In the past I wasn’t a big fan of Lufthansa’s business class product. Nowadays, since Lufthansa has modernized its cabin, I mostly enjoy flying with the Germans. Especially on flights to South America, where my company usually books me on LATAM. Find out why I got the chance to fly Lufthansa to Sao Paulo at the end of May and how I liked flight LH 509.
Re-booked on short notice due to British Airways IT problems
My company’s corporate travel policies are strict: They always book the carrier that offers the lowest fares – as long as the flight times match my business schedule. That’s why I usually end up in one of LATAM’s Boeing 777-300 when flying to South America. This time though, things didn’t turn out as planned.
For a business trip to Sao Paulo at the end of May, once again, I had been booked on LATAM with a British Airways feeder flight via Heathrow.
But as a consequence of British Airways IT problems, I didn’t make it to Heathrow in time. Thus, BA re-booked me on Lufthansa for the following day.
Not too bad if you ask me, considering LATAM’s lie-flat configuration vs. Lufthansa’s full-flat seat!
Lufthansa online Check-in
Just one hour later, I could already check-in online for flight LH 506. Despite the last-minute booking, everything worked fine. Lufthansa had already received my flight details and I could check-in as usual, including seat reservations.
In my opinion, Lufthansa’s website is really superb! The layout is intuitive and you can choose from a whole bunch of options and extras. Furthermore I like the small details Lufthansa provides, such as automated e-mails with a download link of the flight’s menu prior to the flight.
Starting my long-haul trip from my Homebase in Stuttgart
It’s always a pleasure to start a trip from my home base Stuttgart Airport. Everything is very close together and it takes only a few steps to move between the check-in counter, security check, lounge and gate areas.
Before boarding I spent some time at the Lufthansa business class lounge. The lounge is ok for a European domestic lounge but nothing special. During peak hours it may also get very crowded.
This time I was lucky though. Enough seats for everybody after the daily evening flights to Milan, Berlin, Brussels, Hamburg and other European destinations had left.
Boarding started on time and soon I was sitting in the plane:
Lufthansa usually deploys an Airbus A320-type aircraft for the flights between Stuttgart and Frankfurt – except for the last flight of the day. LH 136 is regularly performed by smaller planes, which means that you don’t get to board through a jetway.
Irrespective of the plane type, seat pitches on European business class routes are always the same as in economy class. In that regard, the plane type doesn’t really make a difference.
Upon arrival at Frankfurt I witnessed a beautiful sunset:
Although the flight from Stuttgart to Frankfurt only takes about 40 minutes, Lufthansa serves a full meal with accompanying drinks. Personally, I would prefer if they didn’t. You only get 10-15 minutes to clear your plate and most of the time a lot of food is wasted.
Arriving at Frankfurt Airport
Flight LH 139 landed on time. The plane parked at a remote position which delayed the de-boarding process. After reaching our final parking position, we had to wait for about three minutes until the transfer bus finally arrived.
The transfer bus brought us to the Schengen arrival gate in sector A. From there I left the security restricted area and walked landside to sector C where I passed security (again!) and immigration.
Note: There is no airside connection from the domestic arrival in sector A to the international departure areas in sector C at Frankfurt Airport!
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge at Gate C14/ C15
Having cleared security, I proceeded to the Lufthansa Lounge at departure gate C14/ C15.
Obviously the lounges in this area aren’t the best Lufthansa has to offer as far as food and atmosphere are concerned.
But they do have one big benefit: Direct access to the plane!
Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 business class cabin
Due to a lack of alternatives, I had selected seat 88K on the upper deck for my flight to Sao Paulo. By the time I checked-in, all the good seats had already been blocked by other passengers. The only seats that were left were those next to the windows.
I decided that the smaller, more private, business class cabin on the upper deck is still better than its larger version on the main deck. Plus, window seats on the upper level come with extra storage room.
Lufthansa’s business class seats are slightly angled towards each other in the food area. Apart from that, the seat is really comfortable and transforms into a full-flat bed for the night.
Flight times from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo
Flight times from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo are really perfect for a business trip! The long-haul flight departs around 10 p.m. and arrives in Brazil at 5 a.m. in the morning.
With an overall flight time of 11.40 hours that leaves enough time to have a multi-course dinner, watch a movie and get 7 – 8 hours of sleep.
Welcome aboard flight LH506
Shortly after taking my seat, a flight attendant greeted me by name and offered me a welcome drink. I could choose between orange juice, water or sparkling wine (no champagne prior to departure!).
Of course Lufthansa also offers an amenity kit with the usual cosmetics and socks – as well as pillows, bedding and a bottle of water at each seat.
A few minutes after take-off, the flight attendants started to prepare dinner. As soon as the fasten seatbelt signs had been switched off, a flight attendant approached me and wrote down my choices for food and drinks.
For starters I had beef with roasted chestnuts:
After that, I had German Asparagus accompanied by a glass of Riesling:
Finally I could choose between dessert and cheese. As usually I opted for cheese with a glass of Port wine. The food and wines were really good!
Service during the flight
Lufthansa’s service has improved a lot over the past years. While flight attendants used to be unfriendly and almost rude in recent years, my last flights with Lufthansa were extremely positive in that regard.
All the flight attendants I met during my flight from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo were really friendly and helpful. During dinner, they pointed out different suitable wines and made recommendations. Over the whole flight the service was attentive without being pushy – something I really appreciated!
Arriving at Sao Paulo
About two hours prior to landing, the flight attendants served breakfast:
Twelve hours after leaving Frankfurt, we touched down at Guarulhos International Airport on time. Having slept for almost 7 hours, I was well-rested and ready for a day of business meetings ahead!
Overall I had a very pleasant flight experience on board Lufthansa LH 506 to Sao Paulo. The flight was on time and everything went as planned.
While I don’t really like Lufthansa’s seat configuration where you can almost touch your neighbour’s feet – everything else was really great. Especially the very friendly and attentive service, as well as the selection of food and beverages.
It’s a pity that Lufthansa didn’t install a more private business class seat in its planes. That would really make the German flag carrier one of the best. But even with this slight disadvantage, they’re still among the better airlines out there. For me it’s always a pleasure to fly Lufthansa to South America!