Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

Flight Log: October 2011: LH3771

London Heathrow (LHR) - Milan Malpensa (MXP)

The distribution of passengers in Business Class was 1A / 1F / 2A / 2C / 2F / 3D, amounting to one more than had been previously visible online. This was my first experience of Lufthansa Italia, the subsidiary set up by the German airline in February 2009 in an attempt to establish a hub at Milan, at a time when incumbent operator Alitalia appeared to be in a terminal state of meltdown. Lufthansa's attempted coup was not entirely successful, possibly due to its failure to obtain slots at Linate Airport and therefore being stuck at out-of-town Malpensa. A week prior to the subsidiary's closure, I have to report that my own first impressions were disappointing: the aircraft struck me as being more than a little battle-scarred and definitely not up to the usual Lufthansa mainline standards. Seating was what had now become the old Lufthansa style, recently replaced by NEK on mainline and recently introduced as the new standard on bmi. I noticed that the usual Lufthansa Magazin was supplemented by a smaller Lufthansa Italia version, while the colours of the Italian flag appeared on the headrests. Overall, the flight was very busy and luggage space was at a premium.

At 0900, ten minutes after the scheduled departure time, I overheard talk of two 'no-show' passengers, whose checked baggage would now have to be located and removed from the flight. We finally pushed back at 0915 and made our way to Runway 09R. Strangely for a flight departing from an island, the safety demonstration did not include any reference to lifejackets. There were two points of interest at the runway holding point. First, we had to wait while a Virgin Atlantic A430 landed - this type of mixed use of runways is still relatively unusual at Heathrow. Secondly, I noticed that waiting alongside us was an unusual visitor in the form of an Open Skies Boeing 757, representing the company set up by British Airways to operate transatlantic services from Paris. It was finally our turn to go at 0931.

The breakfast offering consisted of fairly minimalist fruit and yoghurt portions, together with a roll and croissant served with butter and jam. It seemed a little disappointing given that I always associate Lufthansa with more Germanic treats of cold meats and cheeses, but then I had to remind myself again that this was Lufthansa Italia. I drank apple juice and coffee, the former served in a plastic cup and the latter quite bizarrely served in a paper cup while a proper china cup sat unused on my tray. Top-ups were offered on the return of the service trolley from Economy. Oddly, the curtain on the cabin divider was not closed at all during the flight.

It was a nice Alpine crossing although I was on the wrong side, given the position of the sun, to get the best views. Mont Blanc was apparently visible to those seated on the left. We touched down at 1203 local time and I immediately noticed that at least four easyJet aircraft were present. Four minutes later, we were parked on a remote stand.

Date: Sat 22 Oct 2011
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Scheduled dep: 0850
Actual departure: 0915
Scheduled arrival: 1140
Actual arrival: 1207
Cabin: Business
Seat: 1F

Linked reports from same trip:


Flight Log LH3776