Amazing Lufthansa First Class Service & Baggage Handling!

On Monday I flew home from Munich to Washington Dulles in Lufthansa first class. I was originally going to fly home on airberlin in their new business class, but due to a lack of hotel availability in Dusseldorf ended up canceling and booking Lufthansa instead.

So yeah, not asking for much sympathy having switched from airberlin business class to Lufthansa first class.

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Lufthansa A330 new first class

An amazing flight in a private first class cabin

Now even though Tiffany might disagree with me, I’d argue just about every Lufthansa first class flight is fantastic. 😉

But Monday’s flight was especially fantastic, with some of the best service I’ve ever had.

Upfront I should say that there’s nothing quite like having a completely private first class cabin. I’ve flown well over a hundred segments in international first class, and nothing gets me quite as giddy as having the entire cabin to myself, which has happened to me a half dozen times over the years.

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Private Lufthansa first class cabin

I had two flight attendants, six bottles of champagne, and two bathrooms all to myself (lemme tell you, maximizing one of those without maximizing the other(s) is a challenging task!).

And of course I had virtually unlimited caviar as well, which is a blessing, since Lufthansa’s menus out of Germany leave a lot to be desired.

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“More caviar, Sir?”

Lufthansa has the unique ability to make dessert sound unappealing. I swear they’re on my mother’s payroll…

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Lufthansa dessert menu

Like, does anyone wake up in the morning and say “man, I could really go for some whisky mascarpone cream with… confit of green tomato and pineapple?” Didn’t think so!

But back to the other aspects of Lufthansa, which rock. Both of the flight attendants working first class were just top notch.

Since I was awake the whole flight, the crew literally checked on me every ten minutes all the way across the Atlantic. They didn’t just walk by, but every time said something along the lines of “Herr Schlappig, kann ich ihn noch etwas Gutes tun?” (literally translated “can I do anything else good for you?”) or “Womit kann ich ihnen Freude bringen?” (“with what could I bring you joy?”).

It was just an all around spectacular flight, and I’ll have a full trip report soon.

Lufthansa’s FlyNet wifi working better than ever before

One thing that really sets Lufthansa apart from the competition is FlyNet wifi. Forget all the other “fluffy” airline amenities — being able to stay connected on a transatlantic flight is invaluable. And I have to say that FlyNet wifi was extremely fast on this flight, the fastest I’ve ever experienced. I know earlier in the year they were doing some repairs on the network (which caused it to be free for a couple of months), and it seems those repairs worked. The wifi was faster than what you’d get on GoGo, and there were no service interruptions.

Lufthansa’s amazing ground handling at Washington Dulles

What impressed me most was the ground handling at Washington Dulles. Last November Lufthansa improved their ground service at Washington Dulles for first class passengers and HON Circle members. When you land at Dulles you ordinarily have to take the mobile lounge/people mover/moon buggy to immigration, which is a bit of a buzzkill after a long flight.

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Dulles people mover (on the right)

Last November they added a separate party bus of sorts, which drives first class passengers across the tarmac to immigration.

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Private bus to immigration

So as I deplaned I was met by an agent that had a sign with my name on it. She escorted me down the bridge to an elevator, which took us down to the tarmac, where I boarded a bus to immigration.

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Lufthansa A330 upon arrival

On the ride to immigration the awesome Lufthansa agent confirmed that my checked bag was on the flight and should be at baggage claim in less than five minutes.

HUH?! I stopped her mid-sentence — “wait, you’re telling me that my checked bag off an international flight will be at baggage claim in less than five minutes?” “Hopefully even faster than that,” she responded. There aren’t many things that truly catch me by surprise, but this did. So I said the first thing that popped to my mind — “I don’t believe you, that just can’t be.” She smirked, and said “we’ll see.”

She explained that at Washington Dulles the Lufthansa station manager personally grabs the first class bags and drives them across the tarmac to baggage claim. I completed Global Entry, and as soon as that was complete the Lufthansa agent escorting me radioed the station manager and told him to drop the bags off at Belt 4. Within less than a minute my checked bags had arrived.

All-in-all I was curbside after an international arrival at Dulles with checked bags seven minutes after the aircraft door opened. I was so impressed I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was speechless.

Bottom line

First class products have improved a ton over the past decade, and there’s no doubt airlines are trying to add gimmicks to differentiate themselves. While I thought I had seen it all as far as international first class service goes, this impressed me more than just about anything else. At the end of the day if you can save 30 minutes on your arrival that’s more valuable than whether the airline offers caviar or serves a good champagne (though coincidentally in the case of Lufthansa, they do both).

Seriously, between international wifi and service like this, I really do think Lufthansa offers one of the best first class products in the world.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Maybe its a stupid question but what’s inside the yellow pouch on the plate with the caviar? thanks

  2. right, but once again, you DO speak German really well. most of us are not as proficient as you… hence we do receive sub-par service.

  3. I agree that baggage transfer is awesome. How many miles did you need for the redemption?

  4. “With what could I bring you joy” … rolling my eyes… not really sure what to say about that one. Maybe you need to get out and see more of the world beyond the first class cabin (I say this with a smile, because I hope you can find joy in more normal things.) Keep up the interesting reports, they are great entertainment for those of us living at ground level.

  5. @David, that’s a lemon. The netting is so that when you squeeze it the juice and seeds don’t fly everywhere.

  6. I was on the FRA-IAD flight not too long ago and also had a great experience with ground services at IAD. Loved the bus ride to immigration. Definitely not as good as hitching a ride in a Mercedes or Porsche, but infinitely better than the moon buggy.

    But my bag apparently never made it on to the plane. I was given $200 in AMEX travelers checks by Lufthansa baggage services (very professional and apologetic) and the bag was hand delivered to where I was staying the next day. Can’t complain!

  7. Lufthansa never ceases to impress! Your ground handling / baggage experience seems to imply that there tends to be alot of extra service that goes on “behind the scenes” that we may not always be aware of. When we landed at ORD in January at the height of the “Polar Vortex” after clearing customs we were told that it would take 2-2.5 hours for us to get our bags because of equipment freezing, etc. However, the bags from our Lufthansa flight came out after only 20 minutes! Seems like this is an airline that really has its act together.

  8. I flew FRA-IAD in Lufthansa first class in January of this year. We were met by a LH rep holding a first class passengers sign right outside the plane. They just held us up for a minute, creating a traffic jam – and then led us on the big mobile bus. Not sure why our flight did not get a private ride, but it was pretty disappointing – along with several other aspects of the LH first class experience.

  9. Does Lufthansa not upgrade passengers with status? I’m surprised first class cabin went completely empty and that they didn’t upgrade any of the passengers with status.

  10. @lucky

    That’s a great redemption, assuming the YQ isn’t bad. Was there much of a fuel surcharge?

  11. @lucky on your next trip on LH F, can you try to only speak English to the FAs and compare the level of service with the other times when you speak in German to them? Thanks!

  12. I flew LH and i think its highly overrated. I noticed they are kinda stuck up to non-white ppl

  13. @David When I had it for the first time, I thought there was more caviar in the yehllow pouch so I opened it. It was a little embarrassing.

  14. I agree that ground services can really make the difference and worth the extra $$ over Business class. Contrast this with what BA makes you put up with at Heathrow when flying in First. The Concorde room doesn’t make up for community buses from plane to gate then between T3 and T5.

  15. Count me in the camp that loves LH F. I am an Asian male that does speak some German and I always find the service impeccable whether I elect to practice my German (which I’m sure some of the FAs find amusing) or interact in English. I’ve always been impressed with how consistently fast HON tagged bags arrive at the belt, be it YYZ, JFK, NRT or ICN.

    I was just a little bit disappointed on a recent LH F flight from FRA-ICN in a full cabin, they only had a sign up for 2 passengers (who I knew were HON pax in the F cabin.) In the end, I do think they still had to queue at immigration like everyone else anyways. The rest of the flight was spectacular and some of the best sleep I’ve ever had (and I now prefer the 74H to 744 product!)

  16. Ha, it was in LH F that I discovered that I really don’t like caviar.

    I have to say though, Ben, that almost the only flying experience (except for a private jet) that could beat yours is being the only customer on the upper deck of LH’s 747. My family and I did that a couple of years ago… and lucked out with the version with separate beds to boot. It was amazing. I still love showing people picture from the flight and watching their jaws drop: “you got a BED???!!”

  17. “I really do think Lufthansa offers one of the best first class products in the world.” — Lucky, I’m glad to see that you now agree w/ Tiffany that Lufthansa offers only “ONE of the best” products, and not THE best!

  18. @Luis: Are you kidding, right? Which airline do you know that upgrades elite members on international flights from coach to business or from business to first just because they are elite? None that I know. I was upgraded many times as being elite but just because the class of services I was booked was oversold so I was first in line for upgrade. I’ve seen many times airlines flying with empty first class and almost empty business class but they never upgrade elite members just to fill those up.

  19. @ Luis — They don’t. Senator/HON Circle members get a limited number of upgrade certificates they can use, but they don’t do complimentary upgrades otherwise.

  20. You’re so Lucky!!!
    In my 6 LH F flights I hab 8/8 pax on 5 of them and just one with 3/8, which incidentally was on a MUC flight. Loved the extra caviar!

  21. “six bottles of champagne”

    If you view this as something to brag about, there’s something wrong with you.

  22. @ AJ — Did you read the whole sentence? I said that I had it all to myself, meaning I exclusively had access to it. Doesn’t mean I drank all of it.

  23. I have a few ideas on how to maximize two German flight attendants and six bottles of champagne…

  24. Luha F is the BEST – especially when you have time – something like 2 hours or so – to drive a Porsche 911 before or after your flight. Now try to beat that 😉

  25. OK, I’ll give you that one – a cabin to yourself (perhaps why the WiFi was so fast?!) and AWSOMELY fast baggage handing sounds great. LH food still looks dreadful though (plus I hate caviar so that’s not a selling point!) – funny given that Austrian and Swiss generally do quite decent food.

  26. Lucky,
    The only thing better than that in my experience is having the limo waiting for you afterwards in the arrivals hall (with Etihad)

    I personally used to think that was the best, but now with pre-clearance in AUH, it is longer for me after arrival to get to the bags at Dulles and no real advantage of global entry either.
    So while the main group of people are happier with EY pre-clearance, the Premium pax with Global Entry are much worse off than before.

    I am trying QR for my next flight to compare next week.

  27. It is really a shame they don’t have a way to drive connecting passengers over to the connecting immigration at the United concourse. Nothing like sitting in the moon buggy for 30 minutes waiting to go to immigration. And then once I got to the baggage carousel it took another 15 minutes for my bag to show up, making it about 50 minutes from door opening to getting my bag. Polar opposite of your experience, although I wasn’t the only person in F (not that it is anywhere near a good excuse).

  28. I personally refer to the people mover/moon buggy as an Imperial Shuttle, because they remind me of the Imperial Shuttles from Return of the Jedi.

  29. I, too, would like to see what happens when you pretend not to speak a whit of German.

  30. agree with above, next time you fly in first please act/dress like a cliche American tourist whose only air travel consists of an annual trip on Southwest from STL to PHX over Christmas.

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