US Airways Flt. 717 Munich to Philadelphia
A330, Envoy (Business) Class
Sched. Dep. MUC 12:15PM Actual Dep. 12:05PM
Sched. Arr. PHL 3:20PM Actual Arr. 2:45PM
I retraced my trip back to the airport via train, which runs every 20 minutes. Flying out of Terminal 1 at Munich, as opposed to Terminal 2 or Frankfurt, means there are very few facilities past security. Terminal 1 has 5 “modules,” kind of like wings, connected via a central shopping area, also where the train station is. Check-in, security, and immigration are separate for each module.
Once I got to the airport, it took a whopping 45 minutes to get from the train through immigration and security, the vast majority of time which was spent on a super-long immigration line. There were only two customs officials processing non-EU passport holders, which was inadequate for the literally hundreds of people on line.
Flying US Airways business class, I had access to the British Airways Galleries Lounge, which was not on-par with the BA Lounges in other cities. It was filthy, with dishes not cleared and stained upholstery. Bathrooms were in the hallway outside the lounge. At 11am, they had already switched over to a lunch buffet, which had sausages, mini pizzas, salad, sandwiches, and ice cream. Due to the acoustical layout of the lounge, I couldn’t avoid listening to a group of very loud Americans talking in detail about their time in Salzburg. It was so obnoxious and loud that I didn’t stay very long, and headed to the gate.
Boarding began on time, and the crew at first seemed warmer and more polished than the US Airways crew I’d had from Philadelphia to Athens. The passengers were different as well, in that, sensibly, Munich had a lot more business people (almost all solo males), as opposed to the vacationers of Athens. The plane was exactly the same as the A330 I flew over to Athens, and service was quite similar (though a day flight). I had an AirCal-themed amenity kit, as opposed to TWA, waiting on my seat, along with the pillow and duvet. Menus, newspapers, and headsets were distributed, with the difference being that the headsets came with the note that they would be collected a half-hour before landing.
Meal service disproved my notion of a better crew. After getting a can of Diet Coke with nuts shortly after takeoff, I was not offered another drink again until dessert was cleared. No wine or water with lunch, despite the empty glass sitting on my tray. When my main course was cleared, I asked for another Diet Coke, which never came. And after dessert, I asked for coffee and a water (unlike other flights, no bottles of water were distributed). The coffee came, the water never did. I finally asked again – no apology or remembrance. For the most part, the flight attendant was invisible.
As for the food itself, the starter was caprese salad, along with a small salad of greens and julienned bell peppers, accompanied by a single pass of the bread basket.
For the entrée, there were beef, chicken, salmon, and vegetarian options. I took a risk and went with the salmon with a soy glaze and Asian noodles. It seemed the lightest, and it was pretty fine. For dessert, I couldn’t even see any of the options on the cart, so I went with the always safe ice cream sundae.
Through lunch and afterwards, I finished watching the rest of “The Jinx,” followed by “Going Clear,” an HBO documentary on the Church of Scientology documentary. I went back to the galley mid-flight, where snacks were on display – the standard snacks in American’s domestic first class snack basket (granola bars, cookies, Pop Chips, Smartfood popcorn). I grabbed some popcorn and asked the purser for a glass of champagne – which is Lanson champagne, different than the sparkling wine served pre-departure. The purser was actually fairly attentive and came by and offered more champagne frequently.
I slept a little and watched Into the Woods, before the second meal was served. The options were a salad or pizza, and I went with the salad. The salad dressing unfortunately was way too small – better suited for a side salad – and there was an overabundance of blue cheese, but the rest of the salad was fresh. It was served with breadsticks and two small cookies.
We landed 35 minutes early, and after a long walk I reached immigration, where there was no line at Global Entry. My bag came onto the carousel pretty quickly – the third bag off – and I rechecked it before heading to Pre-Check. Although there was no line, I was somehow behind a group of people who generally had no idea how PreCheck worked, including an Italian elderly couple who barely spoke English, and a man who went through with his phone.
I was just going to miss the 3:30 flight to DCA, so was stuck with my original flight two hours later. So I leisurely strolled to the bus gate over to Terminal F.I went right to the Admirals Club, where I encountered a very unfriendly agent. In general, I find the former US Airways Club staff to be totally disinterested in customer service as compared to those at pre-merger Admirals Clubs. I said “Hello” with a smile and presented my boarding pass for my onward flight. This isn’t my first time in an Admirals Club, so I know that any information she needed could be gleaned from scanning that pass. “Oh, are you a member?” “Yes, I am. I’m also coming off a transatlantic business class flight.” “Well you need to show me a business class boarding pass then.” No, no, I don’t. “Well I’m a member, can’t you just scan that?” “No.” False. So I went back into my bag and through my things, pulled out the boarding pass I hadn’t used in 9 hours, and handed it to her. She examined it, concluded I wasn’t lying, and then scanned the first boarding pass I gave her. She handed it back to me and proceeded to make a personal phone call. How welcoming.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, including an on-time arrival on the regional jet at DCA. Overall, a nice summer vacation. Stay tuned for my first post of my current trip to Korea.