Is flying on LTU asking for trouble?
March 4, 2007 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Flying on LTU == asking for trouble?

I'm flying to Germany in May for an academic workshop. I'm traveling on someone else's dime, but I'd feel bad passing along a bigger fare than I had to. I try to take a Zen attitude towards travel, and the timing isn't too constrained, so my biggest concern is a customer service meltdown: delay of > 6 hours, no flight at all, no one at the airline making alternate arrangements, etc. My two most reasonable options are a $500 flight on LTU and a $1500 flight on Continental. That's a big price difference, but I've seen reports of some horrible LTU experiences online. While we're trading in anecdotes, do any MeFites have relevant LTU or Continental stories that would help me decide?
posted by grimmelm to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
 
I haven't flown on LTU or Continental.

Could you fly to London or Dublin and then take a low-cost airline to your German destination? What about flying to Paris or Amsterdam (or Frankfurt, even) and then taking a train if your destination is in the western part of Germany? That might make things more reasonable, as you'd have more options and perhaps a little more competition.
posted by mdonley at 9:55 AM on March 4, 2007


Also, all EU-registered carriers, including low-cost/holiday/charter carriers like LTU, are bound by a stronger set of consumer protection regulations than American-registered airlines: a BBC article explaining your rights - even if you aren't an EU citizen - is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4267095.stm
posted by mdonley at 10:03 AM on March 4, 2007


Well, here's one data point. Connecting flight in Dusseldorf to New York on LTU. I had never heard of them before, but the price was right. Delayed @ Dusseldorf for three hours, for no apparent reason. They gave me a voucher for a soda pop, and I had to like it. Airplanes are minimally furnished, but relatively new. They don't seem like the tightest operation out there, but what airline really is. At the end of the day, is the additional $1000 really going to buy you any kind of guarantee?
posted by lovejones at 10:33 AM on March 4, 2007


I fly from Newark to Germany and Norway a couple of times a year on Continental and it's always fine, so there's some data. I rarely pay more than $800 though. Could you get a cheaper flight to Amsterdam or Frankfurt followed by train/cheap internal flight?
posted by nowonmai at 11:04 AM on March 4, 2007


It's really a question of which you trust more: anecdotal evidence or the pricing of a brutally competitive market.

I've had a number of bad experiences with Continental and no experience with LTU, but I would buy the Continental ticket. Insanely low ticket prices generally mean that business travel managers, whose job it is to keep travel costs to a minimum, have decided that an airline is too unreliable compared to other airlines to be worth the savings. That lack of reliability may be reflected in various ways -- financial instability, infrequent flights, long delays, cancellations, inabilty to rebook on other airlines -- any of which could put a major crimp on your travel plans. I don't know if any of these affect LTU, but, given that $500 may not cover the cost of fuel to fly you to Germany, I'm betting that some of them do.
posted by backupjesus at 11:11 AM on March 4, 2007


Listen, you get what you pay for. Flown both and never had any problems with either surprisingly enough. Taking a low-cost airline always has it's drawbacks but if you can justify it with a significantly lower flight cost then whatev. You're taking a one-hop flight so the chances of an F up are reduced.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 11:13 AM on March 4, 2007


P.S. a Zen attutide to travel is the only way to go. Shit happens.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 11:16 AM on March 4, 2007


I flew on a $600 inc tax United flight to France that was 90% empty last summer. I had flown there a few years earlier on a ~ $1200 Continental one, completely full. Both flights were essentially identical, but for the United one, I had a 3-5-3 isle entirely to myself. The food sucked more, though.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:13 PM on March 4, 2007


Thanks for the advice; I went with LTU.
posted by grimmelm at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2007


LTU has actually been around for a while. They compete hardcore with Lufthansa on certain routes. The route you're looking at is probably one of them.

They have a fairly recent fleet and a decent safety record.
posted by drstein at 8:55 PM on March 4, 2007


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