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Review: Lufthansa Business Class on the New Minneapolis to Frankfurt Flight

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Long derided for a lackluster business class cabin, Lufthansa is leveling up with a slew of new planes sporting newer (and better) business class seats. And travelers based in Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) are the beneficiaries.

Months after making headlines by announcing new nonstops from both Minneapolis and Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Frankfurt (FRA), the very first flight from Minneapolis took off earlier this month. And we were on that inaugural flight. 

Lufthansa is flying its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners between Minneapolis and its Frankfurt hub, and that's a win: They were the first in the airline's fleet to feature a business class cabin with direct aisle access from every seat – a major upgrade from the dated 2-2-2 configuration on many other routes. Combined with Lufthansa's surprisingly tasty food and solid service, it made for a great flight.

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class cabin

 

It may not be the first nonstop flight from Minneapolis to Frankfurt – that distinction goes to Condor and its longtime summer seasonal route. But it's arguably the most exciting new international flight from Minnesota in years.

And, based on my experience on the first-ever flight, Lufthansa business class is an excellent new way to get to Europe, too.

 

 

How to Book Lufthansa Business Class

Paying cash for a seat at the front of the plane, I would have been on the hook for up to $6,000 roundtrip. Don't do that. 

Thanks to Lufthansa's membership in the Star Alliance with airlines like United and Air Canada, there are plenty of great ways to book a business class seat using airline miles or credit card points. But first, you need to find award availability to actually book these top-dollar seats with points.

Just days after Lufthansa announced this new route last fall, the airline released a ton of availability to book business class – including on the inaugural flight. Some dates even had availability for up to nine passengers! 

We sent an award alert to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members. I booked it myself: Yet another textbook example of getting high on our own supply

 

Lufthansa Business Class TT Premium Deal

 

These seats are gone now. Get the next award alert for open Lufthansa Business Class seats to Europe with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

If you've got a card like the *chase sapphire preferred*, the *venture x*, or the *amex gold*, you're in business … literally. There are a handful of options to book:

  • Using Avianca LifeMiles, these flights will cost you 63,000 miles each way. They're transferrable from Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Miles, and Citi ThankYou Points.
  • Air Canada Aeroplan is a good option starting as low as 60,000 points each way from the East Coast and low cash fees, though many routes will notch up to 70,000 miles. You can transfer from Chase, Capital One, Amex, and Bilt points.
  • ANA Mileage Club is another Amex transfer partner with the lowest award rates at 100,000 miles roundtrip to Europe … but the airline tacks on a whopping $2,000 plus in surcharges and taxes. Gross. 
  • Finally, you can book for 88,000 United MileagePlus miles each way – transfer them from Chase Ultimate Rewards if you need some more.

In the end, I used 70,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles to book my flight to Frankfurt. Since you can transfer credit card points to Aeroplan from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Miles, and Bilt Rewards, it's relatively easy to come up with the points you need.

 

 

exmaple booking Lufthansa Business Class

 

At Thrifty Traveler, we don't accept freebies. We use our own points, miles, or cash to pay for every single flight or hotel you see reviewed here – including this one!

 

Checking In & Lounge Access

We arrived at the Minneapolis airport at about 12:30 p.m. for a 3:05 p.m scheduled departure time. The Lufthansa check-in area is all the way at the north end of the departures area, right next to the entrance for the TSA security screening. 

The lines for economy check-in were quite long and did not move quickly – first day kinks, surely. But thankfully, the dedicated Lufthansa business class queue only had a handful of people in it. We were able to move through rather quickly. 

 

lufthansa check-in MSP

 

But here's your chance to learn from my mistake. No matter which cabin you're flying in, Lufthansa has a very strict carry-on bag allowance: Even in business class, it can't weigh more than 8 kilograms, or about 17 1/2 pounds. Business class passengers can bring two carry-on bags onboard while economy and premium economy get just one.

 

Lufthansa carry on bag weight allowance

That was news to me, so when my carry-on bag came in about eight pounds overweight, I was forced to check it. That was still free as a business class passenger, so it wasn't the biggest deal in the world.

But I could have easily gotten around this small snafu by checking in for our flight online, getting a mobile boarding pass and bypassing the airline's check-in desk altogether. The airline wasn't weighing bags at the gate, so that likely would have worked.

If your carry-on baggage weighs more than 8 kilograms (about 17.6 pounds), be prepared to check it. But if you avoid the check-in desk altogether, you should be fine. 

 

Lufthansa check in bag weight

 

One more interesting quirk: According to the ticketing agent, Lufthansa didn't have an airport lounge contract in place for business class passengers in time for the inaugural flight. But it seems likely that eventually, Lufthansa business class passengers will be able to get into the MSP Escape Lounge. That's where Aer Lingus business class can go before departing on that new nonstop flight.

But since this was an inaugural flight, not having lounge access wasn't a big deal. It was all about the festivities: The airport and Lufthansa were throwing a party at the gate (G13) to celebrate the start of the new service. 

When we arrived at gate G13, an accordion player was performing. There was also a table full of complimentary pretzels with beer mustard and bottles of water, too. 

 

lufthansa inagural flight food

 

On the back wall closer to the gate, there was a table with free MSP airport-branded sunglasses, buttons, and small American and German flags. 

 

lufthansa inagural flight amenities

 

There was even a custom cake on display to celebrate the start of this new service – though not for passengers to grab a slice of, sadly. 

 

lufthansa inagural flight cake

 

After a handful of speeches by representatives from the airport and Lufthansa, a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official start of the new route. 

 

Lufthansa inagural flight ribbon cutting

 

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, some other photo opportunities, and a slight 25 minute delay, it was time to start boarding the aircraft for the flight to Frankfurt.

Lufthansa has six different boarding groups. Boarding groups one and two consisted of business class passengers, Star Alliance Gold members, and HON Circle and Senator Lufthansa status holders. Boarding groups three through six were for Premium Economy and Economy passengers. 

We boarded in boarding group one immediately after passengers with children and those needing extra assistance. 

 

lufthansa boarding groups

 

Lufthansa 787-9 aircraft exterior

 

Lufthansa's 787-9 Dreamliner Business Class Cabin

These Boeing 787-9s are a bit of an oddball in Lufthansa's fleet. But don't take that as a negative. 

These Dreamliners flying to and from Minneapolis (and several other cities) feature an interim business class product. It's not the dated business class with a 2-2-2 cabin configuration … but it isn't the airline's brand-new “Allegris” business class, either. Those seats finally made their long-overdue debut late last year. 

Rather, Lufthansa got just five of these 787-9 Dreamliners a few years back – taking them off the hands of China's Hainan Airlines. They were outfitted for Hainan, but Lufthansa swooped in to take them before their new “Allegris” seats were ready for prime time.

So while they're not Lufthansa's latest-and-greatest business class seats, they're still a major upgrade. 

Lufthansa's 787-9 business class cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 format, meaning every seat has direct aisle access. That's a big improvement from the 2-2-2 seating configuration you'll find in business class on the airline's older Airbus A350s

 

aerolopa lufthansa 787-9 business class seating chart

 

Thrifty Tip: Booking Lufthansa business class? Use Aerolopa to Find the Best Seats

There are 26 business-class seats in total, and every seat is almost identical.

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class cabin

 

These planes have business class seats in a reverse herringbone layout, as every seat is angled slightly away from the aisle to give each passenger more privacy. Aside from the business class suites with closing doors like Qatar Qsuites or Delta One Suites that are all the rage these days, this is a very popular setup.

I'd just suggest avoiding row seven if you don't want to be close to the bathrooms in the galley behind.

 

lufthansa business class 787 rear facing cabin

 

Lufthansa 787-9 Dreamliner Business Class Seat

For the flight to Frankfurt, I was seated in 3A along the window.

 

Lufthansa 787-9 business class seat

 

In general, I found the seat to be solid, comfortable and with plenty of personal space and plenty of storage options, too. And even though there is no door on these seats like you'll find on a growing number of airlines, it still felt very private thanks to angling away from the aisle. 

 

lufthansa business class seat 787-9

 

lufthansa business class seat

 

Along the window, you'll find a few different compartments for storage. The larger one, closer to the front of the seat, is also where you'll find the wired remote for the in-flight entertainment system and a plug-in with a USB-A outlet for your devices. The airline stores the headphones here – it's also where you'll find the headphone jack. 

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class seat storage

 

lufthansa 787 business class electronics

 

On the outside of the seat along the aisle, you'll find another storage compartment where a bottle of water was awaiting. It was nice to have a spot to keep the water out of the way. As a plus, this compartment can be lowered, which provides a bit more space when you're fully reclined in lie-flat mode. 

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class seat storage

 

Speaking of lying flat, that's where the biggest knock against this seat comes in. 

The footwell feels incredibly narrow when trying to sleep. I am 6 feet tall and wear a size 10 1/2 shoe, and there is very little room for feet when you're trying to catch some rest. This isn't a complaint specifically about Lufthansa business class – it's a common issue with many business class seats like this. 

 

lufthansa business class 787-9 footwell

 

That said, it's hard to complain much when lying flat on a flight to Europe. But I do think there are better business class seat configurations out there that make it much easier to get comfortable when getting some sleep. 

I can be a tray table snob, but this one was nice. It's large, and you can slide it closer or farther away from the seat. It wasn't flimsy — my biggest tray table pet peeve. 

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class tray table

 

One unique and neat feature of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the window shades – or lack thereof. Instead of actual shades that you pull down to block the light, on the Dreamliner, you'll see two buttons: one with three different levels of light and one with three different levels of darkness. 

It's a neat feature, allowing you a more customized lighting experience at your seat. In the photo below, I had the window shades set on the second level of darkness: Enough to block out the bright sunlight but not all the way closed. Some travelers hate these digital controls because it can take a while for the lighting to adjust, but I enjoyed it. 

 

Lufthansa 787-9 winow shades

 

But the cabin was missing something else: There were no individual air nozzles overhead.

When I tried to get some rest after the meal service, the cabin was quite warm. Without an individual air control, there's not much you can do other than politely ask the flight attendants … who would have to change the temperature for the entire cabin. 

In all, the seat felt very familiar but solid. At least in terms of business class seats flying between Minneapolis and Europe, this has to be near the top.

 

Lufthansa Business Class Dining & Service

As we boarded the plane, the Lufthansa crew had a unique display set up in the center bulkhead seats featuring German and U.S. flags, some pre-departure alcoholic drink options, and bags of warm nuts to enjoy before take off. 

For starters, there was Duval-Leroy Brut Réserve champagne available. But there was another option teased as “a world premier onboard”: An exclusive drink from Lufthansa and Ziegler Distillery called an Avionic. It was an aperitif with fruity, citrusy and herbal notes combined with tonic. 

 

Inagural drink service

 

I was having a hard time deciding which I wanted so the flight attendant working our row offered to bring me both. Twist my arm. 

 

Lufthansa business class welcome drink

 

Both were very good. As somebody who isn't a huge champagne drinker, I preferred the Avionic. 

 

Lufthansa business class drink

 

Once we were airborne, I ordered a glass of the 2022 Robert Weil German Riesling, which was very tasty. It was served with what Lufthansa referred to as a “small vegetarian snack”, which was a small wrap filled with veggies. 

 

lufthansa business class apetizer

 

After reading many reviews of Lufthansa's business class flights over the years, I wasn't expecting much when it came to dinnertime. But I was pleasantly surprised: Everything was high quality, tasty, and presented well. Sure, Lufthansa could have punched up both the food and service for the inaugural flight, but it felt like more than just a one-time thing. 

For the a starter, I had the choice of a pork tenderloin, a crab louie salad, and a zucchini roulade filled with goat cheese. I went with the pork tenderloin, which was served with Carolina slaw, horseradish, and rum-marinated raisins.

The pork was served chilled. It was very tender with a lot of flavor. 

 

Lufthansa Business Class food course 1

 

For the main course, I had the choice of a grilled beef filet, bread-crusted salmon, and a braised Japanese tofu dish. I went with the grilled beef filet, which was served with cavatappi pasta with shrimp in a lobster sauce and a side of asparagus. The steak was cooked almost perfectly – somewhere between medium rare and medium – while the shrimp and pasta had a lot of great flavor. Absolutely no complaints here! 

 

Lufthansa business class food main course

 

With dinner, I attempted to order an Erdinger wheat beer, which was described on the menu as “The World's Most Popular Wheat Beer.” The flight attendant very apologetically informed me that they didn't have any onboard, so I went with Beck's lager instead. 

Finally, for dessert, I had the option of a cheese plate, a chocolate tart or a plate of fresh fruit. I went with the cheese plate, which had a variety of different cheeses and a few dried apricots served with a few crackers. It was a solid way to end a great meal. 

 

Lufthansa Business Class Cheese Plate

 

About an hour and a half before landing, the cabin lights came up and breakfast was served. There weren't different breakfast options, which is common for these relatively short transatlantic flights. Lucky for me, the one option available was very good. 

It was described as a passionfruit muesli served with kiwi, raspberries, and blueberries. If you're not familiar with muesli, think of overnight oats. It was served with a side of bresaola and brie cheese and a croissant.

 

lufthansa business class breakfast

 

The service  throughout the flight was incredibly consistent, friendly, and not over the top – in a good way. The flight attendants working our row were always be close by if we needed anything and were very quick to help. And the food vastly exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations. 

 

Lufthansa Business Class Amenities

Every business class passenger will get a Porsche design amenity kit that comes in a small mesh bag. 

 

lufthansa 787-9 amenity kit

 

While it's nothing to write home about, inside, you'll find all the amenity kit basics: a toothbrush and toothpaste, an eye mask, a wet towel, ear plugs, and a pair of socks. It was perfectly adequate for the eight-hour flight across the Atlantic, but forgettable enough that I left it onboard after arriving in Frankfurt. 

 

lufthansa business class amenity kit inside

 

Inside one of the storage compartments is where you'll find a set of AKG noise-canceling headphones. They worked well, and I found them to be higher quality than many of the airline-issued headphones you'll find in business-class cabins.

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class headphones

 

There were no pajamas or slippers available on this flight, but those are a rarity on most transatlantic flights.

 

Lufthansa Business Class Entertainment

You'll find an 18-inch touchscreen at each seat to control the inflight entertainment. You can also use a wired remote inside one of the seats' many storage compartments. 

There were plenty of movie and TV options available. You'll also find a section for kids with age-appropriate content and a few games. It's not the newest seatback screen in the sky, but it gets the job done. 

 

lufthansa 787-9 business class IFE

 

Lufthansa Business Class Wi-Fi

If you plan on using the WiFi, it will cost you … and don't count on it being reliable.

I had some work to do, so I purchased the “Premium Full Flight” package, which promised faster web browsing for the duration of the flight for $29. 

 

Lufthansa MSP - FRA wifi cost

 

In practice, the internet was incredibly slow, to the point it was virtually unusable.

After running a quick speed test, I only got download speeds of 3.4 Mbps. While not overly fast, it should have been plenty fast enough to browse the web, it just simply didn't function. 

 

lufthansa wifi speed test

 

Compare those speeds to a recent Delta Business Class flight on the Airbus A330-900neo, where I got download speeds of almost 40 Mbps. If nothing else, it was a great reminder of how far ahead Delta is in terms of in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity compared to the rest of the airline industry. Lufthansa isn't alone in having unreliable inflight Wi-Fi, but if you're planning on using it on your flight, be prepared for frustration. 

 

Bottom Line

Lufthansa has leveled up in business class. And that's amazing news for the travelers flying Lufthansa nonstop from Minneapolis to Frankfurt for the first time this summer. 

It's not perfect: The Wi-Fi was frustratingly bad and a wider footwell would have made getting a good night's sleep much easier. But from the seat to the service to the food and everything in between, Lufthansa business class is easily one of the best experiences you'll find flying in and out of Minneapolis at the moment. 

More importantly: The German airline has stepped up to challenge Delta and its dominance in Minnesota, where it controls 70-plus-percent of the market. Flying three-to-five times a week year-round gives travelers more options and should help keep transatlantic fares lower, too. That's a win. 

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • Very nice. I wonder if Condor making big improvements in their seats might have hurried Lufthansa up a bit in their upgrades since they’d been talking about new seats for around five years.

    Outside of new routes, how are you finding Lufthansa business class space? I just checked next Spring to Frankfurt out of a few U.S. cities and came up with zero availability for two people when searching with United. I didn’t expect tons of space but a few available days a month didn’t seem like too much to ask.

    • I just booked Lufthansa from Los Angeles to Frankfurt for travel in April 2025, and the business class seating was wide open, with only 10% of seats booked. Any many different options for departure time, too.

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