24th December 2015 at 07:00 #581131
Anonymous24th December 2015 at 07:00 #581132
Arrived by car service direct to the First Class Terminal from downtown Frankfurt about 3.5 hours prior to departure on a Thursday evening. We were the only guests arriving and were immediately greeted by our personal assistant who took our passports and checked us in as we went through the security check. Took all of about 2 minutes.
As this was the first visit to the FCT, we were given a brief introduction and then told we would be retrieved at 9:10pm (for a 9:55 departure.) The facility was very quiet when we first arrived but soon became quite busy around 8pm in preparation for the late evening departures.
Dinner was delightful – we ordered from the menu as opposed to the buffet and the wines of offer were quite nice. Service was friendly and attentive. All tables were occupied as we finished about an hour prior to boarding.
Our assistant found us in the lounge area as promised at 9:10pm to tell us they were not yet ready for boarding and introduced us to her colleague who would be by in a few minutes when boarding was ready. Sure enough, within 10 more minutes the new assistant appeared and took us downstairs where we retrieved our passports and were asked to wait by one of the doors for our driver to take us to the car. We were told they were waiting for other guests. It soon became clear that there would be 6-7 of us and that they would be driving us together in a van to the aircraft. Within a few minutes, they asked my partner and I if we wouldn't mind separating for a moment so one of us could travel in a car with another couple to the aircraft now, and then the other would join the other guests (still not arrived) in another car/van. We looked at each other and found this very odd, but agreed to keep things moving. Within 5 minutes all of us were on the aircraft, but I must say it was a rather odd experience.
The seat on this flight appeared to be the same as the A340-600 we took earlier in the week to Munich from LAX. That said, they cabin layout of this 747-8 was far superior. Indeed, we had the most ideal seats on the aircraft: 1A and 1K. The cabin was completely full (8 seats) – presumably as this was the start of the holiday travel period down to SA.
This night flight was all about efficiently and maximizing the sleep time for us since we had eaten dinner in the FCL. Within 30 min of take-off, the FAs had prepared our beds and everyone was asleep. As with the earlier flight not he A340-600, I find the LH First seat to be great for sleeping – the generous mattress pad and the duvet are great. A super smooth flight down that evening and woke on my own after sleeping a solid 7.5 hours in time for a full breakfast service.
Arrived about 20 min early. There were agents waiting at the end of the jet bridge with the names of all First passengers. Though I'm not sure what purpose this served as there is no Fast Track at JNB and everyone merely acknowledged their presence and said they would walk themselves through immigration. We did the same as we've been through JNB on numerous occasions. Arriving at this time of the day is often hit or miss depending on how the arrivals are bunched. We were lucky this day as no flights arrived just before ours.
One nice touch at JNB from LH that we didn't experience on similar arrivals from BA or even QR in the past – LH had baggage handles retrieving bags as they entered the carousel and efficiently placed the bags on the floor or easy retrieval by passengers. Our bags were among the first to arrive and we were on our way after arriving no more than 2 minutes earlier.
Overall, an exception flight experience. A flawless product from LH. Aside from the odd request to separate us for the drive to the aircraft (very odd, actually), LH delivered end to end. Look forward to the return trips in January with LX (JNB-ZRH and then a few days later ZRH-SFO) on their older A340.
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