As we all know, I am insane – I do stupid things, usually inspired by a picture I saw of something from years ago on the internet, fanning an intense jealous desire to have the same experience for myself. Why this is of any interest to the readership is because I consider getting there to be, at least, half the fun.
This time, I was off to UACC (IATA Code TSE, or as most people call it, Astana, Kazakhstan) to attend the third KADEX (also known as Kazakhstan’s defense expo). Originally, I was booked in Lufthansa business class for the Vancouver-Frankfurt portion of my itinerary, but after being informed by our Associate Editor that the aircraft I would be flying was not only rife with available first class seating, but that it was D-ABVS (an aircraft equipped with the new first), I felt it was my duty to exchange currencies of various forms and reasonable amounts for a soon-to-be vanishing experience.
Lufthansa, you see, is configuring these aircraft from three class (First, Business, Economy) into a different three class (Business, Premium Economy, and Economy). First class on a Lufthansa 747-400- will be gone for good soon- and I will sorely miss it.
Unfortunately, the lounge selection in Vancouver (unless you are a passenger on British Airways or Cathay Pacific) is rather weak. It is Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge; a place I have, by my math, spent over a month of my life in. It still lacks power ports, feels crowded, it does not properly suit the degree of exclusivity associated with traveling international first class.
Having been there hundreds of times (in years past, I was a perpetual Super Elite with Air Canada) and knowing the catering on board would be mind blowing, I decided to spend my time in the lounge using their “free” (also known as “slow”) internet. Huffy from the lounge, I decided it was time go to to gate D-55. That’s when it really sunk in. I wasn’t just flying Lufthansa to go to Kazakhstan, I was flying Lufthansa First Class.
Who cares where I was going past Frankfurt? Boarding was effortless. Check the ID, down the jet bridge, up the stairs. Hide my camera bag in the storage area in the galley, take my seat. “Mr. Leighton! Wait!” I was very confused. “We didn’t see you coming, we wanted to introduce ourselves to you before you sat down – you just seemed very intent on getting settled.” True, I was intent, but I also felt guilty now.
No crew has ever been so genuinely nice (until a later LH flight on the same itinerary). After apologizing and explaining that I am too much of an AvGeek to think like I am not cabin crew, it was time for my first service. A nice, seemingly bottomless, glass of 2004 Veuve Clique. Fruity, caramel-noted, just a hint of apple, and wonderfully dry. Even better, they elevated the subtle sweetness of the macadamia nuts they were served with.
Not wanting to get totally inebriated prior to take off, I also had a glass of water. The glass was of extremely high quality – but not worthy of any stereotypical first class photo.
The seat itself is more than just the chair and bed combination that makes it amazing. There was a lot of thought put into it. Things like the little drawer for putting your shoes and street clothes into after changing into pajamas and slippers.
There are other lovely ergonomic enhancements. The seat controls are right below the drink coaster.
Being in seat 81H, I barely noticed pushback and engine start. It was silent up there. So, too, was takeoff. The flight was so smooth I barely noticed we were flying.
Immediately after takeoff I requested some tea. To my surprise, it also came with a lovely, smoked salmon canapé.
Whilst waiting for lunch, I decided to turn on the in-flight entertainment (IFE). The screen is lovely, but the only flaw is that the content lags behind some other airlines I have flown.
I watched Anchorman 2 , and hoped I wasn’t laughing so hard as to annoy the other passengers. Lunch began.
Having read Ben’s article about Lufthansa Catering, I was quite excited. His story, it turns out, does not do the food justice. But how could he – he was still on the ground.
The starter, was of course, caviar with onion, sour cream, etc.
Caviar is caviar. Not much you can say about it that has not already been said.
The Tandoori chicken, however… that was insane. I thought the catering had peaked, it was so succulent, and so smokey. Outstanding. Then there was the bacon-wrapped Filet with tomato confit, potatoes, and mushrooms.
Best thing I have ever eaten on an aircraft. No question asked. Not that desert was bad. It was a white chocolate bread pudding. It was nice, but just couldn’t really compare with the amazing main courses.
After dinner, it was time for bed. What a bed – seriously! Softest, most comfortable, most bed-like aircraft bed I have ever seen. My only complaint is that because the 747 cruises about two-degrees nose-up, I felt as if I was angled two-degrees nose-down due to pillow positioning.
Six hours later, I awoke to play with TelekomFly’s in-flight internet. It was awesome. I was also ahead of the curve for getting changed and using the lav, leaving me wonderfully refreshed and excited for breakfast.
An even better breakfast has a selection of cold meats.
The best aircraft breakfasts finish with freshly cooked eggs. Yes, real eggs, not powdered or re-heated.
30 minutes later, we were on the ground. I was sad to end what was probably my best first class flight. I would later be proven wrong! However, at least I could visit the First Class Terminal.
If you can fly Lufthansa First….do it. Don’t ask questions, and don’t let mileage loyalty get in your way. Go go go!