- Introduction: Birthday Hotel Hopping In Paris
- Review: Lufthansa First Class Boeing 747-8
- Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt Review & Guide
- This Is Lufthansa’s New Business Class Catering?!?
- Review: Ritz Paris Hotel
- Review: Four Seasons Paris George V
- Review: Cheval Blanc Paris
- Impressions From Our Trip To Paris
- Review: Air France Business Class Boeing 777-200
The Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT) in Frankfurt is one of my favorite airport lounges in the world. When I was much younger, I’d intentionally spend 12+ hour layovers here, because that sounded like a fun way to pass the time. Heck, at one point I even pondered how I could most efficiently move into the First Class Terminal (suffice to say that didn’t materialize).
Anyway, the FCT temporarily closed in early 2020 due to the pandemic, and finally reopened as of September 2021. It has been a long time since I’ve reviewed the lounge. In this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at the current state of the FCT. Fortunately we had plenty of time to do that, as we landed from Miami in Lufthansa first class at around 8AM, and departed for Paris at around 4PM.
What is the Lufthansa First Class Terminal?
The Lufthansa First Class Terminal is Lufthansa’s most exclusive first class lounge at Frankfurt Airport. What makes this so special is that it’s totally separated from the rest of the terminal — when arriving at the airport you can drive up to the FCT, be checked in, clear security, and then be driven directly to your plane. This allows you to completely skip the terminal, which in Frankfurt I’d consider to be a blessing.
On top of that, the FCT has all kinds of awesome amenities, which I’ll get into more detail about below.
How do you access the Lufthansa First Class Terminal?
There are two ways to gain access to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal:
- By flying Lufthansa first class or SWISS first class the same day; it’s fine if you’re connecting onto a regional flight after a flight in Lufthansa or SWISS first class, as long as you arrived the same day, and are departing on Lufthansa, SWISS, or Austrian
- By being a Lufthansa HON Circle member taking any same-day departing flight on Lufthansa, SWISS, or Austrian (this would include domestic economy flights within Germany); HON Circle is the top tier status in the Miles & More program, and it requires earning 600,000 status miles over the course of two years (that’s a lot)
Since most OMAAT readers are going to be accessing the Lufthansa FCT based on a same-day Lufthansa first class ticket, let me share a few lounge access examples:
- You do get access to the FCT if you fly Lufthansa first class from the United States to Frankfurt, and then connect from Frankfurt the same day in economy or business class; however, you wouldn’t get access if you choose to spend a night in Frankfurt before your connection
- You do get access to the FCT if you fly Lufthansa first class from the United States to Frankfurt, and connect same day on any Lufthansa, SWISS, or Austrian flight; however, you wouldn’t get access if you connect on other airlines, like Brussels, Eurowings, United, etc.
- You can’t use the FCT if Frankfurt is your final destination; this isn’t an arrivals lounge, but rather is a departures lounge
How do you get to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal?
If you’re originating in Frankfurt and driving by car, getting to the First Class Terminal couldn’t be easier. As you approach Terminal 1 by car, you’ll see an exit along the right side of the roadway that lets you pull up directly to the FCT. Unfortunately the process is significantly less seamless for everyone else, including those who are connecting, and those who are arriving by train. You’ll never be driven to the FCT by the airline, even if you’re connecting.
We were flying Lufthansa first class from Miami to Frankfurt, and since the jet bridge wasn’t being used, we were picked up by a first class van. These vans can’t actually take you to the FCT, but rather they drop you off close to the immigration and baggage claim area.
After you clear immigration and go through baggage claim in Terminal 1, follow the signage towards the exit. No matter where you exit, turn left, and stay on the arrivals level.
Once you turn left, just keep walking on the path along the outside roadway.
Within a minute or so you’ll see the taxi queue, and you’ll see a small coffee shop where the taxi drivers tend to hang out. You’re still going the right away. Actually, in the below picture you can see the FCT in the distance, which shows you just how close it is.
After the taxi stand just follow the pedestrian crossing to the other side of the road. This is the same area as the Lufthansa crew center, where you’ll see pilots and flight attendants headed for their flight. Just past that is the Lufthansa FCT.
When you walk towards it you’ll see double doors. Back in the day you’d need to push a button and be buzzed in, while nowadays the door just automatically opens.
You’ll see an unstaffed reception desk on the lower floor, and then an elevator to the left. Take that up a floor to the main level.
I’d say the total walk from the time that you exit the terminal should be no more than five minutes (if you’re a fast walker, more like three minutes). In our case it was about 15 minutes from when we got off the plane until we were at the door to the FCT, so that’s not bad at all.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal review
With the above out of the way, let’s get into the actual review of the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, from start to finish.
The FCT is marketed as being 1,800 square meters (~19,400 square feet), though in reality that’s largely made up of areas where guests don’t spend a lot of time, like the check-in area, the lower level where you get driven to your plane, etc. If I had to guess (and this is purely speculation on my part), the actual airside, “usable” space of the FCT is maybe somewhere around two-thirds of that. So the lounge is a decent size, but not massive.
Lufthansa FCT arrival & security
Once you’re on the second floor, you’ll be approached by one of the Lufthansa agents, who will look after you while you’re in the terminal. There’s a seating area here, as well as a few desks. At this point you’ll have to present your passport, boarding pass, and vaccination certificate or proof of a negative coronavirus test.
The Lufthansa employee just quickly has to verify that you’re allowed to enter the lounge, and at that point you’re escorted through security. A private security channel is one of the awesome aspects of the FCT — not only do you not have to wait, but I find that the security staff are consistently much friendlier than in the main terminal.
Lufthansa FCT bar & restaurant
As soon as you enter the FCT, you’ll see the signature bar to the right, which is the center of the lounge. That’s true physically (it’s roughly in the middle of the lounge), but it’s also true in the sense that most of the service in the lounge happens from here. The bar is extremely well stocked, with endless drink options, an espresso machine, etc.
Guests can choose to sit at high-top seating at the bar or a nearby island, or can be served anywhere in the lounge.
There are some very light snacks at the bar, but most of the food is served from the restaurant.
The restaurant is immediately next to the bar, and consists of roughly a dozen tables. We’ll talk more about the food service in a bit (as it has changed drastically since my last visit), but that just gives you a sense of the layout.
Lufthansa FCT seating areas
A majority of the FCT is made up of couches and leather chairs. Admittedly the FCT is pretty industrial and minimalist-looking across the board, but I find it to be well maintained and… well, fitting for Germany. Almost the entire FCT features floor-to-ceiling windows, so you have lots of natural light, subject to Mother Nature’s cooperation.
Inside the entrance and to the left are a few sitting areas. There are plenty of partitions between these zones to create a bit of privacy, though unfortunately convenient outlets are largely lacking.
Also in this area are three relaxation chairs, where you can rest with a blanket, if you’d like. Personally I struggle to get comfortable in these seats, and can’t help but feel like I’m in a dentist’s chair.
Along the center part of the lounge are even more sitting areas. Fortunately the lounge typically doesn’t get too full, so usually most people can have a fair bit of separation from other guests.
My one primary disappointment with the FCT is the lack of views. The FCT faces the outside roadway of the airport and terminal building, so there are no views of the apron, or of any planes, from here. Oh well.
Lufthansa FCT office cubicles
Inside the entrance and to the left are five cubicles which feature sliding, frosted glass doors. Personally this is where I spend a fair bit of my time when in the FCT, thanks to the easy charging outlets, and general quiet atmosphere.
Lufthansa FCT cigar lounge
The FCT is known for having a cigar lounge, which is located inside the entrance, to the right, down the hall, and then on the left.
The cigar lounge features roughly a dozen leather chairs.
Way back in the day Lufthansa would offer passengers complimentary cigars, and more recently there was a whisky setup here. Nowadays there’s just a small selection of soft drinks.
Lufthansa FCT nap rooms
Further down the hall and just past the cigar lounge are two nap rooms. While not as luxurious as the nap rooms in the SWISS first class lounge, these are a fantastic place to get some rest if you have a long layover. They’re available on a first come, first served basis, and there’s no minimum or maximum amount of time you can spend in them.
Each of the rooms features a twin size bed with proper bedding (though don’t expect too much from the comfort of the mattress). The bedrooms are otherwise pretty basic, and don’t have private bathrooms. If you need to use the bathroom, you’ll need to go down the hall.
Ford ended up taking a roughly three hour nap in one of the rooms, which was a good way to pass the time, and to make sure he was more well rested when arriving in Paris.
Lufthansa FCT bathrooms & shower rooms
Past the cigar lounge and nap rooms are the FCT’s bathrooms and showers. There’s a reception desk there where you can request a shower or nap room (or a duck — the single most exciting thing about the FCT).
If you’re just looking to use the bathroom, there are bathroom areas broken down by gender. While there’s a shared area for sinks, toilets as such are private, and in the men’s section each person gets a toilet and urinal.
There are also shower suites. The shower suites are quite large, and each feature a sink, walk-in shower, and toilet, along with Etro toiletries. Further bathroom essentials are available on request from the attendant.
While there are some shower suites with bathtubs, they weren’t operational when I was there.
Lufthansa FCT food & drinks
What’s the food & drink selection in the First Class Terminal like? As mentioned above, there are servers roaming the lounge, happy to serve drinks at any time. I sat in a cubicle when I first arrived, and ordered a cappuccino and a sparkling water, which were promptly served.
The lounge staff can make most cocktails you could imagine. There’s not an actual cocktail or drink list nowadays. When I asked about a wine list, I was told that what’s on display is what’s available, which is a bit odd, since there was primarily red wine on display.
I had one or five glasses of champagne on the flight from Miami, so couldn’t bring myself to drink more. Sorry, team…
Shortly before our flight to Paris, Ford and I decided to have lunch in the restaurant. Back in the day there was an extensive buffet plus a menu, though that has since been scaled back. Nowadays the buffet is mostly empty, and in the case of my visit it just had some individual servings of appetizers and desserts, and a selection of bread.
There’s also a menu, but that has been scaled back as well. The lunch menu read as follows:
Ford and I each ordered two things. As a starter, I had the zucchini with lemon ricotta, pine nuts, and mint, while Ford had the pumpkin soup.
For mains, I had the salmon teriyaki, while Ford had the bell pepper chicken.
Unfortunately the food quality has suffered at the FCT. It’s pretty clear that these dishes had just been microwaved, as they were piping hot, and the mains tasted kind of dry.
I finished the meal with an americano.
Lufthansa FCT ducks
This is something that people are either endlessly fascinated by, or couldn’t care less about. Lufthansa has adorable collectible ducks that it offers in the First Class Terminal, as well as at other lounges for first class passengers.
While there have been “standard” ones in the past, there are also limited edition ones, celebrating everything from the Olympics, to the World Cup, to Oktoberfest, to the holidays. When you enter the FCT you’ll see a display case on the left with all of the ducks.
Originally these ducks were just placed in the bathrooms for when people shower or take a bath, but over the years they’ve become collectibles. So if you have access to the FCT, you can ask to have one of these to take home with you. Generally you’re best off just asking the shower attendants, who have plenty of them available (though they’ll usually only give each passenger one).
Check out the ridiculously adorable ducks that Lufthansa is offering right now, which are of Lufthansa flight attendants in Porsches.
Lufthansa FCT departure & car service
One of the beautiful things about the First Class Terminal is that you don’t have to keep track of time — the employees in the lounge will seek you out when it’s time to be driven to your plane.
Before we get into what that process is like, I’ve always enjoyed how the departures board in the FCT lists all the departures for passengers who are currently in the lounge. It’s always fun to see where fellow FCT visitors are traveling to, and how that changes throughout the day. To take it a step further, sometimes you can figure out with near certainty who is a first class passenger, and who is a HON Circle passenger (not that it matters). For example, there’s no first class to Dallas, so the passenger in the FCT that’s heading there is likely a HON Circle member, unless they were connecting in first class from another long haul route.
When it’s time to depart, you’ll be escorted to one of the two elevators that leads to the lower level.
At the lower level is the immigration desk, though you only have to go there if you’re departing the Schengen zone. We were traveling within Europe and had already cleared immigration, so didn’t need to go there. Instead we just went to the Lufthansa employee, who checked our boarding passes and introduced us to the driver who would be taking us to the plane.
Unfortunately nowadays the selection of cars isn’t quite as exciting as it used to be. Back in the day it was almost exclusively Mercedes and Porsche cars, while nowadays the most common car is a Volkswagen van. Even though we were alone, go figure we were driven in a four-person Volkswagen van.
For what it’s worth, if there are multiple people headed to the same plane you may have to share a ride with others. You can usually expect that if you’re departing in first class there will be others in the First Class Terminal on that flight. Meanwhile if you’re connecting intra-Europe, more often than not I find that there are no others.
Being driven across the apron is heaven for any avgeek, given the amazing views.
You’ll then eventually pull up to your plane, where the driver will park and let you out.
The driver takes you all the way to the door of the plane, where you’re introduced to the purser. In the case of our flight, the plane was at a “proper” gate, rather than at a remote stand.
This meant that we were walked up the stairs and onto the jet bridge, and then down the jet bridge to the door of the plane. Generally the escort moves you ahead of everyone else, so they sure do make you feel either special or awkward, depending on how you look at it.
The Lufthansa First Class Terminal continues to be one of the best lounges in the world. The lounge itself has great service and a nice layout, nap rooms, ducks you can collect, and it’s also fun to be driven to the plane. I’ve loved this lounge my whole life, and always enjoy having a long layover here.
That being said, I do think it’s worth acknowledging that at the moment the experience isn’t quite what it used to be. The food quality and selection has been scaled back significantly, and the cars have been downgraded a bit (yes, that’s a complete “first world problem”).
While this is an amazing first class ground experience, and it’s flawless if you’re originating in Frankfurt, I think the biggest issue for many continues to be that it’s not particularly seamless if you’re connecting. You have to leave the terminal, walk yourself to the FCT, and then go back through security. Personally I enjoy the opportunity to get some steps in, though for many people this concept is confusing, especially if they don’t know how to get to the FCT.
If you’ve visited the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, what was your experience like?