Lufthansa offers one of the best first class products across the Atlantic, and for that matter it’s one of the best first class products between the United States and Europe that’s bookable with miles. A lot has changed at Lufthansa due to the pandemic, so in this post I wanted to recap which planes feature first class, which routes they fly, what to expect from the experience, and how to redeem miles for the product.
Lufthansa planes with a first class cabin
Over the past several years, Lufthansa’s footprint of aircraft with first class cabins has shrunk considerably. That situation was only made worse by Lufthansa’s recent decision to retire its Airbus A380 fleet, which was previously the carrier’s flagship aircraft.
At this point the only Lufthansa planes to feature first class are the Boeing 747-8s. Lufthansa has 19 of these planes in its fleet, and they fly to key, high yield, and high capacity markets. The 747-8s are all based in Frankfurt, so Lufthansa exclusively offers first class out of Frankfurt.
That being said, we will over time see Lufthansa bring back first class to its Munich hub:
- In the summer of 2022, Lufthansa will be temporarily reactivating five of its Airbus A340-600s with first class, which will be based in Munich
- In the summer of 2023, Lufthansa will be taking delivery of at least 10 Airbus A350-900s featuring first class, which will be based in Munich
Lufthansa routes being operated by Boeing 747-8s
Since first class is exclusively available on Boeing 747-8s, which routes do those planes operate? As of now, Lufthansa offers first class on flights from Frankfurt to the following destinations:
- Bangalore (BLR) — on an ongoing basis
- Buenos Aires (EZE) — on an ongoing basis
- Chicago (ORD) — on an ongoing basis
- Delhi (DEL) — on an ongoing basis
- Houston (IAH) — on an ongoing basis
- Johannesburg (JNB) — on an ongoing basis
- Los Angeles (LAX) — on an ongoing basis
- Mexico City (MEX) — on an ongoing basis
- Miami (MIA) — through October 31, 2021, and then again starting March 27, 2022
- Newark (EWR) — on an ongoing basis
- San Francisco (SFO) — on an ongoing basis
- Sao Paulo (GRU) — on an ongoing basis
- Singapore (SIN) — on an ongoing basis
On top of that, Lufthansa has scheduled first class from Frankfurt to the following cities in the future:
- Beijing (PEK) — as of March 27, 2022
- Hong Kong (HKG) — as of November 1, 2021
- Mumbai (BOM) — through October 29, 2021
- New York (JFK) — as of November 1, 2021
- Shanghai (PVG) — as of November 1, 2021
- Tokyo (HND) — as of November 1, 2021
- Washington (IAD) — as of March 27, 2022
I’d note that these routes remain highly subject to change, especially the ones that are scheduled to have first class in the future. As you might expect, airline route planning is more complicated than ever before, given travel restrictions.
What to expect from Lufthansa first class
Lufthansa offers a solid first class experience on its Boeing 747-8. When departing Frankfurt, the awesome experience starts on the ground, as you can use Lufthansa’s incredible First Class Terminal. From there you’ll be driven across the apron to your plane, which sure is a treat.
Lufthansa’s 747-8 first class cabin features a total of eight seats, spread across three rows. There are three rows of single seats on each side, and then in the third row there’s a pair of seats in the middle. With so many airlines retiring the 747, it’s such a treat to be able to sit in the nose of the queen of the skies!
Lufthansa’s inflight catering in first class is generally great as well, with a caviar service to start, along with a variety of appetizers, main courses, and desserts.
While Lufthansa’s inflight entertainment selection is just okay, the airline does have inflight Wi-Fi, and first class passengers even receive a voucher for complimentary access.
I’ve found service in Lufthansa first class to be pretty consistently excellent, and to strike the right balance between being professional and personable.
How to redeem miles for Lufthansa first class
You can redeem miles from all kinds of Star Alliance airlines for travel in first class. I’d note that generally Lufthansa makes first class award seats available to members of partner airline frequent flyer programs at most 15 days before departure. The good news is that Lufthansa pretty reliably opens up these seats as the departure date approaches, assuming there are empty seats.
So, what are the best programs for booking Lufthansa first class? Here are some popular options that partner with transferable points currencies, with pricing listed for one-way travel between the United States and Europe:
- The Avianca LifeMiles program charges 87,000 miles
- The Air Canada Aeroplan program charges 100,000 miles (for up to 6,000 miles of travel)
- The United MileagePlus program charges 121,000 miles
None of those programs have carrier imposed surcharges on these awards, which is why I’m highlighting them.
Lufthansa’s first class footprint has shrunk significantly over the past several years. At the moment the only planes to feature first class are Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s. Hopefully the above is a useful summary of which routes you’ll find these planes on, what to expect, and how to redeem miles for the experience.
Any other questions about Lufthansa first class that I missed?