Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Prior to the pandemic, I enjoyed a ‘colorful’ holiday in India. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa Airbus A350 Business Class from Munich to New Delhi
- Review: The Taj Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur
- Review: The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur
- Review: The Leela Palace Hotel, New Delhi
- Review: Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class from New Delhi to Frankfurt (today)
Today (August 12, 2020): Review of Lufthansa’s Airbus A380 First Class (New Delhi to Frankfurt)
A few weeks prior to the coronavirus outbreak, I flew First Class in a Lufthansa Airbus A380 from New Delhi to Frankfurt. Lufthansa is Germany’s flag carrier and a founding member of the largest airline alliance in the world, Star Alliance. When combined with its subsidiaries Swiss Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings, Lufthansa is the largest airline in Europe, both in terms of passengers carried and fleet size of more than 700 aircrafts. Since the pandemic began, Lufthansa has decided to ground its A380 fleet until at least 2022. The superjumbos will only fly again “if demand picks up” and there’s a chance they may never return to service. Unfortunately, this may well be the last trip report onboard Lufthansa’s A380 and a tribute to the carrier’s iconic aircraft.
Have you ever flown First Class with Lufthansa? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
- Trip: New Delhi (DEL) to Frankfurt (FRA)
- Airline: Lufthansa
- Aircraft type: Airbus A380
- Aircraft registration number: D- AIMM
- On time departure: yes (3.30 am)
- On time arrival: yes (10 am; + 1 day)
- Miles: 3800 miles
- Flight time: 8 hours & 30 minutes
- Seat: 1A
- Class: First Class
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- First Class cabin
- First Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Amenities & bedding
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
I paid 1050 euros for my return Business Class ticket from Germany to New Delhi. That’s a great deal (and about half the regular price) for a Business Class flight between Europe and India. I booked the ticket on the Lufthansa website during a promotion. I used 50,000 Miles & More miles to upgrade the return leg (New Delhi to Frankfurt) from Business Class to First Class. Miles & More is the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa (read my review here).
Lufthansa operates its own lounge at Delhi International Airport, located in area B of Terminal 3, behind the duty free shops. The lounge is surprisingly large, with several stylish sitting areas comprised of comfortable arm chairs. The space is designed in Lufthansa’s elegant signature style, with one wall featuring an enormous photo of the Bavarian Alps in Germany. The lounge doesn”t have windows (except for some glass panels in the roof), so there’s not a lot of daylight.
An excellent buffet is on display in the lounge’s center, with salads, sandwiches, cakes, cereals, soups, chips, warm dishes, and fresh fruits. There’s also a decent selection of beverages. All food and drinks at the lounge are complimentary. Next to the buffet station is a small dining area, which comprises some tables for two, as well as a communal table with bar stools
The lounge is open from 8.30 pm to 2.30 am. It gets crowded here at midnight, prior to the departures of the Lufthansa & Swiss flights. The lounge’s far end features a quiet area though, separated from the main lounge by a glass wall.
3. FIRST CLASS CABIN
Lufthansa’s First Class cabin is located in the front of the A380 upper deck. The small and intimate cabin feels airy and spacious because it does not have overhead bins and lacks completely enclosed suites like the ones you find on the A380s of Emirates and Etihad Airways. Instead, Lufthansa choose for open seats, based on passenger feedback, although sliding partitions can be raised to transform the seats into semi-enclosed suites.
There are 8 First Class seats in total, spread across two rows and arranged in a traditional 1-2-1 configuration. Of course, all seats have direct aisle access. The 4 seats on the side are ideal for solo travelers (with 3 windows per seat, although the A380 windows on the upper deck are quite small), while the 4 seats in the middle are perfect for those traveling with a companion. But if you are a solo traveler and you end up in one the middle seats, there’s no problem as you can raise a divider for complete privacy.
The cabin’s clear lines and muted colors – soft yellow panels contrasting with dark brown seat covers – create a feel of understated luxury. The decor is not as opulent as on Emirates nor as refined as on Qatar Airways, but it feels warm, relaxing, and above all, very German. A small vase with a single red rose is attached to each seat wall, adding a classy touch to the soft and creamy colored space. A small wet bar (with water, Champagne, and orange juice) is located between the cabin’s front wall and the middle two seats in the first row, which is used by the flight attendants to store the wine and small plates during the extensive meal service (more on that below). There are also several private lockers in the cabin’s front (each passenger is assigned one locker upon boarding).
Click here for the seat map of Lufthansa’s Airbus A380.
4. FIRST CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
Lufthansa’s First Class seat doesn’t feature a closed suite design which is now standard for most First Class products. This was a well-balanced choice though of Lufthansa, based on customer feedback. While visually less striking and impressive as enclosed suites, I prefer an ‘open seat’ over an enclosed suite as I don’ like being ‘locked up’ for hours in a small, sometimes claustrophobic box. And Lufthansa combines the best of both worlds, since you can raise a partition to transform the seat in a suite with complete privacy if that’s your preferred seat configuration.
The seat is comfortable in all positions and features generous dimensions with a width of 31 inches (78 cm) and a pitch of 90 inches (230 cm). The seat ranks among the widest seats in the airline industry, and also has a little extra room compared to the First Class seats that you find on Lufthansa’s other aircraft (Boeing 747 and Airbus A330/A340). One arm rest holds the seat controls as well as the control for the privacy screen, while the other arm rest holds the handset for the inflight entertainment system, a USB port and two universal adapters.
The window side of each window seat (or the central side of each middle seat) features storage boxes, a cabinet with the inflight magazines and the safety briefing, and a small fixed table (for drinks & snacks); it also holds a very large tray table which need be pulled out for any use. In front of the seat is a large retractable ottoman, which can be positioned to create the ideal footrest and doubles as a storage box. A 17 inch entertainment screen is fixed above the ottoman, which is on the small side considering some airlines now offer 30 inch TV screens.
Upon request, the flight attendants turn the seat into a fully flat-bed with a length of 81 inches (205 cm). The bed is covered with a comfortable mattress topper and temperature-regulating duvet, and dressed with Fleuresse cotton sheets, a throw, and a thick pillow. The bed(ding) is superb and I was able to sleep for a couple of hours during the flight.
What are the best First Class seats on Lufthansa’s Airbus A380? Click here for a seat map.
- Solo travelers should go fo the window seats, while companions should choose the middle seats.
What are the worst First Class seats on Lufthansa’s Airbus A380? Click here for a seat map.
- There are no bad seats in Lufthansa’s A380 First Class cabin.
5. AMENITIES & BEDDING
Lufthansa’s First Class passengers receive the following amenities:
- An amenity kit which is presented as a stylish grey box. The bag contains the essential items for longhaul travel (e.g. eye mask, ear plugs, a comb, shoe horn, toothbrush, and toothpaste) in addition to three tubes with La Prairie skin products (e.g. moisturizing lip balm, cellular hand creme, and cellular swiss ice crystals).
- Superb bedding (cf above), including a mattress topper, temperature-regulating duvet, Fleuresse cotton sheets, a throw, and a thick pillow.
- Bose noise-cancelling headphones (collected by the crew prior to landing).
- A pair of slippers.
- Van Laack branded pajamas, with top and bottom separately packed.
- A Lufthansa branded hot pad as a farewell gift (nice gesture!).
Lufthansa’s First Class product is known for its excellent menus that have been prepared using seasonal and regional produce. The carrier’s on-board catering is provided by LSG Sk Chefs, a subsidiary of Lufthansa and the biggest airline caterer in the world. On this particular flight, the menu was created in collaboration with Leela Hotels, one of India’s premium hotel brands. A dinner was served right after takeoff, and breakfast about 90 minutes prior to landing (although you could have your meals at any time you wanted).
I choose the following selection from the dinner menu:
- Caviar with traditional garnishes
- Trio of starters:
- Grilled and marinated chicken breast, roasted baby corn, and asparagus
- Lobster with mint and peppers and citrus fruits
- Eggplant tomato hazelnut chaat, spinach ki tikki
- Seasonal salad with red wine poached pears, toasted walnut, and blue cheese
- Marinated steamed seabass, dried tomato basil and garlic herb butter accompanied by green couscous
- Selection of desserts (rolled out on a trolley):
- Duet of raspberry and chocolate with pistachio, strawberry coulis, and whipped cream
- Fresh fruit
- Lauenstein pralines
Ninety minutes prior to landing, a breakfast buffet was rolled out on a trolley, comprising the following items:
- Mango and passion fruit smoothie
- Fresh fruit
- Assorted berries or fruits in glass
- Chocolate and strawberry muesli with milk and yogurt
- Salmon gravlax
- Parma ham and prosciutto cotto
- Gouda and Brie cheese
- Main dish: scrambled eggs with bacon
Lufthansa’s in-flight entertainment program offers a decent selection 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 choice of entertainment content for families and children. In addition, live TV channels featuring sports highlights are offered. 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. Lufthansa’s A380s are also equipped with a tail camera.
There are two features though that I don’t like about Lufthansa’s inflight entertainment system:
- The TV screen is rather small (17 inch), especially when you know that some airlines now offer 30 inch TV screens in their premium class cabins.
- 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.
8. 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. Lufthansa’s First Class passengers get a voucher for complimentary WiFi.
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: The Lufthansa flight attendants on this particular flight were awesome, efficient and superfriendly. As I have mentioned before, I always feel safe when in Lufthansa’s experienced hands.
# LAVATORY: There are two palatial lavatories for First Class passengers in the A380’s nose. Both lavatories feature a bench, large mirrors, sink, luxurious toiletries, urinal, and flowers. Contrary to Emirates and Etihad Airways, there are no showers onboard Lufthansa’s A380s.
# VIEWS: We enjoyed clear weather over Europe, affording great views of the Alps.
10. MY VERDICT
- Lufthansa lounge (Delhi): 8/10
- Cabin design: 7/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 10/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 10/10
- Food (quality): 8/10
- Food (quantity): 8/10
- Inflight entertainment : 6/10
- WiFi: 7/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: excellent: 8,4/10
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