Review: Lufthansa Business Class A321 Frankfurt To London

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Lufthansa 906
Frankfurt (FRA) – London (LHR)
Sunday, December 4
Depart: 12:00PM
Arrive: 12:45PM
Duration: 1hr45min
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 3F (Business Class)

I’ll keep this review relatively short, given that Europe is probably the worst region in the world when it comes to the quality of business class offerings.

As is the norm on Lufthansa, business class consisted of economy seats with a blocked middle seat. This gives the airlines a lot of flexibility, since they can adjust the size of the business class cabin on each flight.

On this particular flight, there were just three and a half rows of business class (the first row just has seats on the left side). That means there was total capacity for 14 business class passengers, though only seven of those seats were occupied.

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Lufthansa A321 business class seat

Most of the center seats had a tray table on them (the one in the above picture didn’t, since it was the last row, which was unoccupied). I at least appreciate that Lufthansa places a tray table on the center seat, which some other airlines don’t.

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Lufthansa regional business class blocked middle

The cabin had cute Christmas decorations, which really was the only pizzaz in the cabin, since Lufthansa’s intra-Europe cabins are as sterile as they come.

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Lufthansa onboard Christmas decorations

Lufthansa doesn’t offer any pre-departure beverages or hot towels within Europe, but rather we were just offered magazines and newspapers.

By 12PM boarding was complete, at which point Captain Peter added his welcome aboard, and informed us of our flight time of just one hour to London. The purser also introduced himself. Within a few minutes the crew did a manual safety demonstration, and then at 12:05PM we began our pushback.

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View prior to pushback at Frankfurt Airport

As usual at Frankfurt, I loved looking at all the planes around us. I was surprised to see an Austrian 767, which the airline is flying at the moment between Vienna and Frankfurt. That’s one of their longhaul planes with a fully flat business class product, so it’s a huge improvement over their normal intra-Europe product.

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Austrian 767 Frankfurt Airport

We also taxied past one of Lufthansa’s first A320NEO aircraft.

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Lufthansa A320NEO Frankfurt Airport

I loved the views of all the Lufthansa heavies as well.

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Lufthansa 747-400 Frankfurt Airport

Our taxi to the runway was pretty high speed, and as we approached the runway there were a bunch of Condor planes at remote stands. As a kid I’d always fly Condor nonstop between Tampa and Frankfurt (back when they still had a smoking section), so in a way I can’t help but smile whenever I see a Condor plane.

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Condor 757-300 Frankfurt Airport

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Condor 767-300 Frankfurt Airport

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Taxiing Frankfurt Airport

By 12:15PM we reached our departure runway and were immediately cleared for takeoff.

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Taking off Frankfurt Airport

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View after takeoff from Frankfurt Airport

As usual, the views over Germany were gorgeous.

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View after takeoff from Frankfurt Airport

Less than five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the crew closed the curtain between cabins.

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Lufthansa A321 business class cabin

About five minutes later the crew brought out the business class snack. Often I find Lufthansa’s shorthaul snacks to be terrible, though this one was actually quite good. It consisted of cold cuts, some salmon with guacamole, some sort of cheese spread with pesto and pine nuts, a hot roll, a chocolate dessert, and a box of Godiva chocolates. Everything was delicious.

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Lufthansa business class snack

After distributing the trays, the purser came through the cabin with drinks. I had a glass of still water, and also a coffee, which was served in a ceramic mug that almost looked like a plastic cup.

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Lufthansa business class coffee

After the purser finished service in the business class cabin he went back to economy to help there.

I worked on my laptop briefly, though always kept an eye out the window, given what a scenic flight it is.

As we flew over the English Channel I saw dozens of wind turbines in the water, that I don’t recall ever seeing before. Based on Googling it seems like this is the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

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View over the English Channel

About 20 minutes before landing the captain came back on the PA to provide us with updated arrival information, and to inform us we’d be descending shortly.

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View approaching London

Once again, the views on descent were beautiful. While we didn’t seem to enter a typical circular holding pattern, we did a lot of vectoring in just about every direction, so we were slowed down a bit on our approach.

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View approaching London

Finally at 12:45PM we touched down on runway 9L.

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View approaching London

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Taxiing London Heathrow

From there it was just a short taxi to our arrival gate at Terminal 2. There’s always cool traffic there, as we taxied past an Air Canada A330, EgyptAir 777, Air Canada 777, and an Etihad A380 taxiing to the runway.

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Air Canada A330 Heathrow Airport

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EgyptAir 777 Heathrow Airport

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Air Canada 777 Heathrow Airport

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Etihad A380 Heathrow Airport

Terminal 2 consists of two separate concourses, so we had to taxi to the further one, which involved taxiing around the airport a bit.

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Terminal 2 Heathrow Airport

We arrived at our gate just before 12:55PM.

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Arrival gate Heathrow Airport

Lufthansa A321 business class bottom line

This flight was perfectly fine as far as intra-Europe business class on Lufthansa goes. The food was better than usual, the flight was mostly on time, and the cabin wasn’t full.

That being said, I don’t think there’s a region in the world that does shorthaul business class worse than Europe. There are some exceptions, like Air Serbia and Aeroflot, which actually have a legitimate business class product on shorthaul flights. However, just blocking a middle seat and offering a snack and calling it business class is no fun. Compare that to 30 minute flights within the Middle East, where you get a flat bed, pre-departure beverages, a meal, and a cappuccino.

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Comments

  1. Cheese spread with pesto delicious? You serious?
    No taste for food at all. Pesto goes just with pasta. Nothing else.

    And as said above.. What’s the point of flying business class for such a route? I’d take ryanair everytime. Senseless.

  2. Yes, intra European Business Class is in all points far below the premium class-experience of e.g Qatar Airways DOH-DXB. But, as a friend of two armrests on my own (I hate touching other people during the flight even when it is short), there is no better option. As long as they give you all the promised comfort, the product is not that bad and ways better than stripped down Eco-Class. But LH needs to rethink value for money. LH Business Lounge can be horribly crowded, making it sometimes a battle for some food. In addition, on remote parking positions, you have to take the same crowded buses like Economy Class, even considering that you pay somewhat the double price. Now, I read in an E-Mail sent by LH, that they drop the magazine service from January on. You have to download a copy on your cellphone. Keep in mind, that there are no options to charge the cell-phone in the LH short haul fleet. That was the only pre departure service left… In this moment I always dream of Qatar Airways pre departure service on the 40 Minutes DOH-DXB route. You get the signature drink (or two as it is tasty), a hot towel, dates and arabic coffee.

  3. Yes, truly senseless and dumb not to insist that short haul segments be downgraded to economy when booking first/business itineraries. Now avert your eyes while I spread pesto on this bagel.

  4. @Italian 100%

    If you truly knew Italian cooking, you’d realize pesto is just like any other sauce and can be placed on many, many things, to include meat and breads in addition to pasta. May want to consider changing your username.

  5. LATAM Chile flies A320s and A319s with the same configuration in the forward cabin but has the decency to call it premium economy. The only airline I know of with a true business class seat and service intra Europe is Aeroflot.

  6. LH : no way for me for various reasons (lounge, poor product intra european, no fun or fancy touch at all, etc).

    In intra europe, the best imho are : aeroflot, turkish (they operate a lot of real C class seat configuration even on 737 + A330 on CDG-IST and some other routes), Aegean (they have an amazing product). Swiss regarding food is nice too, but nothing fancy there neither.

  7. Wind farm? You could at least have waved hello as you flew over us, Ben!

    I’ve not actually seen that lot from the air yet but I’m used to them cluttering the horizon if I go up to the beach.

  8. Hi Lucky, I’d like to offer an alternative explanation of those middle-seat tables, but must preface my comment with an admission that my LH flying experience is a couple of years out of date.

    The previous generation of LH’s intra-Europe seats featured fold-down middle tables in the first few rows, which could be deployed when the relevant seat row was in Business Class for a given flight. (As you point out, the size of the J cabin is flexible.) These seats were also fitted to bmi (British Midland) aircraft, and survive on the ex-bmi planes currently in service with BA.

    When the current generation of ultra-slimline seats appeared on Lufthansa, the practice of using middle-seat tables was stopped, with one exception. That exception was the first few rows of the A321s, where the middle seats were permanently blocked. The reason was that the passenger capacity would otherwise have been just over 200, thus requiring an additional FA on board. Unless practice has changed in the last two years or so, I believe that the tables you saw on the A321 were these permanent physical blockers, intended to reduce the seating capacity to 200 and thereby save a crew member.

  9. Its obvious when you travel that you dont really take in the local quirks and culture. The meal you commented on is a venetian tramezzino!
    Boring product and boring review!

  10. So LH intra-EU business is bad, but U.S. Airlines First Class US-only flights are good? US airlines 1st class inside the US is a glorified vintage economy seat.

  11. Ben, I’m so sick of hearing people say “boring review” or “unnecessary” or basically getting so aggravated when you review something that isn’t a longhaul, foreign carrier, first class flight lasting at least 7 1/2 hours where you consume at least 1/2 a tin of caviar and drink approximately 3 1/2 glasses of Krug champagne. God forbid you review anything else or talk about anything else on your blog. This is your blog. Blog about what you want. It should go without saying that you do provide significant insight into the travel world, considering you, well… travel more in six months than most Americans ever will in a lifetime, but I guess people suck at realizing that. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

  12. Well, after all you can count yourself lucky (or call yourself Lucky) when LH operates the flight and their pilots are not on strike …

  13. I’ve booked LH prem Y from Sydney to Istanbul in June. I’ve got the option to upgrade to biz for EUR99 on the inter-EU flight. But after seeing this and realising the biz cabin doesn’t have extra leg room I can’t justify it since the only benefit this would give me is the priority boarding and an hour in the lounge…

  14. Why were you cleared for immediate take-off? Due traffic on final?
    (And how did you know, did you listen to the TWR frequency?)

  15. I actually think it’s nice to get the occasional review of shorthaul products. I also think the product that European carriers offer makes a lot of sense. As a shorthaul market, Europe has a pretty dense population clustered pretty close together, meaning there are a lot of high capacity routes, most of which are under two hours. The stage lengths of mainline shorthaul flights in the U.S., Asia, and the Middle East vary more widely in length but are as a whole longer than most European shorthaul routes. With that taken into consideration, I think it makes a lot of sense that LH’s 321s are configured the way they are because they probably aren’t going to be flying very many flights much longer than three hours max.

  16. The worst thing about those so-called business class seats is you board first and then must endure the amused looks of the passengers who walk past and wonder why anyone would pay more to eat a cold meal and sit in seats with the same width and pitch as economy.

  17. This review just shows how biased you are. If this were a BA flight you would be slagging off the fact that they only block a middle seat for business class passengers, however you seem to let the Lufthansa off very lightly for this.

  18. I prefer sitting there to Economy Class. There is more space (two armrests for your own) and the queues are much shorter. It’s only the individual question if it’s worth the massive difference in price.

  19. All you get including strikes and non professional racist staff.
    German airlines Lufthansa is a worst airlines.i will advice not to travel in it. Worst experience on Frankfurt airport.

  20. @ Adam

    Sorry but I am Italian and actually in Italy no one puts pesto on anything but pasta, no one drinks cappuccino after lunch, no one eats pasta with chicken or rice as side dish and so on.
    Italian cuisine is not italo American cuisine and pesto is not a sauce. You say smth like this here in Italy and they’ll laugh at your face.

    Just wanted to say this, regardless to the rest of Italian 100% comment.

    Thanks.

  21. heathrow like the die hard film stackem and packem all day long .6 to 8 holding places /they fly over my house near high wycombe 6am till 11pm/only thing is im on flight track 24 all the time to see who it is

  22. Today on a flight from FRA via MUC to DUB I noticed, that LH no longer uses textile napkins for the meals in european Business Class. The cutlery was wrapped in a paper-napkin on both legs. Cost cutting never stops.

  23. Flew last weekHEL-FRA-FCO return. It seems that textile napkins and warm food is not served on flights less than two hours. On the longer segments textile napkins and warm food was offered. Last flight Business cabin was 16 pax and only one attandent, everything was rushed and zero interaction, food was just thrown in front of me. Also below average wines and no champagne.

  24. A late comment for this blog.
    I very often buy a business class for my business trips within Europe.

    Yes. It is nice to have that empty seat and more privacy, but the real benefit and reason for paying extra is the flexibility of the tickets.
    Those Lufthansa, Air France, Finnair business class tickets can be changed any given time without expense.

    If I am on a business trip in Milan and have the opportunity to come a day earlier or with the next plane. Well, I can do it without trouble. Some companies even have a better telephone service for business class travellers. (Answer within 30 seconds)

    If necessary I can usually bring two luggages and two handbags. Usually also golf-bags and ski/scuba equipment are included.

    But if you are a tourist and need extra legroom for 1hour and 30
    Min flight. You should fly private then.

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