Jan 052014

I had booked this ticket as a one-way United award many months prior, using US Airways to Frankfurt and then Lufthansa to Malabo on miles in business.  Fortunately, the day before, Lufthansa freed up first class award space across the ocean AND onward to Malabo, so a quick call and I was all set!  The routing was a bit out of the way, but it would be a longer flight so hopefully I’d get more sleep, plus my first chance to fly the Lufthansa A380 in First.

Got to the airport at the crack of dawn, as was surprised to see this jolly old soul in the gate area, handing out gifts:



US Airways flight 2047
Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota (MSP) to Charlotte, NC (CLT)
Depart 6:35, Arrive 10:15, Flight Time 2:40
Airbus A319-100, Registration N713UW, Manufactured 1999, Seat 2A

Was one of the first to board, and there was an incredibly light load in first today – only 4 of 12 seats taken – while economy was nearly full.  Can’t say I can remember a flight like that in over 10 years….as boarding was finishing, guess who got on to make some announcements…and then FLY THE PLANE!



Even the flight track app was in a holiday mood:


The flight itself?  Uneventful.  I snacked on biscotti since US Airways doesn’t serve food in first on flights under 3.5 hrs, and that was pretty much it.  THE END.

US Airways flight 1831
Charlotte, NC (CLT) to Miami, FL (MIA)
Depart 11:40, Arrive 13:48, Flight Time 2:08
Airbus A321-200, Registration N565UW, Manufactured 2012, Seat 3C

Pretty much see above.  Except of the 20 seats in first, 6 of them were occupied by kids from the same family…around 5-12 yrs old, while mom sat in coach.  They were spread around the cabin, and seems they’d bought the last 6 first seats at the last moment and there wasn’t a 7th left to buy for mom.  She actually OFFERED people in first cash to trade seats with her.  Very surreal….and nobody did.  That said, kids were behaved, and all went well.

Landed in Miami, my first time in the J Star Alliance terminal…and was nice how smooth and easy the transfer was.  Already had my boarding passes, spent the time in the LATAM lounge which was kinda meh, and soon it was time to board my A380!

Lufthansa flight 463
Miami, FL to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Depart 16:55, Arrive 8:00 next day, Flight Time 9:05
Airbus A380-800, Registration D-AIMI, Manufactured 2011, Seat 1D

I’d booked relatively late thanks to a last minute opening of first award space, and by that point all four window seats were taken, leaving the four seats in the middle open.  In the end it ended up not really being a big deal, because I was the only one in the middle section.  It stayed booked to 5 of 8 up until departure.  Best news of all?  First time in all my flights in Lufthansa first that they were pouring Krug as the champagne.  Way above their normal price point, and a much-appreciated Christmas treat!




I’m not going to comment too much on the meals.  I’ve posted loads of Lufthansa first meal reports here, but yes…two helpings of caviar, and the rest was pretty standard!






I absolutely passed out, and got a solid six hours of sleep, and felt really good in the morning.  So good, that the minute I got to the first lounge I polished off a huge breakfast of MEAT…and a lil salmon and coffee of course!


My flight was leaving from the gate directly down from the lounge, so boarding was a piece of cake for the continuation flight.

Lufthansa flight 562
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Abuja, Nigeria (ABV)
Depart 10:30, Arrive 16:30,  Flight Time 6:00
Airbus A330-300, Registration D-AIKO, Manufactured 2009, Seat 2K

The seats on the A330 are definitely a bit old school, but still perfectly nice for a daytime flight.  We were booked 5 of 8 again on this flight, with what appeared to be me, one other woman, and a guy and his two wives.


I was stuffed, but couldn’t resist a glass of bubbly.


The menu for both segments:


I ate a bit, but not much of the meal, as I was still stuffed from the lounge.  Watched movies most of the flight, and the 5:45 flight time went by pretty quickly.





When we landed in Abuja, 90% of the passengers got off leaving just me in first, three people in business, and maybe 20 left in economy.  It was going to be an extremely light flight to Malabo!

Lufthansa flight 562
Abuja, Nigeria (ABV) to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Depart 17:25, Arrive 18:55,  Flight Time 1:30
Airbus A330-300, Registration D-AIKO, Manufactured 2009, Seat 2K

Nigerian customs got on the plane, and started harassing the crew about the duty free and alcohol, claiming there were items that owed tax, etc.  Eventually it all got sorted, and they left so we could take off again.  A pic of Nigerian customs figuring out what they could try and get money for…of course they plopped down in first while they did it.


Light snack between Abuja and Malabo:



Sun setting as we approached Malabo:


Landing was right on time, and the big question was the visa.  The embassy in Washington had told me they were “not sure” on the visa but “if you need it you can probably get it there.”  Turned out I didn’t need one, everything went smoothly, and the adventure was about to begin!

  2 Responses to “Minneapolis to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on US Airways and Lufthansa”

  1. My understanding is that Americans are the only ones who can visit Equatorial Guinea visa free. I read somewhere that it had something to do with fostering the relationship of both nations due to the rich oil deposits found here. Otherwise, it is the second hardest Visa to get after Angola (allegedly).

    • Ray – this is true but I don’t know the reason about why Americans. Could be the oil companies, I don’t know. I hear it can be hard so I guess I lucked out on that one! Angola was definitely my hardest.

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