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Short & Long On LH: BRU-MUC-IAD, DCA-BOS-FRA-BRU  
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 11027 times:

http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/6122/lepageq.jpg

Dear A.Netters,

Welcome to my twenty-second trip report, which details my experiences on Lufthansa from Europe to the United States and back earlier this year, in April and May of 2011. I hope you enjoy it. As always, feedback, comments and questions are greatly appreciated!

BACKGROUND

Eight months after moving from Washington, DC to Brussels, Belgium, the time came for me to return to America for a few days to deal with the rest of our belongings, which my girlfriend and I had left in a storage locker in northern Virginia near Washington.

In early April, I started looking for tickets to fly to Washington at the end of the month, when I would be able to take a few days off work on either side of a weekend. The best airfares were around USD $900, which was on the high end of my price range. I then explored award ticket availability on both Delta and United. At first glance, neither offered any low-level mileage awards. However, I did notice that United provided the option of searching for Star Alliance award tickets, including for Lufthansa flights. A quick look at my desired dates revealed dozens of options on Lufthansa for the “Saver” ticket price of 55,000 United miles, plus tax. I prefer Lufthansa to United anyway, so this was an excellent discovery. I surveyed the many routings available and eventually pieced together the following itinerary: Brussels – Munich – Washington Dulles on April 28, returning Washington National – Boston – Frankfurt – Brussels on May 2. Not only did this itinerary allow me to add one new airport (Munich) to my logbook, it also involved a new aircraft type for me (the A340-300), as well as four new routes (BRU-MUC, MUC-IAD, BOS-FRA and FRA-BRU). The final cost came to 55,000 United Mileage Plus miles plus USD $123 in tax. In my opinion, this was a great value for a lot of great flying.

After booking my flights, I got in touch with a friend in Northern Virginia and arranged to stay at her house to save the cost of a hotel. I also booked a rental car from Hertz for four days, which came to just $90 total, while putting 1,400 miles back on my United account thanks to a promotional offer on car rentals of four or more days. With all the logistics in order, the day of departure soon arrived!

OUTBOUND TRAVEL – 28 April 2011

My alarm rang at 03:30 and after a shower and final preparations, my taxi arrived at the front door shortly before 04:30. Following a quick drive through the dark and rainy streets of pre-dawn Brussels, I arrived at the terminal around 04:45—plenty of time for my 06:45 departure to Munich.

FLIGHT #1
Date: April 28, 2011
Route: BRU-MUC
Flight #: LH2297
Aircraft Type: Airbus A320-214
Aircraft Registration: D-AIZA (Trier)
Scheduled Departure: 06:45 CEST
Actual Takeoff: 07:30 CEST
Scheduled Arrival: 08:00 CEST
Actual Landing: 08:43 CEST
Flight Time: 1:13
Distance: 599 kilometers / 372 miles
Altitude: Unknown
Seat: 25F (right-side window)
Load: Economy = 40% / Business = Unknown
My Logbook: 3rd flight on Lufthansa / 28th flight on the A320 / 276th airline flight overall



Upon entering Brussels’ departure terminal I quickly found the Lufthansa check-in counter and, after a ten-minute wait in the queue, was assisted by a friendly agent. Unfortunately the printer jammed while printing my boarding passes; the agent eventually wrestled one boarding pass free, but it came out wrinkled and missing a large chunk out of one corner. No problem, though; in five minutes she cleared the jam, reprinted my passes successfully and tagged my suitcase through to Washington Dulles, before sending me on my way.

Given the early hour, I cleared security quickly and proceeded to gate A45, where I arrived by 05:30. Boarding was scheduled for 06:15, but was a bit delayed and did not begin until 06:25. The passenger load was quite light, however, and once the process started I was one of the first to board. I found my way to seat 25F, a right-side window seat near the rear of the A320. By this time it had grown light outside, although the rain and drear continued. Another Lufthansa aircraft sat just off our right wing awaiting its early flight to Frankfurt.



This was my 28th flight on the A320, although my first on one of Lufthansa’s examples.



The seat pitch was not generous, but the cabin was clean and comfortable, sporting Lufthansa’s typical gray and white interior with yellow trim.


*


At 06:45, our scheduled time of departure, the captain made an announcement, first in German, then in English. He introduced himself and the first officer, welcomed everyone on board, and announced the good news that the door was closed and that we were set go. However, he also shared the bad news that our departure would be delayed because of foggy weather in Munich. He explained that arrivals into Munich were slower than normal due to just 200 meters of visibility on the ground there and that we would have to await a new slot from air traffic control. He promised to keep us updated and mentioned that the flight, once airborne, would last approximately one hour. I had a long enough layover in Munich so I was not too worried.

A half-hour later, at 07:15, the captain again came on the loudspeaker and announced that we had received our new clearance and that we were close to departure. At 07:20, we finally pushed from the gate, the tractor swung the aircraft nose-east, tail-west and the pilots brought the engines to life.



We made a quick taxi to the northeast corner of the airport. After holding short for one departing aircraft, we lined up on RWY 25R. At 07:30, the engines spooled to high power and we began a fast and powerful takeoff.


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A few hundred feet off the ground, we entered the murk.



While still inside the clouds, we turned south and then east. By the time we emerged from the gloom into the blue above, we were already on a southeasterly course toward Germany.



The ride was smooth and comfortable as we climbed into the upper altitudes. The ground was not visible at all, but the clouds showed some interesting shapes and patterns below.



Exactly twenty minutes after departure, the flight attendants reached me with the food and drink cart. I asked for a coffee with milk and was also given a packaged Belgian waffle. The flight attendant was extremely friendly and asked me if I would like a cold drink in addition to my coffee; I declined this, but was nonetheless impressed at the fact that she offered a second beverage. The strong coffee was excellent and the waffle, despite being pre-packaged, was also tasty; I do like this “junk food” sometimes.



The ride continued over white cloudscapes consisting of vaporous canyons and crests.


*


At 08:10, about forty minutes into the flight, the captain made a short announcement that we would be landing at about 08:30 and that we should be at the gate around five minutes after that. By this time, we were already descending down and away from the grid of contrails in the flight levels above.



Ten minutes later, the captain again made an announcement and gave us the bad news that air traffic control had asked us to enter a holding pattern due to the continued fog in Munich. However, the good news was that we could expect a maximum of three turns, which would add, at most, another fifteen minutes. We soon entered the pattern and made a series of right-hand turns as we circled above the cloud blanket.



After several dips of the right wing, we assumed a level attitude and began the final descent toward Munich. Another Lufthansa jet joined us some distance off the right wing as it made a parallel approach to RWY 08R.



As we descended toward the clouds, the flaps dropped from the trailing edge of the wing.



The other Lufthansa jet kept its position off our wing as we made a synchronized descent.


*


Soon, we dropped into the fog and visibility dropped to near zero—even the tip of the wing could barely be seen.



Suddenly I spied the vague contours of the edge of the runway emerging from the fog. The ground was not visible until just a few seconds prior to landing.


*


We touched down smoothly at 08:43 on RWY08L. After slowing to a crawl, we exited the runway to the right. The visibility barely extended beyond the taxiway.



Once in the ramp area, one could only see the faint outline of nearby aircraft. It wasn’t until we neared the parking stand directly next to another aircraft that there was any depth perception outside the window.


*

*


Once parked at stand 244, the engines whined down. I exited via airstairs from the rear of the aircraft. On the ramp I grabbed a couple of misty under-wing shots.


*


From the stand, a bus took us to the G section of Terminal 2, where we arrived a little after 09:00. I still had almost two hours until boarding would begin for my flight to Washington, so I decided to wander and explore. In general, I found the Munich airport nicer than that of Frankfurt, which seems to be a bit rougher around the edges. After a couple of laps through the G gates, I followed the signs to the H gates, passing through passport control in order to exit the Schengen zone, followed by another security check prior to the U.S. departure gates. I easily found my gate, H14, although the inbound aircraft had not yet arrived. I passed the time snapping some photos of the ramp, which became increasingly visible as the fog burned off.


*

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This US Airways A330 was bound for Philadelphia.



FLIGHT 2
Date: 28 April 2011
Route: MUC-IAD
Flight #: LH414
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330-343
Aircraft Registration: D-AIKO
Scheduled Departure: 11:35 CEST
Actual Takeoff: 13:00 CEST
Scheduled Arrival: 14:55 EDT
Actual Landing: 16:11 EDT
Flight Time: 9:11
Distance: 6,861 kilometers / 4,263 miles
Altitude: FL360 / FL380 / FL400
Seat: 40K / 40A
Load: Economy = 50% / Business = Unknown / First = Unknown
My Logbook: 4th flight on Lufthansa / 4th flight on the A330 / 277th airline flight overall



I stuck close to my departure gate, H14, and did some work on my laptop. Around 10:30, about twenty-five minutes before scheduled boarding, I noticed the gate had been changed to H02. There had not been an announcement, only a change on the screens in the terminal. I packed up my laptop and headed down the corridor to H02. Upon arriving at the new gate, I immediately noticed that departure time had been pushed back to 12:25, an hour behind schedule. I stayed close to the gate in case of any more changes and passed the time reading one of the complimentary newspapers Lufthansa offers throughout the terminal—a nice perk, in my opinion. After a half-hour, I got up to stretch my legs and snapped a couple photos of the airport facilities.



The fog had mostly burned off by this time, and the sun was beginning to emerge.



At 11:25, the inbound aircraft finally arrived at the gate and the agents announced that forty minutes were needed to offload and service the aircraft before boarding.



In the end, it took closer to an hour until boarding began. At 12:30, I finally made my way down the jetway and on to the massive twinjet. I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant in German at the door of the aircraft and directed to the far aisle in order to reach my seat at 40K, a right-side window seat. Once again, the cabin was clean and well-maintained.


*

*


However, seat pitch was somewhat tight for an upcoming flight of more than nine hours. The seat next to mine was soon occupied, which further limited my elbow room.



As boarding continued, the captain made a welcome announcement and apologized for the delay. He mentioned that the inbound aircraft had, in fact, just come from Washington Dulles, where it had left two hours late due to a mechanical issue. He also noted that the expected flight time would be eight hours and fifty minutes. One thing in particular I noticed about this captain was his accent. I could tell he was German and not quite a native English speaker by the way he formed his sentences and the way he pronounced a few individual words; however, his accent otherwise sounded almost perfectly American. He had clearly spent considerable time in the U.S. at some point in his life, or otherwise had personal connections to America.

Finally, once boarding was complete, the doors closed and we pushed back from the gate at 12:50, almost an hour-and-a-half late.



Even from my seat behind the wing, the noise was faint as the giant turbines were brought to life. After taxiing to the northwest corner of the airfield, we arrived at the threshold of RWY08L, the same runway on which I had landed four hours earlier.



After a short hold, we took to the centerline at exactly 13:00 and began the takeoff roll.



We smoothly rotated and the runway fell away quickly beneath us, although the sensation was not particularly powerful.


*

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The aircraft soon entered a left turn before straightening once again on a northwesterly course. As we climbed, we popped through several levels of clouds.


*

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According to the flight information presented on my personal screen, we leveled briefly at FL280 and again briefly at FL330 before reaching our initial cruising altitude of FL340 just north of Frankfurt. At that point, the seat belt sign was switched off. I noticed that both the window and adjacent seat in my row on the opposite side of the aircraft remained open, so I decided to make the switch. The passenger next to me let me out and I hurriedly made my way through the back galley and then up the opposite aisle, hoping to snag the two seats before someone else noticed them. I succeeded and soon settled comfortably into seats 40A and 40C. My new view out the window looked like this.



Approximately fifty minutes after takeoff, we passed over Amsterdam and also increased our altitude by another two thousand feet, to FL360. As we then continued over the North Sea, the flight attendants came though the cabin offering hot towels followed shortly by the first beverage service. I asked for a beer, which was quickly provided along with a bag of snack mix. The friendly flight attendant asked if I would like anything else to drink; I asked for a sparkling water. Once again, I was impressed by the Lufthansa service. I have noticed that on some carriers, especially those in the U.S., asking for two drinks can lead to an annoyed response from the flight attendant; on Lufthansa, however, it seems to be not only offered, but also encouraged.



We continued west-northwest and soon the English coast came into view.



I sipped my beer and enjoyed the view of clouds, land and water out the window. As we continued over England, I spied the occasional jet crossing our path here in the upper flight levels.


*


We soon reached England’s west coast, passing overhead Liverpool, as seen in the photo below.



An hour-and-a-half into the flight, the meal service began. The choices were either Thai chicken with rice or spaghetti bolognese. I opted for the Thai chicken and was not disappointed. The chicken and rice portions were somewhat small, but the quality was good and the sides included a decent salad with baby shrimp, a bread roll with butter and cheese and a piece of lemon cake. Overall, it was one of the better meals I have had in economy class on a European carrier.



Coffee and tea were offered immediately after the meal. I declined, however, and instead watched out the window as we reached Ireland and continued west over the green countryside.



Some minutes later the flight attendants again passed through the aisle offering either cognac or Baileys Irish Cream. A taste of cognac sounded about right, and the nice flight attendant quickly obliged by pouring me a generous portion.



Right behind the liqueur cart, another flight attendant followed, passing out U.S. customs and immigration cards. I sipped my cognac while filling out the necessary document.



Before I knew it, Ireland had slipped behind the wing and there was only open ocean and scattered clouds as far as the eye could see. So long, Europe, for a few days anyway.



About two hours and fifteen minutes into the flight, we increased altitude once again, this time up to FL380. Meanwhile, the flight tracking information on my personal screen indicated another 3,112 miles (5,008 kilometers) to Washington Dulles, which would take another six hours and forty three minutes. Our groundspeed at the time was listed at 520 miles per hour (837 kilometers per hour).

Out over the Atlantic, I passed the time napping on and off, while in between checking out the in-flight entertainment offerings. I ended up watching most of the movie “Little Fokkers,” which provided some mild amusement. I also took photos periodically; of course, for me, no trip would be complete without the obligatory zoomed-in wingtip shot.



Approximately every forty-five minutes to an hour, the flight attendants came through the cabin offering water and juice. At one point I took an apple juice.



The time passed quickly as the hours began to blur together. As we reached the western side of the Atlantic, the clouds below thickened into a monotonous, white blanket, which persisted as we crossed the Canadian coast over the island of Newfoundland.



Over the city of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, we hit a patch of rough air, prompting the return of the seatbelt sign. We also moved up to FL390, where the ride was smoother. The flight information on my screen indicated another two and a half hours until landing. Another round of juice and water was offered, but I asked if I could have a coffee instead. The flight attendant said she would come back with it in five minutes, but she never did. I did not care enough to find her and ask again, so I let it go.

Soon thereafter, the flight attendants began the pre-arrival snack service. This started out with a hot towel, followed approximately forty-five minutes later by a choice of either pizza or a hot dog. I opted for the pizza, which was quite tasty (even if the appearance was not exactly refined).


*


A full drink service came about 20 minutes after the snack service; the selection was good but the timing was annoying, as I would have liked a beverage with my food. Nonetheless, I finally got my coffee, as well as a cup of sparkling water, so no complaints. Again, the flight attendant asked if I would like both hot and cold drinks, which I thought was impressive compared to other carriers.



Meanwhile, we increased our altitude yet again, moving from FL390 to FL400. As far as I know, this was only the third time in my nearly three hundred flights that I have reached the 40,000 foot mark. As we continued to the southwest, the thick cloud layer below started to break apart, although still there was nothing visible on the ground.



As we jetted over the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont the clouds broke apart even more revealing the countryside below.



We then continued over upstate New York. The in-flight map provided only a zoomed-out perspective of our position, so at the time I, assumed the airport in the next photo was that of Syracuse. I later found out, thanks to Google Earth, that this airport is actually Griffiss International Airport near Rome, New York, approximately thirty miles (forty kilometers) northeast of Syracuse.



Even after eight hours in the air, staring out the window at that gorgeous wing did not get boring. This was my porthole to the outside world.



Still over the state of New York, we passed a small ski area holding on to a few remnants of the winter snowpack.



Thanks to Google Earth once again, I now know that I snapped a photo of the town of Horseheads, New York, just north of the larger city of Elmira in the south-central part of the state.



Immediately thereafter, the Elmira/Corning Regional Airport came into view. This small airport sees service with Delta Connection to Detroit and US Airways Express to Philadelphia, as well as Allegiant Air to Florida.



As we continued, the captain with the near-perfect American accent came on the intercom and gave an update, explaining that rough air and bad weather along the Atlantic coast had forced us to take a more inland route to the west of Syracuse, but that we were now turning back to the south-southeast on a course toward the Washington, DC area. He also noted that the weather at Dulles Airport was mostly cloudy with intermittent rain showers, gusty winds and a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit), with arriving traffic landing to the south. Meanwhile, over the mosaic farm fields of Pennsylvania, we began our descent from the lofty perch of 40,000 feet.



As we dropped lower, it actually appeared to be a rather nice day in the mid-Atlantic region, with only sporadic puffy clouds obscuring the fields below.



However, the storm front along the Atlantic coast, which the captain had mentioned, soon became evident in the distance to the east, off our left wing.



Nonetheless, we continued our gradual descent through mostly smooth skies.



As we approached the Washington, DC metropolitan region, we passed just west of Frederick, Maryland.



Frederick Municipal Airport came into view a few miles to our east.



After almost nine hours tucked away beneath the wing, the flaps began their downward march as we slowed and stabilized on final approach.



Meanwhile, the brown waters of the Potomac River, just north of Dulles Airport, passed below on their way toward the nation’s capital and the Chesapeake Bay beyond.


*


We glided lower and lower. To me, landings are bittersweet. They are an exciting and critical phase of flight, but also mark the end of the fun!


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At 16:11 local time, after nine hours and eleven minutes on the wing from Munich, the tires of the Lufthansa jet made contact with the asphalt of Dulles’ RWY18C. However, the jet lifted back into the sky as the aircraft gained altitude noticeably. Strangely, it seemed we had touched down only to then initiate a go-around. However, the airframe then settled back on the pavement and began the normal process of slowing in the run-out phase. Despite the large and noticeable bounce, the whole landing felt relatively smooth.



Once we had slowed to taxi speed, we exited the runway to the left. As we made our way toward the terminal complex, I spied a newly-rebranded United 777 sporting the Continental livery. This was my first, in-person glimpse of the new United paint scheme. I am not a huge fan of the spaced-out U N I T E D lettering.



The big jet picked its way slowly through the tight taxiways. Soon Dulles’ characteristic main terminal and control tower appeared in my window.


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At 16:19 local time, we came to a halt at Gate B45/47, which is served by two jetways. This nice Boeing from Vienna occupied the spot next to us.



Once off the airplane, I snapped a couple of photos of the bird that had just flown me across the Atlantic.


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After a brief wait, I boarded one of the iconic Dulles “people movers” for the ride across the ramp to the main terminal. I always love seeing the ramp action from the vantage point of these vehicles; this time, I had some nice views of a beautiful Lufthansa 747 freshly arrived from Frankfurt.


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After a quick ride across the ramp and a fifteen minute wait to get through immigration control, I claimed my single duffle bag and emerged into the arrivals hall. Following another quick shuttle ride, I arrived at the Hertz rental car facilities beyond the main terminal, where I soon received the keys to my rental car, a Toyota Yaris.

I drove the fifteen minutes to my friend’s townhouse near Reston, said hello and freshened up before heading to the storage unit to assess the task that awaited me. As it turned out, the next three days were extremely busy as I sorted through our belongings. I succeeded in selling our remaining furniture via craigslist and donated most of our other belongings to charity. In the end, there were some things my girl and I did not wish to part with, but that we did not want to ship to Belgium. So instead, I boxed them up and sent them to my mother in Montana for safe (and free!) storage in her garage.



On the final day of my stay in Washington, before catching my evening flight out of Washington Reagan National (DCA) to Boston and onward to Europe, I took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places—Gravelly Point. This famous aircraft spotting location was just a five minute drive from my former apartment in Arlington and was a place where I spent many hours pursuing my enthusiasm for aviation. It is a place for which I have yet to find a replacement. Here are a few photos from my brief, half-hour visit to Gravelly Point.


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All too soon, it was time to make my way to the terminal to catch my 18:30 departure.

INBOUND TRAVEL – 02/03 May 2011

FLIGHT 1
Date: 02 May 2011
Route: DCA-BOS
Flight #: US2044 (originally scheduled flight) / US2042 (actual flight)
Aircraft Type: Airbus A319-112
Aircraft Registration: N730US
Scheduled Departure: 18:30 EST (originally scheduled flight) / 17:30 EST (actual flight)
Actual Takeoff: 17:38 EST
Scheduled Arrival: 19:57 EST (originally scheduled flight) / 19:03 EST (actual flight)
Actual Landing: 18:47 EST
Flight Time: 1:09
Distance: 399 miles / 642 kilometers
Altitude: FL330
Seat: 9E
Load: Economy = 100% / Business = 100%
My Logbook: 9th flight on US Airways / 21st flight on the A319 / 278th airline flight overall

http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/7417/47566293.jpg

After leaving Gravelly Point, I quickly and easily dropped off my Hertz rental car at DCA’s return facilities in the parking garage and proceeded through the covered walkway toward the terminal building.



I continued through the airport—one of my absolute favorite terminals—and paused briefly at several points to grab some photographs. What a beautiful building!


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Upon arriving at the US Airways check-in area at the northern end of the terminal, I entered my confirmation number into one of the self-service kiosks. However, the screen instructed me to see a proper agent. After a short wait, I presented my passport to the agent at the desk, who seemed more interested in chit-chatting with her colleagues, which I did not find very professional. Nonetheless, she looked up my reservation and informed me that my 18:30 flight to Boston had been cancelled and that I would be put on the 17:30 departure instead; at this point, it was already 16:55, so I would have to hurry to the gate. I asked if it would be possible to have a window seat on my rebooked flight; she replied that the flight was completely full and that I would have to make due with a middle seat. I was disappointed, but knew that further discussing it would not lead to anything, and besides, there was not much time. I placed my two large suitcases on the scale and, fortunately, both came in just under the weight limit at 49 pounds (22 kilograms). The agent, who was still chatting with her colleagues about their personal lives, tagged both of the bags and tried to send me on my way. However, she had not given me my boarding passes—only my baggage receipts! She had forgotten to pull the boarding passes from the printer and, only after I had reminded her of them did she nonchalantly hand them over before returning to her conversation. I believe this was the first time I have ever checked in and had to specifically remind the agent to give me my boarding passes! However, there was a bright side to her incompetence. Normally, I should have paid $55 for my second checked bag. Apparently this was not on her mind, and I definitely did not bring it up. Of course, I was happy not have been charged. Still, I was not very impressed with the US Airways experience so far. There was no explanation for the cancelled flight and, although I ended up getting a seat on an earlier flight, the incompetency of this agent was astounding.

Fortunately, the security lines were extremely light and I was through in less than five minutes. I soon found my Airbus A319—still sporting the old, dark blue and grey fuselage—being prepped at Gate 45.



Shortly after arriving at the gate area, boarding began. The process went rather slowly for us coach passengers; with the aircraft boarding from the rear in intervals of just three rows, it took awhile for me, in seat 9E, to finally head down the jetway. At 17:20, I made my way onto the aircraft and found my seat on the right-hand side. To my surprise, I had lucked out by receiving a “non-window, window seat.” Although I was still in the “middle” seat, there was no seat next to mine because I was in an exit row. I was not directly next to the window, but at least no one was sitting between me and my view. For having a middle seat, this was not bad at all! I snapped the obligatory leg photo—nothing special, but it is interesting to note that there were two safety cards in my seat pocket. Perhaps one was for the non-existent seat to my right?



As the final preparations for departure were being completed, one of the pilots gave an announcement from the flight deck welcoming everyone aboard and indicating an expected flight time of one hour. At precisely our scheduled departure time of 17:30, the aircraft pushed backward from the gate and the engines spooled to life. Based on my earlier spotting session at Gravelly Point and the stiff wind I had felt from the south, I knew we would be departing from RWY19. I had been hoping for a RWY01 departure with its great views of downtown Washington; but sure enough, we began taxiing to the north, which unfortunately meant a southbound departure.

After a quick taxi, we took to the centerline and the two engines screamed to full thrust. I felt my back push hard against my seat and we rocketed off the runway at 17:38. The Airbus climbed straight out for several minutes before making a wide left turn back to the north-northeast. Given that I was several feet from the window and that the weather was mostly cloudy, I did not snap as many photos as I normally would have. Indeed there was not much to see out the window; still, here is a photo of the gray wing slicing through a gray sky as we climbed out of the Washington area.



At 18:10, about thirty minutes into the flight, one of the pilots made an announcement informing us that we had reached our cruising altitude of FL330. He mentioned that we would cruise for about 20 minutes before beginning our descent at 18:30, with an anticipated landing time of 18:55. As he was making his announcement, the flight attendants reached my row with the beverage cart. As this was a US Airways Shuttle flight, beer and wine were complimentary; being one to indulge in such situations, I gladly accepted a can of cold, crisp Becks. The flight attendant serving me was extremely friendly and efficient. In this case, I was quite impressed; kudos to the flight crew and to US Airways.



I passed the time sipping my beer and reading the Washington Post, which of course was filled with news about the previous day’s raid and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Glancing around the cabin, scores of people were reading newspapers with Bin Laden’s photo on the front. It was a bit strange to be on an airliner seeing photos of Bin Laden all around me. At the same time, it was also uplifting to know that people were still flying, continuing to do the very things this terrorist had tried to disrupt. Somehow that thought made me enjoy my flight just a little bit more.

At 18:30, the pilot made yet another announcement, updating us with the latest weather in Boston. I always appreciate it when pilots are chatty and give their passengers as much information as possible. He noted that we had just started our descent and that our expected landing time of 18:55 was still on target. The weather in Boston was good, with ten miles (16 kilometers) of visibility, scattered clouds and a temperature of 58 Fahrenheit (14 Celsius).

The flight attendants collected the beverage cans and cups as we dropped through several layers of gray atmosphere. Eventually we dropped from the clouds and I spied the waters of Boston Harbor. I like this scenic approach, with the many islands emerging from the water.


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We landed smoothly, and earlier than anticipated, on RWY04R at 18:47 after one hour and nine minutes in the air from Washington. The aircraft turned left off the runway and proceeded toward the B Terminal, where we arrived at Gate 18 just a few minutes later. On the way I had a nice view of the iconic control tower at Boston Logan.



As I had been in the front third of the aircraft, I deplaned quickly. Once in the terminal, I of course took the opportunity to grab a photo of the nice little Airbus that had delivered me to Boston.



I also took the time to grab a few photos of the local machinery—all US Airways from this vantage point.



The Boston skyline loomed in the background, which, combined with the setting sun, provided a beautiful view.


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After seeing all the action there was to see from this part of the complex, I proceeded toward the exits, trying to follow the signs to the international facilities at Terminal E. Unfortunately neither the signage nor the layout of the terminals were particularly user-friendly, but after making my way through the parking garages, I found the way. As I already had my boarding pass for the Boston-Frankfurt leg, and as my bags were automatically being forwarded, I did not need to visit the Lufthansa check-in counters. However, I managed to snap a couple of photos of the nice, modern check-in area of Terminal E.


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After a ten minute wait, I made my way through security and arrived airside at 19:45, still two and a half hours before my flight to Frankfurt. I knew I would receive dinner over the Atlantic, but I was hungry and needed something sooner. The food offerings were not extensive inside the secure zone, so I settled for O’Brian’s Pub. I ordered a Sam Adams and a chicken quesadilla, which hit the spot temporarily.



After eating, I pulled out my laptop at the table to do some work-related tasks. After completing a brief survey of my experiences at Boston Logan, I was entitled to an hour of free Wi-Fi—not a bad deal.

FLIGHT 2
Date: 02/03 May 2011
Route: BOS-FRA
Flight #: LH421
Aircraft Type: Airbus A340-311
Aircraft Registration: D-AIGH (Koblenz)
Scheduled Departure: 22:15 EST
Actual Takeoff: 22:18 EST
Scheduled Arrival: 11:30 CEST
Actual Landing: 11:38 CEST
Flight Time: 7:20
Distance: 3,669 miles / 5,905 kilometers
Altitude: FL350 / FL360 / FL370 / FL390
Seat: 37K
Load: Economy = 90% / Business = Unknown / First = Unknown
My Logbook: 5th flight on Lufthansa / 1st flight on the A340-300 / 279th airline flight overall



Eventually the scheduled boarding time of 21:30 arrived and I proceeded toward the gate, which was not far from where I was sitting. The gate area was extremely crowded with an A340-load of passengers all clamoring to get onboard. At 21:40, the process began with the upper echelons boarding first, followed by everyone in coach class without regard to row or seat position. Somehow the chaos worked rather efficiently and I soon made my way down the corridor and into the fuselage. I found my seat at 37K, a right-side window near the rear of the aircraft. As before, the legroom was tight but still acceptable.



I had selected this particular return itinerary in order to experience my first flight on the A340-300 and, for that matter, only my second flight on an A340 of any variant (the other being a LH A340-600 I flew on from Chicago to Frankfurt in 2008). I had not been able to see the aircraft at all from the gate, so the writing on the safety card showed that I was indeed on the right machine, as did the slender-shaped outboard engine hanging from the right wing.


*


While still parked at the gate, the Captain made an announcement, first in German and then in English, welcoming us onboard and mentioning that our aircraft was an “Airbus 340-300.” He indicated that our expected flight time was six hours and fifty-five minutes and that our route would take us over Newfoundland, the Atlantic Ocean south of Iceland, Scotland and further toward Germany. Upon arrival in Frankfurt, the weather was expected to be similar to that of Boston—cloudy but no rain and decent visibility.

With the hatches buttoned and the passengers seated, we pushed back from the gate at 22:10, five minutes ahead of schedule. We taxied a short distance to the threshold of RWY15R and briefly paused for a British Airways 747-400 departing in front of us. At 22:18, the four engines spooled up and we began a lumbering takeoff roll, finally rotating into the night sky. The sensation was not especially powerful as we slowly climbed out over Boston Harbor before making a shallow left turn. Five minutes after leaving the runway, the flight tracker on my screen showed an altitude of just 3,000 feet (914 meters); after a full ten minutes in the air, we had climbed to only 12,000 feet (3,658 meters). The ride was easy and smooth, but we certainly were not setting any time-to-climb records with this big bird. Thirty minutes after departure, we leveled off at FL350 while plotting a course to the northeast toward Halifax, Nova Scotia.



Shortly thereafter, the flight attendants came through the cabin offering hot towels. Another forty minutes passed—which was approximately an hour and fifteen minutes into the flight—before they came through again with dinner and drinks. Unlike on my westbound, daytime crossing of the Atlantic a few days earlier, there was no pre-meal drink. Perhaps this was because of the late-night departure and the need for the crew to expedite the dinner service in order to allow passengers more time to sleep. However, the amount of time following departure that it took for the meal to arrive was approximately the same on both flights. So if the reason for not serving a pre-meal drink was indeed to expedite the dinner service, that strategy did not work. Granted, this flight was fuller than the one several days ago, which certainly affects the speed of the service.

When dinner arrived, the choice was either chicken and rice or pasta. I opted for the pasta, as I had chosen the chicken and rice several days earlier. Unfortunately, the meal was not as good this time. The salad was soggy, the pasta was dry and dull, as was the bread roll, and the chocolate brownie with too much whipped cream was mediocre at best. I took the food with a decent glass of white wine.



Overall, I was a little disappointed with this meal. Other than free wine, there was little to distinguish the quality of this meal from what is served on most US carriers on transatlantic flights. For a European carrier, I was expecting the food on this flight to be a notch better. And certainly, this meal was of a lower quality that what Lufthansa had offered on my westbound flight a few days before.

Shortly after the dinner trays were cleared, the flight attendants went through the cabin offering either cognac or Baileys Irish Cream, just as they had on the earlier westbound flight. This was most welcome, as I was looking forward to a post-meal cognac. However, the flight attendant passing by my seat seemed to not actually want to offer anything. He hurriedly walked down the aisle and I had to make an extra attempt to actually get his attention and ask for a drink; even then, he poured me a shot and handed it to me without so much as a word. He was not rude per se, just indifferent.

I sat back, relaxed and sipped my cognac while catching up on writing some postcards. Postcards may be old-fashioned in this modern age, but in my family they remain an important ritual!



Meanwhile, the big quad-jet headed out over the open Atlantic. I love crossing this ocean. No matter the aircraft, airline, direction, time of day (or night) or anything else, an Atlantic crossing is always special to me. With my postcards finished, I settled in, leaned back and contemplated this feeling, this flight and my transatlantic flights of the past.



I dozed off for a couple of hours, sleeping restlessly in my cramped seat. I woke up every 15 minutes, on average. Still, that is part of the experience and I am never one to complain too much!

About four hours into the flight, I opened the window shade and noticed the sun had begun to rise. The ride was smooth and peaceful as we jetted eastward through the dawn sky.


*

*


At this point, we were directly over the middle of the Atlantic, with about three hours to go until Frankfurt. In the meantime, we had moved up another thousand feet to FL360.


*


Despite the beautiful sunrise, I was tired and fell back into a restless sleep once again. When I awoke and reopened the window shade, the sun was high in the sky and the sounds of the breakfast service were beginning to fill the cabin. At this point we were almost six hours out of Boston and had a little more than one hour remaining until arrival in Frankfurt. As we continued east-south-east over Wales, we also made one final altitude increase, from FL370 to FL390.



Soon the Bristol Channel came into view just west of Cardiff.



The breakfast cart reached my row and I was offered a cardboard box with plastic-wrapped items. The pre-packaged presentation looked somewhat artificial and unappetizing.



Once I had removed all the wrappers, however, it looked more edible. The fruit was fresh and the bread roll tasted nice. A cup of hot coffee also hit the spot.



We soon left British airspace behind and continued overhead the English Channel. This narrow strip of water passed quickly and the French coast of the European mainland came into view.



The weather was clear and I enjoyed nice views of the port and city at Dunkirk, France, situated close to the Belgian border.


*


As the flight attendants cleared the last of the breakfast items, the flight map showed us directly overhead Brussels. Although this was my final destination, I still had a stop in Frankfurt, first. I do not mind backtracking—the more flying the better!

Soon thereafter, one of the pilots made an announcement that because of high winds in Frankfurt, aircraft movements were limited to one direction and that the flow of traffic was slower than normal. As a result, he explained, we were instructed to fly holding circles—likely for about ten minutes—while awaiting our landing clearance. He also noted that, aside from the windy conditions, the weather was nice with sunny skies and a temperature of 10 degrees C (50 degrees F).

We soon entered into a series of right-hand turns; the map showed that our holding altitude was FL190 (5,791 meters) as we traced ovals in the sky near Koblenz, Germany, northwest of Frankfurt.



After making two complete turns, we left the holding pattern and proceeded to the west of Frankfurt. We continued our descent toward the broken cloud layer below.



All of a sudden, I spied a fast-moving streak of metal outside and pushed my camera toward the window. I managed to get two photos of this Lufthansa 747-400 as it passed beneath us and quickly slipped from my field of view.


*


We eventually entered a left-hand turn and began making our way back to the east toward Frankfurt.



We descended through the broken cloud layer and the flaps began to extend. Soon the Rhine River near Mainz slipped beneath the wing perpendicular to our heading. The air was rough and jolted even our big quad-jet back and forth.



Immediately thereafter the city of Rüsselsheim came into view as we descended through the choppy air.



The forests just west of the airport filled my window as the aircraft dropped ever lower until finally, the perimeter of the field came into view.


*


The A340 crossed overhead RWY18/36 before settling into a gentle flare.


*


At 11:38 CEST the tires smoothly touched the asphalt of RWY07R after seven hours and twenty minutes on the wing from Boston. Despite the bumpy approach nearly all the way to the pavement, the landing was soft as could be.


*


We exited the runway to the left and taxied slowly to the terminal. We crossed the parallel RWY07L/25R before passing a number of heavy Lufthansa cousins on the tarmac.


*


We docked at the gate next to a British Airways 767 at about ten minutes before noon. With that, another transatlantic voyage was complete.



It took another ten minutes before I was able to get off the aircraft. Once inside the terminal, before continuing to immigration control, I found a nice view of my Airbus A340 and snapped a couple of photos. Thanks for the ride!


*


As I was not issued a boarding pass in Washington for the final Frankfurt-Brussels leg, I proceeded to the nearest transfer desk. After a five minute wait, the friendly agent issued my document and directed me onward to immigration, which was a considerable distance by foot down a series of long corridors. Thankfully, immigration itself was a quick affair and I then exited the secure zone and entered the main hall of Terminal 1. As my next flight was scheduled to depart from the A gates at the western end of the terminal, I continued to the opposite side of the main hall and proceeded directly back through security.

FLIGHT 3
Date: 03 May 2011
Route: FRA-BRU
Flight #: LH1012
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-530
Aircraft Registration: D-ABIR (Anklam)
Scheduled D

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1916 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10833 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Good report, BZNPilot!

Looks you had a nice trip to the US. I'm impressed with the high level of service you received on LH. Looks very nice in Economy!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I have noticed that on some carriers, especially those in the U.S., asking for two drinks can lead to an annoyed response from the flight attendant; on Lufthansa, however, it seems to be not only offered, but also encouraged.

I've noticed this recently here in the US, and its really strange. If I'm thirsty, is it really that much of an inconvience for asking for two drinks? On a recent flight from MSP-JFK on a Delta Connection CR9, the flight attendant said (jokingly and then patted me on the back ...) "You're only supposed to get one!   ... It seemed a bit unnecessary as most of the rest of the cabin was sleeping. Oh well.

Looking forward to your next trip!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10735 times:

Hi again, everyone,

Unfortunately, the A.net website leaves much to be desired. Even though I posted my report in its entirety, and everything appeared in full in the preview, as soon as I hit "post," the website chopped off the last bit of my report, including the final analysis. Therefore, now, please see the rest of the report, continued from above. Sorry for any inconvenience.

BZNPilot


FLIGHT 3
Date: 03 May 2011
Route: FRA-BRU
Flight #: LH1012
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-530
Aircraft Registration: D-ABIR (Anklam)
Scheduled Departure: 13:05 CEST
Actual Takeoff: 14:17 CEST
Scheduled Arrival: 14:00 CEST
Actual Landing: 14:58 CEST
Flight Time: 0:41
Distance: 189 miles / 304 kilometers
Altitude: Unknown
Seat: 18A
Load: Economy = 50% / Business = Unknown
My Logbook: 6th flight on Lufthansa / 8th flight on the 737-500 / 280th airline flight overall



I arrived at the departure gate, A20, at 12:30, just five minutes before the scheduled boarding time. I had not wasted any time during my layover, and even so, I arrived with just a few minutes of padding. Therefore, when connecting in Frankfurt from an international arrival to a Schengen departure, I would certainly recommend more than the hour and thirty-five minutes I had—the Frankfurt airport is just too spread out to ensure a quick transfer in some cases.

At the scheduled boarding time of 12:35, the screen at the departure gate changed to indicate a delay of fifteen minutes and a new boarding time of 12:50. With that in mind, I decided to grab a quick coffee from the complimentary beverage machine near the gate. This selection of free coffee, tea and cocoa courtesy of Lufthansa is an excellent touch!



I also took advantage of the delay in boarding to snap a photo of the nearby ramp action.



At 12:50, the gate agents started the boarding process. Given the fairly light passenger load, it did not take too long for everyone to make his or her way through the gate and downstairs to a waiting bus which would take us to the aircraft parked at a remote stand. What I was not anticipating was just how “remote” the stand really was; the bus took us clear to the far eastern side of the airport, even past Terminal 2, to stand V96. I was not complaining, however, as the 10-minute ride offered neat views of the ramp. It was difficult to take photos from the moving bus, but I did manage to catch a nice lineup of 747-400s, as well as my first-ever, in-person glimpse of the massive A380!

http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/9678/177oj.jpg
*


We finally pulled next to our waiting Boeing, which was prepped for boarding through both the front and rear doors. I made my way toward the rear door and snapped several photos while on the ramp and the stairs.


*

*

*


Entering the aircraft from the rear door, I made my way forward a few rows before finding my seat at 18A on the left side. Shortly thereafter, at 13:15, the captain made a welcome announcement and explained that because of the strong winds, only the east-west runways were in use (in other words not RWY18/36), which had slowed traffic considerably. He explained, therefore, that we would have to wait another 35 minutes before leaving our parking position. As Brussels was my final destination and I had caught the last flight of my journey, I did not mind the delay. The flight attendants made use of the time and performed the safety demonstration, which was conducted in German and English, with recordings also played in French and Dutch.

The legroom, as expected, was not generous but still adequate.



Of course, I also snapped the compulsory safety card and wing view photos.


*


While we waited on the tarmac, the flight attendants came through the aisle offering water and chocolate. I was impressed with this gesture of service; the chocolate was a generously sized piece with the Lufthansa logo on the front. It tasted great as well.



At 13:52, we finally pushed back from the stand and began to taxi.



I knew the strong winds had been out of the east earlier in the day when I had arrived on RWY07R from Boston. This had not changed, meaning the two eastbound runways were still in use. Therefore, we had to taxi all the way back to the far western end of the airport, which I knew would take some time. As we made our way, stop-and-go style, along the taxiway, I watched the slew of arrivals and departures on the runways to my left. I took several photos of the action.


*

*
http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/3849/191hur.jpg
*


Finally, at 14:17, after a 25-minute taxi, it was our turn for departure. We turned onto RWY07L, took to the centerline and the engines screamed to power.


*


We accelerated down the runway, my back pushed tight against the seat during this very powerful takeoff. Soon the little Boeing jumped skyward and we climbed out steeply, the terminals of Frankfurt-Main slipping quickly through my window-frame. Just a terrific sensation!


*

*

*

*


Soon the aircraft banked to the right for a 180-degree turn back to the west.



After the wings leveled, I caught a glimpse of Frankfurt-Egelsbach Airport, a general aviation field just south of Frankfurt-Main International.



We then made a left turn to assume our initial course toward Brussels before crossing over the Rhine River just south of Mainz.


*


Given the short length of the flight, the flight attendants quickly sprang into action. Impressively, they offered a full beverage service including hot and cold drinks, wine and beer. I opted for a beer and was impressed to receive a glass bottle; this was much more welcome than the usual can which is offered on most airlines, even in premium class.



Meanwhile, we leveled off for a short cruise. I sipped my beer in the warm afternoon light coming through the window while watching the fields and clouds slip by below. What a beautiful day to be in the air.



About twenty minutes after takeoff, the captain announced that after the significant delay leaving Frankfurt, they were now doing their best to make up at least a few minutes by flying at the fastest possible speed. He did not provide any information about our altitude, but did estimate an arrival in Brussels in about twenty minutes, just before 15:00. He also noted that the weather in Brussels was good with plenty of sunshine and a temperature of 13 degrees C (55 degrees F).

Soon thereafter, we started our descent. Brustem Airport, a small, general aviation field near the Flemish town of Sint-Truiden, came into view off the left-hand side.



Next, I spotted Beauvechain Airbase, located approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) southeast of Brussels.



As the flight attendants gathered the remaining service items, the flaps began their deployment.



Soon the southern edges of Brussels began to appear.


*


We then skirted the eastern edge of the city and I realized we were making a northerly approach to RWY02. This would be my first arrival or departure on RWY02/20.


*


The threshold of the runway sped past as we began a gentle flare.



At 14:58, just 41 minutes after leaving Frankfurt, we touched the asphalt and I was back in Belgium.



We decelerated quickly and turned off the runway to the left. Only four minutes after touching down, we docked at stand 149, which translates to Gate 49. Another Lufthansa machine was waiting next door to welcome us. Our arrival was about an hour later than scheduled, but I was happy to be home nonetheless.


*


Given the light passenger load, I was off the aircraft soon thereafter and made my way through the jetbridge into the terminal. Of course, I had to grab a final shot of the nice little Boeing awaiting its return mission to Frankfurt.



Before continuing to the baggage claim, I paused to take a photo of this interesting 757 at a nearby gate. This belongs to Privilege Style, a Madrid-based charter airline. I had never heard of this airline before, so this was a new one for me.



Following a short wait at baggage claim and a 15-minute taxi ride home, my trip was complete. It was a busy few days and I enjoyed all my flights, and especially the new experiences of flying through Munich on the outbound trip and finally catching the A340-300 on the Boston-Frankfurt leg on the way back. Here are some examples of the Lufthansa souvenirs I picked up along the way.


*

*

*

CONCLUDING ANALYSIS

Based on this experience, I have generally positive things to say about Lufthansa. Below I have rated my experiences in eight different categories on a scale of 1 to 10.

Reservation & online services: Lufthansa’s online services, including seat selection, worked well. After having booked my ticket through the United website, I was able to easily locate my reservation online on the Lufthansa system. I was able to choose my seats well in advance for the long-haul flights, and 24 hours in advance for the short haul flights. SCORE: 9/10

Check-in: My check-in experience with the Lufthansa agent in Brussels was positive. The agent handled the difficult situation of the paper jam quite well, resolved the problem and sent my on my way quickly. The check-in experience in Washingon with US Airways was quite poor, but I will not factor that into this evaluation, which is primarily focused on Lufthansa. SCORE: 8/10

Seats and cabin condition: In this area my impressions were generally good. Although the seat pitch was fairly tight on the transatlantic legs, it was within industry norms. The cabins were all in excellent condition, the lavatories were well stocked and there were nice amenities such as the aviation postcards offered on the bulkhead of each aircraft. SCORE: 8/10

Cabin crew: The Lufthansa cabin crew were generally helpful, polite and professional. They seemed to make an effort to deliver a quality experience. The only instance in which this was not the case was on the BOS-FRA leg, when dinner service was quite slow and the particular flight attendant serving me seemed indifferent. Still, my overall impression was mostly positive. SCORE: 7/10

Food and drink: Overall, I was impressed with Lufthansa’s product in this regard. There were little touches that set Lufthansa apart from other airlines. For example, the flight attendants asked each time if I wanted both a hot and a cold drink. During the delay on the ground before the FRA-BRU flight, chocolates and water were offered; and once in the air, a full beverage service, including glass bottles of beer, was offered despite the very short flight. On the transatlantic flights, the post-meal cognac was a very nice touch. The meal on the westbound transatlantic flight was also excellent for economy class. The only offering that was not excellent was the meal on the BOS-FRA leg; in this case, it was simply the level of quality I would have expected on a US carrier, not Lufthansa. But all in all, Lufthansa provided a very good food and beverage product. SCORE: 9/10

Inflight entertainment: I was pleased with this aspect of my experience. On the transatlantic legs, the seatback entertainment system was comprehensive and easy to use. I do not often watch movies while flying, but the selection of on-demand films was quite extensive. The flight tracker and inflight information—the most important thing to me—worked well. There was also a wide selection of music and games, as well as useful information about arrival procedures at each of Lufthansa’s international destinations. The entire system worked well—no glitches or freezing up. On the short-haul flights, the inflight entertainment was limited to the magazine in the seatback. It would be nice if, in the future, Lufthansa were to offer seatback screens across its fleet; however, for my two short flights, the product was very much acceptable. SCORE: 9/10

Baggage: My suitcases arrived fairly quickly on the belt at my final destination on both the outbound and inbound journeys. There is nothing more to say in this regard. SCORE: 10/10

Punctuality: The only area where Lufthansa seemed to show a systematic weakness was punctuality. Granted, two of the three delays I experienced were weather related—the fog in Munich and the high winds in Frankfurt. Clearly, this was also a result of air traffic control dealing with slower than normal operations. Thus, Lufthansa cannot be faulted per se. Still, it is noteworthy that three out of my four flights were significantly delayed. I arrived at both of my destinations—Washington and Brussels—at least an hour behind schedule. Therefore, regardless of who or what was responsible for the delays, I cannot really say that my experience on Lufthansa was punctual. SCORE 6/10

RESERVATION & ONLINE SERVICES: 9/10
CHECK-IN: 8/10
SEATS & CABIN CONDITION: 8/10
CABIN CREW: 7/10
FOOD & DRINK: 9/10
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: 9/10
BAGGAGE: 10/10
PUNCTUALITY: 6/10
-------------------------------------------------------------
AVERAGE SCORE: 66/80 = 82.5%

In my final assessment, Lufthansa continues to offer a great economy product on both short- and long-haul flights. Especially when crossing the Atlantic, Lufthansa, which I rated at 82.5%, is still a clear notch above US carriers in my opinion. For example, in similar trip reports last year, I rated Delta at 71%, while United came in at 55%. Lufthansa’s product is not perfect, and there are things the airline could do to improve. But in general, I have good things to say about what I experienced. I congratulate the carrier for maintaining a very strong product and I look forward to my next flights with Lufthansa.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this report! This was by far the longest, most thorough report I have produced, so if you have made it this far, congratulations! Comments, questions and feedback are most welcome.

BZNPilot

My other reports on Airliners.net can be seen at:

Day Tripping: 3 Flights, 3 Countries, Many Pics (by BZNPilot Jun 13 2011 in Trip Reports)
Trans-Atlantic Part 2: BZN-DEN-OKC-IAD-GVA-BRU (by BZNPilot Dec 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
Trans-Atlantic Part 1: BRU-ATL-SLC-BZN On DL (by BZNPilot Nov 15 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Bee-Line To Madrid: SN’s A319 & B733 (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Sep 13 2010 in Trip Reports)
YVR-PDX-BFI: Horizon + SeaPort's PC-12 (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Jul 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Day Tripping: DCA-DTW-MKE-DCA On NW/YX (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Jul 25 2009 in Trip Reports)
BZN-IAD On Skywest/Delta (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Jan 24 2009 in Trip Reports)
DCA-SEA + Boeing Field + Holiday Travel Odyssey (by BZNPilot Jan 3 2009 in Trip Reports)
CDG-FRA-IAD On AF/UA (Part 2, Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Nov 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
DCA-ORD-FRA-CDG On UA/LH/AF (Part 1, Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Nov 9 2008 in Trip Reports)
Planes & Trains To Montreal (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Sep 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
IAD-DEN-BZN-ORD-DCA On UA Biz/Y (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
DC-9+A320+738s On NW/DL To MT (pics) (by BZNPilot Aug 3 2008 in Trip Reports)
DC To Montana On NW (many Pics) (by BZNPilot Jun 15 2008 in Trip Reports)
HKG-ORD-DCA On UA In Coach (pics) (by BZNPilot Jun 14 2008 in Trip Reports)
HKG-MNL-HKG On CX (Business) W Pics (by BZNPilot Feb 25 2008 in Trip Reports)
Manila-Caticlan-Manila For New Years (Pics) (by BZNPilot Jan 24 2008 in Trip Reports)
MRY-SFO-HKG On UA (with Pics) (by BZNPilot Feb 2 2008 in Trip Reports)
DCA-PHL-SFO (with Pics) (by BZNPilot Jan 29 2008 in Trip Reports)
Northwest Tri-Jets To Germany In 1999 (Many Pics) (by BZNPilot Feb 5 2010 in Trip Reports)
Lama Chopper In The Montana Mountains (w Pics) (by BZNPilot Jul 21 2008 in Trip Reports)


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1169 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 10218 times:

Industry norms are 31" or 32" legroom.

I try to stick with airlines offering 32" as I feel the difference. That's why I avoid LH, UA and BA unless it's an Award ticket.


User currently offlineGjunnar From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 10014 times:

Great report as always! Thanks for taking the time of putting it together.

LH seems to have really offered a good performance with some room for improvement.

That fog at MUC is really crazy, I can't remember when I've last seen fog like that.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
As this was a US Airways Shuttle flight, beer and wine were complimentary

Why is that?

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, the meal was not as good this time. The salad was soggy, the pasta was dry and dull, as was the bread roll, and the chocolate brownie with too much whipped cream was mediocre at best

I've had the same experience concerning flights FROM the US. The food produced in Europe (no offense!) just seems to be of higher quality, which ever airline you're getting it on.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3203 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9337 times:

Great report!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Exactly twenty minutes after departure, the flight attendants reached me with the food and drink cart. I asked for a coffee with milk and was also given a packaged Belgian waffle. The flight attendant was extremely friendly and asked me if I would like a cold drink in addition to my coffee; I declined this, but was nonetheless impressed at the fact that she offered a second beverage. The strong coffee was excellent and the waffle, despite being pre-packaged, was also tasty; I do like this “junk food” sometimes.

Intersting to see what you got for breakfast. LH seems to had a lot of different dtyles on shorthual. This morning for breakfast., LH gave me some cereal and a yohurt drink - very nice!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Once in the ramp area, one could only see the faint outline of nearby aircraft. It wasn’t until we neared the parking stand directly next to another aircraft that there was any depth perception outside the window.

Wow, it WAS foggy!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I succeeded and soon settled comfortably into seats 40A and 40C. My new view out the window looked like this.

Nice to have a bit of space

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
This started out with a hot towel, followed approximately forty-five minutes later by a choice of either pizza or a hot dog.

That was a reather long wait. I like to get the towel, then the food straight after

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I continued through the airport—one of my absolute favorite terminals—and paused briefly at several points to grab some photographs. What a beautiful building!

It is indeed a lovely building

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
After a short wait, I presented my passport to the agent at the desk, who seemed more interested in chit-chatting with her colleagues, which I did not find very professional.

My worst ever check in experience was with US in DCA. I guess it's still the same cr@p team working there

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I found my seat at 37K, a right-side window near the rear of the aircraft. As before, the legroom was tight but still acceptable.

Big IFE box. Shame they can't make it any smaller

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Shortly thereafter, the flight attendants came through the cabin offering hot towels. Another forty minutes passed—which was approximately an hour and fifteen minutes into the flight—before they came through again with dinner and drinks.

Same thing happened on my recent BOF-FRA. Took them nearly 2 hours to serve dinner, not good on a night flight.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-GVA-LHR-TXL-LHR-VE-PRN,SPU-OSL-LHR, LGW-DXB-BKK-DXB-LHR
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8564 times:

Hi everyone, thanks for your comments, much appreciated!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 1):
Good report, BZNPilot!

Hi Matthew, thanks for taking the time to comment again on one of my reports!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 1):
I'm impressed with the high level of service you received on LH. Looks very nice in Economy!

Indeed, as far as a TATL economy product goes, I can't complain about much with LH, all in all.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 1):
on a Delta Connection CR9, the flight attendant said (jokingly and then patted me on the back ...) "You're only supposed to get one!   ... It seemed a bit unnecessary as most of the rest of the cabin was sleeping. Oh well.

That's annoying, for sure...it's a shame when people are overly obsessed with "the rules" and what is supposed to be the right practice, when in fact there's no harm in looking around at the sleeping passengers and realizing, hey, this guy would like two drinks, there's no harm in going the extra fraction of a mile to ensure a happy customer. You're right, about all you can say is "oh well."

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Looking forward to your next trip!

Thanks, I should have another one up soon, followed by another (hopefully) not too long after that. I look forward to reading about your next adventures as well.

Hi lychemsa,

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 3):
I try to stick with airlines offering 32" as I feel the difference.

Yep, it's only an inch or so, but the difference can indeed be noticeable.

Hi Gjunnar,

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 4):
Great report as always!

Thanks, much appreciated!

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 4):
LH seems to have really offered a good performance with some room for improvement.

Yep, that's exactly right.

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 4):
Why is that?

Based on my understanding of the US Airways Shuttle product, they are targeting the business crowd on the busy northeast corridor routes (DCA-LGA/BOS) so they offer a bit better product than on normal US Airways flights. Among the extra "perks" are free wine and beer in economy, dedicated departure gates to reduce delays, etc. and the guarantee of roomier, non-regional aircraft (either A319s or E190s). So it's a bit better than the normal US (or US Express) experience.

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 4):
I've had the same experience concerning flights FROM the US. The food produced in Europe (no offense!) just seems to be of higher quality, which ever airline you're getting it on.

No offense taken, I agree completely! There is a noticeable difference in catering based on the origin, regardless of the carrier. In general, the product originating in Europe is better.
Thanks again for your comments, Gjunnar  

Hi gabrielchew,

Thanks for your nice comments, much appreciated.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Intersting to see what you got for breakfast. LH seems to had a lot of different dtyles on shorthual.

Indeed, it seems that the LH shorthaul product, in terms of snack options, really vary from one place to another. I like that variety, though.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Wow, it WAS foggy!

Yeah, that was probably the worst fog I've seen in my almost 300 commercial flights to date. A neat achievement of airmanship and technology that we were able to land at all.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
That was a reather long wait. I like to get the towel, then the food straight after

Totally agree, the wait was too long.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Same thing happened on my recent BOF-FRA. Took them nearly 2 hours to serve dinner, not good on a night flight.

Agree once again. I'm sure it takes awhile to feed an entire A340, but still...didn't seem like they were in much of a rush in my experience.

Thanks again for posting, everyone. Cheers.
BZNPilot


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1659 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8498 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi BZNPilot,

I was positively surprised to see another report from your hands, it has been too long   And what a report, congrats! You have really outdone yourself in providing this detailed story accompanied by excellent pics. I am always glad to read about my own hometown airport BRU and the pics in the end really made me smile, a rwy 02 arrival is also something I experienced only once... Like you said in your conclusion and which was obvious throughout your story: LH is a decent airline with good customer service and enjoyable staff. Nice to see you got to see MUC as well as FRA, the 2 major German gateways to the world. I've never been to MUC but I've been to FRA and it is really an amazing airport, so much to see!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
The seat pitch was not generous

It sure LOOKS ok? I find the seatpitch on LH quite good, but I guess you did not have the latest cabin config and the ultrathin Recaro's?

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
however, it seems to be not only offered, but also encouraged

They obviously don't want you to get dehydrated  

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
while filling out the necessary document

Is that a US passport (stupid question: yes it is!). I thought you were a true Belgian now? Or you only gained residency?

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I ended up watching most of the movie “Little Fokkers,” which provided some mild amusement

I'd say 'spiceless' entertainment...

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Even after eight hours in the air, staring out the window at that gorgeous wing did not get boring. This was my porthole to the outside world.

That's just what flying's all about.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Here are a few photos from my brief, half-hour visit to Gravelly Point.

Don't tell me you don't know the spotting locations at BRU  Wow!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
What a beautiful building!

It has a bit or Art Nouveau feel to it.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
There was no explanation for the cancelled flight and, although I ended up getting a seat on an earlier flight, the incompetency of this agent was astounding.

Truly not professional at all!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
in intervals of just three rows

Per 3 rows? What kind of a boarding process is that?

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
The sensation was not especially powerful

Hey, you are on a A343, you know. Second name 'Ms Lazy'  

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I took the food with a decent glass of white wine.

At least the wine was good   

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
And certainly, this meal was of a lower quality that what Lufthansa had offered on my westbound flight a few days before.

US catering versus EU catering?

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I managed to get two photos of this Lufthansa 747-400 as it passed beneath us and quickly slipped from my field of view.

Great timing and shot.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
smoothly touched the asphalt of RWY07R

Did you notice FRA has the same rwy orientation as BRU's 2 main runways?

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
Just a terrific sensation!

Indeed!

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
and was impressed to receive a glass bottle

I'm impressed as well, never seen that in recent times on any airline...

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
This was by far the longest, most thorough report I have produced, so if you have made it this far, congratulations!

It was a great read, thanks!




In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 15 hours ago) and read 8221 times:

Hi sultanils,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
what a report, congrats!

Thanks for your very nice comments and for commenting once again on one of my reports! Much appreciated!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
I am always glad to read about my own hometown airport BRU

Glad you enjoyed! I really like BRU...one of the best airports in Europe, in my opinion.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
It sure LOOKS ok? I find the seatpitch on LH quite good, but I guess you did not have the latest cabin config and the ultrathin Recaro's?

Indeed, looking in the photo now it appears better than I remember it...It felt tight at the time, though of course nothing to complain about too much, as it is still within industry norms. Not the new ultrathin seats, nonetheless.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
They obviously don't want you to get dehydrated

 
Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Is that a US passport (stupid question: yes it is!). I thought you were a true Belgian now? Or you only gained residency?

Nope, I'm not a true Belgian, though this is definitely a place that is feeling like home more and more all the time. You've got a great country in so many ways. The process I went through earlier on was just to get my residency/work permit for 5 years. That's a good enough start for now, we'll see how life unfolds.
Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Don't tell me you don't know the spotting locations at BRU  

I don't.    I need to check it out, any recommendations?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Hey, you are on a A343, you know. Second name 'Ms Lazy'  

Indeed, I was expecting that based on the reputation of the A343, but still...she was really lazy!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
US catering versus EU catering?

Definitely...the catering when coming from anywhere in Europe is bound to beat the catering coming from anywhere in the US, airline and class of service being equal. It's just better over here. 
Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Did you notice FRA has the same rwy orientation as BRU's 2 main runways?

True enough!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
It was a great read, thanks!

Thanks again, sultanils! Really appreciate you taking the time to read and your kind comments.
Best,
BZNPilot


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1659 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months ago) and read 7976 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 8):
I don't. I need to check it out, any recommendations?

Heh, I know them all, so if you want some advice, don't hesitate to send me a PM. But then again you might know that BRU's not the most interesting airport 'trafiic wise'...

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinelostmoon744 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 172 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7831 times:

Your trip reports are just so amazingly detailed and very thoughtful. Nice work.

User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 7674 times:

Hi BZNPilot


Nice transatlantic report ex-BRU, I flew on LH back in december 2010 to Miami and was satisfied. Actually I was on the exact same flight from BRU to MUC in december, but operated by an E95. I would definate not hesitate on flying them again. Catering on my MUC-MIA-MUC flight seemed to be more than yours, I guess it's just the lenght that makes the difference here. US Airways concerning, it's not very abnormal to get some rude staff. Thank goodness the f/a's where good.


For comparision here are my reports!
Lufthansa, There Is No Better Way To Fly! (by MSS658 Jul 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Sun, Snow, Rain And ... Lufthansa! (by MSS658 Sep 4 2011 in Trip Reports)


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7267 times:

Hi lostmoon744,

Quoting lostmoon744 (Reply 10):
Your trip reports are just so amazingly detailed and very thoughtful. Nice work.

Thanks for reading and commenting, bro! Talk to ya soon man.

Hi MSS658,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
Nice transatlantic report ex-BRU,

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
Catering on my MUC-MIA-MUC flight seemed to be more than yours, I guess it's just the lenght that makes the difference here.

Indeed, I guess those extra couple of hours make a difference in terms of the product.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 11):
For comparision here are my reports!

I will definitely check out your reports, thanks for the links!

All the best,
BZNPilot


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 77
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 7012 times:

Hi BZNPilot,

interesting report, it seems you had some decent flights on LH. The breakfast service on your A343 flight is indeed mediocre.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
However, seat pitch was somewhat tight for an upcoming flight of more than nine hours. The seat next to mine was soon occupied, which further limited my elbow room.

Welcome on LH!  

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
I have noticed that on some carriers, especially those in the U.S., asking for two drinks can lead to an annoyed response from the flight attendant; on Lufthansa, however, it seems to be not only offered, but also encouraged.

Yes, you'll never hear a LH flight attendant complaining about a double order.

Quoting BZNPilot (Thread starter):
This was my first, in-person glimpse of the new United paint scheme. I am not a huge fan of the spaced-out U N I T E D lettering.

I don't like the whole combination at all. It just doesn't look right.



PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
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