The New First Class Experience on Lufthansa

It may be a very small piece of the travel experience that few of us will have the chance to try, but it’s still fun to explore what airlines are doing for their international First Class passengers. Lufthansa is certainly no slouch in this area. In particular, the airline’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt has always captured my imagine. Combined with the new First Class that rolled out on the A380, it’s a fantastic experience. Let’s walk through a trip from the perspective of someone starting in Frankfurt.

Lufthansa Frankfurt First Class Terminal

When you get to the airport, you immediately bypass Lufthansa’s main terminal area in favor of the First Class Terminal located just to the west. This free-standing building is only for those travelers flying in international First Class on Lufthansa or connecting to international First Class on Austrian and Swiss. If you’re in First on United? Too bad. HON Circle members also have access to the terminal when they fly. These people fly 300,000 600,000 miles over a two year period, so it’s a very exclusive group.

If you’re driving, someone will take your car and valet park it (apparently not very common in Germany, at least not when compared to the US). If you have a rental car, you can leave it and they will return it for you. You walk in to find a welcome area with desks to check yourself in. After processing there, you walk through the security area into the lounge itself.

Security Area

The main part of the lounge has plenty of loungers, massage chairs, and workstations. There is a large bar in the main area which has the largest selection of whiskey in Europe – 86 different options.

The Bar with Large Whiskey Selection

On the side, there is a sit-down dining area where you can order food.

Dining Area

Going toward the west part of the lounge, you’ll find the cigar lounge, which smelled so friggin’ good. This is an old boys club, for sure.

Cigar Lounge

Past there you find the restrooms along with a couple of day rooms for those who need some rest.

Private Day Rooms

Unlike in the day rooms that British Airways has in the Concorde Lounge at Heathrow, these do not have bathrooms built in. There are a few shower rooms that you can use independently. Some have tubs.

Shower Room with Tub

When it comes to boarding, First Class passengers do not pre-board with the rest. They board at the last possible minute by going downstairs to the passport control area. Your passport was sent ahead when you checked in, so you just pick it up and then pick the car you want to take you to the airplane. It’s a mix of Mercedes and Porsches models, and while they can’t guarantee you’ll get the car you want, you will get one of these.

Cars to Airplanes from First Class Terminal

You could technically arrive at the First Class Terminal at 20 minutes before your flight and still likely make it onboard (assuming your gate isn’t too far away). They do ask for at least 30 minutes just to be safe, however.

Once you get to the airplane, you come up from the ramp and go right onboard. About 200 to 300 people per day take advantage of this set-up. There are also First Class lounges in the terminal for those who may be connecting from other airlines or simply do not want to go over to the First Class Terminal itself. Munich also has a First Class lounge as do a couple of places around the world, but none as extravagant as this.

Once onboard, then it’s time to take your seat. You might remember when I wrote about Lufthansa’s plan for the 747 First Class with a seat and a bed. That’s really just a temporary solution. The new First Class standard is what has been delivered on the A380. This has fully flat beds in a sound-cocoon. We weren’t able to experience it in flight, but it’s supposed to be an incredibly quiet experience. For this, I took a video to show it better.

If you’re rich, then step right up and buy these fares. A roundtrip from New York to Frankfurt is only a mere $16,000 or so while a roundtrip originating in Frankfurt starts at just over $11,000. Bargain! You can always try to save up enough points as well in order to get this excellent experience.


22 Responses to The New First Class Experience on Lufthansa

  1. Brian says:

    Frankfurt is very good if you are departing there, no question. To be clear, though: you do not “check yourself in”. You do nothing but pass on your passport. Security is equally non-American. No yelling, no barking. A team of screeners assist you through security. Your PA then takes you into the lounge.

    As well, you do not have to worry about when your flight is. They will come get you, and escort you down to the boarding area.

    Now, for transferring through an airport, I will take Thai over Lufthansa any day. Meet at the plane, buggy ride to the lounge, massages, and absolute last minute boarding (I have been pulled out of the lounge 3 minutes before departure). Arriving and departing in BKK is similar in service.

    • CF says:

      I meant that you check yourself in at the terminal, not specifically related to the flight. In other words, they make sure you belong there (though I imagine they probably know most people who do belong there anyway).

  2. Gary Leff says:

    “This free-standing building is only for those travelers flying in international First Class on Lufthansa or connecting to international First Class on Austrian and Swiss.”

    Austrian does not offer international first class.

    “HON Circle members also have access to the terminal when they fly. These people fly 300,000 miles over a two year period, so it’s a very exclusive group.”

    HON Circle requires 600,000 qualifying miles over two years. Of course, class of service bonuses apply here so folks earning that status aren’t generally FLYING 300k miles per year.

    • CF says:

      Re: Austrian – I guess I never really pay attention to Austrian’s offerings, but it’s strange that they specifically mentioned connecting via Zurich or Vienna. HON Circle membership says:

      “First Class check-in; check-in at the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (for Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines Group, Lufthansa, SWISS); Premium check-in”

      So maybe it’s just that HON Circle customers can use the lounge when flying on Austrian via Vienna even if it’s not First Class.

      And thanks for the typo correction on HON Circle.

  3. Driving people to the plane is just a waste of energy and polutes the air needlessly.

    I don’t care for the bar stools, never liked those little semi pretend backs the stools have….lol.

    Not many people really pay full first class fares. Those that would mostly fly are heads of a company that would have a discount contract on LH or Star Alliance so pay a lot less then the published fare. Same for business class, those high fares aren’t really paid for at the published rate, but with discount contracts. So really are the ones who pay the high fare outright really being screwed with a higher price to help the bottom line for all the people paying a big discount rate?

  4. Daren S says:

    I think the big challenge is that airlines are able to offer this level of service at their “home” airports, but they are totally dependent upon alliance partners etc at foreign airports. This creates a two tier service that must be disappointing for those paying for First Class out of their own money. It would also be interesting to see the business case of going to such extravagant lengths to win customers by what must be a significant investment.

  5. Bob Gordon says:

    What happens when the posh car reaches the plane? Do you have to climb up to the upper deck on a set of stairs, or do they have an elevator next to the jetway? The seat is quite unimpressive because of the lack of horizontal space. The ledge looks to be narrower than on UA’s upper deck 744 business class, much less the double diagonal ledges and compartments in UA’s new F class seats. Note that on the aisle side there is no ledge at all, just a narrow armrest, like UA’s old F suites that are currently being replaced.

    • CF says:

      That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer, but I can’t imagine there’s an elevator near every single gate.

      • Sometimes there is an elevator, sometimes it is the stairs. The driver will part the seas of humanity that is a Lufthansa gate for you and lead you right to your seat.

    • RobRTW says:

      There’s an elevator to take you to the main boarding level (not sure about the A-380, since I haven’t done that yet – but two weeks ago had a nice Porsche Cayenne ride to the C Gates in Terminal 2 – almost 5 minutes by car. (That is one heck of a walk from the A gates, if you’re in business). If you ever have the chance to fly F from Frankfurt, if you’re connecting, plan a little extra time, leave security and walk 5 minutes over to the F terminal. It is really worth it!

  6. Love it, love it, love it. Lucky enough to always arrive with a couple of hours to enjoy all of the services. 9 kinds of champagne. You can pre-order your duty free to be picked up at the terminal by on-line order or by phone if you have their number. Can wait to try things out again this June.

  7. Looks like groundbreaking first-class service by LH. Brett, you’re a lucky man! Nice writeup too, by the way.

  8. frank says:

    They have a VIRTUAL TOUR on this service online: http://a380.lufthansa.com/VIRTUALTOUR/#/DE/EN/EXPERIENCE/FIRSTCLASS

    while I enjoyed your video, this one is amazing.

  9. RobRTW says:

    There’s an elevator to take you to the main boarding level (not sure about the A-380, since I haven’t done that yet – but two weeks ago had a nice Porsche Cayenne ride to the C Gates in Terminal 2 – almost 5 minutes by car. (That is one heck of a walk from the A gates, if you’re in business). If you ever have the chance to fly F from Frankfurt, if you’re connecting, plan a little extra time, leave security and walk 5 minutes over to the F terminal. It is really worth it – if just for the wine list…

  10. Justin says:

    Does anyone know if the Flight From Dubai to Frankfurt has been converted to the Upgraded First Class? I am Traveling early next month and know that they are going through some changes.. Thanks…

  11. Justin says:

    So basically it is a crap shoot weather or not one shows up and I have the new First Class or the Old First Class until all of the Fleet is upgraded…The website says they started in May upgrading the planes does any know how many are out there they said they had 19 in the fleet? I will put a post on after my flight next weekend and let everyone know how it all went…

    • Don’t worry too much about old vs. new first class. Its a great ride no matter what. I have read that each plane takes a couple of weeks to retrofit. First class and economy are being retrofitted. It appears the 19 will be done by the end of November.
      The end of November by no means ensure you will fly on a retrofit plane as there are at least 10 that will not be completed and it is assumed these 10 will be retired as the new 747’s enter service.
      Enjoy the trip!

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