Seeing The World In Steps is heading to Budapest, Hungary! The 30th country on my list! I finally made it to the big 30th! Visiting new countries and cities is all I ever wanted to do in this lifetime and I will never stop till I get to see the entire world. In a twist of things, I will be flying straight from Milan to Budapest! I am so excited to be visiting a new country. Budapest have long been on my wishlist. What was supposed to be a Swiss Air flight from Zurich turned out to be flying Lufthansa from Milan via Frankfurt. Thanks, Omicron! I have been in Lufthansa Economy Class in the past it will be nice to see how things have changed all these years and how they are like in a COVID Era.
Booking Process & Checking In
Due to some last-minute changes in Switzerland COVID regulations, I could not head into the country with my travel history. We then had to reroute our ticket to fly from Milan to Budapest via Frankfurt rather than flying Zurich to Budapest. Given how late everything goes the ticket was expensive. It cost us 550 SGD each for a Milan to Budapest and Budapest to Lisbon tickets. We got them ticketed together. I arrive at Linate Airport from Hilton Milan via a cab which took about 20 mins. It cost 25 euros.
Before arrival I also check-in online 24 hours before my flight. This is certainly worth doing nowadays given that queues can get pretty long these days with all the COVID documents verifications. Lufthansa also gives you the ability to upload your vaccine cert ahead so that it will be faster when at the airport. It was a fairly quiet day and there is no queue at the check-in counter. Things were even faster since we are able to use the Business and First Class queue with Star Alliance status.
Lufthansa A319 Economy Class
Boarding started around 1320 and I was the first to board the plane! I also managed to get my seats changed to an empty row for better social distancing. I was the first onboard and managed to get some really nice pictures of the plane. The A319 sure look very sleek. Seats are in a 3-3 configuration. 3 rows are blocked out for business class. For those who are unsure, on Intra-Europe flights, seats in business class and economy class are the same. The only key difference is the soft product and the middle seats are blocked off. For a route that is only 1 hour long, that is kinda redundant. We also luck out and got the middle seat empty. Check out some pictures of the cabin.
Upon boarding, sanitising wipes are being passed out by the staff which is good since you are definitely encouraged to wipe down the frequent high contact areas during this period. We got into the groove and wipe down the armrest, headrest, seatbelts and the table. Together with our double mask and face shield, I was certainly a scene but there is nothing more important during that period than being safe. I have flown these products in the past and shall not dwell too much into it. Furthermore, there is nothing fancy about the typical slimline seats of Intra-Europe seats.
The views are amazing and it was a lovely flight by all standards!
Lufthansa Embraer 190 Economy Class
My second sector was from Frankfurt to Budapest and it was on the Embraer 190. I was actually at first pretty excited to be trying out a new type of jet that I hadn’t flown before but it turn out to be a huge mistake. Boarding started right on time and you can tell that occupancy was high. It turns out to be a full flight. I managed to be one of the first to board the plane. I certainly jump on the bandwagon to get some pictures of the empty plane cabin. It is an intimate affair here and not in a good way. The seats are in a 2-2 configuration and it was a tight squeeze.
Similarly to the previous flight, wipes were passed down when we boarded and the crew were pretty friendly. We then got into our standard operating procedure. Store our bags in the overhead compartments. Wipe down the headrest, armrest, seatbelts and the table area. I was glad that we are able to board first with our Star Alliance Gold status as those passengers that boarded later had difficulty finding space. Jostling for overhead cabin storage was a precious commodity. Similarly, a bottle of water was provided on board. It was very stuffy on board this flight and it is one that I can’t wait to disembark. It didn’t help that the air ducts were not working. I arrive roughly on time. Upon reaching the terminal we just had to show the officers our EUDCC. The fresh cooling 5 degrees air of Budapest never felt that amazing!
Food & Beverage
Sadly to say Intra-Europe flights were what they used to be! Not as if it was ever decent to be in the past as well! Previously, you were offered a snack and a drink but now there is none. the reasoning was unbundling to provide a better-customized offering for passengers. That’s cutbacks in English! But the ticket prices didn’t drop after that as well. Now you are offered a small piece of chocolate as well as a bottle of water! Well, at least they brought the Swiss heritage over to the entire group.
There is a small menu where you can get additional items if you are feeling for something more substantial and you can find the menu here. It can prove rather useful, especially on longer flight hours. Prices are somewhat fair. Now if you are complaining, it is so commendable of what you are getting on Asia carriers like a flight to Bangkok on SQ with full meal service consisting of appetizers, main and desserts with unlimited alcohol drinks.
It was more than what I would have paid for but thankfully with status, it felt a little more worth it given the extra benefits and lounge access. The first flight was pretty good in the A319. The second sector in the Embraer was horrible. The seats were uncomfortable and very warm. It is as if the air conditioning was off! I will do my very best to avoid these jets in the future since they are on the smaller side. It can be very difficult to get overhead space as well. To be frank, it is more or less the same across carriers on Intra-Europe flights and you choose which airlines or alliance where you have status to fly with. The lounge access and extra baggage are what makes the difference and in my experience, the ability to board first when in Economy to get previous overhead space.