LH959 Birmingham Airport to Frankfurt Airport
A Change of Scenery
In this adventure
- Well, 2020 is turning out to be a fine year for travel…
- Travel preparations
- Off to Birmingham Airport
- LH959 Birmingham to Frankfurt-am-Main International
- Entering Germany
- Frankfurt Airport XXL Tour
- Into Frankfurt
- Hotel: Mercure Hotel City Messe, Frankfurt
- Exploring Frankfurt in these odd times
- Back to FRA
- LH954 Frankfurt to Birmingham
- Welcome back to the UK
- A welcome change
LH959 Birmingham Airport – Frankfurt Airport
LH959 – Birmingham Airport to Frankfurt-am-Main International Airport
Operated by Lufthansa, Airbus A320neo
Seat 8A, Economy Class
477 Miles Flown, 124 Award Miles Earned 50 Status Miles Earned
Editors note: That’s one mile less than the old base mileage you used to get on a Lufthansa fare. The very nerve…
Heading down the jetbridge, there was an attempt at physical distancing made – although not the best in the world.
On boarding the aircraft, I was greeted by the cabin crew who handed me a sanitation wipe (as they did for every customer). A nice touch to see in these times.
I headed to row 8 and gazed at the joy of the Lufthansa Neu Europa Kabin in front of me. These seats are the older generation Recaro seats and are reasonably comfortable – if starting to age now (compared to the newer seats going into the Lufthansa A320neo fleet).
Whilst I was negative about the NEK seats to start with, compared with other products out there… it’s pretty reasonable these days. I’m not sure if that is the state of the seating market we’re in, or that big comfy seats are a thing of the past…
Settling into the seat, its not that bad – with reasonable legroom and seat width.
With my bag in the overhead bin, I watched the remaining passengers board – and board they did. I’ll note at this point that every passenger had a mask on, and people were keeping them on during the flight.
Boarding was completed quickly enough and the plane was buttoned up for the passengers.
The safety demonstration was carried out manually (as the aircraft does not have any screens installed). As this was carried out, the aircraft pushed back from Birmingham AIrport to begin its journey.
With the safety demonstration complete, it’s normally a good time to check the safety card.
The aircraft began its taxi around the airport – and it was interesting to see how quiet Birmingham airport was.
All carriers being concentrated around the International Pier – including Ryanair (who used to occupy the Europier with defunct carrier Flybe).
This pandemic has hurt airports and airlines way too much – as I would discover much later on.
We taxied out of the terminal area, following a Jet2 Boeing 737-800. The aircraft taxied down the runway extension and waited for a few minutes.
Eventually, the A320neo turned for the runway. The engines spooled up and propelled the aircraft into the sky.
With the cloud cover rather low, the aircraft climbed into the morning sky, leaving Birmingham behind.
The aircraft climbed to its cruising altitude, where a welcome message was announced, as well as a request to keep masks on except when eating or drinking.
That was also the cue for the inflight service to commence.
Now, short-haul food and beverage service aren’t much to write home about, with a half sandwich being the traditional catering item on a segment this length. However, it seems even that has been cut down to an abbreviated service.
In terms of drinks, all passengers were offered a “normal” (500ml) bottle of still mineral water. This was followed by a tea or coffee service. No other beverages were offered, and certainly – no sign of a half sandwich.
There’s nothing wrong with the service (I’ll be honest – the full bottle of water was more than a welcome surprise on this segment – I’ve only seen full bottles previously offered in Premium Economy and above.
As for the lack of food – well, 1 hour and 15 in the air isn’t that long.
Meanwhile, this was the perfect time to check the in-flight entertainment and onboard Wi-Fi situation. For a new-ish plane, I’d expect Wi-Fi provisioned over EAN (European Aviation Network) to being installed.
The darkness of the morning turned into daytime, with clouds covering the way until our aircraft approached Frankfurt.
On decent, we were asked that upon arrival, all passengers must be seated, even when we pulled up at the gate, and that we would be called in groups of rows to exit the aircraft.
It seems the airline is hell-bent on its management of people during this time – and that’s a good thing, to be honest, with some freer spirits wanting to jump up to the overhead bin the moment the aircraft lands (we’ve all seen it…).
With ease, the A320neo turned and descended to its home base.
The Airbus A320neo touched down firmly, ending my first flight in the best part of eight months.
With the aircraft on the ground, we began a long taxi around the field. Eventually, our aircraft headed towards the terminal building, and the A piers.
It seems that even amid the quietest period of traffic for some time, Lufthansa/Fraport wanted to give everyone a free bus ride around the airport.
The A Piers. Get ready for bussing.
Eventually, our aircraft pulled up at the gate, parking next to a Lufthansa Airbus A319.
With the engines powered down, you’d normally expect people jumping up to grab their items – but this time, it seems that passengers listened to crew advice and stayed in their seats. Miracles do happen sometimes.
There was a delay as the bus arrived and the airstairs were connected. Eventually rows 1-9 were released to disembark the aircraft.
I grabbed the rucksack and thanked the crew, heading for the waiting bus.
I’m not sure what I expected when I boarded this flight. What I got was a professionally, if limited product being delivered to get passengers from A to B. Whilst there are some things that would had been nice to see (for example, an Internet connectivity solution), it seems that it is possible to conduct a limited service onboard an aircraft with ease at this time.
I would like to see this improved as time goes along – but for now, its better than nothing.
Apart from being parked at a gate and being bussed over to the terminal, that is.
Next: Into Germany.
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