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August 22, 2013 / oneworld82

Lufthansa Old First Class: DFW-FRA on seat 1A

So the day had finally arrived. After work (a special thank you to my boss who allowed me  to leave work at 3pm on a Friday afternoon!) I headed to DFW Airport Terminal D to catch the first flight of this new adventure. I believe this was my first time ever not flying AA in/out of DFW. It’s nice trying new things once in a while isn’t it? Lufthansa has dedicated check in counters for its lone flight out of Dallas. Separate economy, business and first class (with red carpet included – see picture below) desks are available. An agent quickly helped me checking my bag in and asked me whether I needed to be escorted all the way to the lounge. I declined the offer and I proceeded through security.

Finally!

Finally!

It's no First Class without red carpet! :D

it’s no First Class without red carpet! 😀

Lufthansa uses a lounge than is a mini lounge within a bigger lounge (each airline has a mini lounge). The lounge was crowded and rather basic, but for 15 minutes it was alright. I had a glass of a rather cheap Cabernet Sauvignon and it was already time to go. I managed to take a nice picture of AA’s new 77W though, as the lounge enjoys a nice view over the tarmac.

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The lounge attendant came in inviting guests to proceed to the gate. The lounge is between gates 21 and 22, while the flight was departing from gate D10. Once arrived at the gate, a long line was orderly waiting to board. The same attendant from the check in desk made sure that all the first class passengers board first – as the first class line included Star Alliance Gold passengers as well. We were indeed put in front of the line.

Flight LH439 DFW-FRA
Aug 9th, 2013 4:10pm – 9:05+1am
Airbus 330-300
First Class, Seat 1A

After a few minutes we boarded, and today I had seat 1A. The cabin was 6/8 full. LH uses an old-configuration A330-300 out of DFW. I was somewhat curious to try LH “old” first class, especially because I wanted to compare it with AA’s old First. I must say that I was impressed.

View from my seat

View from my seat

Row behind mine

Row behind mine

Don’t get me wrong, the seat does look old, especially when compared to all those fancy first class seats out there these days. But then, it was very good. The upholstery was in great conditions, and the cabin overall showed some age but it wasn’t that bad at all.

My seat, 1A

My seat, 1A

Seats next to mine

Seats next to mine

After seating down, the purser and a younger flight attendant came by to greet me and to offer me the first of a long series of glasses of champagne. Salted almonds accompanied the beverage – a nice upgrade from AA’s mixed warm nuts.

Champagne and salted almonds

Champagne and salted almonds

Front of cabin pre-departure setup

Front of cabin pre-departure setup

First Class

First Class

We left on time, and the captain announced a flight time of 8h50m, setting our arrival time at 8:25am – about 40 minutes ahead of schedule. About 25 minutes after take-off the flight attendant – a young, attractive German woman – appeared to take my dinner order from the menu that the purser had previously handed me. The menu for July and August has been crafted in conjunction with the Burma-born Toni Robertson, head chef of the Mandarin Oriental New York. A sure recipe for success.

The menu read as follows:

MENU

Caviar from Service Cart
Caviar with the traditional Garnishes

Choice of Appetizers
Tuna Carpaccio
Teriyaki glazed Beef Brochette with Sesame Seeds
Tian of Tomato with Mozzarella, Arugula and Pine Nuts
Seasonal Salad with Cherry Tomato and shaved Parmesan presented with delicious Dressing

Choice of Main Course
Tenderloin of Beef, with Sweet Potato Hash a d Ginger Plum Chutney
Seared Cod with Bacon and smoked Corn Chowder, Fingerling Potatoes and Snow Peas
Sesame Soba Noodles with Cashew Nuts, mixed Asian Vegetables and Ponzu Sauce
Slow-roasted Duck with Kailan, Jasmine Rice and Curry Kaffir Sauce

Selection of Cheese and Dessert
Huboldt Fog, Camembert, Vella Dry Jack, Manchego and Gorgonzola Cheese garnished with Grapes
Green Tea Layer Cake
Banana Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

BREAKFAST

Cold and hot Specialties
Fresh Orange Juice
Fresh Fruit
Muesli
Yogurt with dried Cherry, dried Apricot and Blueberry, Corn Flakes with Milk
Smoked Salmon,
Turkey Pastrami, Roast Beef,
grilled Chicken Breast,
Emmental, Cheddar and Brie

Hot Egg Dish

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

I started playing with the antiquated IFE of my seat – the real weak spot of this product. The TV is just oh-so-small! And I mean economy class small. The selection of movie was rather poor as well, which is surprising. Perhaps Lufthansa understands that people don’t watch that many movies after all.

The small TV

The small TV

After a while – I would say 90 minutes after take-off – my table was set and shortly after the appetizers cart appeared. I like the table setup – the white tablecloth and the salt and pepper grinders gave it that extra touch that made the whole meal feel more like a restaurant meal than an airplane fare. The FA provided me with the signature “First Class” Lufthansa butter (although no first class logo was printed on them) and poured some extra-virgin olive oil on a little bowl. Now, I was impressed by the oil – this was no cheap stuff. They served the kind of tangy, almost spicy olive oil that is made from Sicilian olives and that is best consumed raw, with salads and bread. Well done.

Table setup

Table setup

From the cart, I asked for caviar (but of course!) with all the garnishes, and the trio of appetizers. I will go in order.

Appetizers

Appetizers

The caviar service was – overall – not on par with Cathay Pacific or ANA. Don’t get me wrong: the roes tasted great, better than ANA’s. But the service wasn’t proper. First of all, caviar and appetizers were all put on my table at the same time, crowding the space a bit too much. Second, the garnishes (crème freche, onions, and eggs) didn’t come until I was 1/3 through my caviar (and I was taking my time).

Caviar

Caviar

Traditional garnishes

Traditional garnishes

Last but not least, the toasted bread that should go with the caviar never materialized, which meant that I had my caviar with – horror – pretzel bread. Now, the young flight attendant was very apologetic and from the way she was doing things I had the impression that she was fairly new to the First Class service World. Plus, I tend to be rather forgiving to people that at least try their best, and she was definitely trying hard to provide me as good a service as it can be. Hence, it was not big deal, especially because – like I said earlier – the caviar itself was really good: right consistency, right flavor, right amount, perfect with champagne. I felt spoiled.

The other appetizers were delicious, and presented better than the caviar.

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The tuna carpaccio was excellent, mostly because the fish was clearly very fresh. The cut and consistency were just right, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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The mozzarella and tomato tian was – well – a salad that helped clean my palate from the fish while switching to the meat part of the meal, which started with the third appetizer, the beef skewers. Let me tell you this: I generally do not like sesame oil: I found the taste of it overpowering and generally shadowing every other component of the dish. This skewer though had just the right amount of it to perfectly complement the chill beef and to make this appetizer very enjoyable. Again, well done Lufthansa.

Salad

Salad

Beef - amazing!

Beef – amazing!

After some time that allowed the appetizers to sink in, my super attentive flight attendant brought my main in. Oh my… this duck was unbelievably good. Fine restaurant quality good. The meat was tender and easy to break; fatty (as duck should be) skin perfectly balanced by lean meat. The kailan (Chinese broccoli) accompanying it were tender and crisp at the same time, and the curry sauce was just right. The only negative note of the dish was the steamed rice. For some reason – and exactly like on my AA flight from ORD to LHR in May – they served the dish not with a jasmine-like type of rice (long grain, great steamed, think fried rice type of rice) but with a more bulky variety which – while great in a risotto – didn’t taste great steamed. Overall, a very good dish that would have been excellent had the rice been right. For whomever might be interested, I had this dish with the Austrian merlot on offer – a good red but hardly memorable.

Main course

Main course

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Dessert came after.

Cheese and dessert cart

Cheese and dessert cart

At this point – just to be clear – I was really full. Now I know how a duck stuffed for making foie gras must feel like. It’s not nice. But what the heck, how could I turn down cheese? Lufthansa has indeed a good selection of my favorite dairy. I had some Gorgonzola and some Humboldt Fog with crackers, all accompanied by a good glass of port wine. Also, while I didn’t plan on having dessert, the FA showed me the English-style banana bread pudding with vanilla ice cream on offer… and I simply couldn’t say no to it (it was excellent). At this point, I was sweating. I am not sure this is common, but every time I over-eat I start sweating around my eyes. That’s the sign that I have over-indulged. As any good Italian would do, I took advantage of the Nespresso machine on board and ordered an espresso and a glass of Brannerei before asking for the bed to be made.

Over-indulging?

Over-indulging?

Assorted cheese

Assorted cheese

Banana bread pudding and with ice cream

Banana bread pudding and with ice cream

Nespresso

Nespresso

Brannerei

Brannerei

I would like to talk a little about how good the crew was. Like I mentioned earlier, the FA assigned to me was very attentive and really trying hard to make my experience on board as enjoyable as possible. It’s the details and the attitude that matter after all – and she got both of them right. Also, the purser was outstanding in her service. She volunteered to take pictures of me, and she even went to the cockpit to take a photo of it with my camera. She totally understood I am an airline geek and she did her best to make me happy. Things like these matter. Also, I want to briefly mention the amenity kit and the pajama. The Bogner kit was nice (I liked the case); while it didn’t have fancy products inside, it was nonetheless fine for the flight (in the restrooms shaving kits, lotions, and packaged refreshing wet towels perfectly complemented the kit). The pajama – while not a Shanghai Tang – was definitely of a very good quality and allowed me for a comfortable flight.

Well-stocked lavatory

Well-stocked lavatory

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View from the lavatory

View from the lavatory

Back to the bed. The seat becomes totally flat, and the turndown service was great. A very comfortable pad is added on top of the seat, and a very nice duvet tops the pad making a really, really nice bed. I wish I could compare it to AA’s on the old first class – the problem is that I was never offered turndown service on that flight. Pity.

My seat-bed - completely flat and very comfortable

My seat-bed – completely flat and very comfortable

happy camper :)

happy camper 🙂

I indeed managed to get 4 hours of sleep which – on a trans-Atlantic flight – is as good as it gets. I felt a bit hot after a couple of hours, but removing the duvet did the trick. I would say that it was a nice rest.

About hour and a half before landing breakfast was served.

Breakfast

Breakfast

As you can imagine, I was still feeling very full, so I just had some muesli with a cappuccino and some orange juice. As you would expect from a German airline, he muesli was very good – I usually have it a bit creamy, but this one was very thick, if that matters to you. I would have better muesli in the German region of South Australia, but this was better than anything I had tasted in the US before.

Muesli

Muesli

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The cappuccino was alright, nothing memorable.

Cappuccino

Cappuccino

After breakfast I asked the FA for my clothes (which she hanged for me when I changed into my pajama), changed, had the bed removed (I had to ask for it; while other customers were taken care of while in the restroom, mine wasn’t taken care of for a good amount of time, until I pushed the button and I summoned the FA), and prepared for landing. Weather over Frankfurt was nice, sunny with 23C. We landed ahead of schedule and we de-boarded from the front door: I was in Germany!

Overall, I was very pleased with this flight. First of all, the fact that the seat – albeit old looking – was very comfortable left me very happy: I can attest that sleeping in the old first class cabin isn’t a problem. Also, I like how the front of the cabin is set up before take-off and during meals with wine and other beverages from which the flight attendants serve you. The white cloth they use makes a big stylistic difference.

Secondly, the service was great. I had yet to experience such an attentive service on a “Western airline” – although, to be fair, the only other Western First Class I had flown was American Airlines’. Again, details were sometimes lacking (no toasted bread with the caviar? Really?), but the attitude of the flight attendants was always positive and willing to anticipate my needs. This was no NH, nor CX; but it was excellent overall.

This flight set off me well for the remaining of the day…

4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. anon / Aug 23 2013 9:23 pm

    Nice! Finally a trip report on a non- AA flight out of DFW lol.

  2. anon / Aug 25 2013 7:32 pm

    Yes I am, although I don’t travel internationally that much.

Trackbacks

  1. A seat (LH F), a Porsche, a bed (LH F/EY F), Southern OZ+AKL, a tasting menu (QF F) - Page 11 - FlyerTalk Forums

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