View Full Version : LH lowering standards of service?

30th Apr 2004, 08:51
Has anyone else noticed how LH have started cutting back on the standards of their Business Class cabin service on European services? I normally fly BHX/FRA; since the beginning of April the standard has noticeably declined. No refreshment towels on boarding, no aperitif offered, a small cold snack instead of a meal - but a bigger bread roll intended, I suppose, to compensate? Even the refreshment towels (which now seem to come with the meal) are 20% smaller than they used to be...

What is going on? Last year things were so much better, these cut backs are very obvious. I hope other travellers took the opportunity to state their opinions in the in-flight survey as strongly as I did!

Perhaps it's time to look at what other airlines offer.....??

And when will someone at LH learn to make decent coffee??

30th Apr 2004, 11:43
Coffee? They serve Coffee!

I took Finnair from Helsinki to Stockholm this week and the did not do hot drinks! (In Economy.)

I know it's a very short hop, but personally I would rather of had Coffee and a couple of decent biscuits than the snack and coke.


1st May 2004, 14:55
I think it's a question of airlines bringing their onboard service in line with lower business class fares in Europe. Equally, airlines are allegedly told by their top customers (gold card holders or the equivalent basically) that food, hot towels etc on a 45 min flight are not the essence to a good journey, but more seat preference, punctuality and overall efficiency.
I think, therefore, if you do want to blame someone, it is probably your fellow business travellers who want to get to that meeting in Frankfurt on time rather than attempt a 3 course meal in the confines of an A320!

1st May 2004, 17:04
As long as they still give you a Warsteiner when you ask I'm not bothered.

1st May 2004, 18:33
I think it's a question of airlines bringing their onboard service in line with lower business class fares in Europe

Er, what lower Business Class fares? You are joking of course?

2nd May 2004, 04:09
The point is that LH used to provide all the things which I mentioned and have now stopped bothering. Having a meal served 13 minutes after take-off which takes a mere 8 minutes to consume is hardly a comprehensive Business Class service!

2nd May 2004, 06:43
The bottom line is money , ticket costs stay the the same but service content is reduced . BA does the same . The Business Class meal (Club) is now more or less what was served in Economy a few years ago - ie a cold salad meal . Economy now gets a sandwich . Fares at the same level - Business Class in Europe is not worth the money in my opinion .

Pax Vobiscum
2nd May 2004, 15:47
I completely agree, zed3, if restricted economy fares are reduced to compete with LoCOs it's reasonable to reduce the frills as well, but if I'm paying 500 for a 1 hour hop, I expect to get a bit more for my money than a cold salad.

That said, there may be little difference in cost between a fully flexible economy ticket and club. I've personally observed a 2 difference on a 400+ fare - my colleague 'down the back' was not amused!

6th May 2004, 15:11
I flew LH from MXP to FRA and back a week ago ....
Noticed (sadly) the standars was a bit low for a major carrier. Minimum number of cabin crew, poor service (only water with your sandwich! and no choice of feeling, so to bad if u r a veggy!) and the poor girls were running like mad around the cabin :rolleyes:

7th May 2004, 21:13
I flew with LH LHR-HAM-LHR yesterday in Y and the standards have indeed slipped! It was a 737-300 in a very shabby state. I used to fly this route regularly when they used A321s which were always full! Service was pretty poor - I accept they are now competeting with the lo-cos but my company paid around 500 for the day (well afternoon due to the poor schedule) return! Both flights were full but on the way out they had 4 cabin crew, meaning the service was I suppose at least acceptable. On the return there were only 3, apparently meaning they were not allowed to serve tea or coffee with the horrid sandwich served. Is this true? I know 3 is the legal minumum for a 737 with 123 seats but can they not serve hot drinks?

8th May 2004, 08:53
I think when an airline use minimum crew on a flight, the cabin crew are there for CAA safety regs. only (door coverage etc) and therefore do not have to complete a full service (if any!). Pax are probably unaware of this and it's actually very cheeky of LH to reduce service costs in such a sly way.
BA wanted to reduce crewing on certain shorthaul routes to the extent that an A319 would have 3 crew only and a B757 only 4, even if full. This so far has not gone ahead as the unions feel the pax's safety and service standards would be compromised for the sake of Rod's BEP!
A lot of the time, the crews don't do certain things because management tell them not to! I always remember a crew circular at BA a few years ago, when I worked there, that basically told crew not to 'show' champagne on the trollet top as pax were more likely to have it!!! Passenger first???

8th May 2004, 09:27
You're correct - there is always the temptation to reduce costs by under-crewing, and it is rarely to the benefit of the customer, sadly.

There have been very few occasions when I've been unable to do hot drinks on any sector: When it has happened, it has been because of a technical fault, either with the potable water system or the galley electrics. In either case, an explanation to customers usually sorts things out.

In my experience, when short crewed, it is usually quicker to serve hot drinks than to have to explain 130 times why you can't - but I wasn't on board this particular sector, so can't know all the facts

9th May 2004, 09:00
LH are also taking weeks to respond to complaints made to them. I can only assume that so many people are complaining that their customer service department are snowed under...

So don't give us such cause to complain then!

I also note that they're cutting back on the scale of 'Miles and More' points awarded for travel on low cost economy flights and also within Germany. That should make them a few more friends...

9th May 2004, 16:19
I always remember a crew circular at BA a few years ago, when I worked there, that basically told crew not to 'show' champagne on the trollet top as pax were more likely to have it!!!

The same goes today with many carriers no longer openly publicising the availability of complimentary alcoholic drinks even though they are still provided.

20th May 2004, 14:12
LH now tell me, following comment, "We have therefore reviewed our product once more and are looking to make some more adjustments which we trust will be more acceptable to our customers"

Interesting. I didn't notice any 'adjustments' last week; perhaps I will on Sunday. If not, I shall be asking them to describe their nature.


1. Take own refreshment towel from previous flight. Use it ostentatiously when the cabin crew don't offer one.

2. Take own packet of nuts. When cold meal comes, put it to one side for later. Same with the bread.

3. When asked what sir would like to drink, ask for a gin-and-tonic. Then enjoy aperitif at a civilised pace.

4. Press call button to ask for wine with meal.

5. Eat meal slowly. Cabin staff will probably be on the coffee run by then. When asked, politely reply "Later please".

6. Press call button for coffee.

This means, basically, recreating for oneself the level of service which was normally provided last year by LH. Be polite, not awkward. If it means pressing the call button a couple of times, well - that's LH's fault for cutting back on their 'Business Class product' as they call it. But it doesn't lead to a relaxed flight atmosphere.

20th May 2004, 17:46
Oooh , if only I dared ..... but then , I'm paying , right .....RIGHT.
Well said sir .

20th May 2004, 20:58
It's all very well saying 'later'....but on a European flight, the 'later' equates to the crew saying, "sorry, Sir, we'll be landing soon....no more drinks!"

Take it or leave it.

20th May 2004, 21:07
Write loads of letters to complain. But please dont call cabin crew for coffee 10 minutes before landing... ;)

21st May 2004, 07:23
No of course I wouldn't ask for coffee at such a time! 15 minutes before top-of-drop is hardly unreasonable though.

It was a BA pursar who tipped me off about the 'early coffee' trick. He regularly has to stop his team trying to do it and tells them to wait until the passengers are on their dessert course. Early coffee = finished early = cleared away early = more time for his 'girls' (as he calls them) to relax (he's long haul) - I hope he was just joking...... But more seriously, if the airline can get away with less cabin service then they'll be able to reduce crewing levels to the minimum required under JAR-OPS - that'll please the bean counters until the passengers vote with their feet.

Write letters? Certainly! And fill out the in-flight surveys giving high marks for the cabin crews' standard and low marks for the airline's service. They used to be able to provide such levels of service on a 1:20 flight - and that included a 3 course hot meal, not just the current 2 course cold snack!

29th May 2004, 20:41
Although I'm fortunate enough normally to travel Biz Class, I spent a few M&M miles to nip home in the middle of a business trip to Germany and travelled in Economy Class.

Well, if I thought that standards had dropped in Biz, then the new 'service' in Economy was far worse. The old "Kaese oder Schinken" Lufthansabroetchen has gone, to be replaced by an utterly appalling offering of a little carton of squash, a small bread roll containing 2 pieces of plastic cheese and a limp lettuce leaf - plus a very small Toblerone bar. I nibbled the Toblerone with some coffee (you have to ask for non-powdered coffee whitener these days, it seems...) and threw the rest of their junk away.

LH really are taking the pi$$ with their abysmal standards of catering on European shorthaul - are they deliberately trying to drive Economy passengers to the low cost airlines?

7th Jun 2004, 08:44
Another couple of poor trips with LH's 'new' service:

Flew back to FRA on a M&M award ticket in Economy. Knowing that the food would be [email protected], I thought that a G&T would suffice instead. "No, sir, from 1st May we cannot do this" was the response form the apologetic cabin crew. I was speechless - another parsimonious cut back by the bean counters! If it'd been RyanAir, at least I could have bought something from them - that's a clear loco advantage over cheap service on so-called 'majors'. The CC also confided that "2 weeks ago it was even worse. Bread and water - just like prison food".....

At least I got a good G&T free in the Senator lounge.

Food on last night's so-called Business Class flight from MUC-BHX was indescribably poor. A single cold prawn in batter, some strange vegetable mush, 2 slices of chorizo, a sardine - plus sundry other pap. Then a stale pastry and tepid coffee. The cabin crew told me that there have been many complaints - and one of the problems is that LH have reduced the CC complement from 4 to 3 on the 737-800.

LH's European Business Class product is now an utter disgrace. It seems that fancy new reclining beds, internet access and other toys for the high rollers are being paid for by cutback in short haul standards. I hope that others will complain as loud and clear as I do. Incidentally, the LH Customer Service no. is 0208 750 3505 but is only available between 1100 and 1500.....

15th Jun 2004, 21:25
Just returned from a DUS-PMI-DUS in Y with LH. Lunch outbound and on return was choice of either a ham or chesse sandwich wrapped in cellophane. Nowt else. Did get a full bar service (including sekt) which came around twice. Noticed that their C class on same service carried zero pax! Not surprised when I saw the fare.

16th Jun 2004, 07:48
That's interesting! Economy Class on LH used to offer "Kaese oder Schinkenbroetchen" and a full bar service, but this year was first changed to what the cabin crew called 'prison food' - bread roll and water, then the horrid 'European snack box' which consisted of an unappealing cheese and lettuce bun, a little carton of orange squash and a small chocolate bar - plus a bar service limited to tea, coffee, coke, water, juice or beer. No wine and no spirits.....

Perhaps they've admitted defeat and gone back to the old system after the volume of complaints they've received?

I've written to Wolfgang Mayrhuber telling him that travel with LH used to be an enjoyable experience, but it has ceased to be so since they cut back so obviously on their 'Business Class Product' standards. All they have to do is to put things back the way they were this time last year!

Interestingly, I note that BA has actually improved its level of cabin service and in-flight catering on European short haul since 1 Jun 04......

If you do a Google search about people's reaction to LH's poor cabin service, you get some far more vitriolic prose than mine!

Incidentally, if you were to fly DUS-PMI 2 weeks from today, and back the next day, you'd be looking at 1339 in Economy (flexible) or 1435 in Business (flexible). Change that to Economy 'As inexpensive as possible' and the figure falls to 1326 (no cheaper seats left at this time), Business (Restrictive) isn't available on that route.

tom de luxe
16th Jun 2004, 21:52
LH service in steerage appears to be better on LH Cityline (compared to LH mainline). Eg.:

FRA-LHR vv. (A 321, hansaline):
Prison Food + seriously limited bar service

LCY-FRA vv. (AVRO 70, Cityline):
choice of "Kaese or Schinken" + full bar service (not sure about spirits, but wine is definitely available). Not that this makes the flight more comfortable with the dreaded 3+3 seating on the Avro :(

16th Jun 2004, 22:16
With so many complaints why not fly with another carrier where value for money is better?

17th Jun 2004, 06:07
Which is what many of us have told LH!

I might consider BHX-FRA on CityExpress as it isn't mainline ba and so isn't tainted with the same stink of ba's Dirty Tricks era.

I agree with the comment LH Regional - service is rather better on Eurowings than it is nowadays on mainline LH.

Mayrhuber was quacking on yesterday about how LH offers its customers a diverse range of high quality 'products'............ Not anymore it seems!

17th Jun 2004, 11:12
I was lucky. Only booked 3 weeks prior to dep and paid 204.00 rtn. Both flights were full in Y. Note: Return flight had an all-economy cabin. Service adequate for the fare I paid but well below par for those who may have paid the kind of prices BEagle quoted above.

C class not worth it. Route operated by B737-300 with a C class 3-3 narrow seat layout. Sure the middle seat probably will remain free but unless you lift the armrest it's still no better than Y. Seatpitch didn't appear any better either (perhaps an extra inch). I would definately not waste my money on C Class on this route.

tom de luxe
17th Jun 2004, 17:02

All short/medium range LH planes now have an "all ecomony" layout. Business class seating was removed earlier this year. Now the middle seat in business will remain unoccupied, but yes, the seat will not get larger. It used to be in the old 2+3 layout on the A32X / B737s.

So why fly LH? Schedules, dep. on where you're going. Service on other carriers not much better. Prices can be competitive (although LH's CEO musing about an "online booking charge", apparently to compensate for the wear & tear on LH computers caused by those booking online, isn't a very hopeful sign). Miles&More FF scheme not to bad at all, but will much less attractive to the crowd in steerage after Aug 1st, 2004, alon the lines of BA Exec Club.
Then again, why fly BA? or FR, for that matter?

17th Jun 2004, 17:57
The basics..... Business Class when started yonks ago was in fact a full Econonmy Fare flight . So you paid the money , with the flexibibity , and got the flight up front . Then came the small print , it went on from there to as it is now , where the top Economy fare ( flexibility ) differs maybe only a few Pounds/Euros from the Business fare - which is not worth the money but one is divided by a 'curtain' and a cold salad - which was the Economy snack , 5 or so years ago . Punters must now vote with their wallets and show their contempt .

17th Jun 2004, 18:03
That's copied Tom. What I meant there was that although the PMI flight offers C class, and three such rows were so dedicated on my outbound flight, the return was actually all economy with no C class cabin. (Row 1 was Y class).

You're right, the others may not be much better but this thread is about LUFTHANSA and their lower standards. To be honest, I still find BA a tad better.

17th Jun 2004, 22:08
I await a response from Mayrhuber with interest. Meanwhile I have directed that any further Business Class bookings with LH should be placed on hold pending a cost/service re-assessment.

And yet it was all so good a mere 12 months ago...

18th Jun 2004, 07:36
I think sooner or later Business-class will be gone and forgotten

within Europe - no private flyers paying for themselves and

companies wont pay for their chairman flying around in front

NetJet etc. is a better option for the "real important" people -

also affordable, much more flexible and maybe

better catering as well !!!


18th Jun 2004, 09:15
I think that there is still a market for Business Class but not at current fare levels. The problem stems from the vast difference in fare for very little more in extras. Mrs Avman and I pay our own fares. By choice we will travel C class but only if we consider it a good deal. We have travelled BRU-LCA-BRU in C class (with CY) for 750. In September we are travelling to AMS-YVR-AMS (KLM) for 2000. In comparison, LH wanted 1300 for DUS-PMI-DUS! That's just plain crazy.

tom de luxe
18th Jun 2004, 21:33
Well, as for FRA-PMI on LH mainline... this might be their testing ground for the proposed (alleged? not quite sure re status :confused: ) DE codeshares.

22nd Jun 2004, 14:29
Hello AVMAN,

Im quite sure the fare-levels will continue to fall and as also the

numbers of pax travelling in front continue to decrease - C-class

will sooner or late go - AirLingus already announced the will cap

Business-class - no more pax and or no money to make with!!

As you wrote: who is willing to pax 1300 Euros for that

experience!! - that must be the most unrestricted fare available

at LH - valid from now on to 100 years later!!!


29th Jun 2004, 16:20
Well, well. Just had a friendly chat with a German LH senior customer service agent after my letter to Herr Mayrhuber. She told me that there have been thousands of complaints about the reduced level of in-flight service in LH European Business Class - and that it's vital that people continue to complain.

She did say, however, that now Herr Mayrhuber had been made aware of the level of dissatisfaction with these cut backs, that perhaps something will actually be done before previously loyal customers turn to other airlines.

Will LH continue to expect customers to pay for electric beds and wireless internet on intercontinental flights by reductions in core European services?

30th Jul 2004, 10:18
Updated to say that, even though Mayrhuber's office expected that the London Customer Service people might now provide some answers, I've heard nothing for over a month.

Last night's trip back from FRA was as bad as ever; totally inadequate in-flight catering and only 3 cabin crew.

LH appears incapable of understanding that the 'thousands' of complaints they've had from customers since they introduced these cut-backs are just the tip of the iceberg. Intra-European Business Class flights are very expensive indeed and customers deserve much better service than they're currently receiving.

Final 3 Greens
30th Jul 2004, 11:20
And when you consider easyJet's new cabin baggage allowance, there goes another reason for paying C fares.

I've travelled twice with 12.5kgs in a 55x40x20 case (ie IATA standard) and avoiding the wait at the carousel is a significant benefit to me.

Sometimes I've complaimed in this forum that easy are not loco, but this new policy causes me to withdraw the statement, since they are now providing a C class cabin allowance IMHO.

Well done easyJet.

31st Jul 2004, 07:48
I only started flying LH again after the demise of buzz. They had a good product at an excellent price which went where I wanted; when O'Leary took over they stopped flying to FRA, so that was that. The only real complaint I had about buzz was that they didn't permit standard sized cabin baggage.

Was it something of a coincidence that, shortly after posting my earlier comment yesterday, LH rang again and agreed with my points...??

They also advised that passengers must continue complaining at the cut back in European Business Class service if anything is going to change for the better.

10th Aug 2004, 22:59
Reading about the cutbacks on Miles&More miles earned on LH discounted economy flights I'm hoping that bmi don't follow suit - at the moment they award full 1x mileage for all published fares on lufthansa and so lufthansa have become airilne of choice seeing as 1 return journey to YYZ on deeply discounted economy ticket in Easter netted me 12,000 + Elite bonus 25% plus a one way upgrade to business.

About 1 in 4 of the new fancy seats broke so they flew an on board engineer around (in C) to fix them in flight, took him about 5 minutes to reset my one so that the seat position controls would work.

11th Aug 2004, 06:54
Unfortunately it does apply to all M&M partners, including bmi. My normal route used to attract 10000 miles per trip, that has now gone down to 8750. Well, thanks...

But it's even worse for cheapest possible prices - for heavily discounted W or S class tickets a return ticket from EDI to YYZ will only gain a measly 4189 miles under their new rules. Also, you are no longer allowed to upgrade to Business Class if you booked a W or S class ticket. Even with a higher level Economy Class ticket, you will now need more miles to upgrade to Business Class.

I don't that their new Miles and More rules are going to make them many friends....

Last year, a return ultra-discounted Economy Class flight from BHX to FRA would have included a choice of quite tasty sandwich, any type of drink and would have netted me 2500 miles (1000 plus 250 executive bonus for each leg). This year it's the horrid 'snack box', no wines or spirits - and a grand total of just 312 miles in L or T class, M class drops to 1874.

Even worse in Germany though. Last year FRA to FDH return in M class would have netted 2000 miles without executive bonus, this year it drops to 1000 - or in L or T class, just 250.

Good news for ba though!

If you want to calculate your miserly new Miles and More miles, see http://www.meilenrechner.de/php/meilen_sammeln.php?language=eng .

13th Aug 2004, 21:57
yip that's lufthansa and star alliance lost me now.

the one thing that got me to them and kept me from going LOCO was the frequent flyer scheme especially as easily reached status with the full awards in deeply discounted tickets. Now that's gone i might aswell just go with whoever offers me the absolute cheapest ticket rather than what used to be the 'second cheapest by 20 but will earn a free flight' fare.

Suppose it was too good to last seeing as no other airline was so generous. Wonder if any of the European Loco's will introduce a FF scheme such as Southwest's Rapid Rewars scheme in the states.


17th Aug 2004, 14:29
Flew LHR - MUC - LHR over last weekend on LH in economy (79 + 45tax!)

Food consisted of 2 sandwiches, fruit cereal bar and carton of orange juice + drinks service.

Cabin crew were attentive and pleasant and managed to do 2 drinks runs.

As for business class, personally IMHO it is a waste of money when flying in europe (esp when I am paying).
Make a saving by flying economy then splash out on a good meal rather than pay a vast fee for a cheese or ham sandwich.

The difference in price between economy and business remains high yet the gap in terms of product being offered is closing.

Alpha Leader
18th Aug 2004, 07:35
I have to come to the defence of LH, having just flown with them again after a very, very long time.

ZRH-FRA-BLR in Y class, and overall a good experience and on par with other (Asian or Middle Eastern) carriers.

Flying on a Sunday, I had to take a 7.00 a.m. flight from ZRH to FRA, as the 8.40 a.m. flight is only on weekdays. This meant I had to leave home at 3.00 a.m. to get to ZRH airport. Cheerful and friendly check in at Star Allicance Gold Card desk. Lounge nearly deserted at 5.45 a.m., but lack of food. Flight departed 7.00 a.m. sharp, but only hot or cold beverages served - by now I was starving and a croissant would have been most welcome.

At FRA, Senator lounge predictably overcrowded, but selection of food rather good.

Cheerful and friendly cabin crew on FRA-BLR sector, despite full load of passengers. Cold towels offered twice (before every meal), meal selection somewhat limited (Western or Indian), but Western choice for lunch and dinner proved tasty. No shortage of drinks (cocktails, beer, wine) and - as opposed to, say, LX - coffee served in proper (not paper) cups.

Can't complain and will, in fact, fly LH again on this route, but in C-class.

26th Aug 2004, 23:35
I'm amazed that people posting consider the "stuff" of the meal service or whatever, is actually what you're paying for in Business Class. For me, if you have a choice of carrier it's based foremostly on convenience and connections. If you choose to pay a Business Class fare it's because you or whoever pays for the ticket can afford it. IMHO what you're paying for is usually a bit more space which for some people can make a big difference to the journey... a bit more carry-on baggage, so you can hit the taxi sharpish. If they have a frequent-flyer programme, you get a few more miles and it's something nice to collect.. Airlines will increase/reduce whatever they spend on cabin service in response to competition in the marketplace. The size of the hand-towel, bread roll, cheeze triangle or whether you get 2 drinks or 1???.... c'mon guys...

28th Aug 2004, 09:49
But if they were able to offer a decent service last year, why not now? Basically, it's because they're robbing European Peter to pay for long haul Paul's new toys like electric beds and on-board Internet.

But Peter is getting fed up and is going elsewhere....

Flew back MUC-BHX last week, can honestly say that the level of catering was a poor joke. Little ramekin of salad with a few tiny pieces of seafood in it, two asparagus tips wrapped in a small piece of parma ham, a 1 cm diameter ball of soft cheese and a soggy fruit tart. Plus the usual bland ''Olympic Games' chocolates.

Perhaps the fact that there were only 4 of us in Business Class is indicative of the way passengers are voting for LH's new service standards?

28th Aug 2004, 13:38
Err Beagle - if LH is as bad as you say it is, how come you too havent voted with your feet?

28th Aug 2004, 14:29
Mainly because of the routes I have to use have no competitors! If buzz still flew to FRA, I'd use them! Not Ratnair, of course - they only fly to where-the-hell-is-Hahn.....neither do I want to encourage the sweated labour of professional pilots and cabin crew.

LH just need to be as good as they were last year!

3rd Sep 2004, 04:32
Another LH problem is that most flights in Germany go through FRA. Where it's virtually impossible to find a restaurant with a no-smoking area....

Why is Germany so behind the rest of the civilised world in clamping down on this vile habit?

tom de luxe
5th Sep 2004, 21:30
Didn't Germany cease to be part of the "Civilised World" (tm) some time ago, to become the last outpost of the Great Eurasian-Balkanese-Asia Minor-Conglomerate?

And if compared to them poor fellas in Moscow, Sarajevo, Tirana or Istanbul :E , non-smokers in FRA seem to do rather nicely, thank you very much.