Day 3 of the trip was by far the longest and most fun. The 4:00am wake-up call was rather painful but we did need to be at the gate by 5am. Today's activities included a charter flight that would start in Frankfurt, head to Oslo where we would pick up some folks and spend the morning with SAS and then head off to Toulouse for a visit to Airbus. While we had official cabin crew for all of the legs, some of the Flyertalk moderators also participated as cabin crew on all of the legs. Each leg had a theme that the selected moderators had to dress up as.
Our boarding was a bit delayed as we were waiting for some folks running late. Sadly there was no elite boarding but there was a business class section. I opted to sit in coach myself. The plane was a Condor 757-300 that was chartered for the day. Our first crew traveled with us from Frankfurt to Oslo to Toulouse. At that point they became passengers and joined into the party as we picked up a different crew.
Our first leg was rather quiet as everyone was still slowly waking up. We were served a nice breakfast in coach and the folks in Business received a retro-breakfast. The theme for this flight was Hawaiian so all the moderators were dressed up in Hawiaan shirts.The breakfast was a replicated menu from a 1974 LAX-HNL flight on Continental. There were even printed retro-menus with a replica of the original artwork.
After a quick flight we arrived into Oslo to find ourselves in a snowy winter. We arrived at a hard stand and were quickly bussed over to the SAS hangar where they were expecting us. Upon arrival we were greeted by execs and Kristen, one of the SAS employees, who sang an opening ballad for us to kick off the tour. Kristen had quite a singing voice and did an amazing job. Following Kristen was a troupe of authetnic Scandinavian dancers who performed for us.
After the introductions, we were introduced to a representative from the Scandinavian Medical Air Lift and broken up into groups to tour a 737-700 that SAS converts on demand for the medical air lift. It was very cool to see how they pull out seats and put in beds for the transport of folks.
While we all waited for our tours, there were many stands for us to talk to various groups of the airline and also a nice spread of food and drink was out. The salmon was particularly delicious.
After all the tours wrapped up, we were given a nice demo of how the emergency slide works, Kristen sang us another ballad to send us off and we were off on the bus back to the plane.
The second leg of the charter was by far the longest at two hours and 40 minutes. The moderator theme was Nordic as all of them wore said styled sweaters. As we approached into Toulouse, the captain mentioned we would do a missed approach and perform a go-around. As we approached, we descended and I swear we were just a few feet off the ground before the captain pulled back and up we went. It was by far the closest missed approach I have ever seen. After a particularly long go-around we finally landed and proceeded to a hard stand. As we descended the plane, there were buses waiting for us to take us to the terminal. Unlike Oslo, we actually had to go through the terminal this time and we ended up curbside at the airport. There we boarded another set of buses which took us to the Airbus A380 welcome center.
Upon arrival we had a quick intro with some of the executives, a drink and a bite to eat and then we were off. We were given the option of touring the A380 final assembly line or the A380 cabin mock-up area. Most people opted for the final assembly line, as I did.
Walking through the final assembly line was amazing. It was impressive to watch how these huge machines are built and how massive they are when standing next to them. We were able to see aircraft in various stages of being built for Emirates, Lufthansa and Air France.
After wrapping up the tour we were given the option for a bus ride to the Airbus store where I managed to procure a few fun things and then off to the airport we went.
As we approach thirteen hours from our original departure we wait at the gate to be bussed to our aircraft for the final flight of the night. As we boarded our flight we learned the theme for this flight was German and our dear moderators were dressed in Lederhosen. This was a quick flight compared to our last one at an hour and twenty minutes. By this time everyone was pretty worn out and it was obvious.
After a very uneventful flight, we arrived in Frankfurt to be directed to Lufthansa's Tower Lounge. To reach the Tower Lounge, you have to leave the country and go through passport control. The fact that we needed to go through passport control to attend a party was pretty cool and set high expectations for the party. I'm pleased to report the expectations were met. The Tower Lounge is amazingly nice and is one of the nicest lounges I have had the honor of visiting. If you ever find yourself in FRA, I suggest you visit it as it was nicer than the Senator lounges I've visted in the past.
After a bite to eat and a few drinks, it was time to depart and head back to the hotel. As we headed out, we received parting gifts. The coolest gift was the USB flash drive that is shaped like a plane.
And, finally, it's time for sleep.