4 engines for long haul, flying on Lufthansa’s A340-300 from Brussels via Frankfurt to Montreal in Economy

Last year when our parents turned 60, my sister and I were thinking about what we should give them as a present. As my mother dropped several times how she would love it to visit Canada one day to visit our cousin living there, we decided to gift them the plane tickets to Canada and invite ourselves along for the trip. In about one and a half week we made a trip around the cities in central-eastern Canada, visiting Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and Toronto.

The best deal to fly there was offered by Lufthansa, we set off from Brussels to Montreal with a change in Frankfurt on Lufthansa’s venerable Airbus A340-300 while we would return from Toronto via Munich to Brussels and fly their brand new Airbus A350.

The day of the departure we headed in plenty of time to the airport by train and checked-in at the Lufthansa desks on the end of row 4 at Brussels Airport. After that we made the usual walk from check-in via the security check in the Connector building towards the intra Schengen A-gates.

We grabbed a breakfast on the way as we still had quite some time left before boarding. Boarding was at the first gate on the right hand side of the pier, where Lufthansa usually parks. Boarding was delayed due to a late inbound aircraft because of slot restrictions imposed by the shortage of ATC staff for the Brussels airspace. These same restrictions would also delay our departure due to waiting for an available slot.

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Flight LH1009
Brussels (BRU) 11:05 to Frankfurt (FRA) 12:05
Flight Time 1 hours
Airbus A320-200 D-AIZO
Delivered to Lufthansa in January 2013

The plane taking us to Frankfurt was a pretty standard Airbus A320, configured in a 3-3 configuration with the typical Lufthansa Recaro slim line seats.

 

The flight time was about half an hour and took us almost straight from Brussels into Frankfurt. The service on-board was pretty elaborate considering the short flight time, the cabin crew gave everyone a Pick-up cookie upon boarding and later did a full bar service during cruising altitude. As it was still rather early in the day I just opted for a coke to drink.

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In Frankfurt we parked at a remote position in front of Terminal 2 and we were bussed towards the intra-Schengen bus arrivals of Terminal 1A.

 

As we had only a short connection we quickly took the escalators up to the departures level of Terminal 1A, following the signs for the connection towards Terminal 1B where our flight to Montreal would depart. In the middle of the pier there are a set of elevators taking you down to basement level where there is an underground corridor connecting the A and B gates.

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After taking another elevator up to departure level at the B-side, we quickly passed through the passport e-gates and officially exited the Schengen area. Luckily our flight was parked at a boarding bridge gate this time, however because of the satellite like construction at the end of the B-pier it was hard to get a good picture of the aircraft. The Airbus A340-300 was painted in the Star Alliance colours, advertising the airline alliance of which Lufthansa was a founding member.

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The flight was overbooked and they were asking volunteers to give up their seat and fly on the next flight as well as asking the passengers to check-in large items of carry-on bags as there would not be enough space in the overhead bins to store them all.

Boarding was all at once, with Business class passengers boarding through the first boarding bridge and door 1L, while the rest of us poor peasants in Economy  boarded through the second bridge and door 2L.

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Flight LH478
Frankfurt (FRA) 14:05 to Montreal (YUL) 16:10
Flight Time 8 hours and 5 minutes
Airbus A340-300 D-AIFF “Delmenhorst”
Delivered to Lufthansa in December 2001

The plane was one of the older planes still in Lufthansa’s fleet, which can be recognised by the older and darker style of overhead bins. Otherwise this plane was kept in a good condition and received new seats a few years ago.

Seating in Economy was in lovely 2-4-2 configuration and I pre-reserved us 2 times a window and aisle seat together.

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In the seat there was a blanket and a thick pillow ready for each passenger.

 

The seat pitch was also quite good, as I had sufficient space for my legs without my knees touching the seat in front of me. Before pushback the crew also handed out complimentary headphones, which I prefer over in ear phones. While they were still a relatively cheap model, and you still had to attach the soft ear covers yourself they offered a reasonably good sound quality.

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The seat itself was equipped with a coat hook, a tray table with a separate cup holder and of course a personal touch-screen IFE unit, with a USB charging slot. Lufthansa offers a wide choice of movies and TV-programs and you will not get bored during the flight.

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As we had to queue for take-off in the ever busy Frankfurt I was already almost halfway my first movie when we took off. The flight than took us over the Rhine-Ruhr Area, The Netherlands, North of the United Kingdom and across the Atlantic Ocean down to Montreal. It was a relatively quiet flight with some minor chops on the way.

After reaching cruising altitude the service started with an aperitif, I selected a gin and tonic and it was served together with some pretzels.

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Afterwards the crew came around with hot towels, which is a nice touch to freshen up and not seen much in economy.

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For the main meal there was a choice of beef or pasta, but as we were seated towards the back we only had the beef option left (luckily that was the one I was aiming for).

The meal consisted of some lettuce (with a dressing in a container to pour over it if you like), some butter, a German brie, a bun, the beef strips with some pasta, a chocolate and a cherry sponge cake as a dessert. With the meal another drinks service was performed and I got a glass of water and a glass of white wine (as alcohol is still complimentary in Economy on Lufthansa).

I also like the fact that Lufthansa gives out proper metal cutlery in economy, it’s nice to have proper cutlery to eat with and it gives the idea of being more environmentally friendly.

 

When the meal was cleared away, Tea, coffee and digestives where offered. I went for a tea and cognac to finish off the meal. The crew also handed out some water bottles for during the flight but you could also always go to the galley where they set up a tray with apple and orange juices.

 

The toilets where located in the middle of the cabin, they were clean throughout the flight and there never really was a big queue for them, so I guess we were lucky with our fellow passengers.

Before landing we were served a small snack, a warm dough pastry filled with chicken or a vegetarian option. I went for the chicken, it was nice and edible but not very memorable. I selected a coke to go along with it.

 

During the landing in Montreal we had a panoramic view over the city and after landing we parked at the international gates alongside a Swiss A330.

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Immigration into Canada was very fast and smooth and now uses an electronic machine in which every family member has to enter some info and answer questions as well as a photograph being taken of you. The machine than spits out a paper which you have to show the border guard and you can enter the country in next to no time.

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When arriving at the baggage belt our bags where already turning around, after passing through customs and giving them the paper printed by the machine we were properly in Canada. We headed into the direction of the terminal and took a taxi to our hotel, the InterContinental Montreal, from the taxi rank.

All in all I was positively impressed by Lufthansa’s long-haul economy service. They offered by far the best service I had on a long-haul flight so far, even surpassing Brussels Airlines’ Economy Privilege (a sort of economy plus) offering. I can highly recommend flying Lufthansa Economy as they offer a good and enjoyable product.

Have you ever flown on long-haul in Lufthansa economy and how did you experience it? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

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