Lufthansa Airbus A380 Flight 400 Frankfurt to New York Review

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IN-FLIGHT SERVICE

A refreshing hot towel was followed by a choice of drinks and accompanied by a package of almonds.  I selected the 2009 Motzenbäcker Riesling Spätlese trocken (dry), produced in Deidesheim, in the Rheinland-Pfalz region.  It was an excellent choice that had subtle minerality and just the right amount of acidity.

My appetizer was a tasty king prawn confit with melon balls accompanied by an apple and fennel salad.  Other choices included beef brisket pastrami with cole slaw and a Caesar salad.

For my main course, I selected the fried breast of poulard in barbecue sauce, accompanied by polenta.  While the poulard was average, the polenta was delicious.  Other choices included red snapper and penne all’Arrabbiata.

I waited until later to have my dessert, a fruit salad with almonds and it was very refreshing.

An hour prior to arrival, a light snack was served.  I had the crabmeat salad, which was excellent. The butterscotch panna cotta dessert was a bit bland so I only had a taste.

IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

The A380 does not yet have Lufthansa´s FlyNet in-flight Internet service but retrofits are planned.  Standard in-flight entertainment includes a variety of television programs and movies available on demand.

What the A380 does offer is a fantastic new feature, a series of three cameras that show what is going on outside the aircraft from different vantage points (see the slide show below). These are available to all passengers regardless of seat location.

Camera 1 is located in the nose and provides a forward-facing view. Camera 2 is located on the bottom of the aircraft and offers a 180° view of what is currently below the aircraft.  Camera 3 is located in the tail and includes a good part of the fuselage in the image.

In addition to the cameras, there is Niceview, a constantly-updated display that shows  flight data (including ground speed, time to destination, time and temperature, as well as a variety of views of the aircraft’s current position, including the view from the cockpit (although the actual image of the cockpit interior is simulated).

ARRIVAL

Our landing was one of the smoothest I’ve seen (and felt).  Disembarkation went quickly at JFK.  Similar to boarding, first and business passengers deplaned through a separate jetbridge.  Immigration formalities went quickly with a five minute wait but it took a while for my luggage to makes its way onto the carousel, a fact that was not surprising given that there were over 100 first- and business-class passengers, each with one or more bags with a priority tag.  (On my flight to Frankfurt one week earlier, which was on the far-smaller Airbus A340-300, my bag had been the first to appear on the carousel.)

Lufthansa invites first and business class passengers arriving in Frankfurt to visit the Welcome Lounge, located outside of the baggage claim area in Arrival Area B (see slide show below).  This arrival lounge puts others that I have been to shame.  Open from 5:30 a.m. to noon, the Welcome Lounge spans two floors and 13,000 square feet.  It offers not only such typical services as showers (there are 28 of them and each has an individual cabin) but also shirt ironing (who isn’t somewhat wrinkled after a flight).  The main floor features a hot and cold breakfast buffet that includes fruits, yogurt, a variety of breads and rolls, eggs, and sausages.  Wireless (but not free) Internet is available although there is no charge for the service if you purchased FlyNet on your flight over.

BOTTOM LINE

Aircraft such as the Airbus A380 are clearly the future of long-haul air transportation.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the A380 offers passengers a far more comfortable ride than other aircraft that are currently flying, from the larger windows to the improved seating in coach to the quiet hush of the cabin to the airline’s unique humidity controls, which result in greater passenger comfort.  Indeed, it was so quiet I didn’t even use my noise-cancelling headsets for my nap.

Small details, ranging from well-light lavatories with large windows and touchless faucets, to the cameras that give you practically a birds-eye view of where the aircraft is, matter and make for an extremely pleasant flying experience.

–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.

LUFTHANSA AIRBUS A380 « FRANKFURT AM MAIN »

LUFTHANSA AIRBUS A380 IN-FLIGHT CAMERAS AND AIRSHOW

LUFTHANSA WELCOME LOUNGE

LUFTHANSA BUSINESS GATE

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