Flight LH 0778 from Frankfurt to Singapore.
Airbus A380-800; Lufthansa has 14 of this aircraft type, typically with a seating capacity of 526 passengers.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Miles & More (Star Alliance).
Economy; aisle seat 82D, main deck (downstairs).
12 hours, 15 minutes.
Seating is in the standard A380 economy configuration of 3-4-3. The seat is comfortable and sufficiently wide; legroom is adequate rather than ample. I've checked in early online and selected an empty row. It remains so after boarding, which allows me to stretch out to sleep during the flight. On the downside, rubbish from a previous flight remains in the seat pocket.
Checked baggage allowance is 23 kilograms, plus one hand-carry item to 8 kilograms.
The cabin is clean and the ambience relaxed although the air temperature is cold. On arrival (as with many airlines and airports) it takes an excessive time to begin disembarking economy passengers – due to the languid departure of the premium classes or tardy airport procedures, or perhaps both?
The substantial in-flight magazine contains good reading, actual feature articles – as opposed to a collection of "listicle" stories and watch advertisements. The touchscreen is on the small side but the movie selection isn't, with about 100 titles (in up to eight languages) including blockbusters, classics, art house and for kids. These are complemented by 200 TV programmes (including series box sets), audio books, music, games and radio channels. Content also comes from the Middle East, India, Japan and China and the user interface has 10 languages. Passengers can follow live sports programmes on their screen or own portable device through Lufthansa's FlyNet portal, as well as access the internet and telephony.
The multinational cabin crew is good-humoured and responsive. Meals and drinks arrive promptly and the finished trays disappear without delay. At departure the safety briefings in German and then Mandarin seem endlessly detailed, yet on arrival in Singapore no information is given on the local time.
Dinner (a choice of two dishes) arrives 90 minutes after take-off. Mine is a generous serving of chicken and spaghetti with salad, followed by sponge cake, all of which satisfy. Beer, wines, spirits, tea and coffee are there for the asking throughout the flight. Breakfast is a light, noodle-spinach-egg combo which is all the better for the absence of airline sausage.
ONE MORE THING
Before take-off economy passenger are offered the chance to upgrade to Premium Economy although the price isn't announced. I later inquire to learn that it was the equivalent of $450, or about $40 per flying hour for the extra comfort. Lufthansa also has a pre-flight, online option called "myOffer" by which you may bid for a class upgrade (assuming availability) by naming your price. The airline says, "With a bit of luck, you can get your upgrade at your price", though presumably not for peanuts.
Good, functional German service. This is economy class so it might be compared to a very reliable VW-level service rather than the presumably BMW or Mercedes standards at the plane's pointy end, but it is still a flying pleasure.
Lufthansa flies non-stop from Frankfurt to Singapore on most days.
Tested by John Borthwick who flew courtesy of the German National Tourist Office.