I recently enjoyed a FABULOUS holiday in Thailand, including a stay at my favorite hotel in the world, Soneva Kiri. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport (today)
- Review: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class from Frankfurt to Bangkok
- Review: Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood (my favorite hotel in the world)
- Review: Park Hyatt Hotel Bangkok
- Review: Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok
- Review: Thai Airways Boeing B747 First Class from Bangkok to Munich
Today (April 4, 2018): Review of Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt Airport.
On February 9th 2018, I flew First Class in a Lufthansa Airbus A380 from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany to Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), also known unofficially as Bangkok Airport, in Thailand. One of the great perks about flying First Class with Lufthansa is that it gives you access to the über-exclusive Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, widely considered one of the best airport lounges in the world and essentially thé Mecca for frequent flyers. Everything in the lounge (which is housed in its own separate terminal) is geared to your personal well-being while spending your pre-flight hours. The space has relax chairs, quiet rooms with day beds, spacious bath and shower rooms, fine wining and dining with cuisine by Michelin-starred chefs, a cigar lounge, a bar where the drinks include more than 130 different varieties of whisky, offices, and a spa. Best of all, once your flight is ready for boarding, you are driven from the terminal to the plane across the tarmac in a limousine.
The Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt features in my top 10 list of the best First Class lounges in the world.
In this review (more info below the Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Lounge entry rules
- How to get to the First Class Terminal
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
1. LOUNGE ENTRY RULES
Access to the First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport is only possible with when you are flying First Class on a Lufthansa operated plane:
- When you First Class Lufthansa journey starts in Frankfurt, then you will check-in at the First Class Terminal itself.
- When you are catching a connecting flight via Frankfurt to a First Class Lufthansa flight, you also have access to the First Class Terminal. However, most transit passengers make use of the Lufthansa First Class lounges within the airport and not the First Class Terminal, since the latter is located outside the main airport facilities, and you need the leave the main airport terminal to access the First Class terminal, which may be inconvenient and time-consuming.
- When you are connecting from a Lufthansa First Class flight via Frankfurt to a Lufthansa, Swiss, or Austrian Airlines flight on the same day, you also have access to the First Class Terminal.
The top-tier member of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program Miles & More (HON Circle members) can also access the First Class Terminal on condition that they are traveling on a same-day departing flight on Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian Airlines (regardless of the class they are booked in).
Passengers who have booked a flight that departs from Frankfurt and connects to a First Class flight with SWISS International Air Lines from Zürich can also use the Lufthansa First Terminal before their departure.
When you meet the requirements mentioned above, you can also bring a guest with you into the First Class Terminal provided that he or she is booked on the same Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines or SWISS flight as yourself. Your spouse or partner and any children under 18 years of age must be in possession of a valid boarding pass for a flight on the same day as you are flying.
Unfortunately, access to the First Class Terminal is not permitted for arriving passengers, since there aren’t any arrival services at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. Arriving passengers can use the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, which is located behind baggage claim in the B arrivals area.
2. HOW TO GET TO THE FIRST CLASS TERMINAL
If you are arriving by car, take the access road to Terminal 1 and turn right (signposted ‘First Class Terminal’) approximately 200 metres or 650 feet before Terminal 1.
If you are arriving by public transport, the First Class Terminal is just a few minutes walk away from Terminal 1.
When you arrive in Frankfurt via a connecting flight, you need to clear immigration, exit the main terminal, turn left and walk for about five minutes past the taxi stand to the First Class Terminal (which is visible in the distance from the moment you exit the main terminal). At some points, it feels like you are leaving the airport for good, but you need to keep walking.
3. PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- As the name suggests, the lounge is located in a separate terminal, located away from the main airport terminal itself, lending it a sense of exclusivity. When you arrive with your own car, you can drive straight up to the First Class Terminal and hand your car over to the valet parking service. When you arrive with your rental car, the car will be returned for you (regardless of the car rental agency).
- A personal assistant is assigned to each passengers and is waiting for you in the entrance area of the First Class Terminal, which is reminiscent of the lobby of a high-end hotel. He or she takes care of all travel formalities, accompanies you through the Terminal’s own security check-point (where you never have to wait in line of course) and checks you in for your flight. The assistant keeps your passport and boarding pass for the duration of your stay in the lounge, so that you don’t have to worry about it.
- In case you want to pick up some goods prior to your flight, a boutique shop with a bespoke selection of duty-free items is located between the security check-point and the entrance to the lounge itself.
- The lounge features a convenient layout. When you enter the lounge, there is a selection of magazines and newspaper as well as a concierge desk on your left side, while a waterfall, a bar and the restaurant are found on your right side. Several intimate seating areas, separated by large columns, are spread out along the floor-to-ceiling windows with luxurious leather arm chairs and relaxation chairs offering plenty of opportunities to wind down. Some seats are arranged around coffee tables, where set-ups of snacks (e.g. mixed nuts and dried fruits) and several water types are on display. Several 82-inch LED TV make sure you don’t have to miss anything about the news.
- The lounge’s stunning design feels more like a minimalist Aman hotel than an airport lounge. The dimply lit space is decorated in soft colors, with dark stone floors and wooden walls creating a warm ambience. Back-lit glass surfaces are used in the bar and restaurant area, adding a nice modern touch to the design. Overall, the decor exudes a senses of calm, tranquility and serenity, exactly what you need while waiting for a flight.
- The lounge itself isn’t as big as you may think at first (given the size of the terminal building), although large enough to accommodate the few dozen passengers that make use of it each day. The lounge never feels very crowded. To give you an idea, I spent an entire afternoon in the First Class Terminal (from 1 pm to 9 pm) and only counted twenty-something other passengers.
- The lounge’s centerpiece and eyecatcher is the stylish bar, which features back-lit glass panels and high-top seats. The bar serves all kind of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including more than 130 varieties of whisky. You don’t have to go to the bar though to order drinks, as servers walk around the lounge to take orders. In front of the main bar is separate bar counter with some more high-top seats and an impressive display of Haribo Gold-Bears gummi candies.
- Dining at the lounge is exceptional, with both an expansive buffet and an a la carte menu on offer. The open restaurant features only a dozen tables, which are arranged in a few clusters separated by large dividers. Catering is provided by DO&CO, the same company that caters for several airlines, including Asiana, Austrian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines and more. The buffet, which is supposed to complement the menu, is the most impressive airport buffet I have ever seen, featuring everything from a ham slicer and home-made salads to a wide variety of amuse bouches and cheeses. I choose a Wiener schnitzel (veal escaloppe Viennese style) from the menu, which tasted delicious and was served with potato, cucumber and cabbage salad.
- If you want to work in discreet surroundings, you can use one of the five separate office units that are equipped with free services (Wi-Fi, landline for local calls, fax).
- The First Class Terminal features two quiet rooms with day beds for those who want to take a nap (although I am not sure why you would want to do that in this fabulous place). The rooms are available on a first come first serve basis.
- There are also four shower rooms (including one with a jacuzzi bathtub) for those who want to refresh before or after a flight.
- In front of the restaurant is a surprisingly spacious and enclosed cigar room, which is in fact a smoking room and comes with its own self-serve bar. The cigars are not complimentary though.
- A small spa, in cooperation with BABOR, offers a retreat from the every day travel norm. You can enjoy a complimentary fifteen minute spa treatment upon request, although longer spa treatments need to be paid for.
- A rubber duck is given to guests as a souvenir. These Lufthansa ducks are quite famous and represent a collector’s item among frequent flyers since their design changes monthly.
- Once your flight is ready for boarding, your personal assistant will fetch you and escort you downstairs to the Terminal’s lower level where passport control occurs if you are departing on a non-Schengen flight. Next, because of the Terminal’s remote location, you are driven by limousine from the First Class Terminal to your plane. Lufthansa makes use of a fleet of new Mercedes S-Class, BMW and Porche Cayenne cars, although you may also end up in a Mercedes van if more passengers need to board the same flight.
4. CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- The First Class Terminal is not very convenient for connecting passengers. When you arrive in Frankfurt via a connecting flight, you have to clear immigration, follow the street signs, leave the main airport building, turn left and walk for about 5 minutes to the First Class Terminal (which is not well signposted). All in all, this can consume a lot of time and involve a lot of walking, hence why most connecting First Class passengers prefer to stay within the main airport building and make use of the facilities offered by the First Class lounges (instead of those offered by the First Class Terminal).
- It’s very quiet inside the First Class Terminal. When you have a phone conversation, everyone will be able to hear it. It is the sort of place where you feel obliged to talk in whispers. When you are here with kids, you may panic a little, although there is a children’s room to keep the younger VIP guests busy away from the main lounge area.
- Although the lounge features floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the airport environment, you cannot see the apron or runway from the First Class Terminal nor any of the planes (which is disappointing for the aviation geeks among us).