After passing through customs at the Seattle Airport, we used the airside train system to get to our departure gate, N15. Our final flight was Seattle to Sacramento on Alaska Airlines which I’ve reviewed in the past, and will not be reviewing again as nothing was new about this flight.
During our visit to the Lufthansa Business Lounge, I took the opportunity to confirm our seating on the Boeing 747-400 aircraft for the trip home. Shortly after making our reservation, a few months earlier, I had confirmed our seats as 83 A, C and K on the upper deck. I wasn’t sure when we would have a chance to ride in the Queen of the Skies again, and I sure as heck wanted it to be on the upper deck. In speaking with the Lufthansa associate we had been moved to the lower deck in a middle 3 row configuration. I was truly disappointed.
I asked the associate if we could be moved, and fortunately good seats on the upper deck were still available. Feeling relieved, we accepted our updated seating assignments and boarding cards, and proceeded to gate Z52.
On arrival to the airport buses transport travelers to Terminal 1 Concourse A inside Schengen passport control. It’s the 2nd to the top level of the Terminal 1 area of the airport. From there you must go up a level to Concourse Z, the Non-Schengen passport area where international oversea flights depart from. I’m not entirely sure how we did this, as the terminal’s have poor signage and little in the way of passenger assistance. Just before entering Concourse Z, passengers clear a security check to confirm passports.
Once in concourse Z, the signage is a little better and within a few moments we had found the entrance to the Business Lounge. The entrance serves both the Business and Senator Lufthansa Lounges. The Senator Lounge is first class and Gold Star passengers, where, as the name suggests, the Business Lounge serves business class passengers. I’ve read both lounges are similar, but have no experience in the Senator Lounge to confirm this. After check in you ascend a tall escalator and enter directly into the Business Lounge.
After visiting the SAS Business Lounge, we gathered our items and proceeded to Gate A17. I don’t get to travel in Europe near as much as I would like to. Flying on SAS out of Copenhagen was going to be enjoyable as I was looking forward to experiencing an airport in another country, and the different airlines that are present. Walking to gate A17 I frequently would stop and gaze at the different planes out on the tarmac. Before long we arrived at our gate and waited to board. It was relatively crowded, as we waited to board our flight.
Our SAS flight was early in the morning at 7:05am, so we arrived to the Copenhagen airport by 4:30am. We were booked into intra-European business class, which for SAS means an upfront economy seat with the middle seat blocked. It also meant we could fortunately use the business class check-in counter. Even this early in the morning, that line was long and slow, and I noticed the economy line was worse. It took us 40 minutes to wait in line and then check in. The attitude by the SAS associates was cold and apathetic.
There are not any Hyatt or Starwood hotels in the city of Copenhagen. There is a Marriott, but it was booked up for the dates we were visiting, so we ended up booking an independent hotel – the Copenhagen Admiral Hotel. Our flight from Vienna arrived later in the day and after a 30-minute cab drive from the airport we arrived at 8:30pm. Being in the northern part of Europe, and in June, the sun was still shining and we had plenty of daylight left for check-in and some exploring. Once you walk into the hotel you turn immediately to the left to find the check-in desks.
Today is the last day that members of the Virgin America Elevate program can book redemptions with airline partners (other than parent Alaska Airlines). In reality there is not much of a loss taking place, in that the only partner that has a worthwhile redemption is Virgin Australia. Per an earlier post partners Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Hawaiian really didn’t have a method to pickup a valuable booking, but Virgin Australia does have very valuable, and last minute, redemptions that will be missed.
We arrived into Vienna airport late. Immigration was fast and efficient, and was handled directly off the plane. The jetway literally emptied into an immigration booth, and our family was processed and then walked directly into the baggage claim area. After collecting our luggage, we took a cab from the airport to the hotel.
Alaska Airlines is in the middle of a massive renovation project called Virgin America. Last spring they announced that the Virgin America brand would be going away by 2019. Since that time (and probably before then) Alaska Airlines has outlined their mission to remake Virgin America into Alaska Airlines. It’s a long mission that includes a number of tasks, and recently they took another step in that process – ending the unique and stylish company emails that Virgin America sends to their customers.
Our Austrian Airlines flight from London to Vienna was originally scheduled at 7:25pm, but was delayed about an hour. Fortunately, the lounge display system kept us informed, and we left from the United Club to gate A18 45 minutes before boarding. It sounds like a lot of time, but the walk from the lounge to our gate was 25 minutes. Once we arrived at gate A18 we waited another 30 minutes or so before we boarded. Terminal 2 (The Queens terminal) at Heathrow is very nice with high ceilings and wide open areas. We enjoyed walking through and hanging out in the space before we boarded.