The airline with the best average rating is Lufthansa with 7.4/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 51 minutes.More information
A very warm welcome to this new series, dear Flight-Report community! This one will be covering another short week-long journey to Sofia, Bulgaria. This was also my last trip before the Covid-19 pandemic effectively shut down world travel, and was taken while the virus had just spread to Europe. In fact, just a week before this journey began, the virus had spread to Munich, so I was a bot more cautious than I'd usually be.
This trip was very boring, as it only included two Lufthansa A320 flights in Economy Class, so nothing that I hadn't experienced before. The flights were as follows:
In order to earn miles, I booked these flights via LH.com under an Economy Classic fare.
The morning started off as a normal Saturday morning in Innsbruck. At 2:20 PM, I took a Eurocity from Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof. Eurocity trains from Innsbruck to Munich leave every 2 hours. At 4:15 PM, I arrived at Munich East station (München Ostbahnhof).
After a short 9 minute connection, the S8 train that would operate the 30 minute journey from Ostbahnhof to Munich Airport arrived. I was lucky that it arrived at the platform across from the one that my train from Innsbruck arrived at, as Ostbahnhof doesn't have any escalators, which can be a pain for those who travel with a lot of luggage.
Sunset on the way to the airport. It would be a beautiful night for flying!
After a 30 minute journey, the S-Bahn pulled into Munich Airport's train station. While the journey was pleasant, I wish that there would be a nonstop train from Munich to the airport. MUC is my favorite airport in Europe by far, so I just wish that they made it a bit more accessible.
Passing by through the Munich Air Center on my way to Lufthansa's Terminal 2. The ad on the terminal at the time was an ad for BMW. Not nearly as cool as when Lufthansa advertises their A350 on the terminal 😉
As an architecture and design geek, I also love admire MUC's Terminal 2. It's design is the open, modern, and minimal. The purple mood lighting that evening was especially cool.
The Lufthansa Business Class check-in was empty as usual.
Security was done in less than two minutes thanks to my little-known "secret" priority checkpoint, and then I found myself airside.
My initial plan was to go to the Lufthansa Senator Cafe, which I wanted to visit the last time I flew from MUC, but I forgot that it's located in the Schengen part of the terminal, so instead I headed to the Senator Lounge, which I'm oh-so familiar with.
The lounge was much emptier than I was used to seeing, which might have been because of the pandemic.
The evening's departures.
I sat at a table to grab a bite before the flight. First I got a plate of delicious cold cuts…
…which was followed-up by my beloved Lufthansa waffles, though this time they were served with compote instead of chocolate sauce. Still delicious!
Since the lounge was empty, I figured I could now give a little tour of it, starting with the sleeping area.
Designer chairs and the buffet.
In the back of the lounge, there's some high top seating, as well as comfortable chairs and TVs.
As you can probably guess, I'm a big fan of the lounge, though the view is very disappointing.
I also took a peek at the Business Lounge, which is connected to the Senator Lounge. It was also super empty.
At around 25 minutes prior to boarding, I left the lounge to walk around the terminal for a bit. The only interesting aircraft that I saw was this Avianca 787-8, which was getting ready for its flight to Bogota.
Heading towards my gate, H38.
My aircraft had already been on the ground for a little over 2 hours after a flight from Athens. Flying me down to Sofia was D-AIZM, an A320 in Star Alliance colors. It had been built and delivered to Lufthansa in July 2012, making it around 7.5-years old at the time of my flight.
Boarding commenced on time and priorities were respected. I was the first one down the jetbridge.
Bad shot of the nose and cockpit windows of the aircraft.
I was greeted by a very friendly purser and her British colleague and made my way to my seat, 4F.
As row 4 is usually a Business Class row, legroom was excellent, at 32" (I think).
Literature pocket and contents.
The only thing about the row 4 that's slightly annoying is the cabin divider, but the legroom more than makes up for it.
Modern Airbus PSU.
Row 4 before it filled up. As you can see, the cabin felt very fresh.
A gate over, this Lufthansa A320 'Troisdorf' was preparing for its flight to Barcelona. Next to that was an ANA 787-9 to Tokyo Haneda.
Once everyone was onboard, the captain made his welcome announcement and said that the doors would soon be closed and that we'd have an on-time flight.
A few minutes later, we pushed back and started our engines.
Beginning our taxi.
I wasn't sure why we were taxiing without slats/flaps, but my question was answered as soon as we pulled into the de-icing pad. Since the captain didn't mention that we'd be de-icing, I guess it was probably a last minute decision.
Taxiing to the runway with slats/flaps.
"Lufthansa 1 Foxtrot Tango, Runway 26 Left, cleared for takeoff."
Left turn after departure.
Munich City Center lit up.
Cabin after departure. Row 3 was empty for the entire flight.
One last look at the CIty of Munich as we turned towards Sofia.
The seatbelt sign was switched off around 10 minutes after takeoff, so I went to the lavatory and took a photo of the cabin looking forward. Despite the emptiness of the airport, I'd say the flight was around 80% full.
Innsbruck and the Inn Valley in the distance.
Passing over Alpine Villages in Austria.
As we neared our cruising altitude, the service commenced. I got a glass of lemon water to drink.
A choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian sandwich was given for the snack, and I chose the vegetarian one. It's nice that LH still offers free sandwiches on intra-European flights, even if they are rather small. I hope they continue to serve these post-pandemic, but I'm not sure. If they don't, I hope that they at least serve pretzels and free drinks rather than adopt a BoB menu like BA has.
The sandwich had egg cheese and chives, and it was probably the one of the best Lufthansa sandwiches that I'd been served in my may years of flying with them.
The A320 that I was on was equipped with Lufthansa's FlyNet WiFi service, but I didn't bother using it on such a short flight. Instead, I relied on the Lufthansa Magazin for entertainment.
In addition to the awesome cover article about 2 British pilots flying a Spitfire around the world, there was also an article about the place that I lived right before moving to Austria, the San Juan Islands in Washington state, which are located 70 miles north of Seattle and 40 miles south of Vancouver.
It was nice to be reading about the small place that I lived while flying over Serbia at 35,000 feet on an A320 😎 Outside, there wasn't much to see, but since it was a clear night, I could still see the lights of places below. Passing what I believe was Tuzla, Bosnia.
Caught the strobe light.
Flying over some small Serbian towns.
As we began our descent around Niš (pictured below), First Officer Joshua came over the PA to provide some very detailed information about our routing from Munich and our approach to Sofia. He also apologized about departing a bit late, due to our de-icing.
Over Bulgarian territory.
Our CFM56 engine lit up by the landing light.
On final approach.
Past the village of Dolni Bogrov.
Over the runway.
Deliciously smooth landing on Runway 27 at 10:47 PM, 2 minutes after our scheduled arrival time, after a flight time of 1h30m.
Vacating the runway.
Pulling into Terminal 2, near the Lufthansa A321 'Wetzlar' which had arrived from Frankfurt 30 minutes earlier…
…a Germanwings A319 in Sofia for maintenance…
…and the same Bul Air 737-300 that I flew from Prague to Sofia in August 2019, which was undergoing maintenance work as well.
One last look at my home of the evening.
Thanks for the ride, D-AIZM!
We had a very straightforward routing which started off with the BIBAG 3N departure out of MUC. From there we flew at 35,000 feet more or less directly to Sofia Airport, where we flew the NISVA 1K RNAV approach.
While immigration was quick, the baggage delivery process was outrageously slow. There weren't more than 3 arrivals still being processed, yet the baggage deliver took over 45 minutes! For such a small airport, I find that completely unacceptable. It took so long that the Captain of our flight actually went to have what looked like a very spirited discussion with the baggage desk to inquire what the hell was going on. Finally, when my suitcase finally did show up, I went to grab a taxi, only to find that there were 3 taxis left! I missed all of them, and had to wait with a bunch of other angry passengers in the cold for another 10 minutes before I finally got in a taxi and left the airport. Thanks very much for reading, and I hope to see you back here for the return flight in a few days.
This was yet another very pleasant Lufthansa intra-European flight.
+ Empty Senator Lounge with comfy seating and plenty of space
+ Newer A320
+ Excellent legroom
+ Fresh cabin
+ Chipper, professional crew
+ FlyNet WiFi onboard
+ Tasty sandwich
- Awful efficiency at Sofia Airport
For intra-European flights, Lufthansa really shines. I'm really glad that they are the most convenient airline for me, and that they are a part of my alliance.