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…
Once I re-checked my bag all the way to Kraków (the agent in Innsbruck told me it would be best to just claim it in Vienna and re-check it), I cleared security and oddly enough they were weighing carry on bags before entering the security area. One guy told me to go and weigh the bag (as they had scales) while another agent working at the scale saw my *Gold tag and told me she doesn’t need me to weigh my Rimowa.
All of Austrian’s lounges are in one “lounge” area, where there are some other non-airline lounges also.
Like Lufthansa, Austrian operates three types of lounges:
- Business Lounge (SA Business Class, Star Gold)
- Senator Lounge (SA First Class, Star Gold)
- HON Circle Lounge (LH, LX First Class, HON Circle)
On account of my Gold Status, I was invited to use the Senator Lounge.
After landing on Friday afternoon on a very warm and sunny day in Innsbruck, I took a cheap bus from the airport to my hotel. As with Vienna, since I don’t have any hotel points nor am I into hotels at all, I booked a cheap hotel for $50 USD/night on Expedia.
After spending three days in Vienna, it was time to fly to Innsbruck. Originally I didn’t plan on flying to Innsbruck and therefore I didn’t know how I would end up flying. Since I didn’t want to waste miles for such a short flight, I decided to book it as a revenue fare which ended up being EUR ~100 for Economy K class. Given the flight was just under 40 minutes, there was absolutely no point to be in Business Class nor waste the money/miles for it.
Vienna (VIE) – Innsbruck (INN)
Bombardier Q400 (DH4)
25 July 2014
The flight was operated by one of Austrian’s DH4 aircraft which they use primarily on short haul routes within Europe and within Austria. Given the aircraft is so small, we would of course be driven to it by bus.
My Rimowa Cabin trolley had to be left outside by the aircraft since the overhead bins are so small you literally can’t fit anything inside of them.
I arrived in Vienna on Monday night and I was leaving to Innsbruck on Friday morning, meaning I had just three full days to visit all of the attractions in Vienna. I initially shared my first thoughts here while I was in the city, and now I will share some more pictures and the places I visited.
On the first day in the morning I went to the Belvedere and I found both the Upper and Lower Belvedere to be very beautiful along with all of the captivating gardens which separate the two buildings.
Frankfurt (FRA) – Vienna (VIE)
21 July 2014
As previously expressed here, I might have not had the best first impression of Austrian. I’m sure they are a great airline, it’s just that they do things differently than Lufthansa and they don’t do things that I would’ve expected them to do.
After my five and a half hour connection in Frankfurt, it was finally time to go to the gate and I arrived just as they were about to begin boarding.