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Way back in November 2013, United announced they were devaluing partner award redemptions. Shortly after, Lufthansa announced a new route from YYZ-MUC aaaand… First Class award availability was wide open for months out. How many months out? Nearly a whole year – which is a lot longer than the usual 15 days.
While the rest of the blogosphere was stuck on “Summer 2014” availability, I kept going through the rest of the months. Munich… October… OMG Oktoberfest! – was exactly my train of thought. I redeemed a one-way to Munich and left the rest to chance. Didn’t want to burn up too many of my Ultimate Rewards points. Plus, I wanted to keep the trip open-ended. I’m not one to plan months and months in advance, so this was quite a leap of faith for me.
Flash forward to last Thursday, September 26th. My flights were LGA-YYZ on Air Canada and then onward to Munich on Lufthansa. I was supposed to meet a friend at YYZ, but the clusterbleep in Chicago that day made that impossible (and is a whole other story).
Still, it was my first time in Lufty First Class, and I was off to Munich for Oktoberfest.
After spending some time in Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge (which also doubled as the Star Alliance Gold Lounge), I made my way to the gate.
Once on the plane, I set about enjoying the flight. It was the new First Class on the Airbus A330-300.
The flight attendants instantly came around to offer us drinks, nuts, and newspapers. I enjoyed a glass of champagne and before I was done, amenity kits were handed out.
The kit was a nice pouch with a leather label from Braun Buffel. Inside, the products were from a few different brands.
Included were socks and eye mask, ear plugs, a shoe shiner, a comb/brush combo, toothbrush/toothpaste, and a face moisturizing cream from Laramin. I would’ve liked some lip moisturizer and hand cream, but no biggie. (Hand cream was actually in the lav, I just didn’t know it yet. AND Evian mist – my fave.)
We were also given slippers and pajamas, and shortly after, we took to the sky.
The seat was wonderful. It was wide and comfortable, with a good level of firmness. It could do lie-flat, and the FAs had to come around to make up the bed with a down base and duvet. I didn’t get a good pic of the bed fully made because dark aircraft, but it was all a comfortable experience.
The bedding they use is super warm. Which is a good thing, but at times, I was sweating. Whew!
My seat was in front, number 1G, next to the serving station. The FAs were near me a lot, and the seat next to me was empty. I kind of liked being close to the FAs, but if I had it to do over again, I’d pick one of the more private seats on the sides of the plane.
On both sides of the seat were panels that could go up for more privacy or when sleeping. There were many little hidden buttons and controls that the flight attendants kept switching on and off. They would come over a press something and a light would come on or the seat panels would go up. These buttons were in a place that was more accessible to them, not so much to the passenger, which told me that the seat was built with service in mind. Which takes us to…
Umph, this was a rough one. I feel like the seat and the service are what people are looking for when they book a flight in First or Business Class. This flight had numerous problems:
- No IFE for a good portion of the flight
- No wifi
- Power outlet did not work
- A few of the seats would not fold out into a bed
After takeoff, I tried to fire up the IFE to maybe watch a movie and check out what was available. I’d watched a little of “Maleficent” on the Air Canada flight up to YYZ, and thought maybe, just maybe, this flight would have it too so I could finish it.
I couldn’t get the controls to work, but could see options on the screen. I asked the FA if I was doing something wrong with the remote. No, she told me, the IFE was having problems and they were trying to reset it from the ground (?).
Fine. I’d work on my computer. There was a large wifi sign in the cabin. Perfect, I can write here on the blog or catch up on emails.
Sorry, the FA told me, wifi wasn’t working either.
OKKKKK, I’ll just draft a blog post or something. I plugged in my charger to the outlet, but the light wasn’t coming on to indicate that it had power.
Sorry again, the FA said. The outlet in my seat is out. But I couldn’t switch to the empty seat next to me. That was because another First Class passenger couldn’t get the seat to fold out into bed mode, so it was occupied.
For most of the flight, I had no IFE, no wifi, and no power at my seat. The FAs were super gracious and apologetic about it, but if I’d paid $12,000+ for the seat, I would’ve been very disappointed. And I did, in fact, pay for that seat with miles. To go a step further, I thought I was paying for a different product altogether than what I ended up with. If I had important work to do in the air, and had paid cash for the seat, I seriously think I would’ve asked for compensation. The FAs, again, were nice, but I was expecting so much more from my first Lufthansa First Class experience.
I got safely to Munich, and that’s really all I ever want – to get to my destination safely. So for most of the flight, I took my time stuffing my face, or read a book with the reading lamp on. The IFE did start working near the end of the flight, but it was too little, too late. But yes, I did get to finish “Maleficent”.
For a new route and a new First Class product, I expected a lot better from Lufthansa.
I ate everything on the flight. I absolutely ordered as much as I could. Most of it was great, some of it was delicious, and some of it was a bit of filler.
The starters and wine were fantastic. The caviar was actually pretty good too. The entree, shrimp masala, was a good portion and not too dry or overcooked, which chicken tends to get on airplanes. And for dessert, you know I had to get the strawberry burger. It was just OK – I basically just scraped the whip cream off the pastry and didn’t mess with the rest.
Also of note: NO STAMPED FIRST CLASS BUTTER.
Oh, and of note: I ate most of it in my new Lufty PJs:
The flight was great. The food – I can say was great. I liked the seat, and for the “new” First Class, it felt super comfortable.
I know other bloggers just go gaga over Lufty First Class, and I was hoping to add to that sentiment. The flight had service problems that I can’t overlook – and this isn’t the first time I’ve had an “eh” experience with Lufty. At this point in my travel adventures, I wouldn’t even put them in my personal top five.
I’ll try them again – I can forgive a bad round or two – but Lufthansa isn’t looking so shiny to me any more. If you get Lufthansa First Class, don’t expect a seat that folds out all the way, power at your seat, IFE, or wifi – fool me once, after all.
Anyway, onward with more travel and am happy to report I am writing this in Bratislava, Slovakia as part of Eurotrip 2014. Can’t wait to share other experiences because it’s been truly lovely so far!
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