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zolagola
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Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:34 pm

First Class East Coast Easter with LH and BA 747

Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:24 pm

First Class East Coast Easter with LH and BA

After I had switched the first leg of my RTW trip last year from Lufthansa to BA a few days before departure, I had been looking for other options to fly LH First again. And since I had not flown the B747-8i yet, a trip to the US East Coast was the perfect chance to combine both: going out on LH FRA-IAD, coming back ob BA First from JFK. The US domestic leg in-between on AA would allow me to log two new airports with DCA and LGA.

Here is the routing visualized:
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Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright Karl L. Swartz

So we started the journey on a sunny April morning at the famous First Class Terminal in Frankfurt

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Our dedicated PA welcomed us right at the door as we left the taxi, guided us to the welcome desk where we were swiftly checked in and taken through the security check

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5mins after arrival by taxi we were already at the bar which was decorated nicely due to the upcoming Easter

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But since it was only 10am we sat down in the restaurant to have breakfast

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Hm, too early. Or shall we? #champagneoclock

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Breakfast options from the buffet included fresh juices and cereals..

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… various cakes…

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… cold cuts, salmon, fresh fruit and Bavarian veal sausages & pretzels.

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We sat down however and were brought the Easter edition of the FCT duck

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Then we looked at the a-la-carte breakfast menu which offered plenty of options

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We opted for Egg Benedict which was good

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Breakfast selection from the buffet

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The Cigar Lounge was empty at that time of the day

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FCT rest rooms

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We then moved to the lounge area which had comfy sofas and relax chairs

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FCT sitting area

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Plenty of nuts & dried fruits to choose from

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The water menu. Whilst still more than you would need, it used to be more than doubke in size three years ago

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A nice selection of Islay Whisky, covering all 7 of the island’s classic distilleries

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Not that we felt hungry but an hour before departure we wanted to enjoy a small snack from the wonderful looking buffet so sat down in the restaurant again

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FCT cheese selection at lunch

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FCT salad buffet

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My snack selection

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Those who want a proper menu will certainly find something from this menu

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A just selected a wild garlic soup which was very nice

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Then it was already time to head to the plane, we were picked up by the PA, lead downstairs were we received our passports back and then were guided to this S-class which would take us to the plane

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First Class transfer to the plane, it was only a short ride to the Z gates

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A quick shot of Yankee-Delta, the Queen of the Skies which would take us across the pond today. D-ABYD was actually the 3rd 747-8i Lufthansa added to its fleet after D-ABYA and D-ABYC (D-ABYB is not being used anymore after LH450 crashed in NBO in 1974)

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We were taken upstairs to the jetbridge, guided past all other passengers boarding and then welcomed onboard

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Lufthansa flight LH418 from Frankfurt (FRA) to Washington Dulles (IAD)
April 2017
STD / AOBT: 13:15 L / 13:29 L
STA / AIBT: 15:55 L / 15:50 L
DUR: 8:21
Equipment: B747-8i
Reg: D-ABYD ‘Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’
Personal flight #449
Seat 1A (First)

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Lufthansa has 8 first class seats in the nose of the 747-8i

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The ottoman offers additional storage space

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I settled in 1A, the rose is almost a trademark of LH First

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Plenty of space but 1K was still close enough to be able to talk to each other quietly

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A look at 2A and the rest of the cabin

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Bose noise cancelling headphones and the IFE controls

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Seat controls

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The FA introduced herself and brought the PJs and the ‘amenity kit’ – well, it was Easter and so LH tried to be creative but this was actually the worst kit I ever had. Wrapped in plastic with loads of chocolate but really impractical when going to the bathroom. Poor job LH

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This was much better, (cold) nuts and a glass of Henriot

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Great comfortable seats but overall certain parts of the cabin and the seats such as edges, covers, buttons were looking tired, definitely more than you would expect in a plane not even five years old

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The beautiful Yankee-Tango in retro colours parked next to us

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With a small delay we started taxiing out to runway 18 and departed in southerly direction

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Great view from 1A

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An even better view

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A little later, somewhere over the Atlantic it got a bit bumpy. The FA even came to us explaining that we were flying behind an A380 which caused some of the turbulence (you can see some of its contrails)

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Lunch time, so let´s look at the menu

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4 of 8 seats remained empty today

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So we were able to sit down in 3D and 3G to have lunch together

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Reading light on seat 3D

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The table’s ready

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First Class butter. I love these salt & pepper shakers

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Amuse bouche

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Then it was time for the signature dish in LH First

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Caviar. And ice-cold vodka

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The appetizers: veal with poached egg white, vegetable salad and smoked rainbow trout

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This was the main dish I had opted for but only my wife was served: lamb shoulder with spinach and mashed artichoke

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Unfortunately, despite the cabin was only half occupied and they only had to cater for four people, they ran out of the lamb and I had to go for pasta. Poor performance for a flight leaving the airline’s hub.

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Cheese selection

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Accompanied by some port

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Apple strudel & ice cream was the choice for the sweet dessert

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A look at one of the the First Class bathrooms, plenty of space to get changed

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A look at 2 of the 4 GEnx engines

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Main Deck Business Class section – unlike the 744 which has an uncomfortable 2-3-2 layout, LH operates the 748 in a more pleasant but still not ideal 2-2-2 layout

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The long Upper Deck offers a quieter travel experience

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When I returned to the seat, the FA had kindly prepared the bed so we could take a little rest

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The bed was really comfy

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There´s no better way to fly

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When we got up again, the cabin crew had prepared the 2nd service

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I preferred the Spanish tapas selection of the other options such as Cheeseburger (really classy, Lufthansa)

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Cassis sorbet as dessert

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We had reached the US East Coast near NYC in the meantime

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JFK airport

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Manhattan Island from 36,000 feet

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Not long after that we touched down at Dulles ahead of time. An interesting selection of carriers from around the world

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Saying good-bye to seat 1A after an overall pleasant flight with a warm and welcoming crew which easily made up for the little flaws

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Upon deboarding, we were greeted by a PA who took us to the little van waiting outside

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Bye-bye beauty

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Whilst getting into the van, we were able to get a nice shot of ‘our’ 748

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The other passengers took the distinctive mobile lounges to get to the main arrivals area

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An Alaska B739 with split scimitar winglets taxiing past

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As the van had departed late, we were behind most of the other passengers when we arrived at immigration, so had to spend a good hour in the queue. But we eventually made it through, took a lyft to DC and then a stroll through town, obviously stopping also at the WH

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View from Washington Monument to the Capitol

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Visiting Abe

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Looking towards DC from Arlington, VA

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After enjoying two days at DC (we´ll be back), we headed to DCA for the short flight to LGA. Our Lyft dropped us right in front the (open-air) priority check-in counter where we could offload our baggage before entering the terminal. Really liked that setup

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Washington National Airport opened in 1941 and was renamed in 1998 to honour Ronald Reagan. This part however, National Hall which connects Terminals B and C, only opened in 1997. Currently this area is still landside but there are plans to introduce central security checks which would see the Hall become airside.

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TSA checks were swift and efficient (and way more friendly than I have experienced at any other US airport!), so we didn´t take long before arriving at the AA Airlines Club which is upstairs from the gate area and offers nice apron views

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A Delta MD88 being pushed back

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An American Eagle/PSA Airlines CRJ-700 preparing for departure. The Washington Monument in the background illustrates how conveniently close DC is from the airport

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No major delays this morning

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American Airlines flight AA2133 from Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) to New York LaGuardia (LGA)
April 2017
STD / AOBT: 09:00 L / 09:04 L
STA / AIBT: 10:24 L / 10:23 L
DUR: 1:19
Equipment: E190
Reg: N955UW
Personal flight #450
Seat 5F (Economy)

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We were sat in Main Cabin Extra, the first row after four rows Domestic First (1-2 layout), so had some more legroom. Our 9-year-old E190 flew for US Airways before, as did this A320 parked next to us

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2 JetBlue E190 with distinct tail liveries

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We had pushed back on time but it took 30mins until we were airborne due to heavy traffic. It was interesting to see how ATC aligned the waiting aircraft to make as much use of the limited space as possible

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Passing a Southwest 737-700

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Who’s first to depart, us or them? JetBlue was in this case

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After departing from RWY 1, we had a nice view of the Tidal Basin, the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument and the National Mall

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WWII Memorial, Washington Monument, the Ellipse and the White House

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AA Economy snack on the 1h flight to New York

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After an uneventful flight with a friendly crew we touched down on RWY 31 of LGA

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Taxiing to the gate with NY’s skyline in the back

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A United 737-700 in ‘Star Alliance’ livery being pushed back. LGA is being completely remodelled, so there are lots of construction sides, both land- and airside

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A PSA CRJ-200 about to be pushed back from a remote stand

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Our E190 parked at the gate at LGA

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Baggage was delivered quickly and we then took a Lyft to the Financial District. The ride offered nice vistas of Manhattan

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No visit to NY would be complete without a nightly stroll around Times Square

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We also ventured out to Harlem to see a different part of NYC

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Looking uptown from One World Trade Center in the last light of the day

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Inside the Oculus, the World Trade Center PATH station

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After some enjoyable days at NYC, we were back at JFK’s Terminal 7 for our flight back home. Checkin at the separate First Class counter was quick and we were then guided through security

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Terminal 7 is used mostly by BA and the only terminal in the US operated by a foreign carrier

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Our next stop was the Concorde Room

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JFK Concorde Room

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Light snacks on offer

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The Concorde Room dining area

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Concorde Room menu

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We only opted for a salmon starter

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And a raspberry mille feuille with ice cream

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5 BA flights to LHR in a window of just 2:15 hours

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Our 20-year-old 744 waiting at the gate 6

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British Airways flight BA176 from New York JFK (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR)
April 2017
STD / AOBT: 19:30 L / 19:48 L
STA / AIBT: 07:45 +1 L / 07:44 +1 L
DUR: 6:56
Equipment: B747-400
Reg: G-CIVJ
Personal flight #451
Seat 1A (First)

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Back in seat 1A

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The friendly and efficient crew quickly came and brought the amenity kit, PJ and a glass of Grand Siècle

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Relaxing and waiting for push-back

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BA’s IFE is not really state of the art, but mine didn´t even work in the beginning. Only after a few restarts and when up in the air, I was able to use it

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We pushed back with a slight delay and taxied to RWY 13R

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Shortly after take-off warm nuts and some more bubbly were delivered

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So at least I was kept entertained whilst my IFE was restarted again

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Then it was dinner time. As part of Alex Cruz’ cost saving agenda, BA has scaled down in First Class as well, no more amuse bouche. So I was handed my starter straight away: tuna with quinoa salad

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My wife had the chanterelle soup instead

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As main course, she went for the seabass with aubergine involtini

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Whilst I went for the beef with asparagus

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Well done that it wasn´t well done

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Some cheese to conclude the meal

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And a very yummy dessert: blueberry and lemon cheesecake

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After dinner the FAs quickly prepared the bed which I still find one of the most comfy ones in the sky

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We had asked to skip breakfast so we could extend our sleep as much as possible (on a 7h flight where you have dinner first). We woke up to this view of central London

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And touched down at LHR on time

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We arrived at terminal 5B and after saying good-bye to the Queen of the Skies at exactly 7:47am took the train to T5

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The Concorde Room was fairly empty on this Sunday morning

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We sat down in the dining area

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And ordered breakfast

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Poached egg with avocado

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And the classic Egg Benedict

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After some 2,5h at the Concorde Room we headed to the gate for our connecting flight back home

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British Airways flight BA904 from London Heathrow (LHR) to Frankfurt (FRA)
April 2017
STD / AOBT: 10:50 L
STA / AIBT: 13:30 L / 13:28 L
DUR: 1:38
Equipment: A319
Reg: G-EUPX
Personal flight #452
Seat 1A (Club Europe)

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Climbing out of LHR with a view of T3 where AA had 5 aircraft parked at the same time

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The cost cutting at BA is visible everywhere, on European flights Economy passengers need to get their credit card out if they want food or drinks whilst in Club Europe the food offering has also been ‘upgraded’. This sandwich and 4 slices of fruit were the lunch option, a bit sad

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Crossing the channel

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Approaching a grey FRA where a number of overseas airlines have a longer layover here and park their aircraft during the day after arriving early in the morning and before they depart again in the evening

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Timely touchdown on RWY 25L

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As we were taxiing to our stand, we came across this LH B747-8i which was ready to depart for … Dulles. Exactly the same flight we had taken a few days ago

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We deboarded on an apron position and were bussed back to the gate

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This concludes my trip report, so what do we make of this trip? Lufthansa First remains one of my favourites (and the only product they can easily compete with Asian and Gulf carriers at the moment IMHO): the ground experience is fantastic, crews always convince with friendly and professional service, the seat is good in general though overall during this flight I was irritated by a few flaws (worn cabin, poor amenity kit, meal not available). But I´ll be back…

And BA? Well, it seems somewhat unfair to compare BA and LH First directly as many say BA First is the best business class on the planet (ok, in the meantime QSuites have arrived). I still greatly enjoyed the BA flight to LHR though as I knew what I could expect and what not. Decent food and a comfortable bed along with the efficient crew made it an enjoyable ride. So it all comes down to expectation management – I knew BA is not playing in the same league as LH in First Class, so I could still enjoy the BA experience without having to do comparisons all the time.

Thank you for reading this trip report. If you did like it, here are the links to my other trip reports:

2017
Lufthansa A350 Inaugural Flight MUC-HAM-MUC

2016
European Regionals (incl. CS100)
Round the world (Part 3): Arabic A380 Apogee (Etihad Apartment)
Round the world (Part 2): Skipping a day
Round the world (Part 1): a First Class start
Air Berlin across the pond – AB Y+ & C on DUS-MIA-DUS
A South American Teaser – LAN C 787 on FRA-MAD
Testing The Swiss Triple Seven In C FRA-ZRH-GVA

2015
Tudo Bom! - To Brazil In BA First & Club World
Lost In India – BOM-DEL-DOH-DME In AI+QR C
Meeting The Singapore Girls – ZRH-SIN-BOM In SQ C
At Putin’s Show Room - Maks Airshow 2015
New, Newer, Qatar Airways – A350, A380 & B788 In C
Siam Birds - Nokair & Bangkok Airways

2014
Quick Trip Across The Pond To NYC (SN & UA In C)
The Kim-Dom Calling-avgeek Heaven North Korea (P3)
The Kim-Dom Calling-avgeek Heaven North Korea (P2)
The Kim-Dom Calling-avgeek Heaven North Korea (P1)
Beijing And Back In C: LH A346 Vs. CA B773
A visit To Kingman & Mojave Boneyards With LX & LH
Northwest In Style - FRA-SEA-FRA In LH F (old)
Living The Dream(liner) – LAN FRA-MAD-FRA In Y

2013
Sleep Like An Egyptian:BRU-CAI-BKK-CAI-FRA In MS C
Endangered Species - A Weekend Trip To Russia (P2)
Endangered Species - A Weekend Trip To Russia (P1)

2008
The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF
 
User avatar
MarcoPoloWorld
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:37 am

Re: First Class East Coast Easter with LH and BA 747

Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:50 am

An excellent trip report... Wish I could travel like that all the time... But at least, I do try to pick jumbo/super flights whenever possible. Thanks for sharing!
 
Shuttle12T
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:34 pm

Re: First Class East Coast Easter with LH and BA 747

Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:54 pm

Great trip report, although I am incredibly hungry after reading it haha. It's such a shame to see BAs premium product being degraded in the way it is by a man that only seems to understand balance sheets and not passenger experience.
Don't miss a trip report: https://voyagereport.wordpress.com
 
User avatar
zolagola
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:34 pm

Re: First Class East Coast Easter with LH and BA 747

Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:31 pm

Thank you for your kind comments.

MarcoPoloWorld wrote:
An excellent trip report... Wish I could travel like that all the time... But at least, I do try to pick jumbo/super flights whenever possible. Thanks for sharing!


I also wish I could travel like that more often, but I´m grateful for the opportunity to do that once in a while. That keeps it a special occasion though. And like you, I try to include Jumbos whenever possible.

Shuttle12T wrote:
Great trip report, although I am incredibly hungry after reading it haha. It's such a shame to see BAs premium product being degraded in the way it is by a man that only seems to understand balance sheets and not passenger experience.


I´m hoping BA is learning fast - after they copied Ryanair for a while, maybe they will also copy their 'Always getting better' program and start improving customer experience again. We will have to see how much of the BA brand is left by then...
 
User avatar
CollegeAviator
Posts: 162
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:55 am

Re: First Class East Coast Easter with LH and BA 747

Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:00 pm

Living the dream!
Fantastic trip report, thanks very much for sharing. Amazing pictures to go along!

I recently booked my flight home from JFK to DEL on BA, quite amazing to see so many B747s depart within a few minutes of each other.

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