Aircraft: Embraer E190
Flight #: LH950
Route: Frankfurt (FRA) > Newcastle (NCL)
Date: November 29, 2021
Duration: 1hr 39mins
Cabin and Layout: Lufthansa Business Class, 8-seat capacity across 4 rows in a 1-1 configuration (with blocked seat)
Cost: £197 (~$268)
Flying premium cabins in Europe is a far cry from the luxuries you might be used to in the U.S.
Most European airlines simply block out the middle seat of a few rows of their smaller, narrow-body aircraft, meaning business class passengers have the exact same seat as those in economy.
There are some exceptions to the rule — one being Iberia, which schedules wide-body aircraft on some of its rotations between Madrid (MAD) and London (LHR).
In terms of service on board, passengers still get served a hot or cold meal of some sort.
After enjoying my experience flying Lufthansa business class on a flight from Frankfurt to New York a few years ago, I was looking forward to seeing how flying its intra-European business class would live up to my expectations.
Here’s how it went.
Booking My Flight
I originally booked a return economy flight from Newcastle (NCL) to Prague (PRG) via Frankfurt (FRA). My plans then changed, meaning I’d be flying from Lisbon (LIS) to Prague (PRG) via a visit to the American Express Centurion Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3.
I called Lufthansa to explain my situation and the outbound leg was canceled for me, leaving me with my return home to Newcastle from Prague.
My one-way flight ended up costing £128 (~$174), £10 (~$14) more than the original return flight that cost £118 (~$160).
I then saw that it would cost just £69 (~$94) to upgrade the leg from Frankfurt (FRA) to Newcastle (NCL). In the name of a thorough review, I naturally didn’t think twice about it and treated myself to a little upgrade for the second leg.
That said, it cost me a total of £197 (~$268) for a one-way flight from Prague (PRG) to Newcastle (NCL) with a connection in Frankfurt (FRA).
By no means is $268 cheap, but for me, it was a price I was happy to pay, especially given the experience I had onboard.
I could have also used points to book my flights. Booking award tickets on Lufthansa can be done through Miles & More (the airline’s own frequent flyer program), as well as Air Canada’s Aeroplan, ANA’s Mileage Club, Asiana’s Asiana Club, Avianca’s LifeMiles, and United’s MileagePlus.
Hot Tip: Want to fly Lufthansa business class yourself? Here’s our step-by-step guide to help you on your way.
Checking in at Prague (PRG)
Given I started my journey in Prague, I documented the trip from there.
Though my Prague (PRG) to Frankfurt (FRA) leg was in economy, I was still able to check in using the business class lane thanks to my Star Alliance Gold status.
There were only a few people waiting altogether, and just 1 person ahead of me in the business class line.
This meant that my bag (complete with priority bag tag) and I were all checked in and I’d be reunited with it when I arrived in Newcastle later that afternoon.
I spent some time working in Prague’s business class lounge. It wasn’t long before my first ride of the day, as this 6-year-old Lufthansa A320 (registered D-AIUN) had arrived to take me to Frankfurt (FRA).
This jet was considerably larger than my second ride would be. Therefore, its business class cabin was also larger and comprised of 12 seats in a 3-3 configuration (with empty middle seats).
After a fairly early start, I snoozed for most of the 44-minute flight to Frankfurt (FRA).
I arrived in Frankfurt with 2 hours in Frankfurt before my flight departed to Newcastle (NCL).
That was just enough time to visit the Lufthansa Senator Lounge B and have some lunch.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge B
After distinctly average experiences in 2 of Lufthansa’s lounges pre-pandemic (the Lufthansa Business Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2 and in Munich (MUC)), I was pleasantly surprised by the Senator Lounge B at Frankfurt (FRA).
The food was hearty, wholesome, and delicious; the space was bright, clean, and cozy; and, best of all, the views across the apron and runway were excellent.
Boarding at Frankfurt
I arrived at gate 44 (about 50 meters from the lounge) where I thought, given the line, that boarding had started. In true Brit style, I joined the line without really knowing what its purpose was.
It turned out that the line had formed because of a pre-boarding document check that was mandatory for all passengers.
There was a sign at the front of the line indicating a distinction between economy and premium passengers, but I only noticed it after I’d waited the 10 minutes or so that it took to reach the front.
Document checks like this are usually carried out at check-in, but given the number of passengers who were probably on connecting flights, it made sense for Lufthansa to do a final check to make sure all passengers had the required COVID-19 documentation for entry into the U.K.
After all checks had been completed, the gate opened and I was first on the aircraft at 2:40 p.m. before it pushed back slightly ahead of schedule at 3:05 p.m.
Onboard Lufthansa’s Embraer E190
It had been a while since I’d flown an Embraer, and Lufthansa for that matter. I’d forgotten just how narrow they are inside, even compared to the Airbus A320 I’d flown in on.
As always when on a review flight, I started snapping photos the second I got on the aircraft. The purser noticed what I was doing, and informed me politely that under no circumstances was filming allowed onboard.
I wasn’t surprised by this, as I had a similar experience on a previous Lufthansa review trip. Initially, the crew was a bit skeptical but once I explained what was happening they were happy for me to continue so long as no passengers or crew were in the pics.
I reassured the purser that there’d be no filming and was I just taking pictures.
It was then only a matter of time before we were in the air.
As is to be expected, there was nothing business-like about my seat other than the seat next to me was blocked out with a fixed tray table.
1A, 2F, 3A, and 4F are window seats, while 1D, 2C, 3D, and 4C are aisle seats.
That said, the seats were comfy enough, despite looking rather thin and hard. Each seat had 32-inches of pitch and was around 18- to 19-inches wide.
Directly in front of me was the bulkhead, as well as the forward galley for the small business class.
In terms of storage, I had the use of 2 nets. It might have looked flimsy, but it was strong enough to support the weight of my laptop, as well as the Onboard Delights menu and safety card.
As I was in the front row, I had plenty of room for stretching my legs.
As is often the case with bulkhead seats, the tray table was stowed away in the armrest of my seat.
It unfolded easily and when fully extended, it was plenty big enough for my laptop. More importantly, it was big enough for the delicious meal I was about to be served, complete with a linen place setting.
Business Class Cabin
There’s no mistaking where you are with the huge Lufthansa logo right at the front of the business class cabin when boarding the aircraft.
I say cabin loosely, as the only thing separating the business and economy seats was a curtain on each side.
Despite there being 2 seats on each side of the cabin, only 1 was in use per side, meaning just 8 seats were available for business class passengers. On this flight, there were only 3 of us — myself and another couple.
As usual, I like to get pics of the rest of the aircraft to give you a feel of the whole space.
The economy cabin is comprised of 92 seats in 23 2-2-configured rows.
The cabin was almost completely full which made it feel rather snug. I was definitely glad I had more space up front and nobody sitting next to me.
Food and Beverage
It’s safe to say I was wined and dined on this short 1-hour, 39-minute flight.
No sooner had the seatbelt signs been turned off — just 8 minutes after takeoff — when I was asked if I would like something to eat.
When I asked what was on offer, I was told with a chuckle that salmon was the only choice so there wouldn’t be options.
The crew member informed me that I could have made a selection 48 hours before my flight. She continued to explain the difference between Lufthansa main and Lufthansa CityLine — the operator of my flight that afternoon.
CityLine doesn’t offer warm food options, even in business class, and operates differently to regular Lufthansa short-haul flights. Every day is a school day.
My first drink was offered a couple of minutes later, which was closely followed by the arrival of my meal.
The presentation was lovely, but ruined slightly by the plastic lids. Business class food has a superior restaurant feel to it when it’s served without a cover.
The fact that the covers were plastic added insult to injury.
Couscous isn’t one of my favorite things to eat, but it worked well with this salmon and vegetable dish.
It was a small yet delicious portion. The salmon was like something you’d get at a top-notch sushi restaurant. The couscous I thought would be really dry but it wasn’t. The ingredients and flavors worked really well together.
The dish is from Lufthansa’s recently rolled out Heimat menu. The initiative gives passengers the opportunity to try out 1 of 6 regional cuisines each week onboard intra-European flights.
My city/region for the day was Leipzig.
The bread, which is usually dry and stale on flights, was soft, warm, and most shockingly of all, so moist — it tasted like it had just come out of a baker’s oven. Sehr gut!
I thought I’d put my rusty German to the test and let the crew member know how impressed I was with the bread. She explained (I think…) that it’s all about the temperature and length of time that it’s heated.
She added that as she loves food, she hopes that her passengers enjoy their meals as best as possible, too!
As for the dessert, wow.
Chocolate is my thing so I know this would be right up my alley before I’d even taken a bite. My favorite inflight chocolate dessert up to this point was British Airways’ Do&Co, but I think Lufthansa has knocked BA out of the top spot with this chocolate dream.
As it was nearing the afternoon (I usually have a “no drinks before 5 p.m.” rule on a workday), I thought I’d treat myself to a glass of the bubbles. It was a Riesling, and it was delicious.
Passengers in both cabins had the option of ordering from the buy-on-board menu. The prices were reasonable and about what I’d expect to pay in the air.
Cleanliness is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, given we’ve spent 2 years living through a pandemic.
As I’d have expected from Lufthansa, the aircraft, as well as my seat area, felt clean and as germ-free as a plane could ever possibly be.
This flight had absolutely zero amenities — which is to be expected on a short-haul flight in Europe, even in business class.
The aircraft was fitted out with neither power sockets, Wi-Fi, nor an IFE screen, meaning my only entertainment was the delicious food and the views outside the window.
Business class passengers have access to 1 tiny bathroom at the front of the aircraft, just behind the cockpit.
My head touched the ceiling and I’m only 5 foot 8 inches tall.
The space was narrow, too. Changing clothes or a baby’s diaper in here would be a squeeze.
I liked that Lufthansa provides toilet seat covers — I’d never seen this on an aircraft before.
The toilet was perfectly clean on both of my visits.
I was quite bowled over by the personal and professional service I received from the purser.
Granted, she only had me and 2 other people to look after throughout the flight, but she could have used that time to take it easy.
She did the complete opposite. She used her extra time to make sure her 3 business class passengers had everything they could possibly wish for on the short flight.
Not only that, she was so friendly, had a great sense of humor, and was the ultimate professional. She was a credit to Lufthansa. Unfortunately, I forgot to note down her name.
At the time of my flight, Lufthansa had a mandatory medical-grade mask mandate in force. I’d forgotten this and boarded wearing my trusty cloth mask and so was handed a classic blue surgical mask as soon as I stepped on the plane.
I feel like Lufthansa is particularly strict with COVID-19 protocols. While I was eating my meal, I asked the purser a question. She stood back a few paces and politely asked if I could put my mask on when speaking. I obviously obliged, and apologized, even though technically I didn’t have to have my mask on while I was eating.
We touched down at Newcastle International Airport (NCL) bang on time at 3:55 p.m.
We deplaned using the stairs and were treated to this lovely view of the aircraft parked on the stand with the winter sun setting in the background.
I really enjoyed my flight from Frankfurt (FRA) to Newcastle (NCL) in Lufthansa’s CityLine business class.
Given the cozy feel of the cabin and the almost 1:1 inflight service, it felt almost like I was on my own private jet.
I was also impressed with the flavor and quality of the food.
In all honesty, I didn’t even miss the fact that there was no Wi-Fi or at-seat charging.
I would absolutely recommend upgrading to Lufthansa business class for intra-European flights if the price is right and the flight is over 90 minutes.