Review: Lufthansa First Class A330-3, Frankfurt – Seattle

Lufthansa First Class is an International First Class Experience that’s at the top of it’s game. Although they’ve modernized the First Class cabin since this trip, it remains among my favourite first class experiences in the world and the best among Star Alliance carriers.

This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Read more from this trip:

Review: Lufthansa First Class, Airbus 330-300, Frankfurt – Seattle

We had started this flight from the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt and arrived to the plane via private car transfer. It was a fantastic way to start a flight; away from the crowds and the busy environment of Frankfurt airport.

FRA-SEA (Frankfurt Flughafen – Terminal 1 – Seattle SeaTac Airport – South Satellite)
LH 490 – First Class (O)
09:50 AM – 11:15 AM
May 28, 2012
Booked: Airbus 330-300
Flown: Airbus 330-300

On Board Lufthansa First Class “Alien Pod” seats:

Settling in on board, we were welcomed into the blue alien pod seats. It was the older Lufthansa First Class design that would later be headed for the design graveyard but I personally found it neat looking, despite being at the end of its life cycle. At booking, we opted for the center seats at the back of first so that we could sit together. The load today was eight / eight. At least 5 of the seats were taken within 3 weeks of the flight date. 

Lufthansa First Class Alien Pod Seats
Lufthansa First Class Cabin
Lufthansa First Class Cabin

We were immediately offered a pre-departure beverage before take off. Ms World Traveller 73 asked for “sparkling wine”. This must have been a mental slip on her part. Perhaps it was because we were back in the land of asking women for their choices first, instead of the traditional men being asked first as throughout all of Asia. 

“Err, Champagne, you mean?” was the reply. 

“Ohh yes that would be lovely”

With that, a bowl of macadamia nuts was delivered and glass of the Laurient Perrier 2000.

Pre-Departure Champagne Laurent Perrier Vintage 2000 with Macadamia Nuts

We were passed out the shirt and the male / female Bogner amenity kits, along with in flight slippers. The FA’s had set up a lovely bar at the start of the flight complete with glass wear and all sorts of drinks. 

His and her amenity kits (the patterned is the female kit). The female kit was suitably fashioned to keep Ms WT73 pleased. 

Bogner Amenity Kits

We were 10 minutes late off push back waiting for a few other passengers. To help pass the time, a refill of champagne offered. When it was time to get underway, our flight attendant collected our glasses,

“Were about to take off… Don’t worry, I will bring you another on immediately once we are in the air.”

Once we were airborne, a towel service was offered, complete with a rose petal. The towels were lightly scented with a fragrance, compared to all the other towels that we had on the trip.

The menus and wine list passed out. I had previously read about the wonderful food that LH offered. I should note there that Ms WorldTraveller73 has a much more, err, mainstream taste when it comes to food. When she cracked the menu, I couldn’t help but chuckle at her reaction:

“Oh my word”!!” (in complete astonishment and part shock)

Lufthansa First Class Menu, Frankfurt to Seattle
Main Courses: Lufthansa First Class Frankfurt – Seattle

The emphasis on the food was indeed noticeable. The choices of mains were outstanding for a foodie like miyself. Essentially, I was in airline heaven. There was a choice of venison, scallops, guinea fowl or a vegetarian option of asparagus awaited us. I was super excited. I provided the calm re-assurances that she would not go hungry, even if she had to have 4 tabbuleh appetizers instead of a main course or a dish from business if needed. 

We opted to eat a bit later than everyone else. Indeed, our flight attendant serving us confirmed that “we were the masters of time. “ The dinner order was taken with the question on whether we were to wake up for the last service 2.5 hrs before landing. I notice that the order sheet had a plan layout of the entire F cabin, including the surnames of each passenger and their food preferences.

I decided to get comfortable by changing into the “shirt”. Lufthansa has decided to only provide a shirt instead of a full pyjama for the “day” flights. Although the flight time is during the day, the FA’s close the windows and shades for a good portion of the flight, meaning that you exist in the darkness. It’s a low rent touch if you ask me. The flight attendant taking care of us offered to take our photo on several occasions, which was a nice, personal touch. 

Matching Van Lack Pyjamas

The Meal Service: A four course dinner

The dinner service with a full four course meal is a very relaxed and slow affair. The service is old school style and served from the cart.

Traditional Service from the Cart
Appetizer Service from the Cart

With the appetizer service, I opted for the etagiere. The appetizers included. The tabulleh with cheese was the best airline food serving I had over the course of this whole trip. The caviar was also enjoyable. I enjoyed a glass of white burgundy to go with this.

Caviar with the traditional garnishes. Unfortunately, the best Vodka on board was Smirnoff “Red”. This was the only low rent touch for the entire trip.

Caviar with the traditional garnishes along with Smirnoff “Red” Vodka

The caviar and all three appetizers were followed by a soup dish, essence of Lemon Grass, cilantro, line and ginger served with coconut flavoured Pike Quenelle:

Lemon Grass, Cilantro, Lime and Ginger Soup served with Coconut Flavored Pike Quenelle

Appetizer Etagiere, in order from the top:

Oriental Tabbouleh with Ewe’s Cheese and crunchy sails,
Medium Rare Saddle of Beef, Fig Confit and Cashnew Nuts,
Sylt Matie Herring on Rye Bread with Green Bean Jelly and Beetroot Mousse

Traditional Lufthansa Etagiere

Tabbelueh and cheese is not a combination that I would normally pair, but the taste was simply sensational.

Oriental Tabbouleh with Ewe’s Cheese and Crunchy Sails

Stemware water glasses and wine glasses. 

Bar out and placed on the center console for all to enjoy. 

Lufthansa First Class Bar
Lufthansa First Class Bar
Service of Bordeaux Grand Cru Classe Wines

Regular Lufthansa First Class fliers will know and understand that Lufthansa First Class offers a long stemmed red rose at each seat. It’s a nice elegant touch that isn’t replicated among any other airline carrier in the world.

Ms World Traveller 73 enjoyed her dinner a la carte, She also enjoyed the starter tabbuloeh. 

For the main course, I enjoyed the Guinea Fowl for the main with a glass of the red Grand Cru Classee. The Guinea Fowl was nicely executed for airline food and easy to approach.

Moroccan Style Breast of Guinea Fowl with Pickled Lemon, accompanied with Spicy Jus, Vegetable Compote and Basmati Rice,

The cheese cart was brought around and the cheese had terrific flags on it, to identify what kind of cheese was on offer. The servings were generous and the cheese, ohh so tasty. I enjoyed another glass of champagne to finish it all off. 

Cheese Cart Trolley

Blue de Gex, Brie, Appenzell, ashed Goat Cheese, and Le Coutances with Fig and Walnut Chuntey, Grapes, Cucumber and Carrot.

And to close: Apple and Cilantro Sorbet on Sake Jelly, served with Champagne upon your request.

Apple and Cilantro Sorbet on Sake Jelly

In all, the supper service took about two hours to complete. The service was super attentive and we did not need to ask for refills of water or wine. Our server, was an aspiring pilot. I encouraged him to go see the Boeing Factory and Tour on his stopover in Seattle. 

After the dinner service, I took a walk through business and economy. The old Lufthansa business class slide did not look super spacious but I guess it would do if nothing else was available. The in flight entertainment in the back did look much better than the small IFE up front. 

Lufthansa Business Class on the Airbus A330
Lufthansa Economy Class on the Airbus 330

Shortly after I returned to the front, the cabin was dimmed to dark. This is when the supplied shirt is a low rent touch, if you are going to call it a day flight and cheap out by not providing the pyjama bottoms then the don’t dim the cabin!! My humble opinion. 

USA Immigration arrival cards were left out at the bar at the front. The bar was stocked with water through the night. 

After eating all that food, I took a nap. The tiny IFE did not look very interesting so I finished the champagne and snoozed for about two hours. Our flight attendant taking care of us dropped us off an individual bottle of Elizabethen Pure water for our use.

The Second Service: Specialities from Northern Germany

The second service started about two hours before landing. The meal service was a three course snack featuring specialities from Norther Germany. The service was “family style” in that you could order items off the cart as much or as little as you were interested.

Northern Germany Specialities – Second Service

I started with the Salad of North Sea Shrimp, along with the Holstein Cottage Ham with Gherkins and Pearl Onions.

Impeccable Service on Board
Holstein Cottage Ham with Gherkins and Pearl Onions with a Salad of North Sea Shrimp
Salad of North Sea Shrimp

I had the light Hamburg Style Filet of Plaice with Browned Butter and Potatoes.

Hamburg Style Filet of Plaice with Browned Butter and Potatoes
Hamburg Style Filet of Plaice with Browned Butter and Potatoes

To close, a La Bruyère Tart was offered.

La Bruyère Tarte

Refill of wines – including Italian red. 

I found the food in the second service pleasant, but I was looking at it from a foodie’s perspective. Ms Worldtraveller 73 did not find the second service it very approachable or enjoyable. It was a bit too regional for her liking, although I think she would have been satisfied with a large German pretzel. 

Before we knew it, the minutes on our First Class “F” flight ticked away. While on the final approach to Seatlle, the flight attendant that gave us such exceptional service came by to visit us and wish us well in his journey. We indicated that he served exceptionally well and confessed to us that it was his first time serving in first class. The experience was exceptionally close to flying private, except with much better catering!

The End:

Nearing the end via older In Flight Entertainment Monitors

We were among the first off for our last international first class flight in this trip.

Lufthansa First Class Airbus 330 on arrival at Seattle

After arriving to the gate and proceeding down from la – la land into the arrivals hall that was “The Port of Seattle”. After walking through a thin corridor with a series of lefts and rights, we headed down an narrow escalator. The roof of the escalator area had silver temporary tarping with black paper Acco fasters keeping it in place. I couldn’t help but think how quickly we had fallen from Lufthansa’s classy grace. 

Approaching US immigration, I used the GE Kiosk and was through without any difficulty. 

While waiting for our bags on the belt, I was intercepted by US Customs and Border Protection who asked to see my passport and blue declaration card. Of course, the fact that I answered honestly to the question “Countries visited on this trip before arrival in US” with a listing of such drug transshipment places such as Thailand, China, Spain, Germany, combined with an otherwise empty international arrivals hall likely amounted to the perfect opportunity for CBP.

Our bags were the first ones off the belt with the HON tags on them destined for Vancouver via Seattle. This is the closest I will ever get to having HONor Circle Status.

Lufthansa First Class “HON Circle” Luggage Tags

I was allowed to collect my bag and head toward the exit. I was overtly “followed” to the exit check point where several, kind, uniformed officers made sure that I ended up in the secondary area. 

Thankfully, the inspection did not include a body cavity search, but rather a generic pat down of most of my checked baggage (why didn’t ya just x ray them?) it was off to attempt to get home on my last leg of the race. 

Final Thoughts on Lufthansa International First Class:

Lufthansa International First Class is one of the world’s most special aviation experiences.

The Lufthansa First Class experiences offers a world class end to end experience. The Lufthansa First Class Terminal was an exceptionally pleasant way to spend time before a flight. The experience is very similar to flying private, except with fantastic catering.  Like with other German products such as Braun and BMW, Lufthansa has succeeded in providing a refined, dignifited flight experience. 

Although there were the occasional low rent touches (no full set of pyjamas, or premium vodka), there’s hardly any reward availability anymore for these seats without juggling your entire trip two weeks before. While you can juggle to get seats 14 days before departure, its admittedly not for everyone. Perhaps booking in business class and upgrading to First Class is the easiest way to go.

Lufthansa First Class is a fantastic experience that every aviation fanatic should try at least once.

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