Lufthansa A319 economy class Frankfurt to Zurich – the view from the aisle seat

Lufthansa A319 economy class Frankfurt to Zurich – the view from the aisle seat

After pulling my phone out of my pocket three times in five minutes to check the time, I came to the conclusion that the only thing that it was doing was making me crazy and it was imperative that I needed to stop.

It was stressful enough being stuck in a massive crowd of people that was slowly inching towards a lone (and overwhelmed) passport control guy, and worrying about missing my Lufthansa A319 economy class connection to Zurich was a lot of extra stress that I didn’t need right then.

The only thing that mattered at that moment was trying to find the perfect balance of being aggressive enough to keep advancing my position in that massive crowd, while at the same time being polite enough that I didn’t come off as being a total dick to everyone around me. It’s so hard to be an adult sometimes!

Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) – Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH)
Friday, April 27, 2018
Aircraft: A319-114
Registration: D-AILH
Duration: 33 minutes
Seat: 16C (economy class)

Lufthansa A319-114 side view
Lufthansa A319-114 (D-AILH) side view illustration by
FRA-ZRH route map
Our route to Zurich this afternoon. Straight south!

Believe it or not, there’s even a video to go along with the written trip report for this short 33 minute flight (with music and sound effects courtesy of Epidemic Sound).

The feeling of clearing passport control and plowing my way through the turnstile was likely very similar to the way that all those horses feel during the main event at the Kentucky Derby each year. I didn’t even pause to look and see where my connecting flight would be departing from, as I was so anxious to get moving that I just ran ahead into terminal A thinking that I would figure things out (and make necessary course corrections) as I ran.

Frankfurt airport terminal a
I didn’t even care if this was the right terminal – the only thing that I knew was that I needed to run. Like really fast!
Concourse A Frankfurt airport
Huffing and puffing and wheezing and coughing as I ran to the gate in total panic.

A quick glance down to my boarding pass revealed that A38 would be the departure gate to Zurich this afternoon, which seemed awfully familiar to me for some reason…

For those of you not familiar with the Frankfurt airport, it’s one of the largest in the world and it would take hours to walk through and explore. That’s why I was completely dumbfounded when I found myself standing in front of gate A38, realizing that this was the exact same gate that I departed from when I went to Lisbon last year on TAP Portugal.

What are the chances of that happening?! Of all the gates in this massive airport, how freakingly odd is it that I would get the same one two times in a row (on two completely different airlines nearly one year apart)?

US passport Frankfurt airport
I made it with time to spare! Despite feeling a massive amount of déjà vu for some reason, I was feeling solid and ready to keep traveling.

The delay gave me a lot to think about as I hovered around the gate area waiting for boarding to begin. It turns out that I didn’t need to run after all, and if I would’ve taken my time to assess the situation before I ran full speed here to the gate, I would’ve realized that the flight was delayed and there was no need to be a total spaz. They say you learn a lot about yourself when you travel, and this was a perfect example of that. Lesson learned.

SANspotter selfie Frankfurt Airport
I had to make sure that I got a pic of myself looking calm and cool as ice, because I was a total spaz five minutes ago and it wasn’t pretty. Being a successful travel blogger is all about conveying an image of stability and strength!
Lufthansa a319
Last time I was here that was a TAP Portugal A320.
Boarding flight to Zürich Frankfurt airport
I’ve had my fair share of large crowds today, so excuse me while I hang back a little and wait from afar.

One thing that was slightly different about the last time I was at this gate was the fact that they were using an automated boarding system that wasn’t here before. I hated the idea of these things when they were first introduced a few years ago, but now that I’ve used them in a handful of places I’m slowly warming up to them.

My biggest fear was that it would confuse the hell out of most people and it would slow down the boarding process, but from what I’ve seen it’s just as efficient as having a gate agent standing there and manually scanning each boarding pass.

Automated gate Frankfurt airport
Everyone seems to be handling the automated gate system OK so far. Maybe this technology stuff actually works?
Automated gate machine Frankfurt airport
Please don’t malfunction please don’t malfunction please don’t malfunction

Successfully getting past one of those automated boarding machines feels more satisfying than getting past an actual gate agent for some reason, so it gave me a valid excuse to walk down that jet bridge with a crooked smirk on my face. Hey – I’m proud of the fact that I’m smart enough to use technology in high-pressure situations!

Frankfurt airport jet bridge
The problem with being one of the the last to board is that the pace inside the jet bridge is glacially slow. Just a few more minutes to go and I’ll be happily sitting in my window seat sipping on fine German water enjoying the view of the picturesque landscape below…
Lufthansa a319 Frankfurt airport
Slow traffic in the jet bridge meant that I had plenty of time to stand here and think about how safe and sterile the Lufthansa livery is.
Lufthansa a319 boarding door
Mom looks ticked off at her daughter in a way that would suggest that she just found out that she didn’t use to book these tickets. “Haven’t I taught you anything?!”

The smirk I was holding eventually wore off by the time I stepped onto the airplane, but it was replaced by a genuine smile as the lead flight attendant greeted me with a snack before sending me down the aisle to find my seat.

I should probably mention that she was handing out snacks to everybody, so it’s not like she was trying to win brownie points in hopes of a good review here on the blog. Of all the 750+ flights I’ve taken in my life so far, this was the first time that I had ever been handed a snack during the boarding process. Cool!

Lufthansa a319 interior
Whoa! I really was one of the last to board this flight. All I need to do is find my window seat, and all will be right with the world…

This is the point of the trip report where things suddenly change direction and it all goes downhill from here. You see, I had reserved seat 16A for the short flight down to Zurich this afternoon, but unfortunately, the person seated in 16C took it upon himself to take the window seat instead assuming that I’d be cool with sitting in the aisle.

Normally this is something I’m not cool with at all, but in this instance I let it slide considering that it was a short flight anyway, and it really wasn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Now, if it were a sunset flight that was sure to offer some spectacular photography opportunities, I definitely would’ve pushed back and taken that seat.

Lufthansa a319 seats
Wait, what? That finger pointing to that aisle seat was by far the most offensive gesture I’ve seen all day.

It turns out that the guy sitting in the middle seat was the father of the guy who took mine, and we ended up having a really nice conversation about Zurich and San Diego. He was a very frequent traveler to the US actually, so it was nice to meet a fellow flyer and exchange travel tips. We likely never would have become friends if I told his son to pound sand, so it all worked out in the end I guess!

Well, it didn’t totally work out. I knew this was going to be a dull trip report right from the beginning, but now that I was sitting in an aisle seat it was going to get worse since I wouldn’t be able to get any take off or landing pics.

That was the thing that disappointed me the most about having to change seats – I don’t necessarily mind sitting in aisle seats if I am prepared for it, but the main focus of this trip report was going to be the view from the window. Is it necessary for me to keep explaining why there aren’t going to be that many pics from this point forward?

Lufthansa a319 seat pitch
Well, I might as well take a picture of my feet in order to keep this trip report moving forward.
Lufthansa Economy class snack
Oh – and here’s a picture of the snack that they were handing out during the boarding process. A Healthwhich it is not, but it’ll do the job.
Lufthansa a319 Safety card
Taking pictures of the safety card would have been a lot more fun from the window seat I reckon.
Lufthansa a319 Safety card
Some tips on how to handle a seat poacher would be nice.
Lufthansa a319 safety card
How funny would it be to see a pictorial diagram of two people fighting over a seat?

Thankfully one of my Instagram friends (@julian.jstk) was at the airport that day and managed to get some pics of our plane taxiing out to the runway:

Lufthansa a319 Frankfurt airport
Huge thanks to @julian.jstk for grabbing this awesome shot of our flight to Zurich rolling out for departure!

This was very short 33 minute flight straight south to Zurich, and I was amazed that the flight attendants came through the cabin offering a full beverage service (from carts no less). That’s the kind of service that we just don’t see United States and it’s a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around it.

33 minutes is typically what it takes to fly from San Diego to Los Angeles (a route I’ve done many times) and typically on those flights all we get is the flight attendant making an announcement to “let me know if you need anything and I’ll be happy to help”. European airlines aren’t the best in the world, but they’re certainly a notch above what we have here in the US.

Lufthansa Economy class beverage service
Some water to wash away the sorrows of a lost window seat.
Lufthansa a319 Economy class cabin
Flying from Frankfurt to Zurich looks exactly the same from inside the airplane as does flying from Dallas to Tulsa. The view out the window probably looks a lot different though. Just sayin’.

There isn’t much to say about the actual flight itself other than the fact that it was quick and painless. I didn’t really even miss the fact that I wasn’t seated by a window. Sure, the weather looked nice out there, but the sun was so high that the photo opportunities weren’t all that great anyway. I guess I wasn’t missing all that much.

Comfort-wise, it was fine. Of course it’s not anywhere near as comfy as the premium economy seats on their A350’s, but it was perfectly decent for a short intra-Europe hop.

Lufthansa a319 cabin
Welcome to Zürich! If feels really weird not being able to show you any of that lush Swiss landscape during the approach, but don’t worry – I’ve got a lot of that stuff for my Edelweiss ZRH-SAN review!
Zurich Airport jet bridge
Ahh, so nice to feel the warmth of actual sunlight again.
Lufthansa a319 Zürich airport
“Holy crap, this flight is over and I hardly got enough pics for a full trip report!” This is why I’m that guy who’s always trying to get a clear shot of the airplane immediately after de-boarding. I kid you not that I actually have nightmares about forgetting to take pictures during a flight, and I never want that horror to come to life!
Zürich airport interior
One last desperate pic of nothing very interesting to end this trip report as I make my way into the terminal.

In summary, not only is Lufthansa is a decent airline for short hops within Europe, it’s pretty darn impressive that I successfully managed to be a calm and cool-headed adult through all of it.

From being stuck in a massive blob of people fighting their way through passport control only to have my window seat abruptly ripped from my possession at the very last moment, it took every bit of strength I had not to pout like a four year old whose sister had just thrown his favorite toy car into a very deep lake after a heated argument about Wonder Woman vs. Superman (true story by the way).

Travel is about rolling with the punches and taking things as they come one by one. Learning to smile through it all takes a lot of practice, but it’s very necessary skill to have if you want to enjoy your time on the road!

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