May 312013

I’d been watching this flight for a few weeks leading up to it, and was incredibly disappointed it would be an old 747-400 on the day I needed to fly.  Not only that, but when I booked the only seats left in business were middle seats.  Mildly disappointing…I know….#firstworldproblems but still.  Since the flight was F6 and I didn’t see needing all my United systemwide upgrades, I decided to take the chance and have one printed for use on this flight.  Then, 48 hours before the flight, it was changed…to the new 747-800 and I had an aisle seat in the middle.  Score!  I began to question if I really wanted to upgrade, but of course, the chance to be spoilt won out!

When I got to Dulles, it was still F6, and upon checkin at the first class counter about 3 hours before flight time the upgrade was instantly confirmed.  Score!


First stop was the United First lounge for some snacks.  For once, I didn’t get trouble getting in being on Lufthansa and they let me in…only questioning why I’d want to use their lounge instead.  That said, it was time for a couple glasses of champers, and some of the delicious United First lounge shrimp cocktail!



About 75 minutes before the flight I hopped on the train, and headed back to the B terminal to wait out boarding in the Lufthansa senator lounge with a colleague.  Another glass of champers, a bit of phone charging, and soon it was time to board!


Boarding was on time, and soon it was onto the 747-800 for another fantastic Lufthansa First experience!

Lufthansa flight 419
Washington Dulles (IAD) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Depart 18:10, Arrive 8:15 next day, Flight Time 8:05
Boeing 747-800, Registration D-ABYF, Manufactured 2012, Seat 2K

First impression on boarding…wow!  They really made a huge difference in the first cabin.  It felt much more spacious and airy, and I instantly liked everything about it.  A couple shots of the seat and space:

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As you can see in the picture, the pre-flight drink is still served with macadamia nuts and the Lufthansa rose.  A classy touch, and I could already tell this was going to be a great flight!  In the end there ended up being 4 seats taken in the 8 seat cabin, and we departed right on time.  Meal service started about 15-20 minutes after takeoff (yes please, more champagne) and started with an amuse bouche:



Unfortunately, although I took pictures of the menu, they seem to have all been lost in the iPhone format I had to do last week.  I guess I’m lucky that the one group of pictures that was lost in between backups was the night I took a bunch of menu pics in my hotel room – lol.  I know it’ll disappoint here, but we’ll have to pretend we’re little kids and use our imaginations!  So, the placesetting for dinner:



I asked the flight attendant to go slow on the meal service since I wasn’t tired yet, and she was happy to space it out.  First up was the appetizer course, and she was happy to do the caviar and then the other appetizers.  I’ll also confess, there were two servings of caviar before I continued on to appetizers….



Soooo….just imagine the picture above repeated…and then we continued on to the “real” appetizers.  As part of the new Lufthansa First service, the appetizers no longer come on a three-tiered serving rack, but are presented side by side on a tray.  I like this presentation better actually, because it’s more meant for tasting all three and less for choosing (or being a glutton.)  That said, of course I tried all three.  Plus a small salad.  Oink!



Next up, the main event!



I swear I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was absolutely delicious.  Now…the big choice…cheese course (and if so, which ones) or dessert.  The lovely flight attendant made it easy on me….a small taster of each of the cheeses followed by dessert.  Hey, if you’re going to be a glutton you might as well go all the way!  Apologies for the quality of the cheese picture, there was a bit of champagne and wine involved by this point!

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By this point, I was fading fast, but the flight attendant wouldn’t let me get away without hanging my clothes (each seat has an individual hanging locker on the 747-800), changing into pyjamas, and having a couple chocolates.  Ok, if you insist!

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5 hours of great sleep, and the flight attendant (as I asked) didn’t wake me for breakfast, instead waking me just 30 minutes prior to landing…and offering breakfast anyways.  I took it as a sign, and had some museli.  It was absolutely yum!


Upon landing, waited for my colleague who was in business and we went over to the Lufthansa first lounge in the B gates.  Of course, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, so it was time for a champagne breakfast and a shower:



Made sure my colleague got a Lufthansa First rubber ducky along with the shower, and right before boarding we got awesome news…our connecting flight would be departing from a remote stand so we’d receive a car transfer.  He was absolutely blown away, and the number of pictures taken was really cute to see.  Next up, time for an intra-europe Lufthansa business experience.

Lufthansa flight 1300
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Istanbul, Turkey (IST)
Depart 13:00, Arrive 16:50, Flight Time 2:50
Airbus A321, Registration D-AISN, Manufactured 2008, Seat 10F

I’m not gonna dwell here, but a few interesting facts.  There were 12 rows of business on this A321….yes nearly 50 seats after you exclude empty middles.  10F was the place to be, because there’s no 10D, leaving you the only one in that row.  It was a great seat.  The meal wasn’t bad either…I love how Lufthansa still does bottled beer!


Bit strange that the meal came all wrapped up….


Looked better once you got the saran wrap off!



Other than that, there’s really nothing entertaining to say about this flight at all.  However, let’s talk Turkey….

I hate Istanbul airport.  With a passion…and I try never to use the word hate.  My feelings about it are THAT strong.  Walked forever to security, got frisked, scanned, waited, and eventually found our way past a construction pit to the overcrowded Turkish lounge.  It’s such a pity, because this is one of the best business class lounges anywhere….except for the hordes of humanity.  There’s also almost no power outlets anywhere.  So, although it has amazing food and decor, it still feels like Hell’s waiting room at times.  That’s all I’m going to say for now…I have pictures of it from the way back.   Lets get on the plane and get out of here.

Turkish Flight 1025
Istanbul, Turkey (IST) to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (SJJ)
Depart 18:45, Arrive 19:35, Flight Time 1:50
Boeing 737-700, Registration TC-JKN, Manufactured 2005, Seat 3B

This 737 had seen much better days.  Legroom was less than in US domestic first, and that’s saying something.  It was a short flight, however, and at least unlike lufthansa they were proper wide seats instead of this “middle seat free” nonsense.  The meal wasn’t half bad either…actually it was downright tasty as it usually is with Turkish!


Landed on-time, Turkish managed to lose my colleague’s bag, and our driver from the Hotel Bristol was waiting for us right outside immigration.  I’ll cover the hotel in the next part!

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