Lufthansa is the largest airline in Europe with 142 million passengers in 2018 with a fleet of 728 planes, most of which are made by Airbus. With 321 destinations in Lufthansa’s flight map, odds are if you are flying to Europe you’ll end up flying Lufthansa eventually, especially if you are flying to Germany.
Lufthansa business class offerings are slightly above average, but lagging behind in quality from other airlines such as Qatar Airways. Lufthansa operates newer plane types such as the A350, A380, and 747-8 but also older planes such as the A340. For popular routes, Lufthansa uses the A380, which is a large double decker plane that holds about 500 passengers.
As a Star Alliance member, there are many options for booking flight awards on Lufthansa using miles from partner airlines, such as United.
Tip: Do not sit in the rear of the second floor of an A380, it can be a barf fest during rough turbulence. Most airlines make the entire top deck of the A380 premium class, with exception of the rear for just that reason, I suspect.
Since Lufthansa charges ridiculous fees along with their award bookings, I never end up using my Lufthansa miles for flights on Lufthansa. For instance, this same award booking using Lufthansa miles would cost 52,000 miles plus $577 in fees. Fortunately, United does not pass on these charges when booking awards on Lufthansa. For my business class flight from SFO to FRA, the cost was 70,000 United miles plus $5.80.
Business class passengers flying on Lufthansa get to use the United Polaris lounge in SFO. For a lounge in the US, I was shocked at how nice this lounge was compared to most lounges stateside. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been impressed by anything United has done. This lounge was huge, not crowded, had buffet and dining areas, showers, sleeping areas, and clean bathrooms along with a beautiful decor.
Boarding was well organized with First and Business class passengers boarding on a separate floor and jet bridge to the plane. This was much appreciated since about half the time I’m in business class on other airlines they let half the plane board first. If you have a 16 year old kid, does that constitute having a “small child” so you can board first?
For my connecting flight in Munich, some passengers tried to board early without having Star Alliance status or business class tickets. They were stopped. Half the time on other airlines they do not enforce boarding procedures. This might sound snobby to appreciate, but I find the boarding process the most aggravating aspect of travel. Since I just dumped 70,000 miles, its nice not to have to wait for the guy who takes an hour to take his jacket off and put his bag in the overhead compartment.
Lufthansa 459 San Francisco (SFO) to Munich (MUC) Cabin: Business Seat: 12K and 12H Aircraft: A380-800 Flight Time: 11h 10m
Cabin Atmosphere (5/5)
The business class cabin seating arrangements were in a 2-2-2 configuration, which felt a bit cramped. However, once seated, the cabin still felt open since the seat was not set right up against the wall. The color scheme and look of the seats were modern and classy.
The A380 has enhanced air pressure and humidity controls which improves comfort while reducing headaches and dry eyes. There was no fancy lighting package installed which helps passengers with jet lag.
Seat Comfort (4/5)
The seats were comfortable enough to relax and get some sleep when needed. However, the seat felt a bit narrow compared to other business class seats I’ve flown on. There were plenty of seating adjustments available, including a cool feature where the firmness of the seat could be adjusted by inflating or deflating the seat.
The entertainment screen was a decent size, however the resolution could have been better. However, there was plenty of TV and Movie content available for a long 11 hour flight.
I’m not a fan of these small triangle shaped foot rests, but in this instance it was not all bad since the area above my feet was not covered. On other airlines, occasionally the footrest is in some sort of cave.
One thing I didn’t realize until the end of the flight is that the arm rest can lower down all the way. When I had the seat in the bed position, I was perplexed as to why the seat was so narrow that I couldn’t fit between the armrests while laying on my back. Turns out you have to lower the armrest to create more space.
The remote control was barely functional throughout the flight. Even after the flight attendant restarted my entertainment system, the remote was still unresponsive. Thankfully the entertainment system had a touch screen so I could still make selections by touching the TV screen.
For window seats, passengers have an extra storage area under the window where small bags can be stored. Mine looked pretty dirty inside the compartment.
While not amazing like in first class, the food was delicious and plentiful with a good amount of options. Enough food was served to induce a food coma where I then proceeded to pass out for about 7 hours.
Even though this plane was landing at about 7:00pm, breakfast was served an hour prior to landing. Kind of weird but the eggs and bread were very good.
Even though there was about 78 business class seats on this flight, the service did not suffer. Flight attendants were friendly, efficient, helpful, and available throughout the flight.
The amenity kit was pretty simple with your standard eye mask, earplugs, and comb. One surprising bonus was that business class passengers all received a comfortable long sleeve shirt, something normally only provided to first class passengers.
Short Haul Transfer Flight (3/5)
Compared to other airlines such as South African Airways, the short haul flights on Lufthansa have the lamest business class cabin. It is essentially economy class with the middle seat left open. There isn’t even more legroom. Since my flight was less than an hour from MUC to FRA, this was not a big deal. However, I’ve seen this same business class cabin on longer Lufthansa flights lasting over three hours, such as FRA to IST.
While not over the top impressive like Qatar or Ethiopian Airlines business class, the reasonable award redemption using United miles on Lufthansa business class for a 11 hour flight was a great value. The boarding process, service and food was above average with the seat providing enough comfort to easily sleep for most of the journey. If traveling from the west coast to Europe, this is one of the best mileage redemptions available.
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