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Review: Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt
Review: Lufthansa 747-8 First Class Frankfurt To Newark
Frankfurt (FRA) – Newark (EWR)
Friday, September 4
Aircraft: Boeing 747-8
Seat: 2K (First Class)
Upon boarding the purser greeted me and handed me over to one of the first class crew, so I could be escorted to my seat. While I love the A380 from a passenger comfort standpoint, the 747 will always have a special place in my heart. And I especially love the 747-8, since it gives a bit more life to what was otherwise a dying plane.
Lufthansa has first class in the nose of the 747-8, with just eight seats. There are three rows with one seat on each side of the cabin, and then two seats in the third row center section.
I find Lufthansa’s new first class cabins to be among the most gorgeously neutral out there, if that makes any sense. They’re classy and understated, unlike the cabins on some of my other favorite airlines.
I had selected seat 2K, the seat on the right side of the cabin in the second row. If traveling alone row two is my favorite, as it’s the most private.
That’s because you face the small bar setup in the center of the cabin.
Meanwhile if I’m traveling with someone I prefer row one, since you’re seated in the very nose, and are a bit closer to one another then you’d be in row two. You can certainly easily see one another, if nothing else. As an aviation geek, there’s also something special about sitting in the nose of the 747.
Personally I can’t imagine myself ever selecting the center seats in row three, though I’m sure many traveling as a couple would prefer them, since they’re the only seats between which you can easily converse.
Lufthansa’s first class seat isn’t some outrageously modern fully enclosed suite, though it’s extremely comfortable. And it strikes a nice balance between offering privacy and not feeling claustrophobic.
Each seat has an ottoman, which can be adjusted to move closer to you. That’s a comfortable way to put your feet up without raising your footrest. It also has a storage compartment, which is convenient.
Then to the right of the seat are two storage compartments, one of which is for the built-in Bose headphones.
To the left of the seat are the seat controls (including for the privacy partition), while to the right of the seat are the entertainment controls.
What I really love about the 747-8 (as opposed to the 747-400) is how modern the cabin is. The lines are so sleek, while it’s usually apparent that the 747-400 has been around for at least a couple of decades.
In addition to the storage at each seat, each passenger has a “locker” behind the cabin, where they can store their bags if needed (though the cabin also has somewhat small overhead bins).
Once settled in, the two first class crew came by to introduce themselves. They were both in their 50s and friendly, striking that perfect balance between being personable and friendly, while also being a bit removed.
The flight attendant suggested I have a glass of champagne. Who am I to say no? Lufthansa frequently changes up their first class champagne, and in this instance they were serving 2007 Taittinger, which was perfectly drinkable, though not among my favorites.
As usual, it was served with a ramekin of macadamia nuts.
Shortly thereafter I was offered the usual amenities — pajamas, slippers, and an amenity kit. The flight attendant asked what size pajamas I wanted. I requested a large, though she said (in German) “okay, I figured you would be more of a medium.” The flight attendant earned about 100 bonus points for saying that, as far as I’m concerned! 😉
Lufthansa’s pajamas are among the more stylish out there, even if the pants feel like they’re made of hospital scrubs. On Lufthansa the tops and bottoms are packaged separately, and I know a lot of people just wear one or the other.
Lufthansa’s slippers are also among the more durable out there.
The amenity kit was from Braun Buffel, and it was the first time I had such a kit. As usual, it was well stocked, and even had some La Prarie products (those aren’t cheap!).
The crew was attentive with refills and assisting the other passengers as the cabin filled up. Seated in front of me in 1K was a blog reader from New York (it was great to meet you!). Then in 2A was an American who must have been a lawyer or something, based on the amount of hard copy documents he was going through.
Then in the center seats in row three was an American couple with an infant, who was surprisingly well behaved. In the end that means that five of the eight first class seats were filled.
About 10 minutes before scheduled departure the captain came through the first class cabin to “greet” first class passengers. I find Lufthansa pilots do this for first class passengers about 50% of the time, though I’ve never had that before on the 747-8, because it’s quite a walk for the captain to get from the cockpit to the first class cabin.
One thing that’s 100% consistent with Lufthansa pilot “greetings” is that it’s almost always awkward as hell. He kind of just stood there, awkwardly nodded his head at each passenger, and then left again. Nice gesture, but goodness!
A few minutes after that the captain came on the PA to update us on our departure time, explaining we had a “very zlight delay due to zha loading of zha luggages, but I assure you vhe vhill still arrive in Newark wis punctuality.” He also informed us that our flight time would be 7hr15min.
Shortly thereafter the purser made her welcome aboard announcement. She must have had one of the most fascinating accents I’ve ever heard. It was so unique that I had to audio record it. It was almost identical to the accents in the Virgin Atlantic safety video, whereby they’re trying to fake American accents (I think):
Shortly thereafter she played the safety video, which really could use a refresh at some point.
At 1:40PM we began our pushback.
I requested a blanket before pushback, which I certainly needed after seeing the gorgeous lineup of Lufthansa A380s, 747-8s, and 747-400s.
Once past the Lufthansa Technik building, it was just a short five minute taxi to runway 25C.
There we were behind a Lufthansa A340-300, which was quickly cleared for takeoff.
Next an Air Canada A330 was cleared for takeoff.
And then finally it was our turn.
Our takeoff roll was long and loud, which is to be expected when you’re seated right above the front nose gear.
As usual, the views on the climb out were nice, as Frankfurt Airport takes up quite a bit of real estate, meaning we had airport views for at least a minute or so.
One thing worth noting is that it’s really loud in the nose of the 747 when the nose gear is retracted. I remember I was shocked the first time I experienced it without warning, and I often notice it catches people off guard.
My eyes were glued out the window for most of the climb out, given that the German countryside is enchanting.
Once we passed through about 20,000 feet I decided to browse the entertainment selection, which was utterly crappy. That’s nothing new, though, as Lufthansa has always had an incredibly lackluster entertainment selection. And that’s not really a big deal, since I usually bring my own entertainment anyway.
The great news is that Lufthansa offers one of the all around best inflight internet experiences out there:
- Lufthansa has wifi throughout virtually all of their longhaul fleet
- The cost is very reasonable — just 17EUR for a 24 hour pass, which can be used across multiple flights
- There are no data restrictions, and speeds are generally quite good (at least in comparison to the likes of Singapore)
It’s tough to beat a productive “day at the office” from above the clouds.
Anyway, minutes later the purser came through the cabin to introduce herself and distribute menus. I couldn’t help but ask whether she learned English in the US, since she sort of had a Texas-style accent. She explained she hadn’t, which made the accent even more of a mystery.
Anyway, she explained that first class passengers could dine whenever they wanted, as the service was fully personalized around our preferences.
I was quite hungry, so decided to have lunch almost right away. The lunch menu read as follows:
And the wine/drink list read as follows:
As usual, service began with a beautifully scented hot towel.
That was followed by the amuse bouche. I had a glass of water to accompany it.
Shortly thereafter the table was set, and I was offered a selection from the bread basket. I selected a piece of garlic bread and one of the pretzels.
I do love how Lufthansa puts a “First Class” stamp on their butter when departing Germany.
The flight attendants came around with a cart, off of which I was offered caviar. It was plated at my seat, and I was given a pretty generous helping. Upon finishing it I was offered a refill, though I declined.
After that the cart with appetizers was rolled around the cabin. The two appetizers which sounded appealing to me were the salad of smoked trout and cucumber, as well as the salad of beetroot and pearl onions, carrots, and radish. On top of that I selected the standard mixed greens. So I guess my appetizer consisted of three salads.
For the main course I ordered the lemon chicken breast, though was served the glazed cheek of veal instead. I probably should have sent it back, but truth be told I wasn’t all that hungry at this point anyway, so decided to just have a bit of it. Interestingly the reader seated in 1K was also served the wrong main course.
For dessert I had the sour cream cake with pistachio ice cream, which was delicious.
To finish off the meal I had a cappuccino, which was served with a packaged chocolate.
I was also offered a selection of chocolates from a box, though I passed on that.
Service throughout the meal was very good. The entire meal was complete less than two hours after takeoff, and everything was done at a personalized pace. The crew wasn’t over-the-top, though they were attentive and friendly. Aside from them mixing up the main course, I have no complaints.
Since there’s a table across from my seat, they turned it into a bar setup with self serve drinks, chocolate, etc.
I had forgotten to download shows for my iPad, so desperately scoured the IFE selection again. The only decent show was “Everybody Hates Chris,” which I saw for the last time maybe five years ago.
After watching that I got some more work done, and then with about four hours left to Newark, I requested to have my bed made, so that I could take a nap.
While my bed was made I headed to the lavatory. There are two lavatories behind the first class cabin, and during the flight they were both locked the entire time. I suspect that’s because they’re right in front of the business class cabin, so it’s probably so business class passengers don’t try to use them. While they’re not as nice as the bathrooms on the Lufthansa A380, they’re still spacious, have a “bench,” and a window.
When I got back to my seat the bed was made. Lufthansa’s bedding is fantastic, with a plush mattress pad, great blanket, and firm pillow. While they don’t offer a fully enclosed suite, with the privacy partition it’s a perfectly private area to sleep.
That being said, I could only sleep for about 90 minutes, and woke up with more than two hours left to Newark.
I got a bit more work done on my laptop, and then about 90 minutes before landing I was offered another snack. The pre-arrival menu read as follows:
Service once again began with a hot towel.
I like Lufthansa’s “salad buffet” concept, whereby there are a bunch of options you can point to and then have plated at your seat.
For the pre-arrival meal I asked if I could try a little bit of everything except the veal. Somehow I was still served the veal. That’s 0/2 for the crew getting my order right.
Everything else was top notch, including the tart and fruit I had for dessert.
To finish off the meal (and wake up a bit, since I had a long evening ahead of me), I ordered a coffee to go along with it.
At around 2:55PM Newark time we began our initial descent, at which point the captain made another announcement, informing us that we’d land in about 30 minutes.
Our descent into Newark was smooth, and the views on approach were every bit as exciting as you’d expect.
We touched down at Newark Airport at 3:25PM sharp, and then had a quick taxi to our arrival gate.
We pulled in between a United 757 and a Lufthansa A340.
Thanks to Global Entry I was through immigration in a couple of minutes (as you can see below, I was thrilled to be back home).
I had checked a bag, and this is usually an area where Lufthansa excels, since they offer some incredible priority services for first class passengers. Not only do the bags arrive at the belt substantially faster than other bags, but there’s an agent who pulls the first class bags aside.
I’ve mentioned how amazing Lufthansa is about first class bags at Washington Dulles, for example. And sure enough, first class bags came out pretty quickly… but mine wasn’t among them.
As it turns out, the Austrian check-in agent in Vienna didn’t put a HON Circle tag on my bag, so my bag just arrived a further 20 minutes later with all the other “priority” bags.
Lufthansa First Class bottom line
This was another pleasant flight in Lufthansa first class. I love Lufthansa’s first class cabins, as I find they’re understated but luxurious.
The food on this sector was pretty typical for Lufthansa — it was good but not amazing.
And the service on this flight was also quite good, about average for what I expect in Lufthansa first class. The flight attendants were friendly and attentive without being over-the-top.
Perhaps the only disappointing part of this experience was the first class ground service in Frankfurt, which was quite lacking compared to my previous experiences.
If you’ve flown Lufthansa first class, what were your experiences like?