Featured image: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Trip Report: US-bound on Lufthansa’s Queen

DALLAS — Hello and welcome to our latest trip report. Today, we're flying with Air Dolomiti (EN) and Lufthansa (LH) bound for Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on board the mighty Queen of the Skies.

The day started quite early in Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) Terminal 1, where we dropped off the checked bags and performed the first security check for the short 1h15m connecting flight to Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA) onboard I-ADJS and Embraer E190 operated by LH's subsidiary EN.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

But before going to the gate, we stopped by the new info point located in the food court in the airside area of Malpensa terminal 1. Here, you can find plenty of food choices, including vegetarian and meat options, Starbucks, and other brands.

Soon enough, boarding was called on time, and we boarded the Embraer. I chose seat 5A, one of the 122 economy seats with plenty of legroom even for tall people. After a few minutes, we pushed back and taxied towards runway 35L for takeoff.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Air Dolomiti Embraer Takeoff

Thanks to the recent daylight savings change, we were offered a gorgeous takeoff during sunrise with miles of visibility over the Alps. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the same at our destination…

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Service started just a few minutes after takeoff with a complimentary bottle of water and a small cookie; everything else was available to purchase after reading the “SpazioItaliaBar” menù with hot or cold snacks, wine, and soft drinks.

Soon enough, we started our descent at FRA, with heavy clouds covering our destination. After a few turns inside thick clouds, we lined up on runway 18C and landed in a very cold Frankfurt a few minutes later.

Being a connecting flight operated from a subsidiary, we were assigned a remote stand, which we reached after a short taxi ride. Then, we took buses to the arrival area of Terminal 1.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Frankfurt is a massive airport, so the transfer from the arrival area to our departing gate took almost 30 minutes.

However, thanks to our early connecting flight, we didn’t have any issues getting to our gate on time, even considering the queue at passport control and two security checks. This was thanks to the infamous SSSS code printed on my boarding pass, something I was particularly curious about.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

After a short wait, boarding was called for business class, low-mobility passengers, and families, and after 10 minutes, boarding was announced for everyone else. But there was a twist… Our airplane wasn’t at the gate; instead, it was parked in a remote stand near the Maintenance area of Lufthansa Technik. An Avgeek dream!

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Boarding the Lufthansa Queen

Like the connecting flight, we boarded the bus to get to the remote stand, which allowed us to have a good look at Lufthansa's A330, A340-600, and B787-9, which were all parked at remote or gate stands.

A few minutes after we reached D-ABVY, a 23-year-old Boeing 747-400, our Queen, which had been refueled in the meantime, caused a slight delay in boarding and allowed the rain to start again, but who cares about that when you are just about to board via stairs the mighty Queen of the skies?

Photo: Marco Russo/Airways

About ten minutes later, we got onboard, and I need to tell you this: I will always remember the sight of climbing the stairs, looking over, and seeing the wing with two engines.

Did you know that LH is still the only European airline that operates five types of four-engine aircraft? Its fleet comprises Boeing 747-400 and -8 plus A340-300, -600, and the recently reactivated A380.

Boarding ended after a few minutes, and fortunately, we had an empty seat in our row, which always helps on an 11-hour flight.

D-ABVY is configured with 67 seats in business arranged in a 2-2 configuration in the upper deck and in a 2-3-2 plus a 2-2 configuration on the main deck.
32 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration and 272 seats in economy in a 3-4-3 configuration complete the layout of the main deck.

This time, the seat chosen was 41K, an Economy seat with a nice view of the wing.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

The legroom is good, and the seat is comfortable even if the product isn’t the latest.

Every seat has an IFE screen that offers plenty of options, including the latest films, music, and games. Lufthansa offers connectivity access called FlyNet provided by the Inmarsat GX service with three plans.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Soon after pushback, we taxied towards a very wet runway 07C. After a few minutes' wait, we took off with a long roll and headed into the clouds. Unfortunately, the cloud cover continued until reaching the west side of England and ended just before the start of the Atlantic Crossing.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

About 20 minutes after departure, a salty snack and a complimentary beverage were served, and not long after, meal service started.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Meal Service

Today, chicken teriyaki and vegetarian pasta ravioli were on the menu. Both meals were excellent and flavorful, with the pasta cooked just right (for an Italian, this is very important). A salad with crunchy krauts and a little apricot pie were also served.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways
Photo: Marco Russo/Airways

When the meal service ended and the trash was collected, it was time to get some shut-eye to recover from the early morning wake-up time.

After two hours of sleep, I woke up just before encountering Greenland. Unfortunately, the cloud cover was too thick, but we were happy that the northern part of Canada was utterly cloudless, allowing us to see for miles and miles.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Our flight continued without any problems for the entire duration of the flight. Two hours before landing, the crew offered a hot dinner with a vegetarian curry, sweet snack, and dessert, followed by complimentary cold and hot beverages.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Soon after, we were ready to descend after overflying Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Touchdown at Houston

Nine and a half hours after we took off from Frankfurt, we touched down on Runway 26L of IAH, and after a short taxi ride, we stopped at Terminal D.

I didn’t let the opportunity to visit the cockpit slip away, so I asked, and the friendly crew authorized my request for a quick visit.

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

I hope you enjoyed my first trip report and hope to see you soon!

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

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