Pelle From Denmark, joined Apr 2012, 57 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 6102 times:
Hello a.netters, and welcome my second trip report here on a.net.
After taking this trip I actually wasn’t going to write a trip report since it is a fairly standard route on a well-known airline. But then I in October (this Athens-trip took place in August) I had a couple of flights on Turkish Airlines, and since I felt quite a difference between these two European airlines, I figured that I best report my experience with both.
Back in the summer of 2011 my uncle & aunt gave me a gift-voucher for 2, for a European city-break (flights + hotel). This was indeed a very nice gift, and being me the flights alone would have made me more than happy
Unfortunately, the tour operator was limited to booking flights with DY, and their flights didn’t really fit my schedule. They kindly offered to just transfer the money to my account, so that I was free to choose airlines etc.
My girlfriend and I were hooked on going to Athens, since none of us had been there before, and we both wanted to see Athens/Greece.
I booked the tickets with Lufthansa in April.
August 10th 2012
Our flight from BLL was scheduled to depart at 18:55 on Friday the 10th, which meant that my girlfriend and I didn’t have to take the Friday off work. I off work early, and at about 15:00 I drove to collect my girlfriend from her job, and we headed straight for Billund airport.
The drive took about 1,5 hrs, so we were at the airport well in time for our flight. After parking the car, we walked up to the terminal and approached the check-in counter to drop off our suitcases. We had chosen to use Lufthansa’s mobile boarding pass solution, which frankly worked absolutely perfect and was a gift from above. We showed our passports and the boarding passes on our iPhones, and the woman at the check-in desk checked in our bags and attached labels with “HOT” written in block letters to both of them. This was apparently to make sure they were put last on the flight from BLL, and taken off first at FRA, to ensure that our bags made it all the way to ATH despite the short transfer time at FRA (which was 1 hr and 5 mins).
We then cleared security, and when airside had a bite to eat at Sunset Boulevard. The airside part of Billund had recently been renovated, but I of course forgot to take pictures of it. Stay tuned for my next report on Turkish Airlines, since I took pictures of Billund on that trip.
Date: August 10th 2012 Flight # & Route: LH 841 BLL-FRA Departure: 18:55 Arrival: 20:25 Seat & Class: 7F (window), Y Aircraft: D-AECD, Embraer ERJ-190 from 2010
The E-jet just arriving from Frankfurt
Our mobile boarding passes let us into the holding pen, where we sat for about 15 minutes before walking down the jetway.
An obstructed view of the regional jet that would take us to to Frankfurt.
The gate agents computer.
I got a peek at the gate agents computer. I overheard her having a conversation with what I presume was the pilot of the E-jet, stating that there were 3 passengers in Business, and 51 in Economy.
Le legroom (there was plenty) and a free newspaper, courtesy of Lufthansa.
I was very positively surprised by the interior of this jet. The cabin was bright, clean and felt spacious. The seats had very suficcient legroom and were comfortable to sit in. The 2-isle-2 seating configuration bodes well with me when travelling as a couple, as it means no overweight or sweaty stranger sat next to you.
Summary: I will choose this E-jet over an A319/320 or B737 any day, for intra-continental hops!
Ready to go!
Bye bye Billund
Clouds over western Denmark
The light snack for this short hop – it tasted fine.
A proper (glass) bottle of very decent beer, free of charge, of course. This is me falling in love with Lufthansa.
Watching the excellent series “Mad Men” on our own portable IFE.
Casting our shadow over Germany.
Frankfurts pseudo-psychadelic tunnel.
It’s not a big secret that LH pretty much owns the place.
Date: August 10th 2012 Flight # & Route: LH 1284 FRA-ATH Departure: 21:30 Arrival: 01:15 Seat & Class: 15B (window), Y Aircraft: D-AECD, Embraer ERJ-190 from 2010
Waiting at the gate. The smart electronic-automatic boarding-pass control at FRA is just visible to the right of the newspaper stand.
The A321 that would take us to Athens.
Lufthansa’s electronic boarding-pass control stations.
Lufthansa’s ”Quick boarding” solution really was smart. The only drawback was that there were only two gates, so the “technically challenged” quickly started a queue. For us it worked well, we just put our iPhones face-down on the scanner, it scanned the QR code on our mobile boarding passes, and we were let into the jetway.
I didn’t expect to get a pillow+blanket on a 4-hour flight, but nice touch by LH.
The flight to ATH was comfortable, and we spent our time in the air listening to music, watching Mad Men and sleeping.
We landed at Athens at 01:00, took a bus to the city centre, and walked to our hotel at Omonoia Square. We spent a week in Athens, and we had a good time there, however we both agreed that Athens is the one city in the world we have been to where we have felt the most unsafe. After 7 days in Athens we took a trip down to the Peloponnese to the picturesque village of Tolo. It was a welcome contrast to the city of Athens, where the current crisis was very much visible.
We decided to book a private “Taxi-tour” from Athens to Tolo, so on our way down we saw a lots of amazing historical sights. Our driver/guide Yanni was very nice, and I can highly recommend this experience.
The view of Acropolis from the rooftop bar at our Hotel.
August 19th 2012
On the morning of Sunday the 19th, we took a taxi from our hotel to Nafplio, and got a bus from there to Athens. The bus was ridiculously cheap (around €10) for a 140 km journey, and it was comfortable and air-conditioned aswell. The bus dropped us off at a bus terminal, and from there we took the bus to the airport which was noisy, cramped and uncomfortable (you’ve got to complain a bit once in a while, haven’t you :- ) )
An old school departure board by the check-in desks at ATH
We checked in our bags (all the way to BLL, of course), and entered the airside area. There was no security control to get “airside”, we just had to show our boarding passes. Security was done just before entering the gate-area.
Airside at ATH (I think there was free Wi-Fi here)
We wanted to kill some time before entering the gate-area (which looked rather barren and boring from the outside), so we found a café and had a coffee.
After finishing our coffee, we decided to clear security and enter the gate-waiting-area. Security clearing could have been a bit more organized, as it felt a bit chaotic due to the layout of the queue in relation to the metal detectors that we had to go through.
Finally some airside spotting. Just boring AF plastic, though.
Date: August 19th 2012 Flight # & Route: LH 1284 ATH-FRA Departure: 13:40 Arrival: 05:45 Seat & Class: 30B (window), Y Aircraft: D-AIRC, A321 from 1994 (!)
The Airbus taking us to Lufthansa’s hub this afternoon.
Just before boarding time the gate crew made a call over the speakers, asking for volunteers to be moved off the flight because it was overbooked. I immediately jumped up and stood in the queue, since I only had a long wait in Frankfurt to look forward to, so I wasn’t in a hurry. There were around 50 people who all wanted to trade their seat for vouchers etc., and unfortunately they didn’t need any more volunteers when it was my turn.
We boarded the plane, which despite being 8 years old still looked Lufthansa-fresh & clean.
Another sunny day in Greece.
We were served a generous lunch.
Passing over The Alps.
A nuclear reactor near Frankfurt.
The flight from ATH to FRA was uneventful and smooth, with the usual excellent service and Economy-food that you get with Lufthansa.
Ahead was a 5-hour wait in Frankfurt, before our next plane left for BLL. We walked around the airport for a while, had a sandwich (maybe it was a burger?) and then camped down at a random gate, where we had a view of an apron. Our own departure gate was a boring “bus-gate” in the basement, hence the relocation for the wait.
Free drinks, courtesy of Lufthansa.
Some of the wait was spent watching Mad Men (yet again )
A United 777 embarking on an 11 hour flight to San Fransisco
Lufthansa’s retro-jet also drove by.
Date: August 19th 2012 Flight # & Route: LH 842 FRA-BLL Departure: 20:50 Arrival: 22:10 Seat & Class: 5F (window), Y Aircraft: D-ACPQ, Bombardier CRJ-701 from 2003
Just before boarding started we headed down to our bus-gate. We were then guided out into a bus, that took us to our regional jet that was parked on what seemed to be the most remote stand of the airport.
The CRJ-701 in Star Alliance-colours.
The snack served during this short hop.
Lufthansa’s intra-european product in economy class is first-class. The crew are superb, planes are nice and clean, Frankfurt as a hub is good, and the price is right.
I have a very good impression of Lufthansa after this trip, and will happily choose them again.
raffik From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 1694 posts, RR: 4 Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5876 times:
Looks like great service onboard. I haven't flown them for a while but the service seems to be generous considering they are reasonably short haul.
I might consider them for my next flight! Thanks for the trip report
CoachClass From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 381 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4803 times:
I enjoyed you trip report a lot. I feel like a neighbor to you as I went to school in Kiel, Germany, many, many years ago.
I never got to go to Athens and was disappointed to hear that Athens is so dangerous--probably all the discontent regarding the austerity programs. I've never been to Rio or Sao Paulo, Brazil, or Johannesburg, South Africa. Those cities have scared me off, somewhat, but I do hope at some point, "God willing and the creek don't rise," to visit Athens and Istanbul.
I like LH the best for TATL flights. I used to prefer BA, but there was a continuing, perceptible decline starting mid 90's, so that by 2002 I rarely used them. LH, on the other hand, seems to have kept its in-flight standards, except that my recent LH flight in August, MIA-FRA, was something of a real disappointment, and it resembled how BA starting changing. I hope all the changes/missteps were because LH was facing an upcoming strike and the airline and FAs were too distracted. I'll probably fly them in Nov/Dec and hope things are not irreparable. And you'e right, the planes always a seemed to be in good repair regardless of their age.
lewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3552 posts, RR: 5 Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 month 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2916 times:
I agree with your review of Lufthansa, have been flying them quite a bit and always overall happy with the service. Nothing too fancy but always efficient.
Quoting Pelle (Thread starter): however we both agreed that Athens is the one city in the world we have been to where we have felt the most unsafe.
The situation in Athens has gone way downhill. I have been living outside Greece for the past two years and every time I go back it is worse. I may consider different situations as dangerous since I know the city but I am curious, as a foreign visitor, what scenes/situations made you perceive Athens as a dangerous city?
Pelle From Denmark, joined Apr 2012, 57 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2916 times:
Quoting lewis (Reply 7): I may consider different situations as dangerous since I know the city but I am curious, as a foreign visitor, what scenes/situations made you perceive Athens as a dangerous city?
I think I choose the wrong words. Athens as a whole wasn't unsafe, but walking around the city, we saw more "suspicious characters", drug-addicts, homeless people, fights in the streets, dark corners etc. than we have in any other city that we have been to.
On our first night people would point at my girlfriends necklace, and a couple of passers-by told us to watch our bags. We were also offered drugs a few times, just openly on the streets.We weren't expecting this in a European capital, but Athens has seen better times, as you've mentioned yourself, since after the crisis.
Part of the reason for my impression was also because of the particular area we lived in - our hotel was at Omonoia square, which (as I have later been told) has a relatively large amount of these "suspicious characters".