Singapore for the Weekend: Lufthansa First Class New York JFK to Frankfurt

Filed Under: Awards, Lufthansa

I headed over to gate three, which is a bit of a disappointment for any aviation geek, given that the aircraft parked at the gate isn’t visible due to a structure blocking it.

Departure gate

747 taking me to Frankfurt

At around 3:15PM boarding started for first class, business class, and Star Gold members, and I was among the first aboard.

Lufthansa 401
New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Thursday, April 26
Depart: 3:55PM
Arrive: 5:35AM (+1 day)
Duration: 7hr40min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 82H (First Class)

At the door I was greeted by the purser, who directed me up the stairs. Once at the top of the stairs I was welcomed by two older male flight attendants that pointed me to my seat in row 82.

Rather than try to hide my excitement over the new product, I immediately asked if it would be alright if I snapped a few cabin pictures before the other passengers arrived, which they enthusiastically “approved.”

New first class cabin

New first class cabin

82H, my seat/bed

82C, seat/bed across from me

View from my seat

View from my seat

Entertainment system controls

Seat controls

Power plus

As I mentioned in the introduction, the product on this 747 is pretty unique in that it’s a separate seat and bed. So far 10 of Lufthansa’s 28 747s are configured with this product (see this FlyerTalk post for full details on the reconfiguration progress). Meanwhile Lufthansa doesn’t have plans to configure the rest of their fleet with this product (instead they’re configuring it with the same first class product found on the Airbus 380).

While the upper deck was previously in a 2-2 configuration, they basically turned each set of two seats into both a seat and a fixed bed. We’ll talk about the practicality of the product in a bit and whether the space could have been utilized more efficiently, though I have to say it’ll be a while before the novelty of this product wears off for me. Other airlines have enclosed suites, but this is the first product where you have a separate seat and bed. And of course it’s a huge upgrade over the old 747 first class (which I flew from Frankfurt to Bangkok last year, for example), in terms of seat comfort, entertainment, personal space, etc.

Anyway, back to the flight. As I settled in I was offered a pre-departure beverage, and ordered a glass of water, which was served with macadamia nuts. The flight attendant asked if I was a Lufthansa employee, which I found odd, given that I didn’t think Lufthansa employees could easily get into first class (though maybe I’m wrong?).

Pre-departure beverage and nuts

Moments later I was presented with pajamas, slippers, an amenity kit, duty free magazine, and lastly a service survey (the timing of which I found pretty tacky, frankly – that shouldn’t be one of the first things they give a passenger, in my opinion).


Pajamas and slippers

The upper deck continued to fill up, surprisingly enough mostly with Americans (in my experience most Lufthansa first class passengers are German). There were two other Germans, and everyone else was American, including two Lufthansa employees (which might explain why they assumed I was an employee, since maybe they knew two Lufthansa employees were aboard in first class).

Shortly before pushback I changed into pajamas. Moments later the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, advising us of our flight time of 6hr45min.

While we pushed back almost on time, we didn’t move after our initial pushback for about 10 minutes. This was apparently because an Air China plane parked at the gate next to us had a broken APU and was still running their engines, and therefore it wasn’t safe for us to pass.

At this point I decided to get started on a movie. This is one huge new improvement over Lufthansa’s old first class product, since you can start watching movies on the ground. Previously the monitors had to be stowed for takeoff, so you couldn’t watch any movies till after takeoff. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that the new screen is triple the size of the old one, and the selection is more thorough.

I decided on “Carnage,” which was actually reasonably entertaining. More than anything else I was amazed that the entire movie took place in one room and basically covered a time period the same length as the movie, so there was no skipping of time. Interesting.

Carnage movie

After a roughly 10 minute delay and 15 minute taxi we took off into the north, where we had a pretty choppy climb out of JFK thanks to the weather.

Lining up on the runway

About 20 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off and service commenced, starting with hot towels.

Hot towel

Simultaneously the purser came around the cabin to welcome the first class passengers aboard and distribute the menus and wine list.

The dinner menu read as follows:

And the wine list read as follows:

2009 “D” de Devaux Brut

White Wine
2009 Scharzhofberger Riesling
2009 Rully
2010 Heinrich Vollmer Grauer Burgunder

Red Wine
terra o. Cuvee
2003 Chateau Belgrave Cru Classe
2006 Kaiken Ultra Malbec

Dessert Wine
2008 Huxelrebe Beerenauslese

Monthly Proposal
Oban Single Malt 14 Years

Now, the only downside of the flight was that the menu was nearly identical to the one from my San Francisco to Munich flight in March. Fortunately that menu happened to be one of Lufthansa’s better ones, so it wasn’t all bad news.

The meal service began with the amuse bouche, which consisted of cucumber and salmon.

Amuse bouche

That was quickly followed by drinks.

Diet Coke with lemon

After that the tables were set. I selected some pretzel bread from the breadbasket and also ordered a glass of champagne to accompany the appetizers. The only disappointment was that the flight attendant didn’t distribute the signature Lufthansa rose.

Table setup

At that point the flight attendant came through with the appetizer cart.

Appetizer cart

I selected the grilled shrimp and sirloin.


That was followed by the salad, which was served with “delicious Dressing,” whatever the heck that is.


I wasn’t especially hungry by the time the main course was served, and had the tenderloin of beef the last time I flew with the same menu, so went with the pasta with potatoes this time around., It was just alright.

Main course

For dessert I went with the panna cotta. If I were as rich as it, I would have retired a long time ago.


To finish off the meal I ordered some Baileys, which was accompanied by a tin of chocolates (which I stuffed in my bag to enjoy at a later time).

Baileys and chocolate

Lastly I was offered a bottle of water.


One thing I was wondering about before trying the new product is just how far the seat reclines, given that there’s no way to place the bed in an upright position. So for anyone else that was wondering, below is a picture of the seat fully reclined.

Seat fully reclined

As you can see the legrest goes all the way up, while the seat reclines maybe halfway back. It’s perfect for lounging. If you want to recline more you can always just lay in bed and prop the pillow up, which works equally well (though I do wish they’d provide more than one pillow).

Now, in terms of the timing this flight sucks. I’m a night owl, so leaving in the afternoon means I can usually not get any sleep on such a short redeye. The flight lands in Frankfurt at 5:35AM, which is 11:35PM eastern time in the US, well before I usually go to bed. So in a way such a great first class product is really wasted on such a short, early redeye. But of course that wasn’t going to stop me from at least trying to get some sleep. After dinner I headed over to the bed, which was really comfortable. It has a legitimate “mattress,” and while it’s not a Westin Heavenly Bed, it is considerably more comfortable than most first class mattress pads, in my opinion.

The only aspect of the seat that wasn’t very well thought out, in my opinion, is that the TV screen doesn’t swivel. It would be really nice if you could position it in such a way that it faces the bed, since the screen can be tough to view when laying down in bed.

From bed

Either way, I told myself I’d sleep till an hour before landing, and I did exactly that. I slept surprisingly well, better than I usually do on a plane, and I’d attribute that at least in part to the bed.

Sunset over the Atlantic

About an hour before landing the cabin lights were turned up a bit and breakfast service commenced, starting with hot towels, fresh squeezed orange juice, and menus being distributed.

Hot towel and fresh squeezed orange juice


The breakfast menu read as follows:

Given how short the transatlantic flights are from the east coast, the breakfast service is a bit more abbreviated than what they offer on the longer flights, with a choice of three options served on a single tray. I went with the “fitness breakfast,” which consisted of muesli, fruit, and a croissant/roll.

Fitness breakfast

About 30 minutes out we began our descent and I switched back into my normal clothes. The views were quite nice on approach into Frankfurt, and we had one of the most beautiful landings ever. Look, I’ve flown over 1,000 segments over the years, and this was hands down the most stunningly amazing landing ever. Yes, a “nice” landing is normal, but this took that to a whole new level. If the landing were any smoother the captain would’ve had to sing me a lullaby.

Final approach into Frankfurt

Pulling into our gate

With a 15 hour layover ahead of me I was in no rush to disembark, though headed straight for the first class lounge to shower.

  1. You didn’t have any caviar?

    From what I’ve seen on other TRs based on this cabin, the positioning of the TV seems to be one of the only common complaints about this type of seating. Especially if you’re someone who enjoys lounging in bed while watching TV (which would be most FC passengers, I imagine).

    Why the skimpy breakfast options? I mean, ok, it’s a short trip but it’s still first class. If somebody ordered both muesli and eggs, would they refuse?

  2. That IS a disappointment to not get the rose.

    I’d write LH and get some sort of credit for the intentional slight.

  3. I love LH’s F class menu descriptions. Delicious dressing? That’s actually hilarious and would kinda scare me as to what it actually is. I think they should get a native English speaker to do their menus so they’re not so hilarious lol

  4. Is the dressing a funky translation from something more meaningful in German? I know you are fluent so I am curious if you checked out how it was translated.

  5. @ Andy — I just didn’t want to eat too much (I’m on a diet), and it’s not like the taste of caviar has changed over the months/years.

    As far as the breakfast menu goes, keep in mind that dinner and breakfast are only about 2.5-3 hours apart. Almost no one else ate breakfast, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be an issue if you wanted two of the options, as Lufthansa flight attendants tend to be very flexible.

    @ traveller340 — Amazingly enough it’s not even a translation issue.

    @ webzoid — Thanks! I use the Canon S95.

    @ AdamH — Funny enough the German menu says “delicious dressing” as well.

  6. Great TR!

    Just one thing to comment on, if I may. “Unique” cannot be altered by words such as “very” or “pretty”… Something is either unique – or not unique!

  7. @Janyyc, you sound like Rava from an episode of Seinfeld. There are no small coincidences and big coincidences! Only coincidences.

  8. Coins, you said you were greeted by older male flight attendants.
    The photo clearly shows that he’s a young male FA (to me).

  9. @ Dan — Older=older than me. 😉

    In all honesty, the one pictured seemed to be in his upper-40s, while the other one was in his 50s. My point was that they weren’t 22 year old trainees.

  10. The LH F bed looks very nice. I am sure being able to use the LH F Terminal was great even though you had a long layover.

  11. “The only disappointment was that the flight attendant didn’t distribute the signature Lufthansa rose.”

    I pray you are not serious.

  12. I really love Lufthansa First Class on the updated Boeing 747-400. The design is well thought out and I love the huge storage space under the bed. Just wish the seat can recline a bit more.

    Regarding breakfast service, there are usually less than one or two takers for the breakfast service and I am sure there are flights with no one eating breakfast. So the F/A will have no issue if you want all the items plus it is LH First. On my last DC to Frankfurt flight, I was the only one who ate the breakfast and basically chose a bunch of items from all three menus and the F/As had no issues accommodating me. Since I was in West Coast time, it was like dinner for me. I really appreciate that Lufthansa keeps a hot option.

    Thanks for the report!

  13. This is more of an observation than anything, but I find it funny that airlines like LH insists on serving you with glassware with their logo on, they make sure that the logo always faces you et cetera, but they still hand out “common” water bottles, just like the ones you can buy at any convenience store or gas station.

    I mean, it’s not like I’m expecting Voss water or anything, but I do wonder why they don’t rebottle — or at least rebrand it.

  14. Hi Lucky,

    I have never flown first class but have an upcoming flight planned. I love to eat, and since I am athletic and a larger man, are you able to order as much as you want off the menu and/or at various times or are you relegated to ordering when they serve you and only one entree, app….etc per person?

    thanks for your great work!


  15. @ RJ — In first class there really are no rules, and they cater plenty of food. So on just about any airline you can eat as much as you want when you want. Don’t be afraid to ask them!

  16. Hey, and you snapped a photo of the Airbus A321(?) in “classic” LH livery at the next gate! Much more impressive than water and macadamia nuts…;-)

  17. “The flight attendant asked if I was a Lufthansa employee”
    Sloppy stuff. They know EVERYTHING from the pax list printout.
    But you’re only partly right – Some senior management have F rights for both business and private travel. The privilege was removed at the end of April for other staff.

    I always get the feeling that the menus are written by people who don’t eat in real restaurants or have no idea about/interest in food. Or correct capitalisation, for that matter.
    A bit of trivia: my wife did their First Class menus for a while years ago and got a lot of positive feedback. Then they figured they could save money and gave it to an intern…

  18. I was looking at pictures fo the new 747 -8 and they dont have the same first class product, the bed to the side of the seat. Is it a space thing?


  19. @ sam — The reason behind the first class configuration on the 747-400 is because the product is on the upper deck, meaning they have a bit of extra space. The product they’re installing on the 748 is the same as the new product on the A330/340/380, which is equally good, in my opinion.

  20. hello lucky. I’m taking the same plane in this post.

    which row is the best for privacy do you think?

    Already 83 c, h has gone…





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