On the Ground: There is nothing luxurious about arriving at JFK, but the Lufthansa check-in desk made me forget I was there. I stepped up with my carry-on and one bag to check. The agent was the epitome of efficiency. I had passport, boarding pass and lounge pass in hand within seconds. I wouldn’t have minded a smile from her, but I was in good hands for my imminent departure to Seoul via Frankfurt.
Pre-Flight: The dedicated Lufthansa lounge at JFK is a breath of fresh air. Located just after security and European in design, the lounge is comfortable and a good spot to get a snack or do last-minute work before boarding. I boarded at my leisure, and a friendly flight crew welcomed me as I took my seat in the massive business class downstairs in the Boeing 747.
In-Flight: I always enjoy flying on a 747. My business-class seat was located toward the nose of the aircraft. I was looking forward to the dinner, as I knew Lufthansa created a Star Chef program for their in-flight menus. Andres Jimenez, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, designed the menu on my flight from JFK to Frankfurt. The hors d’oeuvres were pickled shrimp with glass noodle salad; soy-glazed New York strip steak with green onion skewers; and a traditional American iceberg salad with dates, toasted pecans and crumbled Maytag blue cheese. For the entrée, I opted for the pan-seared chicken breast with orange balsamic reduction, roasted potatoes and caramelized pearl onions. I passed on dessert, although the Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche did look good. Overall, the food tasted good, but I was a little disappointed in its presentation, which seemed to take away from rather than enhance the experience of dining at 35,000 feet with a custom-designed business-class menu.
After dinner, I was ready to get some rest. It took me a little time to get comfortable on the nearly lie-flat bed, but I slept soundly for most of the flight. Lufthansa will incorporate a new business-class seat in 2012, which will be an exciting enhancement to the business product as well as the entertainment system. I woke refreshed and enjoyed a breakfast of bread, cheese, meats and coffee. The menu offered a breakfast-to-go option, a great idea for passengers who want to sleep longer.
The flight from Frankfurt to Seoul offered a nice variety as well, including the Korean specialty bibimbap, designed by Chef Anna Matscher from the restaurant Zum Lowen in South Tyrol.
The Experience: Both flights were pleasant. I arrived refreshed, the most important element for any non-stop or connecting flight. The transit period was easy and one I’d recommend for those not flying direct to Asia from the East Coast. At Frankfurt Airport, business-class passengers can access a highly recommended welcome lounge for a shower and breakfast. I had time to shower in the transit lounge, a huge bonus. The lounges were comfortable and naturally lit, which I appreciate between long-haul flights. I look forward to flying Lufthansa’s new business-class product.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food and beverages
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous in-flight staff
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress pad and comforter
- The Valley Wing at the Shangri-La HotelIn-flight menu offering choice of three entrées
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
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As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
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