Finally the last day of the Star MegaDO arrived. Fortunately, for a select few it was discovered late on Thursday night that the morning sessions were being repeated in the afternoon, which meant more sleep!
After catching up on some of the lost sleep it was time to get down to the airport for lunch, marketplace and to hear Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman and CEO of Lufthansa and Thierry Antinori, Lufthansa AG executive vice president of sales and marketing speak to us.
As we quickly learned, the marketplace was where all the schwag was. There were representatives from Swiss, Lufthansa, Fraport (The Frankfurt Airport Authority), and Star Alliance in attendence. The best stuff was from Star Alliance which included a travel power adapter and for a few folks, including yours truly, a 787 model in Star Alliance livery. Lufthansa also provided discount coupons for the Worldshop where one can purchase Lufthansa branded goodies.
In a brief conversation with the Swiss reps, I learned that all the A340s will be going away and replaced with A330s. I also learned of no immedeate plans to add flights to Newark to cooperate with Continental.
On to the highlight of the hour, the presentation. Both men were very welcoming and brutally honest. Some of the things that were mentioned were:
- The A380 will be launched next year on the Frankfurt-New York(JFK) route.
- The A380s will only have eight First Class seats available. Lufthansa has no intention of blocking them like Singapore, but with a 50% reduction redemptions will be harder.
- Other potential routes for the A380 include Tokyo, Shanghai and Johannesburg.
- Onboard internet will be available on the long-haul fleet next year and a test aircraft will be fitted before year's end. Lufthansa's goal is to have it available on 50 aircraft in 2010 and the initial routes to have the service will be trans-atlantic.
- An update on their position on British Midland, but I will cover that in a separate post.
Following the presentation, we were divided into multiple groups and I was fortunate to partake in the Frankfurt airport tour. The best part of the tour was being driven around on the tarmac in a bus amongst all the planes. Our bus driver was amazing as he'd stop the bus everytime we wanted to take a picture. (Don't worry, pictures are coming, it's just been a crazy week). While driving through the east end of the airport, our tour guide informed us that they refer to that area as the "Kindergarten" since that is where all the Regional Jets go. I'm sure I will be using that name again with some of the airports I visit.