For the all times it has been mentioned on Live and Let's Fly and on the UPGRD Network, I realized that I have never written a post describing the First Class Terminal experience in Frankfurt. After a rather amusing incident that happened to me in "the Terminal" yesterday, I want to set up that story by providing a photo tour of the lounge.
Access to the Terminal is only granted to Lufthansa and Swiss First Class passengers and HON Circle members (top tier status in the Miles & More program). Non-HON passengers must hold valid tickets for a same-day flight in international first class on either Lufthansa or Swiss. That means if you are flying from Frankfurt to Zurich, Geneva, Munich, or Dusseldorf to connect to a Swiss or Lufthansa first class flight, you will be granted access to the Terminal.
The Terminal is not available to arriving passengers and is not intended for connecting first class passengers (since there are two substantially similar Lufthansa First Class Lounges in Terminal One), though you will not be turned away if you are connecting to another city (same-day) in LX/LH first class and leave the secure side of the airport to walk over to the First Class Terminal. The lounge is open from 05:30a until the last flight departs, typically around 10:45p.
First class passengers may each bring in one guest who is traveling on the same flight while HON Circle members may bring in their entire family, provided they are on a same day Lufthansa/Star Alliance flight. This varies a bit from the published rules, but as I will blog about tomorrow, the published rules do not seem to mean too much to rules-oriented Lufthansa.
Up until sometime in 2008, Lufthansa offered rides to connecting passengers over to the First Class Terminal, but no longer does. If you do wish to walk over there, proceed downstairs to the arrivals level, out any of the doors, and turn left. You'll walk past the taxi waiting area and come to the basement level of the Terminal. From there, you can proceed inside and take an elevator up or take a circular A380/747-200-style staircase up to the main entrance.
If you wish to be dropped off by a taxi or hotel shuttle, there is a drop-off area in front of the lounge on the main floor (same level as airport departures). For those driving their own car, Lufthansa offers a valet service--just pull up the First Class Terminal, leave your keys in the ignition, and Lufthansa will take care of the rest.
Inside the entrance is a spacious lobby with three check-in desks on the right side and a sitting area on the left side. Lufthansa is extremely strict about letting people into the lounge itself, so if you need to conduct a meeting or meet with friends or family before your flight, there are a number of couches in the lobby area to do this. You can order drinks and snacks from the entrance lobby as well.
As you enter the lounge, you are promptly greeted by a Lufthansa agent who takes your passport and checks you in for your flight. After insuring that your ticket is in order, the agent will escort you through security (a singe checkpoint in the lobby that is no different than any other passenger security checkpoint at Frankfurt International Airport) and into the lounge area, where a tour will be offered if this is your first time in the lounge. Your passports will be held while you are in the lounge (placed in the immigration office downstairs) and the agent, who essentially is your concierge during your stay in the lounge, will find you when it comes time to board your flight.
Off to left and straight ahead are comfortable sitting areas: leather couches and chairs that are plush and soothing. Power ports are always nearby and do not require an adapter. Off to the left are also a few computer stations with T-Mobile internet service that is complimentary but not always speedy. Wi-Fi is also free in the lounge: simply ask your concierge for a code.
Off to the right is the heart of the lounge. A long full-service bar offers just about any alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink you desire, including freshly squeezed juice, homemade fruit smoothies, and cocktails.
Next to the bar is the buffet area, where delectable food is available all day. I am partial to the breakfast buffet, but lunch and dinner options are always superb and give you the opportunity to enjoy a memorable meal before your flight and also maximize your time onboard if you wish to go straight to sleep. This does not taste like typical lounge food, but like food at a top-rated restaurant--think dozens of hot and cold dishes, soups, salads, appetizers, breads, seafood, and a huge dessert section. Below are some pictures from my breakfast:
Further into the Terminal is a cigar lounge, where an assortment of complimentary cigars are available.
A few sleeping rooms offer the opportunity to catch up on shuteye if you are tired or just feel like a quick snooze.
A large bathroom and private (rain) shower rooms are available, some of which have bath tubs (and the famous Lufthansa rubber ducky). Massages and other spa treatments are available for a fee and may also be reserved in advance by calling Lufthansa Reservations.
You will notice right away that the personnel in the lounge are not there by accident: they are highly trained and mimic the first class cabin crew on Lufthansa flights in many ways--they are attentive, learn your name, and are always nearby when you need them.
The fun part for many comes at the end, when your concierge escorts you downstairs to the carport. After collecting your passport at a small immigration booth, you are taken to the car that will transport you to the aircraft. You are not always given a choice, but there are an assortment of Porsche and Mercedes vehicles available. If you happen to be on a flight where first class is full and most of the passengers are in the First Class Terminal, you will be driven to the plane in a Mercedes van.
The Lufthansa First Class Terminal experience at Frankfurt is incredible and unforgettable. I have had the privilege of enjoying first class lounges around the world, but the FCT at Frankfurt remains my favorite. Tomorrow, you will read about how the First Class Terminal is perhaps the most fiercely protected lounge in the world.