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Lufthansa A340-600 business class

Originally published on 26/02/2010   RSS

Check-in I had already checked in for flight LH730 from Munich to Hong Kong at 2145 as I was transferring from a London flight. I arrived at Munich on time and was quickly at the business class lounge, situated airside in the main terminal opposite some duty-free shops.

The lounge At 2000 on this Monday evening the lounge was packed, with not a single seat to be had. I went next door to the Senator lounge – this can be accessed by those with a Star Alliance gold card, which I have through Bmi – but it was similarly busy so I shuttled between the two for ten minutes until a few flights had been called and some seats vacated.

Boarding Announcements are not made in the lounges so at 2100 I walked to Gate H32. There was a large crowd waiting and, again, few seats to be had, so I stood around waiting for an update. This came at about 2125. It was in German and only partly audible, but it was enough to have everyone surge forward. The English-language announcement was clearer and asked for business and first class passengers, as well as those with priority boarding, to board first but by then there was no way to get to the desks. Lufthansa has machines at the gate that read the barcode on your boarding pass, which is technologically advanced but means anyone can board in any order – presumably this is why everyone ignored the instructions.

The seat There are two rows of first class on the A340-600 and then two separate business class cabins on either side of the galley. The first cabin is the larger of the two, beginning at row three through to row eight in a 2-2-2 (A-C, D-G, H-K) configuration, with the second cabin having four rows (see seat plan, right).

I had preselected window seat 3K in the front row of business, and there was a good A4-sized pamphlet detailing its various features. An amenity bag contained all the normal items as well as, inexplicably, three white plastic golf tees.

The in-flight entertainment was limited compared with best-in-class choices such as Emirates or Cathay Pacific, but was AVOD (audio-video on-demand). The tray table bounced a little when I worked on my laptop but this wasn’t too much of a problem. The in-seat power supply required a European adaptor, which I had.

Which seat to choose? My front-row seat gave no extra legroom but was slightly quieter since there was no reason for anyone but flight attendants to walk past (the washrooms are to the rear). For this reason, I would choose one of the first few rows.

The flight Shortly after take-off I was offered drinks and a menu. The food changes every two months under a new “Star Chef”, and this flight’s offering was courtesy of Nils Henkel. The starters were smoked breast of duck with apple, red cabbage salad and hazelnut cream; winter lettuce with fried mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and cucumber with tomato and thyme dressing; or cold, marinated green tea noodles with satay sauce, cashew nuts and prawns – I had this and it was tasty.

The main courses were corn-fed poulard with lemon and almond jus, broccoli and bread dumplings; steamed cod with potato brandade, coriander, bell pepper and courgette; or roast chicken Szechuan-style in savoury chilli sauce and cashew nuts with rice and green asparagus. This last choice was delicious.

I skipped the cheese and dessert options and went to sleep. The seat reclines to a bed of about two metres. It isn’t fully-flat, reclining to an angle of ten degrees from horizontal, with a pitch of 145-152cm (57-60in).

It was very easy to sleep and I woke up 90 minutes before arrival for breakfast. The choices were granola with roasted almonds; ham Prague-style with Milan salami, Emmental and herb cream cheese; or pancake with turkey ham and tomato, hash browns and spinach.

Arrival The descent into Hong Kong was problem-free, and immigration and baggage reclaim were smooth and speedy.

Verdict Lufthansa’s long-haul product is solid if unspectacular. The lounges at Munich are not large enough during peak times, and boarding could have been better handled, but it’s well worth trying for the connections to Asia and from domestic hubs in Manchester and Birmingham.

Tom Otley

Fact File

  • CONFIGURATION 1-2-1 in first, 2-2-2 in business and 2-4-2 in economy
  • SEAT WIDTH 49.5cm/19.5in
  • SEAT RECLINE 170 degrees
  • PRICE Internet rates for a return business class flight in April from London to Hong Kong via Munich started from £2,995.
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