Hello and welcome to my next trip report. This report covers my IAH-FRA leg of a trip to Norway. All the other legs in the trip were uneventful and have been thoroughly covered in other reports. I honestly wasn’t planning on doing report but you’ll see why I decided to shortly. Photos were therefore shot with my iPhone 6s so the quality may not be great in some instances. The report also may not be a thorough as my previous ones so apologies in advance.
I arrived to IAH’s terminal D and dropped off my bag. I inquired about paid upgrades but they were asking $199 for premium economy and only middle seats were available. I thought I better save my money and stick with my aisle seat in the smaller upper deck cabin that I got at check in. Lufthansa recently announced they will partake in the TSA’s PreCheck program, but when I asked the AirServ rep directing pax to the security lanes and they said it wasn't offered.(Then how did I get it on my BP???) Then again I find AirServ reps utterly useless. I showed the TSA agent my boarding pass that said Precheck and they seemed puzzled by it, but did direct me to a far line that had expedited security. Better than nothing I guess.
After security, I went to go see if my plane arrived. Here it is. D-AIMH called ‘New York’:
I then ventured over to the Air France Salon lounge at the very far end of terminal D. I was able to use my Priority Pass to gain access to it. My typical fare I normally go with. They didn’t have any champagne out, so I stuck with a chardonnay.
I then decided to queue up and wait for the first boarding group of Economy to be called. After 5 minutes had passed since the scheduled boarding time, the gate agents said they needed to wait a bit for the cleaning crew to leave the plane. I had already seen the cleaning crew depart so I knew that reasoning wasn't quite correct.
Then about 10 minutes later I saw someone smartly dressed talking to the agents. I then noticed the stripes on his jacket arm and knew he was the captain. When the Captain has to address the crowd, it's never a good sign. My heart skipped a beat. The German Captain Stephan addressed the crowd. He made the full announcement in German first, then in English. Since we were departing from the US I thought it should have been the other way around, but I was just really anxious at that point and starting to worry.
He apologized for the delay and said the aircraft was involved in a ‘ground mishap.’ Someone had hit the aircraft with a truck. They needed to have airport personnel, maintenance personal and the Lufthansa crew survey the damage. Only then would they let us know if we were cleared to depart. He reassured everyone that safety is the number one priority, and they would not take off unless "they were 100% positive that the aircraft was safe." The captain headed down the stairway to survey the damage.
He immediately headed under the aircraft and I lost sight of him. I tried to follow him and darted full speed to the adjacent gate to see if I could see him but I couldn’t. I went back to the original position and waited for him to get back.
He saw me there in the window and gave me a ‘thumbs up’. I couldn't get my camera opened quick enough (thank you iOS10) but here he is walking back up the stairs. I must admit, I felt sort of weird essentially stalking this pilot.
He then addressed everyone in the boarding area and said that we were good to go.
After about a half hour, I was onboard. They wouldn't let me use the upper deck passenger bridge so Instead I needed to go with the rest of the economy passengers and walk up the aft stairwell.
Always neat to climb stairs on an aircraft.
The 4 rows of the mini economy cabin in the aft upper deck.
Seat back amenities. There is a USB port as well as an RJ45 ethernet port, for some reason, on the underside of the armrests.
Boarding took some time and the cabin slowly started to fill up. There were two adjacent seats that remained open for most of boarding. I kept a keen eye on them and hoped they remained empty so I could steal them. Two seats on the other side of the cabin were blocked off because they apparently got soaked from having the door open during the catering process. Eventually the last pax to board were of course the ones one the adjacent seats so those were taken. The couple next to me decided to try the wet seats and they said those weren’t all that bad. Score I had the middle two seats free. The Russian gentleman on the other side and I looked at each other and said ‘YES!.’ We waited for a bit longer and the captain came back over the PA system and said they were removing someone from the plane who didn’t have proper documents. Not sure how he even made it through check-in with out them. You can see the fwd cargo hold door open on the tail camera as they removed his bag from the last container.
While we were taxing however there was someone wandering around the cabin who only spoke arabic. He stopped at my row and pointed at the seat and said ‘Free?’ I purposely looked confused while the F/A was sternly telling him he had to take a seat. Fortunately I had my jacked and electronics on the seat next to me (Essentially claiming it). I begrudgingly shrugged and started to undo my seat belt and exit the row so he could slip in, but this guy wanted none of that. He decided to climb over me getting all too close to me. (Sorry, I’m an American, I like my personal space ;)) He sat next to my Russian row mate instead and I felt real bad for him. Thought we would have the row to ourselves.
During pushback, the tug is directly below the underbelly camera.
I was able to sit diagonally and spread out…for a while. The second we took off the guy in front of me reclined all the way back and hit me in the head as I was digging something out of my backpack. The Lufthansa seats have 31in of pitch but recline quite a bit.
There is only one F/A that’s responsible for this mini cabin. He starts on the port side, serves those 4 rows, then goes to the starboard side and finishes with those four. We started with a hot towel that was quite hot so I wiped down my hands and seat with it.
Then snacks and first round of drinks were handed out. I opted for wine to help me sleep.
Cute plane snacks.
You can see how close the seat back with the wine is to my knees. However I am quite tall so it’s not a proper representation of true pitch and recline.
Meals were either chicken or vegetarian pasta. I chose the pasta.
LH gives you real metal utensils.
Ziti with ricotta and a ‘pinch’ of red sauce. Really hard to screw up the ziti and ricotta part other than overcooking the noodles. The food was alright but I didn't finish it. The dessert was tiramisu. Also another dish that's hard to screw up if done correctly. It was delicious and I finished all of it.
After dinner drinks were offered but I passed. They offer you coffee or tea. Then come around with Bailey’s or brandy. I passed on all.
After that was the sleeping part where they dim the lights. I can't sleep in an upright position so I just bailed on even trying to sleep. Caught up on TV shows and listened to some music. So nice having USB ports for powering whatever I’m using and not worry about conserving battery while flying.
They turned the lights on while we were flying over Ireland and offered a hot breakfast.
Here’s what they serve. I had two bites of the omelet, finished the fruit, and had one bite of the roll. Too dry and cake like for me. (Of all the Trans-Atlantic airlines, Air France has the best bread in the sky.)
After cleaning up, they handed out these. I still have mine unopened and in the fridge, so I have no idea what it is.
I was connecting to Oslo on a flight that would depart 15 minutes after we were scheduled to now land. They were able to rebook most pax and made announcements about all the connections but I heard nothing about OSL. When we landed and got off the aircraft, there were three reps there with connecting details. There was a mad dash to get there and several rude people that cut right to the front to ask about their flights. I thought about saying something, but realized I’d rather not make a scene and be ‘that American.’ They couldn’t tell me anything about Oslo so I had to ask a CSR rep only when I left the transfer area. Not too convenient. They said the next available seat was on a flight at 6pm. So I was stuck in FRA for 7 hours. I spent about half of that time walking to my gate it seemed.
There's a TON of walking you have to do at FRA. I found a nice seat with a view of a taxi way near my connecting gate, so please enjoy these planespotting photos.
My first view of the a350. I was walking to find a seat and I saw QATAR going past the window, then noticed the black paint around the cockpit windows and thought “OMG thats the a350!” I had a mini freakout and had to capture it. Judgling a coffee and danish in one hand and digging around my coat pocket with he other to find my phone, I finally got it out, got the camera app open but this was the best I could do.
Air France Lounge
Houston - IAH
Frankfurt - FRA
LH has a decent product, still better than any American carrier. They also should be praised with how they handled the incident in Houston with proper communication from the captain, however when it came to the rebookings and handling of that in FRA, it could have been done better. I fly UA lot and when these things happen, I get a text message and the app will auto-update with the new booking. You can usually have it all taken care of before you even unbuckle your seat belt.
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