Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt) vs. First Class Lounge (Munich)
As part of an incredible United award redemption earlier this year, TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig managed to pass through both Frankfurt and Munich during his round-trip journey in Lufthansa first class. Both LH hubs offer a similar first-class experience, but there are a few details that give one airport the key advantage.
On a trip that ended in February, I had a chance to experience three long-haul flights in Lufthansa first class on a round-trip United award to Asia. While all three flights were fantastic, the Lufthansa first-class experience begins long before you step on board one of the airline's long-haul jets.
My girlfriend and I began our journey by flying from New York-JFK to Frankfurt on an Airbus A340-600 and then on to Seoul on the Boeing 747-8. During my Frankfurt connection, however, we walked over to the famous First Class Terminal — a standalone building exclusively for the use of passengers traveling in Lufthansa first class, HON Circle members and their guests.
Meanwhile, on our return, we flew from Paris to Newark via Munich, where we received similar ground-service accommodations, including a Mercedes ride from the Paris flight to the First Class Lounge, a fancy sit-down lunch and even a private bathroom with its very own tub.
Both experiences were excellent, but there's a clear winner here. Scroll on to experience both connections during this round-the-world first-class journey with Lufthansa.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
After an excellent flight on Lufthansa's A340-600, we arrived in Frankfurt a couple hours late due to an approaching blizzard in NYC.
We passed through immigration and walked the short distance from Frankfurt's main terminal to the First Class Terminal. If you're arriving from the city or an airport hotel by car, you'll likely be driven directly to the main entrance one level up.
However, because we walked over from another terminal, we entered through a small lobby on the ground floor, and took an elevator one floor to the main check-in desk. As we walked out of the elevator, we were met by a First Class Terminal "personal assistant," who took our passports and boarding passes and escorted us through the tiny security checkpoint.
Once inside, you'll find several seating areas, a very well-stocked bar, a sit-down restaurant, work rooms, rest/sleep rooms, a cigar lounge (with free cigars!), private bathrooms with showers and bathtubs, a kids play area, a duty free store and more.
There were a few other passengers already there when we arrived in the morning, but there were still plenty of open areas to camp out for our hours-long stay.
Most of the sitting areas are fairly quiet, but there's one arranged around a large TV.
The children's play area is decently sized, but there's not much to do but sit around and work on some coloring books. I've never seen children in the First Class Terminal (FCT), though.
The Cigar Lounge is definitely a FCT highlight.
It's much more than a room where you're allowed to smoke — it has a fully stocked bar and a variety of cigars for guests to sample.
I'm not a smoker, but I decided to give it a shot — for journalism.
There are two nap rooms, complete with a twin-size bed. If you want one of those, be sure to grab one as soon as you arrive.
You can also rest in public, if you prefer.
Since access is so restricted and the FCT isn't terribly convenient for connecting passengers, you shouldn't have any problem getting access to a shower right away.
I opted for one of the private bathrooms — that is, a room with a bathtub.
First Class Terminal guests get to leave with a memento of their visit — in the form of a bright yellow rubber duck.
The bath(tub) rooms also have a shower, so you aren't committed to getting refreshed in a bath.
Frankfurt First Class Catering
The First Class Terminal features catering by Do & Co, which provides catering for several airlines, including Asiana, Austrian, Turkish, Singapore and more.
Waiting at each seating area is a full spread of dried fruits and nuts. You can also order snacks an beverages from your seat. Don't fill up there, though!
The FCT has a full dining room, with a mix of entrees served from a buffet and a menu with waiter service.
The menu changes a bit from time to time, but you can always expect to find staples like steak, chicken, pasta and fish.
I ordered schnitzel as my entree, which was fantastic (as it ought to be in Germany!).
My girlfriend ordered the gnocchi, which was served with some roasted peppers (an odd combination, if you ask me). The gnocchi were delicious though.
There's also a self-serve Iberico ham station. And a TON of wine.
You'll want to save time to visit the FCT bar, though. It definitely has the most extensive selection I've ever seen at an airport.
I've found Lufthansa's bartenders to be quite knowledgable. I asked ours to pick a few whiskeys for us to taste, and I was not disappointed.
The lounge also had a variety of pre-mixed (and bottled) Lufthansa-branded cocktails, but I didn't have "room" for any of those.
If there's something you really like at the bar, you can walk around the corner to the duty free shop and grab one to go!
Frankfurt First-Class Car Service
Just as your flight begins boarding from the main terminal, a FCT attendant will bring you downstairs to the departure level, where an immigration officer will hand you your pre-stamped passport and you'll be led to a car and driven to your plane.
Since there were three FCT guests headed to our flight, we ended up with a Mercedes van instead of a sedan.
Another passenger (presumably traveling from Frankfurt's First Class Lounge instead of the FCT) was driven to our waiting 747-8 in an S-class Mercedes.
I won't cover the flights, since I went into quite a bit of detail in this review.
Munich First Class Car Service
Fast forward three weeks to our trip home...
A very friendly Lufthansa employee picked us up from our A321 from Paris and drove us directly to Munich's First Class Lounge. The other passengers on our Paris flight were driven to the terminal in a bus.
As you can see above, the driver had all of our key details, including our names, origin and destination, class of service, etc.
After a five-minute drive across the airport, we arrived at an entrance to the First Class Lounge.
Munich First Class Lounge
If you're connecting from a Lufthansa flight and deplane via jet bridge, you'll need to walk to the First Class Lounge. There are two entrances — one to use if you're arriving from an intra-Europe flight, and a second (upstairs) for international flights.
The first thing I noticed was how crowded the lounge was. Unlike at the FCT in Frankfurt, where there were entire sections of empty seats, most of the seats were occupied in Munich.
We did find a couple of open seats, but they were shared with another passenger. Just like in Frankfurt, there's plenty of food to choose from, including this gigantic bowl of fresh fruit.
There are a variety of seating options, but they weren't exactly kept tidy during our visit.
There are also a few private offices available, if you'd like to work during your lounge visit.
And yes — the same full-size bathroom as you'll find in the FCT, complete with bathtub (this one even had a jacuzzi function).
The bathrooms are all kept very clean, and amenities are replaced between guests.
I also received a First Class Lounge rubber duck, though it was noticeably smaller than the version I picked up in Frankfurt.
And showers are available in each of the bath(tub) rooms as well!
Munich First Class Catering
Unfortunately the Munich lounge doesn't have the same Do & Co catering as you'll find in Frankfurt, but the staff is still very accommodating.
We were offered glasses of Champagne and cold towels as soon as we arrived.
Then, we decided to stop by the sit-down dining area for a full meal.
The dining area was packed — many passengers were waiting for tables, so we ate quickly and returned to the main lounge area.
There's a full buffet available, including various salads, hot entrees, pretzels and other breads.
You can also order off of a regular menu or one with the daily specials.
I wanted to sample two entrees, so our friendly waitress brought half portions of each. The schnitzel was just as tasty and tender as the one I had in Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, the steak was delicious as well. It tasted very similar to the beef I had at JFK's Wining and Dining facility.
There's also a full bar, though it's significantly smaller than its FCT counterpart.
Which lounge do I prefer? Well, the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt absolutely has the upper hand — it's a very unique, high-end offering that without question elevates the overall Lufthansa experience significantly. If you can manage to book a first-class flight connecting in Frankfurt, there's no question that you'll have a better experience overall.
That said, the First Class Lounge in Munich is still excellent, and if you're able to visit during a less crowded period (I'd avoid lunchtime and the early afternoon), you'll likely have a fantastic time. With both offerings, Lufthansa goes above and beyond to offer a top-notch first-class experience, both on the plane and before you board.
For more on Lufthansa first class, see these posts:
- Review: Lufthansa First Class on the A330, A340, A380 and 747-8
- Inside the Best (and Most Exclusive) Airport Lounge in the US
- A 5-Star Whiskey Tasting at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal
- How to Book Awards with United MileagePlus Miles
- Transferring Ultimate Rewards Points to United
- Amenity Kit Faceoff: First Class vs. Business Class on Lufthansa
Which Lufthansa lounge do you prefer?