Wanting a Lufthansa First Class experience, which appears to be on it’s last legs for Canadian flights, I decided to take the plunge while I still could. I wanted the Brangelina treatment (without the paperazzi or the divorce)
After an uneventful business-class flight on LH 2515 from DUB (Dublin), Ireland, my travel companion and I arrived in MUC (Munich), Germany. This Bavarian epicurean cradle is known for it’s waist-defining beer, pretzels, schnitzel, spaetzle, knodels, weisswurst, sauerkraut, schweinshaxe and apfelstrudel. While hearty, diet food it is not.
I had heard rumors that as a first class client I would be picked up right at the plane and driven in an S-class Mercedes to the first class lounge… unfortunately this might be at some airports only, or a mythical frequent flyer legend from once upon-a-time land before First Class Lufthansa product cutbacks.
The Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich is located in the Non-Schengen area in Terminal 2. To our profound dismay, we had to trudge, for about 15 minutes, without a personal escort, through the airport and take the shuttle with the malcontent economy and business crowd. Do Brangelina have to do this? Given the hoards of adoring Boomer Traveller fans that followed me on this voyage, I had to keep swatting people away with my infamous sceptre. The dark sunglasses were simply not enough.
The airport trek left us with only about 20 minutes for our adventure in the land of Munich’s First Class Lounge.
Sweaty from having to roll our own bags through the duty-free carnival of uninspiring booze-a-go-round, make-up-stands, and tacky guilt-gift kiosks that defines airports around the world, the First Class Lounge oasis shone like the sun over the River Rhine at high noon on a clear day.
Prior to entering the lounge we had to surrender our passports to an official-looking Frau Frown at passport control. Why it was taken will remain a mystery, right up there with who built the pyramids. Although I will go out on a limb here and support the space alien theorists. Certainly that is the only explanation I can find for the superficial humanity yet complete lack of human warmth in Frau Frown’s visage.
We sprinted through the relatively small lounge, which is essentially a long corridor with comfy chairs and artistically placed snacks on side tables, and a row of work space cubicles with closing privacy doors. Tasteful with shades of Bauhaus Spartan. At the end of the seating area a respectable bar awaits the weary traveller, and to the right, the dining area occupies most of the lounge space. There is an L-shaped buffet with hot and cold items, drinky-poos, and a lovely dining area with linen table cloths where one can order a-la-carte.
Given our flight schedule we embarked on a three-part 20 minute lounge mission.
First: Get a rubber Duckie, the Lufthansa First Class Lounge passport stamp sought out by serious travel hacking collectors around the globe. The shower room has a shower, bath and Jacuzzi with a badass bubble maker. Unfortunately there was simply not enough time to indulge. I had hoped that I would get an Octoberfest Duckie, but only the standard First Class Duckies were on tap. Mission completed.
Second: Taste each of the champagnes on ice. We were in galloping guzzling bubbly mode. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the bubbly, however, the offerings were not at the the Über high-end of the spectrum that the blogsphere whispers praises of. Although I must say that the well-balanced Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise 2004 from France, with it’s clean citrus notes, was delightful.
“ When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere”
– Saint Ambrose
Third: Indulge in local epicurean Bavarian specialties. Beyond a bite of a fresh hot pretzel with sweet mustard…. there was not enough time. Unfortunately, the famous First Class Lufthansa schnitzel had to be ordered and cooked fresh. Poor us. We had to eat amazing Asian-inspired mouth-watering tapas/tidbits/appetizers and a couple of creamy rich desserts at breakneck speed. In fact I really did spoil my appetite for the journey home.
My traveling companion told me that the lounge was a pale comparison to it’s Frankfurt relative, which while decorated in a similar manner, is much larger, boasts a cigar bar, whisky bar, DO&CO catered food… Maybe next time.
Time to catch our LH 0494 flight from MUC (Munich) to YYZ (Toronto). No one even offered to pull our bags past the long corridor with comfy chairs. Back to Frau Frown’s official station where I retrieved my passport, despite Frown’s suspicious looks between my face and my passport photo. Without an auf wiedersehen or even a gute reuse I was handed my passport and I knew that I had been excused. I am quite sure Brangelina gets at least a smile. Just sayin’.
Luckily our departing gate was just outside the lounge so I didn’t have to deal once again with being mauled by my adoring hoards of Boomer Traveller fans.
We were quickly shunted onto the plane where we were greeted by the wonderful staff who would take care of all our in-flight needs. There were three staff to pamper five passengers.
First impression: roses without thorns on every chair and even in the loo, fine food and beverage, large bed on plane, soft wall coverings, super-attentive crew… Lufthansa has crafted a lovely, albeit not Emirates or Etihad level, first class product.
As a pre-flight welcome drink I had a splash of Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Grand Siècle Champagne. This elegant brilliant yellow-hued blend shines with aromas of honey, hazelnuts, grilled almonds and brioche. I wish I had not pampered my hedonistic whims so fully, and so quickly, in the lounge moments before. Full points.
In a nutshell this is a flawless product. The layout is exceptionally well designed. The over-sized seats are very comfortable, have significant legroom and convert to a bed in the sky that actually permits slumber without the need of drugs. There is lots of storage room including a footlocker, water bottle holder, knick-knack space, and of course overhead bins. The serving tray was immense. For entertainment we were provided with high-end BOSE noise cancelling headphones, a large flat screen with remote control, and USB and power ports. My favorite touch was the button-powered privacy wall that could be used to play a flirtatious game of peek-a boo with your neighbour when you weren’t hiding behind it catching moon rays.
The amenity roll call:
For Her: A burgundy colored Braun Buffel case
For Him: A Jacob Jensen designed two toned grey colored case with a hard covered promotional book
- La Prairie moisturizing lip balm, cellular Swiss ice crystal cream and cellular hand cream
- Travel brush
- A zip case with a toothbrush, dental floss, a Fisherman’s Friend spearmint pastille, a traveller size tube of Oral-B ProExpert toothpaste
- Eye-mask in case
- Earphone covers (so you don’t catch ear cooties)
- Lined slippers
- Swiss made Van Laack PJs – the top and bottom were packaged separately.
If you had to buy each piece separately at market price the total kit would be ~$300-$400.
Even though I wasn’t hungry I had to try the sturgeon caviar. A travel geek factoid: Lufthansa first class buys five per cent of the global caviar production. The caviar is served with traditional garnishes (dried toast, chopped egg whites, chopped egg yolk, crème fraiche and half a lime wrapped in cheese cloth). For those of you who have not tasted caviar – it tastes a bit like grav lax that you can pop between your teeth.
I tried a couple of the wines on offer.
- A German 2014 Bechtheimer Rosengarten Riesling Saptlese trocken, Kru’scher Hof. With aromas of stone fruits and mineral this was a classic riesling.
- An Umbrian 2009 Uno do Dodici Sagrantino di Montefalco, Tenuta Alzatura, Luigi Cecchi. This was an Italian red boasting notes of plum, blackberries, vanilla and leather.
I had a trio of appetizers including: guinea fowl confit with lentil salad egg white cream and ham chips; octopus with mixed mango medley and tapioca; and, a mixed salad with fried chanterelle mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, roasted kernals and pumpkin seed oil.
Since I had gorged in the first class lounge, this ended my epicurean adventure which it turned out cost me three stubborn pounds.
After watching a movie, I moved over to the bed complete with a mattress and a turned-down duvet that had been laid out for me. For the first time in my life I actually fell soundly asleep on a plane. This was both good and bad. The good: I slept and was able to beat a case of the dreaded jet lag and not gain any more weight. The bad: I didn’t max out my first class experience. Or maybe I did, as not suffering jet lag was quite wonderful.
I woke up about an hour before landing. The oh-so-nice stewardess offered me a hot towel to revive me as soon as my eyes fluttered awake.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A one way ticket for this experience would have cost $7000. For 70K Aeroplan points + taxes I feel that this experience was great value for money.
According to the stewardess, Lufthansa will be drastically cutting their First Class service to Canada in the new year. I guess I will have to try alternative First Class products from now on.