sorry for the lack of pictures, i am too self conscious to be snapping photos of everything in public places like this.
this is also my first trip report after many years of reading them.
i fly between London and Stockholm pretty often. always nonstop, usually with BA, but sometimes SAS. i generally prefer BA, but i am really not a fan of my experiences on either airline. i find BA somewhat unreliable and stressful, even though the on board service is consistently solid and are fairly priced. meanwhile SAS just gives me the impression that they aren't interested in an enjoyable flight experience, and remind me more of American carriers with no frills, a disinterested staff, and usually higher prices (plus i find their website somewhat unreliable and user unfriendly).
this time i found the prices on both to be higher than what i had hoped, and i also felt compelled to try something new. i turned to Lufthansa and found an LHR-MUC-ARN-HAM-LHR routing for just 180gbp total which i booked about 10 days out. this price was not only significantly cheaper than BA and SK, but i would transit through the only two major german cities i'd never been to before, fly LH short haul for the first time, fly a regional jet for the first time (not counting E-Jets), and fly BMI for the first time.
not much else to comment on these first two flights. both flights were right on time, if not a bit early. good, solid service, and numerous drink rounds. efficient and quick boarding and deplaning. a smooth travel experience.
60% load factor
long but speedy taxi today over to 9R from T1, but took off without delay and we made a right turn from there and headed south towards France. Europe was covered with cloud, however. we began our descent and made a straight in landing on runway 8L. followed by a quick taxi to gate H12. snack was a rather tasty egg and spinach wrap. i had a sparkling water with it. the FAs came around a few times for re-fills.
up the escalator into the gate area, i was greeted by a flight information screen directing me to turn left and go to gate G48 for my flight to Stockholm arlanda. i liked this feature about MUC- each arriving flight is greeted with a connecting flights screen, specific for the passengers of that flight and pointing you in the right direction. through passport control where there was no queue, and down a set of stairs to gate G48. which was to begin boarding shortly. i noticed that my plane had arrived from Berlin TXL.
flight time announced as 1hour 50 min.
taking off from 8L, we flew over Leipzig and Berlin, which looked great from above, then over the Baltic sea to Sweden. we approached ARN from the southwest and flew over the city center before coming back around for a touch down on runway 26. snack was some type of sandwich with something green on this inside. i couldn't figured it out, but i am guessing it was avocado and chicken salad. with it i had a couple of warsteiner beers. weather in Stockholm was cold, and a bit windy.
LH 2927 operated by Eurowings
50% load factor, seemed to be mostly Swedish businessmen. i believe i was the only one not wearing a suit.
1:10 flight time announced.
a beautiful morning in sweden, i arrived at ARN very early for no particular reason at about 7:00. i sat around the gates watching the busy scene of various flights board, depart, arrive, repeat cycle. scheduled departure time was for 9:10am. however, once 8:45 came by and still no inbound aircraft had arrived, i began to get nervous that i'd have a potential missed connection in HAM as there was only 35 min between flights. the eurowings CRJ900 pulled up to Arlanda's gate 1 at about 8:48 with all passengers off within 5 or so minutes. i still had hope we could get out just a few minutes late and i'd be fine with my connection. however, there appeared to be little rush to turn the aircraft around on time which was mildly frustrating, and no real reassurance or apology for the delay from the lady working the gate- instead she just stared out the window waiting for the go ahead to let us board. eventually, at 9:25- without an announcement, the single gate agent opened the doors and started scanning boarding passes.
we walked down through the air bridge stairs onto the tarmac where a light snow began to fall. "boarding completed" announcement after just a few minutes. we sat for about another 10 minutes and finally pushed back at 9:36- 26 minutes late, i had lost some hope of making my connection at this point... until a brief introduction from the eurowings first officer announcing a flight time of just 1:10. my hope restored, we made a very quick taxi to runway 19R at intersection where we made a powerful rolling takeoff and rocketed into the snowy gray sky at 9:39. we used very little runway and were airborne as we passed sky city. an incredibly steep climb, intense forces pushed me down and back into my seat, seat belt sign was switched off as we passed through 10k just another 3 or 4 minutes later. (gate to 10,000 feet in about 6 minutes, that must be some type of record?). once we broke through the thick cloud layer, it was a beautiful sunny morning.
service was soon started. 2 FAs this morning, 1 younger male and 1 middle aged female. the option was just rather dry fruit and nut bread roll. it was acceptable for me for this quick flight, but if i hadn't eaten breakfast already and gotten onto the plane hungry i'd have been very disappointed. drink service followed behind and i had a sparkling water of which i spilled some all over my pants by accident. it felt refreshing at least.
the flight was mostly smooth, with cloud cover until i could make out the oresund bridge below us as the clouds broke. we started our descent and die ostsee was shining beautifully below us in the morning light as we straddled the frozen danish coast crossing into Germany near lubeck and Kiel. seatbelt sign went back on and FAs came through to collect rubbish. i could see that we were on a base for runway 15 with the airport visible off in the near distance. it was only now that the flight deck announced our decent. this was followed by an announcement stating "our passengers with connections to London heathrow please proceed directly to your gate B31 as the transfer time is rather tight". i appreciated this concern as i assumed i was probably the only passenger making this connection. shortly after, we made the turn for our final approach, firmly touching down in Hamburg at 10:45. just 5 min late. we taxied to a remote stand. next to another Eurowings CRJ900 and we disembarked onto a bus, which pulled up to the terminal at about 10:55. up one level and a quick walk later, i was at gate B31.
operated by BMI
sta: 11:45 local time
std: 12:10 local time.
80% load factor
i went through the passport control to enter into gate B31 and was one of the last to board the BMI airbus 319. happy to have made it, i was welcomed on board by a smiling FA wearing a pretty cool uniform. i like the hats they wear- it adds a distinct touch of class and tradition. i took my seat in 6A and the flight seemed pretty full. again, mostly business people. this airbus 319 was in BMI colours, but had a Lufthansa interior. Cockpit crew was English, and the captain addressed us with a brief welcome announcing a flight time of 1:20 and that the FO would be flying us today. no route or altitude information and no further comment for the rest of the flight. as we pushed back, an argument then broke out between two of the men in front of me. the German man ordered the guy next to him to "please turn off your electronic device". it was one of those tablet book reader things. the other guy (he sounded possibly french) claimed it was not an electronic item, and the subsequent argument of whether or not it is an electronic item, what constitues one, and why it is unsafe then continued throughout the safety demonstration (which i thought was pretty rude as it was the first row of econmy and thus the FA was doing the demonstration just right next to them), and until we reached runway 23 where we performed a rolling, noticibly derated tackeoff and gently lifted into the skies above hamburg. we passed over western part of the city, above the airbus plant and made a gentle right turn towards groningen. i should note that both the two arguing men kept at it the entire flight, but by the end they were talking like old friends, glad to see it worked out.
seatbelt sign was switched off, and Lufthansa service presented by the BMI crew began. 3 bmi FAs on this flight- 1 middle aged and 2 younger females. announcements were made in both English and German. the only option was some salad thing which i got because i was pretty hungry and in the the mood for something German. i don't know what it was really, but it was pretty good. it was a very small-bite size piece of breaded chicken over some type of potato salad. serviced with two bread sticks. a drink service followed as per usual. we flew over a number of dutch cities which i couldn't identify (we flew just south of Amsterdam which was on the other side of the plane) and left the Netherlands coast over The Hague.
beautiful day for flying with clear skies and the sea shimmering beneath us. lots of other aircraft visible in the skies as well as noticed by their contrails. we started up out descent as the English coastline came into view, and we descended parallel to an EK A-380 which was amazing to see as it eventually crossed below us at just at maybe just a thousand feet. incredible to see that thing in the skies and so close. we headed into the usual holding pattern over northeast London and did about two or three loops. before then heading out west over the northern London sprawl above wembley and all then way out into oxfordshire, before making the loop around the Henley on Thames area back to land on 9L. we touched down in a warm (relative terms) and sunny London heathrow at 11:45, 25 minutes ahead of schedule. we made a quick taxi to terminal 1 and disembarked via the stairs. no queue as passport control. i was on the tube by 12:10 and was back at home in kensington via the picadilly line just after 1:00pm. not bad timing at all.
i found the Lufthansa experience a positive one and as long as the price is worth it, i wouldn't hesitate to fly them on my London to Stockholm runs again. this was the first time i had flown them short haul and was thoroughly content with my decision to fly with them, even with the connections. transiting in Munich was a real breeze, a very simple, efficient hub operation they have there. transiting in HAM worked out fine as well. the service on all sectors was pretty good, this was especially the case on the LHR-MUC-ARN legs, and less of a case on the return flights (which were both operated by LH partners). the cabins were always clean, and flights arrived on time. the weak moments of the trip were the sluggish ground staff in ARN (i think this is handled by SK), and the cold BMI cabin crew, but overall solid work LH.