Review: Lufthansa First Class Houston to Frankfurt

Introduction
Executive Club Houston Airport
Lufthansa First Class Houston to Frankfurt
Getting paid $150/hour to sit in the First Class Lounge
Sheraton Salzburg
InterContinental Berchtesgaden
The Hotel Brussels
Hilton Frankfurt Airport
Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt to Miami
Dad’s Thoughts


Lufthansa 441
Houston (IAH) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Monday, September 16
Depart: 4:10PM
Arrive: 9:00AM (+1 day)
Duration: 9hr50min
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2D (First Class)

Upon boarding through the upper deck jet bridge we were greeted by the purser and one of the first class flight attendants, who escorted us to our seats in row two.

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First class cabin

I quickly settled into my seat, 2D.

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My seat, 2D

As soon as we were settled in the two first class flight attendants, Florian and Julius, welcomed us aboard and offered us some drinks. They were both in their early 20s, so by far the youngest crew I’ve ever had in Lufthansa first class.

My dad and I both ordered champagne, which were served with some heavily salted almonds.

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Champagne and almonds

Shortly thereafter we were offered amenity kits, slippers, and pajamas.

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Amenity kit, slippers, and pajamas

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Pajamas and slippers

As soon as we were settled in I showed my dad the two lavatories located at the front of the cabin, the only ones in the sky with urinals — definitely among the top five airplane bathrooms in the world. 😉

He was impressed, having not flown Lufthansa first class in decades and also not having flown the A380 yet.

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First class lavatory

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First class lavatory

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First class lavatory

We settled back into our seats, and within a few minutes the captain came by to welcome us aboard. It’s always a nice touch, though am I the only one that finds the interactions with the captain to be consistently awkward?

As our departure time approached two other first class passengers boarded, seated in 1A and 2A. One of the flight attendants asked 2A if he wanted to move to 1K so that the privacy could be maximized for everyone, which he gladly took him up on.

Shortly before pushback the captain came on the PA to make his welcome aboard announcement and inform us of our flight time of 8hr55min. We ended up pushing back about 15 minutes late, and then had a fairly long taxi to our departure runway, 15L. The good thing about long taxis on the A380 is how fun it is to watch the tail camera.

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Cabin view

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Tail camera short of the runway

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Tail camera taxiing into position on the runway

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Tail camera shortly after takeoff

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Tail camera after takeoff

My dad was amazed by how quiet the A380 is during takeoff.

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Cabin after takeoff

About 15 minutes after takeoff the purser made the rounds in the first class cabin to welcome everyone aboard and distribute menus.

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Menus

In the meantime Julius started serving beverages and hot towels, followed by the amuse bouche, which consisted of crab, avocado, and cucumber.

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Diet Coke and hot towel

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Amuse bouche

After that the dinner service began. The menu read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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I had ordered an Asian vegetarian meal for the flight, though the crew explained the cabin was catered for eight passengers plus my meal, so insisted they bring out the other options for me as well so I can choose what I like most with each course. And while I’ll cover it more later, suffice to say the service from both flight attendants was phenomenal. My dad said it was the best service he has ever received on any airline, as they were incredibly attentive without being overbearing, and actually seemed to love what they were doing.

The meal service began with the caviar cart being rolled around. Rather than putting both the caviar and appetizers on one cart they did it as two separate services.

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Caviar

Next the appetizer cart was rolled around, and while the Asian vegetarian appetizer looked fine, the other three appetizers looked even better, so I selected them instead. They consisted of green papaya salad with shrimp, pink peppercorn beef, and vegetables. I also had a salad. Everything was great.

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Appetizers and salad

At the beginning of the meal the crew asked me which main course looked best to me from the regular menu, as they insisted on heating it up as well. So they brought me out two main courses — my Indian dish and the pappardelle with shrimp and red curry sauce. Both were delicious, though I ended up eating the Indian dish and just eating the prawns from the other dish.

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Indian vegetarian main course

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Pappardelle with shrimp and red curry sauce

Meanwhile my dad had the seared pork, which he loved.

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Seared pork

For dessert I had a chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream.

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Chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream

My dad skipped dessert and ordered a cheese plate instead.

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Cheese plate

To finish off the meal I ordered a cappuccino, and was offered a selection of pralines to go along with it.

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Cappuccino and pralines

I can’t stress enough how fantastic the crew was, and how much my dad loved the flight. The meal service was at a leisurely pace, and we more or less had the crew to ourselves. 1K went to sleep almost immediately after takeoff, while 1A was a mighty odd yet badass fellow. He had both Global Services and Concierge Key tags on his bag. During the meal service he requested nonfat milk so he could make a “shake,” which is fair enough. The bizarre part was that he did some of the most extravagant “Shake Weight” style shaking of the bottle I’ve ever seen for at least 10 minutes, and then downed the drink in less than 30 seconds.

As the meal service was finishing up a couple of interesting things happened. First of all, someone from coach came up the stairs to the upper deck and climbed under the barrier to try and use the lavatory. As it turns out he was trying to smoke, and the way the crew handled it was nothing of SWAT Team-esque. They opened the lavatory within seconds and sent him packing.

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Upper deck barrier

Next, the purser came up to us to inform us that another passenger was being upgraded midflight and would take seat 2K. She explained that his entertainment system wasn’t working and there weren’t any spare business class seats. That’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed a mid-flight upgrade.

Anyway, after dinner I was about ready to go to sleep, and suggested to my dad that he have his bed made. However, he wasn’t having any of it, and said he was having too much fun to sleep. I tried to explain to him that sleeping in a flat bed with amazing bedding is part of the fun, but he far preferred just sitting there and enjoying (what he called) the “ambiance” of the cabin.

I had my bed made immediately, while one of the first class flight attendants offered to give my dad a tour of the plane, which he enthusiastically accepted.

As usual, I slept very well given the excellent bedding, though woke up about three hours before arrival. I guess I just wasn’t that tired, given the early departure out of Houston.

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Turndown service

When I woke up I watched some TV shows on my iPad, and about 90 minutes out of Frankfurt breakfast service began. The menu read as follows:

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Service began with orange juice and a hot towel. I ordered a cappuccino as well.

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Orange juice and hot towel

My dad was still asleep when the breakfast service initially began (so much for not wanting to sleep!). Florian rolled around with a cart consisting of all the cold options. I had some salmon, a roll, and muesli.

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Salmon and muesli

Then for the main course I had scrambled eggs, which Lufthansa does a fantastic job preparing aboard.

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Scrambled eggs

When my dad woke up I asked him if he wanted breakfast — “Benny, zhere is no vay I can have anozer bite to eat. I’m still zo vull!”

They still tried to tempt him by bringing around the cart, and sure enough he (mildly) went to town.

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Dad’s breakfast

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Airshow during breakfast

About 30 minutes out we began our descent, and I switched to seat 2A to watch the views on approach.

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View from 2A

Rather than landing into the east we had to fly past the airport and turn around to land into the west, which added to our flight time a bit.

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Okay, maybe I used an Instagram filter…

We touched down on runway 25L about 30 minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival time.

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View on short final

Unfortunately the taxi to the gate took (seemingly) forever. First we had to hold short of runway 25R for over five minutes as we waited for a few planes to take off.

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Taxiing off the runway

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Crossing 25R

And then it was another 15 minutes or so before we reached our gate, A66. I never mind a long taxi in Frankfurt, though, since I find the variety of airlines and airplanes there to be utterly fascinating.

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Taxiing to the gate

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Lufthansa 747

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At our gate

This flight was simply phenomenal. The crew was probably the best I’ve ever had on Lufthansa, the food was top notch (I’m almost suspicious that Austrian put their business class catering on our flight based on the quality), and my dad was a pretty damn fun travel companion.

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Comments

  1. Great report so far!

    If you have the chance, could you post some notes on the FRA-SZG and vv flights? If I understand correctly, they are OS metal and crew but LH service standards?

  2. I’m curious, why did you order the asian vegetarian meal? To have a safe option in case the mains were all too strange?

  3. IAH represent!

    If only terminal D wasn’t so horrible…

    It’s my experience that F&C are always more or less full on that flight

  4. @ work2fly — Yep, I’ll post that as part of the next installment. So it’s “full” Austrian service with Austrian crews and planes, it’s just marketed exclusively by Lufthansa.

  5. @ BrewerSEA — Well I find Lufthansa first class food to typically be pretty disappointing, and at the same time have never come across an Indian vegetarian dish I didn’t like. A friend that frequently flies Lufthansa says he always orders Asian vegetarian meals and really likes them, so figured I’d give it a shot.

  6. Hi Lucky,
    I’m sorry if this has been asked before, but how do you use your camera/iPhone during taxi and takeoff/climb out?

  7. Almonds? What happened to the macadamia nuts?

    Also, what exactly does the delicious Dressing (they kept that but rid of the macadamia nuts?) taste like? Is it just a regular vinaigrette with a fancy name?

  8. Hi Lucky,
    Noticed that the amenity kit wasn’t Rimowa. Did they run out? Or, are they using up their Bognar’s first? Or, are Rimowa only designated for specific flights?

  9. How did the f/as handle the secret smoker? Were there raised voices? Could you smell the smoke in the cabin? Did the alarm go off that you could hear? Did the f/as run through the cabin? I’ve never been on a flight (since the smoking bans) where someone has attempted to smoke anyway.

  10. Lucky
    Just tried Austrian last month based on your review alone.
    Terribly slow service – very disappointed.
    Almost at other end of the pond by the time they finished.
    We need timers on meal service added to the links on your blog.
    The menu is fine, how long do they take, what temperature … etc etc
    🙂

  11. You had all three appetizers + a salad. From the way the menu is written it looks like you are supposed to just choose one. Did you have all of them because the flight was catered for 8, but only carrying 4? Or is it normal to choose several appetizers? I’m just asking, because I would want them all too, and wondering how you ask without sounding like a huge glutton.

  12. Jamie, I’m on this flight all the time, they bring you all the appetizers on one long plate. It’s the default.

  13. How did you always get into the cabin before everyone else? I could never be early so that I can take more pictures of the cabin when no one stars at me. lol

  14. I’m not fan of of the new PJ’s with the buttons on the front. the old ones were much better! Lucky, what did you think of them?

    Also seems that the Bogner kits are std. now for LH. I haven’t had a Rimowa in a long time.

    @PDXFTW – No one cares if you take pics. on international carriers in F or C/J. Only stupid N american crews – esp. UA/CO IME…

    @Jamie – They usually want to you to take more than one – at least they always insist the times I’ve been in LH F.

  15. @ wwk5d — Unfortunately they seem to be doing almonds nowadays, I’ve noticed it as of a few months ago. I miss the macadamia nuts as well.

    As far as the “delicious dressing” goes, in my experience it’s some sort of yogurt style dressing. I usually skip it.

  16. @ Andy — I don’t believe Lufthansa is doing Rimowa kits right now. I know they were doing them for a limited time, though don’t think it’s going on anymore. Maybe they’ll bring them back in the future.

  17. @ TravelinWilly — So I don’t think he actually smoked, but rather they suspected he was trying to. The first class flight attendants got a call in the galley from the lower deck so I’m guessing the flight attendants down there had some information. They knocked loudly on the door and after a few seconds manually unlocked it.

  18. @ Jamie — Have almost always proactively been offered as many as I’d like. Definitely standard for people to choose them all, so nothing to worry about!

  19. @ frank — Hah, I’m just really fast. Always try to be there a few minutes before boarding starts and be the first aboard so I can get a couple of pictures. Works out well sometimes, other times it doesn’t.

  20. @ Stephan — Totally agree, have never loved Lufthansa’s pajamas, and especially don’t like the button down ones. I just wore the pajama pants and put on a t-shirt I had.

  21. Hi Ben
    A few months ago you wrote a pice about LH starting a escort service for F pax. Is that in place yet? And if it is, did you receive it in FRA?

    Thanks, rob

  22. That’s amazing your flight attendants were in their early 20s and already working in first class cabin! Wow! Quite impressive. I recall you stating in one of your past posts that LH does its catering in groups of 4. If there were only 4 passengers in First Class, why do you think they had catering available for 8?

  23. Lucky,
    Great report. I’ve been reading all these lufthansa first reviews lately. Lufthansa First is almost like that celebrity that you feel like you know even thought you really dont. Happy to say that after learning about miles last summer, and hoarding 500,000 miles in that period, my wife and I are traveling IAD to MUC in Lufthansa First tomorrow. Could not have accomplished it without all your insights. Thanks.

  24. @ Ary — Awesome, so happy to hear! Hope you have a great trip, and please report back on your experience. 🙂

  25. @ Joey — If I’m not mistaken Lufthansa has actually changed that policy a bit and no longer does it exclusively in groups of four. That’s not to say they fully cater flights they don’t expect to be full, though.

    My guess is they expected there would be several upgrades day of, either because business was originally oversold or they expected people to upgrade day of.

  26. Now I’m really confused – I thought the Maybach and Porsche first class escorts from planeside to the FC terminal were in DUS and FRA??

  27. @ Jason — Only if you arrive at a remote stand, and it’s a First Class Lounge and not the First Class Terminal. And don’t believe they have any Maybachs.

  28. Sounds like an awesome experience (minus the wannabe smoker situation). In case any one wants to repeat it, United.com shows F space on 10/21.

  29. Wow! That sounds like a wonderful flight and a great way to introduce your Dad to the A380. Yes, I remember that taxi times at Frankfurt can be looong. Please also remember that taxiing an A380 is a major chore for everyone. Even at the largest airports, those that see multiple A380s every day, it is still disruptive. Not all taxiways will accommodate that airplane and when she moves, other traffic is often forced to freeze in place until she passes.
    Nice to hear that you got such a wonderful crew. My 35+ year’s experience with LH included both the best -and the worst – of in-flight service and in all classes. I think they have improved their general attitude a lot in the last ten years. Great report, ‘Benny.’

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