Adventures with Lufthansa and FTU Amsterdam – LH953 Birmingham to Frankfurt
- Would I like to speak at FTU? Umm. Yes!
- To the airport, LH953 Birmingham to Frankfurt (This section)
- An (un)expected extended layover
- LH996 Frankfurt to Birmingham (Business Class)
- The Park Inn Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
- Speaking at FTU Amsterdam
- LH997 Amsterdam Schiphol to Frankfurt Main
- What is the meaning of the words “Reasonable Connection” at Frankfurt?
- LH958 Frankfurt to Birmingham
- Learning goes both directions
Morning time again.
As the alarm went off at 6:30, I promptly ignored it till 7am. Considering my flight was boarding at 8:30, that wasn’t the best idea in the world. However, I dragged myself out of the flat, and over to the road where a bus was a minute away.
Lightweight travel? Check!
There are some advantages living next to a main corridor into the city.
The bus deposited me outside New Street Station, where I walked over to the entrance, and paid the £3.50 ticket to get to Birmingham Airport.
Birmingham New Street Station… still being rebuilt…
This being peak time – as well as a London train service, the platform and train was rammed solid. It’s to be accepted as this train would had arrived in London by 9:20, calling at the Airport and Coventry (so very much a commuter shuttle).
Waiting for the next train…
Still, the train got me to the airport for 8am – perfect timing to clear security and through to the gate.
If it wasn’t for the shuttle train that had been downgraded to one train per four minutes instead of two minutes.
I could feel something wasn’t right today.
The train arrived, and it was a short ride to the airport terminal. From there it was straight through to security.
Whilst the queues weren’t long, they the security staff were processing people at a fast rate. My turn came, and within about 15 minutes – I was airside.
From there, it was a matter of not dawdling around – and heading straight for the gate, with the clock ticking down to boarding.
Heading to the gate, Birmingham Airport was full of its mixed traffic as usual – the morning business flights were all set for departure, with the leisure traffic ready to take up the slack of the day.
My concern was getting to the gate – with my plane at the far end of the expanded International wing… again.
Although you do get to see this beauty of a model on the way. That won’t fit in the flat I suspect.
Heading to the gate, it was open, and preliminary boarding was in process.
What you call good timing is the the term I belive.
Meanwhile, the gate systems at Birmingham Airport need a reboot.
By the time I was cleared, main boarding had begun – so I took my chance to grab a picture of the plane, and then head down the jetbridge.
The bird of the day. With fricking Sharklets. But no lasers. Dr Evil wouldn’t be happy.
LH953 Birmingham Airport – Frankfurt am Main Airport
Lufthansa Airbus A320 with Sharklets, Seat 24F, Economy Class
477 Miles Flown, 125 miles earned + 32 Executive Miles.
Heading down the jetbridge, it was the usual case of boarding the plane, and being welcomed by the crew. Well… not welcomed, more “greeted”. That sort of sums up this leg really.
Boarding in progress
I headed down the back of the plane to my seat in 24F towards the back of the bus, finding space for my main bag, and stuffing my own bag under my seat.
Speaking of the seat – this plane was fitted with the Lufthansa Neue Europa Kabine seats through the cabin. So, let’s have a look at the seat.
NEK Business Seat – Yes, it’s an empty middle seat! Fun!
NEK seat in economy – one seat only.
The legroom is actually rather good, with the thinner seat providing the promised extra room.. however the seat itself is akin to sitting on a thinly paddled leather bench… fine for short legs, not very good for medium haul routes (which Lufthansa A320 family planes sometimes get rostered onto).
The cabin itself was very new – well the plane is quite new as this plane features Airbus Sharklets on it.
Boarding did take some extra time – even when the crew announced boarding was complete, people were still finding locations for their stuff.
Meanwhile the plane was prepared for departure, and it seems the cabin wasn’t secure as the plane pushed back… as there were still passengers in the aisle trying to find space for their luggage.
A few people were unsteadied by the movement of the plane during pushback, but they were rushed into their seats by the crew who were still buttoning up the cabin
Yup. This was the state of the plane during pushback.
Personally, I wasn’t overly comfortable with the crew at that point. If they couldn’t manage a basic thing like getting everyone sat down and secured before the plane departed the gate, what other chaos were they capable of?
However, by the time the plane begun its main taxi, the crew had settled the plane down, and begun the safety briefing
Note the electronics changes.
Although the safety card is an improvement.
With a quick taxi around the tarmac at Birmingham Airport, our plane lined up, and took the the sky.
The cabin during climb.
Service begun soon after climb out with a choice of a cream cheese sandwich or a chocolate filled croissant. Hmm. I opted for the croissant.
The tray deployed
Meanwhile the plane had begun to cross the channel, with some wonderful sights.
I’m not moaning about this sort of view in the end of November. Not at all.
Drinks followed, with me going for a coke. Because. Well. The more things change as they say.
Clean up was pretty quick as the cabin was cleared down during this short trip to Germany. Meanwhile outside, the views were still impressive.
I love the Rhine in this shot.
The sharket looks good in this too. Even better for fuel savings…
The cabin was pretty settled as the plane begun vectoring in for Frankfurt. More rubbish runs were carried out to prepare the plane for landing.
With the undercarriage deployed, it was time to relax into the landing. Three minutes later, and with a gentle bump, our A320 made it to the ground safely.
With the plane safely on the ground at Frankfurt, there is an inevitability – a long taxi, and a bus gate. Frankfurt Airport didn’t disappoint in the least.
Heading for a hard stand… lots of flying cranes…
Our plane finally found a nice parking spot at a hard stand, and the seatbelt signs were extinguished. With that, every man and his dog raced to get off the plane. Being at a hard stand, both exits were in use as everyone headed for the buses.
Overall: I worry about carriers. This is one of those occasions where I really worry. The service itself was appropriate to the flight, but is this the best Lufthansa can come up with in terms of in-flight safety? I’m not honestly sure.
Next: An (un)expected layover… or “What twit books a 45 minute connection at Frankfurt and expects to make it?”
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