I recently had the chance to book and fly a whirlwind trip around the world. It included 16 segments and close to 35,000 miles being flown. The best part was that it was all in Business & First Class. In the coming days, I will publish reports on my 14 day journey. Reports will include: Etihad First Class, Lufthansa First Class, Swiss Business Class and Turkish Business Class.
Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental
August 28th 2013
Flight Time: 7 Hours 25 Minutes
Seat 1K, First Class
Washington D.C is a very odd airport in the sense that they have the most alien like people movers. Although I never used one, it just looked so odd and inefficient. Either way, I got to the airport about 1.5 hours before boarding and headed to the lounge. While on my way, I was distracted at the Brookstone/Electronics store and never ended up making it to the lounge. I headed straight to the gate where boarding was announced.
After getting through the door and showing the attendants my boarding pass, they both walked me to my seat. In addition, they offered me pajamas and asked if I would like to change before takeoff. I did so and they hung up my clothing in one of the closets behind the first class cabin. I find Lufthansa PJ’s to be very comfortable and it seems like every time they give me one, the colors change.
Shortly after being seated, I overheard the cabin crew tell the ground agents that boarding could commence for economy and business passengers. While waiting for the rest of the passengers to board, I noticed that the cabin was 3/8. However, by the end of the flight, it was completely full! While pondering this thought, I met a fellow flyertalker in First Class who goes by the name handle COVA. I also met another passenger who was new to flyertalk but knew a ton about points already. We all talked about how many points we used and where we were going. Time flew by and before I knew it, the doors were closed and my pre-departure ginger ale was also finished! I learned from COVA that the other 5 passengers were upgraded from Business to First, which is actually a great upgrade! I think i’m going for HON Circle next year 😉
The safety video was shown on screen after which, I promptly changed to the front view camera. I think that the camera is one of the coolest options that manufacturers have added. It’s a great way to stay entertained on the ground if the rest of the IFE isn’t loaded and also must be really amazing to little kids who might awestruck with the concept of flying.
We were number 5 for take-off today and planes were departing every 6 minutes according to our captain. After a 30 minute delay, we finally hit full thrust and jetted off! However, this was the most consistent turbulent flight i’ve ever been on in my life. I don’t know what it was but the seat belt sign was on for probably 4 of the 7.5 hours. It was just ridiculous how it would not stop. The captain came onboard halfway to let us know that the turbulence would subside in an hour but it never did.
Dinner had promptly started and I was brought an Amuse-Bouche which comprised of one slice of orange and one slice of grapefruit.
Afterwards, I was brought the menu along with the beverage pairings by the lead purser. She explained to me that they have some “exciting” menu options for me and that she would like to take my order whenever it was convenient.
I decided to go with the Teriyaki glazed Beef Bruchette with Sesame Seeds for the appetizer and Tenderloin of Beef with Sweet Potato Hash and Ginger Plum Chutney for the main course.
Throughout the dinner service, the First Class cabin was on a full on party mode. Everyone in the cabin seemed to know each other and the other 5 passengers were conversing in their group while the three of us were making frequent traveler jokes.
When the time for dessert rolled around, I decided to order the Banana Bread Pudding. Now, in the past, i’ve criticized Lufthansa for their horrible selection of food and taste. However, this time the food was delicious. The Banana Bread Pudding was to die for and every part of the meal service was wonderful and the food really did taste good! It’s really hard for airlines to get meat cooked properly but Lufthansa did an excellent job and had the steak cooked to a perfect medium. I think this is in part to Lufthansa revamping their entire catering department.
After dinner service, I decided to take a look at the one aspect of Lufthansa that hasn’t been fixed; the inflight entertainment. For this month’s movies, there were a selection of maybe 10-15 movies that were “new” and I guess other passengers would watch them but I had already watched them on other airlines I flew in August. Other than the movies, new T.V shows were actually well-stocked. I managed to watch a few documentaries and even a “How do they make it” on the Ford Mustang.
After watching a few shows, I decided to sleep for the remaining 3 hours of the flight. The flight attendant offered to make my bed when she was making the other passengers beds and I happily obliged. When I got back from the bathroom, the bed was made and I quickly went to sleep. I love lufthansa’s bedding on these flights and I personally prefer the 747-8i/A380 bed over the 747-400 bed only because it’s a little less firm. The pillow was basic but it’s all about the duvet for me and it was great! The bed on the 747-8i is very similar to the A380. It has privacy screens that go up all around the “suite” and the length of the bed is about the same on both planes.
Before sleeping, I decided to play around with the seat and also look around the cabin. I found the seat to be comfortable to lounge in as it is padded pretty well. Again, the seat is exactly similar to the A380 except for the fact that First Class is downstairs on the 747-8i. The seat layout is also different on this plane as it goes in a 1-1 pattern until the last row which is 1-2-1. The 2nd row has a midsection which is used to display champagne and magazines so I think if you’re traveling solo, those would be the best seats to get as you have no one that can really see you.
When it comes to the cabin, the new Boeing Sky Interior looks beautiful in this plane. The ceiling is recessed in the middle and has an LED light strip going around the edges to create a different glow from the rest of the plane. There are also recessed lights that points directly down to the midsection storage area and the Lufthansa logo on the back wall. The walls on the 747-8i are white suede so touch them next time you’re sitting in a window seat! In addition, the windows are like the A380 in the sense that they are now automatic and not pull up/down. I found that on the A380, if you push any of the window buttons, all of the windows react the same way but on the 747-8, you have to manually open and close the windows you have. It’s not a big deal but I found myself having to unfasten my seatbelt every time I needed to get to the third window.
The Lavatory on the 747-8 is a huge step up from the old 747-400. It’s easier to change in and also features a cover/padding on top of the toilet where you can sit. Aesthetically, it’s very similar to other lavatories on Lufthansa’s planes.
I was woken up about 30 minutes before landing into Frankfurt and offered an orange juice. I’m not very big on breakfast and being woken up after having 3 hours of sleep doesn’t help either. I guess that was my fault though.
We landed into frankfurt around 9:40 AM and were brought to a gate. We quickly and smoothly disembarked and I cleared German customs in 5 minutes. I was then off to one of the little known perks of traveling in First Class; the Porsche/Lufthansa First Experience!
Overall, I think that Lufthansa has done an outstanding job with their First Class. It’s not always about the seat as it is also about food and service. Like other have said before, Lufthansa has the most consistent First Class experience of any airline. It’s amazing how you can directly compare it to other Lufthansa flights. The cabin crew are like robots in everything they do, which isn’t a bad thing in most cases. I found this crew to be very personable and friendly. They always made sure that my drinks were refilled and that I didn’t need anything else. I personally think it is the best way to get across Europe and beyond. For 70,000 points, you can easily fly from the U.S to Asia on a Lufthansa 747-8i and A380 in First Class! If you haven’t already, it’s time to Experience Lufthansa’s First Class.