Driving on Indian roads can be quite a challenge, and if you are sitting in a crammed up small car, the effort required to sit in the car can be Herculean. Irrespective of the type of roads, be it good or bad, broad or narrow, smooth or rough, sitting in the car is one of the most difficult tasks, if you consider the minuscule leg movement space. The driver is driving the car at a brake neck speed, and the oncoming traffic whizzes past you, and in the meanwhile, if you miraculously fall asleep, you have no choice but to get disturbed. The worst part is, you have nobody to blame. By the time you reach the destination, it is as though you are lucky to have arrived without a broken limb.
There is another kind of torture that exceeds the one described above. To be honest, it doesn't even beg comparisons. The flight journey in the economy class section of the Lufthansa can be the worst experience ever. I think there is no other form of travel that can beat this experience. OK, the rates are economical, with minimal concessional rates offered to the travelers, at a very big cost of convenience. Shashi Tharoor had tweeted something about traveling in the cattle class. I think Lufthansa should have him as the brand ambassador for its fleet of planes. If anybody raises any objection to this arrangement, then even he should be made to travel in the economy class. All the furor would subside then. Even now, there is a perception amidst friends and relatives that Lufthansa is the most convenient mode of travel, and that they have a very expensive pricing policy. It is not very uncommon to hear, "It is very difficult to get a ticket in Lufthansa. It is too comfortable and pricey." I would feel like shouting back at the top of my voice, "NOOOOO. It maybe expensive, but you can be rest assured that it is far from comfortable." Lufthansa is the kind of airline that compromises on nothing but comfort.
So, why this critical evaluation of the German carrier? The leg space is of the order of a few nanometers. You stretch your legs a bit, and you are well on your way in annoying the passenger in front of you. To top it, if the good Samaritan in front of you tries to take advantage of the minuscule comfort provided by reclining a few centimeters, then your legs are doomed for the rest of the journey. You should not get alarmed if your legs take gargantuan proportions, and in a way, it will swell up to take the form of elephant legs. So, you should generate quite a bit of guts to inform the guy in front of you, "Sir, can you please get back to your original position. I know you are trying to exercise some comfort, but it is causing a great discomfort to my physical well being. Please try to understand. I am not blaming you at all, for you are well within your right to do this." He might growl, or he might really be a good guy (depending on your luck) and pull back the seat to its original position. This is one of the reasons why I do not exercise the option of reclining and adjusting my seat. And, even if you do try to recline for a few minutes, the hostess will take that precise moment to arrive with pathetic refreshments, and sound out the message "Please get your seats back to your normal position. Refreshments are being served" Whether you like it or not, you have to come out of your "for a few seconds" comfort zone. The less said about the Asian vegetarian meals, the better. Let us not even get into that, for it can be a blog post by itself. I remember Yadu telling me during one of our flight journeys together, "Maga, idhanna nam naayi kooda thinnalla" (Maga, even our dogs won't eat this). Coming to the 22 micrometer(yes, that's what it looks like from your seat) television screens, they are placed in such an obscure corner that you would require more than an eagle's eye to catch what's playing on the screen. But, during my previous travel, I was really glad that the microscopic television set was fit in an obscure corner. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, a Hindi movie that easily fits in the top 5 worst movies of film history, was being played and I wouldn't have watched that movie even if it was played on a big screen, let alone the micro screen. It was a classic combination of a worst movie by a worst film maker in a pathetic airline.
Long flight journeys are physically and mentally tiring, but in a Lufthansa flight, every aspect of tiredness is magnified by a million times.
So, ultimately, the catch line for Lufthansa should actually have been