I checked off a bucket list item in treating my family to Lufthansa First Class when we flew together from San Francisco to Frankfurt for Christmas. The flight was nearly flawless and today I want to share with you the joy of traveling in first class with the family.
Lufthansa First Class Family Review
I have to be honest, I was scared. Five-year-old Augustine is old enough now to keep himself occupied on a plane, but would my one-year-old daughter Claire Marie sleep or keep the entire cabin up all night?
That’s a risk you take whenever you fly, whatever the cabin. While I dismiss as illogical the idea that children should not be allowed in first class, of course I do not like it when babies disturb other passengers, particularly if that baby is my own. I want my children, even at a very young age, to be quiet passengers.
But ask any parent and they’ll tell you that between birth and the
terrible terrific twos, a child’s behavior can be very unpredictable.
Thus, the biggest objective for me on this flight was keeping my daughter happy by feeding her than putting her to bed. The flight left a bit early for bedtime, but we hoped the darkness outside would help her to go to sleep.
Thankfully, it did. She fell asleep relatively quickly and slept uninterrupted until minutes before landing.
That’s a big deal. Had Claire Marie been boisterous, I’d probably be writing a very different report today.
With that out of the way, let’s return to the flight.
Upon arriving in San Francisco, I dropped my family off in the United Club and then proceeded to the gate to complete our check-in. There was a bit of line, only one agent on duty, and no special line for first class passengers. On the other hand, this was about 75 minutes before the flight, so I don’t blame Lufthansa for not having the gate fully staffed so early.
After checking in, I returned to the lounge and about 50 minutes before departure we proceeded back to the gate. We could have stayed in the lounge another half hour, but I wanted to be first onboard to take some family pictures in the cabin prior to other passengers boarding.
Unfortunately, we found that boarding was delayed due to a medical emergency aboard…yes, before the flight even departed. From what we could gather, a member of the cleaning staff collapsed. Paramedics were called and treated the man, who appeared to be okay.
That incident delayed boarding by another half hour, meaning we ended up waiting in the gate area for 40 minutes…not ideal with two young children.
Finally, we were invited to board…only to be stopped for another 10 minutes on the jet bridge. My daughter made herself at home…
I’m actually thankful for the slight delay…it wore the kids out, which made them quicker to fall asleep onboard.
San Francisco (SFO) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Thursday, December 23
Duration: 10hr, 45min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-8
Distance: 5,699 miles
Seats: 1A, 1K, 2K, 3K (First Class)
Onboard, we were welcomed and directed left to the beautiful nose of the Queen, which is home to Lufthansa’s eight-seat first class cabin. I’ve reviewed the hard product many times and will only note that it never gets old. This is not a very private first class cabin. Indeed, it is less private than some leading business class products today.
But it’s comfortable, timeless, and still very luxurious.
As my wife, Heidi, and children got settled onboard, a flight attendant appeared and offered us a welcome beverage, including champagne or fresh orange juice for the kids. I simply had a glass of water and some cashews (where were the macadamia nuts?)
A Rimowa-branded amenity kit, slippers, and menus were present on the seat already and I was also offered pajamas.
The captain apologized for the delay, explained briefly the medical emergency, and said we would make up time over the Atlantic thanks to a generous tailwind.
With the cabin only booked 7/8, we were offered the extra seat for Claire Marie, which really came in handy later on in the flight. Meanwhile, she stayed busy entertaining herself with the seat controls.
Meanwhile, Augustine began browsing the IFE library. We only let him watch TV when he is on a plane and he takes full advantage of the opportunity.
After takeoff, the purser stopped by and greeted every passenger, offering me a wi-fi voucher for the flight and making small talk about our trip to Basel.
I’m sure the crew detected my American accent, but I’m pleased to report that all conversations onboard took place in German.
It was a beautiful day in San Francisco and the views out the window were vibrant. After takeoff, I changed into my pajamas in the oversized lavatory.
It was time for dinner, which to me was the pinnacle of the flight. I sat down in 1A and Augustine took the guest seat while Heidi sat down in 1K and Claire Marie took her guest seat. A family dinner together in first class, utilizing the guest seats (which technically are not even guests seats, but suitable for young children) was oh so very special.
Of course it wasn’t all smooth. I had to pry Augustine away from his movie.
And Claire Marie was sleeping…
…but thankfully woke up and was cheerful.
I’ll treasure this pair of pictures in particular, which shows Claire Marie and Augustine sitting cross from another in the nose of the 747:
First, the table was laid for dinner, followed by a choice of bread (the garlic bread is always good on Lufthansa, but particularly tasty from SFO), and then caviar. Would Augustine like caviar?
Well, he tried it…but a few bites was enough for him. It’s an acquired taste…
Next came a quartet of appetizers, including:
- spicy chili crusted tuna, buckwheat noodle salad, and lime dressing
- honey ancho beef jicama roll with corn paper salad and gazpacho vinaigrette
- green asparagus, red peppers, feta cheese, and toasted pistachios with truffle oil sherry vinaigrette
- seasonal salad with saved fennel, pine nuts, tomato, and parmesan cheese
All appetizers were tasty, but the asparagus with feta cheese was particularly tasty.
For our main courses, Heidi, Augustine, and I each tried something different.
Augustine tried the herb roasted chicken breast with baby carrots, Brussel sprouts, quinoa, and barley….and proceeded to go to sleep once it was served. He was full and didn’t want it…he even skipped dessert! So much for my family dinner…
Heidi and I shared it and found it to be tasty. In fact, it was better than the beef short ribs with gremolata, braised red cabbage, grilled carrots, and whipped potatoes that I ordered or the Pier 39 San Francisco Cioppino (lobster, shrimp, scallop with Cioppino sauce, Julienne vegetable mix, and saffron rice) she ordered.
Claire Marie had a few bites from our plates as well a banana and bread for her dinner. We then put her in seat 1K and put up the privacy divider.
With the kids in bed, Heidi and I sat down and split a dessert (cheesecake with strawberry sauce) and a decaf cappuccino. We were both too full for the cheese course.
In case you’re wondering, here is the full food and beverage menu:
Sleep, Then Breakfast
Then came sleep…about six hours of glorious sleep. I awoke over Ireland and found the rest of my family sleeping. The flight attendant saw me stirring and immediately appeared, offering me a glass of orange juice and cappuccino.
Although he was sleeping soundly, I decided to wake up Augustine for breakfast. I gave him the choice earlier in the flight and he indicated that he wanted to be woken up. Part of me regrets doing so because the poor kid was so tired (it was midnight in California after all), but we had a nice breakfast together including:
- fresh orange juice
- fresh fruit
- fruit smoothie
- scrambled eggs with bacon and chives (prepared freshly in the galley)
Smoked salmon, cheese, ham, and bresaola were also offered.
The breakfast really separates first class from business class and is always worth waking up for it, even with the prospect of a great lounge on the ground.
I enjoyed one more cappuccino prior to landing and was also treated to some extra chocolate.
Meanwhile, my daughter continued to sleep.
A huge shoutout to the crew working this flight and an apology: I misplaced the name of the flight attendant who took such amazing care of my entire family. But you can see him in a few of the pictures in this report and I applaud him for his kind and gracious service. He was great and truly provided attentive and genuinely caring service.
We took a few more pictures after landing, said goodbye to the crew, then watched them close the door behind us. It was only after proceeding down the jet bridge that I remembered I had left our passports onboard…oy. But that’s another story…
> Read More: How I Nearly Ruined Christmas But Lufthansa Saved It…
This flight represents all the reasons why I work so hard to save miles and points. It’s one thing to treat myself to first class, it’s another thing to treat my beloved family. Not only did we have the joy of traveling to Germany (something perhaps we often take for granted), but were able to do so in immense comfort. Thanks to Lufthansa for always taking care of us in first class and for the wonderful way to begin the German chapter of our Christmas celebration.
A few final thoughts. First class offers a huge premium experience over business class on Lufthansa. It’s always worthwhile. Second, don’t hesitate to take your kids in a premium cabin: it’s really just fine. Finally, if you are able to use miles for your travels, this represents one of the most aspirational uses of your miles (I outlined how I booked the tickets here).
Be very careful if allowing small children to eat nuts. My parents knew someone whose child died when a peanut plugged up the trachea (airway in the throat).
I am not convinced that Heidi went on the trip because she is not even in the background or the side of her face shown 😛
I can assure you that is by
If Heidi continues to give you trouble about having her photo/foto taken, here’s my remark to dig at her: Your children look lovely and, well, I think they get their good looks from you. It’s astonishing how close the resemblance is.
But yet, children look remarkably different as they grow older. I point out my childhood photos to my wife and she doesn’t recognize me. I’m intending to do a montage set for display of my daughter’s face as she ages every other year or so for a total of 10 photos.
And yes, of course the crew detected the accent. Pro tip: Call ALL the women “fraulein”. From an American, it sounds especially charming even if your grammar is otherwise perfect. They smile for about a half hour afterwards.
Glad you and your family had a great time.
Lufthansa cancelled my 2020 flights to the Passion Play and Oktoberfest and refused to reimburse me for the flights. Nice.
It warms my heart to see young children eating well. I grew up in a family where the children ate the same food as the adults (with age appropriate alternations) and I did the same with my son.
Glad we are on the same page – I also don’t believe in special menus for children (or husbands!).
I always declined the offer of a children’s menu or removed it from the table.
I also detest the giant plastic cups with lids and straws nearly every American restaurant gives to children. A small cup or rocks glass of club soda is what we always requested. No one needs 24 oz of any liquid before a meal.
Aren’t you and your family special. It’s a fact. Not a question. Get real. You guys are a joke. I make $6-10 million a year and am 15 years older at least. Just live in the real world. First class doesn’t excuse you from that.
What in this review made you feel so insecure that you needed to validate yourself by posting what you earn and how much older you are?
You should have that looked at.
Is your youngest to big to be in a bassinet? Does LH offer bassinets in first class?
She is too big (bassinets are offered in first class). Glad she got her own seat!
Brent had a stroke SOME ON CALL A DR!!!
That boy needs a haircut! 🙂
He got one!
ohhh no! His big curls are so adorable!!!
Flew LAX to FRA in first in December and your food looks much better than what I had (which was still good)
The LAX catering is often disappointing, ime, though the short ribs here were cooked far too long and my side did not like the seafood dish (and she is not generally a picky eater). Too bad we could not have had the goose ex-FRA.
Fantastic review and pics.
@Derek you can see a glimpse of Heidi’s hair as she was holding a sleeping Claire Marie – pacifier attached to her little sweater, how cute!
Looking at all those pics of your lovely family I was thinking how they can use these photos later in life! Augustine is not going to have any issues impressing the girls, but he can use these pics to show off his 1st class bonafides!
Please think about running a donation campaign for one of the Rimowa kits!
Thanks as always for allowing us to watch your kids grow up.
Claire Marie is starting to look just like you, Matthew.
With that, you are lucky, I recall a flight with my daughter when she was 2 (now nearly 14), in BA F. She fell in the aisle and gashed her head on the arm rest. An older drunk British couple went crazy the entire flight complaining that there should “NOT BE CHILDREN ALLOWED IN FIRST.” And, the grand finale, umm, I was holding her on the train in T5 after arrival and she reached out and pulled the emergency thingie which resulted in the entire train halting and everyone evacuating to the tunnel walkway. You did well in comparison!
LOL unbelievable story!!! Sorry, but as a father of three kids under 11 I cant help but laugh (in sympathy) at that.
Your children are adorable!
So was your/Heidi’s hair that curly when you were young and did it straighten out later? I had some boisterous curls as a kid, similar to Augustine, but after I was through with puberty it went straight, with a slight wave in the back. Hated my hair when I was younger but wouldn’t mind rocking that look now, with my nearly 57 year old self.
‘First class offers a huge premium experience over business class on Lufthansa.’
The above sentence says at least as much about LH business class as it says about first! That said, I have to admit that the food in his report does look impressive (the one time I did fly LH F, I don’t believe they had the selection of cold cuts as part of breakfast).
Is it just me, or does it seem like there is a slight disconnect with 2 of the appetizers between how they are listed on the menu versus what was actually served?
Enjoyed your Review of 747 with your kids. did you redeem points/miles for the flight? if yes how did you get all the F tickets. i can never see more than 2 tickets and thats always few days before the flight.
I did book with miles – Lufthansa surprisingly made five award seats available about 10 days prior to takeoff.
Should we start a GoFundMe for all the money you spent on this trip ? Remember they will be always ungrateful no matter what
I just used miles, thankfully.
I’m guessing your frequent flyer program doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, does it? Because if it does, then I would guess that even those partner award tickets did actually cost quite a bit…
Correct. I used Aeroplan.
Thank you for sharing this part of your life, it makes a wonderful read. I took my family in LH first (UA miles), flying from BOS-FRA and can totally relate to the bucket list of wanting to share that with family. This was when there was a full bed beside the seat (why on earth did they get rid of that, it was so differentiating?).
Our journey started in SFO and my daughter was around 7, so was pretty tired by the time we were to board LH. We climbed upstairs to the first cabin, got to our seats and my daughter took one look at the seat and bed and said very loudly “Oh, finally!”. We still giggle about that to this day 8 years later.
Fantastic review Matthew. Beautiful family.
You have a wonderfully relaxed view of minor children flying, I might even call it a selfish view.
Just before Covid, I flew Swiss to Zurich from NYC and we had the delight of some 200+ fare paying passengers having their flight totally ruined by a single child presumably flying free. This is selfish nonsense.
I recommend that airlines have at least some flights which are “child free” and we get some peace and quiet. We might also ask why the Asian airlines have very little of this problem. Their children seem to sit down, shut up and go to sleep. Hence I book Singapore or ANA whenever I have the chance!
What do you mean flying for free? There is no such thing as a free ticket – if you mean mileage tickets, they are just another form of payment. As for children, I can only encourage you to keep taking Asian airlines.
No need to reply to his subtle racism and overt condescension.
This blog just keeps getting less relevant to my life. But thanks. Nothing personal. Out oof my Google stream now.
In what way, Dennis?
Hey Fritz. Don’t be such an a hole. Put your self and your little snitzles in coach where they belong and let your wife relax for once by herself up front. They don’t need the room.
Appreciate the advice.
I enjoyed all of this, and your children are beautiful, but I must say, Claire-Marie is just delightful. Her outfit just adds to it. What a pleasure to read and see the pictures. Just a treasure!
This post made my heart smile. What such nice kids. I love that Augustine appreciated the experience.
Thanks for sharing another great LH F trip report. On reflection, the only very good rest I’ve enjoyed on a plane was in international first class – even if international business class is all lie flat these days. And LH F is indeed something special; Augustine is so blessed to be trying it at a very young age. You have already likely passed down the aviation enthusiasm tradition to him, which he will continue well into his life. Happy and safe travels.
Great family photos, Matthew, which your children – and their children – will treasure when they are older. I particularly like the breakfast-with-bed hair shots!
I love this! I really enjoyed the one time I was in Lufthansa first. I don’t care for their business class at all and will in general strive to get Austrian or Swiss flights instead.
And- it looks like your kids support my theory that its actually better for kids to be in business or first so they have room to eat/play/sleep on their schedule versus coach where they are on top of other people and at the mercy of hundreds of people talking, eating etc. I have found my son always does better when he has his own space and isn’t cheek by jowl with other people. It is a luxury to be able to fly this way, which I acknowledge, but it is one that I pay for by working my butt off and flying a lot for work internationally (pre-covid, alas) to earn miles. Thanks for the fun peek inside your family.
Great review! I tend to try to takeoff with kids around 730-830pm (or even later) so that they have 1-2 hours of food and tv then they are naturally ready to sleep. Then you land around 9-11am in europe and there is a shorter day to contend with on day 1. Just my opinion.
Although out of ORD the LH and UNited flights usually have more availability early
Matthew I’m curious how the decision was made to upgrade a lap child vs say a full fare paying (in points or miles) business class customer. I’m guessing the diff in fare between lap child first class vs full seat first class is greater then full far business vs full far first.
Mathew. Enjoy your children and have special trips like this as they stay in everyone’s memory for life. It’s all about the experience, fun and being happy. Bless you your lovely wife and precious children. Len. Toronto
If you like those pics now….you will really like them in 30 years or so…
I don’t agree with your post. I also travel alot and have lots of miles but we pay a premium to fly first weather we pay cash or miles. You are nervous about how your children will act during the flight, and thankfully things worked out. But I have also seen the opposite. What if they threw a fit? Is this fair for the other passengers? I do not think this risk is fair to passengers paying 10k plus for a quiet flight. I agree you should try to get max bang from your points but please take other paying passengers in consideration.
We will have to respectfully disagree on this issue.
I would have to respectfully disagree with unfair also. I took my children everywhere starting when they were infants. I raised my children the same as my mother did with my sister and I. My children were polite and quiet, and I read the menu to them for ordering until they learned to read. The rule was order anything you like, but you must eat what you order. I’ve been on countless trips and I have been praised for my children’s behavior. You must teach them when they are young and introduce them to new experiences. No one person’s money is worth more than another and have no right to think their experience is more important than someone else’s. Thank you so much for this lovely article.
— seriously — this article is not insightful — additionally it is terribly flawed not to include the cost in either its first paragraph or final paragraph —
— finally — the airline should warn all first class flyers if any child will be in first cabin — for imagine having to listen to a child potentially crying for hours or intermittently on any flight — therewith from california to deutschland — been there done that while the parents smiles or apologizes in expectation of tolerance of the din of their offspring —
Exactly! If I spend my hard earned money for comfort on my flight, I expect it. And absolutely am not willing to have it interrupted by an unruly child, not even for a minute.
True. A crying baby is really an imposition in First class. Only travellers in Economy should have to put up with that. It’s their own fault if they can’t or don’t want to spend more…
My best experience in this respect was when a friend’s baby started crying on a Lufthansa flight and was very difficult to calm down – without further ado, the flight attendant moved them both from Economy to First Class because it was quieter there and she could walk up and down with him more easily.
In my opinion, there is a big difference between a child being badly behaved and misbehaving and a child crying because it is tired, in pain or overwhelmed. A society should be able to put up with that. And if you spend 10k on your flight, you surely have some money left over for really good headphones that cancel the noise 😉
I couldn’t agree with you more! Once they tell you, YES, THERE ARE CHILDREN IN FC….and you then complain…THEY SHOULD IMMEDIATELY MOVE YOU TO A MIDDLE SEAT IN BASIC ECONOMY! What a miserable reply to this great article. I bet you are a joy to live with!
Loved this story. My “kids” are 49 and fifty. I still remember trips we took them on. At the time there was a hassle factor but it was fun to expose them to different experiences. I hope they’ll remember but you and your wife will never forget. Also now I’m motivated to fly like you did. Ignore the naysayers. Well done.
Loved the trip report.
Glad to hear you’re on board the anti-TV brigade when it comes to young children. Don’t forget the smartphones, tablets and the like.
Hopefully, you also have a habit of not being one of too many adults who bury themselves with online work or AV entertainment on the ground while ignoring the children right around them. Special occasions like flying can be a different story with the electronic stimulus, as long as there is no beastie behavior in the cabin because of it.
Maybe I’ll try it too next time so that they don’t try to charge me 3.5E for crappy airplane coffee. Unfortunately Lufthansa is slowly turning into RyanAir…
If I paid 8k – 12K for this ticket (which I have) and the kids were not behaved…I would be very upset. Very Selfish.
Nothing more worse then having a bunch of kids running around in first class.
Sounds like a lovely experience. Your children are gorgeous!
Yet another pointlessly long, drawn out article.
Was this to justify whatever “assistance” Lufthansa gave to facilitate the glowing review?
I did read to the end, but it was not enjoyable…..it could and should have been much, much shorter and more concise.
We will file your opinion accordingly.
I too feel that condemning a parent for the decision to travel with their ENTIRE FAMILY is simply DESPICABLE. I am beyond sick of hearing from ENTITLED adults complaining about traveling or simply existing with children. The comments about having to be exposed to tantrums, tired children, boisterous excited children is nauseating.
Did any of you impatient judgemental Adults consider that possibly the children don’t particularly enjoy being exposed to or having to endure DRUNK BELLIGERENT POSSIBLY FOUL MOUTHED ADULTS?? THAT MAYBE THEY WOULD LOVE TO ROLL THEIR EYES IN DISGUST, AND LEAN OVER TO MAMA OR DADDY AND SAY” SERIOUSLY? YOU PAID 10K FOR MY SIBLINGS AND I TO HAVE TO ENDURE YET ANOTHER TANTRUM” ? SOMETHING TO MULL OVER WHILE YOU READ THIS AMAZING FAMILY TRAVELOGUE.. YOU ROCK SIR..
THANKS FOR SHARING..
I’ve found there are two basic types of child travellers:
The best are those who’ve been taught, by example, that travel is an experience and that the unexpected is the first step of an adventure. Those children won’t have a meltdown if the plane is out of apple juice.
Then there are the obnoxious brats who have learned a much different lesson from their exemplars. They won’t stop whining, even as others exhaust themselves to entertain them and immediately gratify their every whim.
I believe any adults outraged that they could be forced to share deluxe travel accomodations with a young family should be kept segregated from the children. The kiddos shouldn’t be subjected to their bad influence.
What a wonderful well written travel experience. I admit when I started reading I thought ” how is this going to go..? It was so nice to get all the detail about the family trip. My own experience with flying first class on Lufthansa was impeccable. It is an experience that your entire family will share with different perspectives in the future. My own first flight was in 1967 as a 3 year old and it is one of my fist vivid memories. From Seattle to New York with my mother and 18 month old younger brother. I remember feeling “odd” seeing the attention all going to my little brother…
Thank you for sharing and at 57 I am excited to resume international travel as soon as Covid restrictions allow. I am always amazed at the rude and assumptive comments that people feel free to make. I applaud your ability to even respond. It has also been my experience that children with parents that show love , patience, and training have children that can and should be included in family experiences. That rude, judgmental, short tempered, and undisciplined adults…have a good chance of producing the same offspring.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
In public settings, malls, churches, recreational areas, and even airplanes, you are highly likely to encounter children. The entitlement is real with all of you “anti-child”. Your expensive seat guarantees you just that a seat, amenities accordingly and hopefully a safe arrival at said destination. Doesn’t entitle you to belittle children as lesser humans when they too in proxy (via parents) are paying customers. All y’all need to chip in and buy your own private jet where you can be Karen’s and Kevin’s in child free peace. Stay home if children are such a problem. And I hate remind all of you that you more than like have been an u truly child also at some point in your life.
But but but.. “United Club”??? Surely you can go to the Polaris lounge with those tickets??????
This trip was 12/23 – Polaris Lounge did not open until 01/06.