FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 12413 times:
This trip started as an impulse purchase from the great Ezy sale in January. HEL-CDG was available for a bit under 20 EUR, so I really didn't have any choice but to get one of the tickets for a random Saturday evening in May. With a late Helsinki departure and an even later arrival at Charles de Gaulle I had to spend the night there and then do something interesting the next day.
I had a lot of options, my main plan involved Ezy down to LIS, then a Portugalia B1900 to AGP and an Air Finland 757 back to HEL. Too bad I hesitated a bit too long in booking it during which the OF flight went up by 100 EUR, from "acceptable" to "no way, Jose!", so I had to look for alternatives.
Somehow I had Spain in my mind all the time, and finally came up with the idea of catching the LAN A340 fifth freedom route MAD-FRA and hopefully also logging my first flight with Air Europa. With this in mind I searched for suitable flights, and finally came up with an itinerary: the morning Ezy flight down to BCN for 39 EUR, connecting a few hours later to UX to MAD, also cheap at 40 EUR and finally the LA flight to FRA, which was somewhat more expensive at 113 EUR but not bad for a widebody Airbus route on an exotic carrier.
Finally to get home from FRA I had some difficulties finding anything reasonable - SK offered one ways via both CPH and ARN but the price was around 150 EUR. LH had a perfect late night flight, but in true LH fashion the one way ticket priced in full Y - very very expensive. Luckily you can always work the system a bit - I searched around for suitable dates, and found a roundtrip with the LH flight I wanted for around 140 EUR with the return flight fixed a couple of months later - something to build another interesting itinerary around!
After a not very relaxing Saturday involving driving almost 600 kilometers along the motorways and smaller country roads of Southwestern Finland (don't ask) I'm finally home just in time to refresh, pack up my kit and head to the airport, where I arrive a bit over two hours before departure. Ezy has moved the check in counters again - now they are in the main departure hall of T2 where the AY long haul check in used to be not too long ago. The counters are also still closed, with a small queue alread in front of them so I join it. The Ezy OLCI for HEL at least is utterly broken at the moment so no way doing that...
Finally two agents arrive and very slowly proceed to open two counters, and after 45 minutes of standing there I finally get checked in and proceed to have some food at one of the land side eateries. The airport is quite deserted at this late hour on a Saturday evening and most of the shops and restaurants are closed. Security is easy for the same reason, and I head to the gate 27, which this flight seems to always use a bit too late to find a huge queue already formed there - looks like I need to kiss my exit row seat goodbye on this flight. Lots and lots of Russians here, in the end I think almost half of the plane was full of them. The LCCs will be making a killing if EU and Russia ever make an Open Skies deal...
I spot the plane landing around 20.15, and a few minutes later it stops at the gate in front of us. It is G-EZDN, a new one for my log. Very efficient turnaround, as boarding is called only 10 minutes later.
HEL-CDG U23898 A319 G-EZDN Seat 25F 20.50 - 22.37
Interesting crew on this flight, only one female FA and all the rest are males. Must be a French thing. As I anticipated the good seats on the bulkhead and exit rows are already gone (well educated travelers on this flight!), so I head towards the back of the cabin hoping that there would be more space there Well, there is some as there are a couple of vacant seats back here when boarding is completed, but unfortunately not next to me - instead I get a couple of teenage Russian girls next to me - the one on the aisle seat makes a few signs of the cross after sitting down and later during the flight as well - hmm, is there something I should know about this flight? Load is good, at least 90%, I'd say.
The captain welcomes us to "This easyJet flight to Charles de Gaulle 2B" with an expected flight time of 2h45mins. Pushback is five minutes late - some waiting for all the luggage to be loaded. Take off is from 04R after this beauty:
It's an Air Pullmantur B744, it has been years since I've seen a Jumbo at HEL.
Notice the AY MD-11 taxiing from what looks like a runway 15 landing in this picture:
I have no idea where it is going or coming from - they haven't been in active service since February. Glad to see that at least one of them is still in running order, though.
The evening has been a wet and cloudy one, so no views of the ground until further away over the Baltic Sea. Approaching the island of Gotland:
I grab some beverages from the sales cart and fire up the IPod for some video entertainment:
No announcement about the route, but I observe it to be roughly HEL-VBY-MMX-CPH-KEL-East of AMS-BRU-CDG.
Copenhagen, with Kastrup airport in the foreground:
Brussels, BRU airport is the brightly lit area on the lower right corner:
At some point while queuing for the toilet in the back galley I notice the two stewards with a beer can that obviously has a leak - they are about to dispose of it when I jokingly offer to buy it for half price. The other one takes this seriously and offers to give the rest to me for free - I try to argue that I was only kidding but he insists, so after doing whatever it is that you normally do in toilets I walk back to my seat with a Starbucks coffee cup half full of a bit flat beer...
Descent starts a bit after passing Brussels. During the final approach there are great views of the City of Lights being completely lit-up. It looks like it is the first time for the girls on my row to Paris, they just can't get enough of the view (and I certainly don't mind pretty young girls leaning over me, sorry I'm a dirty old sod) - I point out the Eiffel tower at them.
Spot the Eiffel Tower:
Landing is on runway 08R after around 2h40mins of flight, followed by a lengthy taxi to 2B where we dock to a jetway.
Charles de Gaulle Airport
I have no idea where my hotel shuttle is supposed to leave from - the hotel website wasn't very helpful. I figure out that the T3/RER station complex is probably the best bet so I head to the CDGVAL automated train thingy and ride it there. There's a large area reserved for shuttle pickups and fortunately I made the right decision, in a few minutes the shuttle pulls up and five minutes later it drops me at my hotel, the Mercure Charles de Gaulle. I got this one through Priceline for less than 60 EUR, not a bad deal as it is very close to the terminals, not something all the so called "Airport hotels" in Roissy are... The location is a bit weird, though, as you basically are on a street with nothing but hotels on it. After inquiring about the shuttle schedule for next morning I retire to my room, brew a quick cup of tea and call it a night.
Another Sunday morning with an OMG o'clock wake up, followed by a 6.15 shuttle back to the airport. While waiting for the shuttle I watch the stream of arrivals (mostly long haul) landing on one of the 08 runways, here's an AF A340:
The shuttle is pretty punctual and soon drops me off in front of Terminal 2A, just opposite 2B that Ezy uses.
While the newer parts of T2 are rather nice - E and F especially, these older ones are looking very dated by today's standards. Horrible bare concrete architecture and very dark and sort of claustrophobic as well with not too many amenities. Sure, it is better than the whacky T1, but not much. I grab a quick French breakfast - i.e. a cup of coffee, orange juice and a croissant and head to the gate.
Interestingly none of the gate monitors in the main gate area are working, so I have no idea whether I'm entering the correct sterile area or not - but at least there are some Spaniards here so chances are good. There are no services apart from a few vending machines once past security - I don't even see any toilets, although there's a bus gate downstairs which might feature this kind of luxuries.
At the end of our jetway I notice a familiar registration - Delta Nevada again, my ride from last night. Bugger.
Boarding starts around half an hour before departure, there are a number of people who try to jump queues or use the priority boarding lane without the appropriate credentials but the two gate agents are great at putting these scam artists back to where they belong. I manage to be one of the first ones from the regular lane - the priority group features an extended Chinese family with 12 people, processing them sure takes some time. We wait for a couple of minutes in the jetway while the plane is ready for boarding - not too bad as this one is air conditioned avoiding the greenhouse effect one would normally get on a pretty morning like this and a glass jetway.
CDG-BCN U23917 A319 G-EZDN Seat 10F 7.58 - 9.27
Two female and two male cabin crew members on this flight. I snatch the first exit row window seat. The plane appears to be completely full - I don't see any vacant seats at all. Flight time is announced as 1h20mins and push back is two minutes early.
The Air France head office:
Concorde and the cylindrical shape of T1:
AF heavy landing on 08R:
Take off is from runway 08L, followed by a right turn that takes us straight over the city centre of Paris. The captain makes a quick announcement "Ladies and gentlemen, on the right hand side: Paris.".
The skyscrapers of La Defense:
Service sure takes its time to reach the middle of the plane - by the time I get my coffee and muffin we are less than ten minutes away from the top of descent, overflying the Pyrenees and about to enter Spanish airspace. The seat belt sign is switched on some 20 minutes later at 9.15.
Some clouds over this valley:
The city of Terrassa, Catalonia:
Crosssing the Med coast over Sitges, the port of Vilanova i la Geltrú is in the foreground:
I picked a seat on the right hand side of the plane since I awaited an usual 25 landing - these are my favorite ones at BCN as the view over the city is just amazing on this side. Well, today our approach is very different, we basically fly south over the Mediterranean sea passing the airport on the western side, before making a 180 degree turn back towards the north for approach onto the 02 runway. No stunning views on my side this time, a shame. Let's hope for a better luck when I fly here the next time in August...
Landing is after around 1h20mins of flight. Taxi to the old main terminal, now renamed to Terminal 2 is fast, and I'm amazed at how empty this large building nowadays is - it only houses a bunch of LCC carriers with not nearly enough traffic to fill it. I think the airport company made a good decision when they recently struck the deal with Ryanair for a new base here.
Closed shops in T2:
Barcelona El Prat Airport
With the T2 pretty empty and boring I quickly make my way outside and find the shuttle bus to T1. T1 is much more busy:
Nice Vueling ad:
I'm still impressed by the architecture of this huge building, just as I was last summer when I was here the first time:
The security checkpoint has a huge queue:
Somehow it ends up moving very fast - only 15 minutes to get through. Is this an airport or a shopping mall:
Nice that they have an enclosed terrace with an ice cream shop as well:
I grab some early lunch, afterwards I spend a lot of time walking around and watching and photographing the different planes here.
One of the few remaining Ezy 737-700's, on its way to LTN:
This picture is dedicated to Eric:
Close to the boarding time printed on my OLCI boarding pass I head to the gate to find a huge queue of people already there - looks like Ryanair and the others have had a definitive influence on people's behavior.
The plane is EC-JHL, another first for me.
Boarding starts late at only 15 minutes before departure and seems to take an eternity, the queue moves very slowly both before the gate podium and in the jetway - there are tons and tons of senior citizens here so maybe that's part of the reason.
I have to ask one of the stewards to kick an elder lady out of my seat as she or her friend don't seem to speak anything apart from Spanish - turns out they have the aisle and middle seats next to me. The blue gray leather seats have a horrible seat pitch:
Boarding continues to be very slow - with a not too comfortable connection time and a terminal switch in Madrid I'm starting to get a bit nervous at the slow progress. Finally, at 12.35 or 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time boarding is finally completed - load looks to be pretty much full back in economy, and almost full in the business class cabin featuring three rows today.
Still nothing happens for another 20 minutes until we finally push back 34 minutes late - I'm getting very edgy by this time.
Well, hello there:
Notice the LH retrojet:
I don't know what happened with this flight, it was boarding almost two hours ago:
Unfortunately we aren't allowed to jump the queue due to our delay so take off from 07R is 15 minutes later. Right when we start our take off run I notice this weird cloud or fog front moving in from the sea and completely engulfing the airport - you can see it in these pictures:
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 12460 times:
We fly eastwards, i.e. the wrong direction over the sea for an eternity, at least it feels like that to my anxious mind, before finally turning back towards the mainland.
The route takes us southwards along the Catalonian coast, here's Tarragona, Reus airport visible on the top:
The Costa Daurada area south of Tarragona - I spent my summer holiday there last year:
Turning inlands towards Madrid:
There's no service whatsoever in economy on this quick flight. Well, actually trash is collected before landing, not that they'd given us any possibility to make some...
Descent starts around 30 minutes into the flight. A good number of connecting gates are announced, destinations include Air Europa flights to SDQ, JFK, MIA, CUN, HAV, CCS, FCO, and TFN.
These amazing colors look so beautiful:
The skeletal remains of the housing boom gone bust:
Landing is unfortunately on 33R after 50 minutes of flight, meaning a lengthy taxi to the T1/2/3 complex. 33L would've been much closer.
Departure queue for 36R:
Three LAN machines at T4S - which one is my ride to FRA?
Well, considering two of them are 767s it is not too hard to figure out...
Some local spotters:
We finally dock to a jetway at T3 around 45 minutes late, with an hour before my LAN flight is scheduled to departure and only 15 minutes until the boarding time printed on my OLCI boarding pass for that flight.
Madrid Barajas Airport
What follows can be summarised as "The transfer from hell", but here's the detailed version:
I hurry off the flight, having no time to check whether the blonde purser is indeed Finnish (her name was announced as definitely Finnish-sounding during the flight, although she spoke perfect Spanish when welcoming pax onboard in BCN). At T3 luggage hall I try to locate the shuttle bus to T1. Now according to the AENA website there is a special shuttle bus from T1 arrivals straight to T4S for those passengers having a valid boarding pass for a flight departing from there - my OLCI boarding pass definitely qualifies for that. So to get there I'd need to first get from T3 to T1, and there's a another shuttle bus for that. Well, I talk with three (four actually, but one of them doesn't speak a single word of English!) different agents in the T3 arrivals hall and all of them ensure me that the only way to get to T4 is to go landside and take the shuttle bus there. I try to insist that I don't want to go to T4 main building as it is just a lot of hassle and I'm running out of time and that the website mentioned this special bus for passengers with valid boarding passes - but of course nobody believes me and they refuse to let me into the T1 bus. Having no other choice but precious little time I tell one of them to try to call my gate in T4S and to tell them that I'm late (no idea if he did) and run to the arrivals.
It isn't easy to find the T4 shuttle bus - the signs are confusing and it isn't departing from where the other shuttle buses for hotels etc. are departing from - right in front of the arrivals. Finally I figure out that one must actually go towards the metro station and one level up from there, where the bus stop is right in front of the departures area. This search costs me at least 10 minutes. Luckily one bus soon pulls to the stop and I hop in. The ride is rather fast, a bit over five minutes and I hop off the bus in front of the main T4 departures level. I contemplate whether I should stop at the LAN ticket desk (the check in counters are already closed) and let them know I'm on my way but decide not to, instead running to the security check point. I don't see any priority lanes, but then again the regular lanes have just a few people there so it shouldn't be too bad... only it is, I get stuck behind a guy who seemingly wants to travel with his whole home medicine cabinet, and the agents take their sweet time going through his lotions and gels and disposing of the offending ones...
Finally I'm through and jump the escalators down towards the shuttle train to T4S. It is 15.00, 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time of the next flight and around 45 minutes after the plane stopped in the jetway at T3 at this point and I'm starting to feel like I will still make my flight. At T4S passport control the girl is a bit surprised by my ID card and asks where I'm going to - "Frankfurt" seems to satisfy her, though and I'm allowed through for a last dash towards the gate where boarding is just about to finish when I arrive there panting and all sweaty... I made it!!
I even have enough time to grab a soft drink from a nearby vending machine and snap a photo of my ride, CC-CQA in the "80 years" special livery:
My seat on row 37 is all the way towards the back. The plane is fitted in the standard A340 2-4-2 configuration with blue and violet cloth seats. I feel a bit sorry for my German seatmate as I'm sweating like a pig after my inter-terminal dash and probably not smelling any better! There are no air vents on this plane to try to cool myself down:
Seat pitch is OK, although the IFE box under the seat is a bit annoying:
There's a large screen for the on-demand IFE system on the seatback in front of me:
The remote control:
A hairblower instead of a proper engine hanging under the wing:
The plane looks completely full, I don't see any free seats anywhere. Quite many German passengers, not sure if they boarded here or came all the way from SCL, though. Well, right after boarding is completed five minutes past our scheduled departure time the captain drops the bomb - due to some restrictions issued by Eurocontrol we have a departure slot 45 minutes from now for a flight time of 2h45mins to Frankfurt. He emphasizes that the delay "is due to an ATC restriction, it has nothing to do with the airline company"... Oh sweet, all that running and sweating and now we are going to be delayed... bugger. Too bad they don't switch the IFE on while waiting, it would've been nice to play around with it.
We push back around half an hour late and join the very slow queue to the nearby 36R for take off. In front of us there is an interesting mix of planes including FR 738, LH 735, UX E195 and Air Nostrum CRJ-200. They seem to enforce quite a long separation between planes, so it takes another 20 minutes before we finally enter the runway and start our take off roll around 50 minutes late.
I remember my first flight on the A340 back in 2001 (Air France CDG-BOS) - I kept wondering why the heck the plane was ascending so slowly. Nowadays I'm far more knowledgeable about aviation things than back then, but still I get the same feeling about our almost painfully slow rate of ascent. Well, at least it gives you more time to marvel at the scenery...
Soon after take off they finally turn on the IFE system and I start exploring - luckily my noise canceling headphones come with a two-pronged adapter so I can skip the flimsy el cheapo headphones the FAs are handing out. The LAN IFE System "IN" is a very modern, on-demand one featuring all the entertainment one would need for flying several times around the world. There are hundreds of music albums and TV episodes and tens of movies, including many recent releases.
I play around a bit and finally settle for "Crazy Heart", a movie I've wanted to see for quite some time hoping that I have enough time to finish it.
That's an impressive row of windmills:
Soon after reaching the cruising altitude over the Pyrenees the captain announces our route as MAD - Pamplona - TLS - LYS - GVA - ZRH - STR and finally to FRA. Interestingly he keeps referring to Switzerland as "The Helvetic Confederation" and Germany as "The Federal Republic of Germany" - I guess technically that is correct but it just sounds so funny and official to me... Our arrival at FRA is expected to be around 35 minutes late with very good, sunny weather there and a temperature of 25 degrees. He concludes with "Please enjoy the very good service on this flight!".
Flying over her birthplace - TLS:
Well, the very good service has obviously been downgraded from the last reports I read about this flight from a couple of years ago - instead of the hot meal served back then all we get is a sandwich and a chocolate bar. The chili bread sandwich with ham and mustard is actually not bad at all - especially the tangy mustard fits the bill perfectly, but I wish there was a bit more substantial meal on this flight.
Some beer is long overdue, the FA is a bit reluctant to give me the second can but I know what strings to pull and tell her that I really want to taste a genuine Chilean beer which does the trick
Otherwise I stick to the movie, while gazing occasionally out of the window for some nice views over France and later the Alps. My weird seatmate has considerable problems figuring out the IFE system, he starts and stops the same movie about half a dozen times (yeah, the touch screen is a bit unresponsive, I give him that) and I and his buddy on the seat across the aisle have to help him many times but he still doesn't really get it...
Mont Blanc is somewhere there, according to our captain:
Back cabin view during a toilet breka:
Flying over Zürich with Zürichsee visible:
Descent starts right after passing the Lake Constance area, with the seat belt sign being switched on over Stuttgart.
Lake Constance, wasn't I just there?
Stuttgart city centre with the Hauptbahnhof right in the middle:
When the IFE is shut down I still have around 10 minutes of my movie left unfinished - bugger. I wish they'd had the same sort of "gate to gate IFE" concept as Air New Zealand.
Autobahn viaduct near Frankfurt:
Great weather in Germany:
The Main river in sight:
"Mainhattan" in the distance:
Landing is on runway 25R after 2h25mins of flight.
Taxi to the far end of T2 takes a long time, not that I mind as you can't beat FRA for watching planes... We dock to a jetway next to a Saudia A319.
Air Astana from Kazakhstan:
I took some bad seat shots while deboarding - my economy seat:
Business class - looks like a lie flat seat to me:
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 12433 times:
Business class - looks like a lie flat seat to me:
I've only been to the Schengen side of T2 previously and am quite impressed by the different facilities and services on offer on this side - the Schengen side has hardly any amenities. I make my way to the inter-terminal train for a ride to T1 where my final LH flight of the day will depart and hop off at the B gates as that is where the HEL flights usually depart from. Once I find a FIDS monitor this proves to be the case.
Asian attack, that's an Asiana plane:
I make my way towards the proper B gates area and stop at a LH transfer desk to get my boarding pass. Instead of going to the Schengen side of B I enter the non-Schengen part as it again has far better amenities and lounges as well. First stop is to get suitably greased up at McDonald's while watching some planes, then I hit the LH Business lounge thanks to my FTL card. The place is packed as hell, but while I hit a restroom to freshen up and change my shirt (there are showers as well but I don't bother) some people leave and I actually get a table for myself.
This is Germany after all, so some Wurst should be good - notice the LH logo on the wine glass:
Some time later I head for my gate a bit early - after all I have an international border and another security check to cross, stopping to check the flight info from one of the handy terminals:
Where else can you get so up close and personal with a Jumbo?
No queues along the way so I have enough time for Travel Value shopping and one more quick beer before boarding is called. As with all the Schengen B gates it is a bus job, the plane being parked on the apron in front of T2.
As expected, it is D-AIQU, "Backnang" - a new plane for me.
The two busloads of passengers board rather quickly - in the end the plane is almost completely full. Flight time is announced as 2h10mins with departure a couple of minutes behind schedule followed by a rolling take off from 25R and a right turn towards the northeast right after take off. I doze of right away, but wake for the meal service. Surprisingly we get a hot meal on this flight - it is the standard Lufthansa pasta meal - not bad with a liberal dose of pepper but nothing earth shattering either.
I wash it down with a bottle of white wine and promptly fall asleep. The next thing I know are my seatmates waking me up as we are descending towards HEL and the FA wants me to take my headphones off. I do so and nod off again, only waking up by our touchdown on runway 15 after a bit under 2h10mins in the air. A short taxi to T1 follows and zombielike I grab my stuff and drag myself across the airport to the bus stop, luckily catching a bus home within only a couple of minutes
Apart from catching the same Ezy A319 twice all the planes were new ones for me and a nice variety as well. The highlight of course was the LAN A340 - widebody flights within Europe are rather rare nowadays and the fact that it is an exotic carrier as well makes it all the more interesting. Good service, although a hot meal would've been nice and a great IFE system - I could've flown all the way to SCL from MAD with that system, and probably back as well... Shame about the small delay, but like the captain put it "It's not any fault of the airline company"... I'm quite tempted to try them also on the new MAD-CDG leg, let's see if I'll end up doing it.
Not impressed at all with my first flight on Air Europa. Tight seat pitch, no service (well, it would've been BOB anyway) and no explanation whatsoever about the delay - I blame the dog slow late boarding process. I'm giving them another chance in August on this very same route but with the E195 instead, let's see if that is any better experience. Doubt it really, but at least the equipment will be nice.
Pretty standard flights on Ezy and I was rather surprised by the LH hot meal - nice but is is a bit late for that, serving food around 23.00 local time or midnight Finnish time. I know it exist mainly because the competition (AY) serves hot food on their competing routes as well (but only on the Airbuses) - let's see what happens when AY stops it this year. Otherwise it was a standard Lufthansa flight, very to the point and consistent, not overly friendly but not rude either - very correct and "business friendly" to borrow Markus' term.
Finally that terminal transfer mess at MAD left a very sour feeling. I did email AENA suggesting that they either fix the information on the website or educate the staff better - not that I'm expecting anything to happen. But still, giving out this kind of misleading information is not good at all and very confusing, I wouldn't want to do a transfer like this again. Okay, I'm actually doing one in October but at least I have many more hours to do it...
As for my next trip, it is already out - the BT Dash report. The next trip after that is tomorrow, with another airBaltic inaugural flight HEL-RIX-ARN-OUL.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6191 posts, RR: 79 Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 12160 times:
really enjoyable report, very interesting routing! Bad to hear about the trouble at MAD. I also had to change planes there some years ago and found that transfer to the new terminal quite uncomfortable.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): and finally the LA flight to FRA, which was somewhat more expensive at 113 EUR but not bad for a widebody Airbus route on an exotic carrier.
Was is located just in the middle or rather to the left/right?
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Well, the very good service has obviously been downgraded from the last reports I read about this flight from a couple of years ago - instead of the hot meal served back then all we get is a sandwich and a chocolate bar. The chili bread sandwich with ham and mustard is actually not bad at all - especially the tangy mustard fits the bill perfectly, but I wish there was a bit more substantial meal on this flight.
That's really disappointing. They could at least hand out trays.
SV only operates A320s. Interesting to see they send them to FRA. I'd prefer their 777s.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Surprisingly we get a hot meal on this flight - it is the standard Lufthansa pasta meal - not bad with a liberal dose of pepper but nothing earth shattering either.
AYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 11940 times:
Wow again! What an interesting report once again!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): I have no idea where it is going or coming from - they haven't been in active service since February. Glad to see that at least one of them is still in running order, though.
Well, this must a Finnair Cargo MD11 flight from HKG or ICN. These are very much active routes nowadays!
Go and try IAH. I once had to transit overthere and saw the KL 744 coming in. It almost parked it's nose against the glass. I was standing three meters from the nose and looking straight into the cockpit. You could almost determine to color of the captain's eyes . Great happening to be so close to the mighty 744.
FlyingFinn - great report and pictures, as always! Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate the level of detail in your reports.
Both LAN and Air Europa are great airlines.
Just one comment: I don't think SV have any A319s. I believe the only A319 operated by a Saudi pax airline is VP-CAN of NAS. SV have 10 A320-200s in service though - are they all equipped with single overwing exits? Or just the ones owned by SV?
- Yes does look tight, from memory the Spanair fleet have a similar pitch.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1): There's no service whatsoever in economy on this quick flight. Well, actually trash is collected before landing, not that they'd given us any possibility to make some...
- Guess is' better to collect pax trash they brought aboard rather than clean up after them.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): We finally dock to a jetway at T3 around 45 minutes late, with an hour before my LAN flight is scheduled to departure and only 15 minutes until the boarding time printed on my OLCI boarding pass for that flight.
- I'm nervous just reading this line!
Glad you made the LAN, a nice rare beast for this part of the world, always wanted to catchy it myseld, just not found the time jet, one day!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): they are about to dispose of it when I jokingly offer to buy it for half price. The other one takes this seriously and offers to give the rest to me for free - I try to argue that I was only kidding but he insists, so after doing whatever it is that you normally do in toilets I walk back to my seat with a Starbucks coffee cup half full of a bit flat beer...
makeree From Finland, joined Dec 2009, 55 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 11320 times:
Hey again FlyingFinn !
Thanks for sharing the very interesting TR with the interesting pics !
I have been planning to do the same MAD-FRA route but the one-way price was bit too much for me
so I have been thinking to do a RT either MAD-FRA-MAD or FRA-MAD-FRA.
And thanks to ChrisCruise for giving some price information.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): The next trip after that is tomorrow, with another airBaltic inaugural flight HEL-RIX-ARN-OUL.
I am doing the opposite route in midsummer so looking forward your TR as well.
I have been doing much overtime lately so that is the reason for my minor replies but I sure need the money for my summer holiday trip to the Land of the Rising Sun with the brand new aircraft from Lufthansa...
767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1750 posts, RR: 26 Reply 12, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 11061 times:
Good report, FlyingFinn!
Interesting to read about your flight from MAD to FRA on the LAN A340 .. I wish there were wide bodies like this used on short flights in the USA. I know EVA Air had a flight from EWR to SEA a while back with a 747-400; not sure if this still is in existence.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 13, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 10440 times:
Hi all, glad you like my stories and thanks for the comments!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3): Was is located just in the middle or rather to the left/right?
To the right-
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3): That's really disappointing. They could at least hand out trays.
Yep, a small gesture that wouldn't cost much but make all the difference in classiness...
Quoting EICVD (Reply 4): nice to see an EI bird sneak into a few of them.
I have to admit I did it on purpose, knowing that there are quite a few Irish members here...
Quoting AYA333 (Reply 5): Well, this must a Finnair Cargo MD11 flight from HKG or ICN. These are very much active routes nowadays!
Oh, thanks mate, I wasn't aware they still use them for pure cargo runs.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3): SV only operates A320s. Interesting to see they send them to FRA. I'd prefer their 777s.
Quoting okko (Reply 7): Just one comment: I don't think SV have any A319s. I believe the only A319 operated by a Saudi pax airline is VP-CAN of NAS. SV have 10 A320-200s in service though - are they all equipped with single overwing exits? Or just the ones owned by SV?
Yeah, this is why I got confused - all the A320s I know have two overwing exits and A319s one (apart from the high density Ezy and Germanwings ones). This must be in some sort of "additional comfort" of VIP configuration - kinda like the AF product they use on the flights to Saudi-Arabia etc. on A319s - can't remember the name right now.
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8): Shame you got the same EZY 319 next morning, always a worry after a late flight and early departure next day.
Well, with four new planes out of five flights it's not too bad at all!
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 8): Glad you made the LAN, a nice rare beast for this part of the world, always wanted to catchy it myseld, just not found the time jet, one day!
Go for it - it is something different! They are opening MAD-CDG as well sometime this year, not sure if it is a 767 or A340, though.
Quoting Contact Air (Reply 9): Good to hear that you still made your connection at MAD, although it was far away from pleasant.
Yeah. the alternative arrangements would've been difficult as I'd needed to make my FRA-HEL flight somehow, otherwise the return in July would be cancelled and that would have some disastrous effects for my Cirrus D328 run
Living in the past of gouging every single penny out of business travelers!
Quoting akhmad (Reply 10): Thanks for the nice peek at CDG. Have you been to E and F before? I cannot wait to experience the terminal myself next July.
I was once in 2E I think, flying to and from the US. That was a far better terminal, although the setup was weird with nothing but gates and seating areas on the upper level of the pier and all the services in a separate level below it...
Quoting makeree (Reply 11): he next trip after that is tomorrow, with another airBaltic inaugural flight HEL-RIX-ARN-OUL.
I am doing the opposite route in midsummer so looking forward your TR as well.
Well, I'm stuck at ARN right now - things didn't go very smoothly but there were some positive surprises as well. Stay tuned!
Quoting makeree (Reply 11): summer holiday trip to the Land of the Rising Sun with the brand new aircraft from Lufthansa...
Ahh, the A388, I presume?
Quoting 767747 (Reply 12): I wish there were wide bodies like this used on short flights in the USA. I know EVA Air had a flight from EWR to SEA a while back with a 747-400; not sure if this still is in existence.
CX used to run AKL-JFK I think and QF did LAX-JFK as well, but I don't think it had fifth freedom rights, though. But several US carriers run widebodies on domestic routes, especially on transcons and intra-hub routes, of course those aren't exactly short flights (well, ORD-IAD is and UA uses some triple sevens on it...).
Bings back memories. As a student I was on a work placement there for a year, in the language school. Our office was ground floor, left-hand building. The windows overlooked the taxiways, until we moved to Le Dome building near Roissypole.
- Seats are different then I had on CC-CQF, clothing and IFE are different
- We both seated in 37L
- My meal was much better then you received. Also, LH (on same route) serves a warm meal (similar you had to HEL)
That's quite interesting material to compare I would say. Seems that LA made improvement on the IFE but reduced service wise a bit.
Similar experiences on UX before. Seating is bad, but ok for the short hops. Looking forward to the E95. I preferred to book on the JK 717 for my upcoming Spain travels though. But I guess you'll fly those again on Blue1 in the future.
Good pics. Did you wave to Flieger67 when heading over STR?
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
infodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1242 posts, RR: 34 Reply 20, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7368 times:
Great stuff as always, although that really did sound like a nightmare connection at Madrid. All this changing terminals with buses is rarely stress-free. And as for ground staff who don't speak english, that should just not happen at an airport of that size.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): I jokingly offer to buy it for half price. The other one takes this seriously and offers to give the rest to me for free - I try to argue that I was only kidding but he insists
Waste not want not
That certainly was a huge security queue at BCN, good job it wasn't a similar sight in MAD. And what a great idea to have an enclosed viewing terrace. It's something we get asked at ZRH quite a lot, but then the Spanish weather is a lot more reliable than the Swiss!
That A340 cabin really was packed, pity you missed the last 10 minutes of your film. Great views of Zurich and Stuttgart btw.
What a shame that AY are going to stop warm meals. I was really impressed when I flew with them and it puts them one step above the rest. Still, good to see LH's offering too.
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
Reifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1135 posts, RR: 1 Reply 21, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 7282 times:
Very interesting report! So many flights in one single day! One day you'll be in serious trouble if a flight is heavily delayed or cancelled or something. Respect for your Madrid-Transfer-World-Record
By the way, Police is not checking boarding passes in Frankfurt. So even if you are in the Schengen area and you have enough time, you may pass to the non Schengen area just showing your passport. They will never ask where you go as long as you have a EU passport, and if they do you can say you're wanting to go to McDonald's and you should be fine... Did this quite often, since it's nice to stroll around if you have time. Should be the same for T2 (if you want to go to a Priority lounge i.e., which is located in the Non-Schengen part. However, you can only do this airside, since landside they will be a boarding pass check done by Fraport personnel.
FLIEGER67 From Turkey, joined Sep 2003, 4391 posts, RR: 57 Reply 22, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 7259 times:
what a story.
That inter terminal transfer thing at MAD is indeed a shame, not well signed, also my impression.
Glad that you made it and how weird to sit in the plane finally to wait for a delayed departure.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 24, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6547 times:
Hi all and thanks for the further comments!
Quoting oa260 (Reply 15): always nice to experience a long haul product without having to do the longhaul lol...
Is it really "having to do" or "getting to do"? At least that LA flight was so cozy that I could've easily added another 12 hours to SCL! Plenty of IFE to go around and a not too bad seat, so fine with me.
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 18): - My meal was much better then you received. Also, LH (on same route) serves a warm meal (similar you had to HEL)
Yeah, very interesting to compare. I guess that's the sign of the times - cutbacks and more cutbacks... I'm growing a bit tired of that LH pasta meal - a mate of mine went to Spain some years ago flying HEL-FRA-AGP and back, all on LH and on all legs it was the exactly same pasta meal!
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 18): I preferred to book on the JK 717 for my upcoming Spain travels though. But I guess you'll fly those again on Blue1 in the future.
I've done the JK 717 on that very same route once so had to try something different, never flown an an E195 (of course plenty of AY E190s, though) so that's always interesting. Plus the fare was very good again. And you are right, I think I will see a lot of 717 in half a year or so...
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 18): Good pics. Did you wave to Flieger67 when heading over STR?
I think he was in Spain by that time, actually...
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 19): LA714/715 with A340's also. From early September. The website quotes expensive fares, USD 625 oneway.
Thanks Eric. Too bad it isn't one of those wingletted 767s - they look so great. I guess they haven't loaded the cheap intra-europe fares yet, preferring to see how the (long haul) bookings develop before deciding on how many seats to allocate for el cheapo travelers.
Quoting infodesk (Reply 20): All this changing terminals with buses is rarely stress-free. And as for ground staff who don't speak english, that should just not happen at an airport of that size.
Well, I very much dislike airports that have have separate terminals, period. I prefer places like AMS (or on a smaller scale HEL), where you have everything under one large building and can walk everywhere, without any shuttle bus crapola. Sure, that sometimes makes for long walking distances but at least you always know exactly where you are and where you are going and how long it will take. Actually MAD T1/2/3 are just like that, it's just the T4 that is so far away from them.
If you need to have separate terminals, at least have a frequent, AIRSIDE bus (or even better, some sort of train) connection like Heathrow. And please, signpost it accordingly. See - I'm not asking that much...
As for the English language, it is an unfortunately common occurrence in many countries, including Spain. Heck, I've sometimes encountered some staff at British airports whose speech I couldn't understand, but that's probably just me and my handicap for understanding a Brummie drawl or a real Cockney speech...
Quoting infodesk (Reply 20): And what a great idea to have an enclosed viewing terrace.
Actually it is not a viewing terrace per se, as it is completely enclosed - the views are either of the sky or the airport concourses through tinted glass. Still great for soaking up those last rays of the sun, though.
Quoting infodesk (Reply 20): What a shame that AY are going to stop warm meals. I was really impressed when I flew with them and it puts them one step above the rest.
I've always said that AY just can't compete on price with most carriers, so they should stick to quality. The
Quoting Reifel (Reply 21): One day you'll be in serious trouble if a flight is heavily delayed or cancelled or something.
Yep, that's my biggest fear. I do usually have contingency plans or at least a general idea of my options should things go tits up plus a rather good travel insurance (at least on the paper, never had to test it in practice yet, though!).
Quoting Reifel (Reply 21): Respect for your Madrid-Transfer-World-Record
Oh, I think one can do it much faster if one knows where to go - I did loose a lot of valuable time at running around in circles plus arguing with the agents at T3 arrivals...
Quoting shamrock321 (Reply 23): Nice report again, do LH serve a hot meal on all flights over 2 hours? DUB is almost 2 hours and when I flew this route last year it was just a bread roll and choclae bar.
I'm not sure - last (and only) time I did DUB-FRA on LH was in 2003 and back then there was a nice hot meal, but well, things were different then. Last summer on HEL-FRA there was no hot meal, just some sandwiches, so it might be connected to the time of the flight - this was mid-afternoon flight, not really fitting any mealtime as such. Plus of course competition, AY offered hot meals on FRA/MUC-HEL, so LH follows suit.
25 makeree: Yes, that is the one. And it will be my first trip to Japan so I think I will have a beer or two during the flight to NRT.
26 skord: Always my favourire TripReport poster.... thank you for yet another fascinating report with superb dialect!!
27 mihairosioru: Hi FlyingFinn, Great report as always - I am also trying to get a flight on the LAN widebody MAD-FRA, I am thinking of working something out like OTP-
28 FlyingFinn76: Sounds like a great plan and a fun trip. I'm actually doing MAD-BBU in August with BlueAir myself... Let's not spoil all the fun, right? Just some (n
29 lukeyboy95: Nice job FF. This looked like quite a journey and a really nice route and good on you for getting such an interesting carrier. Its a beauty in the spr