Zeppelin in Germany (day trip)

This item appears on page 36 of the January 2011 issue.

My husband, Bernie, and I love flying, not only in big jets but by many different methods.

While we were in Germany in 2007, we wanted to take a zeppelin ride from Zeppelin Reederei GmbH (Allmannsweilerstr. 132, 88046 Friedrichshafen, Germany; phone +49 7541 5900 547). Unfortunately, the weather had been bad for weeks and they had had to cancel quite a few flights, causing a waiting list of three to four weeks. For our visit to Germany in September ’10, we made our reservations ahead of time.

As of September ’10, there were only two airships making commercial flights, one in Germany and the other in San Francisco. I inquired about the one in Tokyo mentioned in ITN (June ’10, pg. 68) and was told that, due to logistical and economic problems, that program had been scrapped.

On the north side of Lake Constance, we checked in for registration and briefing one hour prior to takeoff. The airship’s gondola takes 12 passengers, all seated along windows, and is quite roomy. We had a pilot plus a copilot who explained what we were seeing below.

As soon as we were in flight, we were allowed to unfasten our seat belts and walk around the gondola, taking pictures from the windows. The gondola had windows all around except in the bathroom. There were two doors, one regular and the other an emergency door, and those doors had windows that we could open to take glare-free photos.

We flew over Friedrichshafen and went along the east coast of Lake Constance, over Lindau and to Bregenz, then hovered over the Bay of Bregenz. All too soon, our one-hour flight was over. We landed, everyone excited by their experience, and toasted our flight with champagne.

There were shorter and longer flights available. Our tour, the 60-minute “Flüge Lindau,” cost €390 (near $529) per person.


Santa Barbara, CA