Frankfurt to Johannesburg
The flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg is the longest flight of my trip and originally was going to be on a Lufthansa A380 at the end of October, but I wanted to move it up so I can get out of Europe earlier (weather and cost) and get myself more time in Southeast Asia. Eventually, a seat opened up on a South African Airways A340 in mid October so I gave up my A380 flight since I will have another chance to fly it with Singapore Airways. It worked out pretty good since I would not have a chance to fly on another A340 (or a South African flight) during this trip.
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge (FRA Terminal 1, gate 23)
Before the flight, I went to the Lufty Business Class lounge (which was way of a hike by the way) to grab some food and had a mixed feeling about it. The lounge itself was set up pretty well with lots of space and good WiFi signal. On the first glance, it appeared to have a lot of food, but it turned out to be the same thing repeated four times - a couple choices of sausage, potato salad, different beers (draft Spaten!), and some finger foods. Oh well, it was enough to get my tommy happy and I just had enough time to finish it before I had to walk over to my flight (I think I was the last one to board).
Frankfurt - Johannesburg on South African Airways
I was curious to experience the (in)famous performance of the A340 and I was (not?) disappointed - after a long takeoff roll, the nose nudged up slightly and we were climbing. I think we were. I definitely did not feel the usual g-forces of being pressed into my seat on takeoff. The climb continued to be very shallow and after five minutes we were only at 5536 feet/1687 meters according to the information monitors. Very not exciting...
Otherwise, it was not too bad of a swap as South African had a bit better business class seats than Lufthansa. Service-wise there was no difference, and I actually felt that South African provided a bit more cozy service (South African flag on the zippers of accessory kits versus just the normal zippers on Lufty and so on). The lie-flat seats were easier to operate than the Lufthansa ones and there was a winder selection of entertainment options, even though it was always a struggle to pull the monitor out (note: later, I found out that some monitors pop out easily if you press on them instead of pulling, maybe it was the case here as well).
The four course dinner was not too bad, but nothing special. While eating, I watched the Hangover 2 prior to my own Bangkok experience and did not think it was that great (the movie, that is). Afterward, I started watching a CNBC documentary about Steve Jobs, but quickly passed out after all the wine I had with dinner. The lie-flat beds were not very comfy as I still could not stretch out my legs, maybe I'll try the mostly-unfolded position next time. In either case, I did not get a very good sleep and woke up for the early breakfast pretty much out of it. For the life of me, I could not understand half the things that the flight attendants were asking me about so I did not get exactly the choices I wanted for breakfast, but oh well. I finished watching the Steve Jobs documentary and started Cedar Rapids, but it was already time to get ready for landing. I guess I will watch that movie some day…
South African Welcome Lounge at Johannesburg
After quickly getting though the passport control, I was pleasantly surprised to see the signs for the South African Welcome Lounge. Similarly to Lufthansa's Welcome Lounge in Frankfurt, it allows business class travelers on Star Alliance airlines to relax and unwind after a long flight. Once again, a quick post-flight shower worked wonders for waking me up and I grabbed a quick snack while checking my email before heading out to catch a ride to my hostel. I am starting to like this business class deal!