Review: Lufthansa First Class A380 Houston To Frankfurt

Filed Under: Lufthansa

I’ve reviewed Lufthansa first class many times before, though it has been years since I’ve reviewed their A380 first class.

Our flight was departing from gate D9 and was scheduled to depart at 3:50PM, though the inbound flight was delayed, so the departure time was rescheduled for 4:15PM.

Lufthansa A380 Houston Airport

Fortunately they turned around the plane pretty quickly, and boarding started at 3:45PM.

Lufthansa departure gate Houston Airport

Lufthansa 441
Houston (IAH) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Tuesday, August 14
Depart: 3:50PM
Arrive: 8:35AM (+1 day)
Duration: 9hr45min
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2G (First Class)

I always love boarding through the upper deck of the A380, as it really puts into perspective how massive the plane is. At the upper deck door we were greeted by one of the first class flight attendants and escorted to our seats.

Nowadays Lufthansa’s first class cabin is consistent across their fleet. All planes with first class have an eight seat cabin,  and the layout on the A340 and A380 is identical, while the 747-8 has the same seats but has them arranged differently, as they’re in the nose.

On the A380, the first class cabin consists of two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Lufthansa A380 first class cabin

The seats obviously look exposed, though the good news is that there are privacy shields that can be raised at seats for added privacy. Still, it’s probably not quite the most over-the-top hard product out there.

Lufthansa A380 first class cabin

Lufthansa first class seat

My dad and I were seated in 2D & 2G, which are my preferred seats if traveling with someone. Like I said, it’s not the most private product, though it’s lovely especially when traveling with someone, since you can easily communicate during the flight and enjoy a meal together.

Lufthansa first class seats

Lufthansa first class seats

For anyone wondering, here’s what the privacy shield looks like when raised.

Lufthansa first class privacy shield

At the foot of each seat is an ottoman, which doubles as a storage compartment. The ottoman becomes part of the bed when the seat is reclined, though you can also move it closer to the seat so you can rest your feet on it while sitting up.

Lufthansa first class ottoman

The tray table folds out from the forward part of the seat, and can be slid back and forth. I like the ability to slide the table, since it means you can easily get up and go to the bathroom during the meal service.

Lufthansa first class tray table

On the left side of the seat were the entertainment controls, and on the right side of the seat were the seat controls.

Lufthansa first class entertainment controls

Lufthansa first class seat controls

Lufthansa has Bose headphones in first class, and the wires are attached to the seat so that the headphones can’t be removed.

Lufthansa first class Bose headphones

There was a pillow at each seat, and then a light blanket in the storage compartment at the front of the seat.

Lufthansa first class pillow & blanket

As you may have noticed based on the cabin pictures, the A380 doesn’t have any overhead bins in first class, which makes the cabin feel more spacious. Instead there are individual storage lockers behind the cabin for each seat, which are large and can easily accommodate a carry-on of any size.

Lufthansa first class lockers

Within a moment of settling in, we were formally welcomed by one of the first class flight attendants. Both of the flight attendants working first class were excellent — they were charming, professional, and attentive.

My dad and I both ordered some champagne, which was served with macadamia nuts. For anyone wondering, the champagne on offer was Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle (Lufthansa has a tendency to switch up their champagne selection every few months). There’s something about the picture of the rose, the champagne, and the macadamia nuts that I just love and that makes me so nostalgic for Lufthansa.

Lufthansa pre-departure champagne

A few minutes later we were presented with the amenity kit, slippers, and pajamas for the flight.

Lufthansa first class amenities

While they’ve changed up the pajamas slightly (they no longer have pants that look like scrubs), the tops are the same as before. They also have new slippers that are really thick. On one hand they’re so well padded and comfortable, though the issue is that the actual area you put your feet in is small, so if you have big feet they might be tight.

Lufthansa first class pajamas & slippers

We were also presented with amenity kits, which were in a different case than what I’ve had in the past, though the contents were the same as always, and included some La Prairie toiletries.

Lufthansa first class amenity kit contents

Next up we were brought the menu and wine list, with the usual explanation that we could order what we wanted when we wanted.

Lufthansa first class menus

Towards the end of the boarding process we were brought warm towels on a plate, with a rose petal.

Lufthansa first class warm towel

First class on the flight was full, and there were two guys in front of me who nearly got into an argument with the crew over the freshness of Lufthansa’s juice. They wanted orange juice as the pre-departure drink, but they insisted it be fresh. They asked over and over to confirm it was fresh, and even called over the purser to ask if it was fresh. The crew stated that it was (and I believe Lufthansa does serve it in first class), but then when they were served it, they complained it wasn’t fresh enough for them. Hmmm…

The boarding process was extremely efficient, and by 4:05PM boarding was complete, and five minute after that the door was closed. At that point the captain added his welcome onboard, and informed us of our flight time to Frankfurt of nine hours. Moments later the purser made her welcome aboard announcement, and after that the safety video was screened.

At 4:15PM we began our pushback and a few minutes after that we started our taxi. The Lufthansa A380 has a tail camera, so I of course turned that on. Lufthansa’s inflight entertainment on the A380 feels extremely low definition, and that includes for movies and the tail camera.

Tail camera while taxiing

We had a fairly long taxi, and by 4:40PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 15L. By the way, as a general seating preference on this flight, if seated in row one I’d prefer to sit on the left side of the cabin rather than the right side, since there’s a flight attendant jumpseat facing the cabin right at 1K.

Tail camera while taking off

As we climbed out I checked out the entertainment system. While the selection of movies as such was fine, I found the system to be embarrassingly low definition. While I think Lufthansa’s first class product as such is still quite nice, I’d really love to see them update their IFE.

Lufthansa entertainment system

Lufthansa entertainment system

Lufthansa entertainment system

Our climb out was smooth, and about 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. At this point the purser made the rounds through the cabin to welcome aboard passengers and distribute free Wi-Fi cards to first class passengers. This is a nice feature, though I ended up not using the Wi-Fi at all, since I preferred just spending quality time with my dad.

Lufthansa first class free Wi-Fi

The crew was quick to get the service started, as just 20 minutes after takeoff the drinks and amuse bouche were served, followed by dinner.

The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

I decided to stick with champagne. On today’s flight the amuse bouche was just a very simple vegetable medley, which I found to be pretty boring.

Lufthansa first class amuse bouche & champagne

After that was cleared, my table was set for dinner. I was brought a tablecloth, salt and pepper grinders, olive oil, butter, and was also offered a selection of bread.

Lufthansa dinner service — table setting

About 55 minutes after takeoff the first course was served, which was caviar. Lufthansa serves this off a trolley, so they plate it right in front of you.

Lufthansa dinner service — caviar service

Next up the appetizer trolley was rolled down the aisle. Lufthansa has a little display with three appetizers, and you can select one, two, or all three of them, and then can also have the salad.

Nowadays my strategy is to just have the caviar on appetizers on Lufthansa and then go straight to dessert, since that’s plenty of food, and I also rarely find Lufthansa’s main courses to be great.

On this flight appetizers included the following:

  • Chipotle shrimp, jicama round, charred tomato and nopales, pico de gallo and cactus vinaigrette
  • Creole seared beef, green lentil salad, papaya mustard pickles, chevril and red chili vinaigreette
  • Chilled ratatouille parcel, artichoke escabeche and pomegranate balsamic glaze

Then the salad was a baby spinach salad with pickled red onion, fresh raspberries, and blue cheese crumble.

Lufthansa dinner service — appetizers & salad

All of the appetizers were excellent.

For the main course my dad had the seared beef fillet, lump crab with butter and chives, root vegetable whipped potatoes, asparagus, baby carrots, and bernaise sauce.

Lufthansa dinner service — main course

After the main courses were cleared a cheese trolley was brought through the cabin. My dad had a small selection of all the cheeses, while I passed.

Lufthansa dinner service — cheese course

I did, however, have the dessert, which consisted of a warm sea salt brownie with vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries.

Lufthansa dinner service — dessert

To finish off the meal a box of chocolates was brought around.

Lufthansa dinner service — chocolate

I didn’t want any coffee or dessert wine, but I was intrigued by the iced tea, which was one of the “monthly proposals” on the wine list. I wondered if there was anything special about it, so ordered a glass. It tasted just like any other iced tea you might order, so I’m not quite sure I get that.

Lufthansa dinner service — tea

The service was friendly and efficient, especially taking into account the full cabin. The entire dinner service was finished within two hours of takeoff. After that I asked to have my bed made, in hopes of getting as much sleep as possible.

Airshow enroute to Frankfurt

While the crew made my bed, I headed to the front of the cabin, where there are two lavatories. While Lufthansa’s first class cabins are almost identical across the fleet, one of the unique aspects of the A380 is that they have special lavatories. While not as innovative as Emirates’ shower suites, Lufthansa does have very big lavatories in first class, which have a bench.

Lufthansa first class lavatory

Lufthansa first class lavatory

What’s most unique about the lavatories is that they have urinals. A lot of people miss this, since there’s a cover around it, and you have to know to flip it open.

Lufthansa first class urinal

Lufthansa has excellent bedding.My bed was made by the time I was back at my seat, and we had just under seven hours remaining to Frankfurt.

Lufthansa first class turndown service

Lufthansa first class bed

I slept extremely well for about five hours, and woke up just over 90 minutes outside of Frankfurt.

Airshow enroute to Frankfurt

Within a few minutes of waking up I was offered breakfast. The breakfast menu read as follows:

I was first offered a warm towel and the choice between orange juice and a fruit smoothie, and I chose the smoothie.

Lufthansa breakfast service — warm towel and smoothie

Breakfast on Lufthansa is mostly served off a trolley, and you can choose what you want. I started with a selection of fruit as well as some muesli, and ordered a cappuccino to drink.

Lufthansa breakfast service — muesli & croissant

Then you can always order scrambled eggs that are freshly prepared onboard, with the choices of chives and/or bacon (I ordered it with chives).

Lufthansa breakfast service — scrambled eggs

All too soon the captain announced we’d shortly be starting our descent, and that we’d be landing at 8:40AM. About 15 minutes later the cabin was prepared for landing, and a few minutes after that the seatbelt sign was turned on. I freshened up for landing, and then retuned to my seat and watched the tail camera for the remainder of the flight.

Tail camera approaching Frankfurt

We touched down in Frankfurt at 8:40AM, and then had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate, which was B26.

Tail camera landing in Frankfurt

Tail camera taxiing Frankfurt

My dad and I had such a fun flight together, and were looking forward to visiting the First Class Terminal on our fairly long layover.

Lufthansa A380 first class bottom line

While not the world’s most cutting edge hard product, Lufthansa’s first class is remarkably consistent. Almost consistent to a fault, because I wish they’d mix it up a bit.

As I always say, this is probably the best attainable way to cross the Atlantic using miles, and I always love Lufthansa. The seats are comfortable for sleeping, the food (mostly) good, the service professional and friendly, and I love how they have among the best Wi-Fi of any transatlantic airline.

I do wish they’d improve the IFE, and I also do wish they’d sometimes mix things up a bit, because I feel like the product almost hasn’t changed at all in the past decade, for better or worse.

  1. I flew Lufthansa First twice in August and while the service was ok, they remain way behind JAL ,Cathay and Singapore. I liked the food in the First terminal in Frankfurt but prefer to pay first with the other carrier that I mentioned above due to far better experience. (Although haters like Stanley or Julia flying on points in BA Premium Economy may disagree)

  2. How distressed does that woman clutching her pillow in the picture on the IFE screen look?

    Clearly her orange juice wasn’t fresh enough…

  3. Lucky,

    Just curious – what do you think is the best way get from the US East coast (specifically New York) to Europe on miles? I’ve noticed that almost all of your transatlantic flying is from somewhere out west.

    I’ve seen decent redemptions on Air France/KLM recently, but the pricing is variable. American’s availability is spotty, and Delta’s is spottier. I don’t know as much about United. A lot of the NYC-Europe market seems to have been impacted by low cost airlines recently.

  4. Can you put a small blurb about what your dad thinks or something interesting that he observed for each part of your trip report? I think it would be interesting to get the perspective of a non professional traveler.

  5. Have there been any rumors of LH upgrading their first class product? I agree the IFE is week compared to what’s out there. It will be interesting to see what the IFE is like on the new 777x J product. Hard to imagine they would want a better service on J than F.

  6. How are they doing in preparing the beef-fillet? Was it edible? It’s hard to imagine, as there are no frying pans (or the beefer) allowed in an aircraft.

  7. LH isn’t bad as far as the european carriers go….but how it has attained a ‘five star’ rating by Skytrax, i’ll never know.

    Yes First class is pretty good, especially the FCT in FRA. But Air France’s is much better.

    Yet – most of the fleet has Business Class cabins without direct aisle access. Not to mention their european ‘business class’ short haul product which is basically economy with an upgraded meal and an empty middle seat. And their Business Class lounges are simply ‘meh’.

  8. I’m sure it took all the restraint in the world,not to answer oj may not taste fresh after using glasses wiped with used hot towels from the welcome aboard reception and spitting on the pulp.

  9. What the heck is “fresh” orange juice? Orange juice that isn’t stale?

    Or were they wanting OJ that wasn’t made from concentrate, meaning “fresh squeezed?”

  10. Lucky always talk about the importance of having and using the WiFi. Nice to see that on this flight, Lucky wants to spend all of the time with his dad.

    Never understood the point of foolish Endre reading this blog if he supposedly buys only first class tickets. Oh wait, he buys it with his Monopoly money. Was it money colored in using Crayola? No haters here, just that everyone (I am sure OMAAT staff as well) just find Endre to be annoying. Yes, everyone finds Endre to be annoying.

  11. Can you explain how this isn’t just a good business class product? You keep saying BA first is just a good business class but I don’t see anything spectacular about this either

  12. From the sound of your review, you basically ate and slept for most of the journey. How did you spend time with your dad? I only ask because my dad says I should spend more time with him but if you have some secret where sleeping on a plane is spending time, then please share it

  13. Good review. Regarding the seared steak. Lufthansa used to have electric frying pans on board. They used them to sear steaks, and make the scrambled eggs. I’ve seen them.

  14. Last seven first classes I took ( ANA.JAL.KE.OZ.TG,LH) LH, TG were the worst.

    Put too many seats in first class(747-8I)VS KE, food was mediocre at best.

    To me LH is very over rated airline.

    bedding was nice..

  15. “Julia flying on points in BA Premium Economy may disagree”

    Aw, that might be funny if it were actually true. I mean, it’s about as true as your comments about flying paid first on CX. So…not really true at all lol

  16. Little by little, LH is cutting F here and there, e.g. This wine list is so cheap that it’s only a matter of time and they will offer Mondavi Coastal… All A330’s are being reconfigured without F and A340’s slowly replaced by 3-class A350’s. I wonder whether there is a future for LH first class altogether.

  17. My wife and our 1yo daughter, we just flew LH first class ORD to FRA. I must sadly say they have no on the ground service in Chicago, no baby food, bibs or diapers on board (nearly all Asian airlines have those in economy!), and again nobody to escort you in FRA to their lounge (LH please learn from Asians…), which is even more important while traveling with baby.

  18. I agree, the wine list is very poor for first class (not premium at all). My everyday wine is even better (I am living in Europe). Champagne is fine, still Premium.

    Example :
    Miraval Rosé 2017 12USD
    Hardys HRB D668 Chardonnay 2016 25USD
    Fieuzal 2008 white bordeaux, 30USD, probably less “en primeur” few years ago.

    Food look simple (not better than a J class Singapore Airlines “boot the cook”)
    IFE is ridiculous…

    This is premium experience ? really ?

  19. Amuse bouche for my flight was 1/2 of egg roll or spring roll…

    Denny’s and LH sharing same white plain plates….

    Denny’s has better representation with main dish than LH’s Halibut n rice .

    I’d rather have my own caviar than flight attendant scooping different portion for whatever reasons…

    Bedding was nice….

  20. Wow, Yong dislikes LH first so much, he/she had to post about it twice…but hey, glad you enjoyed the bedding.

    @Chris – Singapore has a new “Boot the Cook” program? Does that we can kick the cook if the food wasn’t good enough?

    @Duck Ling – I’d say Air France’s first class terminal is only better in that they pick you up from your plane. In all other respects, they’re practically equal.

    @Robert – Not all Asian airlines have spectacular ground services in the US either…

  21. Loved the review as usual Ben. Although I’d kill to fly Lufthansa first, it does look like it’s getting a bit past its sell by date compared to some of the other first class experiences. However probably worth it to see some of the passengers who insist on living up to the hype of travelling Lufthansa First and rubbing their own egos. Lol. 🙂

  22. Flew IAD-FRA on 1st paid ticket, the flight was worse premium experience ever; there was no resemblance to reviews I’ve read. Very disappointed and never again.

  23. @Robert – “no baby food, bibs or diapers on board ” You expect the airline to provide those things for you? I hope you were smart enough top bring your own. There are so many possibilities when it comes to these things there is no way they could stock every option someone might want. You take care of your child and let the airline take care of you. (hopefully)

  24. @ Aaron – that’s my point. LH is a strong four star airline, no better than AF. I just cannot for the life of me understand how they were given Five Stars by Skytrax. First and economy is nothing exceptional, pretty par for the course as far as the non ME/Asian airlines go. And their Business Class is generally poor. In terms of seating anyway. I just don’t get how they can be considered in the same league as the other five star airlines – SQ, QR, NH, JL etc etc.

  25. Nice review, Ben!

    Every time Ben writes an LH review I came to reed the reviews, because I know I will found many “wannabe snobs” that love to criticize LH F and LH J (even when this is a F review).

    “I’d rather have my own caviar than flight attendant scooping different portion for whatever reasons…” Was that for real??!! hahahahaha

    “I must sadly say they have no on the ground service in Chicago, no baby food, bibs or diapers on board” Who really expect that the airline gives you your baby´s stuff??

    “nobody to escort you in FRA to their lounge (LH please learn from Asians…)” Is there anybody outhere that thinks that he or she is so important to walk alone to the F terminal??

  26. That’s a decent business class product, but nothing more. I’d be appalled to pay international first full fares for a seat in the middle section. Completely exposed and you’d have to make a conscious and awkward decision to raise the “privacy” (LOL) shield.

    Catering looks boring. And while they claim you can order a la carte as you please, you’re still talking about the cart rolling down the aisle and them coming around with chocolates. That’s not how truly flexible meals work; that’s how you pressure people into following the crew’s time table.

    Had this not been a Lufthansa flight, you would have torn it to pieces. BA First looks better than this subpar, uninspired, product.

  27. Thank you Lucky for the interesting review. I wish we had heard more about how you felt about each appetizer and your dad’s beef. The chipotle shrimp looked and sounded good but as a Texan I am suspicious of any airline claiming to be able to deliver non-chewy shrimp much less some that is seasoned with chipotle!

    Any thoughts on what type of plane LH might be flying from Austin direct to Frankfurt starting in May (which I am unreasonably excited about)? Are they phasing out first class on all or most of their planes, like United is?

  28. Lufthansa FRA-SFO on A380 was my very first intercontinental flight in First. I’ll never forget it, what an experience.

    Since then I’ve experienced even better levels of service, but the first will always feel special.

  29. I suggest you use a plug in which makes live the links to successive articles to the other trip reports in the series as they are published

  30. This is a good product for what you pay for. A lot of people here demanding privacy but willing to pay as little as possible / award tickets.come back to the ground people.

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