Finally after months of preparation, numerous goodbye parties and dinners it was time for us to be on our way!
[ptcPhoto filename=”friends.jpg” caption=”We’ll miss you!” title=”Family and Friends” position=”center”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”dayZeroTickets.jpg” title=”Tickets for our first day of flying” caption=”All of our tickets” position=”right”]
But before the adventure could begin we had a very long day of travel ahead of us.
Our first stop is Sri Lanka, which is almost exactly half way around the world from Denver. To get there, we would travel from Denver to Charlotte, to Munich to Frankfurt to Bangkok to Colombo. Altogether this took 53 hours from the time we left our front door to the time we checked into our hotel in Sri Lanka.
Don’t feel too bad for us though, as we didn’t exactly rough it. Instead we splurged and traveled international first class. Had we bought these tickets instead of using miles it would have cost us upwards of $40,000.
[ptcPhoto filename=”LufthansaFirstClass.jpg” title=”Lufthansa First Class” caption=”Lufthansa First Class” position=”center”]
There is a huge difference between domestic first class and international first class. In domestic first class you get slightly more legroom, wider and more comfortable seats, free drinks and a small meal. Above domestic first class is international business class where you get a chair that can fully recline to 180 degrees, multi-course meals, and a nice selection of wine and spirits.
International first class is above international business class, and it’s in a league of it’s own. While business class will get you from A to B very comfortably, first class is a destination unto itself.
Our first long haul flight was, simply put, amazing. Neither of us had ever flown international first class, and Lufthansa is known to be one of the best airlines in the world to do so. Not only that, we were the only people in first class on this flight! This meant we had two (sometimes three) flight attendants to ourselves. Other than a couple people in business class that boarded before we did, we actually never saw another person on the flight other than our flight attendants and the pilots. It was like flying in a private jet.
[ptcPhoto filename=”OurFirstClass.jpg” title=”Our private first class cabin” caption=”First class all to ourselves” position=”center”]
Upon boarding we were offered a glass of champagne, upscale amenity kits tailored to our gender, a pair of high-quality pajamas that we were free to keep (if only we had room!) and a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones (not free to keep, unfortunately).
Our seats were amazing. Every part of the seat, including the ottoman, could be electronically adjusted to achieve ultimate comfort.
[ptcPhoto filename=”LufthansaChair.jpg” title=”Lufthansa First Class Seat” caption=”First class seat” position=”center”]
There are a total of 8 seats in first class, but as ours were the only ones occupied we could sit where we liked. We chose row 2 to eat our meals and watch movies and row 1 to be turned into beds (complete with mattress pad, down pillow, down duvet, and 7 feet of length) for when we decided to get a few hours of sleep.
[ptcPhoto filename=”LufthansaBed.jpg” title=”Lufthansa First Class Bed” caption=”Our beds on board in row 1″ position=”center”]
The entertainment system included a few recent movies and some classics as well as games, instructional language programs (even Tamil, one of the languages of Sri Lanka!) and videos of our progress across the ocean.
Our multi-course meal started with an amuse bouche, followed by a generous helping of white sturgeon caviar, then a second generous helping of caviar, then some other appetizers, followed by a salad, our selected main course, and finally cheese and desert. Throughout the dinner we sampled a number of their available wines, each bottle of which they gladly uncorked in front of us. It was a shame we didn’t even come close to finishing all those bottles!
[ptcPhoto filename=”amuseBouche.jpg” title=”Amuse Bouche” caption=”The amuse bouche” position=”left”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”caviar.jpg” title=”white sturgeon caviar” caption=”First round of caviar” position=”right”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”caviar2.jpg” title=”more white sturgeon caviar” caption=”Second round of caviar” position=”left”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”appetizer1.jpg” title=”First Appetizer” caption=”The first appetizer” position=”right”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”appetizer2.jpg” title=”Second Appetizer” caption=”The second appetizer” position=”left”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”lufthansaSalad.jpg” title=”Salad Course” caption=”Salad” position=”right”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”lufthansaMain1.jpg” title=”Sam’s Main Course” caption=”Sam’s Main Course” position=”left”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”lufthansaMain2.jpg” title=”Eric’s Main Course” caption=”Eric’s Main Course” position=”right”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”lufthansaCheese.jpg” title=”Cheese Course” caption=”Cheese Course” position=”left”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”lufthansaIceCream.jpg” title=”Dessert” caption=”Dessert” position=”right”]
We were woken for breakfast an hour before landing, hardly hungry after the previous feast but happy to gorge ourselves once again.
[ptcPhoto filename=”breakfast1.jpg” title=”Breakfast” caption=”Breakfast” position=”left”]
[ptcPhoto filename=”breakfast2.jpg” title=”Breakfast” caption=”Breakfast” position=”right”]
When you arrive to Munich as a first class passenger on Lufthansa, you can use the Lufthansa First Class Lounge (FCL). Instead of going through the regular passport control and customs you go inside the FCL, check-in with the agent, then proceed to the passport control officer that is stationed next to the check in desk. There was never a line.
[ptcPhoto filename=”LufthansaFCL.jpg” title=”Lufthansa First Class Lounge” caption=”Lufthansa First Class Lounge” position=”center”]
The Munich FCL is rather small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in accommodations. After checking into the lounge we were offered a sleep room which is a private room with a small bed, tv, and stereo. After taking a short nap we made use of the shower rooms that were available (thoroughly cleaned after each use).
[ptcPhoto filename=”FCLShower.jpg” title=”Shower in Munich FCL” caption=”Showering, First Class” position=”center”]
The FCL also includes a full bar including a very large selection of top shelf whiskeys and a buffet and dining area with a full menu. Everything is complementary.
[ptcPhoto filename=”LufthansaBar.jpg” title=”Lufthansa FCL Bar” caption=”80 Top Shelf Whiskeys…Oh my” position=”center”]
Due to some winter weather that had rolled in while we were sleeping, the FCL attendants rebooked us on an earlier flight to Frankfurt so that we were sure to make our connection.
After arriving at Frankfurt we headed to the Thai Airways Royal First Class check-in counter to check in for our second long haul flight. We were greeted at the First Class checkin counter by Azouz, who would be personally responsible for us while we were at the airport. Azouz escorted us through security and passport control to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge and promised to pick us up and take us to the plane when it was time for boarding.
One note, typically as a Thai Airways Royal First Class customer you are not entitled access to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge, but as we had a Lufthansa first class flight that landed earlier in the day we were granted access. We enjoyed a couple drinks including my first taste of Johnny Walker Blue, and had a delicious full meal in the lounge before Azouz arrived to escort us to the gate.
[ptcPhoto filename=”johhnieWalkerBlue.jpg” title=”Johhnie Walker Blue” caption=”Johhie Walker Blue” position=”center”]
On this flight the first class cabin was full but we were in row one so we hardly noticed. This plane is configured with individual cabins complete with doors and “Do not disturb“ signs. Upon being seated we were offered Dom Perignon as a pre departure beverage along with another pair of nice pajamas and amenity kit.
After takeoff we enjoyed another feast on the plane. This time we were able to dine together as there is an extra seat at the far end of each suite and an extra large pull out table to make dining together possible.
[ptcPhoto filename=”DiningTogether.jpg” title=”Dining Together” caption=”Dining together at 40000 ft” position=”center”]
A few more glasses of Dom and we were fast asleep in our seat/beds for the better part of the 10 hour flight. Sorry for the lack of photos on this flight, I think we may have had a few too many glasses of wine and stopped caring too much about the photos. Be assured there was another delicious 10 course meal.
Upon arrival in Bangkok the Thai crew ensures that all first class passengers exit the plane before anyone else. At the end of the jet way are members of the Thai staff with the names of the first class passengers on signs ready to take you in golf carts through immigration if you are staying in Thailand, or to the Thai Royal First Class Lounge if you were connecting on another flight like we were.
The Thai First Class Lounge, similar to the Lufthansa Lounge, is incredible…if you have done your research and know what to ask for. We were showed into the lounge and I asked for one of the private living rooms. These are rooms off to the side of the lounge that have a few chairs and a couch along with a TV, desk and computer. This was our home base for the rest of our stay in the lounge.
[ptcPhoto filename=”thailivingroom.jpg” title=”Private Living Room” caption=”Private Living Room in the Thai FCL” position=”center”]
There were far more attendants than guests in the lounge so if you need anything – drinks, food, or snacks, there’s always someone waiting to help you.
But the biggest perk of flying first class with Thai Airlines is the complementary massages from their Royal Orchard Spa across the hall from the lounge. We both requested a one hour full body massage. There was no wait so they brought us immediately to the spa. An hour of bliss ensued.
[ptcPhoto filename=”thaispa.jpg” title=”Royal Orchard Spa” caption=”Royal Orchard Spa” position=”center”]
We were hungry after the massage so had a meal in the FCL restaurant, then decided some sleep was in order so used one of the available sleep rooms. We woke up with just enough time to catch our final flight to Sri Lanka.
Whew! What a day. For us, international first class may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If not, after this we may need to find new ways to collect a ton of frequent flyer miles so we can do it again!