In April of 2007 Lufthansa had advertised these fares for under CAD 920+tax to Dubai from Toronto. I did not hesitate and booked it, as I could not be more over ecstatic about flying on the Airbus A340-600 from Toronto, which was scheduled to fly till the start of the winter schedule. I was supposed to fly out Oct 24, but my plans changed due to political unrests in the country and I was advised to postpone my arrival there. I had to postpone it to December 2007 and due to the late change in booking, I could not get a flight out of Frankfurt to Toronto on the return except on the 26th of Dec. It was completely booked from the 27th all the way to Jan 10th. This meant I would have to fly out of Karachi to Dubai on the night of Christmas Day on Emirates, with whom I was now flying on points, having gathered enough from my earlier flights to fly the Dubai-Karachi-Dubai sector. At least I would get to celebrate Christmas with my family and also have two days with my cousins from Holland who were going to be with us from the 23rd night to the 30th.
Date: 04 Dec, 2007
Flight No: LH 471
Route: Toronto to Frankfurt
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300
Aircraft Name: D-AIGD (Remscheid)
Duration: 7h 50 mins
Finally the day arrived and I made my way to the airport on a blistering cold day in Toronto. I recall having to carry my winter jacket just so I would not freeze when I get back, though my destinations ahead were going to be warm and sunny, even in December. I had arrived almost three hours before check in, just in case my bags were going to be heavy and needed re-arranging. At least this time I would not see my bags again until I reached my destination in Dubai, as otherwise I have to pick up my bags and re-check them in when flying through New York, Los Angeles or Chicago as I did in the past. The Check-in agent was having a hard time explaining to the woman with the large bag with a fragile item in it, to put it in her checked baggage as it would not fit in the overhead bin. I was starting to worry she would give me a hard time too. The woman moved away I guess in search to find a new bag for this one item and I was then called to the desk. She took my passport looked down and in the meantime I went to collect my other bag. When I got back she burst out laughing saying she saw me, put her head down and then looked up and I was gone. We both laughed and she told me my bags were fine and gave me the window seat I requested, warmly requesting me to have a good flight. I was very impressed with Lufthansa so far. I made my way to through security, down the departures area and found my gate while entering through the famous architecture in Terminal 1. A pair of friendly bronze cats lay in the area right of the structure. I tried to get a view of my arriving jet but the arrivals were on Rwy23. Time passed and fortunately I got back to the gate after wandering around in time to see the Lufthansa Airbus A340 pulling into the gate. From the large windows you could see the arriving passengers and the LH crew seemed senior yet a very friendly and talkative bunch. Soon we made our way onto the aircraft and the load seemed quite full, yet boarding was conducted in a fairly civilised manner.
Once on board I noticed that there were no seat back videos except for large drop down TV screens from the ceilings and a quick browse through the Inflight Entertainment indicating a few movies. I had become so pampered to AVOD on Emirates, and at least seat back video on other carriers though without AVOD, that I found this to be something from the dark ages. However, what really struck me was the way the crew were interacting with the passengers, beginning with the friendly bunch waiting at the door. They were really friendly and a man in front of me was having problems asking if his choice was on board. The male FA who seemed very senior, after figuring out what he was asking, indicated he would check and then came back and informed the man his choice was indeed on board. A large Somali family who had been seperated by check in staff was also trying to find out if they could sit together, which the crew managed to work out indeed very quickly. Christmas decorations were seen in sporadic places around the aircraft. We pushed back and made our way to 24R from where we took off into the clear night sky. As we took off to the West, we passed the city of Mississauga on the way clearly visible from my port side seat 42A, and I recall seeing how the lights of the tall buildings sparkled below on this very crisp and cold night. We flew on ahead and below us the clock of the Erin Mills Town Centre seemed to be the turning point for our jet to turn left, the clock tower below now shimmering in the exhaust of the engines. We continued to turn left until we were over Lake Ontario from where we flew towards downtown Toronto. Within minutes the buildings of the downtown core sparkled and the CN Tower and Sky Dome (now called Rogers Centre) shone like diamonds along the dark border of the lake. Before long the cabin lights were shining in the windows and it was hard to see outside. Cocktail service commenced and I ordered a gin and tonic hoping it would put me to sleep later in the flight. This was followed by dinner which was an Indian choice as all other options were taken. I watched "Hairspray" while eating dinner. A very friendly yet senior LH flight attendant went around with two bottles of wine and very enthusiastically asked each passengers with a huge smile, bending down almost to their face level if they would like a refill. I don't believe I have ever seen any flight attendant been so excited with re-fills!! Till today that FA is my number one, just the way she conducted that whole service and she definitely had years of service and it showed, she truly loved the job she was doing. The trays were cleared, the lights were turned off and the Airshow played on the screens above until the next programme kicked in. I chose to listen to the audio instead and I think I fell off to sleep for a few hours. In the darkness later I could see another FA take a baby and try to put it to sleep, while the mother attended to another child. The FA even interacted quietly yet caringly with the family. Lufthansa was really starting to impress me. I had seen similar service on Swissair and this being my third European airline after Swiss and British Airways, I started to believe the Europeans have a charm of their own, though done professionally & kindly though not quite with the warmth & service that Malaysian Airlines is known the world over for.
We began our descent into Frankfurt and once there I would have a 7 hour stop before our flight to Dubai on board the Boeing 747-400 took place. I would be flying on a jumbo again after 3 years my last being on board the MH 747-400 on the LAX-KUL-LAX trip. I was very excited about that and I could not wait to board that bird in Frankfurt. It was a cold and cloudy day in Frankfurt with light drizzle, and it was still very dark outside, as the city appeared and disappeared between clouds. I can't recall on which runway we landed but I think those on the starboard side of the aircraft had some better views of Frankfurt, while at least for the last few minutes. We touch down on the slippery and wet runway 25R ((I just checked the Frankfurt aiport layout and I believe we landed on this runway) The aircraft struggled to slow down under those slippery conditions and before long exited the runway, turning right and then right again now tracking back up in the direction we had come from. We got to a point where we paused momentarily, with the runway directly behind us, while planes in the terminal area pushed back and others joined the gate. It seemed quite busy for that hour in the morning, the majority being smaller jets from around Europe. A slight boom filled my left ear and I looked back in the direction of the runway behind me, taking me away from the view of the airport activity infront, to see a South African Airbus A340-600 touching down, kicking up a spray as the wheels made contact with the now rainy runway. That super long bird made a big impression on me from so close and I felt a bit sad that my original plan was to fly on one, but with the winter schedule kicking in they had reverted back to the Airbus A340-300. We finally made our way to the gate and soon we were deplaning. I meet the Purser and the cheery wine serving FA at the door, and paused briefly to tell her how very wonderfully she had taken care of her passengers. I had my camera in hand yet I could not get myself to taking a pic of the FAs, I almost felt for once in my life that I was being too intrusive!
In the terminal it was a completely different story. It was busy, there were hardly any places to sit yet a lot of stores to visit. Lots of delicious European chocolates tempted me but I knew I had something else on my mind. I am an avid aircraft model collector and here was I in Frankfurt home to the best aircraft model makers in the world, Herpa that makes Lufthansa 1:200 scale models in addition to others, which are very hard to find and expensive in Canada if found. I knew they had a store in the airport and I tried to locate it. I went to the main Information desk and the German attendant smilee and asked me what I needed. So far the LH personnel at the airport were all a very smiling bunch assisting passengers with many queries. I asked if the Herpa store was anywhere near by, but the main Information desk attendant shook his head and said sorry. He asked me to try the other terminal which meant I would need to clear Immigration to get to the the other side. I did that and once there I could not find it. I even found the sign for the Airport Apron tours but that was opening much later, and would end while my flight to Dubai was getting ready to leave. Disappointed I had go back to the terminal, through the routine that goes with it while entering that big hall with various check in counters, before heading to security and Immigration, I was soon back into the terminal I had arrived in. I had entered and exited Germany in less than 30 minutes. I decided to see if I could gets photos of the aircraft arriving and departing and found a few.
Our gate that was to be used for Dubai was being used for a Buenos Aires flight, and I noticed if you walked around you would find yourself back in the same spot in a five to ten minutes. I figured I was in some circular shaped part of the building, that had boarding gates attached to it. With no seats to sit on, I found myself like others taking refuge with their bottoms half way through on the other side of the moving walkways. Time soon passed and I was back at the gate. My heart raced as I saw the Boeing 747-400 making it's way to the large glass windows. I quickly took some photos though now totally dazed and disoriented firstly from my overnight flight, and secondly from roaming around aimlessly in the Terminal for the past few hours. I knew that once on board I would definitely fall off to sleep.
Date: 05 Dec, 2007
Flight No: LH 626
Route: Frankfurt to Dubai
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Aircraft Name: D-ABVZ (Niedersachsen)
Duration: 5hrs 55mins
This time a very young crew yet with the same amount of level of friendliness that I had experienced with the senior crew out of Toronto, welcomed us on board the flight to Dubai. It was indeed wonderful to be on board this magnificent bird again. The weather was cloudy and had cleared a bit, but good enough to enjoy the views outside. We made our way from gate B45 and had a long trek down to runway 18
The Boeing 747-400 thundered down the runway with a large dense forest on the other side, again similar to Switzerland where the nature and the airport co-mingle in harmony. We rotated after a long roll out and after continuing to climb ahead the captain made a left turn towards the East to make our very short hop to Dubai. We were soon over the clouds and the gorgeous wings of the magnificent jumbo cleaned up, its flaps and slats as we picked up speed over the stretch of clouds below. Cocktail service commenced and soon lunch was served. Again the meal was not very memorable but the fantastic LH crew compensated for the food and the lack of better inflight service.
With no real continuous loop of the Airshow it was hard to tell where we were at any given point. I somehow managed to take pics of the routes we passed over and hopefully you will have a better idea where in the world we had flown over.
When the Duty Free service kicked in I asked if they had any Herpas on board but only the small 1:500 and 1:400 scales were available. I took the opportunity to tell the very young German crew member , how very impressed I was with Lufthansa so far, and thought of them as a very fine European airline. She was very happy to hear that. Very soon which was like a blink of an eye when compared to the 14 hour stretches over the Pacific, our Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 was beginning it's descent into Dubai after a flying time of a five and a half hours. We came in directly from the West and unlike those on the starboard side of the aircraft, who had the brighter lights of Dubai to amaze them, with the tall buildings clearly visible from their end, I had the port side with the little homes, streets and cars on the roads below make up the whole big picture that starts from the shores of the Persian Gulf to Runway 12L that we landed on. We made our way to the gate and found ourselves parked near a Qatar Airways A330 in the old scheme. I was back in the Middle East where I would stay for two days and then head out for my flight to Karachi. On the way back I would not be staying in Dubai but connecting to my flight to Frankfurt in under 4 hours.
Some Dubai to Karachi pics