- The CEO of Lufthansa Airlines wrote a LinkedIn post detailing his experience working as a flight attendant.
- CEO Jens Ritter said he helped out staff on flights between Germany and the Middle East.
- He was surprised by how hard it is to stay awake overnight and be attentive to customers.
The CEO of Lufthansa Airlines worked as a flight attendant on a round-trip between Germany and the Middle East, serving passengers onboard the German airline.
CEO Jens Ritter detailed his experiences in a recent LinkedIn post: “Sometimes, you need to change perspectives in order to gain new insights,” he wrote.
According to a Lufthansa spokesperson, Ritter worked on an outbound and return flight between Frankfurt in Germany and Bahrain. The flight stopped at Riyadh in Saudia Arabia both ways, making it a four-leg journey.
Ritter’s tasks involved looking after business class passengers on the departing flight, and then in economy class overnight on the way back.
“It was so interesting to address the guests’ wishes individually, to deal with the different energy everyone has,” he said.
For example, the CEO said he “was amazed by how much there is to organize, especially if something doesn’t go as planned.” Ritter explained that the meals loaded onto the plane weren’t the same as those offered on the menu cards, and promised to fix this.
Ritter has been in charge of Lufthansa Airlines since last April. Carsten Spohr is the CEO of the whole Lufthansa Group, which also owns Swiss Air and Austrian Airlines among other businesses. Ritter began his flying career in 2000 after training at the airline’s commercial pilot school and is also qualified as a captain on the Airbus A320.
“I used to fly as a pilot and so I thought I knew about the challenges a flight during the night entails,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “But to be present and attentive and charming – when the biological clock just tells you to sleep – was something entirely different.”
“I was astonished how much I learned in these few hours,” he added. “Deciding things in the office will be different after really feeling the decisions on board.”
Lufthansa Group posted record profits in its most recent quarterly results, which were released earlier this month. The group’s airlines were boosted by increased demand for flights and higher ticket prices.
Ritter isn’t the first CEO to get stuck in at work. Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran was photographed serving passengers onboard last December, NDTV reported.
And Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan started his new role by completing barista training, with plans to work barista shifts once a month.
Experts say that getting first-hand experience is not only a helpful way for execs to engage in the day-to-day running of the workplace but also to identify any problems to keep standards high.
“People in the office, they’re clueless. They’re looking at papers of what’s sold … they know where it’s sold. But what really matters is what people say, what people think, and what people feel,” Lee Peterson, executive vice president of thought leadership at retail consulting firm WD Partners, previously told Insider.