In June, I took my longest solo trip: a quasi-round the world 19-day trip to Switzerland, Mallorca, France, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Germany.
When you’re a mom, 19 days is a LONG time to be away from your kids.
Even if they are teenagers.
If you’re a regular blog reader you know I’m a “little” behind in writing trip reports. This year, I’m writing up my trips sooner vs never. 🙂 But I can’t promise they’ll be in order.
That said, keep reading for my review: Lufthansa 747-8 First Class Los Angeles to Frankfurt.
A Quasi-Round the World 19-Day Trip
Review: Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Oceanside to LAX Union Station
Review: LAX Flyaway Bus
Star Alliance First Class Lounge Los Angeles Airport LAX Review
Review: Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Los Angeles Airport LAX
Review: Lufthansa 747-8 First Class Los Angeles to Frankfurt
Review: Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt
Review: Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt
Review: Lufthansa Business Class Frankfurt to Zurich
Review: Park Hyatt Zurich
Park Hyatt Mallorca Review: How to Get There
Review: False Damage Claim and Why You Should not Rent From Sixt Mallorca
and more to come…
Review: Lufthansa 747-8 First Class Los Angeles to Frankfurt
A story of how to fly Lufthansa First Class for $40 instead of $14,000.
I was originally booked on Air Tahiti from Los Angeles to Paris in Business Class. (Air Tahiti doesn’t have a First Class cabin.)
The one-way ticket cost 50,000 American Airlines miles and $6. And was booked before American Airlines changed the award chart.
But a week before my flight, Air France went on strike. Flights to and from Paris were getting canceled.
I didn’t want to miss my trip. So I started looking for other flights fast. But only coach award seats were available using American Airlines miles. No bueno!
Good thing, I have lots of other miles and points like United Airlines miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Because Business Class award seats on Lufthansa 747-8 and A380 were available from Los Angeles to Frankfurt.
I’ve flown Business Class on an A380 before: Cathay Pacific Dubai to Los Angeles. And in First Class: Cathay Pacific Hong Kong to Los Angeles, Qantas Melbourne to Los Angeles, and Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Sydney.
But I haven’t flown on a 747-8. So I booked a one-way Business Class ticket on Lufthansa 747-8 Los Angeles to Frankfurt then onto Zurich for 70,000 United Airlines miles and $115.
Taxes and fees were $40 but as a non-elite there’s a $75 fee for booking less than 21 days before departure.
As an American Airlines Executive Platinum member, I rebooked my Los Angeles to Paris Business Class award flight without a fee.
I kept checking to see if a First Class seat would become available. And sure enough, three days later a First Class award seat opened up on the same flight.
A quick call to United to change the award and pay the additional 41,000 miles and just like that, I had a First Class seat on the Lufthansa 747-8 from Los Angeles to Frankfurt.
Buying a last-minute Lufthansa First Class one-way ticket on the 747-8 would have cost $14,000.
But I wasn’t going to pay that. And not a lot of my friends can pony up 14 large for a one-way ticket.
The total cost: 110,000 United Airlines miles and $115. Here’s how I did and how you can do it too.
Star Alliance First Class Lounge LAX
Because I flew in First Class I got free access to the Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX.
Which is only available if you’re flying First Class. Although, Business Class passengers can use the lounge as a guest of a First Class passenger.
Having been to many First Class lounges like Cathay Pacific’s The Pier, Etihad’s First Class lounges in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Qantas First Class lounge in Melbourne, British Airways Galleries First Lounge in Heathrow, and Qantas First Class lounge in LAX, I was surprised by the tiny size of the Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX.
But it was a serene area with good food and an open bar.
Lufthansa First Class Review 747-8 Los Angeles to Frankfurt
I used United Airlines miles to fly from Los Angeles to Frankfurt. The ticket cost 110,000 United Airlines miles and $40 + $75 late fee.
If you don’t have United Airlines miles, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines on a 1:1 ratio. The transfer is free and it’s instant!
Because I didn’t want to run to the gate, I asked the lounge staff if I could get board early to take photos without other passengers. They were happy to accommodate my request.
This was just me and my tiny Sony A6000 (affiliate link). No film camera or support staff. And they didn’t know about the blog.
Read: Travel gift ideas
It was exciting to have the entire First Class cabin to myself for 10 minutes or longer. I took tons of photos! Or as my friend, Tammy would say, “Deb went all Asian on me.”
Pre-departure champagne was offered. Having spent 6 hours in the First Class lounge, I skipped the bubbly and settled on ice water and a ramekin of salted almonds and cashews.
First Class on the Lufthansa 747-8 is in the nose (front of the plane). The 8 seats were in a one-two-one combination: three rows with a single seat on the left and right and two middle seats in the last row.
There are no overhead bins above the middle seats.
Seats are large enough to be comfortable. But not so large that you look like a little child sitting on a giant throne.
Because I booked close to departure the only seat available was 3D. Not my first choice but beggars can’t be choosers.
The overhead lights above 3D and 3K are too far recessed in the ceiling so the lighting is dim. Not the best for reading or working.
And while you’d think dim lights would be great for sleeping, Seats 3D and 3K offer little to no privacy.
Because they’re the last row behind the bar and serving area and in front of the gallery and bathrooms, everyone walks past these seats.
The lie-flat seats convert to a 6.5-foot bed.
Each seat has a movable ottoman that opens for extra storage.
If you need more storage, there are two short closets stacked on top of each other for each First Class passenger behind the middle seats. Great for hanging your clothes or storing your backpack or a slim suitcase or carry-on bag.
The seat controls in the left armrest let you adjust the seat to one of several positions and raise or lower the privacy screen.
And the entertainment control remote is in the right armrest.
On the front of the right armrest are two USB ports, two power plugs, and an ethernet connection.
To the right of each seat are two skinny storage compartments. One holds the Bose headsets.
Thick curtains separate the First Class cabin from the restrooms, galley and economy cabin. Business Class on the 747-8 is in the upper deck of the plane.
Best Seats in First Class
The best First Class seat on the Lufthansa 747-8 for working is a seat on the sides of the plane: 1A, 1K, 2A, 2K, 3A, and 3K.
Because they have four windows with individual shade controls. And the overhead lights are directly above your head. While the lights for the middle seats are in the high ceiling. 🙁
But First Class seats 2A and 2K have more legroom and a wider ottoman.
Pajamas, Slippers & Amenity Kit
It was an evening flight so the flight attendant immediately brought pajamas, slippers and an amenity kit. Unlike other airlines, the pajama tops and bottoms are separate.
So you can mix sizes. Not usually an issue for guys, but definitely something familiar to us girls whose top and bottom aren’t always the same size.
The long-sleeved polo styled pajama top is a comfy somewhat medium weight cotton/polyester blend. But the polyester/cotton pants are thin, almost scrub-like.
The slippers are thick but light-weight and super cozy. It felt like they were made from an airline duvet/blanket.
The touchscreen in-flight entertainment (IFE) had a decent selection of movies, TV shows, music, games and audio books. I watched a couple of movies and did flyrobic.
Flyrobic is an onboard exercise routine led by FC Bayern Munich players to help prevent blood clots also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
That was totally cool. The videos were funny and practical. And some of the Bayern dudes were cute. Sssh, don’t tell Jeff. 🙂
The crew was good. Not overly attentive or fawning over any of the First Class passengers.
You hear all these wonderful stories about how Lufthansa First Class is the end-all, the creme de la creme. But it wasn’t all that.
That’s not to say that the crew didn’t do a great job. They just didn’t go above and beyond. They did their duties and that was it.
However, the food was excellent, the seat was comfortable, and the cabin was absolutely quiet.
And most importantly, because I flew on Lufthansa I didn’t miss my 19-day trip.
I’d definitely fly First Class on Lufthansa again.
How You Can Do It Too
The Lufthansa First Class award ticket was a one-way First Saver award which cost 110,000 United Airlines miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you paid cash it can cost $14,000.
The easiest and fastest way to get airline miles to fly Lufthansa First Class is by applying for credit cards.
You can also buy United miles.
Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
These are the cards I used but you can use any of the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
You can earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months after getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are instantly transferrable to United Airlines (and certain other airlines) at a 1:1 ratio. So 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points become 60,000 United Airline miles.
2. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
If you have a business, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card gets you 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $8,000 in purchases within 3 months of getting the card. This equals $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) portal.
Earning United Airline Miles
When you apply for the United℠ Explorer Card and spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, you can earn 60,000 United Airlines miles.
The first flight of my almost round the world 19-day trip was on Lufthansa. I flew First Class from Los Angeles to Frankfurt on the 747-8.
It cost 110,000 United Airlines miles and $40 plus a $75 late fee. If you don’t have United miles, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points for free on a 1:1 ratio instantly to United.
Credit card sign-up bonuses are the fastest way to get airline miles and credit card points.
If you’re short on miles or don’t want to apply for a credit card you can buy miles. You’ll get a 100% bonus when you buy United Airlines miles by August 15, 2016.
My review of Lufthansa First Class isn’t your typical fan-boy or in my case fan-girl review of First Class on Lufthansa.
But I’ll give them another shot. And hopefully, have a different experience. And I definitely want to fly the Lufthansa 747-8 First Class again.
What’s been your experience flying First Class on Lufthansa?
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