Trip Report: An Empty Lufthansa First Cabin and Too Much Champagne

Alas, all good things must come to an end – I had to go home. Originally I was booked on UA F leaving from LHR. I decided that was too boring of an option, so I switched my flights as such: LHR-FRA LH C/FRA-YYZ F/YYZ-YGK Y. So, that’s London-Frankfurt-Toronto-Kingston (ONT).

This summer I was studying at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England. This is where I studied:

Herstmonceux

Herstmonceux

Star Alliance Lounge | LHR Terminal 1

Lufthansa leaves from Terminal 1 at Heathrow, which only has the Star Alliance Gold lounge. Back in the heyday, before this whole Terminal 2 shindig, this lounge had a separate section for First Class passengers and Business Class passengers. The distinction between the sections is the quality of the food and drink provided. Alas, because most Star Alliance airlines are moving to Terminal 2, they’ve closed down the First Class section.

The Star Alliance Gold lounge for T1 is ‘meh.’ It doesn’t have any view, it feels dark and cold, there are no freakin’ power plugs, and the wifi is so-so. I was there in the early morning, and they had a decent high-fat English breakfast on offer. It was an OK place to kill an hour, but I wouldn’t want to spend more time there.

Inside Star Alliance longge LHR T1

Inside Star Alliance lounge LHR T1

Breakfast spread - LHR *A Lounge T1

Breakfast spread – LHR *A Lounge T1

London LHR – Frankfurt | Lufthansa Business

I don’t have much to say about this segment – it’s a traditional European business class flight. The middle seat is blocked off in a 3-3 configuration. The service was warm and efficient, and they gave us a little plate of deli meats and cheeses. Perfectly adequate for an hour long flight (though I would never pay more to upgrade to Euro business!)

Middle seat blocked!

Middle seat blocked!

Ground service in Frankfurt

When my LHR-FRA flight landed, I was boarded onto a van with two other passengers (obiter dicta: most pretentious folks I’ve ever met. They couldn’t believe I was travelling in first and actually made the remark to the driver “what’s he doing here.” I wish I was sassier.) The driver brought me over to Terminal B. This is when the ground service fell apart.

I was walking to the entry for Terminal B to access the First Class lounge. Normally, no matter where your flight leaves from, you can go to any LH First Class lounge in Frankfurt and they’ll drive you directly to your plane, so going into a lounge that’s not in your Terminal is 100% OK. The pseudo-security lady (not actual security, just the person who checks boarding passes to make sure people are going the right way) turned me away. I insisted I was allowed, then she literally screamed at me. I know this isn’t Lufthansa’s fault, but there were a number of LH employees watching this encounter who did absolutely nothing. Not feeling like creating more of a scene, I trudged the long and hot walk over to Terminal C, where my YYZ bound flight was leaving from. Much to my chagrin, Terminal C doesn’t have First Class lounge, just a Senator Lounge. I went in and told the agent what had transpired. She was fuming, and I could hear her yelling at somebody on the phone. The conclusion was that I was absolutely in the right, the pseudo-security agent was clearly in the wrong, but at this point, I was too close to departure for them to send a car for me to take me to the correct lounge. Oh well, I settled down in the Senator Lounge, took a shower, and set off for the best flight of my life.

Pretzels! - Terminal C FRA Senator Lounge

Pretzels! – Terminal C FRA Senator Lounge

Shower room - Terminal C FRA Senator Lounge

Shower room – Terminal C FRA Senator Lounge

Frankfurt FRA – Toronto YYZ | Lufthansa First Class

Boarding was directly from the Terminal C Senator lounge onto this beautiful 747-400 with the newly configured First Class, which has the famous seat at the bed. As I boarded, the two lovely flight attendants who would be working that day greeted me with a huge smile, telling me I’d be the only person in the First Class cabin for the trip. Score!

Empty LH F 747-400 cabin!

Empty LH F 747-400 cabin!

My seat.

My seat.

While waiting for takeoff, one of the FAs came to my seat and asked what I’d like to drink, and if I’d like Lufthansa’s famous super-duper-buttery macadamia nuts. Champagne and nuts please 😉 The champagne on offer this month is Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle. They also gave me an amenity kit and PJs (which were quite comfortable).

Pre departure drink and nuts

Pre departure drink and nuts

Pre-departure trolley

Pre-departure trolley

Take off was smooth, and shortly afterwards the FA wanted to know whether I’d like to start eating now, or later. I was able to eat whatever I wanted on the menu, whenever. I was starving, so I asked for free-flowing champagne and to start the meal service.

Amuse bouche - not sure what it was, but it was delicious!

Amuse bouche – not sure what it was, but it was delicious!

Caviar service.

Caviar service — they basically gave me the entire tin meant for a full cabin!

Appetizers - lobster claw, greek salad, and asparagus thingy.

Appetizers – lobster claw, greek salad, and asparagus thingy.

Main - lamb.

Main – lamb.

Dessert of chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet, and a little bit of cheese.

Dessert of chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet, and a little bit of cheese.

The dessert trolley!

The dessert trolley!

Finishing with some chocolates (she wanted me to have the entire 24 chocolate box!) with a delicious resiling dessert wine... I may have finished the entire bottle :P

Finishing with some chocolates (she wanted me to have the entire 24 chocolate box!) with a delicious riesling dessert wine… I may have finished the entire bottle 😛

Snack of smoked salmon and halibut + fruit bowl.

Snack of smoked salmon and halibut + fruit bowl.

Unlike my last experience with Lufthansa First Class, and conventional wisdom, this food was absolutely delicious! Full restaurant quality! At this point I was a little trashed because the FA opened a second bottle of champagne and insisted I drink it all before I take a nap!

I went to the seat opposite me and crawled into the full bed. My gosh, was it ever comfortable. Without even asking, I could hear through my earplugs that the FAs were frantically closing all the windows in the entire cabin. That’s what I call service. Even better, this is the first time I’ve flown Lufthansa where the cabin hasen’t been set to an unbearably hot temperature – it was pleasantly cool! I spoke to the FA about that, and she said she doesn’t understand why her colleagues like it so hot, she likes it chilly. Perfect for me!

I woke up and then logged onto the WiFi (called Flynet). They were having a promotion for 15 euros for 24 hours of connection, which is a great deal. The internet worked really well the entire trip.

My only complaint with the Lufthansa First Class product is the Inflight Entertainment System (IFE).They give you a huge HD screen, but they don’t provide you with HD video quality. As a result, everything on the screen is kind of blurry. Even worse, they had a terrible and small selection of TV shows/movies. Luckily I was completely entertained with my computer.

As we were approaching the end of the flight, the FA rushed to my seat and told me he had another bottle of champagne open and that I simply must drink it. Oh, if you insist… at this point, I had three bottles of champagne to myself and a bottle of dessert wine – I was pretty toasted. So toasted in fact, that I felt it necessary to have a dance party in the F cabin. To my surprise, one of the flight attendants joined my dance party, and we put a song on loudspeakers… I may have twerked. MAY HAVE.

Sadly, the flight was coming to an end. The purser asked me if I wanted ground service in Toronto, which I declined. I have NEXUS which gets me through customs/immigration far faster than a ground service could get me.

My bags were the first out. I grabbed them and went to the Air Canada transfer desk. When I booked the ticket, the only available flight with award space from Toronto to Kingston left me with a 7 hour layover. I gave the AC agent my best puppy eyes, and she was more than happy to move me to the earlier flight for free. My Star Gold status and the fact I was flying First may have helped 😉

I hung out in the Star Alliance domestic lounge, which is perfectly adequate for an hour. I had a quick shower and a bite to eat – unlike US domestic lounges, Air Canada gives clients real food.

Toronto YYZ – Kingston YGK

I love taking this segment because it operates on a teeny-weeny Beechcraft. In this plane, the cockpit is unsecured the entire time, and you can see right through it the entire journey, which is pretty cool. There’s also no door on the washroom 😉

Beechcraft!

Beechcraft!

Cabin

Cabin

Cockpit

Cockpit

All in all, I had a fabulous trip, and the FRA-YYZ F segment was one of the best I’ve ever had.

 

Comments

  1. Nice. If I were you I would be writing a letter to an LH executive about being turned away from the lounge. Squeaky wheel and all.

  2. Great report! I was curious how much taxes and fees you had to pay because you booked with aeroplan. I’m assuming they are only for OW, correct?

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