Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 10 Posted (5 years 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 12489 times:
The idea for this recent day-trip was born in December 2009. Alex (A.Net-member Ndebele) had found out that AB offered a “two for one” Christmas special on their domestic network. Flights from our home airport Stuttgart (STR) to Westerland (GWT) on the Isle of Sylt were available for the amazing price of EUR 30.00 per person for the return ticket (including taxes). AB links STR with GWT three times per week during summer. On Wednesday the routing of the aircraft is STR – GWT – MUC – GWT – STR which enabled us to book a day-trip with a stay of five hours on the isle while the aircraft is going to MUC and back. For EUR 30.00 you can’t go wrong so we didn’t hesitate and booked the day-trip for the beginning of the summer period (flights started on the 1st of May).
Wednesday, 05 May 2010
Stuttgart (STR) – Westerland / Sylt (GWT)
Airline: Air Berlin, operated by TUIfly
Flight number: AB 6866
Scheduled departure time: 10:00
Scheduled arrival time: 11:20
Type of aircraft: Boeing B 737-700
This aircraft was built and delivered to TUIfly in 2008. In October 2009 Air Berlin took over all “city-routes” (mainly the former HLX-routes) from TUIfly. At the same time, TUIfly leased its B 737-700-fleet to Air Berlin. The aircraft were painted in Air Berlin liveries.
I arrived at Stuttgart Airport by train and checked in at one of the AB check-in counters in Terminal 3 with no waiting time (Alex had already checked in before). After passing security check quickly I met Alex at gate 333. Our aircraft had just arrived from HAJ:
Local newspapers and a somehow special selection of magazines (gardening, yachting, trekking, etc.) were available at the gate. Boarding started on time and we walked down the jet-bridge to our aircraft where we were welcomed by the friendly flight attendants. We took our seats in the last row. I had flown the same aircraft about a year ago when it was still in service for TUIfly. Since then the cabin has been completely refurbished in AB-design with new seats and new cabin walls – the old walls in HLX-design (which weren’t even up-to-date when the aircraft was built) have been removed. Wearing the AB-livery as well you don’t get any hint on the owner and operator of the aircraft which is still TUIfly.
The captain made a welcome announcement as well and a safety video was shown on the screens. There were about 100 passengers on board which was a load factor of about 70%. We went off-block and taxied to runway 07 where we took off soon:
The Town of Scharnhausen:
The weather in Southern Germany way awful and soon we were up in the clouds and there were no more views. Cabin crew started their service with hot and cold drinks and a sweet or a salty snack. Here you can see both:
The aircraft is equipped with an audio system but they didn’t switch it on for that domestic flight. On the screens they were showing the air-show – no other programme, which was fine for us.
A Germanwings A 319 is crossing our way:
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of Germany:
Luckily the weather was much better in the North. The City of Bremen with the airport in the upper right corner:
The City of Bremerhaven:
Nordholz, a military airfield:
The City of Cuxhaven:
Sandbanks in the North Sea:
The airfield of St. Peter-Ording:
The island “Hallig Hooge”:
The island “Hallig Langeness”
The Isle of Foehr with the Town of Wyk in the lower left corner:
The airfield on the Isle of Foehr with its grass runways can be seen in the centre of this picture:
Reaching the Isle of Sylt from the Southeast:
The Village of Archsum on the Isle of Sylt:
Touch-down on runway 32:
We taxied to a parking position in front of the small terminal building. We were the only larger aircraft at the airport; apart from us there were only small planes like Cessna around.
Flight attendants were distributing chocolate hearts at the doors – a tradition AB has taken over with DBA on all domestic flights. We left the aircraft through the rear door:
Bye-bye D-AHXJ, see you in five hours:
Now we had five hours which we could spend on the isle. Luckily the weather was great here – completely different from Southern Germany. We walked the two kilometres to the station of Westerland. From there we took a bus to Hoernum which is located in the South of the isle.
The lighthouse of Hoernum:
In the dunes:
. Wednesday, 05 May 2010
Westerland / Sylt (GWT) – Stuttgart (STR)
Airline: Air Berlin, operated by TUIfly
Flight number: AB 6867
Scheduled departure time: 16:25
Scheduled arrival time: 17:45
Type of aircraft: Boeing B 737-700
We returned to the airport about 45 minutes before the departure of our flight. As we had already got our boarding passes for our return flight at STR we didn’t have to go to check-in.
The terminal building of GWT:
With the take-over of the TUIfly routes, AB has become by far the biggest airline at GWT: they are offering flights to nearly all important German airports like DUS, CGN, TXL, FRA, MUC, STR, FMO and NUE. LH has reduced its presence to two weekly flights to MUC. Besides, GWT sees only small aircraft like Sylt Air to HAM or Hanseflug to the neighbour isle Foehr.
D-AHXJ is arriving back from MUC:
We passed security check quickly and entered the gate area:
Children shall see as well who is number one at this airport:
Our aircraft waiting for departure:
Boarding started and we made our way to the rear entrance of the aircraft:
The cabin crew and the flight crew had changed at MUC so there were three different flight attendants this time. We had our seats in the last row again. There were only about 50 passengers on board, load factor around 30%; this resulted from the fact that the flights for this summer had started only four days before which meant that only few people had already finished their holiday on the isle. We had the last row for ourselves, so Alex took seat 25F while I took 25A.
A company A 319 had just arrived from DUS:
We still had to wait for a missing passenger but we went off-block only five minutes late and taxied to runway 32 where we took off in North-western direction:
The City of Westerland:
“Nordseeklinik” (North Sea Hospital):
After a U-turn there was a good view to the northern part of Sylt; in the background you can see the Isle of Romo which belongs to Denmark:
The most northern town in Germany: List on the Isle of Sylt:
GWT airport came into sight again, with two active and one closed runway:
The station of Westerland, linking the isle with mainland:
The southern part of Sylt: the Town of Hoernum where we had been only two hours before:
A last view to the Isle of Sylt:
Our departure route had been a bit unusual, like an “8”:
But this had offered fantastic views to all parts of the isle – really great.
Back to mainland again:
This time cabin crew had switched on the entertainment system so we could listen to several audio programmes. We had brought our own headphones and they didn’t sell any actively (I’m sure you could have bought one if you had asked). Service was the same as on the outbound flight: hot and cold drinks and a sweet or salty snack.
Hannover Airport (HAJ):
Military airfield at Wunstorf:
Winglet in the sun:
Our flight route:
We were reaching Southern Germany again. Weather hadn’t improved there:
IBM office buildings at Boeblingen, my former home town:
Industrial area of the Town of Schoenaich:
Seven Mills Valley:
The Town of Echterdingen:
Stuttgart Airport apron extension works:
We touched down on runway 07 and taxied to a parking position in front of Terminal 3 – the same gate which we had used in the morning as well. We left the aircraft through the front door and entered Terminal 3. D-AHXJ is waiting for its next departure to HAJ:
Alex and I said goodbye and we took trains home into different directions.
Conclusion: AB offers a good domestic product with friendly crews, free drinks and snacks, monitors with air-show and sometimes even an audio programme. Our flights were on time and value for money was simply excellent. I wouldn’t hesitate to book AB again.
Thanks for reading my report. Questions and comments are always appreciated.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7070 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 12401 times:
very enjoyable report with great pictures. I really need to fly to GWT one day.
Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter): Flights from our home airport Stuttgart (STR) to Westerland (GWT) on the Isle of Sylt were available for the amazing price of EUR 30.00 per person for the return ticket (including taxes).
Wow, what a deal!
Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter): the old walls in HLX-design (which weren’t even up-to-date when the aircraft was built) have been removed.
Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter): Cabin crew started their service with hot and cold drinks and a sweet or a salty snack.
No doubts, giving out Manner waffles means extra work for the cleaners after each flight...
Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter): On the screens they were showing the air-show – no other programme, which was fine for us.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4356 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 12273 times:
that's what I call a great daytrip. Sylt Island is on my list for someday. I have been thinking about taking a flight to the island but still didn't book. Maybe I can combine something with a trainride.
I must say, the images you have from the island look simply great! And AB, as usual, good fares are possible, and great service. I still hate it that they discontinued their AMS-TXL flights, and retimed the PMI flights ex AMS with bad schedules for me.
"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 5, posted (5 years 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 10654 times:
Thanks PH, Eric, Suryo and Markus for your replies!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1): No doubts, giving out Manner waffles means extra work for the cleaners after each flight...
I thought the same - you nearly can't get them out of the package without making a mess.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1): Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
On the screens they were showing the air-show – no other programme, which was fine for us.
Indeed - I don't need anything else.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 2): Sylt Island is on my list for someday. I have been thinking about taking a flight to the island but still didn't book. Maybe I can combine something with a trainride.
As you like trains as well (like I do) you might consider a train-ride from Sylt across the "Hindenburg-Damm" to mainland. It is a really scenic route. Trains run to Hamburg (where you have good connections to further trains or flights) in about three hours.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 2): I still hate it that they discontinued their AMS-TXL flights, and retimed the PMI flights ex AMS with bad schedules for me.
Like that they seem to be not too attractive any more for passengers from AMS.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3): It does not sound bad. Are there any non-German passengers?
I didn't see any - at least the great majority was German-speaking. The German isles are mainly visited by local tourists - you don't see many people from other countries there. I have no idea why - obviously the isles aren't too popular or not very well-known outside Germany.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 3): Did DBA distribute chocolate as well on their international flights?
Good question - to be honest, I don't remember, although I have also taken a few international flights on DBA. But the great majority of their flights were domestic anyway, so it wouldn't have made too much sense to act differently on the few international routes.
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4): GWT is also an airport still missing in my log.
So we will see if it´s possible to do it this year.
It is definitely worth a visit. I am curious if it fits into your already tight schedule.
gjunnar From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 10539 times:
Great report, Christoph!
Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter): Conclusion: AB offers a good domestic product with friendly crews, free drinks and snacks, monitors with air-show and sometimes even an audio programme. Our flights were on time and value for money was simply excellent. I wouldn’t hesitate to book AB again.
That pretty much sums it all up. I definitely prefer AB over LH!
Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 days ago) and read 9594 times:
Hi Gjunnar and FlyingFinn, thanks a lot for your comments!
Quoting gjunnar (Reply 6): That pretty much sums it all up. I definitely prefer AB over LH!
I have to say that I like both airlines, although AB has the advantage of showing the air-show also on narrow-body aircraft while LH's A320 and B737-fleets aren't equipped with screens.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7): You really seem to have a thing with Sylt . Anyway for that kind of price and views I wouldn't think twice about doing such a day-trip, either.
Yes, I like the isle and for the price I couldn't resist...
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 7): I find the Sylt ones very interesting as I'm flying there next autumn, on AB from TXL, though. I think it'll be a Dash-8 for that sector. Taking the train back to the mainland.
Sounds like a very nice trip - flying into GWT on a prop must be nice as well.
CptRegionalJet From Germany, joined Oct 2007, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 days ago) and read 9586 times:
thanks for an interesting TR with nice pictures....
Only been to GWT once and taxiways are fun to taxi on...very narrow even for a CRJ!
AB seems to offer a good domestic product,its a shame LH cut so many nice domestic routes....
DALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1809 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9143 times:
Nice read about your latest trip!
I always enjoy reading your reports, which are interesting to read. Sylt must be a nice island, comparable with the Dutch Island Texel, although Texel Airport only has 2 grass-strips for t/o & landing.... :S
The same opinion as Akhmad & Eric are shared here. A true pity they gave up on AMS-TXL, and the retinming of AMS-PMI. They offer good rates, but no routes to The Netherlands unfortunately!
Hopefully this will change someday, as I would like to have the AB feeling myself too.