I recently took a trip with my fiance to London and New York. We both like travelling very much. During our trip I got talking with a flight attendant who told me that some people put their experiences on the web and make other people very happy with that and the products of different airlines are discussed/reviewed in that way. I already knew about the existence of Airliners.net, but now I decided to use it myself in order to put my trip reports online too!
Quick introduction about myself maybe. I live in the Netherlands. Right now I am finishing my masters in law. I am 23 years old. Me, and all of my family members travel alot so we are all Lufthansa Senators. Why? Well as I said we travel alot. My parents for their jobs and me, my sister and my fiance for leisure. As my parents always travel business class for work and leisure and they also pay for our tickets we also travel business class and hence the fact that we are all Senators. If you ask me, a useless status anyway except for the miles you earn.
Well let's go to the trip report. So we decided to make a trip to London and New York. We have been there before and this time we went there to just relax and have some fun.
Our trip started in Amsterdam. We flew to London Heathrow on KLM. I have no pictures as I have only started to take pictures after the conversation I have had with the flight attendant on the other flight from LHR to JFK. Our flight was KL1019 which leaves Schiphol @ 14:50. We went to departures hall 2 @ Schiphol and checked in at the business class counters. They always have at least 8 desks available which are empty most of the time anyway. So check-in was quick and efficient. The ground staff of KLM is always very good as is their cabin crew. We boarded the aircraft as one of the first. We were offered no pre-departure drinks. Our flight would last for 40 minutes. During the flight they offered a snack-box. I did not have one but my fiance did. It contained (they always do by the way) two portions. One desert and one 'main' which was like a tapas kind of thing. They also offer you hot rolls and drinks to your liking of course. Cabin crew was very attentive and polight. KLM does have one of the best crews around! There were only 4 people in business class on this flight by the way. We landed at Heathrow on-time and picked up our luggage. Ours arrived first. So I guess priority labels with KLM actually have effect. Our transport was waiting for us outside the terminal and we were off to London for a nice two day stay. We flew in a boeing 737-300 by the way.
About the flight: I don't like the seats KLM offers on their European business product. Old and dirty with stains. But it was only 40 mins. so who cares anyway. The catering was a little bit tacky as they also offered only plastic cutlery with it. But my fiance said the food actually tasted very good itself.
After two days it was time to head to New York. We woke up and went to the airport around eight. Our flight (LH4727) would leave around eleven. Our flight was operated by an A300. The most relaxed thing about this aircraft is the seats they put in it. They are the old business class seats of lufthansa long-haul my parents told me. Very nice for a one our flight to Frankfurt. We arrived at Heathrow terminal 2. We checked in at the counter and then went up to the lounge. Lounge at Heathrow is nothing special really. I went to get some tea and coffee for ourselves but after seeing the dirt inside the mugs which came out of the machines we had some orange juice.
Then it was time for boarding so we went to the gate. The gate was a gate were three gates are located in the same area. Guess it was 10 or 2? Don't remember it actually. No boarding yet even if boarding was announced in the lounge. So we waited and after a 20 minute delay boarding started. As you may know there is no priority boarding with Lufthansa so when boarding was called, it became a CHAOS. So we waited until most people boarded before we did.
After taking our seats they took our coats and the purser welcomed us aboard. We were offered no pre take-off drinks. After take off we recieved our meals and I was quite hungry because we did not have braskfast in the hotel as we slept until 8 o'clock.
Here is the seat:
I only ate the dessert, salmon and the meat and vegetables on the stick as the other things were near the level of 'disgusting'. After that we were offered tea or coffee. And then it was time for landing. We landed on-time and at Frankfurt we went straight to the new Tower Lounge which was above our departure gate: gate A65. The Tower Lounge is actually one of the newest lounges of Lufthansa (and they needed that!) and is very nice. Decorated modern and enough personal space. Food is ok as they have fresh fruit and sweets which satisfies me anyway. For people that like hot food there is soup and german sausages etcetera. The view of the lounge is also great as you can look out to the taxiways and see alot of traffic because the lounge is located at the corner of the terminal building. Again it was time for boarding so we went to the gate we boarding the boarding anouncement was being made. Again total CHAOS! Only disabled, elderly and passengers with small children were allowed to board first but they could not walk through because of so many people eager to board. After it got a little more quiet we boarded. From what I have seen so far with lufthansa is that when two jetways are available they use one for first and business Class and the other one for economy, which was also the case with this flight. We settled into our seats on row 4 which is just in front of the first door on the 747. Our coats were taken and pre-departure drinks were offered. Our flight should have left at 17:00 but there were some problems with pushing back so we left around 17:20. After take off I started to watch the movie The day the earth stood still. Then the purser came to hand out the menu's and personally greet us as they do this for their Frequent Traveller members and their Senator members. Then the orders were taken, we were offered hot towels and we started with the pre dinner drinks and delicious macadamia nuts.
Drinks and nuts, I had the white wine and some still water:
After that the appetizer came, which consisted of salmon with mango sauce and some disgusting rice:
So while I was watching my movie and enjoying my appetizer I noticed a male attendant next to my seat. I took off my headphone and he greeted me in Turkish. Apparently he saw our names on the passenger list and came to greet us and he told me that if we needed anything we should let him know so that he could take care of it. It very nice of him to greet us and offer us his help if we needed any. This has never happened to me before on any Lufthansa flights were there were also clearly other Turkish attendants. Anyway, nice touch!
So we proceeded with the main dish were there was a choice of beef, chicken and fish. We has the chicken which was very good!
After the main it was time for desert. The offer was: a cheese platter, chocolate dessert, fresh fruit salade and some sweets to go with the coffe and tea. I took the chocolate dessert with caramel sauce:
After that we were offered some tea or coffee with sweets:
After dinner service I watched The curious case of Benjamin Button and then it was sleeping time for us so I tried to get a short nap while my fiance wathced movies. Some pictures of the seat and the 'Private Bed'-position:
The seat is actually very comfortable when you use the 'intelligent' flat option it offers. It prevents you from sliding down. But still it is never as comformtable as a real bed! the blanket they offer is ok not very thick just a plain blanket but still better than the blankets KLM or Air France offers in Business class. You also recieve an amenity kit. Contains the usual stuff like toothbrush, tooth paste, eye-shades, ear plugs, some creams and lotions and socks. Design of the amenity kit is the same as the blanket:
We landed on-time and made our way throug immigration and were on our way to the hotel. We stayed in New York for 10 days. Unfortunately they passed very quick so before we knew we had to go back. Our flight on the way back was LH405 which departs around 21:35 if I remember correctly. So we took a cab around six o'clock which is not the best time as all the cabs in New York have their shift change around that time so very few will accept you.
At the airport we checked in. Check-in was quiet. We made our way through security and went to the lounge. In JFK Lufthansa also updated its lounge. So the lounge was pleasent to use. Enough food offerings whick include hot dishes freshly baked rolls etcetera etcetera. This new lounge is also furnished with modern furniture and has a modern look and feel. View is also good as you have a view of the gates nearby and a taxi way at the far end. I have been in both the Senator level and the Business Class/Frequent Traveller level and they are basically the same. I have no pictures of this flight but it was also on a 747-400 and our seats were in row 4 again. After boarding our coats were taken, we were offered pre-departure drinks and asked if we would like to have dinner. We did and we had the beef option. After that I quickly went to sleep and my fiance watched some movies. I woke up after a couple of hours (I guess it was around one and a half hour before landing) and I was offered breakfast. It consisted of hot rolls, cold cuts and fresh fruit accompanied by a drink of your choice and coffe or tea. Nothing special really.
Before landing we were handed our coats. Landing was on-time and we left the aircraft by jetway but we had to be transported by bus as there was an emergency at the terminal. [???] When we were in the bus we saw several fire trucks passing by but I never saw or heared what was wrong.
Once back in the terminal we headed towards our connecting flight immediately as we had a short transit time. It was flight LH4728 which would depart @ 12:55. We were at the gate were boarding shortly started. We had our boarding passes already which we recieved in New York while checking in. We were transported to our aircraft (737-300) by bus and it took a while to get there as our aircraft was the last in row on the stand. Once boarded we were greated by two female atendants. One was grumpy as hell and did not enjoy her job! Her announcements made me wanna step up to the front and give her a few smacks. They were very slow, one-toned, grumpy kinda announcements. Very very bad. That was the purser on this flight by the way. She was also continously talking to the other attendant (which was very cute and always smiling) but together they had kind of an attitude of damn these people, why are they travelling, we do not want to be here. I think you guys got it so i'll drop this subject.
Anyway, doors closed and we were up in the sky again. Then the service started. They came around with a salad. The service was done by the cute female attendant and a colleague from the back which was male. He did not ask us if we wanted anything and I thought they maybe serving one side each so when he was already done the cute girl came to me and asked me if I wanted anything to eat or drink and said that she noticed that her colleague did not ask us. I told her that I thought they were serving one side each, but she said no that is not the case and I also found it awkward that my colleague did not offer you anything and just passed you by! Glad to hear someone is interested in passengers on this flight. So I told her we will not be having anything to eat but just drinks. She appologized and served us our drinks.
Flight passed by quickly and we landed on-time @ Heathrow. The gate we arrived at was the same as our departure gate when we left London for Frankfurt. At Heathrow we decided to staty another two days in London before heading back to Amsterdam. So called KLM to change our flights which they did and called the hotel we statyed in at our previous visit to check if there were rooms available. There were rooms available so we went over and had another two days in London.
Then we flew back on KLM to Amsterdam. Nothing special again. Very attentive crew. One very idiotic one. 'Een echte kluns' as we would say in the Netherlands. Kinda cute anyway to see. Meal was again a box with a delicious desert and surprise surprise: tapas (2 pieces). I had some tea afterwards and then it was already time for landing. The male purser who served us in business was very good and again KLM showed of great professionalism when it concerns cabin crew. We landed on-time and made our way home after collecting our luggage which again came with 'priority'.
Well now lets give my opinion on the products of these airlines I flew with. I do not fly KLM business so this was just a one time experience for me. Crew is really good with KLM but their catering product could be better if you for example take the catering of BA into account on the same flight. Also I personally like leather seats as they are more comfortable in my opinion. I totally forgot about the lounges of KLM: at Schiphol they have ok louonges which they recently renovated I think. Nothing special but decoration and furniture are fine and the lounge is modern overal. Food en drinks: drinks ok and food can be better I guess. And the lounge was crowded. At Heathrow the KLM lounge is well, old and shabby. Food offerings are limited to cold cheese and crisps. This lounge needs a renovation.
For Lufthansa. We fly Lufthansa and Swiss most of the time (or other Star Alliance airlines). Lufthansa has a good product. It's a shame they do not have full-flat seats. In flight entertainment is very good. Their cabin crew is always attentive, friendly and good (except for the grumpy one on our last flight). Their lounges are nothing special but the new ones are an improvement to the old ones. Their Senator lounges are overcrowded! Their priority tags never work. Except for London I guess. And well except for the miles you recieve I find the benefits of a higher status with Miles and More useless. For the specific trips I took this time I was satisfied with them. Their food is good and we were on-time with all our flights.
Me and my fiance decided that our future travel will be on British Airways and we will 'leave' Lufthansa/Swiss. Not because the fact that we dislike them or Star Alliance but because that fact that we explored BA and it's offerings with it's premium products and that we think we should try their premium product because they offer more to their premium passengers. My fiance liked the T5 lounges very much as they are more up to date than the lounges of Lufthansa and also liked the fact that they offered a 'better' bed in J-class. So we decided to switch.
I hope that you enjoyed my report. Next time I will take more pictures. I actually liked reporting about this one so I guess I will report back on all of my trips from now on. Upcoming trips are one to Antalya in the summer and one to a European destination in the summer too. Comments are welcome.