ReverseThrust From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 113 posts, RR: 0 Posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5049 times:
I meant to post this trip report ages ago..... so sorry for the delay, and hope you enjoy it...
2nd October 2006 and the excitement has been building. I have always wanted to explore the temples of Egypt and see the pyramids outside of Cairo so, combined with a few days of rest and relaxation, the week's holidays turned into a bit of a flight fest.
Although there are pictures of bleary eyed passengers at Gatwick's South Terminal that morning (relief!) I was there about 3 hours before the departure of my flight Monarch Airlines flight MON1942 to Luxor. Check-in was a breeze, although getting through security had its usual delays. It soon passed, after all the holiday that lay ahead was more than worth it.
The weather was foul, Rwy 26L was in use for departures and you could only see half way down it.
Soon enough, the flight came up for boarding at Gate 38 on the round satellite at the South Terminal. The route was operated by an A300-600R and today, gleaming at the gate was G-MAJS. Next to us at Gate 37 MON5272 to Corfu was also boarding on a 757-200.
Boarding was swift considering the aircraft holds 361 seats, my seat in 4K was easy to access and with only a slight delay, we were on the runway for departure:
Route: London Gatwick - Luxor
Aircraft: Airbus A300-600R
Take off: 12:20 local
Landing 19:01 local
Flight time: 4h 41mins
Departure and climb out were initially pretty bumpy, and we levelled of at a cruise of 31000ft, pretty low I though, but hey.
The weather cleared up after about an hour and, after about 3 hours, we overflew the Greek Island of Crete, which was almost completely visible:
Luxor's arrivals hall is pretty nice, there's a little chaos with getting the visa paid for and stamped, but there are staff there to help those who need it.
So, an evening and the next day to rest a bit. But why rest when there's so much to do?... ok, so to journey south and visit Abu Simbel and Aswan was next on the list. A long day with 4 flights and a hughe amount to take in, so here we go:
Having arranged my trips privately (the tour operator couldn't do it as I wanted, all in a day and all by air) I was picked up from my hotel around 5am and driven to Luxor Airport for my first flight down to Aswan which would connect on to the flight to Abu Simbel.
Check in was very easy (although I could check in for only one of my 2 flights that morning) and within 10 minutes, I was in the domestic departure lounge.
Flight Number: MS135
Route: Luxor - Aswan
Aircraft: Boeing 737-500
Take off: 07:45
Flight time: 18 minutes
After being taken out to the aircraft, named "Philae" by bus, boarding was quick and I was seated in seat 26A.
Soon underway, and with only some light turbulence shortly after take off, the scenery afforded from an 11000ft cruising altitude was stunning. Scenes from this flight below show shortly after take off from Luxor and also the final approach with Aswan Airport visible at the top right corner.
The connecting flight down to Abu SImbel was departing at 08:55 however, in this time, I had to check out of the airport, meet the guide from Aswan and check in again (there are no chances to connect flights just by walking to the next gate down here. Still, speedily enough, I was back at the departure lounge and ready to board the next flight:
Flight Number: MS247
Route: Aswan - Abu Simbel
Aircraft : Airbus A321-200
Take off: 09:05
Flight time: 24 minutes
Departure from Aswan was quick and steep, with a hard left turn to head further south towards Abu Simbel.
Again, another very short flight but we were served with cookies and fruit juices before a spectacular landing over Lake Nasser into Aswan. Plenty of braking, but no reverse thrust used here. We deplaned on to coaches and joined up with our tours to the temples of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. Neither are easily accessible by road, so it's easier to fly. Egyptair does regular flight with a few each day and also Air Memphis shuttles its DC9-31 up and down the country.
So after 2 hours of exploration, it's back to Abu Simbel airport from the flight back to Aswan, again, no real hassle checking in and the group I was with were heading off back to Cairo.
Flight Number: MS250
Route: Abu Simbel - Aswan - Cairo
My sector: Abu Simbel - Aswan
Aircraft: Airbus A321-200
Take off: 13:10
Duration: 23 minutes
The aircraft is shown waiting for us to board on the scorching tarmac in 45 degree heat at Abu Simbel, to the left of us was Air Memphis' DC-9-31 (SU-PBO heading direct to Cairo) There is also a shot from my seat 26A inside the aircraft which, I am pleased to say, had the air-con on full!
The flight was pretty uneventuful and we were soon back in Aswan and I continued my tour, spending the remainder of the afternoon there until it was time to be back at the airport around 7pm for my flight back to Luxor.
Flight Number: MS140
Route: Aswan - Luxor - Cairo
My sector: Aswan - Luxor
Aircraft: Airbus A321-200
Take off: 20:40
Duration: 12 minutes
Is this aircraft following me today or something...I'm beginning to wonder. With 3 other A321's, I though I might have got a ride on another, but I am not complaining, SU-GBU had already made for 2 good flights that day.
By now it's dark and the plane is pretty full of wear-eyed travellers, most of who, it would transpire, were heading to Cairo.
The flight was smooth and landing at Aswan was around 20 minutes ahead of schedule using some reverse thrust to slow up this time, the aircraft taxied on to the apron and all passengers who were disembarking at luxor were requested to do so..... I was the only one! I looked around, smiled and trundled down the steps onto the coach. the driver was a bit stunned to find only me and my rucksack but the A321 had already got its doors closed again and was eager to head north!
I met up with my guide agian and left for the hotel to relax a bit more........and soak in the experiences I'd taken in that day.
6th October saw a trip to Cairo and another early pick-up at 4.30am to Luxor. Red-eyed but excited, check-in was again smooth and the flight was forecast to be on an A330. Alas, it was downsized at an A320 and we were soon bussed out to SU-GCB, one of the newer A320's in Egypt Air's fleet to board.
The day was another busy one, but with my own guide it was miles easier to absorb everything and, to a certain extent, dictate the latter part of the trip to get in some shots of the river Nile.
Soon enough, having had a little time to recover and eat, it was time to go back ot Cairo for the flight down to Luxor. Although clearly busier here in the domestic departures area, it wasn't any more difficult to check in and board than it had been at the more southerly airports in Egypt. The bus took us out into the darkness to our flight:
Flight number: MS141
Route: Cairo - Luxor
Aircraft: Airbus A321-200
Take off: 22:25
Duration: 39 minutes
The flight was quite ok, nothing exceptional, almost everyone was pretty tired and the flight was mainly full of tourists like me returning to Luxor. There was IFE from overhead screens on this flight too. For the most part of the trip, we had an airspeed of 920km/h which I though was pretty nifty for an A321.
After some holding over Luxor (we were very early!) we touched down with full reverse and came to a halt still 16 minutes ahead of time.
The trusty airport busses were once again there to take us to the terminal and my guide had come to collect me.
What a fantastic experience, even if it was a lot to do in a week.... nonetheless, the rest of the week was spent chilling out and thinking back in amazement at the experiences I had had.
The time to return home to the UK came all too soon, and once agian, I found myself back at Luxor. The airport is organised and spacious and pretty modern in the international departures section. There were 2 Monarch flights checking in, but unfortunately the Manchester one was delayed 2 hours. Ho hum. Thanks then that I was going to Gatwick!!
The aircraft was already on the apron by the time I got through to the gate area and boarding commenced via busses.
Flight number: MON1943
Route: Luxor - London Gatwick
Aircraft: Airbus A300-600R
Take off: 20:55
Duration: 4h 54mins
The flight was packed (sorry, no pictures) and encountered only a little light turbulence due t some weather over Turkey and Greece before making at's
This is the huge lake that was created as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam across the waters of the Nile between 1958 and 1970.
The lake is some 550 km long and 35 km across at its widest point, which is near the Tropic of Cancer. It covers a total surface area of 5,250 km² and has a storage capacity of some 157 km³ of water.
Average depth is 25 meters and max. depth is 130 meters
Quoting ReverseThrust (Thread starter): Is this aircraft following me today or something...I'm beginning to wonder. With 3 other A321's, I though I might have got a ride on another, but I am not complaining
- I'll be getting annoyed at 3 flights in a row on the same plane.
ReverseThrust From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 113 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4233 times:
Thanks for the info Mark. It's only my 2nd trip report here and I don't usually sit and read too many of them to find out what aspects people enjoy reading about most.
I'll include more about the inflight service on future reports though.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2): I'll be getting annoyed at 3 flights in a row on the same plane.
I was...nice plane or not. I travel quite a lot, and have done a lot of flying with both KLM and Lufthansa, having travelled on all but a small handful of aircraft in LH's A321 / A300 fleets and KLM's 737-300 fleet.
If ever I fly them, I always hope that I'll be on one of the aircraft I haven't flown on yet.... yet, somehow the same aircraft are always there!!