Which of Lufthansa’s new first class cabins is the best?

As the world’s self proclaimed biggest fan of Lufthansa first class, one question I often get asked is which Lufthansa first class cabin I like most, given that there are a few types out there.

Given that Lufthansa only releases first class award space to partner airlines at most 15 days out, I think you should be happy to snag any Lufthansa first class product, whether it’s the old or new product.

Now that Lufthansa has their new first class across much of their fleet, I figured I’d provide a quick summary of which of their aircraft feature the new first class that I like the most. As a reminder, not all Lufthansa longhaul aircraft are equipped the new first class, so you can see this post for details on which aircraft are most likely to feature the new first class, or if you’re traveling in the near future you can use Lufthansa’s new toolbar to check whether your flight is scheduled to have the new first class or not.

So with that in mind, here’s the order in which I prefer Lufthansa’s new first class products:

1. Lufthansa Airbus A380 new first class

I love the A380 as such, and Lufthansa did a damn good job with the first class cabin on it to boot. The seats are the same as on the A330, A340, and Boeing 747-8, though there are a few cool additions that make this plane special.

Lufthansa_A3801

Lufthansa_A3802

First of all, since first class is on the upper deck and there’s a bit of extra room upstairs in the front of the plane, they have two massive lavatories, even equipped with urinals.

Lufthansa_A3803

Lufthansa_A3804

They also have lockers in the back of the cabin in which you can stow your belongings. There’s a locker for each seat, which is great given the lack of overhead bins.

Lufthansa_A3805

The A380 is just such a quiet plane, especially at the top of the upper deck, and offers the smoothest ride of any plane I’ve flown. Lufthansa even has a humidifier in the first class cabin and as much as I’d like to think it’s all hype, I’ve actually found the air to be much better in the first class cabin on the A380 than any other plane I’ve flown.

2. Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 new first class

The 747-8 is a damn exciting plane. I still think the 747 is the queen of the skies, so to see some new life in the fleet is exciting to me. While Lufthansa’s first class on the 747-400 is on the upper deck, they’ve put it in the nose on the 747-8.

With only eight seats the nose is outrageously spacious, especially for the single seats in rows one and two. The plane still smells brand new, and much like on the A380 there are lockers for each first class passenger. The cabin is also extremely quiet, not only because of how far it is from the engines, but because there’s no foot traffic through the cabin given that it’s in the nose.

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Lufthansa_74782

Lufthansa_74783

3. Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 new first class

If you want to impress your Facebook friends, this is the product to fly. You get a seat and you get a bed. Necessary? Nope. Excessively awesome? Yep.

This is the rating I get the most flak over. A lot of people rate this as the best Lufthansa first class product out there, and while I still love it, I think the 747-8 and A380 are better. So let me take a backwards approach here as to why this isn’t the best product, because I think the “pros” of the cabin are pretty obvious.

I should start by explaining how I like to relax on flights. I like to have my meals in the upright position and then immediately get turndown service, regardless of whether I plan to sleep or not. The idea is that if I want to be on my laptop or watch a movie I’d rather do so from “bed” than while sitting. So if I don’t plan on sleeping I simply put the seat in the bed position and then raise the back of the seat by a few degrees so I can comfortably look at the screen.

With this product the seat itself doesn’t recline very far back (not far enough to comfortably lounge, in my opinion), and the bed doesn’t recline forward at all. So while the seat is great for sleeping, it’s not very good for lounging. Also, the TV is positioned in front of the seat and not in front of the bed, so there’s no way to swivel the TV to face the bed. While you can still watch TV from bed, it’s not ideal.

And truthfully the bed is kind of unnecessary. Lufthansa’s new mattress pad and duvet on the rest of their fleet are some of the best in the industry, and I find the seats with the mattress pads to be about as comfortable as the bed on this aircraft.

So don’t get me wrong, this is an awesome product, but I do feel like it’s more style over substance.

Lufthansa_7474001

Lufthansa_7474002

Lufthansa_7474003

4. Lufthansa Airbus A330/340 new first class

Lufthansa has identical first class products on the A330s and A340s. The cabins are awesome and basically identical to the ones on the A380, minus some of the bells and whistles, like the bigger lavatories and lockers.

The one impracticality of the new A330/A340 cabin is that there’s not an “aisle” in the front of the cabin by the bar like there was previously, so in order to cross between aisles you have to walk through the galley.

Lufthansa_A3301

Lufthansa_A3302

Lufthansa_A3303

Bottom line

Be thrilled if you get Lufthansa first class on miles, be it the new product or old product. Be especially thrilled if you get any version of the new product. But for the 1% of you that are planning a Lufthansa award a few days before departure and have a choice between products, those are my opinions.

To those of you that have flown Lufthansa first class, which aircraft’s cabin did you like most?

Comments

  1. says

    Agree 100% about the 744 seat/bed issue.

    It’s actually the same complaint I have about the SQ F seat that has to be ‘converted’ into a bed with mattress, you either are mostly upright or flat and there’s not much lounging really possible.

  2. Charlie says

    I recently flew LH F for the first time and (unfortunately) it was the A330 old F. The seat was decent and the service was great (especially taking care of me with a tight connection) but the entertainment system was terrible. I flew the A330 old Business shortly after that and those TVs were bigger and better than the F version. That is my biggest complaint.

  3. Josh G says

    Lucky,
    Other than the oversized lavs and lack of personal lockers how is the A330/340 product different than 380?

  4. JRL says

    380. You forgot to mention how great the window shade system is on that plane. Awesomely intuitive and gives you both venetian blinds and blackout mode. IMO better implementation than that of the 747-8.

    -JRL

  5. Simon says

    My wife and I have only flown A380 and A330 (old F). Goes without saying, A380 was wonderful (albeit quite tipsy after 6hrs in the FCT!)

  6. Papa Smurf says

    Having done the A380, 747-400, and 747-8 (plus few of the old F), the A380 is hands down the winner. It has the most spacious cabin (helped by the lack of overhead bins), and is by far the most quiet. The two lavs are huge and are up front so no one from the business class can sneak in.

    I spent 20hr in 747-8 F last week (MIA-FRA followed by FRA-HKG) and I actually found it quite disappointing especially when traveling as couple. While the two center seats are isolated from the rest of the cabin, due to the layout they’re slightly tapered off at the feet so they feel smaller than on A380. Also, because of the layout the FA kept bumping the cart into the seat. The cabin is really noisy on take off and landing since you’re basically on top of the front landing gear. For some reason it was super hot in the cabin (hotter than usual) and I think it’s because the two center seats have the worst ventilation. When I tried sitting in one of the side seats I noticed that there are some vents located nearby which help to keep those seats cooler. The center seats don’t have them and feel much warmer. Also because the lavs are located between F and C cabins, the FA kept locking them up to prevent C pax from using them (they’re also much smaller than A380).

    So based on my experience I’d rank LH F in the following order: A380, 747-400, 747-8.

  7. schmerj says

    Just flew LH F for the first time last week. It was the new 747-800, which does indeed have that “new plane” smell :) The hard product is simply spectacular and the crew was sooooo warm and friendly. So unlike the service I experience in Germany. And you guys really weren’t exaggerating about the horrible IFE…I think you have to really put some serious effort into choosing movies THAT horrible.

  8. lovin travel says

    Hi Lucky- what do you do to reduce your carbon foot print with all this first class travel. I’ve bought offsets for travel, except when in and out of UK as they have a carbon tax to cover that, or so I understand. Do you buy the airline offsets or choose your own program? Perhaps a blog running trough the best options would be helpful.

  9. says

    I loved the 747-8 last week. I couldn’t care less about the size of the bathroom and 10 seconds of noise on takeoff and before landing. With the noise canceling headphones on, the 747-8i is just as quiet as every A380 I’ve flown on, and without them, it is still quiet. I’d like to try the A380 out though.

  10. Dan ray says

    Any speculation on which routes from FRA to any US city might open up first class the most? We’re on A380 Business FRA to Houston needing to end up in PDX in 3 weeks.

  11. Sven says

    I actually prefer the Boeing 747-400 with the separate bed.

    Yes I know the screen is small and can’t be moved but with the horrible LH IFE system I never use it anyhow beside for seeing where the plane is.

    The fact that I can have a separate bed from my seat is great and I always manage to get good sleep in those beds. It’s a nice feeling to go from dining seat to bed and back to breakfast seat without having to clean up or make bed.

    Sure it’s excessive but for me it’s the best configuration out there on LH.

    Sure the A380 is great from space and rest rooms but I just like the interim solution they implemented on the 747-400.

    But I think it depends on what you want from a flight.

  12. Ed says

    For Lucky, or really anyone else willing to answer –

    Which of the above products have you:

    a) been provided complimentary
    b) booked with miles
    c) paid the full fare out of pocket?

    I’m just curious if “c” is as uncommon as I think it is, but also, if the favorite is the one you actually paid for vs. comp or award?

  13. concorde02 says

    I tend to agree with Ben that i prefer A380 > 747-8 > 747-400 > A330/A340

    Two more reasons in my ranking factor are the overhead bins and window shades. There is no overhead bin on A380 and a huge closet made it look the best. Overhead bins on 747-8 is curvy so it looks good. The window shades on A380 and 747-8 are also nice. I like these product on A380 more than 747-8 a bit cuz the design is relatively more boxy than something like BA F so it fits better on 380 than the curvy nose cone of 747-8.

    As for 747-400 and A340/330 the overhead bin and small bathroom make it not as nice… for me … plus all other reasons Ben explained. If the overhead bins on 747-400 upstairs are curvy like some carriers, then it looks a bit better. 747-400 is also the only LH F that don’t have the nicer wall paper.

  14. Papa Smurf says

    @lucky BTW, I believe that the lockers for 1A/1K on the A380 are actually at the front of the cabin, aren’t they?

  15. lucky says

    @ Josh G — Differences are:
    — Nicer lavs
    — Much quieter cabin
    — Better entertainment selection
    — Walkway in front of the cabin connecting aisles (rather than only in the galley)
    — Tail camera which is pretty cool to watch
    — Humidifier
    — Lockers

    Definitely subtle differences, but it does make a difference in my opinion.

  16. lucky says

    @ Papa Smurf — I’d definitely agree with you that if traveling with someone else the 747-8 isn’t optimal.

    BTW, if you booked that whole itin on award tickets using Star Alliance miles you should buy a lottery ticket — that’s damn impressive!

  17. lucky says

    @ Dan ray — Generally speaking the routes operated by A330s and A340s are most likely to have award space. The routes out of DUS have a good amount of award space, and the routes from MUC to BOS, ORD, IAD, and CLT have good space, while out of FRA there’s usually good space to DTW, DFW, ATL, SEA, BOS, MCO, YVR, etc.

  18. lucky says

    @ Ed — All my Lufthansa first class segments are on awards. I do think it’s *extremely* rare to find outright paid first class passengers. Based on what I’ve seen, most Lufthansa first class passengers seem to either be on awards or upgrades.

  19. ffi says

    @Ed
    I did old LH F on the 747-400 in 2002 on the 747 on cash (paid bz -free upgrade).
    We have done it mostly as awards since and there is really no difference in the experience in how the crew treats you.
    So, I can’t complain and do not feel the difference is due to the free vs cash when comparing these products.
    One trip due to WX, we were late to FRA and got booked onwards on EK F! (much like Lucky on BA) even though we were on an award.

  20. SparkyinCA says

    I seriously have my fingers crossed to fly SFO>FRA in early November on LH. My understanding is that it will be a 747-400. I’m booked in UA now in F in 2A (747-400). So hoping I can switch a few days or so beforehand.

    Is there a better, more predictable route I should be watching instead with LH? I’m heading to Zurich and then onto Tokyo on LX in C…(then coming back OZ F NRT>ICN>LAX).

    I so want to fit LH F somehow on this trip! I have lots of connection time between my flight from SFO to ZRH to NRT, so I don’t have to go through SFO..I’m using MP miles for this whole RTW trip.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

  21. Papa Smurf says

    @lucky – Yes, it was booked as an award ticket. MIA-FRA-HKG on LH 747-8, then HKG-BKK-FRA on TG A380 and FRA-EWR on LH 747-400 on the return. I could have booked FRA-SIN-HKG instead of the direct FRA-HKG which would have given us the LH A380, but my GF didn’t want to do the extra flying.

    It was great since we got to do Thai FC lounge and the FCT in the same trip except as you know they were out of rubber ducks at the FCT :)

  22. Michael says

    For what it’s worth, folks in my office (I’m in finance…think private equity / hedge fund) often fly F on a full-fare / fully refundable ticket. Right now we have a couple of guys coming home from SYD on QF A380 in F on Sunday…others have similarly done LH and EK F in last two weeks. Certainly don’t personally pay those fares, but people do buy these tickets.

  23. SMK77 says

    It is worth mentioning that half of Lufthansa’s fleet is still flying with ancient-old First Class which is not shown in the hit list above…

  24. Carlos says

    @Lucky

    If you could choose between LH F and LX F, would you still choose LH in a heartbeat or would you be in doubt?

  25. lucky says

    @ SparkyinCA — If you’re willing to connect I’d suggest looking at space out of some US gateways that aren’t United or US Airways hubs, as they generally have better award space on Lufthansa. For example, you’re much more likely to find award space out of Seattle, Vancouver, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, etc.

    Good luck!

  26. lucky says

    @ Carlos — That’s a toughie, they’re both top notch products. I prefer the Swiss inflight experience, though prefer the Lufthansa ground experience. If you’d fly Lufthansa old product I’d go with Swiss. If you’re able to fly Swiss but originate in an airport with a Lufthansa First Class Lounge I’d probably also do Swiss. But if you can fly the Lufthansa 747 or A380 I’d probably go with that given the great onboard experience and ground services.

  27. dan ray says

    surprised today – 7/18 that I found First Class space available from FRA-SEA on the ANA site for two people yet the United site doesn’t show it. I would rather have the new first class but I may book just to be sure I can get in the first class lounge.

  28. Per Thoresson Lund says

    Hi! Great article for us more novice F travelers!

    I have the possibility to fly F next year (OSL-FRA-SFO), and I have the option to choose LX (via ZUR) as well as LH.

    I’m thinking about choosing LH to US, and LX back from US. Would you recommend that, or just choose LH both ways?

  29. says

    @ Per Thoresson Lund — I’d definitely do one airline in each direction. They’re both great airlines, so I’d do Lufthansa departing Europe and Swiss on the way back, ideally.

  30. says

    @ benji — The new business class product is identical regardless of which aircraft you fly. The only question is whether it features the new product or not. All 747-8s and Munich based A330s feature the new business class product, for what it’s worth.

  31. Dan ray says

    Greatly preferred a330 new first class (6 out of 8 seats taken) FRA to SEA compared to 744 Vancouver to FRA (4 out if 8). Liked the more compact cabin. I’m sure great flight crew to SEA compared to Vancouver flight also made a big difference.

  32. patrick says

    Anyone reading this thread know the answer to this –> I have heard that the overhead storage bin is pretty small on the A330 in F. At least smaller than normal and that normal sized carryon bags won’t fit. If that’s the case, what happens to my carry on?

  33. patrick says

    How strict are they on size? Mine is a couple of inches over length maximum and maybe an inch or so over the width.
    Thanks!

  34. says

    @ patrick — Depends where you’re flying out of? Just how big is your bag? If it’s bigger than published size you might have trouble, especially if it’s too long.

  35. says

    @ patrick — Doubt they’d say anything, and would probably be willing to store it in the closet if needed as well.

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