Review of Lufthansa flight Houston Frankfurt in First

Airline Lufthansa
Flight LH441
Class First
Seat 2A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 09:45
Take-off 19 May 16, 15:55
Arrival at 20 May 16, 08:40
LH   #54 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 1138 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 3324
Published on 21st July 2017
Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I have been catching up on reports of trips made last year and this series will be exactly that. This series of flights was special for several reasons. First, the timing. My family was expecting a new member in July of 2016 so this window of time was my last chance to enjoy some flying for a while. Second, as a "last hurrah", it was an all points on deck sort of affair where I simply pooled every point currency I had available and sought to exhaust them into a grand adventure. Through the luck of my timing I beat the devaluation cutoff of both AA and the Alaska and Emirates. Finally the trip was loosely based around A380. The first class cabins on these machines are nothing short of spectacular so let's have a comparison.

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Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:



United Airlines - LAX-IAH - 737-800 - First - United Club - Aeroplan

Lufthansa - IAH-FRA - A380-800 - First - Executive Club - Aeroplan (This Report)
Lufthansa - FRA-LHR - A321 - Business - FCL and FCT - Aeroplan
Etihad Airways - LHR-AUH - A380-800 - First - Etihad Lounge - American AAdvantage
Etihad Airways - AUH-BOM - A380-800 - First - Etihad Lounge - American AAdvantage
Singapore Airlines - BOM-SIN - A380-800 - Suites - GVK Lounge - Krisflyer
Emirates Airline - SIN-DXB - A380-800 - First - Emirates Lounge and Qantas Lounge - Alaska Mileage Plan (Coming Eventually)
Emirates Airline - DXB-IAH - A380-800 - First - Emirates Lounge - Alaska Mileage Plan (Coming Eventually)
American Airlines IAH-DFW - MD80 - First - Admirals Club - Cash (No Report)
American Airlines DFW-SNA - 737-800 - First - Admirals Club - Cash (No Report)

I'm not familiar with IAH, and this was my first international departure here, but I followed the signage to the D gates and located my departure gate first.

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Executive Club



I wandered a bit and came upon Executive Club. Sounds exclusive, let's have a look see.

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It's a fairly large space and quite well partitioned. There are many rooms and secluded areas where you can have a conversation and an amount of privacy.

First the bar and dining areas.

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There was a decent mix of hot and cold food. It was all quite basic but looked OK. The food staff was frequently replenishing and cycling the items. Expectations are key to perception and I had low expectations of a contract lounge with a generic name. This lounge exceeded my expectaions.

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The coffee offering was weak.

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There was a separate TV room that I had all to myself for my entire stay.

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Also a TV in the common area adjacent to the bar and dining.

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A meeting room.

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A few shots of the varied seating on offer.



I rested in my private TV room and enjoyed some water. Of course I was excitedly waiting for boarding time like a child on December 24th. This trip would be Christmas for days.

LH441 IAH-FRA



As boarding time approached I meandered down to D11 and assumed my position in line with those who matter to LH.I appreciate the separate J line from F line.

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Boarding was somewhat delayed. The weather in the area caused a delay to the inbound. Boarding began and I took residence in one of my favorite places in the sky, seat 2A on the LH A380.

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I'm sure the seat is familiar to you now. The storage, controls, and whatnot.



The flight attendant taking care of me today was Esther. She was seemingly very young to be in LH F, from my experience. Still she was very eager, spoke very good English, and was quite refined. The champagne was delivered promptly. Funny note about the LH ticket stock and jacket. I had crummy boarding passes printed by the UA kiosk at LAX. I inquired at the lounge and the young man at the front desk said he would see what he could do. I figured the request would be considered trivial and not considered but no, he delivered.

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Part of getting settled is stowing your belongings in the locker associated with your seat. I really like this idea of making the cabin seem more spacious by eliminating the overhead bins and replacing them with lockers that are easier to access.

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The ritual of amenity distribution is initiated and I fare quite well. Missing the Rimowa of course.

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A trip to the utterly palatial lav is on order to change into the sleep attire.



Esther passed the Vinothek list.
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A towel was also distributed prior to takeoff.

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Our push from the gate was delayed about 30 minutes. The taxi was lengthy.

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Eventually we rose above all of the weather in the area.



The purser distributed the menu for the evening and engaged in some banter with each passenger. She explained the dine on demand nature of the service and requested we contact her with any requests. She was very friendly and energetic. I believe she is in the right position for the company.
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As is habit for me I requested a class of champagne and still water during the bar service. The 2007 Tatti was not the most exciting bottle but it fit the bill for festive aperitif. The amuse today was asparagus. I quite enjoyed it.

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On this relatively short flight I prefer to enjoy the meal ASAP and then try to get a bit of rest. With that in mind I opted to start the meal service. Esther laid the table and returned with the vodka. Esther is my kind of girl because she laid a second dollop of fish eggs on me when she passed back in the other direction.



I'll have a go at the appetizer trio, please. The Venison was the star. I requested a Riesling. Esther thought i should try the Pinot Blac. I can't argue with a professional.



Loving the ambiance at this restaurant.

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I haven't a clue why I opted for the beef. Maybe it was for the sides? Something to nosh with the red wine? I really appreciate how LH tries to tie the meal offerings into the local food culture. Little touches like smoky beef with chili sauce and chili pepper salmon have to nods to Texas, I assume. Anyhow the sage grits were excellent. The Margaux wasn't too shabby either.

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The Lufthansa cheese service is really only rivaled by the Lufthansa caviar service.



This view.

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I'll have a taste of the sweet, please. With the late harvest Riesling. Esther is the type who seems to truly enjoy pleasing her customers. She takes great pride in her service. She's a keeper. She's not even put off by my pattern of only having a bite or two of each dish.

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The Blue Label to put a bow on this delightful time above the clouds.

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My goodness I stretched this meal out. Time to hit the rack.

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The bed is supremely comfortable and the quality of the bedding is high.

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The sleep is about as good as I can hope for on an airplane. All the excitement combined with the food and beverage don't make for the best quality rest. Esther asked if I would like to be roused for brekkie and of course I said yes. It would be an incomplete report otherwise. Sure enough I was gently brought to consciousness in time for the arrival meal.

The table was set and I requested a cappuccino.

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The cart with meats and cheeses was next. I asked Esther for a taste of a few items.

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Just coming up on mainland Europe now.
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The scrambled eggs with bacon for the main. The eggs were cooked too hard for me but he presentation is lovely. I hazard a bite or two.

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It's a beautiful day in the Rhine-Main area which is of great relief as I am going for a drive later in the day. A fast one.

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The cabin is made ready for landing. The passengers excahnge their pajamas for street clothes and we make our way gently back to earth.



Some action on the ground as we taxi in.



We parked on the very tip of A. A massive Danke to Esther and the excellent crew today.

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Thanks for reading along. I'll post a bonus section below with my arrival visit to the First Class Lounge and a spin in a spectacular piece of German Engineering.

Bonus Lounge + Porsche



The long walks at FRA were perfect this morning. My plan was to hit he First Class Lounge on A pier, have a shower, a nap, and a bite and then go pick up the car. I have a 7 hour layover which is perfect to experience all the wonders of Lufthansa's FRA hub.

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The lounge is sparsely populated this morning and there is no wait for the jacuzzi tub.



Perfekt!



Power nap time. Again, no wait.

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A lovely lunch from the massive buffet.



The front desk confirmed with Avis that my preferred car was ready so Off I went to the rental desk.

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This was pure bucket list for me. The 99 Euro 3 hour Porsche rental that can be dropped at the First Class Terminal upon completion. The car was a very new 911 Carrera 4s with the controversial, in 911 land, twin turbo 3.0 flat 6 motor. I'll just post a few pictures and say that it was spectacular. The car pulls effortlessly to 246 km/h on the autobahn and of course will keep going but the traffic would not allow it. I was off on various country roads along the river in wine country and must have looked like a grinning idiot.

die Macht!

See more

Verdict

Lufthansa

8.4/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering8.5

Executive Club

7.6/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services7.5

Houston - IAH

7.5/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Frankfurt - FRA

8.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

The Ground Service: No red carpet ground service from Lufthansa at this station.

The Lounge: I expected the worst of contract lounges but was pleasantly surprised. I didn't really partake in the food and beverage but there was ample selection. The seating was diverse and partitioned for privacy. It's miles ahead of any of the United Clubs available at IAH.

The Cabin: I'm enamored of the minimalist clean Lufthansa design. The seat is exceptionally comfortable in all configurations. The bedding is top shelf. The IFE is dated and teh screen is small with poor resolution. There, I found a critique.

The Crew: F service in every way. All crew encounters were with smiling and energetic professionals. Esther was clearly new to this but had a natural way with people that will serve her and her employer well. A certain poise and confidence that makes interactions that much more satisfying.

The Food and Beverage: Some hits and some misses. The caviar portions were massive and beautifully presented. The appetizers and main are just a distraction until the cheese arrives.

Overall: I really love the Lufthansa First "experience" so I am not and unbiased reviewer. Throw in a German super car that I can drive up to their adult Disneyland called the First Class Terminal and I'm your slave for life.

Information on the route Houston (IAH) Frankfurt (FRA)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Houston (IAH) → Frankfurt (FRA).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Lufthansa with 7.4/10.

The average flight time is 9 hours and 51 minutes.

  More information

12 Comments

  • Comment 404976 by
    Rewardflying GOLD 494 Comments

    Another home run Christian. In a couple weeks you can compare my recent trip with yours. LH has cut back for sure. Apparently the early summer Amuse is asparagus and green beans. What they served you looks nice, mine was a disaster.

    What do you think of the first class cabin upstairs on the 380? It doesn't look as spacious like it does on the -8.

    "I was off on various country roads along the river in wine country and must have looked like a grinning idiot. "
    -Where is this photo?

    The LH FC lounges are worth a few disappointments in the air I think. Thanks again.

    • Comment 405297 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 980 Comments

      Thanks, as alwyas, for the feedback Rewardflying.

      "In a couple weeks you can compare my recent trip with yours."
      -Looking forward to it!

      "LH has cut back for sure."
      -This is disheartening to hear. The product, and therefore my expectations, have been so consistent.

      "What do you think of the first class cabin upstairs on the 380? It doesn't look as spacious like it does on the -8. "
      -I would classify it as more spacious but less private. As much as i am over the moon for teh 747-8i I think objectively the A380 is superior. Those lavs...

      "Where is this photo?"
      -Selfies at 150mph are discouraged.

      Thanks again and happy flying.

  • Comment 405101 by
    Razza_Pr 214 Comments

    Greetings, Socalnow, and thank you for this FR.

    "I really like this idea of making the cabin seem more spacious by eliminating the overhead bins and replacing them with lockers that are easier to access."
    -Nice move on LH's part, that. Kudos to the design team!

    By the way, you censored your name on the first picture of the food menu, but it's clearly visible on the second. Houston, I think we have a problem!

    "The amuse today was asparagus. I quite enjoyed it."
    -Suffice to say you were amused? ;)

    "Esther is my kind of girl because she laid a second dollop of fish eggs on me when she passed back in the other direction"
    -Superb! I do hope you took more than 2 spoonfuls out of this course? ;)

    I'm genuinely surprised that Porsche leases THAT trim of their new 911 (991?). That's top of the line, no? 3 hours for €99 and one gets to drive one of the fastest and most precise cars Porsche has ever come up with. I might be tempted to book a test drive, actually.. your fault :p

    What a fantastic read over dinner. Cheers!

    • Comment 405298 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 980 Comments

      Hello Razza_Pr and thank you for the note.

      "By the way, you censored your name on the first picture of the food menu, but it's clearly visible on the second. Houston, I think we have a problem!"
      -Doh! Rookie move. I used to not censor at all until a member pointed it out. Thanks for catching that, I fixed the report.

      "-Superb! I do hope you took more than 2 spoonfuls out of this course? ;)"
      -I go to great lengths to enjoy every last pearl.

      "I'm genuinely surprised that Porsche leases THAT trim of their new 911 (991?). That's top of the line, no? 3 hours for €99 and one gets to drive one of the fastest and most precise cars Porsche has ever come up with. I might be tempted to book a test drive, actually.. your fault :p"
      -I believe the 991 is the current 911 model. Perhaps the GT3 RS trim is still tops? This one might be the lower trim level, if you can believe that. I can't imagine a better package of mind bending power, control, refinement, and luxury.

      Happy flying Razza_Pr.

  • Comment 405104 by
    indianocean GOLD 6818 Comments

    Thank you Christian.

    I wanna ask you if you tried the weblink to book a Porsche car in Frankfurt. I've read that, except the wonderful driving time, Lufthansa First Class Porsche excitment is not that great. Huge waiting lines in Avis counters, bad service from Avis employees.

    I've also read that the only difference between FCT and First Class lounge is the limo transfer from terminal to the boarding gate. What do you think?

    Despite some flaws onboard, I think LH First class is worth the try. All I have to do is earning more miles or search for interesting fares.

    • Comment 405105 by
      Rewardflying GOLD 494 Comments

      Hi IndianOcean. While I don't mean to intrude on Christian's post, and without question he has more LH first class experience than me, I visited the Terminal Concourse B first class lounge a couple weeks ago. Here is a link to the report if you care to have a view.
      www.rewardflying.com/lounge-reports/2017/7/18/fra-lufthansa-first-class-lounge-concourse-b

    • Comment 405300 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 980 Comments

      Greetings Indianocean and thank you for the note.

      "I wanna ask you if you tried the weblink to book a Porsche car in Frankfurt."
      -I did book online. However ti was the day before my travels so i never received the confirmation (Avis says it can take a day to two?). So that is why I asked the lounge staff to call and ask if in fact there was a reservation.

      "Huge waiting lines in Avis counters, bad service from Avis employees."
      - There was a wait for sure. Probably 10 minutes. This is normal to me in my experience renting cars. The staff I encountered were very professional and there were no negative interactions.

      "I've also read that the only difference between FCT and First Class lounge is the limo transfer from terminal to the boarding gate. What do you think?"
      -I can agree with that in the case of connecting passengers. In the case of those originating in FRA then the FCT is vastly superior due to the private security and immigration setup.

      "Despite some flaws onboard, I think LH First class is worth the try. All I have to do is earning more miles or search for interesting fares."
      -Yes, i agree, on the whole it's a good package.

      Happy flying.

  • Comment 405142 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Howdy Christian and thank you for sharing this amazing FR.

    "Expectations are key to perception and I had low expectations of a contract lounge with a generic name. This lounge exceeded my expectaions."
    - I'm glad that you were pleasantly surprised. Third party contract lounges are often disappointing with rare exceptions. Since UA is improving its clubs, especially with the introduction of Polaris, I wonder if this LH arrangement will be affected.

    ".I appreciate the separate J line from F line."
    - You sound like a snob. :P Seriously I concur with you. If you fly in such an exclusive cabin every effort should be made to set it apart.

    "I really like this idea of making the cabin seem more spacious by eliminating the overhead bins and replacing them with lockers that are easier to access."
    - That is truly special!

    "The ritual of amenity distribution is initiated and I fare quite well. Missing the Rimowa of course."
    - That kit looks.....well...utilitarian. What a letdown.

    "A trip to the utterly palatial lav is on order to change into the sleep attire."
    - Palatian indeed! and an urinal on top of that.

    "The purser distributed the menu for the evening and engaged in some banter with each passenger."
    - Love the detail of having your name written on the menu. It's a small gesture that makes a lasting impression.

    Nice multiple course meal with great wines. The cheese course has a good assortment of choices.

    "The lounge is sparsely populated this morning and there is no wait for the jacuzzi tub."
    - That is a great treat that makes your stay even more enjoyable.

    Looks like you got some memorable indulgence in your bonus. Life is short so you have to enjoy it every time.

    I have only flown LH F from FRA-TLV and that was not long enough to enjoy the full F experience. On the outbound everything went perfect and I had one of the loveliest flights in my life. On the return I had a request that was not met that left me a bit disappointed.

    Thanks again for sharing this enjoyable FR.

    • Comment 405307 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 980 Comments

      Hello Jetsetpanda and thank you for the feedback.

      "Since UA is improving its clubs, especially with the introduction of Polaris, I wonder if this LH arrangement will be affected."
      -From the reviews around the web I would suspect that when IAH has a Polaris lounge it will be the preferred space to spend time before or in between LH flights.

      "That kit looks.....well...utilitarian. What a letdown."
      -Yes the plastic/vinyl pouch is not up to standard for LH F.

      "On the outbound everything went perfect and I had one of the loveliest flights in my life. On the return I had a request that was not met that left me a bit disappointed. "
      -When Flying F I tend to be more critical of "small" service missteps. I think this is a fair perspective.

      Happy flying Jetsetpanda.

  • Comment 405399 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 538 Comments

    Hi Socal! Thanks for sharing this, and looking forward to (yet another) really interesting itinerary from you!

    That lounge certainly does exceed expectations for a lounge that is is in the US, and is a third-party lounge shared by a bunch of airlines. Interesting that Lufty contracts here rather than directing their pax to UA. Perhaps that says something...

    Exciting to see the LH A380... the one LH plane with F that I've not flown in F. (Okay, I've not flown the 346 in the *new* F, but have in the old....)

    Glad your BP got the silver shroud it so deserves! (And, an impressive attention to detail!)

    The lav looks good, although one detail gives me a little chuckle. "Hey guys... do you think our passengers would rather have a shower, or a urinal?"

    White asparagus brings back to mind a LH F FRA-ICN flight I took a few years ago, where the purser made a big deal of the white asparagus, ham and potatoes dish they were offering at that time, as it was "the season" for that back home.

    I do love LH's appetizers concept. I sometimes feel like the meal experience might be better if they added a couple more of these, and skipped the main. Then straight to the cheese! (But maybe that's just me....)

    Great service -- like you experienced with Esther -- can really take a great F experience to the next level. Great stuff!

    So fantastic to actually see pics of the often-discussed and legendary LH F Porsche rental service at FRA. What fun!

    380 in F - F Lounge - Porsche - FCT -- You really know how to maximize the experience, good sir!

    Reading an LH F report likes this makes me wish my Aeroplan account weren't already zeroed out. Oh well. Good memories still.

    Thanks for sharing this, and I look forward to the rest of this epic adventure!

  • Comment 405451 by
    socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 980 Comments

    Thanks for the note Hometoyyz, always a pleasure.

    "(Okay, I've not flown the 346 in the *new* F, but have in the old....)"
    -I'm missing the 346. Need to make a trip through MUC.

    "White asparagus brings back to mind a LH F FRA-ICN flight I took a few years ago, where the purser made a big deal of the white asparagus, ham and potatoes dish they were offering at that time, as it was "the season" for that back home."
    -I'm a fan of how LH celebrates seasonal German fare. The Christmas goose dish in winter has been on the menu for something like 30 years.
    " I sometimes feel like the meal experience might be better if they added a couple more of these, and skipped the main. Then straight to the cheese! (But maybe that's just me....)"
    -It's not just you. Caviar, some small plates, and cheese. Perfect!

    Thanks again Hometoyyz, happy flying.

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