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The Joys Of Group Travel; LH FCO;blackout In Italy  
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

Hi everybody,

actually, I had planned to not write a report about this trip, because it looks so boring at first sight: LH A320/A321, FRA-FCO-FRA = boring airline, boring aircraft, boring routing without connexion.
But, because I travelled with a group of eight others, none of them seasoned travelers, even two first-time flyers, one or two things out of the ordinary happened which I thought I´d share with you. Oh, and of course there was the country-wide black-out – thankfully, it didn´t happy on the days of our flights… but it was interesting nevertheless.

September 24, 2003:

Frankfurt (RheinMain) – Roma/Rome (Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci)
LH 3870 (also AP 3870)

Airbus A320-211 D-AIQF “Halle an der Saale”, delivered August 5, 1991

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Photo © Tobias Rose
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Photo © Tobias Rose

I had to organise a business trip of me and eight colleagues to Rome for a week. About the preliminaries just this much: 1 - It is a PAIN to do group bookings; 2 – Low Cost airlines are not as cheap as some people think ("Daniel, I looked at Ryanair´s website, they also fly Frankfurt-Rome, for only 4.99 EUR, why don´t we fly with them?")

We arrived at the airport a little more than two hours in advance. Having an eTicket, we headed straight to the "Quick"(Hah!)-Check-In machine. The check-in itself was indeed quick: it took only a few seconds until our boarding passes were issued - eight persons in seven different rows, 6, 10, 11, 19, 25 and 27 (the very last), one person without a fixed seat assignment. Not only was the group spread all over the plane, no: three of us had got operational upgrades into C class.

Here comes the first opportunity to question the wisdom of the computer: you have four C class seats to fill, you have single travellers, Senators/FTLs in Y, travellers on unrestricted Y-fares; whom do you upgrade? Sure, three first-time customers from a group of nine travelling on W-fares… Not that I´d complain if I had been among the lucky three, but hey, I was getting the heat from my colleagues ("Daniel, you know so much about aviation, why can´t you make us all sit together?"). But, to be honest, I don´t really understand why we got sequence numbers 109+ on a 138 seater over two hours before departure.

Anyway, back to our check-in: our eight bags were too much for the machine: after the first two suitcases, several tries, about 20 minutes and worried faces ("Daniel, will my bag make it even if the machine´s red light is flashing?") it refused service and sent us to a manual check-in counter.

After I had dumped my group at the gate I headed to the Business-Lounge in order to something about our seats, specifically about me not being upgraded (how dare they!) They said they couldn´t do complimentary upgrades (ya, sure… ) and even made a scene before letting me into the lounge. I argued that I was the guest of my colleagues S, V and W who were travelling in C after all – only they were not with me right now.

Back at the gate, I asked again for an upgrade; actually, I asked for all six of us, fully knowing that was not realistically possible. However, I emphasized I was the group leader (read: I had been responsible for nine people´s business going to LH) plus I´m a half decent LH-customer – and I got the upgrade.

The flight itself was eventless, just one funny episode: I had pre-ordered a special fish meal – which was a Y-class meal of course. The stewardess was a little embarrassed I was sitting in the front and had to eat an economy meal. She even asked If I wanted her to re-arrange it on Business-class-plates and –tray (!) which I respectfully declined. Oh, and she gave me an additional C-dessert.

OK, so we spent a week in Rome, mixing business with pleasure. We even went to the beach on Saturday – great! Probably my last day of bathing in the sea for this year.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday was the Notte Bianca, or White Night: a big cultural event, parties through the night in the whole city, concerts, museums open etc. We enjoyed it tremendously and came come at shortly past 0300. When we awoke the next morning, the black-out had struck: at 0325 it was rien ne vas plus. No electricity in all Italy. Imagine: no trains, no metro, no elevators, no espresso-machines, no supermarkets, no traffic lights, no museums. In a way it was fun, once we had arranged ourselves with the situation, but you don´t even notice how much you need electricity until you don´t have any for a while. It came back only gradually during the afternoon, by the way.

October 1, 2003:

Roma/Rome (Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci) – Frankfurt (RheinMain)
LH 3857 (also AP 3857 and NH 6122)

Airbus A321-231 D-AISG “Dormagen”, delivered July 18, 2000

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Photo © Aaron Lupton
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Peter Hulse

I had flown on this very plane in February 2001, MLA-FRA!

On the return flight, really nothing happened – oh, yes, we were sitting all next to each other, in one and a half rows directly behind one another. A remarkably small biz class (like 5 rows) and a relatively low load (like 60 %), compared to the first leg (11 rows C class, all 138 seats occupied).

At FRA, we witnessed someone being beaten up in front of the McDonald´s in terminal 1. We all had to give our personal details to the police, I guess we´ll all have to make a statement about what we saw.

Alrighty, that´s it – longer than I thought; definitely long for a report that was not to be; hopefully not too long for your liking  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Daniel Smile

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3319 times:

Great, you got some upgrades - but why didn't they simply move the curtain further to the front  Confused

Thanks for this short but interesting report - and I didn't even need my PONS Schülerwörterbuch this time  Big grin

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3281 times:

Thanks for this rather funny report! I had the "pleasure" to baby-sit some friends, who had never flown before/ were rarely flying, from their origin to their destination a few times, so I can understand what you were going through.  Smile

I think you got sequence number 108 and up, because some passengers on previous long-haul or short-haul flights had already checked in hours before they were taking the same flight like you as part of their total itinerary.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offline9V-SPF From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 1375 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3186 times:

Hi Daniel,

thanks for a very entertaining report. I´ve been noticing for several times that checking in early for domestic flights at FRA does not guarantee you the seats you would prefer. For example, when I checked in for my LH flight to LEJ on Friday (op. by a 733) there was no single window seat available left though there were still two hours until the departure (well, TriStar500 mentioned the quite obvious reason)

Kind regards,
another Daniel

User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3160 times:

Hi Daniel,

you wrote a small but very entertaining report, very nice. I am glad you got an upgrade into Business Class, that never happenend to me despite I am also "a half decent LH-customer".

I hope I will find some time tomorrow to write also a report about my DUS-FRA-BRU-FRA-DUS flights, LH was really good this time.


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3137 times:

Group traveling with people who arent aviation fans is always an interesting experience...been through it several times and the antics of the others never cease to amaze me...

Good report!


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3076 times:

In the past year I have also been doing a few tours where I had a few people with me who had never flown before so I know how it is when everybody looks at you and if something does not work as it should you easily look as if you had no clue about what you are doing... But so far it always worked out fine for me.  Wink/being sarcastic


User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3065 times:

Thanks for the report! Nice to read something from a full-service carrier for once - even if you think your flight was relatively run-of-the-mill & uneventful in the extreme, it's still pleasurable for those of us that don't fly that often with LH.

but you don´t even notice how much you need electricity until you don´t have any for a while

Very true...

My next flight with LH is BHX-FRA-EZE next February, and I am very much looking forward to it, especially my first A340-600 flight.


User currently offlineFly-K From Germany, joined May 2000, 3198 posts, RR: 48
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3059 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Daniel, about the seat availability, you were wondering why you got no adjacent seats two hours before departure, I assume the FRA-FCO flight had a very high share of connecting passengers who had already checked in 12 hours before in the US, Asia or whereever.

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3044 times:

I am glad you got an upgrade into Business Class, that never happenend to me despite I am also "a half decent LH-customer"
Well I'm a "half-decent" FR-customer, what does it help me? I guess I can wait long until getting an upgrade..

User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5243 posts, RR: 53
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3009 times:

Hi Daniel,
nice report,late comment, but you know I´m in Rome short after your stay, the time you write your report.
I think your enjoyed your stay in Rome, like me, and had a good time there.
Regards,Markus (FLIEGER67)

User currently offlineMarcJet66 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 118 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2998 times:

Hi Daniel!!

Very nice your report. I enjoyed it lots. I travel quite a lot on LH and could never get an upgrade with them. Once I asked for a upgrade on a flight on a 747-400 from FRA to Washington Dulles mentioning I was a Silver Star Alliance member on a empty flight. They told me I wasn't the only one. I reported the staff member and got a upgrade voucher on the post.

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