Is Lufthansa First Class That Much Better Than Business Class?

by on December 8, 2013 · 21 comments

in Lufthansa, star alliance, Sunday Reader Questions

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TPG reader Samir is trying to book one of the most coveted award seats there is, Lufthansa first class, but is having a hard time finding availability. Here’s his situation:

“I am trying to book a first class award on Lufthansa for a flight on March 13 – March 24th from Boston to Madrid and back. Is first that much better than business? Any help would be great.”

Sounds like Samir has run into a common problem when it comes to trying to book Lufthansa first class awards – there’s no award availability now for dates a few months in the future. That’s because Lufthansa releases very little advanced first class award seating to its partners, and in fact the CEO recently said that he wants to move away from having first class being a redemption product into having it be a product for those high-value paying premium flyers.

67,500 Ultimate Rewards points transferred to United and I got the new Lufthansa 747 upper deck First Class on Frankfurt-Miami.

Lufthansa’s new first class is amazing.

To that end, they have cut the number of first class seats on many planes, even gotten rid of first class altogether on some of their fleet – all of which makes it even harder to find a first class award on the airline.

But if you can find award space, I’d say definitely book it because I love Lufthansa’s first class. I’ve flown both old and new and the new first class especially on the 747-400 is amazing. While I haven’t tried Lufthansa’s new business class, their old business class product is terrible, so I would avoid it as a waste of miles since it’s an angled lie-flat, and the difference between it and first class is enormous. I also find Lufthansa’s business class flight attendants can be slow (it took 3 hours to get through meal service, which also wasn’t that good) and not too on-the-ball, but that could just be my personal experience, while the service in first class is impeccable and includes caviar service, top-shelf champagne, and more, and the 747-400 first class on the top deck has a separate recliner seat and a bed that runs alongside it along the wall of the cabin that’s very long and comfortable, which I think makes it one of the top products out there.

Even the old first class aboard the A340′s, where it’s just like a big, padded armchair that lowers into a bed, is still pretty decent. And don’t forget, if you’re flying into Frankfurt and transiting through in first class, you can access the airline’s First Class Terminal, which is an amazing facility.

US Airways' Envoy Suite is among the top premium products offered by US airlines.

I’d take US Airways’ Envoy class over Lufthansa business any day.

If you’re stuck with a business class redemption, I’d consider flying another airline like US Airways, whose Envoy class is among the best business class products out there thanks to the comfortable and private reverse herringbone configuration, over Lufthansa’s old business.

While I’ve heard Lufthansa’s new business class looks decent, you’re still seated right next to someone and your feet are angled together towards theirs, so you don’t have as much personal space. That said, availability is decent in Lufthansa business class, so it’s a good option to have, and it’ll get you where you need to go.

But if you need to make a business class redemption and you have the option, I might choose another carrier with a better hard product – like even United’s BusinessFirst seat – or hold out for a Lufthansa first class award that opens up closer in to your travel dates.

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.

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  • Debashish

    When does Lufthansa first class open up

  • JustSaying

    Is the only way to enter the LH First Terminal with a FC connection? Can a UA ticket on UA FC gain access? Can a LH FC starting or stopping gain access before or after their flight?

  • Tony

    So you wrote, ” and
    the 747-400 business class on the top deck.” I was under the impression that FC was on the top deck???

  • Richard

    YES! Quote of a lifetime… Sir, the entire appetizer tray is for you!

  • sdfdas

    I think he meant first class.

  • Texas281

    i have flown both business and first A380 Houston to Frankfurt. Business class is horrible! it is angled not lie flat seat. I was very disappointed with it. I will actually do everything I can to avoid that flight in business. Would much rather take United business/first to Frankfurt from Houston direct. I took first class this October on the same route. It was very nice. The service and food top notch. The seat was very comfortable as well. The bathroom was huge! All in All a good experience. I wish i could say the same for business on Lufthansa. I don’t understand why the would mess up their A380 with seats at an angle and not lie flat, ESPECIALLY ON NEW EQUIPMENT!

  • James

    I’m in a similar situation, waiting for F to open up in March, when the new award redemption requirements will be in place. In my case, I booked a saver first award from Thailand to North America. One of my segments on THAI (BKK to NRT) is in J (No F availability). So here’s the question: if F opens up last minute, will United want me to pay the difference of the new mileage requirements? Thanks to anyone who knows about this!

  • Matt Berg

    While Lufthansa First Class is far better than both the new and old Lufthansa Business Classes, the old Business Class seats are the only ones that should be avoided. The NEW LUFTHANSA BUSINESS CLASS is in line with other top European Business Class products and IMO is a bit better than the United BusinessFirst. We had the opportunity to fly the New Lufthansa Business Class twice last month and wrote up a short review with pictures. I don’t know if you allow links in the comments so I’ll add the link to our review in a separate comment and you can delete it if you’d like. Also, not all the seats are angled towards one another – the pairs by the windrows are both angled towards the windows (not towards each other) and the middle seats, while angled towards one another, are spaced farther apart so it didn’t appear to be much of an issue.

  • Matt Berg

    Our experience with the NEW LUFTHANSA BUSINESS CLASS

  • Guest

    I reading this waiting in the Senator lounge at DC for my first new F class flight to Germany. For a first class, the senator lounge at IAD is a joke. I am sure the flying experience will be great though. Also, united is is still showing Lufthansa phantom F class space as of last week. So it’s always better to check with ANA award tool.

  • wiznick

    I am reading this waiting in the Senator lounge at DC for my first new F class flight to Germany. For a first class, the senator lounge at IAD is a joke. I am sure the flying experience will be great though. Also, united is is still showing Lufthansa phantom F class space as of last week. So it’s always better to check with ANA award tool.

  • Tony

    Access can be granted a couple of ways, flying FC on LH and connecting on a LH flight, i.e DEN-FRA (in FC)-VIE. Or VIE-FRA-(in FC) DEN, or another example FRA-SFOin FC. If you have a UA ticket but the flight is a codeshare on LH and you are in FC you have access to FCT. If you have a UA ticket and fly UA in Global First (cough) you will only have access to the Senator lounge or the UA lounge or any other *A lounge…

  • Tony

    roughly 15 day out… If you are using united web page to search for awards, you will see LH FC saver awards, but you will get an error when trying to ticket it.. just a typical IT glitch, but if your departure day is within the 15 days of departure YOU should see some seats…

  • Tony

    Most airlines J, is better than Uniteds, J, and to be fair, TK’s J is better than United Global First…

  • FlyerM

    Question for you experienced LH first flyers. I just booked an award in “O” from Frankfurt-Houston. My itinerary has me leaving out of Terminal 1 in FRA, but how do I get access to the First Class terminal?

    Can I just show up in the FC terminal and show them my itinerary?

    Thanks much!

  • Tony


  • Tony

    It is a UA IT glitch and it shouldn’t be… Just poor IT services.. I have not been to the Senator’s lounge lounge at IAD I find it odd that the lounge is that bad, the three others I have been to have been outstanding.

  • Andrew

    I called United and they told me that I would have to pay the mileage difference in this case. Most disappointing. Can anyone else confirm?

  • wiznick

    Well, the senator lounge itself is good but if you are expecting an exclusive first class experience like in Munich or Frankfurt, you won’t get it here. Within the Senator Lounge, there is a separate area for F class with only about 8 seats. Food selection is good though. The showers are also not in this lounge but downstairs in the business class lounge and I had trouble reserving them. On a side note, I am back in the lounge and writing this from there as all the flights last night were cancelled due to weather. Another point to note is that there is still no special ground transportation service for first class passengers in US. We were given taxi vouchers after the flight was cancelled to go to the hotel. #extendedfclassexperience.

  • FlyerM

    I knew I was overthinking it.

    Thanks Tony

  • crash025

    From my experience… lufthansa is overrated. I’ve been much happer, despite minor issues, with UA.

    I’ll even pay more to avoid them.

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