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BRU-FRA By LH: I Woke Up At The Check-in Deadline  
User currently offlineSn26567 From Belgium, joined Aug 2004, 131 posts, RR: 3
Posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5635 times:

On 4 October, I was travelling from Brussels to Frankfurt again, like I do every quarter. The choice of the airline was easy: only Lufthansa flies there. The price of that monopoly was less funny: an outrageous EUR690.40 for a flexible economy return booked 10 days in advance, a little bit more than the EUR686.68 that I paid last time for a non-flexible economy return. The outbound flight was LH 4593, dep. 7:05. I had an e-ticket, whose confirmation by e-mail said recommended time for check-in 6:20, latest check-in 6:35.

Big problem: my alarm clock did not ring and, instead of getting up at 5:30 as I planned, I woke up only at 6:20. I should already have been at the airport! Of course, my basic A-check personal maintenance this morning was omitted and I jumped in my clothes, took my bag and ran to my car, which I had fortunately left outside instead of parking it in the garage as usually. The road to the nearest motorway exit was closed because of works; however, the works had just been completed 2 days before and I took that forbidden road, entered the motorway, speeded at 140 km/h (not possible to go faster because of traffic) and arrived at the airport 28 km further at 6:42. I fortunately immediately found a parking spot right near the entrance.

I ran to the Lufthansa check-in desk, where a friendly agent told me at 6:45 that the flight was closed. But he gave me a provisional access card to the airside where he scribbled some words and told me that if security let me go to the airside I could run to gate A63 where I would get my boarding pass. Very indeed: German efficiency combined with Belgian common sense. I jumped the queue at the security check, ran through the catacombs to Pier A, where the queue for baggage and personal scan was very short, and further to Gate A63 where I arrived at 6:58. The last passengers were boarding, and I could join them after receiving my boarding pass: the guy at the check-in had phoned his female colleague at the gate, who had immediately printed the boarding pass.

Flight: LH 4593 BRU-FRA on 4 October 2004
Aircraft: Airbus A321-131 D-AIRA "Finkenwerder"
c/n 458, delivered to Lufthansa on 27 January 1994
Seat: 33B
Load factor: 85%
Departure time scheduled/actual: 07:05/07:14
Arrival time scheduled/actual: 08:10/08:06

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Photo © Tobias Rose

Yes, I had a middle seat, but I did not care: I sat on the plane. Furthermore, the middle seats in the LH A320 family are wider and more comfortable than on any airline. I was greeted on board by the chief stewardess, and than 10 m further by another stewardess, and before reaching my seat by still another one. As soon as I was on my seat, I finished dressing, adjusting my tie and buttoning my shirt...

Pushback and take-off were only slightly late. The announcements were made in German and English, with a tape taking over for French and Dutch. Meal Service started immediately after reaching the cruising altitude: a small pastry and a choice of drinks (orange juice and coffee for me). Not luxurious, even small for a breakfast, but OK. Service was always polite, very efficient (only 4 stewardesses for so many people in a short flight), and even sometimes smiling. After this snack, descent started quite early; the plane landed on 25L and proceeded to gate A26 ahead of schedule. Good job, Lufthansa!

To Frankfurt city and back to the airport

I took the S8 suburban train to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, and my meeting took place close to it, in a hotel appropriately called Concorde, ideal for an aviation lover. It was finished early, and I went back to the airport with the S8 again. I arrived at 16:20.

I was booked on LH 4588 at 18:10. Since I had a flexible ticket, I wanted to go to a desk to have my ETIX reservation changed to LH 4586 at 17:10. But the queue was rather long; a friendly was circulating through the people waiting in line and asked me what I wanted to do. When I waved my Miles & More card he took me to an automatic machine which not only allows you to check in, but also to change flights. In less than one minute I was rebooked, got a seat assignment (I selected 11F, the first window seat available) and a boarding pass.

It was strange to see that more than 50% of the seats were in red, because, as you will see later, the plane was almost empty.

Flight: LH 4586 FRA-BRU on 4 October 2004
Aircraft: Airbus A320-211 D-AIQB "Bielefeld"
c/n 200, delivered to Lufthansa on 21 June 1991
Seat: 11F
Load factor: 15%
Departure time scheduled/actual: 17:10/17:06
Arrival time scheduled/actual: 18:05/17:58

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Photo © Oliver Brunke

Boarding was on time at gate 30, and I was greeted by two of the three stewardesses. I was alone on my row, which I like very much! Pushback was early.

After take-off from 18 under a clear sky, service started and was very quick. A chocolate bar and a choice of drinks. I had my usual 33 cl bottle of Warsteiner beer, not a great beer, but refreshing. Again, the flight was very short and we landed in advance on 25R for a change (instead of the usual 25L). Excellent short flight, as I like them.


ex-Sabena #26567
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offline9V-SPF From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 1375 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5552 times:

Nice report, Andre!

I can well imagine how bad the feeling of waking up at a time you already should have checked in must be...glad to hear you made your flight though.  Smile

I see you flew on D-AIRA on your way to FRA, the same plane I was on one week before (FRA-FCO, seat 25A), nice coincidence.


User currently offlineStarFlyer From Germany, joined Sep 2002, 987 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5514 times:

Hi Andre,

good report you've written up there! You are lucky they still let you on, but I suppose that's the difference between LH and something like Ryanair, whre you have to be checked in something like an hour before departure no exceptions made.

How much is Business Class on that route? From my experience it isn't much more than a fully flexible economy ticket, something in the vicinity of 50€ I believe... And that little bit extra gets you more miles, lounges, some more food, and you get to sit in front of the curtain! Big grin



Yours truly - StarFlyer
User currently offlineSn26567 From Belgium, joined Aug 2004, 131 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5493 times:

Thanks for your comments.


glad to hear you made your flight though

Do you think I should apply for a mention in the Guiness Book of Records for the shortest time between bed at home and a seat in an airplane? 45 minutes, including 28 km on the road and 1.5 km on foot through the catacombs of Brussels Airport  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


That's the difference between LH and something like Ryanair, where you have to be checked in something like an hour before departure no exceptions made.

At Brussels South Charleroi (CRL), Ryanair does not allow anyone on board anymore 40 minutes before departure. And, indeed, no exceptions allowed!

How much is Business Class on that route? From my experience it isn't much more than a fully flexible economy ticket, something in the vicinity of 50€ I believe... And that little bit extra gets you more miles, lounges, some more food, and you get to sit in front of the curtain!

I had once a non-flexible flight in Y (probably the most expensive non-flex booking class), and LH changed it to another flight in C for a mere EUR17.00.

ex-Sabena #26567
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 5248 times:

Hi Andre,

thanks for this interesting report! You were indeed lucky that you still got the plane! But I guess for this rather expensive ticket price you can also expect some flexibility (when possible and as long as it doesn't affect the schedule).


User currently offlineJumbolino From Germany, joined Mar 2001, 490 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5149 times:

Thanks André,
As I still posted my comments on luchtzak,
I'm quite sure you know what I like to say  Wink/being sarcastic

Jutta  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Kind Regards, Jutta.
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8743 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5104 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Major panic attack! - sure luck you made it,heck,what a nightmare. Now I feel better for setting 3 alarms before a morning flight Smile



User currently offline3w From Ireland, joined Sep 2004, 85 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5092 times:

if the plane was only 15% full ,its not surprising that over half the seats were blocked at ckin. the dispatcher remember has to trim the aircraft and by having everyone up the front of the plane--the plane will simply not trim! I know when we see a load like that on a A320 --every 1 goes basically arounfd the middle ---frequent flier card or not!!

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