I’ve flown first-class before, but I’ve always been ready to get off the plane and experience the pleasure of a new city or country.
This flight was different. This flight was why I play the miles game. Lufthansa first-class is perfection. Perfection is rare and worth celebrating – enjoy my review!
As is typical, I was going to be late to the airport, so I took a car from Harlem to Newark, which was around $80, but saved me three separate trains. I practiced my French with the chauffeur, who was from Burkina Faso, and thought it a welcome omen for Paris. After getting dropped off, I headed for the Lufthansa first-class counter. The counter attendant was lovely and after I had my boarding pass and baggage tag asked me “Would you prefer an escort through security?” I’m not one to turn down free stuff, so I accepted.
Having an “escort” meant that I bypassed both the regular and premium security lines, at least 200 people in total. Literally, I went right up to the machine, grabbed 2 plastic bins and put my bags through the scanner. It felt insane and I’m sure I caught unkind looks from other passengers, but I felt like I was flying, already! Of course, I opted out and had the TSA pat me down, but I saved probably 45 minutes of standing around. This left more time at the lounge.
At Newark, Lufthansa has a new first-class lounge under construction. The current lounge is accessed though the much airier and brighter SAS business-class lounge, which I had access to due to Star Alliance sharing. I presented my boarding pass to the attendant, asked for the wifi code, and entered the lounge. Decently stocked with hot and cold food but ripe with alcohol, the lounge was crowded due to the size and I caught funny looks from a couple of the older passengers. This was probably due to my recent Kid’n’Play haircut and lemon lime Nikes. No matter. I spent most of my time in the SAS lounge, which had worse food but the same amount of alcohol, or outside both lounges calling friends and family.,
Eventually, after a 30 minute delay, the attendant who led me through security was joined by another Lufthansa representative and they separated the six first-class passengers into two groups of three and led us to the gate, where we checked in and went up one of the two jetways. There was a small delay on the jetway, but eventually I was climbing the steps to the second deck of the Boeing 747-400. A JUMBO JET! ME!
The upper deck is gorgeous and capacious. There are only eight seats – the other eight seats were torn out and replaced with beds. Yes, beds that push seven feet with five-inch mattress pads, sheets and a duvet. I was in seat 82H, which I preferred over the two in front of me because I wanted some quantity of space between my seat and the lavatory.
The seat just looked comfortable; it was. After sitting down, the flight attendant came over to introduce herself, place a rose by the television and asked what I wanted to drink. The only correct answer in first-class is champagne. Shortly, I was brought a flute, a glass of still water and warm nuts. Delicious!
I imbibed one more before we started the take-off and the flight attendant came by to take the flute away, since it was glass. The sensation of the plane moving on-ground was slightly unsettling – I could really feel how high up I was.
The take-off roll didn’t seem out of the ordinary, despite the aircraft’s size. There were pleasant views of Manhattan from my side of the plane and I took some pictures.
When we were finally at cruising altitude, the purser/first officer(?) came by and introduced himself and took my dinner order. I didn’t see him again until we landed, so I’m not sure what he is supposed to exactly do.
Since the flight was a little less than 8 hours, dinner rapidly commenced. Caviar was first and while it was tasty, I can’t imagine spending hundreds of dollars ordering a portion. However, eating caviar and drinking champagne felt regal as hell.
The table was set beautifully; plated, with weighty silverware and a tablecloth. It felt like a dinner at a sumptuous restaurant with the individual courses. After the caviar came the appetizers – prawns, an assorted plate of vegetables, beef and a salad.
At this point, I was pretty full, and the main course hadn’t even arrived yet. I had ordered the seared pork with ratatouille and potatoes fondant. Again, superlative. I really couldn’t believe this was airline food.
Since I’m American and not French, I skipped the cheese and went straight for the dessert, which was a chocolate mousse creation with fresh blueberries and strawberries and vanilla ice cream. All this food was being mixed down with copious amounts of champagne and red wine and, at this point after a two-hour meal, I was feeling sleepy.
In other words, pajama time. Conveniently, the flight attendants had turned off the main cabin lights. The Van Laack branded pajamas I received were soft and drapey, without being comically oversize. I put them on, climbed into my bed and said some thank yous – mostly to Chase, United and Bluebird! I fell asleep in minutes and slept extremely peacefully for a solid three hours.
Conversely, when I woke up I had no idea where I was for ten seconds. The flight attendant materialized out of nowhere and asked if I needed anything – I asked for a couple of bottles of water. Predictive and attentive, or the exact opposite of US flight attendants; this is why foreign carriers are so pleasing.
I wasn’t that hungry at breakfast and had a small portion of yogurt and fruit, along with some orange juice that put the entire state of Florida to shame, if it wasn’t already. Seriously, the OJ was luscious and drained quickly, ergo no pictures.
I changed back into my regular clothes and watched part of a movie until we landed. The landing was smooth and I was excited to get off the plane and take a proper shower and bath in the Lufthansa First-Class Lounge.
I made sure I had all of my belongings and walked somewhat sadly down the stairs. The flight attendants on the lower deck were holding back the business-class passengers until all the first-class passengers had deplaned – first on, first off!
This flight was perfect – no turbulence, attentive without being intrusive, superior vittles and vino and a most relaxing space to sleep. Another 3-4 hours onboard would have been totally agreeable to me. So, I pray that I will again have the fortune to experience Lufthansa first-class, as it’s truly a product that is world-class without them having to say so – a rare quality in this hyper-aggrandizing world.
Thanks for reading! I put lots of pictures from this trip on Instagram @TheWindowSuite and of course, you can email me with any questions: windowseatwindowsuite (at) gmail.