Lufthansa A330 Business Class: Better, But Still Not Good

Hello from Munich! Last night I took the 6hr55min flight from Montreal to Munich in Lufthansa’s A330 business class.

Y’all know I put on the pom-poms for Lufthansa first class, as I think it’s one of the all around best first class products out there. However, I’ve never been impressed by any other aspect of Lufthansa, including their business class.

Several years back I reviewed their old A330 business class (which was still angled at the time), and a couple of years ago I reviewed their new 747-8 business class. My flight last night was operated by an A330 in a three cabin configuration, with business class, premium economy, and economy.

So, what did I make of Lufthansa business class this time around? Well, in many ways they give British Airways a run for their money in the “taking customers for granted” department. Let me explain.

Let’s start with the hard product, which is my biggest complaint, really. Lufthansa’s new business class product is in a 2-2-2 configuration, and the center seats are angled slightly towards one another. For the life of me I can’t understand this design. There’s zero — and I mean zero — privacy between seats.

You have a slight bit of separation in the seated position, but the area for your feet is right next to your seatmate’s, and during the night my seatmate and I had our legs touch several times. Unfortunately this is the problem with British Airways and Lufthansa — they basically own their markets, so they don’t have to offer a great product.

In terms of amenities, I appreciated that Lufthansa offers Bose headphones. American is the only other airline I know of to have these in business class, so kudos to Lufthansa on that.

Unfortunately the pillow and blanket weren’t impressive, though. While the pillow was decent enough, the blanket was scratchy.

Then there was a pretty basic amenity kit.

On the plus side, probably my favorite thing about Lufthansa is their wifi. It’s fast, and only 17EUR for the entire flight, which I consider to be the best value of any airline. That’s ultimately not as useful on a quick redeye as it would be on a daytime flight, but I still used it.

The food service was simultaneously disappointing and good. This was a quick redeye, so service began with drinks and nuts.

That was followed by a salad and main course on a single tray. While I appreciate the single tray service to get everything out quickly, you’d think they could offer an appetizer. While I was initially disappointed by this, the salad was probably the best I’ve ever had on a plane, and my main course (seared scallops and shrimp with whipped potatoes, broccolini, and spinach) was quite good too, so I guess it was better than I expected. However, there was a single scallop, so suggesting that the dish had “scallops” seems like false advertising. 😉

For dessert they just had packaged ice cream or cheese, which was disappointing. At least have a real/fresh dessert, in my opinion.

Then 90 minutes before landing was a breakfast service with yogurt, fruit, cold cuts, and cheese.

What impressed me about this flight was the service. A while back Lufthansa changed their service procedure. They used to have an assembly line service approach, where they’d roll a cart down the aisle and the service would be slow and impersonal.

They changed this a while back so that they eliminated carts and instead have a single flight attendant responsible for each section. This worked really well. Service was personalized and quick, and you felt like you had interactions with an individual, rather than just being part of their assembly line that they’re trying to rush through.

So all-in-all I find Lufthansa business class disappointing. The service procedure was significantly better than in the past, so there’s that. I also appreciate the wifi and Bose headphones. And the salad and main course were excellent as well.

But other than that, Lufthansa takes their business class customers for granted, plain and simple.

If you’ve flown Lufthansa business class lately, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. I agree with you on the seat. I have only ever taken 2 flights in Lufthansa Biz, one was on the 747-8 and the other on the A380. I think the only saving grace on those flights for me was that I didn’t have a seatmate, so I didn’t have to worry about things getting awkward.

    Also, for the taller among us, the area where you stick your feet felt incredibly small. Definitely not a hard product I would go out of my way to fly. And, not one I’d choose over many others either. Probably good for couples or for people who are shorter than about 5’10”

  2. Honestly, for all the criticism BA business gets, I’d much rather fly it over the Atlantic than Lufthansa.

  3. I flew this product on the 747-8 a couple of years ago. Luckily I didn’t have a seat mate, but I still found the seat kind of hard and uncomfortable for sleeping. The upper deck window seats have great storage though. For sure LH is behind top airlines by offering the product.

  4. The seats lack privacy but they are quite comfortable for sleeping which is very important. The cabin crews are always top notch and while I would not call them friendly in N. American sense they are incredibly efficient and take the job very seriously. I would not think twice about booking Lufthansa

  5. I flew the 747-8 in business class on the upper deck where it’s 2-2. I actually loved it, but I think it would have been a very different experience if I hadn’t been flying with my wife in the next seat.

    I will say that while I would never turn down a first class seat, or a staggered business class product where every seat has direct aisle access, there really just aren’t that many premium class hard products that are good for traveling with your significant other (unless you don’t enjoy interacting with each other…but then why travel together in the first place?). Singapore Suites are the famous example, and of course your recent trip in the Etihad Residence would be fun, but we had a great experience with Lufthansa.

  6. @CF Frost, I disagree that the seat is comfortable for sleeping. I don’t think the seat is well-padded, there is no mattress pad or duvet (just a blanket and small pillow), and I’ve been woken up due to being knocked in the knees by my seatmate while sleeping since the V shape puts you in close proximity.

    I think United Polaris is better all around than LH J, and this is even more magnified with the new seat. From YYZ-MUC I would have chosen Air Canada instead.

  7. I flew on those seats with my wife, so it wasn’t an issue for us (I think that’s the idea behind the seats….) but agree that the experience was underwhelming. Service also sucked. It’s as if they hired the same customer service coach that taught the flight attendants at United.

    I don’t understand how an airline can get first class so right and business so wrong–especially since business class is becoming the sweet spot for airlines.

  8. Hi, Ben! Tell me, please, do you know what are the ways you can earn bonus airline miles in Russia? Is it possible in Russia to earn bonus miles is as good as in the US?
    Analyzed the possibility of accumulation of miles in the Russian airlines and made a conclusion that Russian airlines bonus miles is not very good.
    What do you think about this?
    While not flying as often as we would like and want to fly a lot and often for bonus airline miles as you.
    Thank you in advance for the answer!

  9. Along with the napkin featuring the big ad for cheesy Warsteiner beer. Though to be fair Warsteiner is better than the Jupiler crap you get on Brussels Airlines. (Q: with over 1,100 distinct beers in Belgium why oh why do they have to serve god-awful Jupiler on Brussels?)

    Ben these photos were seriously very very helpful. Lufthansa is offering a business product that just doesn’t meet expectations. They can’t sugarcoat this at all. So is that why they nervously asked you why you were taking photos?

  10. LH Business Class for business is travel is not ideal, but if you are traveling with a significant other, it is a clearly above average 2-2-2 product hands-down. If you are flying to/from Europe to/from North America, looking for a seat where you can gaze out the window, AND chat with your SO, this is a top option. Service/food/wifi is light years better than the US legacy carriers and many European airlines. Certainly better than facing backwards on BA in a 25 year old B744.

    There is inconsistency among the UA/AA/DL hard products (i.e. United pre-merger 777 b-class v. new 77W polaris seat). However, the experience is identical on every LH flight from North America- you always know what you are getting. And, they fly multiple daily flights to many US and Canada airports.

  11. “While I appreciate the single tray service to get everything out quickly, you’d think they could offer an appetizer. ”
    “And the appetizer and main course were excellent as well.”
    Which one is it?

  12. I’ve been flying LH Business Class to Europe for over 20 years having worked for a German company and having relatives there. I am not as bothered by the seats as many are but the food quality has gotten abysmal and almost not edible in the last couple of years. (second only to BA IMHO) It’s pretty sad when someone of German decent and that speaks fluent German has started booking SQ for my flights between JFK-FRA instead of LH. I wonder how low the quality can go.

  13. I flew Lufthansa’s business class a few weeks ago and I was quite impressed by the professionalism of the crew. I flew the Boeing 747-400 from Frankfurt to Dubai and the business class seats on this plane were all angled towards the window instead of your seatmate (atleast if you sit on the top deck). I enjoyed the food a lot, I’m someone who can fill his tummy with nuts and ginger ale, I think I requested a new portion of nuts around 10 times throughout the flight haha. Fortunately the flight attended noticed that I ate quite a lot and was happily to offer more food without me awkwardly asking if I could get an extra portion, since I like to try as many things of the menu as possible. I found the seats to be soft and excellent to sleep on. Overall I think it was a very enjoyable flight and I would fly them again definitely.

    What I find interesting though Ben, is that you mentioned that you found Lufthansa’s Business Class disappointing, but I mainly read good aspects of the business class product (great food, good headphones, professional service), only the seats were really bothering you. Was it that bad?

  14. Just flew DEL-FRA in A380 Biz class on Lufthansa for the first time and it was disappointing. Seat cocoon was so narrow in the middle 2 section, I couldnt recline to a full flat seat. I’m not a linebacker but 6′ with wider than average shoulders. Never had that problem on United or other airline lie flat seats. Will never pay for a Lufthansa business class seat again!

  15. I would prefer the united 787 2x2x2 myself!!! Can’t get over the footrests for the middle seats on LH

  16. @ Lior — They don’t really have any competition in Germany. They’re automatically getting most corporate contracts out of Germany simply on account of having the only global route network from there.

  17. @ JoeMart — Whoops, corrected the second part to say “salad” instead of appetizer. Thanks for the heads up.

  18. @ Steven M. — Hah, I think it was just more of a general question out of curiosity. Since these seats have zero privacy, they can see every single picture you take, while in a reverse herringbone or other configuration they may only see a small portion of them.

  19. @ Alvin — I like having access to the aisle on an overnight flight, in case I need to use the restroom, so I hadn’t considered that.

  20. The benchmark for the future Business class will be known by mid-day next Saturday (CET). That is when in commercial terms the new set for Business Class is known to the public. Qatar Airways new Qsuites will dock at London Heathrow.

    Hence that I think the German Business class product, is in line with the cost. However the LH service-level is way to unstable.

  21. I flew this on IAD-MUC a few weeks ago. The footsie thing is indeed weird.

    As for meal service, maybe because my flight was slightly longer, they did do an appetizer and then main course and then dessert (and a real dessert, not just ice cream). The flight left after 10pm, so I was surprised it was such a large meal, but I thought it was decent, as were the wines on offer.

    The crew on that flight and my connecting LH flight intra-Europe (also in C) were great.

  22. You´re losing me on your Lufthansa reviews. How can someone be fascinated about e.g. Air Serbia which looks like a business class from the 1990´s and go on about how poor LH`s business class is? I think you lost proportion.

  23. @ Flieger — Air Serbia’s business class hard product is significantly better, as there’s direct aisle access from every seat. I’d take a herringbone seat over the Lufthansa seat any day, no competition.

  24. Here’s how I look at it. Paying for a business class seat on LH or BA is insane. I’ve flown both on award tickets and recently from CDG-LHR-LAX on BA as a luxury Cruiseline offered a return for $599.00 in business class and only divulged the airline after I booked the cruise.

    On the recent BA A380 Flight from LHR to LAX, we had an exceptional crew and quite surprisingly the food was very very good.

    But of course both LH and BA have lackluster hard products. And despite years of criticism directed to BA, they could care less.

  25. The Q-Suite isn’t exactly revolutionary. In fact, it is an all aisle access version of what BA puts out, with some fancy bells and whistles. It is still a fairly dense product, but one that offers a decent amount of privacy and aisle access.

    Going back to Lufthansa, that they went with that 2-2-2 configuration after lagging on going flat for so long is pretty disappointing, but I do think it is one of the better 2-2-2 flat bed configurations out there. The seat angling actually helps ingress and egress from the windows, which I find probably the best of any non-aisle access window with a flat bed business. I think the problem with those center seats is that these seats appear to come in pairs and can’t have their angle changed. Lufthansa tends to want dense business cabins, like QR, BA and UA, but it is unfortunate that they don’t seem in a rush to engage in a more elegant solution to that.

    As for soft product, I agree that Lufthansa’s business service levels are very good for the TATL market. Lots of personalized service and attentiveness. I also don’t mind their sometimes weird food options, and they do seafood as well as any airline out there.

    That said, given that this was a MUC-based long haul, were the heaters set to “broil” as they usually seem to be, owing to the Bavarian fear of all things fresh air related? I was on MUC-SFO last year and was so hot that I couldn’t sleep. When I asked the FA, in German, if he could get the heat turned down, he just pointed out that a couple people had blankets on and gave me a glass of ice water. That part is what I see as the worst part of the LH product – hot planes.

  26. Sorry but my last 2 LH flights were in F, (:-P) so I have no opinion on their current J product as I’ve only sat in the old J on a day flight.

  27. no competition, robotic customer service, arrogant attitudes and high prices, inferior products

    of course, they will keep doing this and even more when they eliminate Air Berlin and pressure middle eastern carriers.

    Look at their facebook page: so many complaints about delayed response from CS and I personally experienced it multiple times. Often mess up with third world citizens and colored people.

  28. lufthansa ‘s business class from cairo to frankfurt is business class prices but not business class seats – however they do tell you that if you go to their office to book your ticket
    not impressed

  29. Hi Lucky. What do you mean by “real/fresh” dessert.
    Apropos reality, if you could touch the ice cream, taste the ice cream, and see the ice cream, wouldn’t it count as real.
    As to freshness, I am sure you are aware that there’s about 12 hours at minimum between airline food being prepared and then served.
    Didn’t understand your assertion is all

  30. I am German and I am travelling a lot on long-haul flights for a big German company all around the world.

    Fortunately our travel department is too stupid to close a good contract with LH and I don’t have to fly it. If you have a quick look on standard rates of direct flights with LH in C, the prices are insanse high compared to all competitors.

    Perhaps 1 of 10 longhaul flights for me is on LH and I always try to avoid it. LH C for me: Food: terrible – mediocre, Seat: far below standard, Service: German effiecieny 🙂 and professional friendly

  31. So basically, everything surprised and delighted except for the seat, which you were already very aware of? I’m just a bit confused at how you find this “disappointing”?

    Sure, the seat sucks, I’m totally with you… but you knew about the seat, and everything else was better than expected.

    You always say Business Class is about getting as much sleep as possible, hence the super quick dinner service on a red eye.

    I just think you’re being a little harsh here. I’m guessing your flight on Meridiana (what a hateful, unsafe airline that is!) will put things back in perspective.

    Also, apart from LH F, as an airline they also do a number of other things right… their handling of IIROPS is incredible, especially for *G/SEN and above. Probably world leading.

    Although they still do have a number of areas for improvement, I think we’re all keen on the new Business seat coming asap.

  32. I’ve been hanging out for you to review LH business class as I am doing a 13hr flight with them on an A380 in just over a week. The first leg of my trip is with Singapore Airlines and I hear that is really nice, so I will be interested to see how LH measures up. My only other business class experiences have been with Emirates and Royal Brunei, both of which were great in their own way. Anything has to be better than what we refer to as “cattle class” (economy) in Oz.

  33. Is it possible that your appreciation of their F Class product colored your opinion of their Business Class product on account of higher than normal expectations?

  34. You’re right that LH Business Class is not up to today’s standards. However, I like the overall LH Business Class product: Service is always professional and friendly and I cannot complain too much about them. The outer seats are also “better” (in my opinion) than the ones in the middle.
    However, I’m looking forward to the new LH Business Class when they roll out the Triple Seven X in 2020. Especially when it’ll also be in a 1-2-1 config then.

  35. Have recently flown A330 and A340 LH biz, I found the seat comfortable but legs touching was very strange

  36. I fly LH Business about every 6 weeks between Europe (FRA/MUC) and Los Angeles. I always have great service experience, the food is always good (let’s not forget: this is not a restaurant), I always sleep like a baby for a couple of hours and I never have issues with my seat neighbor (let it be known: I travel alone).
    Thus, I really can’t understand this criticism.

    If you want a First Class Experience, buy a First Class Ticket.

    As for Brussels Airlines: I flew them maybe 6 times between Brussels and Washington. Each time they had about 5 or 6 really special Belgian beers in Business. Again, I have no clue what the poser is talking about.

  37. On a 6hr55min overnight transatlantic flight I think the catering looks very good. Both the dinner and breakfast.

    I read on other trip reports passengers complaining of prolonged ‘course by course’ offerings when all they want to do is either a) sleep straight away and are disturbed by the service going on around them. Or b) have something very quick to eat and get to sleep.

    I guess it’s different when flying for pleasure but for those of us headed into the office after one of these transatlantic services sleep is the goal not the catering.

    BA has a similar offering on their transatlantic overnight flights and it obviously differs to the westbound daylight catering for a reason – people want to sleep!

    I fly BA around once every three weeks JFK-LHR and I can hand on heart say out of a full J class cabin (which they always are FULL) maybe four or five people will eat. BA keep the lights low (or sometimes off) and don’t switch them on until 40mins before landing which suits me fine.

    I was re-routed with IB once via MAD. Whilst their offering was much more elaborate than its mother airline (separate starter, main course dessert yada yada) the lights weren’t switched off and cabin movement ceased until over two hours into the flight. Not particularly desirable.

    Does LH have arrivals lounges in FRA and MUC).

  38. I flew Luf from Ord to Frankfurt in First because of your rave reviews
    Glad to have experienced it at least once
    Overrated !!
    The food on board was awful
    A pre cooked hamburger as a main course offering for dinner Really?
    What Rubbish the seat was fine as was the service but I can name easily 6 other carriers I would have rather flown
    Add to that their expiring miles in the year 2017 and near impossible availability of First Class availability I’m done with them for the most part
    I actually thought their business class offered better value on the newer 747 aircraft
    The one thumbs up was the First Class lounge in Frankfurt really brilliant
    Not that they wanted to let me in without a debate initially
    Unfortunately I can not justify a lounge as the primary reason to fly an airline
    I’m no not a big fan of BA however they do much better in First then IMHO

  39. Looks like we have quite a diverse POV regarding Lufthansa business class. I’ll throw in mine.

    We just flew SEA-FRA as part of our RTW trip booked through ANA. We have 2 other airlines to compare (SAS and Air Canada). We flew with LH’s 747-400, on the upper deck. I think it definitely helps that in LH’s 744, the seats do not angle towards each other, and we flew together (me and my wife).

    We love the seats actually because we could sleep with a lot more motion and have a lot of kneed room. They are exposed and have no privacy, but the upside was the extra room for us to move our legs more.

    We flew on SK’s new business from CPH-PVG, but the staggered setup, as has been widely written about, has constricted foot wells. Aesthetically, the cabin looks very pleasing, like a more upscale IKEA showroom, but not very conducive for sleepers who like to sleep with knees bent. Air Canada pod is a bit better, much better privacy, but the table juts out more than we like so that impedes on the knees movement.

    Service we thought is great. The flight attendants are quite personable, very friendly and attentive. Among all the airlines that we flew, if we had to rank the cabin service, we would rank them:
    #1 ANA – APAC regional
    #2 Lufthansa – long haul
    #3 Swiss – intra Europe
    #4 Lufthansa – intra Europe
    #5 SAS – both intra Europe and long haul

  40. I don’t travel frequently so don’t collect enough points for upgrades however I have been on Lufthansa’s business class twice on the A330 from Frankfurt to Kuwait – a late afternoon flight with a dinner service and a snack. The cabin was always half empty so I never had any privacy issues. I found the bed comfortable enough the second time round (on the new seats. The old seats were horrible) even though I didn’t like the bedding too much, I still managed to sleep about 3 hours on my 6 hour flight and I watched a movie in the rest of the time. Service was where I believe they shone. I felt that at times they were better than some of your first class reviews. It was top notch. Food was good but wasn’t too memorable. I remember a goose dish I found a bit dry.

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