Chasing the Sun: Lufthansa First Class Lounge & Senator Lounge Frankfurt

Introduction
Lufthansa First Class Seattle to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge & Senator Lounge Frankfurt
Thai Airways First Class Frankfurt to Bangkok
InterContinental Bangkok
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Bangkok
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco


Frankfurt is one of the few airports in the world where arriving at a remote stand can be a good thing, assuming you’re a first class passenger. Upon our arrival from Seattle there was a Mercedes waiting on the tarmac for the three first class passengers, so we were quickly whisked off to the terminal before anyone else even had the chance to deplane. I’ve taken dozens of car rides on the tarmac at Frankfurt Airport, though this was by far the longest, which I’m sure as heck not going to complain about. The ride to the terminal took nearly 15 minutes.


The Airbus 330 that flew us to Frankfurt


Our ride to the terminal

The views during the ride were stunning, as we must have driven right under at least a dozen widebody aircraft.


Tarmac views

We were dropped off at the security/immigration area, where we cleared security for our connection to Bangkok. Once airside there were great views of Lufthansa’s aircraft, including a Boeing 747-8 that had just landed from Washington Dulles.


Boeing 747-8

While most airlines will allow passengers traveling on a partner airline in first class to access their first class lounges, Lufthansa will not. They restrict access to their FCLs (First Class Lounges) to same day Lufthansa and Swiss first class passengers. Our connection on Thai in and of itself only got us access to the Senator Lounge, but since we had arrived in Lufthansa first class same day we could use the FCL. Lufthansa gets away with this because they consider their Senator Lounge to be their first class lounge, while they technically consider their First Class Lounge to be a “HON Circle” lounge, which is their top tier elite status.


Entrance to the FCL

The agent at the entrance was friendly, and joked that he was offended by the fact that we chose to fly Thai to Bangkok over Lufthansa, though I reminded him that the Lufthansa flight only left eight hours later.

While Lufthansa has several FCLs and also the FCT (First Class Terminal), they’re all more or less the same in terms of design. They feature plenty of seating, a dining area and bar, office cubicles, nap rooms, and spacious showers. The only major difference I notice between the FCLs and FCT is that the service seems to be a bit more attentive in the FCT, in that the waiters roam around ensuring glasses are never empty.


First Class Lounge


First Class Lounge


First Class Lounge

One of the benefits of the FCL over the FCT is that while the FCT is disconnected from the terminal/tarmac, the FCL features great views of the tarmac.


Tarmac views

The first thing I did was request a shower room so that I could freshen up before my connection.


Shower room


Shower room


Shower room

After that I grabbed a cubicle so I could get caught up on some work. Of course since I only had a five hour layover in Frankfurt in which to maximize my Fanta and pretzel consumption, I got right to it. Fanta and pretzels make the world a better place.


Fanta!


Pretzels!

At around 12PM, about two hours before our departure to Bangkok, we headed to the dining area for lunch. As usual the buffet spread was fantastic.


Dining area


Dining area


Menu

I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed to admit that I didn’t actually eat other than finishing the pretzel I had been munching on.


Buffet


Buffet


Buffet


Buffet

At around 1PM we decided to head to our departure gate, B46, which was only about a five minute walk away.


Terminal

Once at the gate we checked with the gate agent about the possibility of a seating change, since we were hoping to both sit in row one, though the agents in Seattle weren’t able to change our seat assignments. They told us that seat 1K was occupied in the meantime, though encouraged us to use the Senator Lounge which was right around the corner, as an escort would pick us up and walk us to the plane when they were ready for boarding. So that’s what we did.


Departure gate


Thai 747 taking us to Bangkok

While not quite as spectacular as the FCL, the Senator Lounge was surprisingly nice. It was spacious and wasn’t overcrowded, which is a rarity for Senator Lounges, in my experience. I believe this specific lounge is a new design they’re going with, so don’t expect all Senator Lounges to be this nice.


Senator Lounge seating


Senator Lounge bar


Senator Lounge seating


Senator Lounge seating


Senator Lounge seating


Senator Lounge seating


Senator Lounge seating


Senator Lounge buffet


Senator Lounge buffet


Senator Lounge buffet


Senator Lounge buffet

At around 1:30PM we were picked up by the Thai Airways escort and brought to our departure gate for our flight in new Thai first class to Bangkok.

Comments

  1. Gene says

    I recommend that you just link to a prior review of this stuff in the future. It seems to be unnecessary work for you, and it clutters your blog.

  2. says

    I really appreciate that you’re starting to publishing trip report segments in quick succession rather than stringing them out. It makes following the trip much easier and more meaningful.

  3. lucky says

    @ JH — I find that Lufthansa is the airline that probably discriminates least on award tickets. When I check-in I’m asked almost every time if I want to add a frequent flyer number to credit my miles to. So they don’t really seem to care/realize (though the fare class is printed on the boarding pass).

  4. Lmmz says

    Wow, new Senator lounge seems actually welcoming. Totally different from old “all shades of gray” design they used to have. Wonder if they are/have been renovating all of the Sen lounges in FRA (and other airports like MUC) as well. But I’ll know that in two weeks.

  5. BFrankley says

    I love how everyone has a better idea of how you should format your blog. Just to fit in, I think this trip report is improperly titled. If you’re “chasing the sun”, then don’t you have to fly west??

  6. BR says

    I think it’s nice that Lucky gives a new update on the FCL lounge. Sometimes things change in the lounge or we can learn something new about it. Or maybe there’s an especially interesting story from that particular lounge visit.

    I don’t think it clutters the blog. No one is forcing you to read that section.

  7. PittDoc says

    Strange, but my favorite part was about the new Senator lounge. Having read so many TR’s on FRA and the always “awesome” FCL experiences it’s nice to learn something new. Thanks to US/LH award conflicts my future at FRA is a lot less FCL and more SEN.

  8. Stephan says

    Lucky in keeping with the: “I know how to do your job better” comments, why don’t you write up the trip backwards? Maybe that would liven it up for those inconvenienced folks out there?

    FYI I always enjoy your enthusiasm even if you’ve written about it before…it is never quite the same and that makes it always worthwhile for me.

  9. Jeremy says

    Thanks for the report, I will have a similar trip in May ORD-FRA-BKK-RGN on LH/TG in C and F. There always seems to be some confusion as to what lounge you can access in FRA.

  10. says

    Lucky, any word on when/if FRA A330s will have the new F? I think MUC ones already do … Or at least some of them.

  11. choi says

    man I want you to book me this same itinerary when i cash in UR pts for united. I live in LA, i think there is a Luth 747 8i flight to FRA from LAX

  12. ffi says

    It always amazes me that one can go to BKK via EU or NRT/PEK/ICN Ffor 70k in F on UA while India is 80k from the East Coast of the US
    Hey that is a whole lot closer

    Same way, AA charges 67.5k for F class BKK to HKG to JFK
    while JFK-LHR/AUH/BRU-BOM is 90k in F

    Maybe we should just be happy and use the miles where they are cheapest.
    I flew KMG-BKK-BLR-stop <24h-FRA-IAD in F for 70k
    while BLR-FRA-IAD was 80k in F

  13. Mike says

    Interesting. Last time I did a similar route (JFK-FRA(LFH)-FRA-BKK(TG)-BKK-HKG(TG))in F – I was met at the bottom of the terminal where the mercedes dumped us off for security by a woman with a sign with my name on it from Thai. She escorted me through a seperate security line and started to take me to the Senator Lounge. I asked her to take me to the FCL – which she did. She also came back 2/3 hours later for boarding onto the TG flight.

    Perhaps you missed her with your sign?

    This was took place this past June.

  14. lucky says

    @ Mike — Interesting. Thought I looked closely and didn’t see an agent. But we did have a long layover, so maybe that had something to do with it.

  15. Nat Arem says

    +1 for backwards trip reports, it’s clear that you really don’t know what you’re doing at all with this whole blogging thing, better listen to the real experts

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