Oh Lufthansa, where do I begin with you? On one hand, your First Class product is absolutely amazing. Your efficiency, luxury, lounges and ability to pander to your premium clients are all top notch and leaves little to be desired. But on the other hand, everything else including your Business Class, Economy Class, and services to those passengers, leaves much to be desired.
Over the last year, I have taken three long haul Business Class flights on Lufthansa, ORD to FRA and LAX to FRA on the Boeing 747-400 and LAX to MUN on their Airbus A340. The flights were not bad but just not what you expected from a premium cabin on a world class carrier. And as much as it pains me to say this, I thoroughly enjoyed my last United Business First flight so much, I would actually recommend it over Lufthansa’s Business Class product. You can read my review of United’s Business First product here.
This was my third time in Lufthansa’s old Business Class product so I knew what I was getting myself into. If this was an award travel, I would have avoided the Boeing 744 at all costs but since this was a paid revenue flight, I chose the cheapest flight that I could find, and this was it. After all taxes and fees, I paid $1,800 for a roundtrip Business Class ticket from LAX to Madrid in the middle of summer. The fare was purchased on United’s website and all miles were credited to my United Mileage Plus account. Not bad huh?
Our flight boarded from one of the new gates in the newly renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Side note, the Star Alliance lounge is nowhere near any of the gates used by Star Alliance carriers so make sure to leave with plenty of time to walk to your gate. Click here to read my review of the LAX Star Alliance First/Business Class Lounge.
Like all Lufthansa flights, the boarding process was done on-time and efficiently. We boarded through the forward cabin door and we directed to our seats, 12 H and K. At our seats were our duvets, pillows, amenities kits, headphones and bottles of water. Shortly after getting settled in, we were offered pre-departure drinks of water, orange juice or champagne.
Now, Lufthansa’s old Business Class product is a joke. What’s an even bigger joke is that the majority of their longhaul planes, including the Airbus A380′s, A340′s and Boeing 747-400, are all equipped with the old Business Class product. They are in the process of retrofitting the planes with the new Business Class seats but at the moment, you still have a better chance experiencing their old seat if flying anytime soon.
The seats offer decent width but are angled lie flat seats. These seats are super hard to sleep on and you spend a bulk of your time rolling around trying to find a decent position to be in and then worry about sliding down towards the footwell. I find the only way to sleep on these seats is to recline into a lounge position and not in the fully flat position. That way, it’s more like sleeping on a lounge chair and less like sleeping on the side of a hill.
The IFE monitors are puny and do not offer the best image quality but they do offer a pretty decent selection of movies, TV shows, music and games. Power ports and USB connectivity is offered at every seat. The Boeing 747′s offer plenty of storage space above and below you and to the side of your seat.
The Flight Attendants were all pleasant and great, however were very mechanical. During meal services, they would all disappear into the galley and come out all at once to serve our meals on trollies. They would all disappear again and then come back out to clear the plates. Then would disappear again and come back out with dessert. You see the pattern? The meal services were very efficient but lacked the personal touch you would expect. On this flight, we were served a dinner and a breakfast. And the food was horrible.
Now back to why I’m torn about Lufthansa. Their lounges are amazing, especially the Welcome Lounge at Frankfurt Main. Located after baggage claim, the Welcome Lounge is open to all passengers flying on Business or First Class tickets. The lounge offers showers, hot food, beer on tap, a self serve bar, wifi, work space and relax rooms. If Frankfurt is not your destination, make sure to allow for extra time to get back to your gate because you do have to clear through security and passport control again.
After a hot shower and some hot food, we were ready to board our next flight to Madrid (LH1122). Also on Business Class, this short 2hr 50mn flight to MAD was on an Airbus A320. Now if you haven’t flown Business Class on intra-Europe flights before, don’t expect much. Business Class seats on intra-Europe flights are the same seats in Economy Class. The seats are configured 3×3 and the middle seats are not sold, offering Business Class passengers either a window or aisle seat with the middle seat left empty “for your comfort.” Meals are served the same style as stated above.