German flag carrier and Star Alliance founding father, Lufthansa, flies from Hong Kong to Frankfurt and Munich daily, offering first, business, premium economy and economy class service. This review focuses on a Lufthansa A380 business class flight from Frankfurt back to Hong Kong. The journey typically takes approximately twelve hours.
I used Lufthansa’s online check-in service which opens 23 hours prior to departure. The process was straightforward and quick. Lufthansa operates countless lounges at its Frankfurt home base. Lufthansa lounges feature a ‘Business Lounge’ and a ‘Senator Lounge’ area. As a business class ticket holder without Star Alliance Gold Status, you will be directed to the business lounge, while with status you can use the senator lounge. That said, the differences are minimal, the main advantage being that the senator lounges tend to be less busy.
The senator lounge itself is one large triangular-shaped room with various seating options on both sides and a large self-serve buffet and bar section in the centre. I’m not normally a fan of sterile, corporate decor, but this lounge somehow manages to pull it off in a more agreeable way by breaking up the space with light-coloured armchairs and tasteful wood finishes.
Another thing I like about the Lufthansa lounges is that any time of day you’re sure to find typical German foods, including sausages, potato salad, pretzels and white beer. There’s also a smoking salon and a shower area in the lounge.
It was raining heavily in Frankfurt that evening and boarding for the 2210 scheduled departure was called late at 2150. By the time I reached the gate, a good 10-minute jog from the lounge, boarding was already well underway and there were no more lines.
At the door, I was addressed by name and given a heartfelt welcome before being escorted to my seat.
As I was settling in, I was offered a pre-departure beverage, served with warm nuts. Here’s a fun fact: Lufthansa’s pre-departure ‘champagne’ is in fact sparkling wine/prosecco or cava only.
A few minutes later, as most passengers had taken their seats, the crew distributed slippers, Jil Sander-branded amenity kits and menus for the flight. Already waiting on the seat upon boarding were a large and plush pillow and a good-size soft duvet. The good-natured and all-smiles crew said plenty of bedding had been loaded that night so if I needed extras I should just give them a shout.
Lufthansa A380 business class is located on the upper deck, behind the first class cabin. The lower level features the premium economy and economy cabins. Business class comes in a 2-2-2 configuration spread across two cabins, a large section spanning rows 10-20 and a much smaller one consisting of rows 21-24. I prefer the quieter, more intimate smaller cabin in the back and so had picked seat 24G in the last row.
The 2-2-2 configuration isn’t cutting-edge in the market, considering that some other airlines configure their A380s with 1-2-1 business class seating, avoiding the need to clamber over your neighbour when you want to access the aisle from the window seats.
Nonetheless, it still offers an adequate amount of privacy, given the window-side seat pairs are angled away from the aisle thus giving each passenger a bit more space. However, the middle row of seats are angled towards each other, which could easily get awkward.
Needless to say, the seat converts into a fully-flat bed, comes with on-demand individual entertainment and Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Also, there are various multi-function storage ‘cupboards’ where you can store your personal belongings. The provided connectivity is extensive with a dedicated power point in each seat, as well as a USB port, and iPod and AV connectors so you can watch your own videos through the entertainment system. The IFE selection was equally impressive and I was able to catch up on the latest HBO shows and blockbusters.
With Lufthansa’s new service concept, there’s instead a single flight attendant dedicated to a certain number of seats, carts aren’t used, they remember you by name and take care of you from start to finish. The senior German attendant taking care of me was brilliant – super polished, obviously loving his job and just the right balance between chatty and overbearing.
The supper service started with a choice of appetizer – a Chinese Szechuan-style chicken salad; filet and rillettes of smoked trout with lime sour cream and cucumber relish; or cottage cheese with dried tomato, basil, artichoke mousse and onion confit. The appetizer was served with a good-size side salad and a selection of warm bread. I had the trout and it was lovely.
For mains, there was a selection of three – filet of Pike perch with creamy chive sauce and chanterelle potato mash; pork belly with BBQ sauce, Asian vegetables and jasmine rice; or corn-fed poularde served with tomato leek stew, red wine marinated onions and gnocchi. I had the Pike perch, which came beautifully presented and was cooked just right. The chanterelle mash that came with it was to die for.
Dinner was followed by a selection of cheeses served with apricot chutney, fresh fruit and ‘Bieramisu’ – Tiramisu Bavarian style with white beer sabayon. For drinks, there were two whites and two reds on offer, in addition to the Monopole Heidsieck champagne, port wine and countless spirits, as well as Nespresso coffee specialities and Eilles teas. Another fun addition to the Lufthansa drinks list is a selection of beers, including white beer served in the traditional long-neck half-litre glasses.
An hour and a half before arrival into Hong Kong an extensive breakfast was served, starting off with freshly-squeezed orange juice, elderberry yogurt with almond sticks and a large selection of cold cuts and bread. This was followed by a choice of warm breakfast entrée, scrambled egg with chives, sausage and potato rosti, or Chinese stir-fried noodles with chicken. I had the latter which was ok.
We landed in Hong Kong at 1520, 5 minutes ahead of schedule. It was a rather long, 15-minute walk to immigration and bag delivery did not start until 1555, though priority luggage came out first.
There’s a lot to like here and I genuinely enjoyed this Lufthansa business class flight, owing mostly to the great crew and good catering. I personally don’t mind the comparatively dense 2-2-2 seating configuration much, although this is certainly an area for an improvement, especially when most airlines are working towards direct aisle access from every seat in business class.