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Choosing Lufthansa’s “Retro” First Class over New First Class

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I am proud to be passing on Lufthansa’s New First Class, adding 6 hours to my journey, and risking a possible missed connection and this is why.

Folks whose home airport is one of the large international gateways like JFK, LAX or SFO probably get used to seeing exotic foreign wide bodies circling the aerodrome but for the rest of us spotting a ‘cool’ flight at our local airports is an exciting experience.

In the past few years my home airport has been Chicago Midway, Atlanta Hartsfield, Baltimore Washington International and now Denver International Airport. While these are some of the nation’s busiest airports, none have a whole lot of ‘cool’ foreign widebody traffic on a regular basis except for Atlanta but even Atlanta is pretty dull compared to other US gateways.

A quick rundown of my previous home airport’s ‘cool’ traffic

Chicago Midway simply cannot support any large aircraft based on its size so the ‘cool’ flight I keep my eye out for is one of the Southwest’s painted airplanes like Penguin One. Exciting huh?!

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Atlanta Hartsfield is the busiest airport in the world but doesn’t currently support A380 traffic. I believe Korean Air should have the first service scheduled soon this year but in the meantime the flights I keep an eye out for are the not so exciting British Airways 777 or the occasional Korean Air 747 (currently operated by 777).

Korean 747 Atlanta

Baltimore Washington International is the busiest airport in the DC metro area yet the international options are pretty pathetic. I see a United Charter 747 on occasion that gets my heart going but as far as regular service the only cool flight is a British Airways 767. Meh.

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My home airport’s lone cool flight

Denver International is the fifth busiest airport in the US and has a significant amount of domestic traffic but the international options are very limited. As my new home airport, I spend way too much time at DIA and as a result am always excited to be there in the evening to possibly catch a glimpse of Lufthansa’s 747 service to Frankfurt. With so few wide bodies roaming around, the 747 is easy to spot and the only flight I have yearned to be on. It always taunts me as I walk through the A concourse..

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My dumb idea

I am headed to Budapest this week for the Formula One race and still hadn’t solidified my flight plans. There were two seats in New First Class on the 747-8i out of Washington Dulles where I currently am but……there were also two seats in “Retro” First Class on my home airport’s coolest flight!  It is easy to tell myself I will get on this Denver to Frankfurt flight later but there are no guarantees with mileage currencies so now seems the best time to seize the award.

What is your home airport’s coolest flight? Would you go out of your way to fly on it?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

About the Author

About the author: Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • WillFlyForMiles July 15, 2013, 4:33 pm

    The coolest plane out if my home airport (JFK) that I have been on is AF A380. While F wow factor is not as big as on SQ it was still a fun experience.

    Though, I’m looking forward to my first ever 747 flight (in 1A no less) on BA

  • Grabamile July 15, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Coolest plane at my semi – home airport (IAH) (I really fly mostly from Midland (MAF)and always connect in IAH) is a Lufthansa A380 or a Qatar Airways 777.

  • Kevin July 15, 2013, 5:43 pm

    A trip report – particularly one that includes the F1 race – would be greatly appreciated!

  • Damon July 15, 2013, 5:44 pm

    The coolest plane at my home airport (CMH) is a Delta MD-88. Yeah, I know.

  • James K. July 15, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Mine is Baltimore and I would love to rock the BA 767 to LHR. My previous one was DTW and I STILL crave any international route, particularly DTW-NRT, even though DTW-AMM was definitely more unique.

    In short, I completely understand you. However, leaving OUT of my airport on the cool flight always seemed more important than arriving back on it.

  • Jim July 15, 2013, 7:04 pm

    I fly out of DFW… we have BA 747, LH A330, QD 747, EK 777, KE 777, and I think a seasonal KLM flight

  • Stephan July 15, 2013, 9:02 pm

    There is nothing wrong with sitting in LH old F on the iconic upper deck of a B744 – there is something to be said about that location even if it is not the newest iteration of their F class!

  • Wendy July 15, 2013, 9:04 pm

    The coolest plane at my home airport TOL is the commuter jets from American or the Allegiant MD-80′s Not that I really fly out of Toledo very often most of the time I drive to Detroit. But the terminal I fly out of doesn’t have anything cool just 737, A319, A320 and the occasional A321 and a bunch of commuters. I use the north terminal and avoid Delta like the plaque.

  • Chris July 15, 2013, 10:28 pm

    My home airport is Dubai, so I am a bit spoiled! Coolest flights for me are any of the Emirates 3 dozen or so A380′s. Best when doing the long flights like JFK or SYD in F class with the showers. There’s lots of other cool flights too – including many to “bad ass” destinations like Baghdad, Kabul, Tehran and many others! My wife used to live in Columbia, SC. The coolest flight they had was a DL MD80 to ATL, so I can appreciate both extremes.

  • Jeremy July 16, 2013, 8:26 am

    Just returned FRA-IAD on Friday with my girlfriend in the new First on 748. We sat in 1A/K and never having flown first on a 747 or sat in the nose it was pretty awesome to do. The plane is amazing and I’ll be sad when BA and others phase there 744s out. So I’d have gone with the IAD flight if I were you. New first class on LH has an amazing hard product and 748 is an awesome plane.

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