26 August 2002
Qantas Airways QF464 operated by AWOPS
Melbourne Tullamarine – Sydney Kingsford Smith
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 19:30/19:29
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 20:55/20:48
Boeing 767-33A ER
Economy Class, Seat 14A
Photo © Frank Schaefer
Photo © Micheil Keegan
One of the Qantas 767-200s had obviously had a mechanical problem in the morning, as a few 762 services were cancelled and this one would be operated by AWOPS. I made my way to gate 24, and the all-white B767-300, VH-BZI, soon arrived from Perth. Boarding for Sydney started at around 7 pm and since this was a codeshare with Gulf Air as well, there was a GF representative at the gate too.
A true prison matron was standing at the door, neither did she smile nor say a word to the passengers. Business class seats looked rather crappy, but my seat in the first row of economy had pretty decent legroom. The seat itself was hard as rock though. Anyway, I was happy to have the chance to fly on this special aircraft.
We were pushed back early and taxied to runway 34 via taxiway Juliet. A Lufthansa MD11 Freighter had just landed and a Singapore 777-300 was at the terminal. VH-BZI thundered down the runway at 7:44 pm and lifted off after a 30-second roll. This one-hour flight was designated as a dinner flight, in other words those lovely boxes were delivered. Mine contained a sandwich while everyone else had some salad with slices of ham. I wouldn’t have given that sandwich to a lonely dog walking around Bangkok on the streets – it was that horrible. A quick look at the back of the box revealed that they had given me a LFML (lactose-free?) of someone sitting in 24A.
The QF mamas couldn’t have cared less as I pointed this out to them – “So you want another one?” was the response. Having eaten exactly one bite of that sandwich, I opted for the regular meal that was a disaster too. Why bother with these boxes while a regular sandwich would be better and probably cheaper?
The flight itself was uneventful and 8:20 pm we left our cruising altitude and started the approach into Kingsford Smith. “Bravo Zulu India” landed on 07 at 8:45 pm and arrived at Qantas domestic terminal a few minutes later. “Luftaom” picked me up and I was looking forward to getting some sleep after a long day. No such luck for VH-BZI – it was headed back to Perth.
28 August 2002
Qantas Airways QF043
Sydney Kingsford Smith – Auckland Intl
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 10:45/10:42
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 16:00/15:40
VH-EBW “City of Tamworth“
Economy Class, Seat 50K
Photo © Daniel Talbot
Photo © Ian Moy
I decided to use some miles to go to New Zealand as well as I like that place a lot. I arrived at Sydney Airport at around 8 am for the 10:45 departure to Auckland. Check in at the Qantas business class counters was quick and efficient and the guy informed me that the flight is “absolutely empty”.
As luftaom had taken me to the airport again, we headed to have some breakfast before I went through security. Interesting spotting from the food court as well. Immigration was practically deserted this morning and security was what I have always found it to be at SYD international terminal – professional and friendly. That is a big difference from some of the morons without even proper English knowledge at some North American airports.
Boarding started at gate 30 at around 10:20 am and I took my seat 40K without a window! Since this was a short daylight flight, I wanted to have a window seat – this turned out to be no problem and I grabbed 50 HJK for myself after the about 100 passengers were onboard. This 747-300 had the old and bulky blue seats – similar to the ones QF had on the good old SPs. Legroom felt pretty decent, definitely better than on LH 747s. The seats themselves were more or less falling apart though with broken armrests etc. Looking out of my window, I noticed the Formula 1 747, VH-OJC, sitting next to us.
Estimated flying time to New Zealand this morning was 2h40min at an altitude of 39000 feet. We were pushed back at 10:42 and taxied to runway 34L via taxiway A6. The classic started its roll a few minutes before eleven and left the Aussie soil after a 34-second roll. Since this was my first Qantas international flight ever, I was looking forward to see how the service is. Peanuts and drinks were served first – I opted for rum and coke. The American guy was pleasant enough and handed me two drinks since the coke can is “perfect for two drinks”.
The movie on this flight was Life Or Something Like It – seemed pretty interesting so I decided to watch it. Picture quality of those ancient projectors could handle some improvements though. Lunch was served soon and consisted of:
Beef in tomato sauce
No choice but the meal was actually pretty tasty. I flushed it down with a VB and some tea later.
At 3:10 pm NZ time, we left FL390 and started the approach into Auckland International Airport. I always liked the approach into AKL – all of a sudden the coast of NZ just emerges from the Pacific Ocean. QF043 landed on runway 23 at 3:37 pm and taxied to gate 2. Quite a few interesting aircraft were present at AKL, including an An-124 (UR-82009), Lan Chile A340, Korean 747-400, CX A340, UA 777 as well as Thai 747-400 and MD11 aircraft.
Immigration took forever with only a few counters open. Being right next to the baggage claim area, I managed to see my bag coming amongst the first ones thanks to that orange priority tag. Took out some cash at the ATM and then caught the Airbus to the city.
Crowne Plaza Auckland Hotel, Auckland NZ
I was tempted to stay at the Sheraton but since this hotel offered a rate over NZD 60 cheaper per night, I decided it will do. Also, with destina.ca booking bonus, I got 700 total miles for the stay.
Check in was ok, though none of my personal info had gone through even though my Priority Club number was on the reservation. So I had to fill everything in. I was upgraded to a room with harbour view though. Room was modern with two double beds and indeed a great view. Light colours were used in furnishings and overall it was very pleasant.
Extended checkout was granted until 2pm but my keycard stopped working at 1 pm on the day of departure. As I’m only a basic PC member, I’m not entitled to any additional benefits – however Crowne Plaza Schiphol recently provided four free drink coupons and Holiday Inn Main Gate East in Orlando gave a complimentary buffet breakfast. Overall this hotel provided good value in my opinion and the location is great, right next to the sky tower.
29 August 2002
Qantas Airways QF4031 operated by AWOPS
Auckland Intl – Wellington
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 13:35/13:40
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 14:45/14:40
Economy Class, Seat 7A
Photo © Stephen Boreham
Photo © Frank Schaefer
I decided to go down to Wellington to pick up Air New Zealand for the Varig 55555 promo. Qantas down and NZ late night saver fare back. Took the Airbus to AKL and checked in at the QF terminal. No queues whatsoever there – but one thing caught my eye – the Qantas employees were actually NZ staff wearing the QF uniforms!
The Qantas terminal was tiny, so I decided to walk over to the international terminal for a quick snack since I had some time. Thai, Malaysian, Garuda, Singapore and Cathay were all present, Cathay having two A340s down there since one was having a 24-hour delay for some reason. Grabbed a quick bite at the McDonald’s and made my way back to QF domestic.
Security was quick and the gate area was simply one room for gates 20 and 21. Boarding started at 1:25 pm and ex-Ansett VH-CZS was the aircraft for my flight. Ex-Transbrasil 737, VH-JNE, was operating to Christchurch around the same time. CZS still has the Ansett seats but QF has added a row in the back, making the seat pitch very tight. Headsets were distributed and we were pushed back at 1:40 pm. Taxied to runway 23 and took off about ten minutes later for the short hop to the world’s southernmost capital.
Snackboxes were distributed – with only cheese and crackers and a tiny piece of cake inside, why bother? Oh, I almost forgot the 0,9 dl cup of water. I asked for a coke later and it arrived promptly. Coffee was served later. We climbed up to 36000 feet before starting the descent into the Wellington area. VH-CZS landed at 2:36 pm after a very scenic approach, don’t know the runway heading but the terminal was on the left.
Once inside the terminal building, I checked in for my return flight at the Koru Lounge before heading to the city.
Wellington NZ, 29 August 2002
I took the WellingtonFlyer to the city, cheap and convenient. I visited some stores and had some inexpensive but tasty Malaysian food before heading back to the airport. Based on the two visits down there, Wellington seems like a nice small city.
29 August 2002
Air New Zealand NZ478
Wellington – Auckland Intl
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 20:30/20:34
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 21:40/21:27
Economy Class, Seat 9A
Photo © Andre Osterloh
Photo © Frank Schaefer
Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, Wellington NZ
The lady at the front desk recognized me from the earlier visit, so she just welcomed me in and wished me a pleasant evening. I found this lounge very nice and modern and they definitely have no capacity problems here. A nice view of the tarmac as well.
There was a cold buffet offered with plenty of food as well as a great selection of drinks. The rather small business centre offers free internet and even a mobile phone charging station. This lounge is definitely worth a visit.
NZ478 started boarding at gate 10 at around 8:15 pm and unlike the last time I was in WLG, there was a security checkpoint at the gate. The interior of ZK-NGI looked spotless – it’s one of the last classic 737s built. The slimline seats were comfortable enough and legroom was probably an inch more than on Qantas. No entertainment was offered on this flight though.
We were pushed back at around 8:34 pm and took off six minutes later with the terminal on the right. A snack was served once the seatbelt sign went off, it was a rather large ham sandwich on a real tray. Coffee or tea was offered as well as a cookie. We left our cruising altitude at 9:05 pm and landed on Auckland’s runway 23 about twenty minutes later. Parked next to a 767-200, ZK-NBA, and I was sitting on the Airbus a few minutes later. As I was the only passenger, I was joking with the driver that it was almost like sitting in a taxi – he just drove directly from the airport to the Crowne Plaza.
30 August 2002
Qantas Airways QF044
Auckland Intl – Sydney Kingsford Smith
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual):
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual):
VH-EBW “City of Tamworth“
Economy Class, Seat 27D
Photo © Daniel Talbot
Photo © Ian Moy
The few days in NZ passed way too fast, and it was time to take Qantas back to Sydney. Airbus back to the airport took some time but it was comfortable enough for the rather low price.
Qantas Premium Check-In Lounge, Auckland, NZ
This is a separate area left of the regular Qantas counters – and a very nice facility if you ask me. The business counters had quite a few passengers arguing about excess baggage charges I believe, so I was waved right away to the first class counter. The lady was very pleasant, gave me bulkhead aisle 27D and I was also able to pay the departure fee there. On the way out, there is an immigration facility that takes your departure cards and gives you an “express lane” sticker.
I headed to the immigration and security next, the express lane had a few idiots there who should have used the regular counters, but once it was my turn, I was just waved right through. Security had a small queue, it took about five minutes.
The Qantas Club, Auckland NZ
I headed to this lounge next, it’s located upstairs right next to the NZ/UA one. It was pretty crowded there but I had no problems finding a seat unlike at LH lounges. Excellent cold food buffet was offered again and hot pastries were available as well. Drink selection was very good and I had a couple of Heinekens. The only drawback would be the lack of computers with internet access – or at least I couldn’t find it one.
Boarding started at gate 2 at 5:05pm and the flight seemed to be rather full by looking at the crowd at the gate. The same 747 that took me to AKL earlier would take me back to Sydney as well. I took my bulkhead seat and legroom was good and luckily the two middle seats were left empty. Next to us was a company B747 (VH-OED, one of the ugly sisters) headed to LAX as QF025.
We were pushed back at 5:42pm and taxied past a Thai MD11, operating TG984 to Brisbane and Bangkok, and took off from runway 23 about ten minutes later. No drinks were served before the dinner service on this flight. Dinner consisted of:
Salad with red wine dressing
Chicken Provencal with risoni
I opted to drink Diet Coke and water this time and tea later. It was a pretty tasty meal again despite the lack of choices for main course.
Today’s movie was Spiderman and I decided to watch it as well. The flight passed very quickly and at 6:21pm VH-EBW left FL360 and started its approach into Sydney. We landed smoothly on 34L at 6:47pm and arrived at gate 30 a few minutes later. Immigration was very quick and my bag was amongst the first ones again thanks to the priority tag. I met luftaom in the arrivals hall and we took the train to the city.
The Westin Sydney, Sydney AU
I decided to use my second Free Friday here and what a good choice it proved to be. Check in was quick and a room with two double beds was given as well as a Gold late check-out at 4pm without asking. Room itself was very big with very nice furnishings. There was also a working desk and two nice chairs if my memory serves me.
Bathroom was huge as well with separate bath tub, shower and toilet. Elegant glass doors were used. The shower also had the option of water falling right from the ceiling – I was impressed. Minibar offered a wide variety of drinks and various types of glasses were available as well. This is definitely the nicest hotel I have stayed at so far.
North Sydney, August 30 2002
Well it was time to celebrate my last night in Australia… We headed to North Sydney where we met two of luftaom’s mates – and then started our bar hopping round. After countless beers, luftaom started talking German with one of his mates , while I was downing vodka cokes with the other one. We all later demonstrated various dancing styles on the dance floor until it was time to call it a night at around 3 am… oh wait – we also had some late night snacks at a nearby Burger King where I told luftaom to get me a burger as well and later accused him of buying me dogfood! The cab ride back to the Westin was funny, or so I was told. Once in the room I just had to have a Baileys from the minibar… it was bloody expensive! Luftaom pissed himself laughing as I was asking how on the earth I can sleep in my Heavenly Bed without a heavenly angel there…
31 August 2002
Thai Airways International TG992
Sydney Kingsford Smith – Bangkok Intl
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 16:30/16:30
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 22:55/22:45
HS-TGM “Chao Phraya”
Economy Class, Seat 39A
Photo © Andrew Hunt
Photo © Craig Murray
We checked out of the Westin at around 1:30pm and took a cab to the airport. Check In at TG business/star gold counters was quick and I got my pre-assigned seats, a window to Bangkok and an aisle on to Frankfurt. Even though TG (or rather Qantas) can check you in for Lufthansa, they don’t have access to LH seating maps. Basically you get whatever seat you have got pre-assigned or if you don’t have one, who knows if you’ll end up with a middle seat on LH. Now, that wouldn’t be funny so be sure to have a pre-assigned seat if you are on LH metal BKK-FRA…
I said goodbye to luftaom and wished him a nice trip to Brisbane. I headed through immigration and he went to the express terminal for his Virgin Blue flight. I encountered no lines whatsoever, the terminal was practically deserted. Security was again handled by older gentlemen who did their job professionally.
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge (Raffles Class Section), Sydney AU
SilverKris lounge was my first stop, the Australian lady at the front desk was rather rude and while letting me in, gave me the feeling that as a Thai passenger I wasn’t welcome to their lounge.
I was far from impressed, snack selection was poor, some tiny sandwiches and peanuts. Drink selection was pretty ordinary. Also the lounge was small and had a feeling of being crowded. A slow dial-up internet connection was available – better than no connection at all I guess. They had nice stationery and postcards in the small business center, I had to take some souvenirs. I left the lounge after I had finished my Coke.
Air New Zealand Lounge, Sydney AU
A friendly lady greeted me at the door and it was only the first step… This lounge is simply huge. There were a grand total of three other people in the lounge as I entered. Like in Wellington, a cold buffet was offered, including salads, cold cuts and various sandwiches. The usual drink selection was available as well.
Business centre was big as well and had high-speed internet connections. The lounge, including the business center, felt really spacious unlike the SilverKris lounge next door. Overall I’d rate this one of the best lounges I have been to. As a plus, this lounge offers great views for people interested in aviation.
I headed down to gate 51 at around 4pm and boarded right away. I had no problems boarding with the business class passengers even though Star Gold priority boarding wasn’t mentioned. Two ladies greeted the pax at the door and I made my way to seat 39A. A male F/A was greeting all passengers in this section and helped people storing their carry-ons. Legroom was fantastic as usual on Thai – those few inches really make a difference. The seats themselves were a bit old but recline was excellent.
Headsets and menus were distributed and we were pushed back at 4:30pm sharp for the 9h08min flight to Bangkok International Airport. The captain was a very chatty guy today and gave all sorts of info, including departure runway, routing etc. We’d fly direct to Darwin, then onto Bandar Seri Begawan, Saigon, Phnom Penh and finally to Bangkok. “Chao Phraya” taxied to runway 34L via taxiway A6 and started its 43-second roll at 4:45 pm after Virgin Blue’s B737-400 had vacated the runway.
The climb felt rather steep and I had some nice views of downtown Sydney. Service started soon after takeoff with peanuts and drinks, I opted for a Bacardi cola as well as some orange juice. Hot towels (real ones – not the paper ones) were distributed later, followed by dinner service.
Smoked Salmon and Coleslaw
Chicken with Sweet Chilli, Steamed Thai Jasmine Rice
Beef Barbecued Ragoût, Mashed Potato, Carrot, Broccoli
Roll, Crackers, Butter, Cheese
Chocolate Ganache Marble Cake
This was the same menu as in February when I took this very same flight (back of the menu says “TG 992 Y –FEB/MAY/AUG/NOV”), and I chose the chicken. It was absolutely delicious again – the best economy class meal I have tasted. Also the rolls were warmed which was a nice touch. Great job from GateGourmet Sydney regarding the main course! Also the portions on Thai are always big enough, not a tiny cup like on some European carriers. I opted for some red wine as well as water with my meal and refills were offered a few times. Coffee/tea and cognac were offered to finish up this tasty meal.
Since Thai was showing Spiderman as well, I decided to listen to some of the music channels and just relax. The ladies (some of them simply stunning…) took a break at this point and the poor guy kept offering juices and water throughout the flight. I also slept a couple of hours and woke up just in time for the second round of hot towels. Ahhh – what a refreshing effect those had! It was then time for the second meal service.
Mixed Green Salad with Italian Dressing
Vegetable Lasagne with Basil Tomato Concasse
Buttered Broccoli, Cherry Tomato
Again a very tasty meal, the only difference between “dinner” and “light meal” seemed to be the lack of a bread roll, crackers etc this time. I drank more of that sweet orange juice with my meal.
Somewhere close to Phnom Penh, the captain announced over the PA that we had just left FL340, were on descent into Bangkok International. Weather in Bangkok was +28 celcius and thundershowers. Headsets were collected and the cabin was prepared for landing, and soon the lights of greater Bangkok area came into view. There is always something special in night approaches for me – one of the reasons I decided to take a window seat on this flight.
“Chao Phraya” touched down on 21R at 10:40pm – landing was truly smooth as silk again, these Thai pilots seem to be the masters of B747 landings. Five minutes later we arrived at Gate 42 and another great flight on Thai had come to an end.
31 August 2002
Bangkok Intl – Frankfurt Main
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 23:55/00:06
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 06:10/06:00
Business Class, Seat 24K
Photo © Florian Kondziela
Photo © Florian Kondziela
I made my way to the Lufthansa transfer desks and asked if bulkhead was available. No need for one though, he upgraded me to business class right away. I told him I appreciated it and he wished me a pleasant flight.
Thai Royal Orchid Lounge T2, Bangkok TH
I decided to use this lounge for a change, having been to TG ROL1 and LH Business lounge before. I was greeted by two ladies at the front desk and they told me to make sure the lounge is ok since they were rather crowded that night. I went down the stairs and another hostess was greeting me there. She was escorting arriving passengers to seats and I had no problems finding one.
The lounge is rather small with light furnishings and a nice view of the tarmac. Snack selection includes the usual peanuts, chips and cookies as well as different sandwiches, pastries and some scones. There were two internet terminals as well. I had a few small tuna sandwiches and a Singha before heading to gate 52 for boarding. The front desk ladies wished me a nice flight as I was leaving. Overall very nice lounge.
After some last minute duty-free shopping, I made my way to gate 52 through security. The flight was in final stages of boarding at this point and Business/First line was non-existent, so I just walked straight through to seat 24K. A blanket, pillow, amenity kit and headset were already waiting. 24K is the bulkhead in the second cabin with only two rows, so the small cabin created sort of a private feeling. Legroom was decent good though not great, I couldn’t stretch my legs without touching the bulkhead.
The seat itself was pretty comfortable and the legrest long enough. Pre-departure drinks were served, water, orange juice or champagne in real glasses and menus were distributed. The flight was 100% full in business and economy and a lucky b@stard across the aisle was upgraded to first and a Senator with his companion took the two seats in the middle – probably op-upgraded from economy as well.
The purser welcomed everyone briefly onboard (captain made no announcements) and we were pushed back a bit late at 12:06am with the estimated flying time of 10h30min. Qantas 747 VH-OJL and Finnair MD11 OH-LGB were occupying the nearby gates. We taxied to runway 21R and started our 52-second roll once Thai’s 747-400 HS-TGX had taken off. Nice views of Bangkok while we were climbing to our initial cruising altitude of FL310.
Service started once the seatbelt sign went off, a bag of almonds was served with a choice of drink, I opted for Baileys. The purser, an old guy, was efficient but not friendly at all. Later a pleasant German lady took the dinner orders, here’s the menu, I have included the first segment MNL-BKK as well if someone is interested. +++ indicates my choice.
Lufthansa Business Class
Roasted Chicken Skewer
accompanied by an Asparagus Salad
with Bell Peppers in Vinaigrette
Rolls and Butter
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
offered with Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce,
Asian Vegetables and Steamed Rice
Gratinated Cannelloni filled with Vegetables,
Spinach Cream Sauce and Yellow Squash
Poached Salmon and pan-fried Silver Grunt Fish
served with a Pomelo Salad
and Yogurt-Mint Dressing
Air-dried Beef +++
offered with Bell Peppers and Eggplant
with Tomatoes and Yellow Squash
presented with Dressing
Bread Rolls and Butter
Breast of Poularde filled with Spinach,
accompanied by Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce,
Carrots, Green Beans and buttered Linguine
Grilled Red Snapper Fillet +++
accompanied by a Ginger Jus,
Bok Choy and Egg-fried Rice with Saffron
Pretzel Soufflé atop Marjoram Sauce
with Leaf Spinach, Carrots and Mushrooms*
* This entrée has been created especially for Lufthansa by the Jeunes Restauranteurs d’Europe – Germany.
Cheese and Dessert
Gruyère and Cracked Pepper Cheese
Mango Cheesecake +++
Fresh Fruit Salad
Duval Leroy Fleur de Champagne Brut
2000 Silvaner Spätlese trocken, Bürgerspital Würtzburg, Franken, Germany
2000 Casablanca Valley Chardonnay, Casablanca Estate, Chile +++
2001 Sauvignon Blanc Segú, Chile
1999 Château Tour du Moulin, Cru Bourgeois, Medoc, France
2000 Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenzicht Vineyards, South Africa
White linens were distributed as well as a tray containing salad and hors d’oeuvre. Warm rolls and drinks were served as well. Plates were collected later and main course was served. Food was decent but the fish was dry and portions were rather small. Later, trays were collected and dessert served, the cheesecake was tasty and Mozart Kugeln was a nice touch. I opted for some Baileys as well.
After finishing my meal, I went to the washroom and noticed that they were only collecting trays in the main business class cabin. I couldn’t find any interesting movies and the PTVs were rather small and had low picture quality, so I just left airshow on and decided to sleep. Before that I put the “wake up for meals” sticker on top of my seat. I fell asleep immediately and only woke up as the lights were turned on for breakfast. Just as well I did that – the sticker had disappeared from my seat. Here’s the breakfast menu:
Roll and Croissant
with Butter and Preserves
A variety of Cold Cuts
including Air-dried Beef, stuffed Chicken
and Cheddar Cheese
Egg and Spinach Roll +++
Puff Pastry filled with fresh Fruit
Last Minute Breakfast, Bangkok-Frankfurt
Coffee or Tea
The breakfast was a big disappointment, that egg and spinach roll was tiny, literally two bites. I had some orange juice and coffee, refills were offered once. Service was friendly though, a Thai lady was responsible for this section of business class.
I don’t see the point of the early breakfast, we started the descent from FL410 exactly one hour after trays were collected, at 5:10am. We landed on 07L at 5:54am and what did I see taxiing in front of me? The exact same HS-TGX that took off before us from Bangkok! It was operating as TG920 and we were parked next to each other in the B-pier at 6am sharp.
There was a passport check by the aircraft door, Europeans were waved through while all Asians were stopped. My LH business experience wasn’t nearly as good as AC or SK earlier this year, however these two mentioned carriers only offer two classes of service. I wasn’t impressed by LH’s food at all (TG Y food was better) and the presentation wasn’t the nicest, LH for example uses same paper bags for salt and pepper and same cheap salad dressing containers as in economy class while AC/TG/SK have all offered some classy stuff. Also the LH amenity kit is nothing more than a SQ Y class kit in a nicer bag.
Lufthansa Business Lounge B, Frankfurt DE
This lounge happened to be right next to our arrival gate so I headed there for a shower. The warden at the front desk and refused to put my Varig number in for the final leg for the 55555 promo as “she has to see the card”. I told her very politely that I have no card as I just joined on the website and that I have never ever had any problems with any carriers. “I can’t do it” was his answer. By the way, she never said good morning or anything to me either. Ywah – why bother, I’m just a bloody moron who has flown about 200K in the last 1.5 years to get the SEN card. I felt that she didn’t care because of my age.
Things didn’t get any better inside the lounge, I was fourth on the waitlist for showers. I could have gone to the SEN lounge but didn’t bother at this point since I had nothing but time. The two internet terminals were not working, so I opted for a refreshing apple juice in the deserted main lounge section. Got to the shower about 20 minutes later – what a refreshing effect that had after a long flight.
I decided to leave this lounge after that, moron at the front desk didn’t say a word – she was too busy reading her magazine.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge B, Frankfurt DE
Changed my FF numbers at the front desk – no problems whatsoever and the lady was very friendly actually. This lounge was very full as usual, I was lucky to find a seat, again in the TV viewing area. I had some sandwiches for breakfast since LH failed to provide any decent breakfast on the flight. Both internet terminals were taken so I decided to give the RCC a try.
United Airlines Red Carpet Club, Frankfurt DE
No lines at the USA flights security checkpoint and I was in the Red Carpet Club in no time at all. The girl at the front desk was very friendly but unfortunately she informed that their internet terminal wasn’t working either. Oh well. I grabbed a Diet Pepsi and took a seat – plenty of space available as usual.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Schengen A, Frankfurt DE
It was almost nine o’clock at this point so I decided to head over to the A concourse for my connection to Helsinki. Bought some duty free (or should I say ‘travel value’ ) before heading to the SEN lounge. No warden here, just your usual Lufthansa Frankfurt ground staff, doing her job efficiently but no extra smiles.
Lounge was very crowded but luckily I managed to get one of the internet terminals – and it was working! I wrote a couple of e-mails, enjoyed some Baileys and left for the gate at around 9:20am.
1 September 2002
Frankfurt Main – Helsinki Vantaa
Gate Departure (scheduled/actual): 09:50/10:13
Gate Arrival (scheduled/actual): 13:25/13:35
Economy Class, Seat 11F
Photo © Charles Falk
Photo © Paulo Carvalho
Boarding started at gate A16 at 9:30am and was the usual cattle call. We were bussed to a remote stand where one of the early A321s, D-AIRC, was waiting. I boarded via the front stairs and took my bulkhead seat 11F. 11DE were empty until a lady moved to D – it turned out that she was a Finnish flight attendant working for United. We had some interesting conversation about UA later.
The captain informed us of the estimated flying time of 1h50min and that unfortunately they needed to remove some bags due to no-shows at the gate. We were pushed back late at 10:13am and only took off at 10:33am after a Delta 767-300 from 07L. Flight was uneventful and crew very ordinary, a bit on the unfriendly side.
A regular cold meal was served, some macaroni salad, cold cuts, warm roll and some German bread. I had my favourite drinks as well – Diet Coke and Baileys with ice later. More drinks were offered later and the flight attendant seemed to have some problem when I asked for another Baileys but managed to serve it to me anyway.
After flying over downtown Helsinki, we landed on runway 22 about 10 minutes late and taxied to gate 27. As soon as I reached the baggage claim area, I was paged over the PA to contact SAS arrival service… Oh well, I guess my bag had to get lost at some point! The SAS agent couldn’t have cared less all she said “Lufthansa left your bag at Frankfurt”, no apologies or anything. I then asked if they know where it is (her story didn’t sound right) and she said something like “Well… actually… it seems to be in Bangkok at the moment”. She filed a report and a friend picked me up five minutes later and we drove home.
My bag made it to my door about 52 hours late, hope it had a great holiday in Bangkok and that TG920 was a nice flight . On top of that, Lufthansa managed to let it sit somewhere at Frankfurt for almost a day. Anyway, that’s it, hope you enjoyed the report!