Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. In this series I will present a really fun round-the-world party including Lufthansa, JAL, and ANA. While these are all familiar and sought after experiences for me I was able to bring a friend along this time and groom a new airline geek and Flight Report follower. We visited some fantastic lounges, saw some wonderful cities and were spoiled with culinary delights and divine intoxicants the entire way.
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
Lufthansa First Class Terminal and Chauffeur Service
It was a beautiful afternoon for a drive and after a few scorching runs on the Bundesautobahn 3, a quick pass through Wiesbaden, and a scenic drive along the Rhein to Eltville we made our way back to the airport. The circumstance of driving this vehicle up to the terminal entrance and being whisked off wiht the LH representative is a very unique experience. My travel companion, Mark, was not briefed on any of these features so that he could experience them with no preconceived notions or expectations.
The private security and escort into the First Class Terminal evokes a feeling of exclusivity and service. We surrender our passports and are briefed on the protocols of the personal assistant. I also browse the duck collection and duty free shop.
Once inside we take a spin around the room and pick a couple of comfortable chairs.
Naturally World Cup fever is still gripping the Continent.
The shower suites were arranged next. The bath was not available.
Having not taken a meal since the light breakfast in the FCL we were keen to sample the menu here. There was a special World Cup addition to the regular menu.
Traditional FCT menu.
The always beautifully laid out buffet. The charcuterie haunts me every visit. I simply cannot resist.
I was very keen for Mark to try the Wiener Schnitzel because when in Rome, etc. We decided to try several items.
The charcuterie and Ruinart.
The crispy prawns & lettuce with yuzu truffle sauce. This was well done in that the prawns were perfectly crisp and the potato "nest" was a visually pleasing presentation.
Uruguay beef and accompaniments. I admit I didn't sample this one but our very cheerful and friendly server offered a Argentinian Malbec that Mark was very fond of.
The Schnitzel. No visit would be complete without it. It was perfect as usual with a crisp flavorful crust and tender thin veal.
We still had a bit of time before our flight and I really wanted Mark to appreciate the selection at the bar. The woman staffing the bar was delightful and fun. Her name was Napa. She is a native of Thailand and I can't help but marvel how effortlessly she moves from lovely sounding German to excellent English all the while knowing her native tongue it Thai, quite different from the other two. I asked Napa for a small taste of The Dalmore King Alexander III as It was the standout of my last visit and I wanted Mark to have a taste.
We began discussing what she likes and what she pours a lot of. She suggested we try a A.H. Riise Non Plus Ultra (Nothing Further Beyond) Very Rare Rum. A complete revelation to me as I had never experienced a proper aged rum. A little to the sweet side but the flavor profile was complex and interesting.
Back to Scotland for the Balvenie 21. It's a great dram.
We discussed Cognac and she poured the Landy 'Numero 1' X.O. as neither of us have tried it. Hot water from the espresso machine warms the beverage. It was also a memorable sip.
Knowing us we could stay and sip whisky and brandy for far too long. We were saved from ourselves by the Lufthansa agent who informed us that boarding was underway. We joined her and she was placing us in the elevator to go downstairs. I've been here enough to know the procedure of putting us in the elevator and then running down the stairs to meet us. I've never been one to adhere to such formalities so I asked her if she would just ride down with us and she accepted.
The Fußball game was on in the departure lobby, on the large screen, as advertised. It was also on the smaller screen in the lounge too.
There were 4 of us going to PEK this evening so they split us into two vehicles instead of all piling into a van. We were in a striking electric blue Panamera.
I hadn't told Mark anything about the method of getting to the aircraft so he was quite tickled by the private car, as am I. The A340-600 is a beautiful airplane and even more so from ground level.
We make the walk to the elevator and ride up with the other two passengers coming from the FCT. The vehicles that delivered us parked below.
We board through door L1 and find 2 other F passengers already present so the cabin would go out 6/8. There was no let down in our enthusiasm in having to "share" the F cabin on this segment. We were still quite tickled at our circumstances and also pleased that 1A and 1K would be the open seats so again we had window seats for takeoff, landing, and sleeping while having side by side seats for dining.
We are quickly introduced to Urta and Claudia who are tending to the cabin today. We are welcomed and offered the usual shower of gifts and beverage. This flight also features the lovely Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle so we get reacquainted.
The amenities are the same as well. Those slippers are extremely comfortable.
Mark and I both share the wonder that we get to do this again.
The menu and wine list are distributed on the ground for our review.
We boarded near the end of the process so the door closes quickly behind us. Urta gives us the OK to move to 1A/1K for takeoff so we relocate and buckle up.
Taxi to 25R took several minutes.
The seat belt sign is turned off and we move back to 1 D/G to enjoy dinner.
A trip to the lav before the service. If there's a draw back to the A330/A340 First Class cabins it would be the position of the lavatories right in the cabin and quite near the 1 D/G seats.
On this flight Claudia was in the cabin and Urta was in the galley primarily. I think this suited their personalities perfectly. We got a kick out of having another flight attendant called Claudia on the same airline in the same day. We let our newest Claudia know we've just come off a flight with another Claudia and former was just as excellent as the latter. Again we were quite fortunate to find a completely engaged and enthusiastic flight attendant who treated us as her personal guests.
We continued with the LPGS and were served the amuse. This was the first time I've been served something on LH that was borderline revolting. I couldn't find a single redeeming quality to this dish. The color, appearance, texture and flavor were complete misses for me.
The table was laid and this time I caught the label of the lively, grassy, and peppery olive oil LH serves. It's wonderful. The detail in the butter always tickles me.
Just getting started.
The ritual of Champagne and caviar is mastered by Lufthansa. I appreciate that they keep it as a separate course from the appetizer so it can be savored and admired. We had to share the caviar on this segment but there were two tins catered as opposed to one on our ORD-FRA segment.
We're both quite fond of Gin and when an opportunity to taste a new offering comes about we'll likely take it. The LH "Monthly Proposal" was Sylvius Gin of the Netherlands. According to the menu Dr. Franciscus Sylvius was he first to add alcohol to juniper. Clever chap, this one. It's a beautiful Gin and can't wait to lay my hands on some again.
Claudia presents the appetizers and salad next, again from the cart. Caviar was offered again as well. The beef shin was challenging texturally but the flavors were well received. The salmon and wasabi creme fraiche showed well too. The salad was basic but fresh.
The lychee and basil sorbet (LPGS enhanced) was an appreciated interlude during the meal. Not only were the flavors and smells enjoyable but the pause it brings is welcome as well.
Let's resume the parade with the main plates. Mark the beef tenderloin and myself the gilthead (breem). I didn't try the beef but the fish was absolutely perfect. The fragrant tarragon in the rich sauce an the tomato gnocchi were quite nice as well. I enjoyed the Champagne to through this course.
The cheese, the beautiful cheese. A practice as near and dear as the caviar at the start of the meal. Beautifully presented and at the optimal temperature.
To enhance this decadent experience I opt for a glass of the Chateau de Fieuzal 2008 and a pour of the 20 years tawny. Claudia keeps filling the LPGS so it lingers as well.
The digestif is upon us. Perhaps this is a new company policy but Claudia #2 was very bullish on us tasting the inventory. I requested the single malt and mentioned that I wasn't familiar with Amaro and then out came the bottles. Somehow we got into the brandies…
The chocolates go so well with Cognac.
I didn't think we had it in us but we fell right back into party mode. I wanted to show Mark the unique feature of downstairs lavatories on the A340-600. Someone took our picture modeling the new LH F sleepwear.
We stopped by the purser's office on the way back but she wasn't in.
Thankfully we had beds to fall into upon our return.
I somehow managed to sleep well for several hours and awoke about an hour out form PEK.
Upon stirring I was greeted with a hot towel and some orange juice.
I wasn't up for the full breakfast but I wanted a nibble so I requested a more Continental affair. A cappuccino too.
In fact is was a 2 cappuccino morning.
With the beds stowed we moved back to 1A/K to enjoy the approach into PEK. The weather was a mix of clouds and smog, no doubt.
We bid farewell to another great crew and ventured into the jet way. LH has an arrival service for F and Hon passengers so each of us had an escort. They really wanted to roll our bags. I was encouraged at first as they led us to automated machines to scan our passports and it spit out a letter. Then we waited in the huge line for the normal immigration process. What's the point of the machine? Our escorts were waiting on the other side, which was nice, but I told them we were fine form here as we don't have any checked bags and can manage for ourselves.
Bonus: 6 hours in Beijing and failed attempt to visit Tiananmen Square.
Bonus : Click here to displayhide
Low on sleep we were left with adrenaline to fuel our next moves. i thought it valuable for Mark, having never been to Beijing, to see something with our short window of opportunity. I had originally considered booking a driver to visit the Great Wall but I didn't want to cut the time that close. Instead I would be the tour guide and we'd visit Tiananmen Square and Wangfujing Street and adjacent food street.
We start by dropping our bags.
We make our way to the airport train station.
We ride out to the Dongzhimen station and hop on the subway to 前门站.
Our plan is quickly foiled by the thousands of people ahead of us in line just to clear security to be able to enter Tiananmen.
Neither of us had the energy to wait in a line that seemed to never move. So, we had to admire from across the street.
Back to the subway to Wangfujing station after a transfer.
We located the food street and had a look. It was very crowded and super interesting. The variety of snacks was spectacular. We shared the burrito looking thing with veggies and it was delicious. We also shared a spectacular lamb sandwich.
Being old and tired we sat to taste a few more things and paid a premium for it.
We used all our energy and beat a retreat to the airport for our flight to Tokyo.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Frankfurt - FRA
Beijing - PEK
The Ground Service: It's among the best in the world. Walking away from your car at the First Class Terminal and not having to monitor the time or flight is very first class. Being whisked plane side in a Porsche is other worldly as well.
The Lounge: The First Class Terminal has just about everything I could reasonably imagine. The food and beverage is top notch. The Do&Co staff is excellent as are the Lufthansa "Personal Assistants." The furniture is comfortable and the nap rooms and showers are first rate.
The Cabin: The A340-600 is an older member of the LH fleet but it's very well maintained and a beautiful cabin. The seats are virtually identical to the other fleets. The IFE is a tick older and less responsive and with poorer resolution. I mentioned the position of the lavs in the report. Still, a very comfortable seat and a separate bed (in this instance) is fantastic.
The Crew: Claudia and Urta are earnest and thorough in their hospitality. We are treated to the best of Lufthansa hospitality. I resist the temptation to compare this flight to others I have taken. They can't and won't all measure up.
The Food and Beverage: From the Champagne to the port and Cognac there was a fist class feeling to the catering. I am a complete fool for the caviar and cheese services.Everything else is just extra.
Overall: Consistent quality is not a bad thing to be known for. The LH First experience was quite good to us for a second straight serving.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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