Report No: 2020-302E
Ladies and Gentleman,
Welcome to this very interesting and thrilling Flight-Report series as the COVID-19 situation in the world affected my travel plans, however, not this time as I was able to return back to Europe as planned with some minor changes. This series would contain 2 parts, with 5 flights all on Economy Class, covering 3 different airlines, 6 different airports, 5 different lounges and 5 different aircraft types.
As I was heading to Graz, Austria for a day event, I have decided to use an open-jaw United ticket, which I was unable to use in the last few months which led me to fly IAD-FRA on United and FRA-GRZ on Lufthansa CityLine. As I paid change and service fees around $250 + fare difference to reactivate this Economy Discount ticket, I stuck with traveling on Economy Class for this occasion. ( Changes were made early January ).
The second part of the report would contain a small review of the Schengen Lufthansa Senator Lounge in FRA Terminal 1A and a flight overview of a small intra-European Lufthansa Cityline flight onboard their Embraer ERJ-190.
The first part of the routing would be revealed at the moment, but unfortunately, you would need to stay tuned with Flight-Report for the second part.
Pax for this flight
Business Class: No idea
Economy Class: %60-70
After arriving from my United flight which parked at gate Z20, I followed the signs for A gates. No security was required for this transfer, however, a passport check was required and as the non-EU lane was empty, I was in the Schengen area within 3 minutes. There is a mandatory duty free passage after passport control.
Boarding pass for this flight
As I headed to the lounge, my boarding pass beeped red as there was a physical card control required. After swiping my physical card to the machine, I was admitted into the Senator Lounge.
The lounge was emptier than usual, but a reminder that it was a Saturday morning.
The offerings in the Schengen Lounge is the same as the exact same offerings as the Non Schengen Lounges. Here are the hot plates
Yoghurt, granola and some cakes
Drinks available today
As I needed a shower, I headed to the shower just after leaving my stuff to my seating area and learned that I would need to wait a bit and I was handed a pager. After 10 minutes, one of the shower cabins were available. For those who are not familiar with FRA, generally, the waits here are much longer than 10 minutes.
The shower which had L'Occitane products.
After having a shower, I left the lounge to head to my gate as boarding was still going to start. Our flight was going to depart from gate A52.
No aircraft connected to the jet bridges and a Mercedes Citaro waiting for us at the ground level. We were going to have a bus journey before our flight.
25 minutes before scheduled departure time, boarding has begun with the respect of group numbers, however, all passengers would have been transported to the aircraft with the same bus.
While descending to the ground level, to board the bus, I have noticed that the UA 777-200ER who brought me from IAD was still there.
From the bus
And my plane spotting adventure has started just after the bus left the gate.
LH Boeing 747-400
Lufthansa dominates Terminal 1A+ gates
A Lufthansa A320 passing by
Is LSG Sky Chefs still active?
D-AIGO which took me from BOS to MUC, 9 years before.
D-ABYI is also one of the Lufthi aircrafts that I took before back in 2016 when it had the Fanhansa livery
D-ABYL, also someone familiar, which also has it's own Flight-Report
Some LH aircraft parked due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation
Another LH 747-8I
Lufthansa Cargo 777F
Some more wide-body aircraft parked at remote stands
And here's our aircraft: D-AECG
Boarding was made through the front door.
My original seat for this flight was 14D so I first sat there. The seat was comfortable. I always find these Recaro seats super-comfortable and ideal for short or medium haul journeys.
And had decent legroom.
As soon as boarding finished and bags were loaded, the passenger in seat 14F wanted to move to an empty block, so I took the window seat and the aisle seat left empty.
Here is the seat pocket content. Nothing surprising
Hmmmm, some ads from Turkish companies in the Lufthansa Magazin
Information about our aircraft
Route map. It's super interesting that FRA-GRZ is not marked on the route map. This route was operated by Austrian in the past but then shifted to Lufthansa early this year.
Map of FRA
A LH Cargo 777F was heading to the runway
And as we were parked close to the runway, after a short taxi.
We were departing towards Graz.
And we're in the air
Shortly after the seat belt signs have been switched off, the meal service has begun. Today's meal was a freshly packed veggie sandwich which was delicious.
And as a drink, I've opted for a tomato juice.
And we're descending
And we've landed to GRZ
Some private jets and education aircraft
An Austrian Dash-8
And we have parked next to that bird
After saying goodbye to the crew, I have left the aircraft from the front door.
A last photo of D-AECG
And after a short walk, we were inside the terminal of Thalerhof Airport.
Bags have arrived within 5-10 minutes without the respect of priority tags, however, as most passengers did not have checked baggage, both of my bags were within the first 20 bags.
GRZ does not have that much traffic. Mostly to Germany.
And after checking the train schedule, I have headed to the check-in counter to recheck by bags to my final destination at my second ticket later in the day.
After checking my bags through XXX, I have left the airport
And after a short walk of 350 meters, I have arrived at the train station
A S-Bahn train going to the opposite direction which I would go.
I was the only one waiting for the train.
And, now it's time to end this report.
The series would continue at the next report.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you on another report.
The short hop from Frankfurt to Graz was a decent experience and an overall expected Lufthansa experience. Frankfurt Airport was less crowded than usual being a Saturday and was super efficient in terms of passport control, even for non-EU citizens. The lounge in FRA was emptier than usual, however, it had the usual amenities, with delicious breakfast food. The shower waits were shorter than usual and after a 5-10 minute wait, I was assigned a shower room. Despite being known for its inefficiency, today's experience was much better and within a 1h layover, I had the opportunity to have breakfast and a shower without any time constraint. Boarding was made a bit later than scheduled, however, it was organized and we departed nearly on schedule. I wasn't able to select a seat due to UA not allowing seat selection on other airlines and I didn't want to pay a seat fee to LH in advance, however, a regular aisle seat was pretty fine to me, after the pax next to me re-seated himself to another row, I had the opportunity to enjoy the whole row. The meal service for this flight was pretty decent and the cold sandwich was pretty delicious. We had arrived at GRZ, 9 minutes before our scheduled arrival time and the baggage wait time was reasonable, however, priorities were not observed during the baggage claim process. Although I was out of the baggage claim hall within 10 minutes after our aircraft has reached its parking position. Although GRZ is a small airport, the transportation options were superbly organized and I have arrived at my destination on schedule without issues, however, waiting for a train 30+ minutes could be bothering. However, I'm glad that I chose UA+LH for this trip as I didn't have any issues in the first part of the trip.
(+) Reasonable passport control wait
(+) Priorities respected during the boarding process
LH SEN Lounge T1A
(+) Reasonable shower wait time & shower amenities
(+) Food & beverage offered at the lounge
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom
(+) Decent meal in terms of flight time
(+) Transportation options to/from the airport
(-) Bags arrived without the respect of priorities