Lufthansa New First Class Review
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Hilary Stockton
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Lufthansa's new first class is something I'd been looking forward to trying. And since I was having a tough time finding Lufthansa first class availability out of NYC on my required date, I fortunately found what I needed out of Washington DC Dulles (IAD), on the A340-300, and I was able to book this Lufthansa first class award 15 days in advance.

After getting off my positioning flight, I walked over to the Lufthansa Lounge, where an attendant checked my passport and made sure I had the required visa (not for Germany, but for my final destination) before ushering me into the lounge. The front area has the buffet and a few tables, and the lounge has armchairs and power ports. Somewhat annoyingly, there didn't seem to be any power ports by the dining tables, so I shuttled between the lounge area and a dining table between ordering and waiting for my food.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Lufthansa Lounge at IAD


The lounge primarily caters for business class passengers, but there is a dining area just for first class where you can order a pre-flight dinner. Since I was famished, I decided to have something there, although note that they only serve at 8pm. The server brought me a menu, and when she returned I indicated my choices, after which she realized she'd brought the wrong menu. So she brought the right one, and I chose again, only to be told that neither of the two dessert choices were available because the delivery hadn't come, although there was plain cheesecake available.

Lufthansa First Class Review - IAH Lufthansa Lounge First Class Menu


The beef short ribs were not very good at all--quite dry and a bit tough. The cheesecake was so forgettable I had 2 bites. It was enough to tide me over, but I hoped on-board catering would be better.

Lufthansa New First Class - IAD Lufthansa Lounge Dinner


The nice thing is that you leave from the lounge straight to the jetway. I didn't even have to put my coat back on. The attendants cheerily welcome us on board, and I took my place in Seat 2K. Of the 8 seats, 6 were taken, and I seemed to be the only American. Here's a view of the cabin:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Cabin


The brown and cream color scheme of the new first class reminds me of Swiss, although I've only reviewed Swiss Business Class. The seat is a seat, not a suite such as in Cathay Pacific First Class. This is good for visibility if you're traveling with a child, but unlike on Cathay, these first class seats definitely do not accommodate two people sitting side by side.

Lufthansa New First Class - Seat 2K


Lufthansa New First Class Review - Seat 2K


I was offered pre-flight champagne, but given the late hour and my hope to get some rest, I opted for water instead. The nuts were mixed, with just 1 macadamia, which I promptly tasted.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Pre-flight drink and nuts


The flight attendant also brought me pajamas, slippers, and an amenity case. I stowed the pajamas and slippers in the ottoman, which has some great storage space within it:

Lufthansa New First Class Review, Ottoman storage


The amenity case was pretty simple compared to Cathay Pacific, containing just the essentials: toothpaste, toothbrush, earplugs, socks, comb/brush, eye mask, and "La Mer" moisturizing cream. While that covers the bases, it seemed more like a business class amenity kit to me. First class is a luxury, not a necessity, so in my view the amenity kit should also convey some luxury, not just be utilitarian.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Amenity kit


I was wondering why mouthwash wasn't included, but in the bathroom there were some vials of mouthwash, along with moist towelettes. But, apart from a Lufthansa red rose in a vase, nothing particularly luxurious, such as Aesops or Temple Spa products as on Cathay.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Bathroom


The flight took off on time (unlike the next Lufthansa flight I took) and the pilot even predicted an early landing in Munich. I was glad once we were airborne and I could adjust the seat, as I found the fully upright position slightly uncomfortable. Here are the seat controls:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Seat Controls


While I probably could have just gone to sleep, since I was pretty tired, I was left pretty unsatisfied by the Lufthansa Lounge dinner and wanted to at least try the dinner service. Here's the dinner menu:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Dinner Menu

 

I also looked at the wine list but didn't order anything, since I wanted to be able to sleep. Here are the red wines and dessert wine:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Red Wines and Eiswein

 

The flight attendant first brought a smoked salmon cucumber amuse bouche. The salmon itself was fine, but I left the cucumber, which I don't care for.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Amuse Bouche

 

She also brought the classic Lufthansa rose and set the table for dinner service:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Dinner Service

 

It's a nice touch to have the appetizers displayed on a cart, so you can see the choices before picking. I decided on the caviar service and the beet "ravioli" with creamy goat cheese. I won't pretend to be a caviar expert, and the caviar itself tasted about as good to me as the caviar on Cathay Pacific, and it came with finely chopped hard boiled egg, and sour cream. What I really missed though was the Balik salmon that Cathay serves with its caviar. It's the perfect complement, and none of the other smoked salmon I had, either in the amuse bouche or later in the Lufthansa First Class Lounge, came close.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Caviar service

 

I mainly chose the beet ravioli with creamy goat cheese because it looked beautiful, but it was just as delicious as it looked, with the sweetness of the beets and luscious creaminess of the goat cheese, with some nice contrast added from the pistachio nuts and oil. If I had to quibble, it would be best to sprinkle the pistachios on just at serving, so that they would be crunchier and not softened.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese

 

For the main I chose the poached lobster in saffron reduction. I figured it would be a good test, since even many restaurants don't get this right. Ironically, all the other components of the dish were better than the lobster, which was a bit overcooked and didn't have much flavor on its own. The saffron reduction, roasted butternut squash and shiitake mushrooms were delicious, however.

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Lobster in Saffron Reduction

 

Since I'd had enough to eat and was getting tired I decided not to get cheese and dessert. I wasn't that impressed with Swiss Airlines' desserts, so I figured Lufthansa's probably wouldn't be anything to write home about either, especially since that's the kind of food I'm most picky about. I changed into the Lufthansa pajamas, which for women are grey cotton pants and a white knit shirt. The shirt is soft, but the pants seem to be just regular cotton, so not quite as comfortable as the Shanghai Tang pajamas on Cathay. When I returned to my seat, the flight attendent had made and turned down my bed, and also left a box of chocolates and a bottle of water:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - Bed

 

The bed itself was plenty long enough, but not quite as comfortable as I'd hoped, even with the mattress pad. It's a matter of personal taste, but I like pillowtop beds with a memory foam layer, and this bed was quite firm. Fortunately, since the part of the bed at your head is already like a pillow, I took my pillow and slid it under my knees, and that improved the comfort considerably. With that modification, I slept almost as well as I had on Cathay, for about 4 hours. I should also mention that there's a privacy screen that you can raise with a push of a button, and it does make your space more suite-like.

I saved the four chocolates for my son, so haven't tried them yet:

Lufthansa New First Class Review - chocolates

 

I'll add the breakfast menu and photo later, but the overall verdict was good: There's no question this is one of the most comfortable ways of getting to Europe. Service on my flight seemed friendlier than what my husband had described when he took Lufthansa's old First Class. I do still think the Lufthansa Lounge at IAD lets the brand down--I would go so far as to say, just don't serve a pre-flight "first class" dinner if it's going to be that bad. And the amenity kit should really be spruced up to be more of a luxury offering, at least for first class. Given the high fuel surcharges on British Airways, the main other competing product for first class that actually offers award availability, Lufthansa first class remains the one to beat in terms of overall value, when it comes to award bookings to Europe.

 

Booking Lufthansa First Class with Miles and Points

I used 67,500 United miles from a combination of pre-existing United miles and Ultimate Reward points earned from 5X spend on the Ink Bold and Freedom to book Lufthansa First Class to Europe. I already had a return ticket, but you could use a United free one way to maximize your award if you book a roundtrip on Lufthansa or other Star Alliance carrier using United miles.

Update: Don't forget the unfortunate massive United Award Chart Devaluation which will increase Lufthansa First Class awards by up to 86%, due to the new separate partner award chart and hikes in first class and business class award prices. Your best bet for securing Lufthansa first class award space in advance, and at lower award prices than the devalued United award chart, is to use Lufthansa Miles & More miles. The recent 50,000 mile signup bonus for the Lufthansa Miles & More card has expired, but follow TravelSort on Twitter or  like us on Facebook to be alerted if this offer returns.

 

Related posts

Lufthansa First Class Award: Booked 15 Days in Advance

How to Deal with No More Lufthansa Advance First Class Availability

Lufthansa First Class Review

Lufthansa's New Business Class Rollout and Routes

Airlines and Routes with First and Business Class Award Availability for Europe

10 Best International First Class Seats for Award Travel

 

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Comments
Picture?type=large John M. commented 22 Jan 2013
Great review! I wonder if it's 35k (R/T) better than their new business product?
Avatar_60_matt Matt B. commented 23 Jan 2013
John, thanks for the kind words--I've not yet tried Lufthansa's new business class, but I think the calculus will depend on a few factors, such as your points stash (if you have a ton of United points, I'd definitely recommend first over business since it's not really that many more points more), how much you value the additional space, better service and better food, and whether you'll be able to maximize your experience by using one of Lufthansa's first class lounges or even the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. And of course there's also the matter of availability, since you can only book Lufthansa First Class with partner miles up to 15 days in advance, and even then it can be scarce.
Picture?type=large John M. commented 24 Jan 2013
I'm currently looking to fly to MUC on LH or VIE on AT, non-stop, from IAD. I've got about 80k MR on Amex Plat and 45k USAir Silver. Wife has 110k MR on Amex Plat. I can buy a Biz (P) ticket for $3200-ish or transfer 1:1 on Aeroplan and try for a Biz ticket on LH. I'm fairly new to the game and I see zero availability on LH First (O); even within 15 days. I don't know what I'm doing, LOL!
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 24 Jan 2013
John, it's often very tough to get 2 seats in the same cabin for LH First or even New Biz, especially if you also want the nonstop. Not sure when you're leaving, but I currently see 2 awards first class IAD-FRA then biz FRA-MUC on 1/28. It would be better with United miles as surcharges are lower than on Aeroplan. If you don't mind connecting in both NYC and FRA, another option is transferring MR points to Singapore and flying in Biz or even Singapore Suites NYC-FRA.
Picture?type=large John M. commented 24 Jan 2013
I was actually looking to leave in late March (28th +-2) and return on April (7th +-2). I suppose that's too far out for planning LH award travel if you're not part of Miles & More, no? That week is actually not hateful for paid itineraries, which I assume implies it's being under-booked. I didn't even think of a Singapore Suite...whoa; nice thought! I don't mind looking at FRA; since I was really considering ending up in ZRH anyhow. I just wasn't aware that IAD-ZRH is not LX, but a UA codeshare (vomit).
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 24 Jan 2013
It's too early for LH First, since that only appears 14-15 days out, but not too early for business class awards. The problem that you may face is that your date coincides with the week of Spring Break for many schools, so I'm guessing many awards were already booked for that week and you may have issues finding space at least on the outbound. I just checked Singapore, and while there's availability NYC-FRA in Biz on March 28, there's nothing in Suites for 2 pax unless you leave March 25. You'll also want to pick up some more miles/points if you're aiming for either biz or first class rt awards for 2. In your shoes I'd probably book Singapore Biz or Suites one way NYC-FRA and pay or use miles for connecting flights on either end, and earn enough United miles to use for LH biz (or First, if it opens up) on return. Or let me know if you'd like to use our award booking service on this or another flight: http://travelsort.com/award-booking
Picture?type=large John M. commented 24 Jan 2013
Interesting. I'm showing no (I) availability on the 25th on SQ from JFK-FRA. My searching is obviously inferior. Maybe I need to invest in KVS or yield to a pro like you. It's a labor of love until you crack the code. You're right, I'll also need to carefully consider all that you've put forward on your http://travelsort.com/blog/earn-1-million-miles-and-points-in-a-year-without-flying post. I have a lot to learn and could likely benefit from using your service as a novice luxury traveler. I think I have a long hill to climb; being that I only get 28 days of vacation per year (working for the man). Right now, I hold the Elevate Visa (No status...yet), SPG Amex (Plat SPG), USAir Silver, and 2x Amex Plat (180k). I'm thinking about the United MileagePlus Explorer (although I've not received the 65k offer) because of the signing bonus (only seeing 30k) but I think I'd rather have the MileagePlus Club for the membership to SA lounges and Hyatt Plat/Avis Prez. I originally thought that I was doomed living near IAD as a UA hater. Using them to fly on other SA metal to my preferred destinations in Germanic EU, though, is not a bad thing. I also find myself going to Scandinavia a lot and settled on Icelandair Biz for a trip last June. It was far from luxurious but sure beat flying coach. I suppose my caveat to using your service is somehow calculating if the award spend, fee, and time > outright purchase of a restricted Biz ticket. This is so complex!
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 24 Jan 2013
John, I double checked, and it's Singapore First on the 777-300ER that's available on the 25th, not Suites. Singapore First is still a very nice product though; see my review: http://travelsort.com/blog/singapore-first-class-review In terms of cards, if you can't get the 65K offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer, I'd consider applying for the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold or Ink Plus at the same time, to earn ~100,000 UR points = 100,000 United miles taking into account bonuses and points from minimum spend. Or, if you're getting 5X from your Ink Plus min. spend, that's 75K pts = 75K United miles just for that card, in addition to Sapphire Preferred 40K bonus + pts from min. spend. That gives you a rt Biz award using UA miles, or you could do one way LH, one way Singapore with MR points. Singapore also makes a good backup option, as it's only $30 to redeposit miles. While there's plenty to think about and learn, the savings can be considerable, especially when earning miles and points at low cost via signup and category spend bonuses and redeeming for Lufthansa, Singapore and other int'l biz and first class.
User_avatar_default Helga O. commented 06 Jan 2014
I want to go to Paris next week (January 15 or 16) for about 5 or 6 days to use my free Hyatt nights with the chase cc at the park Hyatt vendome, what would be the easiest way to get there in first or bussiness?? I have: 200k ultimate rewards 80k membership rewards 80k AA 65k us air Would it be possible to fly Lufthansa?? Thanks
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 19 Jan 2014
Helga, sorry I wasn't able to respond in time for this trip due to client work, but for future award help, I do offer a paid award booking service. Please see http://travelsort.com/award-booking
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