Recently I had the opportunity to fly from Seattle (SEA) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) on a Lufthansa Airbus A330 in Business Class. This was my first Lufthansa A330 flight and figured it is time to do a review. I was flown to Germany by the airline to experience the first Airbus A380 flight from Frankfurt to Miami, but getting there is half the fun.
I felt a lot of pressure to get some rest on the flight over to FRA since I was only spending 24hrs there before heading back to the US. Flying in a premium seat better prepares a passenger to arrive well rested and ready to go — something I needed, but never got. The down side of flying in a premium seat, at least for me, is I want to enjoy the experience and I fight sleeping through it.
On the day of the flight, I decided to leave home early to get to the airport. Although Lufthansa does not have their own lounge at SEA, they share one with British Airways in the S-Terminal. I was able to hang out in the lounge for about three hours with free drinks and snacks until my flight was ready to board — never a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Lufthansa flies from Seattle to Frankfurt daily and is the only flight they operate out of Seattle. The great thing about only operating one flight per day is the aircraft was already sitting at the airport and we boarded and departed right on time. I remember the days when an Airbus A340 flew the route (not exactly sure of the dates) but today they have the A330. Luckily for us aviation nerds you can still catch the Air France A340 that flies to Seattle.
Once you get to cruising altitude on a wide bodied airliner, it is easy to forget you are flying. Most people shut their window (even me, I know, I know) to better view your in-flight entertainment screens . A flight on a wide body airliner is just a different experience, even in economy, allowing less of a closed-in feeling. Half way across the ocean, I couldn’t help but stop and realize how amazing it was traveling from Seattle to Frankfurt in just under ten hours. To think what that trip would have entailed just 100 years ago to accomplish the same task makes me happy that airlines offer a much better solution.
The seats provided quite a bit of room and there was a pretty good selection of entertainment, but I wished there was a bit more privacy between me and the person next to me. I have no problem sleeping in economy in standard seats, but when I am lying flat, I feel a bit more exposed and would enjoy more privacy. I also wish the TV screen was closer, since, when lounging back, the screen got smaller. I ran out of movies I wanted to watch on the flight over there, but luckily my flight back was on the A380, which had additional options for me to enjoy.
Up in Business Class, one has ample choices for food during your long trip. There is an appetizer, entree and desert and for each category, you have three choices. I decided on the, “chilled honey roasted Chicken Breast with water crest salad and cranberries, then Zinfandel braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and baby carrots and finally finished it up with sage derby, gruyere and cambozola cheese.” The food quality is what would be expected from an international business class experience. I only wish there were more offerings of German in nature. If possible, I prefer to have the cuisine of the airline’s home country versus standard fare. Back in economy, they didn’t have it too shabby either. They didn’t have all the choices, but at least they were still getting meals that looked pretty decent for airline food and it was all free (well included in the price of the ticket).
I know this is silly and really not a reason to choose an airline, but Lufthansa’s warm wash cloths that are handed out at the beginning of the flight and before the meal, smelled amazing. I can’t even tell you what the smell was like, but if they made that into an air freshener I would definitely get it.
After meal service almost everyone in the front of the plane went to sleep. I tried, but it just wasn’t happening. I even took part of a sleeping pill (something I do not usually do while flying), but I never got tired. This was bad news because when we landed it was midnight my time, but 9am local time and I had a full day of events to participate in. I welcomed jet-lag with open arms.
One reason I think I couldn’t sleep was it never got dark outside. The concept was pretty cool, but not getting any sleep wasn’t so cool. Yea, sure, the shades were all down, but mentally, I knew the light was there. Even the eye mask can’t stop the mental sunlight getting in.
Once we landed I was confused when we started taxiing away from the airport. I had forgotten that Frankfurt has many airline parking spaces where buses take people to and from the terminal. This was a bonus for me, being able to de-plane on the tarmac, then taking a five minute bus ride through the airport, but I could see how that would be a huge annoyance for people who are not into planes. I really wouldn’t want to ride an airplane for 10 hours, then get stuck on an even more crowded bus. You better believe the first class passengers are not riding the bus; many get a private Mercedes or Porsche to take them to the terminal.
Lufthansa also has an arrival lounge at FRA, but I was tired and in need of a shower, so I headed out of the airport and to my hotel. The flight went quick and was a great combination of comfort, high-end service and entertainment. I can’t wait until the next international flight.