So finally our time had come and we had to return to Colombia. The only feasible (and payable) option when buying tickets was a 5am flight into FRA, which meant a 7h transit in Germany. In order to check in on time we would have to go to Atatürk Airport in a really ungodly hour. But no worries, our pals at the hostel had everything settled for our transport, and let us stay on the restaurant for the night.
We arrived to the airport and the first step is a security check. Then look for the LH check in. It was packed, as flights to MUC and FRA departed almost at the same time.
In order to skip the mess I printed our BPs on a self service kiosk, and we where rushed through the baggage drop line. The guy checking our bags was weird, between rude and authoritarian, but then he had a nice detail (for me)….he said WAIT!…I'll print you nice BPs those you've got are awful. Fine by me sir.
I waited till my girlfriend could check herself on the TK desk, which wasn't open yet. But eventually she managed to. All OK.
Passport and security checks were swift and painless. Then comes the boo hoo part. Everything was closed. We were starving, but only a Sbarro's was open. BK was handing breakfasts to passengers who seemed to have been stranded during a hajj flight or something like that. No service for us. So we where left with Sbarro's. It was the most expensive, and awful pizza ever.
With nothing left to do, on to the gate, there our A320 was waiting for us. It looked terrific with the sharklets
The flight seemed to be packed. Out of the arab and turkish, we distinguished our mother tongue…and in no other variety but our own Colombian Spanish, it was really funny for us, we always end up bumping into compatriots everywhere (come to think about it, Turkey has become a very popular tourist destination for us, so no surprise then).
Boarding was called and chaos ensued, the gate agent was utterly incompetent to enforce boarding zones.
Into my 21st A320, D-AIZS
As we stepped into the plane something looked wrong. People where standing up, arguments where heard. When we came into our seats, they where taken and the people on them didn't seem to understand the fuzz. I called a FA who told me, it is all around the plane, they are sitting at will. We were sent to the back galley whilst they managed to arrange our seating. While waiting we had a little chat wit another FA, she offered us some drinks to calm ourselves meanwhile. I noticed that many of the passengers looked scared, maybe it was their first time flying, they all carried plastic bags with the International Migration Organization logo on them. It was weird. I reckon they are refugees, probably from Syria (?). Some of them even cried after takeoff.
Cabin view from my seat, I ended up by myself everyone in our group split.
Something I noticed is that LH had pre recorded messages in Turkish, nice touch. It made me remember that there were no Turkish messages at all on LX (bad touch).
TK's heavies while taxing
A lone A300 in the dark…it looked suspicious
Total darkness, nothing to see, nothing to do but sleep. I like how they installed those yellow lightings.
I woke up as they lit the cabin to hand breakfasts.
Breakfast was handed, eggs, tomato and potatoes, not as fancy as TKs not as cheap as LXs. I was satisfied.
And then into a trance state. Between asleep and awake.
Here comes the sun…nananana
Between asleep and awake, in a very groggy state, I managed to see our landing it felt weird seeing FRA at night, brought nice memories.
Those hangars are certainly huge!
We parked in the A gates, but on the part with no Z gates, so off we where to a bus. Not without the check by the Bundespolizei… A bit cruel on that cold (around 3°C). Then we were bussed into the vowels of the terminal (that's when you notice how huge it is) and into the arrivals zone. There was some reception committee from the IMO waiting for the migrants in our flight, and that was the last I saw of them.
You'd either go into Germany or go up into a connections point where you either go to the B, C or Z gates without passport check or into the B gates entering the Schengen zone. It is a grey, sterile and sad area. The funny part is that you can see the more interesting B gates through a window, but you have to pass through a security check in order to get there.
With no will to go out into Frankfurt (it was freezing cold) and moderate sleep deprivation we set camp on the corridor between the B gates and the C gates.
Our room, and beds for the morning
At least we had some amusement of sorts
We had to wait till my GF, who was flying on TK into FRA (she bought her ticket on lifemiles) arrived. I watched her flight arrive and check the monitors waiting to see her, it took so long that at a point I thought she had fallen asleep and missed her flight. But in the end she came out of the doors and we were reunited. Then it was to have brunch at McDonalds, with awesome views.
Then it was time to get into our plane to Bogotá…and our trip was practically over. And, for the third time, D-AIHK would carry me across the Atlantic what are the odds!
The flight between FRA and BOG was practically identical to the one I covered already, as I explained before. I was so tired that I slept most of the way. My friends had a more fun flight, drinking the non-stop booze flow that LH provides. I discovered that there was a toilet just by the aft galley, I guess that it is meant for the handicapped. We had awesome views of Venezuela at night, and landed in BOG at the forecasted time.
Everything OK till baggage claim. Again, LH had managed to leave my bag behind. You cannot imagine my rage level. They left my bag at IST (sure, because of the packed flight and so on), but stil, there where 3 more flights into FRA that where able to make it before my flight to BOG left. Pretty poor handling by LH in IST. Sucky is the word.
My first impression with LHs long haul product was impressive, but this time I felt disappointed, they've managed to erase the charm they had with me.
Istanbul - ISL
Frankfurt - FRA
Not the best experience on LH, but it had certain special circumstances. The time is awful and I would avoid that flight if possible. A sad bye bye to Turkey.
LH: Ground service was poor, specially from the incompetent gate agents. FAs had their fault too as they didn't check that people where seating where supposed to. OK breakfast, but as told before TK pampers you a lot. Still better than LXs product. I hate the fact that they've managed to leave me bagless at BOG twice. Very disappointing, and shall be taken into account for future flights.
IST: Its calmed but very boring at that time.
FRA: Not my favorite place for long connections. Lots of security checks and crazy routes around the airport.
Thanks for reading, Saludos!
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