Flight Date: 05JUN13—On this, the second to last leg of my Star Alliance round-the-world journey, I decided against flying direct from London to New York on United. Undoubtedly this would have saved me some time, but I really wanted to try out Lufthansa’s first class lounge at Frankfurt and their first class cabin on the B747-400; which features a seat and a separate bed.
A good friend was performing at the Royal Festival Hall to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Unlike my last trip in April, the weather in London this time around was perfect—sunny with a light breeze and a balmy 26C daytime high. The concert, weather and a fantastic meal at Kaspar’s, located inside the Savoy, made for a fun-filled two days in London.
I arrived at Heathrow’s Terminal One at around 6:30am for my 8:20am departure. Luckily, the Lufthansa check-in counter along with passport control and security were virtually empty and I was through all three within five minutes. The terminal itself was bustling with passengers though, as I made my way to the Star Alliance Lounge.
The windowless lounge is dark and gloomy and although it does have all the obligatory services: drinks, buffet, wi-fi, and showers this space is rather bleak. Definitely not what you would expect of a first class lounge—that said the breakfast pastries were tasty and it was basically empty so I got a good hour’s worth of peace and quiet.
The short-haul B737-500 business class in-flight service on Lufthansa was indistinguishable, to me anyway, to any other European carrier: typical tray-style meal, economy class 3-3 seating with an empty middle seat etc. Upon arrival however, is when the Lufthansa international first class perks kick-in. The plane parked at a remote, gateless location and instead of the dreaded terminal shuttle bus, I was met by a friendly chauffeur who directed me to a waiting Mercedes-Benz. He quickly maneuvered his way around the busy Frankfurt Airport (take note Air China!!) and I was at the connection terminal in no time.
After clearing security I made a beeline towards the Lufthansa First Class Lounge. I’ve flown first class on Lufthansa a handful of times, but oddly never in or out of Frankfurt. There are two first class lounges at Frankfurt/Main: Terminal A and Terminal B, I chose the one in Terminal B next to Gate 22. The lounge is located a floor above the main terminal area. Upon entering, you veer to the left along a short corridor to where the reception desk is located. The clerk said she would inform me when the chauffeur was ready to pick me up for the trip to the plane and to please enjoy the facilities in the meantime. Don’t mind if I do!
The Lufthansa first class lounge at Frankfurt has a distinct Teutonic feel to it: white, beige, dark grey and chrome. Business work stations are just to the left of reception. The main lounge seating areas are located to right with views of the tarmac. In the middle is a kid-friendly candy bar area with the adult-friendly bar in the back. Adjacent to the bar on the right is an enclosed smoking area and to the left is where you’ll find the spa, showers and relaxing rooms. The hot and cold buffet area along with the dining room are opposite the main seating area. The ANA Suite Lounge at Narita and Cathay’s ‘The Wing’ at Hong Kong both have a similar vibe…I wonder if they borrowed some of Lufthansa’s design cues?
The Lufthansa first class lounges at Frankfurt and Munich set the bar for the industry when first introduced a few years back. Soon after, carriers such as: Qatar, Emirates, Singapore and Cathay realized they needed to catch up and in some ways these airlines and others have now surpassed Lufthansa in their lounge offerings. That said–I really enjoyed my time at the lounge in Franfurt; luxurious but not over-the-top. The food choices at the buffet along with the dining room menu options were all expertly prepared and delicious. The bar is bar none–sorry I couldn’t resist–the best I’ve encountered thus far on my various journeys. From the chauffeured car service, attention to detail of the lounge staff in general, food choices and quality of facilities I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find fault with anything at the Lufthansa Frankfurt First Class Lounge.
When I boarded the B747-400 it was hot inside. Although Germany had been experiencing record-breaking rainfall and flooding, the weather today in Frankfurt was sunny and warm. Initially I thought the sultry cabin was due to the weather, but evidently there was a problem with the gateside electrical system and the pilot could not turn on the air conditioning until the engines were started. The flight attendants came by and apologized and said everything would be back to normal as soon as we pushed back from the gate.
My last first class flight on Lufthansa was way back in 2003 so I was eager to see how things had changed. Lufthansa currently operate four first class equipped aircraft types: A380, A340-300/600, B747-400 and B747-8. The B747-400 is the only one that offers an individual seat and a separate bed however, so even though the B747-400 is no longer the newest kid on the tarmac, I chose it specifically to experience the bed.
As in the previous version, the newly configured first class cabin is on the upper deck of the B747-400 with eight seats (and eight beds); half of the old-style configuration. I chose seat 84H which is the last seat on the starboard side of the aircraft. I like this seat as it offers some extra privacy since there is no one behind you and the lavatory and kitchen are far enough away not to bother you either.
Lufthansa has done away with the blue, grey and gold color scheme and replaced it with white, grey and charcoal. Nothing wrong with the new cabin, but I prefer the old color scheme as it definitely let you know you were on Lufthansa.
The seat is spacious and comfy with a large IFE screen placed directly in front. There is ample storage located under the adjacent bed as well as in the armrest.
The head flight attendant came by offering pre-flight drinks and macadamia nuts along with a set of pajamas, slippers and amenity kit.
It was starting to get really warm inside the cabin without air conditioning, so when the captain announced we were ready to depart everyone sighed in relief. The plane quickly cooled down after the engines were started and we took off just a few minutes behind schedule. Upon reaching cruising altitude the lead cabin attendant came by with the menu and wine list.
I’ve always found the in-flight meals on Lufthansa to be tasty and today was no exception. The meal service started with a generous portion of caviar followed by four appetizer choices.
For my appetizers I chose the North Sea Crab dish and a salad.
For the main course I went for the Char Filet.
Three dessert choices were offered and although the cheese selection was extremely tempting I chose the Cream Cheese Mousse with Ice Cream and Rhubarb Ragout instead.
I especially enjoyed the caviar and Char Filet.
I had only a few hours of sleep the previous night so the bed next to me was looking mighty tempting. However before I dozed off, I logged on to the onboard wi-fi and caught up on a few work emails–I was even able to skype some friends and show-off my seat during the flight too! Lufthansa has upgraded their IFE system as well, but I was too sleepy and decided to don my pajamas, close the window shades…the next thing I remember we were on our descent into Newark!!
I really enjoyed the first class lounge at Frankfurt and the meticulous service on today’s flight. Lufthansa is one of the few airlines that ‘get it’. they consistently offer a proper first class service and not some watered down, cheapened version like some other airlines…(hope you’re listening American and United). First class travel should be about the luxury: chauffeured car service from plane to terminal, well-appointed lounge facilities, comfortable full-flat bed seating, delicious meal service and exceptional wines. Not only does Lufthansa score high marks in all these areas; their ground staff and in-flight crews are also courteous, efficient and quick to offer help without overly fawning over you. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly again with Lufthansa and I can’t wait try their A380 and B747-8 first class cabins in the near future. Schönen Dank Lufthansa for a great flight!
For more information on Lufthansa First Class Service
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Trip Report Photo Gallery