Review: Lufthansa 747-8 First Class Los Angeles to Frankfurt

Is First Class on Lufthansa better than Cathay Pacific First Class? Find out when you read my review of Lufthansa First Class 747-8 Los Angeles to Frankfurt flight.

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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 fully lay flat seat of over 6 feet and delicious food. All this and more for practically free. How to fly Lufthansa First Class for $40.
Lufthansa 747-8 First Class, yes please

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 cancelled.

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.

Read: 7 things to make a long flight more comfortable

Changing Flights

My First Class Lufthansa flight on the 747-8 only cost $40. Find out how at
Lufthansa 747-8 after landing in 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 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.

Read: Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu to Sydney

Star Alliance First Class Lounge LAX

First Class passengers flying on Star Alliance airlines can use the First Class Lounge at LAX.
Relax in the Star Alliance First Class Lounge at 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.

Read: Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX

Lufthansa First Class Review 747-8 Los Angeles to Frankfurt

Private cabin for Lufthansa First Class 747-8 passengers.
Lufthansa First Class on the 747-8 is spacious and private

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.

Read: Deb and Tam’s excellent adventure


First Class on the Lufthansa 747-8 has 8 seats.
First Class on Lufthansa Private and quiet

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.

Read why the Lufthansa First Class Seat 3D on the 747-8 plane is one the worst seats in First Class. But it only costs $40 so I can't really complain. | travel hacking |
Seat 3D is the red-headed step-child seat

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.

The First Class bar on Lufthansa 747-8 is in front of seats 3D and 3K. Learn how to score a First Class seat for $40. | travel hacking| Traveling Well For Less
Great for grabbing a drink, but not for privacy

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.

Lufthansa First Class lie-flat seats convert to a 6' 5" foot bed. A great night sleep for only $40. | travel hacking | Traveling Well For Less
Room to stretch out

The lie-flat seats convert to a 6.5-foot bed.

Extra storage in the ottoman.
Store your stuff at your feet (literally)

Each seat has a movable ottoman that opens for extra storage.

Each First Class passenger gets two closets.
Each First Class passenger gets two closets.

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.

Easily adjust your seat with the touch of a button.
Easily adjust your seat with the touch of a button

The seat controls in the left armrest let you adjust the seat to one of several positions and raise or lower the privacy screen.

The remote is in the right armrest.
Remote is at your fingertips

And the entertainment control remote is in the right armrest.

Two outlets and USB ports.
Two plugs and USB ports

On the front of the right armrest are two USB ports, two power plugs, and an ethernet connection.

You can store your phone or tablet next to your seat.
You can store your phone or tablet next to your seat

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 747-8 on Lufthansa. Even better because it's only $40. | travel hacking | Traveling Well For Less
The best First Class seat on the 747-8

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. 🙁

Seats 2A and 2K on the 747-8 in Lufthansa First Class have the most legroom and a bigger ottoman.
Because everyone’s workspace should be this dreamy

But First Class seats 2A and 2K have more legroom and a wider ottoman.

Pajamas, Slippers & Amenity Kit

First Class pajamas on Lufthansa comes as separates. So you can get different sizes.
Separate size tops and bottoms are available

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.

Lufthansa First Class pajama top and bottoms come as separates.
The pajamas are cute for the plane but not sure I’d wear them in public

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.

In-Flight Entertainment

In-Flight entertainment on Lufthansa includes movies, TV shows, music, news, games, audio books, and an exercise program.
Hello, HAL

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: FC Bayern Munich players lead you in a series of exercises to prevent blood clots.
Onboard exercise routine

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. 🙂


First Class Bathroom on Lufthansa 747-8.



Onboard Service

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.

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

1.  Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

You can get 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months after getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred (refer a friend link. You get 40,000 points, I get 5,000 points) card.

Add an authorized user and get an additional 5,000 points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are instantly transferrable to United Airlines (and certain other airlines) at a 1:1 ratio. So 55,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points becomes 55,000 United Airline miles.

2.  Chase Ink Business Preferred

If you have a business, the Chase Ink Business Preferred gets you 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in purchases within 3 months of getting the card.

Earning United Airline Miles

When you apply for the United MileagePlus Explorer card and spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, you get 40,000 United Airlines miles.

You can buy United Airline miles. Currently, you can get a 100% bonus when you buy United miles by August 15, 2016.

As a last resort, you can transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points from the Starwood (personal) or (business) cards. But the transfer ratio is 2:1 so it’s not a good deal.


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. You can get 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Ink Business Preferred, and 40,000 United Airlines miles from the United MileagePlus Explorer card.

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?

Pin this to your travel, vacation, luxury travel, or travel hack board:

You can fly First Class on Lufthansa for $40. | travel hacking | Click the pin to find out how.

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Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).
My favorite perks about this card are earning 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Kavey April 15, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Great to read an in-depth assessment, so often I see puff pieces that don’t give me the real lowdown… and the reality is that in many cases while first class is superb, there are little niggles as well. So a really helpful review, and to know which seats to avoid too!

  • Danik April 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Some good advise here but aimed at the American market. Think this is possible for those living outside the USA? Whats the hack on that? 😛 (I don’t use air miles or stuff like that).

  • Fiona Maclean April 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I’d so love to travel first class – it looks really, really comfortable! I will just have to say my prayers! I do watch all these hacks and wonder about if I could do it. I’ll work on it – great tips!

  • Lois Alter Mark April 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Okay, that is amazing that you were able to get that deal! Seats that convert to flat beds are the only things that keep me sane on international flights as I get older. So glad you were able to get this!

  • Bilyana | OwlOverTheWorld April 16, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Very informative and detailed review. And a lot of great tips.

  • Megan Jerrard April 16, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Sounds quite incredible for me who’s only ever flown economy lol … I like to think my travel hacking skills are OK, but yours put me to shame lol that’s an incredible deal. Thanks for such an honest review though, because I’m sure that even flying business and first there are still better seats than others … I’ll get there one day! 😀

  • Rosemary April 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    What an amazing deal. Good for you for making that first class experience on Lufthansa. Looks like quite a pampered experience actually. We typically fly coach, so this sounds like quite the dream. Love the PJ’s actually…cute! Not bad for lounging at home. What an awesome experience and especially how you found the deal. Need to keep better track of our miles!!

  • Siddhartha Joshi April 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Wow 19 days of travel like this…it’s a dream for me for sure, but I can imagine others would run away from it! It’s lovely to see Lufthansa first class…I have rarely ever travelled in Business, and the first class here certainly looks epic! Great post 🙂

  • Lieurene April 18, 2017 at 4:13 am

    You totally scored a great deal! I can’t believe it cost $14,000 to sit in business class. I can do so much with that money. I haven’t experienced business class nor Lufthansa airlines but I hope to do so in the future. I am still learning about earning miles and stuff. Enjoy your trip and thanks for sharing!

  • Veronika Tomanova April 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I am happy for you that even if you had trouble due to Air France strike, you still ended up being well taken care of:) Lufthansa and their upgrade seem really amazing,. especially after I made several flights on budget airlines recently. Since I am quite tall, I can never be sure my legs will actually fit.

  • Olivia July 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I stopped reading your review as soon as I got to the damn photos. Each time I scroll down, the Facebook Pinterest pins appear, LARGE as they are, smack dab in the middle of the photo. Why the hell would you do that?? You don’t see any other bloggers doing that for a good reason.

    • Debra Schroeder July 16, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Hi Olivia,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know. That’s a function of one of my plugins. I’ll see if I can delete it.

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