Lufthansa First Class Guide & Review [2021]

Lufthansa first class is one of the most coveted first class experiences. There are a few different ways that you can experience it though and below I will break down everything you need to know.

I’ll also give you a super detailed review of my experience on Lufthansa first class.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Lufthansa First Class Aircraft

When flying Lufthansa first class, you’ll be able to choose from three different types of aircraft:

  • 747-8i
  • A380-800
  • A340-600

Lufthansa First Class 747-8

The 747 is probably the fan favorite for Lufthansa first class.

It has eight seats just like the A380 but there’s just something special about flying in the nose of the 747. You also have an opportunity for optimal privacy if you can snag one of the seats in the front.

Just be aware that the 747-400 does not have a first class cabin as it only goes up to business class.

Lufthansa First Class 747-8 seat map. Image via Lufthansa.

Lufthansa First Class A380

The first class cabin on the A380 is located on the upper deck. It has eight seats and they are arranged directly across from each other unlike the 747.

Lufthansa First Class A380 seat map.
Lufthansa First Class A380 seat map. Image via Lufthansa.

Lufthansa First Class A340

The A340 has a different first class cabin. It also has eight seats but they are positioned directly across from each other rather than the slightly angled and staggered approach of the 747.

Lufthansa First Class A340 seat map. Image via Lufthansa.

Trip review briefing

Lufthansa First Class has been on my radar for the past few years. I’d almost pulled the trigger on it in 2018 but the routing did not have me departing Frankfurt and I really wanted that full First Class Terminal treatment. So when I had the chance to book Lufthansa first class on the A380 as part of a recent round the world trip, I didn’t hesitate. Below is my full review of the Lufthansa First Class experience on the A380.

Flight routes 

This particular segment to Houston was part of a mini round the world trip which included the following routes: IAH->TPE->BKK (layover)->FRA->IAH.

I love saving the best for last and Lufthansa First Class was definitely the crown jewel on this trip.

Round the world trip routing. Image via

Hotel stays 

  • W Taipei (4 nights on cash)
  • Hilton Frankfurt City Centre (3 nights: one on points and 2 with free night certificates)
  • Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport  (1 night on points + cash)

I used a combination of cash, points, and free night certificates for my hotel stays.

Hilton Frankfurt City Centre.

Flight details 

Here are the details for the flight:

  • Route: Frankfurt (FRA) -> Houston (IAH)
  • Flight No.: LH 440
  • Aircraft: A380
  • Class: First Class (O)
  • Seat: 1D
  • Date: June 18, 2019
  • Scheduled Departure Time: 10:00 am | Actual Departure Time: 10:08 am (+8 minutes)
  • Scheduled Arrival Time: 1:50 pm | Actual Arrival Time: 1:49 pm (-1 minute)
  • Flight Time: 10 hours,  41 minutes
Image via

Booking Lufthansa First Class (LH F) with United miles 

I booked the Lufthansa First Class ticket with 110,000 United miles and the fees for the flight were $112.13 (plus the $50 United close-in fee). This flight would have cost $8,945 so with all fees factored in, I got 8 cents in value per mile on this redemption, which is great (albeit aspirational). 

Remember, United is a transfer partner of Chase so this could be one of the most valuable first class redemptions for your Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I’d known for some time that Lufthansa First class awards generally open up a couple of weeks before departure. so when I went to book this trip a couple of days ahead of my first departure, I expected to find open awards. I initially booked a Lufthansa first class 747 flight from FRA to BOS with an economy connection to IAH on United.

The thought of going from Lufthansa First Class to United economy was nothing short of dreadful, but I went into the booking with the mindset that I’d be okay with paying to change it if something opened up and that’s what happened (twice). 

About three days into the round the world trip, an itinerary with a United first class connection at ORD opened up and I decided to book that so I’d get a little bit more time in LH F and of course avoid economy. I paid the $100 change fee (reduced due to United Silver status) and then proceeded to rejoice that I wouldn’t have to embrace my inner-peasant to get home. 

And then about 24 hours prior to departure I saw four first class tickets open up for LH F with a nonstop flight from FRA to IAH on the A380. I didn’t immediately book it though because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fly on the 747 or the A380.

747 vs A380

I went back and forth trying to quickly decide between the LH 747 and A380. I had a back row seat on the 747 so the increased privacy in the front row of the 747 didn’t factor in but it’s been a while since I have flown on the 747 and I really like flying in its nose. But the A380 from FRA was a nonstop to Houston which also meant more time in LH F and no time on United.

Ultimately, I preferred a nonstop flight and also liked the idea of starting and finishing the long-haul segments on this round the world trip from my home at IAH, since every other round the world trip I’ve done has been with connections at both LAX and JFK.

Change issues

I don’t want to get too in-depth here but there were many issues trying to make changes to my fight. First, a United agent erroneously changed my ticket from first class to economy (and then had the nerve to blame me). Then, other agents had issues trying to make the change because their system was asking them for more miles to change the flight.

One (very uninformed) agent even insisted I would need an additional 80,000 miles to make the change because “I was changing to a nonstop flight.” WTF.

Eventually, after many hours on the phone and dropped calls, a skilled United agent based in Germany made the changes with a manual override and said he would be reporting the issue to avoid it for others in the future. So hopefully you won’t have to go through that!

He also waived the change fee due to the wait, which was nice even though I had unknowingly been racking up some serious phone charges at the Hilton Frankfurt City Centre while speaking with United.

I spent a lot of time (and money) on this phone!

Getting to FRA

After spending three nights at the Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, I spent my last night at the Hilton Garden Inn at Frankfurt Airport. It’s a decent airport hotel and they put me up on the 10th floor so I had a pretty cool view of the Frankfurt skyline at sunrise (from a distance).

View from the Hilton Garden Inn at Frankfurt Airport.

I loved that this hotel was located inside the airport, so I didn’t have to take a shuttle or anything to get from the hotel to the airport.

Frankfurt airport terminal.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal

At Frankfurt, Lufthansa doesn’t just have a first class lounge — they have an entire first class terminal (read more in-depth about the my Lufthansa First Class Terminal experience here).

The experience started with me waking up ridiculously early and then walking over from the Hilton Garden Inn to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. It took me a little while to locate the terminal but after getting some guidance from an agent, I was able to find my way.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal.

The Lufthansa First Class Terminal has its own little private security area so you don’t have to deal with the long lines at the main airport terminal. I had to experience a pat down and remove my shoes because I was flying to the US but the process was otherwise very quick and harmless.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal security.

Once you make it through the security check-point there’s a duty free shop and a nice collection of Lufthansa first class terminal ducks on display you can check out before you enter the lounge. Don’t forget to collect your own rubber duck in the back of the lounge, near the showers.   

Lufthansa First Class Terminal rubber duck collection.

The Lufthansa First Class Terminal is home to one of the most impressive bars I’ve seen in a first class lounge. They serve up something like 100+ whiskies and it’s loaded with different types of liquor.  Plus, there are jars of endless gummy bears and a nice chess board to keep you occupied.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal bar.

The lounge also has a small dining room which feels pretty intimate.

I was only there for breakfast and I thought the breakfast options were solid. You can find plenty of hot food items from the buffet or you can put in an order à la carte off the menu. I’m sure lunch and dinner would be great, too.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal food.
Lufthansa First Class Terminal breakfast.

There are a lot of places to relax in the lounge and the lounge never got crowded during my stay. I liked the easy-chairs lining the windows which are great for solo travelers and there are plenty of seating areas for groups. However, I was just a tad disappointed there weren’t any areas to get real privacy besides the two day suites and there weren’t international power outlets or adapters to be found.

Lufthansa First Class Terminal lounge seating.

The lounge offers some special amenities like massage chairs, a cigar room, shower rooms (one comes with a tub), and the day suites I already mentioned.

Overall, the First Class Terminal was pretty impressive. This is definitely a lounge that deserves an earlier than usual arrival to the airport so that you can experience it. Again, if you want to find out more about the lounge then check out my full review. 

Lufthansa First Class limousine service

When it came time for boarding, an agent (my personal assistant) greeted me and then told me it was time for the limousine service to the A380.  

The Lufthansa first class experience is unique because they provide you with limousine service directly to the aircraft on the tarmac. You’ll be taken from the First Class Terminal down to a lobby area where you’ll wait on your ride as you get your passport back from passport control.

Once you get your passport back, you’ll be escorted to one of the vehicles and then make your way to the plane. In my case, the ride was just under two minutes so it wasn’t a very long journey at all.

If you want to board the plane first, I believe you can make that request when you enter the lounge but that could also be dependent on elite status.

Lufthansa First Class limousine service.

After arriving at the A380, we made our way up an elevator and across the jet bridge to the upper deck.

I got some great views of the A380 along the way.

It’s ridiculous how huge the wings are on this aircraft.

Lufthansa First Class cabin

Lufthansa First Class cabin has a total of eight seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration and two very large lavatories. The cabin is on the upper deck of the A380, in front of business class which is in a 2-2-2 layout.

Lufthansa First Class seat map.

The cabin feels intimate with only eight seats which I guess fall under the “open suite” category.

Lufthansa First Class cabin.

It’s a pretty sleek cabin and I loved the “First Class” signage in the front and the elegant touch of the roses at each seat.

Lufthansa First Class cabin.

But I didn’t love everything about the cabin. One of the first things that I noticed was that there was limited privacy. The cabin reminded me a lot of the Qatar A380 first class cabin with eight open suites but Qatar had the partitions set up when we boarded so the cabin felt much more private. On Lufthansa, every seat is completely exposed at take-off and landing (I’ll say more about privacy below).

Lufthansa First Class cabin.

At the front of the cabin, there’s a small snack and beverage area.

This is where they kept the water and the premium bubbly.

On our flight they were serving Alexandra Grand Cuvee Rose 2004 Champagne Laurent-Perrier, which I’ve seen listed for around $200+ per bottle. 

Alexandra Grand Cuvee Rose 2004 Champagne Laurent-Perrier.

After meal service, they brought out a box of chocolates that they kept up at the front (which were amazing).

Premium chocolates.

At the front of the cabin there’s a little area where you can find some reading literature. This area is sometimes used as a bar or snack area on some A380s but that’s not the case with Lufthansa.

Lufthansa First Class seat

I initially picked a window seat but due to seat malfunctions was moved to an interior seat. In fact, two out of the eight seats were not functioning on this A380 which meant I was the only one in the cabin without a window seat.

This put a pretty big blemish on the experience since I really value window seats. For me, it’s not just about the added privacy and getting content (photos) but window seats just offer a different headspace due to the views. Still, I decided to remain open minded about the interior seat and look past the hiccup.

Design, comfort, and privacy

I loved the design of the wide seat that comes in at 31 inches. That’s not quite as wide as the ultra-wide Cathay Pacific first class seat but it’s much wider than the 23″ seat on Qatar First Class, so it felt very roomy (seat dimensions according to SeatGuru). I also just thought that the seat was very comfortable.

Lufthansa First Class seat.

Privacy is my only issue with this cabin. The privacy partitions are pretty big though and once those go up, the experience feels much more like a true first class experience, in my opinion. I know some like the open-cabin concept, but I much prefer (and expect) a private suite-like experience when in a top first class product.

Lufthansa First Class seat privacy.
Lufthansa First Class seat privacy.

Even though there is limited privacy in the cabin, I still liked the look of the seats, especially the window seats.

Seat features (controls, storage)

The Lufthansa A380 first class product has some of the best storage out of any first class product. First, when you board you can load up your belongings in your own private locker (designated with your seat number). I’m not sure if the 747 has the same set-up but these lockers on the A380 are very spacious and are located just behind the first class cabin.

Lufthansa A380 first class lockers.
Lufthansa A380 first class lockers.

You can see how much extra room I had after I put my backpack and carry-on bag in the locker.

Lufthansa A380 first class lockers.

There’s also a lot of storage space in the ottoman along with a net for storing items. This was a perfect place to put my DSLR and it was nice that’s it’s covered and not exposed like many other storage areas are.

Lufthansa A380 first class storage.
Lufthansa A380 first class storage.
Lufthansa A380 first class storage.

The seat controls are very practical and easy to use. You can find the quick controls on the arm rest and advanced controls underneath the panel cover on the armrest.

Lufthansa A380 first class seat controls.

I loved that there were buttons to control things like the length of the headrest and that you could scoot the ottoman up — those type of features made getting comfortable much easier than other products.

Lufthansa A380 first class seat controls.

The other arm rest has quick access buttons for media and for calling for service, which is very convenient.

Lufthansa A380 first class media controls.
Lufthansa A380 first class media controls.

There were also three storage compartments on the side of the seat, though one of them was designed to store your headphones.

Lufthansa A380 first class storage.
Lufthansa A380 first class storage.
Lufthansa A380 first class storage.
Lufthansa A380 first class storage.

Something that’s really cool about the Lufthansa first class seat is that it comes equipped with two USB ports and two international power outlets, right under the armrest. This makes it very easy and practical to keep your electronics powered.

Lufthansa A380 first class power outlets and USB.

Overall, I was a huge fan of the seat and I think it might be my #1 first class seat in terms of functionality and comfort. I also really enjoyed the convenient controls and being able to adjust the seat and ottoman to exactly where I wanted it and the seat controls just felt powerful.

Lufthansa First Class amenity kit

The first class amenity kit bags were made by Escada, a German luxury designer clothing company headquartered in Munich, so props for Lufthansa for sticking with home-grown luxury since so many airlines go with Italian or French designers.

Lufthansa First Class amenity kit.

I liked the first class branding on the inside of the bag.

Lufthansa First Class amenity kit.

The amenity kit came with La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe face lotion, eye-lift cream, and lip balm along with a dental kit, comb, eye mask, ear plugs, headphone covers, shoe horn, and socks. I loved the lotion products (quality scents) and even though the containers were very small, I still brought them home with me. By the way, La Prairie Skin Caviar is ridiculously expensive ($422 for a 1.7oz bottle) on Amazon! 

Lufthansa First Class amenity kit.

I was in love with the pajamas as soon as I saw them. They gave me a size large which actually felt like a real large versus the XXLs many other airlines issue. The pajamas are made by Van Laack — a German fashion company with its headquarters in Mönchengladbac — and they were stylish and comfortable (I took them home and still wear them on occasion though they shrink pretty good).

Lufthansa First Class pajamas.
Lufthansa First Class pajamas.

The slippers also come in specific sizes which is a nice departure since so many airlines issue one size slippers that are often much too small for any man with fully developed feet.

Lufthansa First Class slippers.

Overall, the Lufthansa amenity kit + pajama package was one of my favorites I’ve ever received in first class (I just wish the actual amenity kit bag was a little more iconic/memorable).

Lufthansa First Class headphones & IFE

Lufthansa supplied Bose headphones which came already plugged in and ready to go (within the side storage compartment).

Lufthansa First Class headphones.

The TV monitors are high quality with a 17-inch display. The screens do feel a little far away for their size compared to some other airlines and the screens are much smaller than those on top products like Singapore Airlines that have 32″ screens or now ANA with their monster 42″ 4K screens in first class.

17-inch display monitors.

You can choose from movies, TV shows, Live TV (sports), audio books, podcasts, meditation, games, and other things so the selection is extensive.

I found the movie selection to be very good. I was on a bit of a documentary kick and watched two of them: one on Drake and the other on Elon Musk (both were okay). So overall, I would rate the in-flight experience as very solid for Lufthansa First Class. 

Lufthansa First Class wifi

The FlyNet wifi was complimentary on the flight which was a nice surprise. All you have to do is follow the steps on the voucher to activate your internet and you should be able to get it working in a couple of minutes.

Lufthansa First Class wifi.
Lufthansa First Class wifi instructions.

I got a decent wifi connection and was able to keep tabs on some emails and social media but that’s all that I could do. I tried testing out the speed but it didn’t register.

Lufthansa First Class take-off experience

The take-off experience was smooth and as soon as I got into my seat I was offered a hot towel (with rose petal of course).

Lufthansa First Class hot towel.

I also opted for my standard glass of sparkling water.

Lufthansa First Class sparkling water.
Lufthansa First Class sparkling water.

Lufthansa First Class dining

The dining on Lufthansa first class was solid overall. It wasn’t the best I’ve had in the sky but I didn’t really have any complaints. The dining started out with some type of cheese dish for a starter. It had nice texture but I wasn’t fully into it and so I left it alone after a couple of curiosity bites.

Then the tray table was taken out and made. It’s a large tray table that slides all the way down to the end of the seat which means you can easily get up out of your seat when dining. This is one of my favorite features of the seat and it makes life so much easier when you need to get to the lavatory.

After getting served some garlic bread, the flight attendant raised the middle partition (there’s a button to do this on the side of the ottoman). I was delighted to finally have some real privacy as meal service began.

At that time the caviar service also began.

The caviar was excellent. I’d never eaten caviar with simple toast before but it was actually very good that way. I was slightly let down though. I’d seen many posts on Instagram recently of passengers getting very generous servings of caviar on Lufthansa and so I was really looking forward to the caviar extravaganza.

Instead, I received a single standard portion. It’s the ultimate first world problem (I know) but I’m wondering what routes get that special caviar treatment or if it’s a 747 vs A380 thing. Who knows?

I was also offered all of the appetizers but I decided to just stick with one: the smoked salmon and cucumber relish.

Next came the salad which was also enjoyable.

The asparagus cream soup with herb oil came next. I liked the asparagus flavor but it was a bit too oily for my liking.

Asparagus cream soup with herb oil.

And finally it was time for the main dish: beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, beluga lentils, and smoked potato mash. I enjoyed this dish, as the beef was cooked to my perfection (thorough) and the mash potatoes were very smooth (but in need of a good amount of salt and pepper). I wasn’t really feeling the lentils.

Beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, beluga lentils, and smoked potato mash.

After the main course, I decided to try out a cheese platter. I nibbled on a few pieces before I realized I wouldn’t have any room for dessert and aborted the cheeses (but they tasted high quality).

Cheese platter.

For dessert I went with the chocolate variation with praline ice cream quenelle. The praline and chocolate flavors blended together nicely and this really hit the spot and was just a great way to finish up everything.

Chocolate variation with praline ice cream quenelle.

After getting some sleep (more on that below), I was ready for round two. I decided to start things off with a soft pretzel and butter which was a great decision. I’d never buttered up a pretzel before but it went well together. I also went with the tagliatelle arrabbiata with parmesan, olives, and oregano, which I was mostly satisfied with but not overly impressed.

Tagliatelle arrabbiata with parmesan, olives, and oregano.

Finally, it was time to bring it home with “Grandma’s strawberry cake” which was just on a ridiculous level of tasty.

“Grandma’s strawberry cake.”

Overall, the dining experience was enjoyable but not quite as strong as I was anticipating. For the main dish, I would’ve preferred the lobster I had on EVA business class or the Deep-fried snapper fish I had on the Thai A350. But when you consider the entire dining package (premium champagne, caviar, amazing dessert, etc.), it was still a very memorable dining experience.

Lufthansa first class food menu.
Lufthansa first class food menu.
Lufthansa first class food menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.
Lufthansa first class drink menu.

Lufthansa First Class service

Service on this flight was top-notch. The crew was warm, polished, and very attentive — pretty much all you could ask for. They definitely added a lot of value to the experience and helped to capture that aura of luxury you want in first class. I can’t say enough nice things about them. 

Lufthansa First Class lavatory 

The Lufthansa First Class lavatory on the A380 is very spacious, much like other lavatories on A380s like Qatar, Singapore, etc.

Lufthansa First Class lavatory on the A380.
Lufthansa First Class lavatory on the A380.

I really loved the touch of the rose on the mirror.

Elegant touches to the lavatory.

By the sink area they had some La Prairie hand cream (worth $100+) and Evian facial mist spray. One of my new obsessions is freshening up on planes with facial mist sprays. I know these are mostly used for applying make-up but they’re also a great way to feel freshened up and I’ve now incorporated these into my life. The Evian bottles are high quality and around $20 for a full-sized bottle.

Lotion and face spray.

The drawers in the lavatory also came stocked with other items like combs, razors, and shaving cream.

Razors and shaving cream.
More amenities in the lavatory.
Mouth wash.

The A380 lavatory even has a urinal, which I thought was pretty cool (not to mention useful).

First class urinal.

Lufthansa First Class bedding 

Lufthansa First Class has one of the best beds in the sky in my opinion. It’s 81 inches long so even for someone tall, there’s plenty of room to extend your legs.

Lufthansa First Class bedding.

The mattress pad is nice and thick as are the pillows. In my case, I was given two pillows to get comftorable and I was pretty much in Heaven.

Lufthansa First Class bedding.

The duvet is also thick. Too often airlines only provide you with at best one thick item to sleep with, so you get a thick pad with a thin duvet or vice versa. But in this case, both were very soft and comfortable, which made the sleeping experience very comfortable.

Lufthansa First Class bedding.

The cabin was cool for a while which made it super cozy and comfortable in the bed but later on it started to get a little warm so it wasn’t too comfortable to bundle up.

Lufthansa First Class bedding.

Once the bed was made, it felt very private and much more suite-like, which was nice.

Lufthansa First Class bedding.

It also just felt good to look up from time to time and see that Lufthansa First Class sign at the front of the cabin.

The view from the bed.

As comfortable as this bed was, my big complaint would be that there was a pretty big gap between the seat cushions. I didn’t feel it when I was lying on my back but when I tried to get on my stomach, I could feel that sunken gap.

Landing at IAH

Because I was in an aisle seat I didn’t get photos of the approach. I was going to try with my zoom lens but the A380 windows are small and my neighbor was giving me weird looks when I’d look out “his” windows so I was not able to get any.

But here are a couple of A380 shots I got after we landed back at IAH.

Final word

Overall, this was a truly fantastic flight. If it hadn’t been for the mishap with me not getting a window seat, I think I would have been in love with Lufthansa but that sort of dampened the experience for me. Still, I enjoyed every second and felt like Lufthansa has an excellent product especially when it comes to the seat, bedding, and service.

ANA Reveals New A380 Features with New First Class

Japan-based ANA (All Nippon Airways) just revealed their new A380 cabin which will serve the leisure route from Tokyo to Honolulu beginning in the spring of 2019. This is going to be the first route served by the A380 for ANA and they’ll actually operate three A380s in total.

There’s a lot of marketing going into this launch. Back in 2017 ANA held a contest for livery designs and announced one winner. Some felt like the winning livery was a bit hideous but personally I loved it.

But now it turns out that ANA has opted to put on a special livery on their other two A380s. These will incorporate different colors meant to symbolize things like the “crystal clear waters of the Hawaiian ocean” and “beautiful Hawaiian sunset[s],”  while the original blue livery symbolizes the sky.

While the new liveries are fun, the real fun is in the configuration and layout of the new A380 cabin.

The new ANA A380 cabin

ANA published the new seat map of the A380 which reveals a few interesting details. It’s going to have eight First Class seats, 56 Business Class seats, and 73 Premium Economy seats on the upper deck. Meanwhile the lower deck will consist of 383 Economy Class seats, which includes 60 “couch seats.”

The new first class suites and business class seats

This is the first time ANA is offering first class on this route and the new suites look very sleek and impressive. Personally, I love the black suites which come with huge 32-inch monitors, the same size of the screens on the new Singapore Suites.

The new business class seats look pretty good too. The footwells look like they have a decent amount of room, there’s plenty of counter space, and they give you the option to sit close to each other or far apart for the middle seats.

Since this is a vacation/honeymoon destination, it makes sense they would offer “honey moon” seats in business class.

The ANA Couchii looks like an interesting product and seems like something more airlines like Air New Zealand are considering these days. The additional “ii” in Couchii is seems to be part of the overall “ANA HAWAii” marketing scheme meant to signify the “numerous excitements that passengers are able to experience including cabin features.”

Bars and multi-purpose rooms

One thing that I think is really interesting about these A380s is that they will feature multiple on-board bars and even a multi-purpose room “where new mothers will be able to tend to their babies and passengers will be able to change before arriving at their destination.”

I’m very interesting to see how they implement their on-board bars. The layout of the seat map reminds me of the Korean Air A380 with multiple bars located throughout the cabin but on ANA even economy passengers will be able to visit their own bar, which is pretty cool.

The flights between Hawaii and Tokyo are going to be around 8 to 9 hours so this isn’t a terribly long flight but that’s still plenty of time to be able to have some fun at the bar. Given the leisure route, I’d expect there to be a party vibe at these bars, since many in-flight bars already get that way and this one will have a lot of vacationers on it. I suspect many people will be battling hangovers before they even touch down in Hawaii.

While you can’t book these flights yet, for a roundtrip in first class you’re looking at about 130,000 ANA or United miles while business can be as cheap as 65,000 miles roundtrip on ANA. Since ANA is a partner of American Express, you could earn enough ANA miles for a roundtrip business class ticket between Japan and Hawaii with a single sign-up bonus + minimum spend on the Platinum Card from American Express.

Final word

Overall, it’s a little bit odd that ANA is using their A380s for this route as opposed to longer routes but perhaps this is all part of their overall marketing scheme which they are clearly focused on for this route. I think that the product looks great though and this would certainly be a fun way to get to Hawaii.

Qatar Airways A380 First Class Review (CDG to DOH)

Qatar is known mostly for its great business class product which is even more so the case now that they have the new Q-suites. However, their first class product is still one of the best first class experiences in the sky if you ask me. Here’s my full Qatar Airways A380 first class review from my recent flight from CDG to DOH.

Qatar A380 routes

Qatar only has nine A380 aircraft, as they mostly fly versions of the 777 (50), 787 (30), and A350/A320 (60).

These A380s are only used on a hand full of routes, most of which are shorter at around 6 to 7 hours. Here are all of the Qatar A380 routes from Doha according to iflyA380:

  • Bangkok
  • Guangzhou
  • London
  • Paris
  • Sydney
Qatar Airways A380 route map.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Booking Qatar Airways first class

Finding availability

Our entire Qatar itinerary was CDG->DOH->MLE. Availability from CDG to DOH was actually pretty good in first class and so it wasn’t that difficult to find award seats to Doha. However, I could only find economy award seats from DOH to MLE so I originally just settled for those.

Tickets cancelled without notice!

Booking these seats almost became a disaster on multiple occasions.

I used 62,500 AA miles per person to book the flight and paid $153 in fees for each person. I had to call in to the Australian AA center to book but they did not process my payment in the local currency (Australian dollars). This led to my tickets being stuck in limbo and eventually cancelled. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even notified about the cancellation!

Luckily, I caught that it happened a few days later. And I actually got even luckier, business class seats had opened up so I was able to change my booking from economy to business class to the Maldives without having to pay any change fees.

But the drama wasn’t over there.

Several Middle Eastern countries cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017 and the Maldives joined in on that. These countries were banning flights from Qatar so I was really nervous that my booking would be cancelled. I was very close to routing through Colombo, Sri Lanka but luckily flights continued between Qatar and the Maldives and I could breathe once again… or at least I could until the Maldives declared a state of emergency a couple of weeks before our trip (it actually wasn’t bad at all).

The Conrad Maldives.

One last twist occurred before our trip as the aircraft between Doha and Male was swapped from an A330 to an A350. I much preferred the A350 1-2-1 layout in business class to the A330’s 2-2-2 so this was a welcomed change.

The lounge experience

We’d just finished a stay at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme and first made our way into the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at CDG. That lounge was fantastic. It’s stunning, spacious, and offers some solid dining options along with an outdoor terrace where you have Eiffel Tower views. You can read my full review of the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge here.

Qatar lounge at Paris CDG 34
Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at CDG.
Qatar lounge at Paris CDG 45
Qatar Airways Premium Lounge at CDG.
Qatar A380 First Class 1
Qatar first class boarding passes.


After making our way through security at the gate we approached the boarding area and would end up being the first passengers to board.

Qatar A380 First Class 2
Boarding area for our flight.

Boarding started on time and we were directed to the first class cabin found in the front of the upper deck of the A380.

Heading up the jet bridge.

The first class cabin

When we entered, the crew helped us to our seats and tended to our luggage. There’s a storage closet up front where they stored our carry-on luggage, as there are no overhead bins.

Upon seeing the first class cabin for the first time, I was surprised by how extremely elegant the cabin looked.

Qatar A380 First Class 4
Qatar A380 first class cabin.
Qatar A380 First Class 13
Qatar A380 first class cabin.
Qatar A380 First Class 11
Qatar A380 first class cabin.

I liked the contrasting tones used in the wood and seat cushions and accented mood lighting. The layout reminded me of the Korean Air A380 first class cabin except much more elegant and private, with only eight total suites.

The only thing that I wasn’t crazy about was that the seats were cloth. I prefer the look of leather found in other first class seats and think leather seats would’ve looked better. The cloth material is still quality though so this is hardly an issue.

Qatar A380 First Class 5
Qatar A380 first class cabin.

There’s a small area at the front of either side of the first class cabin where you can pick up snacks and drinks, such as water and juices. While there’s no bar in this section like Emirates, it’s still a gorgeous area that nicely welcomes you into the first class cabin.

Qatar A380 First Class 6
Qatar A380 first class cabin.
Qatar A380 First Class 8
Qatar A380 first class cabin snacks.
Qatar A380 First Class 7
Qatar A380 first class cabin.

This is also where you’ll find the two lavatories which were very nice and spacious on the inside.

Qatar A380 First Class 63
Qatar A380 first class lavatory.

The Qatar Airways A380 suites

These suites are actually much more private (and bigger) than I originally thought.

Qatar A380 First Class suite
Qatar A380 first class suite with high partitions.

While it’s still very odd to me that Qatar has fully enclosed suites in their business class product and open suites in first, I honestly didn’t feel like these suites needed a door. Would a fully enclosed suite be nice? Sure, but the partitions are very tall and protrude far out so privacy never felt like an issue to me.

Even the middle seats have high levels of privacy.

Qatar A380 First Class 10
Qatar A380 first class cabin middle seats.
Qatar A380 First Class 14
Qatar A380 first class cabin middle seats.

However, I still think that the window seats offer much more privacy as is usually the case in any cabin.

Qatar A380 First Class 12
Qatar A380 first class cabin window seat.

I went with seat 1A which I loved although I don’t think there’s really a bad seat in Qatar’s A380 first class cabin. The seats come with two pillows and there’s a blanket on the ottoman. They are very wide at 23 inches between armrests but feel even wider due to the extra-wide back cushion.

Qatar A380 First Class 15
Qatar A380 first class seat, 1A.

The suite itself felt very spacious and private. There’s a decent amount of functional counter space and a tray-like table built in to the seat’s counter, which was perfect for setting down drinks, snacks, or even electronics.

Qatar A380 First Class suite.
Qatar A380 first class suite.

You can get a sense of how private the seats are below. I guess the one drawback is that there’s no partition extending from the front of the suite so it’s easy for people to see what you’re watching and your feet feel a bit exposed.

Qatar A380 First Class 17
My view from seat 1A.

Other first class cabins like Korean Air’s A380 (pictured below) provide more privacy for your in-flight entertainment viewing (at least from those sitting next to you) and offer more privacy to keep your feet from being exposed.

Personally, I’m not ashamed that sometimes I resort to watching Pixar movies on planes and don’t mind showing off my fresh socks so I don’t really care but it’s something I thought was worth pointing out.

Korean Air A380 First Class 10
Korean Air first class.

In-suite features

Each suite features an ottoman with space below to store a small to medium sized bag like a back pack. From the take-off position, I could just barely touch the ottoman to rest my feet (I’m 6′ 1″). This distance works out if you’re trying to share a meal at your seat though since it gives your partner plenty of room to sit.

Qatar A380 First Class 20
Qatar A380 First Class.

There’s a wardrobe built into the suite wall behind the ottoman/TV which is actually pretty spacious.

Qatar A380 First Class 22
Qatar A380 first class wardrobe.

The TV is pretty big at 26 inches and it’s also a touch screen. Directly to the left of the TV is a power outlet and lamp. I personally liked how they integrated the monitor into the wood grain panel with the touch of the lamp for additional elegance.

Qatar A380 First Class 21
26-inch TV screen.

The Oryx One in-flight entertainment had a good selection of TV shows and movies (you can check on current listings for your flight here).

I had issues with my in-flight entertainment since I could not pause movies — only stop them. This made it very tedious to take a break during movies so that was one of the negatives during the flight.

The seat and lighting controls are pretty standard and very intuitive. You’ll find some on the left, where you’ll also find a compartment holding the in-flight controller and a bottle of water.

Qatar A380 First Class 23
Seat and lighting controls.
Qatar A380 First Class 24
IFE controller and bottled water.

On the right side are the standard seat controls and within the compartment on that side you’ll find the privacy controls and the headphones, which I thought were high quality although not quite Bose quality.

Qatar A380 First Class 25
Seat controls.
Qatar A380 First Class 26
Compartment with headphones.
Qatar A380 First Class 27
Headphone bag.
Qatar A380 First Class 28
Qatar A380 first class headphones.

There’s also a tablet which you can use to control the lighting and the privacy of your suite. I had my privacy partitions up the entire time and I was never asked to put them down during take off or landing so that was nice. (It’s not always clear which airlines will make you do that.)

Qatar A380 First Class 29
Touch screen privacy and lighting controls.

The amenity kit is issued by Brics, which is an Italian company known for high quality luggage.

Qatar A380 First Class 30
Qatar A380 first class amenity kit.

The kit contains an eye shield, socks, lip balm, anti-aging moisturizers, and hydrating facial mist. It also comes with a Bric’s leather luggage tag that I loved but would feel odd using it on non-Bric’s luggage.

Qatar A380 First Class 33
Qatar A380 first class amenity kit.
Qatar A380 First Class 31
Qatar A380 first class amenity kit.

The moisturizers are from Castello Monte Vibiano.

Qatar A380 First Class 32
Qatar A380 first class amenity kit.

The bar serving up the champagne hadn’t opened yet so I requested for the lemon mint drink, which is a signature drink of Qatar Airways. It was very refreshing and it’s such a great starter drink (with no alcohol).

Qatar A380 First Class 34
Qatar’s lemon mint drink.

They also offered some olives and other snacks, such as an individually wrapped date.

Qatar A380 First Class 35
Pre-departure Qatar first class snacks.
Qatar A380 First Class 36
Pre-departure Qatar first class snacks.

With olives and a the fresh minty drink, I was all settled and ready for take off.

Qatar A380 First Class 18

Once we got up in the air they started pouring the Krug, which I consider to be on par with Dom.

Qatar A380 First Class 39
Qatar A380 First Class champagne.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

The Qatar Airways A380 first class dining experience

When it came time to eat, they pulled out a massive tray table and covered with with a heavy tablecloth. The tray table slides pretty far away from you so you should be able to slip out of your seat if needed.

Qatar A380 First Class 43

The first item they brought out was the soup, which was a mushroom soup with sautéed morels. I actually declined the soup but Brad gave it a shot. He liked the flavor but thought that the mushrooms had an unusually dry texture.

Qatar A380 First Class 51
Mushroom soup with sautéed morels.

Then came the caviar with additional condiments. I’ve seen better presentations before but for me it’s all about the flavor, which was fantastic. I still can’t believe Etihad doesn’t offer caviar while so many other top first class products do.

Qatar A380 First Class 44
Qatar A380 first class caviar.

Along with the caviar we were given both crispy and soft crackers. I prefer crispy crackers with caviar so it’s nice that Qatar gave us different choices.

Qatar A380 First Class 45
Qatar A380 first class caviar.

Then came the breads along with specially selected oil/dressing.

Qatar A380 First Class 47
Qatar A380 first class breads.
Qatar A380 First Class 48
Qatar A380 first class breads and oil.

The next dish was a small shrimp dish which I wasn’t very crazy about.

Qatar A380 First Class 49
Qatar A380 first class dining.

Right about this time we were flying over the Alps, and I was very thankful that we’d decided to take window seats. This was my first time flying over the Alps in the day time and the views were unbelievable.

Qatar A380 First Class 41
The Alps!

The windows on the A380 upper deck are quite small and it’s hard to get photos but you can still appreciate the views. I think flying over snowy mountain ranges will always blow me away no matter how many times I do it.

Qatar A380 First Class 42
Beautiful views of the Alps.

Then came the main dish which was the grilled cod on potato puree. Both the cod and puree had wonderful texture and flavor which was brought out fully with the sauce. I love getting an unexpectedly hearty meal on a plane so I felt like I made a great choice.

Qatar A380 First Class meal
Grilled cod on potato puree.

Brad went with the French trimmed lamb cutlets.

Qatar A380 First Class meal.
French trimmed lamb cutlets.

I was so preoccupied with getting to the bar before it got crowded that I did something I never do and skipped dessert! I meant to go back and try it out but I completely blanked so I can’t report on what usually is my favorite part of plane dining. (In reality we did 20+ flights on this trip so skipping dessert one time was probably my best move.)

Here’s a pic of the menu main items but you can check out my entire photo album for the full dining and wine menus.

Qatar A380 First Class 86
Qatar Airways first class menu.

Qatar Airways A380 first class service

Overall, the service was very solid on this flight. From the moment we stepped in, we were given a lot of attention and everyone in the crew was very warm and personable. I also loved how —  like other Middle Eastern carriers — the crew was very diverse. I’d read mixed reviews about Qatar’s service but this flight left me with overwhelmingly positive feelings about them.

Qatar Airways A380 bar — “The Lounge”

After dinner, it was time to check out the famed Qatar Airways A380 bar, officially known as “The Lounge.” Out of all of the different carriers with on-board bars and lounges, I think Qatar is clearly the winner for best overall bar.

First, the bar area is absolutely stunning.

Qatar A380 First Class 61
Qatar A380 first class bar.

It’s also a spacious area with sofas incorporated seamlessly into the design so that several people can find room to sit and easily socialize.

Qatar A380 First Class 62
Qatar A380 first class bar.

The spirits at the bar aren’t quite as premium as those found on board Emirates but there is still a good selection.

Qatar A380 First Class lounge
Qatar A380 first class bar.

They also serve different types of snacks at the bar as well.

Qatar A380 First Class lounge
Qatar A380 first class bar snacks.

With the mood lighting set, I thought the bar looked like a work of art.

Qatar A380 First Class 53
Beautiful lighting at the Qatar A380 bar and lounge.
Qatar A380 First Class 57
Qatar A380 first class bar.

The bar area can get quite crowded though. I really struggled to get photos without any people because everyone wanted to hang out at the lounge (understandably so). Luckily, the crew let me get a few minutes in towards the end of the light which I was very grateful for.

Qatar A380 First Class 58
Having a good time at the bar.

The sleeping experience

I rarely sleep on planes and when we’re talking about a 6 hour 20 min flight, it’s hard for me to justify sleeping because I’d rather experience the product and get footage. But this was especially true here where I knew that I’d be able to get some rest later on at the first class lounge in Doha.

Nevertheless, I decided to try out the seat in its lie-flat position.

Qatar A380 First Class 64
Qatar A380 first class bed.

With the seat in the lie-flat position, the bed width is a whopping 33 inches and the length is 81 inches. I would imagine that with any sort of bedding, you’d be able to easily find a comfortable position given how much space you have to contort your body in just about any position.

Qatar A380 First Class 65
Qatar A380 first class bed.

One thing I noticed was that the staff didn’t ask me if I wanted turn down service even when I had clearly put my seat in the sleep position and pulled out the blanket. I actually didn’t want turn down service since this was a medium-haul flight, but I thought it was odd they didn’t ask when Etihad had offered it on an even shorter flight from MLE to AUH.

Qatar A380 First Class 66
Qatar A380 first class bed.

After trying out the bed, we got closer to landing and some relaxing red mood lights kicked on.

Qatar A380 First Class 67
Qatar A380 first class mood lighting.
Qatar A380 First Class 69

And then we finally arrived and were off to experience the first class Al Sawfa Lounge for close to nine hours!

Qatar A380 First Class 71
Arriving at Doha.

Final word on the Qatar A380 first class experience

The Qatar first class experience was better than I had expected. The suites were more luxurious and private than I had imagined and the service was on point (for the most part). I also had a great dining experience and it’s always great to be served caviar along with free-flowing Krug. And while I didn’t make a proper bed, there’s a ton of sleeping such that I think it’d be very easy to get into a comfortable position. I think Qatar easily rates among the best first class flights I’ve had to date and I would happily fly with them again.

Singapore Airlines Moves Suites to Upper Deck, Reveals Photo of New A380

Via Australian Business Traveler, new images of Singapore Airlines’ new A380 aircraft captured from its ferry flight from Toulouse to Hamburg’s Finkenwerder Airport have surfaced and they might shed some light on the new layout of the new and improved Singapore Suites to be announced later this year.

The first major difference that you’ll notice is that the suites are being moved to the upper deck of the A380. In the current models, the first class cabin, consisting of 12 suites, is in the front of the plane on the first cabin level and the entire upper deck consists of business class seats on some aircraft, while some also include an economy section.

Singapore Suites First Class A380
Singapore Suites First Class on the A380.

In the new A380 you can tell that this will likely no longer be the case based on the photos shown by FlightMaestro. In the photo below on the left you can see the current A380. As pointed out by FlightMaestro, notice the windows are in four groups (2-3-2-2) which correspond to where the four suites are located on either side of the plane (there are also four suites located in the middle of the cabin).

But now take a look at the upper deck of the A380 on the right and you can see where three groups of two windows are located (and presumably the suites, too).

This might show that there will be three suites on either side for a total of six first class suites if they all offer single aisle access. If they keep the option of the double bed, I’m wondering if they’ll move to a layout closer to Etihad’s design with beds perpendicular to the windows/fuselage (where only two cabins get this benefit on either side).

Or maybe if these suites are big enough and there are actually only six of them, each suite will have its own bed rivaling the size of a double bed. Who knows?

Etihad First Class Apartment
Etihad First Class Apartment.

We already know some stuff about the new first class suites. Australian Business Traveler already confirmed that there would be fewer than 12 suites on the new Singapore Airlines first class product on the A380. While additional details seem hard to come by about this new product (we should receive something by the summer), Singapore Airlines also already confirmed that there would be no shower but that there would be larger suites. Also, the new A380s are set to go into service October 2017

Hopefully, we’ll see the addition of a bar, as Singapore Airlines is one of the only top first class products on the A380 without a bar and given their level of service and cabin design, I think they would offer an exceptional bar area.

Ultimately, fewer seats means less likely of a chance to score award seats but it’s always exciting to see what an airline like Singapore will cook up for its next first class product.

Etihad to Fly Its A380 from Paris to Abu Dhabi Between July 1 and October 28

According to the AviationTribune, Etihad will operate the A380 “on one of its twice-daily services to the French capital between July 1 and October 28 […] With the aircraft upgrade from a 328-seat Boeing 777, Etihad Airways is able to offer an all-A380 daily service from Paris to both Melbourne and Sydney via the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub.”

Etihad First Class Apartment
The Etihad Apartment.

The A380 will operate on one of its twice-daily services to the French capital between July 1 and October 28.

The City of Lights is the latest A380 long haul destination following London, Sydney, New York and Melbourne. (The A380 also flies to Mumbai but it’s only a 3 hour flight, so I’m not sure I’d go for that.) With the aircraft upgrade from a 777, Etihad Airways is now able to offer an all-A380 daily service from Paris to both Melbourne and Sydney via its Abu Dhabi hub.

Etihad First Class Apartment
The Etihad Apartment “Lobby.”

“The new route will also support the strong connecting traffic running to and from many cities across Asia and Australia including: Brisbane, Perth, Bangkok, Chengdu, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai, Seychelles, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.”

Flight EY31 will depart from AUH at 0215 hrs, arriving at CDG at 0750 hrs, and  the return flight EY32 will depart CDG at 1040 hrs, and arrive at AUH at 1930 hrs.

Etihad First Class Apartment
The Etihad Apartment.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Flying our flagship product to France with additional seat capacity helps fulfill growing demand and meet our guests’ expectations for an even greater travel experience with unmatched luxury, comfort and service.

“Paris is one of our busiest and best performing European routes, so the deployment of this upgraded service will benefit travellers to and from Abu Dhabi, and our popular connecting cities across Asia and Australia.”

Etihad First Class Apartment

Booking possibilities

This route can be booked for as few as 62,500 AA miles in first class and for 42,500 in business class. This opens up a great new oppurtunity for others to experience the coveted Apartment or even the business class studios, especially if travelers are trying to put together a round the world trip with one way itineraries, although they need to note the seasonal nature of the route.

Link to press release.

ANA Reveals Special Livery for New A380 to Hawaii

On March 6, Japan’s largest airline, ANA, announced a special livery for its new A380 flights that will fly between Tokyo and Honolulu.

This special livery was designed by Tokyo resident, Chihiro Masuoka, and was selected out of a pool of 2,197 submissions from around the world that were part of an open competition, organized by ANA. The design features a large Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (along with its little ones), which the airline says is a sign of “prosperity and good luck.” For the winning design, Chihiro Masuoka was also given roundtrip business-class tickets for ANA’s Tokyo-Honolulu route… not bad.


The design titled, Sea Turtle Family, will be painted on ANA’s first A380 which will be delivered by Airbus in early 2019. ANA will then become the first Japanese airline to fly the A380. Two more A380s are set to be delivered later in the year of 2019. In Hawaii, they call the green sea turtle “Honu” and so ANA is dubbing its A380 the “Flying Honu.”

There are actually four runner up designs that ANA revealed. The Kirkuma design looks interesting to me but I definitely think that the right winner was chosen based on the other designs. Although I love the “spirit” of the design of the Stephen+Cayden (I’m assuming painted by a kid in MS Paint), I don’t think a lot of people would “get it,” so I think ANA chose the right design.


Anything new for the A380 cabin?

According to the press release, “ANA is moving forward with preparations to offer new passenger services to coincide with the introduction of the A380, and will provide updates as they become available.”

It doesn’t sound like any revolutionary seating design is on the way by the sound of that language (emphasis on “services”), so it looks like ANA will be sticking to its current product for now (which is quite good). 

If you’re not familiar with ANA they are one of my favorite airlines because they offer such great redemption rates (often with little fees) and are a partner of American Express Membership Rewards. For more on ANA, read here about reasons why they are a powerhouse airline.