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Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The planning & changes – Part 1
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from South Bend – Part 2
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Westin Chicago & UBER Black & SUV – Part 3
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Chicago & United Global 1st lounge Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Part 4
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The brand new and amazing Boeing 747-8 & 1st class seating & experience – Part 5
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The 1st class terminal in Frankfurt – Part 6
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Porsche ride & domestic business class – Part 7
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Outbound from Gothenburg Sweden & business class to Munich Germany- Part 8
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: A Mercedes ride and the 1st class lounge in Munich – Part 9
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Airbus A330 & 1st class experience – Part 10
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: An overnight in Toronto Canada at the SPG Four Points by Sheraton – Part 11
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge- Part 12
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: United business class back to Chicago & South Bend Indiana – Part 13
Lufthansa 1st class to Sweden: Final thoughts & Delta comparison – Part 14
What an adventure. It is always “fun” to fly on another airline with no status. It gives me a bit a of a feeling of what a casual flyer sees when they fly. Yeah, I know, the casual flyer is not booked in 1st class, but I am talking about in general here. That is, when things go wrong as they often do when traveling, how does the airline respond to you? I got to see a bit of it all this round.
Let me just say that United has a long way to go before they are anything like Delta. I am not talking elite stuff here just the people, the product and working with flyers. Here are the pros and the cons of this trip:
1) Phone reps willing to waive fees when seats opened up
2) Good phone rep when IROP happened
1) SBN staff is horrible & don’t know rules
2) Phone rep not knowing rules
3) Bugs in 1st class lounge
4) No TSA Pre
5) Lack our lounge access on return
6) Lost bags
7) Poor twitter respose
I am not just nit-picking here. All of these issues would have cost most flyers who are not as tenacious as me to NOT give an airline more of my money or settle for whatever the airline offered. Honestly, had I not pushed it on the two PRO points I would not have gotten what I wanted, but at least they did acquiesce to my requests so I will give them that.
The price was simple. We paid 135,000 each United miles (pre devaluation) and for the two of us under $250 total in fees and tax. Currently, as you can see (post devaluation) the same tickets would cost 220,000 each to fly Lufthansa with United miles. Nothing like a 63% price jump to make one say – UH, NO – never again with these points.
I also followed my own advice and put in a partner frequent flyer number in the reservation and in my case Lufthansa Miles & More because you just never know and you may just get some bonus points even though you are on an award ticket. I ended up getting 13,000+ points for this little trip!
I really did not pay for much of anything travel related along the way. I used my SPG points from my SPG AMEX to pay for my hotel stay that became needed on the outbound and was needed on the return. I used some UBER credits to pay for transit. I used my Barclays Arrival Plus points to pay for my taxi rides to / from the airport in Gothenburg and paid myself back with points.
I have to say anyone who chooses to fly United needs to seek professional help! What a horrible airline to deal with. And now with their ridiculous frequent flyer devaluation and a revenue based program even WORSE than Delta’s (you cannot get a spend waiver to top elite status) I am stunned anyone wants to fly UA. I have a total of about 6k UA points now between Lisa and me and will blow those on Restaurant.com certs and be happy to be 100% done with them for years to come!
As far as comparing the rest of the trip, the Lufthansa parts to Delta, Lufthansa has it going on. The product is amazing both hard (the seats) as well as soft (caviar is always nice). The service is very good. The ground experience is sweet (who does not love car service to / from the jet). The 1st class lounges are a destination in themselves. My fellow blogger, Gary Leff, always loves to rub my nose in the fact that Delta does not have 1st class and that Delta business class just does not compare. I do not completely disagree but…
Delta has a great deal of things going for it other airlines do not provide. Price first of all as I can and do find low level 125k round trip business class seats for my trips to Europe. The partnership, while not the greatest, is much better than the Star experience. Reliability is also huge. When things go wrong Delta is just better and there is much less chance of bag insanity like charging me when I should not be charged let alone not having a clue where my bags are for days! Delta and Skyteam tend to be very good with bags and in the event of a delay, informing you where the bag is and when you can expect to get it.
In a nutshell, I am thrilled I got to take this trip again as I did not think it would happen. It lived up and exceeded many of my expectations and confirmed to me in spades that Delta is the greatest airline in the world and I have made the right choice as a Delta loyal flyer! – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.