Introduction to The Long Way back to Australia
Bangalore to Mumbai (Jet Airways Business Class Class 737-800)
JW Marriott Sahar (Mumbai)
Mumbai to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER)
Abu Dhabi to London (Etihad First Class A380)
Tour of Etihad's The Residence
The Frankfurt Hotel (Frankfurt)
Park Inn by Radisson (Luxembourg 1)
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe (Luxembourg 2)
The Westin Grand (Frankfurt)
Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt to Seoul (Lufthansa First Class A380)
The Ritz-Carlton (Seoul)
Tokyo to Sydney (Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER)
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Another long delay in writing - apologies - other work has been keeping me real busy!
I don't think I've ever been more excited to visit a lounge - because the Lufthansa First Class Terminal isn't just any lounge - it's an actual separate terminal just for First Class flyers! I think I've always been fascinated by Lufthansa First Class - and I had never had the opportunity to do so until now. I booked this flight using Aviaca Miles - but boy was it difficult to book - as most flights seemed to go via Munich, rather than Frankfurt, where there is no First Class Terminal, but rather a lounge. Not the worse, but certainly not the experience I wanted. After trying multiple times a day for a few days (including waking up at 5am to check), to book a flight from Frankfurt to Hong Kong on the A380 (a big requirement as well) - I settled on Frankfurt to Seoul, since there was a seat which opened up, even though I was really looking for Frankfurt to Hong Kong (one of their most popular routes).
The drive from the Westin to the airport was fairly quick, and within 20 minutes we pulled up to the separate First Class Terminal entrance, where a Lufthansa FC Terminal member presented himself as my 'Personal Assistant' and was ready to take by bag and escort me inside. He took my passport, followed by my boarding pass (which he double checked to make sure I was actually flying First) - then led me inside to take me to security. This was easily the quickest and fastest security I have ever been through (mostly because I was the only one in line) and they were quite friendly as they scanned my items quickly. I was already seeing the benefits of using the FCT (First Class Terminal)! Once inside, he asked if I had ever been here before, and when I said I hadn't - he gave me a quick pointer on where everything was and how things worked, and once I chose a place to sit (the Walker Knoll Oscar chairs - one of my favorite lounge chairs), he sent someone to bring me a glass of champagne, and came back with printed boarding pass. One of the nicer boarding pass 'sleeves' I've seen, and with that - that was the last I saw of him till boarding (where he swapped with another lady since his shift was finishing).
There wasn't much of a view though.
Since I was here at least 5 hours before my flight, if not more, the lounge was barely occupied, with only one or two other passengers - so I took this as an opportunity to snap some photos and walk around.
There was a smattering of nuts and other confectioneries, along with the drinks menu at each area.
The lounge was quite beautiful. Clean, elegant, and not overly gaudy or oppulant (just how I like it). But at the same time, I could see that the lounge could use a bit of refreshing in certain areas. the FCT, or lounge as I keep calling it, was split into different zones, and much smaller than I was expecting it to be (but then again I suppose they're not expecting 50+ First Class Passengers at the same time).
I first decided to check out the cigar lounge (apparently there were complimentary Cigar's on offer, but I don't smoke so I didn't take up that offer). The Cigar Lounge offers the same furniture as outside, with around 12-15 seats, and it's own mini bar with various drinks from across Europe and the world. Smokers can have their own private party in there and never need to leave!
I followed up by checking out the resting and working areas. The FCT offers sleep rooms (on a bookable first come first serve basis) and rest lounge chairs as well.
They weren't very appealing in both senses. The lounge chairs looked quite word, and the bed rooms seemed like a last minute thought, although it is appreciated that I have an option to take these next time. You won't find private showers, but there are showers at the other end of the FCT (no pics unfortuantely). They also featured some private work rooms, for calls and such. And interesting features, but it was never used by anyone while I was there - and these rooms also looked a little 'aged'.
The main bar though, was gloriously overloaded - I had no idea so I just asked the bartender to fix me up something while I also dug into the massive gummy bear setup - which was hardly ever touched by anyone else. Kudos though to Lufthansa, on such an enormous range of alcohol and liqueur to choose from - they've got many hotels beat in choices as well!
As it was getting to around 2pm, I decided it was time to head to the small food area, and was looking to some great German FCT food! The good thing is that the FCT is catered by DO&CO, the same folks who cater to Etihad I believe, and the food was split into a buffet style setup, with salads, hot food, meats, and pretzels! I liked how they've tried to keep this area a bit quieter, by not allowing phone calls to be taken in this area (though it didn't stop some German businessmen at times).
The menu featured most of the items from the buffer in any case, with a few drinks - so I ordered myself an orange juice and some antipasti to start with, before digging into the buffet - which seemed like a mix of gourmet and regular food. If i'm being honest - the choices in the hot food section was quite limited - but that didn't stop me to going to town on a lot of the food (mostly since I hadn't had breakfast).
There was even a fresh meat carving section, with a leg of ham glistening under the lights, but since I didn't want to embarrass myself by attempting to use the machine - I settled for the pre-cut meat at the bottom.
After 2 rounds, I was starting to get full - but I didn't want to let the desserts go to waste - especially with freshly made pretzels awaiting me!
Around this point I was feeling utterly stuffed. The food was quite good overall - and I enjoyed it for the most part, but it wasn't exactly something you couldn't find in some really good business class lounges (The Al Mourjan lounge in Doha for example). Nevertheless, I moved on back to my original seating, ready to get some work done on my laptop - but I unfortunately spent the next 45 minutes (with Lufthansa ground staff help) trying to figure out why the laptop wouldn't conect to the wi-fi (with 2 x phones having no issues - I wasn't sure if it was a laptop issue or what). Since I had this same issue at the Westin hotel - I figured it was a German wi-fi issue, which my laptop (A Dell XPS 15) wasn't having any of. The result came when I found out that typing in www.purple.com into my browser would unlock something and get the wi-fi connected - it was certainly an odd thing to have to do though.
With the flight departing at 5pm, at around 4:20pm, the new 'Personal Assistant' came to get me to take me downstairs, for the part I was looking forward to the most, the car ride on the tarmac to the plant. I asked for the special First Class Rubber ducky they give, to take back as a memento. They ended up giving me two which was nice!
Once downstairs, I had to clear border immigration (literally a 20 second job) and I was directed to my S-Class Mercedes. Unfortunately I was sharing it with another passenger departing on my flight - so I couldn't take 'too many photos' of that experience, but I fired off a few snapchats en route.
Driving on the tarmac was a surreal experience - even though I've done it on the bus before, being driven by a chauffeur in a Merc to your plane is an entirely new experience all together! It wasn't a very long drive as our plane wasn't parked too far away, and once we stopped outside the plane the driver ran to open his boot and lead us to the private elevator which led to the First Class deck - now that's insane! One annoyance was that since it was drizzling, they didn't have umbrellas on hand, but I suppose the walk from car to elevator wasn't too far - but still, a minor gripe. I fired off one shot before rushing out of the rain - the A380 is one big beast!
Once we took the elevator ride up, the deck was quiet since it was only for First Class Passengers.
With that I entered the First Class area, was greeted by my flight attendants and was shown to my seat. All in all, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal experience is pure awesome, and they manage to provide a service which no other airline can match, from an entire terminal (albeit small) for First Class Passengers, private car transfers, private lifts - all this and you never even see an Economy Class Passenger, nor even Business! It's not all perfect, but it's a grand experience I would happily do again, if I can.