Gothenburg-Munich in business class on Lufthansa: saved by Daizy in a surreal atmosphere

As usual, a solid performance from Lufthansa on this flight between Gothenburg and Munich in Business Class, but that’s not the most important thing.

In fact, it’s before and after the flight that the most remarkable events took place, enriching the storytelling around this trip and making an a priori uninteresting flight an interesting story to tell.

After a fast warm-up that took me to Gothenburg, it was time for the real kick-off of this trip with a flight to Munich, from where I’ll fly to Japan and then Australia. A fairly classic routing in the search for fare optimization, and a flight that should have been anecdotal had the elements not decided to spice up the story.

As a reminder, this trip’s routing.

You’ll find a summary of articles about this holiday in Australia at the bottom of the page.

Ticket purchase

As I explained in the article explaining the genesis of this trip to Australia I booked with ANA from Gothenburg to Sydney via Tokyo but as the Japanese airline does not operate from Sweden’s second-largest city, there was an outbound segment between Gothenburg and Munich, and a return segment between Brussels and Gothenburg.

Why make life so complicated? This is how you can get a business class ticket to Australia on one of the three best airlines in the world for 3,400 euros instead of 7,000 from Paris. In terms of price per kilometer, this is an excellent deal at this time of year, given the context of rising prices.

But looking for the best prices often means multiplying connections, which we have no problem with, especially as it increases mileage, except that it can cause a few scares when things go wrong. Which was almost the story of this flight.

Check-in and ground experience

I check-in online the day before my flight, without any problem. Still, I feel a vague sense of relief: so far, so good.

Did I have a reason to worry? Well, yes.

The day before, while I was dining at the excellent Saga restaurant in Gothenburg I saw a message on social networks from Lufthansa indicating that due to heavy snowfall Munich airport had been closed since the start of the day and that flights would only resume the following day, very gradually.

As I’m not leaving until the day after tomorrow, I don’t really have anything to worry about, except that I’ve had a bit of experience in this area and I’m thinking that for my flight to leave Gothenburg on Monday, it would have to arrive from Munich the day before, as it’s the first flight of the morning.

I immediately check the schedule and realize that all the Munich-Gothenburg flights for the next day (Lufthansa operates 3 or 4 if I remember correctly) are cancelled…except for the last one. So a priori everything’s fine, and in fact I’m not receiving any message from the airline, but as we all know, in these cases you can never be sure of anything until you’ve taken off.

So being able to check-in the next morning put my mind at rest, even though I knew I’d have to be vigilant right up to the last minute.

The evening before I monitor the flight status on both the airport website and Flightradar24. Everything’s fine until the flight is marked as delayed. Not reassuring, but predictable. Then the delays pile up and the status simply alternates between “delayed” and “unavailable“.

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Given that the airport has been closed and all operations have to be restarted, possibly with aircraft also arriving at the hub late before departing, and in difficult weather conditions, all this is understandable. Now my fear is that the plane won’t be able to leave before the airport closes, or that Gothenburg’s closing time will force us to cancel the flight or reroute it to another airport.

Time passes and it’s almost midnight. On Flighradar nothing moves until I see an aircraft heading for the runway. I click on it and recognize the aircraft registration: D-AIZY. It left its gate, but obviously forgot to activate its transponder, as it can only be tracked by registration, not flight number.

From now on, my fate is in the hands (or wings) of the one I’ll affectionately call Daizy.

But it doesn’t go any further and it remains stopped for a long time before the runway threshold. Certainly the de-icing procedure, but until I see it in the air I won’t be reassured. Daizy finally takes off and can be tracked again with its flight number.

It’s past midnight, I’m taking off the next day at 6.00 a.m. and even though I’m staying at the Scandic Landvetter directly next to the terminal, I tell myself that I’ll need to wake up around 4:30 at the latest, especially if I have to deal with a flight delay and an impact on my connection, in which case the earlier the better.

Why worry about delays? Given the very late arrival time of the aircraft, it is quite likely that the crew has reached its flight hour limit and will need to observe a rest period before departing. Unless they left with two crews or there was a crew on stand-by in Gothenburg? It’s possible, but right now I know that the plane will be there, but there’s no guarantee that it will leave on time, so my connection is potentially in danger.

As for the flight from Tokyo, it’s on time and even ahead of schedule, so there’s no point hoping that the delay in one will be made up for by the other.

So it’s time for me to go to bed… with Olivier taking over the remote flight monitoring, as it’s only the beginning of the evening at his place. He’ll call me if he notices anything worth alerting me to in the middle of the night.

I woke up at 4am the next morning to check-in my suitcase and make sure everything was okay. Double advantage of staying at this hotel: I’m 5 minutes from check-in and I can leave my winter gear in my suitcase as I don’t have to go outside, so I choose an outfit more suited to the 30° temperatures I’ll encounter in Sydney.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go outside.

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The flight is on time, so at this stage everything should be fine. Only a climatic imponderable could disrupt my plans, such as unexpected snowfall here or in Munich.

Check-in was a little crowded at this time of day, with other passengers obviously preferring to anticipate any problems that might arise.

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Check-in in the priority queue takes just a few minutes and I take the fast track to airside. I always find Gothenburg’s fast track very fast, but here it’s even faster.

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4:30 a.m.: although there are many people in the terminal, and strangely enough many more than expected, all the shops and lounges are closed. You can’t even get a cup of coffee.

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The SAS lounge opens 60 minutes before the first SAS flight, i.e. 5.10 a.m. 40 minutes to wait and I’ll only have 20 minutes to spend there. Given the number of passengers waiting at this hour, they might consider changing their hours…

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The lounge is finally open!

No need to present it to you, we’ve already done so many times…

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As usual I’ll have tea and sparkling water…no surprise to see that some of the local clientele are already on beer.

I quickly make my way to the departure lounge.

Boarding

Unlike usual, it’s on the first floor, suggesting boarding by bus, while I see an A320 Lufthansa parked at the gate right next door. No staff to operate the door?

In any case, passengers and crew are here, which is a good sign.

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At 5:38 a bus picks up the crew. The pilot gives us a big smile and a hand gesture, like “we’re leaving and you’re staying”. He looks funny and it relaxes the atmosphere.

The first passenger bus arrives shortly afterwards. One thing’s for sure, we won’t be leaving on time but, with a fairly comfortable connection time, I’m starting to relax.

In fact, our plane is not the one parked at the gate, but another parked at a remote stand. A glance at the registration confirms it: it’s our Daizy, which I followed at length from a distance the day before. So I assume the other Lufthansa I saw has been stuck there for several days and they’ve certainly switched crews to get us out on time.

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We’re kept on the bus without being allowed to leave, but given the weather it’s for the best as the pilot is outside doing a thorough inspection before we’re allowed to board.

After a 10-minute wait, we finally board. It’s -10° and nobody wants to hang around outside.

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We’ll need two buses to get everyone there, and of course the doors will be left open. Needless to say, it wasn’t hot in the cabin, but the heating will be turned on quickly.

We were also given a bottle of water as we boarded…I would have preferred a coffee.

The cabin

Unsurprisingly, we find Lufthansa’s usual medium-haul cabin with its NEK seats, whose replacement is said to be about to begin after a long wait. But knowing how precise the airline’s schedules are when it comes to planning new cabin deployments, I prefer to remain cautious.

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A seat whose thickness earns it the nickname of ironing board, but it’s far from being the worst medium-haul seat in Europe.

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There are 3 rows of business class on this flight and, with the middle seat neutralized as always with Lufthansa, that gives us a maximum of 12 passengers.

Legroom is decent, but I can remember better on Lufthansa.

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The flight and the service

Boarding is finally completed just 15 minutes late, and we leave after the aircraft has been de-iced.

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We take off with a beautiful sunrise in the distance.

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The cabin is kept in relative darkness until the service, allowing us to finish our night and making waking up less painful.

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Having no seatmate, I make myself comfortable.

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Drink orders are taken: as usual, tea and sparkling water for me.

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Outside, the sunrise is becoming increasingly interesting.

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The trays are brought to us.

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Since the COVID I find that Lufthansa has really reduced the quantities. But it’s visually more reassuring than the stuff I was served two days before on Air France. Service is provided by tray, passenger by passenger, which is also much more pleasant and more in line with what you’d expect in business class.

The croissant is warm but a little dry, the charcuterie and cheese good and tasty, and what looks to me like a coconut cream with pineapple slices really fresh and very good.

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In the end, a very decent service, and in any case far superior to what I had the day before, both in terms of food and staff.

An uneventful end to the flight while watching series on my iPad.

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The closer we get to Munich, the better the view outside.

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We are offered chocolates before landing. I’ll have one, but the flight attendant will insist that I have several.

Landing and arrival

Day is now breaking as we approach our destination.

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It’s now time for the landing…

Then we taxi to the terminal in a rather surreal atmosphere.

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The pictures don’t do it justice and you’ll see it better in the review of my flight from Munich to Tokyo, but the luminosity is quite unique. A winter sky, snowy, a bit like being in a absorbent cotton that muffles all noises and in an airport that still bears the scars of two days of snowstorms.

A strange gray, a surprising silence, a bit like arriving the day after a nuclear war. A truly surprising atmosphere.

As we drive along, I spot the ANA 787 that I’ll be taking a few hours later to Tokyo.

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We finally arrive at our parking spot.

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No one is there to operate the door…10-minute wait before being able to disembark.

I’m finally outside. Off to the Lufthansa lounge before heading to Tokyo.

The crew

Very pleasant and efficient.

Bottom line

In the end, an uneventful flight that deserves such a lengthy review only for what happened before and after: the follow-up to my inbound flight, which conditioned my connection and the rest of the journey, and an arrival in a rather surreal context, difficult to explain here, in terms of sound, light and in an airport that seemed to have been devastated the day before.

And these early-morning winter flights are often the perfect opportunity to take beautiful photos of the rising sun.

But I was relieved to see our Daizy show up in Gothenburg.

What makes the story of a flight is not always what happens on the plane…

The articles about this vacation in Australia

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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