So I take up my story where I left off after a flight from Paris to Frankfurt and a 25 minute connection made quickly but without stress.
I might as well tell you that we’ll quickly pass over the pre-boarding experience since it only consisted of a long walk in the airport corridors to arrive at the boarding gate at the precise moment when my flight started to board.
A well-managed boarding
Some notable facts in terms of passenger experience. As I often mention, Lufthansa often offers very short connections in Frankfurt, so much so that anyone who is used to connections at Roissy feels that they have missed their plane before they have even started their journey. Well, this is not the case: you can really cross the airport in 25 minutes and go from Schengen to non-Schengen.
The counterpart: we have little or no time to enjoy the charms of the lounges of the German airline.
So here I am at the boarding gate to go to Istanbul. The boarding priorities are announced and strictly respected…which is totally useless. Indeed the boarding is done by bus so the “priority” passengers will board the first in the bus and will get off the last.
I’ve often complained that my Paris-Frankfurt flight was parked remote on arrival and forced to disembark by bus, and on the Frankfurt-Istanbul flight it’s the same thing, but it’s logical and totally explainable.
Are brought in priority ” to the contact ” of big carriers (we are in a ” non Shenghen ” terminal) and the single-aisle aircraft like the A320 are therefore logically more easily parked remote because less difficult to embark by bus than an aircraft of 350 passengers.
In short I gain a new long drive in the middle of the aircrafts, giving me the opportunity to make some pictures to pass the time.
Well we arrive finally, it is time to embark.
A beautiful cabin
Nothing to say about the seat and the cabin, it is the standard Lufthansa medium-haul cabin, nothing more and nothing less. I like the overall look, the legroom is acceptable for my 1.88m (neither uncomfortable nor generous) and the seat still feels a bit hard at first although after a few minutes the feeling fades.
The magazines and safety instructions are always well presented in a plastic pocket, it’s clean and the whole thing gives off a non-ostentatious premium feeling that I like (if we can use the word premium for a medium-haul business on a European airline but …).
I already took this flight more than a month ago and a friend, a frequent traveler, was stunned when I told him that Lufthansa was able to fit 7 rows of business to Istanbul in an A321. Record beaten because there we were 8 rows of business on an A320. And some people still think that Istanbul is a “leisure” destination.
No drink offered before takeoff, too bad. Especially since several buses are needed to transport the passengers, the first ones to arrive will have to wait a long time before taking off.
This one finally arrives. I am on the wrong side of the aircraft, nothing interesting except for those who like fields.
A solid service
Shortly after take-off we are given a hot oshibori with the menus.
Nice presentation for a medium haul business flight, many don’t bother with such an elaborate document even for a flight of just under 3 hours.
The service of the aperitif begins. For me it will be vodka tonic. They leave me the mignonette, up to me to manage the dosage.
Then they take my order. For me it will be the cod with curry.
The meal arrives immediately.
The entrée is a spicy salmon with celery salad, pesto sauce with mustard and toasted pumpkin seeds.
It is fresh, fine, spicy and well presented.
Then comes the cod. The presentation of the dish is more classic. The fish is cooked just right, the dish has a good presence in the mouth.
The dessert, a white chocolate and mango mousse, slides right in.
Lufthansa always offers beautiful cheese plates.
The middle seat being naturally neutralized in business class with Lufthansa as with others, my neighbor and I will use it to put our glasses and our iPads to watch movies during the flight. When I open the tablet I notice that it has been badly cleaned (traces of dried liquid in the goblet rest). I barely have time to think about taking a picture when the flight attendant sees the poorly cleaned shelf, gets out a sponge to clean the little trace in less time than it takes to say it and apologizes.
The red wine will be very acceptable and I will be served several times throughout the flight without having to call the flight attendant back. If I didn’t ask for anything else (except sparkling water) it wasn’t because the staff was lazy, simply because I didn’t want to change.
This meal is one more proof that as soon as we dare to use spices in flight, we end up with dishes that are infinitely less bland and have a better presence in the mouth than when we stay with more traditional things. Lufthansa has understood this, others have not yet.
The flight went smoothly and without anything else to add. Available and omnipresent staff, comfortable seat, we can’t ask for much more on this type of flight.
There is wifi like on almost all Lufthansa flights but my desire to have peace far outweighs my desire to be connected.
We are told that the landing is near. This is a first for me: after years of complaining about the uncomfortable and congested Ataturk airport, here I am in the brand new Istanbul airport.
The discovery of the new airport of Istanbul
A first approach, unfortunately not on the side allowing me to see the infrastructure. But in a next review you will be able to see my next take-off towards Izmir with, there, an excellent view of the new terminal.
Cranes and construction equipment are omnipresent, proof that much remains to be done before the airport adopts its final configuration.
The taxi is long. Logical: the runway is far from the terminal and even once you reach it, you still have to taxi for long minutes before reaching the gate because of the gigantic size of the building.
Disembarking in contact: something that was very rare in Ataturk due to the inadequacy of the infrastructure and the traffic. And given the size of the new airport, I don’t think we’ll have to park at a remote stand and board or leave by bus very often.
We finish with my first experience of transit in this new airport.
For those who knew him, Ataturk meant long queues, congested corridors and even traffic jams, crowded passengers.
There my walk towards the police controls and the zone of the domestic flights took place in a quasi deserted airport so much it is oversized for the current traffic.
Just the opposite of what we used to know.
The terminal is large, the walk long but all in a comfort and calm that we never associated with Istanbul in the past.
Fluid police and security controls (even if barely half of the booths are open), that is to say the growth potential of this infrastructure while it receives today “only” what was the traffic of the old facilities.
That’s it for this flight. Coming up: my connection and my flight to Izmir on Turkish Airlines (and the test of the new domestic lounge in between).
A super solid service by Lufthansa on this medium-haul business class flight. As long as you get over the fact that European airlines do not offer a distinctive seat in business class compared to economy, there is nothing to complain about.
Friendly, smiling, available staff.
Excellent meal, lot of taste, nice quantities.I am always surprised to see the quality of the trays on Lufthansa in business medium-haul (let’s wait to discover the long-haul) compared to those of the airlines claiming to have a gastronomic culture superior to that of Germany.
We regret the boarding by bus in Frankfurt (even if it is more justified than the disembarkations by bus that I experience too often for my taste on the Paris-Frankfurt). A downside compensated by the great experience on arrival at the new Istanbul airport.
For the record: routing and pricing
- Paris-Francfort : Lufthansa / Business
- Francfort-Istanbul : Lufthansa / Business (it’s here)
- Istanbul-Izmir : Turkish Airlines / Business
- Izmir-Istanbul : Turkish Airlines / Business
- Istanbul-Frankfurt: Lufthansa / Business (no interest, no review)
- Frankfurt-Paris: Lufthansa / Business (no interest, no review)
Return fare: 526.11 euros.