It was tough to leave the Lufthansa’s first-class lounge in Frankfurt, but I was excited to return to Paris for the first time in four years. I reluctantly left the lounge after hitting up the water bar, again, and walked 5-10 minutes to my gate.
Intra-European business class isn’t, really; it’s economy-class with the middle seat blocked off (seatmap here). The seats were the slimline ones that United is going to introduce soon and are completely fine for flights of only 279 miles, like mine.
I managed to stay awake, despite having slept only three hours the night before, and took some pictures out of the plane window.
Since the flight was around 80 minutes, meal service got started pretty quickly. Even though I was stuffed from dinner the night before and the first-class lounge, I just wanted to see what they had, so I ordered breakfast.
While nothing was spectacular, everything was definitely grades above edible and way ahead of anything I’ve had on a similar, early-morning US flight. The yogurt, once mixed, was probably the tastiest food item. Both flight attendants were unfailingly polite and keep bringing me OJ and water.
After the quick meal, I fell asleep for probably 30-40 minutes and woke up as we were landing at CDG.
As my friend and I were sitting in the second row, we deplaned promptly and then the real fun began. I wanted to go brush my teeth at and check out the Star Alliance lounge, but since CDG isn’t set up for deplaning passengers – even ones who have already been through passport control – to go to the lounges; they are only for departing passengers. I walked through a security gate and made it about 5 steps before an Air France employee yelled at me to come back, because what I was doing was illegal. She didn’t make a huge stink about it and I realized then that in the US, it could have been a huge security brouhaha.
Then we went to the luggage carousel and waited for my bag, except my luggage didn’t come. We quickly found the Lufthansa lost baggage desk and after filling out some paperwork – mainly letting the attendant know what hotels we were to be staying at – she gave me 100 euro and told me that my luggage was found in Frankfurt, but didn’t get on the flight to Paris, for some reason. Oops….
Now, not to be vindictive, and considering that our flight was on miles, not money, I don’t want to sound like a bratty first-class passenger, but I have to say this: There were six first-class passengers on my flight from Newark to Frankfurt, six people out of eight total first-class seats whose luggage could not be misplaced and who deserved all the eyes and ears that Lufthansa had to offer. I was one of them. Although it’s still not right, there are over 300 seats on a Lufthansa 747, so I can understand a business or economy passenger’s luggage getting misplaced. However, Lufthansa, if they want to be a global leader (which they say they are) in the airline industry, simply cannot ever misplace or delay a first-class passenger’s luggage.
In my case, I was mollified by the 100 euro and the fact that I hadn’t paid for the flight, but if I had paid the full $11,000 for my ticket (and my French was better), I would have been beyond irate with the Lufthansa baggage representative. To her undying credit, the Lufthansa representative was courteous and was very insistent that I would get my luggage either that day or the next, which was what I wanted to hear. It ended up being only a delay of an hour or so, and since it was Sunday in France, nothing was really open that early, so the delay, overall, wasn’t major.
Overall, and excluding the baggage, both Lufthansa flights were beyond reproach and I throughly enjoyed the fact that I paid around 3% of the actual cost of the flight, but was still treated like a konig. If you have United miles and want to fly somewhere, make it Lufthansa – the first-class is the best inflight experience I’ve ever had and the business class is excellent, too.
Now, on to Versailles and the Trianon Waldorf-Astoria!