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Lufthansa First Class – Booking
Following my Sri Lankan Airlines business class flight, I had strategically planned a one-day layover in Frankfurt. This decision increased my chances of securing a seat on the Lufthansa First Class flight to Toronto, a long-awaited item on my bucket list. Previously, during a trip to the World Cup, I had transited through Frankfurt with the same intention but failed to find an available first-class ticket on short notice.
Lufthansa First Class tickets are famously hard to come by, often only available for point redemption a day or two before departure. Since Lufthansa doesn’t offer direct flights to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), I turned to Expert Flyer, a service I find indispensable for frequent flyers like myself, to set up alerts for routes from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to North American cities near Toronto. These included New York JFK, Newark Liberty (EWR), Washington Dulles (IAD), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Boston Logan (BOS), San Francisco (SFO), and Los Angeles (LAX). The annual Expert Flyer fee of USD 99 is, in my opinion, a worthwhile investment.
The day before my Air Canada flight from Frankfurt to Toronto, I received an alert from Expert Flyer. It notified me of an available award ticket on a flight from Frankfurt to Washington Dulles, with a subsequent connection to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on Air Canada, scheduled 4.5 hours later. The ticket cost was 100,000 Aeroplan points plus CAD 206.
Fortunately, my existing booking to Toronto was a latitude fare, allowing me to cancel and reclaim my points and taxes without incurring additional fees.
A helpful tip for those aiming for Lufthansa First Class: use Expert Flyer to set multiple alerts before your desired travel date. This helps in knowing the time Lufthansa releases their tickets. Also, ensure you have a backup flight and sufficient Aeroplan points to book the Lufthansa flight before refunding your existing flight. Beware of ‘phantom first class flights,’ which may appear but aren’t bookable through Aeroplan.
Lufthansa First Class Lounge – Frankfurt
I arrived at the Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt at 8 AM, giving myself more than four hours to indulge before my 1:10 PM flight. Staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport Hotel the night before was convenient; it was only a 15-minute walk to the airport and then a 20-minute covered walkway to the lounge, followed by a brief outdoor stroll.
A critical mistake I made was checking in my luggage at a general Lufthansa check-in located in the underground pathway, not at the First Class check-in. While this seemed convenient then, it led to my luggage being misplaced.
Upon reaching the lounge, I took an elevator to the first floor. The security check was a breeze, taking less than two minutes. The staff was friendly, even joking about giving a foot massage as they x-rayed my shoes. They took care of my passport in the lounge, handing it over to the dedicated border control police when it was time to board.
The lounge layout was impressive. It was a spacious area on one floor, accessible to both Lufthansa and Swiss Air First Class passengers. Right before the entrance, there was a charming display of collectible rubber duckies, a unique souvenir offered by the lounge. Inside, to the right, was a premium bar, and adjacent to it were dining seats. More seating arrangements were to the left and in front of the dining area. The cigar lounge, where guests could bring their cigars, was in front of this seating section. The bathrooms and showers were further down the hall, and a well-equipped children’s play area was behind the bar.
Lufthansa First Class Lounge – Dining
August was Surf and Turf month, so the dining experience was excellent. I started with Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and avocado for breakfast. For lunch, I enjoyed a Caesar salad with lobster tail and a beef steak fillet with mashed potatoes, which ended with a delightful strawberry sorbet for dessert.
At the bar, I savoured a variety of high-end whiskies, starting with a 25-year-old Glenfarclas single malt scotch, moving to a Japanese Hibiki Suntory Whiskey, and finishing with a Glenfiddich Gran Reserva 21-year-old single malt. The buffet, transitioning from breakfast to lunch, was equally tempting and reminded me of the high standards found in Emirates First Class lounges.
Lufthansa First Class Lounge – Bathroom
A highlight of my stay was the luxurious shower room equipped with a bathtub. I relished a one-hour bubble bath with Epsom salts and even requested a glass of champagne to enhance the experience.
These four hours in the lounge perfectly blend relaxation and indulgence, setting a serene tone for my upcoming flight.
Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to Washington D.C.
Forty-five minutes before takeoff, my luxurious journey began as I was escorted to my flight in a chauffeured Porsche, a privilege exclusive to first-class passengers. My driver was exceptionally courteous, assisting with my carry-on luggage to the plane’s entrance, where he wished me a pleasant flight.
Upon boarding, I headed straight to seat 1K, located right at the front in the nose of the plane. This renowned seat positions you ahead of the pilots situated a level above. Waiting for me at my seat were thoughtful touches: slippers, an elegantly packaged amenity kit, and a single red rose.
As the first to board, I was warmly greeted by the First Class attendants, Shannon and Maren. They introduced themselves and offered me a welcome drink—a 2007 Grand Cuvée Rosé Alexandra by Champagne House Laurent Perrier, accompanied by Macadamia nuts. They efficiently guided me on where to store my luggage and inquired about my preferred size for the pyjamas.
Unlike typical overhead compartments, the storage locker was conveniently located at the back near the galley. It easily accommodated my carry-on and personal items, with space to spare.
The kit, designed by Porsche, was a sleek black bag containing all the essentials: a toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, a hairbrush, an eye mask, socks, a shoe horn, peppermint gum, and hand and body lotion. I noticed male and female versions of the bag, as seen on other First Class seats.
My culinary experience began with Caviar and traditional garnishes, paired with Cuvee Grand Siècle by Champagne House Laurent Perrier. Salmon followed this with marinated kohlrabi, celery, and cashew nuts.
The soup course was a Chicken Consommé broth with Mussels, which, to be honest, felt a bit watered down and lacking in flavour.
For the main course, I chose the Duck Breast with Asian Duck jus, stewed pak choy, tandoori mashed potatoes, sautéed grapes, and roasted potatoes. Regrettably, the duck didn’t meet my expectations for tenderness and juiciness, and I couldn’t finish the dish.
Dessert was a delightful Mango Passionfruit mousse with coconut and chocolate, perfectly paired with a Canadian Ice wine by Rief Estates.
To conclude the meal, I savoured tea with an assortment of chocolates, choosing Black Forest Cherry and Mango Lassi Chocolates.
After lunch, I requested my bed be prepared. The crew promptly set up a comfortable sleeping arrangement with an actual mattress, an extra blanket, and a pillow. While I changed into the spacious bathroom with ample amenities, they prepared everything for a restful afternoon’s sleep.
Having slept through the lunch service—a luxury I partly attribute to my indulgent bubble bath in the First Class lounge—I opted for a bowl of fresh fruit before landing.
The First Class bathrooms were spacious and comfortable, making it easy to change clothes. They had various amenities, including shaving cream, body cream, face wash, mouthwash, and even Evian water facial spray. My experience in the Lufthansa First Class cabin was exceptional.
Lufthansa First Class – Final thoughts
The Lufthansa First Class experience was certainly memorable. The lounge, while impressive, presented a bit of a challenge. After checking in, walking there, particularly outside, without the benefit of an underground or covered walkway, was a tad disappointing. I couldn’t help but think that the walk would have been quite unpleasant if it had been raining.
Despite this, the time spent in the lounge was enjoyable. Indulging in a bubble bath while sipping champagne and enjoying a few high-end whiskeys was a delightful way to pass the hours. The food in the lounge, mainly the surf and turf, was exceptional and a highlight of my lounge experience.
The in-flight service was another aspect that stood out. Shannon and Maren, the attendants, were fabulous. Their impeccable service made a significant impact on my experience. There was a minor hiccup with getting my seat to convert into a bed, but Maren handled it efficiently and quickly. However, the meals on board left something to be desired. The soup and the main course didn’t quite meet my expectations, especially compared to my previous First Class experiences with other airlines.
Sitting in the nose of the plane was an exciting aspect of the flight. Not every day you get to fly in such a unique position, and I found that quite enjoyable.
When reflecting on whether I would choose to fly Lufthansa First Class again, I have to consider my experiences with Etihad and Emirates. While Lufthansa provided an excellent service, it doesn’t quite match the standards I’ve experienced with the other carriers. For now, I would pass on flying with them again. However, part of the joy in this hobby is ticking off experiences from the bucket list, and I’m glad I had the chance to do so with Lufthansa. That said, if Lufthansa ever introduces an Airbus with a ‘Shower in the Sky’ feature, I might be tempted to give their First Class another try, just to experience that particular luxury.
A mishap with connecting flight – a lesson in Murphy’s Law
The final leg of my journey presented a unique challenge I hadn’t encountered before in my flying experience: changing airports in Washington for my connecting flight. I landed at IAD Airport (Dulles) but had to catch my connecting flight from DCA Airport (Ronald Reagan). I had scheduled a 4.5-hour layover, which was a wise decision. Unexpected delays began with our flight from Frankfurt leaving late and continued with a delay in getting landing clearance at IAD, shrinking my layover time.
IAD is a bustling airport, and without a NEXUS card, the immigration lines felt interminably long. I would advise anyone travelling through to give themselves at least an hour from deplaning to retrieving luggage, especially if you don’t have Global Entry or the MPC app. These might save a few minutes, but an hour’s buffer is still a good idea.
Then, Murphy’s Law struck. After clearing immigration, my AirTag informed me that my luggage was still in Frankfurt. This meant spending 30 minutes at IAD filing a claim for my lost luggage. When I left the airport, my 4.5-hour window had dwindled to 2.5 hours to get to DCA for my connecting flight.
Transport options from IAD to DCA include a 45-60 minute Uber ride costing around $70 or a 1.5-hour subway journey with one connection, costing $15 for a 1-day unlimited D.C. transit pass. With limited time, I opted for the subway, as Google Maps estimated the journey at about 1.5 hours.
I was flying business class on Air Canada for my connecting flight and was hoping for a quick check-in process.
A silver lining, if you could call it that, was not having to lug my checked baggage to DCA, as I had filed a missing luggage report to have it delivered to my home in Canada. So, that was one less bag to worry about on the subway. I even whistled Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ to stay optimistic during my subway ride.
I arrived at DCA with about an hour to spare before my flight, only to find that my gate was a 20-minute walk away, on the other end of the airport. Thankfully, not having to re-check my luggage made this walk faster.
My flight home, AC8787, was punctual in boarding, but once we were on the plane, we faced another hour’s delay due to weather conditions on our planned route. The flight path was rerouted, adding 30 minutes to our journey. However, business class perks kicked in with drink service and snacks offered before takeoff, which was a pleasant distraction. Despite the delays and rerouting, I found some humour in the situation, half-tempted at one point to echo Seinfeld’s famous ‘Serenity now’ line while waiting for the plane to take off.
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