Review: Frankfurt to Accra in Lufthansa First

Lufthansa introduced first class to Accra on March 30, 2014, with the introduction of its Airbus A330-300 aircraft on this route. Lufthansa is currently in the process of rolling out its new first class product on these planes, which we enjoyed on this 6 1/2 hour flight from Continental Europe’s largest financial centre through to Ghana’s capital.

Whilst many airlines struggle with priority boarding, Lufthansa have the process down to a tee (out of Frankfurt at least). In our last post about this trip, we left off with the car transfer from the First Class Terminal. After a quick transfer in a Porsche Cayenne, we were escorted to a lift and straight onto the plane through a dedicated door for First Class. The height of German efficiency!

Onboard we were pleasantly surprised to find the new First Class seats. Until just before departure a plane was scheduled with the old seats fitted so this change was appreciated.

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Whilst not as private and enclosed as other First Class products out there, the cabin is understated and elegant. The cabin is well maintained and looked after, something some other airlines (ahem… BA) seem to struggle with.

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Each seat is wide, comfortable and reclines into a fully flat bed. There is ample storage in the magazine compartment or compartments by the window to keep any bits and pieces you might need handy access to during the flight.

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Each seat is tastefully decorated with a single red rose, a theme that continues throughout the flight with rose scented hot towels provided during meal service. Underneath each TV screen is an ottoman which is perfect for storing shoes and clothes in during the flight.

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A 1-2-1 configuration is reasonably standard with most First Class cabins these days which allows seating options for both solo and duo travellers.

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The IFE and seat controls are simple to use and intuitive. Some airlines like to have a myriad of buttons to adjust every minor aspect of the seat, however in some cases simplicity is appreciated.

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Unexpected on this flight were the two bottles of 2006 Roederer ‘Cristal’ Brut, which were being served exclusively over the Christmas season. Ordinarily Lufthansa serve Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle which is a more than passable champagne, but not having tried Cristal before it was certainly a welcome surprise.

Unfortunately Cristal didn’t live up to expectations. It tasted far too sharp and bitter at the end of each sip. At a retail price of around AU$300 per bottle it’s certainly not something we would purchase for personal consumption due to this aftertaste. Of course we chalked this up to being a real first world problem, as we flew en route to a third world country, and we still ended up consuming a bottle during the course of this flight.

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No first class flight would be complete without the obligatory caviar starter (despite Etihad, Qantas, BA and a few others’ persistence otherwise…). Every airline lists caviar as coming with the ‘traditional garnishes’, but it seems what is traditional is open to interpretation. On Lufthansa this includes egg whites, egg yolk, shallots, white onion and sour cream. Lemon halves were also thoughtfully served in a bag to prevent any seeds from polluting the caviar.

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One nice touch that we haven’t seen yet on any other airline was the vodka served in a frosted glass. It’s small touches like this that really set Lufthansa apart from some other airlines (ahem… BA).

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The menu for this flight read as follows:

Choice of Appetizers
Caviar with the traditional Garnishes
Aniseed marinated Salmon, Coconut Foam and Asparagus
Cecina de Vacuno, air-dried Beef, Salsify and Grapefruit Salad, Spinach Cream
Yogurt Mousse, mashed Asparagus, Green Peas and Mint
Fresh Leaf Salad, fried Oyster Mushrooms, Pumpkin and Cherry Tomato served with Raspberry Vinaigrette or Herb Mustard Dressing

Soup
Cinnamon flavored Tomato Soup, smoked Duck Breast and Croutons

Choice of Main Courses
Roast Goose, Red Cabbage and Potato Dumplings with caramelized Herbs
Greenland Halibut with Broccoli Couscous, Bay Shrimps, mashed Chickpea and mild Garlic Mayonnaise
Braised Beef Cheek with Sweet Potatoes and Amaranth
Lemon Lasagna braised with Tomato Sugo, Ricotta Cheese and Spinach

Selection of Cheese and Dessert
Holzhofer Rezent, Chablis, Quadrello di Bufala, Bavaria blu and Banon Cheese with Grapes, fresh Figs, toasted Pine Nuts and Dried Fruit Chutney
Brique au chocolat, warm Chocolate Bar with spiced Pineapple and Passion Fruit Olive Ice Cream
Dried Almond Milk with Grapefruit Ice Cream of Green Tea and Licorice

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We were given the salmon, beef and asparagus appetisers to follow the caviar. Not feeling in the mood for seafood or aniseed on this occasion, the salmon was left reasonably untouched but the beef was excellent. Nothing like a good piece of cured meat.

The menu did come across as being a little ‘over the top’, which we tend to find with Lufthansa – as if Lufthansa are trying just a bit too hard. Although, we would argue that is probably preferable to a dull first class menu in the long run.

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The butter stamped ‘First Class’ emphasises Lufthansa’s attention to detail, and we are impressed by the size of the salt and pepper shakers.

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As suggested by the fantastic flight attendant (since it was nearing Christmas), we selected roast goose for the main course. Lufthansa have really stepped up their ex-Germany catering in recent years.

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The cabbage was slightly bland but the potato dumplings were perfectly cooked and well seasoned. As for the goose itself the meat was tender and enjoyable, albeit just a little too salty. Overall, an excellent meal.

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The ‘Brique au chocolat’ was warm and gooey inside with a sweet taste that mixed well with the tart pineapple and passionfruit ice cream.

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We noticed that in all their lounges and on-board Lufthansa exclusively use Zwiesel glassware – an excellent Bavarian product.

Definitely of note were the crew on this flight. The crew managed to deliver the perfect balance between unwavering professionalism and excellent service. With only two passengers in first class, we were more than well looked after. After having flown first and business class many hundreds of times, it’s easy to appreciate that no matter how good the seats or lounges are, it’s a well trained and responsive crew that really set the experience apart.

Overall we find Lufthansa to offer one of the best first class experiences available at present. Lufthansa may not have the glitz and glamour of the Middle Eastern carriers but they more than make up for that in consistency and a thoughtful approach to service on a ‘whole of journey’ basis – a stark contrast to Etihad and other airlines which seem to divert their attentions solely to the in-flight. From personalised lounge attendants to staff on the ground to greet you at your destination Lufthansa’s well polished first class offering is an experience that we highly recommend.

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