TRAVEL REPORT: Lufthansa, Zagreb – Frankfurt
Earlier this week I took the Lufthansa afternoon flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt. There was a Croatia Airlines flight half an hour earlier, but it was 150 euros more expensive, and that seems to be the norm every day, at least during the week I was looking at the fares. After I bought my ticket, I bid 50 euros for an upgrade to Business Class, and got it (it includes all full-fare Business Class amenities like luggage and lounge access). I originally bought the cheapest economy ticket without luggage.
I arrived at the airport two hours before my flight. There are frequent advertisements for Ryanair flights around the terminal. The airport was quiet at the time and check-in was done for LOT and Croatia Airlines flights. Check-in for Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa Group takes place at the same counters. I found it very uncertain that I received a “Split Airport” branded boarding pass at Zagreb Airport for a Lufthansa flight to Germany.
The check-in process was quick. After passing through security and passport control (there were no queues), passengers go through duty free and then towards the departures area. I walked over to the living room which was quite busy. The living room is relatively pleasant. There were wrapped sandwiches, wrapped pieces of cheese and meat, salad, drinks and coffee.
After leaving the lounge, I noticed a line of passengers waiting to board the Croatia Airlines flight to Brussels. Most of the passengers appeared to be senior Belgian tourists. At our departure gate I saw our Lufthansa CRJ900 arriving and was shocked to see that an afternoon Lufthansa flight in the summer was on time. I have flown Lufthansa dozens of times and I don’t think any of their flights took off on time.
After about 15 minutes, boarding began, first for business class passengers and frequent flyer status holders. We walked down the airlift with vintage black rubber flooring and then down the steps to board the plane.
The crew greeted everyone with a disinfectant wipe. There were about 60 passengers on the flight and a dozen in business class. The aircraft configuration is 2×2 so business class passengers have an empty seat next to them. We backed up five minutes before the departure time, passed the old terminal and took off on time.
Shortly after departure, cabin crew announced that economy class passengers could purchase meals. Lufthansa no longer offers its free sandwich and drinks in economy class on inter-European flights. Only a bottle of water is now served for free while everything else is charged. So the ex-Yu airlines offer better onboard service than Lufthansa these days, although Croatia Airlines has partially aligned and now offers old boxes of economy class snacks as a business class meal.
Last month, Lufthansa announced new and improved inter-European meals in business class. Of course, as usual with public relations, the meals have deteriorated considerably. After departure, we were served a meal with some salad leaves, potatoes and radishes. The frosty meal was probably one of the worst I have ever had on a plane, not to mention the potatoes were literally completely raw. Compared to what they were offering before, in my opinion this is a big downgrade. The warm bread was the most appetizing part of the meal, although the dessert was also nice. Drinks were also served, as well as tea and coffee. The crew were kind and cordial.
The rest of the flight went off without incident and we landed earlier than planned in Frankfurt, but took a long taxi. We parked at a bus barrier. Everyone jumped out of their seats, but the crew announced that they wouldn’t open the door until everyone was seated. The passengers were disembarked in rows. The process is unnecessary because the whole plane is boarded on a single bus thereafter. When we entered the terminal, most of the passengers turned to the side for transfers. I don’t know where people were heading as the cabin crew only noted on the PA that the Stockholm gate had been changed so at least one passenger was heading to Sweden.
Overall the flight was standard, but Lufthansa really downgraded their on-board catering. A pleasant surprise was that my flight was on time. Also, I haven’t flown the CRJ900 for a while and have to say the plane is really quiet and had large windows making the flight enjoyable.
Share your travel experience by submitting a travel report to [email protected]