|A critical review of various airlines as experienced first-hand by editorial members of The Business Travel Magazine team.|
|Air Canada, Business Class|
|Air China, Business Class|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA)|
|Air New Zealand, Premium Econ.|
|American Airlines, Business|
|British Airways A380, Business|
|British Airways, Economy|
|Delta, Business Elite|
|Emirates, Business Class|
|Etihad, Pearl Business Class|
|Korean Air, Business Class|
|Lufthansa, Business Class|
|Malaysia Airlines, Business Class|
|Oman Air, Economy|
|Qantas, Business Class|
|Qatar Airways, Business Class|
|Singapore Airlines A380|
|Ukraine International Airlines|
|Virgin Atlantic, Upper Class|
Lufthansa, Business Class
THE FLIGHT: LH418 from Frankfurt to Washington DC on the brand new Boeing 747 ‘8’, the latest version of the ‘Jumbo’ – Lufthansa is the aircraft's launch customer.
THE CHECK-IN: I started out that morning from London Heathrow’s Terminal One. After transiting at the new Pier A-Plus, a westward expansion of Terminal One at Frankfurt’s new international terminal, the boarding process onto the 747-8 was speedy. A visit Lufthansa’s new lounge at Pier A-Plus revealed a large and spacious facility with a regular range of food and drink options.
THE CABIN: The 747-8 looks much like its predecessors, although the entrance to the main deck is wider than previous planes and gives the feel of a ‘reception area’. The plane’s PA system needed some adjustment – the missives sounded like they were made from the middle of a desert via a satellite phone.
THE SEAT: My seat, 83C, was in the aircraft’s 'bubble', in a 2x2 configuration. There’s also a business class section downstairs (2x2x2). Coloured in relaxing shades of grey, the seat felt wide and well padded. Seats are arranged in pairs to form a ‘V’ with neighbouring seats angled towards one another. The seat has a horizontal ‘service’ of 1.98 metres and adjustable arm rests can be lowered to increase the width of the lie-flat bed. The seat-back entertainment screen was 15 inches and the permanently-attached Sennheiser headphones cut out most ambient noise.
THE SERVICE: Minutes after taking my seat I was offered a glass of Champagne or an orange juice. A day flight, my dinner consisted of a superb three-course meal of marinated shrimps, Tryrolean Ravioli filled with spinach and a cheeseboard. Wine choices included a native 2010 Schloss Vollrads Riesling. A snack was served a couple of hours before landing.
THE VERDICT: The on-board crew were extremely welcoming and ‘on their game’ throughout the flight. Although the 747-8 is ‘certified’ for 500 seats, Lufthansa has it configured with 380, giving the aircraft an uncluttered and ‘roomy’ feel. The ride was smooth and classy. What's more, the 747-8 generates about 15 per cent fewer carbon emissions than previous models.
THE DETAILS: Lufthansa flies to Washington DC daily from Frankfurt and five-times-weekly from Munich with connections from Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Aberdeen and Dublin. Return business class fares from London are from £2,399. See: www.lufthansa.com.
Reviewed by Steve Hartridge (2012)