From the desk of the Devil’s Advocate…
I was at FTU Advanced this past weekend and had an absolute blast meeting and chatting with folks and exchanging ideas about loyalty programs. It’s great to be able to talk endlessly about our hobby without anyone getting bored. In many ways, it was a perfect weekend… until the very end.
That’s when a certain blogger decided he was going to play Devil’s Advocate as his routine for the final panel. That’s right, he outright STOLE my bit, and without even a hat tip to me despite the fact that I was sitting right in the front row. Mind you, he did this on purpose. He even pointed to me in the middle of the panel and sneered. Sneered, I say!
Of course, I wasn’t going to stand for this. I did exactly what any red blooded, God fearing, freedom-loving American would do. I marched directly up to this blogger, squared my shoulders, looked him straight in the eye, and informed him he would be hearing from my attorney forthwith.
Now, I’m not going to name names. That’s not my style. This particular blogger may not have any class, but I do. So I’ll only refer to this blogger by a nickname. Let’s call him “Plucky.”
I’ve realized that litigation against Plucky would be pointless, mainly because he doesn’t appear to have an actual job or a place to live. He writes an adequately popular blog about travel and loyalty programs that we’ll call “One Kilometer All At Once.” I suppose he does okay with that.
But mostly he just wanders about. Some people would call Plucky a bum. I don’t think that’s accurate. I prefer the term “unemployed drifter.”
But even if Plucky doesn’t have anything worth suing over, there’s another way I can get back at him. Because Plucky does have something that’s close to his heart. In fact, it appears to be his one true love.
Plucky loves Lufthansa.
I mean, he loves it. Really loves it. It’s pretty much all he ever talks about. The caviar. The champagne. At one point he even wanted to move into the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. In fact, Plucky’s endless enthusiasm about the First Class Terminal has now congealed into Conventional Wisdom that the FCT is essentially the most spectacular structure constructed since the Taj Mahal.
Now, I’ve personally been to the First Class Terminal. In fact, I was there just a few months ago. I know first hand exactly what the FCT is all about. And I think it’s time for an honest review, not one by an individual who’s easily seduced by the lure of hot pretzels and Fanta.
So let’s find out if Plucky’s beloved Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal is really all that, shall we?
It’s Just a Freakin’ Lounge
If you haven’t been to the First Class Terminal, there’s no denying it’s very nice. They have lots of comfortable seats along with a full open bar and plenty of food. There’s also private cubicles where you can have your own quiet space to work.
Sound familiar? Maybe like a bunch of other international lounges you’ve been in?
Oh, but wait! There’s a cigar lounge where you can sit and smoke a cigar from the lounge’s extensive collection. That’s great. There’s nothing more ideal than filling your lungs with smoke right before climbing aboard a heavily pressurized tube with only recycled air for 12 hours straight.
Hey, what about the nap rooms? There’s two nap rooms available for those on a long layover who might want a place to catch some shuteye before their continuing flight. That’s also very nice as long as you are either #1 or #2 in line for these rooms, which by definition are occupied for hours at a time. But if you happen to be #3 out of the 40 people in the FCT at any given time, you’ll just have to sleep in a chair like the rest of the First Class riff raff.
Plucky also likes to make a big deal of the fact that the First Class Terminal has shower rooms, including a few with Jacuzzi tubs. These are also available on a first come, first serve basis, though admittedly there’s more of these than the nap rooms. So you’re more likely to be able to get in one of them… assuming the one thing you’re dying to do in the midst of traveling is to take off all your clothes and get into a shower or tub that’s been previously used by hundreds of other people.
Yes, I’m sure they clean them thoroughly, but I can’t say it’s the first wish that pops into my head. I certainly see how it could be useful if I’ve been traveling for many hours and want to wash up (or if I’m Plucky and I don’t actually own or rent an abode with a shower). But I wouldn’t necessarily call it a big selling point. Not to mention that many other lounges have shower facilities as well.
And What Is The Deal With The Ducks?
There is one perk that the First Class Terminal offers that isn’t matched at other lounges. Lufthansa has a gimmick at the FCT where they’ll give you a small plastic duck as a souvenir of your visit. It’s cute even if it’s a little weird. But Plucky thinks this is the greatest thing ever.
I’m going to let Plucky in on a little secret. If small plastic ducks are your thing, you don’t have to fly to Frankfurt or burn tens of thousands of miles on Lufthansa First Class to get them. They’re available at almost any toy store. Or you can order them on something called “The Internet.” Yes, they have rubber duckies on this Internet thing in various shapes, colors, and sizes as well. I’d start my search on a place called Amazon where you can find a collection of 26 ducks for less than $12. Hey Plucky, that’s only 1,200 UR points even if you redeem points directly for cash!
Getting Driven To Your Plane
Finally, Plucky’s big selling point is that when your Lufthansa flight is ready for boarding, you will be driven from the FCT to the plane in a private car or van. This saves you from the extremely difficult task known as “walking.” I suppose this is necessary since at this point you are completely full of hot pretzels and water and therefore incapable of performing this basic task to the best of your ability.
While being driven to your flight is certainly pleasant, I suspect Plucky’s real desire to be in a private car is so that he doesn’t have to interact with the rest of us ham ‘n’ eggers. Hey, Plucky, us Business Class folks are people too. Are our in-flight tablecloths not good enough? Do we not bleed the same Krug as you?
The Devil’s Advocate says the First Class Terminal is great, but not massively better than other high end lounges.
All joking aside, the First Class Terminal is a lot of fun and a really wonderful lounge. In particular, I found the staff at the FCT to be fantastic, and a reminder of what truly terrific service looks like. It’s worth visiting it once in your life if you can make it work in your travel and miles redemption schedule.
But it’s similar to other high-end international lounges and not something you need to do repeatedly. Nor fall in love with. Nor blog about continuously while stealing other people’s bits for your final panel at FTU Advanced.
Not that I’m calling anyone out, Ben. I mean Lucky. I mean Plucky. I mean… well, you know who I mean.Devil’s Advocate is a weekly series that deliberately argues a contrarian view on travel and loyalty programs. Sometimes the Devil’s Advocate truly believes in the counterargument. Other times he takes the opposing position just to see if the original argument holds water. But his main objective is to engage in friendly debate with the miles and points community to determine if today’s conventional wisdom is valid. You can suggest future topics by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.