LUFTHANSA Flight Information:
KLH630 27MAR29OCT 1234567 352744 FRAFRA1540 2345FRAFRA J
12.5 years old, delivered to Lufthansa in 1999
FRANKFURT TO DUBAI
Welcome to my Lufthansa JUMBO
After I had arrived at the upper deck, this was it. Boarding was completed and this upper deck –even if it was in the old chunky seat configuration- was ALL
mine; it was perhaps my favorite feeling out of this entire trip. 16 seats, one First Class cabin, and one upper deck all for me!
Heidi was in charge of the upper deck, i.e. me, and after the introduction upon my arrival, she offered to assist with stowing my luggage, offered me any seat on the upper deck, and then took my order for a welcome drink. Naturally, on Lufthansa First Class –and I expect any First Class- welcome drinks before takeoff consist of an open bar of any choice of drinkable liquid.
Champagne is the rule before takeoff
While the cabin was on the border of being on Lufthansa’s list of ancient classics, it was still in excellent condition. Everything was polished to perfection, and not a single element was offbeat. In fact, I quite like the silverfish sparks that mix with the deep blue ambience of this cabin, as it gives me quite the cooling feeling every time I take notice of it. Yes I was hoping for the new First Class seats –who wouldn’t?- but I easily gave that up for an upper deck to myself. Besides, I suppose this is the cabin that I should be in right now, before it completely disappears from our skies.
At my seat at 84H, I am positioned near the emergency exit. This meant additional legroom, though legroom is a non-issue in First Class. The old style First Class seat on Lufthansa is immensely chunky which translates into classic comfort. It is also a fully flat bed, and normally I’d get two of those to myself. However today, I get 16 of those seats so I think I am all set for today’s flight to Dubai!
“Mr. Hawi, may I get you more champagne?”
“I think you should have another glass”
“Sure! If you say so!”
“And here you are, this is the menu for today’s flight, the wine list, and slippers and pyjamas”
“May I ask if you are fasting for Ramadan?”
“Nope. I am readily available to eat today!”
“Well of course, you just had some champagne haha”
“Anyways, good because we have a lot of food for you today”
Menu, slippers, pyjamas
Huge beverage list
At exactly 3:45pm –the scheduled departure of our flight- our captain came on the PA, and welcomed us on board. He informed us of a slight delay due to missing passengers, whose luggage needed to be offloaded. Naturally he was extra apologetic, but did inform that this would be completed rather soon-ish.
He also advised us of the usual routing and weather info for today, and that our flight time to Dubai was to be 5 hours and 50 minutes.
Some random cabin shots before pushback
Doors were closed at 3:50pm, and after the usual grandeur announcement by the crew, my very own jumbo pushed back at 4:05pm.
The safety video was then played on the overhead screens, and it included three versions, each in German, English, and surprisingly, in Arabic. While it was a very nicely added touch, the Arabic speaker in the video sounded like a one-year old girl uttering heavily broken words.
After final preps in the galley, Heidi took her position in the jumpseat across from my seat. While it was a short taxi to the runway, it was quite a very long conversation that she had engaged with me. However, it was very interesting to learn about the crewing patterns on Lufthansa, given the fact that she is pretty much a veteran that used to do the AUH
flights that I remember circa 1980’s. She also chose to remain a B747 operator as opposed to the A380 because the jumbo’s destinations are more interesting. Besides, she much prefers the [then] upcoming 748 than the not-so-nice looking WhaleJet.
At 4:15pm, I experienced another jumbo takeoff as D-ABVX majestically took a smooth glide across the runway before lifting off and beginning our journey to Dubai.
It was a rather turbulent climb, and whilst we may have reached cruising altitude earlier, it did take a while for the seatbelt sign to switch off.
Cabin shot after takeoff
However, as soon as the crew was released, Olivia had returned to check on things.
“Mr. Hawi I am so sorry it took so long, but we had terrible turbulence”
“It was quite a shaky climb, but it’s okay!”
“I am sure you had good company though”
“Yes I definitely did, thanks”
“Once again, I apologize for this, but now all is okay, and you can start to enjoy the service”
On my side of the cabin, it was clear that the service was to be a little laid back. I had already established a friendly repertoire with Heidi, and so it just seemed okay to let loose a little; this of course not in any unprofessional manner whatsoever.
“Sooo, what can I get you to drink Mr. Hawi?”
“A bloody Mary please”
“Certainly. Do you like it a little spicy maybe?”
My Bloody Mary
Which came with a canapé
The canapé was composed of a mixture of beef and cheese. I did not know what it was, but I knew that it tasted alright.
“Sooo. Here is a hot towel for you Mr. Hawi”
“You’re very welcome. And have you decided what you want to eat?”
“Yes I have”
“Good. We have caviar for Hors d’oeuvres, you should try it”
“Mmm .. okay sure”
“How about the king prawns too? They are also recommended”
“You are offering me two starters?”
“Yes. I will get it for you anyways”
“Okay! And I will have the salad instead of the soup please”
“Sure. And what about the main course?”
“The pizokel please”
“Ah yes, and what about the dressing for the salad? We have French or a simple vinaigrette.”
“Vinaigrette will do”
“Okay. I will prepare these for you now. Can I get you anything else?”
“This should be good for now. Thanks”
My table was then set up with a white linen cloth, bread plate, butter, salt and pepper shakers, napkin and silverware. It was a very simple setup, but definitely very classy.
A signature Lufthansa touch
My two starters were then served, and the first included caviar, and with things like this, I am quite ghetto. I am not big on the seafood –and especially not caviar- but this is what is always served in First Class, so the best I could do was to pretend like I knew what the hell I was doing.
The caviar plate included a serving of those black fishy eggs, alongside a sliced lime and diced onions. On the side the usual condiments were served including the cream and the egg.
I had no clue how to eat this caviar, but I just slapped it all together very quickly and I more or less swallowed it with very minimal chewing in order to avoid the inky fish spunk on my taste buds. It wasn’t horrible, but with a few sips from the Bloody Mary, I was feeling unusually stimulated and quite buzzed.
The second starter was definitely something I was more familiar with. While it was of the seafood variety, I can definitely stomach prawns, and this particular dish was quite unusually pleasant. It came with a mix of strawberries and green peppers, and all three together made for an interesting pleaser to the palate.
King prawn appetizer
A fresh salad followed
The fifth serving was the main course, and this was the pizokel, a Swiss form of noodles that came with mushrooms, cabbage, and a cheese sauce. While seeming rather plain on the menu, it was excellent all over.
“How was your lunch Mr. Hawi?”
“Excellent! But now I am so full”
“No, not yet, there’s cheese”
“Sure why not”
“Shall I get you a little bit of everything?”
“Go for it”
“Can I get you some port to go with the cheese?”
“No thanks, I am fine”
Course 6: cheese
I was beyond stuffed after the cheese course, but Heidi again talked me into dessert. Of course, I could not give this chance up when “Schmid’s chocolate dream” was on offer. I do not know who Shmid is, but his chocolate dessert was a heavenly end to this multi-million course meal on Lufthansa. Very creamy and with deep chocolate comfort, this was one of the in-flight desserts I will highly rate on my scorecard.
Tea/coffee/espresso were offered after the meal service, in which I declined.
Chocolate offered to conclude
With my tummy full and an upper deck all to myself, it was time to snap some photos here and there.
After the meal service
After leaving the lavatory and heading back to my seat, Olivia (the purser) suddenly appeared with a more alarmed look on her face. Uh oh, what have I done?
“You are taking pictures of the cabin and now the lavatory, may I ask if this is for personal use?”
“Yes it is, I am an aviation enthusiast and I want to take this home with me as a memory. Why?”
“I am just double checking, because we have to be careful nowadays”
“If I am doing anything wrong, then I will stop”
“As long as it is for your own use”
She definitely did not seem too pleased, and suddenly it felt like a dark cloud had hovered above my head. It may have been the jet lag and the fatigue that was messing with my head, but at this point I felt quite let down and it got a little emotional. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, when all I wanted was show everyone how good my Lufthansa experience was. But I also had to put myself in her shoes, and realize that on the other side, all this can seem a little weird, if at all not suspicious. So better just take it easy from this point on.
But before any of this, a few more pictures of the IFE followed. On this aircraft, IFE was rather basic in it’s older generation module. It was certainly an AVOD system with touchscreen capability, but I did not pay much attention to the content it offered, probably because not much interested me.
The route map is always the safest choice
As I was still feeling a little bummed out, I wanted to catch some sleep as I was also feeling very tired. The seat was extremely comfortable in all positions from upright all the way down to a flat bed. This is definitely one quirk missing from all of today’s seats; all for the sake of added bling-bling.
And after this small round of exploration, I reclined my seat into its fully flat position and dozed off for a few hours, just as the sun was setting on the outside. As Heidi noticed, she dimmed the cabin lights into total darkness.
In bed with Lufthansa
I slept throughout the rest of the flight, up until the seatbelt sign was turned on at top of descent.
“Can I get you anything to drink Mr. Hawi?”
“No I am okay thanks”
During our descent, the captain made an announcement that due to air traffic congestion in Dubai, we were to remain in a holding pattern that will last 30 to 35 minutes before landing. How predictable in Dubai!
As final preparations were conducted before landing, Olivia returned to the upper deck for another chat. However, I freaked out when I saw her come up. I did not want to die just yet!
Surprisingly however, we held a rather technical conversation about Dubai’s aviation model. She was very much aware of how it operates around here, and in particular Emirates. She knew that the most optimal solution for Dubai is for all airlines to move to the new Al Maktoum Airport, but she knew that no one would move if Emirates was to stay put where they are until 2025.
“As I understand it, Emirates has a busy operation with several flights arriving from the west, and connecting to an Asian bank in a few hours from now”
“Umm, yes you are absolutely right about this”
“Mr. Hawi, I am very sorry for asking about the photography earlier, it is just that things are different to how they used to be before. And we just have to be careful. We don’t want the wrong information ending up with he wrong people”
“I understand. And I assure you that aviation is just a hobby for me, and this is how I enjoy it”
“That is very understandable. Well Mr. Hawi, we are soon about to land so I hope you enjoyed the flight, and we hope to see you on board again soon”
Again, this was an excellent recovery tactic on Lufthansa’s part, and it was dealt with utmost professionalism. However, I then wondered why all this drama happened. I did not get the feeling that they thought I was engaging in some terrorist-like behavior, but I was definitely getting the feeling they suspected I was a spy for a competing airline (ahem, Emirates). Let’s face it, a sole Arab in First Class with a big black camera on a flight headed to Dubai can probably raise concerns amongst EK
’s biggest enemies. Not to mention the fact that Olivia practically knew the Emirates operation more than Tim Clark, so things seemed to add up this way.
We touched down at Dubai International Airport at 12:05am, bringing an end to this flight, and a full conclusion to my first Round The World. It was a very tiring adventure, but it was nonetheless a big thrill to travel around the entire globe from home to home.
I was definitely glad to be back home, and was quite anxious to leave the aircraft and head to a bed! I bid my farewell to the crew and I thanked them for a great flight, before heading into Dubai International Airport’s terminal 1.
I was finally home, and once at my bed, I crashed for a total of 24 hours with a few bathroom breaks in between. It was the best sleep I had in a very long time!
C O N C L U S I O N
Lufthansa continues to offer an exceptional product, with its main focus purely on meeting the customer’s exact needs. This is done in utmost professionalism and with pure discipline. I am definitely in trusted hands with Lufthansa, and this type of comfort will always bring me back onboard one of their flights.
Lufthansa may not be ahead of the times on the hardware front inside the cabin, but everything else on the ground, and the service in the air more than makes up for it. I think we all know by now that if the software is right, I can easily do with a little less hardware. I can easily say that Lufthansa is the world’s most disciplined airline, and this alone makes them light years ahead of many others.
Goodies from the flight
This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!
E Q U I P M E N T
- Canon 50D
- Canon PowerShot G11
- Sigma 10mm Fisheye
- Sigma 10-20mm Wide Angle
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F A C E B O OK
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I have a range of taxi, takeoff, landing, announcement, and safety videos posted. Feel free to view them!