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Lufthansa 747-400 old First Class from Frankfurt to Chicago - The Journey the Destination

I walked from the Sheraton over to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and despite being at one of the most relaxing places at any major airport, I was somewhat frustrated and concerned about my upcoming travel experience.  

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The original routing to get home was to fly from Frankfurt to Toronto on Lufthansa, then United to Chicago.  That was the best option I could find when I made the final changes to my ticket before travel.  The nonstop Frankfurt to Chicago finally opened up several days before my flight, and despite multiple calls to United to switch flights, they couldn't sync my ticket.  Lufthansa confirmed space, and I actually had seats, but United couldn't get the change to go through.  I spent several hours on the phone in both Bangkok and Frankfurt trying to sort this out.  Eventually I just gave up, and hoped the wonderful staff at the First Class Terminal could help me sort it out.  I was in Lufthansa First Class either way, and I just wanted to simplify my trip home, and get there in the late afternoon, rather than the evening with the additional connection.

I was warmly welcomed back to the FCT, for my second visit of this trip.  I explained my ticketing situation, and the personal assistant that greeted me told me not to worry, to go and relax in the lounge.  She would sort it out and update me.  Within 10 minutes of arrival, I had my boarding pass for the nonstop to O'Hare.  (This trip was months ago, but sadly, the computer/ticketing issues still persist at United).

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I already covered my visit to the First Class Terminal on the outbound leg.  There are also some excellent reviews from Matthew and Daniel, so I won't go into detail again.  Its always a wonderful experience, topped off with a ride in a fine German automobile across the tarmac to the waiting aircraft.  While I was pleased to get on the nonstop to Chicago, I was disappointed that it was in the old 747 configuration.  Lufthansa is further along in their 747 reconfiguration program than when I flew these flights last year, but this old configuration is still out there on a few 747s and other planes in the long haul fleet. 

 

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 Here is a view from the top of the elevator, just before boarding the flight.


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View from my exit row seat in the old configuration

The First Class cabins on Lufthansa 747-400s are unique.  The old configuration used to be easy to redeem awards for since there were 16 seats.  Now only 8 seats are sold, since the new configuration on the 747-400 has 8 aisle seats and a flat bed by the window.  Now no Lufthansa plane has a First Class cabin with more than 8 seats.  This old configuration still has 16 seats, but only 8 passengers are ticketed.  The flight attendants offered to make up either seat as a bed soon after take off.  Since this was a day flight, I didn't sleep much. These old seats aren't private at all, but the space is excellent, since this cabin now has half of the passengers as it was designed for.

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Pre-departure beverage and Macadamia nuts

Upon finding my seat upstairs, I was offered a drink along with a 'sweater' which is basically  a long sleeved polo shirt and an amenity kit and slippers.  As usual, I'll link to Darren's thorough review of this amenity kit.  The contents of the kit I received are the same as in his post. 

Soon we pushed back and headed off towards the Atlantic crossing.  Soon after, the flight crew sprung into action, offering drinks and taking meal orders.  The flight left late morning, so it was a lunch service, followed by snack service with a "salad buffet" before arrival.  Photos follow of the meal service, but first the menu:

 

Wine list is the same as my outbound flight between Dulles and Frankfurt on the 747-8i.  Some of the items are the same as my previous flights, particularly the lunch service to Tokyo on the A380.

Menu

Choice of Hors d'oeuvres

* Caviar with the traditional Garnishes
* Grilled Scallops with Quartet of Pumpkin
* Gently cooked Guinea Fowl, Orange and Chicory Confit, Basil Vinaigrette
* Tomato Salad 2012 with marinated Pineapple


Salad and Soup

* Arugula Salad, Frisée and Radicchio with Brown Mushrooms, Fennel and Carrot 
Juliennes presented with your Choice of Yogurt and Dill or Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
*Gazpacho of Beetroot, Pistachio Oil

Choice of Main Courses

* Saddle of Reindeer, Curry flavored Lentils and Aniseed Plums
* Parsley crusted Turbot, Swiss Chard and Tandoori Potato Cream
* Orecchiette Pasta with Eggplant Caviar, Parmesan Cheese Sauce and Pumpkin Seed Oil
LufthansaClassics
In July: Fried Pork Sausages on creamy Sauerkraut with Potato Mash
 

Select of Cheese and Dessert

Coulommiers, Blue d'Auvergne, Pont l'Evêque, Banon Goat Cheese wrapped in 
Chestnut Leaf, Rahmberg Cheese, Tomato Chutney, Grapes, Cherry Tomatoes and 
Pecan Nuts

Green Shiso Sorbet on Lychee Fruits, Raspberry and Hibiscus Tea

Soft-centered Bar of Chocolate spiced Pineapple and Olive Ice Cream

 

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hot towel, sans typical rose petal, although rose perfume was used

 

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Lavatory with a view, and a rose

 

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This is the same amuse bouche I had on the 747-8i between Dulles and Frankfurt.  Meh.


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Place setting with tasty garlic bread, a pretzel and a glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

 

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some signatures of Lufthansa First class dining


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Guinea fowl and Tomato Salad appetizers


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Beetroot gazpacho


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I already had the reindeer earlier in the trip, so I opted for the Orecchiette pasta main course.

 

 

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Green Shiso Sorbet

 

This was a decent meal, pretty typical for Lufthansa First Class.  In my 3 Lufthansa long haul legs on this trip, some of the menu items were the same.  Not too surprising since at least their menu rotates every month, which is better than some other airlines.  I preferred the meals I had on Thai.  

Since I had 2 seats, I had 2 screens, so I left one on the moving map and the other on various TV shows.  On these seats, the IFE screens are tiny, and the amount of content is minimal.  Between my 3 Lufthansa flights, I had seen most of the programs I was interested in.  I opted to nap for a little while.  Soon I was awake and enjoyed some time to relax and read.


As we were approaching Chicago, the second meal was served.  Dubbed the Salad Buffet.

Cold and Hot Specialties

Variation of Leaf and Wild Herb Salad
presented with your Choice of
Champagne or Yogurt and Herb Dressing
Duet of smoked Salmon and Tuna 
Grilled red and green Bell Pepper
Slices of Cucumber
Toasted Pine Nuts
Brown Mushrooms

Wiener Schnitzel, Escalope of Veal with its Garnishes

 

Dessert

Sicilian Cassata Tart

Fresh Fruit 

 

 

This was actually a pretty nice arrival meal, one of the better meals I've had on Lufthansa.  Its essentially a salad bar that the flight attendants serve from, and allow you to custom make a salad.  Keeping things simple is a good thing.

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more tasty bread options

 

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Wiener schnitzel - not as tasty as what I had in the First Class Terminal, but pretty good


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Cassata Tart

 

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I toasted the conclusion of my trip with a glass of 10 year old Bushmills single malt

Soon we were on the ground at O'Hare, which is very familiar to me, although with this flight we were arriving at Terminal 5.  It took longer to walk to the Immigration area than it did for me to clear thanks to Global Entry.  Customs was quick as well, and soon was was officially back in the US.  The aroma of McDonald's french fries is strong in the International Arrivals area at O'Hare, and while its always nice to return home, I did not have any desire to eat that.  I made my way to the bus curb, and boarded my bus home to Milwaukee.  Going from Lufthansa First Class to a coach bus is certainly a reality check.  No doubt about it, my trip was over.

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Comments

#1
Daniel January 24, 2013 at 01:07 pm

I'm not quite sure what it is about the LH garlic bread, but it is one of my favorite parts of flying with them! My most recent LH F flight, FRA-MCO, I was the only one in F, and got to enjoy the entire selection of garlic bread :-)

#2
choi January 24, 2013 at 04:26 pm

how did you make the change of route if United didnt or couldnt sync the ticket ? is this a United award or Luff ? sorry for the repeated questions but I m going to be in the same situation this comming summer. would like your advice on how to make the change on United. like you I m going to Bkk this summer but cant find a good return route date. how do I make this change once I m in Bkk and monitor for better routings ? if you could help. Thanks so much

Choi

#3
Chris January 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I've always thought of the smells at the exit to T5 Customs as a welcome home present. I usually smell the popcorn more strongly, though - hope they haven't replaced it!

#4
Brad January 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm

@Daniel I agree, LH garlic bread is amazing. Its good on other airlines as well. Maybe there is something with garlic that can override the negative effects of altitude to one's sense of smell/taste?

@Choi To be honest, I'm not positive how/why this got so screwed up. Unfortunately, it seemed like several agents I spoke to (and who put me on long holds) didn't really know what to do. I believe part of the problem was in how various segments were linked, and the status of how they were showing up in their computers, whether or not tickets were used or not. Its possible that everything updated overnight, and when I went to the FCT, the re-ticketing went right through.

I found availability on the ANA tool, and then called United to make changes. This was a Star Alliance award using United miles. If there is availability, and the routings are legal, you should be fine to make changes at any time

@Chris I'm not saying I don't like the smell of McD's fries, but I wish visitors to my country would not have that as their first impression!. If given a choice I guess I would prefer the smell of popcorn...

#5
choi January 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

did you get charge for the change fee, could you show me how to weasel out of the fee if impose one. Thanks

Choi

#6
Brad January 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm

@Choi, United 1K and Platinum are allowed to make changes to award tickets for free. A summary of award ticketing fees are shown from the United website

Changes are free for everyone 21 days or more prior to departure, but without Platinum or 1K status, there is no way to avoid fees inside 21 days or after travel has begun.

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