Reviews

Review: Lufthansa Business Class 747-8i Frankfurt to Los Angeles

a plane with seats and monitors

We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com and CardRatings. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


If you’re looking to fly long haul business class between the States and Europe, Lufthansa is one of the most reliable options when it comes to availability. Funny enough, until last year, I hadn’t done it. When the opportunity presented itself to nab tickets for my girlfriend and I aboard the 747-8, I seized the moment, and booked them.  Let’s walk through the entire experience from how I booked the tickets to what it’s like onboard, and why you should try and sit upstairs.

an airplane at an airport

The Deets:

  • When: May 2018
  • Where: Manchester to Los Angeles via Frankfurt
  • Aircraft: 747-8i
  • Flight time: 11h55m
  • How much: 70k United + $300ish
  • Currency transferred: Chase to United, instantaneously
  • Flight: LH 450
  • Seat: 87 A and C

Booking:

Lufthansa is one of the most predicable airlines when it comes to award availability. Starting 15 days in advance they will start releasing additional load on their flights in business and first class. That’s exactly what happened with us. In fact, we didn’t book these tickets until 2 days prior to leaving.

Currencies to use:

  • United
    • 70k + taxes
  • Aeroplan
    • 55k + taxes
  • Avianca
    • 63k + taxes
  • Singapore Airlines
    • 65k + taxes
  • Lufthansa Miles and More
    • 52.5k + taxes and fees

The Credit Cards needed to gain the points or pay the taxes and fees

I paid the taxes and fees with my American Express Platinum card because it earned me 5x points when paying directly with the airline. I alternate between my Amex and my Chase Ink Business Preferred that earns 3x points on all travel. The decision is rooted in which currency I’m trying to bolster. I was lower in Amex points at the time so…

All of the credit card programs listed below will give you transferrable points that can access the programs listed above:

Choosing Seats:

While Lufthansa is developing a completely new business class experience, currently their product isn’t the best you can find. Why? They configure their seats without all aisle access in a 2-2 or 2-2-2 pattern depending on whether you’re upstairs like we were, or downstairs in the main or mini cabin. This also applies to other aircraft.

Here’s what their cabin layout looks like via SeatGuru.com and the seat specs

We chose to sit upstairs…if there is an ounce of AV geek blood streaming through your veins, you have to do this. It’s uber cool.

a stuffed animal in a plane

The Lounge Experience.

While Lufthansa operates some of the world’s best first class lounges, I don’t find their business class lounges to be anything special. Sure, they’re nice, large, and quite enjoyable to hang out in when compared to the airport, but they don’t don’t set a standard like Virgin’s NYC/London lounges or Qatar’s Doha lounge. With that being said…the lounge we visited is in the upper quartile of business class lounges I’ve visited.

a stuffed monkey on a counter

Boarding the 747

We entered the plane between the main business class cabin and first class and you’ll immediately be thanking your lucky stars you’re sitting upstairs. Why? Privacy. The main cabin is massive, and the funniest thing happened. While we were waiting to board a family with a few kids were in the boarding area, and boy were those kids running a muck. Darting here and there, knocking into people, punching, screaming, and there was a man and woman standing behind just ahead of us that practically had steam blowing from their ears.

People were giving them the evil eye HARD. Hard enough that they even made comments like well they’re getting their energy out now. LOL. I was praying we weren’t near them.

Why is this funny? They were entirely in business class, and as luck would have it, sitting right next to the couple who I’m sure enjoyed a few stiff drinks on the flight.

a group of people in an airplane

Upstairs consists of a single row with 2 seats on either side.

a plane with seats and monitors

If you’re traveling as a couple these are pretty great. But, if you’re traveling next to someone you don’t know…you’re very close.

One specific thing that is particularly special about flying on the upper deck is the increased storage space you’re afforded on the window. It’s nearly enough space to fit your roller bag into, but definitely any of  your other small carry ons.

an airplane seat with windows and a seat open

The Seat:

I think the seat photographs far better than it performs. Aesthetically speaking, looking at the photos up above, they present quite handsomely, and they are, however, they lack space, and awkwardly force each passengers feet very close together. Again, this isn’t weird if you’re traveling with someone you know, but I’m eagerly awaiting their new product which will eliminate these issues.

Storage is also an issue for those who don’t have access to the large bins along the window. There is very little space to put your phone, amenity kit, etc. When you compare these compartments to those that are offered by Air France, AA ( 772/788, 772SD/789, 77W), EVA, United Polaris, it’s no wonder why Lufthansa ranks so low when it comes to the physical product. The seat does go into a completely lie flat bed which means it’s a better product that you’d find on the likes of Air France’s A380 and some A330s

The In-Flight Experience

I would argue that Lufthansa has a reputation for offering a professional and proficient on board experience, but not one that anticipates your needs/wants. While I wouldn’t argue against that reputation based upon data points I’ve collected from friends and clients who have flown with them, our experience exceeded that expectation. We had a wonderful flight attendant who gave us great attention with a smile, and an “aim to please” attitude. That’s about as good as it gets in my book in biz.

The menu:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The food was…ok. I had two meals during the flight and neither of them were much to write home about, but not bad either. I know…such insightful descriptions, but they were uneventful and on par with your typical airline food.

Wifi was available. $19 for a full flight isn’t bad folks, and it worked quite well.

a screenshot of a mobile phone

Analysis

Lufthansa Business Class is a very nice way to fly longhaul. It’s handsome and reliably accessible via transfer partners, but it comes with its drawbacks. First and foremost the taxes and fees are almost uniformly expensive across partner programs ( Avianca and United do provide ways to minimize these), and it lacks all aisle access. These two factors are big dings and why I steer people away from their business class when alternatives are available. With that said, it’s a very solid business class, with a lot of availability, and if you can fly it upstairs on this aircraft – it’s a real treat.

This will change in the future ( at least the all aisle access ) when Lufthansa’s new business class is introduced. Here’s a sneak peek of it.

a screenshot of a social media post

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

a blue credit card with blue lines and white text

Learn More

Affiliate LInk

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex®  and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

7 Comments

  • […] One thing that is assuredly true…it’s a massive improvement on the current business class found on most Lufthansa planes. The current Business Class seen on the 747-8i – review here […]

  • […] still fly the 747, but Lufthansa is one of them – you can read what it’s like to fly Business Class on the upper deck here, and first class in the nose […]

  • Lara S. March 10, 2019

    The new Lufthansa looks lovely. Can’t wait until it is available. As for Lufthansa, foot closeness and all, it is still better than United’s terrible old business class. So I agree with Tom, if given the choice I will take LH (or even better Swiss or Austrian) over to Europe rather than UA. They have yet to really roll out new Polaris on those routes. Even new Polaris looks cramped after seeing some AA and Delta options. Nothing like taking years to roll out new business class seats only to be in second place to Delta’s new business class suites.

  • Tom March 10, 2019

    I fly LH from ORD-FRA/MUC quite often and always enjoy their business class. Now, I’m usually traveling with my wife or business partner so the proximity to my seat mate doesn’t bother me. I get good sleep normally but the cabin can get a bit too warm. For my options to get to Germany, it’s UA or LH, and you can bet I’m flying LH majority of the time. Best business class I’ve ever had was IAH-TPE with EVA though – nothing I’ve tried comes close to that experience. Superb.

  • Christian March 10, 2019

    Those pre-arrival soups need to go! Disgusting!

  • Donato March 9, 2019

    Glass breaks.
    This fact sums up some of my C class experience and a basis for comparison of airlines and their soft product.
    I really resent the pre-flight drink when offered before I settle in. I seem to be clumsy and drop the glass which tends to shatter.
    My SQ experience with this is that they helped pick up the pieces and offered another drink.
    My LH experience is that the cabin attendant asked me to step away, disappeared for a while and returned with a vacuum cleaner. I was then offered to reclaim my seat or another seat and have another drink.
    My UNITED experience was one for the books. It was later in the flight and I actually refused the ice cream. While waiting for the lav a cabin attendant actually ran into me while he was carrying glass dishes. The dishes broke as did his ferocious temper. Had this happened on the ground I would have been removed, all bloody.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.