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The average flight time is 8 hours and 20 minutes.More information
For those that do not know, I work in Luxembourg but live in Charlotte. This unusual arrangement allows me to fly to Europe every month or so. This time I will be headed back on a CLT-JFK-FRA-LUX routing on Delta and then Lufthansa. For this first leg to FRA, I will be flying Lufthansa. Since, I have Frequent Traveler status, I will be able to enjoy and review the Lufthansa Business Lounge at JFK.
Lufthansa does not allow free advanced seat assignments. I kept monitoring the seat map and since the A380 is so large, many seats remained free on the main Deck. The Upper Deck was filling up rapidly but I wasn’t willing to spend $35 to reserve a seat in advance. I decided to wait until check in and select a seat. All seats in your selected class are free to select upon check-in. I am hoping to grab an extra leg room seat as my 6’1 frame needs some space to stretch. If I can grab an upper deck seat with a side-storage compartment that would be neat as well! I went to the Lufthansa page about 8 minutes prior to check in and to my amazement it allowed me to start the process! I have experienced this before on Swiss. I was assigned an aisle seat on some 80s row. But, I went to check row 76 to see if either of the window seats was free….and..76A was free!!! This seat does not have a seat in front of it due to the exit row. I now have unlimited leg room!, however, I will have to make sure to find a spot for my bag overhead. I quickly finished the rest of check-in and had my bording pass sent visa text to my cell. I did not, however, have TSA pre-check added. Oh well, I’ll address this later if I have time, if not I will just go through regular security so others can know what to expect.
Airline: Lufthansa (LH)
Departure Gate: 8
Departure Runway: 22R
Scheduled Departure Time: 4:10
Actual Departure Time: 4:37
Scheduled Arrival Time: 6:05
Actual Arrival Time: 5:37
Landing Runway: 25L
Arrival Gate: Z58
Scheduled Flight Time: 7:55
Actual Flight Time: 7:27
My previous flight on Delta CLT-JFK arrived in Terminal 2 at gate C61. I was able to be airside within 1 minute of stepping off the plane due to an exit straight ahead. I followed the Green signs toward "AirTrain" as my next flight departed from Terminal 1. As I stepped outside I noticed that to get to the AirTrain, I had to cross multiple roads and go up a flight of steps, however, if I just turned to my left I could walk maybe 100 meters and arrive at Terminal 1. This seems much quicker and easier (even for those who are challenged mobility wise).
I arrived at the lower level of T1 only 6 minutes after I stepped off my Delta 717-200. I went up to departures and join the security line. TSA precheck does not have a separate line in T1, not that I had it anyway. Security can only be described as a mess. It was going nowhere for close to 10 minutes to one quick thinking TSA agent opened an overflow line and handpicked passengers ( I was included) to go through regular walk-through detectors instead of the fancier ones. I guess I looked innocent enough. Overall, it took 15 minutes so still not bad.
The Lufthansa Business lounge was just to the left of security. I arrived about 1:00PM and just a handful of people were in the lounge. The lounge is virtual one long hall way with great apron views. A small room for sleeping is off to the left after the buffet but the room is neither quiet nor dark. A TV room was near the check-in desk and looked inviting. I checked out the men's restroom and it was clean but basic, no amenities provided or showers from what I could tell. Wifi was good throughout. I spoke with one lovely host and she explain that the lounge would get really crowded about an hour before boarding LH401 to FRA and she was exactly right. At around 3:00 it was standing room only. Its best to arrive early as very few seats have power outlets.
The buffet had a hot food section which comprised of pasta, rice, and Korean beef bbq. The cold food section contained finger foods and sandwiches. A salad bar and soup was also available. Desert was Tiramisu, Cheesecake and Blueberry cheesecake. The Tiramisu was amazing. The main food options were fine but nothing spectacular. One neat thing was that every 30 mins or so a hostess would walk around and offer cookies with icing which were amazing and a very thoughtful. Beverage option was typical; 2 coffee machines, tea, soda fountain, 3 beer taps and of course wine and liquor options.
Plane spotting from the lounge
I began the short 4-5 minute walk to gate 8 around 3:05. Gate lice had already started to line up and the line was at least 100 people for Economy Rows 75-99. An Alitalia flight to Rome boarding next door created more confusion as the boarding lines almost seemed to be intertwined. Boarding began at 3:32, 8 minutes early and my rows were finally called about 10 minutes after. At 3:5, my boarding pass was scanned and I was walking down the jet bridge from 8a towards my very first A380-800!!! German efficiency was on display during the boarding process for sure.
My first impression as I stepped onboard and hung an immediate right was…WOW! This plane is HUGEEEEEE! I am still in amazement several days later at just the sheer size of that bird. I made my way passed the first Economy cabin and found seat 76A right after the first set of restrooms. 76A is unqiue….it is a window seat with no seat in front of it due to an exit row. Unlimited leg room!! The seat itself had a fine width. Seat pockets were on the wall next to me. The headrest had the always wonderful adjustable wings to cradle your head. One nice feature of this seat is that if you need to get up, you can just walk straight and then go in front of 75B and C as the exit row creates more space than anyone would need to stretch out. A pillow and blanket were waiting on the seat. Both were of acceptable quality.
Due to the lack of seat in front of me, my personal TV was under my seat. The screen was a bit small but did the trick. The touchscreen was ok. I've had better and i've had a lot worse. A USB plug was located in the armrest, it was an awkward placement and did not work half the time. In order to charge I had to physical use either my legs or my hands to keep the USB in just the right position.
Back to the TV..first, it was hard to lift up as you had to hit a small button under the "recline" button. Of course the button was half working on this 7 year old bird. I decided to watch The Post with Tom Hanks in it. Somehow, I managed to skip over 30 minutes of the movie, due to issues with the touchscreen. Oddly, I felt the movie was great even without that 25% of the movie that I missed. The moving map was fine but needs to be improved. Headsets were passed out and were of the double prong type. They worked ok.
23 minutes after takeoff, beverage service began. I was served very quickly as in this section, the FA begins in row 75. I ordered a sparkling water and was given that in a cup along with a pack of crackers with sea salt that were tasty. 47 minutes after takeoff, hot towels were distributed and after another 23 minutes food appeared. I felt this was a tad bit slow but nothing crazy. It was nice that you do get 1 drinks service quickly.
The options were Beef or Eggplant pasta. I chose the Beef. It came with a side salad with Italian dressing, cold roll, cheddar cheese, and raspberry desert. No official starter past the salad. The main held beef that looked like hamburger steak but tasted fine. Potatoes gratin and mixed veg were also included. Everything was fine. I would eat it again however, I wished the beef would be more steak like and less hamburger like.
Lufthansa does give real silver ware which is amazing! Salt and pepper had to be requested.
At 3:50 am (CET) lights came on and shortly after "Breakfast would be served. I understand this was a short flight but breakfast was sad. All you were given was 1 muffin and a small cup of fruit. The muffin was fine but this is hardly a breakfast. Luckily, I was planning to visit the Welcome Lounge at FRA.
One praise report. When the male FA who had been attending my section brought breakfast, he remembered that I had ordered sparkling water before and asked if that was my choice this time. I did add a coffee to my order but its amazing that back in Economy in 100s of people he remembered my order. That made this flight that much more personal. Stay tuned to the next section for another amazing interaction with the crew.
Another hot towel was passed out before landing, which is a nice touch in Economy. The tray for 76A was a bit small and dirty. Don't expect to use your laptop on it.
We pushed back right on time at 4:10. I hardly noticed we were moving. This A380-800 is so smooth! We taxed the long way to 22R, but this ended up saving time as we cut the line once we arrived. at 4:37 we had wheels up headed towards Europe! The engines on this beast were so so quiet. This was the most graceful takeoff I had every had.
Shortly after takeoff, another FA came to me and asked if I had lost a sim card and then promptly showed me my sim card case with name on it! I must have dropped it during the boarding process!! That was such a nice gesture! This flight really did have an "A" crew in Economy.
The bathrooms were small but well kept. No amenities at all as one would expect. In the seat pocket was the safety card, in-flight magazine, and duty free shopping,. I tried to sleep by leaning up against the window but it was hard. The seat was stiff and the window seemed far away. The lights from the nearby bathroom were also distracting so an eye mask would have been useful.
The flight was very smooth, the smoothest I have had over the Atlantic in some time.
We touched down at 5:36, well before 6:05 scheduled. We had a short taxi to gate Z58.
Please see my next review for the Welcome lounge, another Business lounge at the A gates and of course the main event FRA-LUX.
Thank you and safe travels!
Good flight. and WOW the A380 lives up to the hype! I can't wait to fly again.