Thank you very much for those kind words! Makes my work really worth the while.  Smile

Thank you very much for your praise - I am really blushing right now, which must look kind of funny, since I am now sitting in the office and am supposed to work. Big grin

I think we both agree about the attractiveness of Lufthansa's Economy Class on intra-European routes. To me, the words of Continental's CEO Gordon Bethune have become true: "You can cut costs by removing all toppings from a Pizza, until is so cheap that no one wants to buy it anymore." IMO, this is exactly what LH has been doing now - virtually no onboard service anyomore, no miles and the ridiculous "Ticket Burglar Fee", which is in fact just a fare hike of 30/ 45 Euros per booking for no additional service.

I have flown Lufthansa privately fairly often during the last three years, because they used to offer an OK value for money ratio. However, unless there will be drastic changes in their mileage program or the Service Charge in the future, they will see no more of my private business, unless there is absolutely no alternative.

In the sake of customers, I hope that many other people will do the same and vote with their wallets.

Regarding EZY's succes in DTM, the latest info I have read is that their ALC service is the best one running with a SLF of 85%, and CDG the worst one with about 72% SLF.

BTW -I have emailed you a Word file with the new LH intra-European catering concept.  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineLHR27C From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 1279 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (11 years 6 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5934 times:

Great report, TriStar, and some nice photos. These U2 A319s are getting nothing but positive feedback  Smile. Glad you enjoyed your trip.


Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned forever skyward
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (11 years 6 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5866 times:

Your are certainly right about the A319's. I have flown on the B733 in EasyJet configuration and have to say that they are a far cry from the wider and more spacious cabin of the A319, which is even evident in the high-density seating EasyJet is providing.

Therefore I am quite happy to see that the A319 will be based at DTM and that the B733 is destined to leave the EasyJet fleet in the mid term.  Smile

I will try out the EasyJet B73G on a CGN-LGW flight in February, but I suppose, they will not be much different from their older brothers.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineMerC From Sweden, joined Dec 2003, 590 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (11 years 6 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5781 times:

Hi Jens,

Fabulous writing and lovely photos, makes you feel like you were there yourself. Been waiting for another report from you.  Smile

Also, nice comparison of LH and U2. Could be useful in the future, as I have not flown either of them.

Best regards,


It's Scandinavian
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 10, posted (11 years 6 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5443 times:

Thank you very much for your comments!  Smile As I have tried to point out, you will be fine boht onboard LH and U2, but beware of paying to much for a no frills flight on a so-called "full frills airline" (LH).  Big grin

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 11, posted (11 years 6 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5279 times:

Hi Jens,
interesting to read about Lufthansa's "enhanced" service. I have to say that the cabin looks quite nice with the new seats, but I can imagine that these thinner seats are not really comfortable. At least the baguette looks really cheap...
Thanks for sharing your impressions!
Regards, Alex.

ps: great photos!

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (11 years 6 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5267 times:

Hello Jens,

thanks for one more high quality report - a pleasure to read as always! And your great pics make a valuable contribution as well.

I have also experienced LH's new "service" concept and I agree with you: LH is all right as long as the price is ok, but they don't offer an outstanding product (which is actally rather hard to find on European short-haul routes today).
Unfortunately, I never had the chance to try out Easyjet - the Southwest of Germany is missing in their network. I guess Nordrhein-Westfalen is still the area in Germany with the most options for low-cost travel (CGN, DTM, NRN with lots of different airlines to chose from) while STR, my homebase and the "second low-cost hub" in Germany is mainly dominated by 4U and HLX.


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 13, posted (11 years 6 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5212 times:

Thank you for your kind words! I always like to read THIS comment of yours.  Big grin

You are not exactly missing out on anything if you haven't flown on EasyJet yet. It offers a good, solid value for money and a reliable product, but cannot in any way been described as spectacular or one of a kind.

But then, the same can be said about urban rapid transit, which is basically the equivalent of EasyJet on the ground. Big grin

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (11 years 6 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5178 times:

>>>Positioned strategically all around the terminal are self-service beverage dispensers for tea and coffee and voluminous newspaper racks with a large selection of free national and international newspapers for the passengers to enjoy.

LOL, I ransack these newspaper stands whenever I can - I especially enjoy it when flying on a competitor of LH´s  Laugh out loud

>>>The seats are covered with a cheap-looking grey fabric, the seat backs and bottoms are rock hard, which isn’t surprising at all considering that the back is now only about 3 centimeters wide and the seat pitch has been reduced to Ryanairesque proportions.

I absolutely agree with you. I´ve never had to actually travel on these seats, but I´ve sat´in them on the ground - terrible. Them being used on the 346 as well, I can´t imagine the horror of being confined to one of them for the FRA-EZE-SCL flight...
BTW, Ryanairesque is such a nice word, isn´t it?  Laugh out loud Big grin

>>>You made me quite 'hungry' because you didn't write much trip reports lately (I check the trip reports forum every day in the hope that people like you have posted a report),

I second that. The Fab Four of trip reports have kept a remarkably low profile in the past couple of weeks, it was good to see two of yours and one from Ndebele posted within a short period of time.

>>>Unfortunately, I never had the chance to try out Easyjet - the Southwest of Germany is missing in their network.

ZRH isn´t that far, is it? (Or are U2 exclusively at GVA and I´m, mixing things up?)

Daniel Smile

P.S.: Very nice photos, they are so mega!

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (11 years 6 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5137 times:

>>>ZRH isn´t that far, is it?

There are indeed some EZY-flights out of ZRH (as far as I know only to LTN) and now they have also introduced some services out of BSL, but as Jens has already mentioned: EZY is just another LCC with basic service and it wouldn't be worth to travel 2 or 3 hours on the ground just to fly with them to London when I have an airport (STR) in 10-minutes-distance from my home with lots of different possibilities to get to London (LH, BA, 4U out of STR or FR out of FKB). If EZY would serve STR or FKB, I might give them a try...


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 16, posted (11 years 6 months 19 hours ago) and read 5047 times:

You know, what I really don't understand about this whole free newspaper thing is that you can purchase the very same newspaper at the news agents inside the terminal, sometimes only ten or twenty steps away from the next free rack. Keeps me wondering, what is dumber... purchasing the "free" newspaper there (does anybody actually do that?) or offering them for sale... Big grin

Regarding new trip reports from my side, most of my travels recently have been either for business (and I don't write reports about them) or really standard. I guess nobody wants to read the third or fourth trip report of DUS-PMI-DUS or DTM-CDG-DTM. I will probably write a picture report about a scenic flight on Air Berlin from Duesseldorf next weekend, which will lead us around Northrhine-Westphalia, one about our Germanwings flight to Warsaw (an airport hardly ever covered here) in December and Czech Airlines flight DTM-PRG-BCN and return in December. And if I am really, really bored, about an AB flight FMO-PMI-FMO in November, but that's just to cover FMO.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 17, posted (11 years 6 months 18 hours ago) and read 5044 times:

Wow, Jens, you travel quite a lot  Wow!

Regarding LH's free newspapers: I work as a gate agent for other airlines, and I find it always funny when "my" passengers (i.e. no LH passengers) tell me that there are no more "Die Welt" newspapers available at the LH newspaper self-service. Air France is a little more clever, they lock their newspapers away inside the jetway, the part of the jetway which is only accessable when de-boarding the aircraft. They just distribute the newspapers when they open the gate. However, some really clever other airlines' passengers even managed to get to the locked-away Air France newspapers during boarding, then come back to me and complain that there are "only French newspapers" available...

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 18, posted (11 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4964 times:

Thanks to my job, my lust for flying and the ever-decreasing airfares in the LCC war here in Europe, I get to fly around pretty often recently. I have to differentiate between business and leisure trips though. My "work" flights are a real pain in the a$$, because they just consume time I would rather spend in bed (in the morning) or at home (in the evening).

I really enjoy those leisure trips though - sometimes they are on the verge of being ridiculous, like e.g. the Mallorca flight in November. That particular one only serves three purposes: working on my "Gold" status as an Air Berlin Frequent Flyer, covering FMO airport and purchasing some Mallorcan food and beverages for me and friends of mine - I will actually travel there with an empty bag in the morning and return with 20kg of goods in the evening. Now how crazy is that?  Nuts Ah well, can't go wrong for 58 Euros...  Big thumbs up

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineAstrojet From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 565 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4764 times:

Hi TiStar500,

Your reports and pictures are really good, that EZY report was especially interesting to me because I will take the same flight next December.

Thanks for taking the time to write it.

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 20, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4726 times:

Thank you very much for you compliments! Wors like yours give me any reason to continue putting all those hours into my report!  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4730 times:

Hi Jens,

I would really appreciate a report about that AB FMO-PMI-FMO flight!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

interesting to read about Lufthansa's "enhanced" service

Look at the third sentence of their latest press release: Despite the dramatic hike in the oil price, the Lufthansa Group earned an operating profit of Euro 218 million in the third quarter of 2004. The cumulative operating result for the first nine months improved by Euro 405 million to Euro 251 million. "We exploited the market opportunities, successfully sold our extra capacity and enhanced the quality of our products,"

They do their best to convince the customers, not?  Big grin

PS: I hope you got my reply to your email?


User currently offlineSpeedwing From Germany, joined May 2000, 17 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4689 times:

Hi TriStar ! First of all: Thank's a lot for your interesting report ! Your conclusion is highly objective and I can almost completely agree with you !!!

I have two small notes:

1. LH hasn't removed the rear galley on the 10 rebuild 737-300

2. The planes are going to be refited with the usual grey leather-seats ( despite of the fact, that - in my opinion - the cloth-seats are giving a much "brighter" appearance of the cabin ), because most customers prefer the "leather-version".

A very interesting fact is the expectation of a passenger, as soon as he hears: "Lufthansa" --- He is usually thinking of "first-class-meals", plenty of space and a wide variety of luxury cocktails........As long as he travels "First Class" / "Business Class" on long-range-flights he is right, but if he is flying within Europe in "Economy" he will be disappointed very soon. For me - as a cabin-crew-member of LH - it is a difficult job to deal with the high expectations: I'm willing and often able to offer a service with a "human and personal touch" but the times of hot meals on a DUS-PMI- flight are over and won't come back. As you have already pointed out, high quality of our product is mostly visible on the ground. Our clients can expect perfectly-maintained planes, highly qualified crews and a professional dealing with "unusual" situations ( weather etc. ), as well. That's the reason why our passengers pay more, but those things usually didn't count for a customer traveling from "A" to "B" for leisure-reason. Nowadays the ticket has to be cheap, the standard of service has to be the highest and if not: Easy to find a cheaper arline and if the seats are much smaller, they are "great", just because he has expected less. How to solve this problem ? : "LH, just fly cheaper and offer more !" is the most heard phrase. Today every airline has a "cost-cutting-program" but LH has to improve everything. If you have an idea how, please let me know ! Believe me: I'm much more "efficient" for my company than I've been ten years ago and as soon as we see a new chance to save money "behind the scene" we are doing it, but it's really a hard task.... Your idea of an improved service isn't that bad, but first of all you have to "find" a part of our business where we can save money in order to "reinvest" it into a new "service-idea" otherwise our shareholders wouldn't accept it. We recently improved our "Business Class" within Europe ( middle-seat will be empty, up to three meal-choices on certain routes and so on ) but on the other hand we had to change our concept in "Economy Class", because we are now working ( on an A-321 e.g. ) with 4 FA's instead of 6. It is simply impossible to deal with the workload if no chances would have taken place. If we still would fly with a crew of 6 we wouldn't be able to offer a flight from DUS to PMI for 98 Euro or so.....
Let's wait and see what kind of development will take place in Europes airline-market....

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 23, posted (11 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4678 times:

Thank you for your very insightful thoughts from the perspective of an LH employee.  Smile Working in the air transportation business myself - although chiefly tasked with airport planning on the one hand and air cargo logistics on the other - I am certainly not unfamiliar with the economic restrictions many of the "traditional" carriers are facing today.

One of the key points of your post for me is the conclusion that the brand "Lufthansa" rises expectations among customers very high, and taking the latest range of Lufthansa commercials in Germany into account, this trend remains. It certainly makes sense from a business standpoint to promote your product in the most impressive fashion, but this strategy also contains some indirect dangers, because high expectations among your target group will lead to dissapointment once these expectations are not met by the actual product experience.

This is in my humble opinion the main danger for me as a customer and a consulting engineer in the aviation business - you can count on the goodwill of your cutomers only for a limited amount of time. Like you have pointed out, the product Lufthansa offers, is in many regards an industry leading one - realiability, safety, frequency and schedule are of vital importance for frequent travellers, who form the bread and butter of the scheduled airline business. In the front end of the cabin, it is still largely up to par with the main competitors.

Unfortunately, for me as a customer, the strategy on the Economy Class side is not as evident. Don't get me wrong - I can understand that due to the higher production costs of a network carrier, the fare level and seatmile revenues have to be higher than those of low cost carriers, which only pick out the most profitable routes and use their equipment to the maximum without having to take network connectivity into account.

Therefore Lufthansa et al. understandably have to charge higher fares in most markets than their low cost competitors. It is also clear that the production processes are already very streamlined and leave very little further optimization potential. Unfortunately though, for the subjective viewpoint of the passengers, many of these "optimizations" take place in their view area and are regarded by them as a watering down of the self-declared standards of a "high class airline".

And this is the point where in my humble opinion the danger for LH et al. lies - if you have to charge passengers higher fares because you have higher productions costs (which will never even be close to the ones of the LCC's) - you have to at least symbolically show them where their extra money is going - i.e. service on the ground and on board. Otherwise, if you are just offering "basic transportation", however for a much higher price, the very reason to pay more for a flight with LH wil be less and less obvious for your potential customer, who might in the end just chose the LCC if the value for money is notably better.

And talking both from the perspective as a private and business traveller, I unfortunately have to say that Lufthansa (and others) are in the process of losing a lot of their bread and butter customers right now. Until 2002, most of our business travels were conducted with LH (many of them even in C Class). However with a diminshing "subjective" value of the LH product in recent years and the availabilty of "Low Cost" alternatives, there is often no economically sensible reason for us not to choose 4U, AB, EZY etc., who charge between 200 and 400 Euro less for a short haul intra-European flight than LH Y-Class at virtually the same schedule.

I certainly hope that Lufthansa, who have in my opinion one of the brightest management team in an industry plagued by chronic management incompetence, will prevail and prosper to remain Europe's number 1 scheduled carrier. After all, they are securing a lot of highy qualified jobs and might just one day even be my employee (you'll never know).  Smile However, some recent decisions, although they seem to be economically sensible, might prove to be sensible only in the short run - in the long run however, they might lead to the alienation of their core customers and therefore pose grave dangers to the existence of the company.

Once again, thank you for some very insightful thoughts, it is really a pleasure discussing with you.  Smile

[Edited 2004-11-13 00:00:12]

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
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