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January 10, 2013

Lufthansa Gets Personal

By Chris Boyle

Doug Gollan

While in many places flying commercially has become worse than going to the dentist, Lufthansa continues to make it a nice experience, at least for First Class customers.

Its First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is akin to an FBO where customers are driven to their planes. And of course there is the a la carte restaurant, stylish bar, sleep rooms, showers and even baths and a private duty free store not to mention a cigar lounge. One popular feature is the team of Personal Assistants who take care of check-in details and can help arrange transportation at your destination, getting mail sent and many random requests. Now the German carrier is bringing its Personal Assistants to its U.S. gateways, phased in over the next several months. While thanks to American security procedures they won’t always be able to expedite passengers through the TSA with the same efficiency as in Frankfurt, each First Class customer will be greeted at the check-in desk by a PA who will then be on call until departure.

Lufthansa is part of a holding company that includes Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines. As part of a press update held last week in a private apartment on the 60th Floor of the Setai Hotel in New York (soon to become a Langham), it was announced Austrian will launch Chicago flights, the Belgian carrier will open a second unnamed U.S. gateway (it started flights to JFK in 2012) while continuing to build its strong African network. Swiss will return to Singapore this year with nonstop flights from Zurich (previously the airline had flown via Bangkok). Lufthansa and Austrian this year are both rolling out new business class seats in their long-haul aircraft that turn into flat, horizontal beds.

Of course, when neither First or Business Class will do Lufthansa continues with its Lufthansa Private Jet offerings enabling one to fly transatlantic from say Chicago to Frankfurt and then by private jet to Kiev, Sardinia or wherever.

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