Lufthansa First Class: Frankfurt to Los Angeles

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Lufthansa A380

We had tentatively planned on spending two days in Madrid after leaving Porto. As luck would have it, two first class seats opened on the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Washington, DC. We would be able to spend the planned two days in Madrid before leaving to Frankfurt for our trip home. Although I was able to see the seats open on United’s website, they were not showing up on Aeroplan’s website.

Although Aeroplan should have the same availability as United, it appears that they often display less award space. Since the space wasn’t showing on Aeroplan’s site, that meant I had to call to book the tickets. Aeroplan charges $30 per ticket for phone bookings even if you are unable to book the flights online.

After being on hold for over an hour, I was finally able to speak to someone. Unfortunately, he was unable to see the seats that I was seeing on United’s website. He was able to find first class seats on a different routing, however that meant we would have to leave Madrid a day earlier, connect through Brussels before heading to Frankfurt. We would then fly Lufthansa first class from Frankfurt to Washington, DC before finally making it to Los Angeles. The Washington, DC to Los Angeles flight was in economy however. Although it wasn’t the ideal way home, we decided to book the tickets anyhow.

Despite having tickets booked, I kept checking to see if the direct Frankfurt to Los Angeles flight would open up. As luck would have it, first class seats from Frankfurt to Newark opened up, with business class seats from Newark to Los Angeles. The only downside to this flight was a six-hour layover, but my wife wanted to change in order to have a more comfortable seat to Los Angeles.

As luck would have it, first class seats did open up the Frankfurt to Los Angeles flight on the A380. Although each change in itinerary resulted in very long wait times on the phone, and a $90 CAD change fee per ticket, we felt it was worth it in the end.

LH 456
Frankfurt to Los Angeles
Departs 10:15 AM, Arrives 12:55 PM

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Lufthansa

Upon boarding, we were welcomed aboard and shown to our seats. We were seated in 1D and 1G, the two middle seats in the front of the cabin. This allowed us to sit together, although privacy was sacrificed. The cabin ended up being completely full by the time we pushed back.

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First Class Cabin

We had the entire first class cabin to ourselves for several minutes while boarding was completed. The flight attendant was very nice and personable. He offered to take pictures of us, and almost took too many if that’s possible.

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Seat 1G

The seat is wide enough to feel as though you don’t feel cramped. A fluffy pillow was also waiting at the seat.

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Storage Compartments

There were two large storage compartments to the left of the seat.

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Entertainment Controls

The entertainment control was also located on the left. The top of the compartment could be closed, which was convenient to prevent accidentally changing channels.

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Seat Controls

The seat controls were located on the right and were easy to use.

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Ottoman & TV

There is a large ottoman to store things. The ottoman also moves to adjust to the length of your legs. The TV screen is rather large and makes for easy viewing.

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Outlets

There is a USB plug and electrical outlet located on the front of the armrest.

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Rose Scented Towel

A hot, rose scented towel was offered. These smell fantastic.

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Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts were offered. I chose a glass of water to start.

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Braun Büffel Amenity Kit
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Bogner Amenity Kit

Unfortunately, Lufthansa has gotten rid of their Rimowa amenity kits. They now offer Braun Buffel amenity kits for men. Bogner amenity kits were offered for women.

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Van Laack Pajamas

Van Laack pajamas were also distributed, which were on the large side.

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Staircase to Lower Deck

The first class cabin is located on the upper deck. The staircase leading to the lower deck is located at the front of the cabin.

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Bathroom

The first class restrooms are humongous. For some reason there is a bench along the wall. I don’t see anybody wanting to lounge around in the bathroom however. There is a single sink with plenty of counter space.

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Bathroom

The unique feature of the bathroom is having a urinal.

Various amenities are also located in the drawers.

A little over an hour into the flight, lunch was served. Food and wine menus were distributed.

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Place Setting
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First Class Butter

The table was set, butter and olive oil was provided, along with a salt and pepper shaker and a piece of bread.

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Caviar
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Caviar

Caviar was served as the starter.  My only suggestion would be to serve some blini with the caviar.

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Ham Appetizer

An appetizer of ham with pickled artichokes were then served. The artichoke may have been a little too acidic.

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Chicken

The chicken was tender and juicy, but the skin was not crisp. Being roasted, I wouldn’t expect the skin to be super crispy. The vegetables retained some texture. The gravy was so good that I could have drank it out of a cup.

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Water

After the meal service was completed, a bottle of water was provided.

There was a snack menu in case you got hungry during the flight. You could order anything you wanted from the menu.

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Blueberry Tart

I decided to have the Blueberry Tart for a snack. It wasn’t overly sweet. The bottom crust was slightly soggy, but this was a nice snack.

Surprisingly there wasn’t another menu for the pre-arrival meal.

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Burger

The Burger was more of a slider in size. The burger was juicy, and was served with plantain chips.

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Vanilla Ice Cream

I finished off the meal with vanilla ice cream and warm cherries. This was like a virgin version of Cherries Jubilee.

Service throughout the flight was top notch. The flight attendant working our section was very personable and did everything he could to make the flight memorable from the time we first boarded until we departed.

I would definitely fly Lufthansa first class again. Being one of the few first class flights available using miles make it more memorable.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal – Frankfurt

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Lufthansa First Class Terminal

I had last visited the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at the Frankfurt Airport last year. Since we had stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport, it was about a 10-minute walk to the First Class Terminal.

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Ground Floor Lobby
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Ground Floor Lobby

We entered on the ground floor, which has a small unmanned lobby and an elevator to take you to the second floor. Previously we had taken a car to the terminal, which drops you off at the “official” lobby.

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Reception Desk

The lobby is fairly spacious for being in such a secluded place. The reception desk had four agents to help customers that may require assistance.

We were greeted by another agent and directed to the security area. We were through security in a matter of minutes, and invited into the lounge.

The lounge appeared to be a little more crowded compared to the last visit. The lounge is actually quite big or the number of people that have access to it. I think it might be to provide a more exclusive feel for first class passengers.

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Restaurant Menu

Since our flight was scheduled to leave at 10:15, breakfast was still being served in the restaurant. The menu appeared to be unchanged from our prior visit.

In addition to the menu, there is a small buffet. The quality of ingredients is top notch, and I don’t think an extensive buffet is necessary.

We didn’t really explore the lounge too much, as we didn’t have much time before we departed.

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Ducks

We did pick up some Lufthansa ducks however.

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Ride to Plane
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Ride to Plane

We were driven to the plane in a Porsche Cayenne. Unlike our prior visit, we were the only ones in the vehicle which made it a much nicer ride. Sadly, the ride to the plane was very short, unlike our prior visit.

Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport

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Hilton Garden Inn
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Signage
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Signage
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Signage

After landing at the Frankfurt Airport, we found our way to the Hilton Garden Inn, which is conveniently connected to the airport, and is located within The Squaire and sits directly next to the Hilton. The Squaire is a multi-purpose building, as it houses a train station, office building, along with hotels, shops and restauarnts.

As the hotel is located indoors, there are big plate glass windows fronting the hotel. Upon entering the hotel, the front desk is directly to the left. Check-in took a while for some unknown reason. We were given two complimentary bottles of water. I am not sure if that is customary policy, or due to the fact that I currently have Hilton Diamond status thanks to the status match promo earlier in the year.

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Lobby

The lobby is very small with limited seating.

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Room 721

After crossing the lobby, we took the elevator up to room 7201.

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Bed

The room had a fairly comfortable bed. Strangely, only one side had outlets next to the bed.

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Table & Chair

There was a small glass table and chair next to the bed.

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Desk

The desk space was fairly sizable for an airport hotel. There was also a kettle and ice container on the desk.

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TV

The TV was on the far end of the desk.

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Sink

The bathroom was on the smaller side. There was a single sink with ample counter space since it extended past the tub to the wall.

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Toilet

The toilet was located behind the bathroom door.

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Shower/Tub Combo

There was a shower/tub combo which had fairly good water pressure. Thankfully, there was no half glass shower door.

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Closet

There was a small closet that contained an iron, ironing board and safe.

For some reason, check-out took an absurd amount of time. I am not sure if the front desk agent was new, but it took nearly 20 minutes to check-out.

The Hilton Garden Inn is perfectly serviceable for an overnight stay. There are actually three hotels within the Frankfurt Airport: The Hilton Garden Inn, The Hilton, and a Sheraton.

Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt – Washington, DC

Lufthansa
Flight 419
Frankfurt – Washington, DC
Departs 6:05 PM, Arrives 7:18 AM
Seat 1K, First Class

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Lufthansa 747-8

The drive from the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in the Mercedes van took about five minutes. Upon turning a final corner, the majestic 747 came into sight.

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First Class Cabin

Upon boarding, we were directed to the left where the first class cabin of eight seats is located.

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First Class Cabin

There are three seats on both sides of the plane, and two seat located next to one another at the rear of the cabin.

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Seat & Pillow

Waiting at my seat was a large, comfortable pillow.

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Seat Controls

The seat controls were located on the left, which were easy to understand and use.

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IFE Controller

The IFE controls were located on the right.

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Storage Compartment
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Bose Headphones

There was a small compartment located to the right of the IFE controller which held the Bose headphones.

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Extra Storage

There is another side compartment behind the first compartment for even more storage.

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Ottoman

The ottoman is electronically adjustable, and also includes further storage for a laptop bag, or to store your shoes.

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Outlets

At the front of the right side armrest, is a USB port and electrical outlets.

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TV

There is a large flat screen TV, and movie selections were not very extensive, but good enough to keep me entertained throughout the flight.

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Rose

A signature Lufthansa rose was placed at the front of the seat. I was offered a pre-departure beverage and chose water. A ramekin of macadamia nuts was also served.

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Menu
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Menu
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Menu
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Menu

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Menu
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Wine List
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Wine List
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Wine List
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Wine List
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Wine List
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Wine List
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Wine List

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Wine List

We were then given the food and wine menus.

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Ramona Amenity Kit

A Rimowa amenity kit was then distributed. The men received a blue amenity kit, while women received a white amenity kit.

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Van Laack Pajamas

Van Laack pajamas were then distributed. The flight attendant recommended XL pajamas which seems like overkill. I did not wear them so I do not know if they run small, or if I am really that big.

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Slippers

We were also given slippers, which were comfortable and had a decent amount of cushion to them.

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Warm Scented Towel

Rose scented warm towels were then distributed, which had a fantastic smell.

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Table Setting
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“First Class” Butter

At the beginning of meal service, service trays were set up with tablecloths, a salt and pepper shaker, “First Class” butter, and a dish of olive oil. I chose some garlic bread, and a wheat roll.

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Scallop

Meal service started out with a scallop and mashed potatoes, which was quite good.

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Caviar

Caviar was then served with rather large toast points, rather than blini. Minced onion, eggs, sour cream and lemon accompanied the dish.

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Taittinger Champagne

I chose a glass of Taittinger champagne, which went well with the caviar.

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Salad

I chose the mixed leaf lettuce salad with pumpkin seed oil dressing. The greens were fresh, and the dressing had a nice nuttiness to it.

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Duck Breast

The duck breast was nicely cooked, and the apple celery salad added some texture. The prune sauce also added another layer of sweetness to help cut through the richness of the duck.

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Intermezzo

A spiced orange sherbet was served as an intermezzo. It was paired with a mango ragout, which is rather sweet for an intermezzo.

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Red Snapper & King Prawn

For the main, I chose the Red Snapper and King Prawn. The snapper was cooked nicely, but the skin was rather limp and rubbery, making it less appealing. The prawn was slightly overcooked and a little on the tough side, but the flavor was good.

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Semolina Dumpling

For dessert, I went with the semolina dumplings, caramel ice cream, and plum compote. The dumpling was like a donut of sorts, but went well with the ice cream and compote.

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Mousse

My wife went with the yogurt and lime mousse and passion fruit sauce. The dessert was light and tangy, and another portion would have been warmly received.

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Toilet

The bathroom is on the larger side, and the toilet has a wide seat.

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Sink

The sink is also wider and water didn’t splash all over the place.

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Amenities
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Amenities

Wet wipes and razors were also available for use.

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Amenities

There is also mouth wash and facial mist available.

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Bedding

After meal service, the flight attendant asked passengers if they wanted their bed made. The bedding was soft and comfortable, and the bed is rather spacious.

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Water

A bottle of water was also distributed.

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Water

Several carafes of water were also put out.

There was no snack menu, and snacks were not put out in the galley. I got a little hungry before the second meal, and asked the flight attendant if there were any snacks available. She looked at me somewhat startled, as if nobody had ever asked for a snack before.

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“In Flight” Snack

The best she could come up with a Sweetmeal digestive biscuit, which tasted a lot like a graham cracker.

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Menu
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Menu
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Menu

Menus were then distributed for the second meal, with the “Winter Magic” theme.

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Place Setting

The table was set, and decorate blue napkin holders were used consistent with the Winter Magic motif.

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Pretzel Roll

I chose a pretzel roll to begin with, which was very good.

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Corn Salad

The corn salad was good but a little heavy handed on the dressing.

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Veal

I also chose the veal filet as an appetizer, which was cooked to medium. The lemon dressing helped to lighten up the dish, while the pomegranate seeds added some textural contrast.

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Crab Bisque

I went with the crab bisque for the main course, which was rich and full of flavor. It was served with a very thin lobster roll type sandwich.

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Baked Apple

For dessert, I went with the baked apple which was paired with a nice granola type filling. Frozen yogurt added a nice cooling zing to the dish.

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Santa

Just prior to departing the plane, all first class guests were given a chocolate Santa Claus.

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Chocolates

We were also given a box of chocolates, which I thought was a nice gesture.

The flight attendant working the first class cabin was very nice, and professional. It was semi-reminiscent of flying an Asian carrier, as she was not walking throughout the cabin too frequently but was happy to provide assistance should the need arise.

Having a larger seat and personal space was definitely a luxury. I do think redeeming Aeroplan miles is worth the opportunity to fly Lufthansa first class, but I am not sure I would redeem them again if flying into Washington DC. The direct flight to Los Angeles does not become available too often, but I would definitely consider flying into Houston should that become available when coming back from Europe.

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Parting Shot

Lufthansa First Class Terminal – Frankfurt

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Lufthansa First Class Terminal

The Lufthansa First Class Terminal is considered one of the worlds finest first class lounges, so much so that Lufthansa has dedicated an entire terminal that first class passengers can call their own.

Upon entering the First Class Terminal, you are warmly greeted. You will go through security with the utmost privacy, and it is doubtful that you will encounter another passenger.

We were asked for our boarding passes, which was taken by the staff. We were informed that they would be returned to use prior to boarding.

After going through security, there is a Duty Free shopping area if you choose.

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Lufthansa First Class Duck Display

Upon entering the actual terminal, there is a display of the coveted Lufthansa First Class Terminal ducks.

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Newspapers/Magazines

There is an impressive display of newspapers and magazines.

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Bar

To the right is the bar with an impressive display of almost every imaginable liquor you can imagine.

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Gummy Bears

There are six towers of gummy bears sitting atop the bar.

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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet
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Buffet

There is a restaurant inside of the lounge with an impressive display of buffet food.

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Menu

Although the buffet looks very tempting as it catered by DO & CO, there is also a menu from which food can be ordered.

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Dim Sum

We started off with the dim sum, perhaps not the best choice from an Austrian catering company. The dim sum was overcooked and not well put together. As it was overcooked, the skin just fell off of the dumplings.

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Omelet

The omelet was overcooked, as it evident by the browning. This made the omelet tough instead of silky, and creamy.

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Eggs Benedict

The Eggs Benedict were served on toast rather than English muffins. The eggs were poached perfectly, but the ham was slightly overcooked and dry. The Hollandaise was thick, and chunky instead of velvety smooth. There was also a ton of sauce instead of just a drizzle, like the classic Eggs Benedict.

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First Class Jacket
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Dreaded “SSSS”

During our meal, a staff attendant came by with new boarding passes in a Lufthansa First Class ticket jacket. The boarding passes we had received in Vienna were normal boarding passes, but the ones obtained in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal had the ominous “SSSS” designated in the lower left hand corner. This was likely the result of us going to Istanbul earlier in the trip. I had read many reports that had indicated we were likely to get that designation following our trip to Istanbul, and for that reason many people have avoided traveling to Turkey as it can, and will likely cause delays. From what I gathered, the “SSSS” remains in your profile for up to three years.

Unfortunately, this did affect us during our trip home which resulted in a missed flight, but I was able to get the “SSSS” issue fairly quickly which will I will post about shortly.

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Cigar Lounge

There is also a Cigar Lounge in the terminal, but I did not go in there and am unaware of their offerings.

The lounge is very big, considering the number of passengers coming through the lounge.

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Lounge Seating
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Lounge Seating
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Lounge Seating

There are plenty seating areas, which are set in different sections to provide the most privacy available for each guest.

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Massage Chairs

There are also several massage chairs, unfortunately they were not functioning at the time.

Once boarding is ready, you will be retrieved by an attendant. They will escort you downstairs, at which time you will go through immigration in a private setting.

You will be driven to the plane in a private car. The kind of car depends on how many other passengers are in first class as well. Unfortunately, on our trip we were driven to the plane in a Mercedes van with two other passengers. The plane ride to the van was actually a little crowded and uncomfortable, but the experience is memorable no matter the circumstances.

Since the devaluation of the Aeroplan program, flying first class on Lufthansa has risen from 62,500 miles to 70,000 miles plus fuel surcharges for a one-way ticket which is still pretty reasonable to me given the treat that awaits you.

Element Frankfurt Hotel

We arrived into Frankfurt late at night, and our flight didn’t leave until the following afternoon. It didn’t seem worth it trying to go into the city for such a short time, especially late at night.

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Frankfurt Element Hotel
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Frankfurt Element Hotel

In looking at hotel options, the Element Frankfurt Hotel met our needs on a couple in a couple of ways. First, it was close to the airport. SPG had a promotion at the time that would net me an extra 2,000 Starpoints, and I was able to file a successful Best Rate Guarantee for another 2,000 Starpoints.

I am not familiar with the Frankfurt airport, so transportations to the hotel seemed somewhat limited. Although it is an airport hotel, the hotel does not offer a shuttle. We took a cab to the hotel, but the cabbie was perturbed given the short ride to the hotel and low fare.

Upon entering the hotel, the front desk is located to the left. Check-in was smooth and we were quickly given room keys. Although the hotel is set-up for the SPG Keyless system, it was not working at the time.

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Lobby
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Lobby
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Lobby

The lobby is airy, and open. To the left is the front desk. To the right are several couches, dining tables, a high top table and chairs, that could be utilized as work space, or breakfast overflow seating.

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Business Center

There is a small business center with a couple of computers and a printer.

The hotel is set up as a long term stay property, as there is a small kitchen.  The property is marketed as a serviced apartment.

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Kitchen
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Kitchen
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Kitchen
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Kitchen

Upon entering, the kitchen set-up is located to the left. There is a sink, stove, dishwasher, coffee maker, microwave, utensils and fridge.

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Closet
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Closet
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Closet

Next to the kitchen is a small closet, which included an iron and ironing board. Around the corner was two other closets, including a luggage rack.

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Desk/TV

Along the far wall, there is a large desk and TV.

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Welcome Amenity

I was given a welcome amenity of two apples, a gooseberry and half a grapefruit (inexplicably), along with a bottle of water.

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Bed

The bed was a little on the firm side, and not the most comfortable. A small night stand was on either side of the bed, along with an electrical outlet.

Next to the bed, was the bathroom which was on the smaller side.

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Toilet

Immediately to the right upon entering the bathroom was the toilet.

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Sink

Opposite that was a single sink with limited counter space.

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Shower

There was a shower that included a hand held shower head, along with a rainfall shower head. There are shampoo/conditioner and shower gel dispensers that had a fantastic apple scent.

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View
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View
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View

The view from the room isn’t that great as it overlooks ongoing construction. There is a large window that opens a few inches. Although the window opens only a few inches, it is somewhat scary that there is no ledge or balcony underneath the open window.

Element Hotels offer all guests complimentary breakfast.

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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast
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Breakfast

The breakfast spread was fairly expansive and included juice, bread, rolls, muffins, fresh fruit (including the other half of my welcome amenity), eggs, bacon, quesadillas, cereal, cold cuts, yogurt, salad, coffee and tea.

The Element Hotel is a nice, clean hotel that is also relatively new. Although it is an airport hotel, they do not offer an airport shuttle which I think would be greatly appreciated by guests since taxi drivers appeared to be miffed by having to take such a short drive.