Hello everyone and welcome to this new Flight review.
Today, I am pleased to accompany you with me on my first long-haul flight since the Covid-19 pandemic. My last long-haul flight was in August 2019, so I was looking forward to flying to a faraway destination on a nice plane! And it worked out, as I'm flying today on a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8, one of my favorite aircraft, from Frankfurt to Delhi in Business Class.
I'll meet you in the A-Z Departure Hall of Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport.
I walk towards the check-in counters dedicated to Business Class passengers.
As you can see, there is quite a wait for the Business Class check-in. It seems that the entire Lufthansa Business Class from Frankfurt (short-, medium- and long-haul) relies on these six counters. That's a bit of a stretch...
Once the check-in is over, I make my way down several corridors to concourse B.
We pass the security checks. No photo of this stage. It was neither very short nor very long. Count ten minutes between waiting and passing the security. Strangely enough, there was no priority queue for Business Class passengers at this time. It was in fact present but closed. But given the small number of people at that time, it is justifiable. In addition, there were quite a few agents open.
Then comes the immigration. No waiting. A passage through the automated fast-track border control makes me pass these controls in not even 30 seconds! It's a nice change from Paris airports ^^
So here I am in the non-Schengen transit zone at concourse B. Very clean, with plenty of food and shopping facilities. The central part of the building has recently been renovated and is really nice.
Unfortunately, I won't have time to enjoy it and I'm heading to my gate, where the boarding is already almost starting.
By the way, a negative point in hot weather: the terminal is not air-conditioned enough for my taste.
After less than five minutes of walking, I arrive at my gate, B23, and find myself face to face with my bird of the day: D-ABYM or 'Bayern', an eight-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 747-830 in the old Lufthansa livery.
I'm really happy to be back on a Boeing 747, my favorite aircraft, which I haven't flown for almost eight years! It really has a unique look!
My flight is well posted, to Delhi.
Before the actual boarding, a "Pre-Boarding" is carried out during which the formalities for entering India are checked. At that time, French citizens must present a negative PCR test result as well as to fill in various special Covid online formalities (the "Air Suvidha" declaration). Added to the visa needed to go to India, you realize that there are a lot of things to present at the Pre-Boarding!
After the boarding of passengers with reduced mobility and passengers traveling with small children, it is time for the boarding of First and Business Class passengers. This starts with about 30 minutes delay (delay in the preparation of the plane apparently). It's a bit of a mess. The Indians don't understand where to go, where to stand, and the principle of priority boarding, which makes everything slow down.
When you say jumbo jet, you say two jetways! Something I hadn't seen for a while ^^
We take the dedicated Business Class jetway and board the Queen of the skies!
As soon as I arrived on the scene, I discovered my seat of the day: 04K. This is the first row of Business Class on the plane (rows 1, 2, and 3 are First Class).
I take advantage of being among the first to board to take some photos of the rest of the cabin.
This Business Class cabin, like the vast majority of Lufthansa's long-haul aircraft, has a 2-2-2 configuration. This is a configuration that has been criticized for being old and impractical, due to the lack of 'Full Aisle Access'.
I settle into my seat and the first thing I notice is that the legroom is incredible. I stretch them out as far forward as possible and I don't touch them. A positive point of the 2-2-2 configuration!
Admire the beautiful engine view on both GenX!
My seat gives me access to 3 full windows!
On arrival at my seat, I find a pillow, a blanket, and slippers. The pillow is really big and very comfortable. The blanket is thick, large, and very pleasant to the touch.
I will give you a full tour of the seat during the flight.
The catering truck pulls away from our plane.
A stewardess comes to welcome us personally and offers us a welcome drink. We can choose between still water, orange juice, and sparkling wine. I chose orange juice. It was freshly squeezed: very good and refreshing!
The captain makes an announcement informing us that we will be 20 minutes late due to luggage being unloaded from the plane.
I'll take advantage of this little delay to make an aside Covid. On my flight, the German government required the wearing of a mask on board the planes coming from/going to Germany. It is therefore mandatory to wear the mask during the entire flight, even in Business Class. In practice, I often took it off and even went to the toilet once and forgot it, the crew didn't tell me anything...
The safety video begins. It will be available in German and English. As I remember, when I flew to India with Lufthansa three years ago, the safety video was also presented in Hindi. In fact, three years ago, there were several Indian staff on board. Today, only Germans in First/Business Class.
A further video is then shown introducing the onboard Wi-Fi offer, FlyNet. More on this later.
Pushing back begins in the wake of this, always with a magnificent view of the engines.
Once the engines are started, it is time to start the taxi to runway 18.
We pass several planes.
In particular two Boeing 767 of Condor, one in a very old livery, the other in a more recent livery, but no Stripes on the horizon.
A Thai Boeing 777.
A Lufthansa A320neo - it's actually D-AINO, the A320neo I flew from Hurghada to Munich in August 2021.
D-ABVM, Lufthansa's only Boeing 747-400 in new livery. How beautiful is she!
Followed by D-ABYA, Lufthansa's only Boeing 747-8 in the new livery, which was incidentally the very first Lufthansa aircraft to wear the new livery, in February 2018! Beautiful too!
Our reflection in the terminal.
A Lufthansa Cargo Boeing 777F in the old livery.
And we come to line up on runway 18.
So, at 14:30, 50 minutes late, we leave the cow floor, heading for New Delhi!
We climb slowly. A lot of small turbulences are felt during the climb.
After 10,000 feet, the seatbelt sign turned off. It's time to take a closer look at this much-criticized seat.
Firstly, within the center armrest, there is a compartment containing the headphones and a USB-A port. There is a dedicated space on the right to store a pair of glasses.
The headphones are from AKG. From what little I have been able to test it, it has a very correct sound. It also has good passive noise reduction.
Next to it is the table, which can be pulled out by pressing hard on it. When completely unfolded, it is a very good size. You can easily put a computer on it. It can also be folded in on itself. It can also be turned by 90 degrees so that you can leave your seat even with the table out.
Next to it is the remote control for controlling the screen. The old Economy Classic 747 remote control.
Under the armrest, there is a universal power outlet for each passenger.
Under the screen, there is now a space to put your feet on. Underneath, there is a compartment for storing shoes or a small bag, for instance.
On the right is a kind of pocket with a safety card and a sickness bag.
Underneath, there is another small compartment with a small personal water bottle and a sort of amenity kit.
I say “kind of” because it is actually a bag in which you find the different accessories wrapped in a ribbon. There is a whole series of bags to collect, with different designs on different destinations. Personally, I came across the Great Wall of China.
Inside the bag are a pair of socks, a toothbrush, and mini-toothpaste, a mint, creams from L'Occitane, and headset covers. There are no eye masks, razors, or earplugs in the kit: to avoid waste, Lufthansa has chosen to offer these accessories as optional extras in the toilets.
Another point to note is that it's nice to see that all the plastic packaging for the various components of the kit or even the cover has disappeared.
Let's now turn to the screen and the IFE. This is available in 10 languages, including French (my native language). It can be controlled either via a remote control (seen earlier) or by touch.
A huge selection of films, series, music, games, audiobooks and podcasts, wellness programs, etc. are offered.
Just for the movies, for example, there are almost 300 on offer. There is a bit of everything, from all genres, all languages, and all years. There are classics as well as new releases. There is also a fairly large selection of content for children. The selection is not incredible but it does the job very well, honestly.
There are also two cameras: the one on the underside of the aircraft…
…and the one at the front of the plane
I have a preference for the Airbus cameras on the tail!
There is also a map with information about the flight. Unfortunately, this is not interactive and there is no way to customize the views. The views scroll one by one, in the same way for all passengers. There is an alternation between German, English, and Hindi. No customization in the passenger's language.
The screen can also be turned to face you, with the seats slightly reclined.
This IFE (display + remote control) is undeniably old. It is the first generation of displays/remote controls for this Business Class cabin, first installed on the 747-8 in 2010. In addition, the 747-8 carries over most of the equipment from the 747-400, so it's not a very young aircraft. Nevertheless, in all honesty, it's not horrible either. The touch screen is not very responsive. However, given the distance to the screen, it is preferable (I think) to use the remote control to navigate, which produces a fairly smooth experience. The resolution of the screen leaves something to be desired of course, but given the age, this is excusable. Again, this is the first version of the Business Class. These screens have been improved on more recent aircraft (A350 in particular). Also, some people criticize the size and low brightness of the screen. I personally find the size correct in relation to the distance to the screen. The brightness can be adjusted to suit your needs.
This is of course a personal opinion that takes into account the age of the aircraft and the cabin. It would obviously be inconceivable to find this type of screen on the latest generation aircraft. But traveling on a 747 means that you have to make sacrifices.
Finally, the OS is the same on all Lufthansa planes. Apart from the flight information section, which cannot be customized according to one's wishes and in one's own language, I find it good. It is visually nice, follows the Lufthansa colors, and is quite ergonomic.
The seat itself can be fully extended in a "full flat" position. It can be customized as required using the touch-sensitive controller on the armrest.
At the top of the seat, there is a small adjustable reading light.
The outer armrest (window side or aisle side, depending on the seat) can be lowered and thus offers more space in width for sleeping. This being a daytime flight, I won't be sleeping. But a negative point that often comes up is indeed the narrowness of the seat. If it is not annoying during the day, it is more annoying on night flights, especially when you like to sleep on your side.
The hardness of this Business Class seat is also often mentioned. I actually find this one very comfortable. I have not tried to sleep but just sitting, in the upright position as well as the intermediate position, I have nothing to reproach it with!
The cab is therefore quite old with its 2-2-2 configuration without full aisle access, whereas the trend is towards a 1-2-1 configuration with the competition. However, as I travel with someone, I find this configuration very interesting, precisely because it allows me to enjoy both the window and my travel partner. A 1-2-1 configuration would have really annoyed me: I would have had to say goodbye to either my partner or the wing view. However, I can understand that the configuration is not very popular with solo travelers.
Another point, because of the age of the cabin, we feel the fragility and the experience of some equipment. Some are a bit damaged. Moreover, not all the corners are perfectly clean. When you know that these planes are constantly on the move with new people on board, it's understandable, but in this period of the pandemic, it is more than important to optimize cleanliness, even in the smallest corners.
Finally arrived at our cruise level.
They bring us the menu for the flight. I put the English version below for the curious.
It all starts with an aperitif. I chose to have a glass of apple juice with a glass of water, accompanied by almonds.
We are then brought a small hot towel. Glad to see it's back!
The service begins.
For the starter, I decided on Tuna Tataki Style with Dashi Vegetable Salad and Miso Mayonnaise. As there was no more tuna available on this flight, it was substituted by prawns. It's a pity because I would have liked to taste the tuna but the shrimps were still good.
For the main course, I chose the Sautéed Prawns (yes, again!) with Sesame Vegetables, served with Jasmine Rice and Red Thai Curry Sauce. It was really very good. However, I regret that the portions were a bit too small for my taste. But hey, better to optimize quality than quantity!
A bit of a shame too: the cabin crew member "in charge of me" was actually in charge of about 14 customers in the cabin. So it was difficult to get a refill of drinks or bread while the meal was being served. If I asked him, it was done without any problem. But I think it should be done naturally in Business Class, without the customer having to ask for a refill.
We continue with the cheese and dessert, both served simultaneously.
I'll have an assortment of three pieces of cheese (Lenggenwil Country Cheese, Motagnolo Blue Cheese, and French Soft Goat Chees) garnished with Date Sesame Honey Chutney and Grapes.
For dessert, it will be a Strawberry Cake with whipped Cream and chopped Pistachio.
Not much to say about the meal in general, except that it was excellent! I recently heard a lot of bad things about the meals offered on Lufthansa in Business Class, as the quality had largely declined. For me, it was simply delicious.
Finally, the crew bring us little chocolates.
Another point to mention is the great kindness of the crew. They are excellent, very kind, very friendly, proactive, and know how to make themselves available...
During the flight
After the meal, a quick trip to the toilet. Nothing special, except for a basket containing various small items including razors, earplugs, eye masks, and refreshing towels.
Back at my seat, I've been given another paper to fill in for my arrival in India...
The sun is starting to set over Iran, so it's a good opportunity to go to the galley to get a closer look at the beauty of these engines. Unfortunately, the windows will be dirty but it gives a good idea of the view during the sunset. Is there really a more beautiful wing view?
Small view of the staircase leading up to the floor of the Boeing 747 and the Purser's "office" (a small feature of the 747).
As with all long-haul aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet, this aircraft also features in-flight Wi-Fi.
By connecting to the "Telekom_FlyNet" network, you can access the FlyNet portal, which provides access to a wide range of information (weather at your destination, travel guide, news, connecting flights, etc.) as well as the purchase of Internet packages.
On this flight, Lufthansa offers three different Wi-Fi packages: the "Messaging" package, available for 5 €, allows passengers to enjoy a speed of up to 100 kbps for the entire duration of the flight; this package has been designed for chatting on instant messengers (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.). The "Premium" offer, available in a 2-hour version for 15 € or for the entire flight for 25 €, allows you to surf the Internet at a speed of up to 4 Mbps.
There is no free offer, which is a shame. Nevertheless, the prices are still quite reasonable compared to other airlines.
About 1 hour 45 minutes before arrival, the cabin lights up again. It's time for the second service.
This second meal will be typically Indian: the main course will be Palak Paneer with Chana Masala, and the dessert is a Creamy Yoghurt with Matcha Tea Crumbles.
As with the first service, this second one was excellent. It prepares you more and more for the destination!
Descent and arrival
We are slowly approaching the end of the flight as the service ends.
The plane begins its descent toward India, the cabin is getting darker and darker.
I apologize for the quality of the following photos. My phone has trouble at night.
At 01:03 (local time), after a 7:05 flight and with only 5 minutes delay, we land on runway 10 of the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi.
We clear the runway to the right and taxi to the gate.
An Air France Airbus A350 lands just after us from Paris CDG.
We pass an A320neo of GoFirst (in the colors of the former GoAir).
We also see an Air India A320neo, VT-ICO, wearing the special 'Mahatma Gandhi' livery on the tail.
We arrive on the Apron. We taxi past an Air India Boeing 787-8 with the special "Guru Nanak - 550 Years Celebration" livery and a SWISS Airbus A330.
We make our last turn, to the left of the SWISS, and park at gate B15 of terminal 3 of the airport.
Last picture of the seat before leaving.
Three minutes later, we leave the plane through the first jetway.
At the exit of the jetway, a last picture of our beautiful Yankee Mike.
And we are heading for the arrivals.
We go down to the immigration hall.
In about ten minutes, we pass the border police, checking the numerous entry formalities.
But it's done, I'm finally officially on Indian soil, with two new stamps in my passport!
We then head for the exit via the Duty-Free (a common practice in Asia).
The luggage for our flight will be delivered. We are waiting patiently for it.
Once collected, we can finally leave the terminal and head back to the city.
This flight on board the Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 was absolutely excellent, surely one of the best I have had with LH for a long time! I didn't mention it much in my review but the crew was really excellent, very nice, attentive, and always available. The meals and services were really good, without exception. The cabin is a bit old and the cleanliness is not perfect in all the little corners. The IFE is a bit outdated. The much-criticized 2-2-2 configuration worked well for me as I did not have to choose between my partner and the wing view. The seat was comfortable. The cabin was not full and really nice. And most importantly, what a pleasure it was to fly on a Boeing 747 in 2022!
Concerning Frankfurt Airport, the lack of staff is really noticeable, especially at check-in where waiting times are way too long. Otherwise, it is very clean. The food and shopping offer is quite good. The terminal is quite pleasant. Maybe turn up the air-conditioning a bit on hot days!
As for Delhi, I have far too little information to evaluate this airport. From what I have seen, it is quite fluid and clean.
This was the first Flight review of my trip to Asia. I hope you enjoyed this Flight review as much as I enjoyed making it, and I can't wait to take you with me on the next flight, which will leave from Delhi.
Thanks for reading and see you soon ;)