Aircraft: Boeing 737 Miles: 268 Duration: 1hr15mins
Hello from Frankfurt!
If you haven’t been to Berlin lately (or at all), please go! What a fun city. It is interesting, fun, has some beautiful buildings…and we highly recommend the Adlon, and not just for martinis (which were delicious!). Such impressive service, well located, and everything is just beautifully presented. Thanks to GHA and Kempinski – it made our breather truly fabulous and is giving us the drive to continue.
We had a swift journey down from Berlin at lunchtime, and we are now awaiting our 19:30 departure on LAN from Frankfurt to Madrid. We have been guested into the Japan Airlines Lounge at FRA, which is a wonderful place to spend some time before our flight. The lounge is bright and airy, with a wide selection of snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines, showers and wonderful Toto toilets.
Our flight on AB was much like yesterday’s, with good service and a pleasant snack service. Our thanks to AB for their kind care and attention. We took hand luggage today to avoid any potential of anything going missing. Our connection at MAD isn’t long, so having our few possessions with us is critical. We fly later on the overnight to Moscow.
We’re also happy to report that Mr. Kelly’s generous donation took us over our fundraising target – hurrah!! We couldn’t be more thrilled, pleased, excited, jubilant, happy, chuffed, tickled and more to have reached this milestone. THANK YOU ALL! We’re so humbled by your generosity – it is profoundly moving. Of course, we never turn additional funds down, so if you’re able, do give. To exceed our target would be truly fabulous! Again, our deepest appreciation to all donors. Wow. You are keeping us going!
More from Madrid…
Aircraft: Airbus A319 Miles: 269 Duration: 1hr10mins
Boarding was swift and efficient on this pristine Airbus for the short flight up to Berlin. We had pre-assigned aisle seats, which is a nice touch for a low-cost carrier. Additionally, AB offer complimentary drinks and snacks on all flights, with meals being served on flights longer than sixty minutes. They also offer complimentary newspapers and magazines at the boarding gate, which certainly sets AB above the standard European low-cost carrier.
About Air Berlin: Since its founding in 1978 as Air Berlin USA, the company has grown to become Germany’s second largest carrier, with a fleet of 142 aircraft serving 163 destinations around the world. In addition to operating a large narrow-body Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family fleet, AB fly the Airbus A330 in dual-class configuration on long-haul routes to North America and Asia. The carrier has 18 Boeing 787s on order for delivery from 2014. With hubs in both Berlin and Dusseldorf, AB has focus cities in Europe including Vienna, Zurich and Palma de Mallorca. AB also wholly owns Vienna-based Niki, and has numerous code-share arrangements with carriers including Etihad, Hainan Airlines and S7 Airlines. AB are amongst the latest carriers to join oneworld effective March 2012.
We had hoped to land at the new Berlin Brandenberg Airport, but this project has been delayed well into 2013 for a variety of operational and safety reasons.
Poor Richard had a bit of a scare with his bag going missing upon arrival at TXL. We checked our roll-aboards so we didn’t flout the AB rules, but Andrew’s bag turned up in Berlin, Richard’s did not. After waiting an hour in a rather bland custom’s hall, the bag turned up (phew!). It is all part of the joys ad sorrows of global travel.
We are now in the welcome arms of the stunning Hotel Adlon, on the Unter den Linden overlooking the Brandenberg Gate. This historic hotel is simply amazing. Founded in 1907, the hotel has witnessed some impressive moments of history, as well as offering some of the most elegant and refined service in Europe. Guests such as Herbert Hoover and Josephine Baker made the hotel THE place to be between the two wars, with glimpses of celebrities from Charlie Chaplin to Marlene Dietrich (who, some say, owes her career to founder Lorenz Adlon). The hotel survived the bombing of Berlin towards the end of WWII, only to burn down due to a careless fire in May of 1945. Parts of it were salvaged, and an hotel was operated from East Germany into the 1980s, when it finally closed. Following reunification, a new Hotel Adlon was constructed on the original site, and we are more than thrilled to be visiting today!
We have a respectable pause of 17 hours here before another marathon 23 hours of travel. Hurrah! Now, where is the bar?? Oh yes…martini time!
Aircraft: Airbus A319 Miles: 1,892 Duration: 4hrs45mins
We would like to offer our most sincere thanks to the Management and Crew of Royal Jordanian for showing us true Arabic hospitality during this stage of our ‘roundtheoneworld challenge. We were very impressed by all aspects of the operation, rounded off by excellent service in-flight.
Our Crown Class seats, in a 2×2 configuration on the Airbus A319 aircraft in oneworld livery (!!) were extremely comfortable for the relatively short 4-hour 20 min flight to Frankfurt. Service on board was an excellent trolley style, with a brunch served from a trolley, featuring Arabic and Western choices ranging from labneh and hummus to mushroom omelettes and hash browns. It was all delicious, and nicely presented.
We connected with ease in Frankfurt, and as we had already checked-in online for our AirBerlin onward flight to Frankfurt, we made our way to the gate to await yet another Airbus A319 flight for the short, 269 mile hop up to Germany’s Capital City, Berlin. As per, Frankfurt Airport’s efficiency is welcome and appreciated. More from Berlin!
7 airlines down, five to go!
After a thoroughly refreshing sleep and nourishing Arabic breakfast at the Kempinski Amman hotel, we made our way back to Queen Alia International Airport. Construction on the new terminal building is nearly complete, and it will open in a few months. It looks spectacular and will truly enhance the entire airport experience. For the meantime, we have used the current terminal.
Royal Jordanian have a dedicated premium check-in suite which differs from most airport operations as guests sit on sofas and are handled by very efficient RJ staff members who check you in from large desks along one wall. With boarding passes in hand, we went through a dedicated fast-track immigration and security lane right up to the Crown Lounge.
This vast space can accommodate up to 340 guests at any one time, and is rumoured to be the second largest airline lounge in the Middle East. It certainly is busy today, given the large number of flights departing for a wide variety of destinations including New York, Montreal, Tripoli, Abu Dhabi, Baghdad and our flight to Frankfurt. For guests that have longer connections, there are hotel rooms available connected to the lounge for a small fee ($50USD for the first four hours, and then an hourly charge thereafter). There are two bars, and a buffet serving hot and cold food, salads, sandwiches and snacks. There are also wait staff who are very attentive, bringing piping hot coffee to those travellers in need of their morning buzz. We are most keen to see what the new lounge will be like once the new terminal opens.
Royal Jordanian was founded in 1963, and has been growing ever since. It operates to 61 destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The long-haul fleet is comprised of Airbus A340s and A330s, with the short to mid-haul operation being flown with Airbus A320 family aircraft, along with Embraer 175/195 aircraft. RJ have 11 Boeing 787 aircraft on order, which are due for delivery in 2014.
Our flight today is on board Royal Jordanian’s Airbus A319 aircraft, with 14 seats in Crown Business Class in a 2×2 layout, and 102 Economy Class seats in a 3×3 layout. The aircraft is fitted with the OnAir mobile services system, so we will try and upload something from the flight if possible. It is time to head to the gate, so fingers crossed, more from on board!
Aircraft: Airbus A320 Miles: 2,280 Duration: 4hrs20mins
Well, our anticipated A321 aircraft was amended down to an A320 today, which meant we didn’t sample the new mid-haul product that BA are rolling out across a number of single aisle aircraft. That said, we flew on one of the few remaining Airbus aircraft still in full bmi livery. Inside was a more than comfortable cradle-seat business class product in a 2×2 configuration.
Our crew today were superb. They worked tirelessly to ensure we had top levels of service. A nice lunch was on offer, with a crayfish salad starter, and a choice of plated main courses including chicken in a tarragon cream sauce, seabass with risotto or a lighter broccolini tartelette. Cheese and dessert were served afterwards. We chatted with the crew about their moving over to British Airways, now that BA have purchased bmi.
This flight passed very quickly when compared to the long Qantas sector of last night, and we had stunning views during the entire trip across Europe, Cyprus and Israel before touching down in a very sunny Jordan.
We passed through very friendly Jordanian immigration quickly, and made our way to the Kempinski Hotel in Amman, which is lovely. Our thanks to our splendid BA/bmi crew, and the kind hospitality of Kempinski for giving us a much needed warm welcome and wonderful bed for the night. Now, off to find some delicious Arabic food!
With a lengthy transfer time, we made our way to The British Airways & bmi International Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 1, where we were able to avail ourselves of a welcome shower and a change of clothes in preparation for our next flight to Amman, Jordan.
The lounge is spacious and comfortable, and it is divided into “zones” that offer to match the mood of the traveller – from comfort to business, relax to energize. There is even a “snooze area” curtained off with reclining seats (it looks very tempting, but the fear of waking 2 hrs after flit departure time is a little worrying, so a coffee seems a better option). Food is served from a buffet, and offers everything from breakfast through to lighter lunch options. There is a work zone with computers, and the entire lounge has wifi via Cloud. We are particularly enjoying the fine views of runway 27R, where an aircraft per minute rockets past the picture window, taking off for every corner of the globe.
We depart shortly on our Airbus A321 service to Amman. We hope to sample the new “medium-haul” product that is being introduced on these former bmi aircraft in a staggered layout permitting lie-flat seating in a staggered 1 x 2 and 2 x 1 seating in Club World. We’ll know shortly, but in case not, the cradle seats should be more than comfortable enough. The fatigue of so much travel is starting to hit, but the drive to hit our target (well, to exceed target) is really giving us the energy to carry on!
Aircraft: Airbus A380 Miles: 6,748 Duration: 13hrs35mins
G’day all. We’ve just arrived at London Heathrow following a superb experience on board Qantas’ A380 aircraft from Singapore. Our total flight time was just over thirteen hours, and we have crossed seven time zones to GMT+1.
The A380 was impressive. Our seats were on the upper deck, in Qantas’ new business class cabin with skybed seats! This vast aircraft accommodates 450 guests, including 14 in First Class, 72 in Business Class, 32 in Premium Economy and 332 Economy Class. The upper deck is dedicated to Business Class and Premium Economy customers, with a tiny economy cabin at the back. First and Economy are on the main deck. The flight was full, not a spare seat to be seen!
Way back in 1979, Qantas lead the industry by introducing business class. They are continuing this trend once again with their new Skybed product on board the Airbus A380. The seat reclines to a lie-flat bed that is 80-inches (nearly 2 metres) long. The seat is cleverly designed with lots of storage that is easily accessible in-flight, including a place for shoes, laptops, and the much needed water bottle. We were given pyjamas to wear (and take home) to make us more comfortable and relaxed on this lengthy flight, and nice to have a souvenir from the flight. The meal service on board is a la carte, but few ate given the late hour of departure from Singapore. The room-service style breakfast seemed to have been enjoyed by all (even by those of us who had a sneaky signature sandwich halfway through the flight). At the front of the upper deck, Qantas have installed a Business Class lounge, replete with a self-serve bar and sofa, ideal for a chat, a meeting or just a place to unwind away from a traditional cabin environment. This is a terrific product on a very comfortable aircraft. The crew were splendid – an ideal combination of attentive service in a relaxed manner.
In honour of QF painting one of their 747s in the oneworld livery, we’ve added a photo for you below.