Lufthansa First Class Review, ORD-MUC
Updated: Dec 12, 2018
Flying Lufthansa First Class from Chicago to Munich for 110k United Miles.
In the world of amazing First Class flight experiences, Lufthansa is up there with the best of them. While airlines are changing from 3 class cabins (First, Business, Economy) to 2 class cabins (BusinessFirst, Economy), Lufthansa still flies the 3 class cabin setup overseas. While their Business Class product is far from great and far behind other airlines, its First Class cabin and experience is one for the books.
“In the world of amazing First Class flight experiences, Lufthansa is up there with the best of them.”
Lufthansa is one of the few airlines still flying the 747 and what a beauty she is. With flights to and from the US, you can bet you will end up on either the Queen of the Skies 747-8, A340-300, or A330-300. Each of which still have 3 class cabins.
Luckily for many, booking a Lufthansa First Class ticket proves to not be too difficult, especially if you can be a bit flexible. The easiest way to book is via United's website using United MileagePlus miles or Avianca LifeMiles on the LifeMiles website. Between the 2, United's site is easier to use and provides a much cleaner booking process. That being said, I've booked Lufthansa First Class via both United's award system as well as Avianca's. You may just have to call Avianca for help if you encounter any issues. United charges a whopping 110k miles 1-way with about $30-70 in taxes/fees, while Avianca's charges around 86k+ miles onward with about $150 in taxes/fees. So pick your poison!
So here is where it can be a bit tricky. Finding availability can sometimes be hit or miss with award availability opening or closing almost randomly. Back to the flexibility part....It seems that Lufthansa opens First Class availability outside of its own program, to alliance partners; about 2 weeks before that flights departure. While this seems to be common and more of an unwritten rule, I have also seen availability months in advance open up almost without notice. So at the end of the day, it is best to check regularly if you are looking to fly this amazing product. Don't forget that Chase Ultimate Rewards is a transfer partner of United Airlines and those points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Flying on a First Class ticket overseas on a Star Alliance carrier also gets you access to United's Polaris Lounge, in this case at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport located by the C Gates. This is a must stop into if you are flying out of Chicago! While there will be another review on the lounge, be sure to stop in, have a craft cocktail, grab a bite to eat (the food is good, avocado fries..mmmmmmh) and if you feel up to it, take a shower to freshen up. Note this lounge is not the same as a United Club and can only be accessed on Business or First class tickets on international flights (with some exclusions).
So what makes Lufthansa's First Class product so special? The service. Providing some of the best service in the sky, Lufthansa's First Class seats only 8 passengers, which means you are essentially waited on hand and foot. On my specific flight there were 3 flight attendants taking care of the 4 passengers in First, as only half the cabin was occupied. Talk about a good ratio!
When boarding started all First Class passengers were let on via 1 entrance, while everyone else boarded the 2nd. Due to the location of the First Class cabin, this meant boarding and not having any of the other passengers pass you or making any noise. It felt like you were boarding a private plane and you and the others in First were the only ones on it. Once boarded one of the first things you notice is a freshly cut red rose at every seat. A nice touch by Lufthansa that I hope never goes away. Sometimes it really is about the small things isn't it? Now due to the configuration of the seats, if you are traveling with someone it is best to take the middle, otherwise if you are traveling alone, the window seats work best. You can see the seating arrangement below as to why.
Settling into my seat one of the flight attendants immediately let me know they would make the bed behind my seats since it was empty, that way I would not have to reconfigure my assigned seat, allowing me to use both. They welcomed me with a glass of champagne which which I had no problem accepting. I settled in and took a look at the menu that was provided to decide on what I wanted to eat on my journey.
But first! Let's take a look at the drink menu which provides some detail on the various options served. There were some good mid to higher level wines and champagnes available, all of which provided you a description on where they are from. The flight attendants did a wonderful job of continually making sure my glass was full throughout the flight, without being too invasive.
When it comes to the food, a staple of Lufthansa First Class is the caviar. Nothing like some good caviar to kick off your flight and your tastebuds. When asking if I wanted some caviar, the answer was most definitely YES. As you can see from the photos below, I opted to try everything. The flight attendants had no problem serving me the entire menu and I was determined to try all of the food Lufthansa had to offer. Out of everything I had the sushi was average at best and the beef tartar simply was not to my taste. Other than that, everything was plated nicely and was appetizing. They even came around to ask if I wanted to do a wine flight at some point during my flight. I declined, but appreciated the offer. Toward the end fo the flight they came around with a cheese cart filled with various cheeses (luckily none smelled like feet). I had a few but by this time so stuffed from the previous meals.
The seat was extremely comfortable. I have an issue with getting sleep on a plane in general and I don't know why, but that is my cross to bear. Even when flying in First/Business class I can never seem to get good rest. Surprisingly I got some amazing sleep on this flight, at least to my standards. They provide you with pajamas to change into and the bedding is very soft and comfortable. The bed had a good amount of room so you did not feel very closed in on the sides. Pair that with the comfortable bedding and I was set.
The seat itself is very comfortable even in its upright position. It is fairly wide, comfortable and can be manipulated into many positions. A nice touch is the small storage box in the foot rest to put some of your items. There is plenty of power outlets for your electronics, along with side storage. There are dividers that can come up for extra privacy, but the amply space from seat to seat kept enough room where I did not feel I needed it up. I liked the openness of the cabin. The entertainment system was easy to use, a nice sized screen with good new releases unlike some flights I have been on. To this day Lufthansa First Class is one of my favorite ways to cross the Atlantic and head into Europe.
Bottom Line While 110k United Miles or 86k+ Avianca LifeMiles may seem like a lot, it was worth the experience, even if it is only one time. It's not long before we start to lose the 3 class cabin layouts in favor of the 2 class. The service on Lufthansa First Class is one of the big differentiators from other airlines. With only 8 seats in First it will never feel cramped and that also means the flight attendants can be more attentive and available. Lufthansa has some nice touches such as when the pilot came out to greet me by name before the flight. He gave me some information about our trip and went on to talk to the other First Class passengers. If you are thinking Lufthansa's Business Class is equally as good you would be sorely mistaken, it is a vastly different product and experience. If I had miles to spend I would not think twice about booking Lufthansa First Class in the future. And if you happen to have a layover in Frankfurt you have access to Lufthansa's First Class Terminal "aka Lounge" which is something of a marvel and an aviation geeks dream. Who has flown Lufthansa First Class and how was your experience?