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.
CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS OF THE TRIP
On your international flights (on an international airline) have you ever thought about trying to visit the cockpit either before or during the flight? Since its a foreign carrier some of the cockpit rules are different. The reason I ask is because I was able to fly in an A320 cockpit from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta a long while ago but after 9/11. Granted I was flying inside Mexico but still cool nonetheless. As we were boarding I asked to see the cockpit and I guess I impressed the pilots with how much I knew about their instruments and once I went back to my seat a F/A came back and said the pilots wanted to see me again. Went up to the front and stayed there the rest of the flight. That was an experience i’ll never forget. Too bad I didn’t get any pictures of it :\
When I am on media flights, I am often able to go into the cockpit during flight, but normally I am not able to take any photos. I felt very lucky (and honestly giddy) to be on the flight deck of Lufthansa’s Airbus A380 mid-flight WITH my camera –> http://www.flickr.com/photos/airlinereporter/5830555075/in/set-72157626956640920.
But you know, it is okay when I am not allowed to take photos. Too often I get so caught up in making sure I take photos, that I forget to stop and enjoy the moment. Something I have been working on, but it is so much easier to do when photography is not even an option.
You made a typo in the 6th paragraph. You forgot a space between ‘I’ and ‘ran.
Yup, it is a verb, not a country — fixed.
Skipping the arrivals lounge was probably a mistake. Its whole point is to get a shower. Sure, you probably got that in the hotel, too, but in the arrivals lounge they have rather fancy bathrooms including these amazing rain forest shower heads. Well worth a visit in itself and in my eyes the best innovation in aviation in the last couple of years. Just stand there being overrun by a friendly waterfall washing away all the boredom and stiffness of a ten-hour flight.
I always head there if I come into Frankfurt from the west even though I normally have a connecting flight. Plus, the lounge is a lot more calm then the normally overcrowded Schengen-Lounge, but that is another story entirely.
I should have at least gone and checked it out, but I was just started to get delirious with no sleep for so long 🙂
I miss having the A340 around Portland on a daily basis. I only flew it once from FRA-PDX.
So this is my story I booked a flight due to a family emergency, and the flight was from Boston to Frankfurt to Munich and after to Moldova .When I got to airport 3 hours before the flight to check in they informed me that I can’t bird since I have no visa for Germany since Frankfurt to Munich is a domestic flight . I went to Lufthansa ticketink desk to se if anyone can help me and all they said is that they don’t have anything similar and that I should call the agency that I booked with which I did after 30 min if hold agency transferred me back to Lufthansa coustomer service since is nothing to do with them. Well after another painful 45 min the coustomer representative fro Lufthansa tells me they don’t have anything similar unless I can pay 1600$ extra on top of my 2200$ which I already spent . I was shocked I hang up and looked at the time it was 4:45 pm my original flight left !!! I went to the counter for tickets and ask a different person if he could help me he tried but unfortunately since so much time past the only option was to pay 1252 $ extra which was cheaper then someone else told me and I have to depart next following day and with a stop in Munich of 11 hours so ill be arriving on Sunday at 11:55 pm in Moldova . I had no choise and I did book it.
Well now let’s get back for my reason of traveling on short notice , it was because my father had his second hart atack and was in a hospital and in all this time I spent in trying to get to Moldova he past away …. Now I’m writing this on Friday night on may third 2013 , the sad story I have no choice to wait till tommorow to get on my flight that Lufthansa charged me again to get there on almost Monday when is my loved fathers burial .
I will leave the same rewiev to orbitz which I will advice to evryone never to use.
Horrible Experience, staff, food. Luggage was completely destroyed.
I will never fly with Lufthansa again!
Very bad experience. Lufthansa destroyed our vacation and after a Month still waiting for them to call us and let us know what they can do for us. So far no respond or any news about our luggage.
On July 29th we got to Frankfurt from Toronto with 4 hrs Delay. After spending another 4 hrs trying to locate our luggage, finally we left with nothing. I spent 3 hours a day of my 16 days of vacation on the phone with Lufthansa Customer service which took me to nowhere. I got my first luggage on the 5th day of my vacation and as of today August 31. Still not getting any respond or any news how they are going to deal with us. I Just got my second luggage yesterday after a Month and unfortunately so many items are missing. Tried to find out where to call but again Customer service in Toronto has no idea what to do