Today: Review of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8 Business Class on the upper deck (Frankfurt to San Francisco flight)
Flying the Boeing 747 – dubbed the Queen of the Skies – 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 in 2022, Boeing has built 1,560 B747 aircraft. The Boeing 747-8 is the latest, quieter, more economical, and more environmentally friendly version of the famous aircraft type. The B47-8 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 in a 747, especially when seated on the upper deck), 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 lightyears behind the Business Class product offered by the carrier’s competitors. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, Lufthansa is the only flag carrier in the world that still offers a subpar layout in its Business Class where not all passengers have direct aisle access. The good news is that Lufthansa will soon introduce a new Business Class seat and cabin layout – called Alegris – so that’s something to look forward to (although the launch of the new product just keeps getting postponed).
Have you ever flown onboard the Boeing 747? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
- Trip: Frankfurt (FRA) to San Francisco (SFO)
- Airline: Lufthansa
- Aircraft type: Boeing 747-8
- Aircraft registration number: D-ABYJ (built in 2014 and nicknamed ‘Hannover’)
- On time departure: Yes (10:30 am)
- On time arrival: Yes (12:30 pm)
- Distance: 5680 miles (9140 km)
- Flight time: 11 hours
- Seat: 87A (upper deck)
- 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 San Francisco with miles via Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program Miles & More (which I have reviewed here). The total cost of my ticket was 270 euro + 56,000 Miles & More miles.
Lufthansa operates a network of more than 12 lounges at Frankfurt, some of which I have reviewed in my previous trip reports:
- Review: Lufthansa First Class terminal
- Review: Lufthansa Business Class lounge near gate Z50 (terminal 1)
- Review: Lufthansa Business Class lounge near gates C14 & C15 (terminal 1)
Since my connection time is Frankfurt was very short (less than one hour), I did not have the time to visit the lounge during this trip.
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. I have previously published a trip report of my flight experience in this cabin, which you can read here.
- 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 completely 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).
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
- A padded mattress topper to provide an extra layer of comfort to improve sleep quality
- 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:
Appetizer: pink roasted saddle of veal with potato salad, roasted cauliflower, broccoli and pepper drops
Main course: roasted tenderloin of beef in thyme sauce with new potatoes & gree beans
Cheese: Lenggenwil country cheese, Montagnolo blue cheese, and French soft goat cheese
Dessert: Berry cake with whipped cream and chopped pistachio
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 smoked salmon filet, served with salsa verde and cucumber sesame topping, sriracha, and mayonnaise.
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’):
|Tariff||FlyNet® Messaging||FlyNet® Premium 2 hour
||FlyNet® Premium Full Flight
|Description||Stay in contact with friends and family.||Ideal for VPN email services, faster Internet surfing, sending messages and sharing pictures via social networks for two hours.||Ideal for VPN email services, faster Internet surfing, sending messages and sharing pictures via social networks.|
|Price||EUR 5 / USD 7 / CNY 45 or 1,700 miles||EUR 15 / USD 18 / CNY 125 or 5,000 miles||EUR 25 / USD 27 / CNY 200 or 8,300 miles|
|Valid on the entire flight||✓||for the duration of two hours||✓|
|Speed||up to 100 kbit/s||up to 4 Mbit/s||up to 4 Mbit/s|
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: Tthe 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.
# VIEWS: we got some great views of San Francisco and the Bay area during landing.
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