I’ll Be Flying the Lufthansa ‘Bangalore Express’

Lufthansa’s San Francisco-Frankfurt-Bangalore route is the shuttle of choice for techies going from Silicon Valley to the heart of India’s outsourcing industry. The ‘Bangalore Express’ is favored over competing options like Cathay and Singapore for its slick, short connection, and is known as a networking fest of the tech industry.

I became aware of it in a 2012 Businessweek article, The Bangalore Express, a Networker’s Paradise, and went back to a 2007 San Jose Mercury News article, Networking at 35,000 feet. FlyerTalkers characteristically threw cold water on the networking, focusing on Lufthansa’s angled seats.

I can vouch for the expense of that and the surprisingly few international Bangalore options so I will only be on the 3 am Bangalore – Frankfurt stretch when presumably everyone is so exhausted that the only hope at networking may be a fish bowl for leaving business cards.

I’ve only flown Lufthansa once, earlier this year Frankfurt-New York JFK in economy and had a good, unremarkable experience. I am looking forward to see what I can make of an 8-hour layover in Frankfurt to partly compensate for a business schedule that will not permit any sightseeing in Bangalore. Not having a chance to go up to UNESCO-listed Hampi is disappointment that staying at the first Ritz-Carlton in India will not allay.

Readers, have you been on the Bangalore Express? Is it journalistic hype or something special?

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  • Rags

    Welcome to Bangalore, Stefan! Hope you have a good trip. But you can’t come all the way to Bangalore and not have a meet up with fellow travel hacking fans and followers! If your schedule permits it, please plan for it. I’ll be happy to catch up with you.

  • Nick

    I stopped reading that article at the word “Frisco”. I’ve flown on LH from SFO to FRA a few times it’s just a regular flight, maybe FRA -BLR is more homogenous…

  • Joey

    In addition to the 21 hour flight, LH is a partner of United, which has a major hub in SFO.
    I’ve never flown the BLR express since I live in NYC but I have flown the JFK-DXB-BLR route on Emirates, JFK-DOH-BLR route on Qatar, and JFK-LHR-MCT-BLR on Virgin Atlantic/Oman Air (only did this once to fly Oman Air Business). My colleagues and I prefer Emirates due to the bar at the back, which is a great way to network with other folks (though coming from NYC, the industries tend to be more diverse.)
    I see LH still has the shortest duration for SFO to BLR, but EK is not too far off (only 10 minutes more than LH) so I guess EK has joined the game. In fact, I hope EK will take it up a notch and start flying the A380 to SFO. Networking is so much easier on a plane with a bar where passengers can mingle.
    Enjoy the BLR-FRA leg on the new LH 747-8i! Yes the hours are weird… but the new airport is quite nice! I love the architecture and its use of natural light throughout the terminal.
    If you wear a laptop backpack on your flight, it’s one of the easiest ways to spot a techie. 😉

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Joey – haha, yes the laptop back back like those Swiss Army ones with about 10 extra pounds of metal and useless straps.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Nick – thanks for the linguistic tip on how to identify someone who knows SFO. What is the correct shorthand?

  • Simon
  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Rags – thank you for the invite. I usually build in a little buffer time to enjoy a destination even if just a few hours, this will be really tight due to business commitments however it might work, I will email you and hope it does work.

  • RL

    Next week, I am headed to BLR from SFO. Opted for the fastest route / better times (at least on the days I’m flying): CX via HKG. Also staying at the Ritz… and never call it Frisco. “Ess Eff” or San Francisco

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