Welcome girls and guys to a new trip report with pics by EddieDude. I have to say I no longer feel any shame or self-consciousness when taking pics of the legroom, my meal, the IFE, etcetera hehe. I actually enjoy quite a bit taking all those pics and thinking what I will write. I must say a.net member Coal is partly responsible for this, for he always encourages me to take pics and write reports, and he is also a very good source of inspiration (I really recommend reading his TRs, which are always quite awesome).
Anyway, this time I will report on the return flights of my recent trip to Germany and Prague (with a brief mention of my outbound flight). The purpose of the trip, which took place during the week before Easter, was for one of my best friends (who also happens to be my business partner and my tenant) to visit a good friend of hers in Berlin. My friend asked me to tag along. Since Germany is one of my favorite countries in the world, I did not hesitate to accept her proposal.
My friend and I basically decided that she’d fly to New York from MEX
on Thursday, April 14 (using a reward ticket), spend a day here with me, and then we’d fly all the way to Berlin on Friday, April 15. After 3 or 4 days in Berlin, it was decided we’d drive to Dresden, then to Prague and then to Munich (with a stop at Rothenburg ob der Tauber if possible, but in the end Rothenburg did not happen). Our return would then be from Munich on April 24, Easter Sunday; my friend would fly to MEX
via wherever, and I’d fly to NYC with or without a stop.
My friend hates stopovers and will do anything to fly nonstop if possible, so it was clear from the beginning that we’d have to fly NYC-TXL
nonstop. Since I am a loyal SkyTeam flyer and I was hungry for elite qualifying miles, I was seriously considering flying JFK
(A380 and, perhaps Premium Voyageur). My friend, however, decided to ruin my plans hehe. She hates DL
with a passion, and her preferred U.S. carrier is CO
. She also happens to be a OnePass silver member, and I guess she wanted to get more miles. So before I knew it, she had already booked EWR
, so I was pretty much stuck with the EWR
flight. I tried every single search engine you can imagine to see if I was lucky enough to find a combo of CO
on the outbound and SkyTeam on the return at a decent price, but nothing. I also looked into one-way fares but it was too expensive. So, I decided that if I was stuck with Star Alliance, I’d go for the LH
A380 on the return! My friend insisted that I booked MUC
nonstop with LH
, but I was determined to fly MUC
so as to ride on the A380. In the end, I told her I had booked the nonstop flight so as to avoid her lecturing me on why nonstop flights are better. My MUC
was much, much earlier than hers, which meant going separately to MUC
from our Munich hotel, so she would not find out about my disobedience.
Alright, on to the report. I took zero pics of the CO EWR
flight because I was with my friend and I did not want to freak her out. Suffice to say that the flight (757-200) was 100% full and it left quite on time. We had seats A and C of one of the last rows (we booked like that hoping that the flight would not be full and we’d have the middle seat free for us to stretch). Sadly, that was not to be because, as I said, the flight was full. Seat B had been assigned to a kid whose entire family was scattered in the last rows. As a matter of fact, every single member of the family had a middle seat and therefore nobody was sitting next to a member of their party. The Mom, who was seating on seat E of our row, asked us if one of use would switch seats with her so she could sit next to her daughter, but neither my friend nor I wanted to be stuck in a middle seat between two strangers for 9 hours or so. The Mom’s efforts with the gentleman sitting next to her on seat D had also been unsuccessful. I really tried to find a solution and I think I found a semi-decent arrangement that I shared with my friend before taking it to the Mom, but my friend did not want to go for it. I suggested that my friend should take seat A, I would take seat B, and the girl would take seat C. That obviously would still not get the Mom next to her, but at least they’d be a bit closer, and the kid would not be sandwiched between two strangers. On the other hand, my friend would avoid the much dreaded middle seat and she’d have a nice window seat which would allow her to lean her head against the wall. As for me, I’d basically use my friend as a pillow hehe. My friend, however, finds it of the essence to have an aisle seat because, well, as all women do, she needs to get up and use the bathroom quite often. So my plan was greeted with a very final no when I told her. Oh well; the Mom seemed resigned and the daughter did too (and I have to say she was a sweetheart and behaved really well during the entire flight). I felt a bit bad because we did not want to switch, but honestly being in the middle seat surrounded by strangers during a trans-Atlantic flight was out of the question. I am sure this family will choose their seats in advance the next time they fly. My friend did take care of the kid by the way. She helped her with the food and drinks. When the kid fell asleep, she used me as her pillow hehe, but I was happy to let her rest her head on my arm… I felt very father-y. I think once I return to Mexico permanently it will be time to find a girl, settle down, if she wants we can marry (LOL Cat Stevens), and have kids of course. I think the martini rule would apply to my parenthood: not less than two, not more than three. Anyway, I digress, so let me get back on track.
The flight was uneventful. I basically listened to my iPod, read my book and watched the moving map. While there was still light, I looked out the window and saw how we flew along the U.S. and Canada Atlantic coast on our way to the north Atlantic and Europe. I also got some sleep, which was nice, because we were going to hit the ground running once in Berlin. The meals were good. We had an option for chicken, beef or pasta for dinner, and for brekkie we had a sweet roll and fruit. I got the beef for dinner and it was not bad at all; as for breakfast, I was not really looking forward to eating because we were going to meet our Berlin friends at the Reichstag for brunch, but I still had the fruit and roll… the melon was really sweet and nice! I can’t remember if there were many water runs or not, but I found the crew members to be kind, attentive and friendly (not overly, but enough to be noticed and appreciated). The plane was in very good condition, and the seat pitch was quite decent. I have to say I really prefer the cloth seats that CO
and everybody else uses to the DL
leather seats. I would say I had a great flight despite the fact that it was 100% full, and I am glad my friend chose the CO
-LH combo. By the way, my friend had a terrible flight. Around dinner, she started having a terrible headache and it never went away even though she popped several pills. This is the second time this happens to her… the first was a couple of years ago when we skydived in the New Jersey shore. She attributes these headaches to the altitude or something, but I don’t quite think that’s what it is, especially because she flies quite a bit and this is not something that happens to her every time she does. Oh well.
So thanks if you are still here. Hope the story of the CO EWR
flight did not bore you. Now comes the fun part (the pics!). After an awesome week in Central Europe, it was time to go back. These were very busy times at work and I could not afford to take more days off. Plus, another one of my best friends was going to be in New York for work from Easter Sunday until Wednesday, April 27, and I really wanted to spend time with her.
So, I took a cab from our hotel across the street from the Hauptbanhof to MUC
. It was so expensive… now that I think about it, I should have taken the S-Bahn, but oh well, hindsight is always 20/20. MUC
is an awesome airport! Really. It is so beautiful and modern. I can definitely see LH
shifting a lot of connections from FRA
At the behest of an LH
employee, I used an automated kiosk to check-in, but for some reason I got a screen message directing me to an agent.
I must say that I am glad I was referred to the manned desks because the agent who checked me in was absolutely lovely in every possible way. Not only was she very beautiful, but also incredibly kind. When I inquired about the availability of better seats on the A380, she assigned one of the best seats on the plane to me. As you will see later, I got an aisle seat on the first row of the economy cabin, and that was amazing. I had so much legroom!
Anyway, after checking in, I waited until it was time for the customs office to open so I could start the process of getting a tax refund on my shopping. Once that was taken care of, I went through security and decided to go to Dallmayr for breakfast.
I then arrived at my gate and after a few minutes there was some announcement in German and English about passengers whose final destination was the U.S. I did not hear what the announcement was about because of my iPod, so I got up and walked to the gate counter to inquire and the agent said I was all set and that I could board if I wanted, so I was the very first passenger to board our 735 bound for FRA
… even before J-class passengers and Star Golds, etcetera.
The plane was quite clean and well kept despite its age. I don’t think these are the new Y-class seats though. Are they? I have seen pics of the OS
ones, but not of the LH
Legroom was also quite decent as you can see, although that was not really important considering that the flight would be very, very short. There was another passenger on my row, on the aisle seat, but the middle seat remained empty, so that was great. During our taxi to the runway, the most interesting bird was a special-liveried CA
Soon we were airborne and after a short while the “meal” service took place. There was coffee, tea, milk, juices and soft drinks served, as well as a small cereal bar. I was not expecting the cereal bar because of the short duration of the flight, so I was pleasantly surprised.
The rest of the flight went by quite fast (I may have snoozed some too), and soon we were in FRA
. We parked at a remote stand and we were bussed to the terminal. What ensued was chaos. It took me forever to find the tax refund desk. Even though I did my formalities with the customs office at MUC
, the counters of the company that handles the tax refund process were closed, so I was advised to do that in FRA
. Once I finally found the desk, I got into a discussion with the agent (a very bitchy Asian woman) because she did not want to accept the invoices and forms for a Moser crystal glass present and a tie I bought in the Czech Republic. After a nasty discussion, she took the forms and said she’d have a supervisor request more info from the vendors and I might or might not be reimbursed on my credit card. I was so upset that I forgot to get my Mexican passport from her (damn bitch, she did not give it back to me and let me leave without it), and proceeded to passport control. Since I had used my Spanish passport to enter the E.U., I used the same to exit, and therefore I never realized I was missing my Mexican passport. Anyway, I was on my way to the gate when I heard I was being paged; again I missed most of the announcement because of my iPod. Not knowing what that was about (for a moment I thought I had been upgraded to J hahaha), I went back to passport control to inquire, but the officers had no idea. So I decided to go to the gate and inquire there… and then it dawned on me! I checked for my Mexican passport and realized it was missing, so I had to go back (once more) to passport control, then to the main information desk in the terminal to retrieve my passport, and then do passport control again and head to the gate again. Ugh! I was mad, tired, sweaty… it was all going bad. To make things worse, I was randomly chosen for a more extensive revision at the security checkpoint right before the gate. With all this shit going on, there was basically no time for me to sit down and chill. By the time I arrived at the gate, boarding was about to start.
Anyway, as soon as I was on board, things changed for the better. My seat was amazing! But better than that was that I was on board the A380, the most revolutionary and modern aircraft in service!
I had read with jealousy so many reports about the SQ
A380s, and all I could do was wonder when I’d get my chance to fly on an A380, and dream about that day. Well, quoting Mexican poet Jaime Sabines, “… pero ese día que vendrá no ha de venir; es éste
.” This was it! I was so excited. I had imagined my first A380 flight would be with QF
or perhaps with AF
, but no, it was with LH
. I am not entirely sure, but I think the plane may have been full. If the load was not 100%, then it was something very close. The boarding process was actually quite quick for such a large aircraft; most probably because all the first and business class passengers boarded separately. Next to me, in the middle seats of the bulkhead row, there were two very tall French guys. I actually think they would have been better off in a regular row because the bulkhead did not allow them to stretch their legs, but oh well. One of them seemed European, while the other one may have been of Algerian or Tunisian ancestry.
Taxiing to the runway did not take too long… at least it did not feel long to me. It was a tad frustrating that I did not have a window seat, because FRA
is a great place for spotting, but you cannot have it all. As much as I love window seats, the truth is that most of the time I travel alone and in economy, so getting an aisle seat is always a priority, especially if the flight is longer than 3 or 4 hours.
The take-off roll was very powerful; I cannot describe my feelings when the plane rotated. I had been waiting for that very moment for so long. Yes, to me the sky has a new queen, and it is the A380. I can’t wait to board another A380 flight!
One of the most relevant things about the A380 is its quietness indeed. It is true that the Airbus engineers were very successful in reducing the noise levels. Very impressive. Anyway, after a bit, the flight attendants came around with snack bags and drinks (Sprite for me). After the snack, the meal service started. I thought the meal (chicken teriyaki for me) was of very high quality; it was definitely one of the best economy class meals I have had lately. I paired my meal with a glass of red wine and that made it even better.
After the trays were removed, the flight attendants came around with digestives, which was very nice and also kind of unexpected. Even though most of the time I prefer to listen to my iPod or read a book and leave the moving map on the screen, I decided this time to take advantage of the IFE and I watched Little Fockers and The Switch. I think I made a great choice because I definitely did not need anything that would make me think or that might stress me. I believe that I also managed to get a little bit of sleep. Towards the end of the flight, once I was done with the movies, I listened to one of the radio channels and filled my immigration and customs forms. Throughout the flight, there were numerous water runs, where water and juice were offered.
I have to say that I cannot remember very well what the pre-arrival snack consisted of, all I know is that something was offered. See, this is why one should write the reports as soon as practicable after the flight or flights take place. Alternatively, one should write down notes and/or take pictures of everything! Well, clearly I did neither, so accept my apologies please. Hopefully my next TR
will be more detailed (oh, it is coming soon, and it involves 744s, a 77L, KE
, etc.) and these flaws will not happen again.
With German precision, the flight came to an end exactly at the scheduled arrival time. Our landing at JFK
was smooth and soon enough I found myself deplaning and walking towards immigration. My “thank you” to the crew members who were bidding farewell at the door was very heartfelt and honest, because this had been an awesome flight… one that I will never forget!
So that is the TR
. I hope you will find it acceptable and look forward to your feedback! Thanks for reading and stayed tuned for my next TR
, and SIN
Next flights: MEX-LAX AM 738, LAX-PVG DL 77L, SHA-PEK CA 789, PEK-PVG CA A332, PVG-ORD MU 77W, ORD-MEX AM 738