In November 2020, Lufthansa cut first class on all routes to the United States. Since then, Lufthansa hasn’t sold a single first class seat to the USA, which would have been unthinkable pre-pandemic.
In a further sign of a (slow) return to normal, that is finally changing. As I type this, a Lufthansa aircraft with a first class cabin is currently enroute to the United States for the first time in well over six months.
Lufthansa 747-8s (with first class) return to the USA!
- As of June 11, 2021, Frankfurt to Chicago (ORD) will feature first class
- As of July 1, 2021, Frankfurt to Los Angeles (LAX) will feature first class
- As of July 1, 2021, Frankfurt to Miami (MIA) will feature first class
- As of August 1, 2021, Frankfurt to Newark (EWR) will feature first class
- As of August 1, 2021, Frankfurt to New York (JFK) will feature first class
- As of September 1, 2021, Frankfurt to Houston (IAH) will feature first class
While the Chicago route officially once again has first class service, the other dates very much remain subject to change. For example, just in the past few days, Lufthansa has postponed the 747-8 service date for Newark from July 1 to August 1.
Lufthansa resuming 747-8 service to the United States coincides with several European Union countries opening to Americans, and the European Union planning on opening to vaccinated travelers on a more widespread basis soon. In anticipation of this, at the beginning of the month Lufthansa reopened its Frankfurt First Class Lounge, though as of now there’s no service in the lounge due to local restrictions on indoor dining.
While the USA travel ban against the European Union is still in place, it’s expected to be lifted pretty soon, so I imagine we’ll see a surge in demand in the not-too-distant future.
Expect a smaller first class footprint in the future
Going forward, expect Lufthansa’s first class footprint in the USA to be much smaller. Going back a decade, almost all long haul Lufthansa aircraft featured first class, while at this point only Boeing 747-8s do. This comes after Lufthansa revealed plans to retire its Airbus A380 and A340-600 fleets, which were the other planes to feature first class.
On the plus side, Lufthansa will install first class on some future delivery Airbus A350-900s, which will be based in Munich (since currently Munich has no planes with first class).
Lufthansa’s 747-8s feature a pretty awesome first class product. The plane has just eight first class seats, and most exciting for avgeeks is that the cabin is in the nose of the aircraft. With most airlines having retired the 747, flying on the jumbo jet is a real treat nowadays, especially if you can sit in the nose.
How to redeem miles for Lufthansa first class
If you’re booking Lufthansa first class awards through partner frequent flyer programs, then you’ll find that awards become available at most 15 days before departure. Fortunately within that timeframe awards are reasonably easy to come by, and I’m already seeing lots of award space on the Chicago route.
If you’re looking to redeem miles for Lufthansa first class, consider booking through:
- Avianca LifeMiles, which charges 87,000 miles for a one-way award between the United States and Europe
- Air Canada Aeroplan, which charges 100,000 miles for a one-way award covering a distance of up to 6,000 miles; for just 5,000 additional miles you can add a stopover and continue to another destination
Lufthansa is resuming flying Boeing 747-8s to the United States as of today, and with that, we also see the reintroduction of first class on these routes. This comes after Lufthansa hasn’t offered first class to the United States for over six months.
This is yet another indicator of a slow return to normal, though unfortunately in the long run the pandemic will have greatly reduced Lufthansa’s first class footprint, given aircraft retirements.
Anyone hoping to fly Lufthansa first class across the Atlantic in the coming weeks & months?