Lufthansa Airbus A380 Business Class

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Background

Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance and a European aviation giant, servicing 203 destinations worldwide. The airline started operating the Airbus A380 to Johannesburg in June of 2011. Lufthansa offers 14 flights a week from O.R. Tambo to Frankfurt and the flying time is a tad under 11 hours. The A380 accommodates more than 500 passengers, including eight First Class, 98 Business Class and 420 Economy Class seats.

Check-In

Unlike jaded business travellers the world over, I haven’t lost my childlike excitement ahead of an international flight and the promise of a night on the Airbus A380 behemoth exacerbated the expectation. Who wouldn’t want a flight on the world’s largest commercial aeroplane, where rumour has it there is a billiard table, a jacuzzi and the use of a Harley Davidson, for all Business Class passengers? And if you believe that, you’ll also believe my fellow travellers were Orville and Wilbur Wright! The check-in at O.R. Tambo International was efficient and friendly, but I expect that from a serious global sky-player. More importantly, though, there was a genuine interest in the onward destination of all passengers.

Boarding

While I’m more than happy to indulge in a little boarding gate exclusivity, the division between Business and Economy Class passengers is pronounced – cordoned off and patrolled with a military-like efficiency. Maybe a little too over-zealous in attitude for my liking. I suspect that’s airport staff and not the airline, though. That being said, the onboard welcome was effusive, and the lumbering take-off was thrilling.

The Flight

One of the intentions of the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament held in Germany, was to make the country and its people friendlier to the rest of the world. It was part of its country legacy and strategy. Well, it worked. Cabin staff were engaging, without impinging on your space, and were well schooled in the art of meaningful small talk. Dinner was served quickly and these days there is a heightened expectation of quality from a Business Class menu. My delicate prawn salad followed by a lightly grilled piece of salmon didn’t fail – as good as anything I’ve eaten at a top-class restaurant. The offer of a cognac before turning in was tempting. I’d like to have been told where my little goodie bag with toothbrush, eyeshades et al was hiding. In a division between the seats it turned out. I only found out on the return flight a week later. No matter though. A man must travel with his own toothbrush! The unique selling point of the A380 is the flat-bed and it didn’t disappoint. The two metre-long reclining seat includes a massage function and the revolutionary ‘Shape System’ that adjusts the seat automatically to fit your body. Seriously, it’s more comfortable that one’s own mattress and guarantees a full night’s refreshing rest and the ability to hit the ground running. Lufthansa is one of the big global airline brands with a reputation for safety and on-board excellence. This flight ticked all those boxes. Now, catching a connecting onward flight from Frankfurt…….well, that’s another story.

Arrival

As befitting German efficiency, we were bang on time, and I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and headed for the immigration counter.

Verdict

Es gefällt mir…….or, ‘it pleases me’, for those with shaky German. The A380 is as impressive a piece of machinery that you will ever come across, and I particularly liked the fact that a copy of Business Traveller Africa was handed to me, as I boarded in Frankfurt on my return flight. One of many nice touches!

Jeremy Maggs

Contact

Web: lufthansa.com