International travelers, German bier fans and aircraft nerds alike will want to fawn over Sunday’s debut of what is now Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s biggest airplane, the Lufthansa Airbus A350-900.
The German airline will make daily flights between Charlotte and Munich. With a whopping 293 seats, 48 of them being lie-flat business-class, it will serve as a vessel for a luxury traveler’s dream vacation to Bavaria.
When combined with its subsidiaries, Lufthansa is considered Europe’s largest airline and is known for its focus on the passenger experience.
The airline company is the world’s biggest consumer of caviar — we’ll pause to let that sink in for a moment. Considering their caviar is only served to first-class passengers while in flight, that’s a lot of fish eggs at 36,000 feet. If caviar is your thing, don’t get too excited — first class is actually not offered on this Airbus. However, you likely won’t miss it once you see what else is in store.
Here’s what you’ll experience on your 8 hour and 30 minute flight aboard this aircraft:
A faster ride
Lufthansa has been making this route from Charlotte to Munich for the past 15 years. With the change in aircraft, an hour of flight time is saved from Europe to the U.S. and 15 minutes from here to Munich, according to Kevin Markette, Lufthansa Group’s General Manager of Sales for South East USA.
Mood lighting. Clean air. On-board entertainment.
Use one of the large TV screens on the seat back in front of you — and use your own tablet as a second screen if you’d like. Two movies at once? Challenge accepted.
The on-board entertainment system offers 180 movies and 270 TV shows in up to 8 languages, along with live television. You won’t get bored.
Cabin pressure has been improved, allowing for less of that dry-air feel that flights are notorious for. A flight attendant told us that she used to arrive at her destination with dry skin, but that doesn’t happen to her on this plane.
The LED lighting system gently adjusts for day and night. No more bright lights to wake you from your gentle slumber.
The Airbus uses 25 percent less kerosene, produces 25 percent less emissions and is quieter on takeoff.
All the beer, wine and liquor you want during the flight are included. Just save room for a Weißbier after you land, before you wander off into your jetlag-fueled German adventure.
Cost: Starting at $2,900*
Check: Two pieces of luggage (up to 70 lbs each) at no additional charge
Seats on this flight: 48
If you spring for business class, which gives you lie-flat seats and a huge TV screen, you’ll be well-rested when you land — or caught up on movies, your choice. “I’m 6’4” and sleep really comfortably in our business class seat,” Markette said.
A self-serve area allows you to help yourself to snacks and drinks throughout your flight.
You’ll get a business-class amenity kit, full of L’Occitane cosmetics and built with sustainability in mind — keep it to reuse later as a cosmetic kit.
Once you arrive in Munich, you’ll want to stop by the business-class lounge to freshen up. Because you can.
Cost: Starting at $2,284.00*
Check: Two pieces of luggage (up to 50 lbs each) at no additional charge
Seats on this flight: 21
You might actually forget you’re not in first class in one of these seats. They don’t lie flat, but they do recline farther than a typical airline seat. Each passenger has his/her own armrest, which means no more elbow wrestling your neighbor. Food here is served on porcelain dishes.
You’ll get a premium-economy amenity kit here, also created with sustainability in mind — so reuse it later as a shopping bag for German treasures.
Cost: Starting at $1,314*
Check: One piece of luggage (up to 50 lbs) at no additional charge
Seats on this flight: 224
Even the economy seats are worth noting. Designed with a subtle ombre blue across the aisle, the seats are ergonomically designed and offer more personal and storage space. The German Design Council gave the economy class the German Design Award in 2018.
Arrive in class
Munich International Airport is Europe’s first five-star airport, so make sure you check it out at least for a little while before heading off in search of Münchner Weißwurst and a pretzel.
The flight will take off daily from Charlotte at 6:30 p.m., arriving in Munich at 9 a.m. the following day. It returns from Munich at 12:45 p.m. and arrives in Charlotte at 4:25 p.m.
Costs estimates are via Lufthansa on April 1.