A lot of “NEW” things are happening within the Lufthansa Group over the next week. As no doubt you know if you’ve been reading my posts, Lufthansa’s first Boeing 747-8i enters passenger service this Friday when she flies from Frankfurt to Washington DC. But thats not the only first for passengers.
On June 5th, Austrian will officially open to the public their new dedicated Star Alliance Terminal at their main hub in Vienna (VIE). Austrian will consolidate all of their aircraft operations to this new facility.
The terminal promises to be a work of art that will provide passengers with a streamlined travel experience. This terminal is actually “rated” to allow passengers to transfer with as little as 25 minutes between connections. This beats Munich, currently rated as one of Europe’s best at 45 minutes.
The new 150,000 sq. meter (164,000 sq. yd) terminal will boast 69 Check-In Counters and 40 self service kiosks along with dedicated Check-In areas for Business and Star Alliance Elite Level passengers. Additional, new Lounges will also be open as part of the new terminal. New lounges will include HON Circle/First Class, Senator/Star Alliance GOLD and Business Class lounges. Based on my experiences in transiting through Vienna, this in itself will be a major upgrade!
The terminal will be a very open facility, with walls of windows that will provide great viewing of Aircraft and the rest of the airport.
Images courtesy of Austrian Airlines:
For an interactive guide of the new terminal, please follow this link.
Of course there is one minor downside to all this……as part of my trip to Frankfurt, I’m taking a couple of days in Slovakia to visit family which will involve flying in and out of Vienna over this weekend, so I will just-just-just miss experiencing the new facility first hand. I’m hoping there’s a “soft opening” and perhaps the facility is already operating.
The last Semi-Final match has Singapore squaring off against Amsterdam. The match will end on 31 May at 8:00p US eastern time.
Singapore (SIN) vs. Amsterdam (AMS)
- Singapore (SIN) (75%, 50 Votes)
- Amsterdam (AMS) (25%, 17 Votes)
Total Voters: 67
So far things have fallen into place predictably but its setting up for a fantastic final regardless of who advances.
For the Semi-Final, if a match results in a tie, I will run a “best out of 5″ random number generator “overtime” to determine the winner.
As always, thanks for your participation!
On the evening of Memorial Day, I went to my local airport to pick up my wife who was returning from visiting her brother and his family for a few days. As usual I get to the airport a little bit early so I can plane-spot the very rare ERJ’s and CRJ’s that tend to make it to town.
As I was waiting near the one-way corridor where arriving passengers walk down after leaving the airside part of the terminal, I saw something that I don’t think should happen at any airport. A pair of TSA officers were pushing a cart full of food containers (Tupperware type), grocery store bags, and bottles of soda and water up this one-way corridor (which does not have any security since it is for arriving passengers) and proceeded to disappear into the airside part of the terminal.
Now I may not know every rule that the TSA has or doesn’t have, but shouldn’t ANY ITEM being brought AIR SIDE by ANY ONE be subject to the same scrutiny as a normal passenger? In other words, shouldn’t the cart and it’s contents be screened and X-Ray’d?
The scene was harmless enough. A few TSA agents perhaps planning a pot luck or small gathering after their shift in their break-room is all well and good. But the impression that was left in my mind is that a cart full of “stuff” just bypassed security without the slightest effort of screening the contents.
Do I have cause for concern? I think so.
In news coming out of India, the Star Alliance has extended an invitation to Indian carrier Jet Airways to become the newest member of Star Alliance and join EVA Air as new member-elects to the world’s largest airline alliance. Though this has been in the news previously, it may be resurfacing again.
According to the “Centre For Asia Pacific Aviation”, the invitation had been extended but the Indian Government insists that it will not allow Jet to join the Alliance unless Air India is accepted first. Yes you read that correctly. The airline that was on the cusp of membership in recent months after a 3 1/2 year application period, who has befallen on disastrous economic times, is being used as leverage and Jet Airways stands to be the biggest loser if Star Alliance does not accept Air India in some quasi-package deal.
To me this is simply a transparent ploy by the Indian government to offload a struggling airline into an alliance in the hopes that membership will cure Air India’s woes. Unfortunately, AI’s problems run far deeper than can be fixed by any membership in any alliance. Operating losses and outdating technology platforms have been the major obstacles to alliance membership.
With Jet being the best positioned to succeed, India is willing to threaten the success of yet another Indian based carrier. Have they not learned their lesson with Air India and Kingfisher?
This development follows a recent meeting that was held recently by Lufthansa’s CEO Christoph Franz and Jet’s Chairman Naresh Goyal ahead of Jet beginning new service to Frankfurt and Munich. Personally, the timing of the meeting was a little bit more than interesting to me at this point.
If I had a crystal ball, I think I would see the capitulation of the Indian goverment, who will remove their demands, and will finally let one of their national carriers join an alliance. Maybe.
The Semi-Finals are set to begin as we narrow down the contenders for the 2012 AIRPORT WORLD CUP. In the first match that starts today it will be Tokyo Narita vs. Hong Kong.
Tokyo Narita (NRT) vs. Hong Kong (HKG)
- Hong Kong (HKG) (76%, 52 Votes)
- Tokyo Narita (NRT) (24%, 16 Votes)
Total Voters: 68
This match will end on May 30th at 8:00p US Eastern Time.
The other match will start tomorrow when Singapore takes on Amsterdam.
In the Semi Finals, if there is a tie, I will run a “best out of 5″ Random Number Generator “overtime” to determine the winner.
Please CLICK HERE to see the updated tournament bracket.
This time its NY’s Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer urging legistlation to allow families to sit together without incurring additional fees for premium seats sometimes charged by airlines. He’s reacting to press last week about how families are being “targeted” and are being forced to pay additional fees when trying to sit together.
Airlines in some cases charge premiums for window or aisle seats, and when a family of 3-4 or more travel, they are almost always forced to have 1 or 2 members in this type of “premium” seat, thus creating this added fiscal stress.
The Senator is expected to send a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to implement rules that would prevent such an affront to the traveling family. Well guess what, should that rule be enacted, fares will go up beyond what the fee would have been (at least thats how airlines have historically reacted). Perhaps airlines will get creative and even charge a higher fare if you are booking more than 2 seats at a time.
I can’t agree with the Senator on this one (or much else that he has proposed in the past) simply because in my opinion, he’s trying to turn this into an entitlement issue that then actually reverse discrimates against those who don’t have children but would still have to pay a premium for sitting in a premium seat on an aircraft.
A family traveling together with a bit of planning can easily accomplish sitting together. Whether its sitting in pairs or using the middle seats on a wide body, it’s easy to accomplish.
Now I expect a fair share of you will disagree with me on this point, but being one without children I am not a big fan of fees being waived for the family who decides to pile into an airplane for their once a year trip to Disneyland while others like myself who fly frequently, and provide far more revenue to the airlines, are forced to pay more for the same seat.
But I am curious, what do you think? Should families be entitled to fee waivers when traveling together, or should they be treated like any other passenger? The polls are open:
In this Youtube video, we get to see the debut of the new Lufthansa Business Class seat in “real life”. This video was taken aboard Lufthansa’s newest A330 which entered service last week and debuted on the Munich-Washington DC route. The video is great, however it is in German, but the pictures say a million words in any language. There is also a Flynet demonstration highlighting the aircraft’s internet access ability.
The seats look great and are certainly a HUGE upgrade over the current Business Class Seat! The 2 biggest improvements are the ability for these seats to recline to a true 180 degree flat position and a MUCH LARGER video screen for the In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. If you would like to see additional Pictures, please visit my Business Class Seat Gallery.
The next aircraft that will feature the new Business Class cabin will be the Boeing 747-8i that enters service next Friday. I’ll be on that airplane on the following Sunday returning from Frankfurt and will use twitter to “broadcast” during the flight. If you are interested, please follow me on my Twitter address: @lufthansaflyer
Thanks to my wife and her StarAllianceHub blogging efforts for these contests (created a monster haven’t I?).
She came across a couple of great Air New Zealand offers:
1. Downunder Vacation: Win a 9 day trip to explore Australia’s greatest sites. Roundtrip from Los Angeles to New Zealand. This promo is in conjuction with Air New Zealand Vacations.
2. Air New Zealand Pop Quiz: Take a pop quiz after reviewing Air New Zealand’s great looking Premium Economy cabin and have a chance to win 2 tickets from the US to London.
It has been about a week since my last Star Alliance update, so there are several updates covering Alliance members:
Athens-Budapest effective Dec 20 to Jan 12 will increase from 3x/week to 6x/week.
Athens-Prague effective Dec 20 to Jan 12 will increase from 3x/week to 6x/week.
Athens-Vienna effective Dec 20 to Jan 12 will increase from 4x/week to 1x/DAY.
Athens-London Gatwick effective October 28 will BEGIN 4x/week service.
Zagreb-Pristina effective October 28 will increase from 5x/week to 6x/week.
Addis Ababa-Hargeisa effective June 10 will BEGIN 1x/day service.
Addis Ababa-Toronto effective July 16 will BEGIN 2x/week service.
Frankfurt-Rio de Janeiro effective October 28 will increase from 6x/week to 1x/DAY.
Singapore-Abu Dhabi effective October 28 is CANCELED.
Singapore-Athens effective October 28 is CANCELED.
SOUTH AFRICAN (SA EXPRESS):
Durban-Lusaka effective July 12 will BEGIN 3x/week service.
Istanbul-Osh effective July 18 will BEGIN 3x/week service.
Istanbul-Ulaan Baatar effective August 15 will BEGIN 3x/week service.
Cleveland-Cincinnati effective August 1 is CANCELED.
Denver-Tokyo effective March 31 will BEGIN 1x/day service (flown by Boeing 787!).
Courtesy of www.airlineroute.net
Via Twitter today (the alert interrupted my backswing….), Lufthansa is offering $60.00 vouchers for travel between August 12, 2012 and September 9, 2012. Vouchers are limited, so register quickly! (See link below).
The voucher needs to be redeemed between May 25 and May 31 and travel must be on flights departing from the USA. In other words, you have 7 days to book your flights!
In addition to Lufthansa, the flights can be operated by United, Austrian Airlines and Air Canada accoring to the Terms/Conditions.
Click here to be taken to the Voucher Registration Site.
The Quarter Finals wrap up with Hong Kong (HKG) taking on Zurich (ZRH):
Hong Kong (HKG) vs. Zurich (ZRH)
- Hong Kong (HKG) (64%, 37 Votes)
- Zurich (ZRH) (36%, 21 Votes)
Total Voters: 58
In previous Quarter-Final matches Amsterdam (AMS) and Tokyo Narita (NRT) have advanced into the Semi-Finals. The match between Singapore (SIN) and Munich (MUC) is currently underway and ends tonight. If you have not voted in that match, please visit this link and vote!
In the Quarter Finals, if there is a tie, I will run a “best out of 3″ Random Number Generator “overtime” to determine the winner.