Celebrating the Lufthansa A380 Inaugural at SFO

A few weeks back Lufthansa held a contest via Twitter and FaceBook to give away seats on their inaugural flight of an Airbus A380 from San Francisco to Frankfurt. Given that I like to travel and I like to do it for free I entered. And I lost. But my friend Scott won and it was a trip for two so guess who eventually got the text message asking if I was available to go to Germany on May 10th? This guy!

A quick hop (as much as a transcon can be) from JFK to San Francisco had me out there in plenty of time to see the plane arrive in from Frankfurt and to join the party that the San Francisco Airport and Lufthansa hosted out in the Bayfront Park, just off the airport grounds. It was a surprisingly solid crowd out to welcome the first regularly scheduled A380 service to SFO.



They had box lunches and picnic blankets that they were giving away as well as a raffle to win free tickets and a trivia contest to win other toys. I didn’t win the raffle but, well, apparently I’m loud enough that I managed to win at least one of the trivia question toys. And I am pretty sure I got a few other answers right but no big deal.


After the party outside the airport we headed back into the terminal to the official party being hosted near the boarding gates. This one was a bit harder to attend as it was officially only for press and other invited dignitaries. Such limitations are trivial to me, however, and I managed to negotiate for access to the party for all three of us. Some good snacks and more cool toys (I seriously almost needed an extra bag to bring all the good stuff home), plus getting to catch up with a bunch of my Lufthansa friends. All good things.


Finally it was time to board and begin the long flight over to Germany. Boarding was, not surprisingly, a bit of a mess. Getting 500+ people onto a plane is always a bit of a challenge, even with three jetbridges in use on two different levels. And the walk to our seats (4th row from the back) was a long one. Still, we got into our seats, stowed our bags and started to make friends with the flight attendants and other passengers with whom we’d be spending the next 12 hours or so.


Part of my "settling in" process at my seat was to unpack the blanket I brought with me for the trip. I acquired it from United Airlines on my flight from JFK earlier that morning and it is wonderfully comfortable. It was also still in the plastic wrap when I put it down on my seat and headed to the back galley area to chat. Imagine my surprise a few minutes later when I returned to my seat to find that the blanket was missing. Sortof.


It seems that my seatmate also noticed that the blanket was really nice and she figured it was fair game since it was still wrapped up. Oopsie. I don’t know that I’ve had a more awkward conversation with a total stranger before this one, trying to explain that it was a blanket that I had rightfully stolen and that I’d like it back. On the plus side, we did chat off and on the rest of the trip so it was a decent icebreaker.

The rest of the flight was surprisingly uneventful. The meal was fine and the open bar was well stocked and free flowing. I did discover that I was unable to get my "favorite" beverage – Fernet Branca – as it is only available in business class. I had to make do with the brandy that they were serving in coach instead. And then I slept. Even wedged into an economy seat and even all the way in the back of the plane I managed to get a solid 6 hours of sleep. That’s definitely an advantage of the longer flights from the West coast; on a flight out of JFK sleeping 6 hours would have me in the hangar after they finished unloading and cleaning the plane.


Overall it was a great trip and a ton of fun. Plus we had 2 days in Frankfurt lined up for more grand adventures!

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.