Greetings Flight Reporters and thank you for stopping by this report.
I am starting with my most recent flights and will work my way back to the FR that I abruptly abandoned. This trip was a RTW that came about as an excuse to enjoy some quality Lufthansa lounge and airplane time and pop in on the Swiss First Class Lounge on the E gates in Zurich. A recent Aeroplan promo had a bonus for moving Starpoints to Aeroplan. When combined with the bonus Starpoints that SPG provides on airline transfer partners is was not a terrible value.
Some of the reports will be a little light (not this one!) but I think with the lounge additions they will be sufficient to interest someone. They did me.
The routing and procurement method were as follows:
Delta Air Lines LAX-MSP 737-900ER First (Cash- No Report) Delta Air Lines MSP-LGA MD-88 Economy Comfort (NRSA - No Report) Lufthansa JFK-FRA B747-8i Business (United Miles - Here) Swiss FRA-ZRH A320 Business and Lufthansa Business Lounge (United Miles - Here) Swiss ZRH-FRA CS100 Business and Swiss First Class Lounge E (Aeroplan - Here) Lufthansa FRA-PVG A380-800 First and Lufthansa First Class Lounge and Terminal (Aeroplan - This Report) ANA PVG-NRT B787-9 Business and Air China Business Class Lounge (Aeroplan - Here) Delta Air Lines NRT-PVG B767-300ER Business and Delta Sky Club (NRSA - Coming Soon) Delta Air Lines PVG-LAX B777-200ER Business (NRSA - Coming Soon)
Unfortunately we pulled into a contact gate at FRA so no special welcome or tarmac car journey. Again befuddled by FRA I followed the signs to the LH lounges. I knew my ultimate destination would be the First Class Terminal but I came upon a First Class Lounge that I had not yet visited so I went in to check it out. I beleive I was in the B gates, but again, I'm easily turned around at FRA.
The truth of the matter is that The FCLs and FCT are relatively the same save for a bathtub and a car ride. This lounge had the same syle and furniture/seating choices. All very good and with excellent ramp views, something the FCT does not feature.
I had to have a look at the dining facility, in the pursuit of a comprehensive review.
The buffet was very well provisioned as always.
The menu had the greatest hits.
Curiosity led me to order the Leberkase. It was a salty mess and I only managed a couple of bites.
The pretzel and beer on the other hand, perfection.
Well fortified I decided to make my way to an exit and brave the cold air en route to the FCT. It's a triumphant stroll to a magical place.
I enter the street level lobby and board the elevator to the lounge level.
I'm approached as the elevator is opening and taken into immediate custody of a lovely and friendly "personal assistant" or whatever LH calls her. Regardless of title I was very impressed by her way. Friendly small talk and she was immediately keen on my excitement to be on this journey. I appreciate being seduced by someone that I'm surrendering my passport to.
I was the only one being processed at this time so I was through security immediately and seated in the lounge. There are only a few patrons at this hour so seating choices are abundant.
I'm always drawn to this corner. I am greeted by Wassim who is a delightful lounge attendant from Tunisia. I can't say enough about the stellar service this young man provides. I request a glass of the Ruinart and some still Voss water and he quickly returns with the refreshments. He also offers to bring a food menu over and looked well after me for the entire stay. Do & Co made a great hire with this individual but after speaking with him over the course of my stay it's apparent he'll be moving on to other great successes in life.
After having walked the better part of a mile with only the fortification of a pretzel it was time for a snack. I truly believe i could live on cured meat and cheese. I would never tire of it as I would not live long enough to do so.
No visit to the FCT is complete for me without a bath. It's quite literally the only place in the world where I opt for a bath. The bath suite is stunning with large jacuzzi tub, sink, shower and toilet.
Having achieved a sublime state of relaxation (bath salts?) I retired to the dining room to seek out my other FCT tradition: the Wiener Schnitzel.
The service in the restaurant was perfectly good and the deep fried veal hit the spot. I retired to the bar to chat more with Wassim and perhaps warm up with some the 150 odd whiskeys on offer.
Wassim contimued his generous service and offered put out some his favorites for me to sample. A couple that I was fond of:
One by product of the FCT for me is the joy of being completely ignorant of the time. That's why I was surprised when the LH rep. approached me to inform me of the flight status. Apparently it was boarding time however the "captain" had informed them of a slight delay so she would come back by when boarding was upon us. OK then, let's have another pour and an espresso please.
Her next visit brought the unfortunate but inevitable news that it was in fact time to leave. She led me to the elevator and sent me down to the street level while she sprinted down the stairs to be there on the other end. There was a queue of 1 for passport control and I was off. Unfortunately I was last to board the van and in a rear facing seat so I could not manage any pictures of our very brief drive to Z63.
Up the elevator and on board in a seamless and low stress manner. I am escorted to my seat, 2A, and shown to my corresponding locker where I store my bags. My coat is hung and I begin to settle in.
The seats are not enclosed and the cabin is open when the privacy partitions are retracted but I have no issues with this. It's a beautiful space and the materials are top notch right down to the suede sidewalls.
The F cabin will be full tonight.
The service begins with an offer of champagne (2007 Taittinger) and a parade of amenities.
Loving the contrast trim on the amenity kit.
Menu and wine list distributed and hot towel.
A trip to the palatial F lav to don the jammies. The amenities, the bench, the urinal, all so well thought out.
Back at my seat, glued to the tail-cam and ready to violate the laws of physics by elevating this small office complex 40,000 feet in the air.
The A380 slips stealthily into flight and our fantastic crew springs into action. We are quickly amused.
The table was deftly arranged.
It's almost a shame the caviar is first as there is nowhere to go but downhill from there. I enjoyed the bubbles as well as the French vodka.
Despite the full cabin she circled back and offered me another go. Yes, please!
Now we tread into the tray of uncertainty. The appetizer trio has a low probability of success in my experience we about a 50% average. Today that was bested with a full 66% acceptability rate. The one outlier was the octopus. Could have chewed until top of decent and it wouldn't have made a difference.
The service hit a bit of a hiccup next when the main was presented. I had requested the soup but it was overlooked. I inquired and apologies were offered. I had a choice to go to soup now however the fish would suffer the wait or another main entirely after the soup. I opted to take fish main now and taste the soup after. An aircraft diversion wasn't initiated and the fish was quite tasty, tender and flaky.
The soup was delivered next, hot and full of flavor, replete with partially submerged prawns. Only a bit or two was in my plans at this point.
I nice showing of cheese from the cart. served at the perfect temperature.
Finally I had a look at the dessert but can't say piqued my interest all that much.
All told a very satisfying meal. I would be fine with caviar and then cheese but the interlude of soup, main and dessert are nice to taste and experience. Other than the sequencing issue the service was good and pace was excellent. German efficiency and all that.
I requested a glass of the Signet and it was served with some chocolate. I tried to watch a film but fatigue got te better of me and it was time to go horizontal.
The bed was setup quickly upon request and I found sleep quickly. The cabin was somewhat warm and coupled with the thick duvet I was hotter than I would have likes. I mostly slept uncovered with the duvet over my feet.
Keen to not miss any experiences I asked to be awakened for breakfast. Turns out I was stirring anyway so it wasn't necessary. My bed was quickly stowed and I was offered juice. I declined juice in favor of a cappuccino. Hot towels were distributed and tables were arranged.
I was expecting the cart to be rolled with the preliminary courses but it was instead by request. I asked for some fruit and an assortment of the meats and cheese. Also scrambled eggs and bacon.
The fruit and meats were first.
The eggs followed and were nicely cooked I might add. A little stiffer than I would do but very acceptable.
After breakfast I changed back into my street clothes as the cabin was being prepared for landing. The captain updated us on arrival weather and the like. The purser made a final pass thanking everyone and asking for feedback. I offered positive impressions.
With the tail cam called up on the IFE I enjoyed the approach into Shanghai Pudong.
We had a long taxi to T2 from the T1 side. Essentially as far as one can taxi remaining on airport grounds and not venturing into neighboring communities. I snapped a few pics of aircraft at T1 but the lighting never was quite right on my side of the airplane.
We'll part was here and when we reconvene we'll pickup with the awkward ground escort and some lounge action. Thank you for reading.
Lufthansa - First Class
Frankfurt - FRA
Shanghai - PVG
I am a fan of the Lufthansa First Class experience and this time through nothing has occurred to change my perspective
The Ground Service: It's fantastic. The FCT and "personal assistant" system is as good as any and a ride the the aircraft is well appreciated.
The Lounge: The FCT is timeless and unique among facilities of this type. This might have been my best visit yet as the excellent service matched the premium amenities.
The Cabin: Quality finishes, premium bedding, and clean aesthetics are all very positive. The IFE screen size, resolution, and programming could use refreshing. The open and spacious cabin is not preferred by all but I am perfectly content with the layout. The lockers and lavs are also innovative and well thought out.
The Crew: Positive impressions from every crew member I encountered. Good effort and energy was present in making a full cabin seem well cared for.
The Food and Beverage: Bonus points are awarded when a second portion of the fish eggs are offered. Almost everything I tried was of good quality and cookery except the octopus and I like all creepy crawly sea creatures. The wine was a notch or two below other airlines operating in this space.
Overall: Lufthansa First is a well rounded and consistently delivered product. When you add the unique FCT facility you have a very compelling offering. There just are not many holes in the service.
Thank you very much for reading, stay tuned for the next segment, and happy flying.
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