LH3335, KRK-MUC, Avro RJ-85, seat 3A
At the check-in my roll-aboard raises suspicion that it wouldn't fit into the Avro's hand luggage compartment (sure it does). After a brief discussion I agree to have it checked-in. As a compensation the nice lady at the counter gives me bulkhead seats all the way to TYS.
The traffic at KRK is way beyond what the terminal can handle. It is being rebuilt which adds to the confusion. Plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before your departure to be checked-in on time. How about staring a new terminal, there seems to be plenty of space around the field.
Flights leaving at about the same time are two SkyEurope 735s (CDG and FCO), a Germanwings 319 to STR, Alitalia ERJ-145 to MXP and a LOT ATR-72. The flight to MUC seems to be completely filled, it is nice to seat in first row of economy, right behind the small business section curtain. Departure is on-time, flight path over Slovakia, VIE, LNZ. Service is a sandwich plus a pass of a nicely stocked drinks cart.
Arrival in MUC is on time, the flight parks at a remote position and we get bussed to the gate. This is my 3rd visit to the new Lufthansa terminal in Munich and I can't praise it enough. It sure deserves the Best European Airport reward. Nice, roomy interiors, simple layout, plenty of gate
space and the best is that it feels brand new.
LH414, MUC-IAD, Airbus A340-300, 20A
A short line for the additional screening for US bound passengers. The boarding starts with very few people at the gate. Again I am in first row of economy and I like the clean Lufthansa interiors. There is one price to pay for the bulkhead seat, there is almost no way to watch the movie screen from the window seat. The plane fills up ending at about 90% load factor in economy. Departure is on time. Service is the usual Lufthansa: drinks, lunch (beef or turkey), and drinks and a warm sandwich before arrival. Nice weather all the way across ends as we fly over New England. Apparently a storm system is moving across the eastern seaboard. As we fly north of New York reducing attitude, we are getting into clouds or between clouds layers and into some moderate turbulence. I manage to notice an USAirways Express CRJ crossing our course flying NW probably out of PHL or LGA as we proceed SW toward IAD. Arrival is on time.
Some IAD impressions
I got cleared by a bored immigration officer, no questions asked. The immigration is now in the main terminal building and my flight is out of the new G gates of United Express. After TSA screening (sandals off) I take to bus to the G gates, a fun ride with plenty of FlyI CRJs racing around the airport. The G terminal is nothing more but a steel barn probably put there in a hurry, very disappointing. Since I still have 90 minutes to my flight I decide to go to the C/D terminal and have a pint at one of those Dominion Pubs. Another bus transfer but it is worth not to have to wait in G.
UA5919, IAD-TYS, CRJ
As I am back to G one hour later I find it crowded with people leaving on the evening flights, the gate displays do not work and the place is a mess. Fortunately my TYS flight is the first one to be called. On the outside I find a swarm of UAEx CRJs and, surprisingly, one EMB-170.
Flight is only half full and manages to depart early after some passengers are asked to move to rear rows for weight balance. We encounter the same choppy air of the storm system on the climb out, once above the clouds it is clear and the flight is uneventful. It is good to arrive to TYS after 16 hours on the planes and in the airports.
Next trip is the return TYS-IAD-VIE-KRK this time on UA/OS/LO.