Lufthansa's business class hard product is lackadaisical, but their soft product was better than I expected. There's still lots of room for improvement, however.
After spending three weeks at home with friends and family, it was time to fly Lufthansa’s A340 business class, which I specifically sought out to fly. I last flew Lufthansa in 2017 (also in business class, but on the A380), and made fun of the airline when they were given a “5-star airline” title by Skytrax, largely due to their uncompetitive business class seating configuration. I thought I’d give them a shot to see if they had improved in the meantime, or if they were as uncompetitive as I’d made them out to be. While Lufthansa is putting a retirement plan together for their A340s, you’ll experience a very similar product on their A350s, which aren’t leaving the fleet anytime soon.
This review will detail my Lufthansa A340 business class flight from Hong Kong to Frankfurt, featuring the seat, amenities and bedding, meals, entertainment and WiFi, and service.
How I Booked Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class
I booked a cash roundtrip itinerary between London and Hong Kong, consisting of flights in Swiss, Cathay Pacific (on a Swiss flight number) and Lufthansa business class. My itinerary cost a total of ~£2,720 (~HK$25,800 at time of writing). For context, this price was about on par with many premium economy one-stop itineraries, or even some direct flights in economy class during the 2022 post-COVID peak travel season – and far below the market average price for Christmas business class tickets this year.
My Experience Flying Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class
My flight from Hong Kong to Frankfurt was departing at 11:45 PM, so I made it to the airport at around 9 PM. Lufthansa and Swiss use the same check-in desks at Hong Kong Airport, and there was a single operative lane for business class passengers using both airlines. Check-in ended up taking a while despite being second in line, and the line piled up behind me while I was waiting.
Lufthansa Business Class Check-in at Hong Kong Airport
Security and immigration at Hong Kong Airport were very speedy, and I was through in a matter of minutes. I met up with a friend who guested me into the AmEx Centurion Lounge Hong Kong, which I’ve reviewed here.
Boarding was scheduled to begin at 11:15 PM (ahead of our 11:45 PM flight – that’s probably one of the shortest boarding times I’ve seen scheduled for a widebody aircraft), so I made it to gate 31 at around 11 PM, when my flight was departing. Our flight would be operated by D-AIGV, a 22-year old A340 with the Star Alliance livery.
Lufthansa A340 Hong Kong Airport
Lufthansa had already begun to line up families with young children, which they board before business class passengers. Boarding began at 11:10 PM starting with these families, followed by business class passengers (in theory Miles and More HON Circle passengers would’ve boarded first, though there were none). Lufthansa is in the process of reintroducing A340-600s with first class on this route, though my flight was operated by an A340-300, which doesn’t feature first class.
Boarding Lufthansa’s A340 at Hong Kong Airport
Due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, this flight would be my longest ever by duration – blocked at 14 hours and 30 minutes (I’ve never been to the East Coast of the U.S. – hoping for that to change soon).
Lufthansa Flight LH797
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 31 Dep: 23:45 (23:50)
Destination: Frankfurt (FRA) Gate: Z50A Arr: 07:15+1 (07:35+1)
Duration: 14 h 30 min (14 h 45 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300 Reg: D-AIGV
Seat: 5K (Business Class)
I boarded through door 1L and was welcomed by a very friendly flight attendant, who directed me across the aisle to my seat, 5K. As mentioned this was an A340-300 without first class, so business class was the “top” cabin on this plane.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Cabin and Seat
Lufthansa’s A340 business class features 30 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. These seats are inoffensive and the configuration is outdated, though it’s more noteworthy (in a bad way) that Lufthansa is continuing to take delivery of brand new A350s featuring the same seats.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Cabin
I’d assigned myself seat 5K, the right window seat in the back row of the cabin (this is my preference, so I can get cabin photos without obstructing people’s privacy, as well as being able to observe service flow throughout the cabin).
I’ve got three big issues with this seat, two of which are specifically directed at Lufthansa’s configuration. For reference, Turkish Airlines also features a similar configuration on many of their longhaul routes – I flew them very recently between Istanbul and Hong Kong, so I’m using their product as my point of comparison.
The first is the lack of privacy – below you can see that there’s zero partitioning between the aisle seat and aisle traffic. This is fairly standard for forward-facing business class seats (including Turkish’s), though Lufthansa also opted not to install privacy partitions between seats.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Seats 5H and 5K
The second issue is that these seats are really narrow, due to the way they’re angled away from the aisle – they’re done so in order to fit more seats in the cabin. Lufthansa says the seats are 20.5″ wide, though I’m assuming part of this is attributed to the storage and shoulder space – in reality the seats felt as wide as a premium economy seat (around 19″). I wasn’t uncomfortable, though you can definitely feel the difference compared to similar, non-angled business class seats, such as on Turkish or LATAM (nevermind many seats with direct aisle access, such as Cathay Pacific’s A350 seat, which flies the same route).
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Seat 5K
The third issue is the lack of storage space, apart from a tiny cubby next to the seat that houses headphones (no photo evidence here, as I can’t take a picture of storage space that doesn’t exist). This is a fairly common theme with forward facing business class seats, though I’d say I felt especially devoid of storage space in this configuration, as the footwell was smaller than what you’d typically get (once again due to the angle).
Many of these observations are things I’d take note of after blogging for nearly 10 years – I note them down as comparative points against other business class products, but they’re not make-or-break features to me by any means. In terms of actually getting comfortable in this seat, I’d say it wasn’t too bad. To my left were the seat controls, which were intuitive, and you could even control the cushion firmness (I felt like the cushion firmness kept adjusting automatically without me touching anything, though it didn’t bother me). Unfortunately the presets weren’t one-touch (e.g. you had to press the lie-flat button continuously to get the seat into lie-flat position).
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Seat Controls
Directly to my left was a reading light, though I didn’t end up needing it, since there was an overhead light as well.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Reading Light
In front of me was a footwell, which was smaller than most forward-facing business class products. There’s enough space for shoes under the footwell, though not much more. Keep in mind that in the middle (D and G) seats, the footwells of both seats are right next to one another, so you might even end up bumping legs against your seatmate – this wasn’t an issue in the window pair of seats.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Seat Footwell
The tray table was a good size and fairly sturdy, and could be deployed from the armrest.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Tray Table
Perhaps I’m an idiot, but I only realised near the end of the flight that there was a lever allowing the table to swivel, making it easier to access the aisle (for the bathroom) with the tray table deployed. Based on how many times I’d tried to squeeze past my tray table, I’m glad nobody saw my face when I figured out I could’ve done this all along.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Tray Table
Meanwhile the TV could be slid out in order to better align with the seat (this I did know, since I’ve flown Lufthansa’s business class a few years back – perhaps with a larger bladder, since apparently I’d never come across the tray table’s swivel feature).
Lufthansa A340 Business Class TV Screen
The only in-seat power options were a universal 110V power port, situated between seats. These were turned on after takeoff.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Power Ports
Lastly, a small storage bucket between seats housed my amenity kit, as well as a water bottle. Technically this counts as storage space, though it was unreachable from my seat, really small, and also there wasn’t much space left with the amenity kit and water bottle inside.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Storage Space
This A340 also didn’t feature air nozzles. Normally I don’t find that to be an issue, but for some reason I found this plane warmer than usual (likely due to its age – it was 22 years old at time of flying). If you have trouble sleeping in warm conditions, this may be something to prepare for – perhaps wear layers that you can take off inflight, and a short sleeved shirt.
Many newer seats are designed so that business class passengers don’t have to make compromises – for example, having a place to put a laptop between meal services, or going to sleep knowing your watch and phone won’t fall into unreachable locations. None of these considerations seemed to have made it to this seat, though at least it was still somewhat comfortable.
Never not comfortable enough to smile in Lufthansa’s A340 business class (or any business class)
Lufthansa is rolling out a new business class product, though it’ll be many years before it becomes their standard product on a majority of their fleet (funny enough, it’s already been many years since it was first introduced).
Lufthansa’s A340 Premium Economy
Since I boarded before most other passengers, I had the opportunity to very quickly check out the premium economy cabin (stupidly I left my flash on – grr! Thankfully I’d made sure no cabin crew were in the photo, or else I would’ve had some explaining to do).
Premium economy was laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration, and looked fairly standard, though there was no partition between the premium economy and economy cabins.
Lufthansa A340 Premium Economy
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Amenities
This is the area of Lufthansa’s business class product that most impressed me – Lufthansa has a very extensive selection of amenities that beats out most other airlines.
There was a plush pillow and duvet, both of which had been significantly upgraded since the last time I flew with Lufthansa.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Pillow and Duvet
There was a mattress pad, which was hung onto our coat hook during boarding. I suppose this was rather cute, since Lufthansa doesn’t do turndown service in business class (given there’s not otherwise any storage space to put a mattress pad during takeoff and landing).
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Mattress Pad on Coat Hook
I’ll talk a little bit more about the bedding quality in a separate section of the review.
As aforementioned, a tiny storage cubby to the right of my seat housed some headphones. Weirdly these headphones were fastened to the plane, so you couldn’t use your own. Lufthansa used to offer Bose headphones in business class, but for some reason switched to AKG (I didn’t use these headphones, so can’t actually attest to whether these are better or worse…?).
Lufthansa A340 Business Class AKG Headphones
The little storage cubby to the left of the footwell housed an amenity kit. While I typically love amenity kit pouches, I didn’t actually take this with me, as I found the open design to be rather odd. The amenity kit housed socks, eyeshades, earplugs, some L’Occitane amenities, and a dental kit.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Amenity Kit
I also found some slippers on the ottoman, which were handy when going to the bathroom inflight.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Slippers
After boarding was completed we were handed a sleeping shirt (I would’ve said pajamas, though there were no trousers – only a shirt). I didn’t need a long sleeved shirt on this warm plane, though I did take it with me – it’s very comfortable.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Pajamas
What a solid set of amenities. While I didn’t like the amenity kit, I appreciated that there were slippers, socks, and pajamas for use. I also thought the pillow and blanket were great, even if the mattress pad wasn’t the best ever (more on that later).
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Lavatory
After getting hydrated at the AmEx Centurion Lounge I visited the lavatory during the boarding process. The lavatory I used was located behind my seat, with door R2 in between. The lavatory featured Verveine lotion and a cute flower, though not much else during the boarding process.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Lavatory
Later in the flight I returned to the lavatory to find it fully stocked with eyeshades, disinfecting wipes, dental kits, a comb, and some face masks, which I thought was nice.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Lavatory Amenities
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Pre-Departure Service
During the boarding process, the cabin crew came around with trays of champagne, orange juice, and water. I selected champagne, which was Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut – not the kind of pour you’d be talking about for days (that’s a Sainsburys link), though a good way to start the flight off.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Pre-Departure Champagne
Along with the pajamas, I was also handed a menu, though orders were taken during the meal service.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Menu
Upon using the lavatory, I had a chat with the friendly purser, saying that this was my first time on an A340 in a long time (it’s actually the first time I’ve reviewed an A340 on this blog). The purser noted that they were in the process of buying A350s, though due to rising costs the A340s were sticking around for a while. He noted that this was “one of the last” (though who knows how long these A340s will last for).
The purser was warm and welcoming, whereas the A340 was…unwelcomingly warm.
Taking Off from Hong Kong Airport
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by typical German efficiency, but boarding took all of 25 minutes. Around 20 minutes in the captain gave us a welcome on the PA, saying that they were waiting on the last passengers onboard this flight to Frankfurt.
Despite showing up as J7 (7 seats available) just days before my flight, the flight was chock full, with all seats taken in business class. Seated next to me was a father bringing his son to university, who was seated in another aisle seat a couple of rows forward – I explained that I wanted to sleep in a window seat though offered to switch for other parts of the flight, though he said it was fine.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Cabin Before Departure
The purser came onto the PA thanking us for a “quick and uncomplicated boarding process”. He introduced our 14h 25m flying time to Frankfurt, saying that we’d be running a little bit late.
We pushed back from gate 31 at 11:50 PM, five minutes after our scheduled departure time. Unfortunately the windows on this particular aircraft were very scratched, so I couldn’t get great pictures of adjacent aircraft at this time of night.
Pushing Back at Hong Kong Airport
The safety video was played at this time, with alternating German and English instructions.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Safety Video
It was about a 15-minute taxi to runway 07R, and we taxied past one of Hong Kong Airlines’ now-defunct leased A330s, which featured ex-Singapore Airlines interiors (I’ve reviewed this aircraft type before).
Hong Kong Airlines A330 at Hong Kong Airport
Typically runway 07R affords great views over Hong Kong, though unfortunately we took a sharp right this time round (and it was very cloudy), so there wasn’t much in the way of views upon takeoff. It was my first A340 flight since 2014, so I was reacquainted with the super-weak takeoff roll and climbout, where I felt like I was on a ski chair instead of on a plane.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Inflight Entertainment
Perhaps due to the weak A340 takeoff roll, it took ages to reach cruising altitude. Lufthansa’s A340 entertainment system is available gate-to-gate, so I took the chance to check it out.
Lufthansa A340 Entertainment System
Perhaps I came in with too low expectations, but I thought the movie selection wasn’t too bad? This doesn’t compare to a few of the entertainment systems I’ve seen on other airlines, though I did think I would’ve found something if I was keen to watch a movie inflight.
Lufthansa A340 Entertainment System
As far as I’m aware, though, Lufthansa didn’t upload entire seasons of TV shows in their TV selection, which I would’ve found to be annoying.
Lufthansa A340 Entertainment System TV Selection
Unfortunately the moving map was broken on this flight. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a longhaul flight and had no idea where I was at points, especially during the bits of the flight where the WiFi was patchy (all of the locations I’ve noted down in this trip report were pulled from FlightRadar24). Fortunately a widget containing the flight altitude, speed and arrival time were functional over the course of the flight.
Lufthansa A340 Moving Map (or lack thereof)
There weren’t any cool features such as a tail camera, though this is more of a function of this plane being an A340 (Lufthansa features tail camera on their A350s).
Perhaps the entertainment system isn’t the best, though I thought it was better than expected. Since Lufthansa has WiFi, I would take my evaluation of the entertainment system with a grain of salt.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class WiFi
Lufthansa’s entire longhaul fleet features WiFi. On this particular A340 the WiFi was provided by T-Mobile, and I could even purchase it on the ground, with the option to refund if it didn’t work. I ended up taking advantage of this option, as online payment can take forever in the air.
WiFi was priced as follows on this flight:
- €5 for inflight messaging
- €15 for 2 hours of streaming WiFi
- €25 for full flight streaming WiFi
I purchased a full flight pass, and contrary to what I’d read online, there were no data caps. Business class passengers don’t get free WiFi on Lufthansa, though I’d much rather pay €25 for unlimited WiFi than be given 50 MB of WiFi for free, and have to pay for extra by data usage.
Unfortunately WiFi didn’t start working until about a couple of hours into the flight – I couldn’t find the network in my WiFi settings at all. WiFi did eventually start working a couple of hours into our flight (while we were somewhere near Chengdu), and was fully functional, though speed tests failed to load. I felt like there were more “dead” spots on this flight than the usual Asia-Europe flight equipped with WiFi, though appreciated the lack of data caps.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Meal Service
The meal service didn’t begin until 45 minutes after takeoff, which I thought was longer than optimal, given this was a late night flight where people wanted to get some sleep (to be fair, we also had a really long flight time, so it wasn’t a big deal).
The menu read as follows:
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Menu
Additionally, the beverages and wine list read as follows (apologies for leaving out one of the white wines in the photos, I was clearly tired):
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Beverages
I was fairly impressed that there were three “proper” starters to choose from – this wasn’t your typical “soup or salad” fare. However, nothing about the menu indicated that this was a German airline – there was only one German wine in the selection, and even the beer selection only varied between Beck’s and Erdinger’s (at least they had alcohol-free varieties, which I appreciate). I also felt like the beverage selection lacked personality – apart from standard soft drinks, juice, water, and a German bitter lemon soda, there wasn’t much else to choose from.
The meal service began with a hot towel, as well as a pre-meal service beverage. I ordered a tawny port off the menu, though was given a gin and tonic of sorts (I accidentally spilled it when adjusting my tray table as I was being served, thankfully straight on the floor without affecting my seatmate – in this particular case I’m blaming it on how tight the seat was and not because I was being clumsy. The flight attendant serving me promptly confirmed that I had ordered a tawny port and gave me the same drink). The drink was served with some room-temperature almonds.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class “Tawny Port” and Nuts
The drinks service was delivered via trolley, though everything else was laid directly on my tray table. Meal service orders were taken directly before they were served (I’ll note this later, but I was fairly impressed that they didn’t run out of anything).
For my appetiser I ordered the beef tenderloin with five-spice loshui sauce and pomegranate. This was served with bread of choice, and I chose a warm pretzel roll.
The beef was tender, and I actually somewhat liked the dish, despite it clearly being born out of Lufthansa’s odd “fusion-confusion” dining concept. The loshui sauce read more like a gravy on the tongue, and using that school of thought, the pomegranate was a nice addition.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Meal Appetiser – Beef Tenderloin with Loshui Sauce and Pomegranate
For my main course I played it safer and ordered the salmon with lemon butter sauce, which was perfectly fine. The salmon was on the dry side, though I did really like the sauce.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Meal Main Course – Pan-Fried Salmon Fillet, Asparagus and Lemon Butter Sauce
For dessert I ordered the chocolate praline with fresh raspberry and raspberry coulis, and in retrospect I was served a chocolate mousse with fresh strawberry and…no coulis. On the plus side, it tasted exactly as you’d expect from a chocolate mousse, which is pretty good.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Meal Dessert – Chocolate Praline with Fresh Raspberry (?) and Raspberry Coulis (?)
The meal service was concluded with a box of chocolates, which was a nice touch.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Meal Service Box of Chocolates
Lufthansa won’t win any awards for their catering, but I thought their meal service was perfectly fine. This verdict is leaps and bounds ahead of the horrid meal I’d had last time I flew with them, which left me out sick for days. Based on what I’d read in advance of my flight, I seemed to luck out with quite a “normal” sounding main course as well, compared to their more experimental (and reportedly less tasty) selections.
Plates were cleared at an impressive pace – I never felt like I had an empty plate in front of me for more than a minute. The next course was brought out once my plate from the initial course was cleared.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Service
The crew serving this flight were super friendly and eager to please. I was addressed by name when my meal service order was taken (not at any other point, though), and all crewmembers bent down to speak to passengers at eye level. I had a few chats with the purser over the course of the flight, and he mentioned that the closed-loop system for Lufthansa flight attendants working Hong Kong flights was only broken on December 30th, despite most movement restrictions for arriving passengers fully ending on the 14th. He mentioned that they’d only had a day to lay over in Hong Kong, which isn’t a lot of time.
Initially when I was having issues with the WiFi, the purser was personable and apologetic, and noted that he was having similar issues on his iPad (he was also trying to connect). He also gave me a free voucher for WiFi, though since I’d already pre-purchased WiFi, I didn’t need it.
However, Lufthansa’s service structure didn’t feel as personable, and didn’t let this crew shine. Based on what I’ve read in past, Lufthansa seems to assign one flight attendant to a particular section of passengers. On this A340, the section “my” flight attendant was assigned seemed to be the entire right aisle (that’s 15 passengers), whereas I barely saw the other flight attendants serving anybody in my aisle. This was particularly notable when the front row passengers had their appetisers served a good 10 minutes before we were served appetisers in the back row, giving a slight “assembly line” feel to the service.
Given this structure, I’m fairly impressed that the flight attendant serving me managed to clear my plate and offer the next course in such quick succession.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Bed
After dinner I made my bed. Lufthansa offers a mattress pad, though it’s very prone to sliding around, as it’s not fastened to the seat in any way. Fortunately I thought that the pillow and blanket offered were very comfortable, and exceeded expectations. The blanket in particular was fairly large, which I appreciated (though the cabin was fairly warm, so I didn’t feel like I had to wrap myself with a blanket at any point).
The bed itself felt really narrow. Lowering the armrest gave a substantial amount of extra shoulder space (it’s raised in the below photo), though even then the width still paled in comparison to many more modern seats out there. I was also grateful that I had a window seat, as I imagine my shoulder would jut out into the aisle if I was trying to sleep in an aisle seat.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Bed
I didn’t have much issue sleeping on this nighttime flight, though did feel like every time I woke up I noticed that the seat was fairly narrow.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Service Between Meals
The lights in the business class cabin were turned off not long after the meal service. Lufthansa has no on-demand dining menu between services at all, though there was orange juice, water, and almonds available in the galley. Every once in a while a crewmember would pass through the cabin quietly offering this selection to anybody who was awake, which I appreciated.
We hit some turbulence a few times throughout the night, including a stretch where we were told over the PA to expect turbulence for the “next 20 minutes” (funny enough there wasn’t much subsequent turbulence at that point). I appreciated that the seatbelt sign would make a sound when it was turned on, but not when it was turned off, so passengers could stay asleep.
A couple of times throughout the night I tried out the iPhone 12 Pro’s Night Mode outside the window. I feel like the below pictures are fairly pretty, though you may beg to differ.
Flying somewhere over China and over Tbilisi, Georgia
There really wasn’t much to report here, though I didn’t feel bored, since I was connected to inflight WiFi. Between comfortable bedding (albeit a very narrow bed) and more-than-intermittent access to the Internet, I didn’t feel like I was waiting for the flight to end during the hours which I was awake. I also didn’t feel like the A340 was that much noisier than many of the newer, more modern aircraft I’ve slept on in the past.
That being said, an on-demand menu, or at least a more extensive galley snack selection, would’ve been appreciated at multiple points throughout the night. Many airlines only feature a selection of packaged snacks between meal services, though just orange juice, water and almonds is a very rudimentary selection.
Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class Pre-Landing Meal Service
After waking up every once in a while throughout the night, I woke up properly to the lights being turned on for the pre-landing meal service, about 90 minutes before landing. I seemed to have missed the initial run throughout the cabin, as the flight attendant serving my aisle realised I was awake, and came back with a hot towel.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Cabin before Meal Service
The flight attendant asked me if I was “ready for breakfast”, which I appreciated. The guy seated across the aisle from me only woke up halfway through the breakfast service, about 60 minutes before landing, and he was also served (though they ran out of his preferred option). The cabin crew worked at passengers’ pace, and didn’t wake up anyone who looked like they were sound asleep.
For breakfast I ordered the pancakes, which was brought to me on a single tray. I was offered bread, though declined. The pancakes were served with a blueberry compote as well as an unnamed substance (probably condensed milk?). It was totally fine as well, and not soggy.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Pre-Landing Meal Service – Warm Pancake with Blueberry Compote
The grainy bircher muesli served with breakfast wasn’t fun, and I only had a bite. I was very impressed by the espresso I ordered, however – probably my biggest compliment of Lufthansa’s drinks menu.
Lufthansa A340 Business Class Bircher Muesli and Espresso
I was mostly impressed by how many of each meal option Lufthansa caters. The pancake was a unanimous favourite (all passengers within earshot ordered pancakes), and despite being the last passenger to be served during the meal service, pancakes were still available. Unfortunately the guy across the aisle from me woke up late, and I seemed to have bagged the last portion of pancakes – still, many airlines I know cater far fewer options of each meal.
Landing into Frankfurt Airport
After the meal service, the purser came to me and confirmed that I had a connecting flight onto London City Airport. He noted that I had by far the longest layover of anybody on the flight, and informed me that there was an earlier flight I could catch, though said there could be a problem with my bag – I let him know I had plans to visit Frankfurt during my layover anyway (I’d intentionally booked a later flight). He also informed me of the lounges I’d have access to during my layover.
We were treated to a gorgeous sunrise as we neared Germany, though it returned to darkness upon our approach. The captain came onto the PA 40 minutes before landing, saying “hopefully you could rest a little bit”. He advised of our arrival time of 7:25 AM, and said that “in his view” everyone would be able to make their connecting flights. He also noted the weather conditions in Frankfurt.
Views upon landing into Frankfurt were stunning, and I was excited to spend some time in a new city.
Views upon Landing into Frankfurt Airport
We landed over runway 25R at 7:25 AM local time. This was definitely one of my most circuitous routings flying from Asia to Europe, with an actual in-the-air time of 14h 15m!
We had a short taxi to gate Z50A, which involved taxiing past an unmarked A330 from Maltese airline SmartLynx.
SmartLynx A330 Frankfurt Airport
Since I wasn’t able to see our A340 too clearly at Hong Kong Airport, I was glad to be able to sneak a view of our beautiful A340 in Star Alliance livery, as we left the plane at about 7:40 AM. We were treated to even better views of the plane once we reached the arrivals area a couple of levels above ground in the terminal.
Lufthansa A340 at Frankfurt Airport
A Convenient Arrivals Experience At Frankfurt Airport
Literally everyone else in business class was connecting, and there were also no other arrivals in this area of the airport at this time. I was the only person within eyeshot who went through immigration, which took less than a minute.
Less than 10 minutes after leaving the aircraft I was landside, and I went on my way to get a shower at the Welcome Lounge, which I’ll review next. It’s nice that Lufthansa features an arrivals lounge for intercontinental flights arriving at Frankfurt, which allows business travelers or passengers with a later hotel check-in time to freshen up after arrival.
May I also note the massive difference between Frankfurt Airport and London Heathrow Airport, both massive airports with tons of flights arriving per hour? I found Frankfurt Airport so efficient, friendly and easy to navigate, whereas Heathrow feels like absolute chaos even when I’m the first flight of the day to arrive.
Conclusion: Lufthansa’s A340 Business Class
I was looking forward to reviewing Lufthansa’s business class, though not particularly because I thought it’d be good. The hard product was just about as below average as I remembered, with zero storage and very limited shoulder space. Yes, Lufthansa is rolling out a new business class seat on their 787s right now, and will soon receive planes with yet another new business class seat – they’ve been touting a new business class seat since its conceptual introduction in 2017, though six years later the product still doesn’t exist. Based on Lufthansa’s timeline and track record, it’ll be very late in the decade when the dated business class hard product described in this review is finally phased out.
The soft product wasn’t industry leading or anything, though I did think it was better than I expected. Amenities wise, I was pleasantly surprised by the sleeping shirt, and none of the “typical” amenities were missing, including slippers and eyeshades. I also have to give Lufthansa credit for their bedding, as their mattress pad and plush pillow are an improvement over many airlines. The entertainment system is totally fine, though I appreciated most that I could purchase WiFi without data caps, which can hugely increase the value of an airline product for certain travelers (including people travelling to work or study, such as myself).
Both meal services were totally fine, though the drinks selection in particular lacked variety – I did like that they had espresso-based beverages, though. My main impression of service was that the crew were warm, friendly and attentive, though felt like the service structure on this particular flight was inefficient and didn’t let them shine.
I’ll also note that the arrivals lounge is a positive addition to the ground experience that adds substantial value for business travelers, though the departures lounges aren’t anything special if you’re flying Lufthansa business class out of Germany.
Lufthansa has a below average business class seat, and their soft product is above average, though unmemorable. An average grade of 3 stars seems fair for this product, though I must say I enjoyed myself more than I’d predicted. I wouldn’t recommend Lufthansa business class unless the price was right, though as of 2023, it does tend to be right in many cases for Europe-Asia travel.
Have you flown Lufthansa’s business class before? What were your thoughts?