Lufthansa, First Class – Frankfurt to Houston – Trip Report
It's a nice summer morning and I'm in the back seat of a Mercedes with a German business guy next to me, looking out the window as we pass an endless stream of planes crossing the tarmac. The car comes to a halt right next to »München«, the Lufthansa A380 we are about to board. The business guy turns out to be a cheerful one and asks the driver to take a few pics of him in front of the plane, even offering to take a photo of me in the same way. I decline politely (but end up regretting it) and walk around for half a minute or so while they do their photo shoot. And man, that aircraft. It's big. Insanely big. You never really get a sense of the size of these things when boarding straight into the plane through a jet bridge. From up close it's all a bit overwhelming, the scale, the wings, everything. I totally screw up my chance of getting a few great pictures, but I do get two of the engines…
We jump into the elevator, push the »A380 level 2« button, exit right into the upper deck bridge and make our way past the poor business class people lining up to have their credentials checked at the door. A few moments later my bag goes into the locker and I'm settled and good to go in 2K. A flight attendant comes by asking if she may offer me some champagne and ah, yes of course, and boom, I find myself sipping away on a glass of Tattinger, watching the world outside. Lufhansa's first class setup gets you three unobstructed windows and a pretty decent view of what's happening.
After a while we line up for take off, engines kicks in, the journey along the runway is smooth and quiet, our A380 rotates and we're off, passing through a layer of scattered clouds and quite a bit of turbulence. The aircraft levels off and the purser comes by, greeting everyone by name and handing out menus. He says »welcome back« and manages to produce a flawless pronunciation of my last name, something that pretty much never happens. And I'm a bit surprised that they keep track of my previous first class adventures with Lufthansa and adjust their greeting accordingly. Nice work.
I ask to have the meal service right away and go with the lamb as my choice of main course. Now, things are a bit different these days as Lufthansa recently changed the first class dining concept and it seems there are a few glitches yet to be fixed. The flight attendant asks if I would prefer the soup or the sorbet as part of the multi-course set menu, I opt for the soup, but she returns a few minutes later apologizing and letting me know no soup has been loaded. I ask for the sorbet instead, but it turns out they have run out of that option too, only having loaded four units. No big deal though.
Everything kicks off with the usual caviar service followed by a selection of starters. The vertical étagère setup of the old days has gone horizontal and each starter plate is placed on a larger, rectangular plate. But you're still free to choose any combination of what's available and I end up choosing the crab, the veal and a salad. Everything is fairly tasty but not too spectacular. And, surprisingly, they mange to get me a sorbet after all, though it suffers from the exact same ice crystallization issue as the ANA chocolate sorbet a few months ago. Despite the icy texture it turns out to be quite tasty.
The lamb is decent but again, not spectacular. Next up is the dreaded dessert tray, capable of eroding a ton of hours at the gym in a few short minutes. I try to stay semi-healthy and ask only to have the white chocolate dessert with curry crumbles and pickled pineapple, along with cup of green tea. They wrap everything up with chocolate pralines and the flight attendant insists I try at least three, resistance is futile, and I end up munching my way through a bunch.
Time to get a bit of sleep. No need to become all acrobatic with the two giant lavatories providing ample space to change into the Lufthansa PJ pants with ease. My seat has magically been transformed while I was away, and it may sound a bit weird but I love being in horizontal mode 30,000 feet up in the air in a fully made bed, with decent Korean pop music pumping through my headphones. Gets my brain into some sort of hyper creative slash relaxing zone. Good stuff, really.
After a while I do manage to get what seems to be a few hours worth of sleep. I wake up and a flight attendant comes by offering a decent range of midnight snacks and I go with a few small sandwiches, some grilled vegetables and a macaron cookie. Ahh, those macarons. They'll kill me eventually, I'm sure. Just too good to resist.
The first class seat on the Lufthansa A380 is really quite good. Easy to relax in, pretty great in bed mode and there's a couple of decently sized storage spaces. It does lack a bit of privacy compared to the first class suites offered on other airlines but with the privacy screen raised (pic below) it's not too bad. And I do like the rose with its tiny, dedicated mini spotlight.
A bit more sleep, I wake up in a haze, jump into the lav to change back out of the PJ pants just before the second serving kicks in two hours before touchdown. They run a Mexican themed lunch this time around with a couple of different options served from the trolley, again it's all fairly decent but nothing too amazing. Touch down, taxi and we're just about to get off when the jet bridge breaks down and all upper deck passengers have to go down the cabin stairs and exit from the lower deck. They do hold the remaining economy passengers until everyone in first class is off, but the race to immigration is lost. Still, it's not too bad and within an hour or so I'm re-checking my luggage and head over to my connecting flight.
Lufthansa really knows how to run proper ground service and the First Class Terminal setup works exceptionally well in Frankfurt. The A380 first class cabin is nice and airy but comes at the slight cost of privacy, though the seat is really good, especially in bed mode. As usual the in-flight service with Lufthansa is friendly, efficient and slightly informal. The only slightly disappointing thing this time around was the food – perfectly decent but nothing special, and quite far from what I've had on previous Lufthansa flights in first. If you're looking for a trip report with tons of pics of the cabin, head over to One mile at a time.
I had another unplanned segment with Lufthansa in first class a week later, going from Chicago to Munich on an A340 with the refitted cabin, and the food they served was excellent. It seems the less-than-stellar catering of my flight to Houston was more of a temporary dip in quality. The pic below is from the Munich flight, showing the new horizontal starter plate setup (apologies for the random focus, I'm apparently still not able to handle my new camera in a proper way).