Flying Lufthansa 747 First Class – One of the very best luxury travel experiences
Flying the Lufthansa 747 in first class was at the top of my list of flying goals. To start with, how much longer will it be possible to fly the 747 in first class?
The 747 Queen of the Skies is one of the most iconic airliners ever. It’s a legend. And it is disappearing from the skies very quickly. KLM will stop flying their 747s in 2021, BA by 2024, and Qantas are stopping in 2020. Lufthansa expect to replace half their 747s with 777s by 2025.
Opportunities for flying on a 747 at all are vanishing. If you want to fly one in first class you have to act soon. When you look at flying the Lufthansa 747 in first class it’s a real bucket list item for aviation fans:
- Last chance to fly the 747?
- Experience the legendary Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt airport
- Be driven to the plane in a Porsche
- Fly with the world’s single biggest buyer of caviar
My experience flying Lufthansa 747 first class
My flight was from Frankfurt to Shanghai. I paid just £272.57 and 105,000 miles. When I booked, the cash rate for the flight was a whopping £10,488.39
The flight was LH 728 on the 747-8i from FRA-PVG. With a departure at 18:05 and 10:35 flying time before arriving at 11:40 it is a perfect flight to experience the 747. I chose seat 2A, which I think offers slightly better privacy than the first row, and couldn’t wait to have over 10 hours in luxury.
I added a connecting flight from Zurich on Swiss at no extra cost, which gave me an opportunity to try the utterly sensational Swiss First Class Terminal at ZRH.
Transfer and boarding
This is perhaps the best part of flying Lufthansa First Class because it’s so special. When it’s time, after you’ve enjoyed all the Champagne and filet steak you want in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at FRA, you’ll be collected by your personal assistant and escorted to a private immigration counter for passport formalities.
Then you’ll be taken to your own Porsche for the drive across the tarmac to the aircraft. A lift takes you up to a short walkway into the first class cabin. It’s like being Royalty.
Lufthansa 747 first class seatmap
There are just 8 seats in the nose of the aircraft on the lower deck. Each is an “open suite” – these are not the fully enclosed private suites like you’ll find on Etihad, Emirates, or Singapore.
They are however, very nice, spacious, and do offer good privacy. It’s not as private as a fully enclosed suite, but there are at most only 8 people in this cabin and we’re right at the front which means there’s no reason for anyone from the other cabins to be walking past you.
Which seat is best on Lufthansa 747 first class ?
Rows 1 and 2 are virtually identical and ideal for solo travellers. 3D and G is the only option if you want to be next to your travel partner – the gap between 3 A and D, or between 3G and K, is too large to comfortably communicate with your neighbour.
1A and 1K are closer together than the other window seats and would be an option if you can get them.
In reality, all the seats are equally brilliant. You may find it slightly quieter in rows 1 and 2. When you raise the privacy partition at your seat you feel very secluded, but the most private is row 1 where there is nobody in front of you.
It’s only a slight difference though and in reality row 2 is just as private because the people in row 1 are looking forward and have their partitions up too.
At times row 2 is the most private because the view across to the other side of row 2 is blocked by a storage compartment in the middle, in front of the centre pair of seats in row 3.
At other times, the top of that cupboard is used by the crew when preparing drinks and snacks. Row 3 is slightly less private because people in rows 1 and 2 will walk back past you to the bathroom, but that’s really the only difference.
Lufthansa 747 first class seats
The seat is 31 inches wide, compared to 20 in business and 17 in economy.
The bed is 81 inches long when flat, compared to 78 in business, or the 31 inch seat pitch in economy. It may be hard to appreciate how much space you have, so look at the windows in this picture.
Your seat area covers the length of four windows. The TV screen looks like it’s too far away, but actually it’s big enough and the screen is good enough quality that it feels right, and it means you can comfortably see the screen from any position when reclining.
There is a side table by the window where your Laurent Perrier Champagne and macadamia nuts (a Lufthansa tradition) will be served prior to take-off. Beyond that is the hatch where the main table is stowed – the crew will operate the table for you. And at the far end is the traditional Lufthansa rose in a white vase.
It’s a very classy appearance with nice materials and nothing gaudy. It’s all cream and white and beige and brown, with some nice aluminium touches.
Your main storage is in the ottoman, which serves as a foot rest. It is quite far away from your seat when upright so you have to unbuckle to get to it, but it is easily big enough to stow your carry on.
There is a small storage compartment along the window, and there is a locker for each passenger at the back of the cabin.
The seat is very comfortable and the controls are easy and obvious, under a flap in the armrest. There’s a lamp built into the seat back above your head and another at the front by your TV.
The window shades are the electronic variety and have a semi-sheer panel to keep direct sun out of your wyes but still let light through, followed by a blackout panel if you want to sleep.
There’s a 3-pin and a USB power socket in the arm rest by the window. There’s nothing especially fancy, but there’s also really nothing to complain about.
There is a privacy screen which raises as high as the top of the upright seat and reaches forward to the end of the armrest. When it’s up you do feel very secluded, especially if you’re in row 1 where there is nobody in front of you.
Lufthansa 747 first class amenities
The amenity kit is by Windsor and includes the usual socks, ear plugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, and La Prairie skincare products. The pajamas are by Von Loack and there are some very thick and soft slippers which are so plush they make other airlines slippers look like torture devices.
Lufthansa 747 first class service
Service was the best I’ve ever had, maybe even better than in the Etihad First Class Apartment. Staff were just the right balance of attentive and efficient, and very friendly. I never had to wait for anything.
When my drink was getting low, someone would notice and ask if I wanted another. I never felt crowded or interrupted, and I never found myself waiting or wondering where the crew had got to.
Lufthansa 747 first class dining
This is where Lufthansa really shines. It used to be true that Lufthansa was the largest purchaser of caviar in the world. I doubt that’s true anymore, but caviar is still a hallmark of the Lufthansa experience. And it is a very enjoyable experience.
Even if you don’t think caviar is all that great, the enjoyment of having it in First Class is unbeatable. The little pearl spoon, the dishes of egg, onion, and creme fraiche, and the little toast points. If you choose it, and you should, there’s a stunningly good vodka to go with it.
OK, it’s just a little bit of caviar, but it feels like a big deal. After all the time you spent researching the flight and looking forward to it, it’s the culmination of your planning.
It’s not so much the taste of the food, it’s the taste of a very luxurious and indulgent way of life that is normally out of reach. Some people play it down, call it tacky, but it’s just a real pleasure to have such a delicate and intricate dining experience with immaculate service.
The rest of the food and drink was superb, and the crew are happy to bring you what you want at any time. Due to too much champagne and the wrong camera settings, all my photos of the food are bad and really don’t do justice to the excellent presentation and taste.
IFE (In-Flight Entertainment)
It’s what you would expect. A good range of movies, TV, music, and a moving map, on a 17 inch screen. It’s not the most modern, and the map is very basic, but you can watch recent blockbuster movies. There is a free wi-fi allowance for first class but I didn’t use it. Bose noise-cancelling headphones are supplied.
Sleeping on Lufthansa 747 first class
When it’s time for bed, a crew member will set things up for you. The bedding is high quality white cotton, with a mattress pad, a generous pillow, and a duvet. It feels nice and you will get a good sleep.
The cabin is suitably dark at night, with a subtle blue glow from the floor lighting. Raise the privacy screen and you will feel entirely hidden from view, which encourages relaxation. The toilet is “First Class Only” and while not especially spacious it was very clean and equipped with complimentary mouthwash and toothbrushes.
There’s even a window, so close the blind if you’re in there while on the ground.
Lufthansa 747 first class review
It’s not a modern fully enclosed suite, and in that respect it doesn’t compare to the Etihad Apartment. Service is excellent, but so it is on Etihad or Emirates or Cathay.
What makes this really special though, is that it’s one of the few remaining 747s, the most iconic passeneger aircraft of all time, and you have the incredible ground experience with the Porsche transfer and the amazing Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt.
That combination of the terminal, the transfers, and the 747 is why the Lufthansa 747 First Class is one of the very best luxury travel experiences that you must try before it disappears.