The Airbus A380 has allowed airlines to highlight their newest and best high-end products and Lufthansa Airlines is no exception. With the introduction of the A380, Lufthansa has been able to showcase a new level of luxury with their new first class seats found in the front of the upper deck. Many airlines call this set up “suites,” but these are really a hybrid. If you are flying with someone you know and get two tickets, you have the ability to put down the mid-screens and easily interact with your companion. If they are a stranger (or someone you know, but don’t want to talk to), you are able to put up the wall and have your own private suite-like space.
Although I haven’t been able to test out the first class suites on a flight, I can say just sitting in them for a few minutes is quite nice. Experiencing on of these seats first hand, will set you back a pretty penny; a round trip flight costs about $20,000.00.
Although the suites are quite impressive, the two lavatories are unreal. You have plenty of room to freshen up or use the facilities. It is also the prime location to join the mile-high club, if that is your thing.
The VIP cabin gets quite a few things the rest of Lufthansa A380s do not First is a bit more headroom with the lack of overhead bins. Passengers will find plenty of room to store their items either in their suite or in a storage locker, which they can personally lock. There is also additional sound deadening material to keep the first class cabin a bit more quiet for the long journey. To help reduce jet-lag, there is a special humidifier created by Lufthansa, just for their Airbus A380 first class cabin.
Lufthansa Airbus A330 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) waiting to go to Frankfurt (FRA).
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.
What flight can be complete with out a winglet shot?There are so many business class seats, they go to the wing.
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.
Yum! This was one of three courses. Being served in glasses with the airline's logo is a nice touch. Yes, I was watching a movie with Matt Damon.
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.
When arriving in Frankfurt, we had to take a 10 minute bus ride back to the terminal.
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.
Lufthansa's first class terminal in Frankfurt is separate from the main airport.
There are many international airlines that have first class lounges, but not many who have a whole terminal just for passengers flying first class. Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, Germany is as about as exclusive as one can get flying scheduled airline service. This is not an area you can buy a day pass for and you won’t even have access if you upgrade to first class. You either have to pay full fare for your international first class ticket or you have to have HON circle status, meaning you fly 600,000 miles over a two year period. I recently had a special tour of the terminal and wanted to share the experience.
There are many areas inside the lounge to relax or do business.
Everything can be done for a passenger in the first class terminal — they even have their own security. The terminal is exclusive, but there are still about 200-300 passengers that will go through the lounge everyday. No worries, there are plenty of different spaces they can relax or do their business.
Want a drink? The Lufthansa bar has you covered.
The bar area has 86 different kinds of whiskey for customers. There also were a few jars of different candy (seen at the end of the bar) which added a nice touch.
Want to get some grub before your flight -- no problem. Although I probably wouldn't call it "grub."
Right next to the bar is an eating area, where guests can order and eat food for free. Well, they did have to pay for that first class ticket, but once you are inside the walls of the first class terminal food and drinks are on the house.
Cigar lounge and mini-bar. Hmm, don't see that in most clubs.
If the bar area becomes a bit too crowded for your taste, right across the hall is a cigar lounge with its own mini-bar. I wonder how many business deals have been done in this area.
Eh, why take a shower when you can take a bath?
Many airline clubs are proud to state they have shower facilities available. Well, Lufthansa offers not only showers, but also full baths. And yes, that is a yellow rubber ducky on the edge of the bath and yes it has “Lufthansa” on it (photo) — now that is frek’n class.
Want to get a little nap in during your layover -- no problem.
After having a few helpings of whiskey and finishing a cigar, one can get a little sleepy. Passengers are able to get a private room and catch a few z’s before their flight.
For someone who loves airlines and nice cars, this is the perfect blend.
Waiting at the gate, waiting for your row to be called is so for peons. When it is time to board your flight, someone will come get you and then you will be driven in either a Mercedes S500, Porsche Panamera or Porsche Cayenne. You will be chauffeured right to your plane where you can board to the first class cabin. That means you can make your own trip without even having to look at someone in business class, little alone economy. That is great for folks who want a little privacy.
For those select few who are able to use such an amenity, what a wonderful way to travel. For those who always say travelling is not what it used to be, this is a much better way to travel than it used to be, but it will just cost you a few bucks. For example, flying from New York to Frankfurt in Lufthansa first class will cost about $16,000.00 or Seattle to Frankfurt for about $20,000.00. But, of course if you have to ask how much it will cost, you probably can’t afford it.
There were three Lufthansa Airbus A380s waiting at Frankfurt when we left.
Last Friday marked the first time that an Airbus A380 has landed at Miami International Airport (MIA). This was the first Lufthansa Airlines flight from Frankfurt (FRA) to Miami operated by the double-decker Airbus A380.
Miami becomes the third US destination that Lufthansa flies the A380 and the sixth destination internationally. Although the airline has gained experience flying the seven Airbus A380s in their fleet, this was the first time any A380 has landed at Miami.
“We are extremely excited to introduce our new, flagship A380 aircraft as the very first in the Miami market,” said Jens Bischof, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board, Sales and Revenue Management. “I applaud Miami International Airport’s management team for their determination to become A380-ready. We share in their excitement and are both committed to Miami’s community of global travelers in both the business and leisure markets.”
I had the opportunity to fly on the upper-deck of the large aircraft, which houses eight first class and 98 business class (where I was sitting) seats. The lower deck contains only economy seats — 420 to be exact. When arriving at the airport I already had my boarding pass and no baggage to check and having a business class ticket allowed me to take the VIP line at security — which did not matter too much since traffic was a bit slow.
Passengers are able to board directly from the Business Class lounge located in Frankfurt, Germany.
When stepping up to security I realized I didn’t know Germany’s rules. Did I have to take out my laptop? Toothpaste? How about body scanners? Things were much different than here in the US –talk about service.
There was a security agent where you unload your stuff and they didn’t assume I knew what to do. They smiled as they let me know I needed to take out my laptop and all metal from my body. I didn’t have to take off my shoes or remove my toothpaste. After going through the metal detector, there was another friendly agent to help me get my stuff and I actually had room and time to gather my things. A far cry from going through security in Seattle.
At the gate, there is a business class lounge located upstairs where one can relax, get a drink and a bite to eat. Before boarding there were folks from the airline that gave a speech with the three pilots and head flight attendant looking on. We were able to board from the lounge and take an upper jetway directly onto the top deck.
Having the entire upper-deck as business class has its pluses and minuses. Even though there are quite a few actual and “fake” bulk-heads (fabric giving the feeling to sections) in the aircraft, there are still 98 of the same seats up top. This does take away a bit of the exclusive feel that flying in a premium seat normally has. However, if you are able to swing a first class ticket, there are only eight of those seats and definitely feels exclusive.
You will find 98 of these business class seats on the upper deck of Lufthansa's Airbus A380.
The business class product on the A380 is very similar to the product found on other aircraft with a few changes. There is a new universal outlet and an updated entertainment system with more content, which is good since I watched a good number of movies flying over on my Seattle to Frankfurt flight just 24 hours prior. Even with the updates, I was kind of hoping for a few more movie choices.
The best change is the ability to view one of three cameras located on the A380: on the tail, on the nose looking down and another looking straight. Of course, nothing beats seeing what is in front of the aircraft directly from the cockpit.
A few of us were invited to take a tour of the flight deck while we were over the Atlantic Ocean. I have been in cockpits during flights before, but never allowed to take photos — bonus. The five of us were easily able to fit in the flight deck and what an amazing view — inside and out. For some reason, seeing the vast blue sky and clouds looked so much better from the cockpit windscreen versus a side window.
The process of getting to the flight deck was a bit of an eye opener. I was sitting near the front of the upper deck, but we had to go to the back of the plane to use the rear stairs and then walk the length of the aircraft on the bottom deck. I have been on an empty A380 and it just doesn’t feel the same when every economy seat is taken. It felt like we had to walk a mile and through hundreds of people (420 to be exact) before getting to the cockpit. That was a heck of a lot of people and I was happy to return to the upper deck when the tour was complete.
Visiting the flight deck while in flight was amazing. I am being shown where we currently are with an old-school map.
I have been hearing how quiet the plane is during take off, but I kind of brushed it off as PR-talk. Since this was my first time taking a flight in one, I paid extra attention when we took off. I was genuinely shocked at how quiet the plane was at full throttle taking off from Frankfurt with a full load. It took us a good chunk of the runway to finally rotate, but it didn’t even sound like the engines were at full throttle — impressive.
The trip to Germany and the flight back were great experiences, but the landing easily trumped them of both. We touched down in Miami to hundreds of people lined up along the airport and freeway to greet the plane. I had never seen so many people line up to greet a plane like that before. This wasn’t just one group of people, but hundreds lining the length of the runway to catch a glimpse of our Airbus A380 landing — it was surreal.
I feel that Miami has a unique love affair with aviation. Eastern Air Lines used to be based in Miami and so many people are still very proud of the airline and the influence it had on aviation. Miami International Airport is proud to be one of very few airports to host the Airbus A380.
There were four fire trucks at Miami to greet the Airbus A380.
’œToday is one of the proudest days in the history of MIA and Miami-Dade County,’ said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Jose Abreu. ’œLufthansa’s A380 service elevates MIA into an elite class of airports worldwide that are capable of receiving this groundbreaking aircraft. We congratulate Lufthansa and deeply appreciate them for helping us reach another historic milestone.’
The A380 is one large plane that is able to carry one heck of a lot of people. It provides better economics per passenger compared to other aircraft (when nearly full) and is amazing to see in person with its double decks. I still do not think the A380 is as majestic as the Boeing 747, but it does its job and does it well. It has a beauty all of its own that truly is hard to compare to other aircraft. This might have been my first A380 flight, but I doubt my last.