Pros: Efficiency drawn to a point rarely encountered in an airline....
Cons: The same efficiency after nine hours...
Let me begin by saying that Lufthansa is one of the most efficient airlines I have ever seen....Their way of doing things ought to be mimicked by more airlines. if this were so, the flying public would be a happier lot, to be sure. On the other hand, such efficiency has its icy overtones at times, and this can wear on one's soul after a long flight in the back of the plane.
The first leg of our flight was seamless and without delay. Only the boarding process in Vienna seemed confused at first. This was because the passengers didn't know the Lufthansa drill...the stewardesses and gate agents soon had everyone in an orderly line before anyone knew what was up. Without doubt, this would be an orderly process.
We were processed into the plane without delay, and it was spotless. These planes have to be the cleanest I have encountered anywhere in my travels...simply sparkling.
The seats were in Coach, so there is little to discuss. The fabric was new (navy blue) and the seats were moderately comfortable, if not spacious. A light snack was served; some sort of ham, with a potato salad and a fairly fresh green salad on the side. Not delicious, but at least edible. The tiny chocolate bar was good. I was impressed that they had post cards and letter paper in Coach class, and on a flight of little more than an hour at that!
I tried my best for an upgrade here. The harpies behind the counter would have none of it. My pleas fell on deaf ears, but I was able to secure something almost as good...the middle section of the last row on the plane. I know, this is usually the last place anyone would want to sit. On this flight, however, everything else was completely full. The arrangement proved more than satisfactory, as my Dad and I had three empty seats between us...lots of room on an otherwise full plane. The seats have the standard pitch of 32-33 and one great disadvantage of being in the last row was that the seats did not recline at all. The cabin had been recently re-done, so the seats were covered in a mouse-gray upholstery with yellow-orange "wings" on the seats, which approximated a headrest (generally, I take one of those horseshoe-shaped pillows for my travels--you never know when you might need one). Thin gray blankets were provided, as the air conditioning was on full blast, despite this being November.
Another disadvantage was the line of people waiting for the lavatories.....It's not too much fun to watch an endless parade of travelers all of whom are crabby because they are about to wet their pants....
We were served lunch after about an hour into the flight. While the offerings were hardly tantalizing, the lunch was at least fairly edible. Some sort of chicken breast was encased in the skin and then stuffed with....well it was something, though I am not sure exactly what it was. In any event, it was piping hot from the microwave. Yum, yum.....They did provide a small bar of Toblerone chocolate. Fortunately, the drinks cart made regular stops, so we were able to enjoy a cognac with our after lunch card game.
A light snack was served during the movie, and the crew put out a sort of buffet of juice, soft drinks, candy and granola bars. Rather impressive for coach service.
This was an older Boeing 747, but the plane had been retro-fitted with small television monitors at intervals throughout the cabin. As we were in the last row, this put us at a serious disadvantage for watching the movie. The angle at which I had to crane my neck made watching the movie an uncomfortable prospect. I rarely watch the movies on airplanes anyway, so I did not feel particularly deprived.
As with the first flight, there were plenty of decks of cards, writing paper and other small comforts. Of course, there is no amenity kit of any kind at this end of the plane.
The service, as previously mentioned, was courteous, swift and efficient, without a trace of warmth. All in all, I almost prefer this sort of efficiency to the clumsy friendliness of some airlines. There is no question with Lufthansa that your needs will not be met. I would venture that the service in the front cabins should be outstanding, judging from the performance of the flight crew at the back of the plane.
Both flights took off an landed almost exactly to the scheduled minute. Cold efficiency has its advantages.
Never any problems here. The staff did an admirable job of processing the hundreds of people at their counters. I was surprised at their speed. Crowds of this size in an American airport would generally mean a loooong wait in line.
We had no troubles with our baggage whatsoever. Our bags arrived right on time and without damage. Cold efficiency triumphs again!
I could not whine about not getting an upgrade. With a round-trip fare of only $566.00 from Washington to Vienna, this was almost absurdly inexpensive, so I was generally pleased for the value received. On our flight over to Vienna we were re-routed through Chicago due to weather conditions at Washington's Dulles Airport. In fact, we were sent over to SAS, an excellent airline on which a review will be forthcoming.