I recently returned from a month-long trip that included visiting multiple countries and flying on different airlines. I’ve shared my experience dealing with flight changes on the outbound flight, and I thought that would conclude the part where I dealt with airline customer service, but alas that wasn’t the case.

I’d like to share my experience booking flights from Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV), to New York (JFK), dealing with the flight changes and what it’s like to fly in Lufthansa business class.

How I Booked It

My return to the U.S. coincided with the 10xTravel reader meetup in New York City, so instead of booking the return flights to my home airport of Cleveland, Ohio, I chose New York as my final destination.

I used 78,000 Avianca LifeMiles to book a business-class Swiss International Air Lines flight from Tel Aviv to New York-JFK with a connection in Zurich (ZRH). I was really happy with this redemption because I was able to use up the LifeMiles that were sitting in my account for a couple of years due to COVID-related cancellations.

Flying on Swiss between the U.S. and Israel is one of my favorite ways to get to Israel because Swiss flies an aircraft with real business-class seats between Zurich and Tel Aviv. Other Star Alliance carriers’ business class on this route consists of a few economy rows with a bit of extra legroom and a middle seat blocked off.

Transferring in Zurich is also much easier than in one of the German hubs, such as Munich (MUC) or Frankfurt (FRA), because Zurich airport is far more compact and easier to navigate.

I’m used to booking tickets quite far out, and I routinely check my reservations for changes. You’d think that the airline would notify you of a schedule change or if your flight is canceled altogether, but that’s often not the case. By now, you probably guessed where I am going with this story.

About a month before my trip, I couldn’t find my reservation on the Swiss website. Turns out, Swiss had made some significant schedule changes to both its Tel Aviv and JFK flights, and there was no way to make the connections work. So Swiss canceled my flights, but neither Avianca LifeMiles nor Swiss notified me of the cancellation.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Check your reservations regularly and if you see any schedule changes that no longer work, contact the airline you booked with (not the airline you’re flying) and find an alternative.

I immediately went to work. I couldn’t find anything to JFK, but I found an alternative itinerary from Tel Aviv to Newark (EWR) with LOT Polish Airlines and called LifeMiles. Thankfully, the wait times are tolerable again, but the agent said he couldn’t rebook me on the flights I’d found because the destination airport isn’t the same. My heart sank because this was the only itinerary with award space available on such short notice.

The nice agent I spoke with put me on hold and started looking for new flights. It took a while, but he was able to rebook me on flights that weren’t even showing available award space. He somehow made it work and rebooked me on Lufthansa with a connection in Munich. Lufthansa’s transatlantic business class isn’t as nice as Swiss, but I was happy to have a ticket in hand so close to departure.

Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport Lounges

Lufthansa doesn’t have its own lounges in Tel Aviv, but business-class passengers can access one of the two Dan lounges where you can find some light refreshments, soft drinks and a small bar. The two lounges are almost identical and have the same food and drinks options.

Dan Lounge, Ben Gurion Airport

Dan Lounge, Ben Gurion Airport

Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport operates around the clock and is crowded and busy even in the middle of the night. The same is true about the Dan lounges—they’re usually busy, but I never had an issue finding a seat or a table.

Dan Lounge, Ben Gurion Airport

Dan Lounge, Ben Gurion Airport

You can grab a light meal, a snack or a drink there, and it’s certainly better than sitting by the gate.

Dan lounges are also accessible with a Priority Pass Select membership.

Tel Aviv to Munich Flight

Lufthansa’s business-class cabin on its Tel Aviv-Munich flights operated on Airbus A321neo is unimpressive—just a few economy rows in the front of the plane with blocked-off middle seats.

Lufthansa Business Class Tel Aviv to Munich

Lufthansa Business Class Tel Aviv to Munich

Two flight attendants working in the business-class cabin provided excellent service, and we even got a small amenity kit.

Amenity Kit Lufthansa Business Class Tel Aviv to Munich

Amenity Kit Lufthansa Business Class Tel Aviv to Munich

The food was also great. It’s amazing how international airlines manage to serve a full and tasty meal in business class on short flights. My flight was less than four hours long, yet Lufthansa provided a delicious breakfast.

Lufthansa Business Class Breakfast

Lufthansa Business Class Breakfast

Munich International Airport

My flight from Tel Aviv to Munich was delayed by about 40 minutes, which made my already-tight connection even tighter.

I was hoping to check out Lufthansa’s Senator Lounge that is open to passengers traveling in business class on one of Lufthansa Group airlines (Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss) who also hold The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. But because my first flight was late, I had to head straight to my gate.

Munich International Airport is huge, so it took a while to walk from my arrival gate to the area with U.S. departures. As I approached my gate, I saw a long line to the document check. Thankfully, there was a separate, much shorter, line for business-class passengers.

If you’re transferring in Munich, keep in mind that the area for U.S. departures has very little in terms of amenities—I only saw restrooms and a small coffee cart. So if you plan on getting any food or drink, do this before you go through the document check.

This flight was also delayed by about 40 minutes, and in hindsight, I would’ve had enough time for a quick lounge visit. But considering the current state of travel, a 40-minute delay is insignificant.

Lufthansa Business Class Munich to New York-JFK

Lufthansa’s transatlantic business-class cabins still have the outdated 2-2-2 configuration and could definitely use an upgrade. I prefer to have aisle access at all times, so I picked a seat in the middle section. This flight was on an Airbus A340 aircraft, but I’ve seen the same layout on Lufthansa’s other transatlantic routes.

Lufthansa Business Class Munich to New York-JFK

The seats look and feel dated, but I do like the open feel of the cabin, and the seat was comfortable both for sleeping and for lounging. There isn’t a lot of storage, but the outlet located in the center console between the seats is easily accessible.

We got a lovely amenity kit that included socks, small toiletries and a toothbrush. A small note included in the kit said that an eye mask and earplugs are available in business-class lavatory. I didn’t see any, but I always have an eye mask with me, so that wasn’t an issue.

Lufthansa Business-Class Amenity Kit

Lufthansa Business - Class Amenity Kit

Amenity kits usually come in small pouches, but this one came wrapped up in a cute nylon reusable bag. I thought this was a fantastic idea—I’d get much more use out of the reusable bag than the usual pouch and it makes for a great souvenir.

Lufthansa Business-Class Amenity Kit

Lufthansa Business-Class Amenity Kit

The in-flight entertainment included a nice selection of movies and TV shows, both older titles and new releases, as well as a good number of international movies.

Food and Drink

Lufthansa’s in-flight catering in business class is always good. You won’t get gourmet dishes, but you’ll get a tasty meal. The lunch menu included a choice of three appetizers and three entrees.

Lufthansa Business Food and Drink Menu

The wine list had a good selection of German and international wines.

Lufthansa Business Food and Drink Menu2

I chose the tuna appetizer, which was excellent.

Lufthansa Business Class Food

But the beef entree wasn’t the best. The meat was a bit tough.

Lufthansa Business Class Entry

The dessert was lovely and fresh.

Lufthansa Business Class dessert

I chose smoked salmon for my second meal that was served shortly before landing.

Lufthansa Business Class second meal

During meal times, the flight attendants came by a few times with a bread basket and offered drink refills.

Final Thoughts

This wasn’t my first time flying Lufthansa business class, and I’m happy to report that the service is still excellent and it seems that all the COVID-related cutbacks have been rolled back.

The cabin looks a bit dated, but it still feels nice and open. I wish there’d been a bit more seat storage so I didn’t have to try to squeeze my kindle, my phone and the amenity kit in the tiny storage compartment located in the center armrest.

The service was great, just as I remember from my trip a few years ago, and the food, while not the best I’ve had in business class, was quite good. And I love the fact that European airlines manage to serve a full meal in business class even on the shorter, three- to four-hour flights.