Friday, 3 June 2011

Trip Report 6, Part 2 TXL-MUC-BHX

Monday was a lovely day for flying, it would have been an even lovelier day for relaxing in the Tiergarten or by the banks of the Wannsee, but it was a lovely day for flying.

After a smidgen on breakfast in the lounge, I went back up to the room, packed and then finally headed off after a slightly extended checkout as I commented on the refurb (favourably), I decided to taxi it and got to Tegel in about 25 minutes. Bag Drop was swift and efficient and I waved bye-bye to shiny case for a few hours. I headed for the Lufthansa Business Lounge, which is one of the better ones in the system and I did so by walking outside taking advantage of Tegel's somewhat unusual layout.

The lounge was fairly empty, but all I wanted was some water and a place to sit (something in short supply at Tegel). As my flight was coming up for boarding, I wandered back down and headed for the gate and did the security thang (which is at the gate), I then sat in a hot and overcrowded gate area for a few minutes before boarding the Airbus A320 to München.

The problem was that this was one of the NEK planes and had the new seats, whilst fairly comfy, they are quite close together. It proved fairly difficult to use my MacBook whilst seated which was annoying. There have been a lot of complaints about NEK, but this is my first one.

Entertainingly, we had an Ipad wanker in row 1. He didn't want to shut it down, he was reading and it was in flight mode. There was a short argument, he still didn't shut it down until we actually started taxiing.

It's just under an hour from Berlin to München and there were seven rows of business class to serve, again it's a bento box and drinks with the bento box again having a Spargel theme. Possibly a bit too much on the Spargel, as it was Spargel Kräuterquark with pesto, two prawns on a bed of Spargel and strawberries and cream. The American lady next to me, just had the bread roll and the strawberries and cream.

I drank water and drank in the scenery as we flew south, as I said it was a perfect flying day and the route takes in some great scenery, if anything it was over too quickly.

München is one of the best airports in Europe, it's very easy to transfer in, it has a simple layout and it has pretty good shops and some decent places to eat. It's also the only airport I can think of with it's own brewery. I did a bit of shopping, some chocolates for people at work and some fags for personal usage. I then proceeded to the Schengen Business Lounge as the non-Schengen lounge is closed for refurbishment. I did wonder if it would be rammed to the rafters, but whilst busy, it wasn't that busy.

The advantage of the München lounges is that they have decent beer on tap and as it was mid-afternoon there was cake, in fact there was rather good poppyseed cheesecake to go with the Löwenbrau Helles.

I left a little earlier that I prefer to, but I had to go through exit immigration and to the somewhat distant bus gate. We boarded the bus which was chokka, which wasn't pleasant in the heat and was made even more unpleasant by a 10 minute delay out on the tarmac before we were allowed to board.

The flight back to Birmingham was on an Embraer 195, so new that it still had the "new plane" smell, but luckily not fitted with the NEK seats. They have a 2-2 layout and in Business Class that translates to 1-1.

The crew were great on this flight, you don't normally have pre-departure drinks on shorthaul, but water was offered to Business Class - much needed on a hot day. We took off a few minutes late, and proceeded up through Germany to Belgium and across the North Sea, sadly as we got nearer Blighty, the weather worsened.

As a longer flight, you get a cold tray rather than a bento box, which of course features Spargel. It was supposed to have a salad with it, but that had been replaced by melon balls with mozarella, which was probably the wisest thing. Then there was ham with Spargel and chopped egg and a rather large strawberry tiramisu with caramel sauce. I had water and black coffee with it.

Arrival at a grim and rainy BHX was ten minutes early, but immigration was the usual shambles (three flights - five officers, one not working, one only doing the handful of non-EU) and baggage wasn't much better - taking 35 minutes to come off.

Next, it's Bremen, in economy.

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