This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
On the bucket list for every frequent flyer is a laundry list of luxurious flights and glitzy airport lounges. The Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is widely considered one of the best lounges in the world, and certainly one of those checkmarks that everyone wants to mark off.
First opened in November 2004, the First Class Terminal (FCT) is exactly that — an entire terminal of its own. It’s not connected to the main terminal and access to the facility for departing flights is by road. In all reality, the terminal is really meant for passengers that originate from Frankfurt. There are no shuttles from the main terminals, and to access it as a connecting passenger, you need to exit security, walk over, and re-clear security.
Passengers who begin their journey in Frankfurt, however, are expected to be dropped off directly there, giving them a truly exclusive experience. Since there are clearly no jet bridges from this terminal, visitors get a Porsche or Mercedes car transfer straight to the plane or jet bridge.
The terminal, and its famous rubber ducks, has become a sort of a legend among frequent flyers. I’ve flown Lufthansa First Class a number of times, but I’ve never been able to check out the FCT yet, and I was truly excited to experience it for the first time myself.
I had asked to be picked up from my flight that arrived in Frankfurt, but that wasn’t possible since I had to clear immigration first. After clearing immigration, I actually visited the First Class Lounge first, in the main terminal. It features basically the same amenities of the First Class Terminal, but without sleep rooms or bath tubs.
Wanting to maximize my experience during my five-hour connection, I headed over to the First Class Terminal, escorted by one of the lounge staff who showed me the way. It was about a four-minute walk once outside, under a bridge and across the street.
Once you clear security at the terminal, they keep your boarding pass so they can come find you when it’s time to board your flight. It really helps you relax when you don’t need to worry about what time you need to leave the lounge to make your way over to the gate.
I wasn’t able to immediately take a shower since both shower rooms and the bathtub room were all taken, so I went to get breakfast instead. The buffet was basic, but featured what you would expect in a standard breakfast. They did have a menu, but the only thing you could really order was the Asian breakfast, so I decided to do that. It was dumplings and tasted decent.
By then, a shower was ready for me. It featured great amenities from Etro, and it was a great way to decompress after my flight. Of course, I snagged one of the signature Lufthansa rubber ducks from the bathroom area. It’s pretty much a rite-of-passage when visiting the First Class Terminal.
I found the shower to be really nice, with a spacious changing area and tall ceilings — perfect for a guy like me. I’ve been in some airport showers that were basically a porta-potty, but this one was definitely not.
Since I was exhausted from my flight and being at the White House the day before, I decided to take a nap in one of their relaxation rooms. I caught up on some Empire — or as I like to say, recharging with Cookie. The bed is small and kind of firm, but I was exhausted so I ended up sleeping almost three hours and through my alarm. Luckily, you won’t sleep through your flight since they’ll come find you, but it turns out that my flight was delayed anyway.
They actually have better Champagne in the First Class Terminal than on the plane, so I had a nice Ruinart after waking up. There’s a huge variety of top-shelf liquor to choose from, including dozens of high-end scotches and whiskeys.
Throughout the lounge, there are also private office areas, relaxation lounge chairs and a cigar bar. Interestingly, while there were free cigars on offer in the First Class Lounge in the main terminal, I couldn’t find any here, so be sure to bring your own.
When it was time for my flight, I had my own driver and a Porsche Cayenne. It was great taking pictures of all the different planes and the driver was really great. We chatted about our favorite aircraft, and he waited until after the bus boarded to minimize my time outdoors, as it was hot in Frankfurt. Generally, I hate remote gates, but getting driven in your own Porsche Cayenne makes it much more enjoyable.
If you want to visit it yourself, access to the First Class Terminal is limited to those departing on a Lufthansa Group airline (including Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian) and who flew or will fly in first class on the same day on Lufthansa or SWISS. HON Circle members, Lufthansa’s top-tier elite status earned only by flying 600,000 miles in business class or first class, are also invited to use the lounge when departing on a Lufthansa Group flight.
Note that holding Star Alliance Gold status isn’t enough here, and neither is arriving or departing on a non-Lufthansa Star Alliance flight in first class. And although the website claims you need to be departing in first class, that’s not quite true as I was able to access it even though I only arrived in first class and departed Frankfurt in business.
I had a great experience at the First Class Terminal, and I recommend ticking that item off your bucket list if you ever have the opportunity to. While the lounge isn’t as over-the-top luxurious as some other ones around the world, it was comfortable and it’s always great to be able to sleep after an exhausting day. And as part of my Lufthansa First Class redemption for 62,500 Amex Membership Rewards points transferred to Aeroplan and $455, my visit didn’t break the bank.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards