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STR-LHR-STR On Lufthansa CityLine (+pics)  
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 12401 times:

Recently Alex (A.Net-user name Ndebele) and I thought it was about time for another short spotting break at London Heathrow. We also wanted to have a look at the recently opened new Terminal 5 which is exclusively used by BA and their partners, so our first thought was flying BA from our home airport STR to LHR. The cheapest fare on BA was EUR 161.00 return, so in the end we decided to take LH as we still got some cheap 99.00 Euro-tickets (return, including all taxes). Another reason for LH was the fact that our STR-LHR flight was scheduled to be operated by a CJR 700, a type of aircraft that was still missing in Alex’s log. Both LH and BA operate three daily flights between STR and LHR.


Sunday, 30 November 2008
Stuttgart (STR) – London Heathrow (LHR)
Airline: Lufthansa (operated by Lufthansa CityLine)
Flight number: LH 4780
Scheduled departure time: 06:55
Scheduled arrival time: 07:40 (local time; time difference -1 hour, so flight time was 1:45)
Type of aircraft: Bombardier CRJ 200LR
Registration: D-ACJG “Oberstdorf”



This aircraft was built in 1998 and delivered to Lufthansa CityLine.


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Photo © Sebastian Elijasz
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Photo © Kim Philipp Piskol




In the morning on the day before our flight I checked the web page of Stuttgart Airport and found our flight operated by CRJ 700 confirmed. However, later that day, we found out that there would be a downgrade to a CRJ 200, so again no CJR 700 for Alex.

As we both live very close to Stuttgart Airport, we decided to use the late-night check-in option. We met at the airport at 18:00 and with no waiting time at all we proceeded to a free check-in counter. A friendly lady asked us for our seating preference. We opted for the second last row and got seats 12D and 12F. To avoid dealing with the liquid rules, we checked in a small trolley.

The Lufthansa check-in area in Terminal 1:



The next morning we me again at gate 121, a bus gate on the ground floor of Terminal 1 in the non-Schengen area. Various newspapers were available at the gate. Boarding started at 6:35 which was 20 minutes before scheduled departure time. A bus took all passengers to our aircraft which was D-ACJG, named after the town of Oberstdorf.

Boarding D-ACJG (sorry for the low quality of this picture):



We were welcomed by two friendly female flight attendants. The cabin was well maintained; the first three rows were reserved for Business Class, but nobody was sitting there. We took our seats in the second last row. I counted 17 passengers, so load factor was only 34% on this early Sunday morning flight. As there was plenty of space, Alex moved to seat number 12A while I stayed in 12F, so we both had a window seat. The captain made a welcome announcement and told us we still had to wait a few minutes for the catering to arrive.

We were off-block at 7:00 and taxied to runway 25 where we took off in Western direction immediately. It was clear outside, but as it was still dark, there are no pictures. The captain informed us about our flight route which would be STRFRA – Liège – BRU – Oostende and then crossing the North Sea towards the UK and into LHR.

Cabin crew started meal and drinks service. Everybody got a small sandwich (cheese or ham), some small sweets (“Giotto”) and hot and cold drinks. Alex chose the ham sandwich while I opted for cheese, so you can enjoy a picture of both options:  



I had a coffee and an orange juice while Alex had a tomato juice. Outside it became more and more clouded and it was still dark, so there wasn’t much to see outside. I read a bit in the in-flight magazine. Later cabin crew passed by with a second drinks service which was nice.

We approached LHR, and the weather was absolutely bad:






We touched down on runway 09L and taxied to a parking position in front of Terminal 2 where we were on-block at 7:35 local time which was 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

Leaving D-ACJG:






Our aircraft parked at the gate:



As nearly all operations of BA have moved to Terminal 5, there were some changes regarding the airlines serving Terminals 1 and 2. The two terminals are linked airside, so we walked around a bit for some spotting. Then we passed immigration. Soon we realized that we had passed immigration in Terminal 1 instead of Terminal 2   , where we had to collect our luggage, but it was too late: there was no way back. We asked at a United counter in the baggage area what to do; the agent told us that the only way was leaving the security area, proceeding to Terminal 2 and re-entering the security area at a special entrance that only leads to the baggage area. That’s what we did; at this special entrance there was a courtesy phone and a list of all airlines serving the terminal as all passengers entering trough this entrance had to be escorted by airline staff. So we phoned LH, and within only a few minutes, a lady of LH-staff arrived. We explained the situation, but she didn’t seem to be surprised at all – obviously that happens quite often. We passed the security checkpoint together with the LH-agent and entered the luggage area of Terminal 2 where we finally collected our trolley.

As we wanted to have a look at the new Terminal 5 as well (at least the landside part), we proceeded to the station of the Heathrow Express train as this train is the official way of transport between the terminals and it can be used free of charge within the airport area.

Terminal 5 is quite impressive, very spacious and definitely a great improvement for Heathrow Airport. However, landside spotting options are limited, and the only good outside spotting points are occupied by members of security staff who immediately tell you to go away. So we took a bus to our hotel which was the Renaissance Hotel, located at Bath Road, where we had requested a room with airport view.


On the next day, we left our hotel at around noon and took a Hotel Hoppa bus to Terminal 2.

Monday, 01 December 2008
London Heathrow (LHR) – Stuttgart (STR)
Airline: Lufthansa (operated by Lufthansa CityLine)
Flight number: LH 4775
Scheduled departure time: 14:45
Scheduled arrival time: 17:20 (local time; time difference +1 hour, so flight time was 1:35)
Type of aircraft: Bombardier CRJ 200LR
Registration: D-ACJI “Rothenburg o. d. Tauber”



This aircraft was built in 1998 and delivered to Lufthansa CityLine.


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Photo © Mick Bajcar
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Photo © Bartosz Bujak




A huge sign outside Terminal 2 tells about the scheduled demolition in 2009 and the plans for a new terminal:



The check-in hall of Terminal 2 with its (un-)famous low ceiling; I guess an improvement of this facility will be welcomed by passengers and staff:



We proceeded to a free check-in counter without any waiting time. A young lady was working there, advised by a more experienced colleague who was standing next to her. Obviously it was her first working day as she didn’t know how to deal with the letter “ü” that our names contain, and I’m sure you have to deal with these special German letters frequently when working at the LH check-in. No problem for us – we had lots of time, and everybody has had his / her first working day once. At first she printed out boarding passes for two aisle seats. We asked if it would be possible to get some seats together, and the experienced agent offered the exit row seats to us which we kindly accepted.

We passed security check with nearly no waiting time - it wasn’t very busy around noon. We had a look through the shops and did some spotting.

This used to be a part of the gate area of Terminal 1; now it looks like a driving school for busses:



Soon we could watch our aircraft arriving from STR ahead of schedule. This time it was D-ACJI which is named after the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber:












An interesting detail: there was a crew-change on our aircraft at LHR. As the only night-stop of an LH City-Line aircraft at LHR is a DUS-service, the crew for our flight to STR must have arrived from DUS the evening before. But as there are flights between STR and DUS operated by CityLine as well, it should be no problem to get the crews from STR to DUS or the other way round.

The gate for our flight was announced about 30 minutes before departure. British and German newspapers were available in the gate area. Boarding started shortly after at 14:25 and we walked down the stairs to the parking position of our aircraft. Two female flight attendants welcomed all passengers. A sign near the entrance door informs you about the name of the aircraft:



We took our seats in the exit row. This time there were 32 passengers on board which was a load factor of 64%. Some of the passengers had obviously transferred from an Air New Zealand flight. Again there was a short welcome announcement from the captain.

We were off-block at 15:00 which was 15 minutes behind schedule. There was no information about this short delay, but it was probably a slot restriction as it happens quite often at LHR.

The weather had really improved compared to the day before:



The remains of the BA B777 G-YMMM that was damaged in January 2008 at a landing outside of the runway are hidden behind a fence:



After some more waiting time in the departure queue we took off from runway 27L. Terminal 4:



The cargo ramp:



Some artificial lakes near the airport:



Nice light conditions:



Suburbs of London:



Landscape in the Southwest of England:









Flying along the River Thames:



River Medway:



The mouth of River Thames:



When we reached the North Sea it got clouded again. Cabin crew started their service that was the same as the day before: sandwiches with cheese or ham, small sweets and two drinks services with hot and cold drinks. Soon it got dark outside. I had a look into the in-flight magazine which had changed since the day before: as we had a new month, we could enjoy the brand-new December-issue.

The remaining flight was uneventful. Soon we approached STR from the East and touched down on runway 25. We taxied to a parking position on the apron where we were on-block at 17:30 which was 10 minutes behind schedule.

Leaving our aircraft:



A bus took all passengers to the international arrivals facilities of Terminal 1. After passing immigration we proceeded to baggage claim where luggage of all passengers arrived at 17:38, only eight minutes after on-block time which was very quick indeed. We said goodbye to each other and left the airport by train in different directions.


Conclusion: Once again LH did a good job. They took us to LHR and back on time for a very good fare. Staff was friendly and service was good and efficient. I will definitely fly LH again.

Thanks for reading this report. Questions and comments are always appreciated.

Regards

Christoph

[Edited 2008-12-14 13:21:01]

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5133 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 12351 times:

Hello, Christoph,

what a nice sunday evening read. Thanx for posting.

Always interesting to follow your out-of-STR experiences.

And it sounds Cityline does a good job on your flights.

Also good to catch more CRJ200´s, they´re leaving the Cityline fleet soon.

Regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 12134 times:

Hi Christoph, thanks for this report.
Actually I would like to fly again on a CRJ200, the CRJ700/900 is much more comfortable! Sorry for Alex that he didn't get on one.
I'll try out LH Cityline again this upcoming week, also for me a CR7 planned. Let's see if they can keep it scheduled for me then, at least  Wink

Gruß
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8486 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 11423 times:
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Great report, nice set of pictures, thanks Christoph.

A real shame Alex missed out on the CR7, a nice place, but as Markus, says, they will be leaving the fleet soonish, so good to add a few more flights on them before they go - something I need to do too, only 1 CR2 flight in my log!

Glad you enjoyed T5, it's a massive improvement over the other terminals - just a shame BA cost so much more to travel, I think you would have enjoyed airside.

Best Wishes

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4692 posts, RR: 43
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 11082 times:

Very nice report as usual, Christoph.  Smile Sorry to hear that the CRJ-700 flight didn't work out for Alex; using a CRJ-200 to lHR seems to be such a waste of slots.

If I could, I would trade Alex one of my eleven CRJ-700 flights this year.  Wink



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineCambrian From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 619 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 11072 times:

Great trip report! City Line offer a good service. I have only flown Contact Air, but their C product between LCY and DUS is very good indeed.

I am not impressed at all with Terminal 5. I flew through there at the weekend and it is already dirty and crowded. In the UK we seem unable to maintain infrastructure. I also found it quite difficult to navigate Terminal 5.

I am quite sad about the demolition of T2- I have so many memories of it, but the time has come for a new terminal.

I am from Cardiff. Stuttgart is our twin town. We even have a street named Stuttgarterstrasse.
Do people know about Cardiff in Stuttgart?


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10774 times:

Thanks to all of you for your nice replies!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 1):
Also good to catch more CRJ200´s, they´re leaving the Cityline fleet soon.

You are right - the CRJ200 will become rare in Europe (and probably elsewhere as well).

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 2):
the CRJ700/900 is much more comfortable!

Definitely! The cabin of the CRJ700 is much more spacious than on the CRJ200. Unfortunately I have never been on a CRJ900 so far (LH doesn't have any scheduled operations with them into STR as they are all MUC-based and the flights between MUC and STR are operated by Contact Air and Augsburg Airways).

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 2):
I'll try out LH Cityline again this upcoming week, also for me a CR7 planned. Let's see if they can keep it scheduled for me then, at least

I wish you some nice flights then!  Smile

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):
something I need to do too, only 1 CR2 flight in my log!

Well, I guess one reason might be the fact that the CRJ200 has always been rare in the UK. I have had 13 flights on the CRJ200/100, 11 of them were on LH CityLine and two on Air Littoral when they still existed.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):
Glad you enjoyed T5, it's a massive improvement over the other terminals - just a shame BA cost so much more to travel, I think you would have enjoyed airside.

Maybe we will use BA on one of our next trips - I would definitely like to see the airside-area as well.

Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 4):
using a CRJ-200 to lHR seems to be such a waste of slots.

Indeed - and even more when it is flying with only 17 passengers as on our Sunday morning flight from STR to LHR.

Quoting Cambrian (Reply 5):
I have only flown Contact Air, but their C product between LCY and DUS is very good indeed.

I like Contact Air as well.  Wink They are our home carrier here at STR.

Quoting Cambrian (Reply 5):
I am quite sad about the demolition of T2- I have so many memories of it, but the time has come for a new terminal.

I guess when you know a building for a long time, it is normal that you also see it from a nostalgic point of view. So let's hope the new terminal will be a good replacement for the old one and a real improvement for passengers and staff.

Quoting Cambrian (Reply 5):
I am from Cardiff. Stuttgart is our twin town. We even have a street named Stuttgarterstrasse.
Do people know about Cardiff in Stuttgart?

Yes, people do know about Cardiff here. Sometimes there are articles in the local newspapers about student exchanges between the two cities or visits of local politicians. We also have a "Cardiffer Weg" here in Stuttgart - it leads through one of our parks in the city.

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1676 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10744 times:

Hi Christoph!

Good to read from your hand again!
A true interesting story, as I always like to read about decentral LH flights!
You guys should feel lucky in scoring some more CR200's!
The -700 will be around for some years, and I'm sure Alex will score one sooner or later!
In my log also the CR700 is still missing, but will score it one day!
Also some really nice pictures included in the report.
I am surprised that G-YMMM is still there! Why aren't they scrappin her? Is the case still under investigation?

Thanks for sharing!
Happy flying!
Joost ( D-ALCE )



flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineStefanPAD From Germany, joined Dec 2005, 282 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10702 times:

Hi Christoph,

nice TR and interesting pics. Sounds like an unsuccessful trip?! A lost CRJ700 for Alex and no spotting due to bad weather and security staff.

T5 airside is interesting to see IMO. I experienced it 2 months ago. Next time you should fly BA and try to get a return in C. Then you are allowed to visit BA's Galleries... awesome!!

Cheers,
Stefan


User currently offlineCptRegionalJet From Germany, joined Oct 2007, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 10581 times:

Hello Contact Air!
Nice trip report,glad you enjoyed the flights.
You are right about our LHR layover.I had it recently and we arrived in the evening from DUS to operate the STR service the next afternoon.It's a very nice layover because you don't arrive too late and you have the wohle moring in London to see the city.Not very common anymore these days because many layovers are down to almost minimum rest time  yuck  .

Regards
CptRegionalJet

P.S:
I also hate those downgrades to the -200 in my schedule Big grin


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 10469 times:

Nice report, Christoph. Too bad you missed the CR7.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Alex chose the ham sandwich while I opted for cheese, so you can enjoy a picture of both options:

How did you like the cheese sandwich? I got a similar one on a recent LHR-MUC flight, it was terribly dry.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 10417 times:

Hi Christoph and thanks for writing the report about our recent LHR trip!

Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 4):


If I could, I would trade Alex one of my eleven CRJ-700 flights this year.

*grummel*  Angry  Big grin

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 6):
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 1):
Also good to catch more CRJ200´s, they´re leaving the Cityline fleet soon.

You are right - the CRJ200 will become rare in Europe (and probably elsewhere as well).

Even though it's true that LH is about to retire their CRJ200 fleet soon, I don't really see the CRJ200 becoming rare. With several hundreds aircraft built, we will see them for many years to come. Or are you guys just trying to cheer me up for not getting my ride on the CRJ-700?

Quoting StefanPAD (Reply 8):
Sounds like an unsuccessful trip?!

Not at all, as we had a room at the Renaissance Hotel with quite a good view over the airport, and some new Simpsons episodes on Channel 4, two days(!) before they were aired on German TV. The only annoying thing about this hotel was the 'early check-in surcharge' - have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous? Well except for those Ryanair surcharges, that is Big grin


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 10068 times:

Thanks again for your replies!

Quoting DALCE (Reply 7):
I am surprised that G-YMMM is still there! Why aren't they scrappin her? Is the case still under investigation?

I have no idea - I was surprised to see the aircraft being still there, too. It seems that only the BA-logos have been removed so far.

Quoting StefanPAD (Reply 8):
T5 airside is interesting to see IMO. I experienced it 2 months ago. Next time you should fly BA and try to get a return in C. Then you are allowed to visit BA's Galleries... awesome!!

Sounds like a good idea. I remember your report about a similar trip, originated from HAM.

Quoting CptRegionalJet (Reply 9):
You are right about our LHR layover.I had it recently and we arrived in the evening from DUS to operate the STR service the next afternoon.It's a very nice layover because you don't arrive too late and you have the wohle moring in London to see the city.Not very common anymore these days because many layovers are down to almost minimum rest time .

Very nice to get a reply from an "insider" as well and to see my theory about the crew schedule being confirmed. Half a day in London must be definitely an attractive layover.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
How did you like the cheese sandwich? I got a similar one on a recent LHR-MUC flight, it was terribly dry.

It was a bit dry indeed, but together with two cups of orange juice and one cup of coffee it was all right.  Smile

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 11):
I don't really see the CRJ200 becoming rare. With several hundreds aircraft built, we will see them for many years to come.

You are right about the high number of CRJ200 aircraft built. I really wonder who will buy them when the larger airlines get rid of them.

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineConrad From Germany, joined Feb 2009, 70 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 9182 times:
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I must say, this is a very nice trip report.

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8998 times:



Quoting Conrad (Reply 13):
I must say, this is a very nice trip report.

Thank you, Conrad.  Smile

Regards
Christoph


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