- Introduction: A New Era Of German Business Class
- Review: Lufthansa Lounge Detroit Airport (DTW)
- Review: Lufthansa Business Class 787 (DTW-FRA)
- Review: Lufthansa Welcome Lounge Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
- Review: Hilton Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
- Review: Condor Business Class A330-900neo (FRA-SEA)
- Are Condor’s “Prime” Business Class Seats Worth It?
- Review: Marriott Seattle Airport (SEA)
- Review: Alaska Lounge Seattle Airport (SEA)
- Review: Amex Centurion Lounge Seattle Airport (SEA)
- Review: Alaska Airlines 737-900ER First Class (SEA-MIA)
For the outbound portion of my quick trip to Germany, I flew Lufthansa’s new Boeing 787-9 business class from Detroit to Frankfurt.
This isn’t Lufthansa’s new Allegris business class, but rather is an interim new business class product. Lufthansa opportunistically picked up five additional Boeing 787s during the pandemic, which were intended for China’s Hainan Airlines. When the airline was no longer in a financial position to take delivery of these planes, Lufthansa seized the opportunity to expand.
So these planes have the interiors that were intended for Hainan, except with Lufthansa finishes. You can expect these 787s to primarily operate routes across the Atlantic.
So, how was the flight? It was definitely an improvement over Lufthansa’s previous business class product. It’s so nice to finally have direct aisle access from every business class seat. I find Lufthansa’s soft product to be really consistent, so the experience was exactly what I expected, given how many other airlines offer exactly the same seats in business class.
How I booked my Lufthansa business class ticket
I booked my Lufthansa business class ticket using Avianca LifeMiles. I booked the following flight in business class for 63,000 LifeMiles plus $51.70 in taxes and fees:
2/28 LH443 Detroit to Frankfurt departing 4:15PM arriving 6:20AM (+1 day)
Avianca LifeMiles is partners with most major transferable points currencies, including Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou, so the points are easy to come by. I even had an existing balance of LifeMiles, as I had transfered points over when there was a 20% transfer bonus, so in the end this award cost me even fewer transferable points.
Lufthansa business class lounge & boarding
In the previous installment I reviewed the Lufthansa Lounge Detroit, which is pretty decent. This is Lufthansa’s smallest outstation where the carrier operates its own lounge, so that’s pretty cool. My flight was scheduled to depart from gate D5, located just a short walk from the lounge.
It was kind of surreal to see a Boeing 787 in the Lufthansa livery, as it’s not a plane I’ve historically associated with the airline.
Boarding was scheduled to start at 3:45PM, 30 minutes ahead of the 4:15PM departure. Sure enough, that’s exactly when boarding started, with business class passengers being invited to board first. It’s nice that gates in this part of the terminal have two jet bridges, making boarding more efficient.
Lufthansa 787 business class cabin & seats
Lufthansa has a total of 26 business class seats on its Boeing 787-9s. These seats are all between doors one and two, and are in a 1-2-1 configuration, spread across seven rows. Specifically, these planes have Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats, which are the same reverse herringbone seats you’ll find on a countless number of airlines.
As I mentioned above, these cabins were initially intended for Hainan Airlines, so the only changes that Lufthansa made were to the finishes and branding. The cabin definitely has more of a Lufthansa feel when you’re looking front to back…
…rather than back to front.
If you’re traveling with someone, you may prefer to sit in the center section, so that you can easily chat with that person during the flight. Worry not, if you’re seated in the center next to a stranger, there’s a partition that can be raised.
Meanwhile for everyone else, I’d recommend selecting a window seat, as they’re all more or less created equal.
I assigned myself seat 6A, the window seat on the left side in the second to last row.
This seat had the standard Collins Aerospace seat features, including the two compartments to the side of the seat. The rear compartment is quite shallow, and can be used to store something like a pair of glasses or a phone, while the forward compartment has the entertainment controller, headphone jacks, AC power outlet, and USB-A outlet.
Underneath those two consoles is a monitor that can help you control seat functions, which is well placed and easy to use.
The tray table extends from underneath the personal entertainment monitor, and is folded over in half when stored. When you extend it to the full size, it’s quite a big table.
Underneath the console on the left is an additional exposed storage area, near where you’d place your feet.
Speaking of foot placement, one potential downside to reverse herringbone seats is that you have to place your feet inside fairly small footwells. There are more restrictive seats out there in terms of space for your feet, but this also isn’t particularly spacious.
The aisle-side armrest has a further storage compartment, where you could place an amenity kit or a bottle of water.
The last thing to note is that while there are overhead reading lights, unfortunately there are no individual air nozzles, which is a shame.
All-in-all, this is a huge improvement to Lufthansa’s premium cabin product, compared to the old business class seats. However, this does also mark a huge reduction in premium capacity. For example, Lufthansa A350-900s feature 48 business class seats, so this cabin is just over half as big. That’s not great in terms of award availability and upgrade odds.
Lufthansa business class amenities
There were a variety of amenities waiting at my seat upon boarding, most of which looked familiar from previous flights. There was the typical Lufthansa business class pillow and blanket. It’s not the best airplane bedding in the world, but it is quite good, if you ask me, as the blanket is pretty substantial, without being too warm.
Amenity kits were from Porsche Design, and interestingly were in what looked like a sunglasses case. Some will probably find that to be pretty useful to reuse, while others won’t. The amenity kit contained socks, hand and body cream, lip balm, a dental kit, headphone covers, and a cleaning cloth. It’s kind of amazing that they fit all of this in the case.
There were also a pair of wired headphones connected to the seat. They were above average quality, I thought. Unfortunately unlike some other cutting edge product nowadays, there was no bluetooth audio available.
There was also a bottle of water waiting at each seat upon boarding.
Toward the end of the boarding process, pre-departure drinks were served, with the choice of water, orange juice, or champagne. I selected the champagne, which was served in proper glassware.
Lastly, menus for the flight were distributed.
Lufthansa 787 business class entertainment & Wi-Fi
Despite this being a new kind of aircraft from Lufthansa, it had the same old entertainment system.
There was a huge selection of movies, and a more limited selection of TV shows and music. So while I don’t love the interface, there should be no shortage of things to watch.
I’m not huge into actually watching inflight entertainment, though I ended up enjoying a few episodes of the sitcom “Hacks.”
The 787’s entertainment system also had a great map feature, which I enjoyed keeping an eye on throughout the flight.
Lufthansa’s Boeing 787-9s also feature Wi-Fi for purchase.
There were three pricing plans available on this flight:
- For €5 you could purchase a messaging pass
- For €15 you could purchase a two hour premium pass
- For €25 you could purchase a full flight premium pass
I ended up purchasing the premium pass. While I wouldn’t consider €25 to be cheap, at least there were no data caps, and you could even switch between devices.
Lufthansa 787 departure from Detroit
Boarding was pretty efficient, and in the end the flight was quite full, with all business class seats being occupied.
Seated behind me was this adorable lady. From boarding I noticed how upbeat and excited she was about flying business class. She explained to the crew how she was carrying her mother’s ashes to Germany, how it was her first flight in business class, and how she was so excited and planned on documenting the flight and not sleeping. It’s always nice to see people in premium cabins who aren’t jaded.
At around 4:20PM boarding was complete, at which point the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our imminent departure, and our flight time of 7hr30min. We pushed back at 4:30PM, right next to a Royal Jordanian Boeing 787 (probably Detroit’s most interesting aircraft).
The safety video screened as we taxied out, and by 4:45PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 22L.
It was a smooth climb out, and I enjoyed the views of all the snowy plains as we made our way toward Frankfurt — it’s a slightly different view than I’m used to in Florida!
The seatbelt sign was turned off about five minutes after takeoff.
Lufthansa business class dinner service
Dinner was served after takeoff, and you can find the food and drink list for the flight below.
Around 25 minutes after takeoff, warm towels were distributed.
After that, drinks were served off a trolley. It was around 40 minutes after takeoff by the time that the flight attendant reached my seat toward the back of the cabin. I had tried to order the South African white wine, though they had already transitioned to the March menu, so instead had a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. I had a glass of still warm to go along with it, and was also offered a ramekin with cashews.
After the drink service, it took quite some for meals to be served. I was offered the starter around 80 minutes after takeoff. This consisted of the choice of one of three starters, a mixed salad, and a selection of bread. For the appetizer I selected the ahi tuna poke, marinated cucumber, curled daikon radish, and green tea noodle salad.
The entire starter tray was cleared once I finished, and then a few minutes later I was brought my main course — this time it wasn’t served from the trolley. Of the three main course choices, I selected the crab patty with shrimp and scallop mousse, capellini pasta with mushrooms, sautéed squash and carrot ribbons, sautéed baby bok choy, and lemon chive beurre blanc.
Once that was cleared, I was offered a cheese plate, which consisted of three kinds of cheese, two grapes (yes, two of them), and some packaged crackers.
Lastly, I was offered Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, which was the only dessert option.
The meal concluded around two hours after takeoff, and a small box of chocolates was placed at my seat at this point.
During dinner I watched some sitcoms, though I also enjoyed the beautiful sunset views outside the window.
What was my take on the meal service? I find Lufthansa to be consistent with catering, to a fault. The food was reasonably good (I liked the poke appetizer and the crab cake main course), though I also can’t help but feel like Lufthansa is rather lazy and unoriginal with its meal service.
Many of the dishes being served have been on the menu for years, and there are some areas where the experience could be made a bit more premium. For example, it would be nice if starters weren’t served on a tray with a paper liner, if there were a dessert option other than ice cream, and if a bit more effort were put into the cheese presentation.
These are all minor things, but I think they’d add up to a more elevated experience. Hopefully when Lufthansa introduces its new Allegris business class, we also see the soft product revamped.
Lufthansa 787 business class bed
While over northeastern Canada with around 5hr45min remaining enroute, I decided to make my bed and try to get some sleep.
I find these kinds of reverse herringbone seats to be quite comfortable for sleeping, and I managed to get cozy and fall asleep almost immediately.
However, my sleep was quickly interrupted. During boarding, a flight attendant mentioned to me that the captain said we had good odds of seeing the Northern Lights. I asked her to wake me up in case that did in fact happen while I was asleep. While she was on her rest break at this point, I was delighted when one of her colleagues woke me up.
Somehow in all of my travels, I’ve never seen the Northern Lights before, not on the ground or in the air. So I was so happy to finally see them. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a great picture, as both the person behind me and across from me were watching movies, which created quite a bit of glare. Still, it was awesome to see, and I’m even more determined to eventually take a Northern Lights trip.
After some brief excitement I managed to fall asleep again, and I ended up waking up around 1hr50min before landing, just as we were passing Ireland.
Unfortunately even when I was able to rest, it was pretty consistently interrupted. There was a family with a toddler across from me. That’s fair enough, but the parents didn’t do a whole lot to try to keep the baby entertained and quiet. The baby would constantly scream, and the parents would just say “shhhh” while continuing to ignore him otherwise.
Lufthansa 787 business class lavatories
Lufthansa’s Boeing 787-9s have three business class lavatories, with two behind the cabin and one in front of the cabin. The lavatories behind the cabin are a pretty good size, and even have windows, which is always a fun feature.
I also appreciate how well stocked Lufthansa lavatories are with amenities, including eyeshades, earplugs, dental kits, shaving kits, mouthwash, and more.
Lufthansa business class breakfast service
Around 90 minutes before landing the crew slowly started to turn on the mood lighting, for anyone who might want to wake up for breakfast.
There was no hot breakfast on this flight, which is fair enough, given how short this flight is (I was one of the few people to eat breakfast, and that’s only because I’m reviewing the flight). The main course for the breakfast consisted of passionfruit muesli with kiwi and fresh berries, which was tasty. There was also a side of fruit, as well as a selection of bread. I had coffee and water to drink.
Lufthansa business class service
The crew on this Lufthansa flight was very good. The purser was a seasoned professional who looked after everyone and was quite hands on, while there were two junior flight attendants working my aisle, who were enthusiastic and polished.
Obviously flying with Lufthansa isn’t like flying with Qatar Airways or Singapore Airlines, but as far as service on western airlines go, this was a good flight.
Lufthansa 787 arrival in Frankfurt
At around 5:55AM local time, the captain announced that we’d be descending shortly to Frankfurt, and should be touching down in around 25 minutes. The sun was slowly starting to rise during our descent, making for beautiful views in the distance.
We had a smooth touchdown in Frankfurt at 6:20AM. From there we had a roughly 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate. I headed to the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, prior to heading to the Hilton Frankfurt Airport, where I’d be spending the night.
I’m happy I had the chance to fly Lufthansa’s new (interim) Boeing 787 business class. It’s cool to fly Lufthansa in a reverse herringbone seat, given for how long I’ve been accustomed to Lufthansa’s old product.
Aside from the new cabins, this was your typical Lufthansa flight. Wi-Fi was great, entertainment was reasonably good, service was friendly, and food was edible, though not really anything to get excited about.
With Lufthansa soon introducing its new Allegris business class seats, here’s to hoping we see changes to the soft product as well.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s Boeing 787 business class?
That tuna dish is a joke, like 4 tiny cubes of tuna.
Also, great LH now has a product that leading airlines had 5-7 years ago. Bizarre it gets a 4.5 rating, just because it is a step-up from their inferior regular product.
Hi Ben, are Lufthansa J awards not showing up anymore through united OR aeroplan programs? I used to see several seats for flights departing 3-5days out (SFO to BLR) couple of weeks ago but don't see any of it now. Do you know if anything has changed?
Welcomed the comment about the lady taking her Mom's ashes home. Best to her.
Seat belt sign turned off five minutes after takeoff. That’s pretty quick.
Honestly Ben, you really need to rethink your rating system. How was this flight, from your description the epitome of "just fine" or "decent" a 4,5/5 or 9/10? It really does not make sense.
Unless the rating might not be independent, those many posts about shithansa are a bit strange... I avoid It like the plague...
I think previously Ben has explained that the ratings are based on expectations. A "just OK" QR/CX/SQ flight where the expectations are higher would rate lower than the same service etc on LH for example where one has lower expectations.
I just can’t get over the fact that I flew in 6A on the exact same airframe (D-ABPD) in December. We had our butt in the same seat… this is my closest contact with royalty.
Bruce - seriously??? Dude, get a life!
It looks like Ben likes LH pretty much. I usually share his airlines taste, except for LH. Look at the food! It's terrible. To cross the Atlantic, AF, AF and again AF please.
And Swiss, and British too...maybe even SAS...heck if Austria had better seats I'd recommend them too over Lufthansa at this point.
It all looks nice, but also totally ordinary. In other words, LH in a nutshell. I love the new aircraft. And those seats are awesome if I wind up on one of those 787s. But there’s absolutely nothing exciting about it.
And I loved how you described the food because that’s how I feel about every meal I have on LH (whether business or economy). I can name a dozen airline that served me better and I don’t fly (does anyone?) as much as you.
Lucky, did you had the chance to peek into Premium Economy ? I am wondering if it is the standard Lufthansa seat or an inherited product from Hainan Air.
The breakfast looked very tasty, at least for my preferred breakfast dishes. Thank you for the detailed review.
I don't think I've ever seen him share any photos or impressions of a PE product while doing a review of business class. A lost opportunity for him, really.
@Scudder Sorry to be "that guy" but Ben actually has a few reviews where he takes a lot behind the curtain at Premium Economy/Economy. Off the top of my head I can think of his United 767-300 Polaris review from 2019.
@InternationalTraveler Based on other LH 787 reviews, it looks like Lufthansa uses the inherited PE Economy from Hainan, which is the (ubiquitous) Collins Aerospace MiQ. The rest of Lufthansa's widebody fleet has the ZIMMagic seat model.
Lufthansa's Allegris Premium Economy will get the ZIMPrivacy seat, which you'll already find on Swiss.
Ben's comment about the lady who was excited to be flying in business class for the first time and planned on not sleeping, brought back memories of my first trip to LHR in Upper Class back in 2001. The FA asked us if we had been on this flight before, and I replied that we are Virgin virgins! Back then they took appointments for a massage and/or a manicure and asked if we wanted to...
Ben's comment about the lady who was excited to be flying in business class for the first time and planned on not sleeping, brought back memories of my first trip to LHR in Upper Class back in 2001. The FA asked us if we had been on this flight before, and I replied that we are Virgin virgins! Back then they took appointments for a massage and/or a manicure and asked if we wanted to be awakened at that time. I said that I would probably be awake the whole time considering the bar and eat anytime menu. Wow, I didn't even want to get off the plane. Then came the arrivals lounge!! What more to ask? As Ben said, "It's always nice to see people in premium cabins who aren't jaded." Now, our hire car drives up to the Upper Class Wing at LHR and I'm still NOT jaded as I appreciate the great service.
Thanks for the review Ben!
How far ahead of the flight did you book?
Lufthansa looks perfectly mediocre, as usual. I find it entertaining that they insist on the wired headphones attached to the seat on this plane as well. I’ve always found that a strange quirk…
Despite the mediocre service, it’s exciting to see that the seats are at least starting to catch up to 2015!
About the crying toddler - sometimes there is nothing the parents can do. Wait and see when you start to travel long distance with your boy.
No one thinks their kid will ever be like that. Until their kid is exactly like that.
Looking forward to Ben’s first review in that situation!
Agreed. Been there; done that.
+1 ... Never judge the parents with the toddler!! :D They are already exhausted before even getting on the flight (getting a toddler(s) from home, through check-in, security, hanging around an airport etc., all out of the usual routine... its a marathon. The kid is probably overtired, overstimulated etc. ... If only there were as many people who would offer to help parents on a flight as there are those who stare at parents struggling)
Ben never goes for the beef fillet which I had at 40 to 1 odds. I gave the tortellini an outside chance at even money but of course the heavy favorite fish entree dish didn’t disappoint .
So, how does it work when an airline buys some 787-9s that they didn't previously have? I assume they have to train their pilots and certify them on this aircraft?
Yes, they can also transfer some from other planes. In the case of LH, they are getting new 787s anyway this year.
I appreciate your detailed review and the many photos
A month or so ago flying ATL-FRA in J at least a few people used half of their mouthwashes and then returned the half used bottle back into the lav holder. Absolutely disgusting.
The link to the DTW Lufthansa lounge is broken, and the review has disappeared.
The link in the review itself is broken, but you can still access the lounge review via the "More From This Trip" section at the top of the page.
That's a horrible flight time. Who can sleep on a flight that departs before 5 pm? A departure at 6 or 7 pm would be much better, especially since it would allow passengers to work a full day or have a full day of meetings in Detroit. The only reason Lufthansa offers this flight is the car industry.
I've always wondered the same thing. That flight lands between 11pm and midnight Detroit time, so most people will have trouble falling asleep for a long period of time. Why do airlines operate many of these short transatlantic flights so early in the day? They try to have them land at their hubs around 6am, which I assume is so they can catch early connections and have a full day at their destination. But is...
I've always wondered the same thing. That flight lands between 11pm and midnight Detroit time, so most people will have trouble falling asleep for a long period of time. Why do airlines operate many of these short transatlantic flights so early in the day? They try to have them land at their hubs around 6am, which I assume is so they can catch early connections and have a full day at their destination. But is that really worth for a passenger if they cannot sleep on the first overnight flight?
Or maybe this is beneficial for those in Economy. I assume it's relatively easy to stay up during that flight, and the go to sleep when you land in Frankfurt (or wherever your final destination is). But on the other hand, that is horrible for jetlag.
It's a flight time Lufthansa has used for years and according to government data (T100) it routinely has load factors above 90%, so people like it. Who cares why Lufthansa operates it - it does well.
And it's not the worst flight time. United has a 2PM flight or so from Chicago to Frankfurt. Lufthansa has a flight from New York to Frankfurt at 3:30/4PM. The benefit of these early flights? You land in...
It's a flight time Lufthansa has used for years and according to government data (T100) it routinely has load factors above 90%, so people like it. Who cares why Lufthansa operates it - it does well.
And it's not the worst flight time. United has a 2PM flight or so from Chicago to Frankfurt. Lufthansa has a flight from New York to Frankfurt at 3:30/4PM. The benefit of these early flights? You land in FRankfurt at 5 or 6 in the morning and can be most anywhere in Europe by 9 or 10 AM. Pretty popular and convenient for many travelers.
Also, Delta operates like 4 flights a day from Detroit to Amsterdam, and their first flight of the day is a 3:30PM / 4:00PM or so. Again, this facilitates connectivity in Europe. And it's pretty popular.
Please do not interrupt a personal opinion rant with data.
"It's a flight time Lufthansa has used for years and according to government data (T100) it routinely has load factors above 90%, so people like it."
It's only at 90%+ because it's basically the only non-Sky Team flight from Detroit to Europe.
And your point is what?
My point was and is that Lufthansa can get away with having a horrible departure time from Detroit because it's the only non-Sky Team option. I'm willing to bet that the single biggest customers on this flight don't care because Frankfurt and Detroit are the O&D. I suspect very few of the corporate customers are connecting on beyond Frankfurt. And they're certainly not connecting in Detroit on United.
It’s timed for German passengers who work in the car industry. Quick business trip to Detroit and back. They don’t adjust to Detroit time, but keep their German time rhythm. So for them the time works perfectly well.
I often flew LH JFK-FRA at 4 PM. The flight usually operated on time with an early arrival, basically 10:30 PM NYC time. I made good use of this arrival with the help of early check in at Hotels nearby. I actually sleep better in a bed as opposed to a business seat.
I also am aware that this type of early arrival offers a plethora of possible connections.