Lufthansa LH 402 from FRA-EWR
December 13, 2016STD
/ 16:17Flight Time
/ Boeing 747-830, D-ABYF (Sachsen Anhalt)Distance
/ 3237 nmi (5994 km, 3724 mi)Seat
/ 1A (First Class)
High on the list of things that I should not be complaining about as a Lufthansa First Class passenger was the fact that the ride to the aircraft was far too short! D-ABYF, the 4-year old 747-8i that would be graciously carrying us over the pond today, was parked at the Z-gates which are only a stone’s through away from the FCT.
Despite the short distance, riding along the apron in style and pulling up next to our beautiful chariot was an experience that I will not forget any time soon. The driver kindly sealed this memory for me with a picture before escorting our group up a set of side-stairs and into the aircraft. Proudly dwarfed by D-ABYFThe Crew
I showed my boarding pass to the crew, who escorted me to my seat with a welcoming smile. When I write my reports, I normally cover aspects of the hard-product first, including first impressions of the cabin and the seat. However, this time I think it is only fair to start with the crew, for it is they who really pushed the experience to new heights.
There were two crew members serving First Class today: a lady from Germany and a gentlemen from the US who previously worked for Pan Am. While the other three passengers settled calmly into the tranquility of the First Class cabin, the crew were quick to notice my childly excitement (or perhaps I made it very obvious)! Both crew members then took it upon themselves to feed my excitement at every opportunity possible. They took pictures, shared stories of their experience as FA’s, took genuine interest in my background and story, answered my many questions about the First Class operation, shared a few gifts and even took me on a tour of the aircraft! And they did all of this while providing the same amazing service to the rest of the First Class cabin.
This really could not have been a more personable and hard-working set of crew. In typical Lufthansa fashion they balanced professionalism with genuine warmth – no part of the service felt robotic, rehearsed or forced. I cannot thank them enough for how special they made this flight.The Cabin
It’s not as if the crew were compensating for any shortcomings in the hard product either. The Lufthansa First Class cabin look fantastic that afternoon – the colours, ambience and quality finish worked together to create a luxurious and incredibly comfortable atmosphere for the flight. This was also one of those instances where I feel that pictures do not do the product justice, as they hide details like the textured sound-proofed side walls and the perfect seat stitching. This was also my first time flying in the nose of a 747 and, while I initially found it was a shame for Lufthansa to move their First Class from the upper deck, I found that this new positioning worked out extremely well for the cabin. The conical area created an intimate coziness and private jet-like feel.Looking across to 1K, which provided great views throughout the flight.
There were four passengers in First today – a younger guy who must have been around my age and a couple who occupied seats 3D & G in the middle. We pushed back just behind schedule after a friendly greeting from the flight deck and made our way, rather quickly, to runway 25 C.
I enjoyed the in-front-of-the-wheel sensation of my seat, though the taxi up-front seemed very bumpy and the nose-wheel was incredibly squeaky when turning (these observations were confirmed at both FRA and EWR). I was also amazed that I could not see the wings despite their size on the 748i.
We took off at 13:48 to almost non-existent engine rumble and darted up into the foggy Frankfurt skies. Due to the lack of engine noise and the fact that we were seated at the very front of the aircraft, the only noticeable ambient noise was a wind-rush (similar to what you hear in a cockpit).
Once in the air, I started playing around with the seat…The Seat
Pictures also do not do full justice to the Lufthansa First Class throne. Addressing the obvious points first, I am actually a fan of the open-space design, which provided a very airy feel to the cabin. Given the size of the seat and personal area around it, I never felt like anyone was infringing on my privacy (or vice-versa). I have never flown in an enclosed suite design before but imagine that I would probably spend most of my time deciding on whether to leave the doors open or closed!
The quality and finish of the seat were excellent and I found it to be extremely comfortable in any position I tried. It definitely reminded me of a German car seat, a feeling that was further encouraged by the three-point seat belt system used for take-off and landing (I wasn’t previously aware that the LH F seat had these!) Although sleeping was against my original plan, the turned-down bed also provided the best inflight sleep that I have ever had.
I celebrated the hard product by snapping away at every corner of the cabin and seat with millennial energy.Settling inThe Amenities
Rimowa amenity kits, along with Von Laack pyjamas and slippers were all distributed while still on the ground. While basic, all items had a quality feel for them and were perfect for the flight. There were two bathrooms reserved for the First Class cabin, which were beautifully designed, well-stocked and provided ample space for changing.Rimowa male amenity kit and MenuBose noise cancelling headphonesFirst Class bathrooms on the 748iThe Food
Service started on the ground with a glass of champagne and a bowl of macadamia nuts. I will have to admit to a rookie mistake at this point: I forgot to scan the full menu for this report! Hence, I am unfortunately also missing details on the exact food, wine and champagne selections, and will have to work from memory.
The full service kicked off around 15 minutes after takeoff with a shrimp and carrot puree amuse bouche. Next was Lufthansa’s signature caviar service, which marked my first time trying this delicacy! Just before this course, the purser came to personally introduce himself and to thank me for flying Lufthansa First Class. He had already heard all about my excitement and aviation fascination, and confirmed that I should spare no time with any questions or requests surrounding the experience.
I selected the mixed salad and salmon appetisers, which were rounded off with a palette cleansing sorbet that hit the spot perfectly. For my main course, I didn’t look any further than the roast goose served with red cabbage and potato dumplings – a very traditional meal in the German-speaking region during this season. The goose was a little greasy, but still very good. I was also beginning to feel weighed down by all the food I had eaten so far (including the schnitzel only 2.5 hours prior) but managed to power through to the end with a delicious chocolate-hazelnut slice.
After the 1.5 hour meal service, I changed into my pyjamas and decided to take a quick nap in seat 1K. Given today’s loading, the crew kindly prepared each passenger’s adjacent seat into a bed. I set my phone alarm for one hour to in order not to miss out on too much of my First Class experience Time for a little shut-eye...
I woke up an hour later feeling very refreshed and the crew immediately dropped by to see whether I needed anything. I opted for a chamomile tea and decided to explore the Lufthansa IFE. It has been a while since I have flown with LH, so I was happy to see an improved system with a better interface and wider selection of movies and TV-show. The offering still did not live Emirates’ ICE, Singapore’s KrisWorld or even Cathay’s StudioCX. An amazing three-window-panoramic view in 1AThese window blinds are becoming increasingly common in airline premium cabins.The sun cast a beautiful light on this fresh rose throughout most of the flight.
At this point the male crew member came by and asked whether I would like to take a tour of the plane. I was very touched by the gesture, which turned out to be one of the most exciting moments of the flight! We walked the length of the mighty Queen of the Skies, where I was shown all the nooks and crannies like the coffee makers, ovens, the purser control station and the entrance to the crew rest.
When returning to my seat, I started watching a German film and, before I knew it, it was time again for some food! Although I was still full, I couldn’t miss out on the German cold-cuts platter, which I finished off with a selection of fruit.
The sound of plates and cutlery being stored away signified the impeding end to our short North Atlantic crossing. The co-pilot announced our descent into Newark about 45 minutes before landing, which was my queue to get changed and to start packing up my memorabilia from this flight. I went to say a personal thank and goodbye to the amazing crew and attached the tree-point hoist of my throne.
The truly amazing First Class team serving today's flight!
As we glided smoothly passed the New York skyline, I stared out the window reminiscing on my the once-in-a-lifetime experience I had just enjoyed.
Our wheels touched down at 16:17, a few minutes ahead of schedule and we manoeuvred our way into the busy B-gates at Newark, parking next to a company A340-600.Farewell Lufthansa First Class