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A comfortable ride across the Atlantic

So, as I have mentioned earlier, I was supposed to go back to Norway January 20, but due to bad weather and maintenance issues with the aircraft, my flying got delayed so I had to postpone my return flight to Norway.

I first called United to see if I could change the return date to January 23, but that wasn’t possible due to my fare beingย  non-refundable (bought off a sale in October) I then tried to look up one-way tickets to Europe, which are not cheap. Not at all. United wanted over $2000 for a one-way ticket MCO-KRS – in ECONOMY!!! A definite no-no. So after being on the phone with United for 30 minutes, I hung up and called my lovely airline Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) who could give me an award ticket, booked with my miles. The agent was very friendly and found a route that suited me perfectly, with short layovers (at this point I just wanted to get home as quick and efficient as possible) At first he thought I needed a round trip (I didn’t specify I would only need a one-way ticket this time) so he gave me an offer, 40000 miles for a round trip in economy. I then said I only need the one-way, and he figured out I had enough points for a one-way in business. I wasn’t hard to convince, and soon I was booked in business all the way from Orlando, via Frankfurt and Oslo, to Kristiansand. 66000 miles and 256 NOK later, I got my ticket by e-mail. A smooth experience, and actually the first time I have redeeemed any of my frequent flyer points.

I returned my rental car at Sixt, was expedited quickly and took the shuttle to the terminal. I checked in using the First Class / Star Alliance Gold check in counter which had no line what so ever. Checked my two bags and headed for security where Lufthansa apparently doesn’t have a priority lane, which I found kind of weird. I got through it with about 10 minutes of waiting, and took the train over to the concourse where my plane would depart in about 2 hours.

Lufthansa doesn’t have their own lounge in MCO, but uses Delta’s Sky Club. Not a very big selection of snacks, but I guess it was late in the afternoon and not many flights departing. Plenty of seating areas, I had no trouble finding a place to relax before my flight. The bathrooms were very nicely decorated and furnished. I had some snacks, changed into my “I’m crossing the Atlantic at night”-attire (sports bra and a sweat shirt. On board the plane I changed into sweat pants) before the Lounge Dragons announced Lufthansa flight 465 to Frankfurt was ready for boarding, and that a Lufthansa representative would meet us in the lounge and escort us to the gate.

WARNING: Text is below the picture!!!

Delta Sky Club in MCO

Delta Sky Club in MCO

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We were then escorted over to the gate where boarding was about to start, but we were the first ones on board the Airbus 340-600 (registration D-AIHH) bound for Frankfurt. They used 2L for boarding and after I entered the cabin I took an immidiate left and found my seat, 8D.

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When boarding was announced completed, no one had claimed 08A/C so I moved over to the window seat and got the two-seater all by my self. I like to have direct aisle access on long haul flights, especially at night, but with no one in the C seat I was good to go with my window seat ๐Ÿ™‚

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A photo I snapped of the leg room in 08D before I switched seats

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Once in 08A, I was greeted by the purser with my last name (at first she thought Ms Larsen didn’t board since it was stated in her manifest that I would be sitting in 08D) but I gave her a hint that I just moved seats. She was very polite, and sort of apologetic. She hoped I had a good ground experience in MCO, which I confirmed, but my only complain would be no priority security. I was served a glass of champagne before take off.

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Once in 08A, this was my view of the forward business cabin,

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On our way to lining up on 35L, ready for take off!

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MLB VOR was in our flight plan, but I thought we’d be cleared more direct. But no, we headed south to Melbourne after departure, then started our oceanic crossing from there.

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I was handed the menu for tonight’s flight.

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I went with the seafood salad as a starter, cod filet as main course and the chocolate for dessert.

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But first, time for some beer and nuts. Warsteiner glass bottled beer is a classic onboard Lufthansa in business and first class. Back in economy they serve it on a can.

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Seafood salad, probably the best dish in the entire meal. Crisp salad, hot roll and the prawns tasted fresh and delicious.

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Nothing left of the seafood salad ๐Ÿ˜€

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The cod tasted OK but the presentation lacked some I thought. Kind of sloppy.

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“Would you care for some chocolate, Ms Larsen?” How awesome, they said Ms Larsen to me throughout the meal service. Nice touch! The chocolate was heavenly!

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Time to get some rest! The old business class seats on board Lufthansa doesn’t recline 180 degrees. My biggest complaint with the seat, however, is the area around your feet when the seat is fully reclined. It reclines under the seat in front of you, and the space around your feet is very limited.

Never the less, I got 4 hours of sleep and woke up feeling pretty fresh and awake as we crossed in to European airspace. Breakfast service started 1,5 hours before landing.

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The breakfast platter consisted of some fresh cold cuts as well as an egg omelet and some potatoes. Fresh fruit, tea and OJ complimented the meal.

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Being greeted the best way possible by Europe: With an amazing sunrise

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Short final for 07L (new runway) in Frankfurt where we landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule. IMG_0804

D-AIHH parked by the gate after the flight. I disembarked through door 1L and headed straight for the lounge.

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Since I had some time until my flight to Oslo, I decided to go to the Welcome Lounge (outside of security) knowing that lounge has more showers than the business/senator lounges airside. Even thought it was kind of a long stroll from Terminal A, it was well worth it. Sophie the Frequent Flyer Bear liked it a lot too ๐Ÿ™‚

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Feeling refreshed after the shower, I headed to Terminal B where a bus gate awaited my next flight, SK4756 to Oslo. The flight was operated by LN-TUF, a Boeing 737-700.

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On board we were served sea bass. The chocolate for dessert was very sweet, but rounded the meal off nicely.

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Flying next to Denmark.

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North Jylland, Denmark.

I hate transferring international-domestic in Oslo, because I have to go through customs, recheck my bags and go through security again. But it was the only option available on award tickets that day so I just had to suck it up. My bags actually appeared early on the baggage belt with their priority tags, so I headed through customs, up to the departure level and got through security.

Now, remember the girl I met when I departed Oslo 1,5 weeks earlier? Well, guess who I met in the domestic terminal this Thursday afternoon? The same girl! What are the odds?!? We just accidentally bumped in to each other. She was headed to Bergen for the weekend. Our flights departed from the same area of the terminal so we found a place to sit until boarding started.

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This is the gate for my flight, SK221 to Kristiansand. You’d think it was the last helicopter out of Vietnam.

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I was one of the last to board and found my seat, 11F. Full flight, and all the overhead bins were full. I ended up with my carry on Rimowa under the seat in front of me, with my backpack on my lap and feet on the Rimowa (Sorry, my dear little suitcase)

We took of late, but at that point I didn’t care. To be honest, I fell asleep before pushback and didn’t wake up until we had started our descent into Kristiansand.

It was a very comfortable trip, though it cost me some miles, it was definitely worth it.

The service I received with Lufthansa was very good. They are upgrading their business class seats to something similar to what Swiss offers. I’m eager to try that product out, but for now it’s hit-or-miss if you get an aircraft with the new business class seats.

The meals were consistenly very good.

My only complaint is, as mentioned before, the lack of priority security in MCO for business class/ Star Gold passengers.

That’s all I have for now ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you enjoyed following along my trip home from Florida!

C

 

Frankfurt part 3

Now time for the pictures from the Visitor Terrace located on the upper level of Terminal 2 (just take the sky train from Terminal 1 and you’re there) It is accessible for anyone, you don’t need a boarding pass or anything to go there. Tickets are โ‚ฌ5 for adults and โ‚ฌ3 for students and children. You will have to pass through a security check so I wouldn’t recommend going there with baggage you intend to check in, just because the security check will take a lot longer…

Once you’re cleared, you have access to, I would imagine, an area that measures about 150 x 10 meters. It’s huuuge. And the view is spectacular. I let the photos speak for them selves… ๐Ÿ™‚

Starting the photo series with this overview shot from the visitor’s terrace. Lufthansa A380, B747-400 and one Etihad A330-200

Condor (German branch of Thomas Cook) 767

Two Condor 767, one is holding short of 25C

Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 – I’m lucky enough (or old enough) to have flown on this plane as a passenger. Legendary aircraft!

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

SAS MD-81 (SE-DMB) just arrived from Copenhagen as SK675

TAM 777 pushing back

Emirates Cargo 777 landing on 25L, Korean Air Cargo 747 and British Airways A319 taxiing to 25C, Condor 767 parked at the remote stand

Aeroflot, United, Lufthansa, US Airways and Delta Air Lines

United Boeing 767-400 with the Star Alliance paint scheme, just arrived from Houston, TX (I think?)

Lots of exotic birds in Frankfurt, including this 777 from Vietnam Airlines

Head-on with a Cathay Pacific 747

Kuwait Airways A340-300

Delta pushing back, destination possibly New York-JFK?

Delta 767 meets ANA 787

Needless to say my heart was beating so fast when I saw the 787 taxiing towards me, because they started putting some heavies to runway 18 for take off, instead of 25C that I was looking at. But it came towards me and my trip’s goal was fulfilled ๐Ÿ™‚

787 take off roll – the sound of it was amazing, and to see it lift towards the skies was incredible. One day, 787, I will PIC you!

Beacon-shot!

That’s all I have from the Visitor’s Terrace. After the 787 took off, I went to the Lufthansa Senator lounge by the A-gates, took a shower, had lunch and waited for my Copenhagen-bound flight with SAS later that afternoon. More on that later ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Frankfurt part 2

So I ended the last blog post by posting a picture of the 747-8 Intercontinental taking off.

After we parked by the gate (rather unusual experience for me, as I usually have flown in to Frankfurt with the MD-80 series which always means a remote stand and bus to the terminal) I proceeded through the A-terminal to the arrivals area. I didn’t check any bags so I continued straight to my hotel for the night which was the Hilton Frankfurt Airport. Pretty good hotel. Because I’m HHonors Gold I was upgraded to the executive floors with access to the executive lounge.

The lounge served snacks during the day, there was free WiFi for Gold members and all in all a pleasant stay. The breakfast in the lounge in the morning wasn’t too bad, but in Norway we are spoiled with pretty amazing hotel breakfasts, making it hard for other “ordinary” hotel chains (i.e not luxury brands) to compete with what I’m used to from home ๐Ÿ™‚

For โ‚ฌ130 I got a decent room, great location (5 minute-walk from the check in counters in Terminal 1) and a good nights sleep.
I’d definitely recommend this hotel to anyone needing a night near the Frankfurt airport.

More to comeย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Frankfurt part 1

I’m back from a wonderful trip to Frankfurt am Main, Germany. My intention with the trip was to fly a lot and spend time at various airports around Europe.

The trip started 06.00 am August 8, the day after my birthday. Good thing I hadn’t spend the whole night partying. Instead, I got a good nights sleep before my flights.
I was driven to the local airport, KRS/ENCN, Kjevik in Kristiansand by my dad ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s not a very big airport, just one runway and not very busy. Some daily flights to Oslo, and some other Norwegian cities, as well as a Widerรธe flight to Copenhagen and a KLM Cityhopper to Amsterdamm. In addition, there are some charter flights throughout the year to various tourist destinations in Europe.

SK208 to Oslo was my flight and was operated by SAS and a WiFi equipped Boeing 737-800. We took off before schedule and landed almost 20 minutes early. I was served a light breakfast meal during this flight.

In Oslo, I had a good 3 hours until my flight to Frankfurt. That time was spent in the Scandinavian Lounge in the international terminal, having some more breakfast (that little roll I was served on the plane wasn’t much) and surfing the web on my iPad. After a while, a friend of mine texted me, saying he was also in Oslo airport, so I went out of the lounge, met him and brought him back in with me into the lounge, because I can bring one guest with my Star Alliance gold card (if the guest is flying SAS, Widerรธe or partner, or a Star Alliance member the same day, which he was)

LN-TUJ, my plane to Frankfurt

Notice anything special with the runway markings in Norway? ๐Ÿ™‚

Boarding was announced, and I walked to the gate. No upgrade this time, but the two seats next to me were unoccupied which was nice. This flight, SK4755 was operated by a Boeing 737-700 with retrofitted winglets which look amazing on that aircraft if you ask me ๐Ÿ™‚ SAS intra-european economy is a pretty boring experience, free coffee and tea, but other than that you have to purchase food and snacks from their “CloudShop” I went for the cranberry muffin (30 NOK = 5 USD) to go with my free cup of tea.

We landed early in Frankfurt on runway 25L, and we had to taxi all the way around the departure end of runway 25C, where I witnessed the Boeing 747-8i taking off! WOW! What a start to my trip to this busy airport.

This is all I have for you tonight! More pictures will be uploaded soon and I will also include some text on what it was like for me to watch the 787 take off for the very first time.

Cecilie

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