Anybody that knows me will know it is no secret that I love Lufthansa and I especially love the Boeing 747-8i. Having not flown the ‘Queen of the Skies’ on the FRA – JFK route since 2013 (when they still had the old upper deck First Class on the 747-400 with the adjoining bed) it was time to fly the newer model on the B747-400s older sister to see if the experience would differ from the FRA-EWR route I have taken recently.
I love miles and points for the simple reason that it enables you to fly incredible classes for a fraction of the price. I have the JP Morgan Reserve credit card which has all of the same benefits as the Chase Reserve, plus some more. This redemption was part upgrade, part mileage award ticket. For Star Alliance I collect on Mileage Plus – this is both a blessing and a curse as it is the best program because of the low fuel surcharges and generous upgrade voucher deals but I hate flying with United and I only fly them enough to meet the minimum segment requirements, so most of my miles from Mileage Plus were accrued from other Star Partners. Fortunately on this trip I was able to apply a 1K upgrade voucher from Business to First from United on Lufthansa (nice perk!) and then redeem a mileage bank balance of 110k miles for the other ticket. As I’ve seen countless other times, United seems to get special award space that other partners such as Air Canada and Avianca don’t seem to have so it is definitely worth considering this option.
If you want to fly this flight then it would make complete sense to do it with miles. My advise for our UK readers would be the American Express Gold Card as it has perks such as double points when spending directly with an airline, extensive hotel benefits such as free upgrades and free lounge access at airports. The best perk of all though, it is free for the first year!
Munich – Frankfurt | Lufthansa A320 Business Class
Unfortunately since it was a Sunday, the trains were not fully running as there was some construction so I ended up having to take a taxi to Munich and after a short walk to the check-in area I arrived at the luxurious First Class check-in (also shared by Star Gold).
One of the things that really separates Lufthansa from the other carriers is how they care for their passengers. There were weather reports of lighting that afternoon so the agent suggested he move me and my travelling companion to an earlier flight to ensure we make our connection – after few quick clicks on the computer we were confirmed on the next departing Munich – Frankfurt flight.
Security at the First Class check-in took seconds and we soon flew through to the Munich First Class Lounge.
After only a quick visit due to the earlier departing flight, a double espresso sent us on the short walk to our departing flight to Frankfurt. Boarding was a bit chaotic as the flight had changed from an A321 to an A320 so a few passengers in economy had to be re-accommodated. Nonetheless, the boarding was very German and efficient.
Most people talk badly about Lufthansa for their “euro-business class” but it amazing on our flight which had an advertised duration of one hour but actually takes about 25-30 minutes of flying time. We were served a full meal and drinks. Today’s meal was the delicious white asparagus.
After cruising at 32,000 feet and an uneventful on-time landing we arrived at “A” gates which was unfortunate as since we were not at a remote gate, there was no First Class car transfer.
The First Class Terminal
After a short walk outside, it was time to enter the amazing First Class Terminal which, in my opinion, is by far the best lounge in the world and always has the most amazing fresh food. The lounge has DO&Co catering, great selections of Champagne and a huge Gummy Bear dispenser which is always fun. Since I love it so much I had more white asparagus and steak with white wine and Apfelstrudel for dessert.
After only a short three hour layover, it was time to board. The main benefit of the First Class Terminal is that you actually skip the normal terminal experience altogether and the only way of boarding the plane is by car. The personal assistant came to collect us on time and we were on our way for the short ride to the beautiful queen of the skies in the back of an extremely comfortable Mercedes.
Getting dropped off directly underneath the plane and taking the elevator up is one of the coolest things about the whole first class experience and definitely gives it a VIP touch.
Boarding and turning left on the 747-8i has to be one of the best feelings in the world as you are greeted and almost immediately poured a glass of champagne upon being seated. This time around the champagne was a gorgeous 1995 ‘Blanc des Millenaires’ which had the perfect balance of age, taste and bubbles and paired really nicely with the food. The seating in the cabin is one of the best I have flown. It features a 1-1 configuration in rows 1-2 (seats A and K) and a 1-2-1 setup in row three. Seeing as I was travelling with someone, we went for row three and were lucky enough to have seats A and K free which made it feel exactly like the old First class on the 747-400.
Upon being seated with champagne, the flight attendant hurried over to deliver the pyjamas, internet voucher, slippers, and amenity kit. I also received a handwritten note from one of my friends at Lufthansa who unfortunately couldn’t be on the flight today as well as a menu with my name hand written in beautiful text. The menu and wine list is extensive, and has something for everyone’s tastes. As I love white asparagus so much I selected that for my main course along with a side of Schnitzel.
Takeoff in the nose of the 747-8 is a bit loud and harsh as you are sitting directly above the landing gear, but once you are off the runway the cabin becomes dead silent. This is thanks to the sound-deadening carpet and suede walls which mean you can actually hear everyone in the cabin speaking!
We took off on-time at 17:10 and we were at cruising altitude of 37,999 feet after just a few minutes. Immediately, the flight attendants sprung into action with the caviar. The presentation and taste is so wonderful and so amazing that LH serves seconds on request.
Next came the appetizers, the sorbet and then the main course. All of these courses are served with the wine of your choose with a helping hand from the crew who know exactly which wine to pair which each meal.
The crew were so friendly on this flight and that really is where Lufthansa shines compared to some other airlines who have employees with bad attitudes or sometimes there are strong cultural/language differences making it hard to connect on a personal level with them. On Lufthansa’s First Class you know you will have an expertly trained flight attendant who can immediately sense which passengers want the full First Class experience and which ones want to be left alone to sleep. Service is so personal and attentive too. For example, the flight attendants would speak to me in German and then immediately repeat to my friend in English even though they could have spoken English to both of us. It is the small things like this attention to detail that really put Lufthansa above and beyond in my mind.
After too much food, dessert and cheese it was time to settle into the bed and watch a film. The IFE and WIFI on the plane are both free of charge which is a really great perk. The IFE screen is very large and perfect for indulging in your guilty pleasures. I, for instance watched ‘I,Tonya’.
Unfortunately, due to the bottle of wine that I drank and several glasses of champagne prior to that, I fell asleep half way through the film and was woken 30 minutes before landing with a warm and friendly brush on my arm to awake me. The crew had left me a hot towel prepared, a tooth brush and mouthwash and a double espresso, orange juice and water. This was the perfect wake up call.
The landing was unfortunately a lot longer than expected as we had to make turns around JFK due to the fact that we were slightly early and couldn’t land yet. We cruised at 20,000ft around New Jersey and Long Island for about 45 minutes before being cleared for landing.
We landed 45 mins ahead of schedule and parked at JFK Terminal 1. The escort met us, helped us through security and then had our bags waiting for collection. Another VIP moment.
For me there is no better airline than Lufthansa and no better way to fly than in First Class. Put the two together and it makes for one of the most pleasant flights imaginable. Sure, I am not crazy and know that their 5 star rating in business class is questionable, but in First, the experience is incomparable to any other airline for me.
While Lufthansa isn’t the best airline flying in my opinion, I always choose Lufthansa’s First Class for those extra touches, VIP feelings, incredible food and drink and fantastic crew!
Want to see how this compares to First Class on the British Airways B747 then click here.
This review is part of our monthly guest review programme. The author of this review is Mark (@markbuttons) who flew this flight in early May 2018. If you have an upcoming flight you think we’d like to see then you can apply here.
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