Flying Lufthansa First Class onboard the 747 remains a superlative flying experience. This review will take us from Frankfurt to Los Angeles in the pointy nose of the 747-8.
Lufthansa 747 First Class Review
The flight was almost an afterthought to actually visiting the First Class Terminal and obtaining a very-special rubber duck. But the flight reminded me of what a privilege it is to fly in Lufthansa First Class and how the airline has not used the pandemic as an excuse to cut back on service.
How I Booked Lufthansa First Class
I booked the ticket using Aeroplan miles. The first class redemption cost 100,000 miles and approximately 213CAD (168USD) in taxes and fees.
Boarding time for LH456 indicated 9:50AM on my boarding pass, but it was not until 10:10AM that my concierge in the First Class Terminal found me and escorted me downstairs to the limousine depot. Since the flight departed from an upper Z gate, the drive from the terminal to the aircraft was very short; only a couple minutes.
From the base of the plane, I was escorted into an elevator, which opened up at the jet bridge entrance upstairs.
Frankfurt (FRA) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Saturday, September 4
Depart: 10:30 AM
Arrive: 01:05 PM
Duration: 11hr, 35min
Seat: 3K (First Class)
Proceeding onboard with two other passengers I had shared the van with, I was welcomed by a flight attendant and escorted to my seat, 3K.
A Timeless Cabin
I consider the seat and the cabin timeless, but I understand that even many modern business class products offer more privacy.
Nevertheless, each seat has a privacy divider which can be raised or lowered on demand. When raised, the seat is much more private.
Other seat controls include adjusting the recline, ottoman position, and footrest.
Although the overhead bins are more than sufficient to accommodate the carry-on items of eight passengers, each passenger also has a locker in the rear of the cabin with enough space for a large rollerboard and additional items.
Say what you will about the lack of privacy or longevity of the seat, but it remains one of the most comfortable seats to lounge in or sleep in.
Sleeping is greatly aided by a mattress pad, plush pillow, and large duvet.
However, sleep was elusive on this flight. It was probably all the espresso in the lounge and onboard, but I only managed three hours of restless tossing and turning.
I passed the time by watching movies, which leads me a reasonable gripe: the monitors are woefully outdated onboard the 747-8. These planes are not old, but it is amazing how far technology has come in the last 10 years. The picture is grainy and the monitor very small. The lag is horrible. While I do not expect Lufthansa to install larger screens in this cabin, the monitors can certainly be replaced with a brighter, louder, crisper, and more responsive system and monitor of the same size.
I do love the Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which are gradually being updated from older QC-2 headphones.
Wi-Fi is complimentary for first class passengers and data is uncapped. This is a valuable perk, as Lufthansa now sets data limits on paid access.
The Great Feast
Shortly after settling into my seat, I was greeted again with an offer of Champagne (or the beverage of my choice) and presentation of mixed nuts. Today’s Champagne was a 2004 Cuvée Louise from Pommery. Additionally, 2004 Grande Cuvée Rosé Alexandra from Laurent-Perrier was offered. Typically Lufthansa offers macadamia nuts with it pre-departure beverage, but I’ve seen mixed nuts from time to time over the years.
Freshly-cut roses have returned, but hot towels are still missing: packaged wipes are offered instead.
Menus were distributed prior to takeoff, including a separate menu with wines, cocktails, and other adult beverages.
After takeoff, I ordered a Negroni, which was served with an amuse-bouche of goat’s cheese in pesto sauce.
Lunch began with the table being set and a choice of bread offered. The garlic bread was delicious…my first time enjoying garlic bread on a plane since I last flew in Lufthansa First Class in the other direction last November.
Caviar service remains a staple of Lufthansa First Class and because everyone seemed to indulge in it, the portion size was on the small side.
Appetizer choices included:
- spiced salmon with cucumber relish
- beef pastrami with mustard vegetables
- coconut mousse, Pak Choi curry, coriander, and ginger mayonnaise
Next came a soup course, which is typically only available on westbound flights to the USA. Today’s selection was cream of asparagus, one of my favorites. It was very creamy and the asparagus was tender.
Prior to the main course, I requested a green salad, which included cherry tomatoes, a single mozzarella ball, pine nuts, and a pumpkin dressing.
For my main course, I chose the turbot bouillabaisse (I prefer the German word, Steinbutt) with risoni pasta. This fish was flaky, moist, and tender. With dinner, I enjoyed a glass of Riesling (2018 Bockstein) and a cheese roll.
The feast continued with an elaborate cheese course, featuring:
- honey goat cheese
- “walnut dream cheese”
The cheese was accompanied by a date and sesame chutney, grapes, pine nuts, and celery.
This is how a cheese course should be done.
Finally, I rounded out the meal with a fresh strawberry compote with curd cream and a cappuccino. The cappuccino was strong and delicious (and as I mentioned earlier, deadly for sleeping).
Wait More Food?
I didn’t really need any more food. Who would after that eight-course feast? But as we neared Los Angeles I decided to have a second lunch. My car was parked at LAX and I had a drive across town ahead of me, so I stuck to non-alcoholic beverages like freshly-squeezed orange juice and sparkling water.
Lufthansa offers an anytime a la carte menu for consumption anytime after the main meal service. I ordered a “gourmet salad” which turned out to be a large green salad with a big “potato tortilla” on top (more like a quiche). The yogurt dressing was very tasty.
I then asked if there was any Maultaschen (Swabian ravioli) left from the initial lunch menu and was cheerfully obliged, though it took about 15 minutes to warn it up in the oven.
I prefer Maultaschen in soup or eggs.
Wanting a diversion from my usual coffee, I ordered tea off of Lufthansa’s extensive tea menu. While the tea setup was beautiful, the “Bio Relax” tea I chose was not to my liking…and I switched back to cappuccino. I concluded the meal with some fresh raspberries.
Service Was Not Perfect, But I Still Loved It
When it comes to in-flight service, friendliness, conscientious, and kindness makes all the difference in the world and can overcome service issues.
The flight attendants were not flawless. In fact, there were two services lapses during the flights.
First, my lunch dishes were not promptly cleaned (it took 10 minutes).
Second, when I was ready to sleep, I pushed the flight attendant call button and no one showed up. After waiting three minutes, I stood up, pulled back the curtain to the galley between first and business class, and popped my head in. There was no one there. I stood in the galley for five more minutes before returning to my seat. There I sat another 10 minutes. Yes, I waited nearly 20 minutes in first class for a flight attendant to show up. Was I flying Alitalia or Lufthansa?
But I just could not get angry. When a flight attendant finally appeared, she very cheerfully apologized for the delay and made my bed. The two flight attendants pictured below were apparently on break and a back-up flight attendant should have been present.
I overlook a lot when people are nice. While that has, at times, been to my detriment in the business world, the flight attendants worked far too hard and were otherwise far too attentive to be branded lazy. There should have always been a flight attendant in the galley or ready to respond to a passenger call. Even so, I’d label it as room for improvement instead of claiming it ruined my flight and I want my miles back.
These two ladies were fabulous and Lufthansa should commend them for taking such good care of the full cabin of passengers.
As I grow older, I appreciate kindness more and more. These two ladies were kind. They were sweet. They were attentive. What more could I ask for? Their lovely nature made me much more forgiving of the service lapse of their colleague.
Lavatory With A View
Someone must have been scavenging the lavatory because when I went in during the meal service, the lavatory was well-stocked with La Prairie hand cream and mouthwash and when I returned before going to sleep it was all gone.
I always enjoy the natural light that comes from a lavatory with a window.
First Class Amenities
I always hope for a Rimowa amenity kit when I fly Lufthansa, but my flight featured a Porsche Design-branded amenity kit. Lufthansa has recently refreshed the contents, which now include:
- wooden shoe horn
- ear plugs
- La Prairie skin products
- eye lift cream
- skin cream
- lip balm
Brown pajamas from van Laack were also offered.
Slippers were also offered:
My Nomad Lane Bento Bag was full and I asked the flight attendant if she had another bag for the slippers, amenity kit, and pajamas. She offered me the premium economy amenity kit, which doubles as a reusable bag. I now use it when I go grocery shopping!
As usual, I hated to see the flight end. As we flew over downtown Los Angeles (the reason I always choose a seat on the starboard side), I looked out at my beautiful city and realized that another Lufthansa First Class trip was in the bag.
Prior to landing, the purser appeared and thanked each passenger for traveling on Lufthansa. She had also welcomed us earlier, making for a fitting end to the flight.
We parked at Gate 150 and I was soon off the plane, through immigration, and on my way to my car.
Lufthansa First Class remains the most reachable aspirational product with miles and points. It truly is lovely and always a huge step up from business class in terms of service, seat, and hard product. I sincerely cannot wait to fly Lufthansa First Class again. The small service lapses meant it wasn’t my best Lufthansa First flight ever, but it was a very good one.