On a recent personal trip of mine, I had the chance to test out Lufthansa’s North Africa economy class offering. These flights are slightly unique as, while they are largely operated by A320 family aircraft, the onboard service is more aligned to longer-haul, widebody operated flights. Here is what one can expect on these distinctive flights.
A Frankfurt connection
Since my itinerary started in Dublin, I deplaned my first flight at a little past 21:00 in Frankfurt. Although there was a little delay, I had just over 40 mins to make my way from the Z gates to the B gates in time for boarding.
I made my way to the gates with minutes to spare. Boarding commenced at 21:50, just five minutes past schedule. The boarding area was filled with families and those with reduced mobility. The queues were much more chaotic than what I’ve been used to when flying out of Frankfurt, and the failure of the e-gates didn’t help the situation.
That said, everyone was boarded more or less on time, and I got to my seat at 22:11.
Awaiting for me at my seat was a pillow and a blanket. The pillow was covered in what seemed like a cotton cover and, while not being the firmest nor the plushest, was very much appreciated. The blanket had a bit of a rough, knitted, texture but was nonetheless serviceable and did its part.
My seat, 12A, was in an emergency row. Yet, unlike row 11, the other emergency exit row, row 12 reclines, a much needed amenity on this night flight. Unfortunately for some of my row-mates, they were unable to keep their emergency exit seats because they didn’t speak English or German.
As for the seat itself, it was the standard Lufthansa Group Recaro NEK, which is now accompanied by seats made by Geven. Personally, I don’t find these that bad for flights lasting three hours or less. That being said, they do get a bit hard after a while. As for pitch and legroom, I have the impression that the layout is superior to some European legacy competitors. Admittedly, I was in an emergency row, but I maintain that position for most, if not all, LH group A320s.
Another contributing factor to the perception of spaciousness, was the relatively new interior, recognizable by white overhead compartments versus the older grey ones. From a design perspective, I do appreciate the Group’s side panels which features small silver dots on short haul aircraft. These dots are slightly refractive and thus, enhance the perception of spaciousness through mirroring and manipulating the light at eye level. I wish more planes had this feature.
The Crane takes flight
We pushed back at 22:22. During our taxi, the crew made a manual safety briefing. We took off at 22:35, with no wait on the apron as we were one of the last flights of the day.
An efficient start of service
Chicken or pasta?
By this time, I was rather hungry as my previous flight from Dublin featured “reduced service” for some strange reason, and my connection time didn’t give me a second to grab a bite.
A few minutes later, I joined the queue for the lavatories. The queue was rather long and a kind flight attendant invited me to use the business class restroom at the front of the aircraft. The lavatories were clean but offered no particular amenities apart from soap, tissues and paper towels.
Speaking of the crew, they were all pleasant and professional. Most of them seemed to be airline veterans and came across as exceptionally polished during regular service.
That being said, I became extremely thirsty later in the flight, Not wanting to wake my seatmates, I pushed the call button. Five minutes later a crew member passed by, helped others who pushed their call button but for some reason, didn’t come to see me. They even reset the call buttons, turning mine off remotely. A crew member did eventually come around, water in hand and my thirst was finally quenched.
Although I’m not sure if they spoke Arabic, I did hear them serve guests in English German and French.
(Very) early-morning arrival
We started our descent at around 01:45 at which point the lights were turned back on. The crew prepared the cabin for landing in silence, only making an announcement five or so minutes later.
We touched down at 02:08 Frankfurt time, meaning 01:08 local time. Our arrival was thus delayed by 25 minutes, for which the crew apologized during the final announcement.
As I got off the jet-bridge, I saw a few “no photo” signs. Not wanting to start my holidays on a bad foot, I avoided taking any pictures in the terminal.
I got to the passport check queue at 01:22, and was through ten or so minutes later. A long queue formed up behind me though, so i think the passengers at the back of the plane had to wait longer.
Overall, it was a pleasant, rather uneventful, flight. On flights to Morocco, Lufthansa offers a full-service on a short haul aircraft, a novelty in some regards. If price and schedule permit, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly this route again.