You may have to choose between Turkish Airlines or Lufthansa if you are flying to Europe. Although they are Star Alliance siblings and compete for traffic across continents, these two European airlines can be compared head-to-head. Although Lufthansa is headquartered in Germany, it is better equipped to handle most intra-European traffic. However, Turkish Airlines has […]

You may have to choose between Turkish Airlines or Lufthansa if you are flying to Europe. Although they are Star Alliance siblings and compete for traffic across continents, these two European airlines can be compared head-to-head.

Although Lufthansa is headquartered in Germany, it is better equipped to handle most intra-European traffic. However, Turkish Airlines has a superior flight performance.

Each airline has a vast network that connects to many American destinations. You’ll need to be aware of a few key differences between each airline, which will give you an advantage, especially for American flyers.

You will be able to enjoy the flight, no matter what airline you fly, Turkish or Lufthansa. The elite and premium cabin passengers will enjoy the best.

These are the key differences between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa that will help you choose which airline is best for your next overseas trip.

Where they are based and where they fly

Winner: Turkish Airlines

Both Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa offer flights to many U.S. gateways for U.S.-based travellers. Although Lufthansa is more well-positioned to transport most Europe-bound traffic than Turkish Airlines, Turkish Airlines offers more connecting cities worldwide.


Lufthansa is a strong competitor in the United States because it has two major connecting hubs, Frankfurt and Munich. The airline also serves both of these destinations in many U.S. cities. It flies to almost 200 destinations from its two hubs.

Star Alliance is the airline’s parent company. Its central European location gives it an advantage when connecting passengers from the Americas to Europe using less backtracking than other airlines.

Turkish Airlines

Star Alliance also includes Turkish Airlines, but the primary Istanbul hub for long-haul flights (which handles most of them) is located far east in Europe. It is less convenient for travelers from the Americas to Western Europe because of this.

It flies to over 300 destinations worldwide, more than Lufthansa. However, it is not able to carry European-bound traffic from the U.S. It is possible to reverse but it can take longer.

Turkish Airlines is the only airline to fly to more countries than any other on the planet. Turkish Airlines has only one intercontinental hub, Istanbul, but it uses other Turkish airports like Ankara as a connecting airport.

This allows you to reach a multitude of cities that are long distance and can be reached by just one plane change.

It’s difficult to beat that, and Turkish Airlines is the global winner.

Rewards Programs

Winner: Turkish Airlines

This decision can be difficult for some because it all depends on how you use your miles to travel. Star Alliance is a partnership that allows both carriers to share partners carriers, giving them an even playing field.

Both airlines offer great lounges for premium cabin passengers, as well as Star Alliance Silver-tier flyers , adding an additional level of competition. However, it’s hard to beat the Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul with its many live cooking stations and sports simulators.

Both airlines offer strong loyalty programs , but Turkish Airlines is more valuable if you are flexible and creative.


Lufthansa’s loyalty program is Miles & More. It includes its subsidiaries like Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines as well as Swiss International. There are many ways to enjoy Miles & More status, perks and benefits on the “home” carrier.

The program is also used by Luxair and LOT Polish Airlines. You can also earn and burn with Star Alliance airlines.

Mileage earned by members is based on their elite status and flight distance. The published award chart is used to redeem miles. It includes set prices that are based on destination and origin.

Members may take advantage of Meilenschnappchen’s regular list of discounted awards, but only if the member is flying to these destinations.

  • 71,000 mile flight in business class to Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

  • Book domestic business class flights within the U.S.A and Canada for 20,000 Miles

  • Business class flight to deep South America in the U.S. for 56,000 miles.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles program awards miles based upon flight distance, fare class, and elite status tier. Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet flights can be used to earn miles.

The airline’s award chart is zone-based and allows you to redeem miles from all Star Alliance partner airlines.

  • Transcontinental flights to North America with United are only 10,000 miles for economy class and 15,000 for business class.

  • United offers flights between the continental U.S.A. and Hawaii for 7,500 miles in economy class or 12,500 in business class.

  • United will charge 45,000 miles per way for business class travel redemptions from the U.S. To Europe. It’s a bargain compared to what United charges for an award ticket.

Winner: Tie

Airlines are increasingly charging extra fees, which is why Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa have many. Here are some things you can expect.


  • Fees for checked bags Checked bag fees.

  • There are no fees for assigning seats. Certain fares allow travelers to choose their own seat at no cost. For those in the lower economy or business class tiers, they may have to wait until check-in before being able to choose a seat. Seat fees for purchasing a seat start at $13 (12 Euros) for a standard, short-haul seat and can go up to $107 (100 Euros) for extra-legroom seats on longer flights.

  • Reservation fees. Online ticket purchases are free. However, if you make a reservation by phone or in person at an office, there will be a $20 fee.

  • Change fees. You will need to pay the difference in fare and fees for changes to your reservation.

Turkish Airlines

  • Fees for checked bags Turkish Airlines provides a free baggage allowance. However, you will need to pay more if you wish to take extra bags or if you have overweight bags. Fees start at $80.

  • Fees for assigning seats. You can assign a seat by paying between $9 and $139 depending on the fare.

  • Reservation holds. U.S.-departing travelers and those with elite status can hold a price for 24hrs for travel departing within 5-10 days of the reservation time. For those who wish to prevent the price of their tickets from rising, there is an additional fee.

  • Change fees. Surcharges and additional fare differences will apply depending on the destination and fare type.

Seating options

Winner: Lufthansa

This category has a clear winner and is probably Lufthansa’s most valuable attribute when comparing carriers.


There are four types of cabins on German national carriers’ aircraft. These include first, business, premium economy, economy, and economy classes.

Passengers have many options when it comes to the type of flight they wish to purchase and what experience they require. Although some aircraft do not have all four cabins available, there are many options for passengers on certain routes.

Turkish Airlines

Only two types of service are offered by the Turkish national carrier: economy and business.

Although this simplified view is more understandable, it doesn’t take into account the essential needs of certain travelers. First-class is not available to those who want the best ground and onboard experiences.

Turkish does not offer a premium economy flight, so you can either stay in the country or go to work. Turkish Airlines chooses to minimize the space in its aircraft by using a simpler cabin.

In-flight experience

Winner: Turkish Airlines

While both airlines are well-known for their excellent service, few would dispute that Turkish Airlines is the clear winner in this category. Lufthansa was once known for offering more benefits behind the curtain, and still offers a friendly product, but it has been losing its popularity in this segment.


Lufthansa provided complimentary catering on short-haul economy flights, including drinks like wine, beer, cocktails, and hot meals for flights lasting less than an hour.

It has been a buy-onboard airline in recent years. Turkish Airlines offers short flights with free refreshments, but this contrasts starkly with Turkish Airlines which offers complimentary refreshments in all cabins.

Although it still offers complimentary meals and beverages in economy class for medium and long-haul flights the airline has reduced its alcohol menu. The airline uses narrowbody aircraft with economy-style seats in business class for short-haul flights.

The price can be high, but the experience in flight is still very similar to a meal and more attention by the attendants. Lufthansa works with DO & CO catering, just like Turkish Airlines.

The airline offers exceptional entertainment on long-haul flights even for economy class passengers.

Premium economy and business class offer a significantly upgraded menu, including hot meals and amenity packs. All beverages containing alcohol are included in the complimentary service

First class has a lounge, which includes a private terminal in Frankfurt, and an onboard experience that is second to none. Although Turkish Airlines’ first-class product is superior to Turkish Airlines’ premium experience in the cabin, most Turkish Airlines passengers still enjoy better inflight service.

Lufthansa is known for its superior cabins on long-haul flights.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines does not offer a luxurious first or premium economy cabin, but its business class is solid and available on most aircraft. Some planes have still middle seats.

DO & CO catering is a well-known airline known for its delicious cuisine. Hot meals and open bars are offered on all flights. Flying chefs are available on long-haul flights.

Turkish Airlines serves a delicious, chef-inspired meal to short segments of the economy.

Focusing on the business class cabin, Turkish Airlines is known for its outstanding flying chefs who can handle special requests and create delicious plates. Next, the dessert and appetizer carts offer a wide selection of delicious regional cuisines in a stunning presentation.

There are many entertainment options available for long-haul and shorter-haul flights.

Economy class seats come with movable headrests and footrests. On long flights, there is an amenity kit for all cabins. Turkish Airlines has short business class flights that use wide, reclined seats with noise-canceling headsets.

Turkish excels at all cabins, even though it does not have a premium-economy or first-class cabin.

Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines: Recap

Star Alliance’s siblings are closely competing for their global networks and robust onboard offerings (even though they have different strengths) as well as loyalty programs.

Turkish Airlines still holds a strong lead because it out-competes Lufthansa almost in every category. No matter where you are on a Turkish flight you will find something to love.

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