Flight: BD3235/LH4737 LHR-FRA
Photo © Rotate
The taxi I called that would take me to the train station was late and I missed the train that I was planning to take from Colchester, Essex to London. I arrived in London half an hour later than planned (at 15:10) and things seemed to be getting worse. There was a huge line for tickets at the Liverpool Street station and I got delayed 20' more. I arrived at Heathrow's Terminal 2 at 16:45 and I proceeded to the check-in counters in a hurry. The line was not big and Lufthansa had about 7 counters open for various flights to Germany. As I was about to hand in my luggage all counters stopped checking in passengers for my flight. I was informed that due to bad weather the inbound flight from FRA did not depart and we would have to wait aside until the staff could confirm that the flight wouldn't be cancelled. After all my previous delays that was all I needed!!
Fifteen minutes later we were called to check in. I was given two boarding passes for both my flights and I proceeded to the departures area. To my surprise (I was not informed during check-in), my flight was delayed and was expected to depart at 18:50. I had a lot of time to spare so I did some shopping, a lot of smoking and then sat near a window where I could see other flights departing. Boarding started around 18:55. The captain was very informative and told us that the delay was caused by bad weather in FRA and by technical problems with the aircraft. Due to congestion at the airport we took off at 19:55. The captain announcd that he would try to fly to FRA as soon as possible as many passengers, including me, had to connect to other Lufthansa or Star Alliance flights.
My seat was a bit crap because it was right in front of the exit and it wouldn't recline but the leather was very comfortable. The seat pitch was ok and it felt more cramped than the seats on OA's A300s and A340s. Ten minutes after takeoff the Flight attendants started serving drinks and sandwiches. There was a choice between cheese or ham sandwich. I got a ham sanwich that was very good and the packaging had a photo of a Lockheed Constellation in old LH colours. I also noticed that LH promotes compaies on the napkins. I think that mine was promoting a car rental company but I didn't pay much attention because it was in german. The crew was very kind, although it was obvious that they were in a hurry because it was a 50' flight. We encountered a lot of turbulence and it seened odd that I could see a lot of rain outside the aircraft every time the strobe lighted at the tip of the wing. We started our descent to FRA at around 21:50 local time and it was obvious that I had missed my flight to ATH. The captain made various announcements for connecting passengers and he advised passengers flying to ATH to contact LH staff after our arrival. The approacg was bumpy but I had a great view of Frankfurt from my window. Possibly due to crosswinds the aircraft made a steep turn as soon as the wheels touched the ground.
Upon arrival at the terminal many passengers were running around the gates to catch their connected flights. I was advised to go and wait in line at a counter next to our gate so that they could rebook me for the next flight. The line was long and most passengers were yelling at the staff so I decided to look for another counter and get everything done. At a counter a bit further from our gate a friendly member of the crew helped me out. Everybody was yelling at the poor ground staff and I tried to be as polite as possible to get good service. The guy instantly allocated me to the next flight to ATH that would depart the following morning. he handed me my boarding pass and he kindly gave me a voucher for a hotel. He asked me if I wanted a single or a double bed and also if i needed my luggage for the night. I chose a single bed and decided to leave my luggage at the airport (it would automatically go to my new flight) and I was given a lufthansa kit consisting of various amenities like deodorant, toothbrush, T-shirt etc. I had a smoke and then headed to the bus stop where I got the shuttle to the Steigenberger airport hotel. I got lost for a while at the airport because it was empty and it took me a long time to find a staffed informations desk. Unfortunately there was no foreign exchange ofice open. The airport was very big and the fact that it was empty made it look spooky. I called my parents in Athens and explained the siuation to them. At the hotel I was given a suite (!!!) at the 10th floor of the executive tower with sattelite TV and internet and a huge bathroom. I also got some pounds changed to euros at the reception and after a couple of drinks I went to my room to sleep.
Flight: LH3380 FRA-ATH
Photo © Michael Fritz
I got a wakeup call at 6:00 in the morning. It was hard to wake up because of the vodka I drank the previous night. I took a long shower, got dressed and went to the lobby to check out. When I gave my key back the receptionist informed me that there was a shuttle bus to terminal 2 every 15'. Furthermore, he told me that I could have breakfast for free at the hotel. I got to the buffet that had all kinds of things, from milk and cereals to sausages, eggs, even samon! I had a cup of coffee with a big breakfast and 30 minutes later I got the shuttle to the terminal. I didn't have to check-in because I already had a boarding pass for the flight and my luggage would automatically get loaded on the aircraft. I proceeded to the gate and, having half an hour to spend before boarding started I walked around the teminal and watched the planes from the glass windows.
Boarding started at 08:35. I got to my seat that was again in front of the emergency exit. A couple asked me if I could switch seats so that they could sit together. I moved to the other side of the aisle in a middle seat (8E). Luckily I was sitting next to a greek girl that was a university student in Manchester and we spent most of the flight chatting about our student lives
and our plans for Christmas. We pulled from the gate at 09:05 and we took off a couple of minutes later. The weather was still cloudy and windy in FRA but the flight was smooth.
Fifteen minutes after takeoff the crew started serving cold and hot drinks and breakfast. There was a choice for the main course (OA doesn't give a choice in Economy) between omelette and sweet pancakes. Although my stomach was full from the breakfat at the hotel, I got the omelette along with a glass of apple juice and a cup of coffee. The food was delicious and the breakfast also had ham and cheese, a fruit yoghurt and a bread roll with butter. The bread was not very soft and it was not warm (in comparison to OA's hot and soft bread rolls and croissants). The crew was again friendly and made a second round to serve drinks. Unfortunately, they did not serve more bread.
After a long chat with the girl next to me we started our descent to Athens. Unluckily, I did not have a window seat but I could see some of the view. Our landing was smooth and we arrived at the gate 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. I left the aircraft prettu quickly because I was in the first row of Economy and the aircraft was small anyway.
Overall, the experience was great. It was the first time I didn't fly non-rev (except from 2 school trips). The service that Lufthansa provided was very good and the arrangements hey made for my stay in Frankfurt and the re-booking superb. It makes me sad to say that OA, the airline I have always been flying and the flag carrier of my country would never have treated a passenger like that. My return flights are in 3 weeks and I can't wait.
[Edited 2003-12-21 22:26:40]
[Edited 2003-12-21 22:28:03]