Here we go once again, long haul flying back to the USA!
A good night’s rest is what I needed before my long trip back to the United States. West bound flights are always longer, while I also had two long layovers in Munich and Chicago. I could’ve taken a shorter transit option at Zurich (with 2 Swiss A330-300s all the way), but I went for the A340-600 option via Munich!
Back then, Lufthansa usually operated the A330-300 on Munich-Delhi-Munich for 5 days a week, except Tuesdays and Fridays, when its an A340-600. Guess who decided to fly out on a Friday!!!
(It has been operated by an A350xwb since, Lufthansa's first A350 destination!)
Shout out to Spiderguy_252, whose favorite aircraft is the A340-600.
Shout out also to Sumantra, whose vivid outline and detail of Delhi's prime spotting locations, and his amazing knowledge of operations at India's capital gave me an invaluable insight in to what to expect while at the airport. This was my last visit to New Delhi, since.
Here's how the trip looked prior to this flight: Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)
And the flight details for the return trip were as follows:
LH763 DEL MUC 0045 0530 19AUG16 A346
—6hr50min of yay—
LH9268 (opby United Airlines UA953) MUC ORD 1220 1500 19AUG16 B77E
—5hr25min of yay—
AA2185 ORD MSP 19AUG16 2025 2154 MD80
—12hr26min of yay—
DL4484 (opby SkyWest for Delta Connection) MSP GFK 1120 1237 20AUG16 CRJ2Find the video trip report to this flight here! DEPARTURE DAY - WHICH A340-600 WOULD IT BE?
I woke up on the morning of the 18th in New Delhi, on a pretty comfortable bed. Just what I wanted! I tried to do a mobile check in, however this threw up way too many errors. I gave up and got my laptop out. it finally worked! I confirmed my seat 38K on what looked like a pretty full A340-600.
I had my eyes peeled on FR24: I was not at ease till I saw an A340-600 fly on the route, but the trends back then showed that Lufthansa were pretty particular about sending an A340-600 on Mondays and Thursdays (returning on Tuesdays and Fridays). D-AIHA/F/L/P/S were the birds in Munich around 12pm CET (close to the time LH762 MUC-DEL would depart.) I had guessed that D-AIHF would operate my flight because it had returned from Tokyo Haneda at around 5.30pm on the 17th of August (~19 hours on ground). And I was right! D-AIHF took off and was headed towards New Delhi, a 12.4 years old A340-600 named ‘Lübeck’.
I found it very tricky to find an app based taxi (Ola and/or Uber), however I booked one as soon as I found one. It was a bit of a long drive thanks to the Thursday evening traffic in Delhi, but I made it to the airport a few minutes before 9pm. Delhi T3CHECK IN, QUICK IMMIGRATION, QUICK SECURITY!
The international departure gates were not very full yet - the final rush hour of domestic departures was ongoing, while there was still an hour before the international rush would begin. That being said, Lufthansa’s counters were full at Island M! They had opened up check in for both the Munich and Frankfurt flights (the Frankfurt A380 departing two hours after the Munich flight, so being open for about 5 hours!).
Avoiding the long Economy line, I headed for the online check-in queue. There wasn’t a greeting as such, however my boarding pass and bag was processed pretty quickly. It only took about 5-6 minutes. Both my boarding passes (for the Lufthansa flight to Munich and onward to Chicago on United) were handed to me. Gate 7B for my flight, I knew I would be able to take a few decent pictures of the aircraft. Within the limit!
Immigration and security both took a eleven minutes in total. Not too bad for an international flight! What surprised me was the fact that I wasn’t asked for my I-20 form, something which was asked for both at check in and security check at Bengaluru (prior to my Air France flight). Security on the other hand, had a bit of drama, but props to the staff for handling the situation cool and calm. Considering the amount of stress they are under, and the mixed bag of experiences I have had with them, this was a positive one. If only I remember what exactly it was…..
Airside/duty freeAIRSIDE - SOME SPOTTING
I was airside by 2120 hours - 3hr25min minutes till departure!!! I headed for the gates anyway. Gates 1 and 3 are designed for TSA checks, so the Air Canada and United non stops to Toronto and Newark would depart from these gates. If you remember my 2015 report from Delhi to Kolkata on the international connector Dream)liner flight, you will recall I was in the international pier. However, in 2016 I observed that some places had been closed off due to construction and renovation. (and boy was I wrong!)
An Emirates B777-300ER was at gate 7, very close to its departure time. I found a small cafe tucked away close to Gate 7. I knew I had the perfect spot for photographing the arrival of the long birdie. Aircraft around at the time was the United aircraft I was talking about…pmCO star alliance colors, Malaysia Airlines A330-300, and a massive Singapore Airlines A380!! A lovely Gulf Air A321 was present, too.
A quick snack -
The first ever A380 route to/from India - SQ DEL-SIN!
Boarding pass and the small cafe NEW DELHI BEING AWESOME!
I have preciously written about how I wasn't quite a fan of Delhi's T3. The air conditioning at 3am was one of them. However, something I found very interesting was the fact that gate change announcements were made in English, Hindi, followed by the language spoken in the country of destination. Case in point (3 of them), Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong where an announcement was made in Chinese, ANA to Tokyo Narita where it was in Japanese and Jet Airways to Dubai in Arabic. Awesome stuff!
I wasn’t aware of two Cathay Pacific flights in New Delhi at the time. Imagine my surprise when I saw B-LAR pushback and depart as CX698 to Hong Kong, not long before another Cathay Pacific A330 land on the other side, runway 28…I wondered if B-LAR had returned due to an issue! Well, that wasn’t the case thankfully. LÜBECK HAS ARRIVED!
In the distance, I saw what looked like a very long aircraft. Since there aren’t any B747-8i (the world’s longest passenger aircraft) operators in to New Delhi, I assumed it was Lufthansa’s flight from Munich…my aircraft! Owing to the length of the A340-600, D-AIHF had to wait for the Cathay bird to start taxiing because there was no way the A340-600 could’ve docked in to the gate. The 12.8 year old Toulouse built bird was at the gate by 2254 hours.
Inching towards gate 007.
Air Canada Dream)liner from Toronto!
CX A330 to HKG.
UA B77E to EWR
I headed for the gate at 2345 hours. The idiot in me forgot that there is another cafe in front of the aircraft docked at gate 7. You might remember some close ups of a Jet Airways B777-300ER from my 2015 visit to this pier, that’s where my aircraft was parked! A British Airways B777-200ER and ANA B767-300ER also showed up. This B767 sight would soon be in history, as ANA have introduced a B787 on this route!
An absolute stunner!
Two cockpit close ups!
Can't quite get over the sheer beauty of the A340-600!
Traffic at the other end.. BOARDING
I waited around in gate 7, for boarding to commence. Priority boarding was announced at 0015 hours, while the majority of the boarding commenced at 0029 hours, sixteen minutes before scheduled departure time!
Boarding in Delhi, as always, was through a darkened maze leading up to the aircraft. It’s quite disorienting..!
The crew were very warm and accommodating right from boarding, welcoming all passengers with a ‘good evening’ and guiding us towards the seats. I was onboard at 0036 hours, nine minutes prior to departure time.
Right beside D-AIHF was the Swiss Air A330-300 I would’ve been on…but hey, it was time to experience the A340-600!
My seat mate was an American, heading to Boston, with his son and daughter sitting right in front. They were the funny bunch, as I have seen for the most in the United States
There was the usual pillow, blanket and headphones, and a small water bottle (did not have this on my previous flights on LH, always a nice touch!) waiting for me. DEPARTURE
The crew members were quite cheerful and helpful, assisting passengers whenever needed. It was a mix of German and Indian crew members. Once again, all announcements were in three languages: Deutsche, English and Hindi. A flying time of approximately 7hr35min was announced, pretty much similar to what I had been observing on FR24, and much less than the block time of 8hr15min. Safety demo played on the RAVE IFE screens. This however was interrupted by the Captain’s announcement. He welcomed us onboard the A340-600 (always fun to listen to it when the crew announce it
). Cabin was secured, doors armed, pushback commenced at 0059 hours, fourteen minutes later than the scheduled time.
All of the four Rolls Royce Trent 554 engines were fired up, slowly but surely. It was an awesome sound! The usual pull-forward by the tug procedure was followed, as the A340 does take some time to get all of its engines fired up. Start up video
The flaps were already down due to the high temperatures in New Delhi. We began our long and steady taxi towards runway 29. I noticed that the long fuselage on the A340-600 have a pretty swanky light bulb that reflected pretty well on the wing in the middle of the light. I was in love the A340-600, and it wasn’t even in the air yet!
Interesting mood lighting!
Loving the light on the wings...
Asiana Airlines A330-300, Cathay’s A330-300 and an Air India Dream)liner were parked as we taxied by them. The long taxi involved many spool ups and a bumpy way.. I could feel the main landing gear take in the load! We taxied on to the runway at 0117 hours IST, and blasted down almost the entire length! Took the skies very slowly and gracefully. The slow and gradual climb out was pretty fun, to be honest! Take off videoINFLIGHT
During the climb phase, just like my previous two flights with Lufthansa, there was an announcement with the details of the flight. Except that this was by far my favorite. The flight attendant (Purser?) took her time to give very specific details of our flight. She mentioned that we were onboard an A340-600, configured with 8 seats in First, 44 in Business, 32 in Premium Economy and 213 in Economy. She then went on to describe the crew composition - 2 in the cockpit, and 13 in the cabin. We would receive a dinner as soon as we reached the cruising altitude, and breakfast two hours prior to arrival.
Bottle of water was placed on all seats.
Now that there was all this time between climb out and reaching our cruising altitude, I decided to check out the RAVE IFE. And fair to say, it was absolutely AWESOME! A huge step forward compared to what was on the B747-8i/A380-800. Very smooth and responsive screen, reacting to touch easily and a lot of content to get through even on an ultra long haul flight. The moving map especially was very particular with the locations we were flying over. The only flaw was that the window view simulation was of an A330-300, not of the A340-600
Map with very precise locations, and lovely detail in the animation
See what's wrong?
Cabin of the A340-600
I settled for Zoomania (Zootopia) and Finding Nemo over the course of the flight. There was some turbulence leading up to the in flight service, which was quite bad.
I got my meal at 0158 hours IST. The ‘dinner’ consisted of a warm chicken calzone and a slice of cake. Airlines usually offer a cold snack on a Westbound red eye departure out of India, Lufthansa being the only airline serving a hot snack. And fair enough, it was pretty delicious. And of course, Sparkling Wine for my drink
A hot towel was distributed after the meal service, which was kinda strange.
Sandwich, cake and ketchup
This was quite decent!
Sparkling wine and hot towel
At the end of the meal service, lights were dimmed out to let the passengers sleep. There was still over 6.5 hours to go. I decided to try out the wifi onboard. There were two packages - $11 for 4 hours or $15 for the entire duration of the flight. I went for $11 package, which was a stupid decision because there was no option to log out! That said, it was the only flaw. The internet worked flawlessly and I was very impressed. Thanks to Lufthansa’a wifi, I got news that Metallica would be launching a new studio album later in the year…Hardwired…to Self Destruct! The preview song, Hardwired was alright I felt, but I was underwhelmed. Death Magnetic seemed to be a wonderful album….
Back to topic, as always a comment on the crew. As on the FRA-DEL flight, a pretty cheerful crew, smiling as they served passengers. They responded to requests very quickly, while also walking down the darkened aisle with drinks for all passengers who were awake. Good on them! There was a German gentleman and an Indian lady who served us for the most part. The gentleman always said ‘Danke schon!’ when we handed stuff back to him. They also carried out duty free sales in the very dark cabin.
Crew finishing up service -
Seat pocket contents:
Safety card of the A340-600 -
Magazine content - LOWER DECK OF THE A340-600
About half way through the flight, I bothered my seat mate the only time by visiting the restroom on the lower deck! Third Lufthansa flight, third Lufthansa quad jet, third Lufthansa quad jet double decker
I think there were 5 restrooms there, for the entire economy and premium economy class. Thankfully it wasn’t too crowded or turbulent when there. I was surprised that there was no seating area there in the lower deck, a feature that was present on Air India’s now historic A330-200s (In case of bad turbulence). There was also a self serve drink bar that was set up here. I went back up to my seat and got some minimal sleep while watching Finding Nemo.
Well lit stairs!
Part of the stairs, part of the cabin...
Crew went around distributing drinks, keeping an eye on passengers
The cabin soon saw some forms of activity as we entered the final 2.5 hours of the flight. We overflew the city of Tbilisi, Georgia. A faint sun rise was visible as the A340 gracefully flew over the Black Sea. The wing looked lovely in the dark night. I was quite interested to trying and seeing the Caspian and Black Seas, however the cloud layers did not allow for this happen
Refresher towels were handed out at 0321 hours CEST. I settled for some informational documentaries about Lufthansa: the B747-8i retro jet, and a heart touching documentary of the Junkers JU-52. A beautiful plane, in so many people’s memories!
Breakfast was served to me at 0346 hours CEST. Catering was done by Ambassador SkyChef, whose facility I was able to visit whilst interning with IndiGo. There was yogurt, fruit, condiments (butter, jam) and a bun. The main course consisted of glazed potatoes, an omelet and a tiny chicken sausage. Suffice to say, this was in fact one of the better breakfasts I have had onboard an aircraft.
I was very happy with the catering on this flight. Flavorful, delicious and just at the right temperature. Good job Lufthansa! I followed this up with masala tea (not as good as Air France’s, to be honest) and apple juice. I had breakfast while enjoying the JU-52 documentary.
The sun was starting to rise, very slowly. A lovely blue and orange effect was created, however still very dark to get any decent wing shot. I was in denial, but reality was setting in: I would not be able to get a decent wing picture because it was still dark out
Cabin waking up to the end of the flight...DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
0446 hours CEST, the Captain came over the PA system to give details of the flight’s arrival in to Munich. We were still in our cruising altitude and we’d descend soon, arriving at around 0515 hours. Weather was reporting 14C, clear skies and great visibility, with some south westerly winds.
Once we started descending, going under the cloud layer, the crew made their announcements and secured the cabin. Unfortunately, that was the end of the date with the beautiful sunrise It was dark out once again: while I could see the wing easily, my camera or phone camera would not have captured it very well, sadly
Slowly, we glided down towards Munich. It was easy to see the lights over the city of Munich, but the airport was still a bit further away.
In complete darkness, where my camera recorded almost absolutely nothing (sadly), we glided down towards runway 26R. A smooth landing was executed at 0516 hours, 14 minutes before time. Flughafen Munchën! Landing video
I think we’re landing now’ said the American gentleman beside me, as the A340 rolled down the runway, slowing down. Unfortunately, this was the end of my Lufthansa experience. A long and quiet taxi towards gate M28, we docked alongside another A340-600: this was the Bayern Munich livery bird that had just come in from Beijing. 0523 hours, on stand, engines were cut out. A 6hr57min wait till my next flight to Chicago (lol).
Final pics of the cabin and seats
Munich Airport transfers (or at least the concourse I was at) are planned in such a way that passengers are forced to go through security before they could just sit around and/or relax after a long flight. In this regard, I thought Frankfurt’s Concourse Z was much better. A pretty long walk till I found a restroom - I connected to the WiFi instantly, like Frankfurt it was pretty good.
After freshening up, I headed for security. Long lines? No problem! I had just over 6 hours to kill. I went online to check the status for my next flight: UA953 would depart from gate H2, A WHOLE TWO HOURS LATE! 8 hours in Munich Airport,
let the fun and games begin……
I had two vividly different flights with Lufthansa. Not a great one on LH430 from Chicago to Frankfurt on the B747-8, and an amazing one from Frankfurt to New Delhi on the A380. I took this flight to be the deciding one, and boy did Lufthansa impress me. Amazing IFE, pretty friendly crew, and tasty food. What more could one ask for!And once again, the video trip report to this flight here! My other trip reports: 2016Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16
(DL1608 video trip report
, DL2027 video trip report)De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16)
)Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16)
)Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y)
)2012South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)2011International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)