PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6486 posts, RR: 78 Posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 15164 times:
The Return from Hell:
TRD-OSL-TXL-NUE on Norwegian, Air Berlin & LGW
The second and last part of my latest trip report series will give an impression of Norwegian's 737-300, Air Berlin's A320 and LGW's DHC-8-400 (operating for Air Berlin). Those planes were used on my return trip from Norway on the Trondheim-Oslo, Oslo-Berlin/Tegel and Berlin/Tegel-Nuremberg sectors.
All those who have missed Part 1 simply need to click here: My Trip To Hell: NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD On Cimber & SAS
Shortly after returning from my US trip in May I realized that most of my Air Berlin miles would expire by the end of June. So I started searching for interesting flight options and soon focused on Oslo because I had never been to Norway. Of course I tried to include as many new carriers as possible and so I spent many hours on the computer. In the end I booked OSL-TXL-NUE on Air Berlin, NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD on SAS and OSL-TRD on Norwegian.
Cimber Air, SAS Norge, Norwegian and LGW - Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (operating DHC-8-400s for Air Berlin) were still missing in my log. As for Trondheim - I simply picked that particular destination due to flying times, a reasonable TRD-OSL fare by Norwegian and the existence of an inexpensive airport hotel (595 NOK = 66,87 Euro for a room). I had also checked Bergen and other cities, but Trondheim seemed to be best suited for a short two-day trip.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Trondheim (TRD) - Oslo (OSL)
Norwegian Air Shuttle DY743
Flying time: 00:39 (hrs)
LN-KKJ (s/n 2936)
First delivered to Transbrasil as PT-TEP in 11/1997
After spending a short night in the comfortable Rica Hell suite I left early and walked to the terminal building. Many people were already checking in for various morning flights, but several Norwegian check-in kiosks were still deserted. Two minutes later I got my boarding pass and went to my gate located in the (old) Terminal B. View of Terminal A:
The gate was getting crowded after a while and it was clear that the flight would be full. LN-KKJ - a 737-300 built in 1997 and once operating for Transbrasil and Varig - had spent the night at the airport:
Unfortunately, the plane didn't have its original "Real Norwegian Sonja Henie" tail any more (transferred to a 737-800). The plain white tail is plain ugly:
The black leather seats were not as comfortable as the fabric seats on the SAS Norge 737-400 and 737-700...
...and the legroom was quite limited, not as good as on SAS either:
After most - if not all - seats had been taken, we left the gate early and I spotted a C-130 Hercules...
...operated by the US Air Force:
Six minutes later LN-KKJ lifted off and I could enjoy the beautiful scenery until we broke through the clouds:
Norwegian didn't sell anything on board which was not surprising considering the flying time of only 39 minutes. Shortly after reaching the cruise altitude LN-KKJ already started the approach to Oslo. I was glad the weather was great on that morning:
We arrived nine minutes early and I walked straight to the departure hall to find out whether it would already be possible to check in for the Air Berlin flights. However, I couldn't find any kiosks and so I had to wait until 10:50 for check-in (two hours prior to departure).
The landside viewing options at Gardermoen Airport are limited, so I left the main terminal hall...
...and switched back and forth on the pavement in front of the terminal building to see aircraft on the eastern and western side of the airport. It was hard to read registrations of aircraft on the runways, but I could get some while they were taxiing or being parked. Both LN-BUF and LN-KKJ which had flown me to and from Trondheim were parked next to each other:
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Oslo (OSL) - Berlin (TXL)
Air Berlin AB8243
Flying time: 01:14 (hrs)
D-ABDM (MSN 3006)
Delivered in 01/2007
When I came back to the check-in area many people were already waiting in front of the counters. It wasn't a straight, but a serpentine line and some people weren't sure whether it would end in front of the Air Berlin counters or the adjacent Turkish Airlines counters. Some time later a group of Asian travellers arrived, apparently overlooked the end of the queue and lined up next to the barrier tape directly in front of the left counter. However, the agent noticed that and sent them back to the end of the line. After waiting some 25 minutes it was my turn finally. I got window seats in the rear sections as requested and could finally leave the dreary check-in area.
After spending some more time for spotting outside I went to the gate. The aircraft arrived on time: It was D-ABDM, built in 12/2006 and delivered in 01/2007 – meanwhile being operated by Belair as HB-IOU:
The cabin was equipped with Air Berlin's new-style slimline leather seats:
Seat pitch was sufficient:
It's always nice to see that the Air Berlin cabins are equipped with fold-out screens - which you don't find on Lufthansa narrow-bodies.
A320 flight, 737NG on the screen - no, it was not the safety video.
The flight wasn't full this time and the middle seat remained empty. I was surprised to see a Turkish Airlines A330-200 at Oslo:
Many gates were occupied in the early afternoon:
We took off seven minutes after pushback...
...and turned left immediately:
Cold and warm drinks as well as tasty ham rolls were served soon by the friendly flight attendants - free of charge, of course. "30 Years" stickers were attached to the napkins – but tell me, Air Berlin managers, where's the "30 Years" logojet?
The remaining flight was uneventful - except for the final approach. The wind at Berlin was blowing strongly and the plane was shaking a lot.
We touched down hard after a flying time of one hour and 14 minutes and soon arrived at a Terminal A gate. Parked next to us was D-ALTF, formerly operating for LTU in own colors, wearing an interim scheme:
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Berlin (TXL) - Nuremberg (NUE)
Air Berlin AB6419, operated by LGW - Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter
Flying time: 00:56 (hrs)
D-ABQG (MSN 4250)
Delivered in 05/2009
The flight to Nuremberg was scheduled to depart from the relatively new Terminal C, a kind of low-cost terminal which was opened in May 2007 and is mainly used by Air Berlin. It's an interim solution until the completion of Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI). Viewing opportunities aren't good, so spotters should stay at the Terminal A viewing deck if they have enough time.
Several LGW DHC-8-400s were parked on the apron when I arrived at the gate. I was glad that we were directed to D-ABQG, one of the newer birds. It had been delivered only a few weeks before in May:
The leather seats were quite comfortable...
...but legroom was limited. The wall curvature was a problem for the left foot in particular:
The position of the gear box is one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of the Dash 8:
Most seats were taken, including the aisle seat next to me, and I felt a bit cramped. We left the stand early and already took off four minutes later - this time I didn't notice a strongly blowing wind any more.
The BBI construction site:
Air Berlin serves small sweet or salty snacks on domestic flights, e.g. cookies with chocolate filling. Both cold and hot drinks were offered, too.
We touched down at Nuremberg after a flying time of 56 minutes and arrived at the stand ten minutes early. During disembarking I grabbed two chocolate hearts which were also decorated with the "30 Years" logo. However, whenever I eat them I have to remember the original dba hearts which simply tasted better...
The domestic flight on Norwegian was on time, ground and cabin crew members were friendly, the check-in process was fast and easy, the cabin was clean - I cannot complain about all that. The seating comfort could be better, but that may vary on the (mostly) used 737s with their different interiors. Unfortunately, I couldn't try the buy-on-board offerings.
Flying Air Berlin was a pleasure as usual, due to free snacks, friendly staff and clean cabins. However, I prefer Air Berlin's jets over the Dash 8 - the jets are simply more spacious and equipped with video screens.
FLIEGER67 From Ethiopia, joined Sep 2003, 4757 posts, RR: 56 Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 14963 times:
the perfect story to spend some time at the laptop at an Sunday afternoon.
Well done, detailed and nice pics.
With all that airports logged myself, it was nice to follow you´re impressions.
Same with me about Norwegian, ok, but very limited legroom.
Airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4125 posts, RR: 51 Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 14679 times:
thanks for the report on your journey back home. AB gave you good flights once again. They are still having a high ranking in my opinion, but I regret to see only the (badly timed) PMI flight remained at AMS. The Q400 is still missing with me, but will change very soon once 2010 started. I really like the seating, also the A320. I can imagine a longer flight to e.g. the Canaries on this aircraft would be quite comfortable (for being a 'charter').
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
They have built up a large fleet, with 28 currently in service plus 16 more on order. Another 5 are operated by Belair (in AB colors).
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 3): the perfect story to spend some time at the laptop at an Sunday afternoon.
Well done, detailed and nice pics.
Hi Markus, thanks a lot for your comments!
Quoting Contact Air (Reply 4): Thanks for another great report - it was nice to read about your return from "Hell" as well. Your pictures of the Norwegian landscape during descent into OSL are fantastic.
Econojetter From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 430 posts, RR: 5 Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 13305 times:
Very interesting collection of airlines going to Hell and back. Good job!
Air Berlin looks really good. Does it position itself as a full-service airline? I'll admit I don't know much about the airline but it's on my radar now. In the past it seemed more like a regional charter carrier but appears to have evolved, and now even operates some longhaul (scheduled?) services. It certainly appears to offer more free inflight catering than SAS does.
Thanks for another great TR with a fantastic story and high-quality pics to go with it!
Hi Roni, many thanks for your kind words. I'm sorry for the late reply, had been very busy.
Quoting Ronerone (Reply 12): Nice to also see something on AirBerlin .. an interesting European airline that has my attention!
Definitely an interesting airline, not just because of the fleet mix.
Quoting Econojetter (Reply 13): Very interesting collection of airlines going to Hell and back. Good job!
Hi Econojetter, thanks for your feedback.
Quoting Econojetter (Reply 13): Air Berlin looks really good. Does it position itself as a full-service airline?
Yes, not comparable with the low-cost crowd.
Quoting Econojetter (Reply 13): In the past it seemed more like a regional charter carrier but appears to have evolved, and now even operates some longhaul (scheduled?) services.
AB doesn't really fit into one category - there are scheduled services between business centers, scheduled services to typical low-cost destinations, scheduled long-haul flights and charter flights. It seems to work.
Quoting Econojetter (Reply 13): It certainly appears to offer more free inflight catering than SAS does.
Yes, it even offers a better on-board product than Lufthansa and others, depending on the route.
Quoting Buck3y3nut (Reply 14): Great report. Your last picture has those "Hit" buscuits. Man they are delicious!!!
thanks for writing and sharing this report with us