I’m currently in Vienna, Austria touring the city. Yesterday was my first day here and I visited the city and all the main museums. Today I spent the day at the Schönbrunn palace and later the evening in Prater. While I’m only here until Friday, so far I’ve had a lot of fun (and by that I mean drinking many Viennese Melanges and eating Wiener Schnitzels daily).
I will have a full report later but I just wanted to share some thoughts initially:
1. Vienna is clean, very clean. I don’t think I’ve seen a single piece of garbage anywhere.
2. It’s expensive. Coffee cost me 8€ and the schnitzel 18€, I don’t think i’d pay for that at home, but hey if I’m here I might as well…
3. There’s too many places to see! There are so many museums and attractions and I’m having a hard time deciding which ones I should go to.
4. There’s millions of tourists. The main places and museums are super overcrowded and there’s no way to get by or to speed up walking.
But overall I’m loving the city so far, so I will leave you guys with a few pictures:
Frankfurt (FRA) – Katowice (KTW)
05 July 2014
A Boeing! A Boeing! No way! This route is almost always operated by a CRJ700 (as seen here and here), so I was very excited that we’d be flying a “normal” sized aircraft to Katowice. The bus ride to the remote stand took ten minutes and boarding was one hell of a mess. I don’t see why people always need to rush, it’s not like the airplane has open seating.
I had one sprite in the Welcome Lounge and decided it was time to leave, as the lounge itself wasn’t very appealing and there were no tarmac views. Upon exiting the lounge, I took an escalator up to the departures level and immediately noticed the big, beautiful old-style departures board.
These are so cool! Especially when you get to see one “flip”, only a handful of airports around the world have them, so it is something to really appreciate when you see one.
There was no line for the premium security queue and I made it airside about five minutes after leaving the Welcome Lounge. There were a couple of lounges I could use, but the best one seemed to be Lufthansa’s new Senator Lounge in the new Pier A plus. You can access the Senator Lounge either with a Star Alliance Gold card or with First Class travel on any Star Alliance member airline.
The past couple of days have been sad among the aviation community and especially for the families of the passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight 17. We now know for sure the aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile utilised by the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Despite them covering it up as best as they can and trying to deny it, there’s even a recording of them taking about it and admitting they’ve done it. Not only that, they’ve stolen the black boxes and sent them to Moscow for “investigation” and have blocked investigators’ and paramedics’ access to the remains of the aircraft.
Personally, for me, the past couple of days haven’t been all that great. I have not been able to sleep at all. I lie there all night in my bed and I just can’t stop thinking about all of those 298 passengers and crew that perished for no reason. I can’t stop thinking about the last moments they had on the plane. They didn’t know boarding that plane would end their life. Not only that, I think about their families and what pain they must feel, one woman lost family members in both catastrophes; this one and MH370 in March.
When I first learned about the crash, I was completely in shock, because it had just happened. I literally got back from having a coffee with a friend and learned about the accident, it just felt so surreal. I can clearly picture myself laughing and talking with my friend about pointless things and I can’t stop picturing in my head that during that time, when I was having a laugh, innocent people were killed.
While my initial post about the catastrophe was brief (because I was in a total state of shock), I’d like to take the time to reflect over a couple of things:
A Malaysia Airlines flight flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has been shot down over Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists
The flight was carrying 295 passengers and crew, none of which survived the tragedy. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is absolutely terrifying, especially to the citizens of the countries. Over the recent weeks, there have been reports of several aircraft being shot down by pro-Russian separatists. Most major airlines have now issued statements saying they will avoid flying over the Ukraine-Russia war zone.
The crash feels so surreal to me because this afternoon I was having a coffee whilst visiting a friend at my favourite travel agency in my hometown in Poland and we were having a laugh about some stupid things, none of which now matter. But when I look back at the hour of the crash, I can picture myself exactly what I was doing, it just feels very surreal. Unfortunately there have been graphic images from the crash circling on Twitter which have made me feel uneasy.
Miles. Points. Frequent Flyer Programmes. Nothing matters in this case. The crash shows us how fragile life is and that the most important thing is our life and our families. Nothing else. We can never be sure when our life will end. Please take the time tonight to give an extra hug to your loved ones and please remember that life is very fragile. We pray for the passengers and the families of those on flight 17.
After landing in Frankfurt, we were driven to the terminal in buses given the plane parked at a remote stand (which is usually the case with the Seattle flight); at least we drove by some beautiful birds on the way to Terminal 1.
Seattle (SEA) – Frankfurt (FRA)
04 July 2014
After spending around an hour in the Club International lounge, I headed over to gate S12 where it seems like the Airbus A340 had just pulled in. Nevertheless, boarding was still somehow done on-time and there were no delays.
About 10 minutes before the scheduled boarding time, the Lufthansa agents began “organising” the boarding queues. There was one line for First Class, Business Class, and Star Alliance Gold and the other line was for Economy Class (which was separated into three “sub-lines”).
I woke up rather early at 07:00, the flight was supposed to leave at 13:35 and we made it to the airport at 11:38. My parents decided they wanted to come along and say goodbye (as they’re not going to see me for two months) at the airport (and I think they also wanted to see the efficient German check-in process with Lufthansa). I did some last minute packing in the morning and we were off.
They usually drop me off and then leave, however this time considering I had two large bags weighing 32kgs each, we decided to park and walk to the terminal.
Lufthansa’s check-in in Seattle is located all the way at the end of the terminal (which is also where other international airlines have their check-in). There were four lines for check in:
- First Class/Star Alliance Gold
- Business Class/Star Alliance Silver
- Economy Class
- Baggage Drop off (for online check-in)
Even though I was flying Business class, I used the First Class check-in line considering I’m Star Alliance Gold.
Club International Seattle
Lufthansa 491 Business Class Seattle – Frankfurt
Lufthansa Welcome Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Senator Lounge A (Schengen) Frankfurt
Lufthansa 1356 Business Class Frankfurt – Katowice
Like almost every summer and Christmas, I return home to Poland to visit all of my family and friends. I just finished my first year of university, so I deserve a long holiday and some time off. I also plan on travelling around Europe this summer as much as I can. I usually take the Lufthansa flight out of Seattle to Frankfurt and onward to a Polish city (usually Kraków or Katowice).
I originally purchased the flight in September 2013 in Lufthansa Economy S class. I used Miles&More miles to upgrade the flight both ways and surprisingly the upgrades confirmed a couple of days after I requested them. The Seattle – Frankfurt flight is usually a very easy flight to book an award seat on, considering the flight is rarely 60% full. I would’ve booked the flight using miles directly in Business class however I had a Lufthansa 20% savings certificate to use, which ultimately made the cost of the flight less than the taxes and fees imposed by Miles&More.
The routing was as follows (SEA-FRA-KTW):
I’m currently jet-lagged writing this post at 4 in the morning from Europe, so if something seems off, just let me know I just finished my trip report to Mexico City (which I hope everyone enjoyed) and a couple of things have happened over the past two weeks which I thought I would update you guys on:
- I flew back home to Poland in Lufthansa Business Class (trip report soon)
- I finished my first year of University
- I joined Prior2Boarding!
This post is mainly about the third point on the list. I am now a member of the Prior2Boarding community which features some of the best travel bloggers on the internet!
Link to the Prior2Boarding home page
Prior2Boarding was developed by the same team which founded BoardingArea, FlyerTalk, FlyerGuide, MilePoint, etc. I was given the opportunity to join the community of bloggers at Prior2Boarding by its founder, Randy Petersen. Randy is the mastermind behind all of the Frequent Flyer Services and is an expert at all things travel, miles and points; he is also seen as the godfather of our community (and perhaps obsession for points).