Airlines Reviews

We review a very tired Lufthansa Business Class Atlanta to Frankfurt A340-300

a group of people sitting in an airplane

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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while a few planes feature a better product than what I flew, overwhelmingly the entire fleet features a very tired, outdated 2-2-2 or 2-2 business class cabin.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.

a seat in an airplane

Flight Details:

  • When: January 2023
  • Where: Atlanta to Frankfurt
  • Cabin: Business Class
  • Seat:5C
  • Payment: 63k LifeMiles and $20 to $30
  • Flight Time:

Instagram/TikTok Review

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Zachary Burr Abel (@zacharyburrabel)

Booking

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.

Why?

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.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

My booking:

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.

a screenshot of a website

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.

The Lounge

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

The cabin is 5 rows in a 2-2-2 seating configuration. You can see here in the seat map

a screenshot of a computer

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.

a group of people sitting in an airplane

Seat

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.

an airplane seat with a bed and pillows

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.

a group of people sitting on a plane

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.

Overall

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.

 

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

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13 Comments

  • PB May 14, 2023

    As a senator level FF on Lufthansa, I have certainly had my complains after this bumpy last year. Flight cancelations, understaffed customer service, and the one time my travel plans meant I needed to check in luggage–they lost it for 9 weeks. (It was returned completely intact to my home). Don’t get me started on NO LOUNGE due to renovations this year at BER. The airport just opened and they already have to renovate??? It better be worth it. That said, generally once I’m on board it is a really pleasant experience. It sounds like this was an older plane. I think the routes I fly must already have upgraded equipment. My last US/DE flight was in Oct 22 from Berlin/LAX r/t. Comfortable and no complaints. Food wise, it’s on par with other EU based airlines, and better than any US based. Portion wise, this is Europe so we’re not really into olive garden sized plates here. I bring my own entertainment system & headphones and usually watch films on my laptop so I can’t really speak for the in flight entertainment–but I did watch a few good Italian films I’ve missed as they weren’t shown in Germany last year and dont recall problems. That cheese plate you showed looks mighty economy class. The routes I take they plate the cheese for you baed on what you want. Wine list is great–some great dry rieslings from Mosel usually, and they usually have a good Cotarella family red (a merlot if I remember) which you’re not going to go wrong with. As for the amenity kit, I dont mind the products being in the bathroom. If I dont need it , it’s not going to waste is how I see it. And if people want free stuff for their medicine cabinet I guess they can load up their pockets while in the loo. I still use the Porsche design eyeglass case the kit came in actually, I liked when they had the tote bag thing –id use that as laundry bag when traveling. I’m not quite sure how dropping your phone in the seat is the seats fault, but okay I guess it could be designed better with less gap fair enough. Nice travel blog btw. Popped up in my social feeds. Travel safe!

  • Wolfgang Sailler May 11, 2023

    Poor babies, flying for free and complaining like they had to flee across a snake infested dessert.
    All biz class is overkill and an insult to people cramped in the back. All planes should have only one class of seats designed for real humans and reasonably comfortable. This playing to the egos of the really weak or wannabe wealthy is just plain pandering. And flying with the middle easterns should be totally out of the question for people from supposed to democratic countries: your sawing off the branch you are sitting on. That’s my five cents.

    • Miles May 11, 2023

      Lol. You should check out my socials, but remember to take your blood pressure medicine before watching.

  • Lara HS May 11, 2023

    The only time old school LH works is if you manage to get two seats to yourself- one to eat in and one to sleep in, on the window side. And even then the storage and tv and food are meh. I’m flying LH tomorrow from AUS-FRA but its on their one and only new (to them) 787-9 with REAL business class. Won’t help the food much but the seats are all aisle access and I cannot wait to try it.

    • Miles May 11, 2023

      yeah i’m excited to try those and the new ones hopefully rolling out in 2024

  • […] program with a long haul flight to Europe for just 45k miles to start the trip, but if you read my Lufthansa A340 biz review, you’ll know I had to cancel […]

  • rapperJ May 10, 2023

    I didn’t see your little monkey teddy bear on this LH trip report, where is he?

    • Miles May 11, 2023

      He was quite shy on this trip lol

  • jsm May 10, 2023

    The design of those seats is conducive to capturing electronic devices. I recently flew round trip SFO-MUC-SFO in business on a 350-900, which had the same seats. On both legs people lost electronic devices and each time three flights attendants practically disassembled the seats in order to retrieve the passengers belongs. This easily took 15-20 minutes each, which mean that aisle was completely blocked and the passenger sitting next to the offending seat had to stand during that time. Really poor design.

    • Miles May 11, 2023

      ugh how frustrating is that!

  • Chris May 10, 2023

    You got the typical LH product. I agree with the review 100%.

    May I add that the food is subpar, too? Portions small, little variety, months between menu changes, poor presentation. It is amusing at some level to see Auntie Brunnhilde saving even on cheese plates. Smaller pieces, fewer varieties, and two grapes.

    Their seat is also mighty firm. Hurt my seat.

    Once the very expensive J class improves, I would consider it again. Until then, Auntie Brunnhilde, fare well. I have had it.

    • Miles May 11, 2023

      For sure… I think the new J looks incredible! I wonder if the varying seating configs intra cabin will price differently

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