LUFTHANSA GERMAN AIRLINES (Frankfurt Main to Hong Kong International), BOEING 747-8i, BUSINESS CLASS
LUFTHANSA GERMAN AIRLINES is the national carrier of Germany, and the largest airline in Europe offering passenger and cargo services to 215 destinations in 42 countries and territories around the world using over 280 aircraft. The name of the company is derived from Luft (the German word for "air"), and Hansa (a Latin term referring to the Hanseatic League)
The airline has been a proud founding member of the Star Alliance group since 1997, and traces its history back to 1926 when Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. was founded in Berlin, an airline that served as flag carrier of the country until 1945 when all services were suspended following Germany’s defeat in World War II. From 1933 onwards the airline was known as Deutsche Lufthansa, the name it presently uses.
Although the corporate headquarters of Lufthansa are located in Cologne, the majority of its staff and aircraft are based at Frankfurt Main International Airport. Deutsche Lufthansa employs more than 112,000 staff worldwide.
At the time of writing, Lufthansa operates 51 weekly flights to and from China including Hong Kong:
*Lufthansa operates flights to Shenyang in north-eastern China. From there, the flight continues on to Qingdao (formerly known as Tsingtao) on China’s eastern seaboard, linking the city for the first time to Lufthansa’s route network. Lufthansa is thus increasing its presence in the fast-growing Chinese market and expand its network coverage in mainland China.
Beijing Lufthansa Centre
Well worth visiting if you are in the capital city is the unique Beijing Lufthansa Centre, a state-of-the-art office complex including a shopping center, residential apartments and the Beijing Kempinski Hotel. The Kempinski is exclusively used by visiting Lufthansa crew members while on a stopover.
The Asia-Pacific Area Management Office of Lufthansa (passenger), Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Consulting are all located in Singapore. LSG Sky Chefs’ Area Management Office is based in Hong Kong.
Lufthansa was the launch airline for the Boeing 747-800, and is therefore the newest aircraft type in the long-haul fleet for the airline. The aircraft is 5.6 meters longer than its predecessor, the legendary Boeing 747-400, making it the longest passenger aircraft in the world. Lufthansa started flying its Boeing 747-8 aircraft down to Hong Kong on March 31 2013. I had the pleasure of reviewing the Business Class cabin of this fabulous brand new aircraft which only entered service less than 2 weeks earlier. My first impressions upon boarding were that it smelt like a brand new Mercedes car (you know that smell of a new car?)!
Route: FRANKFURT MAIN INTERNATIONAL (FRA) to HONG KONG (HKG)
Departure date and time of flight: August 2013, 22:05
Flight number: LH796 (Lufthansa 796 heavy)
ATC Callsign: Lufthansa
Flight duration: 10 Hours 45 minutes
Class: BUSINESS CLASS
Aircraft type: BOEING 747-830i (9 in fleet)
Aircraft registration: D-ABYK
Aircraft Serial Number: 37835
First flight: 26th July 2013
Aircraft delivery date: 13th August 2013
Aircraft engine types: 4 x General Electric nx-2B67
Frequent flyer programme: Miles & More
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
First Class: 8 suites in a 1-1-1 configuration (main deck)
Business Class: 60 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration (main deck),
Business Class: 32 seats in a 2-2 configuration (upper deck),
Economy Class: 262 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration
I had checked in for my flight 24 hours earlier on line back in London, and selected a seat on the upper deck of the Business Class cabin. I was aware when I checked-in online that there would be a good chance the upper deck would be empty- and it was with only six passengers occupying the 32 seats! I chose seat 85A as there was nobody seated ahead or behind me. It was perfect because it was away from the cabin or the toilets, which can be noisy at times.
Any baggage issues:
I had already checked-in my baggage at London Heathrow Airport for this flight, so I was carefree at Frankfurt (except for my TWO camera bags and the Duty Free bag, which I had to carry around with me!).
For Business Class passengers Lufthansa allows check-in baggage of 30kg for one bag. On flights to, from, or via the US, Canada, and some countries in South America, 2 pieces of baggage may be checked-in with dimensions measuring up to 158cm (62 inches) in total and 32kg in weight for each bag.
For all classes, each passenger (except an infant) can bring a free baggage allowance of one cabin bag not exceeding 56x36x23cm (22x14x9 inch) in size.
LOUNGE EXPERIENCE at Frankfurt Main Airport:
I had arrived on a flight from London Heathrow (to see that review, click here), landing at Frankfurt Airport 19:20 local time, and then was taken by bus into the terminal by 19:40 local time. The airport terminal at Frankfurt is conveniently sorted out into various Zones. Passengers transferring from European flight to International flights have to go through further security and then head to the appropriate Zone where the aircraft is parked. I headed off to Zone Z (non-Schengen), and then onto the Duty Free shops and the Lounge.
The Duty Free area itself is such a nice place to be in that you could practically spend your whole transit period here without moving to the Lounge. You can buy practically anything including the latest cameras, iPad, and various other electronic gadgets. I actually ended up leaving smelling of at least 10 different designer Eau De Toilettes!
The Lounge is located on the first floor and can be easily reached either by lift or by escalator. As you enter the generously spaced and modern Lounge you feel a sense of refreshness hot you. Split into several areas including a smoking room, a sleep area with bed/chairs, a work area, a quiet area, and even some cubicles for those wishing to make phone calls.
The food and drink selection includes both hot and cold, soft and alcoholic drinks, and a decent selection of global cuisine, again, both hot and cold. If you prefer some authentic German cuisine before your flight then there is no harm in tucking into this either.
The only annoying thing I found was that the distance from the Lounge to the actual gate (mine was at Z66) is quite long. I was told by the Lufthansa staff that it would take about 5 minutes. Believe me, when you are carrying hand luggage in an airport, 5 minutes can seem more like 30 minutes, and especially with the endless amount of conveyor belt path. I could not imagine how tiring it could be for a lady with young kids, or even elderly people.
Nevertheless, I managed to get to the gate around 10 minutes before boarding.
Punctuality of the flight/route taken:
We pushed back on time and made our way to runway 07C (Center), which before 2011 used by designated as runway 07L (and this can still be seen on Wikepedia). Frankfurt has 4 runways with 3 of these running parallel to each other (07L/25R/07C/25C and 07R/25L). After departing at exactly 22:10pm we headed into a straight climb towards Eastern Europe, Middle East and then finally onto Chinese airspace. Departing from 07C provided a spectacular view of the center of Frankfurt to the left of the aircraft, though with the angle of the aircraft and the high speed of departure I could not get a good picture.
There was no delay in landing at a slightly cloudy Hong Kong (nothing different here), and we landed at 17:50pm local time. Since I was at the front of the cabin I was one of the first off, and made my way to the highly efficient customs and immigration desks at Hong Kong airport (much more efficient than any airport in the UK in my experience).
From the aircraft to the customs desks took around 5 minutes, and then another 10 minutes maximum waiting time at the customs. There was only a 5-minute wait at the luggage carousal with the Business and First Class bags coming out first. My chauffeur driver was waiting for my with my name on a rectangular card, and within a matter of minutes I was whisked in the Mercedes (from a German airline to a German car!), on my way to Shenzhen. The journey from disembarking the aircraft and arriving at my apartment in Shenzhen took just under 2 hours (including passing through the highly efficient customs at Shenzhen Bay where you don’t need to get off the car when crossing the border from Hong Kong).
Comments regarding the pre-flight service:
Passengers in Business Class are offered hot lemon scented towels prior to departure. This is followed by a drinks service, which consists of some of the world’s finest wines, and champagne. In Business Class, the cabin crew offer a variety of drinks prior to departure:
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
Around about 35 minutes after departure, drinks were served from the trolley along with the helping of the huge Macadamia nuts, and salted almonds on bone china plates. I opted for another glass of that fine Champagne (Jacquart Brut Mosaique).
Business and First Class passengers also have the option of trying the Monthly Special drink. I decided to tickle my taste buds with the Monthly Special that was on offer. Called ‘Seaman’s Shot’, the drink is an interplay of the finest triple-distilled vodka and natural herbs such as menthol and eucalyptus. Whoever created this dish either has a very bad taste for drinks, or did not bother tasting it before approving it. If you love the taste of strong menthol lozenges (like Fisherman’s Friend), or cough medicine then by all means drink it to your heart’s content. One sip was enough to put me off. I would not approve it at all. Upon asking me how it tasted, the look on the senior purser’s face gave a strong suggestion that she also agreed with my feedback (of she was very professional in not telling the truth directly to me…!).
There was also the celebrated Lufthansa complimentary bar service for Business Class passengers, including various alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks. Ground coffee, and decaffeinated coffee or tea (English earl grey, Ceylon, and Chinese green tea) were also available. On top of this, there were a selection of herbal teas including green tea with jasmine, peppermint, and camomile with honey.
With or without the meal, the wine and beer list included for this flight would make anyone’s mouth water:
2012 Riesling Spatlese trocken, Weingut Neef-Emmich, Germany
2011 Estate Blanc, Paul Mas, France
2008 Chateau La Roque de By, Medoc, France
2010 Two Vines Shiraz, Columbia Valley Vineyards, Chateau St. Michelle, USA
Warsteiner Premium Verum – German premium lagar
Warsteiner Premium Alkoholfrei – with genuine 0.0% alc. Vol. (non-alcoholic)
Frankenheim Alt – A top-fermented speciality ale
Erdinger Weissbier – with fine yeast
Kummerling German Bitter
Ample choice of whiskies (Chivas Regal 12 Year old, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Canadian Club, and Jack Daniel’s), Cognac (Hine, ‘rare and delicate’ fine champagne), and various beers, aperitifs & cocktails, and liqueurs.
Comments regarding the first meal (dinner):
Since this was a late night long-haul flight, so therefore a light meal was on offer. Business Class passengers had three options for the starters, four options from the main course options, and three options for the dessert.
Meals are served on a low trolley that gives the passenger an inviting eye-level choice of what's on offer and the airline is also introducing new food service items with a more German feel in their Business Class cabin. All food in the Business Class cabins at Lufthansa is served on elegant bone china tableware specially designed.
Mixed summer salad with tomato and tarragon dressing
There were four options for the main course, including:
The main course came presented on a large bone china bowl containing a generous amount of fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette (provided by Birch & Waite). There was a generous serving of soft and hard bread rolls from the bread basket. Oh, and then there are those cute salt and pepper pots- they look like tiny mice (not sure if that would be appealing when you pour your salt and pepper on your delicious meal).
*This dish is a signature Chinese dish provided by Lufthansa to showcase the best of Chinese culinary magic. Authentic Chinese dishes on Lufthansa’s Business Class and First Class cabins, such as this one, are specially created by Jackson Huang, Executive Sous Chef at The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai (please check out the review I wrote for this fabulous hotel here).
I opted for the sea bass in Caribbean style. A well presented dish which contained plenty of color and flavour. Delicious chunky pieces of the sea bass that went fine with the equally scrumptious potato and banana mash. The good thing about the sea bass was that it was fresh as you could for an airline meal, having been cooked earlier in the afternoon at Frankfurt’s Sky Chef facility.
Passengers in Business and First Class are given the same treatment as those who would be dining at a Michelin-star restaurant, albeit in the sky. In all the flights I have taken so far, I always find that no matter how full you are you always end up eating the in-flight meal…perhaps because of the ambiance and the environment prevails to make you artificially hungry?! In any case the meal was very delicious.
Cheese & Dessert:
The highlight of the dessert has to be the variation of passion fruit which appeared to come across as a dashing extravaganza of yellow colour. It tasted as good as it looked.
The plate of fresh seasonal fruit was equally well dressed. Generous portions of kiwi fruit, mango, melon, and watermelon were provided. The skin had been taken off, so all the hard work had been done for you (passengers are spoilt on Lufthansa).
While most other airlines provide Godiva or some other luxury chocolates to their Business and First Class passengers, Lufthansa provides authentically German chocolates and hazelnuts.
Comments regarding the after meal drinks and in-flight snacks:
A second round of drinks were offered after the meal. This included coffee and tea (green tea and earl grey tea). I ordered a cup of coffee.
Comments regarding the second meal (breakfast):
The dinner service started around an hour and a half prior to landing at Hong Kong.
There were two options for the main course, including:
I opted for the first option, which was the more traditional European styled breakfast.
The breakfast meal tray also contained the following:
Comments on the in-flight entertainment system:
Lufthansa offers various music titles through Audio Visual On Demand (AVOD) in all classes via personal touchscreen televisions on their brand new 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft.
First and Business Class seats each have a personal 110v AC power port. Economy Class seats are equipped with 110v AC power port and are shared between the seats.
The news is prepared by Inflight Television Int. in Frankfurt and stored on the server on board, so the passenger can decide when to watch the programme. The news is branded in Lufthansa style and there are some commercials shown, so in every way perfect for airlines. iTV will show late load program solutions at APEX in Anaheim.
On Board Wifi is available to all classes via Skynet. Charges for this service apply and can be purchased with a credit card or by redeeming Miles & More reward miles from your laptop or mobile device
The large 15-inch IFE screen placed behind each Business Class seat isn’t really facing you when you sit in the seat, and so you have to pull it out from the back of the seat in front (though this shouldn’t bother the passengers in sitting in front). Nevertheless, the choice of entertainment was good and there were no technical problems otherwise.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The cabin crew appear to have been trained very well, and seem to know how to handle all kinds of situations. The trainers must have had everything thrown at them, ranging from rowdy passengers to those having a nervous breakdown. These people are amazing. They really do pamper you.
The cabin crew were very professional and friendly. Most of the cabin crew for Lufthansa German Airlines are natives of Germany, or at least they speak fluently in German (this is especially true for the cabin crew in First Class or Business Class cabins).
In January 2001, Lufthansa introduced native Chinese flight attendants on flights between China and Germany, providing Chinese-speaking passengers with in-flight services in their own language and cultural background. Lufthansa now employs 250 flight attendants from China. The Lufthansa Group employs more than 11,000 staff within Greater China, including all joint ventures and affiliated companies.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
This aircraft accommodates 386 passengers in a three-class configuration. First Class features Lufthansa's new First Class suite, now situated on the main deck and limited to 8 passengers; Business Class features Lufthansa's new flat bed Business Class seat in 2-2-2 configuration on the main deck and 2-2 on the upper deck; Economy class features individual television monitors.
This is a three-class configuration, with 262 Economy seats, 92 Business and 8 First Class seats. The 92 Business Class seats are distributed with 60 on the main deck, and 32 seats on the upper deck.
The First Class seat has a pitch of 85 inches, and a width of 31.5 inches (huge!), the Business Class seat has a pitch of 78 inches, and a width of upto 26.4 inches (very generous with an 180 degrees recline), and the Economy Class seats have a pitch of 31 inches and are 18.5 inches wide. Compared to what other airlines offer their Economy Class passengers, Lufthansa is very generous in offering an 18.5 inch width (most international airlines provide only 17 or 17.5 inches width on their long-haul fleets!).
Before going to sleep, I went to the Business Class washroom to brush my teeth and wash my face, and then took a short walk around to see the other cabins downstairs. Economy Class was not full, and was equally quiet as the Business and First Class cabins- similar kind of ambiance as the Airbus A380 I would say.
The Boeing 747-800 was one of the first aircraft that had the new Lufthansa Business Class seat installed. At the press of a button, this roomy seat transforms into an almost 2-metre-long, fully flat bed (actually 1.92 metre bed) – ideal if you wish to relax during a long flight. I found it very comfortable to lie on and especially as I toss and turn quite a lot when I sleep (faced-down on the pillow), therefore I found this seat a delight. The open-design of the cabin, the seat configuration, and the colour scheme in subtle, natural shades all help to create a feeling of spaciousness.
I also found the seat cushion as being very firm, though I didn’t mind that, and the arm rest closest to the aisle could be lowered to create more room. I found the Boeing 747-800 to be much quieter than the older versions of the 747- almost the same quietness on board as the Airbus A380.
Lufthansa does not offer pyjamas for their Business Class passengers – in fact from my experience Qatar Airways is one of the select few that do offer pyjamas for their Business Class passengers (normally that novelty is only reserved for First Class passengers). I had no problem sleeping for around 7 hours in this 10 hour flight, and was woken only by the breakfast (or brunch) service taking place around me.
The upper deck window seats have the advantage of having large side storage bins for usage because of the unique shape of the 747 aircraft. On both the lower and upper deck the overhead lockers are generously spacious.
In the Business Class cabin, by the side of the footrest there are two storage spaces, one which is open and pulls out slightly for putting in books, small laptop, shoes or personal items, and then another which has a handle and angles out from the wall – this one contains the amenity kit bag.
The Business Class amenity kit bag is designed to look like a beach bag, and contains comfortable flight socks, eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste (provided by Smilecare GmbH), Nivea face cream, Nivea sun cream, Nivia sun tan lotion, mouthwash, Gillette shaving cream and blade, a comb, and lip salves, and a bottle of water.
Lufthansa German Airlines livery:
The Lufthansa livery featured on all the aircraft consists of a navy blue coloured fin with a bright yellow encircled stylized crane in the middle. The fuselage belly of the aircraft is coloured grey while the rest of the aircraft is finished in a brilliant white. The words Lufthansa appears at both sides of the front fuselage in navy blue. A smaller and navy blue version of the encircled stylized crane is also displayed just behind the cockpit windows. The engines are coloured in a light grey colour.
The trademark Lufthansa logo, an encircled stylized crane in flight, was created in 1918 by Otto Firle. It was part of the livery of the first German airline, Deutsche Luft-Reederei which was known as DLH. In 1926, Deutsche Luft Hansa adopted this symbol, and in 1954, Lufthansa expressed continuity by adopting it.
The original creator of the name Lufthansa is a certain F.A. Fischer von Puturzyn. Lufthansa was the name given to the airline, which was a direct result from the merger of Junkers' airline (Luftverkehr AG) and Deutscher Aero Lloyd.
Pre-Dinner Drinks and Dinner Service
Business Class Amenity Kit
About Airline PR
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