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STN-CGN-STN With 4U (many Pics!)  
User currently offlineCallumm92 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 120 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 1 month 3 days ago) and read 6499 times:

STN-CGN-STN with 4U

Before I start, just a quick introduction from me - I've been browsing the forums for some time now without a username, and have read some great trip reports here. Now, having been inspired by them, I finally decided to pluck up the courage, push that "join us" button and dive straight in at the deep end with a trip report as my first post.

My parents and I booked a short trip to Cologne in Germany for my birthday. The cost was about £80 each inc. taxes etc., so pretty good value IMO, considering we only booked about 5 weeks in advance.

We arrived at the long stay car park at STN just before 6, to be greeted by a massive queue of people stretching from the bus stop back to about half way down the car park. I think there must have been a backlog, maybe from a bus not turning up? We waited patiently in the queue for about 15 minutes before a bus turned up. We all crammed in and off we went to the terminal. We were accompanied all the way to the terminal by an extremely irritating beeping noise, presumably caused by someone leaning against the stop button.

We arrived at the terminal with the horrendous beeping noise still ringing in our ears and made our way to the checkin desk for Germanwings, in area A. There were two desks open, both for our flight to Cologne, and another to Stuttgart. We queued for about 25 minutes and checked in. We then learnt that the conveyor belt was being repaired and had to trek to the other side of the terminal with our bags, to the excess baggage drop.

By now, the time was nearly 7, so we went straight to a really long queue for security, which took about another 20 minutes to clear. Once we got through, we decided that we didn't have much time and so made our way to gate 1 via the people mover/monorail, without doing any shopping. Not to worry - the shops at Stansted aren't really that great.

I took a few pics at the gate - not all that great, but here they are, apologies for the reflections and quality:
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0962_edited-1Large.jpg
The gate area

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0955_edited-1Large.jpg
Asiana Cargo 747

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0956_edited-1Large.jpg
Germanwings A319 T-Mobile logojet

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0960_edited-1Large.jpg
easyJet A319

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0961_edited-1Large.jpg
Thomas Cook A320

Saturday 20th October
From: London Stansted (STN/EGSS) 08:05
To: Cologne/Bonn (CGN/EDKK) 10:15
Flight: 4U 331
Aircraft: Airbus A319-132 D-AGWB
Gate: 1
Seat: 24A
Load: 100%


Boarding was called at about 7.40. There appeared to be not that many people at the gate, and boarding was quick and easy. Our aircraft was D-AGWB, delivered new to Germanwings in July 2006. We entered the plane via the rear set of steps - I always like to do this as everyone seems to get on at the front, so it leaves the back of the plane clear and you can get a seat pretty quick.

Despite what seemed to be a quiet gate, the plane filled up and we ended up with a 100% load as far as I could see - not a seat to spare. The captain welcomed us on board and informed us that we were still waiting for a few passengers, caught up in the "labyrinth of the airport", as he put it. The captain was a really witty guy, who clearly enjoyed his job - he made the flight much more enjoyable.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0963_edited-1Large.jpg
We were next to this Norwegian 733

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0965_edited-1Large.jpg
View of the cabin during boarding

We eventually pushed back about 10 minutes behind schedule and taxied quickly to the runway, after being shown the safety demo.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0968_edited-1Large.jpg
We pushed back parallel to this EZY A319 and were allowed to taxi ahead of it.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0967_edited-1Large.jpg
Passing a Global Supply Systems 747, and a Channel Express 737

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0971_edited-1Large.jpg
Taxied quickly to the runway and lined up at an intersection, in front of this Flyglobespan 738

We took off on runway 5 and made a turn to the right. We flew out over Felixstowe, and got a great view of the port, but I unfortunately missed the photo  Sad.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0973_edited-1Large.jpg
Is this Ostend?

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0975_edited-1Large.jpg
BRU

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0977_edited-1Large.jpg
A pic of the menu

The cabin crew came round with the trolley, but I decided not to buy anything this time. The remainder of the flight passed really quickly, and within no time we were on approach, flying in over the Rhine and made a speedy touchdown on runway 7. I noticed that all the other planes were using 14L - is using runway 7 unusual?

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0981_edited-1Large.jpg
The Rhine on approach

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0984_edited-1Large.jpg
Back on terra firma

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0985_edited-1Large.jpg
View of the cargo planes

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP0986_edited-1Large.jpg
Anybody know what all these derelict planes are doing here?

We taxied quickly to our parking position, and arrived on stand about 10 minutes late. We disembarked via the rear stairs and had a short bus ride to passport control and a small baggage reclaim area. We got our bags quickly and then made our way to the railway station of the airport, which seemed a very long walk. We took the S-Bahn into Köln, where we stayed for the next two nights.

Return journey
After a good stay in a chilly Köln, we took the S-Bahn back to the airport, arriving at about 5.30 and went on an even longer walk to the Germanwings checkin in area B. When we got there, the checkin was not yet open and so we had to wait about 20 minutes until it opened. Unfortunately, the self service machines were only available for passengers with just hand baggage. During this time, the checkin staff seemed to faff around in an attempt to check us in at other desks, but managed only to confuse us. We just waited and stayed where we were, and ended up first in the queue for the desk.

After checkin, we went to the viewing terrace and I managed to get a few snaps:

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP1035_edited-1Large.jpg
The viewing terrace

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP1033_edited-1Large.jpg
Cargo planes

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP1034_edited-1Large.jpg
Tuifly 738

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP1037_edited-1Large.jpg
XL Airways Germany 738

Because the views weren't that great, we decided to go through security. The queue was pretty short, although it took a while to get through as the security guys were quite thorough - they searched my bag and searched me. With nothing better do, we proceeded to the gate. We were surprised to find ourselves going down a flight of stairs to a passport control area - the non-Schengen area. Once through passport control, we went into our gate area - a small hall with 3 bus gates.

http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/callumm/IMGP1038_edited-1Large.jpg
The gate area

In the gate area, there was our flight, plus Germanwings flights to Zürich and Budapest.

We waited for about an hour in the gate area, until eventually they called boarding for our flight at about 7pm. By this time, the Budapest and Zürich flights had already boarded.

Monday 22nd October
From: Cologne/Bonn (CGN/EDKK) 19:15
To: London Stansted (STN/EGSS) 19:25
Flight: 4U 338
Aircraft: Airbus A319-112 D-AKNH
Gate: B82
Seat: 14F
Load: ~60%


The area seemed crowded, but we all fitted onto one bus and we were taken to our plane - D-AKNH. We were one of the last on the plane, and so had to settle for seats just next to the wing - 14F. The load today was only about 60%. Sorry for the lack of photos - the whole flight was in the dark so no real opportunities.

The captain welcomed us on board, and we pushed back just a couple of minutes late, taxied to runway 14L, with the lights dimmed, and made a pretty unimpressive takeoff. Is there a difference in the engines? - The outbound flight, with IAE engines had a more powerful takeoff, whereas the return journey had CFM engines, or was this takeoff just derated?

The flight passed quickly and was largely uneventful. This time, I bought a sandwich and a hot chocolate which I thought were tasty, and fairly good value - €6 in total. Certainly much better than Ryanair.

We flew pretty much the same route as on the outbound and made an ontime arrival into STN, on runway 23 this time. Heavy braking and reverse thrust was applied before turning off the runway and taxiing to the gate.

We took the people mover back to the terminal, and waited in a surprisingly short queue for passport control and continued to baggage reclaim. We had to wait ages - about 30 mins - for our bags, before proceeding back to the bus for the long stay car park at about 8.15. I got home at about 9pm.

Overall, I think Germanwings are a professional airline who do a good job for good value. Can't think of any complaints really, apart from checkin at CGN being a bit messy, and the gate area being a bit substandard, but I think that is the airport's fault, not 4U's. I don't think 4U do much to distance themselves from carriers like EZY, although I thought the cabin crew were a bit more pleasant and professional than EZY. Certainly a mile better than FR though, and I would definitely fly them again.

Thanks for reading - I hope you have enjoyed it. Comments and suggestions are much appreciated, but please bear in mind that this is my first post, and first trip report  Smile.

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6443 times:

Welcome to A.net, and nice to see your start with this report. It seems 4U is giving the same 'value for money' as many other LCC's do nowadays. It's good to see the 'whereabouts' at e.g. STN and CGN for travelling on 4U, as I will fly this carrier within one week from now, also STN-CGN  Wink Are there selfservice check-in machines for 4U at STN ? I'm travelling with handluggage only, so it would be kinda usefull  Smile Nice pics too! Will take a look at the observationdeck at Köln too I guess.
And yes, you're right with OST and BRU on your pics. Easy to recognize on both pics! Well done  Smile

Cheers,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAirEcosse From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2007, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6408 times:

Hello and welcome. What a great first post. New here myself too.

Best wishes

AirEcosse.


User currently offlineCallumm92 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6387 times:

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 1):
Are there selfservice check-in machines for 4U at STN ?

Enjoy your trip - I look forward to your trip report if you're making one! Unfortunately, there aren't any 4U selfservice machines at STN, I think they only have them at their German destinations.

Quoting AirEcosse (Reply 2):
Hello and welcome. What a great first post. New here myself too.

Thank you for your kind reply, and welcome to a.net!


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6339 times:

Quoting Callumm92 (Reply 3):
Enjoy your trip - I look forward to your trip report if you're making one! Unfortunately, there aren't any 4U selfservice machines at STN, I think they only have them at their German destinations.

OK thanks for your answer. I'll queue the line then. Although not much time in between my flights!
And yes,... you might look forward to a report. But I'm currently busy posting one from a previous trip first. Stay tuned  Wink



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6901 posts, RR: 77
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 6107 times:

Congratulations for your remarkable debut - very interesting trip report!

Quoting Callumm92 (Thread starter):
I always like to do this as everyone seems to get on at the front, so it leaves the back of the plane clear and you can get a seat pretty quick.

 checkmark 

Quoting Callumm92 (Thread starter):
Aircraft: Airbus A319-112 D-AKNH

Brings back some memories...

Quoting Callumm92 (Thread starter):
This time, I bought a sandwich and a hot chocolate which I thought were tasty, and fairly good value - €6 in total. Certainly much better than Ryanair.

Indeed, 4U's prices are quite reasonable compared to other LCCs.

Quoting Callumm92 (Thread starter):
Certainly a mile better than FR though

 checkmark 


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1712 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 6096 times:

Hi there!

First of all a welcome to airliners.net! You have made a impressive debut with a very good trip report!
Thank you for posting and i'm already looking forward to your next TR

Cheers,
DALCE



flown: F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,77W,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5177 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6056 times:

Hi, Callumm,

interesting story, thanx for posting.
While neither STN or CGN nor 4U is something really new for me,
it´s nice to read something actual from your point of view.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27231 posts, RR: 60
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6020 times:

Hi there great report and I look forward to more in future. A big welcome to Anet .

Thanks for sharing

OA260


User currently offlineRyanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6007 times:

Nice report there. Flown to CGN a few times and I enjoyed my time in the airport, I did find it one of the best I have been in Europe. Infact German airports on the whole seem to be better than European counterparts.

Quoting Callumm92 (Thread starter):
I noticed that all the other planes were using 14L - is using runway 7 unusual?

It isn't unusual at CGN for them to be using two different runways with each doing both landings and departures, it all depends on traffic control and what direction the perticular aircraft is going to/from when approaching/departing CGN. It makes more sense ATC wise for an aircraft heading eastbound to use 07 rather than 14L.


User currently offlineOsprey88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 330 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5900 times:

Welcome to Airliners.net Callumm! An excellent first trip report if I do say so myself.

I always enjoy reading about European LCCs, their seems to be so many more of them in Europe than across the pond in the US, and their style seems somewhat different as well, but again I do not fly them often, so who am I to judge...

I noticed in a few pictures their seem to be a fair few 5X planes at CGN, mainly 763ERFs it appears, as well as some cargo planes from other companies. Is CGN a "focus city" or "hub" (for some reason I don't feel right using those terms when describing a freight company..) for 5X or any other cargo airlines?



"Reading departure signs in some big airports reminds me of the places I've been"
User currently offlineCallumm92 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5831 times:

Thank you all for your kind replies.

Quoting Osprey88 (Reply 10):
Is CGN a "focus city" or "hub" (for some reason I don't feel right using those terms when describing a freight company..) for 5X or any other cargo airlines?

Yes, I believe it is a UPS hub (maybe base is a better word, I see what you mean about the terms not feeling right). There seemed to be a fair few DHL planes on the ground although I don't think it is a base for them.

Quoting DALCE (Reply 6):
i'm already looking forward to your next TR



Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
I look forward to more in future

I don't fly that regularly, although I'd love to be able to fly much more often. My next flights probably won't be until some time in 2008, but I'll do my best to make a TR of them Big grin.

Callum


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5774 times:

Quoting Osprey88 (Reply 10):
I noticed in a few pictures their seem to be a fair few 5X planes at CGN, mainly 763ERFs it appears, as well as some cargo planes from other companies. Is CGN a "focus city" or "hub"

CGN is a hub in the UPS system. It's served by many daily flights on B747-100F, MD-11F's and 767F's.

Other planes visible is the fleet of Star Air (in Maersk Air colours). They also operate cargo/parcel services out of CGN.

DHL might be at CGN, but it's not a hub or base. DHL is currently at BRU with > 40 flights each night. In the future DHL might move to LEJ.



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAmigocharlie From Switzerland, joined Oct 2007, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5394 times:

Hi Callumm

What a great start! Thanks for sharing.
I have also been visiting the site for many years, but never joined. After reading your report, i finnally, finnally decided to join aswell!

Thanks again

amigocharlie



next: STR-ZRH-MIA-JFK-ZRH-STR
User currently onlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17121 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5380 times:

What a great TR.

I really loved your pics.

Enjoyed to read the TR.

Thank you for sharing

B747forever.



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineCallumm92 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5305 times:

Thanks for the replies guys!

Quoting Amigocharlie (Reply 13):
After reading your report, i finnally, finnally decided to join aswell!

Glad you joined, nice to see people doing the same as me Big grin


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