Trip Report: Lufthansa First Class FRA-JFK B747-8i Review

by Stephen

One Last Suites Hurrah — A Week in Central Europe via Singapore Suites and Lufthansa First

  1. Introduction and Booking
  2. Singapore Suites Check-in JFK and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
  3. Singapore Airlines Suites Class JFK-FRA and FRA EasyPass Enrollment
  4. 36 Hours in Prague and Czech Airlines PRG-BUD Review
  5. Budapest, BUD Priority Pass Lounge, and Lufthansa Intra-Europe Business Class Review
  6. Lufthansa First Class Porsche Rental
  7. Lufthansa First Class Terminal FRA Review
  8. Lufthansa First Class FRA-JFK Review

This won’t be a comprehensive review, as Lufthansa first class has been covered countless times, and I was deep in the throes of my Priority Pass lounge-acquired food poisoning for much of this flight.

  • April 3, 2017
  • Lufthansa LH 404 FRA-JFK
  • Boeing 747-8i
  • Seat 1K
  • Dep: 5:15 PM CEST
  • Arr: 7:44 PM EDT
  • Duration: 8 hr, 29 min

At the end of the jetbridge, I was welcomed on to the B747-8i — my first — by several smiling flight attendants. I turned left and took in the gorgeous first class cabin. First class on the Lufthansa 748 is at the front of the plane on the lower deck and follows the curve of the nose of the plane. The clean lines; muted colors; and simple, understated elegance make the Lufthansa first class cabin one of my favorite in the sky (though I prefer the A380 cabin over that of the 748). There are three rows of seats in the cabin, with rows 1 and 2 having two seats each. Because of the curve of the nose, seats 1A and 1K are the closest together, 2A and 2K are farther apart with a large storage compartment between them, and row 3 is four seats across.

While the seats aren’t the most private out there, the large privacy shield that comes up around the back and side of the seat make up for that. Although seats 1A and 1K are the closest together and there was another passenger seated in 1A, I never felt that privacy was an issue.

Waiting at my seat were an amenity kit and slippers. The amenity kit was a large, navy and black colored leather bag by Jil Sander (no more Rimowas, apparently) and contained the standards.

A friendly flight attendant came by to offer me a warm towel, a glass of champagne, and some nuts. As I mentioned at the end of my FCT review, I started really feeling terrible as I was boarding this flight. In my eyes, though, it’s a little bit blasphemous to be in a world-class premium cabin and not have anything to drink, so I couldn’t turn down the champagne. Pajamas were handed out as well, and I promptly changed into mine. They were fine but nothing exceptional, and on the large side. The crew was busy, with only one seat empty in first by the time the doors were closed, but quite attentive to all of the passengers throughout boarding.

We pushed back without delay and the captain informed us in his PA address of the anticipated eight-and-a-half hour flight time. In spite of my discomfort, my eyes were glued to the windows as we taxied out and I got my last view of the traffic at FRA.

LH A340 at FRA

We were quickly in the air, and within just a few minutes the seat belt sign was turned off and the meal service started.

I didn’t grab any photos of the menu, and without much of an appetite I asked for just the caviar for the time being. As is the case on Lufthansa, the portions were large; however I found the quality to be not as good as on my previous flights — it’s tough to see in the photo, but some of the caviar was discolored with a greyish-olive tint to them and the onions weren’t very fresh.

Service was deliberate, pleasant, and professional, in typical Lufthansa fashion. My flight attendant seemed to notice that I wasn’t feeling great and asked if I was okay. When I responded that I had a fever and asked for an aspirin, she immediately went to grab a bottle of water (I already had a glass on my tray table) and both aspirin and ibuprofen. Without my saying anything else about my state, she continued to check on me several times throughout the flight, which I appreciated.

After I finished the caviar and the table setting was cleared away, I played around very quickly on the responsive and easy-to-navigate IFE system. Nothing piqued my interest though, and I figured I wouldn’t be able to finish anything long, so I just switched it to the flight map. Knowing that I wouldn’t be productive at all, I didn’t bother with the in-flight internet and decided to immediately go to sleep. The bed on Lufthansa’s 748 is quite comfortable and despite the state I was in, I slept well. With the large privacy screen up, I couldn’t see anything and felt well-hidden from the rest of the cabin. I had to make several intermittent trips to the lavatory, but the actual quality of my sleep while I was in the bed was good.

Lufthansa B747-8i first class bed

Other than those trips to lav, I slept well and time passed uneventfully. The windows in the first class lavatories are a great feature; at least when you’re suffering from food poisoning at 35,000 feet, you have a nice view.

I woke up a few hours later and, despite not feeling much better, wanted to at least sample some more food. My flight attendant seemed to notice the second I got up and was promptly at my seat to see if I needed anything. I decided to have the beef entree from the earlier meal service and ended up eating just a bit. As is generally the case with Lufthansa catering, the food was fine but not anything spectacular. I’ve always found the butter to be a nice touch, though.

I spent the rest of the flight sleeping and lying in bed getting caught up on some podcasts. The flight felt like a bit of a wasted redemption, since I didn’t get the “full experience” that comes with being in Lufthansa first class but rather spent most of the time lying around in bed. That said, I was much more comfortable sitting in first than I would have been in the 2×2 business class configuration or in coach, and time passed pretty quickly. I declined to have the pre-departure meal close to landing and before I knew it we were beginning our approach into New York.

As we touched down, a wine glass that wasn’t properly secured went flying from the galley and hit the wall in front of the aisle right next to me. Nobody was hurt and the glass didn’t break, but that’s the first time I’ve had something like that happen and, surprisingly, none of the flight attendants made any mention of what happened after we were parked at the gate. I picked up the glass from the floor and left it at my seat, where it remained for the rest of my time onboard.

We taxied for several minutes before learning from the captain that, as is standard at JFK during the evening rush, our gate was occupied and it would be some time before we could park. A little under thirty minutes after we first touched down, we were finally parked at the gate.

After deplaning, I made quickly through Global Entry to baggage claim. Unlike the impressive baggage handling for HON Circle members and first class passengers at Dulles that Ben at OMAAT has discussed, the experience at JFK isn’t as nice. There’s simply a sign marked for HON baggage near the baggage claim that had 1-2 Lufthansa agents standing around. As bags came off, the agents didn’t do anything and continued standing there, so I just grabbed my bag and left. So I’m not quite sure what the purpose of the sign and agents is, but I believe it may be for bags that have come off and aren’t claimed. After clearing customs, I met some friends of mine who had also just gotten off a flight in the arrivals hall and headed into the city with them.

In summary, Lufthansa first class continues to be up there among the best in the world, with good service and an attractive and comfortable hard product that remains competitive in spite of newer cabins. Keeping in line with the Lufthansa aesthetic, the first class cabin on the B747-8i is clean, crisp, and classy; but I still prefer the spaciousness of the A380 cabin a bit more. Due to the state I was in, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted on the flight, but it was still an enjoyable experience.

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