Lufthansa Airlines CEO Jens Ritter switched roles for the day when he recently went undercover working as a flight attendant on flights to Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH) and Bahrain International Airport (BAH).
In a LinkedIn post, Ritter said that a change of perspective is needed in order to gain new insights, as he shared his thoughts about the experience.
“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,” Ritter said.
Ritter had also worked as a commercial pilot for Lufthansa since 2000, and qualified as a captain on the Airbus A320 at Germanwings in 2014.
“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,” Ritter added.
Jens served the business class cabin on the way to Riyadh, and worked in the economy cabin on the flight back to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).
“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, to deal with the different energy everyone has,” Ritter said of the experience.
Ritter said that after the stint,he had decided that things in the office would “be different after really feeling the decisions on board.”
Ritter is not the first airline leader to work as a flight attendant.
In May 2023, KLM CEO Marjan Rinterl also served passengers on a flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS).
In 2013, Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, posed as an Air Asia flight attendant after he lost a bet to Air Asia’s Tony Fernandes.