LH tough competition for BA in Indian market

Old Oct 11, 09, 4:04 am
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LH tough competition for BA in Indian market

I've flown BA to India for years, mainly because most of my miles are on AA, and also because they flew nonstop to CCU. But earlier this year BA pulled out from CCU, leaving LH as the only European airline there. So I flew LH for the first time in many years. (In coach, no less.)

LH and BA are, of course, the two airlines with the biggest footprints in India. LH has the disadvantage of not having a large ethnic customer base in the home country. But it's making up for this with US transfer passengers. I was amazed to see than on the transatlantic leg (ORD-FRA) one of the two regular meal choices was Indian food, and one of the movies was an Indian movie. Why not any other ethnicity (eg. Chinese food/movie?) I think LH has made a conscious decision to attract Indian transfer passengers.

I was impressed with onboard service as well. It's still coach, but service was consistently pleasant and helpful; attitude was not variable as it is on BA. Drinks were available in the galley at all times, and served courteously rather than with a slight edge. Food was airline food (invariably chicken or veg) but in reasonable quantity and never inedible. I've been on 10-hour BA flights from India that start with a snack and then there's breakfast at the end, nothing in between ("this is a night flight so catering provides less food"). There seems to be less penny-pinching on LH.

The food and the service was quite uniform on all four legs (ORD-FRA, FRA-CCU and return). All flights were absolutely packed but no hassles, no delays and no disorganization.

The A340s with downstairs toilets are really nice, lots of toilets and rarely a line, plus a water dispenser to fill up my water bottle from.

I was traveling at the last minute, but I always got good seats (aisles near the front), and seats were assigned without an OLCI hoop to jump through.

So now I wish there were a way to transfer my miles and lifetime AA status to UA. Can't be done, of course.
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Old Oct 11, 09, 5:27 am
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Comparative schedules (11 Nov schedules pulled from KVS, Amadeus method):

BOM:
BA: 7x 744, 7x 777
LH: 7x 744, 5x 330/340

DEL:
BA: 12x 744
LH: 7x 744, 7x 330/340

MAA:
BA: 4x 777
LH: 7x 343

BLR:
BA: 7x 744
LH: 6x 744

HYD:
BA: 5x 777
LH: 5x 343

PNQ:
BA: none
LH: 6x 737

CCU:
BA: none
LH: 3x 333

Total:
BA: 42 frequencies
LH: 53 frequencies

With the exception of CCU and PNQ more or less evenly matched. What the quality of traffic is, none of us could really tell though it's likely BA has higher share of O&D in its traffic compared to LH.

Last edited by Cyba; Oct 11, 09 at 5:48 am
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Old Oct 11, 09, 5:28 am
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Do LH have personal IFE now?

In C BA are a clear winner thanks to a proper flat bad, whereas in F LH's ground handling and fabulous food might edge it.

FWIW, DEL is now all 777 (3 and 4 class).
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Old Oct 11, 09, 5:52 am
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LH also operate an all J class BOM- MUC service on a B737
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Old Oct 11, 09, 5:54 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
Do LH have personal IFE now?

In C BA are a clear winner thanks to a proper flat bad, whereas in F LH's ground handling and fabulous food might edge it.

FWIW, DEL is now all 777 (3 and 4 class).
LH do have seat back screens but I'm not sure how many aircraft they've retrofitted. Their website says they're available on 330s and 346s (which kalia would have been on with the lower ground bathrooms). No word on the 744s or 343s.

BA schedule to DEL varies - goes from 14x777 today to 14x 744 over xmas period.
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Old Oct 11, 09, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by kalia960 View Post
LH and BA are, of course, the two airlines with the biggest footprints in India. LH has the disadvantage of not having a large ethnic customer base in the home country. But it's making up for this with US transfer passengers.
The LH/LX footprint in the UK is also important. The airlines offer direct connections from provincial cities through FRA MUC and ZRH to India (and the rest of the world). Zurich and Munich are joys for transfer passengers used to shuttling down to London for connections.
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Old Oct 11, 09, 7:07 am
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I use to fly Lufthansa to Bangalore in business and sometimes first; and thought they were not upto scratch. Cabin crew were unfriendly (appart from the indian crew). Meal service was not good at all, very strange choices. I hated transfering in Frankfurt as its so big and long walks with handluggage was not good.

Lounges in FRA were always full and terrible food choice here if you need something to eat. If I can remember haribo's and peanuts (great). They remind me of a school hall.

The company then switched to Air France and they were much better than Lufthansa, crew were always pleasant, food much better, lounge good but not on par with BA.

I just wished the company flew BA, but Virgin has the contract and then others for where virgin do not fly.

Maybe Lufthansa is on par in Economy but not up front of the plane.
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Old Oct 11, 09, 8:39 am
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The LH planes I was in had IFE, with true VOD (start any time, not every 10 min). Of course there is nothing worth watching, as on any plane. Their programs were the same inbound and outbound.

Also I agree that the J seat is very important; BA's horizontal seat is excellent. I cannot sleep on slantboard seats. One reason I flew BA was that I was able to fly CW with my AA miles. Can't do that on LH.

Incidentally, when both BA and LH were competing in CCU, LH's coach fares were always higher, and now they are very high. I speculate that this is a reflection of the better service. LH's J fares are very high as well; I've seen highly discounted CW fares on ba.com, but haven't been able to locate those for LH. They have a discount website called weflyhome.com, but only for coach.
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Old Oct 11, 09, 8:54 am
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I believe the LH 744 fleet do not have any seat back TV's, all still main screen on the bulkhead... which, given this day and age, I find hard to believe really!
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