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Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal makes almost every other lounge on the planet look like the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It features a full-service restaurant serving up German and international delicacies. Its bar maintains a vast selection of just about any top-shelf liquor most would ever want. The lounge’s bedrooms provide hotel-like accommodation for weary travelers and its soaking tub comes with bath salts and bubble bath to lull guests into a state of sublime relaxation. Leaving such comfort would be agonizing if not for yet another luxury provided on departure: a chauffeured Porsche (or occasionally Volkswagen) to your departing aircraft.
A quick note: I made this trip before deciding to start writing about my experiences, so please forgive the relative lack of pictures. I took a few videos, which I’ll include, and will document my trip more comprehensively next time! Also, in case you’re interested, I’ve also written a guide on the practicalities of access to this lounge which can be found here.
Arrival & security
Most first class ground experiences, even the best of the best, like Air France’s La Premier, still require first class passengers arriving at the airport to go through essentially the same process as other travelers. Yes, there are dedicated check-in desks and fast-track security lanes, but, with few exceptions, you’re still standing in the same loud, crowded building as everyone else.
Not so with Lufthansa. As you arrive at the first class terminal, you’ll notice that the check-in and security area are no bigger than the waiting room at a doctor’s office. A testament to the exclusivity of the experience is the fact that, despite its size, this area, every single time I’ve had the privilege of visiting, has been serenely calm.
Within seconds of entering the space, a staff member will ask for your passport and, after a very short check, will guide you through security. Such is the level of personal service that I’ve even had staff insist on carrying my carry-on bags the 15 feet to the security area, and then put them on the conveyor belt for me. After the 30 seconds it takes to clear security, a concierge will offer to give you a tour of the lounge and inform you that when your flight boards, they’ll find you to drive you to your gate.
Food & drink
One of the most remarkable aspects of this lounge is its restaurant and bar. The dining room, catered by the excellent Do & Co, offers seasonally inspired dishes that is on par with a high-end restaurant. For comparison’s sake, it has been consistently much better than any food I’ve had at any Polaris lounge.
The drink selection is also special. Though I’m not much of a drinker, I loved the chance to try several different wines and figure out what I like. I also did a scotch tasting, which I asked for from the bartender. Expecting to receive a few thimbles of different scotches, I was given four large bottles and told to ask for more if I needed them (I did not).
There are ample seating options throughout the lounge and, given that there are rarely more than 10 guests in the entire terminal at a time, you’ll never have a problem finding a secluded spot. In the main seating area, there are armchairs, swiveling armchairs with ottomans facing the windows, loungers, and a TV area. There’s a cigar lounge and a fully glass-enclosed room, with similar seating options. You’ll also find five offices. These are literal rooms, not cubicles, so they’re perfect for conducting meetings or just working without distraction.
The FCT has two bedrooms. These are officially called “nap rooms,” which used to make sense given that there was a chaise, not a bed, but for the past several years, these two rooms resemble fairly well-appointed hotel rooms (sans windows). In my opinion, these are the second best lounge sleeping accommodations on earth, edging out those at the Al Safwa (Qatar’s first class lounge) and barely losing first place to Swiss’s first class bedrooms due to the fact that they have a window that offers uniquely stunning runway views. However, given that most people just use these rooms for sleeping and will have the curtains drawn, there’s virtually no difference between the two.
Showers & bathtub
Many lounges nowadays have showers. As far as I know, just one other lounge has a bathtub (if you consider Al Safwa’s jacuzzi a bath). Since there’s only one, if you intend to use it, you should put your name down straight away to ensure a spot. It’s pretty easy, just make your way down the hallway behind the dining room and speak with the attendant behind the desk. Given the number of guests in the lounge at any given time, odds are good you’ll be able to experience this if you have a couple of hours in the lounge.
While in the bath, you’ll have a chance to test out your signature FCT rubber ducky, a trademark souvenir of any visit to this terminal. Admittedly, this is a somewhat strange piece of regalia, but over the years these ducks, which come in many different outfits, have become collector’s items for hardcore AV geeks. In order two grab one of these, just ask the lounge concierge. At the moment, the standard FCT duck is black, though this changes over the years and various special edition ducks are often released.
Car service to aircraft
This is another service that separates great lounges from the truly exceptional. Even among truly exceptional first class products like Qatar, Emirates, Singapore, and Cathay Pacific, you don’t get this service.
Essentially, there are two options for car transport to the plane: being driven in a van with other passengers or being driven in a private car on your own. This depends entirely on how many other first class passengers on your flight are also in the lounge and need to be driven to the plane. Since I typically use the lounge when I arrive in Frankfurt and am connecting on to a different European destination, I virtually always get a private car, because those intra-European flights typically don’t have other first class connecting passengers. However, if you were booked on a flight departing Frankfurt for Los Angeles of Johannesburg or another route with a first class cabin, there will likely be other first class passengers in the lounge with whom you’d have to share a van to the plane. If you so desire, you can request a private car, but this is subject to availability and priority will be given to those on flights without other first class guests.
This is easily among the ten best lounges on earth. It’s small and understated but outmatches the ground service of excellent airlines like Emirates, Etihad, ANA, JAL, and even Singapore. By my reckoning, it’s worth coming to FRA at least three or four hours before your flight or taking an extra long layover to experience its many delights. I can’t wait to come back.