We arrived at Dulles much later than previously planned due to some absolutely terribly weather in Washington, DC. What usually is about a 75-90 minute trip to Dulles via taxi and the 5A bus, turned into a 3:15 nightmare of a trip from our home in Dupont Circle out to Dulles Airport.
Luckily, we had planned on leaving plenty of cushion to get there, because we wanted to relax in the lounge prior to our flight. As it turned out, we only had about 30 minutes in the lounge before we boarded our A330-300 bound for Munich, directly from the Lufthansa lounge at Dulles.
I’d previously only been into the Senator Lounge at IAD, but we did not have access for this trip, as we were “only” business class passengers, and I no longer have Star Alliance Gold status. The Lufthansa Business Lounge is figuratively and literally a few steps down from the Senator Lounge, as it’s located downstairs, below the Senator. It lacks the tarmac views and hot entrees of the Senator Lounge, but was not nearly as crowded and was perfectly fine for a couple of pre-flight drinks.
A trip to Oktoberfest, the Alps and Lake Como
- Lufthansa Business Class Washington-Dulles to Munich
- Oktoberfest… and Three Days in Munich
- The Tyrolean and Austrian Alps
- The Bernina Express Scenic Railroad from St. Moritz to Tirano
- Three Days on Lake Como
- Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus
- American Business Class Zurich to New York – JFK
Lufthansa (LH) 415
Washington-Dulles (IAD) – Munich (MUC)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 11G (Business)
Wednesday, September 29
10:30PM – 12:50PM
My fiance and I boarded this Airbus, A330-300 from door 1L, so I turned right and proceeded through the two-row first class cabin. I previously enjoyed a flight in Lufthansa’s first A330 first class a few years ago on the reverse route of we were to travel that evening.
After the small first class cabin was a mini-business cabin. We were seated in the larger, second business class cabin with the duo of seats by the window in row 11 – seats 11G and 11H.
The Lufthansa A330-300 features the airline’s “new” business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Because of this, not all seats have direct aisle access. People seated in window seats are required to climb over their seatmate for aisle access. This wasn’t a concern on this flight since I was with my fiancé (who loves window seats), but if I was traveling solo, I would have opted for a middle pair on this aircraft.
The new Lufthansa Business Class seat is a major improvement over its old, slanted variety simply because it lays flat. However, this seat not all that private, and lacks the personal space and storage of many other airlines’ products on similar aircraft.
Despite the lack of amply personal space, the seat was a perfectly comfortable way to cross the Atlantic. It features a large, in-flight entertainment (IFE) screen, though the entertainment selection was somewhat limited compared to other carriers like American and United. All I really needed to find was one watchable movie, and then I planned on it being bedtime anyway.
While not the best Business Class seats in the World, I was perfectly happy with them, as I was about to embark on a trip to Europe in business class with my finance!
After a couple of rounds of pre-departure champagne, the flight attendant brought us Oktoberfest-themed amenity kits along with Bose QuietComfort 3, noise canceling headphones.
A few minutes later, we pushed back after a very quick boarding process. As we began our taxi, it was apparent that there was a LONG line waiting for takeoff, as there were almost a dozen wide-body aircraft awaiting their turn for an evening departure to Europe or the Middle East. Oddly, instead of waiting our turn, we proceeded to taxi past every last airplane in queue, directly to the runway for takeoff!
Upon reaching cruising altitude, dinner service began immediately. This was greatly appreciated due to the later takeoff time of this flight (10:30pm)
I took a scotch on the rocks to go along with a package of nuts – which we interestingly served in the bag instead of a ramekin. No big deal to me, but I honestly was expecting a little nicer from Lufthansa in, since I think of them as more of a premium airline than say – United or American – both of whom serve the nuts in a ramekin on their international business class flights.
As this was a late evening flight, the “appetizer” and entrée were brought out on the same plate. I opted for the Atlantic Seabass option over the filet or ravioli. The appetizer was essentially a somewhat hearty salad, along with grilled vegetables. It was fresh and healthy, but it wasn’t my favorite. On the other hand, my entrée was quite tasty, but it was a small portion size for the entrée. Luckily, there was a generous helping of rice, vegetables and pretzel rolls to satisfy my hunger!
My fiancé opted for the pumpkin ravioli entrée, and she really liked it!
We finished desert quite quickly, and desert was delivered promptly. I opted for the chocolate ice cream and fruit plate, and she took the cheese plate. The chocolate ice cream was Haagen Dazs, served in the container. I will add that during the expedited dinner service, we weren’t able to get a refill of our drinks until well into the dessert course, so that was somewhat annoying.
Along with dinner, we received Oktoberfest-themed chocolates, which were a nice touch considering that we were flying to Munich for… Oktoberfest!
Overall, dinner was okay. It was more of an “express” type dinner for the late departure time, which was fine and all, but we weren’t given the choice. I did feel that the appetizer was pretty weak, as there basically wasn’t one. I felt this meal was more in line with a high-qualifty domestic first class meal than it was an international business class meal. Service throughout was friendly enough, but not very attentive. The flight attendants were busting it to get dinner served – and I appreciate that, but they neglected refilling drinks – water, scotch and wine – for almost the entire meal.
Immediately following dinner, I reclined my seat to the lay flat position and drifted off to sleep.
I’m lucky to be able to sleep incredibly well on airplanes, and this was no exception. I slept like a rock for a solid six hours. I awoke as the cabin started bustling with the activity of breakfast service as we were flying over Amsterdam.
The flight attendant cheerfully brought me a diet coke along with a basic, but tasty and light breakfast. The breakfast was simple – fruit and yogurt with a croissant, meats and cheeses. I much prefer this to an unappetizing egg dish!
After I finished up breakfast, I changed back into jeans and brushed my teeth. By the time I finished with that, we were well into our descent into Munich.
We arrived slightly ahead of schedule. The two of us eagerly deplaned and headed into Munich to meet our friends for a fun few days at Oktoberfest!
This was a perfectly comfortable flight to get across the Atlantic. The fact that it was non-stop from Washington and was timed really well made it the most attractive flight option. I much prefer Transatlantic flights that depart later in the evening. This allows me to stay close to my normal sleep cycle, making it easier to sleep onboard.
While the seat was plenty roomy and comfortable, the 2-2-2 configuration on Lufthansa is already out of date, even though it is practically brand new. The industry standard for business class is now direct aisle access, and this product is lacking in that regard.
Catering was decent, but nothing really special. Service was cheerful and friendly though, but certainly not anywhere near what you receive in Lufthansa First Class.
All in all, I’d rank the overall experience on par with some US Airlines (American, Delta), and a little better than the Business Class experience on United. Honestly, I was expecting more from Lufthansa in business class. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t a top-tier airline experience.
It is FAR inferior to Lufthansa First Class though — I mean, not even in the same realm. If I had the requisite miles and flexibility, I’d definitely choose First Class over Business (duh!)
How I Booked It…
I booked both of our tickets using United miles for these one-way flights from Washington to Munich. United charges 70,000 miles each for this flight.
Though I much preferred the timing of this flight, in the future I would consider simply taking the nonstop United flight for only 57,500 miles each in business. Though the timing is not ideal (it’s about three hours earlier than the Lufthansa nonstop), I’d save 25,000 miles between the two of us.