In this new Flight review, you will board a Lufthansa A321neo from Frankfurt to Moscow-Domodedovo in Business Class. A very first for me!
Way to Frankfurt
But first I am going to introduce you to a service set up by Lufthansa to replace flights on short routes.
Therefore, we are standing in front of the central train station of Strasbourg, France.
It is quarter to five in the morning, and we are in Strasbourg, one of the two European capital cities with Brussels. You will certainly ask me “Why a railway station if you are doing a Flight review?”. Simply because since a few years now, the German flag carrier established a bus service combined with a train service to replace airplanes on short routes or to connect close cities to Frankfurt and Munich. Called “Lufthansa Express Bus”, it is a very practical way to go to the airport.
Good point for me, as I am travelling quite a lot with Lufthansa, it allows me to save money. Indeed, taking a trip XER-FRA-DME is much cheaper than taking a single flight between Frankfurt and Moscow.
Well, let's get back to the facts: the Flight review.
On board this bus, Wi-Fi is offered. Toilets are also available. Your luggage must be placed in the hold of the bus and smaller bags taken with you. The bus seat is very comfortable and is equipped with a coat rack, a tray table, and a footrest. Bottled water is also available on board. The bus leaves at 5.00 am, which is the exact time written on the ticket.
After a 2.45-hour drive, still on time, Herzlich Willkommen in Frankfurt (Welcome to Frankfurt). We arrive above the airport station, in terminal 1.
Unlike other passengers, not taking the bus, we have a dedicated check-in area, with no waiting... But there is no dedicated queue for passengers travelling in Business or First class. The ground staff was, I would say, in a hurry and stressed.
After check-in, we head for customs and security. Security went through like clockwork. Always very fast. As for the customs services, we went through the gates very quickly.
We then went to the Lufthansa Business Class Lounge. The service was very good. Drinks, food, etc. were available. In addition, you have access to restrooms, showers, and offices.
After an hour in the Lounge, it's time to board. Our boarding gate is B41. As we are in Business Class, we are in group 2, the second group to board, after passengers with small children and people with reduced mobility.
So, we enter this beautiful Airbus A321neo, registered D-AIEC. Our aircraft made its first flight in 2019 and is two and a half years old.
On board, the crew kindly welcomed us and gave us disinfectant towels. I discover the new cabin. The seats are still in the grey tones of the German national airline. As you know, the European Business Class has nothing to do with those in the United States for instance. Indeed, the seats are the same as the Economy Class with a little more legroom and the middle seat not occupied. It would be nice if the new A321neo aircraft, which sometimes fly to more distant destinations (such as Yekaterinburg in Russia or Ponta Delgada in Portugal) had a Business Cabin worthy of the name.
But the cabin of the A321neo is very nice for European flights. It is very quiet. In the seatback pocket, we can find the safety card, the Onboard Delight Menu as well as the waste bag.
Push Back, taxi and take-off
Fifteen minutes late, we start the push-back facing southeast. The safety instructions having already been carried out, I take advantage of the magnificent sound the A321neo's engine makes when it ignites. Our plane starts to taxi for a short time.
We take off from runway 25C, then make a left and right turn. We then fly over Europe's 4th largest financial centre, known as Mainhatten, and begin our climb to our initial cruising level of 35,000 feet (or 10600m).
Shortly after take-off, the drinks service begins. Several choices are available, including two wines, a sparkling wine, several fruit juices, tea, coffee, and water. For me, it will be a glass of apple juice and a glass of water.
We then received the menu for the flight; we had two choices: Roast Goose with Potato Dumplings, Breadcrumbs, Red Cabbage or Goose JusStuffed Bell Pepper with Green Spelt, Potatoes, Parsley Mash, smoked Tofu.
For the starter and the dessert, we only had one choice: Beef Shin Terrine with green Asparagus, Celeriac and Hay Puree, Raspberry Vinaigrette and Vanilla flavoured Mascarpone on Red Fruit Jelly with Pears and Apples.
For the main course, I choose the first option. This course, like the other one, is a traditional dish from Berlin, the German capital city. Since 2021, the dishes served are traditional dishes from a German region or city. This menu option has been offered on short and medium-haul flights.
A hostess came to ask us what our choice was and then came to bring us the meal tray. The starter, beef terrine and green asparagus with raspberry coulis and the sauce was quite good. The main course was also good, and I particularly liked the potato dumplings! The dessert was very good. At first sight, you have the impression that you are being put a stone in red fruit jam. But it is actually a chocolate shell filled with margarine custard.
During our meal, the cabin crew very often came by to offer us a drink (or several).
Our flight continues. We fly over Berlin, Poland and the Baltic States to avoid Belarus.
The end of our flight is approaching. The purser stopped by to offer us an apple and the now traditional Lufthansa chocolate.
For health reasons, we have to fill in some formalities to enter the Russian territory. Without this document (or Russian nationality), it is impossible to enter Russian territory. As I have dual nationality, I am exempt from this.
Approach and landing
We start our approach with a beautiful sunset. The runway we have to land on is 32L at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. The approach is clearly beautiful, the most beautiful I have seen so far.
"Herzlich Willkommen in Moskau, meine Damen und Herren und liebe Geste." The plane lands its landing gear at 3.19 pm local time. The second Moscow and Russian airport welcomes us under the freshly fallen snow. I haven't seen this much snow for a long time. We taxi to our gate between an A220 from Swiss and an A321neo from the Turkish low-cost airline Pegasus.
The deboarding goes off without a hitch. A small fuselage shot with a magnificent sunset in the background to finish in beauty.
Direction to the Russian customs.
This is a very interesting experience. If you thought Parisian airport customs officers were serious, you have never crossed the Russian border. You have the choice between the customs officer and the customs woman. If you don't want to be traumatised at the start of your holiday, I recommend the customs officer. But since I like a challenge, I chose the customs woman. I don't need to explain this in detail. Like in the movies, you get a "???????!" (Passport in Russian). Then it's time for the stamp parade; all this without the slightest smile.
Anyway, after passing through customs, we have to collect our luggage. On the plus side, it was already on the belt. On the negative side, one of our suitcases was "dead in the water".
The airport itself is very modern and clean. Once you enter the airport lobby, you are greeted by three huge, beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Several restaurants are available. There are also several pharmacies where you can get tested. As far as exchanging money is concerned, I advise you to wait until you are in the city, where the rates are much more interesting.
We are now in Moscow, the biggest and most populous Russian city.
My flight to Moscow will remain one of the best.
As usual, Frankfurt airport did not disappoint me. Always very clean, well-signposted, and convenient. The staff is present and the airport modern and smooth.
The Lufthansa Business Class Lounge was a first for me, and it did not disappoint either. The catering was more than adequate and is good. There are plenty of drinks and other services available.
The Business Class of the German national airline did not disappoint me either. The meal was good, although more meat and cheese would have been appreciated. The cabin crew was very attentive to the passengers. In short, a very professional crew.
Moscow Domodedovo airport, for a change from St Petersburg, was also very modern and convenient. Russian customs are always an exciting experience. The luggage service is very efficient.
So, I had a very pleasant trip with Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Moscow. If you have to travel with Lufthansa, I will definitely recommend it.
This is the end of this Flight review. I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you soon for the return flight to Germany.