One of the unique aspects of the Lufthansa first class experience is that the airline offers first class passengers a limousine service… sometimes. This tends to cause some confusion for people, and in some cases leads to disappointment.
The thing is, Lufthansa consistently follows its published policy, it’s just that the policy isn’t necessarily obvious to people. So in this post I figured I’d talk a bit about how Lufthansa’s limousine service works. When can you expect it, what cars can you expect, etc.?
In this post:
Lufthansa’s Frankfurt & Munich limousine service explained
Lufthansa offers an airside limousine service to first class passengers, whereby you may be driven on the apron to or from your plane when transiting at the carrier’s two hubs, in Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC). If you’re an avgeek, this is definitely an experience to have on your bucket list (and fortunately it’s possible to redeem miles for Lufthansa first class).
When will Lufthansa pick you at your plane?
Lufthansa will pick up those on a connecting same day first class itinerary when their flight arrives at a remote stand in Frankfurt or Munich. Now, rarely do Lufthansa aircraft with first class arrive at remote stands (since Boeing 747-8s, Airbus A380s, and Airbus A340-600s typically get gates), so more often than not this would apply on your connecting segment.
You’ll be driven to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge closest to your departure gate, and you can clear immigration formalities there (as there’s an immigration officer in the lounge). Note that you’ll never be driven to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt when connecting (but rather you’ll be driven to one of the Lufthansa First Class Lounges in the terminal).
It’s fine if you’re traveling on that connecting segment on Air Dolomiti, Austrian, Lufthansa, or SWISS, as those are Lufthansa Group airlines, and Lufthansa is able to coordinate that. However, you wouldn’t be picked up if your flight is on another non-Lufthansa Group airline, like Aegean, LOT, TAP, etc.
For example, if you have an itinerary from Zurich to Frankfurt to Chicago (with the transatlantic flight in first class), and your Zurich to Frankfurt flight arrives at a remote stand, you’ll be picked up plane side.
When will Lufthansa drop you off at your plane?
Lufthansa will drive passengers on a first class itinerary to their aircraft in two situations:
- If you’re departing the Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt, you’ll be driven to your plane no matter what, given that this isn’t in any way connected to the terminal
- You’ll be driven from the Lufthansa First Class Lounge locations in Frankfurt or Munich if your flight departs from a remote stand
For example, if you have an itinerary from New York to Munich to Geneva (with the transatlantic flight in first class), and your Munich to Geneva flight departs from a remote stand, you’ll be driven to the plane.
When will Lufthansa not offer limousine service?
Just in the interest of being thorough, passengers with a Lufthansa first class itinerary won’t be driven in the following situations:
- You won’t be picked at the plane if your flight arrives at a gate connected to the terminal
- You won’t be driven to the plane if your flight departs from a gate connected to the terminal
- You’ll never be driven to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt, but rather if you will be driven, it’ll be to a Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt
Since the Lufthansa First Class Terminal is Lufthansa’s “flagship” lounge, many wonder why the airline never drives people there. Well, the reason is pretty simple — the lounge isn’t actually that big, and the main intention for it is that it’s supposed to simplify the travel experience for those originating in Frankfurt, by allowing them to skip the main terminal altogether. The whole point of the First Class Lounges in the main terminal is to be able to accommodate connecting passengers.
If you’re connecting, you’re absolutely welcome to visit the First Class Terminal, but you’ll have to get there on your own. Just exit the terminal after clearing immigration, turn left, and walk along the outside roadway, until you see the Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt. It’s only a five minute walk from when you exit the terminal.
What if you have a short connection in Lufthansa first class?
The one exception to the above rules is that you may be picked up at your aircraft in the event that you have a short connection, even if you arrive at and depart from a gate (rather than a remote stand). The exact policies here differ based on how far apart your gates are, but if you’re flying first class and you might otherwise miss your connection, you may very well be picked up.
What cars does Lufthansa use for its limousine service?
Over the years, Lufthansa has changed up the cars that it uses for its chauffeur service. In the event that you’re sharing a ride with multiple people, you can generally expect that you’ll be transported in a Volkswagen van. In fairness, that’s not exactly a particularly first class collaboration, but…
Lufthansa otherwise currently collaborates with Porsche, using both Cayennes and Panameras. You can expect that you’ll be driven in one of these when you’re alone, or if there’s just one other passenger.
When do you get a private limousine?
The kind of car you get, and whether it will be private or not, depends on how many other first class passengers and HON Circle members are on your flight and departing from the lounge you’re at. You can expect that if multiple people are in the same lounge and headed to the same plane as you, you’ll be sharing the ride to the plane. Otherwise it will be private.
More often than not, I find that I have a private ride when connecting to a short haul flight without first class, while for a first class flight, it’s typically a shared ride.
Should you tip the limousine service driver?
As much as some readers accuse me of being an over-tipper, let me say unequivocally that there’s no expectation of tipping the drivers when in Lufthansa first class. That’s part of the service offered, and I’ve never tipped (or felt pressured to tip). Expectations are different in Germany than in the United States.
My take on Lufthansa’s first class limousine service
It’s always a treat when Lufthansa’s first class limousine service is offered. It can save considerable time, it can avoid the hassle of otherwise taking a crowded bus to a remote stand, and it’s also kind of fun as an aviation geek.
That being said, I think what’s frustrating is the inconsistency associated with this, and how you can have totally different experiences when traveling in first class based on where your flight arrives and departs from.
Frankfurt Airport is a disorganized maze, and as a first class passenger you may end up making a ridiculously long walk both on arrival and departure. Meanwhile under other circumstances, you may be picked up and driven to your plane, with a totally seamless experience.
This inconsistency is a major competitive disadvantage compared to the Air France La Premiere ground experience at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), which I consider to be the best first class ground experience in the world. There you’ll be taken care of from start to finish, regardless of where your flight arrives at or departs from. It’s just so much more seamless and predictable.
Lufthansa offers its first class passengers a limousine service in Frankfurt and Munich under select circumstances. Specifically, this applies when departing the First Class Terminal Frankfurt, when arriving or departing from a remote stand, or when you have a very short connection.
In those situations, you can expect to have a seamless experience. Meanwhile under other circumstances, you’re typically on your own.
What has your experience been with Lufthansa’s first class limousine service?