Will your upcoming travel plans require you to fly across continents? I recently went on my first long-haul flight and although I did get tired of being on the plane, it wasn’t awful like I had imagined. Keep reading for my review of flying with Lufthansa Airlines in economy class and tips for making your first long-haul flight enjoyable.
Before this flight, the longest I had ever been on a plane was about 4.5 hours and that felt like more than enough time to become cramped and bored. I did not fly from the United States to New Zealand, but I did travel from Houston, Texas to Frankfurt Germany on Lufthansa Airlines which was a little over 9 hours in the air. Here’s what you can expect on a long-haul Lufthansa flight in economy class as well as some ways you can keep comfortable and occupied on long flights.
Lufthansa Airbus A380
The Airbus A380 is currently the world’s largest commercial passenger plane. Just looking at the plane, the size alone reminded me of a cruise ship. The top section of the aircraft is reserved for first class travelers and the bottom passenger section is for business and economy classes. It takes some time to get over 500 people boarded on the same plane. To help with this task, there are two separate boarding gates for the top (first class) section of the plane and for the remaining passengers.
Entertainment & Service:
Once I got on the plane, I found my seat which was already stocked with a blanket, pillow, and a set of headphones. The TV screen located in the seat in front of me was already available to use so I started browsing movies. I had numerous movies to choose from along with games to keep occupied. My seat didn’t have a whole lot of leg room but it wasn’t unbearable. I also noticed that my seat did not have an outlet, so I was glad that I brought my portable battery to keep my phone charged.
Shortly after takeoff, flight attendants began passing out hot towels that were like a cleansing wipe. I always thought of an airline offering hot towels as luxurious so it was nice to receive them in the economy section. After the towels were collected the flight attendants served drinks. I really appreciate that with Lufthansa, alcohol is complimentary. I ordered a drink and watched a movie for the next couple hours.
My flight took off in the late afternoon and the first food offered was a trail mix snack that was provided when the drinks were passed out. A couple hours after the snack, our first meal was distributed. We had a choice between chicken or pasta and I picked the pasta. I was impressed with the food and liked the meal. The pasta dish was garnished with a tomato and came with a small side salad and roll. The side salad had dressing and crackers with it and I got a small package of butter for the roll.
After a not so restful sleep on the plane, I woke to breakfast being served. It doesn’t look very appetizing in the picture but I thought it was decent. The plate on the left contained two sausage patties, a potato mash, and some spinach. The tray on the right had a small fruit salad and roll with butter.
Thoughts on Lufthansa:
I have traveled with Air Canada and Copa Airlines and found them to be nice, but Lufthansa is my new favorite! Even in economy class, flying with Lufthansa was like a dream come true compared to some of my previous experiences of flying economy with other airlines. My flight to Germany only made me wish that airlines in the United States would become more focused on good service and keeping customers satisfied. On a standard economy flight with a U.S. airline, you can expect to pay an additional fee for everything from a snack to a movie. My last flight (with a U.S. airline that will remain unnamed), I had to wait over two hours just to get a drink because other passengers were ordering food and it took a long time for the flight attendant to run their cards and collect receipts. I believe that this poor level of service has caused many travelers into U.S. to be frustrated with flying in general. Although the leg-room was a little tight on the Airbus A380, the service provided by Lufthansa made my trip easy and even a little fun.
Tips for Your Long-Haul Flight:
- Pick an aisle seat: The coveted seats on the plane seem to be the ones with a window. The problem with a window seat is although you have a view and the ability to get some neat pictures, you have to crawl over people each time you want to get up. With long-haul flights, it can be painful to sit for so long. You have more freedom to move if your seat borders the aisle, and getting to the restroom is significantly easier. The flight crew are generally understanding of your need to move on long flights and will allow you to stretch your legs. I still prefer a window seat on short flights, but having an aisle seat was very nice for the long-haul experience.
- Watch movies, read books, listen to music: Keeping entertained is key and luckily long flights have movies and games available to use. If you are not interested in the provided entertainment, bring along a couple books and carry your own headphones so that you can listen to music.
- Pack a health kit: It can help tremendously to bring a couple extra items with you like vitamins and advil. If you get motion sickness Dramamine is a good medicine to pack. The air in the plane cabin is dry and can leave you thirsty. I suggest purchasing some extra bottles of water at your gate so that you can keep hydrated on your flight and not have to ask the flight attendant each time you want a drink.
- Bring your favorite snacks: The way to enjoy a flight is to try to view it as a luxury rather than a pain. One way you can do this is by bringing along some of your favorite snacks. Pick something that you wouldn’t normally splurge on and use flight as an occasion to treat yourself. You can try to go for things that won’t get too crumbly like bite size candies or get a to-go sandwich at the gate. Snacks are a great backup to have in case the meal provided by the airline seems unappetizing.
- Bring a portable battery that’s fully charged: My last flight didn’t provide power outlets. Because I brought my portable battery, I was able to use my phone as much as I wanted and didn’t have to worry about it dying.
- Wear layers: Chances are that you may at some point either get hot or cold during the flight. Wearing layers that you can easily adjust will better allow you to keep comfortable. For tops, I recommend short sleeves with a light sweater over it and a larger jacket if needed. I normally get cold on planes and like to keep my legs covered so I will typically wear a comfortable pair of jeans. Cotton is a breathable fabric and can keep you cool if you are worried about sweating.
- Get a neck pillow: Pillows provided by flights are flimsy and don’t provide enough support to prevent neck pain from sleeping upright. A pillow does take up extra space in your bag, but it can be a great help for getting some rest. It’s also nice to know that your pillow hasn’t been used by hundreds of people like the little plane ones.
These are just a few things that help me when I travel. If you have any useful tips for long flights, please leave them in the comments below. My goal is to provide honest information about my experiences and I would love to hear your opinions on airlines and long flights. I ended up flying on Lufthansa with my United Miles Rewards. If you aren’t a fan of United, I recommend earning their rewards and using the miles with a different partnered airline. I will be researching other airline reward programs and will be possibly switching in the coming years. I was very satisfied flying with Lufthansa and recommend using the airline if you have the opportunity.