Sun, Snow, Rain and …. Lufthansa!
Other reports related to this trip.
1. Lufthansa, There Is No Better Way To Fly! (by MSS658 Jul 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
2. US Airways And Irregular Operations! (by MSS658 Jul 17 2011 in Trip Reports)
3. Propping Around The Upstate! (by MSS658 Aug 7 2011 in Trip Reports)
End October 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, including 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 flown in my life from Munich to Miami which is blocked at 11h35minutes (see part I).
Now comes the second part from Florida to South Carolina a few days after my excellent flight with Lufthansa. For mileage reasons US Airways was chosen again, but when looking at fare I found something strange. It was actually cheaper to fly to Greenville, SC
from West Palm Beach thru Charlotte than just booking a round trip from West Palm Beach to Charlotte, SA
)">NC. Having two extra flights for a cheaper price, was a no brainer…. As an extra bonus the PBI
flight would be operated by the 737-400 classic, always nice to get such a nice bonus these days. CLT
would be operated by an Embrear 145, not bad as well (see part II
A few days later I would return back to Florida on the same ticket I purchased on US Airways. As my last flight, I would be changing in Charlotte again before reaching West Palm Beach. I chose the last option of the day because this was the only segment that there was a Dash 8-300 flying in between Greenville and Charlotte, a sunset flight with the DH3 would be a nice treat. The Charlotte-West Palm Beach flight would be operated by another 737-400 (see Part III)
As all good stories have to come to and end, so does this trip. Before I realised it, it was time for the final segment home. I would use the same ticket I used in part I. While booking I had the similar choice of options. Changing in Frankfurt or Munich, there was also a Miami-Dusseldorf-Munich-Brussels option as well. FRA
was ruled out as I did not fancy a 6.00 arrival, and as we all love to fly. Two short haul segments after a long night flight from the US would just be to exhausting. So I opted for the same routing as my outbound trip, as Lufthansa only flies once daily to Munich I had several options on the Munich-Brussels leg. Aircraft varied between the A319, CRJ900 and EMB195. As the CR9 was a fairly new type for me (logged only once before). I went for this one.
As it’s no secret anymore I lost my US passport on a flight from Charlotte to Greenville/Spartanburg a few days prior (who missed this part, see part II
of the series). Just to make things worser, I discovered that my Belgian passport had been expired the day prior (see part III of the series). After a rather sleepless night my alarm went off at 6.00. Not sure if I was going to be approaching Brussels by this time the next day, or would be still resting in this Florida bed. I opened my laptop and started checking the inbound flight. LH460 had left Munich an hour and a half late and is now overhead Belgium, the flight time to Miami would be just over 9 hours (block time is 11hrs 35mins) and would be on the ground in Miami at 1451. Just a few minutes before it’s scheduled arrival time. Our aircraft would be the Offenbach which is registered as D-AIGO in the Lufthansa fleet. I checked in online and surprisingly found a 2-seater open, so I went on my luck and changed my seat from 39A to 37A and would select 24F on the Munich-Brussels sector. The few hours after this I spent packing and preparing myself for a trip to Brussels.. or just that return trip to Miami. At 10.15 it was time to leave to where ever this journey would take me today. This morning I would opt to take the Tri-rail system between West Palm Beach and Miami airport, as a train enthiousast I have to see what it’s like on the other side of the globe. I would take the 11.00 service to Miami, the train was quite outdated and very slow, actually the ride took twice as long as you would go by car. Enroute I was sleeping and thinking about how to deal with things in MIA
to greaten my chances on making the flight. Not making LH461 to Munich would envolve an extra trip to Atlanta to get things sorted out. At 13.00 the train arrived at the airport station, a very remote location, people where then jammed on one bus that went to the terminal, not making this bus would mean you have to wait an hour for the next shuttle. I arrived in the airport bus station at 13.15.
@ the Airport
When I arrived I found myself in concourse E, where the American Airlines international arrivals are located, After waking some bit around in the upper and lower levels and made my way up to the concourse J-departures, where you could find Air Berlin, Lufthansa, US Airways, LAN and Avianca ticket counters. When reaching the Lufthansa ticketing counters I got confronted with a bunch of signs. We had a line for First, Business/HON Circle/Star alliance preferred, Internet check-in and Economy. Economy class was divided in 5 desks dedicated for Lufthansa 463 to Frankfurt and Lufthansa 461 to Munich. Check-in had yet to be opened for Lufthansa 467 to Dusseldorf because of the later departure time of 18.25. When reading the signs I noticed another obstacle, they where offering 300-600 Euro vouchers to stay in Miami this evening. This meaning that Lufthansa would not mind kicking someone off the flight tonight… just to add up. Soon I joined the Internet bag-drop que where there was an ample wait, soon I was directed to a check-in desk by a man who was walking up and down the aisle. Now the fun really begins… After refusing the voucher for being bumped off the flight he went on filling in my details and showed my Belgian passport, and as expected I got the response that he needs a valid document, After explaining my situation he asked the supervisor who said that she thought there would be no issues but she decided to call Germany just in case… A good point that my boarding passes and my baggage labels where printed. A few minutes that felt like a decade later, the supervisor came out, her conversation went as following “Unfortunately… (makes my adrenaline raise quick) … we did have to wait a little bit for the call from Germany. If you’re staying in transit in Munich we can let you trough”. After a affirmative reply that I was not going to leave the airport I received my boarding passes to Munich and on to Brussels. And the most fun of all.. No ‘SSSS’.
After calling everybody telling them about the good news. I cleared security almost hopping . By now it was 14.40 and made a quick stroll to gate J17 where there preparing the gate for the arrival of LH460 from Munich and a few minutes later a plane with 4 hairdryers appeared, the nose gear showed me the letters ‘GO’ confirming me that D-AIGO has arrived in Miami and I will be travelling back on her to Munich in just a few hours. It just felt so good after all the events from the passed days. With still about an hour to go I went spotting in the H, and J-terminal. I noticed F-GISC
whom had arrived as AF690 from Paris CDG
sitting in between the 2 concourses for quite a while, even with it’s assigned gate vacated in the H-concourse, did not know what was going on but that plane sat there for at least a half an hour before entering another gate in the J-concourse. The advantage of this is that I could photograph this jumbo from a whole bunch of angles. When I arrived in the H-concourse I noticed D-ABVX resting next my A340 to Munich, D-ABVX is a 747-400 which will depart an hour prior to us as LH463 to Frankfurt. It was also my first chance to look at airlines such as LAN, Avianca and TACA, besides these there where numerous jets belonging to local carriers such as US Airways, Delta and Continental Airlines.
By now it was approaching 15.30, about an hour and fifteen minutes before departure. Time to head up to the gate. The end of the J-concourse was quite crowded. But what do you expect, a full 340 load to Munich added with another 747 to Frankfurt which has not yet started boarding yet. In a hidden corner there was an Air Berlin flight just staring to board it’s fully booked A330 to Dusseldorf. Quite a bit of flights to Germany tonight as there would be another Lufthansa flight to Dusseldorf a few hours later. Promptly an hour before departure I could see the Lufthansa crew board the Offenbach who was now being stocked and fuelled for the flight over the Atlantic. The concourse calmed down after all Air Berlin and Lufthansa passengers to Frankfurt where on board. 15 minutes later boarding started for LH461 to Munich. After all the First/Business class and Star Alliance gold members it was my turn to board.
Wednesday 15 December, 2010
Lufthansa German Airlines 0461 (Codeshare:Austrian Airlines 7332, United Airlines8715)
Airbus A340-313X D-AIGO ‘Offenbach’ Economy Class 37A
Built and delivered to Lufthansa on 7 August 1998
16.45-16.53 (Gate J18; wheels up on runway 27 at 17.02)
08.05-08.33 (Gate H34; wheels down on runway 26R at 8.23)
Est flying time: 9hrs
Cruising Altitude: SA
Load factor: 100% in Y
138th registered flight.
17th flight in 2010
4th flight on Lufthansa German Airlines
7th flight on the A340 series aircraft
7th flight on the Airbus A340-300
1st flight on D-AIGO
Recommended song for this long haul flight: If we ever meet again – Timbaland ft Katy perry.
When on board I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant, turned left and was welcomed by a large line that had formed Thru the entire Economy cabin and a part of the rear Business class cabin. When approaching the 3L/3R doors There was another Flight attendant engaging a conversation with passengers waiting in the line, when I neared the flight attendant the conversation went about the nice warm Miami weather (well, warm… at least warmer than the weather in Munich which was -6 Celsius), and the wonderful news that there are snowstorms expected all over Europe the next day. When I finally reached my seat at 16.35 I noticed that the Lufthansa 463 to Frankfurt had already left. In it’s position D-AIKD was resting now, D-AIKD is an A330-300 and had just came in from Dusseldorf as Lufthansa 466. Just a few minutes passed the scheduled departure time the captain came on announcing we where almost ready and announcing our more southern route to Europe. Flight time to Munich would just be about 9 hours and on-time arrival in Germany tomorrow. Shortly after this the push commenced, but not everybody had taken their seats yet. After they finally took their seats the flight attendants rushed through the cabin for a final check because only a few minutes later we where on the threshold of runway 27. At 17.02 Miami time, 23.02 Munich time, the Offenbach’s engines spooled up and we where on our way to Munich, with believe it or not MSS658 on board. We Immediately made a few right had turns towards the Atlantic, having a great view of the Fort Lauderdale Airport.
After the welcome on board announcement the entertainment system was turned on. The system was called Lufthansa Media World which was identical to my flight from Munich to Miami covered in part I. I selected the audio list called Lufthansa pop and set my screen on the moving map where it would remain for the remainder of the flight. By now the sun was setting and I could spot clear blue water, I soon discovered we where flying over the Bahamas. I must say it was a nice view and could not resist to take pictures from different angles. And I was not the only one doing this, this act was joined by quite a few people in my section.
By now it was 18.00 in Miami, an the new day was just born in Munich when the service started, we first started out with an aperitif service that consisted of the usual nuts and some orange juice to start the trip off with. As Munich is still a full 8 hours away from our position there was no rush in the service at all, Which did give a relaxed atmosphere in the cabin after quite a bit of flying from New York and Boston, or late night departures from the east coast where service is tended to be more rushed (and on those flights, to be honest. I don’t mind at all). About 45 minutes after the first service the mail meal service started. Choices where between Pasta and Salmon, identical to the pre-arrival meal I got on the Munich-Miami sector a week beforehand. As on LH460 I opted again for the pasta option, which tasted quite well. It was quite interesting to see how flight attendants came around with the red wine refills again.. That is something I’ve seen for the first time after all my Delta, US Airways and Continental flights. After the meal service I made a little walk trough the cabin and had a small talk with the same Flight attendant who I spoken with earlier. Our crew was friendly but a little bit more reserved than on LH460. I guess the full load plays a factor in this as well. At this time it was approaching 2.00 in Munich, about 20.00 in Miami.. We are now overflying Bermuda, time to get some rest.
Fast forward a few hours, by now we are inflight for 6 hours and still 3 hours to go. It’s now about 5.00 in Munich and 23.00 in Miami. My napping mode got interrupted by some turbulence, and not tired enough any more I glanced at the map and noticed that we were still over the pond not so far away from the Irish coast. Seating was quite comfortable, there was one thing that was disturbing me. That was the IFE box taking up half the underseat storage making me angle my legs during sleep. When things started getting smooth again I made another stretch in the cabin and returned just before the lights where turned on for the Breakfast service. Midnight in Miami, 6.00 in Munich, I received a Breakfast meal which I have never encountered before, a complete hot meal. I ate and enjoyed every bit of it. The remainder of the breakfast service was spend on making some cabin pictures from my seat, note the Christmas decoration hanging out again..
When the meal was cleared we where over my hometown in Belgium, I would arrive there in about 9 hours from know. By now the sun had started to rise and the new day was officially born. The captain made an announcement with the latest weather conditions in Munich and apologizing for the bumpy ride we had over the Atlantic. Soon I made my final stretch, thanked the crew for everything and before noticing the descent into Munich had already began at 7.40 local time. The purser made an announcement concerning gate changes and a flight to Br…. cancelled.. Was that Bremen or Brussels, let’s hope the former . During approach I spended my time by taking pictures and enjoying the Bavaria landscaping. Just when I was hoping to get another spectacular view of the alps, the clouds set in. It seemed like we where getting snowed in big time. 8.23 in Munich, 2.23 in Miami the Offenbach ended her 9.20hrs journey from Miami by landing smoothly on Munichs runway 26R where it was snowing heavy. I could not believe we actually landed. After a short taxi we came to a stop at gate H34. While disembarking I asked the purser if it was allowed to make a quick pic in the cockpit which was replied by a confused look and then answered with ‘I think so, the captain is a nice guy’ And he was nice, I was allowed in. after some picturetaking and talking it was time to go back up the jetway to the non-shengen arrivals hall. When I double checked the board it was not the Bremen flight that got cancelled, the cancelled flight was LH2286 to Brussels. The flight that I was booked on… There went my CRJ-900 leg..
For those who where interested, here where the details.
Thursday 16 December, 2010
/EDDM) – Brussels (BRU
Lufthansa Cityline 2286 (Codeshare: US Airways 5808, United Airlines 9284, Brussels Airlines 7054, Air Canada 9284, Aegan Airlines 1422)
CRJ-900, D-???? Economy Class 23F
10.45-xx.xx (Gate G13; wheels up on runway xxx at xx.xx)
12.30-xx.xx (Gate xxx; wheels down on runway xxx at xx.xx)
Est flying time: ???
Cruising Altitude: ???
Load factor: ???% in Y
139th registered flight.
17th flight in 2010
2nd flight on Lufthansa Cityline
6th flight on the CRJ series aircraft
2nd flight on the CRJ-900
Knowing that there would be an earlier flight into Brussels at 9.10 (LH 2284 on a A319) I rushed thru the immergration and security, arriving in the shengen-departures hall at 9.10. LH2284 was just (almost) adjunct to the security check point. The gate agent noticed me coming, noticed my faster walk… and printed the manifest and disappeared… So she could tell me a few minutes later that I’ve missed the flight and that I would had to wait to 13.05, on LH
2288. So up to the Lufthansa service center where I found a machine, before even knowing it a teenage girl ripped the boarding pass out my hand and gave me another one while talking with her collegue. Not even a word with me exchanged. After my treatment in Charlotte by US Airways Express a few days prior (see part II
), I tought Lufthansa was to be better in Irregular operations, not the case. Side note, except the blur announcement of the purser of LH461 no other information was given. Soon I noticed that I was in an aisle, not a window. Went back to the kiosk (Agents where to busy chatting then) but could not change the seat. After passing the agents, they let me into the rebooking line. When reaching the end I encountered a very friendly lady who changed my seat with pleasure, wished her good luck in these days and went on spotting.
By now it was 10.00. My first spot was a 777 in Continental colors, I soon realised that this was not Continental as Munich-Newark was operated by a 767-200 at that time and that flight just left the gate. Sooner I noticed that It was a new United 777 operating a SA
)">UA flight to Washintgton, DC later on that morning. Further along I noticed the A340-600 from South African airways, who operated SA
264 from Johannesburg. Further along I found a familiar friend again. D-AIGO, the A340 that flew me in from Miami a few hours prior. She would be leaving soon to Mumbai as LH764. Besides that the area was full of Lufthansa jets flying to various destinations on our globe. When I reached my gate, G42 I noticed a TAP A319 CS
this would be TP558 coming in from Lisbon and due to depart back as TP559 at 13.00. 5 minutes ahead of LH2288 to Brussels. A quick check at the gate showed me that the flight had been delayed 40 minutes, and we would be departing from gate G36. When I got the gate I asked for the load factor and what aircraft it was, my response would be an empty E195 and a empty aisle seat next to me . The remainder of the time I stayed at the gate trying to fight against severe fatigue. At 13.10 D-AEBA, An Embrear 195 named Fussen appeared to our gate. The plane just finished her task from Bremen as LH2109, and would be turned around for Brussels.
At 13.30 the boarding finally started, the gate agent whished me a good rest (did I look that bad). And I got onboard
Thursday 16 December, 2010
/EDDM) – Brussels (BRU
Lufthansa Cityline 2288 (Codeshare: Brussels Airlines 7056)
Embrear 195LR, D-AEBA ‘Fussen’ Economy Class 24F
Built and delivered to Lufthansa Cityline on October 1, 2009
13.05-13.59 (Gate G36; wheels up on runway 26R at 14.12)
14.30-15.24 (Gate A47; wheels down on runway 25L at 15.14)
Est flying time: 1hr6mns
Cruising Altitude: SA
Load factor: 65% in Y
139th registered flight.
17th flight in 2010
2nd flight on Lufthansa Cityline
5th flight on the Embrear 170 series aircraft
2nd flight on the Embrear 195
1st flight on D-AEBA
Once onboard I was met by a friendly set of flight attendants. Much friendlier than the F/A’s on the Brussels-Munich sector the week before. I noticed that my bag could not go in the overhead, thankfully the seat next to me was empty so I could cram in that seat. I secured my laptop bag by fastening it in the seat 24D, this was approved by the flight attendant. At 13.50 the captain came on announcing our flight time to Brussels would be about 1hour and 6 minutes and weather in Brussels was not going to be good at all. Soon whe pushed back and started our taxi to runway 26R. The safety demo was done in German and English, with a tape recorded message in Dutch and French. At 14.12, the engines powered up. And we where rolling on 26R towards Brussels making an end of my 6-hour layover in Bavaria.
Once we where a few minutes in the air I dozed off almost immediately, it did feel good to doze off without being worried about losing by bag or missing my flight as I was actually dozing off in MUC
several times. I woke up about 20 minutes later when the service already had commenced. Snack service consisted of a small sandwich and a beverage of choice. First I just wanted water, but the F/A was encouraging to give me beer, wine or coffee. I asked for tea and she was glad to give it. After finishing the green tea and my sandwich I dozed off again.
When I woke up our descent in the Brussels area had already started, and the captain was right. Weather was so bad and visibility was almost nothing, I almost taught we would have to make a go around. Turbulence was pretty moderate, but at 15.12 we broke trough the clouds, already passed the Belgian city of Leuven and on final of runway 25L. at 15.14 we touched down in Brussels which was soaked in the rain… After a ten minutes taxi we parked beside an Iberia A320. On the way out I was allowed to make some pictures of the flight deck. The first officer even made some pictures of the special hood for me. I thanked the crew and was on my way to baggage claim and customs.
After a long walk from the A-concourse which made me feel that I was walking back to Miami… Not that I’m lazy, but how would you be after a 23 hour trip with 2 hours sleep. An advantage is that there was no wait for my baggage and could leave the secured area almost immediately. I could catch the 16.09 service to Brussels and on home, making me travel with the Brussels rush hour traffic (what a delight,.. sigh). I was home at around 18.00, and just in time, the heavy rainfall had turned into snow again. I was glad and relieved to be at home since my trip took 25hrs and 30minutes.
For the ones who where interested, my US passport had never been found… and a duplicate had to be made.
As on my outbound trip it was a pleasure to fly Lufthansa again, first of all I was very glad that I was able to fly the trip as planned. Flight attendants, meals, entertainment was great on both flights, the only problem I had was with the IFE box under the seat in front of me on the Miami-Munich flight, making it quite uncomfortable under my seat. As weather can occur everywhere, I’m of course not going to take the cancellation out on Lufthansa, even that I could not complain about the way it was handled (with exception of that one agent and that one gate agent.). It just was funny that the customer service of the we-all-love-to-bash US Airways made the icing on the cake in Charlotte a few days prior. Would I fly Lufthansa again??... why not?
Lufthansa German Air Lines 0461 Miami-Munich: (Total: 79%)
Departure: 90% (very well organised being an outstation, modern and clean terminal)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (Kept nice and clean)
Seat Comfort: 70% (Comfortable, good pillows, just the IFE box begin a rather big disturbance)
Crew: 80% (Nice, friendly, communicative)
Catering: 90% (How many airlines still give a hot breakfast)
IFE: 90% (good choice, user-friendly (same comment as LH460 in part I))
Arrival: 70% (Clearly signed, security together with the O/D pax)
Lufthansa Cityline 2288 Munich-Brussels: (Total: 77%)
Departure: 70% (Munich is a nice airport, LH
2286 cancelled, handeling OK
but not so good as US Airways express)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (Kept nice and clean)
Seat Comfort: 80% (Good, but only thing I was in need for was a seat where I could just shut my eyes)
Crew: 90% (very nice, offering beer, wine from galley )
Catering: 80% (Sufficient.)
Arrival: 70% (Good, as usual. Nothing special…)
As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in MIA
2 new registrations (D-AIGO and D-AEBA)
Thank you for viewing and stay tuned for the next trip report:
SATA, Azores and the A310, Take I
Past trip reports
Propping Around The Upstate! (by MSS658 Aug 7 2011 in Trip Reports)
US Airways And Irregular Operations! (by MSS658 Jul 17 2011 in Trip Reports)
Lufthansa, There Is No Better Way To Fly! (by MSS658 Jul 5 2011 in 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)