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Lufthansa Business Class to Malta

Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:02 pm

Here's the link to the photos.

A while back I figured it might be a fun idea to participate in the Malta half marathon on Sunday, 5 March 2017. The 21.1km race begins in Rabat, just outside the city gate of Malta’s elegant old capital, Mdina. From there the course takes you all the way down towards the east coast of the island, past Mtarfa, through Mriehel and Marsa to Floriana. From il-Bombi the route branches off to the left, down to the water’s edge at Sa Maison for the last five kilometres, which run along the shoreline of Marsamxet harbour, through the outskirts of Gzira, Msida and Ta’Xbiex to cross the finish line at il-Ferry in Sliema.

And so I find myself in Munich on an early Saturday’s morning. It’s just gone seven as I step off the Bombardier CRJ-900 that has brought me here from Basel. I really think Lufthansa should get rid of these little airplanes. I mean, I love flying but those things are just so narrow and awkward that even I start to get claustrophobia.

Normally I make a point of flying Air Malta when I travel to the island, mainly because you’re never quite sure if perhaps it might be your last flight with them, given the financial state they’re in. But I only have the weekend to make the trip. I have to be back in Basel by Sunday evening. So on this occasion, Lufthansa was simply the best choice and allowed me to arrive in Malta at noon on Saturday and leave again the next evening after the race. As the German saying goes, in der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen!

I check in using the Lufthansa app, which works nicely. I also think Lufthansa do a very good job in keeping you up to date on the status of your flight, sending you notifications of gate changes by mail and by text message.

My first stop is the Lufthansa Business Class lounge. It was still early when I left Basel this morning so I only had a coffee at the airport and some still water on the flight to Munich.

The lounge in Munich is pretty nondescript. Essentially it is just one big cavernous room with a somewhat anonymous, nondescript atmosphere. It gives the appearance of somebody having really made a gargantuan effort to strip the place of any character it might have had. Who designed this place?

I don’t try the showers but the toilets are definitely starting to look a bit rough around the edges. They’re not exactly in the cleanest condition either.

The food options are okay. There is a buffet with typical breakfast fare – a good selection of different breads, cheese, cold cuts, cucumber and tomato. There is also Müsli, fruit salad and scrambled eggs.

Boarding starts at 09h10, fifteen minutes behind the time advised on the boarding pass. The initial call is for Business Class passengers and status card holders to board first, although from what I can tell nobody is really paying attention and the gate agent doesn’t seem too bothered about that either.

The seat and cabin have been stripped to the absolute minimum level of comfort. There are no power plugs at all and from what I can tell there is also no inflight entertainment system either, which is okay because the flight attendant doing the safety on board demo seems to be having a whale of a time pretending she’s on the catwalk in Milan or Paris…

There are three rows of seats in the Business Class cabin this morning, with eleven of the twelve seats occupied. Originally, I’m the lucky guy with a whole row of three to myself. But after take-off Mr 1C moves across to sit next to me on 2D. I suspect he’s probably had enough of the crew tripping over his feet every time they exit the galley.

The crew are nondescript too. Not overly gushing but not rude or impolite either. As far as the service is concerned though, I think I’m starting to see a pattern here. In fact I think the service is about as lacklustre as the lounge and the crew and the cabin of the aircraft. There are no welcome drinks and no refresher towels. After take-off there is no drinks service ahead of the meal service either.

So essentially, this means the service on this flight consists of a unmotivated flight attendant unceremoniously parking a tray before you with grub on it. And what a frugal meal it is! There is a small bowl of some passion fruit concoction, which does, admittedly, taste rather nice. Then there is a small plate, a really small plate, with one slice of some sort of ham, one piece of hard cheese, a blob of cream cheese and more fruit. And that’s it. For a moment I wonder if perhaps somebody I know is trying to give me an oh so subtle hint that I should loose weight by ordering the low-calorie meal for me. But no such luck.

To drink I have coffee which is tepid and bland and probably even too weak for an American.

The crew come through the cabin with a large breadbasket, which has more than enough bread in it for the eleven passengers in the Business Class cabin. However, it is quite apparent that seconds from the breadbasket are not encouraged and actually frowned upon by the crew.

When the flight attendant comes to remove my tray she asks me if there’s anything else I’d like to drink. For a moment I consider giving her my best puppy eyes and asking her, with a shaky voice and trembling lips if ‘please Ma’am, can I have some more…’? But then I decide against that, figuring she probably wouldn’t know Dickens anyway. Besides, I think it might cause her physical pain to smile and I’m not that cruel. And so she saunters off in the direction of the galley looking mightily pissed off. A few seconds later she returns with the bread tongs holding one single piece of bread. After all, we wouldn’t want any of the other passengers getting funny ideas now, would we?

I smile and say thank you, to show her I appreciate her effort. But alas, as the saying goes, there’s no hell on earth that’s like a woman’s scorn and my flippant trespass shall not be forgiven so quickly and so the snow queen simply gives me an icy glare before she silently glides away.

The rest of the flight passes just as unspectacularly uneventful as the boring meal service. The woman behind me sounds like she’s got a serious bout of hooping cough, which apparently is alleviated by not covering your mouth when you cough to achieve maximum exposure to your germs for all the passengers in the immediate vicinity, which can be quite a few people in the confined space of an airplane cabin.

But all of that recedes into the background as we leave the Sicilian coastline behind us and the captain initiates the descent. We get some spectacular views on the approach. The islands look so green around this time of the year.

Eventually, we land slightly ahead of schedule. As I step down onto the apron I am consumed by a mix of emotion – wondering what on earth I was thinking to register for the race tomorrow, feeling happy to be back home again and making a mental note to never ever again waste money on a Lufthansa Business Class ticket.
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Re: Lufthansa Business Class to Malta

Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:41 pm

Firstly I echo your sentiments on the Lounge in Munich, I visited last year having decided to take advantage on an upgrade offer I had on my MUC-TXL flight, I too felt like it was incredibly underwhelming for what is a lounge at LHs second hub.

Secondly I'm also shocked at the meal you received, again back to my MUC-TXL flight I received pretty much the same meal, but without the croissant, which was replaced by a chocolate bar, and more meats and cheeses in place of the fruit, naturally for a 40 minute hop in the middle of the afternoon I felt it was adequate, but to see them serving the same kind of stuff on a longer flight!
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Re: Lufthansa Business Class to Malta

Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:50 pm

I enjoyed reading this report - well-articulated as usual. However, it is the second report I have read in under a week describing less-than-stellar service onboard Lufthansa.

First the crew: I'm always of the opinion that they can make or break a flight - especially on shorter sectors such as this one. This lot clearly broke it. It wouldn't do them any harm to smile once in a while anyway, but in your case it is worse because you paid a premium for business class travel. There's no way you should have to feel apprehensive about asking for something more to eat. This is quite a contrast from my own experiences in Delta Domestic First, where the Flight Attendants have always actively encouraged me to take more food from the snack basket. Rather disappointing to read of this; especially the tongs used to bring you a piece of bread - I mean, come on!

Secondly, the meal: That's such a sad-looking plate - not sure anything appeals to me except for the croissant. Sure, it's a short-haul flight, so nobody is expecting miracles, but something a little more substantial and better-presented wouldn't go amiss. To that end, I quite like the way KLM presents their shorthaul business meals.

Once again, great report, thanks for sharing. Shame about the overall experience though.
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Re: Lufthansa Business Class to Malta

Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:32 pm

Great photos and thanks for the write up.
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

Re: Lufthansa Business Class to Malta

Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:53 am

Hi all

First of all thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It's kind of good to know I'm not the only one who thought the experience on Lufthansa's European short-haul was somewhat underwhelming.

Regarding the crew's attitude, I think here Lufthansa really have only themselves to blame. Their management makes no secret about that fact that to them their staff are little more than an enormous financial burden. Secondly, how can you expect your staff to take pride in their work when what you give them to work with is such rubbish?


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