gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2512 posts, RR: 13 Posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7469 times:
A weekend in Transylvania with Blue Air (LTN-SBZ)
This is just a quick report about my weekend in Romania with Blue Air. I found their website by accident back in February, and booked a return flight from London Luton (LTN) to Sibiu (SBZ) in central Romania for the princely sum of GBP 32 return (Euro 38, USD 47). Not bad for a 3 hour flight. Blue Air fly 4 times weekly from Luton to Sibiu, and 5 or 6 times to Banesea (Bucharest), and maybe also somewhere else.
The website wasn’t particularly user friendly, and IIRC I had to put my details in a few times before everything went though. I could find virtually no ionfomation on Blue Air before I went, lest for their Wikipedia entry. Skytrax has no info on them, despite having a fairly large route network, stretching as far away as Lisbon and Dublin.
Blue Air OB 332
London Luton (LTN) – Sibiu (SBZ)
Boeing B737-300 (YR-BAC)
Scheduled: 0900-1400 (3h00m)
Actual: 0910-1344 (2h34m)
Economy Class (no frills)
I left my flat in London just after 6.30am (far too early for a Saturday), and caught the 0655 train from St.Pancras to Luton Airport, getting me to the airport around 0720. I met my friend who was joining me for the weekend. Unlike some no frills airlines, with Blue Air, you need to pick up a proper ticket at the check in desk. No online check in! When the agent was typing away, I asked my friend if he’d heard of Sibiu before. When he said no, the agent started laughing. I suppose if it wasn’t for these airlines starting these funny routes, no one would know the places existed. I asked about the load, and she said there were 64 pax. I counted 90 coming off the inbound. The return flight was probably around 110 – not bad for a 130 seat aircraft.
Security was fast, and once in the departure lounge, we got some breakfast from Prêt, which had a nice view of the arriving aircraft.
Boarding was called just after 0830. We were kept waiting in the stairs leading down to the tarmac for 5 minutes though – not sure why.
We were assigned row 2 - the window and aisle seats for the first 5 rows had very uncomfortable headrests. After takeoff, my friend moved to row 1, with both of us sitting in the middle seats without headrests. It looked as though the seats could be converted into 2 x 2 seating.
After takeoff, we flew over St.Albans (my hometown) – after many years of leaving LTN, I’d never seen St.Albans from the air before.
Magazine (quite good), BOB menu, and safely card
Fleet info – B737-900s have been ordered
Retro fittings. This aircraft started life with Ansett Australia in 1986
The middle ‘converter’ seat
Lots of gaffer tape used
Approach to Transylvania over the Carpathians
Sibiu Airport – only normally gets 5 or so flights a day. We were in a taxi within 15 minutes of touch down
A few photos from Sibiu, which world European Capital of Culture in 2007 along with Luxembourg
Our aircraft enroute to Valencia the day before our return flight
Blue Air OB 331
Sibiu (SBZ) – London Luton (LTN)
Boeing B737-300 (YR-BAC)
Scheduled: 0700-0815 (3h15m)
Actual: 0702-0742 (2h40m)
Economy Class (no frills)
On the way back, I asked for a seat at the back, my friend got row 4. immigration was VERY slow when checking Romanian passports, but barely glanced at mine – does the Romanian Govt try and stop them from leaving still?
Depending on your seat number, you were bussed separately. Given the emptiness of the airport, it would have been quicker and easier if they’d let everyone walk to the plane.
The only other aircraft on the tarmac.
After takeoff, I reclined my seat and got a little sleep. The crew (who were the same as coming over), did two rounds of the BOB, but I didn’t get anything.
Duxford Imperial War Museum – spot the Comet
We touched down over half an hour early, which was pretty good. Unlike on Ryanair, the crew didn’t even mention it!
Wizzair seem to take over LTN most mornings – there were 7 aircraft on the ground when we landed
Immigration took 20 minutes, with the queue stretching all the way back to the terminal entrance. The bus back to Luton Airport Parkway took nearly 25 minutes due to the traffic, and we just missed a train, so I ended up being late for work. At least the station has good views of the departing aircraft!
Air Blue were pretty good – I mean for £16 each way, you can’t really complain. The crew were nice and friendly, and spoke good English.
lychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 905 posts, RR: 3 Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7438 times:
Fantastic. Good to know about this airline though old planes (25 years++++) make me somewhat nervous. Cute town. I will now go and check it out on the map. I wonder if they fly to Iasi. That's where I would like to go. Thanks.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7306 times:
I was looking forward to this report - there haven't been too many about Blue Air here and I'm scheduled to fly two flights with them in August, including a red eye MAD-BBU so very interesting to get a preview. As in your case - great fares as well for me.
Doesn't look half bad actually, a bit old fashioned planes but I guess they are getting new ones. How was the legroom on the -300?
Sibiu reminds me a lot of Timisoara - which is a good thing as I consider it to be the nicer side of Romania - Bucharest IMHO is a horrible city! How were the stray dogs - the one on your picture looks like it's a domestic dog?
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter): Depending on your seat number, you were bussed separately. Given the emptiness of the airport, it would have been quicker and easier if they’d let everyone walk to the plane.
Must be a job creation scheme.
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter): Wizzair seem to take over LTN most mornings – there were 7 aircraft on the ground when we landed
Any idea what that Mineral Vodye (sp?) Tu-154 was doing there?
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2512 posts, RR: 13 Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7278 times:
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 1): Good to know about this airline though old planes (25 years++++) make me somewhat nervous.
I was a bit nervous with the interior - it was pretty old, but I always reason that if the staff are happy to fly, then it's probably ok!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2): Doesn't look half bad actually, a bit old fashioned planes but I guess they are getting new ones. How was the legroom on the -300?
The legroom was better in the front (rows 1-6), but the seats were uncomfortable. Seats in the back had a little less room, but overall I thought it was more comfortable. Maybe it was 32 in the front, 31 in the back? Exit row was 12 on the -300 if that matters. Also, the seats go ABC-EFG, so no D seat.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2): Sibiu reminds me a lot of Timisoara - which is a good thing as I consider it to be the nicer side of Romania - Bucharest IMHO is a horrible city! How were the stray dogs - the one on your picture looks like it's a domestic dog?
The city was very nice. I went to Timisoara in 2003 and I think similar, although a bit more touristy in Sibiu (understandably). The dogs all seemed fairly docile. All the strays seem to have been tagged in their ears - not sure of the purpose if it, but the govt. seems to be keeping tabs on them.
KLASM83 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 584 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6692 times:
Great TR! What an interesting airline. It's always enlightening to see what the service and interior decor is like on these smaller airlines. Also, beautiful pictures of Sibiu, it looks like a great place to be.
Thanks for showing that there is indeed another way than the "Time Warp" to get to Transylvania.
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2512 posts, RR: 13 Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2854 times:
Quoting sia744 (Reply 10): It's a Mineralogy MD-80 either VP-CBI or CBH, One of two based on the Gold Coast (YBCG), Australia.
Quoting SRforever (Reply 11): Yep, from left to right you have the following aircraft:
Handley Page Dart Herald (Air UK)
Hawker Siddeley Trident (BA)
Bristol Britannia (Monarch)
Vickers Viscount (BEA)
Thanks both of you for the clarification!
Quoting gardermoen (Reply 12): Nice report and pics.Looks like Sibiu is a cute little town for a weekend break.
Thanks, glad you liked it. Shame the route has now been dropped by Blue Air.