Oh, how the mighty have fallen one could think this week as “airline consultancy” firm Skytrax has downgraded Lufthansa’s rating and taken away the fifth star that the airline received from them (for whatever reason) several years back in 2017.
No more are the days of “Europe’s first 5 Star Airline” which doesn’t come as a surprise given how service standards have slipped in recent times and quite frankly Lufthansa never deserved a 5-star rating to begin with.
One has to keep in mind however that the Skytrax rating isn’t something that comes automatically as it only partially depends on passenger ratings but to a larger part also on the willingness of the airline to pay the company for a branding package.
As with all awards and certifications, it would be plain stupid to assume that paying these significant fees wouldn’t have any influence on the outcome of the rating.
You can access the SKYTRAX website here and read about their current evaluation of Lufthansa and other carriers.
Lufthansa is Certified as a 4-Star Airline for the quality of its airport and onboard product and staff service. Product rating includes seats, amenities, food & beverages, IFE, cleanliness etc, and service rating is for both cabin staff and ground staff.
With that, the airline’s 5 year stretch as a 5-star carrier comes to an end, and to be honest this rating has always been subject to ridicule by customers who experienced firsthand that the German airline has become nothing more than a random penny-pinching company that doesn’t have any significant way to positively distinguish itself from the competition, let alone true five-star worthy airlines.
When one considers the decisive points of airport services (horrible) and onboard product (mediocre) and staff service (lackluster) I’m surprised that Lufthansa gets anything beyond 3 stars to be completely honest.
Yes, First Class is still a nice experience but that’s hardly a basis to rate an entire airline. Less than 3% of all passengers are actually First Class passengers and service culture is hardly something Lufthansa is famous for. They’re still barking at you on board that you have to wear masks or will be handed over to authorities upon arrival in Germany. This and other antics have always “helped” the airline to retain its moniker “Luftwaffe” (Air Force), hinting at the strict, militaristic style of the staff and rather basic f&b offerings.
So after Lufthansa has fallen from grace, who is left in the 5-Star cabinet?
Currently, there are 10 airlines that keep this rank:
- ANA All Nippon Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- EVA AIR
- Garuda Indonesia
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
One can always argue and seriously wonder about these ratings. For example, has Hainan even flown anywhere recently? Parent company HNA was placed in bankruptcy administration in February of 2021. When was the last audit or is this certification good for as long as the airlines pay for the branding package?
Previous carriers that held the certification included British Airways, Emirates, Etihad and Malaysia Airlines.
Airlines like these Awards as they use them for commercial purposes such as elaborate advertisements. As such, dropping some money to get additional brand prestige is a no-brainer for some airline managers – at least in times when business is going well.
I don’t begrudge Skytrax for this business model. It’s really a genius idea to come up with this rating scheme and then let the carriers pay to carry your trademark logo and advertise with it. Of course, they still need to perform somehow within reason in order to not make a total mockery of the award.
As such, I’m not surprised that Lufthansa is no longer in the top 10, let alone being awarded five stars.
Lufthansa has lost its 5-Star Skytrax certification and is now officially a 4-Star carrier based on that firms rating system. That’s (in my opinion) still at least one star above what they deserve to carry in the current state but nevertheless.
What happened here? Have they simply stopped paying the agency for the relevant fees or were customers so fed up with the horrible service and antique cabin interiors that they finally slashed Lufthansa’s ratings when it came to Skytrax reviews/valuations? We’ll probably never know.