Frankfurt (FRA) – Seattle (SEA)
27 August 2014
After two long “investigations” of my personal belongings, I realised that I didn’t even have time to go to the Senator Lounge and relax a little, so instead I headed straight to the gate, Z25. I was super excited the day before when I found out the flight would be operated by Lufthansa’s new Business Class. Generally the not so popular Lufthansa routes do not get the new product often (once or twice a week) so I was quite lucky to have been on the only new Business class flight to Seattle that week.
The boarding process was kind of a mess… it seemed like half of the people had “SSSS” on their boarding pass written above their name instead of “API OK”. Basically when you tried to board, the gate beeped and you needed to see an agent so that they could manually verify your passport information and then reprint you a new boarding pass with “API OK” written. I was among the last people to board the flight since there ended up being a huge line for the manual verification and then of course something else had to go wrong… Once past all of the paperwork, I was finally able to board.
I boarded through door 1L and turned right into the First Class cabin, it was empty, and then continued all the way to the last row of Business Class to my seat, 16K. My original seat was 4K, however I saw online that I would have a seat mate and decided to switch to another seat so that I could have two seats to myself. Once I sat down, I realised how comfortable the new seats are, you can actually adjust most things about the seat like their firmness, height, etc.
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It is made from metal and it is so freaking cool! My newest card is a Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card and the card itself is a damn beauty. When I applied for the card, I was originally denied because I already had a maximum amount of credit from Chase on my United MileagePlus Explorer Card, however since I really wanted the Sapphire Preferred, I agreed to close the United card in favour of the Sapphire Preferred. Most of the benefits with the United Card like Priority Boarding and Free Bags I have through my Star Alliance Gold status, so there was no reason for me to keep the card and the annual fee was coming up.
The card’s minimum credit line is $5k dollars because it is issued as a Visa Signature and that is the minimum limit for Signature cards.
Sign up bonus:
- 40k Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3k in the first three months
- 5k points after adding an authorised user
The Sapphire Preferred comes with the following benefits:
- 2 points for every $1 dollar spent on travel and dining
- 1 point for every $1 dollar spent on everything else
- 1 point equals 1 mile when transferring to Frequent Flyer/Guest programmes
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Chip and Signature enabled
- 20% off of travel booked through Chase
- Direct Access to Customer Service Specialists (not pressing any buttons)
Katowice (KTW) – Frankfurt (FRA)
27 August 2014
After leaving the lounge, I proceeded to the departure gate, 14, where it sort of looked like this:
You have got to love European boarding Just like in Kraków, there are no aprons and instead you are transported to the aircraft by bus. They were also doing the old style boarding where they rip your boarding pass and give you the little piece left.
The flight was operated by one of Lufthansa’s Boeing 737-500 aircraft with just three rows in Business Class.
The journey began with leaving the house around midnight and arriving at the airport around 4 in the morning for the flight to Frankfurt which was scheduled to depart around ~5:30. Katowice Airport is much farther from my house in Poland than is Kraków Airport, the only reason I was flying out of KTW is because when I had booked the flights, there was no morning flight to Frankfurt. Eventually, they did open a morning flight from KRK-FRA but that was after my itinerary was finalised so I was unable to change anything without some sort of penalty.
Katowice Airport is generally a nice airport to fly out of given that it is positioned far away from a major city which means the airport can accept aircraft 24/7/365 without any major interruptions. There are two terminals, A (Non-Schengen) and B (Schengen), there is a newly opened Business Lounge in terminal B.
Katowice Airport Business Lounge
Lufthansa 1363 Business Class Katowice – Frankfurt
Lufthansa 490 New Business Class Frankfurt – Seattle
My “Random” Selection
After a very long, and somewhat wet European summer, it was time for me to return to America for my second year of university. I was very lucky enough to fly Lufthansa’s New Business Class from Frankfurt to Seattle on the A330. Given that there are only three A333′s with the new Business Class (and First Class) operating out of Frankfurt, I’d say I was pretty lucky; especially taking into consideration that the Frankfurt-Seattle-Frankfurt flights rarely get the new product.
I flew Lufthansa’s old Business Class in July from Seattle to Frankfurt and found the seat somewhat uncomfortable but the service was excellent. This time both the seat and service were fantastic and I was able to get a good six or so hours of sleep.
I put the word randomly in quotes for a reason which I will explain shortly. Yesterday I flew Lufthansa’s new Business Class from Frankfurt to Seattle and while the onboard experience was top notch (as is the case almost always with Lufthansa), my experience on the ground both in Frankfurt and Seattle left me somewhat speechless and angry at nobody else but the American government and their ridiculous ways and methods of trying to “prevent” almost anyone or anything from entering the country.
I landed in Frankfurt from Katowice on time and, as always, went to Lufthansa’s WorldShop to buy something (this time a model B747). After that, I headed for the security checkpoint to enter the “Z” concourse which is where flights to the US leave in terminal 1. I walked up to the line for First/Business Class and showed the guy my passport and my boarding pass and without even checking anything or scanning the boarding pass he tells me that I’m randomly selected for additional screening. He then scanned my boarding pass and told me to wait for someone that would take me for this additional screening. After the other guy arrived (not an officer, just an employee), he told me to follow him and I told him I fly though this airport so many times and I’ve never been selected for anything and I also told him I’m a member of Global Entry. His english wasn’t very good but he told me “Yeah.. we [Frankfurt airport] don’t live up to the standards of others… you should fly though Munich or Dusseldorf next time”. As a worker at the airport, he actually told me FRA doesn’t do a good job in passenger service… He’s absolutely right since the non-airline ground service in Frankfurt is well… horrible, the fact that he actually admitted it and told me to fly through other German airports is hilarious. He then brought me to passport control which took all of thirty seconds and then took me to a special security line which I think was for crews.
It Depends. Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer to the question above, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on whether it is worth paying for (or paying for an upgrade to) Domestic First or Business Class. Since our hobby widely varies based on airline, alliance, etc, it really depends on all the factors that make up the flight. Generally speaking there are a couple of things that are important when it comes to even thinking about paying for Domestic First/Business Class (or paying for an upgrade):
- How long is the flight?
- What type of aircraft is being used? (what are the seats like?)
- What airline is it and does the airline have a good hard and soft product?
- What is the price difference?
- Is there a good way to use miles for the flight?
Now, of course, there are probably hundreds of other different questions you could ask yourself – but it all depends on the scenario. To make things simple, I’ve decided to use United as an example.
Domestic First Class (SEA-LAS-SEA)
Frankfurt (FRA) - Kraków (KRK)
27 July 2014
I love the Lufthansa flights from Germany to Poland given they tend to always be so empty that I get a whole row to myself. This particular flight had six people and four rows in Business class, the fourth row was completely empty and the third had only two people – me and some lady. I would’ve taken seat 2A, but some couple had it reserved before I booked the flights.
As always, we were driven from the terminal to the A319 by a bus.
Vienna (VIE) – Frankfurt (FRA)
27 July 2014
Once I was full from eating both breakfast and lunch/dinner in the Senator Lounge, it was almost time to head to the gate for boarding. As the lounges are located away from all the gates, you have to give yourself at least five more minutes to walk from the lounges through the duty free shops to the gates.
Upon boarding we were greeted by the head flight attendant who was purely responsible for Business class. She was by far the most happiest and funniest flight attendant I’ve ever had on Lufthansa, considering she is from Barcelona and I speak Spanish, we spoke Spanish throughout the flight. It was quite funny as she spoke German, English, and Spanish to different passengers in the (100% full) Business class cabin and she remembered everyone’s names and what language to speak to them in.
It was rather a rainy day in Vienna…