Lufthansa, like most full-service European airlines, offers Business class on its short-haul flights. But is it worth the extra cost over Economy class?
|Route||Toulouse (TLS) to Frankfurt (FRA)|
|Aircraft type||Airbus A320neo|
|Class of travel||Business|
|On-time performance||We arrived 10 minutes early|
I booked this flight as part of a larger itinerary. If you were to book it individually you could expect to pay around $773 one-way or $897 return, but many passengers on this flight would be connecting to a long-haul Lufthansa flight via Frankfurt.
You could also redeem miles with any Star Alliance airline to book this flight. For example, a Business class seat from Toulouse to Frankfurt would cost 30,500 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles + $133 taxes & charges.
There was no queue whatsoever at the Lufthansa Group check-in counters in Toulouse, so check-in was a breeze. As a Business passenger, you’re also entitled to priority security screening so it took just a few minutes to reach the boarding gate. I did not have time to visit the lounge on this occasion, but Lufthansa Business passengers are entitled to use the La Croix du Sud Lounge at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
Boarding was completed in groups and priority boarding was strictly enforced. Business class passengers board in Group 2, after Lufthansa’s HON Circle members, Senators and Star Alliance Gold card holders.
The Hard Product
When flying in Business class within Europe, you can expect to be seated in a regular Economy seat. The only difference is that the middle seat is kept vacant, so you’ll get a little more personal space. Although this is really not great, it is the norm for short-haul flights within Europe. Every other European airline does the same thing as it allows them to change the size of the Business cabin between flights according to demand – all they have to do is move the curtain. At least, being seated behind a bulkhead in row 1, there is plenty of space for my knees!
Lufthansa uses leather Recaro slimline seats on its A320 family aircraft – similar to those found on reconfigured Jetstar planes. These seats are very thin, but are comfortable enough for short flights and there is a decent amount of legroom even in the regular seats.
There are no on-board TV screens for in-flight entertainment on this aircraft, nor power outlets. Most of Lufthansa’s aircraft have wifi available for a fee and I’m normally able to log on for free by using the Boingo wifi membership that comes with my 28 Degrees credit card. However, the airline’s A320neo fleet does not have wifi installed (the regular A320s do).
The Soft Product
When flying short-haul on Lufthansa, the main things differentiating Business from Economy class are the ground services (such as priority access, lounge access and additional baggage allowance) and the on-board meal.
This flight departed at 7pm, and the meal served was a cold chicken salad with various accompaniments. This was served with a selection of warm breads, blueberry crumble for dessert and a chocolate stick. Everything was fresh and tasty, although I felt that a little more could have been offered for a two-hour flight departing at dinner time. (That said, it was certainly better than the infamous Virgin Australia Business class sandwiches!)
A full selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were available with the meal, and I was asked if I wanted anything else to drink after eating. The white wine available was a very nice German riesling.
Lufthansa generally only offers one choice of meal on short-haul Business class flights, and it’s usually served cold. Just to give you an idea, here’s a typical meal served on early morning Lufthansa short-haul flights in Business class:
I am always impressed with how efficiently the meals are served on Lufthansa. You’ll usually receive your meal immediately after take-off, with drinks offered shortly after.
There were no pre-departure drinks, nor were hot towels provided. There were also no pillows or blankets provided on this flight. I didn’t necessarily need any of these things, but it’s worth noting that Finnair proactively offers all of these in their short-haul Business class – as well as a choice of two more substantial meals.
Having said that, the Lufthansa cabin crew were nothing but friendly and professional. I have no complaints here whatsoever.
Lufthansa A320 Business Class
Lufthansa short-haul Business class is nice, but is it worth the paying extra over Economy class? Probably not. The service is by no means bad, but Lufthansa Economy class also pretty good. If you already have airport priority & lounge access via Star Alliance Gold membership, the only real difference is a nicer meal on board and a guaranteed vacant seat next to you.