This is my return flight from SFO to HAM via FRA with United and LH.
We had a great time in the states and too soon we had to fly back home.
When the day came, we woke up early because the hotel-shuttle would pick us up at 7:30AM.
I double-checked every room to ensure that we did not forget anything and then we made our way to the parking-lot. The shuttle came on time with a very energetic driver in it, he made a lot of jokes while driving to the airport (with 20 mph over the speedlimit) and he actually tried to speak German which was a funny touch.
When we entered the international terminal we saw a huge line in front of the United Check in counters but with over 3 hours to kill it was no problem. Most people in the line were Mexicans who took the United flight to Mexico city. They looked quite confused and some used to step out of the line, walk to the check in agent and ask something which resulted that she had to send them away again what did not speed up the whole thing.
When it was our turn the agent said something in Spanish and when she saw our puzzled faces she smiled, apologized and said that she thought that there were only Mexicans in the line.
She checked our passports and printed out our boarding passes. She was very friendly and professional and as we collected our passports and miles and more cards, she wished us a pleasant flight and thanked us for flying United.
We headed straight for security because we wanted to have lunch at a Japanese restaurant which is located in the international terminal. We discovered it at our first trip to San Francisco and use to eat their everytime we visit this great city
Security was a breeze, I thought it would be worse due to the departing Mexicans but apparently they went through it already. The securityguys were pretty grumpy and did not smile at all but I did not care too much because I was so happy that I was at this great airport again.
We walked down the corridor to the Japanese restaurant were we got some delicious Japanese specialties (some sort of spicy chicken with vegetables and rice) and some sushi.
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me at the Japanese restaurant (delicious)
After that my mum headed off for some duty-free shopping and I made my to the huge windows which allow a great view over the airport. As we were in the international terminal most of the planes were heavies except for the United flights bound for Canada.
I tried to do some pictures but it was no good through the windows so I rather saved my batteries for the flight.
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that is the result
I strolled down between the Gates to watch the planes depart to all parts of the world, there was a Singapore Airlines 777 with destination Singapore, an ANA 777 to Tokyo, lots of United heavies of course with several destinations and the Lufthansa 747 to Frankfurt which would depart ten minutes ahead of us. At this point I was quite glad to fly United, I don’t dislike Lufthansa, I think they are a reliable airline and I don’t care about PTV in coach but the atmosphere at United with the Starbucks coffee, channel 9 and the American F/A´s is just better (at least when traveling to or from the US).
Fifteen minutes prior to boarding my mum returned from shopping and we made our way towards the gate. There were a lot of people waiting and there were messages on the screens which said that seat changing is not possible due to 100% load factor.
We found two seats were we settled down and waited for the boarding call.
Airline: United Airlines
Load factor: 100%
Photo © Kyle Donagher
Photo © Tristan Peters
It came ten minutes later and passengers were asked to enter the plane by the seatrow they were seated in. We were in the very back of the plane so we entered the plane very early.
We were greeted once again with a warm smile by the F/A who stood at the door and made our way through the plane towards the back where we were seated.
I took the camera out of the backpack, stored the backpack in the overhead bin and settled down in my seat by the window. I took the headphones out of the seatpocket, plugged them in, switched to channel nine and heard… nothing, I thought the worst when suddenly a soft voice called out of the headphones and requesting push-back clearance, I don’t remember what flight it was because I was too happy to notice.
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Soon our seatneighbour arrived, a women from the middle east with some sort of plant which she placed in the seatpocket in front of her and once she sat down she started praying. She did not talk to us the entire flight because after praying she fell asleep and did not wake up shortly before landing in FRA.
Anyway, the doors were closed soon and I heard the captain asking for taxi-clearance which was granted right away. As soon as we got our clearance the Singapore 777 also asked for taxi-clearance what resulted that it was pushed back parallel with us, here´s a pic of it waiting while we already started taxiing
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We passed the national terminal were a lot of 757 were standing and made our way to the active.
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After a few minutes we reached the runway and lined up for departure right away since there was no incoming aircraft. We held short for a few moments and then the Tower cleared us for take-off. The pilots applied the power and we started our looong take-off roll. When we airborned we had an awesome view over San Francisco
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After that great view we gained altitude and made our way towards the old continent.
Since this was a midday departure meal-service started quite soon and we were given the choice between chicken or beef. I opted for the chicken even though the beef tasted better at the flight from SFO to FRA but I did not regret my choice because the chicken was very tasty, it was served with some potatoes, crackers and cheese, fruit, a cake and some water. I enjoyed it a lot and after the trays were collected I put on the headphones again and listened to channel nine. I heard our captain making a request for a higher altitude due to turbulence which apparently lay ahead of us and ATC cleared us for Flight-level 350.
Soon the sun started to set and we had some nice reflections at the silver part of or engines
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The cabin lights were dimmed and many passengers dosed off and I was thankful that the guy in front of me did not recline his seat, what made the whole flight a lot more comfortable.
After a few hours I had to go to the lavatories which was quite difficult due to our sleeping seatneighbour and because I did not want to wake her up I just climbed over her.
I noticed that the F/A´s had made some sort of bar at the rear of the plane were you could drink something or grab some snacks. I was happy to stretch my legs and talked with some guys who did the same. I did not feel how fast the time went by because suddenly a F/A came and asked us (in a kind way) to return to our seats because they had to prepare the next meal.
I went back, took my seat (after some stuntclimbing) and read a little bit in my book. They showed some movies but I was not all too interested and so I skipped them.
When they came with the food I did not take any because I was still full from the great Japanese restaurant in SFO and the first meal. My mum and her neighbor were sleeping and so I do not know what choices there were.
After an hour the sun started to raise again and once again we had a great view
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When we had one and a half hour to go breakfast was given out which consisted of a croissant with melted cheese, beacon and some egg thing in it. It was delicious but I gave my mum the egg thin because I did not like it too much.
One hour away from FRA channel 9 got interesting again with a lot of traffic in the air which could be seen from our plane as well.
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When we had 30 minutes to go we started our descend towards a cloud covered Germany, with a lot of traffic flying around. The controllers were very busy and I could hardly understand what they were saying because they talked so fast.
We had to fly a holding pattern and then we were cleared to land.
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The landing was very smooth and as we vacated the runway I could see at least three planes coming in for landing behind us.
We had to hold short at the parallel runway due to a departing NW DC-10 and after that we made our way to the gate.
When we came to a hold everyone sprang up and opened the overhead bins. I remained in my seat because as I was sitting in the back of the plane I would be one of the last passengers getting off anyway.
Conclusion: A great flight with nice F/A´s and great views, we were on time and channel nine was great.
I give it 8 out of ten because the food was not as good as it was on the flight from FRA to SFO and the F/A´s were a little bit robotic. But overall a great flight and a good job done by United
We excited the plane and made our way to our connection flight to HAM.
We had one hour and a half until boarding started so we went to the gate and sat down in order to relax a little.
I left my mum sitting there and went to the windows facing the taxiway, were a nice lady saw me watching the planes and asked me if she should take a picture of me.
I was thankful because I really like the result
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I returned ten minutes prior to boarding and when it was called there were only 40-50 people waiting, so it would be a pretty empty flight.
Load factor: 40%
Photo © Thomas Kraemer
Photo © Tomas Mellies
We entered the plane and took our seat by the window, with a spare seat between us which was a nice thing.
We pushed back on time and made our way to the runway, were we got take off clearance right away. We rocketed into the sky were many contrails could be seen.
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The drink service started and I took a coke in order to stay awake.
There was nothing special on this flight and soon we began our descend into HAM which was quite bumpy.
We flew through thick clouds and I could make out ground when we already flared over the runway. We touched down with quite a thud and exited the runway. We made our way to the gate, got our stuff from the overhead bin and went to the baggage belt.
We got our bags quite fast and exited the airport with a lot of great memories about the trip and a huge jetlag
I hope you enjoyed this report and I would appreciate any comment
[Edited 2006-02-01 23:02:52]
[Edited 2006-02-01 23:05:28]