Meet UpThe whole event was divided into two parts. The first part took place only at Munich Airport, while the second included the flight to Toulouse. Therefore there were more people invited to the first part and only 7 of us had the priviledge to continue to Toulouse in the afternoon. In the morning I was a bit sleepy but when I heared that some guys from Frankfurt who had to wake up at 0300 , I already felt a little bit better. After everybody showed up at our spot we headed over to the press room of Munich airport where we could drop off our baggage and refresh a little.
Getting the party startedTo kick off the day we got the rare opportunity to get up into the ATC Tower of the airport where also the German Weather Service is located. The first experience was the elevator itself - Amazing old but trusty piece of German engineering... When we got to the daylight again the view and perspective blew us away! It was simply amazing to finally be, where you looked at so many times below. According to that the 30 minutes we got to take photos passed by way too fast.
Airport tourNext up we all got into a bus and after passing security drove to the airport firefighters that showed us what their vehicles can do and told us a bit about their daily routine. After that we continued over the apron to the southern runway and stopped on the apron in front of the Lufthansa technic hall, where we could take many photos. Fortunately an A350 (old livery :/) as well as an A330 was parked there and so everybody got to make the shots they always wanted. Thanks to the heat of the noon everybody hurried a little with taking photos so we could get back into the bus with air conditioning.
Preparing for the journeyAfter finishing the special apron trip we headed back to the terminal and went to a burger place called "Hans im Glück", which is pretty popular in Munich and had a very good meal all together. After that most of us unfortunately had to leave us because they were not flying to Toulouse. As a little compensation they at least got to see the newest Lufthansa Lounge at MUC. Our group headed over to the press room again to pick up the luggage and receive a sweet little giftbag from Munich Airport and Lufthansa! Our excitement grew with every minute passed when we headed over to the check-in area for our flight. But first: Group photo! The group I flew to Toulouse with and got to know and appreciate consisted of:
Toulouse here we come!The flight to Toulouse started very smooth. Drinks were served with typcial Lufthansa friendliness and soon we got soem food as well. Even though sitting is Business we got our normal Economy sandwich, which was really tasty. When approaching Toulouse we were informed that we might have to stay in the air a bit longer because of thunderstorms over the airport. As we are all aviation geeks that was not a problem at all, but we still feared a possible diversion, because we did not want to miss our appointment with the guys from Airbus in the evening! But in the end we did not have to stay up in the air much longer than planned and soon started our approach with a successful landing. Afterwards we grabbed our bags and our shuttle drove us to the hotel. We were a bit late so we only had 30 minutes to check out our room, unload the bags, take a shower and prepare to go out again. It was stressful, but everybody managed it.
Acceptance flightWhen I woke up I was as excited as I have only been for Christmas as a child! After a small breakfast at the hotel we drove to the Airbus Delivery Center and waited for the crew to prepare the flight and give us detailed information. After a couple of minutes we were invited into the conference room and were handed out a sheet with our plans for today. On the list were things like "Full Power Takeoff TO/GA", "Flight Control Check / G-Load", "Depressurization", "MMO (Maximum speed)", "Simulated Go-Around" and shutting down the entire hydraulic system. These things sound great, but are even better to experience first-hand! After a quick safety briefing about Do's and Don'ts we got out to the aircraft where everybody took a picture of themselves (including me). After boarding we got a seat in business class and rolled to takeoff. And no we did NOT have business class service or something... This was only because the crew likes everyone to be in their sight during critical flight phases!
A350 Final Assembly LineAfter the flight that was over way too fast we went to the Airbus cantine with the whole crew and ate a bite or two while getting to know each other. We talked about our experience, highlights of the flight but also how we handle social media and how it works. (Believe it or not: The test pilots were not too keen on social media). Soon after we all looked forward to see the Final Assembly Line (FAL) of the A350 as we headed out to our shuttle bus. When entering the building of the FAL we were greeted not only by our guide but also by a giant A350 model. Of course we all took a selfie with it but then continued into the actuall FAL hall. The logistics behind such a massive plane like the A350 are immense. The wings, fuselage in 3 parts, engines, ...all come together in that hall to build a modern airplane. With the permission of Airbus we were allowed to take photos from everything, but no tails or numbers were allowed to be visible. It is extremly interesting to witness such a complex process and see all the highly demanding tasks it takes to build an aircraft.
Heading back homeAfter we checked out the whole hall we had to drive back to the airport in ordner to catch our flight back to Munich or Frankfurt. But before our group split up we had a little debriefing, with the conclusion that this journey was a great success. We were praised by multiple employees for our good behaviour. The social impact is to be analysed. Soon our flight were ready for boarding and after some weather delay we were up in the air again. The flight went smooth and I talked a lot with the cabin crew in the galley. When we touched Bavarian ground again I was ready for a long sleep in my bed and that's what I did....