Flying the A380 in Lufthansa First Class – Introduction
Lufthansa Business Class B737 Kraków to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge (Pier B) Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Porsche Transfer Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class A380 Frankfurt to San Francisco
Lufthansa First Class A380 Experience Final Thoughts
I was in Europe a little over two months during this summer, travelling all around and also visiting my family in Poland. I would fly somewhere for a couple of days (London, Edinburgh, Iceland, Dubai, etc) and then return to Poland and then fly somewhere else, etc. You can read all about my summer trips on the Trip Reports page and you can also read my Summer 2015 Travel Reflection.
I was able to fly Lufthansa First Class on the Boeing 747-400 in late June from Seattle to Frankfurt, just before the discontinuation of the separate seat and bed First Class combination – so that’s how I got to Europe for the summer. I study at university in Seattle during the year and therefore a couple of weeks ago I decided to begin searching for flights so I could get to Seattle before uni starts.
Initially I asked all of you whether I should fly Lufthansa First Class on the A380 or B747-8i, and after thinking about it, I went with the A380. I had actually booked Frankfurt to Washington on the Boeing 747-8i in First Class, however just a few days before the flight, Lufthansa opened award space in First Class on the A380 from Frankfurt to San Francisco so I switched to that flight. I mean eleven hours on the Lufthansa A380 in First Class?! Much better than ~7 hours on the Frankfurt to Washington route, that’s four hours extra in Lufthansa First Class for the same cost!
I booked Kraków-Frankfurt-San Francisco-Seattle just a few days before departure (mainly since I had to wait for United Airlines to open up award space on SFO-SEA) and here is the flight map and miles:
I redeemed a total of 85.000 Lufthansa Miles & More miles and about ~$240 USD in taxes/fees and fuel surcharges. I would’ve redeemed using another programme to avoid the fuel surcharges, however Lufthansa was only releasing First Class award space to Miles & More members on the Frankfurt – San Francisco route and therefore I didn’t really have a choice.
I was scheduled to fly this itinerary on the 9th of September, however Lufthansa pilots began to strike on the 8th of September and continued their strike on the 9th. The strike on the 8th was some long-haul flights and the strike on the 9th was some short-medium haul flights. Since I was scheduled to fly on the 9th, the flight that was cancelled was Kraków – Frankfurt.
I received the flight cancellation notice about 20 hours before the actual flight, which was fine and I immediately called the Lufthansa First Class customer service phone number. I explained the situation and the nice lady offered to rebook me on the same flights on the 10th of September, I agreed and thanked her.
I thought everything was alright and confirmed – nope! I checked my itinerary and e-ticket later online to find it missing and not re-issued! Thankfully I had caught this error or otherwise I would’ve arrived at the airport on the 10th without a ticket, so I called the First Class service again and asked them what was going on with the ticket. Here is what they explained to me:
Lufthansa cannot rebook you into a revenue fare class (from award) on some partner airlines including United.
What had happened was that the first agent I spoke with tried to rebook me from class “I” (the award class) to class “C” (Full Fare Business Class) on the United flight from SFO-SEA (since there wasn’t award space on the United flight), however the computer wouldn’t re-issue the ticket as this isn’t allowed and Lufthansa can ONLY rebook you from award to revenue class on Lufthansa flights and select partner airlines (I assume those within the Lufthansa Group: Austrian, SWISS, etc).
So basically while she rebooked me from “I” to “C” on the KRK-FRA flight and from “O” to “F” on the FRA-SFO flight, this wasn’t allowed with United on the SFO-SEA flight. So the second agent I spoke with apologised and thanked me for checking my itinerary online and rebooked me on a later United flight from SFO to SEA that did have award space in class “I”…. only that I ended up with a 10 hour connection in San Francisco!
The AMAZING and AWESOME thing that happened as a result of the strike is that Lufthansa rebooked me from First Class (O) to First Class (F)… which is a revenue FULL FARE class.. and that means I earned 300% of the flight miles PLUS a 25% elite bonus with Miles & More! I mean it doesn’t get more awesome than that – earning miles on an award ticket! The miles posted the day after the flight:
Not only did I receive a “discount” on my flight award, but I also got status miles which helps me extend my Miles & More Senator status!
However I still wasn’t happy about the ten hour connection that I would have in San Francisco (The Centurion Lounge is nice, but ten hours there..), so during my time at the Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt, I asked the agents if they could put me on an earlier flight to Seattle. They said they would try to make it happen, and so as they worked their magic as I took a shower and ate some food. As I was ready to board the flight (a.k.a ride in a Porsche), a Lufthansa agent informed me that she rebooked me on an earlier flight to Seattle so I would only have a three hour connection in San Francisco… awesome! I thought to myself that award space must have opened up and they were able to switch me to an earlier flight in Class “I” on the United flight. Nope.
They rebooked me into “C” (Full Fare Business) on the United flight… huh?!? I thought they couldn’t do that?! In the airline world there are so many conditions, exceptions, rules, etc. and so I just thanked her, shut up, and enjoyed all of the miles that I would earn from the award itinerary. Lufthansa worked some serious magic and literally converted my award ticket into a full fare revenue ticket which easily costs over $10.000 USD. So in the end here are the miles that I received for the flights:
KRK-FRA (Business Class C): 2.500
FRA-SFO (First Class O): 18.477
SFO-SEA (Business Class (Domestic United First) C): 1.608
Total Award and Status Miles: 22.585. I also received 20.977 HON Circle Miles! 🙂
I paid 85.000 miles – 22.585 miles received = 62.415 Miles total (the cost of this trip)
Obviously this doesn’t happen normally and it is an exception (an awesome one). Needless to say, the whole journey in Lufthansa First Class was awesome.. especially since I was in class “F” on the First Class flight… on the A380! In the end, the flights were as follows:
10 September: Lufthansa 1371 Kraków – Frankfurt, departing at 06:50 arriving at 08:30, Business Class
10 September: Lufthansa 454 Frankfurt – San Francisco, departing at 10:20 arriving at 12:50, First Class
10 September: United 6347 San Francisco – Seattle, departing at 15:50 arriving at 17:55, First (Business) Class
The only thing that sucked about this journey was the last flight – United Express on a CRJ700… oh that was painful.. even in First Class.. especially after an eleven hour flight in Lufthansa First Class on the Airbus A380.
Ok, I just realised that this Trip Report introduction is turning into an essay! Anyway, hopefully you guys understand what happened and what the end result was… now time for the actual trip report!