Lufthansa, Business Class – ERJ-190: Frankfurt to Basel

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Introduction

It’s rather difficult to describe Frankfurt without availing oneself of language unsuitable for social media and the web. The place is way too big and quite simply a mess.

Transfer in Frankfurt

Mode of transport: Automated Skytrain on the roof of Terminal 2.
Frequency: Every two minutes during peak times.
Journey time: Five minutes
Fast track for security: For First and Business Class passengers.

The Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong arrives at Frankfurt’s Terminal 2. My onward connection to Basel will be departing from Terminal 1’s A gates. The quickest was to the A gates from Terminal 2 is via the Skytrain located on the roof.

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The final stop of the Skytrain is for the Z and A gates of Terminal 1. But first I have to go through security. There is a dedicated line for First and Business Class passengers, which is considerably shorter than the Economy Class queue.

From security you should theoretically be able to head two floors down to immigration to enter the Schengen area. But not this morning. The stairs have been cordoned off. Apparently the queues at immigration are too long. So instead, we’re advised to walk all the way to immigration near gate A 26, five minutes away. In theory there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, I’ve just spent nearly thirteen hours on a plane without any major physical activity. However, given that I’ll have to backtrack all the way once I reach the Schengen area on the lower level to reach the Senator lounge is, the whole thing does seem awfully dumb really.

The Lufthansa Senator Lounge

Location: On the Schengen level, in the atrium of the new A+ gates
Type of Lounge: Senator lounge
Facilities: Washrooms, showers, public computers, buffet
Internet: Free, unlimited WiFi; there is no password

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Where on earth have all these people come from? Haven’t they got anything better to do on a Sunday morning than hang around at Frankfurt airport? The lounge is absolutely packed when I arrive, the only places left to sit are the bar stools. Well, I guess at least this will keep me from falling asleep. I get myself a caffé latte and continue working on my trip report.

Boarding

A69 is a bus gate, there is no separate bus for Business Class passengers

Thank God I decided to walk all the way to the Senator lounge once I’d reached the Schengen area. Initially I’d contemplated using the Business Class lounge right behind immigration, but eventually figured it would be more convenient to take a lounge located in closer proximity to my departure gate. Even so, it’s still a ten minute walk from the Senator lounge to gate A 69 at the very end of the A+ pier.

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I arrive to find the gate already deserted. I head downstairs and even though I’m holding up the proceedings and the bus, I still have to give in to my impulse to take a picture of the B 747-8 parked right in front of us.

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Our Embraer is parked right behind the threshold of runway 18, at the far end of the apron. The journey by bus to get there takes 10 minutes to complete with all the stopping and starting.

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The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 2
Seat: Standard economy seat with one of the seats on the row of two kept empty
Facilities: Hook to hang a jacket

The cabin looks very cleared up, although with all the grey it also looks a bit bland. There are seven rows of Business Class on today’s flight, with fourteen passengers in total. In the back there are only about another twenty passengers or so.

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At least the good thing of parking in such a remote spot is that we don’t have far to go to reach the departing runway.

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The Crew

There are two female flight attendants working the flight. The purser is a middle-aged, friendly woman. The other is also female, younger and exudes about as much charm and warmth as a visit to the dentist.

The Meal

Delivery: Individual tray
Appearance: Metal cutlery, crockery, glassware and a paper cup for the coffee
Type of Meal: Continental breakfast

  1. Natural Yoghurt with berries and almonds
  2. A cold plate with cheese and smoked meat
  3. A selection from the breadbasket
  4. Freshly squeezed orange juice
  5. Tea or coffee
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The quality of the meal is very good and the presentation is also nice and appealing. Furthermore, it’s quite a substantial meal, particularly given that the flight time to Basel is only 35 minutes!

Arrival

We approach the airport from the north, passing over the Peugeot factory in France. In the background there appears to be snow on the hills on the other side of the Rhine in Germany.

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From the gate it’s just a short walk to the luggage reclaim area. As I reach the luggage carousel for my flight, I’m somewhat surprised to find that apparently the suitcases for our flight are expected in 12 minutes, which seems awfully long for such a small airport. Eventually though, we end up having to wait a full thirty minutes before the first bags start arriving. At least both of the suitcases I checked in made it back to Basel with me.

Cathay Pacific Airways, Business Class – B 777-300ER: Hong Kong to Frankfurt

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Introduction

I just disembarked from a Cathay Pacific Airways B 777-300ER, arriving from Singapore. I now have another two hours to kill before my next flight to Frankfurt.

Transfer in Hong Kong

Location: Security check-point adjacent to the exit of gate 27
Wait: Five minutes
Fast track: none

Yes, let me see. I think I left off with my last post just as I disembarked the aircraft via gate 27 in Hong Kong. As luck will have it, the exit of gate 27 is right next door to the security check-point and having disembarked as one of the first passengers off the flight from Singapore, the queue is manageable.

There is no passport check for me, as I am only in Hong Kong in transit. Behind security is an escalator and a lift leading one floor up to the departures level. As my flight will be leaving from gate 31, I figure I might as well give the Bridge lounge a try. I’ve never visited this one and I’ve got time to kill anyway.

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The Cathay Pacific Bridge Lounge

Location: The Bridge, access is via the escalators leading one floor down; the lounge is at the end of the pier where it divides into the shape of a Y
Type of Lounge: Cathay Pacific Airways lounge
Facilities: Washrooms, showers, public computers (Apple), The Bakery dining area, long bar
Internet: Free, unlimited WiFi; there are signs with the password throughout the lounge

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Now this is a seriously cool lounge. As far as I’m concerned, this must be the best lounge Cathay Pacific operates in Hong Kong. It’s very elegantly appointed and also very quiet at this time of the day – it’s just gone 22h20.

The whole place feels very warm and homely. There is a long bar made of marble along the windows and staffed with two bar tenders. There is also a dining area titled ‘The Bakery’, serving a rather huge selection of hot and cold dishes.

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Boarding

Separate queue for First and Business Class passengers, separate airbridge to the L1 door for First and Business Class passengers

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It looks like it’s going to be a full flight tonight. I take my seat on 20A and wait for the Cathay Pacific crew to start their magic.

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The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat: Fully flat horizontal seat, the window seats point outwards, towards the windows and are very private, the seats on the middle row of two point towards each other
Pitch: 34 inches
Width: 19 inches
Facilities: USB and electricity outlets, reading lamp, night lamp, overhead lamp, stowage for shoes, ample stowage area
Audio and Video: Private screens, video on demand; earphones

The Crew

I settle into my seat and that’s when I realise I’m dead tired, so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. The cabin crew could be Martians and I probably would not turn a hair. One of them approaches me with a tray of welcome drinks. I decide to have one last Cathay delight. After all, my next flight with them is not scheduled until August.

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Before we push back the crew give each passenger a half-litre bottle of Evian.

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Once we’re airborne and the seatbelt sign is finally turned off, I visit the toilet and change into my tracksuit pants. With the light still fully on, and without waiting for the vanity kit with the earplugs to arrive, I extend my seat into a bed and quickly fall asleep – for the next seven hours. And I’m completely dead to the world. I don’t notice the flight attendant placing the menu at my seat, or the other one who closed the blinds, or the one who folded my trousers. I may not have noticed their service at the time, but I am grateful to them just the same.

Inflight Snack

I wake up with still another five hours to go to Frankfurt, so I decide to order a snack to tie me over. With that I have glass of Diet Coke with ice. The soup is excellent and very spicy. It hits the spot nicely.

Grilled duck breast in a noodle soup, served with spicy Guilin style chilli paste.

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The Second Service

Hot Towels Before the Meal: Yes, scented
Choice: Dim Sum, American style breakfast or continental breakfast
Delivery: Tray service from trolley
Appearance: Metal cutlery, crockery and glassware
Type of Meal: Breakfast, hot meal
Menu: Separate menu and wine list

  1. Apple juice, Orange juice or a Mango and Passion Fruit smoothy (my choice)
  2. Tea or coffee (my choice)
  3. A plate of fresh fruit
  4. A selection of cereals, Müsli or Yoghurt (Blackberry)
  5. Omelette with bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, frittata
  6. Bread selection with butter and jam.
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The meal ends with one last hot towel, and shortly after that we’re already starting the descent into Frankfurt. The speed and rhythm of the breakfast service are really quite remarkable. There are no long waits in between courses, but at the same time the entire service does not seem in anyway rushed.

Arrival

Cathay Pacific Airways serves Terminal 2 in Frankfurt. We arrive in Frankfurt after a flying time of twelve hours and forty-seven minutes. It’s just coming up to 06h30 and the rain outside is a welcome change from the hot weather of the last week. My onward connection for the flight home to Basel will be leaving from the A gates of Terminal 1.

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