The reason for this trip was to attend the A.net FRA meeting, so after looking around for a decent fare I settled on a rather nice 89 Euros (Return) on LH, and as a Miles and More member it also meant some miles.
Thursday February 21st 2008
Flight 4454 Barcelona El Prat de Llobregat-Frankfurt Main.
Departure 12:50 (actual 14:15)
Arrival 15:20 (Actual 17:00)
Airbus A321-100 D-AIRD
Photo © Dejan Milinkovic
Photo © Andreas Mueller - Spotterteam Graz
Woke up at 08:30 am Happy knowing that I was going flying today, but my head was killing me, I knew I was coming down with something (flu, cold) because I had some slight coughing a couple of days before, I took some medicine and pressed ahead, no sickness shall impede MIAspotter from flying!
At 10:30 I made my way to the airport from home, I arrived there at 11:15 am and went straight to the Lufthansa self check-in machines, printed my boarding passes and then trotted to the baggage drop-off counters where a nice lady checked my bag to FRA, she also informed me that the inbound flight was delayed 1 hour due to weather in FRA.
I cleared security in no time and after that I just wandered around in the terminal, exploring the shops and facilities and checking out the mock up models of the new South Terminal, it very impressive and hopefully it will be finished on-time.
I was feeling a bit peckish after all the walking so I stopped for a sandwich and some coffee at a little cafeteria with some tables and chairs overlooking the apron and sat there enjoying my sandwich and the views. One thing I must say about BCN airport is the almost constant flight announcements, honestly they get annoying after a while.
Here is my lousy attempt to take pics in the terminal.
Spot my Flight...
Hmm My kinda store
Colombian Beauty taxiing past.
Close to the time my flight was due to arrive I saw a LH 737-300 being directed to the gate my flight was supposed to depart, I immediately went to check one of the screens and to my relief my flight was changed to gate B47 (was originally Gate B41) it was then when I saw a LH A321 taxiing past the terminal to a remote gate, pheew! Nothing against 737s I like them, but I have only been on 2 A321s.
At 13:45 boarding was announced and us passengers did what we love to do best, queue! We were put on buses and
given a nice airside tour of the ramp all the way to D-AIRD (Coburg) which was just enjoying some Mediterranean sunshine on the ramp.
I boarded thru the front gate where a lovely F/A was greeting passengers, found my seat and stowed my crap away and sat and waited for the rest of my fellow passengers to board, at this time probably my flu medicine stopped working since I started having a runny nose and some more headache, lucky I had plenty of tissue but it was nonetheless very annoying, the crew and the captain did their usual speeches while the cabin slowly filled up.
At 14:10 boarding was all done and we were all ready to go, cabin crew today consisted of 2 girls and 2 boys and the business class partition was all the way to the middle lavatory/closet LH has on their A321s economy was also packed, the cabin was as usual on LH spotless, the seats were also nice but seat pitch was rather tight.
With the engines buzzing we started taxiing to Runway L which from the main terminal is a heck of a long way (across one of the runways, then parallel to the new South Terminal, and along a taxiway) we eventually made it there and sneaked past a Squeezyjet 737 which seemed to be a bit pissed off because we jumped the queue%u2026 oh well (proper airlines get priority) :P
When we lined up %u201CZe Captain%u201D opened the taps and the A321 rocketed up into a lovely but hazy Barcelona afternoon, we climbed over the Mediterranean sea, routing today was Barcelona, then over Marseille, towards the alps and Geneva, over Zurich and finally Frankfurt, Altitude was FL340 flying time 1:40 and it was a wonderful day for flying with clear skies all the way to the alps when it got all cloudy.
Once we reached a safe altitude the cabin crew started the service which consisted of a Cheese sandwich (on a type of bread which was as dry as Sudan) a mini Mars bar and a drink of choice. The cabin crew performed their duties with a smile and professionalism, but once the service was cleared out they disappeared for the rest of the flight.
I just plugged my iPod and let the wonderful voice of Amy Macdonald work her magic on my headache.
In Flight somewhere over the Alps.
After 1 hour and something the engines spooled down and started the descent into FRA, weather outside was cloudy, The captain gave us some information about the airport (for PAX on connecting flights) Weather at FRA was a not-so-lovely 9c cloudy and with chance of rain%u2026 my cold viruses will have the time of their lives with this kind of weather.
After a few turns here and there we were lined up with the airport and the Frankfurt skyline (Mainhattan) came into view, I was actually quite excited since it was my first time going there and was looking forward to see the huge airport as well.
With the dunlops dangling the captain made a greaser on RWY 25R at 17:10, 1:40 behind schedule, once clear of the active we taxied towards our assigned parking position
Some pics of the taxiing.
Here's one for Wilco737
We went to the other end of the airport and parked on a remote stand right in front of T2 and once the engines were off everyone scrambled on a mad rush to get off the plane, I took it easy and waited for a bit, I collected my crap, grabbed some LH postcards, thanked the crew and walked onto a rather cold and windy ramp towards a bus that will take us to terminal 1 and boy was that a cool ride! Passing close to 747s 777s 340s! a total a.nutter's wet dream.
Once inside warm Terminal 1 it was a quick walk to baggage claim where my bag came off fairly soon and then I took a train towards Frankfurt's Hauptbahnof and from there it was just a 5 minute walk to my hotel which was (unknown to me) located on the Red Light...hmm.
Saturday February 23rd 2008
Flight 4464 Frankfurt Main-Barcelona El Prat de Llobregat
Departure 21:00 (actual 21:05)
Arrival 22:55 (Actual 22:50)
Airbus A321-100 D-AIRN
Photo © Martin Djupenstrom
Photo © Marcel Schmidt
So after spending 2 not-so-nice days due to my now acute cold in Frankfurt and Cologne it was time to return home.
I left my hotel at around 9 am and headed to the Hauptbahnof to get some breakfast at McDonald's, then I made one last wander around the city taking some daylight pictures of the buildings and the riverside, then at 11:30 I returned to the Station to get a train to FRA in order to meet Stefan (Fly Swiss) for the a.net meet, I made it there at 12:00 and after doing the self check-in thing I dropped my bag and took the skytrain to Terminal 2 and then to the viewing terrace where I met Stefan and had a cool day spotting.
Here are some pics of the action around FRA.
Lufthansa's LU A319
Air China "Star Alliance" A330
China Southern A330
Iran Air A300
Air India 744
TAM new A345
Korean Air B744
At around 5-ish the rest of the attendees (Ndebelebev, Plymspotter, Birdwatching and the other guy whose name I can't recall) arrived onboard a beautiful LAN A340, we met them at the exit and took a train back to Frankfurt for a quick drink.
At 7:00 I rushed back to the airport and straight to security where the nice German Polizei gave me a nice sendoff by having me take off my shoes, belt, etc and having to sit there and wait for my items to be scanned.
Anyways once that was done I took a leisurely stroll to my gate (30) which seemed to be more like a marathon than a walk, Once there I sat by the window trying to get the registration of the nice A321 sitting outside.
At 08:40pm Boarding was called and since I had an Eticket I could use the self-boarding gate which was kinda cool!
Once onboard I was greeted by another nice F/A and made my way towards the rear where my seat was, stored my stuff on the overhead and took my seat, again the cabin was spotless and I think the gray interior makes it look elegant, load was pretty low tonight with around 50% on coach.
Once boarding was completed the doors were closed and secured and we pushed back roughly on-time after waiting for some connecting PAX from a Beijing flight. We taxied towards RWY 18, once there the captain made a rolling takeoff and off we went onto a cold FRA night.
Once we reached a safe altitude the crew sprung into action and commenced the service which again consisted of a sandwich, this time on a more softer, nicer bread, the usual chocolate bar and a drink of your choice, after all was cleared the crew again disappeared for the rest of the flight but most of the passengers were asleep or minding their own business anyways.
The captain came on the PA to brief us on the routing and stuff; I could not really understand what he said due to the volume being a bit low.
After 1:30 we started descent towards BCN and I was glad to be nearing home, I was so sick from the cold that I just wanted to be home on my cozy bed and with familiar faces around.
Soon the lights from BCN came into view and the captain said there was a bit of fog around the airport but not to worry, bit of a fog?? Once we got lower and lower you could not see anything out of the windows! Still the captain made a smooth landing and as soon as we exited the runway we were obviously guided to our gate by a follow me truck which if it wasn't for the flashy lights you would not be able to see it, we quietly parked next to a KLM 737 who was sound asleep and as soon as the seatbelt sign was switched off passengers began their mad rush to be first off the plane it was now 11:00pm.
I waited for my bag to come off the belt which we were sharing with an EI flight from Cork and then took the bus (bad idea since it was a night bus and they are way too slow) to Plaza Espana and then the metro to my house, interestingly on the bus there were some Vueling crew and they were talking about the fog and that there were some close calls on the ramp, (Baggage carts and other equipment).
Anyways I made it home by 1:20am and straight to bed, funny that a few hours ago I was having a drink in Frankfurt and now I was back home in BCN 700 miles away... air travel...gotta love it.
LH. Good airline, I just wished the crews on my flights were a bit more attentive, doesn't hurt to do a round every 20-30 minutes to check if passengers are OK or offer some water at least. Oh and the seat pitch, they need to work on that too.
I have an LX flight booked up in a couple of weeks (BCN-BSL-BCN) and I will put my comparison glasses on and see how the child fares against his dad, and hopefully my cold will be over by then!.
Hope you enjoyed reading this report and comments are welcomed (good or bad)
Here are some pictures of Frankfurt and Cologne.
European Central Bank.
Deutsche Bank Towers, apparently the locals call them Credit and Debit LOL.
Skyline from the River
Cologne Cathedral as seen from the river.
LH Building (Is this their HQ's?)
Hm, where have I seen this little fella before?
Square in Cologne.
Taking the ICE back to Frankfurt.