Background: With the demise of AirBerlin, Eurowings longhaul expanded in the United States. It initially caught my eye because the Eurowings A340-300 was operating JFK-DUS. The A340 is becoming exceedingly rare, particularly in the US, and I had never flown Eurowings before. A new carrier on a desirable aircraft, my mind was made up to fly Eurowings on my winter European trip. Unfortunately, the A340 stopped being used prior to my flights, replaced instead by the A330. It would still work out nicely, because I could fly Eurowings for the first time, plus I could compare their A330 to that of Swiss for my return flight.
I got a great price in Business Class by booking through Vayama. Since the JFK-DUS A340 was no longer available, I decided to originate in Miami for a nice long segment MIA-DUS. The return trip was ZRH-EWR on the Swiss A330 into my home state. I was looking forward to trying two new longhaul airlines, and to flying the A330 trans-Atlantic for the first time. And I always look forward to a nice long overnight segment to start out a trip.
Please enjoy the reports, and I look forward to your comments.
Eurowings EW1185 operated by Brussels Airlines
Departure: 18:40 (actual 21:23)
Arrival: 09:50+1 (actual 11:58+1)
Actual Block Time: 8h35
Actual Flight Time: 8h17
Seat: 4H BIZclass
My Eurowings flight EW1185 had been booked as a United Airlines codeshare with flight number UA9685. Typical with UA codeshares, I was unable to pre-select a seat on the EW flight. Fortunately I was able to complete online check-in 24h in advance. I received aisle seat 4H.
Eurowings' only Miami route is Düsseldorf-Miami-Düsseldorf, so I was easily able to monitor my incoming plane - the only Eurowings plane inbound to Miami. It left Düsseldorf 3h late. Its original scheduled arrival time into Miami was 16:55. My departure was scheduled for 18:40, and arrival into Düsseldorf for 09:50. The delayed inbound was revised to arrive at 19:26. My new schedule was 20:45 to 11:55.
In MIA there are three terminals, and they are all connected landside: the North, Central, and South terminals. Eurowings check-in can be found in the Central terminal. I found a pretty long line for general check-in and bag drop, but there was nobody in the priority line, so I was quickly checked in to Düsseldorf. I went to the security checkpoint for Concourse F, a small checkpoint with only one line. It took about fifteen minutes to clear security. I was airside by 16:25, perfect for my original departure of 18:40, but the airport departures screen was confirming my previously-researched delay, with my departure now at 20:45. I was invited to the lounge for my wait, the Club America lounge, a Priority Pass lounge and the only lounge in Concourse F.
This was going to be my most delayed international flight ever. Most of the time I find that large widebody aircraft on international routes aren't very delayed. As Eurowings' only route out of Miami, using only one aircraft, when the inbound is delayed, it's a certainty that the return will be delayed as well. But I wasn't stressed - I was in no rush. I was still looking forward to a new airline in Eurowings, plus my first trans-Atlantic A330. I was not really sure what to expect onboard, aside from 2-2-2 Business Class seating which uses the same seats as Lufthansa Business Class. Interestingly, all Eurowings longhaul flights aren't actually operated by the airline Eurowings - rather, they have the Eurowings brand name, but are operated by various other airlines. In my case the flight was operated by SN Brussels Airlines, which was printed right on my boarding pass. Having flown and quite enjoyed shorthaul Brussels Airlines earlier in the year AGP-BRU, I'm still looking forward to trying longhaul Brussels Airlines, most likely JFK-BRU on an A330. Even though my Eurowings A330 was operated by Brussels Airlines, it's not counting as my longhaul Brussels Airlines flight. I'm counting it as longhaul Eurowings. So I still want to try longhaul Brussels Airlines, and now, getting to try longhaul Eurowings tonight, I hope to also try shorthaul Eurowings sometime in the future. I left the lounge and headed to Gate F19 in anticipation of my aircraft arriving, but my gate at the end of Concourse F afforded no view of any aircraft.
My Eurowings longhaul aircraft was the Brussels Airlines-operated, Belgian-registered A330-300, OO-SFJ. The aircraft entered service with Lufthansa in 2005, before being transferred to Brussels Airlines in 2018.
At 20:40, Rows 1 to 14 were invited to board - priority boarding for Business Class and Best Class (that's Eurowings Premium Economy). I boarded my waiting A330 and found five rows of 2-2-2 Business Class. As expected, the seats were the same as those used in Lufthansa Business Class. The pairs of seats adjacent to the window are parallel to each other, facing away from the aisle. The central pair of seats is angled towards each other. This is the most recent iteration of the Lufthansa Business Class seats, where the unusual "angled towards each other" seating arrangement isn't used for 100% of seats. My seat, aisle seat 4H, was in pair of seats by the window, and thus was arranged parallel to 4K. At check-in, it had been the last remaining seat in the parallel seat arrangement.
My seat had a pillow and blanket, a water bottle in a compartment under the screen, and headphones in a compartment under the armrest. My seat mate arrived shortly.
A flight attendant stopped by to welcome my seat mate and me onboard, and to offer water, orange juice or sekt, German sparkling wine. One sekt for me, to toast a new airline and to celebrate finally boarding this delayed flight.
Settling in, I was happy to be onboard Eurowings longhaul today. I had a nice, comfortable seat. True, it's not a class-leading seat, as all seats don't offer aisle access, and these seats have pretty minimal privacy, with no privacy dividers or anything, but nevertheless it was a comfortable seat with plenty of legroom, and on the aisle seat, I had aisle access without playing footsie with my seat mate like in the central seats which are angled towards each other. The flight attendants quickly returned to offer drink refills, which was pretty nice pre-departure service.
Pre-departure beverages and seat controls:
Footwells and IFE screens:
Announcements were in German followed by English. The captain's announcement began with apologies for the delay, explaining that the incoming plane was late from Düsseldorf. The flight time will be 8h30. The weather at arrival will be quite nice at 10 degrees or 50 Fahrenheit. Next the purser's announcement, again in German followed by English, welcomed us onboard, introduced himself and repeated the 8h30 flight time.
I was becoming more excited for this flight. The great pre-departure service had increased expectations for service once underway. The stress of the delay was already being forgotten. The load in Business Class was 30/30. A manual safety demo was conducted, dual-language to narration provided by the purser. The baby in Row 1 seemed quite upset. We'll see if my good luck with babies on planes holds once the flight is underway.
The view from 4H:
Pushback came at 21:23. Takeoff was at 21:35 with a rolling start, but it wasn't very loud, and there was only moderate pushback into the seat. We flew east over downtown Miami, all lit up in the night. The IFE was showing 8h30 remaining.
When we crossed 10,000 ft, the found attendants set up a baby bassinet on the bulkhead wall. There was an announcement about inflight service and entertainment. I checked out the IFE. It had a nice screen, but a minimal offering of only 36 movies. I reclined to relax mode and decided to watch a German film, The Collini Case (Der Fall Collini), in German with English subtitles. I deployed the screen to make it easier to view. The movie seemed ok, but when the first round of drinks was served, my seat mate and I began having a nice conversation, so I only watched about fifteen minutes.
My choice of starter was roasted chateaubriand with grilled pineapple, roasted sesame, sweet hoisin glaze and baby greens. It was served on a tray along with the cheese plate and dessert. The bread basket was offered, and to drink, Warsteiner, their only beer. Actually on this trip I'm planning to go to the Warsteiner brewery! The starter was very good.
Starter (along with cheese plate and dessert):
My main course choice was the pan-roasted cod loin with wild rice pilaf, sautéed rocket with leeks, and lemon dill butter. A refill of drinks was offered, so I asked for a fresh beer.
The main was ok. The rice was good, but the fish was pretty bland and boring. Another round of the drink cart followed. To go with dessert, I asked for a glass of cognac. Dessert was a strawberry-mousse tart with toasted meringue, and it was actually quite good. The cognac was Baron Otard VSOP. Overall the meal was only decent, not as good as Lufthansa Business Class, but the service was really great, with good pacing and so many drink runs. Dinner finished at 23:00 with about 7h left to go.
It was time to go to sleep with 6h30 to go. It was 23:30 Eastern time, 05:30 European time.
I woke up to the sound of breakfast service starting at 04:30 Eastern time, or 10:30 European time. That's pretty great! 5h of sleep. I had slept pretty well. The bed was long enough for me, and comfortable. The cabin had been very warm, and there were no personal vents, but it was a smooth ride and you just can't complain about 5h of sleep trans-Atlantic. And the baby hardly cried during the night. We now had 1.5h to go, and were south of Ireland.
For breakfast, freshly-cut fruits with bread rolls and croissants, as well as spreads and jams, was offered. It was a light continental breakfast, with no hot meal option available, again a lower standard than Lufthansa, even on a longer flight than my LH B747 DTW-FRA. But I was happy with it, as I wasn't too hungry.
With only one lavatory for Business Class at the front of the cabin, it was tough to get in during morning rush hour. The "no waiting or congregating" rule for US flights was strictly enforced, so no one was able to form a line. I didn't actually make it to the lav before the seatbelt sign went on for descent. An announcement was made about connecting flight gates.
We landed at 05:52 Eastern time, and parked at jetbridge gate A80 at 05:58. That is, 11:58 European time. "Auf wiedersehen! Vielen Dank, dass Sie mit uns geflogen sind."
I found a small passport control just inside the terminal. I was one of the first, so it was quick and easy.
At the gate in DUS:
This had been a good flight. The food was only ok, but service had been very good. The seat wasn't bad, comfortable and afforded a good night's sleep. Only one restroom was not ideal for 30 Business Class passengers. All in all, not a bad flight. I was glad I got to try Eurowings longhaul.