airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4352 posts, RR: 50 Posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 14990 times:
Sorry for some of this board to keep you waiting for some time. I really didn’t have amount of time to write a long story, so I made this one as short as possible for me, hopefully still giving you sufficient information about the whole trip.
I was already for a long while that I tried to get on board one of the more interesting propeller machines flying these days. A type which I always liked, and which was common at my homebase at AMS for a long time, when introduced by KLM and flown with the ‘KLM alps’ brand. I always thought,… I get on one some day, but then suddenly they stopped operations, became Air Alps, stopped flying to AMS etc. Some of you already know where I’m talking about now: the Dornier 328.
I decided to fly one in 2010, and not to postpone this plan further into the future, so bookings were made about 8 weeks in advance for very reasonable fares.
The day started with a long train journey to my starting point in Germany. Since my flight would leave from City Airport Mannheim in Southern Germany in early afternoon, an early departure by train out of the Netherlands was my only option.
Some checking gave me a good fare on the direct ICE105 highspeed trainservice (which will only get to high(er) speeds after passing Cologne, but that’s just side info.
A local train and transfer on regular Dutch IC/Intercity service to Utrecht Central was necessary to get on the ICE105. Enabling a smooth tranfer, gave me basically an unnecessary 1 hour to kill in Utrecht Central Station, but the newly opened Starbucks branch made my day with a tasty brewed coffee for EUR 2.50, with a refill available for EUR 0.50 if you can’t get enough.
Utrecht Centraal Station, during the morning rush
I couldn’t finish my first one, so took it onto the train, which left the station punctual (!) at 08:29am. Of course, my reserved seat was occupied by some half kind of criminal (this man was caught later during the right by German borderpolice and taken out of the train), but a short order from me to him to leave my seat made him move up to elsewhere in the carriage.
I travelled in 2nd class this time, giving the seat layout a 2-2 setting, good seatpitch, blue cloth seats, and large windows. You can adjust the seatback by sliding forward a bit also. Convenient enough, even for long journeys.
My 2nd class carriage on ICE105
Hall at carriage connection point. Note the wood accented interior
Info panel (also indicating speed when at highspeed
Lavatories, 1 of 2 is also accessible for wheelchair users
A white landscape enroute…
Mannheim Hbf, arrival point for me (train continues to Basel SBB (CH)
ICE105 called enroute at Arnhem, Oberhausen Hbf, Duisburg Hbf, Düsseldorf Hbf, Köln Hbf (Cologne), Siegburg/Bonn ICE, Frankfurt Flughafen and my final destination Mannheim.
I arrived 25 minutes delayed in Mannheim, and speeds did not get that high after Cologne either, maybe caused by the snow. Weather was not favourable at all in that week.
I got off the train around 12.50pm, bought some fresh sandwiches by a German bakery, and took them with me to eat later. Since I wanted to get myself to the airport first.
Mannheim Hbf, station
A roadtrain/tram line number 6 is going to a point near the airport. That is also basically the only good way to reach it. A large area with tracks and many lines are running from the front of the trainstation. But not line 6 of course.
So I asked at a DB information counter in the mainhall, who said to walk further into the street and at the second crossing turn right. There I would find the stop for line 6. So I did, and indeed after walking for about 8 minutes, I found my place. A ticket needs to be purchased by EUR coins from a ticket dispenser. Since you travel within the city-zone, a regular fare (EUR 2.20) is what you need. And take line 6 roadtrain to it’s final destination ‘Neuostheim’. Get off at Neuostheim and then you can walk to the airport within 5 minutes (actually you can see the building already when you get off the tram).
Destination of line 6, ‘Neuostheim’. Get off the tram here
Is this Mannheim ?
or this? Yes, this is the terminal building which is in use nowadays
I entered the small terminal building and was surprised by it being really small. A small bar and seating area was serving some businessmen, 2 non-staffed check-in desks for the local airline Cirrus Air, and a Cirrus Air ticket/charterflight office. Good for me with a few more seats in front of the glass facing the apron, but as you would expect, no traffic. Here I enjoyed the sandwiches that I bought earlier, and got to see a German army helicopter which came in for a fuelstop.
Mannheim Terminal/Airport buildling inside
the not so exciting apron…
… but we had incoming traffic from the army !
About one hour before departure, one female staff opened her check-in desk, where I obtained a real copy of my boarding pass and went back to my seat. I wondered when my aircraft would come in for landing, but I was more surprised to see it being pulled in by a tractor. My aircraft came out of the hangar, and was really clean and shining like a new aircraft.
My ‘incoming aircraft’
Not long after the door to the next seating area opened, 1 x-ray machine to take for handluggage and myself. Of course, a bag full of electronics caught attention of the Germans (it happens all the time to me at German airports), and an additional ‘explosive’ check was performed. It took a few minutes for me to proceed, but everything was fine and friendly in the end.
D-CPRW, a closer look before boarding
Boarding started at 2.35pm, walking about 10 meters to the aircraft and boarding. A friendly female flight attendant is welcoming at the entrance, and I stepped into the small cabin. Seating layout 1-2, large grey leather seats. Luxury looks. Mirror wall in the back of the cabin, and use of wooden panels in some parts of the cabin. My seat was 12A, and had no overhead bin. And my bag didn’t fit under the seat, so I positioned it behind my seat at row 13 (last row, and used as storage room for the cabin attendant also). I got her attention by doing this, but she was ok with it. On the other side of the aisle was the mini-galley and emergency exit. Also the tiny lavatory. I was still not seated when I noticed the engine were fired up already, and I quickly positioned myself for the ride.
We taxied out quickly. And the flight attendant was doing the safety demo in front of the cabin, by use of the audio system. The taxi route included backtracking of the runway, and at the end a 180° turn for takeoff. The engines were powered up first, before breakes were released, which made it an interesting takeoff. Soon we got airborne from runway 09 at 2.46pm.
180° turn on the runway before takeoff
and climbing above the clouds
Due to the clouds, climb and beginning of the flight were a bit rough. But once we got clear of the clouds and climbed to a slightly higher altitude, the ride became smooth for the duration of the cruise at 23,000 feet. The flight attendant came to the galley, and I talked a bit with her. She was ok with my picture taking and asked if I already wanted a drink (she didn’t start service yet). I got a Warsteiner 0,2l bottle, which was very nice of her. She then disappeared for her service and I enjoyed the views outside. Once the flight attendant came at my row again, she exchanged my bottle for a new one, and gave a bag of crisps. I confirmed if it was ok to move to row 1 for a few minutes to make a few more pictures, and she was ok with it as well.
Service & other stuff
I like those engines on the Dornier 328!
Inflight Cabin View
After I was back in my seat, we talked a bit more, about Cirrus Airlines and her job. And my hobby. It was a good chat. When descent started for Berlin, she got to clean the cabin a bit, and handed out candy to everybody. She finished with me, and I got the whole box; take all she said. Of course I didn’t take all, but she was joking a bit. Nice touch, since we were really on a not so casual route, mostly used by businessmen.
Descent for TXL started
Approach was over Berlin city. Really stunning sights. Loads of snow in the city. And strong winds too, meaning very rough air to fly in with the small Dornier. We encountered quite a few heavy bumps which was a nice extra. Landing was smooth though, runway 26R used.
Overflying Berlin, covered with snow
More Berlin, more snow…
Beautiful light conditions in late afternoon!
After deplaning, goodbye!
Parking was on a remote position, which was not really well cleared from snow. A wet and blurry remains of snow was on the ground, and I had to walk through it to get in the bus. This is not the way to do it; Berliner airport management should take action in such cases, since it’s not customer friendly.
Arrival was well ahead of schedule, so overall a very good performance by Cirrus Airlines.
At TXL, too much time to kill. And since the airport is not very nice to be around for a long time, a closed observation deck (closed at 4.00pm), I made the choice to take a bus to Berlin Hbf, main train station. It’s a very new station, and has a lot of shops and food courts. Since I like trains also, it was a good opportunity to see this station in more detail (I was here before in late 2008 with Flieger67 & BA319-131, but just transferring from THF to TXL).
I didn’t stay long on the tracks watching the trains. Temperatures were about –8°C, and the wind was strong. It felt much colder. So it was good to finish at a table in a fish-restaurant inside the shopping centre, where I got a good meal for a good price.
Back to the airport just after 7.00pm by TXL-bus. Check-in for my last flight to home opens 2 hours before departure. After arrival some time left, and I noticed a X3 (TUIfly) flight to RTM, not common at all. I went to the gate to check it out, and by surprise found an acquaintance of me handling that flight, which was a charter. I inquired if I would be able to join on that flight to RTM, but it was not possible. So I really had to make my way back to the counters at gate A07, for my transavia.com flight to AMS.
Check-in opened 20 minutes late, at 8.00pm , and I was first to check-in. Last row window, left side. To make sure a window seat on the B737-700 operating on that flight (beware, HV B737-700 last row right side has not a window).
Check-In counter for the Transavia flight to AMS
After checking in, I went upstairs for another visit to Starbucks and my evening coffee. I too my magazines to relax a bit. At 9.00pm I went back to the gate, and passed security. Had some words with the security officer who thought to be the most interesting person on earth. He didn’t speak English apparently. Good for him that I speak a few words German, so that discussion was ended quickly by me.
The gate seating is never sufficient at TXL. And it seemed to be a busy flight tonight. Boarding started at 9.28pm, 12 minutes before departure time. I wonder…, and we were just not making it.
Good for me, seats B & C remained unused, so I was assured for enough space on this flight, which had a load just over 80%. Safety demo was on the drop-down screens, and meanwhile also our pushback was done.
A new log for me on this flight, which was good since the day before still PH-XRA was scheduled to operate the TXL run that night. Since I had XRA many times before, the confirmation of XRV was a good score.
Legroom is poor, seating in cloth, limegreen coloursetting in the cabin. Friendly young crew, but cabin a bit dirty and not cleaned. The cabin was a bit of a mess, apparently crew didn’t care for the last flight that day.
Cockpit crew announced a flighttime of 1:10 hours, de-icing was not needed, and we would arrive delayed due to runway use at AMS. I knew enough, that would a runway 18R landing…
Before block-out on the Transavia flight to AMS
Since this HV flight was the last takeoff from TXL that day, we had no delays, and a rolling takeoff was performed on runway 26L. We were in the air quickly, and darkness was all around.
Enroute calm conditions, buy-on-board service from the menu was possible. I declined, and listened to my MP3’s for the duration of the flight. No pictures for you, since it was not too special.
Landing was on runway 18R indeed, followed by a 20 minute taxiing to the arrival gate, D43. Quite a bit of walk to arrivals hall also, when I deplaned. After taking the bus for the final leg, I arrived back home at midnight. Mission Dornier 328 accomplished.
For those who want to read/see a bit more on HV/Transavia, please refer to my previous report which features a GVA-RTM run on PH-XRA, another B737-700.
I hope you enjoyed this report also, and your feedback or comments are really appreciated! Thank you for reading. When time permits, next report is due soon. My next 4 flights are on March 8, 2010 bringing me to Italy!
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
oa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 28035 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 14901 times:
Hey Eric ,
Your so lucky to be able to jump on the fantastic train like that. I would love to go on it sometime.
Nice photos and also a nice route to fly by a nice A/C. The rail and aircraft combo are the best IMHO.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4352 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 14821 times:
thanks for your reply.
Quoting oa260 (Reply 1): Your so lucky to be able to jump on the fantastic train like that.
I must admit, I become more and more a fan of travelling by rail.
Quoting oa260 (Reply 1): The rail and aircraft combo are the best IMHO.
Have a lot of rail travel on the planning already for this year, with also some rail/fly combo's. Most interesting (I'm really looking forward to it, but we're still in the planning/booking phase now) is a trip of a week by train on very scenic routes in France. It's a tough job to plan this trip, with not so frequent schedules on many sectors. But you know we'll manage, since it's my thing to find a solution for everything Not sure if I can put a report online here, since it's only 1 flight with this trip...
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 14759 times:
Great report and pictures. Nice to read about your train ride as well. Congratulations to your first Do 328-flight. I travelled on Cirrus on Mannheim-Berlin a few years ago when they were still serving THF. They are a nice little airline. However, service seems to be reduced a bit - I still received a "real" meal box.
Quoting airbuseric (Thread starter): At TXL, too much time to kill. And since the airport is not very nice to be around for a long time, a closed observation deck (closed at 4.00pm),
The opening times of the observation deck at TXL are a joke - I find it annoying every time I'm there. On many winter days they don't open the terrace at all without any notice. So going into the city was probably the best you could do.
lukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1166 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 14678 times:
Perfect timing with this report! I am to take my first D-328 on Wednesday from DND- LCY which I am really excited about. You have given me a taste of what is to come. Hopefully with some ok views of London to boot. Its nice there is just one FA - its like she definitely rules the roost!
Berlin descent looked just class! Snow and late afternoon winter sun couldn't have been timed better.
I also enjoyed Berlin station - its a striking building. I was surprised you didn't capture a photo of it in the snow!
NZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6556 posts, RR: 37
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 14649 times:
Nice report with great pictures. The flight sounded like a really nice one and the service seemed impeccable. You can't ask for much better! The Dornier looks like a nice plane to travel on too. How does it compare to a Dash 8 or ATR?
Quoting airbuseric (Thread starter): I travelled in 2nd class this time, giving the seat layout a 2-2 setting, good seatpitch, blue cloth seats, and large windows. You can adjust the seatback by sliding forward a bit also. Convenient enough, even for long journeys.
The seat looks pretty slimline.. Maybe it's also because of the fisheye?
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 14138 times:
Glad that you got this piece of work online, been expecting it. Great work and nice pictures, agree with the above that the snowy TXL approach with the low winter light looks stunning! Not much snow remaining in Berlin last Saturday when I was there, but freezing nevertheless.
Thanks also for the directions and pictorial guidance for connection to MHG from the Hauptbahnhof, will come in handy in July as you know!
Quite different from the usual mega-airports. Looks very cosy actually, especially the inside of it.
Quoting airbuseric (Thread starter): X3 (TUIfly) flight to RTM, not common at all. I went to the gate to check it out, and by surprise found an acquaintance of me handling that flight, which was a charter.
Hmm, that's an odd route for a charter flight - would it be for cruise passengers by any chance?
- Nice, at least no bussing as seems usual for even the shortest journeys!
Quoting airbuseric (Thread starter): Once the flight attendant came at my row again, she exchanged my bottle for a new one, and gave a bag of crisps. I confirmed if it was ok to move to row 1 for a few minutes to make a few more pictures, and she was ok with it as well.
- Seems like you got lucky there with a nice FA, good stuff.
LH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1721 posts, RR: 17
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13448 times:
Hi Eric. Very nice and interesting report as always
What I liked most about this report, is your more extensive use of the fisheye lens. Simply love that!
The ICE ride looked pretty interesting, pity about the train not going att full speed, I find it pretty annoying as well. The interior of the train looked really nice, I liked all those wooden details, and the spotlights, they create a nice mood lightning. The 2nd Class of ICE looks great too, those seats are pretty comfortable, and the fabric is nice too. What I liked the most was the info-display. We don't have them at all here in Sweden, though I hope the new X55 Alfa trains, will have them. Btw why is there an NS Hispeed logo on the train?
The Do-328 look like a nice aircraft to fly, they are indeed pretty rare, though is the jet-version more rare than the prop? In-flight catering seemed generous too, at least good that some airlines still serve free alcohol.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 2): I must admit, I become more and more a fan of travelling by rail.
Eric, you have all right to be. This is the golden days of rail travel, enjoy them while you can Pretty soon, I think, low cost train operators will start showing up as well, and do the same thing LCC's did to the "real airlines" Hopefully, this won't happen in at least another 10-15 years...
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4352 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13446 times:
thanks for your replies so far!
Quoting Contact Air (Reply 3): They are a nice little airline. However, service seems to be reduced a bit - I still received a "real" meal box.
Where all airlines are reducing their offerings nowadays, Cirrus can do also. Still they score higher then the others, and that's what counts for them of course. It was sufficient enough for me, and I can't compare with the past. Good for Cirrus But as you noticed, similar happened to VLM. Mealtrays got replaced by 'just a sandwich'. So, you're right, it's a shame to see reductions also at these small companies.
I think Berlin is among the nicest cities in Europe. Together with Barcelona they are my numbers 1 & 2 with London following close on place 3
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4): am to take my first D-328 on Wednesday from DND- LCY which I am really excited about.
Interesting. From Dundee, I guess this will be on Cityjet? Can you share a report with us then, I guess it's the first on Cityjet's Dornier 328...
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4): I was surprised you didn't capture a photo of it in the snow!
Hmm,... I'm now on the notebook, just arrived back home from Italy. I'll see if I can find some pictures from Hauptbahnhof!
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5): The Dornier looks like a nice plane to travel on too. How does it compare to a Dash 8 or ATR?
This Dornier 328 wins on every point for me. It's quiet inside, it's more stylish and does not feel cramped. But it's smaller then Dash 8s and ATR's of course.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5): The seat looks pretty slimline.. Maybe it's also because of the fisheye?
These ICE seats are slimline indeed. It's not the lens
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5): That's not very far away! Have a good trip!
Thanks. Just back home. 4 new registration in the log, 1 new type. Average flights, but enjoyable views enroute!
Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 6): By the way, is a seat reservation required or is free-seating allowed as well?
No. ICE is, instead of Thalys, a service without reservation requirement. But, when you book a ticket online (you can find good deals often), you automatically get a seat assignment. This saves you a lot of hassle, since ICE gets full once in Germany. And I always saw groups of people on the 'balcony' etc. Actually, I find this the main negative points of ICE (also the German trains), that they allow people without reservation on the trains...
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7): Not much snow remaining in Berlin last Saturday when I was there, but freezing nevertheless.
When it's gone in May, it's fine for me (during my next visit). Can it beat the temperatures I got this morning in Munich? I counted -14°C upon arrival...
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7): Thanks also for the directions and pictorial guidance for connection to MHG from the Hauptbahnhof, will come in handy in July as you know!
Especially for you... You know to find me if you need more directions.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7): Hmm, that's an odd route for a charter flight - would it be for cruise passengers by any chance?
No. It were 3 dedicated charters for a company to attend a exhibition in Berlin.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7069 posts, RR: 76
Reply 12, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 13335 times:
great report with some really stunning pictures! Good to see you got the Cirrus D328 - I'm currently planning a trip to get that one. I already know I will book HOQ-FRA-HOQ which will be flown by Cirrus from March 28 - but I still need to find some flights to squeeze in between...
DunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 618 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 13263 times:
Nice and rare report there. Next time I head up to EDI I want to try catch the CityJet Do328 from LCY.
Great to see a mix of Plane and Train, Its good to see something different for a change. The trains on mainland europe seem alot nicer, faster and comfortable than what we get in England. I did a similar thing last year when catching the EI A333 CWL-DUB that can be found here. CWL-DUB-LHR on the EI A333 and BD
Oh and before I forget, nice work with the fish eye lens. I need to invest in one of these. Some cracking photos.
akhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2523 posts, RR: 52
Reply 14, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 13263 times:
Congratulations with your Cirrus D328 flight! What a nice surprise to see another TR of yours! Well done!
Cirrus sounds pretty decent with notably friendly service.
Quoting airbuseric (Thread starter): Of course, my reserved seat was occupied by some half kind of criminal (this man was caught later during the right by German borderpolice and taken out of the train)
MHG From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 826 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (5 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 13171 times:
Unfortunately you choosed to fly in not so nice weather conditions ...
I´ll be flying tomorrow MHG-TXL on the same flight# (14.45 dep.) and back on sunday evening.
For me it´s much more convenient to go from home in 15 mins to MHG and park the car without parking fees, check-in just 20 mins before departure and enjoy a better/personal inflight service than on an AB or LH flight ex FRA !!!
It´s just difficult to snap tickets in "T"-class. But this time i managed it for 99,-EUR return all in ...
I always enjoy flying from Mannheim. In particular the quite "impressive" acceleration !!!
Not sure Eric - I mean it is booked through Cityjet yes, but I think it may be operated by Scot Airways so it should be an interesting one. I hope to do a report yes - I think Dundee is as little heard of as MHG but sadly its runway is a little longer - hopefully we'll have a fast take-off