Christmas in Germany: Conclusion

Introduction
Tampa SkyClub, Tampa to Detroit in Delta First Class
Detroit Layover
Detroit to Frankfurt in Delta BusinessElite
Hyatt Regency Mainz
InterContinental Frankfurt
Frankfurt JAL Lounge, Frankfurt to Detroit in Delta BusinessElite
Detroit to Seattle in Delta First Class
Grand Hyatt Seattle
Seattle to Washington Dulles to Tampa in United First Class
Conclusion
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Let me summarize my trip with a few thoughts and lessons:

  • I realized just how big of a difference there is between business and first class. Business class is much more comfortable than coach, though that’s about it. As a business class passenger I still experienced the “stress” of travel. I don’t remember the last time I flew international first class and felt that way, especially flying Lufthansa out of Frankfurt! Now, some foreign airlines might have business class products that rival first class on some airlines, but at least among US airlines, there’s a lot of work left to be done…
  • Ultimately any transatlantic award redemption for 100,000 SkyMiles in business class is a bargain.
  • Frankfurt Airport is absolutely chaotic… if you don’t have access to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal.
  • While Delta’s business class seat wasn’t great, most of the rest of their fleet is updated with the new lie flat product. The food was above average for a US airline, while the service was average. For comparison purposes I wish I could have flown through Atlanta one way to see if the flight attendants were any different, though that didn’t work out.
  • As an elite member, staying at hotels over the holidays can be an even more incredible bargain than usual. The restaurant breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Mainz and restaurant breakfast and Christmas buffet at the InterContinental Frankfurt were a treat.
  • I’ve been converted. Wifi on domestic flights rock. Delta really blows the other carriers out of the water domestically.

And that’s what stuck out to me the most about the trip. I hope you enjoyed the trip report. I have some pretty exciting trips coming up in the next few months, though I’ll keep the details (somewhat) secret for now. Let’s just say that these are trips I’m losing sleep over (in a good way), which is rare.

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Comments

  1. I am curious what you would think of Delta’s flights to Sydney. I’ve heard it is a better experience.

  2. Tend to agree regarding FRA!

    As a United flier (SFO-based) with a fair amount of business in Europe, I used to always prefer to connect in FRA because it was less of a hassle. Now I am not so sure. At FRA now, there is the construction of the new terminal (meaning more remote gates), the crowded Tower Lounge and the claustrophobic elevator to get there, and the somewhat narrow concourses to deal with.

    I thought I’d never say this, but LHR is looking to be more palatable connection point, especially now that most of the Star Alliance airlines are in the same terminal (making connections a lot easier), and the common *A lounge is a step up from what was available before.

  3. I’ve only had two experiences with FRA in the last 3 years (both times in Dec, 2008 & 2010). The first time I flew with United (via Chicago) in First Class and this last time via LH in First class. I didn’t have much of an issue with FRA in either case, coming or going.

    It probably helps that I did not have any connecting flights. Also both times I arrived and departed the airport via the train. This last time we did stay at the Sheraton to avoid any need to travel to the airport.

    Obviously LH’s 1st class terminal experience is pretty special and it is easy to get spoiled. I’m not a big time flyer (i.e., I do almost no travel for work) so I just try to use credit cards and various bonuses as best as I can. Living in PHX means I stick to US Airways and maxed out most of their bonuses last year (especially the double status miles + credit card) to get up to CP. Most likely that will be a one time thing since travel just wipes me out.

    Nice report and happy traveling to everyone.

  4. @mowogo The same goes for MSP. I think DL has an indication on the SkyClub location list about whether the bar is self-service or not so that people under 21 can plan in advance.

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