DBV and OTP in Dec. via DL J and LH F: SEA-AMS-ZAG-DBV-ZAG-VIE-OTP-FRA-SEA In early November, I decided to take my newly minted 1k status out for a spin, making an award reservation I wasn’t sure I could use knowing full well that I could cancel and change the reservation as needed. The trip I first booked was something like SEA-ORD-MUC-LJU-VIE-ZAG-DBV-ZAG-MUC-FRA-SEA which evolved to SEA-FRA-ZAG-DBV-ZAG-VIE-OTP-FRA-SEA as the trip got closer. Fortunately, while some segments had to be originally booked in C and with connections through United hubs, as the departure date got closer I was able to grab First Class seats on the Lufthansa non-stops to/from Seattle. I’ve probably provided more detail than anyone could care about, so skim the text, look at the pictures, and enjoy the report! December 21, 2010 Lufthansa 491, FRA-SEA Winter weather in Europe over the prior weekend didn’t have me too worried about my trip as the long term forecast showed the snow letting up by the time I was supposed to depart. Unfortunately, the forecasts proved to be a bit optimistic and I awoke on my departure morning and went online to find that the inbound flight of my aircraft, Lufthansa 490, had been cancelled before it left Frankfurt. As I begun to look online to see what other flights may be available to me, my phone rang. It was a representative of Lufthansa in Seattle informing me that the flight had been cancelled and asking if I needed to get to Dubrovnik today. I informed them of my preference to get there as soon as possible, and they said they’d look into my options and get back to me. Maybe 15-20 minutes later, they called back and said they could re-route me to Dubrovnik via Delta’s SEA-AMS flight and then Croatia Airlines AMS-ZAG-DBV. I said that would be fine and they proceeded to re-issue the ticket. When I arrived at SeaTac, I found a lengthy line at the Lufthansa ticket counter however a mini-lounge had been setup, complete with snacks and soft drinks, in the Lufthansa offices behind the ticket counter where first and business class passengers could wait and get re-booked. I confirmed my ticket had been re-issued, picked up a confirmation and itinerary, and then headed over to the Delta ticket counter to check-in. December 21, 2010 Delta 232, SEA-AMS A330-300, N802NW Scheduled (Actual) Departure Time: 12:50pm (1:02) Scheduled (Actual) Arrival Time: 7:45am+1 (8:10+1) Duration: 10:08 Seat: 4H It appeared to be rush hour at the Delta ticket counters, even for business class so I made my way over to a check-in kiosk hoping that I could avoid the wait for an agent, fortunately my reservation popped up as soon as I scanned my passport and I was soon issued a “seat request card” for the flight to Amsterdam. It’s not a boarding pass, and I was still a bit concerned about being denied boarding (or downgraded) if the flight were oversold, but it’s better than a cancelled flight so I took it as a sign of progress and headed for a reasonably short security queue and made my way to the Delta World Club in the South Satellite. Having become semi-accustomed to Red Carpet Clubs, the World Club seemed like a big improvement. In reality, I think I simply enjoyed having different snacks (especially caramel corn!) after countless things of trail mix, carrots, celery, and cheese cubes, the one concrete improvement over the RCC was the self-serve soda fountain and the tarmac views (in contrast to the dungeon-esque atmosphere of the SEA RCC). The club was surprisingly quiet given that heavies to both NRT and AMS were about to depart which I suspect may have been due to a low volume of elites traveling around the holidays. I enjoyed a few nibbles and watched ground crews ready my aircraft for the long flight. View of aircraft from World Club Around noon, boarding for the flight was called and I fought through masses of people (must both of Delta’s transoceanic flights be boarded from the same gate area?) to the podium to exchange my seat request card for a boarding pass, and overheard a passenger getting an operational upgrade Clearly, those only get handed out when I’m already confirmed in the front cabin so for those of you looking to get one, just buy me a first class ticket on your flight. Dual-lane, but single jetway, boarding was in full force and I hopped into the business class line and was soon walking through 2L, cutting through the galley to the far aisle, and settling into seat 4H. Waiting for me at the seat was a rather sizable pillow and duvet along with a menu, small bottle of water, noise cancelling headphones, and amenity kit. You’ll have to peruse other trip reports if you want to see a photo of the contents of the amenity kit, but unlike others that tend to have fancy but less-useful items in a hard box (I’m talking to you British Airways), the Delta kit was in a nice, round, soft-sided container and had a couple more unique and useful items, like a Delta pen, which I will likely get more use of then, say, pillow spray. View of legroom, with oversized duvet and pillow visible My coat was promptly hung and I was offered a choice of orange juice or champagne. I opted for the OJ, and as I settled into my seat I realized I’d managed to do something many say is near-impossible: fly Delta World Business Class on a saver award. For those looking to do the same, here’s my advice: - Obtain United 1k status (this will keep costs down) - Book several saver first class award tickets on Lufthansa (say SEA-FRA) – more is better - Wait for one of your Lufthansa flights to get cancelled and ask to be put on Delta (say SEA-AMS) - If your Lufthansa flight isn’t cancelled, cancel your trip and have your miles re-deposited and hope for a cancellation next time As boarding continued, newspapers were offered from a cart and the flight attendant working my aisle came by and asked what I’d like to eat. Let’s take a look at the menu (12/10 BE-US-AMS-C15C PDX/SEA/DTW/MSP/MEM/ATL-AMS): FIRST COURSE A TASTING OF TWO APPETIZERS shrimp with lemon grass and marinated hearts of palm and roasted beets with blue cheese TOMATO AND BASIL SOUP MIXED GREEN SALAD with jicama, yellow peppers, almonds, and roma tomatoes MAIN COURSE DELTA CHEF, MICHELLE BERNSTEIN’S SELECTION SALMON FRANCAISE with crispy garlic, citrus mojo sauce, boniato purée and asparagus “This dish defines who I am as a chef; French classic meets new world Latina!” –Michelle Bernstein FILET OF BEEF with grain mustard sauce, sweet potato wedges, zucchini and yellow squash LASAGNE PASTA BITES with spinach and radicchio in gorgonzola sauce, topped with pine nuts ROASTED BEEF AND GRAVALAX with a deviled egg, hearts of palm and tomato served chilled If you would like more time to work or relax, we suggest this chilled entree as a LIGHT AND QUICK replacement to the traditional entree DESSERT SELECTION OF FINE CHEESES offered with fresh fruit VANILLA ICE CREAM SUNDAE with your choice of sauces, whipped cream and chopped nuts PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE I opted for the salmon and was assured that it was a “very nice piece of fish” As the relatively quiet business class cabin slowly filled, I realized that boarding the aircraft more than 45 minutes before departure is a bit of a waste. While no doubt in the back of the plane folks were blocking the aisles and struggling to find space for their belongings, up front we had nothing to do but wait. We eventually closed the door and pushed back about ten minutes late and taxied to the north side of the airport and were soon rolling down runway 16L and airborne into the cloudy Seattle sky. After a big left turn we were headed northeast towards Amsterdam.