Luxair, Business Class – Bombardier Q400: Luxembourg to Paris CDG

Introduction

The Ibis at Luxembourg airport is currently in the process of being refurbished. And I think that’s probably a good thing. The room I’m in is nice enough, but the public areas are starting to look grubby. The carpets should probably be declared a bio hazard, and the smell of boiled cabbage is ‘interesting’…

The hotel’s redeeming feature though, is that it’s very close to the airport terminal, within walking distance.

Getting to the Airport

On foot, the airport is only about ten minutes away from the hotel. However, there’s also a shuttle that runs every thirty minutes and is available for guests. The service is complimentary, but advance reservations are mandatory. The drive takes about four minutes.

Check-in

I’m booked on the Air France flight from Luxembourg to Paris-Roissy, which is in fact a code-share operated by Luxair. There are two counters open for Business Class passengers and there is no queue when I arrive, given that it is, after all, the weekend.

The Lounge

From check-in I head straight for the security check. There is a checkpoint at either side of the terminal facility, and trying to figure out which one is currently in use is not always that clear when you’re standing in front of the check-in counters. Which means that it’s not uncommon at Luxembourg airport to see disoriented passengers moving back and forth between the two, with the look lemmings get when they’re trying to figure out if they’re really in the mood to go jumping off a cliff with their pals…

But anyway, the lounge is very quiet. All the bankers that normally populate the lounge have gone home to count their millions. I grab myself a coffee and a bottle of water, in the hope they will turn me into a functioning human being again.

Boarding

The flight is departing from gate B08, which is in the new part of the facility and specially designed to handle small regional aircraft. As in, regional aircraft that do not use a contact stand and thus require passengers to walk across the apron and, as a pleasant side-effect, give me cause to geek out on my obsession with airplanes.

I’m seated on 1A, so I figure I might as well wait until the very end to board, so as not to be in the way. The Dash 8 is a small aircraft. Besides, I have a back injury, so my movements are a bit slow right now. And every moment I do not have to stand in a queue is bliss right now!

The Cabin

There is literally half a row of a Business Class cabin on this aircraft. Because on row 1 there are only the A and C seats on the port side. And as it happens, I’m the only Business Class passenger on today’s flight. The seat is comfortable and nicely padded. It’s very pleasant on the bum and also on my damaged back.

Leg space is also good on the bulkhead row and the seat next to me is kept empty.

The Crew

There are two cabin crew on the flight today, one male and one female. Both of them are perhaps not the world’s most extrovert individuals, but their service is attentive, friendly and polite.

There is a trolley set up by the entry door of the aircraft, where passengers can pick up a magazine or newspaper before taking their seat. The selection is rather good. I go for Time magazine, mainly because their cover catches my interest.

Other than that though, there is no service at all on the ground. The flight time is indicated as 45 minutes.

The Meal

As soon as the crew are released after take-off, the male cabin attendant asks me what I’d like to drink with breakfast. He subsequently brings me a glass of orange juice, served in a real glass, and a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. The coffee is good, but I wonder if they really couldn’t have splurged on a proper cup instead of the cardboard one.

They put down a paper table cloth for the meal. Agreed, it won’t make the meal larger or better, but it’s still a nice touch.

The meal arrived in a cardboard box. It contains:

  1. a salami sandwich
  2. an yoghurt
  3. an apple pasty
  4. and a packaged refreshing towel

Transfer in Paris Roissy

Eventually, we land in Paris more or less on time. Luxair uses terminal 2G, which is exclusively for small regional aircraft. It’s also very far out in the sticks. The only way to access any of the other terminals from here is by bus. Depending on which terminal your onward connection is departing from, there is an airside or a landside transfer.

I shall be departing from the M concourse, which is basically the non-Schengen satellite of Terminal 2E. Transfer to 2E is airside, which means that I will not have to undergo security screening again here in Paris. On the downside, emigration is done in 2G and the queues are very long.

Luxair, Business Class – Boeing B 737-700: Vienna to Luxembourg

Folie1

Introduction

The flight from Bangkok arrives at 05:45, we’re on time. I now have nearly four hours to make my connection to Luxembourg at 09:30. I’m rather curious to see if the transfer will be easier this time.

Transfer in Vienna – take I

Our aircraft has parked at the very beginning of the G concourse. So after I exit the airbridge and turn left, it’s only a short walk to the immigration counters. My flight to Luxembourg will be leaving from the B concourse in the old terminal. But I’m not really sure if there is a lounge facility there and I do still have quite a wait. So instead I follow the signs to the F concourse, which is the Schengen area of the new terminal. To access the Schengen area I have to go through a security check, as I’m arriving from overseas. So far so good.

When I checked in at Bangkok airport I was issued my boarding pass for the onward connection to Luxembourg. While the boarding pass for the first leg from Bangkok to Vienna showed my Senator status, the boarding pass for the onward leg only shows that I am a Miles and More member. Presumably this has something to do with Luxair’s somewhat odd status as a Miles and More airline that is not part of the Star Alliance.

The Austrian Airlines Senator Lounge

Location: on the F concourse
Type of Lounge: Austrian Airlines Senator lounge, there is one reception area that serves the HON lounge, Senator lounge and Business Class lounge
Facilities:
hot and cold food and drink, workstations, showers (for HONs and Senators only)
Internet:
wifi provided by Vienna Airport, no password required

The lounge is fairly busy when I arrive just after six in the morning. After a short while though, the place empties rather quickly until eventually there’s barely anybody there except me.

IMG_2799
IMG_2802
IMG_2803
IMG_2804
IMG_2805
IMG_2801

Transfer in Vienna, take II

What a labyrinth! About 40 minutes before departure I decide to venture out in search of my gate on the B concourse. With the experience of the outbound journey still fresh in my mind I figure it might take me a while to find my way. And indeed, the route to the B concourse is complicated and entirely counter intuitive and sees me first going up one escalator, around a few corners and then down another escalator before eventually, without really knowing how, I’m landside again. I keep on walking until I finally arrive in the old terminal. I scan my boarding pass and I am airside once more. I even manage to find the B concourse, where of course I have to go through security again. I ask some young chap in an Austrian Airlines uniform if there’s a lounge anywhere, and he informs me that there is, but I’ll have to go back through security again to get there.

Boarding

Boarding is via a bus gate. As usual it pays to be patient. 64 passengers squeeze into the first, hot bus. It leaves for the aircraft and another bus duly arrives to pick up the remaining four passengers…

IMG_2806
IMG_2807
IMG_2809
IMG_2810
IMG_2811
IMG_2812
IMG_2813
IMG_2814
IMG_2815
IMG_2817
IMG_2818
IMG_2819
IMG_2820
IMG_2821
IMG_2822
IMG_2823

The Cabin

Configuration: 3 + 3
Seat: staggered rows, European standard Business Class with the middle seat left empty
Facilities: none
Audio and Video: audio and video available, only the moving map are in use on today’s flight.

IMG_2824
IMG_2825

There’s been another last minute aircraft change, and instead of the scheduled Dash-8-400 it’s now a Boeing B737-700 that will be operating the flight. I’m not quite sure why though, as I overhear the purser telling the captain that the headcount is correct at 69 + 2, which should fit into a Dash-8. As it happens, it’s even exactly the same aircraft I had on the outbound.

IMG_2826
IMG_2828

The Crew

The crew on this service are much friendlier and warmer than their colleagues on the outbound. Maybe I was just unlucky that time. But this lot is much better.

The Meal

Pre departure drinks: no
Pre meal drinks: no
Delivery:
individually served trays
Type of meal:
brunch
Menu:
there is a menu for the drinks and food

  1. sliced orange
  2. müsli
  3. butter, strawberry jam and apricot jam
  4. bread basket
  5. cottage cheese
  6. grilled tomato slices
  7. Emmental cheese
  8. smoked ham
IMG_2829
IMG_2830
IMG_2831
IMG_2832
IMG_2833
IMG_2834
IMG_2835
IMG_2836

The meal is a big surprise and a vast improvement over what was served on the outbound. I like the breadbasket in particular. It’s rather a substantial meal, especially given that the flight time is only slightly more than one hour.

IMG_2838

Arrival

We arrive in Luxembourg slightly ahead of schedule. For a change we make our approach right over the city, coming in fairly low. I don’t have long to wait for my suitcase.

IMG_2840
IMG_2841

I shall be staying at the Doubletree again. There’s a shuttle available and if you call enough in advance, they’ll even come and pick you up from the airport.

Conclusion

This flight was a vast improvement over my previous experience in Luxair Business Class. Given the short duration of the flight you’d think there could hardly be any differences, which makes this flight all the more surprising. It’s probably a combination of things. First of all, the food was much more to my liking than on the outbound. Secondly, the crew simply seemed more genuine in the way they welcomed the passengers aboard. And that makes a huge difference.

Luxair, Business Class – Boeing B737-700: Luxembourg to Vienna

Folie1

Introduction

I’m in Luxembourg. It’s Friday afternoon and I just finished giving a course. This weekend is Pentecost, which means Monday is a public holiday. And then on Wednesday I’ll be giving another course in Luxembourg. So instead of going home for the weekend, I’ve decided to do something else and visit an old friend of mine. But first I must catch a flight to Vienna.

Getting to the Airport

Transport: bus line 747
Departs from: main railway station in the city centre of Luxembourg
Frequency: depends on the traffic, which can be quite bad in Luxembourg
Journey time: 25 minutes
Fare: I don’t know. Normally you can buy tickets for public transport as you board the vehicle. This does not apply to the airport bus though. I have no idea where to purchase the tickets. But if you play dumb, normally the driver will simply let you on anyway.

Today I shall be taking the taxi to the airport anyway, because I’m travelling with a large suitcase which I don’t fancy carting to the bus stop.

Check-in

Location: ground level, the bus stops right in front of the terminal
Facilities: self-service machines
Counters: dedicated Luxair Business Class counters

The taxi drops me off in front of the departures hall, which is at ground level. The airport is fairly busy this afternoon. There are the business travellers, probably on their way home after a busy week’s work in one of the many offices of the EU in Luxembourg. And then there are also the leisure travellers, presumably because there’s a long weekend ahead.

IMG_2573
IMG_2574
IMG_2577
IMG_2575
IMG_2576

The Lounge

Location: one floor down from the departures level
Type of Lounge:
Luxair lounge

There is a Luxair lounge in Luxembourg, which is very nice. In the evenings though, it does tend to become rather busy as it’s not very big and it’s also the only lounge there is in Luxembourg, so in fact it’s available to the premium passengers of most of the airlines operating out of Luxembourg.

Boarding

Boarding is via gate A16, which is a bus gate.

IMG_2580
IMG_2582
IMG_2583
IMG_2584
IMG_2585
IMG_2586
IMG_2587

The Cabin

Configuration: 3 + 3
Seat: standard European-style Business Class with the middle seat left empty
Facilities: coat hook
Audio and Video: audio and video are installed, only video available on this particular flight.

Originally, when I booked this flight it should have been operated by a Dash-8-400. However, much to my surprise we eventually pull up next to a Boeing B 737-700. Needless to say I’m delighted with the aircraft change!

IMG_2588
IMG_2589
IMG_2591
IMG_2592
IMG_2595
IMG_2593
IMG_2596

The cabin looks very neat, with blue seats and cream coloured, adjustable headrests and seatbelts. The seat pitch is rather tight though. There is no cabin divider to separate Business and Economy Class.

I also notice that the seat rows on the left and on the right side are not aligned, although I’m not quite sure wherein the benefit of this should lie.

IMG_2594
IMG_2598
IMG_2600
IMG_2601
IMG_2603

The Crew

The crew appear to be all from Luxembourg. They’re rather a nondescript bunch really. There’s nothing wrong with the way they go about their job and they’re not in any way rude. But it’s nearly as though they’re not really there. In fact you get the distinct impression they aren’t interested even in the faintest in their passengers.

Later on during the flight, as soon as the service is over, they vanish into the galley and remain there until it is time for them to secure the cabin for landing.

The Meal

Choice: none
Delivery:
traditional tray service
Type of meal:
light snack
Menu:
there is a small printed menu

  1. duck and vegetable millefeuille in a tangy sauce
  2. raspberry, melon and pineapple
  3. lemon tart, brownie and white chocolate bavarois cake
  4. bread roll
  5. orange juice
  6. coffee

The presentation of the meal is nice. I quite like it for the simple reason that it’s unusual and makes a difference from what you normally see on planes in Europe today. But I can’t really say I enjoyed the meal. I’ve never been partial to duck because I find it too fatty. And when it comes packed in between layers of gelatine, then I think I’d rather pass.

IMG_2604
IMG_2605
IMG_2606
IMG_2607
IMG_2608
IMG_2609
IMG_2610

The desserts are alright, although the brown thing described as a ‘brownie’ in the menu is more like a mini piece of Black Forest gateau.

The meal is quickly removed, I barely touched it. I spend the rest of the flight gazing out the window. My favourite pastime.

IMG_2612
IMG_2613

Arrival

After we land, we taxi on seemingly endlessly. It appears that we’re got more or less the remotest possible stand on the whole apron. A bus is expecting us to bring the passengers to the terminal.

IMG_2614
IMG_2615
IMG_2616
IMG_2617
IMG_2618
IMG_2619

Conclusion

So what about Luxair Business Class? To be honest, it’s really quite hard to say. There wasn’t really anything to complain about, but I don’t think there was anything about the experience that would make me seek them out for my next trip either.