Michelle Loewenstein
2 minute read
8 Nov 2013
5:00 am

Flyin’ la vida luxury

Michelle Loewenstein

'Please wait here." The woman behind the Lufthansa business class check-in counter disappeared for a moment and my inner nervous traveller started to panic.

Planes wait to be checked at Lufthansa Technik. Picture: Michelle Loewenstein.

I breathed a sigh of relief when a smiling manager arrived to welcome me to the airport: my experience of flying business class had begun. From there I headed to the Boabab Lounge at OR Tambo, where I was able to relax and enjoy a snack before my flight. Although to say that I needed any relaxation before a flight on which my seat gave me a massage and air hostesses were at my beck and call would be a bit misleading.

When we boarded the plane, I sat down and started sticking my legs out and grinning at the amount of legroom, unintentionally proving to everyone onboard that I was an overexcited rookie to the business class experience.

A friendly German man approached me and greeted me by name. This was just a taste of things to come. The crew were attentive, professional, and patient, even when faced with a half-asleep South African squinting at them through groggy eyes in the morning.

“A huge part of us becoming a five-star airline is getting our staff to deliver a more empathetic approach,” Jens Bischof, chief commercial officer at Lufthansa, explains. According to Bischof, in addition to attending wine, language, etiquette, service and first-aid courses, the cabin crew are given training on the more human aspects of their job.

“Equipping our staff with the soft skills needed to approach customers is part of the game,” Bischof says.

 

The new business class seats. Picture: Michelle Loewenstein.

The new business class seats. Picture: Michelle Loewenstein.

 

After a three-course meal had been served and the “magies vol, ogies toe” phenomenon had set in, I lowered my seat to being almost flat. This meant positioning myself so I didn’t slide under the seat in front of me, which was a bit tricky. Luckily for future travellers, the new business class seats Lufthansa is introducing will be entirely horizontal. Lufthansa is in the process of rolling out new first and business class offerings, as well as a premium economy option.

When we landed in Frankfurt, I was able to take a much-needed hot shower in a fully equipped private bathroom during our layover. From there it was off to Berlin, where my luggage promptly appeared bearing a bright orange tag with the word “Priority”.

I feel sorry for the crew on my next economy class flight as I fear my inner diva has been awakened by my business class experience.