Lufthansa “Enhances” Business Class On The World’s Worst Flight

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Lufthansa is launching what’s almost unarguably the world’s worst flight. As of November 1, 2018, they’ll resume flights between Frankfurt and Pune. The challenge with this flight is as follows:

  • Pune has a short runway, so it can’t accommodate widebody aircraft
  • Lufthansa used to fly a premium-configured PrivatAir 737 between Frankfurt and Pune; this plane had proper business class seats, though in the meantime Lufthansa has ended their agreement with PrivatAir, so they no longer have access to that plane

So what did Lufthansa decide to do? They’re going to launch this route with a regionally configured Airbus A319. Intra-Europe planes have some of the densest configurations out there, and don’t even have proper business class seats, but rather business class is just economy with a blocked middle seat.


“Business class” on an 11hr35min redeye?

Furthermore, since the A319 doesn’t have the range to fly this route nonstop, the flight will be stopping in Baku in both directions, with the following schedule:

LH768 Frankfurt to Baku departing 10:30AM arriving 6:05PM
LH768 Baku to Pune departing 6:50PM arriving 12:50AM (+1 day)

LH769 Pune to Baku departing 2:10AM arriving 6:10AM
LH769 Baku to Frankfurt departing 6:55AM arriving 9:15AM

Well, it looks like Lufthansa has made some changes to how they intend to sell this flight. Originally they were planning on selling this flight the same way they would any intra-Europe flight, with business class simply consisting of a blocked middle seat.

The seatmap has now been updated to show a 1-1 configuration in business class. There are a total of 11 rows, meaning that there are 22 seats in business class.

So, what has Lufthansa done here? Did they reconfigure an A319 with some direct aisle access fully flat business class seats?

Nope, instead they’ll just give each business class passenger three economy seats. Often we jokingly call a row of empty economy seats “ghetto business class,” but in this case Lufthansa is quite literally selling “ghetto business class” as business class.

So yeah, this is definitely an improvement over the old setup, since you can at least try to get in the horizontal position. However, it’s still not going to be comfortable. A set of three seats is at most 54″ long, which is 4’6″. That’s hardly enough to get comfortable, though hopefully they at least add a bunch of extra bedding to improve padding.

When it comes to onboard entertainment, business class passengers will be offered vouchers enabling them to download movies onto their own devices (how generous!), while in economy passengers can enjoy a range of magazines (how generous!).

Meal service, however, will be on par with what you’d usually find on longhaul flights.

My gosh, I really feel like I have to try this flight, even though it sounds sooo unpleasant.

Comments

  1. I would LOVE to see a review of this. You could check out whatever lounge Lufthansa have in Pune as well!
    By the way, Lucky, you might want to update the map in the trip report index – it still doesn’t show Lithuania, Belarus etc

  2. @IAC – I live in Pune, and trust me it had the worst lounge in all of India.You could read reviews of it on TripAdvisor where people described it as “poorly maintained” which was an understatement.I never visited the lounge, and it closed and is currently under renovation.Hopefully there’s a better one soon!

  3. Last month I was trying to figure out a way from FRA-GYD in paid biz, and I came upon LH’s 4.5 hour “business class” flight in the A321. It wasn’t even reasonably priced! I couldn’t imagine flying to Baku AND THEN continuing onward to Pune in EuroBusiness for that kind of money.

    I ended up flying in QR FRA-DOH-GYD for less money (and in QSuites on the Frankfurt legs). Sure, it took much longer, but I arrived well-rested in Baku due to lie flat seats and a completely free overnight stopover in Doha, a city I had never visited before.

  4. @eskimo – Ha Ha very funny. As you know I fake paying for First Class Flights and would never spend money to fly poor mans first class. Haters gonna hate.

  5. What is different about the market to/from Pune that makes LH use this option (and before use PrivatAir)? Whereas, there other LH India destinations (BOM, DEL, BLR and MAA) get regular mainlin aircraft (A330 and B748)? Is the Pune flight tailored to a very specific company(ies) contract for LH rather than the usual mix of business and leisure passengers?

  6. Actually don’t know what the big deal is. Sure this is no flight for fun. But the new contract with Privatair isn’t finished yet, meaning the problems which caused the temporarily route cancelation apparently still persist. So the choice was to continue to not serve the route (maybe losing the slot?) or send a different fitting aircraft since longhaul planes aren’t an option in Pune. So everybody can still connect somewhere else (DEL, BOM) if one prefers just as if the route was canceled or take this offer knowing what they get. Its a temporarily solution to a problem with Privatair. Refitting a A319 for a few weeks doesn’t make sense, also it would take too long to get it certified. Also can’t imagine the make any money with this flight as long as the A319 is on it especially since LH is short on shorthaul planes and are wetleasing aircrafts from JP and YW making it even more costly….

  7. Does Lufthansa warn business class (or even coach) passengers about what they are in for? I would hate to pay 4000 EUR for a flight to Pune and end up on an A319 with 3 coach seats to myself.

  8. Oh gosh, Lucky, please enlighten everyone as to what your interpretation of “ghetto” is. Given your privileged lifestyle-oops, how dare I not make a funny joke about you just being “lucky” to fly around the world-I’d love to know what a Caucasian from Tampa actually considers “ghetto” to mean. Furthermore, could it be how you would think a La Quinta is “ghetto” compared to your Aman resorts you love so much? I’ll be anxiously awaiting your response and the opportunity to better understand your lack of political correctness.

  9. I mean, it’s a really poor offering, and obviously not 5-star at all. But is the world’s worst flight? Worse than some crappy 13-hour charter flights from Moscow to, say, Cuba or Dominican Republic (on Azur Air or Nordwind Airlines, for example), where you can’t even put your legs straight while sitting, have to endure pathetic grumpy “I wish I were somewhere else” service and almost zero food/meals, no entertainment of any kind, as well as wasted rowdy holiday crowd that makes everything unbearable?
    I do believe that Lufthansa is not up to mark here (at all), but calling it the world’s worst flight is a bit dramatic.

  10. Haha, as soon as I read it the word ghetto I knew there would be someone who would be extremely offended by it. Apparently, that word is now considered offensive and I guess Lucky now knows it too.

  11. On the one hand, having any flight at all to Pune is probably better for customers than scrapping the route all together. Although on the other hand, it really is unacceptable to have an 11 hour flight with economy class legroom and zero seat padding when you pay for a business class ticket. For anyone traveling from Frankfurt to Pune, I do hope that this is a short term solution and that Lufthansa will find a better way to fly between the two places.

  12. I love Ghetto business class and having my miles expire with no chance of recovering them
    That’s why I only do business with Luf!

  13. @Tim – Not bitter, just annoyed at how disconnected the author is from reality.

    Why am I here? Because I can be and nothing is stopping me. Until the day (which wouldn’t be surprising if it was very soon) this blog becomes subscription-based, I’ll read as I please.

  14. As a frequent traveler through Pune, the airport itself is very convenient, but the lounge situation is pathetic. There is one lounge in the airport Called the Port Lounge by PK hospitality and it’s pretty sad. But don’t hesitate to check out the city it’s really neat and the whether in Pune is relatively gentle compared to the much more humid Mumbai.

  15. @Chris: Come on man, calling something “ghetto business class” doesn’t mean someone doesn’t know what a ghetto is. That’s like saying that I cannot say that a particular meal has too much salt because other even more salty things exist in this world. Context is important. This is a bad business class, just like a ghetto is a bad place to live.

    Also, calling three economy seats “ghetto business class” has been around for a while, not something this blog invented.

    And Tim wasn’t suggesting that you weren’t allowed here, sounds like he was just wondering why you’d choose to spend your time here if you dislike the author so much. It seemed like a valid question to me.

  16. Lufthansa is a racially insensitive airliner. You can agree with me from my unpleasant experience when I flew Business class from Nairobi to Frankfurt last June. My seat was very uncomfortable as air mattress system was leaking thus there was no effective cushion. I could feel the hard plastic surface below. I asked an FA to fix it, I was only given 2 more blankets to supplement the cushion. And her response was even more outrageous. She told me when I got back home in Hong Kong I’d better to get a best massage.
    This is a stereotype and racist view on Asian people.
    I am a physician from US and was traveling with my wife and my kid for my wedding anniversary.

    I am not surprised to read the above article. Lufthansa flying to Africa and India sees the clients on their flights are mostly African or Asian thus consider them second class race to Arian people.

  17. Is Pune really that lucrative of a market that Lufthansa feels the need to operate the route themselves? Wouldn’t it benefit just about everyone to code-share with Air India on a flight to BOM/DEL and carry passengers on their 747-8/A380? Better product for passengers while still only having one stop and I would imagine the passenger cost per seat-mile is lower on a widebody than on an A319 at the upper limits of its range.

  18. @Stuart – most of the traffic to and fro FRA and Pune consists of automotive tiers and OEM execs. For years Daimler used to allow LH to run the previous service.

  19. Excuse please but the world’s worst flight was Urumchi to Moscow via Novosibirsk on a Tu-154. Runner-up was last week’s Ukrainian 767 with exposed wiring from Kiev to Tbilisi.

  20. Since one blocked seat is considered business class bei LH they might as well try to get away with selling two blocked seats as first class..

    Being based in Europe I’m just really frustrated with the near monopoly high prices and crap product of the legacies.

  21. @Lucky, one correction about seat space. Including armrests, a set of 3 economy seats is usually 59″-62″, not 54″. With the back to the window, most people could probably still stretch their legs out, assuming the armrests can be fully raised.

    Maybe if LH installed/licensed NZ’s Skycouch, it could be a reasonably comfortable seat. Since they probably won’t, you make an excellent point – they definitely need to provide a mattress pad, extra pillows, and a thick blanket. Portable media players and battery packs would make sense, too. Also, I think they need some sort of modified seatbelt extender (like they have on NZ) so that people can lie down.

  22. Wow @Chris you clearly have too much time on your hands….

    Lucky, I honestly cannot imagine why you would take this flight a review is not worth it.

  23. @NAMPARK: Always a little amusing how many people who feel they’ve been met with racism in return accuse a whole very diverse company as racist because they had the nazis there…

  24. This flight to Pune is unbelivable and the worst flight performance Lufthansa ever offered…
    I work for this airline…and I’m so ashamed….

  25. @NamPark, nonsense! I was at Tegel a couple of weeks ago boarding a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and they let 2 MiddleEast/Turkish women through in the priority in front a (white) lady with a baby. The two women had zero mobility issues and the gate attendant was also Turkish… go figure!

  26. Hi white guys! News Flash: calling something “ghetto” is dated and lazy, and makes you look bad. Find a new adjective.

  27. Hi @Fifi, brown guy here. I honestly couldn’t give a shit if Lucky calls things ghetto or not. And that’s implying that he was the one who came up with the term in the first place.

    And why the hell did you have to bring up race? Are you implying that only POCs live in ghettos?

  28. We should take bets on whether this flight will get lie-flat seats before United finishes rolling out Polaris.

  29. Well, I will just fly Frankfurt to Mumbai with flat beds in business class , and take Jet Airways from Mumbai to Pune which only takes one hour . No point in taking this Lufthansa flight

  30. I have wanted to go to Baku from Frankfurt (I live in Germany) to visit a friend so this flight might be good for me. Direct from Frankfurt! And reasonable times of the day.

  31. Don’t think you can go past Kathmandu -> Lukhla for worst flight and airports. But if you survive it, you at least finish up somewhere spectacular!

  32. @Gary, the only downside is, it’ll stop in Baku for refueling only. Pax will not be let of the plane or behind the customs area…

  33. Because you called something ghetto, this is no longer a safe space. I now need to heckle you and otherwise act like a buffoon, please excuse me.

  34. Hey Chris, ghetto mean shitty, run down, not up to standards… probably like your neighborhood.

    Long haul biz class is usually nice. This is not nice. Therefore it’s ghetto. Sorry you’re so sensitive, buddy.

  35. They should buy/borrow from Swiss a couple of C300 and do the route properly. Would probably make money given the cost savings.

  36. Would it really cost LH that much to have a tiny subfleet of A321s (or A321Neo/LR) fitted with a proper business class in a 2-2 configuration to cater for those 5+hr routes that are premium enough to warrant a fully flat bed?
    It’s probably only a matter of time before PrivatAir takes over the route again. I don’t think the backlash of business travellers plying the route will go unnoticed.

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