It’s only when I take a long international flight in economy class that I realize how fortunate I am to frequently fly in the front of the plane for most of my trips. Without a flat bed to sleep in, an eleven-plus hour flight becomes something to endure, instead of something to enjoy.

Lufthansa economy class
Welcome to Lufthansa’s Economy Class

My first economy class experience was on Lufthansa, on a flight from LAX to Munich. As a traveler who carries a lot of camera equipment in my carry-on, I am always concerned about bin space. As I did not have any priority boarding, I asked about being able to pre-board to ensure I got my bag on. This was no problem and the flight manager allowed me to pre-board and be one of the first people on the plane.

The plane was an Airbus A340 and the seats seemed very thin, which gave more space between them. There seemed to be more legroom than in other economy class flights I’ve taken. Service was very good, with free drinks and free digital entertainment on the seat-back screen. There was also WiFi on the flight, which worked a bit less than I would have liked. I paid $24.95 for 24 hours of access. The meals were good and overall the experience was not unpleasant.

Lufthansa A340
My plane from LAX to Munich

My return flight, LHR – LAX was aboard British Airways and one of their new Airbus A380 super jumbos. This was my first A380 flight and I noticed two main things. The flight was much quieter than other aircraft, a great deal quieter than the 777s I am used to flying in. The ride was also much smoother, with virtually no turbulence for the entire flight. Again, most of my international trips in 777s go through at least a few sections of tubulence.

British Airways world traveller meal
Dinner aboard British Airways World Traveller service

I was in Economy Class, which BA calls World Traveller. I was also on the lower deck of Economy and understand the upper deck may be even quieter and offer an even smoother flight. Service was good with a lot of flight attendants around. Food was good too, complete with a replica hamper filled with finger sandwiches and even a scone with clotted cream.

British Airways picnic hamper
Lunch is served in a picnic hamper aboard British Airways