Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Route: New York - Dusseldorf
Date: July 2011
Two weeks after we came in by Continental we were on our way back to Germany. This time with a nonstop Lufthansa flight from EWR to DUS in Business Class. I was surprised how easy it was to get award tickets during high season.
This was one of the flights I usually do not like that much. You depart late afternoon and arrive very early next morning. It is difficult to catch some sleep, because it is so early and it is even more difficult to feel relaxed the next morning because you're inner clock says not 6:00 a.m. but midnight Eastern time. Also the flying times are often too short to get enough sleep.
We arrived early at EWR, checked in without any waiting time and went through security to the lounge. This lounge is mainly an SAS Business lounge with a small compartment for Senators and Star Gold members. The lounge is small and we were almost the first ones.
We killed time by having some snacks and enjoying the first German newspapers in two weeks. Lounge filled up and 25 min before departure DUS-bound passengers were asked to board. We entered the plane and ... surprise. Originally we had planned to fly as a party of three. One of us had to cancel the flight because of family problems so I flew only with my daughter. But after reservation it was quite difficult to find seats next to each other. And now? The Business section was totally empty. In the back part of the cabin 13 out of 36 seats were occupied. Two of those seats were occupied by award flyers and 5 passengers were on their way back to Israel, where LH sells tickets for really low prices. I think they lost a lot of money on this flight.
When "boarding completed" was announced, I went to the lavatory to get my PJ on. This time I had my LH F pyjamas from an earlier flight with me. Not many Business passengers do this, but I hate to sleep wearing "street clothes".
Then the next (bad) surprise came up. The captain announced that we were now leaving the gate, rolling to another position and have to wait there for about 45 mins. The flight time tonight would be so incredible short, and we would not be allowed to land in DUS before 6:00 a.m. because of noise regulations at this airport. I have had other flights from the east coast with Lufthansa and really did not like their way of service. It seemed to me that they did everything to keep passengers busy as long as possible.
But this time it was different. After some waiting on another position, we went back to our taxi way and took off very fast. After take off the usual drink, some pre-packed pretzels (hey, this is not US domestic coach, this is an international Business Class!). Meal service was real fast and efficient this time. As a starter my daughter had the tomato mozzarella and I opted for the stuffed salmon. No chance to try a bit of all the starters, you have to take what is pre-packed on your plastc tray. After the starter the plastic tray disappeard, they left the cheese and the cutlery and brought the main courses. My daughter took pasta (bad choice, totally overcooked) and I took chicken. The good thing about chicken is that you really cannot do anything wrong. My one was o.k. but nothing special. Some fruit for her, some cake for me and to my surprise in less than 1 1/2 h after take off the cabin lights went off and I found some sleep.
THIS was the service I expect. Short, acceptable quality and fast and efficient. I think this is important on eastbound flights.
One hour before landing I woke up and still got some breakfast. Typically German as I like it: rolls, cold cuts, some sweets like honey and nutella and an excellent coffee service. I got 4 cups within 20 minutes.
Touch down was at 6:05, immigration took only minutes and our luggage was not only tagged as priority, it came quite at the beginning.
Resume: This flight was as I expect it. However, I fear this was only possible because of the empty C cabin. When they are full, it will be like the many times before I flew with them from the east coast.