Review: Lufthansa A330 New First Class Seattle to Frankfurt

I’m making a quick trip to Germany this week to visit family, and decided to book Lufthansa first class nonstop out of Seattle:

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Lufthansa A330 in Seattle

I’m often accused of being a Lufthansa cheerleader, and, well, it’s true. You know those 18 year olds that decide to get a tattoo with their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name on it because they were “meant to be together forever and nothing can ever tear them apart?” Yeah, well I’d totally be the guy with an “I Love Lufthansa” tramp stamp. I admit it.

But for the first time I can remember, I’m actually… disappointed in Lufthansa first class.

Lufthansa A330 new first class seat

So I’ve flown Lufthansa’s new first class before. I find it to be an incredibly elegant product. Lufthansa has an identical first class product on the A330-300 as they have on the A340-600, which I flew last year from Munich to Los Angeles.

And for that matter it’s a very similar seat to what they have on the 747-8 and A380.

The only “new” first class product that’s at all different is on the 747-400, which features a seat and bed combination.


Lufthansa 747-400 first class

So while it’s not a fully enclosed suite or anything, the cabin is elegant, the seats spacious, and the bedding top notch.

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Lufthansa A330 first class cabin

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Lufthansa A330 first class seats

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Lufthansa A330 first class bed

My only complaint involves FlyNet, Lufthansa’s in-flight wifi provider. Last time I flew Lufthansa FlyNet was free, since apparently they were having coverage issues.

On this flight they were charging again, which I was fine with since the cost is reasonable. The only issue is that the coverage was absolute garbage, as a vast majority of websites wouldn’t load.

A reasonably good meal in Lufthansa first class

The food was reasonably good by Lufthansa standards, minus the main course.

There was a delicious crab and avocado amuse bouche.

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Lufthansa first class amuse bouche

That was followed by caviar.

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Lufthansa first class caviar

That was followed by an appetizer trio and salad, which were top notch.

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Lufthansa first class appetizer

For the main course I ordered the beef, which was chewy and inedible.

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Lufthansa first class main course

And for dessert I had a delicious chocolate tart with ice cream.

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Lufthansa first class dessert

So overall the food was good.

Disappointing Lufthansa first class service

So I usually rave about Lufthansa first class service, because I usually find the flight attendants to be among the best of any western airline. I find that they usually strike a perfect balance between being attentive, professional, and warm (yes, I realize at least one of those is not a German trait).

This crew was none of the above, unfortunately. I guess the tone was really set by the purser. Without exception on every Lufthansa longhaul flight I’ve taken in first class, the purser comes around to distribute the menu, welcome each passenger aboard, explain we can dine whenever we’d like, etc.

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Lufthansa first class menu

This purser literally just held out the menu for me to take and didn’t say a word. On approach she didn’t come by to see how the flight was, as is the norm. And she was even standing at the door as passengers deplaned and didn’t say a word. Hands down the most indifferent purser I’ve ever had on Lufthansa.

Unfortunately she seemed to set the tone for the first class crew. There were two flight attendants working first class, and I didn’t see either of them smile once. They just really looked like they didn’t want to be there.

It was 90 minutes into the flight before the meal service began, and three hours into the flight before the dinner service was complete. And it’s not even that it took three hours because they were being attentive — glasses were consistently empty.

After dinner service I didn’t see the flight attendants in the cabin once.

Let me be clear — they did absolutely nothing to be actively rude — but they left a lot to be desired. I’m always proud to promote Lufthansa since I do believe they offer a world class product, but this flight left me kind of disappointed as a self proclaimed fanboy.

No more Rimowa amenity kits!

By no means a complaint, but I do feel it’s worth noting that Lufthansa doesn’t seem to be offering Rimowa amenity kits anymore.

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Lufthansa first class pajamas, slippers, and amenity kit

Bottom line on Lufthansa first class

At the end of the day Lufthansa first class is still one of my favorite products. I’ve flown it literally dozens of times and this was definitely the exception rather than the rule. I do believe Lufthansa first class is still the best widely available way to fly between the US and Europe, and all things considered has an edge over Air France (not factoring in their amazing first class lounge in Paris) and British Airways.

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Comments

  1. You should have stopped flying them after the 10th time; eventually everything you think if perfect will disappoint.
    The way I see it; it still surpasses coach in LH, UA or AA by leaps and bounds.
    so First World

  2. Ben,
    I also had the beef on my SFO to FRA last week. Luckily, mine wasn’t chewy. I was also lucky considering the FAs on all my 4 legs in F – but I tend to like the FA that is ‘stuck’ with the food prep more than the FA that is around the cabin all the time.
    On my outbound flight they only had the Rimowa kits for the ladies, on the inbound both ladies and gents got the Bogner kit and the FA said that Rimowas are only handed out 2 months in a year…. ?!? have fun!

  3. that sounds like the good old USA crew we are used to here.

    I hope this caught their attention like that China Southern flight you took recently.

  4. Instead of “I love Lufthansa”, why not a tattoo of the logo? Hypothetically, is it not more stylish?

  5. wow… no more Rimowa? I guess I may change a few flights I have coming up with them…

    I never found the service to be as great as you do… maybe because I don’t speak German? They seem to be keen of serving old overweight German gentlemen… everyone else receives sub-par service.

  6. It just occurred to me that the LCD monitors are 4:3 aspect ratio instead of widescreen format. Find that really odd given that 4:3 screens are virtually obsolete now yet still being installed in an recently upgraded cabin.

  7. I just got off FRA-LAX on the 74H in J. Very excited to fly this bird and I was underwhelmed. The 2-2-2 configuration was just okay (no privacy!) and the seat was uncomfortable.

    The IFE was okay — not many movies, TV was limited except the Big Bang Theory! — and the food was horrible!

    Yet the crew was terrific — helpful, kind, etc.

    Compared to my Turkish Airlines business class seat LAX-IST, there was no contest. I loved Turkish, the catering was top notch, and the seat and IFE superb.

  8. Dude, do you just print miles at home? How is it possible for you to redeem miles for first class tickets almost every week? When you fly on an award ticket you do not make miles so wondering how you “print” miles like there is no tomorrow.

  9. “I do believe Lufthansa first class is still the best widely available way to fly between the US and Europe, and all things considered has an edge over Air France (not factoring in their amazing first class lounge in Paris) and British Airways.”

    LH first is hands down superior to AF and BA first class – they don’t have an “edge, they have largely mastered what it takes to provide consistent first class service on long-haul flights. I have flown LH first countless times, and out of the European carriers that offer a first class product, LH and LX are far and away the best with any consistency. I’ve had precisely one bad experience with LH first, and I chalked it up to having an outlier as an attendant on that one flight. AF is “okay to unacceptable” (Exception: Their CDG lounge), and BA isn’t really “first class” when comparing their hard product to their competitors.

    So while this flight was disappointing, the good news is that you’re likely not to experience such indifference again any time soon with LH F. You may also want to point out your experience to LH as well. Thanks for another great writeup, btw.

  10. About the amenity kits: on my FRA-SEA on 02/22 there was a passenger in the business class cabin who had an issue with his headsets. I am not sure if they ended up fixing it (the crew fussed awhile over it) but I did notice that the FA brought a Rimowa amenity kit to him (i am guessing as a “we are sorry” gesture). So at least a few weeks ago they were available.
    About the food: I had the beef on that same flight and I also thought it was very poorly done.

  11. Ben, this tracks with my last Lufthansa F experience, in which the purser was non-existent through the flight (I actually did complain in the middle of the flight because the empty dinner tray sat at my seat for over an hour until I had to physically get up and carry it to the galley). I feel that it’s extremely hit or miss, am hopeful that our flights in August will be with a better crew.

  12. I used to travel to Russia and Lufthansa provided a great amount of safety and service compared to Russian airlines. Thai is still the case today. What do you plan to do with amenity kits as a wanderer? Gifting?

  13. I’m curious… I’ve got a biz seat SEA-FRA on 29 June and the LH website is telling me it’s on a 340-300 with first class. Is it possible that they’d be switching from the current 330 to a 340 w/first before they switch on 6 Jul to a 340 w/o first?

  14. @ Angel Loro — Have a post coming on that later this week, but I typically only redeem miles for a trip every six weeks or so. Each trip just typically has a lot of flights, and it takes me some time to write up the trip reports, so it seems like more.

  15. Flew SEA-FRA in January and got the Rimowa kit. Mu question is why have they not offered the dark blue sweater consistently? And also, I have flown at times and received the Bogner case in and out of FRA. Why was that also inconsistent?

    I was happy, however, that on my connection from FRA onward on the 744, I was the ONLY passenger in the upper level cabin F.

  16. Am I the only one notices the appetizer shrimps were not deveined, i.e. with the yucky black vein still on?

    The black “lines” are in such a position that they look like veins and not the herbs or seasoning that attached to the shrimp.

    I would be quite disappointed if this is the standard of Luthansa’s F foods.

  17. @ hankydank — Yep, absolutely is possible. The A330-300 and A340-300 have an identical fuselage, so the passenger capacity is the same (the only difference is the cargo capacity). Unfortunately that probably also means it will have the old business and first class, at least as of now.

  18. @ Ken Y. — On overnight flights they have the pajamas (tops and bottoms in separate “packages”), and then on daytime flights they have the sweater with the pajama pants.

    As far as the Bogner case goes, all depends on when you were traveling. That seems to be one of their “standard” amenity kits when they’re not offering Rimowa ones.

  19. We received Rimowa kits on both YVR-FRA (Feb 13 2014 on a 747-800) and FRA-SEA (Feb 21 2014 on A330) Both white. (We also got some on Thai FRA-BKK and back, Both Burgandish/brown)

    We booked with Aeroplan at 14 days before the departure. The FRA-YVR didn’t open up (There were 6 seats taken out of 8 for weeks before and at 14 days nothing was offered) so we booked FRA-SEA.

  20. looks like they are switching back to old first class on April 9. How do I know? That’s the day I booked of course. April 8 shows new first class. May try to get the flight out of Vancouver which apparently has the new.

  21. I think you’re being overly generous by describing the meal as good if they served such a dire main course! I’m not fussed about the amouse bouche, I want a decent main course! 🙂 Dreadful CS from the purser too, definitely not a premium experience.

  22. Burning question is how you acquired so many Lifemiles? And aren’t they higher than Aeroplan? Sitting at SFO looking for 2/6 future SFO-FRA or SFO-MUC and plotting AS/Starwood or AC/AMEX or LH/Barclay miles direct? Hadn’t even thought of Lifemiles or how to get them?

  23. @ JustSaying — Lifemiles are frequently on sale for 1.5 cents each, either through a buy or transfer miles promo. The benefit of Lifemiles is that they don’t impose fuel surcharges for redemptions on Lufthansa.

    Unfortunately at this very moment they’re not offering any bonus on the purchase or transfer of Lifemiles.

  24. The food looks amazing. The beef looks awesome too. I would have eaten that in a second. I find it hard to believe it was inedible. Looks super good to me.

  25. I had the opposite experience on LH 490/LH491 this weekend. The crews were just wonderful. The purser on the way to SEA was very talkative and friendly and the attention from the C/A was just perfect and they smiled all the time. BTW, I did get the Rimowa pack on the first leg. All in all a perfect experience!

  26. Late to to the party on commenting on LH F, but after reading review after review about LH First I finally was able to fly LH F. Montreal to Munich and Munich to Toronto.

    As someone who had never flown international first class before, this turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences ever. Though my (and my wife’s) expectations were high, what transpired was even better than all the hype. Every person we encountered on the flight was great. I could go on and on but it’s all been said.

    I am truly spoiled for life now.

    As a side note, on our Munich to Toronto flight, there was one other couple on the flight. They were in the front, right two seats and we were in the back, left two seat. Thanks goodness. The women of the other couple was loud and obnoxious, physically hanging on to every FA she chatted with. It was so bad that the FAs and the Purser apologized more than once for that women’s behavior. The Purser even said she would ask her to tone it down if we were being bothered. And upon landing, this women even got out of her seat WAY before the plane was at the gate and some male crew member, over the PA system, told her to sit down.

  27. Hi, just read this posting. Flew Newark to Frankfurt on Lufthansa First around the middle of March,the service wasn’t exactly as expected from a top notch airline. Service was ok, didn’t get the warm welcome from Asian Airlines,the flat bed with double straps looks like a hospital bed from an asylum. The appetizer and champagne were good, main course was ok……. A piece of ceiling on the plane fell off midway through the trip—-nothing alarming but something one don’t expect from First Class cabin. The most disappointing part was that they gave out Bogner amenity kit instead of Rimowa which they advertised on their website for First Class. I must say their First Class Lounge in Frankfurt blew my mind away—-it make up for the entire First Class Experience !!!! Don’t hv yr fancy Duck but got a regular one which is great !!!!

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