Tim McCready flies from Hong Kong to Munich aboard Lufthansa flight 731.
The plane: One of Lufthansa's 14 superjumbo Airbus A380-800s. My plane was eight years old, with eight First Class suites, 78 lie-flat Business Class seats, 52 Premium Economy seats and 371 Economy seats. I was transiting on both sides, travelling Auckland-Hong Kong-Munich-Dublin. The flight was packed — there were several cheeky passengers attempting to bag an upgrade at the counter, but they were repeatedly told that all classes were full.
The airport experience: Transiting on either side was a dream. Hong Kong and Munich Airports are big and spread out but trains between terminals, and clear signage means you can't really go wrong. Though there isn't much to do in Munich Airport for three hours when you arrive at 5am, the Wi-Fi is free and it gave me the opportunity to get this review finished!
My seat: I flew Premium Economy with a window seat. The size and shape of the A380 means the window seats get a generous amount of extra space down the side, which was appreciated. I stored most of the airline's (and my own) clutter down there throughout the flight — blankets, pillows, shoes. The seats were comfortable, though they were fairly basic in terms of adjustability compared to other Premium Economy options. The separate cabin added some privacy and meant there were never any queues for the cabin's two toilets — which were kept extremely clean throughout.
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Entertainment: While I found Lufthansa's entertainment system to be less user-friendly than other set-ups, there was plenty to choose from: the usual mix of new release and classic movies, and TV shows, as well as live satellite TV news (which I appreciated given the US air strikes on Syria that took place while I was flying). I used my own headphones as the ones offered in Premium Economy didn't seem to be any kind of upgrade over most basic Economy offerings.
The flight: As this was the second of two 12ish-hour flights, I spent most of this one asleep. There was a fairly hefty amount of turbulence at the start of the flight, but things settled down and the remaining ride was very smooth. We departed 25 minutes late but landed on time. Total time with wheels off the ground was 11h 32m.
Food and drink: I was disappointed not to see bratwurst and sauerkraut on the menu as I was hopeful for some hearty German fare on board. Instead, I chose the penne pasta with pork goulash for dinner (my third dinner in a row). I should have followed my own advice and steered clear of airline pasta — it didn't stand up well to reheating. The scrambled eggs with mornay sauce and ratatouille for breakfast was surprisingly good. The drinks service was frequent, and the crew were notably friendlier than my earlier Cathay Pacific flight. The Toblerone was a nice touch.
The bottom line: This wasn't my favourite Premium Economy experience. It felt as though Lufthansa hasn't put the same level of innovation into the seat design, food offerings and technology as other airlines have. As for whether I'd fly again — I don't have too much choice — I'm doing the return journey in a few weeks. But I won't choose the pasta next time.