Monday, 29 August 2011

Trip Report 8, Part 2, LH C TXL-FRA-BHX

I won't review the Berlin Hilton, let's just say I had the same room as last time, the breakfast was just as tasty, the lounge was just as comfy, the lounge food and drink were just as nice and the staff were lovely.

I didn't eat anything special - although my Sunday evening steak binge at Block House was very good. It cost a small bomb, but I did enjoy my fillet with pommes and their very good mushrooms.

Anyway, come check out time and the fairly modest bill for that hotel (booked direct through the clubroom last time and upgraded on the spot) and I taxied back to Tegel with the driver using the route up by Plotzensee.

Check-in was a bit of a mare, not LH's fault, but more the faulty of two elderly couples who were a) very slow and b) spent 15 minutes trying to get their seats rearranged. By this time, I decided it wasn't worth a trip to the lounge for, oooh, 10 minutes and went outside for a fag before passing through security to the gate. There's a new feature at gates 8 and 9 in that there's a little "gallery" with tables above the cattle pens, I took a bottle of apfelschorle up there and waiting for boarding.

Quickly onto the A320, which had sadly been NEK'ed with a much more friendly crew when who should pop up but the elderly couples. They still weren't happy with the seats, I was asked to move from 3D to 4F to help placate them and I did so - I prefer an aisle, but it doesn't really matter on a 45min TXL-FRA hop. This still wouldn't do, they wanted to be in adjacent rows as well. However, it was resolved by the presence of the first officer.

We left about 10 mins late and there was a "bento box" on offer, I didn't partake as I was busy with the MacBook, but they were kind enough to do a plastic glass of water. We had rather a circular and very bumpy approach into the dreaded Frankfurt and ended up about 20 late in. This left a short but perfectly doable connection from A30 to B33. So down the A-Pier stopping at a Raucherhütte to the lifts, one of which wasn't working, through the Tunnel of Hate, a very swift immigration and straight to the B2x Business Lounge.

The main reason for visiting was to admire the quark display get a bit of charge in the MacBook, I notice multiple types of quark on display and some hot food, supposedly meatballs and tomato risotto. However, the steamers only had the sauce left in them, not that I would have been tempted anyway. I charged up for 15 mins and guzzled some Coke Light and went to use the facilities.

We boarded on time, into the usual series of manky buses, I did crease up at the "Our First and Business class passengers may board at their leisure" - I've always been sooo keen to get on one of FRA's sweaty buses.

The BHX has three out of four rotations wet leased to British Midland these days and I must say that the non-NEK'ed 320's are much better than the old 733's and 735's and the BD crews have been very pleasant. Perhaps BD should be redeployed to BHX and MAN and leave THAT airport alone. It is nice to have a seat where you can use a laptop without sitting at a funny hunched angle.

Today, there was a choice of prawn linguine or gnocchi with spinach and pumpkin. I choose the latter, it was very nice and i forgot to take a picture of it before it was consumed. That, coffees, two rounds of drinks and a smooth flight meant that we were in Birmingham before we knew it. Obviously the stormy bits had moved on from Frankfurt in the hour I was there.

As usual, the UK Border was slow and by the time I got through, the bag was on the belt, so I was back home by 2pm, a mere 6 1/2 hours after leaving the Hilton.

Next report will be in about a month. A bit of long haul for you all, I'm off to Hong Kong in Lufthansa First, out via München and back via Frankfurt. If I end up in a bulkhead on the MUC again, I shall downgrade myself and only the captain will move me back.

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