The airline with the best average rating is Lufthansa with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 33 minutes.More information
A very warm welcome to part 2 of this series, which covers a recent trip I took to Bulgaria. In case you've missed the first part, or have forgotten the itinerary, here it is:
Originally, this flight was supposed to be operated by an A320. I took advantage of my status and took a window seat in row 12, an exit row. However, when I woke up on the day of travel, I got this email from Lufthansa:
Not only was I moved from my exit row, but I was placed in a middle seat! The horror! I quickly went online to try to get my exit row back, but it was to no avail. The only exit row seat available was 26E, a middle seat next to a jumpseat. Not only was it not a window seat, but in case there was some strict/rude flight attendant, I might not have been able to take pictures of the flight. I decided to stay in row 18 and take 18F. It proved to be a good decision, as the middle seat remained empty. Now on to the actual report.
I took a taxi from the Sofia Hotel Balkan at 12:00 PM, 2h15m before departure.
A short 15 minutes later, I found myself curbside at Terminal 2.
The terminal wasn't very crowded, and the Lufthansa check-in line had very few people.
I got my boarding pass after less than 2 minutes, and made my way to security.
I've traveled to over 35 countries and seen some interesting things at airports. But what I witnessed at security was unlike anything I'd seen anywhere. A young couple (who I believe were flying Ryanair and had OLCI'd) arrived at the security checkpoint and, from what I understood, asked the security officer to check in their suitcase for them. The officer, at first, was taken aback, but then kindly told them to go to the check in and check their suitcase there. Granted, my Bulgarian knowledge is very limited, but based on the little I understood (and also judging by the body language of the officer), I think that's what happened. The excitement didn't end there though, as the computer at immigration were down. After waiting for around 15 minutes, I was finally airside.
Some of this afternoon's departures.
A barricaded gate area for the Qatar flight to Doha.
A few small duty-free and souvenir shops.
Lufthansa uses the Vitosha Aspire Lounge in Sofia, which is where I went.
For the first time I've visited this lounge, it was virtually empty, which means I can show you what it looks like inside.
The lounge is small, but comfortable. It looks over the tarmac and Lufthansa Technik.
As for food and beverage, the lounge has a good coffee machine…
…a large variety of Bake Rolls…
…and some desserts.
I got a bag of Pizza Bake Rolls.
While the lounge is nice enough, I decided to leave early and plane spot from the gate area.
As you can see, Sofia Airport is quite drab.
Eurowings A320 (D-AIZV) here for maintenance.
Qatar A320 (A7-AHG) to Doha-Hamad as QR228.
What in a few minutes would become the gate area for my flight.
When I checked for any updates on flight, I found this in my inbox:
My already tight 45-minute connection turned into a 25-minute connection. Yeah, I’m not gonna be home at 5:30 PM after all.
Back to spotting: Indigo A320 (couldn’t catch the reg, sorry!) also here for maintenance.
Austrian A319 (OE-LDE ‘Baku’) to Vienna as OS796.
Abandoned immigration desk.
North end of the terminal.
Lufthansa CityLine A319 (D-AILB ‘Lutherstadt Wittenberg’) to Munich as LH1703.
Ex-PrivatAir A319 (D-APTA) stored here,
An abundance of Bulgaria Air and Wizz Air airplanes in the distance.
My aircraft arriving.
Doing the honors was D-AIRN, a 1995-built Airbus A321-131 named after the city of Kaiserslautern. It had been with Lufthansa for all of its 23 years of service.
The crew of today’s flight also arrived.
Boarding commenced at 2:05 PM, and I was one of the first to board.
Going down the jetbridge.
Fuselage shot of the aircraft.
Passenger were greeted with by a very friendly purser, who pointed everyone to their seats (then again, there’s only one way to go from 1L… unless you’re in the cockpit) ?.
Plaque with the aircraft’s name.
Typical European Business Class.
Legroom was quite descent.
Boarding wrapped up pretty quickly, and shortly after the captain added his welcome on board and promised to fly at maximum speed to reach Frankfurt with “as much punctuality as possible”. Gotta love the Germans!
Not the best view from row 18.
The APU was inop, so we started the engines at the gate and then pushed back.
Flaps 2, controls checked.
Taxiing to Runway 9.
Чао, София и България!
Left turn after departure.
Climbing out over the Balkans.
It’s always blue up in the air!
Cabin after departure.
As I said at the beginning of the report, I had an empty middle seat, so I moved my bag until that seat, which made me a lot more comfortable. I don’t think my neighbor cared, as he kept all his stuff in the overhead locker and slept for the whole flight.
The LH Fleet.
And a notable absence… the JU52 ?.
In Serbian airspace.
Checking out the WiFi portal.
Flight info from the Lufthansa app.
A sandwich was cheese and pesto was served when we passed Belgrade.
Unlike the one on my flight to Munich earlier in the year, this sandwich tasted good.
As we crossed into Hungarian airspace, the First Officer made an announcement with an updated arrival time, which was 3:55 PM. Funnily enough, that’s also when boarding began for what should have been my flight to Innsbruck. He sounded like a nice guy, and was very sorry about the delay.
The Danube River in Hungary.
Cathay Pacific A350-1000 (B-LXJ) flying Zurich - Hong Kong as CX382.
The view from the last row.
The always-classy Lufthansa crane.
Over Austrian airspace.
Another Lufthansa aircraft. I can’t tell if it’s an A330 or an A350. Thoughts?
Commencing our descent.
I almost forgot to show you the old Airbus PSU.
Nürnberg Albrecht Dürer Airport (NUE/EDDN).
Around this time, a flight attendant came to all the passengers who would miss their connection what to do. I was told that I had been rebooked onto OS288 and should go to a service center and get my new boarding pass. I was also thanked for my Star Gold status. I was impressed by the friendly, personalized service.
Emirates A380 (A6-EOI) departing to Dubai as EK46.
Our destination, Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport (FRA/EDDF).
Lufthansa A320 ahead of us on the approach.
Turning right base.
On final approach.
Over the airport.
Smooth landing on Runway 7R.
Taxiing off the runway.
An exotic sight: Somon Air 737-900ER (VQ-BBB ‘Shirinsho Shotemur’) to Dushanbe as SZ102.
Pulling into our stand next to a Lufthansa A319 (D-AIBI ‘Frankenthal (Pfalz)’) which arrived from Birmingham as LH955.
Disembarking from the rear galley.
Another fuselage shot, this time from the rear.
Final shots of Kaiserslautern. Thanks for the ride.
And as always, the final routing of my flight.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this report! Stay tuned for the next part, which will include a tour of one of FRA’s many Senator Lounges. Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
A very pleasant flight with Lufthansa, though that’s not surprising.
+ Friendly, personalized service
+ Fast WiFi
+ Empty Middle Seat
+ Tasty Sandwich
- Run down Sofia Airport
- Delay which led to a misconnection
I always enjoy flying Lufthansa, especially on intra-European flights. They will be my number 2 airline in Europe, after SWISS.