Danube Trip: Chicago to Brussels
Danube Trip: Brussels Adventures and Getting to Prague
Danube Trip: Marriott Courtyard Prague
Danube Trip: Prague, Czech Republic
Danube Trip: Boscolo, Autograph Collection
Danube Trip: Prague to Nuremberg
Danube Trip: Viking River Cruise Boats – the Njord and the Bestla
Danube Trip: Nuremberg, Germany
Danube Trip: Weltenburg Abbey and Danube Narrows
Danube Trip: Regensburg, Germany
Danube Trip: Passau, Germany
Danube Trip: Wachau Valley and Göttweig Abbey
Danube Trip: Vienna, Austria
Danube Trip: Budapest, Hungary
Danube Trip: Hilton Budapest (Castle District)
Danube Trip: Budapest to Chicago
My return flight left Budapest at 6:30 AM. I had booked this leg of the trip using my Miles & More points, hoping that shortly before I left Budapest, Lufthansa would open up space and I’d be able to fly first class via Frankfurt. But the space never opened up so I had to “settle” for business class. Poor me.
My friend and I shared a taxi to the airport even though she was returning on Turkish Airlines and her flight was nearly three hours later. Sure enough, when we arrived she couldn’t even check her bags as no one was at the Turkish counter that early. So we said our goodbyes and I headed through security to the lounge.
The lounge I was directed to was very small and nearly full. It did have free wi-fi but didn’t even have its own restrooms. It was a contract lounge, not a Lufthansa lounge and while it was better than sitting the terminal and had some free beverages, I was completely under-whelmed.
Eventually though we boarded our flight for the relatively short flight to Frankfurt, which was very uneventful. Like many intra-Europe flights, business class was simply economy with blocked middle seats and nice service. We did get an edible, if unremarkable breakfast. Before long we were in Frankfurt where I was able to enjoy the lounge for a couple of hours.
When I got to the gate, I admit I was surprised. Where was the German efficiency I so appreciate? With Frankfurt being a Lufthansa hub, there are naturally a lot of people with elite status who are not flying in First or Business class. So they hover around, waiting for priority boarding to be called instead of queuing up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen priority boarding be so chaotic, though my experience is not that widespread. At any rate, eventually I boarded through door 1L and found my seat.
Frankfurt (FRA) – Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Depart 10:40 AM
Arrive 2:10 PM
Duration: 9h 30m
Seat 6D (Business Class)
As I was traveling solo for this leg I selected a seat in the middle section so I wouldn’t have to worry about climbing over anyone or being climbed over. Waiting for me at my seat was a blanket and this pillow. I loved the color scheme.
There was, of course, ample leg room and the seat was angled toward the center where just a thin divider separated my feet from my seatmate’s. That was actually fine as I spent the first part of the trip organizing photos and not sleeping. And not long after I put my seat in recline mode my seatmate was done with his nap and was no longer using his footrest.
The IFE screen was plenty big so that I didn’t have to squint to watch it. Just below the screen was the magazine holder. Though there was a storage area under my footrest I ended up putting my backpack overhead as I had the bin to myself.
Seat power was a multi-purpose electrical socket that could handle both 110v (US) or 220v (Europe) voltages.
The seat controls were easy to use and had 3 pre-sets: upright, lounging and sleep mode.
The amenity kit contained the usual items with a inner pouches for hygiene items. The outer bag had changed since my last Lufthansa flight in 2014. Then it was cute little bag almost reminiscent of a small beach bag. This bag was much more like a standard amenity kit bag but I liked the colors and it seems quite well made. I suspect I’ll get more use of it as I continue to travel.
Under the center console was the IFE controller, headphones and the tray table. All were very easy to use.
And the wine list:
I started things off with the Mozzarella Cheese on Arugula Salad:
Though my last experience with fish on an airplane hadn’t gone well, I took a chance on the salmon and had no complaints
For dessert I opted for the Mascarpone and Pear Cake. Though I was glad for the chocolates on the side I do wonder why so few airlines offer chocolate for dessert. I finished it off with a cup of tea.
We were served a snack just before arrival. I was glad I was going to have plenty of time to eat at O’Hare before catching my connecting flight because none of this was very appetizing. And frankly, I wasn’t all that hungry after having had the lunch meal.
We arrived in Chicago on time. As I was on an award flight I had to wait six hours for the next available flight back to Memphis. I’d tried to see if I could switch to an earlier flight while in Frankfurt but was told that the agents in the lounge could not help and I’d have to go back out on the concourse to deal with that. It seemed more trouble than it was worth at the time.
So I killed six hours at O’Hare before making it home to Memphis. Only to find that my checked bag had made it on the earlier flight and was locked in the United baggage office, which closed at 7 PM, well before my flight landed. And there were other United flights arriving even later. I do not understand this policy and (nicely) communicated my displeasure to United. But when I was in the airport again in February I saw that the baggage office still closes at 7 PM.
I had a terrific time on this trip and cannot wait for our next Viking trip in October.