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.
With the winter airline schedule officially kicking in as of the end of October, I wanted to recap which Lufthansa 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 decision to ground its Airbus A380 fleet, which was previously the carrier’s flagship aircraft.
At this point Lufthansa just has two types of aircraft with first class — the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A340-600:
- Lufthansa has 19 Boeing 747-8s, which fly from Frankfurt to key, high yield, and high capacity markets; these will stay in Lufthansa’s fleet for years to come, and they’ll even be reconfigured with new cabins
- Lufthansa has five Airbus A340-600s, which fly out of Munich to key destinations where there’s demand for first class; Lufthansa has just reactivated these planes, and they’re only being brought back temporarily
Lufthansa has also announced that it will bring back the Airbus A380 in 2023, and it’s expected that these jets will be based in Munich. However, exact routes haven’t yet been announced for these planes.
As mentioned above, those Airbus A340-600s are only being brought back for a limited time, for roughly a year. That’s because in the summer of 2023, Lufthansa will start taking delivery of at least 10 Airbus A350-900s with first class, which will be based in Munich.
Lufthansa routes operated by Boeing 747-8s
Out of Frankfurt, first class is exclusively available on Boeing 747-8s. So which routes do these planes operate? Lufthansa offers first class on flights from Frankfurt to the following destinations:
- Buenos Aires (EZE) — on an ongoing basis
- Chicago (ORD) — 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) — on an ongoing basis
- San Francisco (SFO) — on an ongoing basis
- Sao Paulo (GRU) — on an ongoing basis
- Shanghai (PVG) — on an ongoing basis
- Singapore (SIN) — on an ongoing basis
- Tokyo (HND) — on an ongoing basis
- Washington (IAD) — on an ongoing basis
I’d note that these routes remain subject to change, and we often see changes even within weeks of departure. Based on what I can tell, it seems that Lufthansa might be looking at parking some 747-8s this winter, as it’s a period that’s historically quieter for leisure demand.
I think it’s most noteworthy that Lufthansa has taken first class off both Frankfurt to New York routes (EWR and JFK), as during the summer season both routes were operated by the 747-8.
Lufthansa routes operated by Airbus A340-600s
Out of Munich, first class is currently exclusively available on Airbus 340-600s. So which routes do these planes operate? Lufthansa offers first class on flights from Munich to the following destinations:
- Boston (BOS) — on an ongoing basis
- Miami (MIA) — on an ongoing basis
- New York (JFK) — on an ongoing basis
The Miami service is new as of winter. I’m surprised that neither Los Angeles nor San Francisco are getting first class this winter, especially since it seems like Lufthansa would have a spare A340-600 or two, based on the current schedule.
We can expect more routes to get first class in the summer of 2023, as Lufthansa brings back A380s, and starts taking delivery of A350s with first class.
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.
While there, don’t forget to pick up your duck, since that’s always a fun feature of Lufthansa first class.
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.
Lufthansa’s A340-600 first class also consists of eight seats, but the seats are instead spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. The Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich is also pretty awesome.
How to redeem miles for Lufthansa first class
You can redeem miles from all kinds of Star Alliance airlines for travel in Lufthansa 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 (this might not be 15 days out, but rather more often than not will be in the days leading up to departure).
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 points (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 out of Frankfurt, plus Lufthansa’s Airbus A340-600s out of Munich. Lufthansa’s first class fleet should soon be growing out of Munich, because starting in 2023 the airline will bring A380s back to Munich, and will introduce A350s with first class out of Munich as well.
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. Unfortunately the winter schedule is showing a significantly trimmed first class network.
Any other questions about Lufthansa first class that I missed?