Flight-Report

Review of Lufthansa flight Chicago Frankfurt in First

Airline Lufthansa
Flight LH433
Class First
Seat 2K
Aircraft Boeing 747-8I
Flight time 07:40
Take-off 30 Jun 17, 22:35
Arrival at 01 Jul 17, 13:15
LH   #47 out of 126 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 943 reviews
Rewardflying
By SILVER 2018
Published on 2nd August 2017
photo lh432 cover

Greetings fellow Flight-Report #avgeek fans. They say if you fall off a horse the best remedy is to get right back on. Well after my last disaster trip I got right back on. This trip came a whisker of being cancelled, but the opportunity to fly Lufthansa and Asiana first class was too much to pass by. Then as I like to say, the stars aligned when United's 777-300 with Polaris seats became available the day I was headed home. (Although some may think I need to see a doctor, the head examiner kind, taking United business with a connection over a direct JAL flight in first class, seat 2A, while you could still get a free massage at the JAL first class lounge. And they have a point.)

The original plan:
ORD-FRA United 777-200 Polaris First
FRA-DUS Lufthansa A320 Business
DUS-NRT ANA 787-9 Business Staggered
NRT-ORD Japan Airlines 777-300 First Class

turned into this:

ORD-FRA Lufthansa 747-8i First Class - This report


FRA-ICN Asiana A380 First Class
ICN-TPE China Airlines 777-300 Business Class
TPE-NRT China Airlines A330-300 Business Class
NRT-SFO United Airlines 777-300 Polaris Business Class
SFO-ORD United Airlines 757-300 First Class

photo future flights 6-17  both

Lufthansa has long been a favorite airline of mine. My first international premium class experience was flying on a Lufthansa 747-200 to Frankfurt back in 1986. What a treat that was! I remember how delicious the meals were on those flights. Of course the seats weren't lie flat beds back then, but who wanted to sleep anyway when you could smoke! A couple years ago I flew 4 international segments on their new 747-8i which only enhanced my affection for the airline. Maybe I was due for a let down.

Some of the perks when flying international first class are the special ground services you receive, unless you live in Chicago where they don't exist. At least for Star Alliance flights. While most Star Alliance partners depart from O'Hare's international terminal, Lufthansa and ANA depart from United's main Terminal One.

photo lh432 ord 1 checking

The first class ground service reception at ORD.

photo lh432 ord 2 checkin

For those who haven't been to O'Hare, Terminal One is fairly large. Here is a diagram.

photo lh432 ord map

1. Lufthansa check-in, all classes including first class
2. First Class TSA Pre security screening
3. United Polaris Lounge
4. B16/B17 Lufthansa departure gates (ANA departs from C10)

Once I received my boarding pass, security was on the other end of the building.

photo lh432 ord 3 checkin

Once past security you exit airside around gate B6. Lufthansa uses gates B16 and B17, which means you double back to where you came from. Unless you are in economy where security is next to the LH/ANA check-in counter and exit to gate B11 airside. Apparently premium and TSA Pre customers need their exercise.

My point is not to complain about the long walks, every airport has them. I'm simply illustrating that little, if any thought went into first class ground services at O'Hare for Lufthansa and ANA. (United's Global First private check-in room is located right next to first class TSA Pre security at the south end of the building.)

The Lufthansa check-in agent suggested I had access to the United Club across from the B16 departure gate or I could visit the United Polaris Lounge. I played unaware and asked which one I should visit. She said the Polaris Lounge was very popular.

Of course my intentions all along were to go there. It's in concourse C by gate 18.

photo ord pl entry 1

Visit the Polaris Lounge with this link

photo ord pl entry 3

After touring Polaris and spending some time in the United Club it was almost time to board and experience more excellent first class ground services.

photo lh432 ord 4 boarding

Apparently Lufthansa has taken boarding lessons from United.

What a difference it is boarding Lufthansa at O'Hare versus being driven to the plane with a personal escort in Frankfurt after enjoying a nice sit down meal at their First Class Terminal.

There can be no argument, the Lufthansa First Class entry is magnificent.

photo lh432 cabin 1 entry

First class preparations were well underway.

photo lh432 cabin serving table

My seat would be 2K tonight in a 100% occupied first class cabin. The last time I was on this late departure to Frankfurt I was the lone occupant up front.

photo lh432 seat 1

I love the color contrasts of the Lufthansa first class cabin. These natural tones make me feel right at home. My favorite seat, 1A had been reserved. But then again any seat up front is just fine on this 747-8i. Aesthetically the LH B474-8i nose might be my favorite.

photo lh432 cabin row 1-1

Seats 3A and 3K are slightly set back from the row 3 center seats.

photo lh432 cabin row 3-1photo lh432 cabin row3-3

The lone 2 seats for couples who wish to sit together complete the 8 seat first class cabin.
photo lh432 cabin row 3-2

There's no need to use the overhead bins (which I'm surprised they didn't remove to add more openness to the area) because each seat has their own locker (as seen in the photo above behind the right side seat). In addition each seat has an ottoman that opens from the top and will hold a fairly large shoulder bag or duffel type bag.

photo lh432 seat ottoman 1

My favorite view on a 747 is of the ceiling up front. This one is especially nice.

photo lh432 cabin ceiling 1

I requested pajamas and headed off to the lavatory to get comfortable. (Note: The trousers run large…or the tops run small.)



As you might expect, the lavatories on this 747-8i are good size.



I returned to find lovely glass of champagne along with Lufthansa's signature macadamia nuts.

photo lh432 welcome champage 2

Tonight they were serving a seasonal variety, the 2003 Cuvée Louise.

photo lh432 welcome champagne 5

A moment of airplane joy before departure while sipping champagne.

photo lh432 seat rose 2

On schedule the push from B16 followed by a short taxi to runway 28R then a 180 degree right turn on the O'Hare 2 departure which presented this gorgeous view of Chicago at night.

photo lh432 away they go

The next couple hours brought a light chop. Combined with the lighting of a night time flight resulted in a number of photos taking the brunt of mother nature's mild abuse.

photo lh432 flight choppy

An oshibori. Something doesn't smell right.

photo lh432 oshibori

Followed by further confirmation something wasn't right in the form of the Amuse Bouche. A haphazard presentation of green beans and asparagus, because they didn't serve me enough asparagus on my last Lufthansa flight.  

photo lh432 food amuse 3

Two ladies attended the first class for tonight's flight to Frankfurt. Both were cordial and attentive. A purser did not stop by to introduce themselves, neither at the beginning or end of this flight.

Menu's were distributed. I selected the Chateau LaTour Martillac. This wine retails for about $30.

White Wine
photo lh432 menu bev white wine
Red Wine
photo lh432 menu bev red wine

Other beverages


Tonight's menu.

photo lh432 menu food dinner


I began with caviar. The appetizer course is offered via cart service in Lufthansa first class. My flight attendant, whose name I've misplaced, made it clear how much she disliked caviar. "Like eating salt." "Poor sturgeons." Okay, but I really only partake when I fly first class on, uhh, Lufthansa. She recommended I try the scallop appetizer as well.

photo lh432 food cav 1

Maybe a snobbish first class complaint, but presentation?
photo lh432 food cav 2

The scallop suggestion was of little help.

photo lh432 food app 2photo lh432 food app 1

There was no salad course. In fairness this was a late departure, 10:35 PM. A soup and/or salad might be on other menus, just not the late ones. Or maybe not.

I'm adverse to lobster and wanted protein as opposed to carbs, so my choice was beef by default.

photo lh432 food main 2

A blurry photo actually helps from depicting how disgusting this dish was.

photo lh432 food main 5

Showing a photo of the beef's inside temperature really isn't necessary, now is it? And the Bearnaise sauce was flavorless and had a consistency of water.

This was followed by a truly "first class" selection and presentation of cheese and crackers. Maybe United isn't so bad after-all. The cheese course difference between first class and business class on Lufthansa: In first you get 3 crackers, in business you get 2.

photo lh432 food cheese 1

Yet the cheese course still would not be outdone by this "remarkable first class" dessert called Hazelnut Pot du Creme, half the size of a wafer cracker.

photo lh432 food des 1

What a horrible and disappointing "first class" meal. Maybe the morning meal will be better. Not!

I remember my last time on this flight. After dinner (a great one), I sat back and enjoyed a nice glass of wine along with a fancy chocolate. Here is that photo.

photo lh first chocolates and wine

It's just not the same.

photo lh432 amenity chocolate

Recently Lufthansa changed their amenity kits from the popular Rimowa hard case to a Jil Sander pouch.

photo lh432 amenity bag 1

Contents of the amenity kit included; socks, eye mask, comb, tiny box of skin care and a mini toothbrush. Doesn't it look like that pouch is awfully big for these few small items?

photo lh432 amenity bag 2

Fooled you, the prior photo is of the pouch folded in half. Below is what the pouch really looks like. It's huge! Maybe it's intended to be used for a tablet case or something. My intended use was the garbage.

photo lh432 amenity bag 3

Okay, I'll settle down for a bit. 

Let's have a look at the seat. 

photo lh432 seat 2k view 1

A sample of lovely views from 2K.

photo lh432 seat 2k view 2photo lh432 seat 2k view 3

Lufthansa is known for not having a robust selection of IFE content. Fortunately I found a TV series I wanted to watch, but no movies interested me. And like my last Lufthansa flight in business a few weeks earlier, the airshow was scatterbrained.

photo lh432 ife issue

Lufthansa offers a quality set of Bose noise cancelling headphones. These are hard-wired to the seat so be sure to use the ear muffs provided in the amenity kit.

photo lh432 amenity headphones

A water bottle is placed out of harm's way.

photo lh432 seat a5 water bottle

Seat controls are located on the left armrest.

photo lh432 seat a2 controls 1

While the right armrest houses the audio controler which must be used to control the IFE.

photo lh432 seat a4 ife controller

A handy storage compartment against the wall.

photo lh432 seat a1 storage 1

With electronics located on the face of the armrest against the wall.

photo lh432 seat a3 plugs

And the electronically operated ottoman which can be brought forward for a foot rest by using one of the seat controls.

photo lh432 seat ottoman 2

I didn't notice this light until I was de-planning. It appears to be a reading light when the seat's in bed mode.

photo lh432 seat sleep 3 light

A request to prepare the bed was made. The bed is fairly comfortable. I still think it lags behind other first class offerings other than maybe the duvet which was plush and generous. The pillow seemed larger than prior flights. I slept for a couple hours. Privacy was not an issue with the privacy wall extended, which I do not have a photo of. There was no mood lighting like they have upstairs in business class.

photo lh432 seat sleep 1

Actually it was late morning when I awoke, German time. Arrival was a little after 1 pm so it was 11 something.

photo lh432 menu food brk

Another standout memory from my prior experience was the European style muesli served before arrival. It looked like this:

photo lh menu breakfast1

Today breakfast was served by cart.

photo lh432 food brk cart 1photo lh432 food brk cart 2

Do you have muesli?

Yes, would you like milk?

It is dry?

Yes.

I can do that at home.

I opted for fresh berries along with coffee. There were no croissants, muffins or danish pastries. Only a roll as shown.

photo lh432 food brk 2photo lh432 food brk 3

I asked for some scrambled eggs.

photo lh432 food brk 4

It doesn't take a Michelin chef to know that when you see the whites of their eyes, you've ruined the dish. And another lovely presentation don't you think?

photo lh432 food brk 1

An on-time arrival.
photo lh432 scenic 1

With the weather depicting the rating of this experience.
photo lh432 plane 1

Flight path
photo lh432 flight path

Full report with ratings on Rewardflying.com
See more

Verdict

Lufthansa

5.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
In-flight Entertainment4.0
Meal/catering3.0

United Airlines United First International Lounge

8.6/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering8.0
In-flight Entertainment8.5
Services9.0

Chicago - ORD

5.8/10
Efficiency4.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Frankfurt - FRA

7.0/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

I actually think my United first class flight from Shanghai was better than this, which pains me to say. United's amenity kit and pajamas were better. United's dessert was better with everything else equally bad. United's bedding was far better. United's crew were slightly better. Of course Lufthansa has a much newer 747 in the dash 8 over the 20 year-old 400. Lufthansa had better champagne and served caviar. Both IFE's were terrible although United's was super terrible. Both departure ground services were nonexistent. And United cost less. Add it up. Of course all this disappointment changes once we arrive in Frankfurt and head to the Lufthansa first class lounge in concourse B.

Information on the route Chicago (ORD) Frankfurt (FRA)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Chicago (ORD) → Frankfurt (FRA).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 8 hours and 2 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 406414 by
    Razza_Pr 205 Comments

    Greetings, Rewardflying, and thank you for this FR.

    "Well after my last disaster trip I got right back on."
    -Too soon. Way too soon it seems.

    "Then as I like to say, the stars aligned when United's 777-300 with Polaris seats became available the day I was headed home"
    -Heh. Stars. I see what you did there ;)

    "Aesthetically the LH B474-8i nose might be my favorite."
    -I concur. It is aesthetically pleasing indeed!

    "My flight attendant, whose name I've misplaced, made it clear how much she disliked caviar."
    -Hahaha. One wonders how many other passengers she said that to?

    "I'm adverse to lobster and wanted protein as opposed to carbs, so my choice was beef by default."
    -GASP! Adverse to lobster? That's quite unfortunate as I was wondering if they'd be able to serve lobster better than their more reputable partner from Asia..

    "And another lovely presentation don't you think?"
    -They could've fixed it by having.. wait for it.. asparagus on the plate.

    Thanks again for this FR. Cheers!

  • Comment 406415 by
    socalnow GOLD 837 Comments

    Thank you for the FR Reward flying. I'm really bummed it was a disappointing experience.

    "Although some may think I need to see a doctor, the head examiner kind, taking United business with a connection over a direct JAL flight in first class, seat 2A, while you could still get a free massage at the JAL first class lounge. And they have a point."
    -The stigma of mental health treatment is mostly a thing of the past. Get some help. We're here for support.

    "She said the Polaris Lounge was very popular. "
    -LOL! I'm excited to visit later in the month before ANA F to NRT. I had LAX-NRT booked but switched to ORD to try the lounge. Bonkers, I know.

    "There can be no argument, the Lufthansa First Class entry is magnificent. "
    -True that. The whole cabin is stunning. The whole airplane!

    "Tonight they were serving a seasonal variety, the 2003 Cuvée Louise."
    -Yum. I like the champagne rotation on LH...except when it lands on a random Tatty that's unremarkable.
    " My flight attendant, whose name I've misplaced, made it clear how much she disliked caviar."
    -Well that's a peculiar interaction that would rub me the wrong way.

    "What a horrible and disappointing "first class" meal."
    -Maybe the late departure has changed to a lighter "supper" service? I'll cross LH433 off of my list of potential LH F routes.

    "I actually think my United first class flight from Shanghai was better than this, which pains me to say."
    -Definately see a professional.

    Thanks again for the report. I'm things will improve at the F lounge. Happy flying.

  • Comment 406469 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 441 Comments

    Heh. Stars. I see what you did there ;)

    -I'll beat this to death in future reports as well :)

    GASP! Adverse to lobster? That's quite unfortunate as I was wondering if they'd be able to serve lobster better than their more reputable partner from Asia..

    -Sorry no help here. Many years ago had a bad experience, not getting back on that horse.

    They could've fixed it by having.. wait for it.. asparagus on the plate.

    -Ahhggg

    Talk soon Raza_PR, thanks!

  • Comment 406471 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 441 Comments

    The stigma of mental health treatment is mostly a thing of the past. Get some help. We're here for support.

    -I knew you'd have my back on this one.

    LOL! I'm excited to visit later in the month before ANA F to NRT. I had LAX-NRT booked but switched to ORD to try the lounge. Bonkers, I know.

    -Not at all, join the mental club. I'm all in.

    Maybe the late departure has changed to a lighter "supper" service? I'll cross LH433 off of my list of potential LH F routes.

    -Then it's a secret. Next time I'm going LAX on the 380.

    Definately see a professional

    -You could always change that ANA first ticket to a United 777 first class ticket. It will save you some points you know.

    • Comment 406841 by
      socalnow GOLD 837 Comments

      Thanks to you I woke up last night in a sweat after dreaming that I was a passenger on United Airlines rather than ANA. My ANA flight is part of a round trip booked through Virgin Atlantic for 110,000 Flying Club points so I cannot, thank goodness, change it to UA. It's an astounding value, in our hobby.

  • Comment 406829 by
    indianocean SILVER 6078 Comments

    My Goodness, what a dreadful First Class flight.

    LH catering is known to be the weakness of the airline but I never expected such a bad service from the Flight Attendants.
    The FA feeling about the caviar was totally inappropriate.
    Was she trying to make you feel guilty or was she trying to save some eggs for her?

    The Jil Sanders pouch looks like crap. Why the hell did LH replace the Rimowa case?

    I feel sorry for you and for me because LH First is on my to-do list. Hope it was juste an incident.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Comment 406846 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 441 Comments

    Hi Indianocean,

    Was she trying to make you feel guilty or was she trying to save some eggs for her?

    Ha, it would have been hilarious to find her stuffing fish eggs down her throat in the galley while everyone was sleeping!
    The Jil Sanders pouch looks like crap. Why the hell did LH replace the Rimowa case?

    -Excellent question
    I feel sorry for you and for me because LH First is on my to-do list. Hope it was juste an incident.

    -As long as you take advantage of the lounge in Frankfurt it's not a total loss. I'm hoping this experience was a one off.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Comment 406847 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 441 Comments

    Didn't your hear? United serves the best champagne of all international carriers. ANA or JAL with your favorite Salon didn't even get a mention. Something called Joseph Perrier Brut Cuvée Royale 2004. Wasn't on my first class flight but...
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/08/02/united-worlds-best-champagne/

    110K, if I remember correctly you also got a transfer bonus from AMEX, good job! Enjoy the 2nd class champagne.

  • Comment 407016 by
    Andyw 23 Comments

    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/strong-demand-and-cost-cuts-lift-lufthansa-mid-year-439905/

    "Finance chief Ulrik Svensson states: "In addition to strong demand and a robust pricing environment, this [result] is attributable to the fact that we achieved a further structural reduction in costs."

    Bit sad if so.

  • Comment 407143 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 441 Comments

    Could very well be the case AndyW. Thanks for the note and link.

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