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April 16, 2008

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I had the rare pleasure of flying Lufthansa, classe primo.  What an amazing experience.  Not only was the food delicious and the cabin spacious but the flight attendants were not surly!  And the best part of all..every seat had a ROSE!

So typically after I fly, I rename the airlines.  For example.

United is U-FRIGHTED

Northwest= NorthWORST

Southwest = SouthWORSTEST


Air Canada- SCARE Canada

Continental - Conti-HELL-tal

Delta - Schmelta

Aeroflot - AeroFLOP

American - Ameri-CANT

So for now, Lufthansa gets to keep its name.  Please share your monikers for the airline carriers.



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No worries. In Germany we call "Lufthansa" simply "Lust-hansa" - you'll figure it out what that means :-)...


Ha! The slogans are also fair game: after my last experience with United, I started saying "Fly the Surly Skies."


DELTA is actually an acronym for Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive

But actually, they aren't that bad.

Gary Gates

Well, your experience of Luft-vaffa is quite a bit different from mine (granted, I have only done Business, not First): officious, verging on rude, flight attendants with perfunctory and uninspired service. No match for Qantus, SAS, or Air New Zealand and about even with BA, American, and United.

Chiva Congelado

Iberia = Siberia
Finnair = Finski
Lufthansa = Luftwaffe
Air France = Air je ne sais pas
Mexicana = I'd rather fly Aeroméxico

And then we come to the airports...
London Heathrow = Deathrow
OSL, CPH, HEL = Sauna
MAD = Poker
CDG = Ce de hell / The bus terminal
MEX = Madhouse
ATL = Hell on earth


Musicians have a brilliant one for ALITALIA : Always Late In Taking-off; Always Late In Arriving


A quick trip down the aisle to cattle class might change your mind about the German flag carrier. I *will* agree that the food on our flight to Chennai was good, but that's the end of it.

First, economy still had the CRTs hanging from the ceiling, no seat-back entertainment at all. This in a day when many long-distance flights have video on demand. I felt like I was back in the early 90s. On a nine hour flight I want the circus almost more than the bread!

This feeling wasn't helped by the other 90s throwback -- the back row of seats in economy didn't recline but the next row *does*. At 6'2" I find the ever-decreasing size of economy seats bad enough, but spending eight hours trying to sleep in the jump seat (the stewards took pity on me) *really* didn't endear Lufthansa to me.

I compare all this to JetBlue who, in spite of that meltdown last year, consistently treat me like a human being rather than an annoyance. Seats are fairly spacious (and they don't charge $75 more for exit rows). Pricing reasonable. And I've received flight and drink credits for several trivial things to which any other airline would have just said: "You paid for economy, deal with it."

Thank god for the Eurostar, and I'm hoping that they get the signalling for the new high-speed line to Amsterdam sorted soon.


Flying on an airline is generally a glamorized version of Greyhound. I've had both good and bad experiences on many of the airlines you mention, and I've found that airline staff do go out of their way to assist travelers who treat them like human beings.

First class on Lufthansa is generally going to offer you a different experience than, say, Southwest - not to mention most US carriers, for that matter.

Michael Wells

Interesting article in today's Times by Robert Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines, on the fallout of airline deregulation in terms of deterioration of service, aging fleet, canceled flights, lost bags, etc. He talks about the nearly 200 airlines that have come and gone in the last 30 years, many of which existed "only long enough to reap the rewards of an initial public offering" but in the process cut prices and damaged established carriers.

Crandall talks about the false economy of mergers of huge companies like Delta and Northwest, which have no economies of scale to achieve. He has some modest suggestions such as reintroducing some regulations, adapting bankruptcy laws to prevent failed airlines from flying to force labor/management cooperation, and binding arbitration. I have no idea which of these would help, but Rana's nicknames are accurate and a sorry commentary on what's happened to what was once one of the world's best systems.

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Thank god for the Eurostar, and I'm hoping that they get the signalling for the new high-speed line to Amsterdam sorted soon.

Luigi Hanway

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