Lufthansa flew the German National Football Team, the Nationalelf to the South African WorldCup on board their brand new flagship, the Airbus A380 super-jumbo. They titled this special flight as “Mannschaftsbus“.
The flight, numbered as LH 2010 left Frankfurt a bit late at almost 9 pm on Sunday evening, June 6, 2010 to arrive in Johannesburg at 8:15 on Monday morning – right at the scheduled time. About 150 football fans were also aboard the A380 along with the players, the DFB (German Football Association) trainers and assistants. The team was given a warm send-off in the Business Lounge at Gate C14 at Frankfurt. Before the flight, Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff and the players took part in a talk session. All the passengers on the special flight were presented with an exclusive Lufthansa World Cup fan kit full of items the supporters will need to cheer their team on.
Captain Jürgen Raps, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board and Chief Pilot, was pilot in command of the special flight. Supporting him on the flight deck were Captain Raimund Müller and Captain Werner Knorr. All three of them had a painted German flag on their faces, like all the real fans usually do. The cabin crew comprised two pursers and 19 flight attendants. “We’re flying to South Africa with a good feeling,” said Manuel Neuer, goalkeeper of the German national squad.
“We are thrilled to be the first guests on board Lufthansa’s biggest and most modern airliner and hope after a relaxed flight to realise our sporting ambitions at the World Cup in South Africa,” said Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff.
The youngest German World Cup Team since 1934 had a full floor to themselves on the double-decker aircraft. The lower level of Economy class was occupied by journalists and the above mentioned 150 lucky fans.
As a surprise, however, on the upper deck, one of the First Class seats was occupied during the flight by the famous singer: Shakira! Her private jet arrived in Frankfurt a little bit late, thus she missed all the pre-flight events, but the A380 did wait for her and took off a few minutes late. Reportedly, members of the team taught a few German words to the pop-diva, who is scheduled to perform on the first ever FIFA WORLD CUP KICK–OFF CELEBRATION CONCERT, together with Alicia Keys, The Black Eyed Peas, John Legend just to mention a few from the very impressive, long line-up of musicians. The historic event is taking place the night before the first match at 8 p.m. local time on June 10, 2010, at the newly-renovated Orlando Stadium in Soweto/Johannesburg.
The well-rested and stylishly traveled German Football Team will play their first match against Australia in Durban, on Saturday.
Minute-by-minute reporting from the flight in German: here.
Photos taken from the Lufthansa Facebook site.