Airline: Lufthansa Flight #:
LH1494 LH1492 Route: FRA-KBP Class: Economy Seat: 7F Date: Thursday 5th December 2019
After having finally arrived at Frankfurt following my delayed flight from London (read about that here), I followed the connections signs for the first time and wondered what laid ahead of me. Speaking to friends before travelling, I’d mentioned my booked 45-minute connection and had been wished luck as Frankfurt was supposedly a horrendous airport to transfer through. Having missed my original flight out of the German city, I was under a lot less pressure with 3 hours to kill and so was a lot more relaxed about the whole process.
After having alighted the aircraft I was easily able to avoid the queues for passport control (as I wasn’t entering Germany at all) and soon found myself at the Lufthansa Service Center needing to pick up a boarding card for my new flight to Kiev. Speaking to the member of staff at the entrance to the queue I was advised that waiting to speak to a member of staff would take about an hour, however I could get my boarding card from one of the self-service machines. Wary after my experience with self-service check-in at Heathrow earlier in the day, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get my boarding card and also found myself in possession of a refreshment voucher due to the delay.
I’ve always been slightly confused as to why connecting passengers have to go through security again as they will have done so at the start of their original flight and have been ‘airside’ the entire time. Thankfully, just a stone’s throw away from the Lufthansa Service Center are the security lanes for connecting passengers which had absolutely no queue and I sped through in just a few minutes. All in all, from alighting the aircraft to having cleared security took me about 10 minutes, a time which would have been less if I hadn’t had to collect a new boarding card.
Having originally had a short connection at Frankfurt, I hadn’t looked at the lounges available to me via Dragonpass and so was surprised that the lounge offered wasn’t a generic airport lounge, however, was in fact the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge. This lounge was just a short walk from the exit of security and so within fifteen minutes of alighting my first aircraft of the day I was sitting down with a coffee and a view of part of Frankfurt’s busy apron.
The lounge was very spacious and when I arrived rather quiet as there seemed to be a gap in Air Canada’s flights for the afternoon. As with most lounges, there was a range of seating available with comfortable armchair style seating near the large windows, perfect for keeping an eye on the passing aircraft. There was wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available as well as a small selection of food, both warm and chilled. During my stay I had a small portion of meatballs and sauerkraut with some cake also making its way to my table before I headed to the gate.
After having missed my earlier flight I was rather paranoid about missing this one and so was definitely at the gate earlier than required. About 15 minutes before boarding began, it was requested that passengers came to the gate desk to have their travel documents checked to ensure they would be able to enter Kiev. Unfortunately, due to a large proportion of passengers not following this request, the boarding process became chaotic as the gate staff essentially had to re-check everyone’s passports before they were allowed to board.
Furthermore, despite the stereotype of German efficiency, there was no sensible queuing system in place and this resulted in 4 separate ‘queues’ (read scrums), merging to pass through two automatic boarding gates. I had thankfully made my way to the front of one of the scrums and so was amongst the first of the economy passengers to board and so settled into my seat on the front row of economy whilst everyone else fought to board. Eventually boarding was complete, however the chaos of the process combined with the need for the aircraft to be de-iced resulted in us pushing back late and eventually taking off about 35 minutes after our scheduled departure time.
I had lucked out and managed to get a row to myself on the right-hand side of the aircraft which afforded me some exciting (but foggy) views of the ramp areas as we taxied including a number of Lufthansa Cargo’s remaining McDonnell Douglas MD11s parked alongside more modern Boeing 777 freighters and a mix of other aircraft. Taking of directly south on Frankfurt’s runway 18, we took a left turn and then headed directly east for most of the flight, passing over Czechia and Poland before entering Ukrainian airspace.
Being at the front of economy, I was one of the first served during the on-board service, which turned out to have the same as my flight from Heathrow to Frankfurt. There was the usual choice of hot and cold drinks and a snack of either a Pastrami or Cheese sandwich. I opted for the same as the last flight and was able to use the adjacent seat’s table to spread out, allowing me to eat whilst I caught up on some Netflix.
The flight was uneventful, and a lot of the cabin had a nap during the two-hour journey east. As we continued our decent, I was fortunate enough to be given an amazing view of an illuminated Kiev as we passed to the north of the city before turning south and landing on Borispol airport’s runway 18L a total of 18 minutes late.
The timing of our arrival allowed me to see a large proportion of the Ukraine International Airlines fleet, which had begun to arrive and park up for the night at their home base. Pulling onto an air-bridge gate, I was very quickly through passport control, baggage claim and customs and on my way to the airport train station for the ‘express’ train to the city.
My first experience of Germany’s national airline had certainly had it’s ups and downs, however I must praise them for their efficiency in dealing with my delay and missed connection. It’s great that Lufthansa still provide food and drink on-board for free, however the half a sandwich offered was rather lackluster. The seats were comfortable and the exact same type as on British Airways with the added advantage of on-board Wi-Fi. In terms of the flight to Kiev, it was almost identical to the flight from London, with a decent but not exciting product and friendly, helpful service. I think if I had to describe Lufthansa in three words, they would be Predictable, Pro-active & Consistent.
Lounge 0* Seat/Facilities 4* Food 3* Service 5* Punctuality 3* Overall Rating 15/25 (read about my rating system here!)