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Review: Lufthansa A321 Business Class (GVA-FRA)

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Lufthansa Flight LH1223
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Origin: Geneva (GVA) Gate: A8 Dep: 18:20 (18:30)
Destination: Frankfurt (FRA) Gate: A50 Arr: 19:40 (19:40)
Duration: 1 h 20 min (1 h 10 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A321 Reg: D-AIRC
Seat: 7A/6F (Business Class)

I was walking at a brisk pace, so the lead purser said “Stop!” at the entrance. He then had a look at my boarding pass and guided me to seat 7A, which is at the very back of the cabin.

I asked if I could take some pictures, and he said yes, though he asked, “for what purpose?” I responded with the speech that I had prepared in case I was asked when taking pictures onboard an aircraft – I love flying, I love taking photos, I always like being onboard first so I can get great pictures of aircraft, etc.

He then asked if my camera was a Powershot G3. I replied it was a G3 X, then he said “nice, I like taking photos too”.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

While Swiss and Lufthansa have the same seat on their A321s, Swiss’ colours are so much better chosen than Lufthansa’s colours. I kind of felt like I was in a warehouse – I can’t believe that they underwent a retrofit, as they look old as ever. The seats weren’t comfortable by any means either, even for economy seats.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

Even the orange seat covers on the “blocked” seats failed to provide any pizzazz to the cabin. Lufthansa’s cabins are sterile as can be.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

Lufthansa’s legroom is fine, though unlike Swiss there isn’t any extra legroom. I think it shows in the below pictures that the seats are pretty tight, though I still managed to be somewhat comfortable for the hourlong flight.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Legroom

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Legroom

The cabin was empty for basically the first minute after I got in, as everyone was still slowly making their way down the jetbridge.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

There wasn’t much to explore at this seat, though I believe they are made out of synthetic leather (much like the seats on Swiss’ A321).

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class “Your Space” Sign

The tray table isn’t fold-out, so there’s only one size. It’s a good size for working, though the lack of a fold-out function makes it really hard to get out of your seat if you need to go to the loo during the meal service.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Tray Table

The seats also featured air nozzles, which I valued immensely throughout the flight as the cabin was quite warm.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Overhead Panel/Air Nozzles

Seated on the left side I had a view of some interesting aircraft, but it was a depressing day on that side.

View upon Parking Geneva Airport

The view from the right side was much more compelling, and featured some SAS aircraft in a beautiful backdrop of clouds.

View upon Parking Geneva Airport

View upon Parking Geneva Airport

Parked a few gates from us was an Air France A320.

View upon Parking Geneva Airport

A Swiss A320 also taxied by as boarding continued. My parents soon came onboard, and made their way to just settle into row 6. My mom sat in 6D, which I explained wasn’t a seat that “belonged to us”. Obviously I wasn’t clear enough, as she decided to stay there, which made my life of switching seats much harder.

Swiss Airbus A320 Geneva Airport

Soon the guy sitting in 7A came, and after scrutinizing the seat, he agreed to his seat switch. It’s worth noting that row 7 doesn’t recline, as the curtain is right behind, though I don’t think that was relevant to any of us during the hourlong flight, especially with the seat pitch of 30″. I thanked him profusely and switched to 6F admiring the sunset outside the cabin.

SAS Boeing 737-800 Geneva Airport

SAS Boeing 737-800 Geneva Airport

Soon the airport lights came on, making for a slightly more “orange” view.

SAS Boeing 737-800 Geneva Airport

The SAS 737 also pulled out of the gate after it got darker, and instead it was replaced by another Swiss A320.

Swiss Airbus A320 Geneva Airport

The purser Simon came and formally introduced himself to all the business class passengers, and I found it especially amusing that he gave our family fist pumps, starting from my sister. Even my mom got a fist pump, which was fun to watch.

The safety video soon played, and as this 23-year-old aircraft didn’t feature drop-down television screens, a manual safety demonstration was made. Simon didn’t hesitate to make his quirks during the safety demo. A few examples are as follows:

  • “This is how to operate your extremely high-tech seat belt – if you don’t know how to, we will be happy to assist you.”
  • “Help yourself before helping children…or people behaving like children.”
  • “Relax and enjoy the luxury of not being able to use your mobile phone on this extremely long 55-minute flight.”

I’m not sure what was funnier – the silence after his jokes, or the smug smile that he gave after he delivered his one-liners one by one. I commend Simon for making this safety briefing interesting, as I’m sure no one would be listening otherwise. I can’t stress how much I like it when airlines or individual pursers inject humor into safety briefings – it makes everyone listen to them, which is much more effective then just trying hard to make something look “professional”.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Manual Safety Demonstration

We pulled out of the gate at around 6:30, and taxied past some interesting aircraft, including another Swiss CS100 and a few Easyjet aircraft, among others.

Swiss Bombardier CS100 Geneva Airport

Taxiing Geneva Airport

Further in we taxied past the Etihad A330 we saw earlier, as well as an Air China A330, which I would have rebooked myself on had the check-in kerfuffle gone wrong.

Etihad Airbus A330-200 Geneva Airport

Air China Airbus A330-200 Geneva Airport

I was also interested when I saw a fire brigade training 737-200 parked near the private jets. This is the first time I’ve seen an aircraft dedicated to an airport’s training.

Geneva Fire Brigade Training Boeing 737-200 Geneva Airport

We were then first in line for takeoff, taking off at around 18:45 and having amazing views over Geneva as twilight faded.

Takeoff Geneva Airport

Takeoff Geneva Airport

After takeoff I decided to ask Simon about my connecting flight, and he decided to refer me to the inflight magazine, as I could see that he was busier than expected.

Frankfurt Airport Maps

We were then served a meal. While Simon was polished, attentive and couldn’t have been better, the other flight attendant was borderline sloppy. She just plopped a tray on everyone’s table without really asking them whether they wanted to eat or not.

The actual meal featured two courses. The dessert was a simple panna cotta with raspberry sauce, and hit the spot.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Dinner

I’m not sure how to describe the main meal, other than the fact that there was parma ham, guacamole, hummus and feta cheese with vegetables. It was hard trying to find a combination with anything on the plate, so I decided to use the bread as a dip. So while each individual element on the plate tasted great, the four elements added together just didn’t do anything for me – it’s like trying to merge Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic, the combination doesn’t work.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Dinner – Ham, Roasted Pepper with Feta Cheese, Hummus and Guacamole

I knew I’d be working until late on my connecting flight because of the science report I had yet to do, so I ordered some tea to keep myself awake. It was good.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Dinner Tea

I wanted to pass on the nougat chocolate that came with the meal, as I’m not a fan of pralines. However, Simon said that we had to try these, and they were great.

Lufthansa Airbus A321 Business Class Dinner Dessert – Nougat

While Simon was passing by, he asked me if I blogged. I said yes, and he said that we should exchange web addresses. I went into the galley after a while, but Simon was busy, so he just gave me a slip and told me to write down my web address – so he did. He told me to wait, then gave me his web address, which seemed to be a Tumblr address.

To my surprise, his blog (or rather, his Tumblr) isn’t aviation-related at all – they’re legitimate, well-composed photos of travel and city life. Check out Simon’s Tumblr – his pictures are great.

Shortly before landing something caught my mother’s eye on the duty-free menu, and she asked the other flight attendant about it after pressing the call button. Apparently these are only offered on select flights – I believe they are only offered on flights from Frankfurt.

Lufthansa Duty Free Bag

We were soon ready to land in Frankfurt, and I admired the scenery of Germany as we landed. It would be my first time in Germany, though I’m definitely going to be visiting the country soon – this summer, to be precise.

Views upon Descent Frankfurt Airport

Views upon Descent Frankfurt Airport

We touched down at Frankfurt Airport at around 19:30 and started making the haul to the A/Z gates, which are pretty far from the runway.

I admired the diversity of the traffic as we taxiied to our gate – including seeing a LATAM aircraft for the first time, and admiring the myriad of Lufthansa heavies that we taxiied past on the way to our gate.

Taxiing Frankfurt Airport

I wasn’t expecting to see such a nice airport, and it’s pretty obvious which airline is dominant here based on the huge logos plastered between the gates.

Taxiing Frankfurt Airport

As I deplaned I bid farewell to Simon, who said “keep taking pictures, buddy”.

I was expecting transit at Frankfurt Airport to be really messy, but it was actually a pretty smooth transit. Stay tuned.

Conclusion: Lufthansa’s A321 Business Class

As far as the cabin comfort and food goes in Lufthansa business class, I don’t think Lufthansa belongs anywhere near the top of the pack in intra-European business class. Objectively speaking this is a pretty crappy product, but aren’t all intra-European flights in general?

Simon was a great flight attendant throughout the hour and took good care of us, so I can’t commend the service on this flight enough. Had the service not been as good as it was, this would’ve been a pretty sad flight.

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