RIP Lufthansa’s Old First Class

Lufthansa’s first class product will always have a special place in my heart. Not just because I’m a German American, and not just because I’ve probably flown it more than any other first class product.

But also because it sort of represents what got me into this hobby. My family and I were traveling back and forth between the US and Germany every summer to visit family, and we would just book paid tickets on Condor between Tampa and Frankfurt. The start of mileage running for me was trying to figure out if there was a more economical way to earn miles so that we could instead fly to Germany in first class. And that’s how the hobby sort of started for me.

With that in mind, we’ve seen a huge transformation in Lufthansa first class over the years. Back when I was way younger, Lufthansa first class was possibly the easiest first class product in the world to book with miles. The 747 had 16 first class seats, and it wasn’t unusual for at least half of them to be available for award tickets.

Lufthansa-Old-First-Class

Lufthansa-Old-First-Class

Was it an incredible hard product? Nope. But it was an all around awesome experience, and something I remember very fondly.

Then Lufthansa introduced their new first class product, which was no doubt way better.

Lufthansa-747-First-Class-2

Lufthansa-747-First-Class-1

Unfortunately it was also the beginning of Lufthansa greatly restricting first class award space. Over time they went from being one of the most generous airlines when it comes to releasing first class award space, to eventually only making it available to members of partner frequent flyer programs at most 15 days before departure.

Well, yesterday marked another huge milestone for Lufthansa first class. Per FlyerTalk, there are no longer any Lufthansa planes featuring/selling the old first class product. So if you book Lufthansa first class, you will now get the new first class product, regardless of whether you’re booking the A330, A340, A380, 747-400, or 747-8. There’s no need anymore to use the Lufthansa new first class tracker to see if your flight is scheduled to feature the new product or not.

Ultimately that’s a pretty exciting development. I doubt award availability on Lufthansa’s first class will be restricted any further, so at least now you’re guaranteed the new first class product.

It’s worth noting that there’s still a substantial difference between the new first class products on various aircraft types. The 747-400 first class product has a separate seat and bed, while the first class product on other aircraft types “just” features a seat which transforms into a bed.

Lufthansa-First-1

Now if only they’d hurry up and finish introducing their new business class product throughout the fleet as well (which is already sub-standard), and getting rid of their terrible old business class product.

Lufthansa-7478-2

Bottom line

Not to use too cliche of a phrase, but Lufthansa’s old first class being gone is sort of the end of an era. I know many of the people who have been in this hobby for quite a while redeemed their first miles for international first class on Lufthansa, so I’m sure I’m not alone in this development making me reflect a bit, and think both of “the good old days,” and also how good we have it now.

Did you ever fly Lufthansa’s old first class product?

Comments

  1. The first post I ever read on your blog was about the old Lufthansa first class from 2010 when it first came out. Sure does seem sad to see it go 🙁

  2. My first First Class redemption was on a Lufthansa 747, back in 2009. Sad to see this product go, but good riddance! Air Canada was offering completely lie-flat direct aisle access in its Executive First cabin already by that time. It was quite something to have to climb over the person reclined in the aisle seat in first class.

    I’ll never forget the experience though. He First Class Terminal, the drive to the plane, being the last person to board, and my first taste of caviar…

  3. My first ever overseas First Class Trip was YUL-ZRH-FRA-NRT. FRA-NRT was on Lufthansa First Class A380 and Ill never forget the ride up to the plane and the service received on that flight. (Or the not so good coconut soup for dessert). On the way home from FRA-MCO I sat in the old first class and slept like a baby the whole way. I love Lufthansa and hope to fly them again soon.

  4. Well, the 744 with real beds are soon to be history as well, are there even any left (which are sold as F) these days?

  5. My first F experience under the tutelage of this blog was on the old LH F from TLV-FRA-DFW-SFO in 2012. The first leg was on the A340 and the second on the A330. I was about to fly UA in F, but this blog taught me otherwise. I didn’t even make it to the first class terminal, just the lounge, due to a tight connection. But became hooked then and there. And to think, before that experience, I thought I did not like caviar…

  6. Yes, I will always remember fondly the old Lufthansa F.

    I do think the new Lufthansa F product actually is much better, though – I will be flying FRA-LAX on Wednesday, and I can’t wait. Too bad that Lufthansa really dropped the ball on the new Business seats, they are just awful! I try to avoid them whenever possible.

  7. I’ve flown LH first on only 1 trip, IAD-FRA in the old product, returning FRA-JFK in the new product. This was back when UA SWUs could be used to upgrade cheap Z fares. While the FCT experience was fun, I probably won’t fly in first again, because I don’t really value the premium over business class. Also, I really didn’t like the food in LH F. Honestly, I’m content with UA BusinessFirst. (Please don’t ban me from commenting on the blog for saying that!)

  8. @Jue – First class in the 744 does indeed seem to be disappearing very quickly! I was able to snag a seat FRA-SEA for early July, but that might be one of the last routes. Lucky – maybe this is something you can do a post on for those interested in experiencing the separate seat/bed in F on the 744 before it is fully phased out?

    My first experience flying international first class was upgrading from a full-fare business ticket FRA-DTW on a LH A340. It was an amazing experience and I had some of the best interactions with the flight attendants of any premium cabin flight to date. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel LH F since, but I just booked a return trip from Japan connecting through Frankfurt that will give me the opportunity to experience both of Lufthansa’s new first class products (and, of course, the FCT!). I’m flying on the 747-8 HND-FRA and the 744 FRA-SEA. I used United miles to book the award, and while the 110,000 miles for F is certainly expensive, you really can’t beat flying both of these products (22hrs in LH F) and getting some time in the FCT all in one trip. Thanks to United’s odd/favorable award routing rules, it’s the same price to fly HND-FRA-SEA as it is to fly FRA-SEA (and it’s even cheaper than only flying HND-SEA by 5k miles!). I’d highly recommend jumping on this (or a similar) routing for anyone looking to get to/from Asia and indulge in the full Lufthansa First experience!

  9. …should read “cheaper than only flying HND-FRA by 5k miles”. It would be the same price as flying HND-SEA (not a route offered by Lufthansa).

  10. The blue First Class seat was introduced in 1999 and survived unmodified (seat and sized of IFE screen) for 15 years and Lufthansa was still able to sell those seats full fare in 2015.

    SWISS who is now wearing the crown of flying the most outdated seat on their A340-fleet for at least three more years…

  11. So I did some quick research on the 744 FRA-SEA route (LH490/491)…

    I read that LH planned to discontinue F on this route as of June 30, but it still seems to be bookable for a limited time. For those interested, it appears you can book F on this route until August 5 (in both directions). After that date, the route is still operating with a 744, but all F seats are blocked.

    If you want to travel in F on the upper-deck of a 747 – and with the dedicated seat and bed combo – your time appears to be running out!

    In fact, this may be the last opportunity to fly first class on the upper-deck of a 747, period. Lucky, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not aware of any other carriers offering F on the upper-deck.

  12. Flew LH First on 744 from NRT-FRA-EWR in Dec 2013

    First leg was in new First and the second leg was in old first (only plane I believe to have it still). Was hoping for new first on the second leg but I still found it to be a good/historical experience. The FAs did a very good job converting the empty seats into pretty comfy beds.

  13. My first LH F was a free upgrade from C which was an award redemption. Also I just dropped from a SEN to to the silver level so I could not figure out how an FTL on an award C was upgraded to F. This was out of IAD and back then LH didn’t have their own lounge. My name was called and I was asked the magical questions: “Are you traveling alone? They upgraded you to first. I was handed my new boarding pass, yet it wasn’t printed on the F class stock – I didn’t complain.
    Since then I have flown LH F many times and the hard product experience has been good most of the times.

  14. My first FIRST was with lufthansa, with tam points in 2013, only 60000 at that time, now it is 200000!!! It was FRA GRU with the 747-400, second best flight ever for me, after the A380 first of Qatar

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