Is Lufthansa First Class That Much Better Than Business Class?

Dec 8, 2013

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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.

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