Being one of the largest airlines in Europe, chances are that Lufthansa pops up as one of the options if you are looking for flights from Europe to far flung destinations or for intra-European flights to Germany.
With that, you might be wondering what flying with Lufthansa is like in terms of hard and soft product and whether the airline is a good one to fly with overall. Continue reading to find out.
Is Lufthansa a Good Airline?
Whether or not Lufthansa is a good airline to fly with depends on the type of flight you are planning to take – short- vs. long-haul – and the class you will be traveling with.
On short-haul flights, Lufthansa is a perfectly fine airline to fly with – it’s on par with other European airlines. In economy class, do not expect the service to be too different from what you would find onboard a low-cost airline. Short-haul business class is – with essentially economy class seats and a small meal – nothing to write home about either.
On long-haul flights, I’d say Lufthansa’s economy class and premium economy class are decent and I would not hesitate to take a flight in either if it was priced similarly to other options. That said, with mostly terrible seats and not much better meals, I would avoid long-haul Lufthansa business class whenever possible.
As for first class, I have yet to try it. However, from what I’ve read and heard, it is decent. Plus, the First Class Terminal that Lufthansa operates in Frankfurt is definitely something unique.
Lufthansa Punctuality & Reliability: Will You Arrive on Time?
Normally, Lufthansa is a relatively punctual airline. Of the over 15 Lufthansa flights I took over the last few years, none experienced any significant delay. That said, last year, airlines across Europe were experiencing delays due to airport staff shortages and Lufthansa’s hub – Frankfurt – was one of the worst affected.
As such, it is no surprise that according to flight data provider OAG, Lufthansa’s on-time performance (defined as arriving within 15 minutes of scheduled time) was just 66.26% in 2022. That placed it 15th among “mega airlines” and was significantly lower than the 73.96% OTP the airline achieved in 2019. Lufthansa’s 2022 flight cancellation rate in 2022 was 2.49%.
For comparison, the two European airlines with better OTP – KLM and Air France – had a 2022 OTP of 73.06% and 72.10% respectively. Their cancellation rates were 3.58% and 1.18%.
Flying with Lufthansa: What Is It Like?
Next, let’s take a look at what you can expect in terms of soft and hard products when flying on Lufthansa. Keep in mind that the experience varies greatly depending on your class of travel and whether you are flying on a long- or short-haul flight.
In addition to contract lounges at airports where Lufthansa doesn’t have its own lounges, the airline also operates four types of lounges:
- Business Class Lounges: As the name suggests, these can be used by Lufthansa passengers traveling in business class; unlike with some other airlines, these cannot be accessed by status holders traveling in economy class
- Senator Lounges: Largely similar in terms of content to the business class lounges, these can be entered by passengers holding Star Alliance Gold status
- First Class Lounges: Available to passengers traveling in first class (or those connecting from first class to business or economy class on the same day) and HON Circle status holders
- Welcome Lounge: An arrival lounge in Frankfurt available to first and business class passengers arriving on long-haul flights as well as to HON Circle status holders regardless of their flight’s length
Lufthansa Business Class and Senator Lounges can be found in both Frankfurt and Munich, as well as at some other airports in Germany and around the world – like New York JFK. Unfortunately, some have been closed permanently as an extension of their COVID-19-related closure. Those include the one that used to be in Delhi and several in Germany. Overall, I’d say the lounges are average to slightly above average airline-operated business class lounges.
As far as first class lounges are concerned, these can be found in Frankfurt and Munich. Some other lounges like the one in New York do not have a separate First Class Lounge but have a separate section dedicated to first class passengers with additional service compared to the Business and Senator Lounges.
Without a doubt the most noteworthy ground experience to be had with Lufthansa is when traveling in first class out of Frankfurt. There, in addition to regular lounges, Lufthansa also operates a dedicated First Class Terminal from where passengers are driven directly to their aircraft.
You can see what lounge you can access based on your class of travel, departure airport, and status here.
On short-haul flights operated by narrowbody aircraft, you can expect standard slimline seats with OK legroom and no in-seat entertainment. The seats are the same in business class and in economy class. The only difference is that in business class, you get the seat next to you blocked.
While on Airbus A320 series aircraft seats are in a 3-3 layout, on Embraer and Bombardier aircraft they are in a more comfortable 2-2 layout. That means that when flying on the former in Lufthansa business class, you have to share the empty middle seat with your neighbor, when flying on the latter, you get a pair of seats for yourself.
On long-haul flights, the hard product used to be consistent across Lufthansa’s entire widebody fleet. Recently, some inconsistencies have been introduced.
Still, most Lufthansa long-haul aircraft feature subpar business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout (except for the 747 upper deck which is in a 2-2 layout and the 747-400 main deck, part of which is in a 2-3-2 layout meaning there are middle seats) and standard premium economy and economy class seats. Additionally, Lufthansa’s A340-600s and 747-8s also feature first class with spacious but open seats.
Where things get interesting are Lufthansa’s A350s. Most of them were delivered directly to Lufthansa and feature the subpar seats mentioned above; however, some have been leased from Philippine Airlines. The leased ones feature much better staggered business class seats.
Similarly, the airline’s latest addition – the Boeing 787 – is also an exception. Having been originally destined for another airline, they feature reverse herringbone business class seats. These, just like the staggered business class seats on some of the A350s are much better than Lufthansa’s “own” business class seats.
Meals and Beverages
Like most other airlines, Lufthansa cut down economy class service on its short-haul flights to nearly the bare minimum. The last time I flew with the airline short-haul in economy class, I got a free drink and a cookie. That said, it seems like currently, the service is limited to:
- Chocolates on flights up to 30 minutes
- Chocolates and a bottle of water on flights up to 60 minutes
- Buy on board menu in addition to the above on longer flights
In short-haul business class, you can expect a cold one-tray meal.
On long-haul flights, you can expect either dinner or lunch and a lighter breakfast or pre-arrival snack in economy, premium economy, and business classes. In first class, Lufthansa provides a relatively extensive dine-on-demand menu.
While all of my Lufthansa economy and premium economy class meals were decent as far as I can remember, the one time I flew the airline’s business class, the meal on my flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo was terrible. In fact, it was the worst airline meal I had so far. The ingredients themselves were fine and the volume was alright; however, the flavoring and presentation left a lot to be desired.
When flying long-haul with Lufthansa (or if you are lucky to catch a widebody aircraft on a short-haul route), you can expect your aircraft to offer a decent in-flight entertainment system. While the screen size and headphone quality will vary depending on which class you travel in, the content will be the same.
The system offers a fairly extensive selection of over 100 movies as well as plenty of TV shows, music, and other entertainment to keep one busy even on the longest Lufthansa flights. There are also some games – while I rarely play those, a couple of years ago, I spent almost an entire flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver playing Links, an addictive puzzle game.
You can find the latest line-up of movies available onboard on Lufthansa’s website.
Regardless of whether you are flying with Lufthansa on short-haul, medium-haul, or long-haul flights, chances are that your aircraft will be equipped with onboard wi-fi. That said, this will not be the case on flights operated by Embraer and Bombardier aircraft.
Payment is accepted both in cash and miles. I recommend paying in cash – in general, using miles for things like wi-fi does not represent a good opportunity. Prices depend on your flight’s duration; there is no free plan.
For short- and medium-haul flights, Lufthansa offers the following onboard wi-fi plans, all of which provide access for the duration of the flight:
|Plan||Flights Under 90 Minutes||Flights Over 90 Minutes||Maximum Speed|
|Chat||3 EUR / 1,000 miles||3 EUR / 1,000 miles||150 kbit/s|
|Mail and Surf||5 EUR / 1,700 miles||7 EUR / 2,300 miles||600 kbit/s|
|Stream||10 EUR / 3,300 miles||12 EUR / 4,000 miles||15 Mbit/s|
For long-haul flights, Lufthansa offers the following onboard wi-fi plans:
|Plan||Price||Maximum Speed||Time Limit|
|Messaging||5 EUR / 7 USD / 45 CNY / 1,700 miles||100 kbit/s||None|
|Premium 2 Hour||15 EUR / 18 USD / 125 CNY / 5,000 miles||4 Mbit/s||2 hours|
|Premium Full Flight||25 EUR / 27 USD / 200 CNY / 8,300 miles||4 Mbit/s||None|
Keep in mind that the plans and pricing shown above might change. As such, I recommend checking Lufthansa’s website just before your flight for the most accurate information.
Lufthansa Flight Reviews
If you want to get a better idea of what flying with Lufthansa is like, you might also want to read some of my flight reviews including:
- Short-haul economy class (Airbus A321 from Paris CDG to Frankfurt)
- Short-haul business class (Embraer E190 from Vienna to Frankfurt)
- Long-haul economy class (Boeing 747-400 from Frankfurt to Vancouver)
- Long-haul premium economy class (Boeing 747-400 from Frankfurt to Osaka Kansai)
- Long-haul business class (Airbus A340-300 from Frankfurt to Tokyo Haneda)
Having flown in Lufthansa’s short-haul economy and business classes, and long-haul economy, premium economy, and business classes, I can say that I would:
- Not hesitate to fly the airline short-haul if the price and flight times were good
- Not hesitate to fly the airline long-haul in economy or premium economy if the price and flight times were good
- Avoid flying the airline in business class even at the expense of slightly higher price and less convenient flight times
Now that you know what flying with Lufthansa is like, you might be wondering about the airline’s safety. If that’s the case, check this article.