Monday, June 25, 2012

[Travel] Day 43: Luthansa First Class Terminal and FRA-ORD Flight

It was with a heavy heart that I checked out of the Hilton and made my way to the airport proper, knowing my trip was almost at an end. I had about six hours until my flight and I was determined to enjoy every one of them. I started by going to the first class check-in desk. The agent was quite surprised since I was so early, but I explained that I couldn't sleep any later and I might as well enjoy myself in the First Class Terminal. She was definitely on board with that.

I asked for a window seat and she said that because the load was so light (2 of 8), I could have whatever I wanted. Excellent! At that point she gave me directions to get to Lufthansa's First Class Terminal - a first class lounge that takes up an entire building. It wasn't too bad of a walk, five minutes at most. I made the stroll over and figured out how to get inside and upstairs.

At least it's clear what you're heading for

I'm used to being a personal assistant for others. This ought to be interesting.

Having not had breakfast, the first thing I did was go get some food. The buffet was amazing - easily the nicest spread I've seen on this trip, including at any hotel breakfasts. They also had a menu you could order off of and, having seen it recommended repeatedly by Gary Leff, I had the wiener schnitzel. It was absolutely fantastic.

A little bit of everything - all delicious!

Why always with the tiny bottles?

Weiner. Schnitzel. Yes.

I got comfortable in the lounge and started working. Over the next few hours I consumed untold numbers of Coke Zero, ate way too much, and even enjoyed a giant snifter of Chambord.

More tiny bottles!

All the seating was extremely comfortable

I should be thankful there were no gummy bears like in Zurich

In case you needed a shower

Very nice private bathroom

Not sure who would take a bath here but whatever floats your ducky

Dayroom - bed looked less comfortable than in Zurich

The famous Lufthansa FCT rubber ducky - I grabbed two!

And two of these as well

I have no clue why my Chambord came in this thing but it was practically the size of my head

Notice the Haribo candies in front. Very dangerous for me!

I enjoyed seeing this in Germany

Told you. Dangerous.

When it was time for boarding they escorted me downstairs and drove me to the terminal in a Porsche. First time I've ever ridden in one. Also the first time I've gone tooling around the tarmac in a car. Very fun!

Blurry Porsche!

Luxury crotch shot

There had been an equipment change and I'm thinking that might have displaced quite a few people as first class was now completely full - I was the last to take my seat.

Not the most comfortable of seats

The flight attendant introduced himself and offered a pre-departure beverage. I asked for some icewine, but he said they had to save that for the flight. Really? Okay. How about Coke Zero? All they had stocked was Diet Coke as Coke Zero was only in coach. Huh. Champagne it is! Truly horrible being me, I know.

I wasn't even hungry but I ate all those macadamia nuts

Posted without comment...this time

Once we were airborn the FA came around with menus. He also immediately offered me a glass of icewine, which I thought was nice. He let me know he'd gone back and grabbed a 1.5 liter bottle of Coke Zero for me as well. I like this guy!

Scalding hot towel

First of many

Everything on the menu looked good, but I'd learned so far that the main courses were the most disappointing, so I decided to pass on those and just eat everything else. The FA and I had a brief but enjoyable conversation as I was ordering. He definitely gave the Asiana FA a run for her money as my favorite on the trip!

Amuse bouche - tuna tartar, mango and seaweed - one of the tastiest things on the trip

Fifth pretzel of the day?

The famous Lufthansa rose

The equally famous Lufthansa appetizer cart. Plus the incredibly nice FA.

Sure I'll have some caviar. What? No bone china spoon? Poor form!

This was downright awful except for the beet paste. And I like pickled fish.

Beef and fig paste worked well together

Similarly the goat cheese, pomegranate and tabbouleh really went well together

Icewine with very strong hints of grapefruit

This was not soup. Don't let it fool you. It was a bowl of salt dissolved in liquid. Thankfully I like salt.

And the dessert cart

My favorite iced dessert of all time is a lime-cilantro sorbet from a place in DC. This was purported to be similar so I was expecting a lot. In delivery it was very disappointing, with a weak flavor and odd consistency. Guess I'll just have to go to DC for the real thing.

That top piece of chocolate was raspberry prosecco flavored and was the best chocolate I've ever had

That's the one right there

I didn't even try and sleep this time through and just enjoyed reading the rest of Sherlock Holmes and playing some video games.

Little late night apple juice

A pretzel by any other name

After landing in O'Hare I got to discover the wonder of my GOES card for priority immigration. I'd applied for it earlier in the year but not had a chance to use it yet. I got from the plane, through immigration (you use a kiosk and don't have to even talk to a person), got my bags and cleared customs in less than 10 minutes.

I then spent 90 minutes waiting for the shuttle (had just missed it) and then around through O'Hare again until I could finally check in at the Country Inn and Suites. Not their best performance, though they made up for it the next day.

How should I kill 90 minutes? Oh, I know, let's take photos of the flag of every country I visited on this trip, in order. Feel free to play along at home.

The room was very similar to my room earlier in the trip:

I sent out a few e-mails and then attempted to settle in for the night. Would I get sleep? Would jetlag do me in? Would I end this post with a question?

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