Return to India: Part 3 - Frankfurt to Bengaluru on Lufthansa 754

May 17, 2017:
I was a little disoriented as I got into the terminal from the confines of the A343. It was colder inside the airport than inside the aircraft. I was weary and tired - I had been awake since 0500hrs US EDT, and the time was around 0000hrs US EDT then. A long day without sufficient sleep. I had a long walk to Concourse-C, and of course almost 7 hours of wait after getting there. I dragged my legs as I walked towards the next gate. I took off some time to use the rest room. I briefly contemplating taking some rest at a resting area I saw en route, but thought of waiting at the gate instead. I took the tram, and headed to the C gates. I headed straight to the duty free shop at Concourse C - I had pre-booked some stuff online - they took my payment in USD instead of Euro on request. After the duty free shopping, I headed straight to security check. The office at the frisking booth asked if I really wanted to go to the gate - he offered that I could roam around the other concourses for a while before heading to the gate. I opted to head to the gate instead.
Lufthansa 754 to Bangalore, ready to depart from C14!

I was done with Security screening by around 0745hrs or so - I had successfully wasted close to two hours traveling from the A gate to the C gate. My next flight (LH754) was to depart from gate C14. I went to the waiting area of C15/16 and grabbed a seat overlooking the apron. An Air China B777 was docked at C15. I looked on eagerly as the aircraft was towed away. I was hoping that the incoming aircraft from Bengaluru would arrive at one of the gates there - unfortunately, it went to one of the A gates instead. After a while, I headed out in search of a working USB Charging point - I didn't have a converter that fits into the German power plug. After hunting around, I found one charging point near gate C16.

I headed to a casualfood eatery at the waiting area for my breakfast - I picked up one roll and a latte - awesome roll, I must say. The waitress at the eatery made me really comfortable by heating the roll to perfection, serving an appropriate choice of sauces, and she prepared some great coffee. I headed back to the apron side to spot some departures. I still do not know how did I spent the rest of the time at the airport - I am sure that I did not nap, I did spot quite a lot of departures. The stream of departures was steady - the aircrafts varied from CRJs to the super heavy A380! The C gates - especially the waiting area near C15 & C16 appeared like a piece of India. I heard more of Tamil and Kannada all around than any other language - the "C" gates handle Lufthansa's India departures. They all leave as a bank, with the flight to Chennai being the first. Gate C15 became a mini-Tamil Nadu was D-AIGU was brought to the gate, and boarding for the flight to Chennai was called. I moved to gate C14 some time past 1115hrs - just in time to send off Lufthansa's A388 D-AIMC to JFK.

As D-AIMC completed its pushback, and began spooling in anticipation of taxi clearance, I could spot a Boeing 748 on tow rushing in from a remote stand. It was indeed my bird - D-ABYM! She came to the gate a little before 1130hrs. In fact, the A388 to JFK had to wait on the taxiway till ABYM docked at the gate. I enjoyed the sight of the B788 up close. The queen really looked elegant in every sense. The sharp nose of the queen looked better than the heavy foreheaded super heavy A388. D-ABYM, a Boeing 747-830 with construction number 37837, was delivered to Lufthansa in February 2014. She was named Bayern (German for Bavaria), one of the 16 states in Germany.
D-ABYM being towd in, while an American flies out..


Up close with the queen..

People at the gate already began queuing up, and making desperate enquiries at the counters. As the time for boarding came closer, the agents at the gate called out for passengers having more than one carry-on baggage. They announced that the flight was full, and requested all passengers with larger carry-on baggages to check-in their bags due to insufficient space in the overhead racks. Although I had two carry-on bags, they both were small, and I did not check-in my bags.

Date of Journey: May 17, 2017
Airline: Lufthansa
Flight No: LH754 || Seat: 19K
Aircraft type: Boeing B747-830 || MSN: 37837 || Regn: D-ABYM "Bayern"
Sector: FRA-BLR
STD: 1305hrs, ATD: 1314hrs
STA: 0120hrs, ATA: 0117hrs
All times local.

The first preboarding call was made at 1216hrs CEST. The first call was for passengers requiring assistance, passengers traveling with kids, and large groups. Some smarties tried sneaking in, only to be sent back by the agents. Boarding actually commenced at 1235hrs - there was a very long line, but the end of the line was confused. Automated boarding gates were used, and the lines split into many smaller lines at the end - a few of us appeared confused and ended up created a shorter line for ourselves! But then, we were lucky, and I could actually pass the gate by 1239hrs. The bar code on my boarding pass was a little light (poor printing by the printer at DTW) and the gate took a little time to read my pass and let me through.
The gates before boarding began..

Once past the gate, we entered a large common area, where the passengers from the Senator lounge also joined in. The gates then split, with one jetway for the elites, and one for the commoners. I was inside D-ABYM by 1241hrs. I was seated in #19K, in one of the five rows of economy seats squeezed between Business Class and Premium Economy class. My seat was over the wings. Boarding was completed by 1258hrs. Given that boarding commenced very late, I did not imagine they could complete boarding before the scheduled departure time. Interestingly, the doors were armed by 1300hrs - five minutes before scheduled departure time. Pushback, however, took a long time - we were pushed back only by 1314hrs. Taxi commenced at 1321hrs - I was so tired that I fell asleep as soon as the aircraft began moving. I woke up just as we reached the holding point of Runway 07C - at 1329hrs. We did not have to hold, and actually directly entered the active runway and commenced the takeoff roll. We lifted off at 1330hrs - I clicked one picture as we climbed up, then rolled down the shutter and dozed off.
As we were being pushed back for departure.. 

It was one very long sleep - my longest in an aircraft. I was terribly tired, and had absolutely no energy left to remain awake - I had already spent over 24 hours without sleep. I slept continuously for over 4 hours into the flight. As I woke up in between, the crew were clearing trays after a meal service. I was not offered a meal although they did see me awake - but then I did not want either. I took some water after a while, and continued sleeping. I remember witnessing the sunset sometime during the flight. I continued sleeping for most of the time. I woke up again as they were serving dinner and the FAs had just passed my row. On seeing me awake, she asked what would I take - and I got my first meal on the flight.
My dinner..

Dinner service had a warm roll served with tomato ketchup. I picked up a coffee to go along. The roll was delicious and wholesome. I was so tired and sleepy that I did not click a pick of the actual roll, though. I did not want to sleep after the dinner and tried keeping myself awake by watching something on the hit-screen. The captain announced on the PA system that we had already commenced descent, and should be touching down in Bengaluru in less than an hour since then. The purser announced that the FAs would be passing by to collect the headphones back - I hadn't used them at all! I returned the headphones and watched some videos on the AVOD system sans audio. The seatbelt sign was back on at 2113hrs (CEST). I got excited as the map showed we were getting closer to Bengaluru. I remained hooked to the live map as we got set to land. We finally touched down on Runway 29 of namma Bengaluru at 0108hrs (local time). We used a rapid exitway towards the 09 end of the runway, and directly entered the apron. We had a follow me vehicle to escort as as we headed towards our gate. We docked at the last contact stand by 0117hrs. I was out of the aircraft by 0122hrs!
Getting closed to Bengaluru..

After we docked at BLR.. Dragon gave us company..

This was my first international arrival into India, and I was kinda clueless of the procedures. I just went with the crowd and rushed towards the Immigration counters. That was a very long walk from the gate to the immigration counters, which were actually located on the top most floor in the old building. There was a fairly long queue at the immigration counters, and I was done with Immigration by 0139hrs. Quite intriguingly, there were more questions from the Indian Immigrations than what was asked by the US CBP at Chicago! I was even more confused seeing an official posted solely to check if the passport had the arrivals seal! Next stop was at  Customs - a terribly disinterested officer there put all bags through the scanner. I was done with Customs by 0144hrs, and headed to the baggage carousel.
Yes.. the first international flight just closed..

Most of the luggage trolleys were already taken and I had to hunt to get one. I found a full lot of them parked away from sight, and I took one from them. It was one long wait to get my bags - the first of my two bags came at 0158hrs. The second one took even longer and came out only at 0205hrs. I was really tired by now, and terribly wanted to take some rest - I rushed out of the airport. I booked a cab as I walked past the Customs green channel and reached the exit (0207hrs). My car was waiting as I reached the pick-up point. I had another round of sleep while in the cab, and made it to home by around 0330hrs ending my first ever international trip!

Ratings:
Boarding: 5/5 (Absolute no-nonsense, very organised)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Very Clean)
Punctuality: 5/5 (Perfectly on time)
Crew: 3/5 (Fairly good service. Cutting points for not offering a lunch even though they saw me awake during clearance)
Catering: 5/5 (The roll I got was good)
Overall: 4.5/5 (A good flight!)
Tracking from FR24..

Summary:
I'll remember this flight for many reasons - most importantly, my longest sleep in a flight! This trip, in itself, will be cherished forever. This was the third flight with Lufthansa, and second in a Boeing 747-830! I cannot really write a summary for this flight - I slept for most of the time on this one. I would rate the service as average - primarily for the fact that they overlooked me when they served the lunch. No offer was made when they were clearing the trays either, although they did see me awake. However, they did come forward and offer the dinner when they saw me awake. Even with a 10 abreast seating, the B748 appeared more comfortable than the 8 abreast A343. The legroom was lavish on the B748, while that was a clear premium on the A343. But, yes - the seats on the 343 were wider than the 748. My pick in the entire trip would be the 9-abreast B772 of United! Overall a good flight - good for the fact, I could sleep through it in fairly good comfort. 

Comments

C.A.Raghu Ram said…
Now that you are in India, waiting for review of minnal buses and parveen deccan bus

And great reviews of us bus operators and airlines

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