Want to travel more elegantly to Germany? Look no further than Lufthansa’s new A-380 plane that jets there in high style. Join us as we get a five-star look at the airline’s headquarter city, Frankfurt, the country’s capital of chic and commerce.
By Lance Avery Morgan
Photography Courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines
View From The Top
The world looks a little different from the cockpit of a floating luxuliner like the Lufthansa A-380 jet. How, you ask? In this highly secured post-911 world in which we live, most civilians have no idea what our planet looks like from that vantage point. If you have never seen the curvature of the earth from 40,000 feet above, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you haven’t seen Greenland’s icy coast, far from anything green, it is a majestic sight to behold.
I was invited to join Lufthansa to experience their new direct flight to Houston from Frankfurt, yet the extraordinary A-380 places the journey on a much higher level than any other aircraft. It feels like flying privately instead of commercially when seated in First and Business Class, and there are 650 seats on the plane. Plus, we love that Lufthansa has invested in direct flights from Texas (Houston) since 1985. It means the company believes how important Texas is to the world, as do we. Recently, Lufthansa was the very first airline to offer daily scheduled Airbus A380 service from Frankfurt to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the Lone Star State, from the gorgeous Frankfurt, Germany’s main commerce capital.
The city was, I learned, was a Roman outpost and an Imperial City to the Holy Roman Emperors, with First Century Roman settlements from Germanic tribes and where the German Kings and Emperors were coronated over a millennia ago. Having served as the seat of the first democratically elected German parliament, it is also the city of the famous writer Goethe and the highly acclaimed Frankfurt School.
Plus, A river runs through it. The Mein River, as a matter of fact, and because of the city’s high level of sophistication, Frankfurt is called Meinhattan since it shares a financial affinity with our own Manhattan. Many visitors do not realize that almost 80 percent of the city destroyed with allied bombing in WWII. Resilient people they are known to be, the Germans re-built during the Cold War as a part of West Germany. Rebuilt is an understatement. The town’s centralized area and beyond were resuscitated as an exact duplicate of what was destroyed based on vintage photographs and city records.
The city, wildly cultured, boasts over 200 museums devoted to everything you can imagine of cultural significance, surrounded by rolling hills taller than Central Texas has, yet one can see the affinity that the country’s settlers who left this region to settle the Hill Country would have fit right at home in the 1800’s when America’s promised land offered a different set of opportunities. If you didn’t know better, you’d feel that Frankfurt could easily double for Amsterdam or Prague.
It has Old World charm, is socially progressive and extremely fit. Extremely even though the region’s favorite, Apple Wine (made from apples instead of grapes that don’t grow well there) and the wide rage of wurst and kraut varieties are offset by the city’s fitness. Epicurean fans will want to take in Kleinmarkthalle, a two-story indoor market that has been there since the 1890s. With over 60 stalls, the delectable choices range from German wurst to Italian pastries, Iranian dates and Turkish pistachios, providing the colors, scents and tastes you might not expect. It seems that everyone in Frankfurt stays toned by walking and biking along the streets sunny corridors that has an average temperature similar to ours in the spring and fall seasons.
Near that is Römerburg, where Frankfurt has always celebrated as a city. From royal coronations, the annual Christmas Market, a visit from former President John F. Kennedy with his infamous visit to nearby Berlin during his term, or as the finish line for the Frankfurt Marathon, this is the epicenter of where history has happened and is happening in Frankfurt today. Also nearby is the Archaeological Garden where Roman baths were discovered during the post-war reconstruction in 1953. Ruins of the original church and palace foundations from the 7th century are still in place, adding more character to a city that is already full of character
One evening we took to the Autobahn to have dinner at the close-by castle of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s daughter, Empress Victoria, at Schlosshotel Kronberg. Grand? You bet. Victoria, try as she did, was never really accepted by the German ruling class. After the death of her husband, she remained in Germany and built Kronberg as a blend of a 16th-century German Renaissance palace and an English country manor with Gothic elements. Gardens were laid out to an English design. Victoria lived in the palace until her death in 1901.Its intimacy of its history permeates throughout and at times and in certain rooms, you feel that you’re in a museum. Magnificent, and every inch a palace, Schloss Kronberg gives a fascinating glimpse into the world of 19th- and 20th-century monarchy. Filled with books, paintings, tapestries, and porcelains—just as the Empress Victoria planned her home. Know that dinner is an elegant affair in beautiful rooms reflective of the palace. In the afternoons, English tea is served and the service throughout is first rate.
While in the city, I had the opportunity to visit Lufthansa’s headquarters, control room nerve center and maintenance facility. Interesting to note that in relatively recent days, in 1955, is when Lufthansa was granted flight rights after WWII. The crackerjack team at Lufthansa show that efficiency is a given at this highly esteemed company. Every key employee takes his or her job seriously and it shows. Plus, they love Texans.
Lufthansa’s new A380 service increases capacity between Texas’s active oil and energy business to more than 50 industry-related regions around the world. That’s important. Plus, connecting in Frankfurt is a way of life to fly toward much more far-flung global capitals of commerce and industry. “Lufthansa’s A380 not only offers a significant product upgrade and experience for travelers, but it provides a substantial capacity increase so that more customers are able to take advantage of Lufthansa’s network and great connectivity in Frankfurt. This means Lufthansa’s corporate and high-end leisure customers will have access to additional seats in Business Class,” says J. Karl Lehman, Director of Regional Sales for Central USA with the Lufthansa Group.
In fact, Lufthansa’s super glam HON Circle provides a more rarified usage of the airline’s First Class club privileges based on frequent flying opportunities. “From the ground to the air, Lufthansa offers a truly unique premium travel experience,” shares Nils Haupt, the head of Corporate Communications for the Americas with Lufthansa Group. “We are the only airline with a dedicated First Class Terminal, a nearly 12,000 square foot space located in Frankfurt that caters to the premium passenger’s every need with spa facilities, personal assistants and even chauffeured service right to the airplane. Once on board Lufthansa’s flag ship aircraft, the A380, First Class passengers will find eight newly-designed seats that convert to flat beds, two extraordinary luxurious bathrooms that are unique to the Lufthansa A380, design features that decrease noise throughout the cabin, and a state-of-the-art air humidification system that limit the effects of jet-lag.
I’ll say. The Business and First Class cabins are deluxe. The signature red rose at every seat is a Lufthansa tradition. Plus, the meals are five-star, thanks to Lufthansa’s award-winning “Star Chefs” catering program. Lufthansa teams with the world’s leading chefs, including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and David Bouley just to name a few, to create a significant culinary experience. Each featured chef creates a menu specifically for Lufthansa’s First and Business Class passengers. Who doesn’t love to be pampered? We love Frankfurt and Lufthansa and recommend it highly to anyone considering a genuinely wonderful experience to go flyin’ high.