Peeking through my large window at the snow-capped German Alps, magically bathed in the gentle rays of the midday winter sun, I felt like I was in a futuristic fairytale – for there I sat in a full flat bed, my legs stretched out, a glass of fine white wine on my side, Woody Allen’s Café Society playing on my personal big screen, tweeting from 38,000 feet above earth using superfast wifi!
As someone aptly commented on my Facebook page, just a few decades ago, such an experience was the stuff of our wildest dreams. Atleast for a digital nomad like me.
On board the first long-haul Lufthansa A350 flight from Munich to Delhi, I forgot everything an 8-hour long flight is supposed to be. Here’s why:
Choosing my in-flight entertainment even before I boarded
You know when you get on a plane and while away the first half hour browsing through the movie selection, reading the brief descriptions, and wondering what to watch? Lufthansa A350’s Companion App syncs with the in-flight entertainment system on the route you’re going to fly, six weeks before you fly, and lets you save your favourites. Thanks to recommendations by awesome tweeps, I already knew I was going to watch Café Society and Azhar (based on the Indian cricketer) on board.
Also read: The Joy of Slow Travel
Mood lighting to reduce jet lag
I have to confess I fell in love with the Lufthansa A350 even before I boarded, for I unexpectedly ran into a co-passenger – a German student who did his PhD thesis on the impact of lights on reducing jet lag. Lufthansa used his research to design 24 LED mood lights on board the new A350, that adjust to the bio-rhythm of the passengers. The lights changed from a gentle blue to a soft orange to shades in between, based on the boarding time, lunch, sleep, dinner and landing. I felt pretty zen by the time we touched down around midnight in Delhi!
The relaxed ‘movie lounge’ feeling on business class
I woke up from an afternoon nap on my full flat seat bed somewhere above Afghanistan, and settled in to rewatch a Bollywood flick (Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani) with a drink and pack of nuts from the self-service business class area. With my noise-cancelling headphones on and Ranbir Kapoor inspiring some serious wanderlust on the big screen, I forgot that I was on a plane until the captain’s announcement paused it for a while! I think I enjoyed the movie a whole lot more than I did the first time, either because of that relaxed movie lounge feeling up in the air… or because I didn’t make it to the cringe-worthy ending 😉
Also read: How I Conquer My Solo Travel Fears
Gourmet meals prepared by Leela Palace chefs
Ever since I turned vegan and got stood up twice with no special meal on board long flights (despite pre-ordering it), I always carry some back-up vegan food so I don’t starve. That was the plan for this flight too, except that this time, in keeping with the crazy developments of 2017, the Deutsche Bahn train got delayed and rerouted. It took me double the time I had estimated to reach Munich airport, leaving no time to pack something for the journey. I’m glad that happened, because they had gourmet meals on board, prepared by chefs from the Leela Group; my elderly co-passenger, who was from Delhi but lived in Toronto, described her meal as “elegant”, possibly the highest compliment for airplane food.
Fastest wifi ever at 38,000 feet!
My eyes used to light up whenever I boarded a long flight and saw the Wifi symbol on board – until I realized that despite being paid, inflight wifi is usually slow and patchy. When I read that the new broadband technology on the Lufthansa A350, that also supports the Companion app, offers superfast, uninterrupted Wifi, I had to try it – for I tend to be a lot more productive up in the air than on earth. And fast it was, so fast that I could upload huge attachments in minutes and get some long-pending work done without distractions.
Also read: So You Want to Start a Travel Blog?
The most eco-friendly long-haul plane in our skies
I am often consumed with guilt for the number of flights I take, for it is the biggest contributor to my carbon footprint. So while I love the innovative technologies that made my 8-hour journey so relaxed and productive, what I love more is that the Lufthansa A350 is the most eco-friendly long-haul plane in our skies right now – it consumes 25% less fuel, produces 25% less carbon emissions, and has a 50% lower noise ‘footprint’ than similar aircrafts. Indeed, my productivity and that movie lounge feeling were heightened because I could barely hear the roar of the engines on board.
There was a time when my flying choices were based on getting from point A to point B in the fastest or cheapest way possible. That quickly began to take away the joy of flying. I now think about how productive (both in terms of work done and movies watched) I’ll be on board, how I can offset my carbon footprint, and how tired my body and mind will feel when I land at my destination.
To be honest though, on the world’s most modern aircraft – the Lufthansa A350 – the journey itself felt like the destination.
Win flights to Germany on the new Lufthansa A350!
Put on your thinking hat, take a creative picture of the number 350, and enter this contest by Lufthansa India to win return flights from Delhi to Munich on the new Lufthansa A350. Contest ends
Feb 28th March 3rd, 2017. Read the terms and conditions here, and don’t forget to tweet me from 38,000 feet if you win!
Have you flown (or dream of flying) the Lufthansa A350?
I was invited as a travel blogger to fly on Lufthansa A350’s maiden flight from Munich to Delhi. Lucky me!
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I’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star.
In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life.
Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.