13 Jan 2012

Lufthansa to L.A.

Lufthansa Boeing 707
Today it is time for another post in the travel section, this time covering Lufthansa, the German airline founded in 1926. Bond, posing as diamond smuggler Peter Franks, travels to L.A. along with Tiffany Case in Diamonds are forever. Bond and Tiffany chose Lufthansa Business class for their trip from Amsterdam across the pond. Mr Wint and Mr Kidd are also on the same plane, but unlike Bond and Tiffany they fly economy class. The flight number called out onboard by the stewardess is LH450 to Los Angeles. Thanks to one of the readers on this blog we know that the airplane seen in the film is a Lufthansa Boeing 707-330B with the tail number D-ABUL, named "Duisburg". All Lufthansa jets are named after large German towns.

Bond is arriving at LAX and the famous theme building, the landmark of Los Angeles international airport is visible in the background. The plane featured in the film is a Boeing 707-320 or 420, an airplane that was normally used for long-haul flights at the time.

"-You wanna sit in the front Mr Franks?
         -It's a lot smoother ride in the front Mr Franks!
-Yes I believe I'll sit in front..."

Despite the fact that Bond meets with Leiter in the US customs building the Lufthansa Cargo logo is visible on several places both in- and outside when Bond picks up the coffin with the real Peter Franks. Lufthansa does not receive any recognition in the end credits but imdb.com lists Lufthansa as one of the product placements or movie tie-ins for the film, even though I have never seen any commercials or ads connecting Bond with the airline.

Why Lufthansa was Bond's choice of airline is unknown. It would have been more appropriate for Bond to fly with the Dutch airline, KLM, or Pan Am which had already been used two times before. However, apparently neither KLM nor Pan Am flew to Los Angeles from Amsterdam in 1971, but Lufthansa did. That flight originated in Frankfurt and made a stop in Amsterdam before continuing across the pond. It is not possible, even today, to fly with Lufthansa from Amsterdam to L.A. The only non-stop Lufthansa flight from Europe to L.A. departs from Frankfurt.

A Lufthansa catering truck at Amsterdam (Frankfurt?) airport
The scenes were Franks' coffin is put in the airplane was shot at Frankfurt Airport since this airport is listed at imdb.com as a filming location. A Lufthansa catering truck is visible in the background.

The airline has never been seen or mentioned again in the series.

Nu tar vi helg och firar en avslutad femte termin!
Hear hear!


  1. Great blog ! I'm also a Bond location fan and I visited already some Bond locations like Amsterdam, the Paris area (Chantilly, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Anet), the Côte d'Azur, Venice, Lisbon area (Estoril, Setubal), Berlin, Corfu, Istanbul, Las Vegas, South of Spain (Cadiz and Gibraltar) and Brazil (Rio and Iguaçu falls). If you have questions about these places, you can ask me ;-)
    This year I'll visit the northern lakes in Italy (Garda and Como) and the Czech Republic.
    Like I already said .. great blog !

    Greets from Belgium,

  2. Thank you! I appreciate that. Sounds like you've visited a lot... Rio and Portugal are two longed for locations for me. I myself will go to Hong Kong/Macao next month. A lot to cover. But you're in for a treat if you're going to the Czech republic and Karlovy Vary! Beautiful town. I can recommend that you stay at the Grand Hotel Pupp! Excellent hotel, sterling service, and you can dine in the Bond/Vesper restaurant. I will cover that hotel later.
    Keep in touch

    Regards, R

  3. david marlborough16 April 2012 at 16:56

    If I'm not mistaken, the final credits of the movie mention (West) Germany as one of the locations used in filming. Most likely, Lufthansa HQ in Frankfurt was juxtaposed with other shots of LAX which would explain the signs in the background. But, to what end? Some deal on publicity in return for funding I'd guess.

  4. Yes I saw that too, Frankfurt airport is also listed in the "filming locations section" at imdb. I also believe that the U.S customs scenes were filmed in Frankfurt, but when you look at the surroundings (the scene were the Lufthansa Volkswagen changes position) it does look more like California than Germany... Since I wasn't sure I only wrote about were Bond is supposed to be.
    Good to have you with us Mr Marlborough!

  5. david marlborough19 April 2012 at 13:42

    Thank you Mr Sterling. You sound almost Blofeld-ian in your welcome!!

  6. Hi,
    I am researching a little about the planes seen in the Bond films and have found your excellent blog earlier and very much enjoyed reading it. As I am now preparing a thread for a Bond forum I would like to ask if you'd mind me quoting some paragraphs from your blog there (of course I will properly link to here)?
    I just want to share a bit of information here you may find interesting, before I put it anywhere else, so it's world-exclusive right now ;-)
    The 707 in the picture is 707-330B D-ABUL "Duisburg".
    How do I know? Below the Lufthansa lettering the name of the aircraft and the corresponding city or state crest is visible although not really legible. But the last letter left of the crest is quite clearly a "g" which narrows the selection down to "Hamburg" or "Duisburg" as Lufthansa's 707s were named after large German towns. As the crest is divided horizontally it has to be Duisburg's (black eagle on yellow background above, white castle on red background below) and all that's left is to look up the registration. Well, except there were two 707-300s named Duisburg: D-ABOV and D-ABUL ...
    D-ABOV was built in 1962 but transferred to Lufthansa's charter subsidiary Condor in February 1967 and then the new D-ABUL christened Duisburg, a name she kept until 1984.
    Here in all her glory:
    (from http://www.aussieairliners.org/b-707i/Germany/dabul.html)

    Thank you for your great blog!

  7. Hi Peter,
    Thank you for that interesting information. Please feel free to quote anything you like! I appreciate anyone linking to my blog, especially from a Bond or airline forum.
    I you permit me I will update the Lufthansa post as well with your new information about Duisburg. I like having my fact as accurate as possible.
    Thank you for sharing your information here first! :D

    Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss, that you might not already know.

    Kind regards

  8. Of course you can use the information I posted here - what a question! ;-)
    But also all other info that I will be posting soon on Absolutely James Bond (are you also a member there as you show the link?). I will send you the link then, and if you should find something of interest you are cordially invited to share that information on your blog.

    Kind regards

  9. Hi, just wanted to add the link to the ajb thread:

    Kind regards,