Travelling Business Class is very lovely, and I was lucky enough to be flown that way to Rio and back last week on a Lufthansa flight via Frankfurt. On my own dime I am always in the back of the plane, but when you are doing over fifty hours of travelling in four and a half days with public speaking in the middle of that, then Business Class, where you really can sleep, becomes infinitely desirable.
Given a choice I would always fly Virgin Atlantic, not only because they serve great food, but because they have the most comfortable Business Class. But they often don’t fly to the places I travel, and usually I am in the hands of clients as to the airline on which I travel, which often means the less inexpensive carriers. I do a lot of flights on the Star Alliance, (recently I flew United First Business which was properly excellent), but I usually fly Lufthansa, which I generally like, both for their efficiency and for the WiFi on long haul flights. But the food, oh GOD the food…
I’m easing you into this post: above are the gummy sweeties we were handed just before take off on the flight from London Heathrow to Frankfurt last week. I thought it a charming gesture. Unfortunately the frankly Byzantine Lufthansa online system meant that my vegetarian meal request wasn’t processed in time, so no food for me on the first leg of my flight.
Good thing I wasn’t hungry: I had had a bowl of industrial catering company mushroom soup in the Star Alliance lounge at Terminal 1 – its near culinary relation would be wallpaper paste. Still, it was more edible than the curling desiccated fish fillets, prehistoric nuggets and flaccid French fries on offer. I will draw a veil over the dehydrated, wrinkled baked potatoes and their pickled egg accompaniments.
The entire thing was a national embarrassment: how can we still be serving food like this in the 21st century? Any visitor from Foreign would have their belief that British food was beyond rehabilitation fully reinforced.
On board on German territory, things did not perk up. This is a starter of ice cold noodles with grilled pineapple, with a lump of papaya. Just…bizarre. And a tomato dressing of such industrial chemical horror that I spat it out.
This is the vegetarian dining option in Business Class. One of the most offensively disgusting things I have ever seen or tasted on a plate. Apparently it was an aubergine (eggplant) stuffed with Feta. Apparently. The pale things floating in a puddle of grease are parsley root. Apparently.
Pudding was a passion fruit mousse. The jellied top would have bounced down the aisle.
Breakfast was ham or sausages. (Slightly odd in that pork is probably the meat that fewest people choose, so German or not, you’d have thought they’d have a non oinking option). Eggs and potatoes were fine though. (I think the sprinkling of parsley shows that this is a Business Class option, because other than that I couldn’t discern any difference whatsoever between that and an economy breakfast.) That yogurt thing was so sweet I could feel my fillings screaming.
This was my main course on the way home. It was a practically raw tomato filled with breadcrumbs. That’s it. Unseasoned, unfried, pappy, soggy breadcrumbs. Lufthansa also apparently own a machine for extracting all flavour out of raw vegetables. For once, words fail me.
So if you are labouring under the illusion that turning left on the plane leads to a world of luxury, then think again. The flat (ish) seats do make a world of difference where sleeping is concerned, but I would always advise packing a picnic…