Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. There are two factors that emerge to cause me wanderlust and prompt me to start mulling around award availability: A small window of free time and/or a points balance that reached the amount needed for a preferred redemption. Both of these circumstances converged in early October of 2018. Circumstances at home and work were such that being away for a few days would be acceptable and my United Mileageplus balance hit the magical mark where I could book what I call the "LH F Double-dip" where one can route to Asia via Europe. My criteria for executinghtis trip was simple: I'm only going if I can find LH F from LAX (either MUC or FRA would be excellent). I really wanted to enjoy LH from my home airport for the first time and also have a longer transatlantic sector to both enjoy LH and have better sleep. To this point I have flown mostly short ORD or JFK routes (with SEA and IAH as exceptions). I was successful, for the most part, and off we go.
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
I'm an unapologetic lounge lover so the afternoon departure time of this flight worked well for me. Most of the T-Pac flights I use from LAX are around Noon so unless I get going early I am not afforded as much lounge hopping time and general airport wondering time that I cherish so much.
I arrived in my own vehicle for this trip and parked at Terminal 2. A boarding pass for any flight leaving LAX is sufficient to enter any terminal so I planned to use my first stop at a Priority Pass restaurant. In airport where there is no lounge availbalbe Priority Pass has partnered with resaturants to give members a fixed credit at the restaurant for food and beverage. I was curious to see how this worked so I presented myself at Barney's Beanery in T2 at 11am. This did not go well. Myself and several patrons were ignored at the host counter for several minutes so i finally just took a seat at the bar. I presented my priority pass card and was informed that the kitchen was closed from 11 - 11:30 to "switch over to lunch" so only drinks were available at this time. I ordered a Bloody Mary, it was terrible, I managed to drink less than half, and I left. This poor experience cost me $2 in the form of a tip as you cannot use your Priority Pass credit for gratuity. I'll add that this Restaurant has since left the Priority Pass program so I suppose the arrangement wasn't working for them either.
I used the Delta shuttle to TBIT.
This is better.
I made my way to the 6th floor and Star Alliance Lounges.
It had been a while between visits for me and I was happy to see a familiar face. Janet has worked at the lounge for several years and is a fantastic host. Always friendly, helpful, and up for a nice chat. She has an uncanny memory and welcomed me back.
The First class section is compact but never at capacity in my experience. At this time of day the Asiana, Air China, and ANA flights are on their way out so it quiets down before LH and LX passengers arrive in the afternoon and evening, followed my another round of Asiana, Air China, and ANA midnight departures.
Thinking I would enjoy breakfast courtesy of Priority Pass I was quite peckish when i arrived and posted up in the dining portion of the lounge. Janet presented a menu and would act as the server.
There is a humble buffet and an above average self serve beverage selection. Guests are welcome to order from the menu, use the buffet here, or visit the more substantial buffet in the J lounge which is only a few steps away through an unmarked door.
The beverage station.
I opted to start the day with a glass of Beau Joie Special Cuvee and some sparkling water.
I asked Janet for the tuna poke nachos and the Korean street tacos. Both dishes were delivered within 10 minutes and both had merit. They appeared freshly prepared and plated and I found them to be of decent quality. I didn't finish either.
The F section has two all gender restrooms available.
I was pleased by the breakfast and moved on to my other favorite feature of this lounge complex: the outside terrace. Something about being outside on a warm clear day at the airport is exciting to me. Taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of commercial aviation. The orientation of the deck isn't the best but you can view landings on 24R and watch the action in the alley between TBIT and T3. I top up my Champagne and head off through the J lounge to the terrace.
The BBQ island is a new feature and appears to have never been used to cook food. The island does contain two refrigerators that they keep stocked with cold beers and water.
The views are as mentioned with construction evident. I enjoy my beverage and stroll about for about a half hour. I caught the BA A380 in short final.
I made a few snaps of the excellent (by US airport standards) Star Alliance Business Class Lounge on my way back through.
Arriving 4 hours before flight time was perfect for me to wander the terminal, enjoy the J lounge terrace and have a nice breakfast. About an hour before scheduled boarding I returned to the lounge and asked the host for the antipasti platter from the menu. The presentation was very nice and it was perfect to nibble with another glass of Champagne.
I managed a scientific Single Malt comparison as well.
The general manager of the lounges, a New Zealander , made an announcement over the PA system that today marks the 5th anniversary of the lounge and that they will be celebrating with a cake. The guests were welcomed to join for a treat in the J lounge. I didn't manage to make it over there but I thought it was a nice gesture.
The LH lounge to airplane escort service is alive and well at LAX. I checked in online and used a mobile boarding pass to enter the airport via T2 so I don't know if they will take you airside as well. When I got to the lounge I asked the LH agent for a printed version as I really like the envelope and look of the thing. Anyhow as boarding approached an LH rep arrived in the lounge to escort the F passengers on board Bremerhaven.
This flight has been on A380 for probably as long as LH has operated the type. This year the A380 was moved to MUC and LH is A340-600 for the early flight to FRA and 747-8i for the later. While the cabins are virtually identical I do prefer the A380. The lavs and lockers are superior and the quiet cabin is legendary. Not a complaint just an observation. The A340 is a beautiful airplane and a fantastic treat to ride. The opportunity to fly aboard the A340 is becoming more rare and so I fully appreciate it.
The cabin is as beautiful as any in the LH fleet and 2A is a great perch.
I was shown to my seat by Lana who turned out to be the one who would be working in the aisle in First today. She was a woman of very good energy and earnest in her desire to make the passengers comfortable. I settled in and Lana brought Champagne and water along with a bowl of nuts.
The onslaught of goodies began with lounge wear, amenity kit, and slippers. The kit was new this time and was a great concept with a felt foam roll to store watches and/or jewelry in the kit as a way to re-purpose it.
Departure was on time and we enjoyed some beautiful views. The departure was interesting in that we departed from 24R and then made a large climbing 360 degree turn and flew back over the field.
After the seatbelt sign was turned off i made my way to the lavatory to don the lounge wear and slippers. Teh lav is outfitted with amenities including the La Prarie products.
Back at 2A the service is stating with a scented towel.
I have a look at the map and plan some movie watching.
The amuse is presented and drink order is filled. I requested Champange but mentioned curiosity about the sherry on offer as an aperitif. Both were provisioned in addition to some still water.
The stage is set for a promising meal.
It's the grand finale to start the meal with the caviar cart rolling. Lana sets out a lovely portion of eggs and she was ready with the chilled vodka glass. It's such a quintessential part of first class air travel but I especially associate the caviar event with Luffthansa.
The appetizer and salad cart rolls next. Of course I accept the trio for review. All pleasant bites with well cooked proteins. I requested a glass of the Stern Riesling from the special proposal section of the wine list. The more I try this varietal in a lower residual sugar style, with strong minerality , the more I am a fan.
The sun fades as we move north east.
The selected a main of beef fillet with lobster. I let Lana know that I was interested in a red to pair and sought her advise. She suggested tasting the three on board and enjoying them to my taste. This seems to be a protocol with LH as this wine tasting concept happens, for me,most frequently with LH. It's well appreciated and really quite fun to pass the time considering different wines. I was surprised that the value priced Tempranillo was my preference at 36,000 feet on this day.
The was presented and was quite striking with the shelled lobster claw atop the beef fillet. The meat was tender and cooked to medium, which is the best I would hope for with Lufthansa.
Behold the cheese. I ask Lana to pair a wine for me and she again goes with the "let's try a couple" approach. It's a very generous service as it takes her extra time and effort to present. I appreciate the effort and enjoy the flavor comparisons.
I can see the finish line and but not before the intruiging "ravioli" dessert. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the menu (because I downloaded them but cannot find the files now) . The ravioli had a sweet filling and was served with ice cream and sauce that I cannot recall. The flavors were all right but teh texture of the "pasta skin" was not. Good effort.
The meal was a fantastic show of hospitality and Lana was delightful throughout. It was time consuming so the bed service was requested a short time after completion. Thanks to the longer flight time I was able to enjoy more than just a nap as is common on eastern US departures.
After a nice rest I was spotted awake and bid a good morning with a hot towel. I requested a coffee and discussed breakfast plans. This intrepid Flight Reporter will take breakfast in the interest of presenting the full experience.
I ordered the smoothie, a selection of the meat and cheese and the scrambled eggs with bacon and chive. Everything was quite good with the eggs being cooked harder than I would prepare them.
The lighting came up after breakfast and windows were opened to reveal beautiful views of the German countryside.
Touch down was about 20 minutes before schedule on a sunny day in Frankfurt am Main.
Star Alliance Lounge First Class Section
Los Angeles - LAX
Frankfurt - FRA
The Ground Service: I took an unorthodox entry to the terminal so I don't know what services were on offer at the check in counter. Lufthansa did provide and escort on board from the lounge in the fashion to which I have become accustomed.
The Lounge: I like the intimate size of the Star Alliance First lounge at LAX as well as the kind staff. I would add that the Business lounge and outdoor terrace are great features as well. The food and cocktail program downstairs at the Qantas First Lounge are superior in every way.
The Cabin: It's timeless and as elegant and functional as ever. The cloth seat is great for lounging and can be positioned just so. The bed is wide and long with plush bedding. The IFE is a weak point with a smallish screen and sub standard resolution.
The Crew: Lana was excellent. Always smiling and engaging. The cabin was full so she had to hustle and I was very impressed with the level of service she was able to provide.
The Food and Beverage: LH do a beautiful caviar course and lovely cheese course. The rest is just filler, really. I remain impressed with the beverage selection on board and 2002 Cuvee Louise is fantastic.
Overall: I'm probably blinded by my love of the entire LH package to be impartial. The cabins are stunning, the lounges are excellent and the service on board is generous.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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