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Lufthansa Business Class Atlanta to Frankfurt A340-300
If you’re wondering what it’s like to fly long haul Lufthansa Business Class on the very tired A340…look no further. Not only do we have details on how we booked, the in flight hard and soft products, but also a quick TikTok review embedded.
Lufthansa is LONG overdue for an updated business class, and while a few planes feature a better product than what I flew, overwhelmingly the entire fleet features a very tired, outdated 2-2-2 or 2-2 business class cabin. I would note that the 747-8i has a cool upstairs and if you’re flying as a couple, it’s a fun experience since the entire upstairs is pure business class and the window seats have massive amounts of storage – but it’s still 2-2 with a single aisle.
Flying in a premium cabin is special, at least that’s what I believe it should be. An experience, a treat – you’ve saved your miles, you want it to feel aspirational. Unfortunately, this isn’t it. Keep in mind, I get that any flight in a premium cabin is a privilege, but also, there is a massive scale, and this is toward the bottom.
So, how did I find myself on one of the most inferior business class cabins in the sky? A buddy trip to Europe with my bestie Dave.
- When: January 2023
- Where: Atlanta to Frankfurt
- Cabin: Business Class
- Payment: 63k LifeMiles and $20 to $30
- Flight Time:
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We originally had incredible flights booked on Turkish Airlines 787 business class for just 45k Turkish Miles ( you can transfer from Bilt, Capital One, or Citi) direct from Atlanta to Istanbul. What a deal, right?! It’s a gorgeous product we ended up flying for just 11,300 miles between Athens and Istanbul, but alas…it wasn’t in our destiny to begin our trip this way.
I really wanted to fly Emirates First Class with Dave, and as luck would have it, within a couple weeks of starting our trip, I found space on Emirates Game Changer first class between Dubai and Brussels and we could connect from Istanbul to Dubai on the A380. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
So what’s the problem? Well… we were going to fly to Istanbul, spend a few nights, then fly to Athens. The dates from Istanbul to Dubai to Brussels only aligned if we ended the trip in Istanbul, not started there. This meant, just a few days prior to departure, I needed to completely redo the trip.
You may be thinking… Zach, why didn’t you just keep the long haul to Istanbul and change it to connect to Athens. Great question. The only connecting flight the day of our arrival didn’t open award space, required a 6 hour layover, going through immigration, rechecking in, and was over $700 in cash. Pivoting to another airline seemed the best way forward.
Luckily, Dave and I are both flush with points so there weren’t really constraints on who I’d book with.
The only award space that was open with a single connection and palatable travel time was Lufthansa. I literally prayed for Air France, BA, KLM, anything else. God had a different plan for me on this trip lol.
I searched for award space on United’s site.
I booked my ticket with some leftover Avianca LifeMiles – 63k Miles + $89. You can populate Avianca with Citi, Capital One, or Amex.
Dave’s booking with Aeroplan – partners with Amex, Chase, Capital One, or Bilt Rewards.
Dave was looking to use up some Cap1 Miles and Aeroplan seemed the best choice at 70k miles and $100. If we needed to cancel last minute, it’d be easy vs Avianca LifeMiles which is more expensive to cancel and laborious.
And if you’re wondering why we didn’t utilize Turkish Miles at 45k to fly to Europe it’s because Turkish passes on fees – in the $600 range. Pass.
If you aren’t flying Delta out of Atlanta you’re basically screwed. The lounges in the International terminal are a Delta lounge and a pathetic excuse of a lounge called The Club at Atlanta International. It’s a Priority Pass lounge that has a section exclusive to business class passengers. It’s old, tired, the food is unappetizing, and it’s super crowded. So crowded that people had to put their phone numbers down to get a text on when they could enter. If you were flying business class on a qualifying airline you were exempt, but that tells you all you need to know. We instead decided to just grab a snack at a terminal restaurant.
The cabin is 5 rows in a 2-2-2 seating configuration. You can see here in the seat map
We chose seats at the back of the cabin, in the first row after turning left. I was on the aisle, and Dave was on the window. If you’re flying together, this isn’t a big deal, but remember that if you need to get up during flight to vacate the ole bladder, you’ll be stepping over someone if you don’t sit in the middle. But, if you sit in the middle you’ll be open to the aisle as I was sitting in seat 5C.
Having been lucky enough to fly in some of the world’s best business class cabins: Qatar Airways QSuites, British Airways Club Suites, Cathay Pacific Business Class A350, Air France, Virgin Upper, amongst numerous others… this is about as uncomfortable experience I can remember.
The seat itself is quite narrow with no real storage area. In fact, my phone fell into the seat while I tried to sleep.
Speaking of sleeping, when the bed was fully flat it had a massive lump in it which pressed into my back. I had to sleep on an angle, and as someone with a bad back who is a side sleeper, I left the flight very stiff and with probably 45 minutes of actual sleep.
The footwell didn’t fit my feet, in fact, they were pressed against the end the whole time.
The IFE was horribly dated and clunky to use. I never quite figured out how the mouse function was malfunctioning, and my system needed to be restarted. My first set of headphones fell apart and the second sounded muffled as if I was listening through a fog.
Food, Service, Amenity Kit
The service was very good. No complaints. Prompt, polite, and apologetic when my headphones kept falling apart.
The food was par for the course. Nothing exciting, but wasn’t bad. I had the pasta, a cheese plate, and it was thoroughly unremarkable.
I love a good amenity kit. I like opening it, stowing it away somewhere, and/or giving it to a friend when I get home or stashing it in my cupboard of amenity kit souvenirs. This one was hardly existent as most of the product were in the bathroom.
I’m not telling you anything you wouldn’t know just looking at the plane in pictures, but I’d avoid this product if at all possible. THE ONLY reason we ended up taking it was because the timing was right and it was available out of Atlanta with a single connection. Had I been planning this trip with the Emirates feature from the get go, I’d have booked the original flight to Istanbul as a connection onward to Athens, or had Dave and I meet in a hub city of another airline to enjoy a better start to our trip.
If I had saved up points to fly this, I’d be disappointed to say the least. If I’d paid several thousand dollars for this flight, I’d swear off flying Lufthansa.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
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.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
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- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 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 Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
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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.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
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.