The airline with the best average rating is Lufthansa with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 8 hours and 2 minutes.More information
G’day and welcome to another trip report. Today I am covering a recent trip I took on Lufthansa from the USA to the UK which I booked from my home of Australia well in advance during February 2022. I booked with Lufthansa simply because they used the Boeing 747-8I between Chicago and Europe, rather than the standard A330’s, 787’s and A350’s used on most routes nowadays. I originally made the booking in Economy class, however Lufthansa offers attractive prices for upgrades to Premium Economy and Business class and I paid the cost of an upgrade about two weeks after originally booking my ticket, meaning I was now travelling on Business (Z) class fare. This meant I was entitled to business class seats and services but the same fare conditions as my original Economy Light booking class.
During the upgrade process, I selected seat 85A, a business class seat about halfway along the upper deck of the aircraft at no extra cost. After the flight, I found out that Lufthansa offers First class upgrades when available at the check-in counters for $500-1000 USD per person flat rate. If I had have known this before the flight I may have been interested for a decent price, perhaps its Lufthansa’s best kept secret!
AT THE AIRPORT:
On the day of travel I arrived in Chicago-O’Hare from a regional destination in the USA Midwest on American Eagle around mid-morning, however as my Lufthansa flight was not until 4pm and I was travelling with a suitcase I needed somewhere to store luggage while explored Chicago’s CBD for a few hours on the layover.
Chicago-O’Hare Airport has the unusual distinction of being one of the world’s only major airports without luggage lockers. Luckily the Hilton Hotel located opposite Terminal 1 will store luggage for the day at a flat rate of $10 USD per item. After dropping my bags at the Hilton and taking the L-Train to the Downtown area for some sightseeing, I returned around 1pm to collect my bags and check-in.
After picking up my bags from the Hilton, I made the short walk through the tunnel to Terminal 1, the United Airlines terminal at Chicago-O’Hare, which is also used by Star Alliance partner airlines Lufthansa, Swiss and All Nippon Airlines (ANA).
The Lufthansa and Swiss check-in area at Chicago-O’Hare Terminal 1 is located in the far northern corner of the terminal, however proceeding to the business class check-in area I was served by the very friendly and personable check-in agent immeadiately. Within a couple of minutes I was checked-in and directed to use the United Polaris Lounge at Concourse C. Despite being rush hour at Terminal 1 was very quick and I was through security and passport control in less than 10 minutes. However, the walk through the underground walkway to the Concourse C United Polaris lounge is quite long and I estimate it took me at least 10 minutes.
UNITED POLARIS LOUNGE CONCOURSE C:
Coming up the escalator towards Concourse C, I was greeted by the welcome sight of the entrance to the United Polaris Lounge and as I arrived nice and early I would have a couple of hours to enjoy it before my flight.
Once inside, I was greeted by the pleasant desk agents who scanned my boarding pass and granted me access to the lounge. Having heard negative things about other United Airlines lounges in the past, I was pleasantly surprised to find a modern and airey lounge with plenty of seating and a good buffet, even at rush hour.
There were also some great views of the Western aprons at Chicago-O’Hare from the armchairs in the lounge, so I grabbed some snacks (shown below) and did some planespotting for the next hour or so to pass the time in the comfort of the Polaris Lounge.
Soon afterwards, as I was about to embark on a long overnight flight, I decided to use the shower facilities at the lounge and to my surprise I was admitted straight away by the friendly attendant and was impressed to find another clean and well stocked facility within the lounge.
After I had finished in the shower it was around 10 minutes until the scheduled boarding time so I bid the Polaris Lounge and proceeded to my boarding gate in the B Concourse of Terminal 1 at Chicago-O’Hare with the walk to thr gate taking around another 10 minutes.
Unfortunately from the boarding gate B24, located right at the northern end of the B Concourse there was no view of the aircraft, which arrived around 30 minutes late from Frankfurt as a result of the ongoing ground staff strike at Frankfurt that week. We were informed there would be around a 30 minute delay by the gate staff, which made me a little nervous having never travelled through Frankfurt and having a reasonably tight connection onwards to Manchester.
What ensued when it was finally time to board was chaos, with the gate agents really making no real attempts to seperate the First, Business and Economy passengers for boarding despite the group boarding process normally followed by Lufthansa, meaning there was huge crowds congregating around the boarding gate all trying to board at once. Since there was no priority lane, when Business class boarding was called I simply barged my way through the best I could where my boarding pass was scanned by the rather cold gate agent and I was directed to the forward aerobridge for boarding.
Stepping onboard I was rather coldly greeted by the cabin manager, who turned out to be the only bad egg of an otherwise friendly crew. I then took the stairs up to my upper-deck Business class seat 85A. Arriving at my seat I was impressed by the exclusivity of the upper deck cabin on Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8I with only 28 business class seats upstairs. I was also impressed by the cleanliness of the cabin.
Lufthansa’s 747-8I business class seats are arranged in what I call a “honeymoon” configuration where the seats point slightly inward toward each other, but with totally seperate footwells. The configuration doesn’t have direct aisle access but is a reasonably comfortable configuration.
Each seat on Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8I business class is equipped with a large tray-table, a reading light built into the headrest, USB and universal power outlets and an impressive amount of storage thanks to large storage bins between the seat and the windows upstairs.
There was also a pillow, headphones, blanket, amenity kit and bottle of water waiting for passengers at each seat. Shortly after I settled in one of the friendly cabin crew working business class presented me with a menu for the flight, as well as offering me a pre-departure beverage. The choices were champagne, juice or water on this evening flight. I went for the juice option as I did not feel like alcohol at that point.
At the same time, the crew also handed out sanitising wipes to all passengers along with the pre-departure beverages. When boarding was completed around 10 minutes, the glasses were collected and the cabin prepared for pushback and departure.
DEPARTURE FROM CHICAGO-O’HARE:
Soon afterwards, pushback commenced and we began our long taxi around all of the terminals to Chicago’s Runway 28R before beginning a long takeoff roll and steady climb out into the evening sky above Illinois. Below are a few photos I took during the taxi out and departure from Chicago:
Around 10 minutes after departure, once we had passed through the clouds the seatbelt sign was turned off and the crew began their in-flight service taking entree and dinner orders, as well as serving the appetiser of salted-mixed nuts and a beverage, seen here below:
At the same time I chose my entree and dinner options of the menu shown below. For the entree I chose the Proscuitto with served with an assortment of vegetables which I found to rather tasty and for dinner I chose the Seared Veal Medallion which was well cooked and made for a tasty dinner. Both were served with seperate beverages and I was impressed by the personalised service offered by Lufthansa crew.
Shown below is the Entree of Proscuitto:
Shown below is the dinner dish of veal, I also love how Lufthansa brands all their products down to tablecloths and cutlery:
For dinner I chose the Haagan-Daas Ice-Cream which was nice but I honestly expected a more restaurant-grade dessert on long-haul business class:
The dessert concluded the dinner service on the flight and shortly after I had finished the crew collected my rubbish and tablecloth, as well as folding up my tray table. Throughout the dinner service, the crew were very proactive in removing items I was finished with from my tray which was a nice touch.
After dinner I went to the forward lavatory on the upper-deck and found it to be well stocked with all the usual business class items, as well as very clean which was good to see. Amenities in the bathroom included mouth wash, toothpaste, combs and moisturiser.
Upon returning to my seat, I took the opportunity to have a look at the flights in-flight entertainment and wi-fi. Lufthansa has an awesome in-flight entertainment with loads of Western movies and TV shows for any viewer, as well as a number of audiobooks and podcasts. However, the music selection is very B-grade. On this flight large, movable screens were fitted to each business class seat back shown below. The remote for the in-flight entertainment was located in the armrest.
I also took this opportunity to connect to the wi-fi on this flight which unlike Turkish Airlines is unfortunately not complimentary for business class passengers and I paid $25 USD for a Premium Full Flight wi-fi connection which I didn’t find too ridiculous of a price as the wi-fi worked as expected and I didn’t have any connection issues.
After connecting to the wi-fi and messaging for a bit, I fully reclined the seat into a flat bed and went to sleep for a couple of hours. Interestingly, there was no mattress and turndown service for Business class as on my previous Lufthansa flights, although my previous flights were all much longer than this one. At some point while I was asleep, the cabin crew placed this little box containing two Chocolates on my armrest, a nice touch to the service.
In terms of sleeping, I found the bed to be quite comfortable. However, it would have been more enjoyable if a mattress was provided.
This image below, shows the seat controller on the armrest and the different positions of the seat used to convert it from an armchair configuration to a flat bed and back again.
Around one hour and thirty minutes prior to landing in Frankfurt while cruising somewhere between the United Kingdom and Ireland, the crew began taking breakfast food and drink orders. I had some mango juice and coffee and for my meal I chose to have the Greek Acai and Berry with Yoghurt which was very nice, however not very substantial for a business class breakfast.
Shortly afterwards, the crew began preparing the cabin for landing in Frankfurt. I like how Lufthansa allows you to view your flight connections in Frankfurt and Munich through the in-flight entertainment system, the crew also made announcements on-board for any gate changes of connection flights which inbound passengers were booked on, something which I found super convienient and a nice touch to the service.
ARRIVAL INTO FRANKFURT:
Very shortly afterwards, we began our descent into Frankfurt and thankfully the cloudy sky cleared up somewhat to provide me with some nice views of the German countryside surrounding Frankfurt.
Once on the ground I was impressed by the sheer scale of Lufthansa’s prescence at the airport and the abundance of four-engined aircraft such as Airbus A340-300, Airbus A340-600, Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 747-8 at the airport.
After a taxi lasting a few minutes, we arrived at Frankfurt’s Z Gates which are quite a walk from the rest of the terminal gates but home to most of Lufthansa’s Intercontinental flights from Frankfurt Airport. Disembarkation was pretty quick for such a large aircraft and soon enough my Boeing 747-8 experience had come to an end and I was on my way to meet my connecting flight to Manchester at Frankfurt’s B Gates.
On my way I snapped a few final pictures of the Boeing 747-8I which took me on this journey:
In conclusion, Lufthansa offers a solid business class product on these seven to eight hour transatlantic flights, which coupled with the cheap upgrades and cool aircraft types used on the flights makes them an ideal choice for me for transatlantic flights.
The service on-board was very good, however not quite five-star and this was due to the lack of a friendly purser onboard. This was dissapointing as the pursers on my other Lufthansa flights have all been excellent. The food and beverages were very good, however again not excellent. However, the hard product was flawless in my opinion, despite not being as new as some of its competitors.
But I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use Lufthansa again for another transatlantic hop!