Review: JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2


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The JAL First Class lounge opens between 4:00pm and 8:00pm so, as I arrived into Frankfurt a little after 2:00pm I had spent around 90 minutes checking out JAL’s Sakura Business Class lounge next door. Come 4:00pm I decided it was time to see how JAL’s First Class lounge compared.

In case you haven’t read the review of the JAL Business Class lounge which posted yesterday here’s a quick recap of where you can find the lounges:

The JAL First Class lounge and the JAL Sakura Business Class lounge are located next to each other on level 3 of Frankfurt terminal 2 – they’re positioned after immigration but before airport security by the terminal’s D-gates.

Access Rules

Access to the JAL First Class lounge is based on either a passenger’s oneworld status or the fare booked. Entry is granted to:

  • Oneworld Emerald status holders + 1 guest per status holder – all must be traveling on the day of entry on a flight marketed and operated by a oneworld airline.
  • Passengers traveling in First Class + 1 guest – all must be traveling on the day of entry on a flight marketed and operated by a oneworld airline.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt

The entrance to the JAL First Class lounge is just to the right of the reception desk you’ll find just inside the doors that lead from the airport walkway.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

Once a JAL agent has opened the sliding door that leads into the lounge this is the sight that greets you:

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

Immediately to the right is an alcove with lockers (for luggage storage) and a printer (which I assume is hooked up to the free wi-fi network the lounge offers).

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

Just inside the lounge doors is a newspaper and magazine station with titles in German, English and Japanese…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

….and past that you’re in to the main seating area of what is a quite small lounge.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

I was the first guest inside the lounge after the doors opened so everything was in pristine condition.

The lounge staff had placed a selection of snacks on one of the first tables I came across….

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

….which included cookies, chips, mini-pretzels, a few pieces of fresh fruit and some candy.

The First Class lounge offers a number of different seating options including sofas (which weren’t amazingly comfortable)…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

…armchairs which were a lot better…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

…and a row of la-z-boy style chairs just like I found in the Business Class lounge next door.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

There are a few areas where a family or group can sit with a bit more privacy (or at least all together)…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

…while, at the far end of the lounge (far left as you walk in through the main door) there’s a small rectangular room which appears to act as an overflow area….

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

The chairs in here are comfortable enough (and have access to power outlets) but the room itself feels a bit narrow and claustrophobic.

Also at the far left side of the lounge (just before the overflow area) is where the food and drink stations are.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

The large drinks fridge offers the same selection of soft drinks and beers as the Business Class lounge next door….

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

…and the spirits and wines (2 x whites, 1 x red) were the same as the ones I found in the Business Class lounge too.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

Lastly, from the beverages side of things, the lounge offers a coffee machine and a selection of teas.

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

The buffet food selection was brought out around 10 minutes after the lounge doors opened and included a salad bar…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

A few mini sandwiches……

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

Some noodle cups (fill with hot water to cook the noodles)…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

The world’s smallest bakery/pastry selection…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

And a hot food area offering mini “poultry meatballs” and mini vegetarian meatballs:

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

With the exception of the salad bar the food items on display were nearly identical to what was on offer next door in the Business Class lounge….and there’s a good chance that the Business Class lounge had gained a salad bar in the time I had been in the First Class lounge.

The was, however, one items that could be ordered in the First Class lounge that couldn’t be found next door – Ramen.

As I was entering the lounge the agents on the reception desk had given me a table number holder which, once inside the First Class lounge, I could swap for a  for a bowl of ramen…. which I duly did.

10 minutes later a tasty bowl of pork ramen was brought to my seat:

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

I’m not a ramen expert nor do I claim to know what Japanese ramen is meant to taste like so all I can comment on is how it was for me….and I really liked it. It was warm and flavorful and was easily the best thing available to eat….it’s just a shame guests are limited to a single portion each.

Just like the Business Class lounge the First Class lounge operates a “no cell phones” policy…..

JAL First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal 2

…of which I’m a big fan. It’s just a shame that there were two or three people of such great importance in the lounge that the rule didn’t apply to them – one person was actually talking on his phone for over twenty minutes and, if the side of the conversation everyone else in the lounge could hear was anything to go by, he was a class A ******.

Thoughts

The First Class lounge was nice and quiet for the first 20 – 30 minutes after opening…but then it got a lot more crowded (it’s not very big) and a lot noisier thanks to inconsiderate, impolite idiots with cell phones.

The seating on offer is very similar to what you’ll find in the Business Class lounge next door….as is the food buffet and drinks selection. 

With the exception of the pork ramen I’m struggling to think of any other differentiating factors between the First and Business Class lounges (the First Class lounge didn’t offer any kind of basic champagne) and that’s a pretty big indictment.

On future visits I think I’ll stay in the Business Class lounge which I expect to be less crowded and only move into the First Class lounge (briefly) when I’d like some ramen.

To sum up: I’m not entirely sure what’s “First Class” about the JAL First Class lounge in Frankfurt – if you’re “stuck” in the Business Class lounge you’re not exactly missing out on much.

More lounge reviews available, arranged by city, on the Traveling For Miles lounge review page

Up Next: A review of the JAL 787 Dreamliner Business Class Cabin

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