Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Transiting Munich

Boarded an Airbus A319-100 at Manchester for the first leg to Munich with Lufthansa. We're a few minutes late departing, awaiting a 'slot'. The seating is 3+3, with a moveable partition to create a 3-row business section at the front. The Business rows are allocated as 2+2, with an empty seat in the middle. The flight is heavily booked, but apparently I'm the only person in the front section so the two stewards are quite attentive in plying me with drinks and a simple-but-good meal. The one steward even offers to make me a takeaway snack for my wait at Munich - a kind offer which I decline.

As we approach Munich, I notice another aircraft flying parallel, about 3/4 mile on our right, a little ahead of us and lower. We descend and come level with the other aircraft, still flying parallel. I correctly deduce that there are two parallel runways so we land on 'Left', the other aircraft on 'Right'. We do some fairly heavy braking to be able to take the high speed turn-off on our right and taxi past the lengthy, modern terminal buildings to a stand out in the open. We disembark using old-fashioned steps and join a modern bus. A five-minute drive takes us to the terminal building, passing close to a South African Airways aircraft which I guess is my aircraft (it was). After a few moments to check on the screens for my flight and its Gate, I walk through the fairly-quiet terminal to the departure gate. There are a lot of people clustered near this gate but much of the terminal is deserted. There's one Duty Free shop open. I check it out but the prices dissuade me from making a purchase. Quite early, they start boarding the flight. With a separate business channel, I'm soon on the aircraft in seat 4A. This time, the whole aircraft is full so there's a gentleman from South Africa in the aisle seat alongside me.

The aircraft is a large, four-engined 'Airbus' - an A340-600. It takes some time for all the passengers to embark but we get away about right time for the ten-hour overnight journey to Johannesburg. Once we're under way, they serve a very good evening meal. There's plenty of alcohol on offer, but I stick to lemonade. The entertainment system is not quite state of the art, apparently using videotape judging by the not-terribly good quality at times. But I watch 'The Tourist' before converting my seat to flat-bed and getting a few hours fairly good sleep. I wake about 0630 and have a quick wash before they serve a decent breakfast. By the time we arrive at Johannesburg (a little late after an air traffic delay) I feel reasonably human.

All my pictures from the trip are here.