Review: Lufthansa 747 First Class Frankfurt To Johannesburg

I was most excited for my fifth flight in a row to Africa, because this was the first time I was flying Lufthansa First Class. The flight itself was wonderful and I enjoyed every minute of the Lufthansa’s experience. All things considered, this is one fantastic way to make a long-haul journey.

Lufthansa First
Lufthansa First was a nice way to make a long-haul journey. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Booking

My Los Angeles to Zurich to Frankfurt to Johannesburg itinerary priced out at 105,000 Aeroplan miles. Although the only flight in First Class was from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, the entire trip priced out as a First Class award.

Airport experience

After arriving from Zurich at a remote stand, a Lufthansa representative was waiting for me with a Mercedes Benz van. Interestingly, they haven’t fully phased out the vans, but there was a distinct lack of S-class vehicles. At the terminal, I had to clear immigration before making my way to the lounge.

This is one place where Lufthansa’s ground experience falls short. First, the ground transfer drops you off with instructions on where to go. From there, you end up at an area where your passport checks are done. The problem is that you end up back in the same queue as everyone else, so the line is quite long.

Unless you’re departing from the First Class Terminal, you clear immigration with every other passenger. Do note, you’d have to self-connect by exiting the airport and going to the Terminal. I was exhausted at this point, which is why I decided to just use the First Class Lounge.

The reality is, it doesn’t feel premium to have to go through the immigration process without any kind of fast-track pass or escort. If I had paid for First Class, I definitely would not have been pleased.

I spent some time in the gorgeous lounge after clearing immigration. Then, approximately half an hour before departure, a car picked me up to take me to my flight.

Lufthansa Ground Porsche
The Porsche Cayenne transfer was a real treat. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Onboard

First Class passengers were escorted through an elevator. From there, we boarded from the forward door. Once inside, a very enthusiastic flight attendant greeted me and led me to my seat. She gave me a brief rundown of the seat itself and indicated where I could store my luggage for the duration of the flight.

Lufthansa outfits their First Class cabin on the 747-8 with eight First Class seats. These are open seats that have a privacy partition which can be raised when you want to sleep. Personally, I found the open cabin to be inviting and the design seemed very well thought out. Basically, it just felt like Lufthansa.

Row 3 Lufthansa First Class 747-8
Lufthansa’s First Class seats aren’t exceptionally private but are comfortable. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

In this configuration, every passenger has direct aisle access and six seats have windows. It is indeed a real treat to get four windows to yourself in the nose of a 747.

There was also a very nice display set up in front of the pair of seats in the middle.

Display
The flight attendants took great care in setting up this display. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Each passenger had a dedicated locker at the back of the cabin for storing larger rollaboards and hanging clothes. Smaller bags, like backpacks and handbags, could be stored inside the ottoman.

Lufthansa First Class
Lufthansa First Class passengers received their own little storage cubby. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Two lavatories are reserved for First Class Passengers in the rear of the galley. Each one is spacious and boasts a window (make sure it is closed if you’re still on the ground!). The lavatories are also stocked with plenty of amenities like a facial spray, combs, and mouthwash.

Lufthansa First Class lavatory
Lufthansa First Class lavatory. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

In addition, the toilet had a lid that doubled as a bench. Overall, this was definitely the largest and most aesthetically pleasing aircraft lavatory I have ever used. While there are no showers onboard, it still is a much better experience than a coach lavatory.

First Class window and bench
This was one nice lavatory. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The seat

Lufthansa may have foregone suites and doors, however it seems they put great care into the padding. The seat itself was soft and incredibly comfortable.

First Class Seat
The seat was incredibly comfortable. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Seat controls were located in a compartment in the aisle armrest. The legrest could be raised or lowered. In addition, the ottoman was adjustable and could move closer to the seat. So, if you’re lounging and not in the mood to get up, you could still reach your belongings. The headrest could be adjusted up or down. The seat could be extended if you have longer legs. In addition, you could also raise or lower the seat.

Lufthansa First Class seat controls. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

In the other armrest, another compartment housed the remote control. Additional volume buttons and a flight attendant call button were also present.

Lufthansa First Class Remote
Lufthansa First Class remote and additional buttons. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Against the window, Lufthansa opted to add additional storage lockers. These were ideal for items such as wallets, phones, or laptops.

Storage compartment
Additional window storage compartment. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

In the front of the window-side armrest, there were four sources of power. Two universal power outlets and two USB power ports. There was zero chance of you running out of power on this flight.

Power outlets
Lufthansa First Class USB and universal power outlets. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The seat moved smoothly and I was able to adjust it. However, after I got some sleep, my seat refused to return to its upright position. Luckily, the flight attendant was able to solve the problem after fiddling around with it for a few minutes.

Amenities

An amenity kit was waiting for me at my seat. It was absolutely fantastic. The box itself has a very specific use: storing watches. As such, each passenger received a velvet kind of cushion which can be placed in the box. The other contents were plentiful and would be put to good use.

Lufthansa First Class amenity kit
I found the First Class amenity kit to be well put-together. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

I was later offered some pajamas. These fit perfectly and were very comfortable. My only complaint in regards to this is that it was easy to get warm while asleep. Unfortunately, Lufthansa’s First Class seats don’t have air nozzles.

Lufthansa First Class pajamas
The First Class pajamas were from Van Laack and were incredibly comfortable. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

To go with the pajamas, I also received a pair of slippers.

Lufthansa First Class slippers
Lufthansa First Class slippers. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

As for headphones, Lufthansa didn’t skimp out, and provided Bose noise-canceling headphones for each passenger. Unlike other headphones, these ones didn’t hurt my ears when I wore my glasses.

Bose headphones
Bose headphones for First Class passengers. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

With the amuse bouche, on the ground, I received a hot towel. The rose petal was a nice addition.

Hot towel
Rose petal presentation for the hot towel. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Inflight entertainment

Lufthansa had a decent selection of content. There were a fair number of films and TV episodes you could watch during flight. However, the system could have been much better. In order to view films, you had to scroll through quite a bit. Personally, I prefer entertainment screens where I can see a larger poster of the film.

Lufthansa IFE screen
Lufthansa IFE screen. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

If that wasn’t enough for you, you could request a newspaper at the time of boarding. A few different options were available in both English and German.

New York Times
Lufthansa also offers newspapers in First Class. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The real kicker came down to WiFi. Lufthansa has some of the best WiFi pricing out there. For First Class passengers, WiFi access for the full flight is complimentary. Flight attendants offered vouchers to each passenger and explained how to connect to the portal.

Meals

Once I got settled in, a flight attendant offered me some pre-departure champagne and some warm nuts. One of my favorite things about flying is receiving a ramekin of warm nuts. In addition, I really appreciated how flight attendants waited until I was completely settled in before offering me a pre-departure beverage.

Lufthansa pr-departure
Lufthansa First Class…..a real treat! Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Soon after, I received a menu and wine list for the flight. For some reason, it was a really large paper. That made it a bit annoying to handle.

The drink list was also large and detailed.

The amuse bouche was served on the ground. It was like a goat cheese tart or mousse. Because it wasn’t on the menu, I couldn’t really tell what it was and didn’t ask the flight attendant. However, it was quite nice and flavorful. I believe the sauce was spinach-based, which is something I really don’t see in dishes on flights.

Lufthansa First Class Amuse Bouche
Lufthansa First Class amuse bouche. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Shortly after takeoff, a flight attendant prepared my table with incredible precision. It is worth noting that the tray table is very large and Lufthansa’s service makes use of a fair bit of the space. I opted to start right away with some caviar. As I’ve never had caviar before, I was keen to try it. I like to try new things on a plane. In the end, I really did enjoy the caviar and received two servings.

First Class Caviar
Lufthansa First Class caviar. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Then, I went for some smoked salmon. The presentation, again, was phenomenal. As for the salmon, I enjoyed it with the sides.

Lufthansa First Class smoked salmon appetizer. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

For my main course, I decided to try something German. The flight attendant recommended the asparagus with sauce hollandaise. I also took some ham on the side.

Lufthansa Main Course
White asparagus with sauce hollandaise. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

I’m normally not someone who likes asparagus. However, this dish was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the sauce which was nice and creamy. The only drawback of the dish was that there wasn’t enough sauce, in my opinion. Other than that, it was fantastic.

To finish, I went with some chocolate with praline ice cream.

Lufthansa chocolate with praline ice cream. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

I have a very big sweet tooth and this dish hit the spot. It was the perfect portion size and I loved the presentation. Lufthansa really did well when it comes to the overall meal service.

About 90 minutes before landing, I had some breakfast. A cart was wheeled around by each passenger and you could select what you wanted to eat from the cart. To drink, I went with some mango juice and a cappuccino.

Lufthansa First Class breakfast. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

For breakfast, I went with a roll, some fruit slices, curd cream with raspberry coulis, and salmon. Flight attendants also made fresh scrambled egg if you wanted to have some. It was by no means an extravagant breakfast, but I liked being able to tailor the meal to what and how I wanted after seeing the portion size.

In terms of timing, Lufthansa’s meal service is more dine on demand. That is, I ate at my pace. I did not have to worry about the next batch of service arriving before I was finished with the current one. All in all, breakfast took about an hour and I spent just over three hours completing my dinner.

Turndown service

After dinner, the crew completed a turndown service for each passenger. Since there were four open seats, we could choose a different seat to sleep in. However, I chose to remain in my seat– 3A.

Lufthansa First Class bed
The First Class turndown service came with a mattress pad, additional bedding, and a pillow. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The partition was high enough and large enough to block out any real disturbance from the aisle and I was able to sleep well. Unfortunately, the partition only has two settings: up or down. That is, you couldn’t choose to open the partition only halfway. 

Lufthansa First Class Bed
Lufthansa First Class bed with a raised privacy partition. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Cabin crew

There were two flight attendants working First Class. Both were absolutely phenomenal. They were very friendly and open to conversation. We had a few conversations in the galley about their work and their layover in Johannesburg.

When it came to meal service, they were always on top of things. With only four passengers, the flight attendant to passenger ratio was as close to a private jet you can get. In addition, both flight attendants seemed glad to be working. They definitely enjoyed their job and passed on some of that enjoyment to the passengers.

Arrival experience

After I disembarked, a Lufthansa representative escorted me through immigration, helped me collect my baggage, and check in for my next flight on South African to Cape Town. He was efficient and phenomenal.

However, I was most impressed with Lufthansa’s baggage system. First Class bags were the first ones off the belt. Within 30 minutes of arriving, I was waiting for my next flight at the South African Airways lounge in Johannesburg.

Overall

This was an absolutely fantastic flight. I have nothing but positive memories to take from it. Without a doubt, I would recommend Lufthansa First Class.

On many routes, Lufthansa’s First Class is priced well compared to other airlines. That being said, I’d much rather use my miles to book a First Class flight. If I have the flexibility, I would definitely wait for Lufthansa First Class availability.

Have you flown Lufthansa First Class? Would you fly Lufthansa First Class? Let us know in the comments!

1 comment
  1. I too am impressed with Lufthansa’s First Class service, though it has been more than 5 years since I last flew it. I very much like the open feeling of the cabin and have never been a fan of suites on other airlines which I find tight and claustrophobic. I prefer LH’s open seating configuration to all other First Class services. Their service is exceptional and I was treated well both inside the plane and in the airport. My only wish for improvement is for more American cuisine offerings. I don’t really care for German food and find it quite heavy. Living in California I am used to lighter offerings, but if given the opportunity I would love a small filet mignon when compared to German fare. Enjoyed your review.

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