Lufthansa, there is no better way to fly!
End oktober 2010, I received my letter when my final exam would be and when I would graduate from secondary school. This would be on 30 November, a few days letter I received an email from Lufthansa that they would be offering promotions for a bunch of destinations in North America, incuding Miami. I started searching for air fares and combinations. I had the choice between changing in Frankfurt of Munich. Already have been in Frankfurt and did not want to get stuck on a 10-hour 744, I chose for Munich giving me the Embrear 195 and the A340-300. With the E195 being a new aircraft type for me on this segment of the trip, and the longest nonstop portion that I would have flewn in my life from Munich to Miami which is blocked at 11h35minutes.
Shortly my last exam was finished, and was moving away from my school where I rested for 7, 5 years. In the meahwile we had snowstorms hitting over the majority of Europe as well. I wonder how this would effect my trip, however if there where to be problems I had one advantage. The load factors where very low on both sectors. Checking on flightaware, I noticed that Lufthansa regulary sended it’s A333 in instead of the A343 to Miami. Two days before my flight D-AIKL operated LH
460. I was hoping to get the 340 because we would have a calm load factor. Shortly Monday 6 December approached I looked on flightaware.com and was disappointed to find out there was an A333 assigned on the next days flight however, when checking in online Lufthansa still showed the A343 seat map.. hmmm…. I chose 7F
on the BRU
flight and already pre-assigned seat 26K on the MUC
segment. No need to change here because my neighbour in 26H had already switched to another vacant 2-seater, so I was all set. When the evening arrived I checked again and both websites where still showing different aircraft types. So I figured out I was in for a surprise. 2.55 in the morning came quite quick and got up for a 3.30 departure, talking about an early start… Because there where no trains I took the airport shuttle and was on my way, thank goodness no traffic or weather problems. By 4.30 I was at the airport.
@ the airport
I immediately searched for the Lufthansa check in row, which has been moved to row 2 today. Check-in was yet to be open, so I decided to stroll around the departures hall which was quite deserted at this time of day. Most check-in counters where still closed, except the charter flights which leave at 6.00. Finally at 5.00 LH
’s check in opened, all lines where quite deserted. I got my boarding passes for both legs today, I asked about the loads and they said both flights were very calm. After I got rid of my luggage I started the long hike to concourse A. By the time I got up there it was 5.20, a full hour before our boarding. Since I had a narrow connection in MUC
, I was supposing my first good meal today would be my lunch cruising on LH
460 to Miami. So went to the Airport cafeteria to get me some breakfast. It offered some nice views of the tarmac as well at this early. Except the handful Jetairfly and Thomascook birds there was one SN
A330 in the distant arriving from Africa as well. By 5.40 I made my way to the gate. A47 was assigned to LH
2297 this morning. Our plane an Embrear 195 had already arrived last night from Munich. After some searching I noticed D-AEBD “Manhardt” would be our Aircraft today. Next to us there was a company A319 ‘D-AIBC’ begin prepared for Lufthansa flight 1025 to Frankfurt. Shortly thereafter I noticed my crew boarding D-AEBD to start the preparations for our flight. Now I suddenly got the idea to ask the gate agent if 7D would still be free, but it wasn’t. Thankfully the gate agents where glad to move me to 29A, with 2 seats for me alone. At about 6.20 boarding started and a few minutes later I was on my way in the cold jetway to board the first flight of my trip.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
/EBBR) – Munich (MUC
Lufthansa Cityline 2297 (Codeshare: Aegan Airlines 1423, Brussels Airlines 7065)
Embrear Jet 195LR D-AEBD “Mainhardt”. Economy class 29A.
Built and delivered to Lufthansa Cityline on November 27, 2009
06.40-07.02 (Gate A47; wheels up on runway 25R at 07.10)
08.00-08.22 (Gate G39, stand B135; wheels down on runway 26R at 08.14)
Est flying time: 1hr
Cruising Altitude: FL
Load factor: 65% in Y
130th registered flight.
11th flight in 2010
3rd flight on Lufthansa
1st flight on Lufthansa Cityline
3rd flight on the Embrear 170 family
1st flight on the Embrear 195
1st flight on D-AEBD
When I made my way thru the jetway I was not greeted at all, The chief purser was talking with one of the pilots, on my way back I noticed the 2 other flight attendants in the galley having their breakfast. When a flight attendant passed by and wanted to give my fact sheet to the cockpit, but got a short response ‘I don’t have time, I have to do the work’ and hid in the galley to continue her breakfast. Not the most professional start I expected from Lufthansa. A short delay was to be announced due to de-icing. I was not so amused by it because I only had 1,5 hours to connect in Munich.. Then another delay was to be announced because the de-icing truck broke down. Ughh.. don’t I just love flying in December. Finally the de-ice truck came in and started to de-ice us, and LH1025 to Frankfurt. Thankfully we left the gate with only a 20 minute delay. On our way we passed N771UA, a United 777 arriving from Washington as UA950. at 7.12 The engines gave power at 25R and we where soon enough in the cold, dark Belgian skies.
It did not take long before reaching 10.000 feet and the seat belt sign was turned off. I immediately started making a few cabin pics. When visiting the lavatory I noticed a small, but awkward detail on the soap. The soap was labelled with an ATA label, anyone ideas how that got there? When I returned to my seat the snack service had already started. Well, snack?? When the trolley reached my seat, I could chose between a cheese or salami sandwich. I opted for the latter. Portion wise I was not complaining, this is what I’m used to getting for breakfast on any long-haul US based carrier. The rest of the flight was uneventfull
At 7.45 our decent started into the Munich area. Trash was picked up, and the sun was starting to rise. It would be my first time into the Munich or Bavaria area. Daylight had already arisen over Bavaria when we started our final approach on 26R, quite stunning to see the scenery. Alongside to us there was a company A320 (or A319) on parallel approach for 26L. At 8.14 we touched down and taxied way up to the hardstand. On my way I had a clear view of the Lufthansa wideboys. Lufthansa 460 was due to depart from gate H02, I noticed an A340 on the first position (which I was assuming to be H01). Parked besides it there was a A330. assuming that was H02, I was not amused at all to see the aircraft swap. Soon we made our way to hardstand B135, where we parked in at 8.22 besides a Donier 328. A full hour and eight minutes before my long haul flight to Miami. I had a chance to talk to the crew while waiting to disembark, they where operating a Brussels-Munich-Bremen-Munich roundtrip this morning. I thanked the F/A’s and made my way. Just as when boarding the purser was to busy chatting with one of the pilots again.
With no waiting the bus left and after driving in between the majority of the LH
cityline planes, we passed 2 United 777”s and before we knew it we where in the terminal. It seemed like most passengers terminated their travels here in MUC
, not for me. By now it was 8.40, just 10 minutes left before the boarding call. Followed the sings up to passport control, for one or other reason in Germany I have problems when showing my US passport and am always asked for my Belgian passport. After showing my Belgian passport I was let trough into the non-shengen zone, a small detail that would arise questions later on the trip. After making my way to security I found gate H02 at 8.55, exactly 15 minutes after exiting the bus. I’m not complaining at all, this made MUC
to be my favourite airport. I quickly started recharging the batteries on my camera, while I was waiting I noticed gate H01 in an awkward corner. In fact H01 was actually the gate for First and Business class for our flight, gate H02 was attached to the same A340 as H01. Looks like we would have an A340 after all, our plane has been resting for a few hours after it’s early morning arrival from Mumbai. The 330 I noticed earlier was D-AIKL and would depart to Charlotte as LH
428 a few hours later. A few gates further there was a Continental 767-200 being prepared for CO107 to Newark. By 9.00 the boarding started for our flight, by 9.10 I descended the many escalators and entered the second jetbrige, for the first time I could see which plane would be mine. D-AIGP named Padderborn was assigned on my longest flight up to now.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
/EDDM) – Miami (MIA
Lufthansa German Airlines 0460 (Codeshare: Austrian airlines 7331, United airlines 8714)
Airbus A340-313X D-AIGP “Padderborn”. Economy Class 26K
Built en delivered to Lufthansa on 30 December 1998.
09.30-09.43 (Gate H02; wheels up on runway 26R at 10.07)
14h55-14h40 (Gate J16; wheels down on runway 30 at 14.31)
Est flying time: 10hrs20mins.
Cruising Altitude: FL
Load factor: 60% in Y
Routing: EDDM-London-N53W20-N53W030-N52W040-N51W050-Gander-Halifax-Boston-New York-Jacksonville-KMIA
131h registered flight.
12h flight in 2010
4th flight on Lufthansa
4th flight on the A340
4th flight on the A340-300
1st flight on D-AIGP
Recommended background music for this long-haul flight: Black eyed Peas – I’ve got a feeling.
When boarding there was a flight attendant checking the boarding passes, I accidentally put mine away. The F/A asked the question if I knew where my seat was, which I answered yes. Before reaching my seat I passed thru the Business class cabin, which looked attractive. Even more attractive then on pictures I’ve seen. My seat was the second back row of the Economy cabin, when I got settled in to my seat I found it to be a little firm. However I did like the pillow provided, which was very cosy. Another downside of the seat was the rather large IFE box under the seat infront. Quite annoying because one had to wiggle his legs to stretch out. Promptly on our scheduled departure time the captain came on telling us there would be a delay because they where working on the number 2 engine and announced a relatively short flying time of 10 hours and 20 minutes. A short 15 minutes later we pushed off, and started to taxi in between all the LH
birds and a Delta 767-400 heading to Atlanta as DL131. On our way we passed a private CRJ (M-NYST
) as well. We had to wait quite a bit because there where a few aircrafts on approach on runway 26R, but at 10.07 our engines spooled up and we started our long take off rol, back into the Bavaria skies.
While slowly making it up to FL
380, the entertainment system was to be turned on. Lufthansa recently fitted it’s A340-300’s with PTV’s and AVOD called LufthansaMediaWorld, it consists of 18 movies, 30 sitcoms and 30 music channels. The one big advantage of having 2 seats (or 2 PTV’s) for me alone is that I could keep one on the moving map channel and the other one what ever I wanted to watch. Another nice feature of our onboard system was that you could look up the arrival information and procedure of almost any Lufhansa long-haul destination. Maybe its part of being an airline-nut… but for one of other reason I started watching almost all of them. In the meanwhile The carts where in the aisle with some hot towels and our first service round. Serving nuts and the usual drink choice, I opted for the orange juice.
While enjoying my first of quite a few rounds, I noticed something a bit funny but true. Our flight path took us north towards Frankfurt, Köln and on in to yes… Belgium. Exactly around 11.10 we passed over the city of Ghent, a mere 20 kilometres from my house. Passing it again after 7,5 hours enroute. When we were leaving the European coast, my PTV started to freeze. When calling the flight attendant she resetted the system immediately. Once it was resetted, she came back to my seat quite a few times to check if everything was alright. Once London was behind us, it was time for lunch. Choice was chicken with rice or beef lasagne. I opted for the former, which tasted good, one of the best airline meals ever. Another part that was unbelievable, was that there even was a choice of 2 red wines and refill. I pinched my arm, yes I’m flying in Economy class. We where served by the assistant purser (AP) who was a little on the shorter side and did not smile that much, tough all requests and questions where met. On the other side of the trolley there was a young flight attendants in her upper 20’s (LH1). She was kind, giving everything with a smile and going beyond her duty.
13.00 in Munich, 7.00 in Miami. We are now about 3 hours in the flight and still about 7,5 of those to go. In the meanwhile the Padderborn has started her Atlantic crossing. The meal service has been wrapped up, and the arrival video’s are starting to get boring… The PTV had to be resetted again. In the meanwhile I’ve asked LH1 if she minded to give my fact sheet into the flight deck, wich she gladly did. A little later she made another nice attempt to please the person sitting behind me by providing him an extra blanket to keep him warm, se sure wanted her guests to be fine. The next few hours would be very calm. Made some cabin pics, tried to get some sleep after a 4-hour night. Usually I do not sleep that well on westbound flights, and this one was no exception. I think I got a small 30 minute nap.
A few hours later we where starting to hit the Canadian coastline, time for a little stretch in the galley where LH1 was working. So we started to talk about all kinds of things, while insisting to offer me some coffee or thea. After some insisting I accepted the tea which was quite good, the galley was set up with the same pretzels I received earlier in the flight. When my thea was finished I got offered another one because LH1 found my hands to be to cold.
When I returned in my seat it was about 10.15 in Miami and 16.15 in Munich, I started to play a bit with the IFE, and settled me in for a movie which I cannot recall, my apologies for that one. While watching the movie AP
came by telling me that my sheet has been returned but only will be given upon landing, a few minutes later LH1 gave me the paper telling me some information (p.ex flight engineer) where left blank and she wanted to let me know that it was because there was no F/E on the A340. I answered that I’m aware of this and thanked her for telling me anyway. The map on the next seat (and the overhead ones) kept me aware where we where in the northeastern United States.
When my movie finished we were nearing Wilmington, NC
for our final stretch down over the Atlantic down to Miami, just about 9 hours since we lifted of from Munich. I would never expected my longest flight to go by so fast. The purser announced the second meal service. I wondered first how the sandwich would look like, but then I realized this was a REAL meal service. Pasta or salmon, I opted the former which was not that bad. After the meal service they came with another round of hot towels.
Once my meal was cleared it was 19.45 in Munich and 13.45 in Miami and D-AIGP was slowly starting its decent into the southern Florida area. I made my final stretch and thanked the flight attendants for the good work. AP
then offered me to fill in a comment card which I did after putting all my stuff up and getting ready to land. I was able to return my card during AP
’s final check thru the cabin. Now I was realizing this flight was getting to an end when we where passing the Fort Lauderdale area. A few turns later I had a perfect view of the Miami skyline. Finally after 10 hours and 24 minutes since lifting off in Munich the Padderborn touched runway 30 at 14.31 local time. Slowing down the bumpy runway and making a very narrow turn, was impressed how short the plane could actually turn. Just behind us was G-BNLX who was ending her long journey as BA0207 from London Heathrow. Followed by the company 747 D-ABVP as LH
462 from Frankfurt. At precisely 14.40 we reached gate J16 and stopped our engines besides an Avianca A320. When disembarking I passed thru the J-cabin to make some pics, note the Christmas decoration. They where in the Economy cabin as well. Unafortunaly I was not allowed to make a pic of the flight deck, so disembarked when the others disembarked.
After reading reports of the Miami airport and being here in 2008, I was expecting an old and outdated terminal, but this was not the fact at all. The South terminal has recently been renovated and was surprised by the nice layout of it. While waiting for my luggage I passed the crew and thanked them all again for the wonderful flight. I did have to wait quite a bit for my luggage to come thru, but at 15.30 I was thru custums and was ready for the long drive in the Miami traffic up I-95 to West Palm Beach. I was at home in Palm Beach Gardens at 17.15 or 23.15 in Belgium. Exactly 19hours and 45 minutes after leaving my home in Belgium.
I have heard quite a lot of things about Lufthansa and was always willing to try them out on a long haul flight. Flying Lufthansa was an absolute pleasure. The service on both legs where very good, especially given the amount I payed for this trip. Meals where excellent and could not even believe that I was flying in Y class, even the sandwich on the BRU
leg was good. The crew where very nice and attentive as well, except the laid back crew on LH
2297. Thankfully all my other crew sets where very nice. The seat comfort was a little bit on the firm side and the IFE box under the seat upfront was quite large, but since I had 2 seats for myself it wasn’t to big of a problem. Thankfully the entertainment system kept me wel busy during this long flight. Munich is a very nice and easy airport to connect in, even a 50 minute long haul connection was seamless.
Lufthansa Cityline 2297: (Total 73%)
Departure: 70% (Fast and efficient as usual in Brussels)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (maintained clean during flight.)
Seat Comfort: 80% (Firm, but ok for this flight, decent amout of legroom)
Crew: 50% (a little off, not very professional, no greeting…)
Catering: 90% (Sandwich with salami on a 1 hour flight, tasetfull and filling.)
Arrival: 80% (bus gate, but everything went quickly and all was clearly signed.)
Lufthansa Germain Airlines 0460: (Total 80%)
Departure: 90% (efficient, modern, seamless.)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (fairly modern cabin despite it’s age)
Seat Comfort: 70% (IFE box, firm but decent legroom)
Crew: 80% (Assistant purser a little robotic, but LH1 made up for all.)
Catering: 90% (2 great meals and a large choice of meals. Was not hungry until 24 hours after the flight ).
IFE: 80% (Avod, good choice but did freeze twice)
Arrival: 80% (Surprised how bright and modern the south terminal was.)
As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in BRU
Total facts on this trip
1 New aircraft type (E195)
2 New airlines (Lufthansa Cityline and Lufthansa)
2 New registrations (D-AEBD and D-AIGP)
2 New airports (MUC
Thank you for viewing comments and feedback are appreciated.
Next trip report:
US Airways Express and irregular operations!
Past trip reports
A Short Hop On A Big Bird! (by MSS658 Feb 27 2011 in Trip Reports)
A West Side Flight On The East Side! (by MSS658 Jan 9 2011 in Trip Reports)
Wifi And Condensation On US Airways! (by MSS658 Dec 10 2010 in Trip Reports)
Air Canada, North America's Hidden Jewel? (by MSS658 Nov 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A333's.Are They Really That Bad? Part 2 (by MSS658 Oct 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A330-300's. Are They Really That Bad? (by MSS658 Oct 16 2010 in Trip Reports)