Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Last March, I enjoyed a sublime holiday in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa A330 Business Class Frankfurt to Male (today)
- Review: Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway
- Review: Soneva Jani, the Maldives’ most amazing resort
- Review: Shangri-La Colombo Hotel (Sri Lanka)
- Review: Wild Coast Tented Lodge (Yala National Park, Sri Lanka)
- Review: Aman tour in Sri Lanka: Amangalla
- Review: Aman tour in Sri Lanka: Amanwella
- Review: Austrian Airlines B777 Business Class Colombo to Vienna
Today (May 9, 2018): Trip report: Lufthansa Airbus A330 Business Class from Frankfurt to Male.
On March 14th 2018, I flew Business Class in a Lufthansa Airbus A330 from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany to Velana International Airport (MLE), also known as Malé International Airport, the main gateway to the Maldives. The onboard service was great – I am a big fan of Lufthansa – but unfortunately, their hard product is light-years behind the competition. Lufthansa’s cabin configuration (2-2-2), the Business Class seat itself (and especially its total lack of privacy) as well as the mediocre sleeping amenities are disappointing and not in line with what you would expect from an airline that was recently awarded a 5 star rating by Skytrax. The good news is that Lufthansa will introduce a new seat and cabin layout by 2021.
Have you ever flown Lufthansa’s Business Class? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.
- Trip: Frankfurt (FRA) to Male (MLE)
- Airline: Lufthansa
- Aircraft type: Airbus A330-300
- Aircraft registration number: D-AIKS
- Flight Number: LH704
- Date: March 14, 2018
- On time departure: yes (7.30 pm)
- On time arrival: yes (8.30 am; + 1 day)
- Miles: 4898
- Flight time: 9 hours
- Seat: 11K
- Class: Business
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- Lufthansa Business Lounge C14/C15 at Frankfurt
- Facts & figures about Lufthansa’s A330 longhaul fleet
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst suites)
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
- My verdict (score)
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1. COST OF MY TICKET
The cost of my one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Male was 250 euros + 52,500 Miles& More miles. Miles and More is the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa.
2. LUFTHANSA BUSINESS LOUNGE C14/C15 AT FRANKFURT
Lufthansa operates 15 separate lounges at its hub in Frankfurt, including the famous First Class Terminal, which I reviewed here. My flight to the Maldives departed from one of the C gates in Terminal One, which is the section of Frankfurt Airport with the most underwhelming lounges. Lufthansa operates two similar gate lounges here, one near gate C16 and one that serves gates C14 and C15. This review covers the lounge near gates C14 & C15 (the lounge near gate C16 is similar in layout and design).
The lounge at gates C14&C15 is a long, rectangular space, located one floor above the main concourse, with on one side floor-to-ceiling windows offering a nice view of the apron and runway. Arm chairs, arranged in groups of four, are set up along the windows, with several small tables in between, some of them featuring power plugs to charge your devices. A buffet takes center stage in the lounge, and the food and beverage offering is quite decent, with a large choice of drinks and a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, and a few hot dishes (e.g. soup, Thai dishes, Indian curries). Some high tables with bar stools are set up around the buffet area, including some dinner tables where you can either dine of work.
Unfortunately, IMHO, the Business Class lounge at gates C14&C15 is not very pretty (the other Lufthansa lounges at Frankfurt are much better). It’s not the view nor the (abundance of) space itself that disappoints, but rather the overall ambience and design. The lack of any decoration in addition to the white, tiled floor contribute to a cold and corporate atmosphere. Both ends of the lounge also feature several rows of ugly seats reminiscent of those you find near a regular gate; I am not sure who brought these seats in, but they definitely don’t belong in a Business Class lounge. On a positive note, there are plenty of seats for all guests (in fact, this lounge is too large for the number of passengers that make use of it, since it only serves two planes at a time) and the lounge offers direct boarding access to the plane.
3. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT LUFTHANSA’S A330 FLEET
Lufthansa has 19 Airbus A330-300 in its fleet (average age 10 years). This aircraft type has been in service with Lufthansa since 2004. This two-engine, long-range jet can carry 221 passengers and has a range of 10,000 kilometers (6214 miles) fully loaded. It is more or less identical with the A340-300, the main difference being that the A340-300 has two additional engines. These Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines were developed specially for the A330 and are quiet but extremely efficient.
4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
Lufthansa’s A330 aircraft come in several layouts, the main difference being that some planes features a First Class while others don’t.
For its seasonal, two weekly flights to the Maldives, Lufthansa operates an A330 with 42 Business Class flat-bed seats with 180 degrees recline, 28 Premium Economy recliner seats, and 185 standard Economy Class seats (but no First Class cabin). The 42 Business Class seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 layout and spread over two cabins with a galley in between. The larger Business Class features 5 rows of 30 seats in total, while the smaller, aft Business Class cabin – located right in front of the Premium Economy Class cabin – features only 12 seats and has a more intimate feel. Both cabins have a clean and unremarkable yet very German-esque design, with white cabin walls and grey seats creating a neutral color palette. The only subtile colors you’ll see are the wooden panels between adjoining seats and the colorful pillows that are placed on the seats upon boarding.
The windows seats are staggered by a few inched (cm), while remarkably, the center seats are angled slightly towards one another. The latter is great for couples but not for solo travelers, since the feet compartment is located right next to the one of your neighbor, and it is possible that your legs and feet occasionally touch the ones of your neighbor while resting or sleeping. Overall, all seats lack privacy, and there’s not even a divider or privacy screen between adjoining seats, which is utterly strange for a relatively new Business Class product.
Click here for the seat map of Lufthansa’s Airbus A330.
5. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
I had chosen seat 11K for the 9 hour flight to the Maldives.
The seat is quite comfortable in the upright position, with a pitch of 162 cm (64 inch) and a width of 52 cm (20,5 inch). A reading light is located next to the head rest. One arm rest holds the seat controls, a handset for the inflight entertainment, and a fold out tray table, while the other arm rests holds a small storage box where you find the noise canceling headphones. Each seat comes with its own, large entertainment screen, whose position can be slightly adjusted to your needs. Two storage drawers are located below the TV screen, and here’s where you also find the ottoman that becomes part of the seat when fully reclined. As mentioned above, center seats share their ottomans, with a small divider in between (although not sufficient to prevent accidental feet cuddling with your neighbor).
At the push of a button, the seat reclines into a full lie flat-bed with a generous length of 78 inch (198 cm). The seat is quite firm though and unfortunately, Lufthansa does not provide a duvet to enhance the sleeping comfort.
What are the best Business Class seats on Lufthansa’s Airbus A330? Click here for a seat map.
- All seats in both cabin, except for the first and last row, are quiet good, especially for couples. Make sure to prebook your seat online (which can be done free of charge) to avoid disappointment at the airport, since Lufthansa flights are often fully packed.
What are the worst Business Class seats on Lufthansa’s Airbus A330? Click here for a seat map.
- The 2-2-2 Business Class layout does not make the cabin very attractive for solo travelers, since you will always end up sitting next to a stranger. And unfortunately, there is no screen between adjoining seats for added privacy.
- Window seats don’t offer direct aisle access.
- Passengers seated in the first row of both cabins may be bothered by the noise of the galley and passengers going to or returning from the lavatories.
- I also suggest to avoid the last row of Business Class, which is just in front of the Premium Economy bassinet seats.
Lufthansa’s Business Class passengers receive the following amenities:
- An amenity kit which comes in the form of a foldable mini maxer shopper that is part of the sustainable Reisenthel connection. The kit features the essential travel items: eye mask, ear plugs, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks and a single breath mint. The kit also contains Korres toiletries: almond blossom moisturizing cream and shea butter lip balm.
- A comfortable, multi-colored pillow.
- A comfortable, marine blue blanket.
- Noise cancelling headphones (you cannot keep these as the crew collects them before landing).
On this overnight flight to the Maldives, dinner was served right after takeoff, and breakfast about 90 minutes prior to landing.
I chose the following selection from the dinner menu:
- Starter: sliced veal roast beef with coleslaw, spiced tomato and wild garlic
- Salad: seasonal leaf lettuce with cucumber, tomato, and pumpkin seed oil vinaigrette
- Main course: fried halibut in curried stock, lentils and pumpkin, basmati rice
- Dessert: peach mousse with verveine and hazelnut sponge + seasonal fruits
The following items were served for breakfast:
- Elderberry yogurt with crunchy muesli and pistachios
- Boiled ham and gouda cheese
- Scrambled egg with cheddar cheese
- Carthusian dumplings, sweet buns coated with cinnamon and sugar, vanilla sauce and caramelized almonds
The inflight entertainment is controlled by a handheld remote, but scrolling with the handset through the selection of movies and TV shows is a bit slow. The program itself offers a large choice with more than 100 films in up to eight different languages. Hollywood blockbusters, new German and European productions and films from Japan, China, India and many other countries cater for all tastes. There are also 200 TV programs available as well as a big choice of entertainment content for families and children. In addition, you can follow the latest news via the live TV channels CNN and Euronews, as well as sports highlights via Sports 24. The audio section features a large selection of CDs, audio books, playlists and podcasts from around the world. Bose noise-cancelling headphones are provided to guarantee the best sound quality.
9. ONBOARD INTERNET
In 2004, Lufthansa was the first airline to offer inflight internet to its passengers on international flights. What is pretty much the norm these days, was a ground breaking change at the time. Lufthansa offers onboard internet via Deutsche Telekom. On this flight, there were 3 individual tariffs for using the internet service:
- One hour of internet: 9 EUR / 10 USD / 65 CNY or 3,000 miles
- Four hours of internet: 14 EUR / 15.50 USD / 100 CNY or 4,500 miles
- Internet during the entire flight: 17 EUR / 19 USD / 125 CNY or 5,500 miles
Since this was a red-eye flight, I did not use the internet, so I cannot comment on the quality of the WiFi signal.
10. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: The Lufthansa flight attendants on this particular flight were professional, efficient and discrete. They seemed to love doing their job (or perhaps they were just excited about their layover in the Maldives).
# LAVATORY: The Lufthansa A330-300 features two lavatories for Business Class passengers, located in the galley between the two Business Class cabins.
# VIEWS: upon landing at MLE, we enjoyed some great aerial views of the Maldevian archipelago, as you can watch for yourself in my clip.
11. MY VERDICT
- Business Class lounge (Frankfurt): 3/10
- Cabin design: 7/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 7/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 8/10
- Seat privacy: 3/10
- Food (quality): 7/10
- Food (quantity): 8/10
- Inflight entertainment : 8/10
- WiFi: 7/10
- Service: 8/10
- Overall experience: good: 7/10
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Business Class on LH 330’s is far superior to Business Class on KL 330’s. The video monitors in KL are (in many of their 330’s) in the arm rests of the seats, are bulk, heavy and small. Seats in “sleep” are 4/10 in KL.
KL will have refurbished its Business Class cabins on all of its A330s by the end of the year with a much better product & seat.
Thanks very much for taking the time to be so complete. I just wanted to know whether to include lotion in my onboard bag, and this very detailed review answered my question!
Strobe lights are turn on prior entering or crossing an active runway. So not accidentally, it was intentionally.
In your video you mention you prefer the aft business class section and you chose seat 11K. However, in your write up you say to avoid the last row of business class near premium economy. If given the choice, would you prefer to be removed from Premium economy or in the aft business class cabin? Thanks for this review. We are taking the same flight to Maldives from Frankfurt and currently have 11H and 11K booked. I’m only wondering if I should switch to get away from premium economy.
Are you this critical of meal service at you home as you are of meal service on flights?