Apologies for the delayed posting of this report. I currently study in Washington, D.C. and have been very busy. My summer's plans included a cruise with the rest of the family leaving the port of Barcelona on July 2nd. Flying by myself, I had full freedom on which airline and route I was going to take to get from DC to Barcelona. No airline currently offers a non-stop so the choices were pretty extensive. I ended up choosing Lufthansa so that I could try out their new Premium Economy Cabin.
Ok here we go. I left my house around 3:45 for my 6:05pm flight. Its about a 35 minute drive from the city to Dulles.
A view from the ugly highway. They're currently building a metro line to the airport, but it won't be fully open for a few more years now.
There was some traffic while entering the airport.
Once inside, i headed right for the Lufthansa counter.
There isn't a sign for premium economy yet, so I took a risk with the business line.
The next agent was standing by a First Class HON sign and waved me over. She then escorted me to the opposite side of the terminal towards the security line for the dedicated First Class lane.
After handing over my passport at the secluded First Counter, she told me I had been Upgraded to Business and my new seat was 5G! It was totally random and unexpected. She tagged my suitcase with a priority tag and I was off!
Next, I headed down stairs for security. More than 20 lanes were open so the lines were pretty quick.
The passageway from security to the people mover looks pretty cool, with the backlit glass floor.
The platform for the train was packed, and I ended up having to wait 2 trains before being able to board.
The second train was moderately full.
Here are some pics of the Concourse B station
I went straight to the Lufthansa Lounge which really close to the station.
Once inside, I was directed down stairs to the business section of the lounge.
The business lounge is on the ground level at Dulles, facing towards the Main terminal, making the spotting difficult and limited. I managed to catch the Austrian 777 being prepped for its flight to Vienna
The food selection in the lounge was ok, but nothing special. The offering still blows away all three United IAD Lounges combined.
The lounge looks a little sad, mostly because there isn't too much natural lighting.
There is also a section full of comfy chairs and sofas, but It was full. I decided to leave the lounge to go spotting.
Heres What I found: My plane, the LH 747-8I
A BA A380
A mixture of United Domestic planes
A Saudia 777-300ER. God bless you too !
A South African A340-300 going to Johannesburg with a stop in Dakar. They recently switched the stopover to Accra 4 times a week, leaving the Dakar for the remaining 3 flights.
The AF A380
I would have chosen to fly the AF A380 this summer, but the upper deck economy was full when I was considering booking.
I was most excited to see the Etihad 787-9, but I could only manage this half-ass photo:
It was interesting to see the Etihad passengers deplane right into the terminal. The preclear the US Border in Abu Dhabi.
Aer Lingus A330
I didn't do any duty free shopping, but heres the entrance to the main store.
I then headed towards the lounge once again. The nice lady at the counter recognized me and welcomed me back. I asked her if there were any open seats on the Upper deck, and she offered me 81K. A window seat. I took it! Soon they announced that we could board directly from the lounge.
There was a little bit of a line at the door to the aircraft.
I received a warm greeting from the head FA
The stairs are after the first section of Business class seats
Once upstairs I settled into my very comfortable seat. The bins on the side were even big enough to fit my backpack.
It turns out row 81 is a bulkhead, but I was fine with that. Leg room was perfect.
A few moments later, a nice FA offered me Water or champagne. I had to go for the latter
Our Austrian neighbor pushed back and revealed a Virgin America A320 with patriotic Sharklets and an Alaska 737
I had to contort myself to catch the Turkish A330-300 arriving from IST
While fiddling around with my seat I discovered a dirty tray table, an opened water bottle, and a used amenity kit.
Not at all what I was expecting from Lufthansa.
They announced the doors were closed, and I had no neighbor. Awesome! I then reached over and took 81H's unopened kit and water bottle .
Soon we pushed back and were ready to take off I spotted the BA A380 waiting behind us with a huge Antonov something. Not sure what it was exactly.
About 15 minutes after takeoff,warm towels were distributed along with menus. The towels were of terrible quality.
For my aperitif, I chose a beer. It was presented nicely with the bottle and a glass. The cashews were ok, but nothing special for Business class. LH could do way better here.
I chose the scallops for my starter. They were flavorful and fresh.
They were served with a salad and vinaigrette, and presented with plastic salt and pepper shakers, a flimsy plastic tray, and a paper napkin holder. Once again LH could have done better with the details. I think AF's new meal service looks much nicer. The selection of bread was solid. I went for a pretzel roll and a tomato focaccia type bread
The FA then offered to refill my drink. I asked for water as well. It would have been nice if she had offered water on the side without asking, but she didn't.
Somewhere over Canada the main dish was served. I chose the steak. It good, but served with alongside a mediocre presentation. The mash was just kind of thrown onto the dish.
I passed up on the ice cream and made my bed. I had a little tour of the cabin before going to slepptI put the seat in full flat mode, and slightly raised the back. It was perfect.
There was some blue moonlighting on, but it wasn't very bright. I got back to my seat to find chocolates and water. They were delicious.
I slept perfectly for 5 hours. The seat / bed was very comfortable. I couldn't have asked for a better sleep on a plane. I found that being at the bulk head was fine. I experienced no interruptions or light pollution from the bathroom.
I woke up just in time for breakfast. There were no choices. Just cold cuts and a nasty pink yogurt. Once again, the presentation was lacking. The butter, salt and pepper were to the standards of economy class
I made my way the bathroom where I found some nice amenities
The 747-8I is a really great aircraft. The cabin is quite similar to that of the dreamliner, just with manual window shades.
I used the aisle TV as a moving map all night, and I watched a movie on the window screen. The IFE had a good selection, but the quality of the map was ok. Slightly blurry.
We were approaching Frankfurt fast.
We landed a few minutes early with clear skies. It was my first time transmitting through Frankfurt. Deplaning was quick, even being the furthest row upstairs.
Bye row 81! You were great
While walking through the business cabin downstairs, its easy to see that the middle seats (D and G) have huge center consoles and much larger footwells to those up stairs. On a nightlight like this, I would probably choose to sit down there for the extra space. Luckily for me I didn't have a seat mate so it was just fine up stairs.
A last view of the 747-8 from IAD
My next flight to Barcelona (A321 Y) left from gate A26. The transit and connecting flight will be reported soon.
Lufthansa Business Lounge
Washington - IAD
Frankfurt - FRA
This transatlantic flight exceeded my expectations, primarily because I was upgraded. The 747-8I is an extraordinary plane. Its quiet, modern, and very spacious. I loved it and would fly again. Lufthansa provided a good business class experience, but it doesn't compete with Qatar, Etihad, or the 5 star Asian Carriers. The seat converts into a perfect bed with a nice pillow and ok blanket. After seeing the catering first hand, and seeing seats without direct aisle access or much privacy, I see tons of room for improvement for Lufthansa. In comparison to the new AirFrance Business, it doesn't really stack up. We'll see how LH adapts to the new competition out there. Would I pay full price for this seat and service? Depends on the length of the flight. For a transatlantic hop, Ill stick with Premium economy or economy.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the report.
Comments are appreciated :)
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