If I opened this article with "Well! That's ME spoiled for life!" - I'm probably giving away the outcome of my first long-haul in Business Class... so.. "What is it like in Business Class?" and "Is it worth paying for Business Class flights?", specifically "What is Lufthansa Business Class like?" ... let's get down to answering those questions.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - CHECK-IN & LOUNGE
THE FIRST LEG - HOPPER FLIGHT FROM MANCHESTER TO MUNICH
THE MAIN FLIGHT - MUNICH TO MEXICO CITY
FOOD AND DRINK
SLEEPY TIME - THE LIE FLAT BED
SUMMARY & GIVEAWAY! WIN - MY BUSINESS CLASS BUNDLE!
I've always been of the opinion that it was just a MAHOOSIVE waste of money - for not much extra. Boy... am eating humble pie. Here's the thing... having WON about £15,000 worth of FREE travel, trips and holidays during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020/21, I decided that, heck, when would I ever have that budget to fritter on something as silly as business class flights again?! (By the way - if you want to win YOUR way around the world - check out my curated travel competitions page HERE).
So, I asked the prize providing company to build the flight upgrade into parts of the journey that they were organising and paid a little top up of a couple hundred pounds. The flights that suited my dates were with Lufthansa. This meant that instead of having to haul ass down to London for departure, I could fly out of Manchester and, via a very short stop in Munich, bounce over to Mexico City.
The main areoplane was an A350 XWB - if you're into that sort of thing - and here's how it all went down (well up as it happened, very, very high up!).
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - CHECK-IN & LOUNGE
As you'd expect on a Business Class ticket, check-in was smooth, polite and pleasant, with a 2 checked bag allowance of up to 32kg PER BAG! Of course, planning to be on the move almost constantly for 11 weeks... I was trying to pack light-ISH and only took advantage of the 1 bag - an Osprey Sojourn wheeled / backpack hybrid, that meant I could always cope with either carrying or towing my own luggage for up to 1 km (which is one of Intrepid Travel's reccommendations for packing and personal fitness on their tours).
Not a blink at the unbelievable weight of my carry on (completely rammed with tech and video equipment!), and I sped through security, with a dedicated lane for business and premium tickets. I was quite impressed with myself, noting the speed at which I am now able to unpack and re-pack that many electronics, without causing any hold ups!
Lufthansa don't have their own Lounge in Manchester, but your Business Class ticket automatically gives you access to the 1903, Escape and Aspire lounges. My terminal has the Aspire Lounge, which I had previously visited on a trip to Iceland, and I knew that liked. Free Wi-Fi, and a reasonable breakfast spread is always welcomed. I had the chance to relax in Lufthansa's Frankfurt Business Lounge on the way back from Costa Rica - but more about that some other time...)
I plumped for a pecan danish and a yogurt, granola and compote jar. The lounge was quiet, which I put down to the reduction in travel due to Covid. I always prefer the breakfast bar stools area - with power points and a nice view of the planes taking off while I get a bit of editing or work done.
THE FIRST LEG - HOPPER FLIGHT FROM MANCHESTER TO MUNICH
The first short flight from Manchester to Munich short but sweet. The seats are a little wider than the economy ones, and laid out 3 on each side of a central aisle - but (due to Covid?) the middle seat was left empty. Combined with being on the 1st row (nice extra legroom!), it certainly enhanced the feeling of space!
The joy of being served drinks (included of course) in a GLASS glass! It's such a silly little thing, but it makes you feel so much more HUMAN! The crazy thing is that I'm not a massive drinker (well... until I touch down in foreign climes it would seem!), so I'm never really going to take advantage of the inclusive alcohol that I imagine most 'ruffians' like me try to leverage to make value on the cost of their ticket! Plus is was still pre-noon! However, I did really enjoy a nice Virgin Bloody Mary. It can be easy to get dehydrated on flights, so the vitamin C and salts that it provided were a real boost.
Inside of a quick 2 hr flight, the air-crew still managed to make a light lunch feel luxurious and leisurely. Again... not usually a seafood fan - especially when I think of in-flight food...!
... but lunch was truly delicious!
- Salad of Deep Sea Prawns, with Apricot, Radicchio and Pumpernickel
- Wholegrain Semolina Mouse, with Elderflower Jelly, Cassis Quenelle and Yoghurt Sponge
- After-dinner Chocolate and choice of Tea, Coffee, Soft or Alcoholic drinks.
Everything is branded - down to the chocolate. I completely forgot to take photos between filming the video for the YOUTUBE REVIEW - so these screen grabs are horribly over exposed. I can guarantee you, though, it was all beautifully presented and tasted absolutely WILD! Just delicious! And YES, eating with real, metal cutlery and dabbing "one's" mouth with a real, material serviette... it makes everything feel better!
This is the part that always stresses me out - and I really don't get stressed about travelling. Changing between flights. I hate the idea that there's the opportunity to be late in landing, or to get lost, and miss a connection.
Luckily, it couldn't have been simpler. The announcements before landing detailed all the neccessary information for onward connections. Lufthansa App even pinged to life the minute I stepped off the plane, and mapped out my walking route to the gate for my next leg. A brief 6 minute walk (probably less actually) and I was in place. No additional security, and the checked bags stayed in the hands of Lufthansa, so I didn't have to worry about them at all.
A mere 45 minutes later (just enough time to send a few video messages to my niece and nephews), I was boarding the big boy...
THE MAIN FLIGHT - MUNICH TO MEXICO CITY
Alright - let's crack on with the bit you're really interested in!
I sauntered on trying to look un-phased, but the fact that I was filming every inch of the experience give me away somewhat! I do it for you, dear readers! haha!
I was right at the front, seat A1, and better still - there was no-one in the seat next to me!
Again, I don't know if this was due to Covid, but I didn't hear any announcements offering the opportunity to upgrade from Economy. The utter bloody luxury!
The wide seats were comfy even to my considerable posterior! (I'm a size 18 butt!) and the leg room more than coped with me (5ft 11inch), fully reclined into bed mode (6ft bed).
It had a nice size of TV screen, with more TV, Movies, Podcasts and Movies that I could possibly choose from! As it happened, I ended up working pretty solidly on some graphics for a client. Again, I felt like I wasn't taking advantage of the included entertainment! The armrest on one side opened to reveal a wired remote, and headphones, and the surface of the armrest also had the seat positioning buttons. You can fiddle to your heart's content with the angle of your back, legs and even the firmness of the cushioning, which inflates and deflates at your command! The other arm rest opened to allow access to a nice specious table top for meals. Now... Wi-Fi - I thought it was supposed to be included, and there was indeed an internet service apparently available through the Lufthansa app - but I'll be damned if I could get it to work - and I also found that it kept insisting on offering me the opportunity to pay a one off fee for the flight for better, faster, stronger connection. Which I did.. and it was so NOT worth it! Feel free to correct me in the comments if you have had a better Wi-Fi experience with Lufthansa. Still - I managed to send what I needed to... eventually, and then I could relax with the excuse of being 'offline' for the rest of the flight! Other handy utilities included universal plug sockets for each of the 2 seats, a posable reading light, and extra storage cubbies, that held bottles water and the amenities bag.
The amenities bad was a liiiiiiitle bit 'meh' - I mean - who doesn't have their own socks for a flight? But the L'Occitane toiletries (moisturiser and lip balm) were nice and, despite looking a bit less that lux, the bag itself really came in handy allllll the way through my trip (it became my clothes hamper, containing my dirties until an opportunity of a laundrette visit presented itself on tour). Also included were travel toothbrush and paste, ear plugs, and mint.
There was a slight inconsistency, in that my homebound flight (also Lufthansa, Costa Rica to Manchester) - also included a sleeping shirt! Perhaps they only supply these on evening flights?
If you fancy a taste of the Business Class lifestyle, check out the giveaway at the end of this post - where you can win the spare amenities bag that the kindly stewardess let me snaffle for you, as well as a haul of miniatures from the 5* hotel stay only my last night!
FOOD AND DRINK The main flight was long enough to justify 2 meals - and I always prefer to have hot meals during flights - it makes me feel more satisfied - don't know why! The first meal menu offered: STARTERS - Spiced Salmon with Avocado and Parsley Mousse, Tomato and Herb Oil - Marinated Black Angus Beef, with Mango and Celery Salad, Asparagus and Cranberry - Goat Cheese Tatare, Champignons, Peppered Cherries and Pomegranate Seeds MAINS - Roasted breast of Corn-Fed Poulade, with Chicken Jus, Ratatouille and Creamy Pearl Barley
- Cod Wrapped in Salmon with Stewed Leek and Venus Rice - Ricotta Cannelloni with Lemon Thyme Sauce and Creamed Spinach DESSERTS - Traditional Italian Ice Cream - Cheese Board with Chutney, Grapes and Dates
I went for the Beef starter, Cannelloni mains and ... of course... ice cream! It was all delicious, with the respective temperatures kept properly. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's room temperature hot food, or tepid and warming food that should be cold. These were bang on. All washed down with a Mango & Champagne Mimosa, and followed by a 'Relax' Ayurvital Herbal Spiced tea! OTHER DRINKS choices included: - Asrt. Fruit Juices, Coca Cola (and diet), Sprite, Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon and Ginger Ale. - Dallmayr Premium Coffee, Espresso, Asrt. Eilles Teas, Ceylon, Earl Grey, Asia Superior Green Tea, Natural Fruit Teas. - Duval-Leroy Brut Reserve Champagne, 2018 Reisling White, 2018 Lichtspiel Cuvee White, 2018 Tupungato Chardonnay White.
- 2015 Chateau Tour Prignac Medoc Red, 2016 Cortes de Cima Red.
- Beck's Lager (and 0%), Erdinger Weiℬbier, Erdinger Alkoholfrei Isotonic Drink.
- Bacardi Rum, Bombay Saphire Gin, Vodka Gorbatchow, Wild Cherry Alder Gott, Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker Black Label Whiskey, Glenfiddich Cask Whisky, Cognac Lheraud VSOP, Amaro Ramazzotti, Kuemmerling German Bitter, Campari, Bailey's Irish Cream, Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port.
The menu for the second meal (just before arrival) gave a choice from: COLD MAIN COURSE - Roast Beef with Potato Salad, Parsley Oil and a Quail Egg. HOT MAIN COURSE - Palak Paneer, Chana Masala and Steamed Basmati Rice. DESSERT - Roasted Almond Cream with Caramel Sauce and Crumbles.
Not as much choice - but hella tasty nonetheless! I do wonder what your options would have been if you had any allergies or dietary requirements - but I suppose you would alert the airline before travel. As the flight came to it's conclusion, they served a little two-piece box of truffles, a nice touch to see you on your way.
SLEEPY TIME - THE LIE FLAT BED I'm not a big one for sleeping on public transport. I'm always terrified that I'll either snore or fart in my sleep (I know... so dignified!). Even if I didn't want to sleep, it was still awesome to have the space to stretch out and lay back to watch a film, or work on my laptop. Of course, I was always going to give it a try for the blog - so here we go... The seat/bed width is only 20 inches / 51cm, but even my wide load felt pretty comfortable in it. The air pockets for adjustable firmness make A LOT of difference. Once the bed is full reclined, you have a good 78 inches / 198cm. It should be noted that I was on the classic 2-2-2 seating configurations. Lufthansa are starting to bring out business class layouts with 1-2-1 and 1-1-1 configurations that will allow for up to 7 FOOT of length for lying down (84 inches / 213cm). The older length was fine for me, but I can imagine that travellers over 6ft must be relieved. Lufthansa have also intrduced little roll-up mattresses to make the sleeping more comfy.
The duvet and pillow are ample and the fabric is really nice and soft.
I must say that I was glad there happened to be no-one next to me - especially with the amount of standing up I did to adjust my seat, lay out the mattress etc etc. Also there's not much privacy. No screen between seats, and only a shallow 'head' area to block you and a complete stranger from gazing into each others eyes at bed time!
I look forward to the 1-1-1 configurations on another prize flight in the future! hahaha!
But I did manage to sleep a little and, had it been a night flight - I think I could have slept pretty much through.
SUMMARY AND GIVE AWAY
All in all, it's going to be harrrrrd to go back to economy class flying - especially for long haul. There are instances when I might be able to justify it. For example - if I was flying long-haul and wanted to take 2 heavy bags of clothing and equipment for a long stay (a couple of months or more). By the time you had paid for the extra baggage, you're not so far off from having covered the cost of all the sanity sustaining extras.
It certainly gives you a reason to work a little harder at all the blogs and side hustles...
If I could boot my income substantially, then I would definitely splash on the luxury for long haul trips. Until then - It will only be when I win trips that I'd consider supplementing to upgrade. Don't get me wrong - right now I could justify it... just not afford it!
If you'd like a little taste of the Business Class experience... you can win the goodie bags from my flights, as well as some cute little perfume miniatures from Duty-Free.
Enter via the Gleam App below, or by visiting the competition post and following the instructions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.