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Inside Lufthansa's Super Swish First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport

Where: Frankfurt International Airport, Frankfurt, Germany
March 2, 2011 at 9:31 AM | by | ()

Steven Frischling—airline geek, professional photographer and travel security blogger of Flying With Fish—just returned from Lufthansa's first A380 flight between Frankfurt and New York. While camped out at FRA, he did some special snooping for us...behind the velvet ropes of the First Class Terminal:

For the vast majority of travelers, the single most stressful portion of air travel is the experience of the airport. Airport terminals are crowded, noisy places, where security lines may move at a snail's pace and security screeners may be less than polite, not to mention that it's rare to find a comfortable seat and the food options are dismal.

For the privileged, however, Lufthansa has a solution to all of these common traveler complaints, and more; it's the First Class Terminal on the grounds of Frankfurt International Airport.

Lufthansa's First Class Terminal (FCT) is technically not a lounge, or even located in the main terminal; it's actually an independent terminal completely dedicated to meeting the needs of (and pampering) first class passengers flying internationally. Simply put, it's an experience of multiple upscale services, as well as serving as a haven from the usual stress of traveling.

Upon entering Lufthansa's First Class Terminal, passengers experience one-on-one service. Check-in never involves lines and there's virtually no waiting as they are smoothly escorted through security and into the lounge.

The first noticeable difference in the passenger experience at the First Class Terminal, as opposed to the regular terminals, is at security. There is more than a lack of lines; there are none of the walk-through metal detectors as passengers entering the First Class Terminal must undergo hand-operated metal detectors. Of course the security agents are exceedingly polite as well. Once through security, passengers cross through a set of frosted, automatic doors and then the airside experience begins.

Since the FCT is an entire terminal and not just a lounge, there are a range of areas to explore, all with different and specialized services:

· Showers and full, private bathrooms: For those who have been traveling or are coming straight from work, the Terminal offers the option of not only showers in spacious shower rooms, but also the option to take a bath in a bathtub complete with a yellow rubber ducky. No matter if you choose shower or bath, you'll be provided with a robe and slippers so you don't feel rushed or that you must get redressed while still halfway wet.

· Private napping rooms: If you're just in need of some quiet, laying down time, the First Class Terminal also offers sleeping rooms. Long, comfortable beds are situated in private rooms away from the main room and dining area, creating a space ideal for napping, relaxing, or indulging in serious shut-eye.

· Restaurant and bar: Famished before your flight? The First Class Terminal has a top rate restaurant with intimate seating options, and naturally there's a long, exquisitely stocked bar at hand. While many airline lounges offer food, very few serve the range of culinary options available to passengers as the First Class Terminal...and this applies to those who choose to sit at the bar as well.

· Private offices: As many who make use of the First Class Terminal are business travelers, the Terminal offers private offices. These are not cubicles—think again—but actual offices. Need to make some calls to your assistant a world away or just arrange for your dog-sitter to stay a few hours more? Just shut the door, lean back in the leather office chair and dialing. Each office is equipped similar to a mini-business center for individual travelers.

· Cigar Lounge: Not interested in working while at the airport? We understand, as does Lufthansa. At the FCT, passengers are offered a unique place to unwind: the Cigar Lounge. This area is not for smokers, unless it's of the stoagie sort. Humidors around the space are stocked with different cigars from around the world, and there's a second fully stocked bar here.

As the time comes for passengers to depart for their flights, the Lufthansa staff will locate individual passengers in the lounge and alert them to the time. There's no watching the clock or listening to announcements, and definitely no chance of missing a flight.

One of the private offices

Once the Lufthansa staff member finds a passenger, they take their passport from them and bring it down to the passport control within the First Class Terminal. Passport Control in the Terminal also boasts no waiting and no lines as each traveler is handled individually, so by the time they arrive downstairs at Passport Control they are ready to go in style.

Now for the great fun—passengers need not walk to their gate, or even see others seated in cabins other than First Class. This is because, after clearing Passport Control they are placed in their own Mercedes or Porsche vehicles and chauffeur-driven directly to their airplane, then escorted into an elevator that leaves them at the jet way door.

There's something to be said for the whole First Class Terminal experience, and really it's that if you have it once it's all you'll ever desire again.

Read more of FlyingWithFish's Jaunted stories here and check out his eponymous website for more airport and airline security news.

[All photos: Steven Frischling]

Disclosure: Steven was a guest of Lufthansa for a quickie trip on the inaugural A380 flight from Frankfurt to New York-JFK, but all opinions and photographs posted here are completely his own.

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