The boring Lufthansa flight that I’m excited to take!

Back when I lived in Tampa I always dreamed of Lufthansa starting service there. Yes, it wasn’t very realistic, but a boy can dream, right? Instead we got Edelweiss, Swiss’ low cost carrier.

So why was I so obsessed with Lufthansa out of Tampa when I’m the guy that loves to fly and doesn’t mind connecting? Well, there’s something that sounds awfully exciting about being able to get up at a reasonable hour, going to the gym, getting some work done, showering, putting on fresh clothes, and then boarding your international flight well rested and ready to go.

Back when I lived in Tampa most of my days with international premium cabin travel involved getting up at 4AM, flying several domestic flights, getting to my gateway city, and then waiting for several hours.

But now that I live in Seattle I’m quickly realizing the degree to which I’m willing to give up a better product in favor of a flight right out of my home airport. For example, I plan on flying Korean Air first class soon, and the obvious choice (for a travel nut) is to take the Airbus 380 service out of Los Angeles. However, I’m finding it really hard to resist the nonstop Korean Air flight out of Seattle, even though it’s “only” a 777.

I’ll always consider Lufthansa to be “my” airline, so I’m especially excited about now living in a city which they serve. I just made a Lufthansa first class booking for a couple of weeks from now, and I feel surprisingly good about it, despite the fact that the flight is guaranteed to have the old first class product (since no Airbus 330s based in Frankfurt have the new product yet). I could have taken the 747-8 from Washington Dulles, but  surprisingly I was more tempted by the prospect of flying from home than flying a superior product.


Lufthansa’s old first class

So you guys tell me, am I crazy? Am I romanticizing this all a bit too much? There’s just something that seems nice about sleeping in, going to the gym, getting some work done, and boarding an international flight well rested for once. Or maybe it’s just the novelty of it all…


Seattle-bound Lufthansa Airbus 330

Comments

  1. Antonio says

    The catering and service will be the same whether you go old or new product, it’s just the seat. But if you’re flying F, you’ll be good either way then.

  2. Antonio says

    I really wish more longhaul flights would take off at night rather than mid-day though. I really like the LH LAX-MUC nighttime departure flight.

  3. Papa Smurf says

    I know the feeling. As a United flier in Miami going anywhere usually involves early morning flights with a long layover (and before the merger, usually not even a mainline flight). That’s why one of my favorite flights is the Lufthansa MIA-FRA which leaves in the afternoon. I love flying, but sometimes it’s just nice to take a more convienient flight.

  4. lucky says

    @ Jonathan — That flight is operated by an A340-600, and no FRA based A340-600s have the new first class either.

  5. Tao says

    Will they be upgrading SEA-FRA to the new first class product? I have a first class award booked next Feb., any chance of sleeping in the new product?

  6. Duncan says

    Could never understand the American obsession with hubs because of their inconvenience to passengers.

    A direct flight leaves from home to where the journey ends. Minimum time in the airport, the lounge and on the flight anything that reduces these gets my money. Even took a China Eastern F because that was the only direct flight but in hind sight some airlines you will do anything not to fly.

  7. lucky says

    @ Tao — They will eventually, though they just haven’t upgraded any FRA based A330s yet. Not sure about the exact timeline for when it’ll happen, but it could be that some are reconfigured by February.

  8. William says

    You’re getting old Lucky!!! No but in all seriousness, I think getting up and having a “normal” day before the flight makes a huge difference in whether or not you arrive we’ll rested ntraveling for 10 hours is much less strenuous than traveling for 15.

  9. thrashsoundly says

    Where this idea would really shine is the return. Getting off the long haul, breezing through global entry and back home within a half hour, instead of changing terminals, multiple connections and layovers, and dealing with domestic flight delays. Sounds nice!

  10. BrewerSEA says

    This is the reason I keep taking BA49 home rather than a connection in DFW or LAX that would earn me more miles. Gotta love landing from BA F after enjoying afternoon tea and breezing through Global Entry right into terrible Seattle Traffic :D At least I’m home in time for dinner.

  11. says

    The big problem with the SEA Lufthansa flight is that it now leaves from the A gates so the only lounge is the ex-CO RCC in B…was a much more attractive flight when you got access to BA Terraces

  12. ffi says

    When you are traveling for work, (and not that blogging about travel in F class is not hard work), the nonstops always win. That is why network matters, so UA will be fine no matter what.

  13. kumrabai says

    I’m with ffi – if it is for work, no matter how good it is, you want to keep time on the road to a minimum.

    And yes, this is my heart speaking the same language as the brain!

    And really, old First Class is not too shabby, don’t you agree?

  14. SMK77 says

    Supporting any carrier that flies more than half of their fleet with an ancient 15 year old F class product is never a good move.

    Old F comes with the smallest TV in the industry (and that includes Economy Class), an outdated interior and no privacy. 15 years back, the product was good. Today it’s an average Business Class at best.

  15. German Expat says

    I just did LH F on the A340-600 out of DEN and the product is seriously lacking by now. The soft product is quite good but the hard product is nothing to write home about. No privacy at all. I prefer the LX or NH business seats compared to the LH old F now because you can get single seats.
    Obviously catering is a lot different but I am not that much in for the food (gotta watch my figure :-) ).
    I can see your point though, I tend to pick the more direct flights but I am usually either travelling on business or our 7 year old comes along so either way non stop beats a better product.

  16. Todd says

    Lucky, please explain how you were to able to book Lufthansa F? I was under the impression that they do not release F award space to United or USAir programs?

    I’ve seen a bunch of phantoms on the United site. Your thoughts are well appreciated!

  17. Peter says

    Flying from my home city of Boston, I have more international options from the NY area, but I try to avoid going in that direction by taking non-stops to Europe and (if necessary) connecting from there instead of in NY. I can appreciate Lucky’s anticipation of boarding in one’s home city and arriving in a distant country one flight later. My favorite LH experience was sitting in 1H on a 747 and realizing I was arriving in Frankfurt (slightly!) ahead of the pilots and the rest of the passengers. With Lucky booking flights, it can only mean a long awaited trip report will be forthcoming.;-)

  18. canuckinct says

    I was just ug’d to F on one of the old 330′s last month from MUC to YUL – it was delightful. The JW Blue and the great amenity kits (I asked for one for my wife) were welcome additions.

  19. arcticbull says

    @todd Lufthansa First is bookable via United (and US Air if you talk an agent into it) starting approximately 2 weeks before the departure of the flight you’re interested in.

    If it’s an A380 it may open for Starnet bookings a few days (or even 24 hours) before departure. For flights to Frankfurt, it tends to be about 7 days before departure, and for flights to DUS/MUC it tends to be around the 2 week mark. It will vary flight to flight.

    I’ve made 3 LH F bookings (2 with Aeroplan — burning the last of those things lol, and 1 with United). All 3 were New First, and MUC-SFO was 12h of pure happy :p

  20. oleg says

    Not crazy – always a balance of time/route to product or other things. Regarding KE – it’s still a very reasonable product despite not being the best (just flew ICN-SEA in F actually).

  21. Rich says

    I fly economy, even on awards, coz I usually fly with the family…and it takes too many miles to fly everyone in Biz or First.

    Just looking at economy, the 747 service LH has between SFO and FRA was HORRIBLE, until last year…it was the OLD OLD 747 config with central TVs up above the aisles.

    That kinda economy product is decades behind SQ / Cathay!

    Perhaps one day, when I have enough miles to fly F, I’ll get what I’ve missed all along. Until then, I’ll read the blogs :p

  22. Michael T says

    Top level hard and/or soft product is always nice. But nowadays it only rarely trumps convenience. This summer I had the choice of flying LH FRA-SFO-LAX on the A380 in F, or taking the non-stop to LAX (my home airport) in old F on the 747-400. I chose the latter and was fine with my choice.

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