Bali 2014 – Aeroplan Sale: Lufthansa First/Business YYZ-FRA-MUC + FCT & FCL – PART 1 of 5
I booked this trip on an Aeroplan glitch where the computer was pricing the entire reservation at the rate for the first stopover. For this trip I booked YOW-YYZ-FRA-MUC-BKK-DPS/DPS-TPE-SEA-IAD-YOW, with YYZ being my stopover. As a result, I was charged the domestic First Class award cost, being 70k. Not a bad deal. For this trip, I had one week off for Reading Week. I was spending half the trip flying, and the other half in Bali. For crazy people like me, that’s not a problem. 😉
I’m not going to detail YOW-YYZ on AC business, or my hotel in Toronto… both were pretty basic and not all that interesting.
There are two lounges in Terminal 1: the Maple Leaf Lounge and the Plaza Premium Lounge. The Maple Leaf Lounge is used by most Star Alliance carriers, except for a few that give lounge passes to the Plaza Premium Lounge (I think EVA Airways does this.) The Plaza Premium Lounge is for AMEX premium cardholders, or for anybody if they pay a fee. Of the two lounges, the Plaza Premium Lounge is considered the winner. On this trip, I was in the Maple Leaf Lounge, which is where Lufthansa sticks their First Class (and business) passengers.
It’s a decent lounge. They just did some renovations, which make it feel a little cozier. Further, they’ve upgraded their wines and food. Unlike our American counterparts, our lounge food is pretty decent. They had spring rolls, a hot pasta dish, salad with beets and cheese (goat milk?), pickles, cookies, and other yummies. I slowly finished a half-decent pinot noir during my time here.
Before the flight I wanted a shower. This particular lounge has two shower rooms. I used room one. I have never been in a place that smelt so bad. The smell wasn’t of someone just using the restroom, rather, of a rodent rotting away. I quickly washed and got the hell out of there. Aesthetically, it was a fine shower room, and actually seemed clean. The smell just drove me out of there…
I was offered an escort to pick me up from the lounge, but I’m a shy person and those walks are always really awkward. I went to the gate, and there must have been 30+ wheelchair preboards, and half the plane had kids. I had to wait about 30 minutes after the preboard announcement to board. There was a lady in front of me, in business, who was screaming at the gate agent about how wrong it was that people in wheelchairs and with children got to board before her. I told her to shush it! The look on her face when I was escorted in front of her for First Class was priceless!
This will be my third time doing this exact flight. It’s a good flight that I always enjoy taking. I was escorted to my seat, and was asked whether I’d like a drink. “Champagne, of course!” The flight attendant then brought a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Le Grand Siècle. It was delicious (better than Krug IMHO). Then the Giant comes in.
You see, the Giant, named for his seven-foot height, was not a pleasant man. I’m fine with tall people. I’m fairly tall myself. However, the Giant felt it necessary to go barefooted and put his feet in the aisle, where I could smell them. And being the Giant, he grunts. And moans. Was there a midget in his pants (*ahem*)!? And he was exceedingly rude to the flight attendants. I caught the flight attendant’s eyes, looked at his feet (and then the Giant groans) and give a smile to her. She nods, and asks “Would you like to move to the seats in the back? They’re more private.” “YES PLEASE!” Thank goodness I could get away from the Giant.
The service for this flight was OK, but not polished. For example, I didn’t get nuts, and requests for water would go unattended. It’s OK though, I’m a pretty self-sufficient flyer. Abnormally for Lufthansa, the catering was excellent. The steak, which was wrapped in bacon was extremely tender and cut like butter.
This configuration of the 747 has both a bed and a seat. The bed is the second most comfortable in the sky (behind Cathay Pacific First). I popped some melatonin, downed with a delicious dessert wine, and woke up an hour away from Frankfurt.
Lufthansa is one of the few airlines that freshly prepares eggs on board. Instead of premade eggs, or cracked eggs in a carton, they actually load the plane with fresh whole eggs. And oh boy, do they cook up well. I have to say I had the best scrambled eggs on a plane on this flight.
After a long descent and taxi, we get to our non-remote gate (limo pickup only if you’re at a remote gate), and I clear immigration and get to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in less than 15 minutes.
You get access to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT) at Frankfurt if you land or depart on Lufthansa or Swiss First Class on the same day. If you land at Frankfurt in First, you have to be taking an onward connection on Lufthansa, Swiss, or Austrian in any class of service. You do not get access to the FCT is you’re connecting on any other carrier. Further, you do not get access if you land/depart on a different Star Alliance First Class (ex. Thai or Singapore).
To get to the FCT, you have to clear customs, leave the airport, and walk past a taxi stand to get to a separate building. Once you clear customs, it’s a fairly quick walk.
The FCT is one of the nicest lounges out there. You enter by way of a very classy and private feeling elevator. Once you get upstairs, a Lufthansa employee takes a look at your documents, and you clear security located in the lounge. If you’re flying internationally, the agent would take your passport and give it to immigration for an exit stamp. As I was flying to Munich, they did not take my passport.
The moment I entered the FCT I made a run to the bath. The FCT is one of the few lounges that offers a proper bath, with bubbles, salts, and a rubber duck.
After cleaning up, I headed for the buffet. The catering company at the FCT, DO&CO, is considered as a leader in airline catering. I took a helping of meats, yoghourt, and ordered a strawberry-banana smoothie, all of which was delicious. The lounge also has a cigar room and a fully stocked bar, which I did not partake in.
After awhile a Lufthansa agent approached me and told me to board my flight. I was taken by elevator downstairs, where a line of Mercedes Benz and Ferrari cars were waiting. The driver took my bags and drove me along the tarmac to my plane. It’s a pretty neat perspective to see planes from the tarmac and the backend of the airport.
My flight to Munich was a standard intra-European business class seat. This means that it’s normal economy seating with the middle seat empty. I think they served a meal, but I conked out the moment I boarded and don’t remember much.
Once I landed in Munich, I went to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge. Like the FCT, I had access to the lounge because I landed in Frankfurt in First Class on the same day. Unlike the FCT, you do not need to be connecting onto a Lufthansa/Swiss/Austrian flight to access the Munich First Class Lounge. My onward connecting on a Star Alliance carrier, coupled with my old boarding card from the YYZ-FRA flight was sufficient to grant me access.
All in all, it’s pretty much the same as the FCT, except I didn’t get car service to the plane, it’s substantially smaller, and the food is of poorer quality (DO&CO doesn’t cater in Munich).
After an hour or so of hanging around, I left the lounge for my flight to Bangkok.