This is for my New Jersey Pals – Alitalia doesn’t fly directly to Italy from Newark Liberty Airport. Remember, I told you the owner of Il Re restaurant, who is from NJ, said that the easiest way for his family to get to Naples was on Lufthansa airlines? (https://midgeguerrera.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/il-re-ghiotto-yummy-surprise-in-rotondi-av/) You have to change planes somewhere to get to Naples, why not Germany and avoid the hassle of driving across the river to JFK. He seemed like a smart and nice guy so I thought we would give Lufthansa a try.
Auntie Midge and Uncle Jack needed to get to London for Alexandra Rose’s graduation from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. We could have flown from Naples to Milan or Rome and then transferred on to London but thought – hey, let’s use Star Alliance miles and test out Lufthansa. We’re hooked! Even in steerage the plane was comfortable. My butt, like a beautiful redwood tree has gotten broader with age. When I delicately cram it into the normal economy class seat I am pinched, prodded and damn – it ain’t pleasant. These seats were wide and there was ample leg room for Jack. Who knew that some airlines actually give a shit about the comfort of their passengers? Flying to London the vegetarian sandwich snack was on great multi grain dark bread. Returning we were served tasty little sausages. The hostesses were multi lingual and gracious. Plus the beer….
However, it was the airport in Munich that initially really sold me. Great signage in German and English, as well as, helpful folks who were not pouting. After we got off the plane in the Lufthansa hub, we were greeted with free coffee and cold drink stations. The floor plan of the airport was open and we didn’t feel like herded sheep. The electronic walks zoomed us along. At one point, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – a Work, Sleep, Rest zone!
I started walking backwards to keep the Work, Sleep, Rest station in sight. Jack put his carry-on in my back and encouraged me forward. I got off the bloody people mover and raced back to check this out.
1. There were individual desks or a communal counter for work.
2. There were these really slick reclining chairs to read, nap or contemplate life on.
3. There were private sleeping rooms! There was a fee for those and a cute couple was sizing one up.
Winston and Camel smoking rooms! How continental. Cough cough. Honk honk,ugh hack. These lovely glass enclosed comfort zones for the nicotine addict were conveniently placed around the airport.
Each had signage that dully noted ” cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health or smoking cigarettes will kill you.” The young professionals who packed the places couldn’t read or didn’t care.
I gotta say, almost all the college graduates in Pontelandolfo smoke. The old men playing cards smoke. The kids in high school smoke. Che fa? Bo!
We got to our clearly marked gate and found comfy seats at the gate. They were leather covered cushioned seats with ample room for a well endowed derrière and a gap between seats.
The rave review now turns to shit. Our flight to London included the British swim team, a British senior tour group and just us regular gotta get to London folks. I knew something was amiss when a young mom asked about what to do with her stroller and the Lufthansa employee said ,”well they will stow it below but there are some steps you know. In a moment you and the baby may go first.” Time for general boarding was announced and we moved out the door to be faced with “some steps you know” – that translated to a million cazillianan steps down. I counted eight freakin’ flights when I was out of breath and couldn’t count anymore. The swim team took them with youthful vigor – as did the senior group. Those women must have been on a mountain hiking tour. I refused to whine and crept down, down, down the stairs only to face a bus to the plane that this short Italian needed a ladder to enter. Ally oop, I climbed up. Shit, we got to the plane and I had to jump off. Ouch. Now lets climb up that flight to enter the cabin.
“Stop whining – or was that bitching,” said Jack. The plane was again comfortable, the staff delightful and oh yeah we left on time.
The flight back was seamless. We were joined in London by a very large group of Italian high school kids. The plane from London to Munich was jam packed. Normally, all announcements are done in the language of the airline and sometimes the language of the country they are departing from – even Lufthansa on our flights over made announcements only in German and English. This flight, the Lufthansa stewards did something I have never heard before – they gave the usual welcome, safety and other speeches in not just German, not just the added English but also in Italian! The Italian students cheered and clapped. What fun and what courtesy to recognize that half of a plane from London to Munich was full of Italians.
I dreaded the thought of that bloody bus. We came down the exterior steps from the plane and the first thing I saw was a five year old on his hands and knees climbing on the bus. Jack gently shoved me to the front of the bus where the step met the ground. This was the handicapped, short people entrance and exit of the bus. So I really didn’t have to fear for my life jumping off the bus and that little kid didn’t have to crawl on. LUFTHANSA – add some bloody signs to the bus so that people know you have thought about short people!
We have decided that Lufthansa from Newark will be our preferred method of getting back home to Pontelandolfo. Danke! Grazie!