The CEO of Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier, spent a day in the life of a flight attendant after becoming a supernumerary or ‘extra crew member’ on a recent journey to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He took to LinkedIn to share a cool experience he had last week.
Since April 2022, Jens Ritter has served as the CEO of Lufthansa Airlines, although 23 years ago, in Munich, he began his flying career as an Airbus A320 pilot. Before taking over the A320 at low-cost subsidiary Germanwings in 2014, Ritter began flying the larger Airbus A330 and A340 planes in 2008.
Here’s how Lufthansa CEO describes his experience working as a flight attendant:
Sometimes, you need to change perspectives in order to gain new insights! This week, I accompanied our Lufthansa Airlines flight crew heading to Riyadh and Bahrain as “additional crew member”. What a ride!
I have been working for the Lufthansa Group for many years. But I have never had the opportunity to work as part of the cabin crew. And honestly, that was so interesting and also challenging! I was amazed by how much there is to organize, especially, if something doesn’t go as planned – for example the meals offered on the menu cards were not exactly the meals loaded on board.
It was so interesting to address the guests’ wishes individually, and to deal with the different energy everyone has. I used to fly as a pilot and so I thought I knew about the challenges a flight during the night entails. But to be present and attentive and charming – when the biological clock just tells you to sleep – was something entirely different. The crew was terrific and welcomed me into their team right away. With their support, I was able to give a hand in business class on the way to Riyadh. Back to Frankfurt, during the night, I took care of our guests in economy class. And honestly: I enjoyed every moment!
I was astonished how much I learned in these few hours. Deciding things in the office will be different after really feeling the decisions on board. Thank you to the amazing crew, the lovely guests and everyone involved for making this experience possible!
It’s unclear whether the passengers knew the airline’s CEO was working, but hopefully they weren’t. Even though I would have delighted to witness a passenger act up and talk down to a flight attendant, as some passengers frequently do, just to discover that it was the CEO of the airline.
Ritter is not the sole chief making waves by actively engaging in cabin duties in recent times. Just a few months earlier, KLM’s CEO Marjan Rintel made headlines when she personally served passengers during a flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam. However, opinions remain divided over these unconventional actions.
While some customers argue that high-ranking officials should be prioritizing other responsibilities, detracting from their duties by such hands-on involvement, others rally behind this display of leadership, highlighting it as a testament to effective and relatable management.