I checked out of the Hilton Doubletree in Manchester and wandered over to the railway station, where I jumped on the first service to the airport, arriving around twenty minutes later.
Lufthansa operate from Terminal 1, which I’d never actually travelled from before. It’s a short walk from the railway station and descending into the check-in hall, there seemed to every airline, except for Lufthansa. Their desks were in fact hidden around the corner at the end of the hall.
Wandering up to the desk, there was no queue at all and was beckoned over by a young chap. Me being me, had a somewhat complicated request, in that I was on one booking travelling Manchester to Frankfurt, to Hong Kong and then Singapore, and then a second booking from Singapore to Sydney, but with Singapore Airlines.
I explained this to him and his face dropped. However his colleague who was sitting at the desk next to him raised a few eyebrows and as there were no other passengers wandered over to give his young colleague a hand. He talked him through the whole process, and two bag tags (a conjunction tag) got spat out by the computer. There was mention of “this wasn’t explained in training” at one point! 😂
The supervisor explained that both tags needed to be on the bag, and that he needed to put HON priority labels in (as I was travelling first) and very kindly fished out a First Class ticket wallet from a plastic box and placed by boarding passes into it.
After a few minutes I was all ready to go and wandered up to the security. Being used to Heathrow, I thought I was prepared in that I had my laptop and liquids out, belt off and everything in the plastic trays. However both my backpack and second tray got selected for extra examination. After about 20 minutes plus some polite feedback to the security supervisor it transpired that neither tray should have been selected, the x-ray operator was new, and anything they weren’t sure about were selecting for extra scrutiny. Tedious.
I wandered through the duty free maze and eventually found the Aspire Lounge on the first floor of the terminal. The First Class Terminal this was not. However there was a quiet area at one end of the lounge with a great view over the apron. There was even a BMI Regional Embraer 145 which brought back memories of the rather great BMI experiences I had before they got taken over by British Airways.
The drink selection was interesting in that it was a staffed bar, with a big sign warning people that the airport has a zero tolerance policy for drunkenness! I stuck to the one gin and tonic!
Before long it was time for boarding, which was a short walk away. After a few minutes hanging around the gate, business and Star Gold passengers were called and I was welcomed on board by the crew.
Unfortunately this was one of their older A320 aircraft that hadn’t got their FlyNet in-flight internet fitted to the aircraft.
However the crew were brilliant for the entire flight. They were on a Manchester and back to Frankfurt trip, followed by an overnight, on a Saturday night in London. I got chatting and suggested that they might want to go out to XXL in London that evening for a fun night out!
The meal quickly came, which was small, but of high quality. There was a portion of smoked salmon with salmon roe and sour cream, and then a carrot and beef salad type thing. Fresh bread was offered with it, as well as some type of mousse for dessert and some chocolates.
To drink, the meal was followed by several gin and tonics.
The routing took us over the North Sea and then down into northern Germany. Some hour and twenty minutes after take-off we descended into Frankfurt where we landed on time and disembarked via jet-bridge into the main terminal area.
In summary, the ground experience at Manchester wasn’t great, however the check-in and lounge staff were certainly friendly. The terminal itself is a dump. However the flight was a fairly typical short-haul European hop, but with some excellent and very friendly crew, who addressed me by name throughout and couldn’t have done more on the very short segment. What more could one ask for?