Here is my Lufthansa first class report, including a report on the first class terminal at Frankfurt.
Late last year, one of my friends in New York announced that his girlfriend and I were tying the knot and the location of the wedding is Prague, Czech Republic. I immediately looked for award possibility, since I wanted to finish up my United Airlines miles, as I will concentrate on American and Alaska Airlines from now on. Since SQ was not possible, I decided on flying Lufthansa, as it still had a decent availability pool, and in order to get the A340s with the single window seats, I decide to start my journey from Nagoya, Japan, which had a daily 3-class A340 service to Frankfurt. Nagoya is also a smaller and nicer airport to go through, and I have always wanted to fly into Nagoya brand new Centair airport.
Preview of Nagoya Airport:
(Not really good pictures… but with only a compact digital camera, it is not too bad).
The new Centrair is really nice, in terms of facilities and not to mention an excellent observation deck, which I spent tremendous times there. I regret not going there early. The Sky Mall also had many food outlets, including a number of really nice noodle shops. For plane-spotters, Nagoya Airport is definitely a must, and plan on spending a day there. The best time will be the morning periods, when all the European planes arrive and depart, as well as a major bank of Asian airline flights. The early afternoon hours will be USA flights, including NW 744s, and UA 777s, and the late afternoon hours will see a few more Asian flights. The domestic sides are interesting with everything from 777 to the smaller 737-500s, as well as Dash 8s, but they were mostly parked in a remote stand.
There are also a number of hotel options, and this time, I stayed at the Comfort Inn, which was a surprisingly pleasant hotel with decent room size, free internet, and nice staff. Free juices, water, coffees and teas are also available in the lobby, as well as computers with printers connected.
August 30, 2007
LH 737 NGO-FRA Lv1030 Arr1545 Airbus A340-300 D-AIGV “Dinslaken”
Check-in: ANA is obviously LH’s ground agent, and first class line was quite busy this morning, but the business class agent quickly saw me approaching and asked two ladies to step aside and allowed me access. The whole check-in process was simple, and soon my bags were checked to Frankfurt, and I was given the boarding pass and lounge invitation to ANA/Star Alliance Lounge. The whole process took five minutes, and everything was done with a smile.
Lounge: ANA Star Alliance lounge is definitely a better lounge than the JAL Sakura Complex, which is crowded and unacceptable. The NGO lounge is modeled after the clean and modern style of most Star Alliance lounges around the world. There is a small first class section on the right side of the lounge, which has a small beverage & refreshment station, as well a few sets of sofa. I am pretty much the only one in the first class section during the whole time, which is not surprising, as LH is the only airline with a first class service. Even SQ uses a regional two-class a/c to SIN from NGO. Food selection includes sandwiches, sushi, onigiri, Madelines, usual arrange of cookies, and the wide array of alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages. Free wireless is also available.
Finnair Airbus A340-300 OH-LQB
Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SRM
Boarding process: ANA is the ground handling agent, and there is a separate first/business and economy class line. Boarding began on time at 10:05am at gate 16A/Stand 11, and door was closed on time at 10:28am.
Routing: We flew north towards Toyama and Niigata, and climbed to 29,000feet, and then descent into 28,000feet, and then flew up to 31,500feet. We flew past Chaborovsk and northern coast of Russian plain, and then up to 35,000feet, 36,000feet, and 38,000feet, and then towards Helsinki, Szczecin, Berlin, Witternberg, and descent after passing Leipzig.
Took off from R/W18 at 10:51am
Landed on R/W25R at 3:42pm
Parked at gate B41 at 3:54pm
1989 Cuvee des Enchanteleurs, Champagne Henriot, Frankreich
“Rare”, Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, Frankreich (served on this flight)
2005 Rully 1er Cru, Chateau de Rully, Frankreich
Grappa Goldmuskateller, Gutshofbrennerei Walcher, Sudtirol
2006 Riesling Spatlese trocken, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Deutschland
2006 Pinot Bianco “Collection,” Kellerei Gries, Italien
2006 Westhofener Bergkloster, Siegerrebe/Huxelrebe Beerenauslese, Weingut Neef-Emmich, Deutschland
2003 Nit’ana, Neusiedlersee, Weingut Nittnaus, Osterreich
2001 Chateau Belgrave, Cru Classe, Haut-Medoc, Frankreich
2001 Indian Wells, Columbia Valley Merlot, Chateau Ste Michelle, USA
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Old No. 7
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Talisker 10 years old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
Bombay Sapphire Distilled London Dry Gin
Cognac Limited Cuvee 30
Calvados Pays d’Auge, Daron
Walcher Williams Exclusiv
Etter Zuger Kirsch, 42 Vol. % Jahrgang 2005
Sake and Plum Wines
Tsuikino Jyunmai Ginjko Kurazake
Tatsuriki Tokubetsu Jyunmaishu “Mukashi”
Tsukinoi Nihonshu Shikomi Umezake
Liqueur and Port
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Niepoort Portwein LBV
(Only Lunch/Main Meal Menu)
Choice of Hors D’Oeuvres
Caviar with the traditional garnishes
Marinated Lobster with Parsley Pesto
Smoked Chicken Breast with Orange Segments
Presented with Italian or Shiso Mayonnaise Dressing
Choices of Main Courses
Roasted Lamb Loin with Potato and Celeriac Mille Feuille
Served with Cream Spinach with White Sauce and Baby Carrots
Grilled John Dory Basil marinated with fresh Tom Lemon Sauce accompanied by
Paprika Potato, Broccoli and green asparagus
Selection of Cheese and Dessert
Camembert, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, red Cheddar, Gaperon garnished with Grapes
Chocolate Brownie with Caramel Sauce and Pistachio Garnish
Specialty Dessert Wines
Rolled egg with smoked Salmon, Pumpkin and Chicken Terrine
Suimono Soup with dried Wheat Gluten
Seaweed with Wasabi and yam
Grilled Eggplant with Sesame Miso Paste
Eel with vinegared Cucumber and Ginger Julienne
Grilled Beef served with Genji Miso Sauce, Pumpkin, Eggplant and Carrot
Sauteed Sole with Wasabi sauce and Mizuna Leaf
Konomono and Tomewan
Nozawana Red Turnip, Radish and Miso Soup
Sandwiches, Fruit, Onigiri and Pastries
LH 737 7/07-8/07
Two flight attendants were in charge of first class cabin, and the purser said the greeting after takeoff and a farewell before arrival. One flight attendant was in charge of serving the cabin, and the other one was in charge of the galley.
The service was much better than my previous LH F experience many years ago from Bangkok to Manila. The flight attendants at least smiled and were good in refilling wines and water glasses throughout the meal. They are no CX or SQ F/As, but pretty good. My only minor complaint was their lack of attention to details, such as passing out blankets (or letting me know where they are) after the main meal, and forgetful about passing out the second menus (LH has a separate menu in F for the second meal), and the lack of check-up between meals.
I had the Japanese lunch, which was prepared by Hilton Japan hotel chain, and the quality was nice. Everything was served from a trolley and no tray was used at all. There was a mid-flight snack, which were mainly Japanese rice balls (Salmon or vegetables), and sandwiches (peach and chicken & corned beef and pickles). The pre-landing dinner was a bit abbreviated, but still served in three separate courses with appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Lufthansa is quite generous with its meal portions and folks having seconds, especially there were only two passengers on this flight. My only minor complaint was the lack of noodle soups served on other airlines in similar routes. Even Austrian has cup noodles on its business class cabin on similar route between Japan and Vienna. Cup noodles are perhaps the easiest and cheapest things to store and serve.
Van Lack Sweater
Pair of Blue socks
BOGNER amenity kit
It was my first time at Frankfurt airport and it was definitely a large airport, but the airport was also very crowded and low ceiling made the airport look cramp and dark. After visiting Dusseldorf, as well as the larger Munich airport, Frankfurt Main airport is very underwhelming, not to mention the ups and downs to get from the plane to the passport control, and then from passport control to baggage claim. There are also two separate custom checkpoints, which I don’t quite understand. However, bags came out 15 minutes after we parked at the gate, and first class bags came out first.
(For the intra-European flights, there will be no written report, but a link to the respective photo album.)
August 31, 2007
LH 3260 FRA-PRG Lv1210 Arr1310 Airbus A321 D-AIRO “Konstanz”
September 4, 2007
LH 3261 PRG-FRA Lv1355 Arr1510 Airbus A320-200 D-AIQF “Halle a. d. Saale”
Conclusion: Lufthansa runs a very efficient intra-European flight network, and the in-flight service was excellent, and a cold meal was served on both directions with a separate beverage service (twice). Ground service was disappointing at Frankfurt, as the business class line was quite long and understaffed. The check-in agents were also not particular nice. The Senator lounge was also quite crowded in Frankfurt, but I appreciate the hot food buffet, including some meat patty and mushroom soup. The biggest mystery was that there was actually a second checkpoint for the Czech Republic flight, which was really strange and I wish that the ground agents or my e-tickets would have warned me about it. I actually got two bottles of water from the lounge, and in my case, it was okay, but there was an American couple, which had to surrender an expensive bottle of wine bought at duty free. I am just amazed on how airlines, airport agents, and various departments withhold these important information from passengers. I understand the US and UK flights, but why a Prague bound flight? Also all the additional security measures were missing on the return flights. From Prague, the ground experience was better, as there was no line at the business class counters, and the agent was more pleasant. The Menzies lounge is nice in terms of decor, but there is no free wifi, as well as very limited selection of snacks and beverages (pre-packaged sugar-coated croissants really don’t cut it).
September 8, 2007
LH 736 FRA-NGO Lv1430 Arr0855+1 Airbus A340-300 D-AIGY “Lunen”
The return flight was definitely nicer than the inbound flight, and the first class terminal definitely was the highlight of the day. The flight attendant was a bit kinder and genuine on the return, as she was also familiar with Japanese passengers. I later found out that she mostly bid for the Japanese routes. I apologized for the lack of pictures of the first class terminal, as I am officially not allowed to take any pictures. Since the lounge emptied out later in the afternoon, I was able to sneak a few poor quality pictures. I hope it will at least give you a sense of how the lounge/first class terminal is.
Frankfurt First Class Terminal
Luckily this morning, my friend dropped me off at the airport, but we had a hard time looking for the entrance. After circling the airport for the third time, we found it, and the first class terminal definitely is a separate world from the crowd and hassles at the main terminals. There are lots of car drop off areas, and I believe local passengers can arrange some kinds of valet parking there. A porter immediately headed towards our vehicle and within a minute, a concierge greeted me after patiently waiting me to say goodbye to my friends. The entrance has a small seating area and there is a small counter on the other side, which the agent took all my documents, including passport, electronic tickets, and my request for checking through my bags to CX from NGO to HKG was met by an “of course”, and the agent immediately let me to the security checkpoints, who are friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable about what is and what is not permitted. The whole experience is seamless and stressfree. Minute later, I am at the middle of the lounge. The agent immediately pointed out various features of the lounge including the location of the restaurant, business centers, cigar lounges, bathrooms, and showers. Immediately at the entrance, there was a large range of newspapers and magazine sections, which surprisingly lack English reading materials, but there were Japanese newspapers. Then there were about four to five individual offices with the usual working tables, and some came with pre-installed computers. Then there is a long and fully stocked bar on the right side, and the drinking menu was exhaustive, and Tattinger Rose Champagne was definitely a must try. Then there is a restaurant, which is staffed by DO & CO folks and the food selection was exhaustive. At the end of this section, you can find the full menu of the buffet at the FCT.
The seating areas are divided into sofa station, and lounge style individual armchairs facing out the window. There were three sofa stations on the left, and about four sofa stations on the right, and then the little solo lounging armchairs facing out the windows. There is also an enclosed cigar (and smoking) stations behind the restaurant, and there are two small dayrooms.
The décor is definitely towards a very modern one, with a very simple wall design with minimal paintings and the high ceiling and use of natural flights are definitely commendable. The high ceiling permits a more airy environment and definitely a great place to relax before the flight. The restaurant is excellent and I have to pace myself, as I tend to overeat, and want to save room to try the food on board as well. I should have a smaller breakfast that morning. The staffs were very attentive and once I entered, they immediately came to me and asked for my beverage order.
Buffet and Specials
Consomme with vegetables
Iced tomato soup/peppers
Tom Ka Gai
Thai chicken soup with coconut milk
Fresh cilanto & chilli
Creamy Potato Salad/brezel/mustard
Trioler Grost 'I
3 years aged Balsamico
Steak & salad
Seared fillet of beef
Eggplant Salad/ crispy rosemary chips
Stir fried beef with Asian vegetables and udon noodles
Baby Bak Choy/spicy coconut sauce
Handmade Pumpkin Ravioli
Crispy Chorizo/melted sage butter
Mediterranean Shrimp salad
Veal with tuna sauce
Feta cheese with olive oil
White eggplant puree
Arugula with cherry tomatoes
Shallots with aged balsamic vinegar
Proscuitto di Parma
Jamon Iberico/Pata Negra
Grilled green asparagus
Minced beef salad
Fried baby calamari
Meatballs in tomato sauce
Scottish Smoked salmon – Loch Fyne
Horseradish cream/toast or cream cheese/ bagel
Selection of cheeses
Do & CO’s mousse au chocolat
Do & CO’s French Kiss
Fresh Fruit Salad
Viennese apple strudel
Selection of sorbets
Austrian style chocolate soufflé (5min)
Vanilla ice cream with warm chocolate sauce
Boarding: General boarding began at 11:45am, but for first class folks, boarding time was later. As the correct time approached, a concierge approached me and asked me to gather my belonging, as boarding has already begun. Today, one other passenger and I would share a ride. Once we arrived at the lower level, we were directed to the passport control line to pick up our passports and verify our identities of course. Then the agent entered the information onto the computer and led us to the driver for our short ride to the plane. A brand new Porsche SUV Cayenne S were waiting for us. The driver was friendly but when I asked about taking pictures of the plane, he seemed hesitated, so I only sneaked a quick picture. Then we took an elevator to one level up, and boarded to the plane with no hassle at all.
The whole FCT experience is amazing and makes flying as stress-free as possible, and as the concierge, don’t worry about anything, and just focus on whatever you are doing – enjoying or working in an uninterrupted and quiet environment. The restaurant is really nice and DO & CO catering is amazing. One cannot go hungry at all. No one is rushing and it is indeed very relaxing. Now the element missing on LH is how to improve the inflight experience to the level of the FCT.
Push back at 2:35pm
Took off from R/W25R at 2:53pm
Landing on R/W18 at 8:45am the next day
Parked at gate 18 at 8:52pm
Flying time is ten hours and fifty-two minutes
Routing: 310- W of Berlin-Tartu-300-St. Petersberg-330-N of Omsk & Novosbirsk (Western Siberian Plain)-Irkutsk-Ulan Bator-335-N of Tangshan-375-S of Dailan-370-S of ICN-Woju-NGO Frankfurt to Nagoya
A much friendlier and chattier flight attendant, who is familiar with needs of Asian passengers, and she was very generous with food servings and making sure everyone is taken care of. We actually had a good short talk mid-flight and she always made sure that every passenger was taken care of. Her experiences on Japanese routes definitely gave her an edge and more attentive towards the need of Japanese passengers.
A bit disappointing considered that Frankfurt is the hub of LH, and my halibut entrée sounded good on the menu, but tasted average. The fish was overcooked, and the taste did not work well. However the rest of the meal especially the dessert was super nice. Snacks are available mid-flight (despite not on the menu), and this time, the F/A remembered the breakfast menus. Scrambled eggs were very nice.
Same Wine List
Choice of Hors d’Oeuvres
Caviar with the traditional Garnishes
Chilled Lobster Terrine with Exotic Fruit Sauce and Tamarind
Hot-smoked Duck Breast, Apple and Rosemary Puree with stuffed Vanilla Plum
Curly Endives, Radicchio, Lollo Rosso and Lamb’s Lettuce with Cucumbers, Carrots and Walnuts
Macadamia Nut or Potato Dressing
Choice of Main Courses
Loin of Lamb, Peppers, Beans and a Zucchini Mint Puree
Fillet of Halibut in black Truffled Daishi Stock, with Hearts of Palms, Silver Onions, Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Bak Choy
Selection of Cheese and Desserts
Blue de Gex, Medium-Aged Gouda, Brillat Savarin, Murol and St. Nectaire served with Plums, Cherry Tomatoes and Celery
Milk Chocolate Dome with Espresso Sauce, Mint and Blackcurrants
Specialty Dessert Wines
Egg Sushi with Tiger Prawns, Sushi Roll with Sesame, Radish and Carrot Salad, Mixed Perch Rolls with Chives, Poulard Breast with Melted Cheese, stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms, Smoked Salmon
Suimono with Cucumber and Chives
Green Tea Noodles with Wasabi and Chives and “Tsuyu” Soba Sauce
Tofu and Pine Nut Salad with Radish and Ginko Nuts
Cucumber stuffed with Eel, Seaweed with Tasazu Sauce
Roast Beef Fillet, Oyster Mushroom Sauce, carrots, spinach, and spring onions
Poached Cod and Prawn, Scallop, Hokkigai, Mussels in a fine Fish sauce, served with Japanese Vegetables and Rice
Konomono and Tomewan
Marinated Radish, Salted Plum and Seaweed and Misoshiru Soup
Wagashi and Guromonji
Specialty Dessert Wines
Cold and Hot Specialties
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Natural Yogurt, Yogurt with Fresh Fruit, Crunchy Nuts, Musli and Milk
Parma Ham, smoked Turkey Breast, German Salami, Yogurt Cheese, Cream Cheese and Chives
Scrambled Eggs freshly prepared upon your request with Bacon and Fresh Chives
Omelette, Cod Roe, Grated Radish with Keta Caviar, green Asparagus
Aubergine with grated Tuna and Ginger
“Gindara Kasuzuke” Fillet of Cod fried in Soya, served with a selection of Vegetables on Japanese Rice
“Okayu” Rice Soup with salted Plum
Konomono and Miso-Wan
Tofu with Ginger and Chives, pickled Radish, Seaweed and Strips of Aubergine and Miso Soup
LH 710,714,736 9/07-10/07
Van Lack Sweater (Blue solid color)
LH Sock (like SQ)
CAUDALIE amenity kit
CAUDALIE Gentler Cleaners (Face & Eyes) & Energizing Fluid (4 ml) at restrooms
LH Bathroom is well stocked with mini tubs of lotions, refreshing towelettes, shaving sets, shaving gels, and cotton pads. The bathrooms are well maintained throughout the flight. No fancy décor, but clean enough…
It is a worthy way to use up my United miles, and I really booked the ticket with not much expectation except the FCT. The LH first class seats are a bit outdated but still very comfortable and functional. It went 180 degrees full flat and the design reflects on the German model of efficiently and modernity. There are many storage compartments, and one will never run out of rooms for small objects. The advantages are definitely the first class terminal experience in Frankfurt, the efficiency boarding and arrival procedures, and a very stress-free experience. However, if I would have flown a Boeing 747-400 and have a neighbor, my perception would be different. Lufthansa definitely raised the bar for a good ground experiences for first class passengers, and even NH and SQ cannot match the high standard reflected by the first class terminal and related lounge facilities. However, the Lufthansa First class inflight experience is still a bit lacking on the in-flight product realm, especially the lack of a proper turn down service, and perhaps it is time to change the seats to reflect the more popular solo seats designs of premium class. Flight attendants are generally nice and capable, but lack the attentive touches of CX or SQ. For now, LH has a separate menu for the second meal, which is a good idea on paper, but F/As can easily forget to pass them out. So it may be just easier to have one menu for everything. The snack selection needs to be slightly improved and other than that, the catering department does a good job.
I hope you will enjoy this report and the pictures!
PS. Hopefully and with my fingers crossed, my next report will be the first day of operations of CX Boeing 777-300ERs on the regional routes. Flying CX Y from HKG to TPE on CX 420, and then CX F from TPE to ICN on Oct 4… hopefully this flight is still happening.