Home > Lufthansa, Star Alliance, Trip Reports, United Kingdom > Asia 2012 Trip Report: Lufthansa European Business Class, Frankfurt to London (plus a day in London)

Asia 2012 Trip Report: Lufthansa European Business Class, Frankfurt to London (plus a day in London)

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: United Airlines LAX-SFO, United International First Class Lounges at LAX/SFO

Part 3: United Airlines Global First Class, San Francisco to Frankfurt

Part 4: Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt

Part 5: Lufthansa FRA-ZRH, SWISS First Class Lounge at Zürich

Part 6: SWISS First Class, Zürich to Hong Kong

Part 7: Emirates A380 First Class Suites, Hong Kong to Bangkok

Part 8: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Bangkok to Singapore

Part 9: Exploring Singapore

Part 10: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Mumbai

Part 11: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Mumbai to Singapore

Part 12: Singapore Airlines Business Class, Singapore to Hanoi

Part 13: Hanoi / Ha Long Bay

Part 14: Qatar Airways Economy Class, Hanoi to Bangkok

Part 15: Bangkok / Park Plaza Soi 18

Part 16: Emirates A380 First Class Suites, Bangkok to Hong Kong

Part 17: A weekend in Hong Kong

Part 18: Thai Airways/United First Class Lounges at HKG, Thai Airways First Class, Hong Kong to Bangkok

Part 19: Thai Airways Royal First Lounge and Royal Orchid Spa at Bangkok

Part 20: Thai Airways Royal First Class 77W Suites, Bangkok to Frankfurt

Part 21: Lufthansa European Business Class, Frankfurt to London (plus a day in London)

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As soon as my I disembarked my Thai Airways flight, the “fun factor” of this trip went way down. I’d have to overnight in Frankfurt, hop on a short flight to Heathrow, spend a (planned) 23 hours and 45 minutes in London, then get on a United flight to Los Angeles.

From the Holiday Inn Express Messe, there’s a bus stop just in front that goes to the main train station, and from there, a train to FRA. One thing that always confuses me about Europe is where and when I pay for public transportation tickets. I spent probably 20 minutes online trying to figure out the fare from hotel to airport, and even got exact change in Euros. At the bus stop, I got on with two locals who promptly sat down – no payment, no validation of monthly pass, no nein nada. Does anyone here pay for transport??

Once at the train station, I fought with the ticket machine only to realize it wouldn’t take my chip card. I ended up buying a ticket with the few coins I had, and I’m glad I did, because I would later find a tall, thick German lady barking at me on the train for my fahrkarte. Though once I figured out what she was saying, I got a polite “dankeschön” out of her.

Check-in was relatively easy at FRA, given the number of Lufthansa (LH) business class passengers flying out of there (hint: it’s a lot). I wish I’d gotten my First Class Terminal Personal Assistant’s number last month, if only I could call him up and sneak in today …

Anyway, after a long security line that would make LAX on Memorial Day blush, I went through to the LH Business Lounge. With no Star Alliance Gold status at the time, the Senator Lounge was off-limits, though I found it funny that the line to enter stretched 15-deep when I passed by, only to get into the lower level business lounge unhindered.

Questionable lounge food

Never too early for one of these …

A bit of luck placed my gate right below the business lounge and I headed on down shortly before boarding to find the boarding line – the boarding line which didn’t exist. It was a mad free-for-all at the gate. Gate lice were being trampled. Elite members were foaming at the mouth.

I made it through. Unscathed. But only to find the largest business cabin I’ve seen on an Airbus A321, “business” being economy without a middle seat. It went back all the way to the exit row door. I guess the 10am run to LHR is mighty popular.

Lufthansa 904, FRA-LHR
10:00am – 10:25am, 1h25m
Airbus A321
Seat 4F, European Business Class

The sole highlight of the flight was catching a momentary glimpse of ANA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at its gate, a bit too brief and distant for a good picture though.

Well, that wasn’t really part of the flight, it was just part of the taxi. So I guess the highlight of the flight was breakfast, only because it was a short flight.

Canary Wharf

Just my luck, the most interesting parts of the city are tiny and covered by clouds

After disembarkation, I made it to yet another long line, this time for UK immigration. I finally understand the horror stories of Heathrow immigration. It took about 30 minutes on this try, cutting down on the time I had in London. As I snaked my way to the front, I could hear immigration officers grilling everyone with a funny looking passport about their purpose of visit, address in the UK, who they were meeting, how many goats they owned at home. Maybe not the last one. So I walked forward with a bit of trepidation, and placed my blue passport down.

Immigration officer, looking at my arrivals card: “Just here for a day?”
Me: “Yeah. Continuing to the U.S. tomorrow.”
Imm off: “Oh, right then. Have a good day in London.”

A part of me wishes that immigration would give me a tough time now and then, but c’est la vie. I made my way to baggage claim and to the Heathrow Express, which I had gotten a coupon for that made it not that much more than the slower Heathrow Connect. A quick trip to Paddington Station and a walk around the corner to the Quality Crown Hyde Park, just 8000 Choice Points (or a transfer of a few thousand American Express points during a bonus period to top off my account) to save the £170/$260 every other hotel in London wanted. A decent steal for the number of points, and it’s just behind the Hotel Indigo that many love for its location.

The rest of the day was spent in a city I hadn’t visited since I first got to know it almost a decade ago. The <24h connection rule really is amazing. A few pics …

Air New Zealand flight from Auckland via Hong Kong … a long way from home. They also fly Auckland to London via L.A., so you could theoretically fly Air NZ around the world: LAX-AKL-HKG-LHR-LAX

The flag and the flag carrier

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