Thanksgiving in Mumbai: Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal in Frankfurt

Our transatlantic flight touched down on time and fortunately came into an “A” gate which meant the trip over to the First Class Terminal was going to be an easy one.

The special terminal is really intended for first class passengers originating in Frankfurt only, and certainly the path of least resistance is to use a First Class Lounge since you’re already airside and most won’t want to actually go through passport control to enter Germany in order to visit the First Class Terminal.

Especially since the First Class Lounges are actually quite similar. The First Class Lounge in the A terminal, which I visited on my return trip, has the same design elements and the same food and better views. The First Class Lounge in the B terminal even has a car service that’ll take you across the tarmac for flights departing from a remote stand. But neither is.. the First Class Terminal which offers:

  • Quiet, discrete dedicated security

  • A much airier, spacious environment
  • Dedicated passport control
  • Car service to all flights

For those originating in Frankfurt they’ll even arrange to asist in the return of a rental car.

And of course it has the usual amenities that are standard across First Class lounge offerings in Frankfurt: a sit-down restaurant with both menu service and buffet, comfortable and stylish seating, extensive bar, cigar lounge, large shower rooms, excellent service and top-end amenities.

To me it’s worth the trip outside to use the First Class Terminal — both to ensure the car service which is always fun and also for the spacious and thus peaceful environment compared to the smaller A lounge, and since I was continuing my journey on Lufthansa I was entitled to do so.

Getting there meant going through passport control and then heading downstairs to the baggage claim (lowest) level. Then walking outside and turning left towards the queue of waiting taxis. It’s worth noting that this does not mean following the signs to where the taxis pick up passengers. Rather, you’re heading down past where the lineup of taxis wait to be dispatched to the pickup area. That’s at the very far end of the terminal.

You cross the street and then quickly see the First Class Terminal, walk through their parking lot, and instead of entering through the front driveway you’re downstairs… The downstairs is unmanned but you ring the buzzer and they will come down to fetch you. Clearly that’s not the standard way that people enter the terminal, but for connecting passengers it works!

When we arrived there was another passenger already at the kiosk with the buzzer, and a staff member was on their way. Right after we walked up another passenger arrived right behind us. Four of us in total went up the elevator, and that last passenger waited to be escorted up next.

Then when we got upstairs it was time to go through security. There were already two passengers there. It was rush hour at the First Class Terminal, I had never seen anything like it, there were now 5 passengers waiting to be helped and there were about to be two more. Bedlam for the staff, who normally greet you and take your passport and offer to give you a tour of the facility. But since the woman who brought us upstairs was clearly overwhelmed I offered that this wasn’t our first time, she appeared relieved and took our passport while we went through the security checkpoint which really is about the most pleasant security screening that there is.

One staff member offered to help me off with my jacket. I put my bag through the x-ray machine, and my wife followed. They did notice her liquids which might even have exceeded permissable size and quantity but they quickly conferred and overlooked it. We were now in the terminal and proceeded to find what has become my favorite spot there, lounge chairs in the far corner of the terminal by large picture windows.

They don’t look out over much but it’s nice and bright. The terminal itself was relatively crowded though there was still plenty of seating, and it cleared out pretty quickly.

Each seating area is stocked with some of the most delicious nuts and fruit snacks I’ve ever tasted. The wasabi dusted nuts in particular are some of the most addictive I’ve come across.

Staff come by quickly and regularly to offer service, and this early in the morning I just wanted another cappucino.

I also had the staff member give me a couple of vouchers for internet, and proceeded to check my email.

After getting caught up quickly I decided to have my shower, and went over to the far end of the terminal where the shower rooms are. An attendant asked what needs I might have beyond the usual amenities already stocked in the shower room like individual Etro shampoo and body wash. I didn’t need a razor or toothbrush and toothpaste kit, I would just use my own, but even though I wasn’t using a room with a bathtub would she mind giving me a First Class Terminal rubber ducky? And oh, could I get one for my wife as well? She gladly opened the door to the closet full of them and gave me a couple, then lead me to my assigned shower room.

It’s spacious, with toilet area and an outstanding shower, excellent water pressure, and plenty of room for dressing as well.

After freshening up, I headed back to where I was sitting earlier and snapped a few photos along the way.

First, of the cigar lounge, though it was a bit too early to indulge!

Then of the extensive bar area.

By the bar is the guest book, which I signed. It’s remarkable how many Flyertalk members had made there mark there and I was visiting just a couple of weeks after the Star MegaDO had held a private party in the terminal so of course that group had certainly made their presence known in the guestbook as well.

I checked the departure monitor and my flight was showing on time. The interesting thing is that they only post those flights which passengers in the terminal will be taking, makes it really easy to quickly find your own flight.

Breakfast service quickly turned into lunch, which is what I was waiting for, and we headed over to the restaurant.

They had put the lunch menus out and they were serving my absolute favorites.

I realize I may not be a connoisseur but they have the absolute best wiener schnitzel that I’ve ever tasted. I started with the Tom Ka Gai and then moved onto the main event.

After a brief meal, I headed back over to the corner of the terminal. The view from there really isn’t inspiring, except you can see a couple of cars parked down below.

Of course in a matter of moments I’d be riding in one of their cars. The woman who greeted us downstairs and who took our passports when we arrived came over to where we were sitting to let us know our flight was ready for us. She brought us to the elevators and downstairs.

To the right after you walk out of the elevators is passport control. There are two passport agents working there and of course there is no line. They already have your passports, since they were taken from you when you entered the terminal. And they are simply ready to hand them back to you upon seeing your boarding passes.

Then you’re turned over to your driver who will be taking you out across the tarmac to your aircraft.

We drove away from the terminal and then across the entire airport, the interesting thing about spending time in the first class terminal is you not only don’t need to watch the clock because it’s someone else’s job to monitor when it’s time for you to depart but you never even know what gate you’re going to be departing from. It’s someone else’s job to bring you there.

When we arrived at our gate we were taken inside and up the elevator, then escorted onto the aircraft. We were now back safely on board the upper deck of another Lufthansa 747, ready to head on to Mumbai!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Pingbacks

  1. […] Moreover, Lufthansa continues not to offer much in the way of first class award space to their their partners like United in advance (and United’s award chart is getting a whole lot more expensive for first class partner awards, too). Miles & More offers better premium cabin award space to its own members. So with Lufthansa’s Miles & More miles you can actually book Lufthansa First Class awards more than a couple of weeks out. The signup bonus is a great start towards a visit to the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. […]

Comments

  1. Hi Gary,

    As always, wonderful travel log.

    My mistake to bring up United Airlines in last post’s comments :-).

    At Frankfurt, I had taken a shuttle (van) from departure section to First Class Terminal. Has Lufthansa stopped that service ?

    -Sunny

  2. Interesting read. We were in the B terminal FCL a couple of days ago and it looks quite similar to the pics posted above. We didnt have a German visa (or a US passport) so couldnt enter Germany to make it into the FCT but I am glad to see we didnt miss much. We arrived bright and early so the lounge was not at all crowded and we even managed to book one of the day rooms for a nice 3 hour nap. Wonderful treatment all around. Nice haven from the madness that is Frankfurt.

  3. you mention that they changed breakfast into lunch very chick.
    Do you know around what time lunch will be available at the FCT buffet / restaurant ?

    Thanks,
    Martin

  4. Thanks for the trip down memory lane… did SEA-FRA-BKK earlier this year and like you, headed over to the FCT. My only regret is that I didn’t sit in the front seat of the car that drove me on the tarmac for the better view… next time, next time. How many duckies do you have?

  5. Is there any way know if your flight is “departing from a remote stand” ahead of time? I just want the car service to the plane, but am not sure if I have to go to the FCT to get that for my flight?

    Thanks

  6. LH have a great lounge and service. If you don’t leave yourself some time to enjoy the lounge, you are truly missing out on some of the First Class experience. Last time I flew up front, I couldn’t help but chuckle when they took me and another passenger to the plane in a high-end Mercedes. Two busloads of people had already pulled up next to the plane, but LH wouldn’t let them out until the two of us had boarded. 🙂 🙂

  7. The ease of security worries me…the fact that a liquids rule would just be overlooked tells me that all a terrorist needs to do is to buy a first-class ticket…

  8. @Samuel B Aggins – The liquids rule does nothing for security. And it was contact solution that would have been exempted anyway but we didn’t need to go through the rigamarole necessary for that. And you can bring plenty of liquids through now anyway, on your person or with multiple people running through security.

  9. Only 5 in line for security actually isn’t bad at all. We had a Baker’s Dozen the morning of the SMD II flight FRA-IAH. I actually felt bad and tried to get out of the way of a proper customer coming through but he declined (or misunderstood) my offer.

  10. “in the first class terminal is you not only don’t need to watch the clock because it’s someone else’s job to monitor when it’s time for you to depart but you never even know what gate you’re going to be departing from. It’s someone else’s job to bring you there.”

    -This is the service standards in even business class lounges in many Asian lounges (including the not-so-fancy ones like Guangzhou). Again, US lounges are miserable… :/

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