After reading about everyone else's TRs for years I thought it was about time I posted my own! I am a TR virgin, so any hints on how to improve future reports will be very welcome.
In September 2007 I flew LHR - FRA - LAX - SAN - LAX - ZRH - LHR. This report will cover the outbound trip to SAN. I will post a separate report for my Swiss experience on the way back.
My flight from FRA to LAX was at 10:05am so rather than catch the 06:25 connecting flight from LHR I decided to fly out the previous evening. This was mainly to allow me to spend more time in the First Class Terminal (FCT) in FRA as the morning connection would only have allowed me around 30 mins tops. I have flown with LH in First previously, but only from Munich and had therefore never experienced the FCT.
There was no queue at the First Class check in at LHR and I was soon on my way to security. There is no fast track security at LHR T2, but there wasn't much of a queue anyway.
The LH lounges are next to gate 3 and there are 2 of them: the Business Lounge and the Senator Lounge. As a First Class passenger I had access to the Senator Lounge which has slightly better food and alcohol than the Business Lounge. While in the lounge I enjoyed a glass of Champagne.
|LH Senator Lounge LHR|
Flight: LHR - FRA
Load: 92% in C
Around 30 mins before the take off time I made my way to that gate area which was packed. So busy I couldn't get a seat. Boarding commenced shortly after my arrival, so I didn't stand for too long. Business Class was boarded last.
The plane was an A321, which wasn't planned. It was supposed to be a wide-bodied A300. I was quite pleased with the aircraft change since the A300 only has economy seats - the Business Class seats are no different. The A321s have the new product which are in a 2 - 2 config.
The Business Class flight to FRA was just OK and not up to the standards of BA or bmi. For example, I was only offered 1 drink - and even then LH don't have Champagne on short haul flights (they do have a sparkling German rose wine which is quite nice though). More drinks would have been available on request, but I would have expected a 2nd offering. The 2nd thing that didn't come up to scratch was the meal. It was a 17:15 departure and it was a cold meal and there was no choice. The meal in itself was OK, but with bmi and BA you're given a hot meal at that time of day and you get a choice.
The rest of the flight was uneventful and we soon landed at FRA on time. I checked into the Sherton Hotel at FRA to spend the night before my flight the following morning. Before going to bed, I took a wonder outside to check where the First Class Terminal was and took this photo.
|LH First Class Terminal exterior|
I woke up at 06:15 before my alarm had been set to go off. I thought I may as well get up and go to the First Class Terminal (FCT) a bit early. It was certainly better than staying in my hotel room!
I made my way to Check in zone B in FRA where the US check in zone is. There was no queue at the First Class Check in.
|LH First Class Checkin at FRA|
Once checked in, they offer to call one of their cars to take you round to the FCT, but I decided to walk since it only takes 5 mins.
On entering the FCT you're assigned your Personal Assistant who will make sure all of your needs are taken care of. My PA took me through a security check point and took my passport from me telling me that it would be returned when I boarded. She asked if this was my first time in the FCT and would I like a tour - of course I did, I didn't want to miss a thing!
The FCT really is something else! It is amazing and I was glad I had come in a bit early. The decor is very modern and contemporary. It is so peaceful and calm. I didn't take too many pics, since it felt awkward. Does anyone else feel embarrassed when they take photos in a lounge or on a plane or is it just me? The photos I took don't do it justice.
I went to the restaurant in the FCT and had some breakfast.
|LH First Class Terminal breaksfast (1)|
|LH First Class Terminal breakfast (2)|
I then sat down and had a glass of Champagne (yes, I know it was only 08:00 in the morning, but my mother tells me there is no such thing as time of day in airports and you can have a drink whenever you feel like it!).
|LH First Class Champagne and snacks|
|LH First Class Terminal (FRA) seat|
The loos were nice too.
|LH First Class Terminal loo|
I then went to sit at the bar for a while for a change of scenery.
|Bar in the LH First Class Terminal|
The bar is VERY well stocked and I counted over 80 whiskies, 25 wines, 4 Champagnes and 12 brandies and Cognacs (including OX and XO Gold). I am a big malt whisky fan, but even for me (and my mother's outlook!) it was too early to hit the hard stuff.
The FCT never really got that busy - surprising since there are 10 long haul flights within an hour in the mornings.
About 09:30 my Personal Assistant advised me it was time for boarding. She escorted me down the lift where my Chauffeur was waiting to drive me to the aeroplane. There are 2 types of car - Mercedes and Porsche. I wasn't given a choice, but who cares. I got the Porsche. The driver was really nice and spoke perfect English.
Within 5 mins we were at the gate and my Chauffeur escorted me up a little lift to the air-bridge and then onboard. He cleared the other boarding passengers on the air-bridge to one side to allow me to walk straight through, which was actually quite embarrassing (I am a shy Scotsman!). The Chauffeur showed the crew a bit of paper and escorted me upstairs to my First Class seat.
Flight: FRA - LAX
Load: 15 passengers (16 seats)
The crew quickly offered me Champagne and nuts which were gratefully received! I was then given my toilet bag and jumper - both of which were new and better than the ones I had on my last LH First Class flight about 9 months ago. I was also given my food menu and wine list.
The upper deck of the 747 is all First Class and there are 4 rows in a 2-2 seat config. The seat extends out into a 7 foot bed and has Video on Demand with a touch screen. There were lots of movies and channels available, but to be honest, I love flying so much I tend to spend time enjoying the flight rather than watching movies.
The Purser came round and introduced herself, using my name all the time and telling me that I dictated the schedule of the flight. I could eat or drink whenever I wanted. She explained that the flight time would be around 11 hours and they would serve lunch, followed by a mid-flight snack followed by dinner prior to arriving in LAX.
Push back was delayed for 30 mins since a passenger had taken unwell and had to be offloaded.
I have to say that the seat and the interior of the 747 was looking a bit tired. For example, the seat still had an ashtray in the arm rest and the TV that you watch the safety video on is one of those from the 1980s - the big goldfish bowl ones! In saying that the seat was very comfortable and spacious. My last trip on LH First Class was on the A340 and it was much newer and fresher (flat screen TV and no ashtray!).
Shortly after take off I was offered a drink (I opted for gin and tonic). They then asked if I would like lunch soon. By this time my breakfast in the FCT seemed a long time ago so I said yes. They started to prepare my table with the linen table cloth and cutlery (all metal - even the knives) and gave me another G&T.
One of the several nice touches that LH does, is they give you a fresh rose in water which fits into a small holder on your armrest. It's very sweet.
I don't have copies of the menu and wine list, but there was a choice of 2 Champagnes, 3 red wines and 3 white wines.
The food service is quite old fashioned in that it is served from a trolley draped in white linen and sprinkled with petals. Now I think it's actually quite nice, but most airlines have ditched the trolley service in First Class (e.g. BA) in favour of just bringing out the plates as they would in a restaurant. LH still silver serve everything from the trolley.
I chose the Spanish red and they then brought out my first course - caviar with a shot of shilled vodka:
|LH First Class starter - caviar|
I forgot to take any more pics of the food - sorry! I got carried away with the service. But for my other courses I had:
2nd course: Lobster with lobster terrine
3rd course: Salad with macadamia dressing
4th course: Saddle of veal with herbed mushrooms
5th course: Selection of cheeses
6th course: Chocolate dome with espresso sauce
7th course: A double espresso with LH First Class chocolates and a malt whisky on the side.
It's fair to assume that I was stuffed after all of that, but it was delicious!
The crew were always fantastic. They were friendly, helpful and made sure my glass was always topped up.
Around 6 hours into the flight they came round with their mid-flight service. To be honest, I was still so full from lunch all I had was a plate of fruit. There were other savoury and sweet snacks on offer.
With about 2 hours left to go of the flight they then came round with the next meal. They called it their Vintage Festival and contained a lot of typical German foods. Because it's all silver served from the trolley, I had a small spoon of about 4 different starters.
For my main course I had a gorgeous steak topped with grilled emmentaler cheese.
For dessert I had Riesling cake - which again I followed by espresso and malt whisky.
Soon after the meal, we were starting our decent to LAX. We were on time and had made up the 30 min delay at FRA.
When coming off the aircraft, the crew downstairs where holding back Business Class to give us priority. We were soon at passport control where there was no queue. Did the whole reclaim and check in thing before making my way to T7 for my connecting flight to San Diego (SAN).
When in T7 I made my way to the UA International First Class Lounge and myself and my partner were the only people in it. I was obviously more confident taken pictures here (to be honest, the alcohol I consumed on the flight would no doubt have given me the courage anyway, even if there had been other people there!).
|UA International First Class Lounge LAX|
|UA International First Class Lounge LAX|
There was a good choice of food and alcohol in the lounge.
After an hour or so in the lounge (and Tanqueray and tonice!) I made my way to T8 to catch my SkyWest flight to SAN.
Flight: LAX - SAN
Class: Economy (mono-class)
To be honest, there's nothing much to say about the flight. The flight time is only 30 mins and there is no inflight service. It is just a means of getting from LAX - SAN.
I snapped this pic of the aircraft at SAN
|SkyWest plane SAN - LAX|
Anyway, I realised I have probably gone on a bit in this report - I hope I've not bored you! All in all a wonderful flight. The long haul crew were fantastic as was the food. The product is now slightly dated and I look forward to the new First Class product LH are bringing in next year.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask. As I said at the begging, please also feel free to give me feedback on this (my first) TR. On my return I flew with Swiss (LAX - ZRH - LHR) and will post that TR too.
Thanks for reading!