LH492 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 208 posts, RR: 12 Posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 11336 times:
Hi again and welcome to another trip report!
This one is about my journey from HAM to FRA to LAX and back which was taken because of an exchange month.
I was 14 back then and wanted to discover the world on my own so I looked up a good company which offered a month in L.A. with a regular High-school visit and a home in a host-family. I was looking forward to it, but since the company booked the flights I was a little worried that I would not sit at the window but somewhere in the middle. So I phoned Lufthansa´s reservation hot line, told them the dates of the flights, my name and requested a window seat. The lady said that this is no problem and reserved me window seats on the two long haul-flights since it is always easy to get one on the short flights from HAM to FRA.
When the day came I was very excited and had a weird feeling in my stomach all the way to the airport. When we entered the airport there was a huge line in front of the Lufthansa check-in counters which was no surprise since it was the beginning of the summer-holidays.
We joined the line and while we proceeded the weird feeling became stronger and stronger but I was not able to tell if it was excitement or sadness, so I guess it was both. But I can assure you that I was a lot more excited than sad but I guess everyone is a little nervous if he flies thousands of miles away from his family and lives with strangers. But since I e-mailed with my host-parents I knew that they were nice and were looking forward to my visit and that eased the feeling.
When it was our turn, I heaved my bag onto the belt and was relieved that it was not outweighed. I then gave the lady my ticket and miles-and-more card and told her that I had a reserved seat on the flight from FRA to LAX and to my relieve I got exactly that seat.
I collected my passport, boarding passes and my miles and more card said goodbye to the friendly lady and went back to my parents. The moment had come to say goodbye, I was quite sad and at this point I was not sure if I really want to go, but when I thought about the adventure which lay before me, my sadness eased a bit and I made my way to security. It went smoothly and after collecting my bag, I made my way to the Gate.
When boarding was called, I gathered my stuff, made my way towards the jetbridge and when I saw the fairly big A300 standing at the gate, my heart gave a jolt and suddenly I was really looking forward to everything, I was on my own, had a long haul flight coming up and a month in sunny California. I smiled and made my way into the aircraft.
I took my seat and took a few shots out of the window, I was delighted to see that LTU´s D-ALTE was standing beside us since this was my very first HERPA model.
When boarding was completed the safety-demo was shown and we pushed back, I looked out of the window to observe the whole procedure and enjoyed the smell of kerosene which spread out in the cabin when the engines were started. It took five minutes to the runway where we had to wait for a landing AF A319 which made a very smooth landing and once it vacated the runway we were cleared for take-off.
Take off was fairly short and power-full and I noticed that the flaps were not extended something I only experienced on the A300 so far.
We broke through the clouds and the sun greeted us which is always nice when the weather on the ground is windy and rainy. Drink service started soon, I opted for a Apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with soda water) which was given to me by a rather ugly and unfriendly flight attendant. I always hate it when flight attendant are unfriendly, if you don´t like having a job were you have to deal with people, you might consider becoming something else. I know that everyone has a bad day from time to time but she looked so sore and responded to request so rudely that some passengers started complaining.
After the empty cups were collected we started our descend towards FRA, it was quite bumpy and while descending I saw another LH 747 which accompanied us until we passed her 20 minutes prior to landing. We touched down quite smoothly in FRA and immediately I saw tons of heavies waiting for their take off clearance. We made our way to the gate and arrived there on time.
Conclusion: The flight was on time and the A300 is always a joy to fly. The flight attendants were unfriendly and I did not have the impression that they like their job. I therefore give this flight 5 out of 10.
After I disembarked the aircraft, I slowly made my way towards the gate were my flight to LAX would depart, pausing here and there in order to have a glimpse at the traffic action through the windows.
When I arrived at the gate I saw the plane already waiting and getting prepared for the flight.
I settled down in a seat and started reading my book.
After twenty minutes of waiting boarding was called and I made my way towards the jet-bridge.
Equipment: Boeing 747-400
I was greeted by a F/A who seemed to be a little annoyed, which did not bother me because I was to excited to fly in a 747 again.
I settled down in my seat and took the first shot out of the window. I did not take many pics on this flight because there was nothing special but on the return flight you will get loads of them.
After boarding was finished the doors were closed and we pushed back on time. The safety demo was shown on the screens at the ceiling and we made our way towards the runway.
Taxiing was fairly short and we only had to wait for one landing LH A321 before we were cleared to line up. After 15 seconds of waiting, we were cleared for take-off and we started our looong take off roll. After using most of the runway we airborned and climbed into the cloudy sky covering Germany.
We leveled out at 17.000 feet before proceeding to 34.000 feet, were we flew for the rest of the flight.
We passed Netherlands and Great Britain were we saw nothing due to clouds, and shortly before reaching island, the first meal-service started. The choice was the classic one, chicken or pasta. I took the chicken which was served with noodles, vegetables, a bun, fruit and a cake.
It tasted quite good except for the bun which one could have used to play ball, but not eat.
The F/A´s were efficient but robotic, they did not smile and disappeared after handing out the food. When they returned it was only for collecting the trash and sometimes they came around with water. Over Greenland we had a nice view but I could not see all too much because my seat was located over the wing.
I plugged in the headphones in order to listen to some music, but there was nothing which suited me so I just grabbed my book and started reading.
After entering Canadian airspace and 5 hours still to go the second meal service started, this time the choice was between beef or fish. I took the beef which was OK but nothing special.
I washed it down with a coke before reclining my seat in order to get some sleep. I had just closed my eyes when the captain came on and informed us that they expect heavy turbulence and that everyone should return to their seats. Sure enough after five more minutes the plane started shaking quite hard and one lady's lipstick which she had used the second before started flying through the cabin. She looked shocked and wanted it back, but since no one was allowed to get out of their seat, she did not get it. She started complaining about the F/A´s who did not come in order to crawl under the seat and get her lipstick.
Lots of people laughed under their breaths and some just rolled their eyes about her behaviour. With this riot going on I was certainly not able to sleep, so I just started reading my book again.
Time flew by quite fast and two hours prior to landing the emigration sheets were given out were everyone had to answer those funny question such if you are planning illegal activities or if you have drugs with you.
I filled it out and after reading a few more pages we started our descend into LAX.
The air was packed with other aircraft which and suddenly I saw a Delta 767 just a thousand feet beneath us, I wanted to take a pic but by the time I had fumbled out my camera, she was gone.
We proceeded with our descend and after a few minutes I could make out the huge smog layer which covered the whole city. It looked very dirty and I wondered how the plane would look like after flying through this. After we entered the smog cloud, I could barely see our wingtip and the plane started shaking again. When we were on short finals, the pilots fought nasty crosswinds and slammed the plane down hard but safe. Thrust reverse was engaged and we braked quite hard. After vacating the runway, we made our way to the terminal and I had a good sight at the other planes. I used the flash on these pics so I apologize about the reflection on the pics.
After we arrived at our gate, everyone jumped up in order to get the bags and to be off first. I remained in my seat until most people were of and when I left, the pilot stood at the door and apologized for the rough landing to the passengers, something I never experienced before.
Conclusion: The flight was uneventful except for the lipstick, food was alright. Service was not that good and this time I have to share the attitude many have on this site about LH, the F/A´s were really grumpy. But I also have to say that I had great experienced with LH in long haul and every frequent traveler will experience a flight sooner or later were service does not meet the expectations.
I give this flight 6 out of 10.
After I disembarked the airplane I made my way towards emigration just to see that there were hundreds of people waiting at the emigration desks in order to get a stamp into the passport. I groaned at the thought of how long this would take but nice as I am I took my place at the end of the nearest lane. The staff did not improve the situation either, they walked around screaming "one in one" meaning that nobody should stand beside another person. People who disobeyed this order were forced to get to the back of the line. Many people got angry and when it was my turn to go to the emigration desk I had waited for THREE bloody hours.
I received my bag which stood beside the belt and made my way outside were my host-family welcomed me with a warm smile.
After four weeks of great experiences and meeting great persons, it was time to go home again. My family brought me to LAX and we made our way into the international terminal.
Since I expected a long line two hours prior to departure, I just came three hour earlier.
There were not many people waiting and I soon I was waved towards a nice Lufthansa employee who checked me in. I got my boarding passes and then the hard part came, the moment to say goodbye to my host-parents.
They brought me to security and when they left, I swore that one day I will come back. (Trip-report will follow soon).
Security was a breeze since there weren´t many people waiting and when I was through I started to discover the terminal. I went to MC. Donald´s and when I looked out of the window I had a nice view at the apron. I saw a few tails from the international carriers, among them a AF 777, a SQ 747, a Varig MD-11, a LTU A330 and... a Star Alliance tail.
I got really exited and literally ran down the corridor in order to check out if this would be my plane and indeed when I looked out of the other window it was Lufthansa printed in fat letters on the fuselage.
I was so happy, I never even thought of the possibility of flying the Star Alliance Logo-jet.
Time flew by quite fast and soon boarding was called.
There were two F/A´s greeting the incoming passengers with a smile and they seemed to be lot more cheerfull than the ones from the flight to LAX.
I settled down in my seat and took a picture of the activity going around in the cabin during boarding.
When everybody was seated, the door was closed and we pushed back right on time. I had a good view at a AA 777 parked nearby and while we started our engines, we were located right next to a Cathay Pacific 747 which started it engines as well. When we started taxiing, I had a nice view at the planes standing at the national terminal, lots of 757´s and in the distance, a SQ 747 lined up for take-off. Taxi to the runway was fast and soon we were cleared to line up since there was no plane coming in for land.
We waited for a few seconds before the captain applied take-off power. We accelerated rather slowly and after using most of the runway, we airborned. We had a great view over Long beach before banging right and turning on course towards the old continent.
We cruised at a low altitude before we proceeded to 32.000 feet were we leveled out and the seatbelt signs were switched off. There were interesting clouds in the air and the captain said that they will have to fly around the clouds due to heavy turbulence inside of them.
So the seatbelt signs were switched on again and we started the first turn, I never experienced anything like that before, we actually made lots of turns in order to avoid the clouds and after 10 minutes we proceeded to a higher altitude.
It was a bumpy ride but many passengers took it with humour and I did not have the impression that anybody was afraid. At one time, we dropped a few feet and many joked about the skills of the pilot.
Once we left the turbulent area, the cabin crew started preparing the first meal which was served about 20 minutes later. We had the choice between chicken or pasta and since I already ate a chicken burger at MC. Donald´s, I opted for the pasta. It was served with tomatoe-cream sauce and tomatoes, a bun, fruits and a cake for desert. It tasted quite good and the trash was collected soon after we finished. The cabin crew was friendly and professional, it was a big improvement compared to the ones from the flight to LAX.
Soon the sun started to set and the cabin lights were dimmed. I stood up in order to stretch my legs, I went to the back of th ecabin were a F/A had a brake. She asked me if everything was alright and said that if I wanted a drink I should not hesitate to ask. I told her about my passion towards aviation and so we talked for about two hours about her job and aviation in general.
She was very nice and she actually showed me her duty-plan for the next month, it showed four more flights, one to Dehli, two to Santiago de Chile and one to Brazil. She told me that she was fluent in spanish and therefore she primarily gets the flight to south America.
After a while of talking, the sun started rising and I took that opportunity to take a picture out of the back door.
I then walked back to my seat with a slight grumble in my stomach, the nice F/A gave me chocolate but since there was a LH 747 printed on the paper I decided to keep it as a souvenir.
Breakfast was prepared and the smell of fresh croissants filled the cabin. We were two hours out of FRA when the F/Aá came around with croissants which were stuffed with ham and cheese. It was one of the best breakfasts I ever had on a plane (at least in economy).
I actually got two croissants since some passengers did not take one. After the trash was collected I looked out of the window and suddenly my home-country which I had not seen for a month came into view. We overflew Hamburg (where I had to fly to after this flight) passed Hannover and started our descend. It was a grey sky as always, the approach was quite bumpy but interesting since the sky was filled with aircraft.
When we approached FRA I had a nice view over Donwtown Frankfurt before we made an incredible smooth landing. Many passengers who were seated in the middle seats did not even notice that we had made contact with the ground and the following breaking action took many by complete surprise.
We vacated the runway and made our way towards the gate. Taxiing took about ten minutes and it was a nice feeling to be on German soil again. When the engines were shut down and I prepared for de-boarding, the friendly F/A approached me and said goodbye. She was really nice and I left this plane with much better memories than from the flight to LAX.
Conclusion: This flight was much better than the outbound flight, food was good and the F/A´s were nice. It was very nice of the F/A to chat with me and it was one of the nicest I´ve ever met. I give this flight 8 out of ten.
After I disembarked the a/c I went directly to my transfer gate because I had a tight connection to catch. Since we arrived some ten minutes early in FRA I made it 20 minuted before boarding was called and when we were told to board there were like 40 people waiting for this flight.
When I settled down in my seat, I noticed something nice, the plane I used from LAX to FRA was parked right next to us.
We pushed back right on time and made our short taxi to the runway were we had to wait for two incoming aircraft (A NW DC-10 and a US A330).
When we were cleared for take off, it felt like a rocket start, the A300 with its powerfull engines with a light load of pax, luggage and fuel behaves like a fighter jet.
When we airborned, our angle was so steep that I was not able to push myself out of my seat.
After the pilots had their fun with the plane, we leveled out at our cruising altitude and drink service started. I opted for a coke, since I was a little sleepy after the long flight. I got a whole can and made my self comfortable. The F/A´s even distributed pretzels, a sevice you normally don´t get in eco on this short flight.
After a short time we started our descend, the trash was collected and the seatbelt signs were switched on again. The approach was uneventful and after passing the Airbus plant, we made a smooth landing at HAM airport. The crew welcomed us in Hamburg and thanked us for flying Lufthansa.
After the engines were switched of, I made my way out of the plane towards the baggage claim were I received my bags quite fast.
I stepped out into the terminal and was greeted by my parents after one month of separation.
I hope you guys enjoyed this report and as always, every comment is appreciated