In this first trip report installment of our trip to Istanbul, Turkey and London, England I’ll cover our Lufthansa flight from Chicago to Frankfurt. Other upcoming installments will cover the following:
Lufthansa’s First Class Services from Chicago to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt
Istanbul – Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Istanbul – The Basilica Cistern.
Istanbul – Spice Market and Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul – Park Hyatt Macka Palas.
Istanbul – Our Day with Ihsan (besttaxidriver.com).
Istanbul – Agia Sophia.
Istanbul – Other Mosques and Churches.
Istanbul – I find out what Zultanite is….
Istanbul – The Food We Found.
Istanbul – Turkish Airlines’ International CIP Lounge.
London – Hyatt Andaz Liverpool Street.
London – Opening of Parliament – Great pictures of the Queen and procession to Parliament.
London – ‘The Sunshine Boys’ at the Savoy Theater (Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths)…..BRILLIANT, MUST SEE!
London – Spitalfield’s Antique Market – And the lesson I learned.
London – Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum.
London – Photos from around town.
London – Dinner at Petrus
London – St. James Park. Very friendly squirrels and ducks.
London – Covent Gardens.
London – All the other things that I can’t think of at the moment….
Pluckley – They said it was haunted……
Lufthansa First Class Services from Frankfurt to Detroit
On May 4th we started out on our trip departing from Grand Rapids, Michigan and flew to Chicago O’hare to connect to Lufthansa’s LH431 to Frankfurt where we would ultimately connect to another Lufthansa flight to Istanbul, Turkey.
The timing of the trip coincided with my Wife’s birthday which was also on May 4. I had specifically planned for us to go somewhere on her birthday this year after a fair amount of guilt ensued from my trip last year over her birthday. Last year, I went to Slovakia to visit family and to attend most of the World Hockey Championship games that were being played in Slovakia. What was supposed to be a quick 4 day trip just for the playoff rounds, turned into a 10 day trip that included more hockey, and allowed more time for family visits.
Suffice to say, I owed her big time.
Once we arrived in Chicago, our first stop was the United International First Class Lounge in Terminal C. On previous trips, I had skipped this lounge because Lufthansa flights depart from Terminal B, and I usually do not have much time between flights nor did I feel like hiking the distance between the middle of Terminal C and the far end of Terminal B. This time, we had nearly 4 hours, so plenty of time to visit the lounge.
After being admitted and seeing the lounge for the first time, a small wave of disappointment came over me. I did not have any expectations of the lounge, but for some reason it just didn’t do it for me. Granted the ability to self serve beverages including alcohol was nice and the bits and pieces of food was better than having no food at all, but the lounge itself was not that impressive for what I think a First Class Lounge experience should be like (maybe I’m just spoiled by Lufthansa’s Lounges).
After spending about an hour in the lounge, we decided to migrate over to the United Club next to the Lufthansa gates in terminal B since we needed to get our Lufthansa boarding passes (Lufthansa has a representative at the United Club) and ultimately wanted to be close by when boarding began. Honestly, I prefer that United Club over the International First Class Lounge in terminal C.
A few minutes before the scheduled boarding time, we queued up for boarding so that I can watch one of my favorite spectator sports at an airport: Watching passengers attempt to take on excessive or overweight carry-ons only to be denied by gate agents. Lufthansa has a policy of carry on baggage weighing 8kg, and they usually enforce it. After all, rules are rules and I would not be disappointed. I love watching passengers try to convince airline staff to let their 40 pound carry on roller pass Lufthansa’s scrutiny. Or the passenger who’s hockey bag sized carry on has no chance fitting in the carry-on measurement template located at the gate. The funny part is the passengers getting angry at the airline. What part of 8kg did they not understand? Oh well, it doesn’t take much to amuse me! But I digress.
Once on board my favorite aircraft, the 747-400 (for at least another 2 weeks until I fly on the new 747-8i!), we climbed the stairs into the First Class bubble where we were met by an overly friendly crew. Perhaps the friendliest I’ve ever encountered with Lufthansa, and they’ve always been really great! After each first class flight attendant introduced themselves, as well as the purser and the pilot, we settled into our seat with a glass of champagne and bowl of Macadamia Nuts. One of the flight attendants distributed amenity kits, slippers and pajamas, and we were ready to go.
On the Lufthansa 747’s with the older first class seats, which is in a 2×2 configuration, one seat per passenger was set up as a regular seat, and the other was already laid flat and converted into a bed, including a comforter. It would come in handy soon enough!
Pictures from the first few minutes of being aboard:
The flight departed on time, and not long afterward meal service started. After the bread basket made it’s rounds, Lufthansa’s signature Caviar and Appetizer service began. Aside from the Caviar, appetizer options included a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with Thai Chili Jam, Thai Beef Salad with Chili Vinaigrette and an Arugala & Panzanella salad:
After appetizers and before entrees, a seasonal salad with dried Yellow Tomatoes and Green Bell Peppers was served (Sorry, no photo!).
The entree choices included Seared Tenderloin of Beef with Chimichurri and Watercress Barley salad, Miso Bass with Shitake Mushrooms and Udon Noodles, Thai green vegetable and Pumpkin Curry with Rice Cake and Braised Lamb Shank with Penne Pasta. My wife chose the Braised Lamb (which she RAVED about) while I chose the Miso Bass which was absolutely fantastic:
Once the entrees were finished up, the dessert cart made it’s round and who can say no to a choice of: Traditional Cheese Plates, a Hazelnut Crunch Bar or Short Cake with Berries and Ice Cream. An excellent glass of LBV Niepoort Port was offered as well.
At this point I settled in with my iPad, my collection of Top Gear episodes and another glass or 2 of port while I waited for the Sandman to overtake me and give me 3 to 4 hours of sleep. After all, we still needed to get to Istanbul and I wanted to arrive rested and ready to go. But before any of this was able to happen, the crew had a surprise in store for my wife. I’m not sure how they knew it was my wife’s birthday (I don’t think they overheard me saying anything), but one of the flight attendants presented my wife with a Birthday Card that they created in the galley along with a Jet Friends stuffed animal, and the Purser presented my wife with a bottle of Wine. I couldn’t believe it. What a great and highly unexpected gesture!!
Not long after all of this happened, I decided to use my other seat and easily fell asleep for about 4 hours while we made our way over the Atlantic. A nudge from a flight attendant suggested that I better get up if I want to get any breakfast! A few minutes later Breakfast service would begin.
The Breakfast menu included three options: A “Fitness Breakfast” comprised of Orange Juice, Fruit and Granola, or a “Continental Breakfast” that included Orange Juice, Peach Yogurt with Granola and assorted Cheeses and Coldcuts. Another option was the “American Breakfast” which included Orange Juice, Fresh Fruit and a Three Pepper Omelette with Potato, Tomato and Asparagus.
I opted for the American Breakfast – it hit the spot!
Shortly after breakfast, we began our descent into Frankfurt where we landed several minutes ahead of schedule. We said our good-byes to the crew and thanked them for a wonderful trip. From there, we proceeded to get through the terminal, clear security and find our way to Lufthansa’s First Class Lounge where we would wait for our connecting flight to Istanbul.
In summary, our experiences with Lufthansa on this flight had been as they have always been: Fantastic. A great crew, great food and a great aircraft make for a fantastic experience. With Lufthansa’s efforts fully under way to update their First Class seats across their entire long haul fleet, the Lufthansa First Class Services experience will only lead to even greater levels of passenger satisfaction!
Next Installment: Lufthansa’s First Class Lounge in Frankfurt