Review: Lufthansa First Class 747-8 (MEX-FRA)

I recently had the pleasure of flying first class on Lufthansa from Mexico City to Frankfurt to visit my girlfriend. I’ve flown this product many times before and, despite a somewhat outdated seat, was delighted as ever by the food, drink, and top-notch service. This experience further cemented my status as a shameless Lufthansa fanboy.

How I booked my Lufthansa first class ticket

After several months of scarcity, first class award seats on Lufthansa have finally begun to open back up. Historically, this has been among the most accessible first class tickets to book with points, so it’s great to see good availability return. I booked my ticket on LifeMiles, which is undeniably the best program for Lufthansa first redemptions, with the lowest point-cost redemption rates and super reasonable taxes. I ended up paying 96,000 points and $65.80 in taxes.

I could’ve more conveniently flown to Frankfurt or Munich from any number of US cities (LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Washington, or New York) for fewer points and less money—87,000 and $25.30, respectively—but couldn’t find availability on the day I needed to depart. Since Mexico City typically has wide-open first class award inventory, I opted to fly out of MEX and bought a positioning flight from the Phoenix (where I was visiting) to MEX.

A note on the dysfunction that is LifeMiles (and how to work around it)

LifeMiles’ superior value for booking first class tickets comes at a price; namely, having to use their heinous website that is, even at the best of times, astoundingly buggy. There are two primary issues with it:

  1. Finding available tickets can only be done one day at a time. For example, if I want to travel from Chicago to Franfurt sometime in the next two weeks, I have to essentially start the search process from scratch 14 times. Because of how slow the website is to load, this could easily take upwards of 10 minutes.
  2. First class seats simply don’t show up when searched for, even when there’s plenty of availability.

To get around these issues, I use two tools:

  1. For finding availability, I use a nifty little website called built by a devoted awards traveler that lets me find available tickets in 10 seconds instead of 10 minutes.
  2. To find availability that isn’t showing up, I use a Chrome script to force it to appear. You can find an explanation of how to do that in this FlyerTalk post. It sounds complicated but it takes a couple minutes.

I have a longer post here on the tools and tricks required to use the LifeMiles website like a pro.

Lufthansa Mexico City lounge

First class passengers on Lufthansa have access to Aeromexico’s Salon Premier lounge. Though Lufthansa has tried to elevate the experience of this priority pass lounge by reserving an area within the lounge comprising four seats, overall the lounge is mediocre.

First, though, some pros:

  • Broad selection of food
  • Good coffee
  • Showers

Unfortunately, these are outweighed by several cons. Namely:

  • Extreme overcrowding resulting in my being unable to find a seat for 15 minutes
  • A very long wait for showers such that I was unable to use them  
  • A strong smell of sewage throughout the lounge
  • Dim lighting and no natural light

Due to the lacking nature of the lounge, I ultimately left and made my way to the Centurion Lounge which, while having the same sewage smell, was far less crowded and better maintained. Inconveniently, the lounge is located outside security, so I needed to leave the lounge quite a while before my flight to ensure I made it through security and ultimately ended up waiting at my gate for quite a while. I’ll review the Centurion Lounge in a separate post.

Lufthansa 747 first class boarding

Our gate was located at the semicircular end of the concourse and was flanked by several other gates, each of which had flights leaving at similar times. The area, probably 2000 square feet in total, was barely big enough to fit the passengers of a 747, let alone the passengers of three other fully booked flights. The packed boarding area meant that lines for first, business, and economy were hard to see, resulting in a scrum to get on the plane.

a group of people in a terminal
An extremely congested and hectic boarding area in MEX.

Due to inclement weather in Frankfurt, our plane arrived in MEX late, delaying our flight by nearly two hours, from an original departure time of 9:00 PM to 10:45 PM. Due to delays loading the plane, departure was pushed back again from 10:45 to 11:15. We ended up pushing back around midnight. We were given plenty of heads up about the initial delay to 10:45 but were given little notice of subsequent delays which meant standing around the extremely congested gate area for over an hour.

Thankfully, though, when we finally stepped onto the stunning 747-8, all the stress of boarding faded away.

The majesty of the 747-8

Flying the Boeing 747 is always a treat. I think the inflight experience is virtually unrivaled—aside from the A380, it boasts the quietest cabin, the smoothest ride, the greatest passenger capacity, and the highest cruising speed of any commercial aircraft. The plane is also gorgeous from the outside, resembling a massive bird with widely outstretched wings.

What gets me, though, is that flying the 747 feels like touching a piece of history. When it rolled off the production line in 1969 it became a symbol of globalization’s great reach and America’s postwar economic dynamism. Four generations of 747 later, this plane is still emblematic of a global, open society where people and ideas can move across vast distances with ease. To me, traveling on the 747 feels like coming face-to-face with all that.

a large airplane on a runway
The imposing 747-8 ready to board. I took this photo before a different Lufthansa first class flight I was on from O’Hare to Frankfurt in December of last year.

Lufthansa 747 first class cabin & seats

Lufthansa’s first class cabin sits in the nose of the plane and has eight seats. Due to the curvature of the nose, if you’re sitting in 1A, 1K, 2A, or 2K, you’ll get the unique experience of sitting at windows that face slightly forward, which means that at take-off and landing, if you look at the right angle, you’ll be able to see in front of the plane as it hurtles into the sky or onto the runway. If you’re flying as a couple and want to sit together, I recommend reserving 3D and 3G, since they’re the only two seats in the cabin next to each other.

a man and woman sitting on a bed
My girlfriend and I on a flight back from Chicago last year. We sat in 3D and 3G, the only two side-by-side seats in Lufthansa’s first class cabin.

Stylistically, the cabin is elegant and understated. It is colored in off-whites, beiges, and browns, with leather accents that feel cozy yet luxurious. On the right side of the seat are buttons to control the seat and privacy partition and on the left are entertainment controls. Also on the left are two storage compartments, one of which contains Bose noise-canceling headphones. Below the armrest are USB and power outlets. There are no overhead compartments, which creates a spacious and airy cabin feeling, and instead, each passenger is provided a storage locker at the back of the cabin.

a person sitting in a chair in an airplane
The cabin feels open, airy, and luxurious in an understated and decidedly German sort of way.

747 first class amenities

Upon boarding, I was immediately provided an amenity kit containing socks, earplugs, comb, shoe horn, dental kit, and three sample-size La Prairie creams: skin caviar, undereye cream, and lip balm. I was also provided a pair of extremely comfortable Cumuli slippers and a set of Van Laak pajamas that are (hilariously) collared.  Last but not least, I was given a bowl of warmed macadamia nuts and poured a glass of Champagne Lanson’s ‘Le Vintage’ 2012, a respectable bottle but nothing compared to the excellent 2004 Cuvee Louise poured on previous flights.

a glass of wine next to a screen
A glass of Champagne Lanson’s ‘Le Vintage’ 2012 and brown amenity kit. Warm macadamia nuts were dropped off moments after this photo.

Lufthansa 747 Entertainment & Wi-Fi

As I sat back and enjoyed the food and drink, I began to browse the entertainment selection on the 17-inch IFE screen. While the array of television programs and movies was expansive, the screen quality and size were disappointing and would not have been out of place on a plane in 2005. On the other hand, free Wi-Fi was provided to all first class passengers, which I found very fast, even as we passed through the Arctic Circle—an area with notoriously spotty coverage.

Lufthansa 747 first class dinner service

Dinner service, which began in earnest about 90 minutes after takeoff, was the highlight of the flight. The dinner menu read as follows:

a menu of food on a white background

As the meal service began, a flight attendant walked around the cabin offering a selection of delicious warm bread from a basket–I opted for the garlic bread, which I can’t recommend highly enough. In the past, I’ve also started my meals with caviar, but chose not to this time, so here’s a picture of the caviar service from a previous Lufthansa first flight.

a plate of food on a table

To start my meal on this flight, I had quinoa and salad. I typically find quinoa bland, but this was delicious. For my main course, I ordered the red snapper which was slightly dry though seasoned well and flavored nicely. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the meal; this is my first review, so I’m new to all this! To drink, I ordered a punchy 2011 Château Cantenac Brown off the extensive drinks menu.

a white text on a black background

I finished dinner with a cheese plate featuring Roquefort, Edam, Camembert, Emmental, and goat cheese, and a glass of 2018 Selbach-Oster Riesling. Both were excellent.

One final note on dinner service: Lufthansa allows buddy dining in first class, meaning that you can dine across from your companion. Though I was traveling solo on this flight, I’ve done this multiple times and it’s a fabulous and memorable way to have dinner at 35,000 feet.

a man and woman sitting at a table with food on it
Dining with a companion (especially this one) is one of the great pleasures of first class travel.

Lufthansa 747 first class bed

Totally stuffed and pleasantly drowsy, I asked the flight attendant to make up my bed. The bedding comprised an extremely plush pillow, thick mattress pad, and fluffy duvet. Fully flat, the bed measured 83 inches long and 31 inches wide, which gave me plenty of room to stretch out. As I frequently switch between lying on my stomach and my side while sleeping, this bed suited me well. Overall, it’s among the most comfortable beds in the sky, and I ended up sleeping eight uninterrupted hours.

Lufthansa 747 first class lavatories

While the flight attendant made up my bed, I went off to the lavatory to change into my pajamas. The bathroom was extremely well-appointed. It boasts a window, which is a lovely touch, a fresh rose near the vanity, and a leather bench over the toilet. It features an Evian facial mist, as well as full-sized Augustinus Bader hand cream and body lotion, different but no less luxurious than the La Prairie creams offered in the past. The bathroom was maintained immaculately the entire flight; I noticed a flight attendant hurrying to clean the bathroom after every use.

Lufthansa First Class Lavatory

I do miss the immense size of the first class lavatories on Lufthansa’s A380s, as well as the novelty of using the only urinal on a commercial airliner (as far as I know), but this bathroom comes in a close second. Here’s a picture I took on a flight a while back that shows the vast size of the A380 lavatory.

a bathroom with a sink and a bench

Lufthansa 747 first class breakfast service

After a blissful night of sleep, I was awakened for breakfast about 90 minutes before landing. Though I intended initially to have just cut fruit and a cappuccino, I was convinced by the flight attendant to go all out and ended up ordering a plate of smoked salmon, yogurt and granola, and freshly prepared scrambled eggs with chives. All were good, though nothing was remarkable. My cappuccino—Lufthansa has an espresso maker onboard—was excellent. The breakfast menu read as follows:

a menu of breakfast with text
I pigged out at breakfast and basically ordered the whole menu.

Lufthansa 747 first class service

I’ve flown international first class nearly 30 times, and the service provided on this flight was easily better than on 25 of those 30 flights. The flight attendants were both professional and warm, highly attentive but not overbearing, and went above and beyond time and again. For example, when I asked whether there was any hand cream left after not finding it in the bathroom, I was told that it had been removed for landing and was then offered an unopened tube (which retails for over 50 euros!). Another example: earlier in the flight, I had mentioned in passing to the purser that I was going to Frankfurt to visit my girlfriend. Shortly before landing, I discovered that the flight attendants had gathered all the roses onboard and arranged them into a bouquet as a parting gift to pass on to my girlfriend! These small kindnesses elevated a luxurious service and transformed it into a cherished memory.


It may not be the blingiest product in the sky, but Lufthansa’s first class consistently delivers top-shelf wine and spirits, excellent food, an extremely comfortable bed, and top-notch service. I can’t wait to fly it again soon.

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