There are many aspirational redemptions that miles and points enthusiasts dream about. One of those redemptions is Lufthansa First Class, often referred to as one of the best products available to be booked on points, and available to Canadians through the Aeroplan loyalty program.
I recently had a chance to fly the Boston to Munich route on my way to the Monaco Grand Prix and will share all the details with you in my Lufthansa First Class review below.
Booking Lufthansa First Class
|First Class||Aircraft||Route||Flight Duration|
|Lufthansa First Class||Airbus A340||Boston to Munich||7 Hours 10 Minutes|
My journey to book this award was a wild one, and it almost didn’t happen. You’re reading my review of the flight, so it obviously did happen, but I won’t drag on with the full story unless you care to read it at the end of the article. All said and done, the cost of the EWR-BOS-MUC segment was 100,000 Aeroplan points and $150 in taxes and fees per person.
While it’s a high cost in points, this experience is unattainable for most with cash. Our flights came out to a cool cash price of $36,000 CAD – which is completely absurd and inflated due to the last-minute timing, but getting 18 cents per point is a redemption I’ll always brag about!
If you want to read the full story before the review, you can skip to the bottom of the article to read about “The Drama of Booking 24 Hours in Advance”.
Ground Experience – Lufthansa Lounge (BOS)
After arriving from our connecting flight, we walked from terminal B to E and arrived at the Lufthansa lounge. Upon arrival, the agent acknowledged we had first class tickets and escorted us to a private area.
We had a layover of 3.5 hours, so we got to soak up the experience. Part of the First Class experience is a dedicated wait staff in this area which is something unique to any lounge I’ve visited before.
Maria was our attendant and offered us champagne, a full food menu, and exquisite service. It seems there were quite a few “regulars” in the lounge with us, and she greeted those passengers by name.
While we were here, we had a few different dishes in addition to dessert in advance of our flight.
The runway views from this part of the lounge are probably some of the best the airport has to offer. As a relatively new AV geek, it was an amazing plane-spotting experience.
The attendant was quick to ask new passengers arriving in the first class area if they had a first class ticket. If they did not, they were politely asked to remain in the larger part of the business class lounge. While strange, it felt nice to be in an ultra-exclusive space only available to 8 passengers.
First class passengers board directly from the lounge with an escort, which also added an extra touch of exclusivity. Not that I would pay the cash premium for this, but for an extra 30,000 Aeroplan points per person over business class, it was really cool!
The Lufthansa first class cabin on the A340 consists of only eight seats, all with direct aisle access. With it being an intimate and exclusive cabin, there really isn’t a bad seat to be had.
After boarding the plane before all the other passengers (seriously, it was awkward walking by everyone ready to pre-board) we reached our home in the first class cabin for the next 7 hours and 30 minutes.
I was seated in 1K while Marta has just across the aisle in 1G. We had the option to sit together in the center, but we enjoy having a window. On top of that, we were very excited to try the companion dining feature and thought the window seat was a better fit for that experience.
My first impression of the seat was just how much space it took up. I had full control over 4 windows, which is a luxury I didn’t even know was possible 24 months ago. We were promptly offered champagne and nuts as a pre-departure snack.
All of the storage compartments were open upon arriving, and while I thought that was a little silly at first, once I looked around to see just how much storage there was I realized this was a very good idea.
The ottoman pops open and was large enough for my fully loaded backpack.
Between the armrest and the window, there’s a leather secondary armrest that contains the in-flight entertainment headphones, a storage pocket, and a cupholder.
I also stored a few of my things such as the amenity kit, pillows, and blanket in between the second armrest and window. There’s a shallow bottom, so it’s easy to keep track of everything.
The literature pocket is just in front of your knees.
Lastly, in the lower part of the armrests are the seat controls which allow you to control your seat between sitting up, lying flat, and anything in between.
The in-flight entertainment console remote is also located in the lower part of the armrest, making it easy to control the screen in front of you.
Before arriving on the plane I had read many articles about what to expect from Lufthansa First Class. While some of the negatives are true, such as a tired hard product, I found the first class seats to be remarkably private when sitting down. Certainly, if you stand up and move about you can see the entire first class cabin, but when seated the sightlines don’t make you feel exposed.
The first class cabin is small enough as well at only eight total seats, creating an elevated private experience even without the doors that are available on other airlines’ first class suites.
Once we finished eating, we figured a few hours of horizontal time would do us well. The flight attendants made Marta’s bed remarkably fast, and it quickly reminded me of ANA’s The Room with slightly less privacy.
After a quick change into the provided pyjamas my first class seat had been transformed into a bed and while I was tempted to enjoy more F Class time, I was ready for a rest. The bed was inviting and easily the most plush place to sleep I’ve had on a plane. ANA’s The Room was bigger, but I could tell this would be easier to get a deep sleep.
The amenity kit was definitely the most complete one we have received. Not only did we get VanLaak pyjamas and slippers, but the kits had more goodies than some hotels. Hairbrush, eyemask, shoehorn, breath mints, toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, ear plugs, and two different creams by Augustinus Bader.
Being a certified Porsche geek I sincerely appreciated the Porsche Design product placement on the eyemask.
As a side sleeper, I found the bed to be quite comfy. Nothing replaces a real mattress, but the mattress pad is noticeable with its thickness.
As mentioned earlier, we were excited to experience companion dining for the first time. While we had a chance to eat nearly side by side on ANA’s The Room a dinner date in the sky is, again, something I didn’t know was possible not long ago.
Post-take-off, menus were handed out for both wine and food.
We had a relatively late departure around 8:30 pm, so the crew was quick to perform a full meal service before most of the first class passengers wanted some shuteye.
As we had *only* less than 8 hours in this divine luxury, I didn’t have a chance to try the dine-on-demand options, but they were available.
First up was the dinner menu.
Following that was a selection for breakfast.
Next up were the champagne and dessert wine menus.
Lufthansa First Class also had a comprehensive red wine and white wine menu.
If you wanted even more options, both a cold beverage and hot beverage menu as also available.
Finally, there was also a spirits menu.
To begin the tray tables were taken out of storage for us, and white tablecloths were placed on top. A second flight attendant quickly followed to set the table, and then we selected the bread we would like.
An appetizer cart was brought around, I chose the caviar which was served from a large container in generous portions. It was my first time enjoying the delicacy and was well suited for a first class experience. Not to mention, it tasted like an expensive addition to my food palette…
Marta was offered three appetizers to try. She had zucchini and goat cheese, spring rolls, and crab salad. The latter two were very fresh and the spring rolls had a lovely peanut sauce.
After clearing plates and topping us with more champagne, dinner was served! I enjoyed the beef, while Marta had the lamb, and the lamb was the preferred choice. It was excellently seasoned with rich flavors compared to the beef, which was tender but lacked some character.
Dining with a plus one was very entertaining, especially after a few drinks. The ottoman the companion sits on is controlled from the main seat and adjustments may inspire some enthusiastic communication if moving too close to the dining tray.
Fresh pepper and salt mills were just one of many small details that added to the magic of first class.
For dessert, we tried a hazelnut and caramel tart, along with apple pie and frozen yogurt. We enjoyed both desserts but thought the apple pie was the winner of the two. It bears repeating that during the whole meal service, we couldn’t shake the special feeling of eating face-to-face on an airplane.
After a nap and changing out of my pyjamas, the staff was prompt to notice I had dissembled the bed and begun the breakfast service. White tablecloths were laid and I was offered a smoothie, water, and espresso.
I had chosen the scrambled eggs with bacon as my breakfast choice, the staff confirmed that I would still like to eat before landing and whisked away to prepare my meal.
My eggs had been made fresh to order and were a massive step above Air Canada’s infamous parsley omelette. The bacon was fine, it had been reheated, but still had decent flavor. After my eggs were served I was offered a selection of bread and croissant.
Marta had the fruit platter and tea.
Truth be told, with all of the eating and sleeping to be done I didn’t have much of a chance to try out the in-flight entertainment console. I did however have the moving map displayed for the majority of the flight. Interestingly enough, they indeed had an A340 correctly displayed in the graphic while some flyers report seeing a 747 in its place.
The remote worked well and was a bit quirky but still impressive when you think about how old the system is.
The home screen had many options to choose from. The wellness section was interesting and included some videos on plane yoga, which was unique!
There was quite a lot of entertainment to choose from between 179 movies, 276 TV shows, 29 audiobooks, and 25 podcasts.
The headset for the entertainment screen is hard mounted to the seat, so I’m sure there’s some kind of disinfecting process that happens in between flights.
We did enjoy the free WiFi available as a first class passenger though! It was a bit buggy and required me to reconnect a couple of times, but I was able to surf Instagram and message some friends about which wines were a must-try.
Ground Experience – Lufthansa First Class Lounge (MUC)
Once we landed in Munich and sorted out our baggage situation, we had some time to check out the Lufthansa First Class lounge in Munich before connecting to Milan.
The lounge was noticeably quiet and was equipped with everything and more that we could want. Notably, a hot shower.
The lounge had an outdoor smoking area as well that had great views of the tarmac.
There was a restaurant that we didn’t dine in, but the attendants still brought us any restaurant food we wanted to where we were seated in the lounge. After just having finished breakfast on the plane I wasn’t terribly hungry, but wanted to try something sweet so I ordered the crepes.
If you’ve got time to check out this lounge, I would say it’s worth a stop on arrival if you are flying this route.
The Drama of Booking 24 Hours In Advance
If you don’t know, booking Lufthansa First Class 24 hours out is pretty much the only way to do it. Most unsold seats will be released by the airline in order to get something rather than flying empty. Needless to say, we were watching the release patterns and routes intently as we felt that we could pull it off because we had some flexibility in our itinerary.
Of course, we still had our original booking, which was YYZ-YUL-MXP on the 23rd of May, but I had booked it in Lattitude with instant upgrade space to business. So canceling this flight, if we needed to book the F flight, was no problem at all.
Space appeared on the evening of the 21st to depart on the 22nd with our exact itinerary, ORD-FRA-LIN, bookable on the Aeroplan website, I wouldn’t even have to call in. We canceled our booking in business to MXP in order to book the F space, only to have the booking error out. Phantom space. To be honest, it was pretty dejecting!
We were able to select seats and all, even Expert Flyer showed the seats we selected as filled. Mind you this was at midnight Eastern time and the Aeroplan ticket office had just closed. With no flight now booked to get across the Atlantic, we booked YYZ-YUL-MUC on Lufthansa Business Class and conceded to an inferior product.
In the morning, Marta was searching like a woman possessed, having found F space, only to have it taken away. Then, the magical moment, BOS-MUC space showed up, but only with an EWR-BOS positioning segment. I said let’s just try and book the damn thing and not lose the space.
I was delighted when this booking actually went through! However, it meant that we now had a logistical issue of getting ourselves from YYZ to EWR, and then onwards from MUC to MXP or LIN on separate tickets. This did take the magic away a bit, as I already knew the kind of stress it would cause. It would be a big risk if we’re delayed arriving at EWR, as our flight there was on a separate ticket, we would be marked as no shows and the first class segment would be canceled.
One of the benefits of booking partner awards with Aeroplan is the fixed award prices. Even booking last minute, it only cost 6,000 Aeroplan points per person to get us from YYZ to EWR with United. This was a bit of a mistake it turns out, as the United baggage agents were completely unwilling to link my itineraries and check my bag through to Milan. I’ve done this with Air Canada on two separate occasions, both times it took some extra effort by the gate agent, but they were more than happy to do it.
I conceded after about 5 minutes of trying to convince them that it was possible and accepted the fact I would have to get my bag and re-check it not only in Newark but also in Munich.
It took me two hours on the phone to ticket MUC-LIN as the segments didn’t show up on Air Canada, only on Expert Flyer, so when I was able to book YYZ-EWR online I was too tired to get it included on the same ticket. My worst fears came true when I was already feeling on edge. Delayed leaving YYZ due to a jet bridge error.
We had the most efficient crew and a light flight load, so we went from scanning boarding passes to pulling away from the jet bridge in 25 minutes. Needless to say, my anxiety was running through the roof knowing the tall task waiting for me in Newark.
I had to exit airside, get my checked bag, re-check to MUC, and then back through security. I had never been happier to have TSA Pre-check and Star Alliance Gold to make the process as fast as it could be. I had planned for a 2 hour 20 minutes layover in EWR, but I would now have 1 hour 50 minutes by the time we took off.
We landed at 12:10 pm, with the next flight departing at 2:45 pm and I was feeling positive that I would be able to get my bag rechecked by the 2:00 pm deadline. We deplaned at gate C130 which was right across from the brand-new United Club lounge. I dropped Marta off thanks to my Aeroplan 50K Status then quickly walked to the baggage claim. To my happiness, my bag was waiting for me, and had my bag in hand at 12:30 pm!
I was now attempting to have my bag checked all the way through to Milan, to avoid this situation in MUC. After 15 minutes of talking to United agents who didn’t have any answers, they directed me to a separate check-in desk. This line didn’t have any priority access, but considering I had some time before my flight departed, I felt ok waiting for a few minutes.
The line didn’t move after 15 minutes or so, and I abandoned the plan to check my bag through. I was able to use a self-serve line and drop the bag then zip through TSA Pre-check as I left my carry on’s with Marta in the lounge. What started out as high anxiety, turned into 45 minutes of relaxing in United’s newest and best domestic club.
Once we landed in Munich, I explained the situation to Lufthansa staff prior to crossing into the Schengen area. They were understanding, in their own German way, but kind enough to explain to process they were going through. They called the baggage team on the ground and instructed them to handwrite a baggage tag to our final destination, which in my opinion was above and beyond service.
Flying Lufthansa First Class is an elusive award for the Miles and Points community. It takes tons of flexibility but is ultimately worth the effort. Access to first class lounges, excellent catering, first class service, and a comfy place to spend a few hours while crossing the Atlantic are what await travelers with the patience to wait for seats to be released.
While I would love for my next first class flight to be on a better itinerary, this was absolutely worth it. If you find yourself in a position to book, you pull all the tricks to make it work!