Like many frequent travelers I have a certain routine I go through prior to a flight. This flight would certainly push that routine to its limits. After all, it isn’t often that the airline CEO speaks to the passengers or that the pilot and senior cabin crew come in to the terminal to greet customers prior to departure.
The ceremony was hosted in the Business Lounge rather than at the regular departure gate area. That made it quite a bit more intimate as an event. It also made me quite happy for my Star Alliance Gold status which got me in to the lounge to see the event. And so, while nursing my usual pre-departure beverage, I joined the crowd listening to the speeches.
Lufthansa‘s CEO addressed the group, noting the historic nature of the flight and the commitment to passengers that the new aircraft represents. A representative from Boeing also spoke, touching on the history of the 747 line and the future that the new "Queen of the Skies" represents. "You are riding in to aviation history," he shared, not that any of us needed a reminder on that.
After the speeches wrapped up the agent in the lounge made the announcement, inviting us all to make history and board the aircraft for her inaugural flight in service as a passenger airliner. Boarding was a bit slow, owing mostly to the great vantage point the upper boarding lounge had of the plane.
We were each presented with a commemorative plaque for the flight and then, finally, we made our way on to the plane. At the entry door a flight attendant was handing out pins to all passengers and, not surprisingly, flash bulbs were popping all over the cabin as passengers documented the experience.
There were the usual pains of boarding 300+ passengers on to a plane. Finding overhead space for some passengers was a bit challenging but thanks to the Sky Interior configuration the bins turned out to be more than spacious enough for the hand luggage on board. There were also seat swaps and other such negotiations. Soon enough, however, the boarding door was closed and the announcement we were all waiting for came over the PA system.
Cabin attendants: Boarding complete.
Those four simple words, a phrase I’ve heard countless times in my travels, had special meaning this time. It was now time for the new "Queen of the Skies" to take flight.
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