In front of you the second trip report I posted on this great website. Please keep in mind this trip took place in the beginning of January. First of all I want to make my apologies for:
a) The lack of pictures
b) The poor quality of the pictures
I was not that smart to check my camera before I left home and realize I forgot to put in a memory card. Hence, all pictures are taken with my mobile phone resulting in poor quality. Sorry! Let’s say I was not that experienced in making trip reports back then.
As an aviation enthusiastic I really do love to fly. My flights are only for pleasure or holiday. Back in December 2009 I had some spare time and I searched for some cheap options to fly somewhere within Europe in the beginning of January. Fares on Lufthansa are relatively cheap with a EUR 99,- fare to Frankfurt or Munich from Amsterdam.
Then I received the email from Lufthansa about their online auction for many flights and I was thinking I could score a nice and cheap flight during the auction. How wrong was I! What an absolute joke the auction was with it being postponed and I was not even able to get into the auction room. Being really disappointed about not being able to book a nice ticket through the auction my search for other cheap flights continued.
After a couple of days I received an email from Lufthansa explaining why the auction room was closed during the auction (due to an unstable platform as many people wanting to enter the auction room) and offering their apologies with a EUR 20 voucher. Then it became obvious, cheap fares to either Frankfurt or Munich plus a reduction of EUR 20 and I made the decision to book myself on a Lufthansa flight.
Booking was done through the website of Lufthansa. I wanted to travel in the weekend of January 9/10 2010 and searched for available flights. Flights to Munich were around EUR 150 and I decided against it as flights to Frankfurt were still available for EUR 99. So I booked a ticket leaving Saturday January 9 and returning Sunday January 10.
I like Lufthansa’s overview of available flights when you make the booking. Searching for some interesting planes I came across the Boeing 737-500 for the AMS-FRA leg and the AVRO RJ85 for the FRA-AMS leg, two types I never flew on before. Hearing rumors that Lufthansa will soon retire its Boeing 737-500 fleet (I don’t know if it is true) I opted for these particular flights and made my booking.
Too bad you are not able to select a seat during the booking process. However you can indicate if you prefer a window or aisle. I don’t really matter the seat on such a short flight as long it is a window seat. Furthermore I entered my Miles & More FF number and within seconds I received the confirmation in my email.
All in all a return ticket from AMS to FRA for only EUR 78, not a bad deal!
Online check-in for the flight from AMS to FRA would open at 15.25 on January 8, 2010. However as I had everything ready to start the OLCI my cell phone showed a message. The message said the flight was cancelled and requested to call the German callcentre.
I swiftly responded and called with the call centre. Within a minute I had a Lufthansa representative on the phone who gave me the alternative to rebook me on an earlier flight. I saw also a later flight was available and requested if it was possible to book me on that flight. The consequence of the rebooking was that a flight with the Boeing 737-500 was no longer possible. The flight was now being operated by a Boeing 737-300. Too bad!
At 20.30 I checked in online and picked seat 23A on the second last row of the aircraft.
On January 9 I took the train from Rotterdam to Schiphol to arrive there at 17.15. I was not even five minutes in the train or my cell phone received a message telling me the flight was being delayed by half an hour. Arriving at Schiphol I immediately proceeded to the check-in machines. I am always annoyed by the presence of the Lufthansa representatives who just don’t let you complete the process yourself. I would appreciate if they would ask if you need any assistance but instead they perform the process for you. I obtained my boarding pass and went through the customs in a breeze. After customs my cell phone beeped again telling me the delay was now 45 minutes and after 15 minutes another message telling the delay was now an hour! No worries, I can always enjoy myself at an airport, especially Schiphol! Here an indication how Schiphol looked liked under the snowy conditions.
Date: January 9, 2010
Flight: LH 4683
Aircraft: Boeing 737-330
Registration: D-ABXU (Seeheim-Jugenheim)
Seat: 23A (window)
Photo © Allan Martins Antunes
Photo © Gerry Hill - WorldAirImages
When I arrived at the gate there were already many people waiting. I got into a nice conversation with two gentlemen who had a connection in Frankfurt and were worried about their connection. Things were even looking worse for them when Lufthansa sent me another text message announcing an additional delay of 30 min, the total delay now 1,5 hours.
Around 20.20 the plane arrived at gate B17 and within 20 minutes the plane was ready for boarding.
All passengers were called to the gate and the whole process went quite smooth. I boarded the plane among the first. At the door I was greeted by the purser and a female flight attendant. The purser was a senior male and the flight attendants were one male and female.
The cabin looked aged but very clean. The grey leather seats were comfortable and seat pitch more than sufficient for the short flight.
Captain Vogel introduced himself and explained the obvious reason why the plane was delayed. Another small delay was announced as the plane needed to be deiced and currently the deicing truck was busy with the Fokker of Austrian Airlines stationed at gate B13.
I took a look at the seat pocket. Lufthansa present their safety card, inflight magazine and shopping catalogue wrapped into a plastic cover. I never saw this before and I have to say it looks really neat. Unfortunately the seat pocket also contained some remains of the wrapping of candy bars from previous passengers.
The purser announced that boarding is completed and I guess the load factor is around 90%. I’m comfortable in seat 23A and both 23B and C remain empty. But the purser did not finish his announcement or the gentleman seated in 22D moved over to 23C.
At 21.03 captain Vogel announced a further delay as there was not sufficient personnel at the airport to load the suitcases into the airplane.
As we were not leaving yet I took the opportunity to look out of the window a bit more. Parked next to us is the Vueling flight to Barcelona. The registration of this A320 is EC-KMI. These low cost carriers also seem to adopt other than the traditional names for an airplane. This airplane is called: ‘How are you? I’m Vueling’. Funny!
At 21.12 the deicing process started. It is the first time for me to witness this process which is very nice. The only disadvantage is that the windows are covered by the liquid and bothers the view a lot.
After 10 minutes the process is completed and we are pushed back at 21.24. Three minutes later we started taxiing to the runway.
At 21.36 we arrived at runway 27 and we are lined up immediately. The flight crew adapts power but we do not move an inch as brakes are deployed. Then the brakes are released and away we are. The gentleman in 23C puts a cross, what can go wrong now after this holy blessing? A really nice experience to witness this rocket take-off. As we are thundering down the runway it becomes clear there is a lot of wind. The plane is constantly sweeping from left to right. In no time we are up in the air and get into the thick clouds. Within five minutes the seat belt signs are switched off and the cabin crew gets into action.
We are offered a sandwich with ham. Presentation is poor if you compare it with KLM. When the male flight attendant offers me a drink I opt for a beer. A nice bottle of cold Warsteiner is given to me. In my opinion this is much nicer than the normal can of beer you receive at most other airlines. But I believe LH is thinking about replacing the bottles with cans as well!
After 20 minutes of flight the first-officer announces that they already started the decent and that we will fly over Cologne and will arrive at FRA in 15 minutes. We broke through the clouds and it became clear why there were so many delays in FRA. The landscape is covered in a thick layer of snow. Landing is smooth and we cross the active runway for take-offs to arrive at gate C1 six minutes after landing.
Date: January 10, 2010
Flight: LH 4682
Aircraft: Boeing 737-330
Registration: D-ABEW (Detmold)
Photo © Andreas Fietz
Photo © Arvydas Cetyrkovskis
The return flight looks a lot like the flight from AMS to FRA. My flight operated by the Avro RJ85 is cancelled and I’m rebooked on the LH 4683. The delay caused by this rebooking is 1,5 hours. What can I say? It is the weekend of the delays. I’m more upset about missing the Avro RJ85 and being stuck with another 733.
The airplane is parked on a remote spot meaning that we are transported there by bus. After disembarking the bus I’m up to my ankles in a grey icy substance of half melted snow. I don’t understand why they cannot make the entrance to the airplane free of ice.
Take-off is spectacular again with thrust applied with the brakes on. Service on this flight is equal to the AMS-FRA leg and the Warsteiner beer tastes amazing again after all the waiting.
I expected a lot from this trip and I hoped to log some new types of airplanes. Unfortunately the winter weather did not cooperate. All the delays made it even less nice as I hoped. Therefore, my first encounter with Lufthansa was not the best! I think their onboard service is quite good and I will fly them again in June to see if I can evaluate their product better as it will be less impacted by external factors (if our Icelandic friend will stay calm).
Thanks for reading!
[Edited 2010-05-24 00:42:55]