Trip report: Homemade interlining

March 31st 2008, 02:28 | Written by Konstantin Koll

This trip report covers a weekend trip from DUS to NTE in March 2008. I had to visit NTE for a conference on a Saturday, with Friday and Sunday reserved as travelling days. Being a quite loyal Lufthansa customer, I found it very hard to get to NTE on Star Alliance, so I opted for some “homemade interlining” between Lufthansa and Air France, using the dreaded CDG as transfer point.

I have bought one of those 99€ Lufthansa “betterfly” tickets for DUS-CDG-DUS. The outbound flight would leave DUS around 11:00 on Friday, and the inbound flight would depart CDG on Sunday around 17:00. The second part was on a standard Air France ticket, departing CDG on Friday around 17:00, with the inbound leg leaving NTE around 09:00 on Sunday. This would provide me with ample time for checkins at CDG, and also my very first Airbus A318 flight!

The flight from DUS to CDG was on a CRJ-200, with boarding on the ramp. Giving the short duration, a sandwhich and two drinks (I asked for a second as I was thirsty) was more than enough. Overall, the flight was very nice. As the flight was on schedule, I knew I had plenty of time to take another picture of the plane.

Now, Lufthansa and Air France use entirely different terminals at CDG, so I had to collect my luggage and take it to the Air France checkin myself (just one of the things you do to earn some precious miles on your favorite frequent flyer program). However, Air France was in for a nasty surprise: with more than 4 hours before departure, there was no checkin for my flight! So I literally had to sit on my bag for 2 hours instead of exploring CDG with just my backpack—bummer. Obviously, many other passengers had the same problem, as they were blocking half of the terminal space with their own luggage. Air France, you need to get better here! After finally checking in my own luggage and having my boarding pass, I grabbed some late lunch, and hopped onto my Airbus A318.

After a very successful conference talk, I travelled home to DUS the next day. I arrived early at NTE by cab, without any Air France checkin counter opened. You've guessed it—I had to sit on my bag for an hour! However, with little to do at NTE and already expecting this, I had a fully charged laptop to while away the time. The flight itself (on an Airbus A319) was rather pleasant, with a nice orange juice and a delicious lemon tart for breakfast.

After landing in CDG and taxiing past the Concorde on display there, I quickly collected my bag and made my way to the other terminal. As a very pleasant surprise, Lufthansa has a checkin counter in the basement which seems to be staffed at all times. With more than 5 hours to go, I was able to check in and get rid of my bag!

The last leg of this trip was on a Boeing 737. Unfortunately, the flight went through some heavy turbulence, with service being cancelled. My seat row was the last one to receive a sandwhich, but too far at the rear for a drink. Oh well, I was more than happy that the aircraft landed in one piece, and the weather provided the opportunity for some nice pictures:

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