Munich to San Francisco. Lufthansa Business Class.

I started writing this report last year, and got as far as reviewing the Lufthansa Business Class lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 2 and my outbound economy class flight from London to Munich.

I had actually booked everything as separate tickets, with my full itinerary looking like this:

  • London to Munich (and return)
  • Munich to San Francisco (and return)
  • San Francisco to Seattle (out with Alaska and back with United)

That’s certainly the long way around, however it was all due to a very keenly priced business class flight that was available for a few hours back in September 2017 – it was around €740 rtn from Munich to San Francisco.  Being London based, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.  I have flown Lufthansa in business class before and was impressed with the whole experience, excepting the seat which is decidedly average.

I left the first part of this report disembarking from the Airbus A320 at Munich’s terminal 2.  Munich has two terminals of which T2 is for Lufthansa and T1 for everyone else.

I have previously connected at Frankfurt airport going from a non-Schengen flight from the UK (and the US) and been subject to a fairly awful connecting experience including long tunnels, surly security, immigration queues, lots of steps, few escalators and tiny lifts.  I steeled myself.

My flight arrived in the non-Schengen “H” gates and I wandered out in to the main terminal.  I had received an email from TripIt and also Lufthansa to let me know that my flight would be leaving from the “L” gates in the Satellite.  I followed the signs.

After a short walk through the terminal, I descended on a couple of escalators to a train which took me over to the Satellite terminal.  It was barely a two minute wait and a three minute journey.  Again, there were a number of long escalators back up to the Satellite and I was deposited airside in the main departures are of the “L” concourse.

No security.  No immigration.  No long walks.

Undoubtably the easiest connection experiences I’ve had at a major European airlines’ global hub.  No rush, no stress, simply walk from gate to gate.

I wandered through the duty free store and found the Lufthansa Business Class lounge, which was lovely and quiet.

It had everything that one could need, but it was definitely a business class lounge.  The bar was staffed rather than having free pour bottles of spirits out, and the only gin was Gordon’s.  However that said there was a reasonable selection of hot and cold food, lots of power points and friendly staff constantly going around tidying up.

I only had an hour or so before it was time to head over to the gate.  Again, this was a short walk up to the other end of the concourse, however given it was a US flight, there was a boarding pass and document check before being allowed into the gate area.  This was a brief glance and I headed to the gate where there was an adjacent flight just closing.

It was a glorious sunny evening so snapped a few pictures of the aeroplane taking me over to San Francisco.

After a few minutes boarding was announced with First and Business through one lane and Economy and Premium Economy through a separate one.  After a few minutes I was safely on board and ensconced in 3G, a middle seat in the 2-2-2 layout that they have on the majority of their fleet.

First, the key negative about the seat – there is no privacy.  There’s also little storage and if you’re in a window seat it can be hard to climb over your neighbours feet.  That said, from 2020 with the 777X, Lufthansa are going to be introducing all aisle access across their entire fleet.

Pre-deparute drinks were offered including a sparkling wine (real Champagne is offered after takeoff).  Being the middle of December, there was a decorative Christmas wreath on the bulkhead, plus the amenity kit was also decorated with a little Christmas tree.  All small touches, but made the journey that little bit more festive.

The safety video played highlighting one unique feature of the A340-600 that Lufthansa opted for, namely that for economy class passengers, there’s a downstairs section with all of the lavatories.  Apparently if there’s a depressurisation, then you need to take a mask and sit down.

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Lufthansa A340-600 Safety Video

After a short taxi, were were into the air and menus were handed out.  What I thought was great was a few days before departure, in the pre-flight email, it included a link to the menu on the day in PDF format.

The service started with a drinks round, where I opted for the bubbles, along with a bowl of nuts.

The table was laid out directly, with nothing served by tray, which I though was a nice touch.  Butter was also from its own little dish.

I opted for the venison pie to start and then the goose main course.  Both were really excellent, with the goose in particular being great – not dry at all.

For afters, I had some cheese with a glass of port, and then cheekily asked if they had any of the dessert left over too.  It was met with an “of course” as if the cabin crew was offended that they might run out of anything!  That was accompanied by a glass of Cognac in a warmed glass.

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, being Christmas, the crew handed out little bags of lebkuchen to every passenger which I thought was another lovely touch.

With all of that, I slept.  Pretty well actually, out almost cold for the next eight hours.  Whilst the seat has little privacy, it is comfortable to sleep in.

I awoke to the crew serving the second meal.

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Lufthansa Business Class second meal service

It was a spicy Thai lemongrass soup, with a prosciutto salad and cake.  Again, as with the main service, the quality of the food was excellent.  Lufthansa also offer espresso in business class too (which I forgot to take a photo of), however that helped refresh me after the eleven hour journey.

Everything was cleared away and with that it was time to land in San Francisco, around half an hour early.  There was a long walk through the bowels of the international terminal, where I was processed by a Global Entry kiosk and headed over to Terminal 2 to get my Alaska Airlines flight up to Seattle, WA.

Overall, I was impressed with Lufthansa.  The food and drink is substantially better than BA, although with no dine on demand, it’s not as good as the likes of Qatar or Etihad.

The seat is pretty meh, but good for sleep.

The ground experience at Munich was excellent, but that’s in total contrast to Frankfurt which can be a complete zoo at times.

As a Londoner, if I’m going on holiday and time isn’t an issue, then Lufthansa via Munich is a great option.

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