Guest Reviewer: Chris
An avid traveler and obsessive points and miles hound, Chris is my travel buddy extraordinaire. I love him for his enthusiasm, his sense of adventure, and his American Airlines Executive Platinum status benefits. Hope you enjoy his perspective!
Over the Christmas holidays, I traveled to Scandinavia to visit my family. When I was trying to book my ticket, I didn't find much award availability out of my home airport (SFO), so I included other airports on the west coast in my search. After obsessively checking all the airline search engines multiple times a day (much to Jen's annoyance), I eventually found some first class award space on Lufthansa out of Seattle. It's easy enough to get from San Francisco to Seattle, and I'd never flown Lufthansa First Class before, so I decided to book it. The one-way ticket cost me 110,000 United miles, which is quite steep, but on the plus side the fees and taxes were only about $40.
Seattle (SEA) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Sunday, December 21st, 2014
2:05 PM – 9:15 AM (+1) : 10 hours, 10 minutes
Airbus A330-300: Seat 2A (First Class)
I arrived at SeaTac airport about three hours before my flight and made my way to the Lufthansa check-in area. There was no line at the First Class counter, so I stepped right up and the agent was able to get me checked in quickly. After receiving my boarding pass, she asked me if I wanted an escort through security. Did I want an escort through security? I'd never been asked that question before, so absolutely I wanted an escort through security! I started imagining her shoving aside passengers left and right, carving a path to the front of the line. Unfortunately it turned out that I'd misheard her - it wasn't an escort through security, it was an escort to security. She took me on a 30-second walk from the check-in counters to the end of the security line, and then left me there to fend for myself. So overall not that useful, but it was better than nothing I guess.
Lufthansa uses the Club International contract lounge at SeaTac's S gates. The business class section was crowded, but there was a separate first class room which was empty. Within the first class section, the staff checked in on a regular basis to take food and drink orders. Unfortunately the only hot food available was soup, so I decided to skip food and just order an orange juice. Overall I wasn't all that impressed with the lounge, and after about an hour, I left the lounge and headed to the gate, which was a short walk away.
Boarding was about 10 minutes delayed, which they apologized for multiple times (oh, Germans). First Class boarding was soon announced and after making my way through the crowd, I was asked by the gate agent if I wanted to be escorted to the plane. Never one to say no to an escort, I agreed and she led me down the jetway and introduced me to one of the flight attendants, who brought me to my seat (2A).
The Airbus A330 First Class cabin was elegant and had just two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. On my flight, there was just one other passenger flying in first class, so it felt incredibly private. The seat was comfortable and had a large TV screen, an ottoman, and plenty of storage.
Once seated, I was offered a drink and I chose champagne. She served me a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle, along with a glass of water and some salted macadamia nuts.
After enjoying my champagne for a few minutes, the flight attendant came by to provide me with pajamas, slippers, and an amenity kit. The pajamas were Van Laack brand, and although the pajama top was comfortable, the trousers were made of polyester and felt cheap. The amenity kit was manufactured by Rimowa and was the same style as their luggage, which I thought was cool.
Soon the captain came on the PA and announced a flying time of 9 hours and 10 minutes to Frankfurt. Shortly thereafter, the flight attendant came by to place a rose at my seat, and a few minutes later we were taking off.
Once we reached cruising altitude, the flight attendant came by with hot towels, which had an amazing citrus smell. Next up was an amuse-bouche of zucchini, ricotta, tomatoes, and olives, which was decent.
Up until this point I'd been drinking the Laurent-Perrier champagne, but the flight attendant insisted that I also try the "special champagne", which is only offered around Christmastime. I agreed, and she came by with the bottle, which turned out to be a 2006 Roederer Cristal Brut. While I was drinking it, a different flight attendant walked by and seemed very excited that I was drinking the "special" champagne. It seemed like they were intrigued by this champagne because after I finished it, they wanted to know how it tasted and how it compared to the Laurent-Perrier. I'm definitely no wine expert, so to me they both tasted more or less exactly the same, that is to say, like champagne. So all I could say was "It was good." I could tell by their facial expression that this was a disappointing answer.
About an hour into the flight, dinner was served. The dinner menu read as follows:
Caviar from Service Cart
Choice of Appetizers
Salmon Tartare Pauplette with Capers and Tomato and Dill Dressing
Sliced Char Sui Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Mushrooms, Yellow Beet Salad and Yuzu Vinaigrette
Green Asparagus, Red Peppers, Feta Cheese and toasted Pistachios with Truffle Oil Sherry Vinaigrette
Seasonal Salad with shaved Fennel, Pine Nuts, Tomato and Parmesan Cheese presented with delicious Dressing
Choice of Main Courses
Gorgonzola and Porcini crusted Beef Filet with Burgundy Sauce, Baby Fennel Gratin and Dauphinoise Potatoes
King Crab Patty with Shrimp and Scallop Mousse, Capellini Pasta with Mushrooms and sautéed Vegetables
Black Pepper Fettuccini with Arugula Pesto, Red Swiss Chard, Cannellini Beans, grilled Baby Zucchini and Sunburt Squash
Traditional Amish Turkey with Cornbread Chestnut Stuffing, Butternut Squash Puree and Cranberries
Selection of Cheese and Dessert
Coulommier, Morbier, Beecher's Smoked Flagship, California Cave Aged Bleu, Montchevre Garlic and Herb Goat
Apricot Pistachio Loaf served warm with Vanilla Ice Cream
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
The meal service began with them setting up my table, then coming by with a cart of caviar. Since there were only two passengers, they volunteered to give me an extra large serving, which I was more than happy to accept. They also offered vodka, which I declined as I was already feeling a bit too merry from all the champagne.
For the appetizer, I had chosen the salmon tartare, but they decided to give me all three appetizers so that I could sample them all. The salmon was by far the best, though. Next up was the main course, where I went with the crab. It wasn't bad, but it tasted a bit bland.
The dessert was my favorite part of the meal. I chose the pumpkin cheesecake, which was so delicious that I finished my piece before the flight attendant could even walk away. She seemed pretty surprised that I'd eaten it so fast and offered me another one, but I figured that this meal was probably already pushing five figures worth of calories, so I decided to control myself.
To finish the meal, I was offered coffee, so I ordered a cappuccino. I received it promptly and was also provided with a box of chocolates to pick from.
Because the flight was an afternoon departure, I wasn't all that tired after dinner, so I decided to watch some TV. The entertainment system had an OK selection, but I hadn't heard of half of the shows or movies. In the end I ended up going with Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which I'd been meaning to see for a while.
While I was watching the movie, the flight attendant set up seat 1A as a bed, so that I could move there at my convenience. The bed was extremely comfortable and I managed to sleep for several hours.
About two hours before landing, they came by with a cart for breakfast - I certainly wasn't hungry yet, but I wanted to experience as much as possible during my flight, so I had some fruit, scrambled eggs (which were amazing), bacon, and tea.
The following breakfast options were provided:
Cold and hot Specialties
Fresh Orange Juice
Yogurt, Cornflakes, Muesli and Milk
Turkey Pastrami, Roast Beef and grilled Chicken Breast,
Emmental, Cheddar and Brie Cheese
Fresh Eggs with American Bacon and fresh chopped Chives
A little while later we were on the ground in Frankfurt. Overall I was highly impressed with Lufthansa First Class and wouldn't hesitate to fly it again. It is certainly one of the most comfortable ways to fly between North America and Europe.
Just a twenty-something with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.