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 airlinesÂ in first class. I am referring though to international first class here, not domestic â€œfirst class.â€Â An airline that I have beenÂ obsessedÂ to fly in first class is Lufthansa.
My flight on Lufthansa would be twoÂ 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 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 theirÂ first class terminal, which was amazing.Â Â When it was time to board my flight, I was driven in aÂ Mercedes Vito vanÂ thatÂ took me on a quick ride across the tarmac to myÂ gate in the A/Z concourse.
Riding along at ground level and looking up at gate after gate of 747s is pretty special. Â When we pulled up toÂ our gate, the very first 747-8I (D-ABYA) was looming above me. Â Being able to step out onto the ramp and snap a photo is nice. Â Being ushered all the way up to the aircraft by our driver is even better. Â Even though boarding was already underway when we arrived, ourÂ driver created a hole in the crowd and had us at the front in mere moments. Â Now THAT is service.
Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport. Is this the ultimate airline lounge?
Every major airline in the world tries to ensure that their hub lounges are the best that there can be. Â I am lucky enough to have visited a few of these in my life. Â From the Singapore Krisflyer Lounge to the Qantas First Class Lounge. Â However, there has always been one lounge in my sights that I never thought I could attain – one lounge that seemed unreachable.
So many people have visited it and raved about how amazing it was. Â Surely, I could find a way to visit it once in my life. Â What am I talking about, you are probably asking by now? Â That would be Lufthansaâ€™s First Class Terminal (FCT) at their Frankfurt hub.
Come fly with Lufthansa! – Photo: Robert Schadt & Lufthansa
Roughly sixty years ago, on June 7, 1955, Lufthansa commenced long-haul service with a flight from Hamburg, Germany to New York City. To celebrate the anniversary, Lufthansa recreated a series of classic photos from throughout the years.
Safety first! Demonstrating life jackets – Photo: Robert Schadt & Lufthansa
How much has changed over the intervening six decades? Here are some fun facts, according to the airline:
- What began as two long-haul flights a week from Germany to New York, taking 20 hours for the trip (including a stop in Dusseldorf and a refueling stop in Ireland), has evolved and expanded over the years into the present 104 Lufthansa long-haul flights to 77 destinations worldwide, per day.
- With its four Super Constellations, Lufthansa carried 74,040 passengers in its first year of long-haul operations, with 18,420 of them crossing the North Atlantic. Today, Lufthansaâ€™s long-haul fleet consists of more than 130 state-of-the-art aircraft, which carry overÂ 15 million passengers per year – more than two-and-a-half million of them to and from the U.S.
- At the equivalent of approximately three monthâ€™s salary, the price of a transatlantic Economy Class ticket, back then, kept the experience of flying with Lufthansa exclusive, only possible for a small and affluent circle of people. Today, a round-trip Economy Class ticket for a flight with Lufthansa to the eastern United States can cost as little as one-third of a monthly salary.
Check out some additional historical photos, brought more up-to-date…
Front part of Lufthansa’s special retro livery on the Boeing 747-8I – Photo: Lufthansa
Lufthansa was the first airline to fly the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and now has 16 of the type in service. Â Over the history of the airline and the 747 program, Lufthansa hasÂ been a very good customer. Â They have operated the 747-100, 200, & 400 (with a good portion of those 747-400s still flying).
The airline, as a whole, has been around since 1926 (in some form or another), during whichÂ time they have been through a number of liveries. Â What better way for an airline to receive their latest aircraft than to paint it in an retroÂ livery?
Over the past few years,Â few issues in the aviation industry have been more polarizing than children on commercial airplanes. The need for families to travel from place to place, or even for children to travel alone, often clashes with the desire of frequent fliers to have a peaceful flight. Some airlines have taken drastic measures, like Malaysia Airlines which has banned babies from first class and all children from the upper deck on their fleet of A380s. Other airlines have added child-free cabins as an ancillary amenity that is available for a fee.
As a newly-minted dad, IÂ look froward to taking my son on his first flight (and many more after that). However I realize that sometimes the unfamiliar atmosphere onboard an airliner can disturb a small child. And when the child is disturbed, they may disturb those seated around them. All children could useÂ an experience that is specially tailored to younger fliers in an industry that usually focuses more on high value (adult) frequent fliers. Unfortunately, cost cutting measures at most airlines have eliminated kid-friendly perks such as kids meals and pin-on airplane wings.
Fortunately, this is not the case at every airline, including at Lufthansa. Last year, 2.1 million children aged eleven and under flew on the German carrier, which is a number based on how many childrens’ fares they sold. Yes, Lufthansa still offers discountedÂ fares for children, which are 75% of the adult fare.
3,123 children qualified as “elites” with the airline, having flown a minimum of 35,000 miles in a year. Some children even attain higher status levels: the youngest Senator member (having flown at least 100,000 miles in a year) is just two years old.