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Archive for May, 2010

Lufthansa presents their Airbus A380 May 20

The official handover of the Airbus A380  to Lufthansa took place on May 19th and at the same time the interior was presented online on the web site. Most of us will be flying economy class of course and as we all know, flying long haul in economy can be a pretty miserable affair. I have used Lufthansa a few times on long haul and one of the issues that I have been very unhappy with is of course the lack of a personal TV screen. On the Lufthansa A380 each seat does have a personal TV screen of course and that will at least make the flight pass faster for me – and at least I don’t have to sit and watch the German bundesliga updates like I had to last year when I went to Dubai (see my trip report on my homepage)

If you are extremely lucky you will get to experience the business class. As you can expect the business class seats are wider, you have a bigger screen, probably better food and drink selection and so on. Most of the upper deck on the Lufthansa A380 is filled with the business class seats but I have to say that both the seat and the configuration is a bit of a disappointment at first glance at least. Both Singapore Airlines and Emirates have been able to make the business class into something special with huge seats – on the Lufthansa A380 you have a pretty standard business class seat that doesn’t recline to 180 degrees. There are seats that are comfortable for sleeping even if they don’t recline all the way but normally it is better to sleep if you have a flat bed. I’m also surprised over the configuration – many of the other airlines have tried to come up with solutions were all have direct access to the aisle but on the Lufthansa A380 you have a pretty standard configuration.

The very lucky and very few have the money to fly First class. On the Lufthansa A380 there are only 8 of these seats. The other airlines that have bought the A380 have used the opportunity to really show off in the First class setup with Singapore Airlines having small compartments and Emirates having showers available for the first class passengers. I did have a chance of flying Lufthansa First class last year in a 747 from Frankfurt to Hong Kong (see the trip report on http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=470 ) and that was a wonderful experience. But actually the configuration and plane was quite old so the most amazing part of the experience was the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt and the service there (see http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=457 ). But back to the new Lufthansa A380 First Class. From what I can see Lufthansa has taken a more moderate approach to the first class: the seat looks like a flat bed seat, the screen seems to be large and so on. But there is no WOW factor as you see on Singapore Airlines and Emirates. And it is also strange to see that there are only 8 seats compared to something like 14 on the 747. But I guess in these days with economic difficulties there is not a large market for first class seats. But all in all the Lufthansa A380 first class looks very comfortable but maybe a bit on the boring side. The bathroom seems large and that it is of course great as it can be tricky to slip into pajamas in a small toilet ;-)

Congratulations to Lufthansa with the new plane – I hope that it will provide a comfortable and safe ride for lots and lots of passengers and I hope to fly it myself one day soon :-) The images above are taken for the Lufthansa web site. Check out the Lufthansa A380 site to get a virtual presentation of the various classes of the Lufthansa A380.

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Soon you can try out A380 – on short-haul May 19

Air France has just announced that this summer they will fly from London to Paris and back again and you can get it for “just” £80 for a round trip on economy class (£280 for business class). But I think it is a bit sad using such a large plane and obviously made for long haul, for such a short flight. But I guess it will give you some sort of idea of how the plane will be on a long haul trip. I had the pleasure of flying Emirates A380 last year from London to Dubai (see http://gardkarlsen.com/blog/?p=31) and this year from Dubai to Sydney (and the 14 hour trip back gave me lots of time to experience the plane ;-) ). Anyway, you can read about the offer from Air France on their web site.

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How to Blend In with the Locals: 20 Tips May 11

From time to time there are articles on various travel sites and discussions in various communities on how to blend in with the locals when you are traveling. I’m not sure I understand all the fuzz when it comes to this topic….most likely you are going to stick out like a sore thumb if you are traveling to an exotic destination no matter how you dress or if you try to hide your camera or not  ;-) I think you can come a long way just by being friendly, by smiling to the people you meet, have an open mind and be open to the fact that things can work differently than what you are used to back home. On the right is a photo of me trying to blend in with the locals in Berlin by drinking a large beer – I know, I sacrifice myself to fit in ;-) Anyway, here is the list from Independent Traveler.com on how to blend in with the locals.


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Travelers’ choice award 2010 May 10

TripAdvisor has released their Travelers’ choice award 2010 and you can see all the lists on their web site. The top 10 lists are split into categories like top 10 for beach & sun, for culture & sightseeing, for food & wine, for romance and so on. I’m not sure I trust these lists completely but at least they can give you some ideas if you have no idea where to travel ;-) Have you looked at the list and do you agree with the awards?


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Lufthansa A380 soon ready for service May 09

So far Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Air France have received their A380′s. Now it is time for Lufthansa to receive their first plane and they plan to use this on the route from Frankfurt to Tokyo in Japan. Later on this fall they will receive more planes and these will be used on the routes Frankfurt – Beijing and Frankfurt – Johannesburg in South Africa. Here is the seat map of the Lufthansa A380 and it looks like the lower floor will be all economy while the upper floor is mainly business class with a few first class seats. You can read more about the Lufthansa A380 on their website.

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Dubai metro fines May 02

I had the pleasure of testing the new Dubai Metro recently and I took it from the airport to Dubai Mall and it was only like 4,5 AED (about 1 USD). The station at the airport was modern and clean and with guards walking around and a large photo of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the ruler of Dubai. But what I thought was quite funny was the little booklet that can be found on the station explaining all the different things that will result in a fine.  How about “Carrying of alcoholic drinks” that will result in a 200 AED fine. Does this mean that you can’t bring your duty free goods in your suitcase when taking the metro or do they mean that you are not allowed to drink on the metro? How about “Using the lifts or escalators in an inappropriate manner” – how do you use an escalator in an inappropriate manner? ;-) So naturally, when I took the metro I was a bit nervous – maybe I was breaking some of the rules. All of a sudden a woman in an Abaya (the traditional Islamic dress) walked over to me and I thought “Oh no, maybe I’m sitting on a seat designated for women”. So I jumped up and offered her my seat – she just looked at me and said “Your ticket please”. Turns out that she was a part of a team checking that the people on the metro had valid tickets. I was able to show my ticket and hence I avoided getting a fine ;-) You can find a list of all the fines on this page.

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Berlin trip report May 01

Nikki and I went to Berlin in Germany during Easter 2010 and I have posted a trip report with photos, links and a Google map on http://gardkarlsen.com/Berlin_Germany_trip_report.htm . Berlin is a beautiful city and unfortunately we didn’t get to see enough of the city – but I guess that means that we have an excuse to re-visit Berlin in the  In Berlin we checked out sights such as Pergamonmuseum, Brandenburger Tor, Third Reich walking tour, museum island, shopping at KaDeWe, the holocaust memorial and we even got to drive an old Trabant on a Trabi-Safari through the traffic of Berlin.Check out the trip report and get in touch if you have questions or comments.

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