Nov 212013

Got to the airport, check-in was nice and easy, and the line for security and passport control were non-existent. So far, this was definitely the most modern and well-kept airport I’d seen in West Africa. It was clean, good facilities, and everything seemed to, for lack of a better word, work.  Wandered around for a couple of minutes, before heading to the lounge.

The lounge was a multi-airline lounge, and it looked like my Brussels Airlines flight would be sharing it with Air France tonight.  The attendant brought over a small plate of finger snacks, and offered me a drink.  It was warm, so I asked for a bottle of water…when she brought it, she asked for my lounge invite and marked it.  Seems you only get TWO drinks, and I’d used one of mine on a bottle of water.  Eventually she did say you could BUY more drinks if you wanted, but only two were included.  Why can’t Brussels and Air France pay for their business class passengers have drinks?  Poor image in my book.

There was one other major shortcoming for the lounge – a lack of outlets.  I’d arrived early and managed to get one to charge my phone, but many others were wandering looking for them.  I think there were a total of maybe 4 or 5 for the whole lounge.  Having consumed my water, free glass of wine…and another glass of wine I sweet-talked my way into, I decided to wander the airport for the 45 minutes left before boarding.  It grew old pretty quickly, and I decided to sit at a gate cafe and people watch.  You can’t really tell well in this picture, but those are discoball-studded silver stillettos.  I know that’s what I always wear to fly.  Wasn’t going to post this picture, but it also shows a bit how the airport is really rather nice as well.



Another shot of the gate area:



Soon, it was time to board,which was done through a jetway.  A rarity in west Africa!

Brussels Airlines flight 231
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (ABJ) to Brussels, Belgium (BRU)
Depart 22:50, Arrive 07:25, Flight Time 6:35
Airbus A330-300, Registration OO-SFU, Manufactured 2000, Seat 5K

On board, and welcomed with a flight of bubbly…and thanks to a friendly flight attendant a second.



The crew sprang into action less than five minutes off the ground, delivering the meal.  The flight was barely six hours, and they knew most people would want to maximize sleep.  The appetizer:


Unfortunately, no pictures of the main, I was too sleepy, but I do remember for the first time I found a Brussels Airlines main course tasty.  A few more glasses of wine, dessert, and I was out cold, only waking up 15 minutes before landing.  A solid five hours of sleep, so not at all bad!

Landed in Brussels on time, through immigration and security, and time to recaffeinate with Starbucks before boarding my connection.

Lufthansa Cityline flight 1o07
Brussels, Belgium (BRU) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Depart  09:30, Arrive 10:35, Flight Time 1:05
Embraer ERJ-190, Registration D-AECG Manufactured 2010, Seat 12F

Only Lufthansa would serve a full cold meal in a 45 minute flight!  Perhaps the more amazing thing about this flight was that half the plane was business class.  I’ve never seen the curtain moved so far back before!


Landing in Frankfurt from Brussels we had a remote bus gate. There was a guy in a Porsche with my name on a sign waiting to take me to the lounge for my connection. Apparently, this group of Chinese girls decided that must mean I’m someone famous so they rushed at me with paper and pen for autographs. I couldn’t resist writing: “To my biggest fan! <3 Jason.”  It was one of those awesome moments that (unusually for me) I felt I managed to come up with a witty response to.  Hey, it was probably my one time in life to be famous and I was going to milk it.

My ride to the lounge:



Spent a couple of hours in the lounge showering up, having a few glasses of bubbly, and catching up on work before having to board my flight back to DC.  There were three of us in the lounge headed to the same flight, and soon we were driven to the plane.

Lufthansa flight 418
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Washington, DC, Dulles (IAD)
Depart 13:10, Arrive 15:45, Flight Time 8:35
Boeing 747-8i, Registration D-ABYG, Manufactured 2013, Seat 3K

As per usual, welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly and some mixed nuts.  Kind of disappointed Lufthansa no longer does the macadamias and cashews as the standard.



Shortly after takeoff, an amuse bouche:



Soon, the table was set with a refill of champagne, and it was time for the main event:



Even the butter was classy:



First up, the caviar course.  Or in my case, courses.  As per usual I asked for and received a second helping.  It’s the one time I ever eat caviar, so I splurge.



Next up, the salad and appetizer trio, with lobster, paté, and some beetroot.



Somehow, the picture of the main is missing, but I remember it being quite good.  As you can see in the photo below, it went well with red wine, and the flight attendant insisted I have some port as well with the cheese:



…and finally, a glass of dessert wine and some dessert.  Yum!



….and to finish the gluttony, a couple of chocolates and a glass of Johnny Walker Blue, one ice cube:



…at which point I promptly passed out and slept in a food and wine coma for a good four hours, waking up just in time to do it all over again.  Lufthansa has “themed” the second meal, and this month’s theme was spanish tapas.  A cart with a variety of options to choose from.  The cured meats and roasted vegetables were tasty, as was as the melon it was paired with.  Overall, nice and different and tasty.



Of course, there was room for yet one more dessert:



Landed in Washington right on time, and a great adventure came to a sudden halt with a ride to immigration and customs in the infamous Dulles moonbuggys.  Ugh, PLEASE replace these things soon – they’re an embarrassment to DC!    Home to sleep, only to get ready for 4 weekends of travel coming up in a row thanks to the $10 United Mistake!

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