Review: Lufthansa First Class Munich to Los Angeles

Introduction
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Lufthansa First Class Vancouver to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa Business Class Munich to Budapest
Hilton Budapest
Platinum Lounge Budapest
Lufthansa Business Class Budapest to Munich
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Munich
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Air Berlin Economy Class Catania to Munich
Sheraton Munich Airport
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Los Angeles


Lufthansa 452
Munich (MUC) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, May 28
Depart: 3:55PM
Arrive: 7:15PM
Duration: 12hr20min
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Seat: 2G (First Class)

When it comes to award availability, Munich to Los Angeles is just about the holy grail of routes, given that it’s almost never available for award redemptions. So I was kind of excited about finally flying this route up front.

We further lucked out given that we had the new first class product, which a bit over half of the A340-600s in Munich seem to have. The cabin is virtually identical to the one on the A330-300 we had on the outbound, so I’ll limit the cabin pictures.

I have high expectations of service in Lufthansa first class, though I could tell immediately this was an exceptional crew.

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My seat, 2G

Once settled in we were offered pre-departure beverages. I ordered champagne and water, which were accompanied by macadamia nuts. My champagne glass never got more than half empty, which I find rare for pre-departure service.

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Pre-departure champagne and water

I was then offered pajamas, slippers, and an amenity kit.

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Pajamas, slippers, and amenity kit

The boarding process was efficient, and within about 20 minutes boarding was complete, despite a full flight.

There were three other passengers in first class, and they were all rather interesting, to put it mildly. Seated across from me in 2K was a 20-something LA hipster/broheim who was wearing big headphones and having a conversation on the phone about how he was looking forward to having  a “jam sesh” when he gets back home.

Seated in front of us in 1D & 1G was an older couple (well, at least the husband was a bit older). During boarding they were rather thrilled to find out the flight had wifi. They mentioned to the flight attendant that they were excited about that since their outbound flight didn’t have wifi. The flight attendant asked what plane they flew on the way out, and they said “oh, private.” Well of course. I actually Googled the guy after the flight and found out he has been a pretty high up executive at many major companies, including a major airline that’s no longer in existence and that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their baby after.

Before departure the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 11hr25min, which was almost an hour under our block time, so he predicted we’d be landing in LA about 30 minutes early.

Our taxi to the runway was quick, and once there we were number two for takeoff behind a bmi regional plane.

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They’re alive!

I’ve gotta be honest, the A340-600 scares the $&^% out of me during takeoff. While it’s a much more powerful aircraft than the A340-300, it has some of the most gradual climbs of any plane out there… at least it feels that way.

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Airshow after takeoff

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Airshow after takeoff

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Airshow after takeoff

About 10 minutes after takeoff the two first class flight attendants began setting up the bar up front, while the purser came around the cabin to distribute the menus and welcome everyone aboard.

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Cabin after takeoff

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Menu and wine list

Service began, as usual, with a warm, scented towel followed by the amuse bouche.

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Warm towel

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Amuse bouche

The lunch menu read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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Lastly, the drink list read as follows:

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Tables were set using the new setup, which includes the individual salt and pepper shakers and olive oil. The bread basket had both garlic bread and pretzel bread, so I was on cloud nine.

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Table setup

And as is usually the case ex-Germany, the butter was even stamped with “First Class” on it — I’d expect no less, of course!

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Butter with class

As I said earlier, the flight attendant working the aisle was particularly spectacular, and addressed me by name at every interaction with a smile. She first came around with caviar and insisted that be served before the appetizers so that my tray doesn’t get too full, while most of the time it’s served together.

She offered me a generous portion of caviar with all the trimmings.

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Caviar

Next she came through the cabin with the appetizer cart, from which I selected salad and tomato and mozzarella.

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Salad and tomato and mozzarella

Meanwhile my friend had all the appetizers.

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Full set of appetizers

The next course was some sorbet.

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Sorbet

And then for the main course I selected asparagus with hollandaise sauce, parsley potatoes, and ham. It was actually tasty, even though the portion was probably four times bigger than it needed to be.

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Asparagus main course

Next the cheese and dessert cart was rolled around.

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Cheese and dessert cart

I selected the mousse and ice cream with strawberry dessert, which was really great.

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Cream cheese mousse and ice cream on rhubarb ragout with strawberries

Meanwhile my friend had the white chocolate and pineapple crumble, which he enjoyed as well.

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Toasted white chocolate, pickled pineapple, and curry crumble

I also had a bit of cheese to finish off the meal, along with a glass of Bailey’s.

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Cheese and Bailey’s

Lastly I was offered some pralines.

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Pralines

The service throughout the meal was truly exceptional, and the flight attendant was a gem among gems. After lunch I requested turndown service, which was promptly taken care of.

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Turndown service

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Turndown service

This flight featured wifi, so once in the comfortable fully reclined position I decided to get caught up on a bit of work. Wifi for the entire flight costs €20, which seems like a pretty good deal. I worked for a c0uple of hours, and about halfway through the flight decided to go to sleep.

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In bed position

I woke up a bit over 90 minutes out of Los Angeles, shortly before the pre-arrival meal service began.

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Airshow upon waking up

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Airshow upon waking up

After changing out of my pajamas the meal service began. The menu read as follows:

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I love how Lufthansa names things, including this menu. It’s simply called “Mexico.” The flight attendant rolled around the cart so the service was buffet style, where you could point at what you wanted and it would be plated for you.

I chose all the cold options, which included bell pepper and tuna with creamy pine nut sauce, a wrap with prawns, guac, and tortilla chips,

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Cold specialties

I wasn’t especially hungry so skipped the hot option, though my friend had the poulard wrapped in bamboo leaf.

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Poulard in bamboo leaf

For dessert was a chili flavored chocolate tart, and I had a coffee along with it. I know I’m unsophisticated and will be called all kinds of names for saying this, but chili flavored desserts are just about the only ones in the world I don’t like.

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Dessert

As we began our descent the purser once again passed through the cabin to thank each passenger for flying Lufthansa. Our descent was smooth and direct, and we touched down at LAX on runway 24R about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. That translated to a pretty long taxi to the gate, though we were still early. While immigration queues were long, thanks to Global Entry we were through in a matter of minutes.

This was an extremely pleasant flight, possibly one of my best yet with Lufthansa.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned, because I have several reports I’ll be blasting through in the coming weeks.

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Comments

  1. In a dialogue of bell pepper and tuna, what do they really talk about? Something juicy, I bet.

  2. I dont understand LH, they spend so much money on Porsches, FCT, ground catering but charge 20E for wifi to FC passengers? That is odd….

  3. @ Jorge — FWIW I can’t think of any airline that offers premium cabin passengers free wifi. Keep in mind that it’s offered by an outside company and not Lufthansa directly, so they’d be paying directly for it, I assume. Agree it would be a nice addition, though.

  4. Etihad offers semi-free wifi in F. They give each passenger a card with a login code and I think 50MB of access, after which you can buy more. On a recent flight though, they gave me an extra card after I used up my free allotment.

  5. I recently flew the same route in F on the A346 and agree it packs one helluva punch on takeoff! Whilst Lufthansa (F) offers a fantastic soft product, I personally can’t look past Qantas (F). Their seven-course tasting menu is exceptional – by far the best I’ve had in the air.

  6. What’s your secret? I flew 2 LH F flights in the A380 recently. On both flights, service was poor, crew not motivated, food was disgusting. I was not impressed at all.

  7. @rafl I bet his secret is beeing a fanboy.

    But seriously, everyone has their own preferences of service, food style, seating,…
    Maybe you like other things than lucky does.

    Me personally, I can get overly exited of a good economy seat. Meanwhile flying (real) Business intra-europe is just “ok”, because of high expectations. This all can result in different experiences with an airline.

  8. Ben – do you copy and paste the flight headers from somewhere, or do you manually type them in? In this case:

    Lufthansa 452
    Munich (MUC) – Los Angeles (LAX)
    Tuesday, May 28
    Depart: 3:55PM
    Arrive: 7:15PM
    Duration: 12hr20min
    Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
    Seat: 2G (First Class)

  9. @ralf – the secret is luck! I’ve flown LH F 4 times, and had 3 exceptional crews and one so-so crew. I found the food to be quite creative, but it just didn’t always “work”. I think the three main reasons are (1) the food is prepared far in advance; it’s not like a restaurant where it’s freshly prepared; (2) things taste different in thin dry air, and (3) FAs, not real cooks, prepare and plate the meals.

    When everything works, F meals can be exceptional, but there’s almost always some element missing.

  10. @ ralf — Hah, wish there were a “secret,” but out of dozens of longhaul first class flights on Lufthansa, they’ve almost all been exceptional. I don’t know, some say it’s cultural and that only Germans can appreciate the service, though I don’t really think that’s the case.

    Maybe try one more time? :p

  11. @ Jonathan — Right, though to to the best of my knowledge that’s on a promotional basis as they work on installing it throughout their longhaul fleet. I don’t think that’s their long term plan.

    And I actually really hope that they start charging for wifi, because Turkish had the slowest wifi I’ve ever experienced on any airline.

  12. Nice report, seems like a very pleasant flight. Love LH in F and their food is exceptional (I know many Americans do not like it because all they want is a steak and a Sundae with all the trimmings…) but I do love their gourmet menu. I am disappointed with the winelist. Their Taittinger Champagne retails at about 50USD a bottle I believe, if you consider that QF serves the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc des Blanc in F this is poor (retail around 150USD – I know, price does not always mean it is good). Also their wines seem to be average, nothing stands out. On a whole I think LH is one of the best carriers out there in F (together with QF, NH and EK).

  13. @KG that’s not gourmet, and it’s not always necessarily good. It’s just weird. From other trips Lucky has taken, we’ve seen both Asiana and Swiss offer sophisticated food that isn’t a weird mash that LH seems to enjoy offering. LH’s catering seems to be done by someone who isn’t a chef, but thinks they are one because they watch Top Chef or something.

    Lucky, did it at least taste good? Yo

  14. I flew LH F twice in May and was wondering what the ‘service upgrades’ were…I actually like having caviar as a separate course, but I do miss the stacked apps.

    Oh, also, I thought that the white asparagus wasn’t especially good, though I can agree that the quantity was completely unnecessary.

  15. @ Sean — I don’t think they’re necessarily “upgrades,” but changes are that there’s now a single menu, appetizers are plated differently, they added salt & pepper shakers, etc.

  16. The stacked appetizers, while fancy looking, were not particularly practical. I actually like the new setup better and you’re getting about the same amount of food. The combined wine/food menu is more practical as well and the new salt & pepper shakers are nicer. In my opinion it’s a good change.

  17. @ wwk5d – I don’t think anyone that watches Top Chef would plate potatoes & white asparagus in those proportions 🙂

  18. Lucky,
    you know, white asparagus is a “holy meal” in Germany. And 500g is considered a normal size per person. So your one just looks avarage for a German stomach. 🙂

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