A Matter of Opinion

Dubai Airport 3AM

I was sitting in an Emirates lounge in Dubai, and my eye caught and lingered on my more or less 7-year old rolly bag by Eagle Creek. Not a ding or a tear, still sleek, after probably a little more than 1.5 million brutal miles—I'm not kind to luggage. Go Eagle Creek—couldn't live without 'em! (And, no, I'm not trolling for freebies from Eagle Creek; I will not accept such goodies—which are occasionally proffered.)

While on the topic of traveling stuff I like, I'll plug a Richter 6.1 shift in my all-important preferences for international air travel. I'm logging about 150,000 air miles per year for international trips alone. (Current air voyage: Boston-Athens-Saudi Arabia-San Francisco-Boston.) And for 15 or 20 or even 30 years I've preferred, when possible, outside North America, British Air—and actually have enjoyed traversing Heathrow at 5 a.m. or some such.

But that's changed in the last 6 months. I'm now squarely a Lufthansa and Frankfurt guy. Heathrow is a disaster, a mess, over-crowded, slowed to a turtle's pace due to security issues, etc., etc. By contrast—even during major construction—Frankfurt is clean (hey, these are Germans—offspring of my ancestors), easy as pie to navigate, orderly at the gate, relatively painless on the security dimension (adequately staffed—or just better), managed well enough so that you don't feel as if you're spending endless hours in a Tokyo subway station at peak commute time—and the airport staff attitude & responsiveness is unerringly helpful. As to the flight itself, from my perspective, LH tops BA in everything from on-time departures, crowd control, and cleanliness (the "German thing" again) to, perhaps surprising (again) ... food and attitude! The BA folks are not typically "having a bad day"—they're just not having a good day!

I'm still okay with BA. No, I'm actually not. "Please, please," I beg my travel guru, Nancy Paul, "by hook or by crook or come hell or high water, get me on Lufthansa—and if a 2-legger is necessary, send me via Frankfurt!

No more than one (surprised) guy's opinion.

(Photo above is Dubai airport—at 3 a.m.)