This is probably my favorite flight to Europe from DC because it leaves so late (10:30pm). It’s very hard for me to sleep on the 5-7pm ~6 hour flights to Europe that basically land at 1am “body clock time.” Munich is also “deeper” into Europe, so it’s more like a 7-7.5 hour flight, too, which is nice. The downside, of course, is that you arrive in Europe on the later side–particularly if you have to connect where you’re pretty much going to lose the whole day and probably not end up in your hotel room til about dinner time.
In our case, we didn’t really care, though, since we just needed to be in Naples by the following morning, and had no real desire to spend much time in Naples which is known for the smell, the petty crime and the pizza–pizza being something we could get elsewhere. Instead of a ~2 hour layover and arriving mid-evening, we actually planned a ~9 hour layover and planned to take the train into Munich, go for a run, grab some German food and beer, and then just fly to Naples to sleep.
We arrived at Dulles around two hours before departure and found the first class line (around the backside of the business and economy check in counters) unstaffed. Luckily, there was only one party ahead of us in the business class line. so not too much of an inconvenience, and they even had first class ticket jackets to give us.
I’ve reviewed the Lufthansa Senator lounge before (at least twice, actually), and nothing has really changed. They still offer a solid selection of hot and cold dishes along with beer, wine, liquor and desserts. It’s a small spread, certainly, compared to their lounges at Munich or Frankfurt, but it’s good enough to get a “real” meal–certainly enough for 9pm.
Boarding is directly from the lounge and they came and collected us quietly to pre-board us before those in business class were allowed to board.
One thing I don’t love about boarding from the lounge in Dulles is that the jetway for first/business class is connected to door 1L, so everybody in the lounge in business class walks through the first class cabin. I don’t really mind other people in “my” cabin, so much (though the serenity/isolation of the nose on the 747-8 is a huge plus), as I don’t love that it slows down pre-departure service since the aisles are clogged. In an ideal world, I’d love to get a glass or three of champagne, but refills were hard to come by this time since we started taxiing nearly immediately after boarding finished.
I will say, I’m very impressed how fast Lufthansa manages to get boarding accomplished. On both ends–IAD-MUC and MUC-IAD–they managed to board a wide body A330 in about 20-25 minutes. Domestically, airlines often have trouble boarding 50-70 seat regional jets in under a half hour.
The flight crew for this sector was completely on point throughout the flight–perhaps made easier by the fact that we were the only two customers in first class — the second time we’ve had a “private charter” on Lufthansa (last time was Hong Kong to Munich).
Lufthansa’s Airbus first class configuration is 1-2-1 across 2 rows, and the seat strikes a wonderful balance between privacy (with the shield up in bed mode) and not feeling too confined.
Menus, amenity kits, PJs, and welcomes were done during taxi, which is nice since we really just wanted to get to sleep.
The menu read as follows:
I’ve come a long way on my approach to food. It used to be that I’d basically never miss a chance to have caviar and all the food because I wanted to “maximize” the experience. Having flown dozens of segments of international first class (including at least 12-13 on Lufthansa), now I don’t worry about that too much. In this case, I opted for a modified “night special” of cheese course plus a few more glasses of Veuve Grande Dame.
Even with the abbreviated service, I was still offered a hot towel (with Lufthansa’s signature rose petal):
as well as an amuse bouche–which was, as usual for Lufthansa, a little strange (It was some combo of prawn, goat cheese, cucumber and some tangy sauce):
The cheese course was presented on a single plate and was exactly what I was looking for (something to eat with a few glasses of champagne to knock me out).
Cara fell asleep about 6 minutes after takeoff, but I waited until after the cheese course to ask if they could make up the window seat as a bed for me which was taken care of very quickly:
Lufthansa’s first class bedding is super comfortable in my opinion. The key, though, is that it’s a little warm and you have to ask the crew to turn the cabin temperature down to a reasonable one. In my experience, Lufthansa crews like to keep it at 23-24C which is 73-75 F. I usually ask them to turn it down to 21 (70 F) because while I would actually love them to turn it down to 18, I’m not sure they’d actually do it–particularly with other passengers in the cabin. Psychologically, 21 is just a couple degrees. I also generally only change into the provided PJ bottoms and bring my own t-shirt to make sure I don’t get too warm.
I slept really well, and woke up with just about an hour to go until landing. The flight attendant (again, very on point) already had orange juice waiting for us.
We ordered breakfast from the breakfast menu which basically never seems to change on Lufthansa:
I ordered the fitness breakfast as I always do. Since Lufthansa doesn’t prepare their eggs fresh on board, I’d rather just have something to hold me over.
We changed back into our clothes excited to hit the streets of Munich… until we looked outside and saw the pouring rain…