Review: Lufhansa’s new First Class in the Boeing 747-800 (IAD-FRA)
While I had the chance to test the new business class product from Lufthansa two day ago, today I made it a little more up front in the cabin. At this point I want to thank Chr. Koch from the station in IAD for the help and support – great on-site service.
At my arrival at the airport IAD there wasn’t a single person at the counter of first class. So I was the only one to get rid of my luggage and because I already checked in this was done in a few minutes. After a hint for the lounge near Gate B50 I preceded security control in 15 minutes, as it was quite empty here, too. The lounge is divided into a Senator Lounge and a Business Lounge. As a first class traveller I can use the Senator area. It’s equipped with the typical dark chairs, like Lufthansa uses them in other lounges, but also tables and bar tables are available and provide enough space to spread. The big window front provides a glance on a part of the runway and the gate.
The food and beverage offer is nothing special, but way better than in other lounges in the USA. Cold and warm dishes, desserts and a selection of beverages are being offered. Shortly before boarding was supposed to take place I went to gate B45 where the plane and other guests were already waiting. On the left side business and first class passengers could enter, so I was one of the first people to enter the cabin.
Arriving at the plane door I was welcomed, taken to my seat and showed the luggage shelf. The big shelves are equipped with bails and provide enough space for hand luggage. They are positioned behind the Galley and accessible from the corridor. I put not only my hand luggage there, but also shirt and pans find their place on the bail. For longer jackets or coats there is another wardrobe. As soon as I arrived at my seat I’m being asked what I’d like to drink plus I get the amenity kit, pajamas and clogs, but later more. I choose a Coke with ice and lean back in my big and comfortable home for the next 7,5 hours. A hot and fragrant cloth and the flight can begin.
The cabin and the seat:
Already when entering I noticed the chique and appealing cabin. While the first class at British Airways is held in a futuristic blue and Emirates has gold and separated cabins, Lufthansa stays decent but high-class and has the most beautiful cabin after my taste. The kitchen behind the first class, follow by the business class cabin, is separated by thick and heavy curtain. Therefore the guest is not disturbed by noises from the kitchen and it’s a lot more quit than in business class. Besides the better sound insulation in floor and walls, latter attract by something special: Different than the typical plastic, they are covered with velvet and so create an indescribable feeling of comfort. Like in my last travel in the LH first class I felt like home this time and am keen on this concept. In the cabin itself you find 8 seats for first class, while each three are arranged as peak and two more in the third row in the middle.
These suit best for people who travel together, because you can talk easier. If you’re “fed up” of the other one, simply boot up the partition ;-). My favorite seat is 1A, directly in the front of the nose and under the pilots. Like in British Airways in the 747 you have a beautiful view.
All in all four windows belong to my seat (while it’s 1K on the picture), while the venetians can be shut in two steps: first a brighter lightly fabric, then to make it darker a second one, which can dim the whole cabin when you want to sleep. The creation of the cabin ceiling seems neat and sophisticated, fitting to the lighter and decent concept. Directly in front of the middle seats is the place for Champaign, beverages and magazines, which can be brought by the super pleasant stewardesses.
The seat is the new one of the first class and implemented in lots of other Lufthansa airplanes. Just the screen is a little smaller, so it appears to me in comparison to my last travel. It suits the color concept of the cabin and is really comfortable. You control it, other than at the subsidiary Swiss, not with a touch pad but with keys. Without opening the flap you can choose between four standard positions, from take off to bed, and after opening you find all kinds of controlling possibilities. Also interesting is the Ottoman, which is located under the screen. In it there is a big shelf for shoes or other “stuff”. The Ottoman itself can be pulled over by key and provides the right, comfortable position for every size.
Further shelves are located in the middle of the seat (safety card and board magazine) and in the sides. In one of these shelves you find the plug for headphones. The pleasant Pursetette brings me the nice and isolated BOSE headphones, which are provided by Lufthansa for free. In the quiet cabin you don’t really need an isolation, but the headphones are comfortable and provide music or sound of the inflight entertainment system. It comes with sufficient extent – as already described in the article about the Business Class – but the choice of movies is much more limited than at other airlines. I don’t really care, because I hardly use it. The interesting airshow is made nicely and can be called from a button on the left remote control. Furthermore you can adjust brightness and other configurations with this remote.
Finally a look on the last shelf. On the left of the seat in a flap is place for the amenity kit or other stuff, magazines or newspapers. All in all there is enough space around the seat and no problem to store all my stuff I usually carry around.
Nice are the two sockets for international plugs and two USB ports. For my gadgets (no, not on my pictures today) I need a lot of recharching possibilities.
After take off I get the nicely designed menu and the wine menu. Besides the 2004 Champaign “Laurent-Perrier Brut” there is a big selection of wines, spirits and beverages. The monthly wine recommendation is a 2011 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Furthermore there are two white wines (2010 Erbacher Hohenrain Riesling and 2007 Chateau de Rully) and three red wines available (2006 Meritage, USA, 2005 “Astrales” Ribera del Duera, Spain and 2005 Chateau Belgrave, France). But also on this flight I don’t drink alcohol and probably miss besides the wines also the Campari and amber colored Sherry Amontillado Hidalgo as aperitif. Also the spirit section is extensive and offers the right thing for everyone. More about the selection can be taken from the picture of the menu. Besides whiskey, gin and cognac you can also have brandy.
Lufthansa offers different juices, Coca-Cola, non-alcoholic Wasteiner beer and coffee specialties from Dallmar and Nespresso. The tea selection is set up by Susanne Albrecht from Eilles Tee and contains six sorts, from Assam over green tea to peppermint and fruit tea.
I hardly chose a beverage, when I already got the greeting from the kitchen. A little delicatessen from mango and cocoa makes you want more from the next courses. The choice of starters makes the decision not really easier and so I was told with a smile to “simply try everything”. It started with classic caviar and supplements, followed by scallops marinated in citrus, then glazed Teriyaki beef spears and tomato-tian with Burrata cheese.
Throughout everything is delicious, nicely served and a joy for the palate.
A few vitamins cant be bad and so I took a salad, which is nothing special at first sight. Unusual tasty was the mango-yoghurt dressing, which wasn’t only well flavored but also fruity and refreshing.
My choice of main course should be something light today. Therefore I took the fried duck with jasmine rice and curry Kaffir sauce. Well, it’s a thing with “light”, but tasty was the duck indeed. In spite of the food there was place for dessert and because there’s always space for ice cream the decision fell on English pudding with banana and vanilla ice cream. Because I missed breakfast the next morning, due to long sleep. But Lufthansa really knows about food and eating, as I experienced.
The menu was inspired by the well-known cook Toni Robertson, who cooks in the luxurious Mandarin Oriental in New York contemporary cuisine with an Asian touch.
The seat becomes a bed:
Especially when you fly over night, sleep is not the worst choice. Attentive, as everybody is here, the bed was already prepared on seat 1K, since the machine wasn’t packed at all, so they didn’t have to transform my seat. The big seat and the Ottoman make a big and even surface after the transformation. Different than in the first class of Emirates, where the last third pitches down, the designer of this seat avoided especially that. A big mattress is being placed on the complete surface, followed by a soft and cozy bedding and pillows. The quality of beds, blankets and covers is not only of high quality, but also cozy and soft, like in good hotels, and guarantees a well sleep. This is supported by an adjustable wall, which separates the seat from the cabin. It’s so quiet in the first class that you don’t really need the earplugs from the amenity kit. I leave them in anyways, and sleep like a baby in 7th heaven 20 minutes before landing. Sometimes I think, the soft motion of the plane replaces the motion of a baby cradle, which is why I sleep so well on board.
Another advantage of travelling in the anterior part of the cabin is the hastiness that starts one hour before landing. Here, upfront its much more relaxed and so I have to get up only 20 minutes before landing, change and get a fresh cup of tea just for the landing. What a dream ;-).
The amenity kit:
Different than other airlines, Lufthansa always tries to bring out a new kit and offers different ones on different planes. Besides the nice idea of the Rimowa Kit there were also Porsche kits and just this one in the 747-8. The grey kit suits very nice to the rest of the cabin and also the pajamas and bags suit color-wise. Inside the kit you find socks, earplugs, ridge, toothpaste and crème, etc. Everything you could need on such a flight. It’s done so well, you can use it several times and I always find some accepters on my way back. After a short talk about my kids, the pleasant Madame brings me two further kits: special amenities for kids in the cabin. The little Jet Friends (that’s the name of the bonus program for smaller passengers) are being convinced with a yellow glowing bag. Also here you get toothbrush, toys, fluffy toy and blindfold and earplugs suitable for children – just like adults and I’m sure the two will be happy tomorrow. In this case on’d like to be a child again.
While I had the feeling in the business class that the service as good but one or two smiles wouldn’t have harmed, on the way back it was totally different. Starting at the check-in, over lounge and gate, up to inside the airplane the employees were really pleasant and helpful. During the flight I was always mentioned by name with a smile and especially during the meals the service was attentive but not pushing. You could clearly realize that they cared about me and tried to make the flight as comfortable as possible for me. Lufthansa really succeeded here.
After landing I headed to the first class terminal at Frankfurt airport, where I could span the waiting time for the flight to Düsseldorf with a shower and breakfast. More about FCT in a following article here on this blog. Shortly before take off and all the other passengers were already in the plane, the chauffeur brought me in a nice Porsche to the plane – this was a nice experience and a sophisticated concept. I really hope that with all the money saving not too many tracks need to fear the cease of the first class, which would be really a pity.
In comparison to other airlines, Lufthansa can be found on the top 3 with the first class. The reasons are service, food and the new first class product, which is not only up to date when it comes to colors, but also technical wise. If they can keep the service on this level, I will surely use the front part of the cabin at the crane airline once more.
My top airlines (concerning overall concept) in first class:
In business class:
1. British Airways (could fly with them again and again)
2. Virgin (with the old product. I’ll see the new one in a couple of weeks)
3. British Airways with the All Business in the A318
… followed by Iberia, Air Berlin and others.