Crossing The Atlantic On Lufthansa: Business (Class) As Usual

Crossing The Atlantic On Lufthansa: Business (Class) As Usual

FROM: YUL
TO: MUC
CABIN: Business
DATE: July 2020
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: While Lufthansa's A350 business class seat is outdated, the onboard service continues to be excellent, especially during the pandemic
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Note: I took this trip to be able to report back on what international travel is like nowadays, since it’s something a lot of people have questions about. If you do choose to travel, please make sure you take appropriate precautions, not just to protect yourself, but also to protect others. Also consider the risks and constantly changing rules surrounding travel, which can significantly complicate things. See the introduction post in this series for more background on the precautions we took, and the potential risks.

Our transatlantic flight to get to Turkey was from Montreal to Munich in Lufthansa business class, and boy was it an interesting one (see this post for a summary of how we booked our ticket). I’ve reviewed Lufthansa’s A350 business class before during “normal” times, so this review will specifically focus on what has changed about the experience.

Airlines’ different approaches to onboard service

Before I share my experience on Lufthansa, let me recap that airlines have taken vastly different approaches to onboard service during this pandemic. Just to compare two Star Alliance airlines:

Personally I don’t have a strong opinion on what airlines should be doing here, but rather I’m just reporting back on how things are. While better service sounds good on the surface, there are also risks associated with people not wearing masks for extended periods of time on planes, especially when physical distancing isn’t possible.

Flying Lufthansa in the coronavirus era

We booked our flight just a couple of days before departure. After selecting our seats, here’s what the seatmap looked like:

While seatmaps are never a 100% accurate indicator of how full a flight is, I felt pretty confident that this would be one of our emptier transatlantic flights.

Boarding started 45 minutes ahead of departure, at 7:50PM.

Lufthansa 475
Montreal (YUL) – Munich (MUC)
Friday, July 10
Depart: 8:35PM
Arrive: 9:55AM (+1 day)
Duration: 7hr20min
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Seat: 6A (Business Class)

The few flights I had taken up until this point during the pandemic had an understandably somber mood. You felt more like you were in a hospital than on a plane. This flight had a very different vibe.

We boarded through the second set of doors, where we were greeted by one of the flight attendants — “you are two of our three business class passengers, we will be fighting over serving you tonight because we have so many crew.”

The flight attendants were wearing masks, but unlike on some other airlines, there was no other PPE.

We selected seats in row six, and the one other passenger was seated in row two. Being in such an empty business class cabin was surreal — the only other time I’ve been in long haul business class on a flight this empty was on Air Belgium to Hong Kong.

Lufthansa A350 business class cabin


Lufthansa A350 business class cabin


Lufthansa A350 business class cabin


Lufthansa business class seats

There was all the usual business class bedding on all 48 seats, in spite of there only being three passengers.

Lufthansa business class bedding

Once settled in we were offered menus and disinfecting wipes. It seems the wipes have replaced pre-departure drinks.


Lufthansa business class menu

Boarding was completed within 10 minutes. I overhead the ground agent tell the purser that there were three business class passengers, no premium economy passengers, and 65 economy passengers.

Around this time the captain made his welcome aboard announcement for our 6hr50min flight to Munich. I think his announcement can only be described as extremely upbeat:

“We are happy we can be in the air again, we hare happy we can fly again, we are happy we can travel again. We hope you are flying for a happy and enjoyable reason. We are glad to travel again, so let’s enjoy this night together. Let us also leave a little early so you will not have to haste through the terminal in Munich for your connections.”

Before we pushed back I overhead the conversation between the purser and the other business class flight attendants, in the galley right behind us. The biggest point of stress on this flight for the crew seemed to be that there were too many business class crew (this is translated from German):

Purser: “Did you decide who will go back to help in economy?”
Flight attendant: “We asked, they don’t need us there.”
Purser: “It’s embarrassing to have four people to serve three guests, imagine how that looks. Just have someone go back and look out the window or make the crew beds.”

We were airborne by 8:30PM, with what I can only describe as the fastest takeoff roll I’ve ever experienced on a transatlantic flight. We also climbed straight up to 41,000 feet — usually you first have to burn off some fuel to get that high, but clearly we were very light.

Map enroute to Munich

Lufthansa has barely adjusted service in business class, and suffice to say that in some ways service was better than ever, with three flight attendants serving three passengers. The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

Service was only slightly modified. There were no warm towels, the appetizer was served on the same tray as the main course, and there was no breadbasket, but otherwise it was business as usual.

Service began with drinks and cashews — I ordered a glass of the Argentinian white wine, and a sparkling water.

Lufthansa business class dinner service

The dinner tray was served a few minutes later, and included an appetizer of caponata, pesto sauce, baby gem, bocconcini cheese, cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives. Then the main course consisted of Atlantic salmon with tomato aniseed sauce, linguine pasta with gremolata and vegetables. Then there were two pieces of bread — a roll and some pretzel bread.


Lufthansa business class dinner service

To be honest the food wasn’t amazing — the salmon was dry and flavorless — but I’m also hardly bothered by bad airline food nowadays, and have to acknowledge that Lufthansa’s meal service is infinitely better than what you’ll find on most other airlines right now.

For dessert there was the choice of cheese, fruit, or ice cream. The chocolate cake listed on the menu hadn’t been catered on the flight.


Lufthansa business class dinner service

Service was wrapped up within about 45 minutes of takeoff, and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset.

Beautiful evening in the cabin

Beautiful sunset enroute to Munich

Lufthansa has all the usual bedding in business class, so I was able to get several solid hours of sleep. Ford slept in 6A and I slept in 5A, so that we had even more distance from the aisle (I always prefer being in a window seat and facing the fuselage while sleeping). I even noticed that when the crew passed through the cabin during the night they usually did so through the far aisle.

This was my first time sleeping with a mask on, and to my surprise it wasn’t too tough at all. It took a few minutes to acclimate, but after that it didn’t feel significantly different than usual.

We woke up just a bit over an hour before landing.

Map enroute to Munich

Cabin in the morning

At that point the breakfast service began. That was more or less the same as usual, except the muffin was packaged, as there was no bread basket. I had the muesli, while Ford had the salami and cheese.

We both initially preferred the muesli, but I guess they didn’t have much catering, because they only had one available between the two of us.


Lufthansa business class breakfast

Lufthansa business class breakfast

Towards the approach cards were handed out explaining entry procedures for Germany, for those trying to enter the country (we were just in transit).

German immigration card

30 minutes before landing the captain provided his cheerful pre-landing announcement, informing us we’d be landing at 9:20AM. He finished the announcement with “we hope you have nice plans, and can be optimistic for the future.”

We touched down at 9:20AM, and then had a five minute taxi to our arrival gate.

View approaching Munich

Then I witnessed one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on a plane, at least outside of Japan. As we taxied in it was announced that passengers should stay seated, and would be disembarked by row. We pulled into the gate and the seatbelt sign was turned off. For the next several minutes the plane stood parked, waiting for the door to open… and not a single person got up.

I was in disbelief. I’ve never seen people follow instructions so well outside of Japan. But literally everyone obeyed the instructions. After a few minutes, business class passengers were invited to get up and disembark.

Bottom line

For better or worse, flying Lufthansa business class almost felt like the good old days. The four flights I had taken up to this point during the pandemic could only be described as solemn.

In the case of Lufthansa, it was more or less service as usual, and in particular the crew was incredibly upbeat, including the captain. Thanks to how empty the flight was, physical distancing was the least of our worries on this flight.

I should of course mention a few things here:

  • While we booked this flight a couple of days out and anticipated it would be this empty, that’s not something you can count on, as some transatlantic flights are packed
  • While it’s interesting to see Lufthansa continue to provide nearly its full service, I’m not certain that’s necessarily the right thing to do, since there’s some merit to minimizing interaction between passengers and crew
  • Personally I felt very comfortable with the level of service given how empty the flight was, but if I were on a full flight seated next to a stranger, I’m not sure I’d be thrilled if passengers had their masks off for an entire, drawn out meal

What do you make of the state of Lufthansa’s onboard service?

Conversations (94)
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  1. David P Smethurst Guest

    We also flew business class on the A350 from Munich to SFO and SFO to Frankfurt. Your review was on the mark. I however, coming from Premium Economy in past flights, loved the food and felt the service was excellent. They were also very strict about wearing masks, which isn't a problem for me since I'd rather they err on the side of caution. They also asked people to stand by row to disembark and...

    We also flew business class on the A350 from Munich to SFO and SFO to Frankfurt. Your review was on the mark. I however, coming from Premium Economy in past flights, loved the food and felt the service was excellent. They were also very strict about wearing masks, which isn't a problem for me since I'd rather they err on the side of caution. They also asked people to stand by row to disembark and people did. It was nice not to have the exit scrum; it was civilized. I would highly recommend Lufthansa's business class.

  2. Udo Guest

    By chance - couldn’t return to the US from ATH on QR courtesy of Covid - we flew FRA-YYZ in business class on LH in July. An unmitigated disaster from 2 - 2 - 2 seating to running out of meal options to not having half the wines on the printed menu. You even had to unwrap your hot meal plates. A joke of an airline, especially considering the flawless service QR delivered on our flight from the US to Greece. No comparison, not even close.

  3. SUSAN PROECHEL Guest

    I disagree completely if you are seated masks should not be worn. If everyone has to be vaccinated they then they should follow the rules of stores, restaurants, etc. Lets ask the question why? All this does is make people ask the question why bother getting vaccinated we still have to wear mask

  4. flyer78_q Guest

    Thanks Lucky for a great report. My family lives in the US but I and my two sons are dual US/EU citizens. My understanding is that myself, daughters and wife can enter the country assuming we test negative, correct? If so, that’s a great news!

  5. Steven Guest

    "“It’s embarrassing to have four people to serve three guests, imagine how that looks."

    This comment made me laugh quite a bit!

  6. Who Was That Masked Man Guest

    Merely because Jordan declares "that's the truth" does not make it so. Jordan here seems to think he knows better than the WHO, CDC, etc.

    Jordan

    You need to wear your effin' mask. I am fully supportive of tossing people like you who refuse to wear masks in jail.

  7. Garrett Schmidt Guest

    Masks are myth. Buck up, Ben. I'm on a Delta flight right now, and I can feel air leaking all around the mask that they provided for me. Nevermind the people that have confused them for chinstraps. Masks are nothing more than a feel good item.

  8. mauipeter Guest

    FlyLots, Sorry to disappoint, but it cannot be reverse translated from German, because baseball does not exist in Germany, and nobody understands what this 'sport' is about of folks hitting balls with sticks and then running around in a circle.

  9. FlyLots Guest

    For those wondering, “Cut Beef Baseball” is probably some German word/translation reversal and refers to a steak “baseball cut” which is carved out of the sirloin and is like a filet mignon. Gets its name from the somewhat rounded shape.

    Like “Airline Chicken”.

  10. mauipeter Guest

    Genise, thanks for asking again, this is pretty much the only answer I am interested in myself, heading to Europe in October.

  11. Genise Guest

    @ Ben: As far as I can tell, you didn't respond to BLB's question: "Just curious … does your travel medical insurance policy cover expenses for C19-related claims should you be hospitalized out of the USA?
    The fine print in all policies I’ve read clearly state coverage is excluded for foreign travel during a declared pandemic. You get C19 and rack up a huge medical bill when abroad, you pay.
    What insurance company...

    @ Ben: As far as I can tell, you didn't respond to BLB's question: "Just curious … does your travel medical insurance policy cover expenses for C19-related claims should you be hospitalized out of the USA?
    The fine print in all policies I’ve read clearly state coverage is excluded for foreign travel during a declared pandemic. You get C19 and rack up a huge medical bill when abroad, you pay.
    What insurance company do you use?"

    I believe it's a great question and very important in this C19-time to have the right insurance policy.
    I cannot imagine you have an EU/Turkey policy since that's only available as a local resident (as I have found out by trial and error).
    I am headed across the pond from the W-Coast in 10 days (EU pp) and still have to find an applicable (yearly) policy.
    Could you please enlighten us travelers from the US ? - it would be greatly appreciated !

  12. KV Guest

    @K / Ben:

    Amenity kits were at every seat in my LH FRA-YVR last week, They were tucked into the pop out cubby along with a water bottle. It was the standard amenity kit.

    @Dirk:

    I tried this wine on the same flight and really enjoyed it!

  13. Dirk Guest

    @Ben: I follow your flight reviews since years. Every once in while, when you go trans-antlantic on LH business you might have recognized the Van Volxem Saar Riesling white wine on the menu.

    This is a one of a kind german Riesling as Rieslings used to be. The grapes for that Van Volxem are coming from quite old vines. Next time, I would love to see you give it a try. This vineyard produces...

    @Ben: I follow your flight reviews since years. Every once in while, when you go trans-antlantic on LH business you might have recognized the Van Volxem Saar Riesling white wine on the menu.

    This is a one of a kind german Riesling as Rieslings used to be. The grapes for that Van Volxem are coming from quite old vines. Next time, I would love to see you give it a try. This vineyard produces as well a signature "Alte Reben" -> Old Grapes coming from 150 year old vines. A masterpiece.

    Stay safe & greetings from germany.

  14. Bob New Member

    Interesting review lucky, we flew AMS-ZRH-AGP Swiss biz last week, it’s a regular route for us to our spanish property and we were curious how the flights would be, and I must say it was business as usual, usual fantastic attentive service, flowing champagne, hot meal on ZRH-AGP leg, only change were the lounges were closed in AMS & ZRH, but Aspire was an option in ZRH, however not in AMS, there we had to...

    Interesting review lucky, we flew AMS-ZRH-AGP Swiss biz last week, it’s a regular route for us to our spanish property and we were curious how the flights would be, and I must say it was business as usual, usual fantastic attentive service, flowing champagne, hot meal on ZRH-AGP leg, only change were the lounges were closed in AMS & ZRH, but Aspire was an option in ZRH, however not in AMS, there we had to use our Priority Pass, all in all I say kudos to the Lufthansa group for maintaining the onboard service!

  15. Tommy Boy Guest

    Great review! Thanks! Good to know how things are now on certain airlines.

  16. JOE Guest

    LH and other airlines should be warned. As long as the virus is potent and there is no vaccine, their business in premim class will deteriorate. It is better not to use bigger aircrafts as it is not economical. They should close low pax destinations or at least offer 1 or 2 a week.
    This should be a warning to all non essential travellers that there is no amusement travelling premium right now.
    Pax are regarded as infected persons and not as healthy guests.

  17. Emily Guest

    I like the consistency of the LH Business and First. I don't find their products nor service thrilling, but I also have no reason to complain (usually). I think that's one of the reasons why LH will probably have less difficulties adjusting to the service and products offered in the Covid era. They already provide a sterile and sufficiently satisfying product and service.

  18. Alex Member

    To all you Lufthansa haters out there: I hope you remember once this situation is over that there was indeed an airline that provided a true Business Class service during the pandemic!

  19. dot Member

    so no problems going thru Germany to Turkey and no problems in Turkey??then where too///????

  20. Paolo Diamond

    Been there 9 days, with “no immediate plans to return.” What about poor Winston? He must pay the price of your self-indulgent and Ill-judged jaunts?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Paolo -- Winston is with his grandma and doesn't seem to miss us at all.

  21. glenn t Diamond

    So, the mask thing~
    Surely, in a practically empty cabin, commonsense would win out over policy for sleep-time without a mask?
    Or did you not wish the risk the wrath of a strict German FA?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ glenn t -- It wasn't exactly a huge inconvenience, and in Germany "the rules are the rules." For what it's worth, towards landing the guy in 2A didn't have his mask on briefly, and I overheard the flight attendant tell him to put it back on.

  22. K Guest

    Was there an amenity kit? If so, what was in it, any masks or other PPE kind of stuff?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ K -- Oddly I didn't get an amenity kit. I had assumed it was just cut, but in retrospect I believe they may have just forgotten to give them to us. They are offering the standard amenity kit, as far as I know, with no changes.

  23. Jordan Guest

    @Johan - That's fantastic news. I suspect we will start to see a lot of this as we move forward.

    I flew KLM BOM-AMS last week, the flight was fine except for no service, and a food bag, as per Indian authorities and their nonsense agenda for AI, so all carriers have to deny full service. I did not care. AMS-LHR was a normal flight, and AMS lounges are open with mask optional. ;-)

    Staff...

    @Johan - That's fantastic news. I suspect we will start to see a lot of this as we move forward.

    I flew KLM BOM-AMS last week, the flight was fine except for no service, and a food bag, as per Indian authorities and their nonsense agenda for AI, so all carriers have to deny full service. I did not care. AMS-LHR was a normal flight, and AMS lounges are open with mask optional. ;-)

    Staff in the lounge did not wear masks. I was surprised at first, but loved it! Masks are for people that are sick, and not the other way around. People can love it or not, but that's a truth.

  24. AZ_Dads New Member

    Lucky - thanks for posting the German Immigration Card.

    Perhaps I am reading it wrong but it appears per its terms that US Citizens can enter Germany and not be subject to quarantine if they have a health certificate demonstrating (with 48 hours of arrival) a negative COVID test - assuming it must be molecular PCR. If this is accurate - once the testing backlog is resolved, any thoughts on whether entry into Germany...

    Lucky - thanks for posting the German Immigration Card.

    Perhaps I am reading it wrong but it appears per its terms that US Citizens can enter Germany and not be subject to quarantine if they have a health certificate demonstrating (with 48 hours of arrival) a negative COVID test - assuming it must be molecular PCR. If this is accurate - once the testing backlog is resolved, any thoughts on whether entry into Germany to visit family (non-urgent) will be permitted for US citizens

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ AZ_Dads -- That card isn't intended to fully capture Germany's immigration policy, but rather applies to those who are actually allowed to enter Germany (for example, Americans traveling on essential business). Americans aren't allowed to enter EU countries right now otherwise, and nothing has changed in that regard, as Germany continues to follow the recommendations of the EU.

  25. JD Member

    maybe you should try booking IST-MEX on the return in First. then book MEX-MIA on AA. I know its more miles, but 747-8 on LH review at this point in time would be interesting to say the least. Especially out of their FRA hub.

  26. jay Guest

    My husband I a just returned from a quick jaunt to Cancun (from Mexico City), and Aero Mexico has the same deplaning policy. And to my HUGE surprise, EVERYONE followed the deplaning rules and didn't get up until their row was called.....

  27. Johan Guest

    Update - on today's flights (2x LH, 2x LO) I had no problems with receiving exemption from wearing a mask. In 3/4 cases no one was interested in my mask/lack of it, only on the short domestic hop with LO the purser asked me to wear it. I replied that I cannot due to medical reasons and he said that it was okay then. Like honestly, there is some actual social distance in intra-EU business, they could make the "no masks in eurobusiness" rule an official one.

  28. mauipeter Guest

    Eric, since I am planning to visit Germany in October, I did some research. The 48 hour test certificate is impossible for me, since I come from Hawaii, and therefore my flight alone, usually through two nights, is already around 35 hours. I found the following: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauriewerner/2020/06/29/you-can-now-be-tested-for-covid-19-by-lufthansa-in-germany/#88269113f6cb. Or google: 'Covid test MUC airport'. It clearly states that you can be tested upon arrival 'instead of going into 14 day quarantine'. Also Istanbul appears to be...

    Eric, since I am planning to visit Germany in October, I did some research. The 48 hour test certificate is impossible for me, since I come from Hawaii, and therefore my flight alone, usually through two nights, is already around 35 hours. I found the following: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauriewerner/2020/06/29/you-can-now-be-tested-for-covid-19-by-lufthansa-in-germany/#88269113f6cb. Or google: 'Covid test MUC airport'. It clearly states that you can be tested upon arrival 'instead of going into 14 day quarantine'. Also Istanbul appears to be offering arrival and departure testing. Furthermore the President of Bavaria, which Munich is the capital of, proposed tests free of charge for everybody returning from vacation, since it's school break there now.

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ mauipeter -- It's also my understanding that testing on arrival does qualify, as long as you self isolate until you receive the test results.

  29. UA-NYC Diamond

    @1KBrad - have a look at the hyper left wing, Antifa-loving, AOC-disciple rag known as the WSJ and educate yourself a bit more - https://www.wsj.com/articles/face-masks-really-do-matter-the-scientific-evidence-is-growing-11595083298

    Sure, we could all go out in public with masks, face shields, head to toe PPE (or never leave the house). But maybe, just maybe, we can do the BARE FREAKING MINIMUM and all do our part.

    Is that so hard?

  30. Daisy New Member

    Thank you so much for your review, I looked forward to your opinion as I plan to fly Lufthansa soon too.

  31. 1KBrad Guest

    Here we go with the mask thing again . . .

    If you are so worried about COVID, why aren't you protecting yourself with a plastic face shield?

  32. Keith Holden Guest

    Wow! This might be a record for your comments section. Only two bitter comments and one snarky one. Thanks for all you do Lucky.

  33. Samo Guest

    @Johan: Well, it looks like the ability to breathe now comes as a business class perk :) This might make me consider booking European J for the first time in my life.

    Kudos to LOT!

  34. Samo Guest

    @Klaus: I don't dispute there is a lack of demand which results in some businesses being closed / bankrupted. My point is that those that remain open (which is the vast majority) operate normally.

    I can't speak about touristy stuff such as tours as that's not what I've been there for, but here's my summary:
    - Czechia: Business as usual. Almost everything open, absolutely no restrictions except high-risk regions (northern Moravia). Masks being...

    @Klaus: I don't dispute there is a lack of demand which results in some businesses being closed / bankrupted. My point is that those that remain open (which is the vast majority) operate normally.

    I can't speak about touristy stuff such as tours as that's not what I've been there for, but here's my summary:
    - Czechia: Business as usual. Almost everything open, absolutely no restrictions except high-risk regions (northern Moravia). Masks being required on metro is the only nuisance one can notice in Prague, otherwise it's 100% the old normal.
    - Austria: Masks on public transportation, otherwise business as usual. Museums and shops open normally, without masks or social distancing or whatever.
    - Hungary: Significantly less busy (and with tourist traps being closed) but without any major restrictions. Social distancing seems to be a thing indoors. Masks formally required but the etiquette is that it's perfectly acceptable to wear them under the nose or even on the chin. Most people do it and no one will bate an eye.
    - Germany: Business as usual, masks required indoors (and this is generally followed). Other rules do exist on the paper but are widely ignored. This may vary state by state.

    To wrap it up, I can't see Europeans accepting reduced service on board when life on the ground returned back to (the old) normal. It just doesn't make sense, average person has far more human contact on the ground than in a plane.

    And the good thing is that despite massive reopenings many weeks ago, Europe maintains very good infection rates, so it doesn't seem like we'll need to go back to social distancing. Fingers crossed.

  35. Sluvak Guest

    Report from Slovakia.,central Europe.
    Situation totally normal. No masks nowhere, obligatory only inside. Business as usual everywhere. Clubs are open.
    5 million people country, 1900 positive cases, 28 dead people.
    Makes you really think how is possible than in some other countries there are thousands of cases.. And has nothing to do with masks.

  36. Klaus Guest

    @Jonathan:
    Thanks for the update about LOT and the LH LHR Lounge.
    I just saw that the LH lounges in Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Athens and Milano will also be opening this week as well as a Swiss Lounge in Zurich.
    In Vienna it’s now the Sky Lounge and Geneva will be opening the SWISSPORT HORIZON on Wednesday.

  37. Jay Guest

    @Ben “ I found my new favorite Marriott property here“ sounds like the Edition lives up to the hype (especially the breakfast spread!)

  38. Johan Guest

    Fun fact: LOT's lounge at Warsaw airport is designated as a mask-free zone. None of the staff are wearing them, neither do the guests (vast majority of them, like 85%). If you do not like that, you are more than welcome to stay in the common departure lounge, where mask requirement is in place. Same in LH lounge at LHR (it was re-opened today, had a chance to visit it a few hours ago)

  39. TLS Member

    On my flight back home with LH, via Frankfurt and Hong Kong, the meal service was all on one tray in business. The food was meh, but what struck me was that one of the starters was chicken carpaccio...
    The halibut I got was ok, but the rice was hard and crunchy...
    Much fuller plane, but still less than half full in business. I'm mainly just glad I finally got home.

  40. West Coast Flyer New Member

    Am I reading that menu right that there's no beer on offer?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ West Coast Flyer -- They definitely had beer, the selection may just not have been listed.

  41. Klaus Guest

    @Samo:
    I don't want to stray too much from the topic - after all, this is a travel blog. But in everyday life the restrictions still exist at least in France, Spain, Germany and Austria. For example, schools and day-care centres are either closed or work in shifts.
    Similarly, there is a reduced presence in offices and various measures in factories with new shift models: This is what I experience when I travel.

    ...

    @Samo:
    I don't want to stray too much from the topic - after all, this is a travel blog. But in everyday life the restrictions still exist at least in France, Spain, Germany and Austria. For example, schools and day-care centres are either closed or work in shifts.
    Similarly, there is a reduced presence in offices and various measures in factories with new shift models: This is what I experience when I travel.

    Also when it comes to travel, the effects are quite visible: fewer flights, distances at the airport, a calm and reserved atmosphere on the plane. Try to rent a car after 17:00.

    However, I don't know the perspective as a tourist in central europe. You are probably correct and things have returned to normal? Are museums open again? Guided tours are offered again?

  42. Ben Member

    What is a "cut beef baseball"...???

  43. Klaus Guest

    @Erik:
    Yes, if you come from a country that is classified as a risk country by the RKI (=the german CDC) you will have to go into self quarantine.
    But exceptions apply: Unlike the UK, that has a very detailed overview of exceptions (@Ben: thank you for recently posting it), the German rules are interestingly enough not that strict (actually, each state has its own rules. But they are derived from the federal...

    @Erik:
    Yes, if you come from a country that is classified as a risk country by the RKI (=the german CDC) you will have to go into self quarantine.
    But exceptions apply: Unlike the UK, that has a very detailed overview of exceptions (@Ben: thank you for recently posting it), the German rules are interestingly enough not that strict (actually, each state has its own rules. But they are derived from the federal recommendations and therefore are the same).
    You do not have to go into quarantine if
    - you have a medical certificate not older than 48hrs that indicates you do not have C19
    - you have been in a foreign country less then 48 hours (that means a weekend trip Friday to Sunday would be okay)
    - you are transiting (even by car or train)
    - you start a new work assignment in Germany that is longer than three weeks
    - you’re transporting goods or humans
    - you are planning to study in Germany
    - you work for a service of general interest (e.g. Homer Simpson)
    - you’re on an essential business trip.

    The essential business trip is the actual loophole here. That is not further specified.

    Ben, could test if being the author of a popular travel blog is considered essential traveling? ;)
    Anyway: if on your return flight for some reason your flight gets cancelled, you could fly to e.g. Stuttgart and then take a train to Frankfurt for your TATL as long as you travel directly.

  44. ChrisC Guest

    "... since there’s some merit to minimizing interaction between passengers and crew"

    but having most of the meal on the one tray is minmising interaction. As is having the bread and pastry items pre plated.

    I think this approach is a good compromise between offering full service where courses are individually served and plates collected etc and tossing a cold box at you.

    You've complained about the 'toss a box' approach before and you're still...

    "... since there’s some merit to minimizing interaction between passengers and crew"

    but having most of the meal on the one tray is minmising interaction. As is having the bread and pastry items pre plated.

    I think this approach is a good compromise between offering full service where courses are individually served and plates collected etc and tossing a cold box at you.

    You've complained about the 'toss a box' approach before and you're still complaining when an airline is trying to offer you the full service. They really can't win can they?

    What was the provision for obtainign extra drinks?

  45. David Diamond

    @Mark F.

    The only difference out of an American city would be people standing up instead of staying seated to deplane, because "ain't no pilot gon' tell me what ta do, FREEDOM!!".

  46. Samo Guest

    @Klaus Then we have very different experiences. I've been to Czechia, Austria, Germany and Hungary and I found life very normal. Of course there is a lack of tourists, but that doesn't really affect me. Masks seem to be a thing in Germany and Hungary, but that's just about the only practical difference I've experienced. Apart from that it's just like it used to be a year ago.

    My go-to destination for the summer...

    @Klaus Then we have very different experiences. I've been to Czechia, Austria, Germany and Hungary and I found life very normal. Of course there is a lack of tourists, but that doesn't really affect me. Masks seem to be a thing in Germany and Hungary, but that's just about the only practical difference I've experienced. Apart from that it's just like it used to be a year ago.

    My go-to destination for the summer is definitely Czechia. Prague is lovely and without any restrictions at all (except the metro where masks are required, but that's easy to avoid by using trams instead).

  47. Klaus Guest

    @Wolfgang:
    Yes, the disembarkation really works well. I flew to Skopje (LH was cancelled and I was rebooked) with WIZZ and the disembarkation was chaotic as always. But at least everybody applauded when the aircraft touched down.

    @Samo:
    I don’t have the impression that Central Europe is back to normal again. Wearing a mask outside is not uncommon and in public spaces an obligation. Most central European countries have their own corona tracking...

    @Wolfgang:
    Yes, the disembarkation really works well. I flew to Skopje (LH was cancelled and I was rebooked) with WIZZ and the disembarkation was chaotic as always. But at least everybody applauded when the aircraft touched down.

    @Samo:
    I don’t have the impression that Central Europe is back to normal again. Wearing a mask outside is not uncommon and in public spaces an obligation. Most central European countries have their own corona tracking app. Occupancy inside restaurants is less than before and at least in least in Germany, sidewalks and car lanes are now transformed in outside restaurant spaces. Concerts are mainly cancelled and sporting events are held without live spectators. In some streets, Mallorca has closed all bars for three months after footage of excessive partying was in the media.
    SAS was just looking for a reason to suspend all onboard meal service for intra Europe flights in their “business class” (you’ll get a small bottle of water on flights over 2.5 hours). KLM has simplified catering.


    Lounges:
    Most airport lounges are still closed in Europe - And those that are open, have a limited service. While
    Lufthansa has more or less normal service in intra european business class, it is worth pointing out that Lufthansa has cancelled contracts with all third party lounges for HON/SEN/C/F/*G until the end of the year. While this is not communicated pro-actively, you can read it between the lines on their website. And those Lounges that are open have leaflets informing that LH suspended the contract. Two exceptions: while the Swiss and Austrian Lounges are still closed, eligible passengers can use the JET Lounge in Vienna and the Aspire Lounge in Zurich.
    Since Lounges have very limited service, I guess that makes sense and is an understandable approach to reduce variable costs.
    Some of their own lounges in Munich and Frankfurt have reopened with limited service, but since connections times are longer than before these lounges are crowded.
    Two

  48. D3kingg Diamond

    @Alpha

    Same here. I hoped someone had ordered the baseball beef. Especially since the MLB is back.

  49. Wolfgang New Member

    As I am living in Germany and took some flights both with LH and Eurowings I can confirm the disembarking is a Lufthansa Group policy. I think it is fantastic. People are following it. With 100+ flights a year I always dislike the rush and hectic at the end. Even with a full flight - and most intra-German LH flights from / to Frankfurt - Hamburg are busy - this policy „disembarking per row“ is great. Hope it will stay or at least people will do it.

  50. Mark F. Gold

    Do you think the service would have been similar if the flight had originated from the US? I am just wondering if flight service protocols would be different in countries with high Covid cases.

    PS; This report made me miss traveling again.

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Mark F. -- Yes, service on Lufthansa is the same out of the US.

  51. Alpha Member

    I love Lufty. :)

    Did Ford have the salmon as well? I'm dying to know what a cut beef baseball looks like.

  52. david New Member

    "I took this trip to be able to report back on what international travel is like nowadays, since it's something a lot of people have questions about."

    You didn't do this for your readers; you did it because you wanted to fly, and no one blames you. We don't need a revisionist accounting of your mental state. Why do you constantly over-explain yourself to avoid criticism? It's cowardly.

  53. Erik Guest

    @Lucky,

    Do you know what the rule is for German citizens entering Germany from the US? I know that they can, but are they subject to quarantine?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Erik -- I forgot to include a picture of the card that was handed out before landing, so I just added that to the post if you refresh. That should answer your question. I believe a 14 day quarantine is required if you've been in a "high risk" area in the past 14 days, unless you got a PCR rest.

  54. EL Member

    So do they know you in turn understand German rofl

  55. Shawn Guest

    So you just flew to Turkey to stay there until you guys want to return? Good for you. It’s great you’re able to do that. And it’s probably safer there than in Miami at this point.

  56. Nestor Guest

    @Ben, Would be great if you review several Bonvoy and Hilton properties in Turkey. I've read from many that many of them were stunning and great value for money.

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Nestor -- I'm doing what I can... I found my new favorite Marriott property here, and look forward to sharing my experience. :-)

  57. Stuart Diamond

    I also experienced the deplaning (and remaining seated) on Austrian via row numbers. It was interesting and must be a Lufthansa Group policy now. People did comply without any issue from what I could see.

  58. Kamaaina Guest

    @Ben - Thank you for posting this informative flight review. I'm glad I discovered this travel blog a couple months ago.

    @BLB - I use GeoBlue for all my travel medical insurance needs. During a pandemic if there is a CDC Level 3 or higher travel warning, they don't cover the virus responsible for the pandemic (in this case Covid-19). They do still cover everything else that they normally cover though.

  59. Tortuga Diamond

    I miss the warm towel porn. *sigh*

  60. Ben OMAAT

    @ grizzly -- The policy makes sense, given that I would assume an absolutely tiny minority of airline passengers have the opportunity to be in a cabin where they're well over six feet from the next passenger.

  61. Jason Diamond

    So what happens with Winston? Just ditched until you all decide to come back?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Jason -- Being apart from Winston is the hardest part of this... at least for us. But he's with one of his grandmas and is having the time of his life, and has even made dog friends (and usually he doesn't like other dogs). I have a feeling he'll be sad when we return home at this point, based on how much fun he seems to be having.

  62. Charles Luke Guest

    I escaped USA on 6/29 also to Istanbul presuming it will be easier to get home to Myanmar from here. Booked Aug 1 through Bangkok, keeping fingers crossed, glad for 90 day tourist visa in Turkey if return is aborted a 7th time.

  63. Samo Guest

    @Ben - I oversimplified it a bit of course but putting UK aside (they are more American than European in this aspect), central Europe it's very much back to the old normal. I've been travelling quite a bit in recent weeks and the only remaining restriction is that people wear masks in some states. Apart from that it's basically business as usual - if you visit a mask-free state (e.g. Czechia), you wouldn't even notice...

    @Ben - I oversimplified it a bit of course but putting UK aside (they are more American than European in this aspect), central Europe it's very much back to the old normal. I've been travelling quite a bit in recent weeks and the only remaining restriction is that people wear masks in some states. Apart from that it's basically business as usual - if you visit a mask-free state (e.g. Czechia), you wouldn't even notice anything is going on. In such circumstances I just can't see European customers accepting reduced service on the aircraft - if we can get a proper experience in restaurants and bars, why not on a plane? If anything, plane is safer as there is less mingling and much better air circulation.

  64. BLB Guest

    Just curious ... does your travel medical insurance policy cover expenses for C19-related claims should you be hospitalized out of the USA?
    The fine print in all policies I’ve read clearly state coverage is excluded for foreign travel during a declared pandemic. You get C19 and rack up a huge medical bill when abroad, you pay.
    What insurance company do you use?

  65. Matt New Member

    Bilboquet Ice Cream! That's a great Montreal place, good to know they're catering locally.

  66. EC2 Gold

    @ Ben....Will you be staying at several places for review or sticking to one hotel/resort?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ EC2 -- We are trying a few different places while we're here. Stay tuned. :-)

  67. Greg Guest

    Reading the captain's message reminds me I get a kick out of Germans speaking English. So matter of fact and in the moment. It's refreshing.

    Good for LH keeping up a proper service it's the right thing to do for customers.

  68. Gene Diamond

    @ Ben -- I am sure you will get to it in your reviews, but how long did you stay in Turkey? So tempting, yet so unlikely for us. I want to cry after almost 5 months at home (well, I do sometimes), and I am sure I am not alone...

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Gene -- We have been here for nine days, and have no immediate plans to return. Since we feel we can be here quite responsibly, we figure we're best off staying here for a while.

  69. Jason Diamond

    @David Lerner - the EU allows transit for Americans. Americans just cannot stay in an EU country. Lucky was going to Turkey, which has ZERO restrictions for Americans.

  70. Linda Guest

    I am curious about you getting to Montreal when the borders are closed to Americans. I thought this also pertained to those transiting through airports and that we would not be allowed to do so.

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Linda -- Nope, transit in Canada is allowed, assuming you're connecting at an airport with a sterile international transit facility (in other words, where it's physically possible to get between terminals without entering the country).

  71. Samo Guest

    "While it’s interesting to see Lufthansa continue to provide nearly its full service, I’m not certain that’s necessarily the right thing to do" - Well, Lufthansa is a German airline and Germany is essentialy back to business as usual, with some minor restrictions.

    I suppose some cultural shocks are unavoidable with longhaul operations, but in the end of the day it's the right decission for Lufthansa to mostly try to appeal to European customers...

    "While it’s interesting to see Lufthansa continue to provide nearly its full service, I’m not certain that’s necessarily the right thing to do" - Well, Lufthansa is a German airline and Germany is essentialy back to business as usual, with some minor restrictions.

    I suppose some cultural shocks are unavoidable with longhaul operations, but in the end of the day it's the right decission for Lufthansa to mostly try to appeal to European customers who expect this kind of service.

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ Samo -- I'm not sure it's quite that straightforward. If it's "European" customers we're talking about, it's worth noting that over the past few months Lufthansa's catering has been vastly different than what you'll find on British Airways, and even Air France and KLM. So I don't think this is an "American" vs. "European" thing.

  72. ptahcha Member

    It's interesting to see that the dessert selections were exactly the same as Air Canada business class, down to the same 3 cheese selections.

    Also, this is a pet peeve of mine: No food is flavorless, unless you are chewing on a piece of cardboard or eating unflavored gelatin. It's probably overcooked and underseasoned, and you're deprived of your sense of smell in an enclosed metal tube. But using words like flavorless and tasteless makes...

    It's interesting to see that the dessert selections were exactly the same as Air Canada business class, down to the same 3 cheese selections.

    Also, this is a pet peeve of mine: No food is flavorless, unless you are chewing on a piece of cardboard or eating unflavored gelatin. It's probably overcooked and underseasoned, and you're deprived of your sense of smell in an enclosed metal tube. But using words like flavorless and tasteless makes you an amateur reviewer on Yelp.

  73. Pete Diamond

    Transit passengers are allowed with proof of onward trip to a location that allows Americans.

  74. David Lerner Guest

    Sorry, maybe I missed it, but you were able to fly into the EU from USA despite their ban on Americans? Was that because you both have EU passports? No issues of quarantine even? Can you explain this aspect?

    1. Ben OMAAT

      @ David Lerner -- The EU ban applies to entering countries, not to transiting. We were transiting Germany enroute to Turkey, which is allowed with US passports (and Turkey doesn't require a quarantine).

  75. Sam G Guest

    @ David BA will most likely not be flying all the SFO flights nor an A380 by then - currently it's a daily 787 so you'll get here OK but keep an eye on your booking

  76. Sam G Guest

    Interesting read, thanks!

    I took KLM Singapore-Amsterdam a few weeks ago (relocation - essential travel - surprisingly busy considering the extremely strict Singapore border restriction - anyone going back in would do two weeks enforced quarantine potentially in a govt hotel) and it was the same upbeat kinda vibe as well as a lot of genuine "we really look forward to seeing you again in better times " type announcements from the crew. Obviously limited...

    Interesting read, thanks!

    I took KLM Singapore-Amsterdam a few weeks ago (relocation - essential travel - surprisingly busy considering the extremely strict Singapore border restriction - anyone going back in would do two weeks enforced quarantine potentially in a govt hotel) and it was the same upbeat kinda vibe as well as a lot of genuine "we really look forward to seeing you again in better times " type announcements from the crew. Obviously limited service but everyone was just grateful to be getting to their destination safely I think.

  77. David H Member

    I am flying SFO-LHR in September as I relocate there. They're still flying an A380 here. According to the seat maps right now there are only 3 other people booked. Unlike in the past where I paid extra to get an Aisle access seat, I'm not paying BA and taking the seat they give me or ask for a different seat at Check-in. I'm sure it will be interesting to say the least.

  78. KV Guest

    I also travelled TATL on Lufthansa last week. We experienced the same enthusiastic, cheerful welcome greeting from the captain and purser at the beginning of the flight and again from the purser on landing!

    It was nice to have 4 glasses of wine, a full meal service, a couple of espressos with a smile instead of the (to quote someone else) "flying hospital" experience of Air Canada.

  79. Alvin Gold

    Wow, this was incredibly interesting to read! It was definitely hard to appreciate Lufthansa's mediocre business class service before, but as of now I guess we can only be grateful for it. I have a transatlantic flight booked in premium economy next month and it's booked to the gills, so I'm expecting to have a slightly different experience!

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David P Smethurst Guest

We also flew business class on the A350 from Munich to SFO and SFO to Frankfurt. Your review was on the mark. I however, coming from Premium Economy in past flights, loved the food and felt the service was excellent. They were also very strict about wearing masks, which isn't a problem for me since I'd rather they err on the side of caution. They also asked people to stand by row to disembark and people did. It was nice not to have the exit scrum; it was civilized. I would highly recommend Lufthansa's business class.

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Udo Guest

By chance - couldn’t return to the US from ATH on QR courtesy of Covid - we flew FRA-YYZ in business class on LH in July. An unmitigated disaster from 2 - 2 - 2 seating to running out of meal options to not having half the wines on the printed menu. You even had to unwrap your hot meal plates. A joke of an airline, especially considering the flawless service QR delivered on our flight from the US to Greece. No comparison, not even close.

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SUSAN PROECHEL Guest

I disagree completely if you are seated masks should not be worn. If everyone has to be vaccinated they then they should follow the rules of stores, restaurants, etc. Lets ask the question why? All this does is make people ask the question why bother getting vaccinated we still have to wear mask

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