Review: Lufthansa A380 Business Class Frankfurt to Hong Kong

Introduction: It’s The Journey That Matters
Plaza Premium West Lounge Hong Kong
Swiss 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Zurich
Swiss Business Class Lounge Zurich Terminal D
Swiss Business Class Lounge Zurich Terminal A
Swiss A321 Business Class Zurich to Geneva
Swiss Business Class Lounge Geneva
Lufthansa A321 Business Class Geneva to Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt Concourse A
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt Concourse Z
Lufthansa A380 Business Class Frankfurt to Hong Kong


Lufthansa Flight 796
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Origin: Frankfurt (FRA) Gate: Z66 Dep: 22:15 (22:20)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 15 Arr: 16:20 (16:00)
Duration: 11 h 5 min (10 h 40 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A380 Reg: D-AIMJ
Seat: 24K (Business Class)

While I entered the aircraft at a quick pace, a female flight attendant raised her hand up and told me to “stop”, before looking at my boarding pass. I found it almost comical on the flight prior, though by this point I was getting slightly confused. Is this how passengers are greeted onboard a flight on Lufthansa?

After pointing me towards the right aisle, I asked if I could take a few pictures. The purser said “well you’re first onboard, so go ahead”.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Cabin

Lufthansa’s A380 business class cabin features 78 B/E modified Aerospace Diamond seats, split into two cabins and arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. The massive forward cabin features nine rows of seats, while there are just four rows in the rear cabin.


Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seatmap

Much like their lounges, I found Lufthansa’s A380 business class seats to be sterile and gorgeous at the same time. I didn’t find them to be homey by any means, but the cabin was uninvitingly stunning. I found this to be my general impression of the airline as a whole. The cabin wasn’t drab, as the pillows provided a pop of colour, but it still feels pretty corporate as far as the blue and brown hues go.

The forward cabin, while massive, featured several partitions in an effort to make the cabin seem less cavernous.


Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Cabin


Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Cabin


Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Cabin

However, I decided to select seats in the mini-cabin. This way, I knew basically half of the people in the cabin, as we were traveling with a large party of people. There’s also virtually no foot traffic in business class mini-cabins between meal services, which I always appreciate on longhaul flights.

A further perk is that upper deck economy class passengers board through the rear stairs, so there isn’t foot traffic during boarding either. That’s great, since the disadvantage of sitting in business class mini-cabins on smaller aircraft is eliminated on Lufthansa’s A380.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Mini-Cabin

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Mini-Cabin

As is my preference, I decided to choose the right window seats at the very back of the cabin. My dad took the aisle seat, and offered me the window.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seats 24H and 24K

Interestingly the middle seats angle towards one another, though the angle doesn’t seem to be as severe as it is on the 747-8.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seats 24D and 24G

I had a quick peek at the economy class cabin, which seemed reasonably comfortable. Since these seats are technologically more advanced and have a much better entertainment selection than Lufthansa’s A340 seats, in this configuration and with this privacy I’d call these seats the best economy seats in Lufthansa’s fleet.

I asked the economy class flight attendant working these seats before taking these pictures, and she said “of course!”.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Economy Class

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Economy Class

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Economy Class

Meanwhile the business class mini-cabin was still filling up, so I took the opportunity to snap a last few cabin pictures before moving on to exploring my seat.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seats

The seat itself was comfortable, well-padded and reasonably wide, though I would prefer a seat with direct aisle access. While I didn’t find much of a problem with the seat as my dad was sitting next to me, I’m not sure how I’d feel when traveling alone.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seat 24K

As you’d expect in a forward facing fully flat seat, legroom was plentiful.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Legroom

While the ottoman may look small, I can’t emphasise how spacious it was, as there wasn’t a ceiling to it (as you see in reverse herringbone and most staggered products). This way, I could sleep comfortably in any position.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Ottoman

The middle seats basically share a larger ottoman, though there’s a partition in the middle. I can’t imagine it’d do much separation, so it’s still prone to awkward footsie between strangers throughout the flight.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Middle Seat Ottoman

In theory the ottoman could double as a buddy seat, though this was emphasised not to be on our flight. Bummer…

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Ottoman Sign

The seat controls were located to the left of my suite, and were intuitive.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Seat Controls

The tray table was a little hard to push out of its shell.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Tray Table

Once I managed to get it out of the shell, though, it was of a decent size, and folded into two different positions. I should note, though, that it wasn’t adjustable, so I couldn’t just slide it forward.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Tray Table

The IFE screens are touchscreen, though there’s a remote control if it’s a bit too far for your shorter arms.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class IFE Remote Control

The screen can technically pop out so you’re looking straight at it, though I didn’t realise that until later in the flight. The touchscreen was responsive.

 Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class TV Screen

One thing I always appreciate about upper deck cabins are the the side bins that they provide, so the lack of seat storage was definitely made up by the three huge side bins that we had to ourselves throughout the flight.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Side Bin Compartments

They were deep, too, and easily fit my camera bag, as well as many other bags that my parents had from shopping. I’m pretty sure I had my backpack in there as well, which made getting my laptop a very easy task.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Side Bin Compartment

In terms of small details, I liked the coat hook and glasses nook, even if neither ended up being used during the flight.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Coat and Glasses Nook

There’s also a reading light, which I occasionally used to photograph meals and do work throughout the flight. The strength of the reading light isn’t amazing, but passable.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Reading Light

I also noticed a very small storage compartment to the right of my seat, between it and the window.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Side Storage Compartment

The compartment mainly seemed to be there for holding my headphones, and could only be accessed with the armrest down. It was a smaller compartment and was harder to open, so I wouldn’t suggest putting something important there unless you have great memory.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Side Storage Compartment

The headphones themselves were Bose, which should speak for the quality. I didn’t use them throughout the flight, though my parents recognised its high quality.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Bose Headphones

I like amenity kits, though I can’t judge when they’re expensive and when they aren’t. My mom could tell that the Jil Sanders amenity kit was good, though, as she collected all of ours after the flight.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Jil Sander Amenity Kit

The contents of the amenity kit were basically what you’d expect, including a dental kit, hand cream, earplugs and an eye mask.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Amenity Kit Contents

In terms of other amenities, flimsy slippers were provided on the ottoman.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Slippers

Overall I found the seat to be well appointed, though I guess I would be disappointed about the lack of storage if I came across this seat on an A330 or A340. You can’t get much better than this for a forward facing fully flat seat, though as I noted earlier, it isn’t my favourite configuration.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class View from Seat 24K

The pillow provided was similar to the reading pillow I have at home. I loved how large and squishy it was, easily one of the best business class airline pillows I’ve had.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Pillow

I tried to photograph out the window, but I struggled to get great pictures of how rainy it was. It also didn’t help that it was nighttime and the A380 windows are really thick.

View upon Parking Frankfurt Airport

Soon we were offered pre-departure beverages. My dad chose water, and I chose orange juice, which was served in a wine glass.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Welcome Drinks

I believe the load in business class was completely full, and the load in all other cabins seemed to be full as well, though I neglected to check ExpertFlyer before my flight.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class View from Seat 24K

Shortly before takeoff I visited the lavatory, which is as sterile as lavatories get, though in Lufthansa’s polished way. The lights gradually glowed whenever I locked the door, which was a nice touch, especially during the middle of the night.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Lavatory

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Lavatory

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Lavatory

In terms of amenities there was hand cream, though that was about it.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Lavatory Hand Lotion

We were soon passed out menus, and in one of the compartments of the seat I found myself a bottle of still Elisabethen water.

img_5524
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Menu

img_5530
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Water

By the time we pulled back at 10:20 PM, the lights were dimmed, and the safety video played, which was pretty boring as far as safety videos go. The pilot soon came on to introduce himself, and explained that he was thrilled to have two first officers onboard with him, as well as giving a flight time of 10 hours and 5 minutes. A flight attendant further came back and made sure that all our seatbelts were securely fastened.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Safety Briefing

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Safety Briefing

I once again admired Airbus’ overhead panels, though it’s worth noting that there aren’t overhead nozzles aboard this aircraft.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Overhead Panels

We had decent views of Frankfurt Airport as we left, and I sure do want to visit the city in the near future.

Taxiing Frankfurt Airport

Taxiing Frankfurt Airport

One thing about most A380s, including Lufthansa’s, is that they feature a tail camera. Lufthansa’s A380 features a great tail camera, which was nice to watch during the entirety of the flight. They also have a nose camera and a wheel camera, though I was most compelled to watch the nose camera.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Tail Camera

Before takeoff, one of the kids we were travelling with laughed out loud in her video. Her dad was seated next to her with headphones on, so he wasn’t aware of that, but she kept laughing out loud. The mom, seated across the aisle, wanted to communicate with her husband, but couldn’t reach him due to how wide the aisles are in the cabin. I had to giggle myself when she threw a pillow at him to get his attention. What if she missed?

We rolled to the runway and soon took off, and I admired the night scenery of Frankfurt from above, though couldn’t capture any good pictures.

Takeoff Frankfurt Airport

After we were airborne I decided to quickly tour the aircraft, starting with the economy class cabin on the upper deck. If flying Lufthansa A380 economy class I would try my best to grab a seat here.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Economy Class Cabin

I then went down the rear stairs to visit the lower deck.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Stairs

The lower deck features a few massive A380 economy cabins in a 3-4-3 configuration. The seats seemed wide, though they didn’t seem extremely well padded.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Economy Class Lower Deck Cabin

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Economy Class Lower Deck Cabin

I wanted to photograph the premium economy cabin, and the flight attendant there offered to walk me through the premium economy cabin and through business class (before realising I wasn’t seated in economy class after seeing my slippers). However, she said that I needed “special permission” to take pictures of the premium economy cabin. I wasn’t sure what she was on about, but I was too tired to argue and had better things to do – the premium economy cabin looked decent, with modern seats that looked well padded.

I returned to my seat and tried to connect to the WiFi, and had difficulty, though I quickly realised it was a fault of my computer and not the WiFi itself. The WiFi is priced at ~US$18 (~HK$142), which is an absolute steal, especially since I needed it desperately to clutch my science assignment. One issue with the payment is that if paying with PayPal, a code would be sent to your mobile phone. The flight attendant said that there was mobile service in the air which your phone could connect to, though that was, unfortunately, non-existent. Fortunately, my dad also had his credit card on him, though I’m wondering where the flight attendant gets her mobile data from in the air.

Due to my constant frustration I forgot to screenshot the prices (and therefore forgot the exact price of WiFi on my flight), though I got to connect in the end. The WiFi was faster than I expected, probably since it was a night flight and no one was using it. After slow WiFi at the chalet I stayed at in Courchevel, what I got was actually much faster in comparison.

Dinner service began with a hot towel, which was nice.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Hot Towel

We were once again offered a round of drinks. My dad had an orange juice, while I had one of the great bitter lemon sodas that Lufthansa offers.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Drinks

In case you’re interested, the entire menu read as follows:

img_5525
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Menu

img_5526
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Menu

Meanwhile, the drink list read as follows:

img_5527
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Drinks Menu

img_5528
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Drinks Menu

img_5529
Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Drinks Menu

Soon our tables were set. I do like the salt and pepper shakers that Lufthansa uses.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Table Set

The appetiser consisted of prawns, sea beans and tomato jelly on top of some cold mashed potatoes. The dish was pretty bad – the prawns tasted off, the mashed potatoes were cold and you can’t make tomato jelly sound appealing.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Appetiser – Prawns with Sea Beans, Potato Salad and Tomato Jelly

I did like the bread that we were offered, which tasted good.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Bread

For the main course I chose the herb and curry crusted grouper, as none of the options sounded appealing. Holy crap. The curry crust was just confusing, and left a weird overpowering perfume in my mouth. The fish was dry and overcooked, and while the rice was loose and fluffy, it tasted off. The snap peas were nothing to write home about, though the “salsa” wasn’t great by any means either, so for the first time I can remember since reviewing on the blog, I called it quits.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Main Course – Herb and Curry Crusted Grouper, Snow Peas, Tomato Fennel Salsa and Long Grain Rice

I know that the grouper looks fine from the outside, but the weird herb and curry crust just overpowered the entire fish, and I’m sure either the herbs or the fish were the cause of the food poisoning that I had for the entire week after.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Main Course Grouper

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Main Course Snow Peas

My dad selected the veal steak for his meal, which he didn’t seem to enjoy very much either.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Main Course – Veal Steak with Pepper Sauce, French Beans and Potato Gratin

For dessert, I chose the cinnamon mousse with plum compote and whipped cream. The elements fit together, I guess, but it definitely wasn’t the most cohesive dessert I’ve ever had. It wasn’t as bad as some of the horror stories I’ve heard regarding Lufthansa desserts, such as elderflower soup – this dessert was just fine.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Dessert

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Dessert – Cinnamon Mousse with Plum Compote and Whipped Cream

Dinner ended with some pralines, which were probably the best part of the meal.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Chocolates

I knew I’d be up for a while, so when the tea and coffee cart rolled around, I elected to have tea, which was strong and well suited for the night.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Tea

Overall the meal service was bad – I was rather forgiving during my first impressions, but I had food poisoning for the entire week after. I’m pretty sure that the food poisoning came from the main course, as it was the only dish I had the entire trip that no one else traveling with me did. Fish and dried herbs are both common transporters of salmonella, so by the time I was done with feeling queasy, I wasn’t feeling great about the prospect of eating on planes at all. The service was just fine – the flight attendant was friendly, though she did nothing to personalise the meal service.

I worked for around four hours, then called it quits as I was getting really tired and I knew I had completely messed up my sleep schedule. I went to brush my teeth, and saw that it was already light outside, due to the window in the business class lavatory in front of the main cabin. I took my camera there and took some pictures of the stunning A380 wing, where I was able to capture both engines.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 View of Wing

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 View of Wing

It was also cool to see the sunlight seep through the window and make arcs of red light glow throughout the sides of the cabin.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Sunlight Seeping Through Window

The bed itself was comfortable, as you could control the hardness of the seat. The blanket Lufthansa offers is also quilted, so it was really comfortable for me. I slept extremely well until the lights came on for the meal service.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Bed

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Bed

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Bed

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Bed

Another hot towel was offered before breakfast.

 

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Hot Towel

For breakfast I had heard great things about Lufthansa’s scrambled eggs, and thought it would transfer to the business class cabin as well. The eggs were okay. The tomato sauce wasn’t great, though the eggs themselves were moderately fluffy and I could live with them. The ham was also fine, though I didn’t touch the alp cheese. As far as soggy muesli goes, that was fine too. I had orange juice to accompany breakfast, though I wasn’t feeling great after so little sleep.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Breakfast

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Breakfast – Scrambled Egg with Chives, Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Tomato Compote

My dad had the Chinese fried rice, which he didn’t seem to particularly enjoy either – he still finished about half to three quarters of it before giving it back.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Breakfast – Chinese Rice with Chicken and Shrimps

After another half hour of working the WiFi stopped working over southern China. We had been flying over China for quite a while, so I’m surprised it took so long for the WiFi to stop working. Soon after that the pilot came on describing that we’d be landing soon, and the cabin was prepared for landing. I put my seat upright and my window open so I could enjoy the back of the A380 wing.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class View of Wing

Shortly before descent I browsed the entertainment selection, which was fine by my standards. It seemed to be moderately extensive and include a good range of entertainment.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class IFE Selection

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class IFE Selection

I admired the Lufthansa cabin in daylight, before we started our descent.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class View from Seat 24K

I also tried to take a good picture of the Rolls-Royce engines and the Ground Support Equipment logo on the engines. I was probably feeling pretty tired at that point and regretting not leaving my assignment to the day after.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class Engine View

I took a few more cabin pictures before landing, including of the storage bins by the side of the aircraft.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 Business Class View from Seat 24K

The views upon descent were decent – we found ourselves descending over the city, though there isn’t usually much to see when on the right side of the aircraft.

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

It was cool to see the condensation on the camera after we went through a patch of clouds.

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

View upon Descent Hong Kong Airport

We touched down at Hong Kong Airport at around 3:45 PM, and started making our way over to our gate.

View upon Landing Hong Kong Airport

I saw some interesting traffic upon our taxi, including an Etihad A330 and a Cathay Pacific A340, which will be retired really soon.

Etihad Airbus A330-200 Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 Hong Kong Airport

Unfortunately we just taxied past the midfield terminal. As much as that was good news to most passengers as we wouldn’t have to take an extra train ride, I was pretty sad that I didn’t get to experience deplaning through the midfield terminal for the first time.

Hong Kong Airlines Airbus A320 Hong Kong Airport

American Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Dragon Airbus A320 Hong Kong Airport

We eventually taxied past a few more heavies, including British Airways and Emirates A380s.

British Airways Airbus A380 Hong Kong Airport

Emirates Airbus A380 Hong Kong Airport

We also taxied past a Korean Air 747-8, which brings back bad memories of the equipment swap I had at around that time the year prior.

Korean Air Boeing 747-8 Hong Kong Airport

Finnair Airbus A350-900 Hong Kong Airport

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong Airport

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 Hong Kong Airport

We eventually parked next to an EVA Air A321.

EVA Air Airbus A321 Hong Kong Airport

Before I deplaned I asked if I could take some pictures of the first class cabin, and was promptly admitted. I made sure to take as many pictures of the cabin as possible.

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Cabin

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Seat 2K

Lufthansa’s A380 first class product looks pretty industry leading and the padding seems generous, so it’s definitely a great step up from business class.

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Seat 1K

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Seat 1K

I was also excited to photograph the first class lavatory, as I knew it was big and featured a few amenities, including a sofa and a urinal. Ultimately these are all gimmicks, but this is what makes flying as fun as it is.

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Lavatory

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Lavatory

I did love how stylish the first class sink was.

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Lavatory

The urinal itself was as extra as airplanes get, in the best way possible (well, aside from a shower, but at least that’s somehow practical).

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Lavatory Urinal

I took one last picture of both cabins before I left the aircraft.

Lufthansa Airbus A380 First Class Cabin

Lufthansa Airbus A380 Business Class Cabin

Soon we were on our way back into the terminal, and I was sad to say goodbye to the airport – it’d be almost a month before my next visit.

Bottom Line: Lufthansa’s A380 Business Class

Lufthansa’s A380 hard product is pretty solid as far as forward facing seats go, though I would’ve appreciated the extra privacy or a seat with direct aisle access. I found the privacy and comfort of the seat to be exemplary, though waltzing over seatmates’ flat beds isn’t something that airlines should be looking towards into the far future.

On this flight, I managed to stay productive due to the WiFi, and the amenities were great as well. However, the food and the service were both lacking – while I appreciated the friendliness of the crew, I did a Lufthansa survey at the end of the flight through the inflight internet, and the crew failed to hit most of the criteria that Lufthansa had set up. The food was both illness-inducing and unpleasant, so I’d avoid it at all costs and would fill up before my next Lufthansa flight.

I was still impressed by the flight, though, and wouldn’t hesitate to fly Lufthansa again, though I’d say for now that their business class product ranks below Swiss.

Any thoughts?

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