Lufthansa now consistently releasing Airbus 380 first class award space?

I figured after a few trips the novelty of Airbus 380 first class would wear off, but it still hasn’t. Originally I thought the plane was no different than any other, though after flying it a handful of times now, I’ve decided that’s not the case. Between the awesome tail camera and how quiet the cabin is, it really is a completely different flying experience.

Anyway, I just got back from a quick trip to Tokyo where I flew the Lufthansa Airbus 380 in first class. Previously Lufthansa seemed to protect Airbus 380 first class, so up until a few weeks ago I saw maybe a handful of Lufthansa first class award seats in my whole life that Star Alliance partner airlines had access to. Now they seem to release a decent number of seats within a couple of weeks of departure.

For example, I just had a look at first class award space between today and January 20 for Lufthansa’s A380 routes to Tokyo, Beijing, and Johannesburg, and the following dates in January have at least one first class award seat available:

Frankfurt to Tokyo: 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17

Tokyo to Frankfurt: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17

Frankfurt to Johannesburg: 5, 6

Johannesburg to Frankfurt: 3

Beijing to Frankfurt: 4, 5, 9, 11, 17

At first I figured this was a temporary glitch or one-time thing on the part of Lufthansa given that it’s low season in Beijing and Tokyo, though the more I look at it, the more I think it’s an intentional strategy to release unsold first class award seats last minute.

So it’s just something to keep in mind. Qantas makes their Airbus 380 first class readily available for awards (I flew with them in first on the A380 from Singapore to Sydney and Melbourne to London earlier in the year), and Lufthansa seems to quickly be joining that camp.

It would make my day if you guys would snag some of the above seats, as I’m sure you wouldn’t regret flying Lufthansa first class on the Airbus 380. Keep in mind that if you’re originating in the US, you can route from the US to Asia via Europe using both Continental and US Airways miles. US Airways only charges 120,000 miles for first class to Beijing and Tokyo, while Continental charges 135,000-140,000 miles.

Filed Under: Advice, Awards
  1. On that note, what is the situation with LX F? I noticed on Expert Flyer a few seats in January from LAX-ZRH, but the availability does not show up in the OnePass search engine.

  2. @Carl Expertflyer shows space as it is available to Miles & More members, not partners. And Swiss and Lufthansa make more space available to their own members. Onepass is correct for partners. LAX-ZRH is nearly impossible to get in first class.

    Meanwhile, EK also releases plenty of A380 F space.

  3. How much time do we have left to book Continental awards? What is UAL’s policy about booking Asia via Europe? Do they at least allow it in one direction?


  4. Lucky: Before I saw your pix of LH F in the A380 in a previous post, I thought A380 F was going to be same as the “new” F on LH’s 744s (i.e., a seat with a bed next to it; 8 sell-able seats on the 744). Is the new 744-style F being installed on any other LH metal?

  5. Thanks for the great info on LH – if I (as a first-time poster) may ask a dumb question, where are you checking LH F availability? I’m an ExpertFlyer subscriber, and it’s not on there.

  6. @ Peter — In this instance I was using ANA’s website, as Expert Flyer doesn’t display Lufthansa award availability.

  7. @JRL – “What is UALā€™s policy about booking Asia via Europe? Do they at least allow it in one direction?” I just did this last week with UA miles for 2 passengers on SIN-FRA-EWR. The A380 flight on SIN-FRA (LH779) was fantastic. I am now looking for another award on the A380 for year-end.

  8. @ jmd001 — Lufthansa will now have three different versions of first class. They have the Airbus 380 product (which they’re slowly installing on A340-600s), the old product, and then the 747 product, which is the bed and the seat. The 747 will be the only aircraft with that particular type of first class product, and many would argue that it’s actually a superior hard product to the A380.

  9. @ JRL — United does allow you to route from the US to Asia via Europe. Many agents are clueless and won’t let you route one way via the Pacific and one way via the Atlantic on a single award since they claim it’s a round the world ticket, though it should be allowed.

  10. I have a UAL first booking from MCO-FCO-MCO I made during Aeroplan’s sale last month. But really wanted LH, i have not seen any first class award space between the us and europe. Do you have any idea if the limited awards are temporary or perminent change?

  11. @ Rob — I suspect it’s permanent, though keep in mind that they still release space close to departure, so just keep an eye on availability and it may very well open up. Aeroplan does impose fuel surcharges on Lufthansa redemptions, though, so making the switch would likely cost you about $500 or so.

  12. 1/12 UA5512 LAX-SEA 20:33 23:18 CR7 F 1/13 LH491 SEA-FRA 15:00 10:10+1 333 F 1/14 LH710 FRA-NRT 13:25 08:35 388 F
    1/16 LH711 NRT-FRA 10:25 14:15 388 F 1/17 LH446 FRA-DEN 12:05 14:15 744 F
    1/17 UA731 DEN-LAX 15:05 16:31 320 F

    For MLK weekend, only if I haven’t booked 2 MR with AA and my wife would let me go alone:-). Not too shaby for 120k US miles

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