After an extraordinary morning in the Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich, it was time to fly to Frankfurt for the next portion of my "day of decadence" in the famous Lufthansa First Class Terminal.
Since I had been awake since 5:30 in the morning, and there was still quite a bit of lounging and an 8-hour first class flight in the works, I decided to forgo the creature comforts of European short-haul business class (which as most of you know is simply economy class with a blocked middle seat) and dozed off for the entire flight. Before I knew it, I was making my way out of Frankfurt Airport's main terminal.
As the name suggests, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal is a separate building on its own, located away from the main airport terminal itself. Its entire purpose is to primp and pamper the lucky few who get to fly Lufthansa First Class prior to the flight, and therefore, it's almost designed to be a bit tricky to find.
As you exit the main terminal at Frankfurt Airport, turn to your left and walk for about five minutes. At some point it'll feel as though you're leaving the airport for good, but keep walking and before long you'll see the wonderful First Class sign peeking out of the trees.
Do your best to contain your excitement as you head up the elevator to the main floor.
Once you enter, you'll be greeted by a lounge attendant who will be taking care of you while you're here. The lounge attendant will print your boarding pass and hold on to your passport for the duration of the stay so that you don't have to worry about it. You'll also be escorted through the private security checkpoint, which was, as you can imagine, an absolute breeze compared to a typical airport experience.
After the security checkpoint, there's a cute little duty free store in case you wanted to pick up some goods prior to your flight. After all, the First Class Terminal is meant to mimic the usual airport terminal experience, minus all the inconveniences associated with the riff-raff in business and economy class 😉
Then you arrive at the entrance to the lounge area. My personal lounge attendant asked me if this was my first time here, which it was. Upon learning this, she was more than happy to give me a tour of the grounds.
The lounge is dominated by a central facade, which has a waterfall on one side and a large space to hang your coats on the other. Spread around this facade are several large relaxation areas with varied seating arrangements.
There's multiple widescreen TVs if you wanted to catch up on the news, as well as lounging chairs facing the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Each cluster within the seating area also had self-serve snacks on display on the coffee table. The snacks are accompanied by a small drinks menu, and you could order items from the wait staff that were roaming around.
I counted about 15 types of water on the menu alone – Voss, Evian, Fiji, you name it – which were further divided into still or sparkling. That's an early indicator of the incredible variety and attention to detail when it comes to everything in the First Class Terminal.
The centerpiece of the lounge is "the famous bar", as my attendant put it. Have a look at the stunning alcohol selection on offer – we'll come back here later, since I (predictably) ended up spending most of my time here.
In front of the bar was a separate bar counter for extra seating space with a guestbook on it, which I thought was an awesome touch.
Those of you who frequent Lufthansa's lounges will know that they always keep a healthy stock of Haribo gummies on hand. Well, the First Class Terminal takes that to a whole new level.
As someone who's borderline obsessed with Haribo gummy bears (when I was a child it was a cardinal rule for any family friends visiting Germany to bring me back some), I of course helped myself to more than my fair share.
To the left of the bar, you'll find the sit-down dining area. Unlike the Swiss First Lounge, where everything was à la carte, here in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal you had the option of ordering stuff off the menu or going up to the self-serve buffet.
Meanwhile, further down on this end of the First Class Terminal was a Cigar Lounge. This was in effect a smoking room, and soft music was being played inside to create to a nice ambiance.
Then there's a corridor leading to the nap rooms, restrooms, and shower rooms.
First up are the nap rooms, which are halfway down this corridor. You can use these rooms to get some rest for a couple of hours (though I have no idea why you'd want to do that in this lounge of all places!)
I had been told by some friends who had been here to request the shower room that contained both a shower and a bathtub, so that's exactly what I did. My attendant consulted with the "shower concierge" staff member, who let me know it would be an hour-long wait.
The restrooms themselves were quite spacious, and on the whole they were quite standard for a high-end lounge.
Continuing my tour, the opposite end of the lounge contained even more seating areas, and the windows on this side had great views of the surrounding airport area.
Also located here were several private workstations, some of which featured desktop computers.
In the middle of the lounge by the fountain is where you'll find the service desk, where you'll always find a staff member ready to help. Whether it's checking your departure time or (as I did) needing to borrow a phone charger, the staff here will go out of their way to help you as best as they can. After all, if you're in the First Class Terminal, you're one of Lufthansa's most valued customers (even if you redeemed your ticket with points!)
After my tour concluded, I took up a spot on the sofas in the corner of the seating area to wait for my shower. I left my belongings out here during my entire four-hour stay in the lounge, since there's not exactly a need to worry about some other First Class passenger stealing your things!
About five minutes later, the bartender came around to welcome me to the lounge and ask if I wanted anything from the bar. I really appreciated his proactiveness, so I decided to try out the whiskey tasting menu that I had heard many great things about.
The whiskey tasting isn't anything that's officially on the menu, but rather, when you're faced with so many expensive whiskeys it's only natural to want to sample some of each. I told Wassim, the bartender, that I was a relative newbie when it comes to fine spirits, and he was more than happy to pour me a sample of several whiskeys he thought I might enjoy.
Wassim narrowed it down to Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Hibiki Master's Selection, Nikka Coffee Grain, Glenmorangie, and Glenfarclas 25. I sipped on each glass one by one, following Wassim's instructions in my attempts to discern the different tastes and qualities of each whiskey.
The First Class Terminal's catering is handled by the world-class Do & Co, and it turns out that Wassim worked for them rather than for Lufthansa itself. It was clear that Wassim knew his spirits well – as a seasoned bartender should – but beyond that, our conversation was extremely pleasant as well.
We talked at length about a wide range of topics, from the struggles of living in Germany as someone of a Tunisian background, to the countless number of famous people – names like UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, Paris Hilton, Akon, the German national football team, and the Saudi royal family – he's seen right here in the First Class Terminal.
English wasn't his first language, so we spoke in a mixture of English and French (the latter isn't my strongest suit either, but it can get the job done). It was incredibly eye-opening to chat with him, and our conversations were some of the highlights of my visit to the lounge.
Even better, Wassim kept me in tip-top shape throughout. He'd regularly offer refills of my wine and water, as well as samples of other expensive alcohol that he thought I would enjoy. I took the rum and cognac in stride, and when the alcohol started to get a bit overwhelming, Wassim knew just what I needed: a shot of espresso to perk me right up!
The time seemed to fly, and before long my lounge attendant came up to me to let me know the shower room was ready. I had about two and a half hours left until my flight to Boston, so I decided to shower first and then have a meal in the restaurant.
Suffice it to say that I couldn't believe my eyes when the staff member opened the doors to my shower room. I mean look at this. A private bathtub in an airport lounge? Is this even real?!
I guess the staff here really liked me, because a bottle of champagne on ice was brought over for me to enjoy while I took a bath. It simply doesn't get better than that.
Besides the amazing bathtub, the shower room also featured a large sink and mirror combo, an entire wall from which to hang your belongings, and of course a shower with excellent water pressure.
Spoilt for choice, I did the only reasonable thing: I took a shower first to freshen up; then, I took a bath and sipped on a few glasses of champagne, marveling at the surreal experience; and finally, I took another shower to clean myself up properly. And the entire time I couldn't help but think that I was bathing in the same tub as such illustrious figures as Paris Hilton! 😃
I probably spent between thirty and forty-five minutes pampering myself (I lost track of the time a little bit given how much alcohol I had consumed at this point). I recall coming to the realization that I'd better hurry up if I wanted to enjoy a nice meal, so I got dressed and headed back into the lounge.
I sat down at one of the tables and took a look at the à la carte menu, which read as follows:
In addition to the regular menu, there was also a special Bavarian menu, which came all dressed up in leiderhosen. Fantastic presentation!
The wait staff quickly came around to take my order. I had heard great things about the schnitzel in this lounge, so that was something I couldn't miss. I was also quite hungry at this point, so I ordered a consommé soup and a steak as well. And as I waited for my dishes to arrive, I went up to the buffet selection to grab some food from there too.
In all honesty, the buffet selection is very impressive, featuring everything from a ham slicer to a customizable cheese board. It's a real testament to the sheer variety of the food here in the First Class Terminal that the buffet is merely supposed to complement the sit-down dining options.
Wassim came by again to ask me if I wanted to enjoy any more drinks with my meal – perhaps some red or white wine – but I was pretty woozy by this point (and I still wanted to drink on the flight, mind you). So a grateful non merci was all I could muster.
My consommé soup arrived first, and I took to it eagerly, although I thought it was slightly lacking in taste.
The veal schnitzel was much better. It was tender and juicy on the inside while the breaded exterior remained delightfully crisp.
The best course of the meal had to be the beef fillet, which was grilled to perfection. I was pretty full by this point, but of course there was no way I was going to let any food go to waste!
Overall it was a very solid meal, and a great way to cap an amazing afternoon in the Lufthansa First Class Lounge. What's the worst thing about this place, you ask? Definitely the fact that you have to leave eventually...
I relaxed for a little bit longer before the clock struck 5:30pm and it was time to head to the gate. Oh wait, did I say head to the gate? I meant link up with my private driver to be escorted directly to the plane in a Mercedes-Benz...
That's right: my lounge attendant came to get me and brought me downstairs to the in-house passport control point, where the immigration office already had my passport in hand when I arrived. He stamped my documents for departure from the Schengen Area, after which I said goodbye to the lovely staff who had taken care of me and hopped into the front seat.
This was perhaps the the most surreal part of the evening for me. Enjoying expensive food and drinks on Lufthansa's dime, or relaxing in a bathtub with champagne on ice – that's one thing. Being driven directly from outside the airport into the tarmac area, under the tails of stunning airplanes around you, directly to the doorstep of the Airbus A330 that's about to be your ride for the evening? That's quite another!
The entire time I had to keep pinching myself, taking mental notes that no, I wasn't actually a VIP or anything, just some guy who travels on points. After what seemed like way too short of a journey, we arrived at the beautiful bird that was going to take me to Boston. I could barely contain my excitement as I got out of the passenger seat, only to be greeted by this breathtaking view...
After standing around for a few minutes just to let the reality sink in, I headed up the elevator and made my way across the First Class jet bridge. It was time for the real event.
The Lufthansa First Class Terminal is one of the most well-known experiences in the Miles & Points community (it's almost become a rite of passage in itself), and I had heard so many great things about it prior to my visit. It's safe to say that my real-life experience here far surpassed my already high expectations, and there are so many great things about it that make me so excited to return.
With the First Class Terminal, Lufthansa gives you a personalized experience on the ground prior to your First Class flight that's simply unparalleled. The quality and quantity of alcohol available at the bar is almost dangerously good. And taking a bath in an airport lounge is just such a perfectly decadent thing to do that it's no wonder why people obsessively collect the First Class Terminal rubber duckies (speaking of which, I came away with three special-edition black ones).
If I had to compare this lounge with the Swiss First Class Lounge Zurich, I'd say the Lufthansa First Class Terminal just about edges it, thanks to the in-lounge bathtub, the fact that it's an entirely separate terminal in itself, and the ground experience of being driven to the plane. But it's definitely a close call!