Lufthansa

India Trip Report – “I Can’t Go Back To Coach” – Lufthansa First Class Terminal

By January 18, 2013 December 10th, 2013 2 Comments

India Itinerary

  • Lufthansa A380 First Class – Frankfurt (FRA) -> Tokyo (NRT)
  • Thai 747 First Class – Tokyo (NRT) -> Bangkok (BKK)
  • Thai First Class Lounge & Royal Orchard Spa – Bangkok (BKK)
  • Thai 747 Business Class – Bangkok (BKK) -> Bombay (BOM)

  • Air India Economy – Bombay (BOM) -> Udaipur (UDI)
  • Sheraton Udaipur
  • Site Seeing – Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur
  • IndiGO Economy – Jaipur (JAI) -> Bombay (BOM)

  • Bombay Airport Clusterf$#%
  • United BusinessFirst – Bombay (BOM) -> Newark (EWR)

The Long And Winding Road

After deboarding from my Lufthansa 747-8 IAD – FRA flight, I made my way to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.

For those of you not familiar with the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, it is essentially the Mecca for Frequent Flyers. Basically it is an entire separate Terminal that Lufthansa built for its departing First Class Passengers and HON Circle Members.

Since it is “primarily” designated for departing First Class Lufthansa Passengers (although transiting Passengers like myself are allowed), there isn’t a direct connection from the Airport.

So to access the FCT, you have to clear Immigrations as well as Customs and then physically walk outside of the Airport and basically turn left and walk a few blocks to get to the Terminal Building.

Before I left the US, I made sure I wrote down the directions so I would be able to find it.

After a short walk in the snow, I had finally arrived, both figuratively and literally. 

I entered through the bottom entrance, and took the Elevator into the Upper Lobby.

I don’t know if it was because I was so excited or because there was no one in the Bottom Lobby, but it reminded me of one of those spy movies where you enter into a non-descript telephone booth which doubles as the entrance to the super secret lair.

Upon exiting the Elevator, I was greeted by the person who would become my “Personal Assistant” for the day. Needless to say, she was extremely attractive…

I didn’t get any photos of the Upstairs Lobby because I didn’t want to look like a tourist, but overall it was very elegant and looked almost like a Hotel Lobby. 

I showed my Personal Assistant (PA) my First Class Boarding Pass and Passport. She escorted me to the FCT private security line, for which there was no line and took less than 60 seconds to clear.

While I was going through Security, my PA took my Passport Downstairs to clear it with their in-house Immigrations Desk.

After clearing Security, my PA returned and asked me if I had ever been to the First Class Terminal. I responded with no, so she proceeded to show me around.

My favorite part of the tour had to be the end, where she made the explicit point of saying “Everything here is free”.

I found this absolutely hilarious given that her statement was 100% true but only if you didn’t factor in the ridiculous cover charge of having to purchase a First Class Ticket : )

After getting settled into a Couch in the Living Room area, my PA instructed that she would find me when it was time to Depart.

I had about 5 hours to kill, so first thing I decided to do was shower.

Shower / Bathroom

I headed down to the Shower Area and asked an Attendant about signing up. There wasn’t a queue, so I was shown to the Shower.

I didn’t realize that there were Bathrooms with Bathtubs and then Bathrooms with Showers, and that you ONLY get the Rubber Ducks in the Bathrooms with Bathtubs!!!

I accidentally chose the Bathroom with a Shower : (

The Bathroom was really nice and spacious. I particularly enjoyed the Shower because it had both a Shower Head and a Waterfall Shower Head in the ceiling which was awesome.

 

The amenities were ETAO, which had a very strong fragrance so it was more or less like bathing in perfume.

When I first saw them though, I had to do a double take because the logo and name looked STRIKINGLY SIMILAR to Etihad, especially from a distance.

I don’t know why but showering after a flight always make me feel extremely refreshed and gives me a huge boost of energy. After my Shower I was ready to tackle exploring the rest of the First Class Terminal.

As I was leaving my Bathroom, I peaked into the Bathroom with the Bathtub and noticed a Rubber Ducky.

I was half contemplating just taking it, but did not want to be the first Passenger ever to be deported from the First Class Terminal.

Ironically though when I was leaving for good, I peaked in again and someone else had already taken the duck!

As I was leaving the Bathroom Area, I ran into the Bathroom Attendant and asked if there was any possible way to get a Rubber Ducky for “my kids”.

She gave me a funny look and asked which size Duck I wanted.

Since I wasn’t even aware there were 2 sizes of ducks, I asked for 1 of each since I conveniently had “2 kids at home and wouldn’t want them to fight over just 1 Duck”. Oh the things people will do for those damn ducks…

After securing my First Class Terminal trophies, I strolled around the Terminal.

First Class Terminal Layout

Although the pictures and descriptions of all different features of the First Class Terminal make it seem really big, it is surprisingly average size.

The photo below, taken from the Bathroom Area, shows the length of the Main Hallway which basically covers 80% of the FCT. 

 

Off the Main Hallway there is a Work Area, Sitting Area, Bar, Restaurant, Cigar Lounge, Day Rooms, and Showers, but they all kind of flow into one another.

After exploring, I settled down in the Restaurant and had Breakfast. Like an idiot, I sat there for a while wondering why there wasn’t a Waiter until I realized that Breakfast was served as a Buffet…

There was quite a large spread of anything and everything imaginable. I had a little bit of everything and it was all delicious.

I was fairly amused by the Ham Machine because I am sure it cost like $3,000.

While the food was good, I think I was most impressed by the Bar in the First Class Terminal.

I have never seen such a large variety of high end alcohol in my entire life. Also the photo below is just the overflow, the entire Bar behind it is also completely stacked.

It is almost lucky that I didn’t arrive in the Evening or fly with a Friend because I can imagine that the First Class Terminal being a blast during the later hours when drinks are freely flowing.

In my delusional mind, I just imagine the FCT turning into a full fledged Night Club in the Evening.

I remember Lucky wanted to become the first Citizen of the First Class Terminal, so maybe I can become the First Resident DJ? As you will see in the next installment, it was very ironic that I thought that given who was sitting next to me on the Plane…

Lounge Area

After eating Breakfast and Showering, I still had about 3 hours to kill, so I checked into FourSquare. 

One of the people I met at FTU LAX, Amol (also the creator of the infamously awesome Hitler Finds Out About Vanilla Reload Clawbacks video) had left a tip on FourSquare saying to check out the Massage Chairs, so I did just that and settled in to do a Blog Post. 

I’m glad that I read his tip because those Massage Chairs were amazing! Even better than the Massage, the Chairs legitimately rocked you back and forth like a baby.

It was very difficult trying to Blog because all the rocking was putting me to sleep.

After a few hours of work, it was getting close to boarding time!

Even though I knew my Personal Assistant would get me, I was getting nervous that she wouldn’t see me napping in the corner, so I relocated to the Couch and indulged in some more Wasabi Peas (FYI: I recently discovered that you can buy them at Traders Joes).

Eventually my Personal Assistant found me and told me they were ready to board. She still had my Passport and said we could collect them from Immigration downstairs.

All the Passengers on the LH A380 Frankfurt – Tokyo flight boarded the Elevator to go downstairs and collected our Boarding Passes and Passports.

There were a few flights departing at the same time, so there were 20 or so people waiting for their rides in the Downstairs Lobby.

Personal Chauffeur

One of the coolest features of the First Class Terminal is that they will drive you in a Mercedes or Porsche to your Plane. Obviously this is not anything revolutionary and strictly a novelty, but given that I get excited when I have to take a Bus to Remote Gates, I was especially excited about getting to ride in a Car under all the Planes.

Unfortunately there were 4 of us on the FRA – NRT flight, so we didn’t get a Sedan or SUV and just ended up all getting in a Mercedes Van.

I was really hoping for a long ride around the Airport so I could see all the Planes, but the ride literally took 30 seconds since the A380s have dedicated gates since they are so damn big.

In all honesty, we could have easily walked to the Gate and it would have only taken us 1 minute.

 

After stopping, our Driver took us to the elevator and brought us all the way up to the cabin door, which I thought was a really nice touch.

People don’t realize how big an A380 is but as you can see in the Photo, there are 3 – 4 different Jet Bridges used just to board the plane.

Thanks to the Elevator ride and glass Jet Bridge overlooking everyone else, it honestly felt like I was an Astronaut boarding a Spaceship.

Recap

Since there isn’t really a competitor to the First Class Terminal (besides the Thai First Class Lounge coming up later but that is also in a league of its own), I will refrain from grading it.

I will say overall that the First Class Terminal was awesome and it lived up to everything I had previously read about it.

If you have never been to the FCT, then I highly suggest that everyone should go at least once to experience it.

While I am extremely happy to say I have been to the FCT as well as collected my Duckies, rode in the Benz, napped in the Massage Chairs, etc, I am going to take the rare stance that I am not sure I would go out of my way to return to the FCT.

At the end of the day, the First Class Terminal does have more of everything, in terms of Privacy and selection of Food & Drink, etc. However the basic features that actually matter like Showers, Snacks, Food, Drinks, Internet, Couches, etc you can all find in the Lufthansa First Class Lounge (which I stopped in during the SMD3) and it is actually connected to the Airport.

If I was flying Lufthansa First Class and was already in Frankfurt, then I would definitely return to the FCT for the sheer novelty and to collect more ducks, but I am not sure I would purposely route through Frankfurt (like I did this time), just to solely stop in the First Class Terminal.

The 5 hours that I spent in the First Class Terminal I think was the perfect amount of time. I got to see everything that the FCT offered and do some work, but was never bored.

Stay tuned for the next installment: Lufthansa A380 First Class – Frankfurt (FRA) -> Tokyo (NRT)

-Parag

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2 Comments

  • Jason says:

    Did customs or Immigration @ FRA ask you any questions when you went to the FCT?.
    AWESOME report I plan on doing the exact same route, thanks to your blog 🙂 except my final will be BKK, You think there is a difference between the 747-800 and 747-400 with those full bed plus seat in LH F?!

  • Elle says:

    The correct term is deplaning (not deboarding)

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