Intro – Maldivian Paradise With A Little Europe Sprinkled In
Part 1 – Getting To The Maldives
Part 2 – Welcome To Paradise
Part 3 – A Couple Of Days In Kuala Lumpur
Part 4 – Paris On A Dime
Part 5 – My First Trip To Berlin
Part 6 – Going Home In Style: The Lufthansa First Experience
On every miles and points junkie’s aspirational awards list, is the Lufthansa First Class experience, preferably through Frankfurt where there is a dedicated first class terminal (yes and entire terminal!) available to those holding first class tickets. Customers are assigned personal assistants upon check in, offered top notch food and beverage selections, private resting rooms, bathrooms, a cigar lounge, private security, immigration, and when your flight is ready, a ride in a Mercedes or Porsche to the plane – on the tarmac! Not to mention, you get a ride home in the front of the plane where the FA’s cater to your every whim, with top notch champagne, caviar, personal bedding, pajamas, and in my case, a brand new plane (747-8.)
I was thrilled when I found saver award availability for the exact flights I wanted, all the way from Berlin, home to LA, all for the bargain redemption of 67.5 United miles. The routing looked something like this:
TXL – FRA – Overnight in Frankfurt (Airport Hilton Garden Inn)
FRA – IAD – Overnight in IAD (Airport Holiday Inn)
IAD – LAX
While I could have worked it so that I made it home without the overnight stopovers, I knew I might never experience Lufthansa First again, so I wanted to be sure I was rested and had ample time to enjoy what was on offer. It also allowed for me to take the train in to Frankfurt for the afternoon / evening, a city I had never been to.
I arrived at TXL with ample time to get to the Senator’s lounge, before my quick hop to Frankfurt. Lufthansa intra-europe flights are J class only, configured the same as coach with middle seat guaranteed empty. The flight was on time, and I made the 5 minute walk to the ultra convenient Hilton Garden Inn (located across from the terminal, and over the train station) to check in and get into the city for a look around and some dinner.
After an evening spent wandering around Frankfurt and a restful night’s sleep, I made sure to be on my way to the terminal bright an early for my 1pm flight. The first class terminal is located a 5-10 minute walk from the regular terminal, and unless you’ve done your research, not very easily located. I stopped by the previous night at the first class check in desk to inquire as to its whereabouts, and even the agents were clueless. After about a 10 minute walk past the taxi holding area and what looked like an agent training center, I made it.
I was greeted by a friendly woman who would be my ‘minder’ for the duration of the stay. She took my passport, and after a quick trip through the private security, led me to the lounge to show me around.
The place was as legendary as reports I had read, several areas with comfortable seating, a fireplace, TVs and all the food and alcohol you could ever want.
There was even a candy bar!
Though I wouldn’t be using a sleeping room or shower/bath facilities, both looked inviting. I did ask for a FCT signature rubber duckie, but sadly they were out.
Before I knew it, my minder approached me to let me know it was time. She took me to the elevator, to an awaiting immigration officer who stamped my passport. A short time later I was in the waiting Mercedes for the ride to the plane.
Our 747-8 was very close by, so our driver treated me and the other passenger in the car and drove us around for another 10 minutes or so!
Once we arrived, we were taken up a spiral staircase at the base of the nose gear, to our awaiting first class cabin.
The F cabin on the 747-8 is located in the nose of the plane, and the 8 seats are configured with 3 on either side of the plane, and 2 next to each other in the middle.
I chose 2K because with the curvature of the plane, you have an unobstructed view of multiple windows on the opposite side, and the feel of an abundance of open space.
After handing out amenity kits and pajamas, I was asked if I wanted my bed made up for sleep. It was an afternoon flight, and I didn’t plan on sleeping, so I declined. We were later served champagne and caviar, and a full meal, which I only nibbled at after having indulged in the FCT! I did request afternoon tea, and it was served in a proper pot with premium tea in a bag. So civilized!
Time flew and before I knew it we were landing. Thanks to an on time arrival and global entry, I made it in time for the option of flying on to LAX the same night. The option also came with a downgrade to coach, and a middle seat in the back of the plane, so I chose to spend the night in Dulles. I caught my early morning united flight home the next morning. Perfection.