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2014: 363,407
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Flight Review: Lufthansa First Class on the Boeing 747-8I

My Ride to Newark, the First Boeing 747-8i (D-ABYA) to enter service commercially. Seen here from Ground Level!

My ride to Newark — the first Boeing 747-8I (D-ABYA) to enter service commercially. Seen here from ground level!

I have been lucky enough to fly a few different airlines in first class. I am referring though to international first class here, not domestic “first class.”  An airline that I have been obsessed to fly in first class is Lufthansa.

My flight on Lufthansa would be two firsts for me: flying their first class and being a passenger on the updated Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. Having one first is normally exciting enough as it is, but two? Yes… one could say that I was excited!

Lufthansa First Class seats 1A & 1K, in the nose of a 747.  Can't get any far further into the pointy end than this.

Lufthansa first class seats 1A & 1K, in the nose of a 747. Can’t get any far farther into the pointy end than this.

The benefit of departing Frankfurt with a first class ticket starts when one arrives at the airport. I was given access to their first class terminal, which was amazing.  When it was time to board my flight, I was driven in a Mercedes Vito van that took me on a quick ride across the tarmac to my gate in the A/Z concourse.

Riding along at ground level and looking up at gate after gate of 747s is pretty special.  When we pulled up to our gate, the very first 747-8I (D-ABYA) was looming above me.  Being able to step out onto the ramp and snap a photo is nice.  Being ushered all the way up to the aircraft by our driver is even better.  Even though boarding was already underway when we arrived, our driver created a hole in the crowd and had us at the front in mere moments.  Now THAT is service.

Continue reading Flight Review: Lufthansa First Class on the Boeing 747-8I

Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 2

Emirates A380 Bar/Lounge Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 Bar/Lounge – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

In part one of my review, I covered the standard features of the first class suite and product on-board the Emirates A380. In part two, I will cover the unique features of the Emirates A380 available to premium class passengers including the Business Class bar/lounge.

For first and business class passengers, the bar at the rear of the main deck is the place to be and be seen on any A380 flight. It is truly a unique experience and comes complete with a dedicated bartender who will mix up your favorite drink.

Whilst first class passengers get their own bar at the front of the cabin, it tends to be a bit lonely and there is no where to sit; thus, I recommend the business class bar at the back. While the business bar does not have the same high-end beverages as at the first class bar, the crew will happily bring these premium beverages to you when you are in the business bar.

While the first class bar has a wide range of premium beverages, it lacks the atmosphere of the business class bar Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

While the first class bar has a wide range of premium beverages, it lacks the atmosphere of the business class bar – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The bar is set up in a fashion akin to what I have seen on many private jets. There is the central bar with lounge seating on either side; this can accommodate up to five passengers on each lounge. In addition to the lounge seating, there is also ample space at the exits which have a standing bar arrangement with a table affixed to the exit which is quite handy when the lounge seating is occupied.

Continue reading Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 2

Taking the Inaugural Bangkok A380 Flight on Qatar Airways

The Qatar First Class product on the A380. For our flight, there were no First Class Passengers

Qatar First Class product on the A380. For our flight, there were no First Class passengers.

The more that I fly the Airbus A380, the more I like the aircraft — as a passenger, but I am not so sure as an AvGeek. It is so smooth during take-off and landing, one might not even realize that they happened. Turbulence is mostly absorbed by the jumbo jet, making the flight smooth. The windows and walls are so thick, the aircraft stays quiet and passengers are removed from the flying experience.

As an AvGeek, these are some of the reasons why I am not a huge fan of the A380. I want to feel the take-off, I enjoy a little turbulence, and I want to stay connected to the entire flight experience. But this doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy an A380 flight, especially when it is on a Qatar Airways aircraft with an impressive on-board product.

Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 in flight - Photo: Clément Alloing | Flickr CC

Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 in flight – Photo: Clément Alloing | Flickr CC

Recently, I was invited to participate in the inaugural Qatar A380 flight from Bangkok to Doha, and who am I to refuse? Overall, it was an amazing flight, but I wished it was a bit longer — it was only about six hours.

One of the biggest disappointments I had regarding the flight was not being able to get an exterior shot of the A380. And believe it or not, that was partially due to both Bangkok and Doha airports being designed where photos are hard to get, and also because of the King of Thailand.

Continue reading Taking the Inaugural Bangkok A380 Flight on Qatar Airways

Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 1

Emirates A380 short final at Sydney Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 short final at Sydney – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

EMIRATES AIRLINE FIRST CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Emirates Airline
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Departed: Sydney (SYD)
Arrived: Dubai (DXB)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: First Class
Seat: 2A
Length: About 14 hours

Not many people I know get too excited at the prospect of a 14-hour flight that leaves at 6:00 AM.  But when travelling in first class, even the 4:00 AM wake-up call is cause for excitement. I was recently fortunate enough to experience the first class product on-board Emirates’ A380 from Sydney to Dubai.

Most Emirates’ departures from Australia to Dubai are timed to leave at night; this did not appeal very much to me as when traveling first class I like to make the most of the experience, rather than just sleep though it. Luckily, Emirates had recently introduced the A380 product on their EK415 service, which departs Sydney at 6:00 AM with a 1:20 PM arrival to Dubai. This service is primarily targeted at connecting traffic onto the afternoon European services, which allow for a same-day evening arrival into Europe.

Emirates A380 first class suite, not a bad place to spend 14 hours Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 first class suite; not a bad place to spend 14 hours – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

I was happy to be staying at an airport hotel, meaning that I could afford to sleep in a little longer. Check-in at Sydney was completed with minimal fuss, and I was on my way to security within five minutes of entering the terminal.

Given the Qantas Emirates partnership, first class passengers traveling on Emirates flights have access to the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney. Sadly, the lounge was still closed at this hour of the morning. I had to make do with the Emirates lounge – while it is still of a very high standard, it is not as good as the Qantas’ first lounge.

On board, I was welcomed by the purser and escorted to my seat. As this was my first time flying Emirates First Class, I was given a very comprehensive walk-through of all of the seat and cabin features. At this time, I also received my bvlgari amenity kit along with pajamas and slippers; all of this was very nicely presented in an Emirates-branded tote bag. This is probably the best and highest quality of in-flight amenities I have received on any carrier.

Continue reading Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 1