Travel-Dealz editor Dennis flew first class for the very first time. We did some live stories in German on our Instagram account and got a lot of readers excited for this flight. You can read about his impressions and final opinion in the following review.
When I saw the Lufthansa Group first class sale on our site from Stockholm to Asia early October, I just had to go ahead and book my first ever first class flight. Not only was the price to Hong Kong amazingly good for first class (I paid €2,333 for the roundtrip), but I also still needed some status miles to reach my Senator status with Miles&More (= Star Alliance Gold status). So, this fare came at the right time for me. What really made this a no-brainer was the fact that I was able to book the flight through united.com, therefore award miles equaled status miles (instead of a revenue-based award mile accrual). Lastly, PartnerPlusBenefit (Lufthansa Group’s company program) has a promotion until end of the year to earn double points with flights to Asia.
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I have paid the flight with my German American Express Platinum. Therefore, I also earned about 3,500 American Express Membership Rewards points due to the so-called points turbo (not sure if this exists in other countries, but you can basically earn 150% of the points for a small fixed yearly fee in Germany).
Positioning Flight, Check-In & Feeder Flight
Imagine this: Flying first class but taking a positioning flight with EasyJet. That’s exactly what I did due to the fact that Berlin doesn’t really offer many and good connections to Stockholm. This EasyJet flight offered the best flight time for my needs, so that I could arrive early in the morning in Stockholm. After arriving, I have spent a few hours in the American Express Lounge by Pontus In The Air. I have written a review about the lounge here:
I landed in Stockholm at terminal 2, my feeder flight to Zurich left from terminal 5. I had the option to use a paid express train but I chose to follow the signs to terminal 5 and ended up walking the distance in about 15 minutes with my luggage. Since I already checked in online, I only had to drop off my luggage. I went airside via fast track afterwards. Since my feeder flight to Zurich was only in business class, I couldn’t expect much at the check-in. If you fly first class from the start, you sometimes get a personal assistant assigned but to be honest, I would have found this a bit uncomfortable anyway. After more than 10 years of flying in economy class, I know my way around in airports and don’t need a babysitter.
After staying in the Amex lounge for a while, I finally boarded my Swiss feeder flight to Zurich. As many of you know, most European business class cabins are far from being anything special these days. A free middle seat, some more service and lounge access are the only things that differentiate from economy class. Therefore I didn’t want to bore you with details of that flight as part of this review.
First Class Lounge in Zurich
Landing in Zurich, the first thing I wanted to do was going to the first class lounge. I was pretty excited about that! There was a lounge near the gate I landed at (an A gate). I found it pretty outstanding that the staff in the lounge knew my name immediately after I told them my destination. Without even seeing my boarding pass. However, they needed to scan my boarding pass after that anyway since I wanted to use their shuttle to the E gates later on as my long-haul flight departed from there. The lounge was outstanding. The food was amazing and the service was flawless.
After having supper in the lounge, I finally wanted to go the E gates lounge. I was pretty excited about the private transfer. It’s not every day that you sit in a private car and get chauffeured via the airport grounds.
In between we went to a private passport control, which was pretty cool too. Absolutely no waiting time, it was completely empty of course. After that we continued our journey to the lounge. I think the lounge at the E gates has an even nicer atmosphere and is a bit more classy. But both lounges are outstanding!
The flight to Hong Kong left at 10:45 PM. I left the lounge at about 10:05 PM and was at the gate in about 3-5 minutes. Boarding just started and of course, first class passengers and HON Circle Members (Lufthansa’s highest tier status holders) were allowed to board first. There is no limousine service directly to the airplane.
Nonetheless, I was sitting at my seat in the airplane not even 10 minutes after I had left the lounge. That’s crazy and for sure one of the benefits of travelling first class. You literally don’t have to queue anywhere.
Cabin & Comfort
The first impression of the cabin was great. The cabin feels very spacious and luxurious. That’s most probably due to lots of indirect lighting and the fact that there are no overhead bins in the middle of the cabin, only on the side. I just doesn’t feel as cramped.
When I arrived at my seat, I was almost shocked. This was a small suite and definitely much bigger than I ever imagined. The seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are 8 seats in first class in the Boing 777-300.
The seat offers lots of configuration options. I made use of almost all of them, because in the beginning my seat didn’t feel as comfortable. I needed to adjust lumbar support and the head rest mainly but had a play with all of the settings. I was pretty impressed.
There is enough storage space around your seat. You can even put things next to the side board which probably wasn’t really the idea of the designers but it worked pretty well anyway. I also really liked the roller blinds that covered the windows once you decided to dim the cabin. Such a nice feature and makes the cabin even more elegant than it is already anyway.
On request, flight attendants will transform your seat into an at least 2m long bed. They will put a mattress cover, a nice pillow and a comfortable duvet. The bed really turns out to be massive. I didn’t have any problems with my body size of 1.89m which was the first time ever in an airplane. Even in business class I usually bump into something at some point. Here I had so much space that this wasn’t the case at all. Additionally, you can completely close your suite and make it super private. The only disadvantage of closing the suite is that the jacket that you put inside the door at the beginning of the flight will now be hanging right next to you. It’s a bit of a strange design and I would have preferred for the crew to collect the jackets in the beginning of the flight and putting it away like in Swiss business class.
Entertainment & WiFi
The entertainment system had the same content as in economy and business class as far as I could see. The screen is huge and for my personal taste almost a bit too big. But if you are series- or movie-fan, the size of the screen may as well be one of the highlights for you.
First class passengers receive a 50 MB WiFi voucher. That’s definitely an out-of-date system in my opinion. The 50 MB were gone in 5 minutes unfortunately. I would expect a little more from Swiss in this case. Other airlines already offer unlimited WiFi to their first class passengers.
Toilets, Amenity Kit & Pyjama
Toilets were ok. There is a lot of room for improvement here, especially if you imagine what kind of toilets or bathrooms Emirates offers in their first class cabin. Compared to that, these toilets almost seem like they should belong to economy class. However, I believe Swiss doesn’t really want to show off with exaggerated luxury but wants to deliver a solid product that is very consistent. And I think they are really good in that. Toilets were extremely clean throughout the whole flight.
The amenity kit was pretty extensive. The kit consisted of the following amenities: High quality pair of socks, high quality eye mask, Elmex toothbrush, Elmex toothpaste, Ricola lozenges, a shoehorn, a comb, ear plugs and four different cremes that were: Lip balm, hand creme, eye lift cream and skin creme. Additionally, there were very comfortable slippers at the seats too.
Furthermore, flight attendants handed out pyjamas by Zimmerli (a Swiss brand). The cotton was very comfortable on the skin.
The fit was good. I am planning on using the pyjamas at home too.
Catering & Service
I am not sure where to start. This experience has been mindblowing from start to finish. As mentioned earlier, this was my first first class flight but I wouldn’t say that my expectations were particularly low. But I think on this journey everything was just right.
Even on the feeder the flight attendants were making a huge effort. The flight attendants knew about my name, my final destination and were just overall super friendly.
On my long-haul flight to Hong Kong, the flight attendants were again extremely friendly (but not overly and superficially friendly), courteous and we literally had quite a few good laughs together. I have read this many times before, but can fully confirm the following statement now: How nice your experience in a premium cabin is going to be, really depends on how well the crew treats you. And I think I got really lucky here. The flight attendant who was responsible for me really went out of his way. I could see how busy he was right from the start of the flight. He literally didn’t sit still for many hours. Of course, this may have also had to do with the fact that the first class was completely sold out with 8 passengers.
Before take-off, we already received champagne and a greeting from the kitchen. It was kind of a liver pâté with cheese sticks. Very delicious. The glass of champagne has been picked up again right before take-off, even though it was still half full for most passengers, due to security reasons, I’m sure.
About 40 minutes after take-off, the food has been served. To be honest, I am completely speechless regarding the quality that has been delivered here. I have already made experiences with fine dining and Michelin star restaurants, but this was at least the same level of that if not better. The composition of the dishes was outstanding. I’m sure this has to do with the fact that the menu in fact has been created by a Michelin star-chef and his team. Here is the full menu:
To start with, we received a loaf of bread that was made with 3 different doughs. Additionally, we received butter and olive oil. The bread was so fresh that I thought it came directly out of the oven onto my plate.
After that I ordered two starters since my flight attendant, Marc, recommended that. The lobster and the salmon. Both dishes were amazing. However, I preferred the lobster because it was a bit more special. The combination of lobster, saffron jelly, fennel, creme fraiche and lime was pretty unusual and unqiue. Even the truffle dip next to it was great. By that point, I was blown away already.
The quality level remained the same. The main dish really caused a taste explosion in my mouth. I chose the black cod and I am very happy about that choice. The side dishes were great too. Fresh vegetables, with a bite but just cooked enough. Wow!
In the end, a cheese platter with a fresh bread basket made it a perfect dinner for me.
The next morning I was personally still so full that that I didn’t eat breakfast. But I am very sure that the quality of the breakfast has been kept at the same level as the dinner the night before. The flight attendants were very nice and let me do a few photos of the breakfast. Therefore, here are a few impressions:
In the end, I asked the flight attendant, Marc, if there is a way to leave some feedback as I really felt that his service was outstanding. Of course, he was very happy to hear that and quickly got me a feedback letter that I filled out including mentioning his name.
- Check-In & Boarding
- Cabin & Comfort
- Entertainment & WiFi
What an experience! It was worth every single cent. The service, the catering and the lounges were absolutely outstanding and a highlight in my personal flight history so far. I think that the cabin could still be optimized. I think the seats are not that comfortable until you set them up properly, plus it is a bit strange that the jacket is hanging next to you when you close the suite and want to sleep. The boarding and check-in were ok but didn’t differentiate much from business class.