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Domestic Finland Via Riga: TKU-RIX-TMP  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8369 times:

Introduction

WizzAir, the Hungarian (or "Central European" like they themselves like to be called) low cost carrier started operations in Finland back in 2008. For the first two years the only route they operated was TKU-GDN a few times per week. For 2010 they finally launched a number of new routes from TKU, while at the same time adding RIX to their network. As I nowadays regard Riga as a secondary home airport for me this was of course interesting news. They didn't establish a base at RIX (yet?), instead it would be served on W-pattern flights from other spoke destinations. One of these destinations happened to be TKU, with the airline flying GDN-TKU-RIX-TKU-GDN. So I searched for a suitable date and finally settled for the last day of March, a nice evening departure allowing almost a full workday beforehand - the price with priority boarding and the various fees was a reasonable 17 EUR.

To get back from RIX airBaltic was the logical choice, too bad at the time I was booking, the only connection to HEL that would work was the notorious last flight of the day which I've already taken way too many times - the departure time of 23.55 and arrival time just past one doesn't appeal to me that much so I searched for alternatives. In the end I figured out I had enough time to catch the TMP flight and could then train it down from there, so this is what I booked for less than 40 EUR.

Of course some time later BT revised their summer schedules, adding a new evening departure that would've fit in my plans perfectly, but well... I was stuck with my choice and decided to rough it. At least they changed the equipment to a 733 from the originally scheduled Fokker.

Now comes the interesting part: a couple of weeks ago airBaltic was running a competition in Facebook as they usually do when they are announcing new routes and ask people to guess them - offering free tickets and upgrades as prices. Well, I sort of got a tied second place on this competition (the route was ARN-OUL, BTW) and was offered a business class upgrade for "my next flight on BT from RIX". That would've been my RIX-HEL last Sunday coming from DUB, but a biz upgrade on that midnight flight would've been a bit pointless so I asked to be upgraded on this TMP flight instead, and this is what happened. I got an interesting "Upgrade Voucher" in email the day before the flight with my (mispelled) name and the flight details - I have no idea what this is, maybe it is used for mileage upgrades or something. I printed it out in case somebody would need it, but this didn't really turn out to be the case. Maybe I will frame it and put it on my living room wall (not that the wife would allow that!).

31.3.2010

Ahh, more travel ahead of me, having arrived from my quick overnight in Umeå just the previous morning... I sneak out of the office just past 14.30, walk the short way to the main railway station in Helsinki and board my Intercity train to Turku. I spend the comfortable journey catching up on some work with the laptop until the battery dies - the seats all have power sockets but of course I forgot the charger at the office, silly me. Anyway after almost two hours we reach Turku at 17.00.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_2.jpg

I walk the short way to the main market square, grabbing a sandwich and a soda from a convenience store on the way. This is the only remaining tram in Turku:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_3.jpg

The last time a month ago it wasn't here, looks like the spring is slowly but surely approaching!

Anyway I eat the food while waiting for the bus and once it arrives hop on the 17.25 service that makes the extra detour via Turku "Terminal" 2 as well. Less than half an hour later I and a bunch of other fellow travelers get off in front of this so-called terminal:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_4.jpg

My Hungarian friend claims that BUD T1 is the "world's ugliest airport terminal", I haven't been there yet (give it four weeks, actually), but I think this old cargo terminal would do very well in that competition!

The real terminal for real airlines who are not too cheap:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_5.jpg

TNT 737 parked in front of the new cargo terminal - TKU has quite a sizeable cargo operation:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_6.jpg

Inside it doesn't get much better:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_8.jpg

I ask one of the girls in the office whether the incoming plane from GDN is on time - the answer is that it should land within five minutes, so yes, definitely. Good for me, I don't have too much time in RIX and any delay on the incoming flight could complicate things...

The sorry excuse for a terminal doesn't even have a toilet landside and I really feel the need to go - security takes ages with lots of inexperienced travelers so I'm in a bit of pain when I finally get though and dash for the facilities. The airside of the building is no better, I was here before almost exactly two years ago flying to GDN and not much has changed. I heard the plane arriving while in the security queue, and they are now deboarding. Right next to the "gate" (well, a door to the apron with a small podium next to it) are a couple of leather sofas labeled "Priority Boarding" so I sit down there.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_2.jpg

One of the gate agents right next to me pages me to contact the gate staff, I raise my hand and she asks for my OLCI boarding pass (yes, Wizz finally introduced this high tech feature of the modern age!) and my ID. I ask if I'm the only one doing OLCI, nope, but apparently all the others had baggage to check and had visited the check-in desk. She tears off half of the boarding pass paper (keep it dear, I have a spare copy!) and hands the rest back to me.

A few minutes later priority boarding and some sort of larger party is called for, I'm the very first one to walk out the door and onboard through the back door, catching the heavily made-up Polish FA still preparing the back galley.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_3.jpg

TKU-RIX
W6678
A320 HA-LPC
Seat 28A
18.35 - 19.20

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_4.jpg

Theoretically one has to pay extra for exit rows and bulkhead seats with Wizz - I decide not to bother and sit down on one of the last rows instead. Boarding is your usual low cost scrum, and soon I'm surrounded by some really annoying middle aged people - okay, maybe it is just me but I just can't stand that Turku dialect everybody is speaking.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_5.jpg

Legroom is not great:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_6.jpg

Interesting place to put a cup holder:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_7.jpg

It looks like to a completely full flight, quite well done - I'm surprised actually considering there is competition from BT on the RIX run.

Flight time is announced as 50 minutes. We manage to depart five minutes before the schedule, taxi the long way to runway 08 and take off.

Bluebird Cargo, another regular visitor:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_14.jpg

Right after the seat belt sign switches off they make a weird announcement about smoking onboard not being allowed (ok, that's not the weird part) and "Anybody caught doing so will be handed over to the police in Riga and arrested". Quite a threat, but then again quite rightfully so.

Still lots of snow in Finland:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_17.jpg

Leaving Finland, this is Hankoniemi, the phallic-like peninsula sticking to the Gulf of Finland:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Turku_Departure_18.jpg

Hello, Estonia:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Enroute_1.jpg

The city of Haapsalu down there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Enroute_2.jpg

Right over Estonia the first officer announces our imminent descent to Riga, expected to land there at 19.20, 20 minutes ahead of schedule. He described the Riga weather as "beautiful", I can't quite make out the temperature he mentioned, I think it was "seventeen degrees" but surely that couldn't be, could it?

By the time the few working seat belt signs in the cabin - yes, most of them are completely dead with only a few working - light the BOB cart has made it about two thirds down the aisle and is quickly packed up. They seemed to be doing quite a good business here, with many people buying some drinks. It never reached my row, not that I would've wanted anything anyway.

The Gulf of Riga still frozen over:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_1.jpg

But slowly melting towards the coast:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_2.jpg

Hello, Latvia:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_3.jpg

Mouth of the Daugava river:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_4.jpg

Urban sprawl, Latvian style:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_5.jpg

Not much snow here anymore:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_6.jpg

The highway and railway heading to Jurmala from Riga:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_9.jpg

Final approach is very bumpy, even though there doesn't appear to be much wind of any kind. We land on runway 18 after a flight time of 40 minutes. I see something interesting during the taxi:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_10.jpg

That's a Carpatair F70 (ex-MA) wetleased for BT to cover for the delay in the Dash deliveries. I'm trying to fix an itinerary to catch that bird.

Riga Airport

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_11.jpg

We stop in the end of the B pier and deboard to the apron. It indeed is very warm outside, I think the 17 degrees might've been quite close.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Arrival_12.jpg

At the terminal I'm heading to the transit desk but stop at the gate for the TMP/KUO (it will continue to my hometown of Kuopio from Tampere) as it is on the way to ask the girl to print me a boarding pass (the upgrade screwed up the OLCI). She tries to direct me to the transit desk, but I tell her that she's much nicer than the people there (nothing bad with a bit of flirt to get what you want  ). I hand in my upgrade voucher but she stares it quite not understanding what an earth it is (well, it's not that clear to me either, honestly). Few clicks, a confused "but you are already checked in!" and finally she gets it, "Sir, you have been upgraded!", grabs a preprinted boarding pass from the desk and hands it to me. I ask when do we expect to board, she says "The plane is not here yet" (Yes, I can see that) - but should be arriving "in five minutes", I say that "You know, I just want to maximize my lounge time" and smile.

I head to the sacred domain of the airBaltic Business Lounge, where a friendly and smiling girl happily admits me in.

airBaltic Business Lounge

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_1.jpg

My first time here, and I'm definitely way impressed. Just two other guests apart from me (dunno about the upstairs, there's a whole another level there where I didn't bother to go, at least it should offer great views of the northern apron) are here and both of them leave pretty soon. I love this lounge, can't wait the few months in which I have enough BT segments booked to get me a shiny enough BalticMiles card to grant me access here every time I'm flying BT ex-RIX...

Water bar with different bottled waters from more and less exotic countries:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_3.jpg

I grab some sandwiches, snacks and wine and head for the (real) computers to do some email and stuff. Interestingly the browser has many porn sites in its history - come on, at least be a bit discreet.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_4.jpg

FIDS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_9.jpg



That's Prosecco in a can - a weird but not completely unworkable idea:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Lounge_11.jpg

I see my plane arriving after around 15 minutes - so much for the "five minutes" the gate agent talked about. YL-BBL, logged by me back in January for RIX-LGW, so second flight with her.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_1.jpg

A bit later one of the lovely girls here comes to me, advising that "boarding is commencing, so you should start slowly heading towards the gate". I take a look out of the window:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_2.jpg

...and figure out that it'll still be a while  

A bit later I head to the gate, apparently being the very last one to board. The jetway is still blocked by the very slowly moving queue:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_4.jpg

RIX-TMP
BT1355
B737-300 YL-BBL
Seat 2A
20.24 - 21.24

I'm assigned 2D, but since it looks like I'll be the only one in business class I move to the window seat instead.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_5.jpg

Right after I sit down I'm offered a pre-departure drink, the choices being OJ, water or sparkling wine. Not hard to guess what my pick is, although I don't see any sparkles in it - I joke about this with the FA who takes it dead seriously and answers "It is fresh, I am sure". Sorry gal, I didn't mean to offend you.

The middle seat is blocked with the drink holder/tray thingy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_6.jpg

Back of the curtain it looks like to be a completely full flight, but of course I'm not really sure. From a hidden stash somewhere I'm offered English language newspapers - the normal choices available on the front seats are pretty much always in Latvian and Russian only.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_7.jpg

We push back nine minutes late, taxi and holding for some other traffic takes another ten minutes before we finally take off from runway 36.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_8.jpg

The Jurmala highway, this time just light spots in the darkness:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_9.jpg

The setting sun:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Riga_Departure_10.jpg

Right after the seat belt sign is switched off the FAs spring into action. The other one heads back to the economy class, closing the curtain and I'm left alone with Katrina, the senior FA. Service starts with a hot towel:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Inflight_1.jpg

...followed by the meal tray, today consisting of a very nice cheese and ham sandwich on rye bread and a fruit salad:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Inflight_2.jpg

To drink I opt for red wine and some sparkling water, notice the presentation on the water:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Inflight_3.jpg

They had a choice between Chilean or German red wine - the latter sounds so much like an oxymoron I just have to try it - turned out to be very good:



To finish off, I opt for tea. Using tea bags seems a bit cheap, but at least these are high quality and there is a choice of many different flavors. The water temperature is just perfect. I love the cup design:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Inflight_5.jpg

More drinks are constantly offered, as chocolate candies a few times. I finish with the Latvian national drink, a Riga Black Balsam:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Inflight_6.jpg

Think of it as a Latvian version of Jägermeister and you're pretty close.

While zoning out I realize that the jumpseats definitely reveal the plane's original operator, Ezy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Baltic_Inflight_7.jpg

In no time at all we are already descending, finally landing on TMP's wet runway 24 exactly an hour after pushback. While waiting for the doors to open I tell the FAs that I'm sad it was such a short flight and chat a bit about their continuing journey to KUO, mentioning it as my home town.

Tampere Airport

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Tampere_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Tampere_2.jpg

Around a half of the pax deboard here.

Finnish Customs is again greeting us with sniffer dogs (I have a theory that they just don't have that much to do in these regional airports so they take full advantage of all available flights), but this one doesn't seem to find the smell of my sweat too interesting so it lets me pass. Outside I check my watch and decide to try to make the earlier train back home - there's a later one which I could reach by using the bus service, but the bus is another 45 minutes away. I talk with a taxi driver, he agrees to act as an "Airport Taxi" - they have this special setup for a fixed 15 EUR fee (quite reasonable, actually) to the city center. The catch is that you have to share the taxi if there are any other takers, so we have to wait a while once everybody's off. Well, this service is not that well known, and everybody else seems to be getting a regular, metered taxi so in the end it is just me and the driver - this has happened to me many times before, maybe they should try to spice up the marketing a bit...

Anyway the motorways and roads are deserted at this late hour, so I make it to the train station a good ten minutes before departure, buy a ticket from a self-service machine and head to the platform. The train is suppsed to depart at 22.02, soon there's an announcement that the arrival is delayed until 22.01, apologizing for the delay and inconvenience. Delay? What delay? Inconvenience? What are you talking about? Ahh, sometimes you gotta love Finland...

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Turku_Riga_Tampere_03_2010/Tampere_3.jpg

The train pulls up, I board, spend the journey in the restaurant car listening to the annoying but at the same time very hilarious antics of a drunken bunch of hockey fans (apparently there was a big match today in Tampere) and some other guys, one of them proudly announcing many times to be a check-in agent for Finnair... An hour and a quarter later I hop off the train at my local station in Tikkurila, make the 10 minute walk home and conclude another trip.

Conclusions

I'm actually very surprised by the good load on Wizz, I'd assumed that the BT competition would be a significant factor here. Maybe I just have underestimated the common folk's view of LCCs and airlines in general. Let's see what happens with this route in the future. It's actually a bit funny to consider that when I first heard Wizz coming to RIX I assumed they'd be serving it from their hubs in Eastern Europe - but instead they treated it as an Eastern destination by itself, served from their Western airports. See, Wizz is very much a East vs. West airline, it's bases are all in the East and almost all the routes connect these with the West... I guess that just shows how your view of the world can change during the years.

Well, it's not a secret that I'm a big fan of airBaltic, these business class and lounge experiences just made that feeling stronger. Very impressive service, I loved every minute of it!

The next trip was supposed to be a quick Stockholm jaunt in the form of HEL-BMA/ARN-HEL in a week's time, but right now it looks like the company might be going bust so that trip is quite unlikely to happen. Not that it matters as it looks like I might have to cancel that anyway. In that case the next trip is another one featuring Wizz and RIX, with some haggis thrown in as well: HEL-RIX-LTN-EDI-LHR-HEL in one and half weeks...

Happy contrails!

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6716 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8315 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

another interesting evening read, nice report!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
That's a Carpatair F70 (ex-MA) wetleased for BT to cover for the delay in the Dash deliveries. I'm trying to fix an itinerary to catch that bird.

Definitely an interesting bird. Do you know the reason for the Dash deliveries?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
That's Prosecco in a can - a weird but not completely unworkable idea:

Not any better than wine in a can - bad style.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I love the cup design:

Beautiful design, I like that, too.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2269 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8168 times:

Nice trip report! Very nice!

I see you enjoyed quite a bit of alcohol on your joyride  

Did you happen to catch the registration on the F70? Or was it too far away, like in the picture?

And ouch! That "terminal 2" in Turku sure looks like a... warehouse! I've never seen such an ugly terminal, and I'd be absolutely shocked if I had that introduction to a country such as Finland. Well, I guess Wizzair wanted to operate there for cheap, so... TKU obliged!

I recently bought tickets on AirBaltic for my upcoming tour of the Baltic states this summer (with a day in Helsinki), hope they're good to me! Do you know if the self-check-in for BT costs 5 EUR as well? It's not clear on their web-site...

[Edited 2010-04-01 14:19:25]

User currently offlineaivisavia From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8119 times:

fantastic trip report. Always looking forward to read from you!

My favourite a.netter lol


User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3174 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 1 day ago) and read 7879 times:

Thanks for the interesting trip report.

You needed to include a map as I am unsure where all these Finnish Airports are

AirBaltic seems like an interesting airline to try.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 19 hours ago) and read 7611 times:

Hi and thanks for the comments.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
Definitely an interesting bird. Do you know the reason for the Dash deliveries?

Nope, not really.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
I see you enjoyed quite a bit of alcohol on your joyride

Did I?

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
Did you happen to catch the registration on the F70? Or was it too far away, like in the picture?

No, couldn't see it.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
And ouch! That "terminal 2" in Turku sure looks like a... warehouse! I've never seen such an ugly terminal, and I'd be absolutely shocked if I had that introduction to a country such as Finland. Well, I guess Wizzair wanted to operate there for cheap, so... TKU obliged!

Yeah, the way it went was that initially FR wanted to start operations in Finland. Of course they wanted lower charges and handling fees as always, and Finavia (the Finnish Airport Authority) agreed, but the other airlines obviously started complaining loudly about this, so they had to come up with a plan that the lower charges are only offered for "reduced services", which in effect meant that they have a separate terminal from which to operate. In Tampere this was the old cargo terminal, it's not much but compared to Turku is is still miles better. In Turku - well, you see the result in the pictures. I'm surprised that it hasn't changed at all in the two years since my last visit - they could've done at least something to make it a bit more appealing...

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
I recently bought tickets on AirBaltic for my upcoming tour of the Baltic states this summer (with a day in Helsinki), hope they're good to me! Do you know if the self-check-in for BT costs 5 EUR as well? It's not clear on their web-site...

Good choice. Nope, self-service, either via a kiosk or online is of course free. Besides the 5 EUR check in fee is not charged if you are a member of their frequent flier program, BalticMiles. It is free and you can enrol online, so do it before your trip to avoid any nasty surprises. Are you flying on the new RO service OTP-RIX?

Quoting BNE (Reply 4):
You needed to include a map as I am unsure where all these Finnish Airports are

Yeah, I've thought about that. You could start with the Great Circle Mapper at http://www.gcmap.com, here's my route:

TKU-RIX-TMP&MS=wls&MR=30&MX=540x540&PM=*" width="540" height="540" border="0"/>
Quoting BNE (Reply 4):
AirBaltic seems like an interesting airline to try.

It is in many way. They are experimenting a lot with various route combinations, W-pattern routes between non-hub airports, very active in Facebook, Twitter etc. social media etc. I like this young enthustiastic spirit the whole company seems to have. Sure it has a lot of bad sides as well, like the ground handling can be quite a mess, especially outside RIX, the RIX airport can get horribly congested every now and them and the Fokkers are getting really old and nasty...


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8507 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 7521 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi P,

More flying, I can't keep track of it all!  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I printed it out in case somebody would need it, but this didn't really turn out to be the case. Maybe I will frame it and put it on my living room wall (not that the wife would allow that!).

- Nope, nore would mine  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This is the only remaining tram in Turku:

- Not going anywhere in a hurry me thinks.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
My Hungarian friend claims that BUD T1 is the "world's ugliest airport terminal", I haven't been there yet (give it four weeks, actually), but I think this old cargo terminal would do very well in that competition!

-Yes, for sure will give it a good run for it's money, what an awful looking place.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Water bar with different bottled waters from more and less exotic countries:

- Interesting idea, not seen that before.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Interestingly the browser has many porn sites in its history - come on, at least be a bit discreet.

- Not the kind of thing I'd be watching in an airport lounge!

BT's Business Class looks ok for the short euro legs. Quite fancy flying them, though can't do a day trip from LGW as the times do't work, must have a look and see what we can do later in the year.

Cheers

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 offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 17 hours ago) and read 7394 times:

Hi P,

you're going fast with your publications here. I hope the a.net servers can keep it all running for you  

But what a shabby looking airport TKU is. So small it seems. But still able to cater an A320. Good job of them. I might have to try the pink airline out, since they operate quite a lot of routes to/from EIN at the moment.

But that keyboard in the BT lounge is very nice. Too small for you? I'm actually surprised by their lounge quality. Didn't expect it really. On board offering is ok, but foodwise I think less quality compared to some others. Why don't they remove the plastic foil before serving out to the passengers. But in general very fine I think.

Interesrting to read that F70 story. So you have good indication of the routes it flies? At least I see some VNO-RIX routes by F70 (BT347/Wed) also RIX-HEL (30Apr BT327). Anyway, I guess you'll have some good sources for your planning. It would be an interesting one for sure.

Happy flying!, oh no, Happy Easter  
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3174 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 15 hours ago) and read 7310 times:

I forgot to ask; what languages are used on both airlines, Airbaltic and Wizzair

Maybe I should have checked great circle mapper but then I still had no idea where those airports were until I added in HELsinki.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlineReifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1329 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 7128 times:

Thanks for the report and the hint with Facebook. Just bacame a fan of their group and it seems to be a very active one with some unusual games and competitions. Will monitor this.

User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2269 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 7097 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 5):
Did I?

How about... a varied selection?   I didn't mean anything by it, you just had a number of pictures of the selection, that's all.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 5):
Are you flying on the new RO service OTP-RIX?

Yeah, the flight there will be on RO. It's an unexpected service, and I'm not sure it will be a strong performer, but it's nice to see them try new destinations, done with some market research. Thanks for the hints on AirBaltic! 

Your trip reports are always rather interesting to read. Good luck with the F70!


User currently offlineInfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1447 posts, RR: 33
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 7060 times:

I'm having trouble keeping up with all these TRS too!

That terminal at TKU really does look apalling. It quite suprises me, as I would expect pretty much everywhere in Finland to be smart. Are they planning on making any improvements?!

And as for the choice of water in the lounge at RIX - bet you can't beat it. What a novelty and a nice touch!

The fancy cup that they gave you in C class - it looks vaguely similar to some crockery that was used on AY. I remember reading a TR here from someone, might have been you, and commenting on the nice plate.

Interesting to see some competition for BT. It's always a question of just how long these routes last. Still, load was good which is a nice sign.

Happy flying
Infodesk



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 7047 times:

Hi all and thanks for the further comments!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 6):
More flying, I can't keep track of it all!
Quoting Infodesk (Reply 11):
I'm having trouble keeping up with all these TRS too!

You know, this week was a bit crazy - I'm having problems keeping track myself!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 6):
-Yes, for sure will give it a good run for it's money, what an awful looking place.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 7):
But what a shabby looking airport TKU is. So small it seems. But still able to cater an A320. Good job of them.
Quoting Infodesk (Reply 11):
That terminal at TKU really does look apalling. It quite suprises me, as I would expect pretty much everywhere in Finland to be smart. Are they planning on making any improvements?!

Just bear in mind that this is indeed the "Terminal 2" as they call it, or "LCC Shack" as I call it - the real terminal is T1 which is a modern, comfortable structure with all the amenities an airport of this size needs.

No idea whether they are going to improve it, right now it is serving something like 7-10 weekly Wizz flights so I guess they can do with the current setup. It isn't too bad right now after Wizz introduced OLCI so you don't have to spend a lot of time there - two years ago I was stuck there for a couple of hours which wasn't too comfortable.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 6):
BT's Business Class looks ok for the short euro legs. Quite fancy flying them, though can't do a day trip from LGW as the times do't work, must have a look and see what we can do later in the year.

If you are willing to lower your standards a bit I think you could catch a late night FR service back to STN to make it a day trip. The STN route is twice daily, and during the summer time BT runs the LGW service twice daily on some days as well, but as you said, I don't think the timings work out, though.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 7):

But that keyboard in the BT lounge is very nice. Too small for you?

It was in some weird layout, Latvian I think. That and the wine caused some typing difficulties which you witnessed  
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 7):
I'm actually surprised by their lounge quality. Didn't expect it really. On board offering is ok, but foodwise I think less quality compared to some others. Why don't they remove the plastic foil before serving out to the passengers. But in general very fine I think.

They actually use that lounge to harass their competition - any airline they see as their direct competitor will be charged VERY high fees for using it (the rumor is 80 EUR per visit!) and there are no other lounges @ RIX. Hence for example LH status and biz class passengers won't get lounge access @ RIX, instead they get a voucher to spend at the airport bars and cafes...

Yeah, the onboard presentation could be spiced up a little bit. I have another LGW-RIX sector booked for June, I think I will try to upgrade that flight to make a comparison on a longer flight.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 7):

Interesrting to read that F70 story. So you have good indication of the routes it flies?

Nope, BT's scheduling looks like it's quite dynamic (like I learned the hard way with the 757 trip), so it seems to be quite random and subject to change according to the number of pax booked. I've seen it scheduled for at least TLL-RIX, RIX-VAA-UME, RIX-LPP-KAO, probably lot more as well.

Quoting BNE (Reply 8):
I forgot to ask; what languages are used on both airlines, Airbaltic and Wizzair

With BT all the announcements are in Latvian and English. Sometimes the pilots do Swedish (they have quite a few Swedish pilots) or Russian (Russian being widely spoken in the Baltics).

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 10):
Thanks for the hints on AirBaltic!

No prob. If you need any help or advice regarding Finland feel free to drop me a private message and I'll try to help!

Quoting Infodesk (Reply 11):
The fancy cup that they gave you in C class - it looks vaguely similar to some crockery that was used on AY. I remember reading a TR here from someone, might have been you, and commenting on the nice plate.

I posted one of those, and somebody Swiss another one. The AY porcelainware is Finnish design stuff from Iittala/Arabia, not sure of this one. Looks very similar, you are right there.

Happy Easter everybody!


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 7034 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 12):
Quoting BNE (Reply 8):
I forgot to ask; what languages are used on both airlines, Airbaltic and Wizzair
With BT all the announcements are in Latvian and English. Sometimes the pilots do Swedish (they have quite a few Swedish pilots) or Russian (Russian being widely spoken in the Baltics).

Sorry, forgot the Wizzair part. It's always been only in English as far as I remember. Not sure about Wizzair Ukraine, I think they had announcements also in Ukrainian.


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8507 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 6983 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 12):
If you are willing to lower your standards a bit I think you could catch a late night FR service back to STN to make it a day trip

- P, I ,made a vow, one I plan not break  

Cheers

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 offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 7 hours ago) and read 6830 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

Wow, another trip report from you - you really travel a lot!   A very nice read and some great pictures once again.

Interesting to read about the TKU-RIX-service of Wizzair and the good load. I wouldn't have expected them on such a route.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, I sort of got a tied second place on this competition (the route was ARN-OUL, BTW) and was offered a business class upgrade for "my next flight on BT from RIX".

Congratulations - doesn't sound bad at all.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
That's a Carpatair F70 (ex-MA) wetleased for BT to cover for the delay in the Dash deliveries. I'm trying to fix an itinerary to catch that bird.

Sounds very interesting indeed.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Water bar with different bottled waters from more and less exotic countries:

Good idea, something special.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The next trip was supposed to be a quick Stockholm jaunt in the form of HEL-BMA/ARN-HEL in a week's time, but right now it looks like the company might be going bust so that trip is quite unlikely to happen. Not that it matters as it looks like I might have to cancel that anyway. In that case the next trip is another one featuring Wizz and RIX, with some haggis thrown in as well: HEL-RIX-LTN-EDI-LHR-HEL in one and half weeks...

Looks like some more report(s) from your side in the near future.  

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineSevernaya From Russia, joined Jan 2009, 1397 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 6820 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
...via Turku "Terminal" 2 as well. Less than half an hour later I and a bunch of other fellow travelers get off in front of this so-called terminal:

Pfff, i've lived in TKU for about half a year and visited the airport quite frequently and have never thought that an airline would be using it as a pax terminal  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The setting sun:

That's beautiful!

Thanks for sharing this interesting trip report!



Всяк глядит, да не всяк видит.
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 6652 times:

Hi FlyingFinn76,

Nice covering of BT and Wizz! What a fancy routing through RIX. It must have been great being seated in J on your own.
I admire your devotion to writing those TR's. After returning from a three day city trip, I am gladly surprised to find another two reports of yours.

Thanks again and...hyvää pääsiäistä.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5138 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6462 times:

Hey, P.,

let me join the crew of applause contributors to you´re latest story, another well done read.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The next trip was supposed to be a quick Stockholm jaunt in the form of HEL-BMA/ARN-HEL in a week's time, but right now it looks like the company might be going bust so that trip is quite unlikely to happen.

Hopefully not you´re company!.

Looking for the next ride now.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26854 posts, RR: 58
Reply 19, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6382 times:

Very nice report, never seen a BT J class report or their lounges before nice to see it. Also I like the cup design, very unique.

Nice photos , all the snow photos are coming to an end now as we enter Spring.

Thanks for the report.

OA260


User currently offlineshamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1596 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 6352 times:

Great report again, great to se a BT business class report, we look after them in work ad nice to see them restating VNO-DUB last week! You mention customs meeting the RIX flight it isnt only at the small regional airports, it is a prime target here in DUB aswell! Cigarettes galore!

User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6501 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 6252 times:

Very nice report with nice pictures and nice writing!

Legroom on Wizz Air seems very tight......

The terminal in TKU has indeed a very good chance to win the World''s ugliest airport Terminal......

Still hoping to read a trip report from you regarding BT's 757....Perhaps later this year ?

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineDLBOIFIN From Finland, joined Jun 2006, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6199 times:

Hi,

Again, very nice report. T2 in Turku really looks more like a barn than an airport. But I guess thet if they want to keep the costs down, it really shows in details like this.

BT Business Class looked really impressive for such a short flight, would not mind to try that.

All in all, it looks that the LCC's are really gaining ground in Finland as well, as both of your flights seemed to be more or less full. This is really great as we really, really need some serious competition in Finland. So far AY has been far too dominant in the market, but it seems that the situation is finally changing. And this benefits the consumers in Finland, as well as visitors from other countries.

Keep on flying!

DLBF


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