Earlier this week, I provided first impressions of Air New Zealand Premium Economy, which got me to Europe. Today, I’ll offer a sneak peak of the lead act, a trip home in Lufthansa First Class. Spoiler alert: I enjoyed the experience. A lot.
A Great Start In the Frankfurt Lufthansa First Class Terminal
I expected to share Brad’s opinion that the Lufthansa First Class Terminal ranks as the world’s best airline lounge. I couldn’t quite get there, though. After experiencing it, I do think the Air France La Première Lounge just beats it out. But it’s still a very, very fine way to kick off a long trip. Like the La Première Lounge, the staff make everything easy. Passengers enjoy a private security check and passport control. And of course, you have access to a fine lounge space.
The lounge includes a full a la carte menu, including local specialties like Wiener schnitzel for lunch.
Also like the Air France lounge, Lufthansa provides First Class Terminal passengers with a direct ramp transfer to their plane. There’s really nothing quite like seeing a jumbo jet at ground level.
So where does the First Class Terminal fall a little short? Service, which I found somewhat hit or miss. An attendant offered me coffee upon sitting down. But then the dirty cup, along with a few breakfast dishes I brought up from the buffet, sat uncollected for a good hour and a half. The dining room server also came off as a little gruff. I didn’t quite see the excellence that Air France provides in its lounge.
Comfortable Seating, Though Not a Groundbreaking Product
Lufthansa doesn’t offer a groundbreaking product on the 747-8i. I found it somewhat similar, though a bit better, than La Première on the A380. Lufthansa’s 747 product features 8 seats spread over 3 rows; a divider does provide slightly better privacy than Air France’s A380. If traveling alone, the first two rows, in a 1-1 configuration, are your best bet. The last row of 4 looked rather exposed, especially the two middle seats. The rose by the TV is a really nice touch, though.
I found the seat quite comfortable in both sitting and sleeping mode. Particularly in sleep mode, where a thick, luxurious mattress pad made it really hard to get up after my nap.
Mostly Great Food & Beverage
Whereas Air France was hit or miss, Lufthansa mostly delivered on the food & beverage front. I found meals well presented, and my lunch of carrot saffron soup and duck leg hit the spot. The only demerit: a duck leg that was a tad overdone (though still tasty).
And unlike Air France, Lufthansa provides real cappuccinos in First.
Service Hit It Out of the Park
What really impressed on this flight was service from the First Class flight attendant. It went beyond good, or even great. I can honestly say, she provided the best service I’ve experienced in the air. Air France provided an unmistakable air of French confidence, although with a hands-off approach. Lufthansa, though, provided genuinely warm, down-home service on this flight – like having dinner with family. I’ve been critical of indifferent to downright rude service in both Economy and Business on Lufthansa. But they certainly went a long way to changing my opinion of them with this one flight.
Fantastic Arrivals Service at Washington Dulles
Lufthansa really shines in its arrival service for First Class passengers at Washington Dulles. Normally, transiting from an international flight to a domestic one is a chore. It requires a ride in a “moon buggy” to the main terminal, which often defeats the purpose of sitting up front. Lufthansa, though, provides a ride across the ramp direct to passport control for First Class passengers, In addition, after using the Global Entry kiosk, they hold the rest of the line to allow passengers to head to baggage claim first. With no bags, it literally took less than 10 minutes from deplaning to reach the ticket counter.
Stay tuned for a full report in the coming weeks.