TRIP REPORT: Lufthansa, Zagreb - Frankfurt


Earlier this week I flew the afternoon Lufthansa flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt. There was a Croatia Airlines flight half an hour earlier, but it was 150 euros more expensive, and this seems to be the norm every day, at least during the week I was looking at fares. After purchasing my ticket, I bid 50 euros for an upgrade to business class, and I got it (it includes all the full fare business class amenities like baggage and lounge access). I originally bought the cheapest economy ticket without luggage.

I arrived at the airport two hours prior to my flight. There are frequent advertisements for Ryanair flights around the terminal. The airport was quiet at the time with check-in being performed for LOT and Croatia Airlines flights. Check-in for Croatia Airlines and the Lufthansa Group are at the same counters. I found it very random to have been issued a "Split Airport" branded boarding pass at Zagreb Airport for a Lufthansa flight to Germany.

The check in process was quick. After passing security and passport control (there were no lines), passengers go through duty free and then to the departures area. I headed to the lounge which was quite busy. The lounge is relatively nice. There were packaged sandwiches, packaged pieces of cheese and meat burek, salad and drinks and coffee.

After leaving the lounge, I noticed a line of passengers waiting to board Croatia Airlines' flight to Brussels. Most of the passengers seemed to be senior Belgian tourists. At our gate I spotted 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 don't think a single one of their flights took off on schedule.

After some 15 minutes, boarding started, first for business class passengers and frequent flyer status holders. We walked down the airbridge with vintage black rubber flooring and then down the steps to board the plane.

The crew welcomed everyone with a disinfectant wipe. There were around 60 passengers on the flight and some 12 in business class. The configuration of the plane is 2x2 so business class passengers have an empty seat next to them. We pushed back five minutes prior to departure time, passed the old terminal and took off right on time.

Shortly after departure the cabin crew announced that economy class passengers can purchase meals. Lufthansa no longer offers its complimentary sandwich and drinks in economy on inter-European flights. Only a bottle of water is served now for free while everything else is charged. So, ex-Yu airlines offer better on board service than Lufthansa these days, although Croatia Airlines has partially aligned itself and now offers former economy class snack boxes as a business class meal.

Last month, Lufthansa announced new and improved inter-European meals in business class. Of course, as usual with PR, the meals have become significantly worse. After departure, we were served some meal with a few leaves of salad, some potatoes and radishes. The freezing cold meal was probably one of the worse I've ever had on a plane, not to mention that the potatoes were literally completely raw. Compared to what they used to offer before, this is a big downgrade in my opinion. The warm bread was the most appetising part of the meal, although the desert was nice too. Drinks were also served, as well as tea and coffee. The crew was nice and cordial.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, and we landed ahead of schedule in Frankfurt but had a long taxi. We parked at a bus gate. Everyone jumped out of their seats, but the crew announced they would not open the door until everyone took their seats. Passengers were disembarked in rows. The process is pointless as the entire plane boarded a single bus afterwards. As we entered the terminal most passengers turned to the side for transfers. I don’t know where people were heading to as the cabin crew only noted over the PA that the gate for Stockholm had been changed, so at least one passenger was headed to Sweden.

Overall, the flight was standard, but Lufthansa has really downgraded its on board catering. A positive surprise was that my flight was on time. Also, I haven't flown with the CRJ900 in a while and must say the plane is really quiet and had big windows making the flight pleasant.

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  1. Vlad09:17

    Great trip report! I agree that the short-haul J experience on LH is becoming more and more lacklustre. Half of their lounges in FRA are closed and the other half are not serving food & drinks except in a ridiculous to-go bag. Nowadays I only bother to bid for an upgrade on short-haul if it's a 2+ hour segment because I get more miles compared to deep discount economy.

    One small correction, though - you say that the upgrade "includes all the full fare business class amenities like baggage and lounge access", but in fact checked baggage is NOT included in upgrades done through MyOffer.

  2. Anonymous10:18

    Great report. Thanks

  3. Anonymous10:40

    Them issuing SPU boarding passes really is bizarre.

  4. Anonymous11:44

    ZAG airport looks really modern. I like it!
    LH may be criticised, but remains one of the best European airline. Über ailes.

  5. Anonymous15:30

    Zagreb airport looks very spacious and I like that modern installations from the roof and also it seems that it has a plenty of natural lights. I think that this hybrid business model, not low cost in price but everything else is low, that most of airlines of Europe pushing, will destroy them and just make low cost carriers stronger, although some of those are fake low cost. Anyway, really good trip report, with very interesting style of writing

  6. Loved your report. Great pics!

  7. Yesterdays flight FRA-ZAG was delayed for 45 min due to lack of ground plane service crew in Frankfurt. Odd thing was that the captain openly stated the reason for the delay and apologised for it! If this happens in Germany or to LH, what hope have other smaller or low cost companies? I salute the truth but at the same time this is an open call for companies to deal with the shortage, employ and educate more personnel and secure safe travel for its passengers. I choose Lufthansa for many reasons, customer service, efficiency, onboard and ground crew professionalism but all this fell out after yesterdays reason for delay! What's next? We'll be taking off withound ground check-offs? Disturbing!

    1. I personally don't like LH, and it's absolutely not my intention to defend and advocate them, but what you write about, has nothing to do with either LH ground services or maintenance. It's about AIRPORT ground staff. These people in Germany are paid peanuts, and all airports in Germany have serious shortage of ground staff, or at least skilled ground staff. What you write about happens very very often in Germany, I would say 1 or 2 on every 10 flights

    2. lesa15:18

      I stand corrected, it is the airports ground staff who are underpaid and therefore the shortage of staff is the outcome in this situation. My concern is, why does LH or any other airline allow this delay, which according to your experience, happens very often, to its passengers? I have been delayed before, it is just that the delay was explained as busy takeoffs and landings, this was the first time the captain or co -pilot said it out openly.

  8. Anonymous21:20

    Lufthansa is today a tragic airline in terms of onboard product.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I share all thoughts above. High fare low service. Why to fly LH?


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