sn26567
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:16 am

BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Tue May 10, 2005 5:00 pm

Thanks to a company policy that allows travel in business class if the price is not more than 5% over economy and thanks also to the outrageous prices of Lufthansa on BRU-FRA, I travelled on a business ticket at no less than €732.71 (flexible economy would have been some €702). I was booked on LH4593, etd 7:05.

I arrived at the airport parking at 6:20. The queues at the check-in desks at Brussels airport were very long everywhere, especially for Virgin Express whose passengers were filling half of the main departure hall. I quickly decided for an automatic check-in machine. From the 30 seats in business class, only 2 aisle seats were still free. I selected 5D. Than started the long walk to gate A61. The queue at the baggage scanner was immense. It took 15 minutes to get through. When I arrived there, boarding was almost completed. I sat in my seat at 6:55. The plane, a Boeing 737-300 registered D-ABEA, had arrived in Brussels the night before. The load factor was 100% (so why decrease the price?). Seating in business was 2-2, normal 3-3 seat configuration with the middle seat always empty; the Recaro seats could be changed to a wider 3-2 configuration, but this had not been done.


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Photo © Chris Sheldon


D-ABEA landing on 25R in Frankfurt

We left the gate 10 minutes because of late passengers (the queues!). Take-off from 25R was delayed a further 5 minutes by ... a queue. Service started soon after take-off. Not less than 3 stewards were serving in business. The breakfast consisted of a fruit salad (melon and strawberries), a camembert sandwich, a chocolate muffin and a Kelloggs Frosties cereal bar. As for drinks, I asked for orange juice (in a glass) and coffee (in a plastic cup); the fork, knife and spoon were also plastic (not really business-like). Arrival in Frankfurt was 10 minutes late at 8:15. The plane docked at Gate A42, the farthest away in Terminal 1A, which meant a 15 minute walk over more than one km (you can check!) to get out of the airport.

For the return flight I was booked on LH4586, etd 17:00, also a Boeing 737-300. However, I arrived early at the airport, and my business class ticket allowed me to change to the earlier flight (only 40 minutes earlier: the LH monopoly has made it a policy to gridlock all slots to Brussels at every time of the day, in order to block any possible competition). I thus tried to change my ticket on an automatic machine. It did not work: the machine swallowed my LH FF card. I had to call a supervisor to open the machine and retrieve my card. I than went to a ticket counter, where a friendly lady changed my reservations to LH4586, a Boeing 737-500 registered D-ABIA, etd 16:20. I got seat 3A. I had again to walk 15 minutes through the whole length of terminal 1A to gate A40. I had my daily dose of exercise today...


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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt


D-ABIA taxiing in Frankfurt

Business class was pretty full, with some 16 people for 18 seats. Seating was the same 2-2 as in the morning flight, normal 3-3 seat configuration with the middle seat always empty. Take-off was on time. A snack was served: a vegetable salad, a veal sandwich and strawberries. With that I had a glass of white wine served from the bottle and a glass of still water. The glasses were in glass, but the cutlery was plastic again. Service by 2 stewardesses was smiling.

After landing on 25L, arrival at the gate in Brussels was 5 minutes early. Although we docked at a gate in Terminal A, we were bussed to the main building, which was nice because it avoids walking through half of the Terminal and the endless tunnel from terminal A to the main building. A notice in the main building said that all passengers from Munich and Frankfort were transferred that way for 'security reasons'. I wonder which ones, as I did not see any control.

The 30 euros over economy provide some advantages, but is it worth this amount?
ex-Sabena #26567
 
LH431
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:29 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Fri May 13, 2005 12:16 am

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
but is it worth this amount?

YES, definitely!
You get a lot of advantages
1. Priority Check-In (at least in FRA)
2. Priority security control (at least in FRA T1 A)
3. Lufthansa Business Lounge(nothing special,but nice)
4. Lufthansa Business Gate (nice seating at the gate)
5. A little bit more comfort on board
6. (slighty) better service
7. Get off first
8. Sometimes priority baggage
7. (most important) more miles than in Y

These perks will let you save some time and make your trip more comfortable.

For 30euros only....thats a good deal!
Cheers
There is a better way to fly
 
fbgdavidson
Posts: 3563
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Fri May 13, 2005 1:22 am

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
The 30 euros over economy provide some advantages, but is it worth this amount?

Well I'd do it everytime for the extra FF miles alone...but then I am like that...

A lot of the advantages of shorthual business can be had by simply being an elite in the airlines FFP, and not even top tier. Example: I am BA Silver and fly BA LHR-FCO for example. I get business check-in, fast track security, entrance to business class lounge, more miles (tier bonus) and probably first row of economy just for being Silver.

The only real advantages of business class are onboard and on shorthaul these are fairly minimal. However, I don't fly that much so treat myself to business class when I do.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
trident2e
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:38 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Fri May 13, 2005 6:27 am

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
I travelled on a business ticket at no less than €732.71

What an obscene amount of money for such a short flight. They certainly saw you coming and are no doubt laughing all the way to the bank.
 
Sabena332
Posts: 14938
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 3:57 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Fri May 13, 2005 7:09 am

Thanks for the report, interesting read!

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
As for drinks, I asked for orange juice (in a glass) and coffee (in a plastic cup); the fork, knife and spoon were also plastic (not really business-like).

How pathetic! Plastic cups and plastic cutlery in Business Class shows the complete lack of style of this airline!

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
I thus tried to change my ticket on an automatic machine. It did not work: the machine swallowed my LH FF card.

This happened to me frequenty, one time at the check-in automat and countless times on the Miles&Less account statement printers, freaking annoying.

It is sad to see that Craphansa has the monopoly on the FRA-BRU route.

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
canberra
Posts: 289
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 8:32 pm

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Fri May 13, 2005 6:27 pm

Thanks Sn26567,

Great report.

For the price you paid Lufthansa should have had a nice girl escorting you around all the queues  crowded  Including the one before departure  Wink

Ok, maybe not, but still, surprised that your business ticket couldn't get you around the check-in queue at least...

All the best, Michael
It takes courage to push things forward . . (Mo Mowlam)
 
Avianca
Posts: 5270
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:33 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Sat May 14, 2005 5:59 am

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 4):
It is sad to see that Craphansa has the monopoly on the FRA-BRU route.

why did not operated SN Brussels the route? There are many many buisness travelers on the route + some conecting passengers to africa, europe and for sure for the code-share flights on AA to north america.

regards
Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
 
Ndebele
Posts: 2847
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2001 3:16 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Sat May 14, 2005 5:34 pm

Nice report. 30EUR more for business is certainly worth it, however the 700EUR for the flexible economy ticket is what I find quite expensive...

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
A notice in the main building said that all passengers from Munich and Frankfort were transferred that way for 'security reasons'

For any reason, FRA and MUC (and NUE as well) are not considered as "clean" airports, so passengers arriving from these airports are not allowed to enter the gate area of the arrival airport - unless arrival and departure area are strictly seperated, or of course unless the passengers get a security check after arrival. It doesn't mean that security checks at FRA, MUC and NUE are bad, it's just that other airports want passengers arriving from these airports to be checked again for whatever reason.
 
TriStar500
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 1999 9:50 pm

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Sun May 15, 2005 6:26 pm

Very interesting report - paying 30 Euro more for this upgrade sounds like a fair deal. However, paying 700 Euro for a short round trip in LH Peasant Class does not sound like good value for money at all. But I guess that's the effect of a monopoly route for you... I wonder, for how much longer will our "national" carriers get away with such a price-gouging? In Lufthansa's case, they still seem to reap benefits from their network, punctuality and over-rated image, because they are one of the most profitable airlines in Europe. A seasoned traveller, who knows about the alternatives and does not have to travel on such monopoly routes on expensive day returns, however will try to stay away from such a waste of money.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
 
LHSTR
Posts: 212
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RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Mon May 16, 2005 3:23 pm

Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 8):
However, paying 700 Euro for a short round trip in LH Peasant Class does not sound like good value for money at all.

This is the totally flexible Y fare. Fares around 700 EUR for short European flights are normal for a Y ticket.
E.g. beloved AF charges EUR 756,08 for a same day return STR-CDG-STR. And there is even competition.

Quoting Sn26567 (Thread starter):
the LH monopoly has made it a policy to gridlock all slots to Brussels at every time of the day, in order to block any possible competition

The argument that LH uses all available slots at BRU is absurd. LH has only around 20 departures a day from BRU to FRA, MUC, HAM, TXL and STR.
 
Sabena 690
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Mon May 16, 2005 5:17 pm

Quoting LHSTR (Reply 9):
The argument that LH uses all available slots at BRU is absurd. LH has only around 20 departures a day from BRU to FRA, MUC, HAM, TXL and STR.

Correction:
1) what Sn25657 wants to say (I think) is that no airlines are able to compete with LH between BRU and FRA, simply due to the lack of good slots at FRA.
2) LH has more than 30 daily departures from BRU to Germany (on weekdays), codeshares excluded.

@Sn: you know my opinion already about the trip report! Big grin

Frederic
 
LHSTR
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RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Mon May 16, 2005 5:26 pm

you are right. there are 33 departures a day, including flights to HAJ and NUE, which I didnt mention up there.

I am not sure why SN Brussels is not flying to FRA. They more or less took over the slots of former Sabena, otherwise the probably would have lost many more good slots at restricted airports, e.g. LHR, right?
 
Sabena 690
Posts: 6065
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RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Mon May 16, 2005 7:34 pm

Quoting LHSTR (Reply 11):
I am not sure why SN Brussels is not flying to FRA

- O&D traffic: LH would kill them, as they would 1) drastically lower their fares (untill SN would give up flying the route) and 2) SN would never be able to offer the amount of flights LH currently offer

- connecting pax: only low-yield connecting pax would want to fly through BRU to their final destination. SN aren't part of a big alliance, so also frequent fliers wouldn't be attracted to fly them. Besides, if you can fly IB or LH directly to MAD, why would you go via BRU (except for aviation enthusiastics? Big grin). It's a pity as BRU really is a nice airport to fly from/to (clean, lot's of space, ...)

About LHR: SN sold their LHR slots to BA...

Regards
Frederic
 
LHSTR
Posts: 212
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2001 10:24 pm

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Mon May 16, 2005 8:47 pm

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 12):
- O&D traffic: LH would kill them, as they would 1) drastically lower their fares (untill SN would give up flying the route) and 2) SN would never be able to offer the amount of flights LH currently offer

But that argument would hold true for all flights on which they have competition from major airlines, e.g. LH to MUC, BA to LON, etc. Still they fly the routes.

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 12):
About LHR: SN sold their LHR slots to BA...

Does that mean that SN does not fly to LHR anymore.
 
Sabena 690
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Mon May 16, 2005 10:49 pm

Quoting LHSTR (Reply 13):
But that argument would hold true for all flights on which they have competition from major airlines, e.g. LH to MUC, BA to LON, etc. Still they fly the routes.

Not really: airlines like BA are able to attract a lot of feeder to their hubs. SN have, in comparison, nothing to offer that FRA doesn't offer. SN have to rely on AA for transatlantic connections (to ORD and JFK), and have no partner for flights to Asia. They have, however, a special network to Africa, but those 3 flights a day would not justify flying to FRA (for feederpax).

And not to forget: LH have a bad relationship with SN. If I'm not mistaken they even refused to make interline agreements with SN in the beginning. Lufthansa see Brussels as a mini-hub, and they want to avoid that SN will bring their position in danger.

Quoting LHSTR (Reply 13):
Does that mean that SN does not fly to LHR anymore

All flights between BRU and LHR are operated by BA, except for one flight which is operated by SN (BRU-LHR on Saturday evening, nightstop, and LHR-BRU on Sunday morning).

SN, however, have 2 flights a day to LGW. BMI offer 7 daily flights between BRU and LHR, and VLM fly 5 times daily to LCY. Frequencies are reduced during weekends.

Regards
Frederic
 
Contact Air
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RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Tue May 17, 2005 5:08 am

Hi SN26567,

very interesting report, thanks for sharing your experiences.

I find this discussion about the flight prices (very expensive indeed, for such a short flight) very interesting as well. However, I don't think these flight prices are that high just because of the monopoly. It is the common fare calculation of "traditional" (=national) carriers: Who books early in advance and stays for the weekend gets the good deals and who is forced to book shortly in advance and needs a day-return has to pay outstanding prices. As the last groups are usually business travellers where tickets are paid by the companies, they usually are less price sensitive than private travellers.

As LHSTR has already mentioned, high prices don't only appear on BRU-FRA. I have just made a random search through the net to compare the fares of different airlines. All flights are same-day returns, booked 3 days in advance (flight date May 19) and the cheapest available economy fare including all taxes and charges.

Some examples:
AF FRA-CDG-FRA: EUR 768,07
KL FRA-AMS-FRA: EUR 557,30
BA FRA-BHX-FRA: EUR 880,92
LX FRA-ZRH-FRA: EUR 414,41 (wow, THAT's cheap! ...  Wink )

The only ones that bring a bit lower fares into the market are the low-cost carriers. But unfortunately, they aren't available on many routes...

Regards
Christoph
 
sn26567
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:16 am

RE: BRU-FRA-BRU On LH: In Business For EUR30 More

Thu May 19, 2005 4:49 pm

Thanks to all for your comments.

I agree that the EUR30 supplement for flying business is worth the money, in view of all the advantages, mainly at FRA airport (if you have enough time to enjoy the lounges) and the FF miles. However, the basic flexible economy fare of EUR700 remains outrageously high. On the longer BRU-MAN route, competition between SN and BA (even though they codeshare on the route) brings the rate of a day return to around EUR450.

The only real competition on BRU-FRA is the ICE high speed train, but the schedules of the three daily trains are less than convenient. I agree with Sabena_690 that LH would kill SN if they dare to start BRU-FRA. And yes, the right interpretation of my earlier statement is that LH has blocked all slots at FRA to prevent any competition to start flying FRA-BRU. The situation is quite different on BRU-MUC and BRU-HAM, where LH and SN fight on an equal foot. It would be difficult and ruinous for any of them to have 10 daily flights on such routes, just to drive the competitor out of the market. And on BRU-BER, they are flying to different airports anyway.

Any ideas on how to introduce a fair competition on BRU-FRA?
ex-Sabena #26567

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