Sunday, August 31, 2008

Suhl, Germany: Arriving in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) from Leipzig-Halle, Leipzig Germany (LEJ)

31AUG08 Frankfurt Main, Frankfurt Germany (FRA)

We taxied for a bit and I realized that we were heading for the hard stand. It was cool to see the Cargo carriers from Lufthansa, ANA, World and a few others.

We finally made it to the hardstand at 7:41a, then deplaned and boarded the bus and headed into the terminal.

It was weird as the bus dropped us right outside the secure area in Terminal 2. It was weird. I checked the board and my flight to Houston was still leaving from C15. I started to make my way there and it was really far away. This was actually a new area that is setup for the flights to the U.S. and select other cities. This C concourse is actually in Terminal 1 so it is quite a walk to get there.

There were flights leaving for Miami, FL (MIA); Dallas, TX (DFW) and Houston, TX and New York. They were all Boeing 747-400s except the flight to Newark which was an Airbus A330.

This area is set up with the lounges one floor up so passengers can board from their directly onto the planes. It is a little confusing with the signage, but it made sense after walking around a bit. They also had newspapers at the gates which was cool and a place to get a snack before boarding.

Boarding did not start until 9:27a with kids first, then Business Class and then Economy. Lufthansa's First Class passengers do not board from the same area as others. They actually have the choice to be dropped off on the tarmac in a car of their choice from the First Class Lounge.

Suhl, Germany: Leipzig-Halle, Leipzig Germany (LEJ) to Frankfurt Main, Frankfurt Germany (FRA)

LH1101 31AUG08 Leipzig-Halle, Leipzig Germany (LEJ) to Frankfurt Main, Frankfurt Germany (FRA) 6:30a 7:25a D-ABIS 735

Flight Time: 0:45
Seat Map

The boarding process started at about 6:05a. I was able to see the airplane just outside the window.

In addition to a large hangar belonging to DHL across the field.

There was also this airplane and I have no idea what type it is.

In addition, an Antonov cargo airliner was sitting across the way.

It was a pretty light flight, so the boarding process was quick. I said hello to the flight attendant as I boarded and she reciprocated. On this aircraft, there were about four rows in Business class in a 3-3 configuration with the middle seat lowered as some kind of tray that is shared by the two passengers.

There is a partition for Economy class in a 3-3 configuration. I found my seat and settled in. I had to put my bag up in the overhead as I was in the Exit row.

At 6:15a, boarding was complete and the door closed shortly after. At 6:21a, the manual safety demo started, then two minutes later we pushed back with the engines starting up as we did.

On our way out to the runway, we passed a few DHL planes and I could also see three World Airways planes at another part of the airport.

One was a cargo MD-11. One of them had just arrived. This was the airplane that one of the crew had told me they were waiting on to arrive. The guy next to me also told me that earlier there was a Boeing 747 of World's that left.

I could also see the control tower across the way and then a view of the terminal that we had just left. It was great that the sun was just coming up so I could see the airport layout.

We took to runway 8R and were airborne by 6:36a.

I was sitting next to a pilot for an American carrier so we talked all the way to Frankfurt. Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendants came through with tea, coffee, water, juice, etc. There were no snacks served.

we soon started our descent in Frankfurt and touched down at 7:28a.

Suhl, Germany: Arriving/Departing Leipzig-Halle Flughafen (LEJ)

31AUG08 Leipzig-Halle Flughafen, Leipzig Germany (LEJ)

It was 3:47a when the train pulled into the station at LEJ. We were a minute early as we had left a minute early.

The airport is much larger than I thought and there were maybe five of us on the entire platform. I looked around a bit and then went upstairs two levels to the check-in area.

There was a crowd of people being checked in for a 5:30a Air Berlin (AB) flight to Mallorca, a 5:30a to Las Palmas and another at 5:25a by Condor (DE) to Herkalion. All the other counters including Lufthansa's (LH) were empty.

I walked the length of the walkway to the departure/arrivals area to kill time and also to scope out the airport. Nice airport and quite large.

I then headed back to the check-in area which was not yet open, but the agents were preparing. In a few minutes, it opened up at 4:30a. I waited a bit until the line was cleared and then got checked in. I got a seat for this flight and was on the standby list for the flight to Houston from Frankfurt.

I looked around a bit again to try to figure out exactly where the active runways were and then headed back upstairs and made the long trek to the departure area. Here is a model of the airport from 2001. It changed somewhat since then.

I cleared security and noticed that there was a flight crew in the crew line. It puzzled me as there were too many of them for any of the departing flights. I then noticed that they were from World Airways and later found out they were doing a charter to the U.S., Bangor, Maine I think. The flight was actually in transit when it got here and is an hour late today.

After security, I went up to the gate and waited. The other flights were in their final stages of boarding. Mine would not start until 6:05a, that is another 45 or so minutes away.

Suhl, Germany: Train station (Hauptbanhof) in Leipzig, Germany

31AUG08 Leipzig, Germany

It was 12:31a when I arrived in this new city. The train station reminded me a lot of Paddington station in London, England. It was vast with about 23 train bays, with very tall ceilings and very wide arches. I had been wondering what the heck I’d do until 3:33a since I had thought I’d arrive a lot closer to the departure time of the train for the airport.

I scouted out the station and noticed a McDonald’s with a “24 h” sign on it; aha! I thought…I then went outside and had a look at the city. It was vast, tall buildings were abound and as late as it was there were people everywhere. Straight ahead it looked like the main bar area. As I had nowhere to put my bags (the baggage locker place was closed), I went back inside.

I walked around a bit again and then headed outside to another area of the gigantic and really beautiful terminal. I noticed a Burger King that was closed, which explained the heavy traffic at McDonald’s. I took some pictures and then headed back inside. Once back inside, I looked around a bit, noted the track of my train’s departure and headed into McDonald’s.

I ordered a chicken sandwich, fries and a drink and settled in.

At 3:15a, I left and headed for track 13. Yup, my train was sitting there so I boarded. At 3:32a, the doors were locked and we departed for the airport.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Suhl, Germany: Arriving in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) from Amsterdam Schipol (AMS)

27AUG08 Frankfurt Main International Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

We touched down at 2:12p and taxied into our gate. Like Schipol, Frankfurt has cool planes as well. This is Lufthansa’s home. Here are some planes I saw on my way to the gate where we arrived at 2:15p.

I disembarked and made a beeline for the Exit. Once I was clear I followed the signs to the train station, got my ticket and boarded the 3:02p ICE train and headed out.

Suhl, Germany: Amsterdam Schipol (AMS) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

LH4675 26AUG08 Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS) to Frankfurt Main, Frankfurt Germany (FRA) 12:55p 2:05p 735 D-ABJH

Flight Time: 0:45
Seat Map [PDF]

I was greeted by the flight when I boarded and I could also pick newspapers, German and Dutch. They have a small two row Business Class cabin in a 3-3 configuration of leather seats, then the Economy class cabin also in a 3-3 configured leather seats.

I settled in as soon as the traffic cleared as although this flight was very empty, there were people who could not find their seat. The lady in front of me yelled at them to move ahead or into their rows so that she could get by and it seemed to have worked.

The Captain came on the PA at 12:50p and announced first in German and then in English that we had an Air Traffic Control hold until 1:20p, which mean we cannot take off until that time. He also added that we would stay at the gate for another 15-20 minutes. He also welcomed us onboard.

The main door was closed at 12:58p and the manual safety demo German and English started a minute later. It was 1:09p when we pushed back and the engines were started. Flying in and out of Schipol is always fun as you get to see quite a bit of different airlines and today was no exception.

We made our way to runway 18L as a KLM MD-11 took off. Next was a KLM Boeing 737-800 with winglets and just before us a ANA Cargo Airlines Boeing

It was about 1:25p when we took to the skies behind the ANA Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-400F.
We were given a snack of a cheese sandwich and a yogurt bar at 1:34p.

Beverages followed at 1:40p and you could ask for seconds of everything when a flight attendant passed by again on her way back to the galley.

The Captain came on the PA at 1:50p and advised that we would be landing in twenty minutes; it is 23C and a nice afternoon in Frankfurt.

The flight attendants came by and cleared the thrash just after this announcement. We commenced our descent into FRA.

I noticed that we passed the airport on our right and was making a very long approach.

As we turned right on the base leg of the runway, I could see a Boeing 747-400 ahead of us. As it turns out, it was the ANA Cargo Freighter that has just left Amsterdam. It was a beautiful sight to see from the air.

I got some good views of the city of Frankfurt as the descent followed:

and then our landing.