Following our visit to the lounge we made our way over to the gate for boarding of the Airbus A340-600. The lounge doesn’t announce departures but they told us when we got there that we should leave the lounge at our posted boarding time. We did, and we made it to the gate before boarding and at the back of a rather scrum-like scene. Fortunately there was a second boarding area in use for premium cabin passengers and we made it on board reasonably easily.
First order of business once on board was to secure a proper beverage to start the flight.
With a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Rare Cuvée secured it was time to settle in and make myself comfortable for the flight. The seat is pretty nice, particularly compared to the business or coach products that Lufthansa offers on their long-haul fleet. Still, it is hard to see how it can be considered one of the best products in the market. It is fully flat, just like many business seats these days, and a bit narrow for sleeping. It is certainly comfortable but I’d say it ranks behind the new Continental BusinessFirst and Swiss Business products among others I’ve tried recently.
About 30 minutes after take-off the beverage service began again. I had my first of what would be several glasses of the 2006 Dão Reserve from Casa de Santar in Portugal and then the amuse bouche. Served in an egg shell resting on a bed of kosher salt crystals it was definitely cool in addition to being rather tasty.
Following the amuse bouche was the caviar course. I’m not a tremendous caviar fan though I certainly do appreciate the effort. And the vodka shot that came with it. Still, I’d probably pick something else fun and fancy if I was making my own menu.
Next up was the tower of appetizers. A duck foie gras and chicken in aspic, salmon tartare and tomato mouse appeared. All three were quite enjoyable.
Next up was the soup and salad course. Naturally, I had both. The salad was nothing special but the white onion cream soup was. Delicious, indeed.
For the main course none of the options particularly called to me so I went the safe route, settling for the spring chicken on rosemary sauce served with Brussels sprouts and rösti (potatoes). The chicken was actually rather bland and dry but the sauce and sprouts were pretty good.
After the lunch I dozed for a couple hours. I awoke to find that my in-flight entertainment was still not working. After yet another reset (the third, I believe) the system finally was functional though not particularly impressive. The selection was pretty solid but the screen – perhaps 6” at most – was not. The OS behind it is pretty ancient, too, leading to a notable lag in selecting options and usability. It is not what I would consider a proper first class product these days; it would barely qualify for coach on some carriers.
The second meal was a collection of cold canapés and a “casserole” that actually turned out to be a soup. Not sure if that was on purpose or a catering mistake but it was pretty decent tasting.
Arrival into JFK was pretty normal. The bags tagged HON/First were the first off the plane; it was nice to see that benefit actually work well.
Overall the food was the highlight of the experience and I’m not so sure that it really rates more than an A-. The seat gets a C and the IFE an D for a first class product. They’d fare better if it were business class but that comes for rather fewer miles (or dollars if you’re inclined to actually buy premium tickets). I believe the flight over in Swiss business class was a MUCH better value (I’m still working on that review).
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