Review of Lufthansa flight Frankfurt Buenos Aires in First

Airline Lufthansa
Flight LH510
Class First
Seat 83C
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 13:35
Take-off 28 Dec 13, 22:10
Arrival at 29 Dec 13, 07:45
LH   #47 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 1297 reviews
pititom
By GOLD 12230
Published on 29th October 2014
I finally found the time to translate this report. It covers a flight from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires in the very special First that Lufthansa equipped its B747-400 with. We were lucky enough to get two award seats on that plane during the holiday season.

On the ground

I loved this flight. It may not be the best one I experienced, but this cabin has really something special to it, and time flew by so quickly even for a 14 hours flight. And yet, things didn't start right, with an average flight (European Business Class) from Paris to Frankfurt, where nobody could arrange a transfer to the First Class Terminal. We so had to walk outside by the taxis parking lot to reach it.

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The dragon was far from being welcoming, seeing us emerging from the parking lot (but there's actually no better way if you don't come by taxi). But after checking that we were indeed F pax, she changed to a better face and took us through a dedicated screening area and in were in the lounge in no time.

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She quickly introduced the space and invited us to place our luggage and coat in a wardrobe located in the middle of the lounge. Not only I was surprised that there were nobody to take care of it, but I found it unaesthetic to have it there by everybody's view.

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Then, the hostess took us to a table and introduced us to a waitress in Do&Co livery. She then left with our passports and boarding-passes, promising to return them promptly when all the administrative routines are done.

The waitress then inquires for our orders but she hardly speaks English. My German is quite rusty but still better, and gets us two glasses of Pommery Apanage rosé.

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Not only the waitress doesn't speak English, but she's also not attentive to details (is it details here ?) as she will be coming three times (order, water service, Champagne service) to our table without seeing that it's in need of being swept and cleaned. Same attention should have brought the hostess to offer us another table.

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We had booked 83 H & C (the configuration of this plane is 1-1, so it takes a row to have two neighboring seats) but the hostess comes back with new boarding passes : seat 81C. She explains how sorry she is, but seat 83C has been marked as broken and blocked, and 81C is the only one remaining. She apologized a lot for that, but I think she should have taken action instead of just apologizing : 81C being free, it's right to think that 81H is traveling by itself. So instead of splitting a couple and annoying a lone traveler, it would have been better to change this passenger to 83H (providing him privacy next to the blocked seat) and changing us to 81 C & H together.

But of course that would have been extra work, and you must start sensing that the staff of the FCT is surprisingly very lenient to help.

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While the staff is not up to the standard, the bar offering definitely is with a huge selection of whiskies and cognacs that can be sipped in a glass-enclosed cigar lounge for the amateurs.

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I walk through the different spaces (the whole lounge is quite small but there is nevertheless enough space as there are very few passengers at that time) and keep noting disappointing details, like this blanket that has been lying around (while one was missing next chair) all the time we were there. Also the chairs are facing a view with no interest (shuttle buses for employees).

All this is not very important but doesn't seem right in the flagship lounge of a company.

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Same for the magazines which have been placed backwards, making it awkward to browse the selection. It seems that the staff has been again put very little effort into that and that management hasn't bothered. But I do, especially in a First class lounge.

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I also checked the bathrooms which are nice and clean, but I noticed the caps removed from the creams, preventing their removal from the bathroom. That's pretty cheap.

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Other zones are working and sleeping ones. They look nice but both are dark, masking that they are in dire needs of dusting…



So all in all, all the spaces looked nice but with a terribly poor attention to details. Beside the bar selection, the spaces are just the ones of an average business class lounge.

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On the other hand, I was pretty impressed by the selection, not only at the bar as I previously mentioned, but also on the tables. There is a choice between table service or buffet style, but selection will be the same. There is nothing too impressive on the card but every single ingredient I tasted proved to be excellent ; the sourcing seems very selective.

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What is baffling is the mix of savors. Cakes and desserts are presented amid mains or chocolate sauce is offered with appetizers. It's just like you could reinvent yourself the esoteric mix of sweet and sour that makes LH signature in the air ;)



The only criticism I would make on the buffets is the hot dishes presentation that really reminds my of BA Galleries (so J) lounges.

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I only fell for a quick bite as I wanted to enjoy the full menu on-board. But everything I tasted was great quality.

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But our gustation is short-lived when our hostess comes back to us. We were expecting her as she informed us that she would come to pick us up, and boarding is about to begin.

But what is not our surprise when she arrives at our table, seizes our boarding passes and passports (left on the table) without our authorization and confiscates my friend's boarding pass (the one now on 81C). She then explains that the First class cabin is finally full, and they have to seat someone on the blocked seat. As we pre-booked this seat, it makes sense (to her) that we should have it.

She again pretends to be sorry but does nothing. She promises a compensation but can't name it : we have to go and see the flight manager, at the boarding gate. We start protesting but she abruptly interrupts us : We have no time, we are boarding the plane. Either you take this seat, or you are downgraded to Business Class.

I am in shock. Her lack of politeness, in both the choice of words and the manners, is just unbelievable.

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We have no choice ; we take our bags, our jackets and follow her downstairs where a last passport check is done by an official policeman and we are then escorted to a chauffeur driven limo, waiting outside at the gate.



We soon arrive at the gate after a pleasant drive. But the chauffeur has no umbrella with him and it's raining : we are wet in no time. But wet for wet, I take the time to make a few shots of our plane :)

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As instructed, we are not heading to the plane but to the gate, to meet the flight manager. It's the first time I actually see a gate from this side, while boarding is on.

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The flight manager will let us wait for very long, making his phone calls and pretending not to see us. Finally, when boarding is about to be completed and seeing that we are still standing, he will pretend to notice us.
- May I help ?
- Yes, we have been re-sitted on a broken seat, and the lounge manager has instructed us to meet you for the details of compensation.
- Oh that's you ? Well ok. In the name of Lufthansa, I am very sorry for this. Please board now.
- Humm…Well. And what about the compensation ?
- Oh I can do nothing for you, just write to customer relations.


I tried to be as quiet as possible, but I just can't believe his arrogance and start raising my voice.

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But the boarding is now complete and the main cabin purser comes to inquire why we are missing. She exchanges some quick words in German with the flight manager and she promises to find a compensation on-board (just as the lounge promises us that the flight manger would do…)

The First and Business class jetbridge has already been removed, so we are embarking with the very last Economy passengers.

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In the air

At this moment, Lufthansa is for me the worst company ever : a bunch of incompetents (they have totally failed the management of this broken seat), thieves in the proper sense (they have taken our passports and original boarding passes without our consent) and arrogant liars (everyone promising the other one will do something, to get rid of the problem).

Just imagine how you would feel. You foresee a luxury moment in First Class and all you got are deceptions. You know you will be flying 14 hours on a broken seat, and nobody cares. The stress of the airport has tensed you, and what you expected to be a great flight seems to be a nightmare.

So imagine how I felt at this moment. Carrying my suitcase in the stairs leading to the upper cabin, sweating from this final rush, and boiling inside.

I find a place for my suitcase in a closet at the top of the stairs, promising myself it's the last time ever I put a foot in a Lufthansa plane, I turn to the cabin and then……..WOW !

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As soon as I step into the cabin, I am overwhelmed by a sense of peace and tranquil luxury. The adrenaline goes down and I instantly feel how good this flight will be.

I arrive at my seat and anxiously try to find what is broken, but everything seems right. And everything seems comfortable, with a real bed, beside the chair. This is a real suite…it's not just a name : it's a suite with separate bedroom.

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The crew (two ladies for 8 seats) quickly come offering Champagne (Pommery Cuvée Louise 1999) as welcome drink. They are smiling and welcoming and make an immediate difference with all the arrogant, nasty people I encountered on the ground.

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The welcome drink comes with nuts, which are delicious, but on a paper towel. It's no big deal, but again every aspect counts in a First class cabin.

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Following the drinks, a FA offers an amenity kit (in a small Rimowa suitcase, available for men or women) and pajamas (available in three different sizes).

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The mini-suitcase is cute, but its content is minimal and very cheap. There is no body lotion but it's available in the lavatories.

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For the entertainment, a Bose Quietcomfort headset is available. Mine has a slightly damaged cord but still is perfectly working. I have checked everything on the seat : I don't find what's wrong and why it could have been blocked ? Talking about entertainment, Internet is available on this flight (and complimentary in First).

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We start moving and a safety video is played on the screen.

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I sink into the chair to watch it, and then discovers what was wrong : the arm of the seat is broken inside (below the leather). It is a bit uncomfortable when resting my left elbow, but it's really nothing compared to all the (now useless) fuss they made about it…

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Engines are roaring…let's go for 14 hours of air bliss :)

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The two flight attendants will split work during the service : one will stay in the galley to set up everything, and one will be in charge of the service for the whole cabin (easily manageable with only 8 passengers and just one aisle).

Menu is handed right after the FA are unbuckled, although it's a dine-on-demand service (but everybody will have dinner at the beginning of the flight).

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I find a comfortable position for dinner. The seat comfort is excellent ; of course it's not reclining to a full-bed position as…there is an actual bed beside it ^^

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Champagne on this flight is Louise (I would have preferred the Krug but LH loads either one or the other, not both on flights).

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Easy going wine card : nothing spectacular but it should accommodate most palates.

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Lots of spiel for nothing, like the off the beaten track paragraph which introduces a Chilean wine as a German rarity…

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The food doesn't sound as esoteric as usual, but I would still be cautious with veal cheek and pears or scallops and yogurt…

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Our FA will hands out hot towels while taking the orders for the first and main courses.

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Then, she sets up a small bar (but for service use) in the middle of the cabin. At that time, the cabin crew purser appears in First class and have a few words with each customer.

She will spend extra time with us and show genuine care. Actually, she openly criticized her colleagues from the ground who, from her own words, too often get rid of the problems, leaving the cabin crew deal with the angry passengers inside the plane, where there is no escape possible..

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More Champagne and amuse-bouche (crayfish, good but not tremendous).

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Tables are then set up from a cart (it will be used again to display selections of appetizers, cheese or desserts).

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All glassware, china and cutlery bear the company logo. Even the butter has been marked :)

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For the first course, I tried both the scallops (which were actually excellent) and the caviar (served with elegance, but the box is unnamed and the menu doesn't provide the information either. So I can't tell you what's its origin).

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I start eating while we fly over Spain. The internet connection is actually very good.

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Turbot with artichokes and brown butter

I didn't expect this dish to be the esoteric one from the description, but I was trapped. It's inedible. Plus the plate is dirty (and it's dry, it's not a spot from the galley).

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And when they say and brown butter, they mean butter !

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My friend took the goose, following the advice of the cabin purser. It's just as bad, and served with a weird cabbage confit.

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To finish, both cheeses and desserts are offered at the same time. I understand that some people may now want to go to sleep and it speeds up a bit the service. Space is not lacking in this configuration anyway.

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I often skip dessert, so I just requested cheese (with a very good Spanish brandy) when my friend tried the panacotta, which was excellent.

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So the dinner was contrasted : excellent service and average wines and tasty appetizers but bad mains ! Anyway, it's time for a good sleep and we walk away from the dining room toward the bedroom ;)

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Mattress, pillows and comforter are equally great. I fall asleep in minutes…

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Zzzz…Zzzz…zzzz…

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…to wake up 9 hours later after just a perfect night !

And it's just magical to wake up at 40.000 feet with a fresh orange juice by your bed :)

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I stay in bed a few more minutes but the lights are switched on and the breakfast service starts being served. So I move back to the seat.

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It's great to have both a seat and a bed : not only for your comfort, but you can also leave all the stuff on the bed and have a clear seat.

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I can't believe there's not even 2 hours left. It seems we have just departed from FRA !

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An espresso to refuel, and then some croissants and a quick email check.

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The cold breakfast offering (shrimps, salmon, cold-cuts, cheese, muesli, fruits…) is displayed on the cart and will be offered twice before the warm choice arrives.

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In my case, scrambled eggs (excellent !) and bacon. It's delicious, but how could it be bad with such a view :) ?

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I finish with the fruits, and the purser seemed to have been waiting for the end of the service to come back to us for the promised compensation.

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She can only offer 8000 miles per person (these miles come in vouchers of 2000 and she has only 8 of them on-board) but she will add two bottles of Champagne as a gesture, which is greatly appreciated as we will be celebrating New Year's eve in Buenos Aires.

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Only 45 minutes left : it's time to pack everything up and prepare for landing. Custom forms are handed out and Internet has been switched off for arrival.

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Two last shots of the cabin before landing.

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In terms of schedule, the flight is great (leaving Germany in the evening and arriving in Argentina in the morning after a long night : perfect against jetlag).

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Final descend.

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And we land on-time, next to a local A340.

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We have to leave the aircraft by the stairs but the flow of business passengers downstairs makes it uneasy. It would have been complicated to hold them until the First class is out, as there are only 8 seats on the upper level.

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Welcome to Buenos Aires !

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See more

Verdict

Lufthansa

9.3/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering7.0

Lufthansa - First Class

4.9/10
Comfort1.0
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services1.5

Frankfurt - FRA

4.6/10
Efficiency10.0
Access1.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness0.0

Buenos Aires - EZE

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

This first class cabin is exceptional thanks to its seat and bed configuration, that truly makes it a suite configuration. It's also complimented by an excellent crew.

But as I said in introduction, I cannot rank this flight among my best ones for two reasons :
- The catering lacks of prestige (for a First class) and is simply not tasty.
- Everything on the ground was a disaster.

Without a broken seat, I would not have gone through all the troubles on the ground. But still, the First Class Terminal as it is, was a big disappointment : dirty, incompetent staff (manners and language) and inaccessible. It seems to have been built only for locals coming by taxi and speaking German. It's a pity for a flagship lounge.

Nevertheless, I would be happy to fly their B744 again if an opportunity arises :)

Information on the route Frankfurt (FRA) Buenos Aires (EZE)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Frankfurt (FRA) → Buenos Aires (EZE).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Lufthansa with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 13 hours and 52 minutes.

  More information

12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 121171 by
    02022001 4340 Comments

    Thanks for this Flight report !
    A nice flight on a nice aircraft ;)

  • Comment 121188 by
    directorphilip2 82 Comments

    You have lots of nice photos on there. It makes you wonder about people when they change their persona towards you after finding out that you're first class. Airport ground staff always seem horrible most of the time. Imagine if you paid for a first class ticket as just a tourist who doesn't spend money on first class normally and that's how you get treated at the airport when it's meant to be a happy experience. It seems that it's only cabin crew that get a psycho evaluation on their applications for the job and that the airport ground staff need to be checked also.

    • Comment 304251 by
      pititom GOLD AUTHOR 11161 Comments

      This prejudgement is fortunately rare. But it seem to happen with LH more than with any other company I've flown with.

      I consider that I have paid a F ticket ! Of course it's an award ticket but that means I accrued 85.000 miles with them. They should be even more concerned with recurring customers than with one-timers. For the business I mean, they should be equally good with both, commercially.

      Evaluation of the ground staff in FRA would certainly lead to (even more) strikes !

      Thanks for commenting.

  • Comment 121194 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    She quickly introduced the space and invited us to place our luggage and coat in a wardrobe located in the middle of the lounge. Not only I was surprised that there were nobody to take care of it, but I found it unaesthetic to have it there by everybody's view.
    - Maybe this is a new artistic exhibition contributed by unwilling F passengers. On top of that it will be constantly changing as passengers come and go, adding a fresh and new perspective to the display.

    Not only the waitress doesn't speak English, but she's also not attentive to details...
    - Very disappointing indeed.

    Same for the magazines which have been placed backwards, making it awkward to browse the selection.
    - I think you have been spoiled by Asian carriers. ;)

    I also checked the bathrooms which are nice and clean, but I noticed the caps removed from the creams, preventing their removal from the bathroom...
    - It is not only cheap as you said but seems a bit insulting to me to assume that your guests will steal the lotions.

    They look nice but both are dark, masking that they are in dire needs of dusting...
    - Disgraceful.

    She again pretends to be sorry but does nothing. She promises a compensation but can't name it : we have to go and see the flight manager, at the boarding gate. We start protesting but she abruptly interrupts us....
    - This is wrong at so many levels. First, as someone who works in an exclusive F lounge in a hub attending to its most important and coveted passengers, she should have all the authority to do whatever it takes to appease and satisfy a F pax. Right then she should have offered compensation, and good customer service dictates a choice of options for the passenger to decide giving him some control of an embarrassing situation. Second, she should have never hurried you to go to the gate or face the consequence of a downgrade to J. The way she said it sounds borderline threatening and that tone should never be used by a company that values its customers.

    But the chauffeur has no umbrella with him and it's raining...
    - Unbelievable! So if a pax is already sick then he risks catching pneumonia or worse?

    Oh I can do nothing for you, just write to customer relations...
    - It's called passing the ball and I thought this only happened in the New World. :P

    ..but she will add two bottles of Champagne as a gesture, which is greatly appreciated as we will be celebrating New Year's eve in Buenos Aires.
    - At least she tried and deserves an A for effort. Something redeeming out of your fiasco.

    Thank you for sharing this interesting and eye opening report on the English side. More people deserve to know about this experience which truly shows that not everything is perfect with LH. LH has brilliant marketing, but the reality is that what it promises and actually delivers sometimes fall short.

    • Comment 304252 by
      pititom GOLD AUTHOR 11161 Comments

      Yes, the ground part was a fiasco, but not the flight, which was pretty good. The lounge is definitely not made for connecting passengers (there is a First Class lounge in the terminal for them).

      Of course the ground counts, but if I had had a short connection from Paris and went directly from the feeding flight to this plane, I would have been extactic !

      I agree to say that LH falls short, but they have excellent redemption opportunities (flying Air France to the destination would have cost me the same amount of miles...in Economy !)

  • Comment 121203 by
    Flytak 151 Comments

    Hi Pititom, thanks you for sharing your experience.
    Lufthansa first class product seems to be a mixed bag of good and bad. This time there were more bad things than good things to my mind. Quite a disapointment especially if you had to pay the full fare for this!
    The start with a not easily accessible First Terminal is not a good thing then the not so welcoming staff that has prejugees on you, then the waitress that could not speak English... hum. then the lack of details with the dust, the uncleaned table... not talking about the absolutely disgrateful staff(lounge and check in) that handled your problem of seating in a abysimal way... Definitely not first class. Fortunately this is balanced by the nice crew with a willing to help purser, the seat (and bed) that looked definitely nice. But still... even AF is doing a lot better on the ground, not talking about all the ME3, and many Asian careers that are quite better on board and on the ground.

    • Comment 304278 by
      pititom GOLD AUTHOR 11161 Comments

      Yes, it's a mixed bag. It's the best hard product I've ever seen. But the soft product isn't at the same level.

      I guess AF provide the world's best on the ground when it comes to First class. But their hard product is out of date. So it's basically the opposite :)

      Thanks for the comment !

  • Comment 121223 by
    Caribel 113 Comments

    Very appreciated the time it took to translate and re-live this horror customer unfriendly story. My blood pressure became elevated by every successive instance of carelessness and hostility exposed in this narrative.

    I opine the purser should have taken control of the situation by introducing herself while you were obviously being ignored and pushed around by the gate clerk. She should have asked the gate manager to be paged and secured reimbursement of the miles used to fly P. She should have escorted your party to your seats and had a bridge worker carry the luggage to the upstairs section. She should have spent the time to listen to your entire saga, put it in writing during flight and escorted you to the manager in Buenos Aires to receive a proper goodwill gesture. The airline could have offered to pay for a taxi or give dinner vouchers. An apology is only as good as the corrective action offered. Finally, the purser could have offered to waive any duty free on-board purchase.

    • Comment 304279 by
      pititom GOLD AUTHOR 11161 Comments

      So can you imagine my own blood pressure when living it ^^ ? At least, the horror story was just on the ground. It was a great flight in the air.

      Of course, the purser should have and could have done all this. But the ground staff has been so horrible that just smiling and understanding our problem was already a big step for our satisfaction. I'm not sure she could have taken control : I think the flight manager is the boss as long as the plane is at the gate.

  • Comment 121232 by
    AirCanada881 1617 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this translation. I think that the biggest problems with the big players like LH and AF is consistency. They offer great products (LH on board and AF on the ground) but can be so severely lacking in other areas, which of course is unacceptable when traveling in First Class, if I were a paying customer this would be so appalling and it's an embarrassment for the company to employ and deploy such stuff to their premium facilities, clearly there is a problem somewhere. Why can companies like SQ and EK find staff that are consistently on par with First class service and others can't? It's understandable that food may be hit or miss sometimes but staff represent the company they work for. Perfection is expected when dealing with the highest paying customers...

  • Comment 121262 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5653 Comments

    Thanks for taking the time to translate this awesome report! What a disappointing experience with the First Class Terminal. It's a shame considering that it's won awards and seems so exclusive--I guess it's hard to live up to expectations when the marketing has led customers to expect perfection. Luckily the on-board product is the probably the best of any International F, too bad LH is so inconsistent with their F products.

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