René Seifert

Entrepreneur, Global Citizen, Flat World, Internet, Web 2.0, Innovation, Start-Up

Landed in San Francisco: Stunning Lufthansa Service

I couldn’t be luckier for today’s flight LH 454 where I just landed in one of my most favoured cities, San Francisco. Bought myself an Economy Class ticket, used my abundance of miles for an upgrade to Business and checking into the Lounge in Frankfurt, I got a free upgrade to First Class. And yes, the Flugröserl was in the game again :)

Surely, this is not a lucky draw in the lottery, but based on my HON Circle-status, but I appreciate these gestures from Lufthansa a lot. Maybe, therefore, I am a bit biased, but overall flying Lufthansa like crazy in the last 3.5 years between the continents, I feel that it is time to express a thank for the splendid work the airline does.

Jumbo Jet Boing 747

It doesn’t come by surprise that – based on “good old Germany virtues” – Lufthansa consistently ranks high at safety, reliability and punctuality. But those same virtues culture-wise were not always prone to outstanding service, it’s usually not what Germans are like. Slightly on the brush side of life, the understanding of service falls short in the scale of galaxies what one finds in India, Singapore, Thailand or Japan. There, serving a customer is culturally considered an honour.

Hence, it deserves even more hail that Lufthansa grew above itself to be not only significantly better than average German service, but even on the many instances on the ground, but especially on board, truly exceptional. Gone are the times (which I remember) where a bitchy flight attendant would almost throw the tray with the meal in front of you.

Admittedly, passengers in Business and First Class pay more to get better service. But my point is that you can’t buy friendliness, attention and charm when it’s not in a company’s DNA, when you have the wrong people or you have the right people and over time in a  bad organisation they degrade to jerks. In my perception, Lufthansa has worked hard to change its DNA. In some instances I spoke to flight attendants off the records where they told me about their training in general and the briefings before every flight in particular. The purser would remind the cabin crew that it’s them who will make a difference in choosing Lufthansa over a competitor and make a lasting impact on the experience. So there seems to be a system of deliberate effort behind, and to me it seems that the system is bearing fruit.

There are many aspects of outstanding service, but it come most in the shade of getting something which you did not expect: Like today I chose for my meal a French wine, the flight attendant asked me if I was sure not to go for the Chilenean one. I stayed with my choice, but he came back to me smiling after two minutes with a sip with the one from Chile just to give me a try.

I don’t intend to celebrate my middle-age-wine-decadency with such an example; it’s just illustrating how small unexpected gestures can make a difference in delighting a customer. Today and in the last months and years I have seen a couple of these instances where Lufthansa’s staff has gone, or rather, flown that extra mile for me. Thanks.



  1. March 29th, 2009 | 8:49

    Looking forward to looking at some great photos, Rene! :)

  2. May 15th, 2009 | 8:53

    […] aus meinem Leben, in dem ich der Lufthansa mit ihrem Service auf dem Boden und in der Luft sogar außerordentlich gewogen bin. Neulich musste ich einen Flug umbuchen und als Vielflieger hab ich da so eine E-Mail Adresse […]

  3. david allen
    July 24th, 2011 | 9:04

    hi rene, glad to see you enjoyed Istria,Rovinj,ect
    some excellent photos and memories you have shared.and glad to hear you appreciated the Austrian Hungarian architecture, so many people miss these’s facts nice blog. regards david