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A Question about Upgrading on Lufthansa

Hi all,

I actually have a quick question for all of you:  I’m flying back from Frankfurt next week on Lufthansa on an M class ticket (ie, expensive, but not an expensive enough fareclass to upgrade using Onepass or United miles).

Anyone have any ideas if there’s a way to upgrade an M class ticket on Lufthansa?  (I’m not above begging/crying).

(And while I generally don’t care so much about upgrades, the flight is on their 747, which doesn’t even have seatback TV, which is sad in this day-and-age for a trans-Atlantic flight).  And I know that I often write about how people don’t care about service, I really mean that above a certain level they don’t care about service.  And the 747 has no in-seat power (which I actually care about more than seatback  TV).  Yikes.

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  1. Lufthansa can be tough to score upgrades when you don’t have status in their program, although I have heard colleagues who have Star Gold status on UA getting an occasional lucky bump. What might possibly work in your favor is that the ORD->FRA and JFK/EWR->FRA flights are frequently full (if that is your route). I’m a LH Senator and have been bumped a couple of times from biz to 1st thanks to my status and full flights on these routes.

    If I were in your shoes, I guess I would try my luck at the ticketing counter or LH lounge – find someone a bit on the younger side of age. Be very pleasant and courteous, tell them that you have to work on an important presentation or something, your laptop battery doesn’t last very long, and you understand that the 747 doesn’t have power in coach. Nicely mention your status and ask if it is possible to use miles to upgrade so you can use the in-seat power. They will probably say no, but you never know – with LH, it’s all about finding the right person who might lend you a sympathetic ear. The power of small talk and looking the part (i.e. wear business dress) might get you somewhere.

    Alternatively, you could possibly switch your flight to a codeshare that is operated by UA/CO then try begging to them with your stateside status.

  2. I’m not a Lufthansa regular, but last year my wife and I scored a free upgrade on one of their 747s from IAD to FRA. Lufthansa biz class to Europe: our lucky day, right? Not exactly.

    We were both quite disappointed (as CO plats, we fly a lot of first class, but are only ocassionally up-front on int’l flights). It was all quite antiquated, and the food and service were pretty poor. CO BusinessFirst was vastly superior. The only thing to recommend it was the lie-flat seats (they were old seats, but they went flat). Of course, flying west, this would be of less benefit.

    All that said, it’s always better up-front than in the back. But if you don’t get there, you’re not missing much.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions…I know their C service kinda blows on the 747, but their coach product is horrible on that plane. No seatback TV and, worse, no powerplug. Just give me the plug!

  4. I’d highly disagree that CO’s BusinessFirst product is better than LH’s business class – if you’re talking about the old cradle-style BusinessFirst that is still in the majority of their fleet. 95% of my travel is int’l to Europe or Asia – I’ve flown CO long-haul in those seats and they suck for sleeping. The LH seats might be a little narrower than CO, but they lie-flat at an angle and you can get a good nights’ rest. LH’s IFE is pretty nice, their food/wine is usually great and artfully presented, and they have nice enthusiastic young flight attendants not those grizzled battleaxes so common on the US airlines.

    IMHO, the best business class out there right now is Singapore Air (which has a flight from JFK->FRA which can be had cheaply, BTW). Of the current offerings from US airlines, I’d say it’s a tossup between the new 180 lie-flat business class products from UA and CO.

  5. No great food or wine on my LU 747 biz class flight — and I actually like German cuisine. :)

    And the service was extremely inattentive: just one notch above coach. Like the f/a’s didn’t serve course after course; they just slopped it all down. It was even hard to get wine refills. And not “an enthusiastic young flight attendant” to be seen.

    We were surprised. We expected more.

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