The Big Win: MMX-ARN-FRA-LAX-PHX-SEA-YVR-SEA-LHR-ARN incl. LH F, US F, BA J..

Diskussion i 'Reserapporter' startad av Concorde, 4 Februari 2014.

  1. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Saxar direkt från annan sida, ni får ha överseende med att det är Engelska helt enkel.
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    As usual with my reports I'll keep the writing concise with more focus on photos. This report will contain about 300 photos from an Epic journey I did late in 2013.

    NOTE: Pictures have not been enhanced with filters or other effects. They are clean jpg compressed photos.

    Background
    Once a year all volunteer FT mods are invited by Internet Brands and our ever shining star Community Director to participate in a 1 day conference, or simply put Mod Do. Note that all mods put in their own money to go, but all find it worth wile as it basically becomes and excuse to travel! Personally it would be my 3rd Mod Do and I was looking forward to the travel experience and meeting old and new friends and the great folks over at IB.

    Fittingly there was an IHG promo called "The Big Win", which entailed various conditions for each member. In order to complete around 110K bonus IHG points (That's three free IC nights, or if on Pointsbreak 22 free nights at IHG hotels).

    For me this meant completing during the promo period (1st Sept to 31st Dec):
    Staying at three IHG brands
    Staying 22 nights
    Staying in three different cities from a specified list (Americas)
    Stay 1 night
    Complete a survey

    The Mod do would take place in lovely Seattle. I had been there once before on a very special and memorable trip (Picking up a 777-300 from Everett). See this Trip Report from 2012.
    So the idea became to do a bit of a West Coast trip and complete the three city stay requirement for the promo. The 22 nights would actually be the easy part. The finalised itinerary became clear. I had planned to start in ARN, the current home base. However, I had to drive the kids down south to my moms place(400 miles) to help Mrs Petrus with logistics as she would be competing in the south of Sweden the week I was travelling America.
    The drive started Sunday around 6pm, and my flight back from MMX area to ARN was at 10.30am Monday morning... Family sticks together and help each other.

    So the final itinerary became:
    MMX -ARN SK Y (737)
    ARN - FRA Lufthansa C (320)
    FRA - LAX Lufthansa F (748)
    LAX - PHX US F (319)
    PHX - SEA US F (320)
    SEA - YVR Hertz Dodge Charger
    YVR - SEA Hertz Dodge Charger
    SEA - LHR British Airways J 744
    LHR - ARN BA Y 321


    _________________________________________________________________

    After 5 hours sleep, kissing my boys and mom good bye I walked the 300 yards to the bus station for the Airport Shuttle. A cab saves you 5 minutes and costs 4 times the amount. Without any luggage or carry-on to add.

    Lund City University Hospital. As it happens I saw the light here for the first time. Bus stop is here also.
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    Timetable in Swedish:
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    Bus stop view. Cemetary, somewhat morbid Monday start...
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    No lounge access due to LH Silver these days (100 sectors in Y flex and not renewed). What to do...?
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    You buy a rather bland and expensive breakfast at 7eleven...

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    Charming... real classy stuff:
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    Past security, lots of fun...
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    Gate Area and Boarding. Those SK 737 are on par with Ryan Air...
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    Quick flight, slept most of it. Arrival at the 80's awful Terminal 4 at ARN.
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    Spirits lifted when I noticed that a local bus that stops near my house was 1 minute from departure. Saved me 50 dollars.
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    Next update very soon. ARN Lounge + Lufthansa C down to FRA.
    Thanks for looking.
     
  2. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Back home at my house for a couple of hours pit-stop and final packing. And finally a proper cup of coffee. Investing in a sophisticated coffee maker is worth it. Freshly ground Starbucks Pike Place, just press the button.

    A mug worthy of this journey, yes.
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    Autumn is coming, as seen from our dining area:
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    Outside view:

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    Cab arrived just after 5pm for a 7pm Departure, typical October Stockholm weather at ARN:
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    T5 Pier F security was calm:
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    LH C gives you Fast Track:

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    Security was a breeze and then headed to pick-up some Swedish delicacies for the Mod Do raffle. Once done over to the SK Business Lounge for a well deserved beer (I refuse to touch the wines in most lounges as it tends to be vile stuff, often on a tap!). Lighter snacks before the light dinner that would be served on Lufthansa to FRA.

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    The SK lounges have recently been refurbished which is a nice step up from the old Ikea Show Rooms:
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    Tonight's chariot to FRA has arrived:
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    The highly uninteresting T5 at ARN:
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    Update to follow with Lufthansa C to FRA and the Intercontinental Frankfurt.
     
    2 personer gillar detta.
  3. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    As I was about board the plane to FRA around 7pm, that true feeling of excitement started to grow in my stomach. Hey, you're about to start an epic trip to America with a morning visit to The First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. I was really looking forward to it as this would be my first time there, and also in Lufthansa F. I've flown plenty of long-haul F, but British Airways only.

    I was in 1F on the A321 with a very pleasant evening to fly on. Food was Octoberfest themed which I don't mind, but the amount of food was on par with the British Airways Brunch or Afternoon Tea offering. No Champagne either!! :confused::(

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    Service was OK with that German stiffness, we were only a few people in the cabin so the flight was a breeze for the single Business Class attendant.

    Arrival in FRA around 9pm Monday evening, with lots and lots and lots of walking... it looks nice though.
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    My suitcase was out very quickly, among the first. The taxi system appeared highly unorganised for being in Germany... a bit of a free for all. 15 minutes later I was in the lobby of Intercontinental Hotel. As Royal Ambassador I got upgraded to large corner suite with great views. Problem was that I arrived when it was dark and left 8 hours later when it was dark....
    The hotel is rather dated and likely one of the worse IC's in the IHG portfolio.

    Lounge and workspace:

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    Modern stylish interior!
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    Plastic flowers... no comment.
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    But the fruit was real:
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    Nice view of the river:

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    Bedroom. Very 80's

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    Bathroom:

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    Managed to get 6 hours of solid sleep before the alarm went off at 6.30 am for a 6.50 cab back to FRA and FCT... now things really get interesting. Next part shortly.
     
    11 personer gillar detta.
  4. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    And now, time for one of the best airline lounges and ground experiences on offer in the world of regular air travel. I have been looking forward to this moment since reading many Lufthansa TR's on here. I should add the following though; Unless you are FRA based, the biggest benefit of FCT is gone. Nonetheless, I could spend many hours here during layovers!

    Check out from IC FRA was swift and painless. Cab back to FCT and I was greeted by a lovely attendant by the car. British Airways really need to do some secret shopping here as this is how ground services should be done.

    I was escorted to drop my suitcase and went through Fast Track security... I mean First Class, the only security. There was one person ahead of me. Extremely civilised and pleasant all around. Again British Airways, they seriously need to up their game in this aspect. I was checked in by my personal agent who then said she would pick me up at the right time for my drive over to the 10.00 LAX flight. See ya' later, champagne time. Well actually, a coffee first.

    I was seated at a table in the lovely dining area of FCT. I must say, service was top standard, on par with Michelin starred establishments. And the staff seemed proud to be working here. In general, the ambiance is extremely calming and relax, yet cool and sophisticated.

    Coffee:

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    Delicious cold cuts, superb made to order omelette (not shown) and a glass of fresh juice:
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    Food was excellent. A generous buffet with ample of quality choice. A real kitchen preparing and cooking food all day, not the reheated stuff one has grown accustomed to at the Concorde Room (tsk tsk).

    After breakfast I ventured to the bath/Cabana reception to secure a time for a morning "getyourselftogether" fresh up, and took a tour of FCT with camera in hand:

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    Could this be my personal chariot to the 748i bound for LAX?
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    Time for a shower, in the next part.
     
    4 personer gillar detta.
  5. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Sorry for the a little delayed update. Had a great gig Saturday evening which ended up quite wet and late....

    Around 8am I headed back to the Bathrooms reception for a well needed refresher. Needless to say, the FCT Cabanas make the LHR CCR equivalent appear rather cramped and uninviting. The FCT bathrooms are big enough for a party. ^

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    ETRO amenities. Very nice. Big fan of this High-end Italian designer. This kit lasted my entire trip and a little more.
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    Quakk Quakk! The Blue ones a limited edition apparently according to Oliver2002.
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    Proper rainfall shower with ample of power. As had about 3-3.30 hours in my first FCT visit I opted for a quick shower instead of a bath, knowing well that a bath would have taken an hour.
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    Post "getyourselfinshape" I opted for another glass of Veuve (which is the only Champagne available in FCT...) combined with a heavenly latte. This was imbibed in one of the private and very useful offices. FT catch up, mandatory as a Mod.
    [​IMG]

    Feeling a little peckish again I toured and indulged a little from the buffet. It was also Octoberfest theemed. High quality food, you can tell this is good produce, but it was a little limited and not all to my taste.

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    Yummy for mah tummy!

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    Cigars
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    Whiskey selection. Epic!
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    As boarding was closing in fast I took some time to relax by the TV with a smoky single malt in hand. I accepted the cold hard fact that it will be a while before I'm back in FCT, and next time I'll try and squeeze in another hour and preferably after breakfast. I'll summarize my thoughts and impressions of FCT in the epilogue.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking so far. The next update will be up shortly, and it highlights the civilized way F pax always should be delivered to their flights.
     
    9 personer gillar detta.
  6. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    About 30 minutes or so before departure my personal attendant found me and told me it was time to head down to my waiting car. Fantastic.

    We took the elevator down to basement level for a hand off the the driver.
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    My hunch was correct, the Cayenne seen earlier would be my ride.
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    The following 5 minutes were plane-geek euphoria. I just pointed the camera, pressed the button and let the multi-exposure feature do the rest...

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    1A should be behind those windows. My home for the next 11 hours.

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    The driver took some photos of me performing silly poses by the car with the plane in the background (I wonder what Y and C pax were thinking... some dude gets driven to the plane in a Cayenne and starts posing like a clown next to the car...) before escorting me up the elevator before handing me off to the cabin crew. Wow, this is how First Class ground services should be done.
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    Coming up my Lufthansa F virginity was to be lost with what appears to have been not the best Lufthansa F performance judging by other reports.
     
    9 personer gillar detta.
  7. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Next part is here.
    ________________________

    So it was finally time to fly Lufthansa F, my first time. As it turns out it would be on a pretty new Jumbo Jet from this decade. A 748intercontinental of Boeing fame. The 747 is my favourite of all time and has an aura of "the old days" and reminds me of my childhood. And it is a beauty. It was always my first choice to try Lufthansa F if available. The nose is for F, just like on Cathay Pacific and British Airways. Not much beats turning left on a jumbo and heading for row 1, knowing you are at the absolute front and top of the world in commercial aviation.

    Greeted at the door and escorted to my seat, 1A. The friendly and cheerful female crew member offered to stow my carry-on in my personal closet in the rear of the F cabin. I have to say that the cabin looks absolutely stunning. Sleek, calming and very elegant. And of course airy. What it does lack is the cozy factor and perhaps a little lacking in privacy. While British Airways cram in 6 more seats in the nose of their 747's I find that cabin more private, mainly due to the seat design and colour theme. But for airiness and personal space it's a no contest with Lufthansa on top.

    Fittingly a glass of Champagne (Comtes de Champagne, very good stuff!) was imbibed and some nuts chewed on while crew completed the preparations for departure. Turns out we had a delay of about 30 minutes but this would not affect our arrival in LAX. I took this time to have a look at the menus.

    Welcome on board:
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    No skimping on the menus here:
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    Meh. That was my impression of the wine list. Not really F class at all. And, to add insult to injury and soil my first Lufthansa F experience; when I asked for a second glass of the Comtes de Champagne, the answer is "only one bottle was loaded". Seriously? That's beyond poor show. Anyway no point dwelling about that, rather just enjoy the coming show.

    More Champagne (see the colour difference from the Comtes?)
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    Amouse bouche. Pretty tasty.
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    And then my seat controls failed. Not possible to recline. The Cabin Manager did her best, but had to resort to resetting the computer, which also managed the IFE. Same for Mr 1K, a not so amused HON. Reset did not help hence any seat adjustment required manual assistance from crew...
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    Again, lets enjoy the show!
    Which wine would I like? Why not taste all them, sir?
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    1K neighbour went for a walk so I snapped a wide shot of the huge LH F seat. One can note that without the divider up, it is not private at all.
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    Lufthansa Dining service coming up. Thanks for looking so far.
     
    8 personer gillar detta.
  8. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Lunch time in the sky

    I had been looking forward to trying the Lufthansa Caviar Service and their often raved about catering. To be completely honest, I found the Caviar to be rather bland and it was not a fine Caviar in any sense. There was no punch or roundness at all. Presumably, we had a poor batch or perhaps it is what Lufthansa serve?
    Nonetheless, it looks nice.

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    I really like the catering concept however. I could have anything and all of it. ^[​IMG]

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    The clouds had vanished and the views of our home planet where nothing short of astounding. Crossing Greenland:
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    Soup was nice. Not spectacular, but nice.
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    Again, Octoberfest theme spoils my first LH First... this looks like an Economy meal on fine china. Nothing was wrong and it tasted ok, but should we settle for that?
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    After the meal service which I thoroughly enjoyed, even with the somewhat bland dishes, it was time to stretch those legs, inspect the plane and take a mandatory F Cabin photo:

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    And my seat:

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    More stunning scenery, North East Canada presumably?
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    Cannot remember if I had pudding before or after taking nap. It was rather annoying not being able to adjust my bed from fully flat to lounge setting for dozing and movie watching. Crew seemed busy so I did not bother them, and it was only the Cabin Manager who knew how to adjust the seat manually.
    Film of choice for post supper was Pain and Gain, a very funny yet tragic movie about three Miami Body Builders wanting the American Dream. Prior to that I had quite enjoyed Man of Steel, with the ever heart breaking beautiful Amy Adams. Second service and more coming up in the next part. Thanks again for reading this long report.
     
    9 personer gillar detta.
  9. Concorde

    Concorde Founding Member

    Ort:
    The World
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Back to my first Lufthansa F flight...

    After napping for about 1 hour I asked for a Champagne top-up and a coffee to get me started
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    Time for some nibbles, yummy:

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    This is how a hot towel is supposed to look and be delivered:
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    Second meal service was Spain and Tapas themed.
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    The Tapas where pretty good, but nothing special compared to many earthly establishment. We began to descend for our approach to Los Angeles, and I was getting excited. My first and only visit to LA had been a bit over 6 years earlier and I had a nice experience. Also, good friends of the family and some other friends are LA based so more to look forward to.

    Descending, anyone know what lake and city this is?
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    Well since the seat was broken I never really was able to fully enjoy it
    :td:
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    Approach from the East gave us fine views over suburban LA:

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    We landed just a little late around 1pm and had a looooing taxi to the new international terminal, which is a serious step up from the old one.
    However, we parked at the furthest gate from immigration so the walk was a long one, and our dedicated F Pax bridge would not connect initially so F pax got crammed with C pax. As I only had two days in LA I ignored my standard procedure which is not to rush when travelling, to get ahead in the potentially lethal LAX immigration. It was more or less empty and I was at baggage reclaim 16 minutes after leaving the plane!
    And, my bag, with it's HON tag was the first one out after waiting about 5 minutes. So, leaving plane to taxi took a total of 23 minutes. At LAX! :)

    I found a cab and told him where to go. Holiday Inn Express on Highland Avenue. I was rather keen on the IC at Century City, but location wise the HIX was better to visit my friends in the valley, but worse for those in Santa Monica. Cab driver ripped me off entirely. I even remarked and asked why he was going the long way using highways, when basically he could have gone straight up Airport Blvd, then Tijara, Cienega and finally Fairfax up to Hollywood Blvd. Instead of 30 minutes and 50USD, it took 1 hour and cost 85...
    The HIX was not a dump, but not far from it. 1 night would be enough. Considering the rate, 180USD it was dismal bang for buck. But I was also on a mission remember, The Big Win. Second night would be at the CP LAX as I would have an 8am flight on day three.

    Thanks for looking so far.
     
    27 personer gillar detta.
  10. Agö

    Agö Medlem

    Ort:
    CPH
    Land:
    Sverige Sverige
    Briljant!
     
    2 personer gillar detta.

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