Lufthansa – First Class

Lufthansa Boarding Pass

Thanks to their plentiful award availability out of JFK/EWR, I’ve had the pleasure on enjoying Lufthansa’s First class almost a dozen times during the summer of 2009. Their service on the ground is usually very good, but not as personal as one might hope would be possible with the level of staffing they provide First class services.

In New York, flying out of JFK, you get a much better lounge experience than EWR, with a fully-revamped 3-floor lounge offering a catered dining area for First passengers.

The experience in First is like being at a nice restaurant – the food is very good, but the seats could be much better. In terms of in-flight entertainment, the screens in Business and even Economy (in the A340-600) are bigger than the F-Class screens! The long-overdue revamp of their First hard product is sorely needed, but the FAs are generally quite friendly.

If you’re travelling alone, you want to try to fly the Airbus aircraft, in a 1-2-1 configuration. Otherwise, you’re stuck sitting and sleeping beside someone with not much privacy. This was my least favourite part of their service. But the food wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t anywhere near as appetizing as other experiences:

In Frankfurt, the First Class Lounge (B22) and Terminal make up for some of these shortcomings. I’ve gotten quite used to a very relaxing Jacuzzi bath in between flights, and the lounge is stocked with high-quality ETRO amenities, and top-class catering. In fact, I’d say the lounge food is better than in the sky.

The lounge situation in Frankfurt is quite confusing – if you’re connecting to an intra-Europe flight arriving from a International First flight, you can’t use the new B22 lounge because they have no immigration facilities. If you have time either way, your best bet is to leave the airport at the ground level (one level below the check-in area), walk about 200 meters west out of the doors, and buzz for someone to welcome you into the First Class Terminal. Here, you’re guaranteed car service to your flight, and the Personal Assistants will be responsible for you fully: you won’t miss your flight! In B22, it’s your responsibility to come to the desk at the right time for your ride to the plane. A small detail, but it helps to fully relax knowing someone else is worrying about you getting on your flight. Also, each time I’ve left B22 for my flight, I’ve been driven in a van with at least 3-4 other passengers. I’ve always left the FCT alone in a private car.

An irksome detail of my experience is that I left a new Solar iPod charger sitting at the window in the lounge. I realized this upon getting into the car to the plane, but the driver said I would miss the flight if I went to get it – so they promised they’d take it to Lost & found for me to have sent to Toronto, or picked up. I knew I’d be back in a few weeks, and they’d sent a message to the plane confirming this, so I thought I’d pick it up then. Last week, upon my return, I was sent by the lounge to the Baggage Tracing, who sent me up to a desk in the check-in area which wasn’t staffed. Eventually someone picked up the phone and looked in the system but needed more time. So I gave her my cell number, e-mail, and told her I’d be in the lounge for a few more hours. I never heard anything! The other day I arrived back in Frankfurt, decided to try the Airport Lost and Found: nothing. They called Lufthansa to check, and apparently Lufthansa didn’t have it. At check-in, I decided to try one more time. The helpful agent called a friend in Baggage Tracing, and they went through descriptions of lost items from that day and gave me the item number. I then had to go back to that desk to call the number (Lufthansa doesn’t know its own lost and found office’s number?) and have someone bring it down. The person ended up being the person I spoke to a few weeks ago, who was kind of embarrassed for not following up with me and finding it (“you wouldn’t want to work up there in our office”). That’s fine, but that’s no excuse for making me waste my valuable time following this up. There were many opportunities Lufthansa staff had to take personal ownership of this issue and help to facilitate my item in my hand with much less of my time involved, but none of them seemed willing or interested. This is a gap in training for dealing with First Class passenger.

Special Experience: If you’re arriving or departing on a First Class flight, walk to the First Class Terminal for a more relaxing departure and personalized experience.

Seat Comfort: 12/20
Amenities (Onboard): 7/10
Amenities (Lounge): 10/10
Staff/Assistance (Onboard): 9/10
Staff/Assistance (Airport): 7/10
Catering (Onboard): 8/10
Catering (Lounge): 11/10
Overall: 64/80 (80%)

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