Without getting into details, I unexpectedly freed up at work and faced with the prospect of sitting in the office for a week with minimal work, decided I would take off somewhere. Pretty much I decided that I wanted to fly LH F again (it's been a while) and made a trip out of some last minute availability.
I had the option of either flying the 748 out of ORD via FRA or the A346 out of JFK via MUC. While the 748 is always a great experience in the nose and FRA guarantees you the tarmac transfer via the FCT, I ultimately ended up choosing MUC because 1) less risky positioning with Amtrak, 2) I can pay a quick visit to friends in NYC, 3) I can review the JFK lounge. It's too bad LH changed its winter schedule from FRA to both JFK and EWR to 744s without first class (while keeping first on the MUC route).
This report covers the JFK Lounge and my flight to MUC. The next report will cover the first class lounge and my flight to BCN.
As you might imagine, a last-minute first class flight is obscenely expensive, but always fun to look at the price comparison.
I got to JFK shortly after 3pm, just under 2.5 hours before departure. The Lufthansa Group first class/HON Circle check-in can be found at the end of its check-in counters.
The check-in agent, Alex, welcomed me and let me know that he would also escort me through security. He led me to a small room adjacent to the security line before going through a separate door and cutting through the security lines. This is always the awkward part of an escort through security (even though using CLEAR to cut in line doesn't feel nearly as awkward to me for some reason).
The Lufthansa Lounge can be found immediately to your left after security. The lower levels are the Business/Senator lounges while the upper floor is the First Class Wining & Dining area. Alex entered a code in the elevator for access and thanked me for flying before leaving the lounge.
Upon entry is a counter with a guest book (I did not sign).
There's also a closet room where you can store your bags or coats (it seemed to be used as a miscellaneous storage at the moment). Opposite that are some shelves with magazines.
Please forgive me as I somehow neglected to take any pictures of the initial sitting area (where all the liquor is). That said, if you've been to a LH F lounge anywhere, the seats are exactly the same.
The highlight of the upper floor is a long dining area. I imagine if both the F routes to FRA/MUC were running and there were several HON Circle guests this might get filled, but there were only 5 total guests while I was in the lounge.
Connecting the front and back areas is a long corridor with the buffet (this is also where the entrance to the kitchen is). There was a great view of Air France, ITA Airways, and Swiss liveries at the time. The new ITA Airways livery is quite the improvement over the old Alitalia.
You can also see the seating in the Business/Senator lounge below.
There wasn't much in the buffet line, just some bread, fruit, and a salad bar. The counter in the dining area had some snacks and champagne, as well as a coffee machine.
In the forward sitting area was the liquor bar, which contained a lot of the goodies from proper LH F lounges, such as the Dalmore King Alexander III. I helped myself to a pour later–the bottle was almost empty, evidence of its popularity. The bar also had a wine selection, but nothing jumped out at me.
I opted to eat immediately so that I would have a little time to digest before the onboard meal. Orders were taken very quickly and each course was brought out rather quickly.
Here is the menu:
I began with the lobster bisque, which had generous portions of lobster.
For my main, I had the lamb chops, which were a much bigger portion that I expected. Despite asking for medium rare, it was definitely cooked to medium. Otherwise, it was a fine course; a rather heavy as one might expect.
Despite the server warning that it would be quite a large slice, I couldn't help myself and asked for the chocolate chip layered cake for dessert. It was certainly a big slice, but delicious.
I also sampled some of the chocolates after dinner.
The top floor has no bathroom, so you have to take the stairs (in the back of the dining area) to the business/Senator floor.
There was a slight delay in boarding, which was announced in the lounge. An agent showed up in the lounge around 5pm and gathered all of the first class and HON Circle passengers–there were 5 this flight. She escorted us to Gate 2, which was ironically right next to the Air France Lounge. Quite the line had formed already for business and economy.
My flight was on D-AIHV, a 14-years old A340-600. I always think of A340s as a really old plane, but have to remind myself that they were produced until 2012.
I boarded and showed my boarding pass to the flight attendant welcoming passengers. He asked if I needed an escort to my seat, but I said it was fine. 1A isn't exactly hard to find.
As you turn left, there is a business class section of 5 rows in 2-2-2 configuration. I am really not a fan of LH's old business class, they lack direct-aisle access, feel tight and exposed at the same time, and lack storage. This flight was in January 2023, so masks were no longer required onboard (Germany removed its requirement in October 2022).
In contrast to their business class, I just love the classic design of Lufthansa First Class. While not flashy and the seats are falling behind, there's something timeless about the simplicity and roses. That said, can't wait to try their new first class (whenever that does eventually come into service).
First class is arranged in two rows of 1-2-1. The middle seats are slightly more forward than the corresponding window seats.
I was seated in 1A this flight. Once I reached my seat, I was welcomed onboard by the purser Jan, and the first class flight attendants Reiner and Xenia. Reiner promptly offered to hang my coat. A look at the classic Lufthansa first class seat: it's very well padded, quite wide, and has a privacy divider that comes up on the side. It is among the more exposed international first class seats out there nowadays, but gets the job done.
A classic rose at the front, with a large ottoman (no seatbelts for companion dining), and a small tray platform on your left. Larger items can be stored in the ottoman.
Reiner welcomed me onboard with the classic Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle. We weren't sure which iteration this was, but thought it was No. 25. In any case, LPGS is quite consistent and delicious.
Along the LPGS, Reiner also present a small bowl of mixed nuts.
Before takeoff there were some blankets stored in the ottoman.
I asked for slippers, which were promptly presented–Lufthansa's first class slippers are the best out there in my opinion. They are so incredibly comfortable. I also asked for some extras to take with me and Xenia presented with two more pairs to take home. I don't know where to buy these Cumuli slippers and couldn't find them online, but I would certainly buy them for wearing at home if I could.
There is plenty of small storage on the side: two fairly deep compartments. The IFE remote can be found your left and the seat control can be found on your right. No overhead air vents though, which is a bit of a shame given that Lufthansa tends to keep its cabin on the warmer side.
The latest amenity kits were by Sinn, which is a watchmaker in Frankfurt and comes with a watch pillow. These kits are fairly classy and an improvement over the satchels they were giving out in previous months.
Here's what was inside of the kit; your usual assortment. Lufthansa is still using La Prairie for its amenities.
Reiner asked if I was going to enjoy the dinner service (of course!) and gave me the food and beverage menus before takeoff.
Here's the wine menu:
And the food selections:
I was also given a free Wi-Fi voucher before takeoff. Lufthansa Wi-Fi seems to have improved since I flew them long-haul and the speeds were good normal use.
My main complaint about the seats is how small the IFE screens area. At 17 inches, it wouldn't be so small if it wasn't for the fact that you are quite far away from the screen. Bose headphones (quite good) can be found in the armrest to your left. No complaints there.
Despite a delay in boarding, we pushed back on-time at 5:30pm ET and took off at 5:52pm.
Immediately after takeoff, the gentleman in 2K went to bed. You can see the privacy divider up in action here: it doesn't actually cover that much, but you'd be hard pressed to look out when sitting down in your seat. Additionally, the gentleman behind me in 2A requested an express meal (just an entrée) and went to bed immediately afterwards. That means I essentially had the first class cabin and crew to myself for dinner service. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Immediately after the seatbelt signs came off, I went to the lavatory to change into the new van Laack pajamas (sorry, no modeling from me). You'll have to take my word that the new pajamas (as opposed to old collared ones) are very light and comfortable. They are black in color. The lavatory to get changed. There is a variety of amenities such as facial spray, mouth wash, razors, and shaving cream. The sink is also a good sized–overall, a well-apportioned lavatory.
Service began shortly after takeoff with another pour of the LPGS and a glass of water. For the flight, it would mostly be Reiner serving me while Xenia worked in the galley.
We began with a chicken spring amuse bouche. It was a little dry, but okay.
Then the table was set up with the breads (fresh and presented in a basket). I opted for pretzel and garlic breads.
Next up is the caviar service, which is usually the highlight of the Lufthansa onboard meal. A generous dollop of caviar was served and my champagne refilled yet again. Per Reiner, "the picture looks better when your glass is full." The only thing you might critique is the lack of mother of pearl spoons.
Next up was the appetizer flight, from the left to the right:
- Spicy grilled shrimp, celery root, and green apple salad
- Boiled goat cheese, grilled artichoke, char grilled and roasted bell pepper
- Prosciutto with Stracchino cream, red heirloom tomato, peeled cherry tomatoes
This also came with a fresh leaf salad with shaved fresh fennel, celery, and sun-blushed tomato.
Overall the appetizers were decent and similar to my last LH F flight, if a bit on the somewhat bland side. My favorite was the goat cheese.
We moved onto the main course next, which I had asked to be the seared veal medallion. Reiner noted that the Chateau Batailley 2011 was the recommended pairing for beef (makes sense to pair a Pauillac with steak), but suggested the Yalumba over it. I said why not try both? The Batailley was a bit tightly wound and muted fruit. Too early? Bad vintage? All of the above?
In any case, we moved onto the 2018 Yalumba as he suggested. It was quite good, a nice full-bodied with plenty of fruit and a long finish. For those of you who are interested in buying, I think it'll do even better with a few more years in the bottle. This just goes to show that the price isn't a great indicator of the better wine.
We hit a really rough batch of turbulence next and all flight attendants were ordered to their jump seats. Unfortunately, this happened right as they put my steak in the oven to reheat. That means that by the time they were able to take it out, it had been blasted to oblivion. Xenia was very apologetic about this, but it's certainly not her fault. In short, this ended up being a very dry steak.
For dessert, Reiner suggested I try the German dessert wine onboard. Weingut Bercher's 2018 Jechtinger Eichert Spätburgunder was an interesting dessert wine and not what I usually drink, but otherwise not particularly memorable.
I opted for the butterscotch bread pudding with vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was delicious.
Reiner offered an assortment of chocolate truffles next, and seemed a bit disappointed that I didn't opt to try every single one. However, I was beyond stuffed at this point–this was my second dinner within 5 hours!
I had some chamomile tea to wrap things up and get ready for bed, as is my habit on overnight flights. In all, the meal service "only" took about 90 minutes despite the 15-minute turbulence delay, which I was fairly impressed with. I've had slower business class service on transatlantic flights.
Reiner made my bed in 1C and I took to bed immediately after I was finished stuffing myself. Here's the turndown service. Lufthansa's bedding is quite comfortable and the more open and wider seat is much appreciated when sleeping (and there is no one else around).
Reiner gently woke me up about an hour before landing. I managed to sleep about 4 hours, which is fairly good for me on transatlantic flights. I grumbled something about the flight being too short and made my way back to 1A for breakfast. I asked jasmine tea and a glass of orange juice.
I was still very full at this point, but opted for scrambled eggs with chives and a croissant for the report. For those of you who don't know, Lufthansa actually scrambles fresh eggs on a mini skillet onboard in contrast to most other airlines. It's a small touch, but very much appreciated and makes for a better experience.
As Reiner and Xenia began to prepare the cabin for arrival, Jan made his way back to the first cabin to thank us for flying with Lufthansa. He and Reiner thanked me for enjoying the meal service (as opposed to going straight to bed) so they could have some fun on the flight as well.
The Captain announced our descent approximately 27 minutes before landing and we touched at 6:42am CET. It was a quick taxi and we were at the gate at 6:47am (more than half an hour early). Check out the next flight report for my review of the Munich First Class lounge!
Lounge: The Lufthansa First Wining & DIning at JFK is exactly what it says: it's a food/beverage experience without the other amenities that you might come to expect at a first class lounge. Given the space constraints, it's a good use for transatlantic flights given the precious and limited time for sleep. Of course, us flight reporters are always going to enjoy the meal service, but normally this would be a great way to get a full dinner in and go to bed immediately once onboard. If I was HON Circle and flying in business, I would definitely do things this way. As for the food, it was pretty good and the wine selection was decent. Overall, a good outstation lounge.
Cabin & Seat: Lufthansa's first class seats are rather timeless and I have a particular fondness for them as they were my first international first experience outside of US airlines (good ol' United Global First). The seat with a privacy partition checks all of the boxes, but it's also undeniable that it's lagging behind its competitors these days (except BA).
Service: Reiner and Xenia were enthusiastic and as friendly as can be. All the extra little touches such as the extra slippers or trying different wines make for a great flight. I had a great time and would love to fly with them again. It goes without saying, but 3/8 in F where the other two go straight to sleep makes for very personalized service.
Meal & Catering: The caviar service tends to be the highlight of Lufthansa's onboard catering. Otherwise it's decent, but not particularly exciting. Everything is presented beautifully and reasonably thought out and I appreciate the appetizer flight as opposed to a single larger appetizer.
Bottom Line: Lufthansa First Class is one of those timeless experiences that I'll no doubt enjoy each time. Hopefully when the new seats are introduced partner awards (or will I have to switch to Miles & More?) will still be available for us to redeem.
I'm sure they did have a spare veal cut, but I didn't ask for them to remake it nor did I want to wait around for that.
Oooh A340-600 First class...sexy! A340s are among my favourite aircraft, so sad they're all but gone, and I can't bring myself to fly *A so I'll just have to live vicariously through others that do haha.
Yeah, that's fine for J, but for F you really expect to take advantage of the service both on the ground and on board. And yeah, these short TATL flights are really hard to do that, with so little time to sleep.
The First class section in the lounge isn't super interesting, but there is a fantastic view. And the food looks quite good. T1 is such a terrible terminal, especially now that the AirTrain isn't working for construction, but there's a cool mix of international carriers for us AvGeeks to stare at haha.
Wow, I'll say, that's a heaping helping right there!
As usual, a very solid First class experience from Lufthansa--that is the one cabin where the service seems to be consistently excellent at LH. Will be cool to see the new Allegris cabins in reviews whenever those actually roll out, haha.
Thanks for sharing!
That's on you, haha. I'm perfectly open to flying OW if I have to.
I don't think that folks who normally buy first on cash think of it quite the same way. That said, I will always expect to take advantage of both.
Not a fan of JFK in general, but that's where most of the interesting NYC flights are.
Saw someone muse recently which will finish first, Lufthansa's new cabins or the Sagrada Familia?
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