my first time flying in first class

My first time flying in first class

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In May I spent over two weeks of vacation in California. On the way to San Fransisco, I flew in Lufthansa's First Class Cabin. I am now excited to share with you this amazing experience. My dream was to fly in First Class before I turn 30. I am so happy that I accomplished this goal. Read in this blog post how you can fly First Class without spending a fortune and how you can be the winner of my giveaway

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Timelessly elegant design and top-quality materials

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My last long range flight with Lufthansa was to Capetown in 2016. On this flight, I was seated in the first row of Business class. During the flight I was wondering how it would be to fly in First Class as traveling in Business class is already luxurious. At this point, I never imagined flying in First Class already one year later.

The first seven years of my aviation career I was working as a First Officer for a private jet company. I got to know the most exclusive flight service possible. That is why I was excited to see the differences between a private jet flight and a First Class flight as a passenger. You probably can imagine how excited I was to go on my flight to San Francisco.

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Lufthansa A340-600 MUC Terminal 2

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Lounge and connection

My trip started off luxurious with the limousine service of Blacklane. A comfortable Mercedes S-Class picked me up from home to take me to Berlin Tegel Airport. This service can be booked in more than 250 cities worldwide and is easy to pre-order via an application on your smartphone. In Berlin, I can recommend Blacklane's airport transfer in a business class car since it is faintly more expensive than a regular taxi. Their cars are clean and a friendly driver awaits you.

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Blacklane chauffeur service to Berlin Tegel airport

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My flight connection

04.05.17 TXL - MUC LH2037 13:00 - 14:05 Airbus A321 BUSINESS

04.05.17 MUC - SFO LH458 16:10 - 19:05 Airbus A340-600 FIRST

Lounge

During my short layover in Munich, I visited a First Class Lounge for the very first time. The lounge was located in the new Terminal 2 satellite building and is better than any private jet lounge I have been to. Besides a huge buffet, you could also choose from a la carte menu. While enjoying a refreshment you could watch the air traffic on the apron from cozy seating areas inside and from a terrasse outside. All kinds of facilities are provided for a demanding passenger. Compared to a Business Lounge it was much more exclusive and private. Unfortunately, I could only stay for 1,5 hours in the lounge. Try to get a connection which allows you to stay a minimum of 2 hours to enjoy the lounge the fully.

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Seat and airplane

My Seat was 1A on an A340-600. This is a window seat in the first row of First Class. I had so much space and storage. I really could not believe it. My seat not only offered direct aisle access but also four windows all for myself. Firstly I had to play around with all the buttons and check out the features of my own little living room above the sky.

The cabin consists only of eight First Class seats creating a really private and calm atmosphere. After dinner, the flight attendant did the turndown service to my seat. In the meantime, I took a small walk through the entire airplane wearing my pyjama. I had the impression that people were staring at me. I probably looked quite silly in this grandpa style outfit. The A340-600 used to be one of the longest aircraft and offers four different booking classes. Honestly, the economy class looked tighter than before. I wish I could have invited them to the free seats up front.

Returning to my seat I found a full flat 2-meter long bed with a mattress topper. A real 5-star bed in the sky.

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Seat 1A with Jil Sander Amenity Kit and Van Laack Pyjama

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My 2 meter flat bed in the sky

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Service and food

The service was exceptional and was tailored to one's wishes.  You can decide when you want to eat. There are no fixed service times. I enjoyed the full menu including the famous Lufthansa caviar service. If you get hungry during the flight you can always order something from the menu or get sweet and salty snacks from the small bar in front. The food was delicious and nicely decorated.

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Famous caviar service in First Class

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Three different starters on my huge dining table

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Worth it to fly First Class?

This depends solely on your personal needs. If you need the extra space and a more exclusive service then go ahead and fly First Class. A big plus over the Business Class is the larger bed, the privacy shield, and the much smaller cabin. In the end, you do arrive at the same time as everyone else and you have to wait until everyone has boarded to be ready for take off. The price for my route was about 3000€ one way. Definitely not for everyone's budget, but if you compare it to a private jet which costs 60,000€  the ticket is worth the price. I think if you want to allow oneself a flight in First Class then do it together with someone else at a special occasion.

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  • My ultra comfortable seat with a movable footrest

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How can you fly First Class?

You want to want to fly Economy on your next flight but do not want to spend a fortune to fly Business and First? Then register with the loyalty program of the airline or alliance you fly most of the time and start collecting miles. I usually fly with companies of the Star Alliance and I have been a Miles and More Member for ages. Since I have to travel a lot for my company and also on a private basis I reached a higher status which grants me extra benefits like the lounge access. If you are patient and start collecting miles in every possible way you end up having enough miles to book an award flight. With the Miles and More program you do not necessarily have to fly to earn miles. You can collect them by paying with your credit card or setting up a mobile. Check regularly their website for new ways to earn them and soon you will be flying First Class as well.

 

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Approaching San Francisco

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Amenities and my recommendations

The list of amenities is almost endless. Here are my favorite once

  • First Class lounge with restaurant
  • High baggage allowance
  • Priority boarding
  • Large choice of food and beverages
  • Amenity Kit, pyjama and slippers
  • Turndown Service
  • In-flight entertainment
  • Sound insulation
  • Privacy shield
  • Wifi (really poor connection on my flight)

My recommendations when flying First Class

  • Book a seat at the window
  • Try to fly A380 (LH: bigger lavatories and better cabin air)
  • Fly at least 10 hours
  • Use the First Class lounge (minimum 3 hours between flights)
  • Enjoy the full meal service including the Kaviar
  • Ask for the turndown service

 

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GIVEAWAY of my unused amenity kit (read below)

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It was truly a first class experience. Even though I did not sleep during the whole flight of 12 hours it did not last long enough to enjoy everything in detail. I love to fly as a passenger as well, but the real First Class remains up front in the cockpit. You get to your destination and you even get paid for it!

First Class give away 

I am giving away my unused First Class amenity kit of Jil Sander with La Praire products, sleeping mask, socks, etc. Just subscribe with your email to my blog and leave a comment with your favorite airline below this article and you have the chance to win it!

Good luck and happy landings!

your Pilot Patrick

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my highlights and secret spots

My highlights and secret spots of San Francisco

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Hello my Aviator,

last Tuesday I returned from my vacation in California. I flew into San Francisco, where I spend five nights before I started my road trip down to Los Angeles. In this blog post, I want to share my highlights of San Francisco and give you some recommendations for a trip to this fantastic city.

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During my travels as a pilot as well as on my private travels I explore a city without any fixed plan. This way I discover beautiful spots without even searching for them. I do not use any kind of tourist guide. Instead, I follow the recommendations of local people or of concierges in the hotel. I am trying to live like a local in an unknown city. This might sound strange but that way I can explore the city from a totally different perspective and this relieves the pressure that I have to see everything. This is sightseeing 2.0.

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Balcony of my suite in the Hilton Union Square

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Where to stay and park?

For a short city trip, the location of my accommodation should be as central as possible. This way you do not loose time and you have the chance to refresh during the day My hotel was the Hilton Union Square. I really liked the location of it because in was in the middle of the city with a lot of shops and restaurants around. I was lucky to be upgraded to a suite on the 36th floor which gave me an awesome view over the city. The suite even featured a balcony. Every morning I enjoyed breakfast at the Poached restaurant which offered healthy meal options like smoothies, quinoa oatmeal, and fresh cut fruits. Do not miss to have a cocktail at the Cityscape Bar on the top level of the hotel granting you a panoramic view of San Francisco.

The parking situation in San Francisco is horrible. The minimum price I found for an overnight parking spot was 35$. In most hotels, it is even around 50$ a night. Best is to arrive without a car and use the taxi service of UBER instead.

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My suite in the Hilton Union Square

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What to do and what to see?

There is so much to discover in San Francisco. Since the city is built on numerous hills it is exciting to see the city from different angles and viewpoints.  You may find that I left out on some big touristic attractions. One example is Alcatraz because I do not support attractions with extremely high unreasonable admission prices.

Coit Tower

This 64-meter sightseeing tower gives you 360 degrees view of the city. Make sure you go when the weather is good. The way up to the base of the Coit tower takes you through a small park so leave you car behind you.

 

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Historic Cabel Cars

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Painted Ladies

Close to Alamo Square, you will find beautiful painted Victorian and Edwardian style houses. Well known from movies. Make sure to go up on top of the square and you will be rewarded with a great background behind the Painted Ladies.

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in front of the Painted Ladies with my BMW 6 series of Sixt

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Ferry Building Market Place

The historic ferry building is a famous landmark and worth seeing. Additionally, you can visit a farmers market Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Dolores Park

This is a beautiful park in the Castro district. A nice spot to relax from the hectic city and you can enjoy a beautiful view of San Francisco as well.

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Dolores Park in Castro district

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Golden Gate Bridge

The iconic suspension bridge is situated at the entrance of San Francisco Bay. It is really nice to drive with a convertible top down over the bridge. If you are more sportive I suggest renting a bike at Fisherman's Wharf. Either way to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge is about a 1-hour drive. The most spectacular experience is to go on a flight on a propeller aircraft. I was really lucky that Trent, a former U.S. Air Force Captain invited me to go on a flight over San Francisco Bay area.

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/vb.373722572693345/1414910038574588/?type=2&theater

Watch the long version of the flight on my Facebook page @PilotPatrick

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Piper Acher at San Carlos Airport

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Scenic flight in a Piper Acher with Trent

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Twin Peaks

At the top of the twin peaks, you can enjoy one of the most amazing views over the city. Great all and really romantic during sunset.

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View from the Twin Peaks at night

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Lombard Street worth waiting in line to drive down

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Where to eat?

I was really happy that I could choose from numerous healthy restaurants. I use the app called "Happy cow" to find restaurants and supermarkets around me. You know that I am quite picky when it comes to food. Here are some places I can recommend:

Gracias Madre: vegan and organic Mexican food restaurant in a not so nice neighborhood. Decent prices.

Greens Restaurant: vegetarian restaurant located in an old pier building close to the Marina district. Steve Jobs used to go there. Big windows give a nice view of the marina and Golden Gate Bridge. A little bit pricey.

Seed and Salt: Vegan café and bistro located in the Marina district. Healthy snacks and smoothies in a trendy neighborhood.

 

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Greens Restaurant

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Secret spots

During my stay in San Francisco, I discovered two amazing hidden spots. I want to share with you the location so you have the great experience. Please do not tell anyone else so it remains a secret location.

Hidden mini park: In the middle of the San Fransico at the east end of Vallejo St. you will find a place called Ina Coolbrith Park. You may encounter only a few people while enjoying an amazing skyline in a small oasis.

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Ina Coolbrith Park

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Golden Gate Swing: I made this name just up. At a small beach located on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, you will find a swing installed on a branch of a tree. While swinging out to the Pacific Ocean you can enjoy a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. To get there you need to park your car at the North Tower Golden Gate Parking from there you follow the signs to Kirby Cove. It takes about 30 mins to reach the beach by foot.

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Kirby Cove

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San Francisco is a remarkable a place and definitely worth visiting in California. I hope you find my tips helpful for your next trip to this unique city. You should plan to stay a minimum of four full days to explore the city. I would not choose hot summer months because then city seeing can be quite exhausting. I encountered amazing weather during the beginning of May.

What do you like about San Francisco?

Happy landings and sight seeing!

Your Pilot Patrick

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