Trip report: Nerd Express

May 26th 2017, 15:15 | Written by Konstantin Koll

This trip report is about my DUS-FRA-SJC flights back in February. I've just found the time to write this trip report, though.

Silicon Valley is my second home, and it was time for yet another trip there. This time I had business to attend to in Cupertino, so SJC was more convenient for me than flying into SFO. A couple of years ago, Lufthansa launched a direct FRA-SJC flight, and I was eager to try out this rather unusual routing.

San José is the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley, whereas I'd like to add that the city is rather boring from a touristic perspective. Luckily, Caltrain takes you from San José Diridon Station to downtown San Francisco in less than an hour.

DUS-FRA

I've started my trip early in the morning at DUS. My ride to FRA left around 7am, so I could easily connect to my intercontinental flight at 10am. It was a sunny, but also very foggy morning which provided for some great photos at DUS, and especially later at FRA.

Checkin was a breeze, and I had a small breakfast before making my way to the gate. Today's ride to FRA was on an Airbus A320, which is the norm today as Lufthansa has phased out their Boeing 737s.

The flight to FRA was uneventful with no inflight service at all (the actual flight time is around 35 minutes, so only J passengers receive a drink and a snack box). The taxi time at FRA to the gate was unsually long, so I had the opportunity to capture some great photos in the foggy weather. I've quickly made my way through passport control to the newly built Z concourse, where most US-bound flights departure these days. I've never been there before, so I can tell you that the area is surprisingly modern and spacious.

FRA-SJC

Today's flight LH 488 was boarded on a remote stand, and it was indeed operated by one of Lufthansa's Airbus A340 in Star Alliance livery I've seen earlier while taxiing to the gate. I boarded the aircraft at the rear, as my seat was there, and was greeted by a very friendly and attentive crew.

It was striking how many young men from India were on this flight, often wearing apparel with the logo of some Silicon Valley tech company—that's why I'd like to dub LH 488 the “Nerd Express” (being one of them myself). Lufthansa still seems to do a pretty good job at connecting traffic from all over India to the United States through their hub at FRA.

After taxiing to runway 25R—with the other Star Alliance A340 right behind us—takeoff was very smooth and uneventful. Soon after, inflight service began with a round of beverages and the usual pretzel mix. With that many passengers from India, it took quite some time to distribute all special meals before the regular meal service (I was starving, mind you). The gentleman seated next to me had ordered the “Vegetarian Asian Meal (Indian)”, which looked quite interesting to say the least (he has enjoyed it, though). I've opted for the chicken with pasta, which was very delicious, although a bit dry.

I had seen all the movies I was interested in offered by the inflight entertainment on this flight, so I've purchased a wifi voucher for the duration of this flight to keep the Instagram folks updated on my travel. It was really amazing to connect to the Internet above the Atlantic Ocean! It worked very well with the occasional outage lasting about a minute. An hour or so later, I gladly took a nap as I was up all night before. I woke up during the second meal service (some cookies and beverages), and then for the third one somewhere over Canada (veggie pasta for everyone). I was glad I could sleep for a couple of hours on this flight—something I'm usually unable to.

Soon after I finished my meal (let's call it “late lunch” due to time zones and jet lag), the flight descended into the Bay Area with some spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. It felt so good to be home again! We were headed for the South Bay to SJC, of course, so our flight path took us low over Silicon Valley and the surrounding hills. The drought in California had just ended with heavy rains and even the Oroville dam close to bursting, and I've never seen the Valley that green before! After the usual, but still amazing approach over downtown San José we touched down at SJC just in time. Immigration took quite some time (the airport seems to be a bit challenged to process internatinal wide body arrivals), and I was on the way to my hotel near Diridon Station.

I've really enjoyed this right, my first long haul in almost five years. Well done, Lufthansa!

I'll leave you with a few impressions of San José and San Francisco, my second home:

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