Lufthansa is an excellent airline in so many ways, but misses the mark when it comes to longhaul business class. While there was nothing glaringly wrong with my 11-hour flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, there was also nothing that made it special and several things that made it below-average.
As I said after writing my first reflections of this flight, please keep this review in context. The product is like night and day compared to economy class or even premium economy class. But Lufthansa business class is not a top-tier product by any definition of the word.
I was among the last to board, finding my seat upstairs in a cabin that departed with only one open seat. I had not been on a 747 since United’s final 747 flight last autumn, so this was quite a treat.
Frankfurt (FRA) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Saturday, June 23
Depart: 02:05 PM
Arrive: 04:50 PM
Duration: 11hr, 45min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-8
Seat: 81A (Business Class)
I love the windows to the right of the stairs to the upper deck, a unique feature of the Boeing 747-8.
Lufthansa 747-8 Business Class Seat
I chose row 81, the front row of business class, because the foot cutout is slightly larger. The upper deck features eight rows of 2-2 fully lie-flat seat seating.
While sufficient for both lounging and rest, the seats are not the most comfortable. The glaring issue is the footrest, in which your feet are just inches from your neighbors and separated only by a thin divider.
Seats are controlled electronically:
Inside the armrest is the tray table, IFE hand-held remote, and headphones.
I appreciated the side storage compartments.
Waiting at my seat was a mattress pad, blanket, and pillow. The blanket is plush and keeps you very warm.
Unfortunately, the cabin became so hot upstairs that I could not sleep…quite a difference from ice-cold cabin from Los Angeles to Munich earlier this year. There are no individual air vents on Lufthansa’s 747-8. The seats are fully-flat when fully-reclined.
As we taxied out of our gate at Frankfurt and took to the air, I snapped some pictures out my window:
Lufthansa 747-8 Business Class Service
Service was the most disappointing aspect of the flight. The ladies working upstairs were pleasant, but either very recent hires or just having an off day. Lufthansa does not use trays in business class. Prior to meal service, a FA floated a tablecloth to me…it landed halfway on, halfway off the tray. Moments later, she handed me a bread dish, butter dish, napkin with cutlery inside, and salt & pepper shaker. Service protocols calls for a FA to step in and arrange it on the tray table.
It’s not that I could not do it myself. Rather, it struck me as odd an unprofessional that this was handed to me without any explanation. Furthermore, the tablecloth was stained. Attention to detail is vital.
Throughout the meal service, empty plates were not collected nor were glasses refilled. I was not offered wine during dinner, nor was the Miles & More HON member sitting next to me.
With the exception of a brief appearance during the German World Cup match to offer snacks, FAs disappeared until the pre-arrival service 90-mintues prior to landing.
FAs did offer a choice of water, orange juice, or sparkling wine prior to takeoff. Unlike on United, I like that Lufthansa uses real glasses for pre-dearpture beverages.
Lufthansa 747-8 Business Class Dining
Service began about 30 minutes out of Frankfurt with a hot towel.
That was followed by a ramekin of almonds, served room temperature, with a choice of beverage. I just had sparkling water.
Flight menus had been distributed prior to takeoff and I was asked at this point what I wanted for my main course. Back in the days in which meals were delivered by cart, a choice would not be asked until the meal was set down before you. Here’s the full menu:
I chose the goat cheese appetizer, which included mushrooms and bell peppers. It was quite nice. I was disappointed there was no Laugenbrötchen (pretzel bread) available, but pretzel rolls would appear for the pre-arrival meal.
It was asparagus season in German and the main course of asparagus and veal was tasty. The meat was sadly cooked medium-well, but it was surprisingly tasty. I’m sure the rich hollandaise sauce helped a bit…
When I had finished, the FA appeared to clear away my plate. I requested a salad and an embarrassed look spread over her face…she was supposed to have offered this prior to the main course.
I don’t mind eating a green salad after my main course as a palate cleanser, but this represented another service slip-up. Other passengers were also offered salads and accepted.
The choices for dessert were fresh fruit, cheese, or ice cream. I asked if I could try all three and was obliged. Lufthansa has no cappuccino in business class, but I did have an espresso.
After the meal, each passenger received a small box of chocolates and water bottle:
During the Germany vs. Sweden World Cup match, a light snack was offered of fruit, olives, and cheese.
In the rear galley, additional self-serve snacks including potato chips, chocolate, and almonds were offered. Also available: special World Cup lollipops.
About eight hours into the flight I was hungry and did enjoy the snacks.
Finally, a light meal was offered two hours prior to landing. This included beef goulash (served lukewarm), salad, bread, and a small piece of cake.
Lufthansa 747-8 Business Class Amenity Kit
Typically, a business class amenity kit will be left behind or wind up packed away in a closet. But Lufthansa’s current amenity kit is actually quite useful. The contents were hardly unusual: toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshade, ear plugs, and some L’Occitane skincare products…
But the kit doubled as a grocery/shopping bag. In California, single-use plastic bags at grocery stores are banned. Now I have a grocery bag with the Lufthansa logo on it…I like it!
Lufthansa 747-8 Business Class Lavatory
Upstairs features a forward and rear lavatory. These are small, but there is a still a bit of room to move around. Amenities include Korres hand soap as well as shaving kits, combs, and mouthwash.
Lufthansa 747-8 – Still the Queen
Midway through the flight I took a walk downstairs. There is still something so special about this aircraft. I’m glad Lufthansa bought the 748-8 and hope it remains in the fleet for years to come.
Check out the “purser’s desk” near door two on the lower deck:
So German! I love it.
Lufthansa 747-8 Business Class IFE + Wi-Fi
Although the aircraft is provisioned for in-flight calling and wi-fi, the system was down for most of the flight. It briefly flashed on about two hours prior to arrival, but even then I was unable to connect the internet.
Since rest was also elusive on this flight, I watched a couple movies in addition to the World Cup game. One was a comedy called Spy featuring Melissa McCarthy (hilarious) and the other was the true story of Molly Bloom called Molly’s Game. I recommend both films.
The IFE selection includes about 100 movies and also features TV shows, live TV, games, and music.
Lufthansa uses Bose noise-cancelling headphones in business class which worked quite well.
We landed on-time in Los Angeles. While the service was disappointing and seat not all that comfortable, I want to again stress that Lufthansa Business Class remains a perfectly reasonable product. But is it the best? Not even close. I’d rate it below average.