Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
I recently enjoyed a great holiday in Miami & Costa Rica. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Business Class from Frankfurt to Miami (today)
- Review: Acqualina Resort on the Beach, Miami, USA
- Review: Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Nayara Springs & Garden, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Lapa Rios Lodge, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Los Altos Resort, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Andaz Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
- Review: Edelweiss Air Airbus A340 Business Class from Liberia to Zürich
Today: Review: Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Business Class from Frankfurt to Miami
I recently flew in Business Class from Frankfurt to Miami onboard a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8. Flying the Boeing 747 – dubbed the Queen of the Sky – is always an epic experience and Lufthansa is one of the last remaining airlines in the world that still flies this aircraft type, with 27 Boeing 747s in its fleet. The Boeing 747 has been a bestseller with airlines: between the first 747 flight on February 9th 1969 and the end of the 747 production line last year, Boeing has built 1,560 B747 aircraft. The 747-8 is the latest, quieter, more economical, and more environmentally friendly version of the famous aircraft type. The B747-8 features similar engines & cockpit technology as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It is also the world’s longest airplane with a fuselage length of 251 feet (77 m).
But while the Boeing 747 is a marvel of technology (I always feel privileged to fly on one), Lufthansa’s Business Class does not match the grandeur of its flagship aircraft. The cabin configuration (2-2-2 on the lower deck and 2-2 on the upper deck), the lack of privacy as well as the mediocre amenities are disappointing and way behind most of the carrier’s Business Class competitors. The good news is that Lufthansa will introduce a new Business Class seat and cabin layout by next year, so that’s something to look forward to.
Have you ever flown with Lufthansa? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
- Trip: Frankfurt (FRA) to Miami (MIA)
- Airline: Lufthansa
- Aircraft type: Boeing 747-8
- Aircraft registration number: D-ABYJ (built in 2014 and nicknamed ‘Hannover’)
- On time departure: No (10:30 am; + 15 minutes)
- On time arrival: Yes (4 pm)
- Distance: 4820 miles (7760 km)
- Flight time: 10 hours
- Seat: 7K
- Class: Business Class
In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube video):
- Cost of my ticket
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Amenities & bedding
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
I paid this one-way Business Class ticket from Frankfurt to Miami with miles via Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program Miles & More (which I have reviewed here). The total cost of my ticket was 305 euro + 56,000 Miles & More miles.
Lufthansa operates a network of more than 12 lounges at Frankfurt, including a dedicated and exclusive First Class terminal. Prior to my flight to Miami, I visited the carrier’s Business Class lounge in the non-Schengen part of Frankfurt’s terminal 1 (which was closest to the gate from where my flight departed).
The entrance to the lounge – which is open from 6 am to 9:30 pm – is located near gate Z50. The lounge welcomes Business Class passengers flying with Lufthansa or one of the Star Alliance airlines. Elite members of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program Miles & More are sent to the neighboring Senator Lounge which shares its reception area with the Business Class Lounge (both lounges have a similar layout and design). Ineligible passengers traveling on Lufthansa can also purchase lounge access at the reception for 40 EUR (50 USD).
Behind the reception desk is an escalator leading into the lounge itself, which is located one floor above the airport’s main concourse. Next to the escalator is the lounge’s concierge area, where the Lufthansa ground staff assists passengers confronted with unexpected flight delays or cancellations. Overall, the lounge features a modern and pleasant decor, with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing daylight to flood the space and also offering nice views of the apron. Although the lounge it very spacious, it can feel very busy (for example, during my visit, I had the impression that there was not enough seating to accommodate all guests).
A dining area – with some dining tables – takes center stage in the lounge, with all food & beverages being offered on a complimentary basis. A buffet counter is located on the side of the dining area, with a selection of cold items and hot dishes on display (e.g. cold cuts, cheese, pretzels, and scrambled eggs during breakfast hours). Alcoholic drinks include Beck’s and Franziskaner Weissbier beer, a limited selection of wines, and different types of liquor.
Further down the lounge, there are plenty of seating areas, offering different types of ambiance (e.g. TV corner, relaxation & sleeping area, and a work room). Different types of seats are available, including comfortable leather armchairs along the panoramic windows, recliners in the relaxation & sleeping area, sofa chairs with high partitions for more privacy, a couple of benches along the interior walls, and some high tables with bar stools.
Lounge facilities include free WiFi, showers, and luggage lockers.
3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8 features 8 open First Class suites, 80 Business Class flat-bed seats with 180 degrees recline, 32 Premium Economy recliner seats, and 244 standard Economy Class seats. The 80 Business Class seats are spread over three cabins:
- The largest Business Class cabin is located on the lower deck (behind First Class) and features 6 rows of 36 seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 layout.
- The smallest Business Class cabin is also located on the lower deck – separated from the larger Business Class cabin by a galley – and features only 2 rows of 12 seats, also arranged in a 2-2-2 layout.
- The upper deck features a third Business Class cabin with 8 rows of 32 seats, arranged in a 2-2 layout. Due to the 2-2 layout (contrary to the 2-2-2 layout on the lower deck), this cabin has a more intimate feel and is the best Business Class cabin. It almost feels a bit like flying in a private plane. The window seats here also have more storage space (with extra bins on the side) compared to the lower deck Business Class seats.
All three Business Class cabins have a clean and unremarkable yet very German-esque design, with white cabin walls and grey seat covers creating a neutral color palette. The only subtle colors you’ll see are the wooden panels between paired seats and the colorful pillows that are placed on the seats upon boarding.
All pairs of seats along the windows and in the cabin’s center are angled slightly towards one another. This might be 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 paired seats, which nowadays feels dated for a Business Class product.
Click here for the seat map of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8.
4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
The Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Business Class 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. The center arm rest holds the seat controls, a handset for the inflight entertainment, and a fold-out tray table. The other armrest – either along the window or the aisle – can be lowered or raised (this allows for more comfort in the seat’s flatbed position).
Each seat is equipped with its own entertainment screen, whose position can be slightly adjusted according to the passenger’s need. A storage drawer is located below the TV screen, as well as a small footrest (ottoman) that becomes part of the seat when fully reclined. As mentioned above, paired 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 length of 78 inch (198 cm). The seat feels a bit firm though and unfortunately, Lufthansa does not provide a mattress to enhance the sleeping comfort.
What are the best Business Class seats on Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8?
- As mentioned above, the best seats are located on the upper deck. Due to the 2-2 layout (contrary to the 2-2-2 layout on the lower deck), this cabin has a more intimate feel. In addition, the window seats here also have more storage space (with extra bins on the side).
What are the worst Business Class seats on Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8?
- 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 all three 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 the lower deck Business Class, which is just in front of the Premium Economy bassinet seats.
Click here for the seat map of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8.
5. AMENITIES & BEDDING
Lufthansa’s Business Class passengers receive the following amenities on longhaul flights:
- An amenity kit, which is wrapped inside a reusable tote bag. The kit features the essential travel items (e.g. toothpaste, toothbrush, socks and a single breath mint) as well as some L’Occitane toiletries. To reduce waste, eye masks and ear plugs are not provided inside the bag but are available in the lavatories
- A comfortable, multi-colored pillow
- A warm, marine blue blanket
- AKG noise cancelling headphones (which are pretty effective in blocking out the cabin noise)
During this flight, a lunch was served (right after takeoff) as well as a light dinner (prior to landing)
I choose the following selection from the lunch menu:
- Starter: marinated black angus beef, mango & celery salad, asparagus and cranberry
- Main course: cod wrapped in smoked salmon with stewed leek and venus rice
- Cheese: Lenggenwil country cheese, Montagnolo blue cheese and French soft goat cheese
- Après lunch treat: Hachez confiserie praline
Lunch was ok and acceptable for a transatlantic Business Class flight, although IMHO, Lufthansa needs to have some work done in its catering department to raise the bar of its food offering. It’s bizarre that Germany’s home carrier is so mediocre when it comes to its onboard food, while its daughter company Austrian offers some of the best meals in the sky.
Two hours prior to touchdown, a light dinner was served (on one tray). It comprised roast beef with potato salad as a main course and roasted almond cream with caramel sauce as a dessert.
Lufthansa’s Boeing 747 inflight entertainment is controlled by a handheld remote, but unfortunately, scrolling with the handset through the selection of movies and TV shows is very slow. The program itself has a dated layout, but nonetheless it 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. Lufthansa’s B747s are also equipped with a belly and nose cameras, whose broadcasts are directly streamed on the TVs.
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. On this flight, there were three individual tariffs for using the internet service (called ‘FlyNet’):
|Fare||FlyNet® Messenger||FlyNet® Premium 2 hour
||FlyNet® Premium Full Flight
|Description||Stay in touch with friends and family via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or iMessage.||Ideal for VPN email services, faster Internet surfing, sending messages and sharing pictures via social networks.||Ideal for VPN email services, faster Internet surfing, sending messages and sharing pictures via social networks.|
|Price||from 5 EUR / 7 USD / 45 CNY or 1,700 miles||from 15 EUR / 18 USD / 125 CNY or 5,000 miles||from 25 EUR / 27 USD / 200 CNY or 8,300 miles|
|Valid on the entire flight||✓||For a duration of 2 hours||✓|
|Speed||up to 100 kbit/s||up to 4 Mbps||up to 4 Mps|
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: The Lufthansa flight attendants on this flight were professional, efficient and discrete.
# LAVATORY: there are seven lavatories for the Business Class passengers: Four lavatories are located on the lower deck and three on the upper deck.
10. MY VERDICT
- Seat comfort (upright): 8/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 7/10
- Privacy: 3/10
- Food (quality): 7/10
- Food (quantity): 7/10
- Inflight entertainment : 6
- WiFi: 9/10
- Service: 8/10
- Cabin design: 7/10
- Overall experience: mediocre – 6/10
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I agree it is always something special to fly the 747! The fact that they allocate the upper deck for business is a benefit if you are flying business class…. gives you a bit of the elite feeling. But you are on point that the soft product component is quite pedestrian. On the scale of the quality from economy to First, business class is positioned too closely to economy and too short of First.
I’ve always resisted flying Lufthansa, even in Europe, along with British Airways. I recently booked flights to Zurich, on this B747-8, picked the upper deck seats. A few hour later, I canceled the entire itinerary. I can’t stand the seats. Lufthansa and British Airways have terrible business class products in their narrow-body aircrafts, too. They didn’t seem to have grown with time. British Airway’ Club World seats on the A380s & B787s are terrible. I haven’t tried the new ones with privacy doors.
Flew FRA to CPT in May 2022. Ancient business class product, terrible privacy. No space for personal items. Comfortable seat though, slept all night. Food and service was okay. Flying back CPT to MUC in December and that will be the last Lufthansa business class flight I fly until the product gets a serious overhaul. Agree that it is mediocre and very poor value for money at €5500.
I flew LH business class Munich to Bangkok on 29 July 2022, A350-900 aircraft. It was a connecting flight from Bremen and on to Bangkok, so there was no other LH group alternative.
I share all the sentiments of the writer of this review.
Very poor privacy in the ‘open plan’ cabin design; not the best lie-flat bed by a long shot, and well outdone by similar class products on SWISS and Austrian, where once can travel solo in a ‘private’ window seat.
I fell victim to a poor design feature at the seat: the large cover to the retractable tray also acts as a second spot where one may locate a second glass or a cup of hot beverage. In the reduced cabin light it was very easy to inadvertently open the catch of the tray receptacle cover while forgetting that it is also used as a small table top space. Result: drink toppled over into the seat of the fellow passenger, messing up the blanket and luckily avoiding their clothing. Nonetheless an embarrassing but avoidable event if more thought and precaution had been put into the design. Other airline business class layouts avoid this risky feature while still providing more table-top space for more than a single drink.
There was also a noticeable lack of storage space for personal items such as spectacles, tablets, mobile phones, etc.
This cabin is a very poor offering given those offered by SWISS and Austrian, without even considering other business class cabins on competitor airlines. I have also flown the A350-900 on Singapore Airlines from Munich to Singapore, and the cabin appears in a different league altogether, being a 1-2-1 configuration.
The food was acceptable but mediocre at best and the vegetarian breakfast was a disappointment. In former days a selections of delicious German cold meats and cheeses with bread rolls was the order of the day. I wonder what happened?
I look forward to an upgraded business class on LH in future, as by choice, I still prefer the cabins of their daughter airlines SWISS and Austrian.