AYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 10489 times:
My very first trip report: HEL-ARN-VIE-MXP-WAW-HEL
I have been fascinated by a.net trip reports for several years already. I´ve met some of my favourite writers (infodesk, Flieger67 and FlyingFinn76) on my previous trips but have never actually written any reports myself. So, on my summer vacation in July I decided to try to create an interesting itinerary for November and try finally writing a report myself.
At first I booked the last flight WAW-HEL on LO. Usually their one way fares have been much higher but by chance I noticed they had started selling tickets for 58 EUR (one way, including all taxes and fees). So, I had to book one, of course.
I had never flown on Lufthansa Italia before, so my obvious choice for getting to Warsaw was MXP-WAW on their A319. As the price was right (53.74 EUR) I made a booking. And to get to Milan, I decided to fly another new airline for me, Niki. Routing would be ARN-VIE-MXP. These flights were booked in August for 100.74 EUR so not bad actually. Lufthansa Italia and easyJet would have been cheaper but more boring alternatives for this leg.
The cheapest alternative for HEL-ARN route would have been Norwegian but their flight schedules were pretty useless for me as my flight to VIE would depart in the afternoon at the same time as their earliest flight from HEL would arrive to ARN. As AY one way tickets cost ridiculous amounts, my only choice was Blue1. Their schedule wasn´t perfect either but I booked a morning flight for 63 EUR. This would give enough time to visit the center of Stockholm – one of my favourite cities!
I had to stay overnight at Malpensa airport. My flight from VIE would arrive at 20 and my departure was at 6.55 in the morning. I decided to book a room in one of the airport hotels. The new Sheraton Malpensa is situated by the terminal building so there should be no hassle with the shuttle buses that sometimes have caused me significant amounts of worries. Sheraton price for a night in single room would be 132 EUR, so not a bargain but affordable.
Sunday November 14th 2010
My flight would depart at 9.20 in the morning so luckily not another far too early wake up this morning. After having a cup of coffee at home I did walk to a bus stop about 700 metres from my home and took a Helsinki regional bus 519A from Vuosaari shopping mall to HEL terminal 1 where I was at 8. So I had enough time for my check in using the check in machines. Usually I try to use OLCI as often as possible but now I didn´t have any time to print boarding passes the day before because I spent my time at a work meeting.
After security I had plenty of time to drink another cup of dark roast coffee to actually wake up. It was a quite depressing and grey day and I was tired but I decided to make this sunday a nice and memorable one!
Crowded? I don´t think so:
Dedicated for FlyingFinn76:
Helsinki (HEL) – Stockholm Arlanda (ARN)
BAe Avro 85
Seat 18F (window)
Scheduled time 9.25-9.25
Nothing much to write about this flight as it was a normal Blue1 flight where only coffee or tea is served free of charge. I was so tired that I don´t have that many memories Our take off was on runway 22R and both departure and arrival were on time.
And yes, I decided to try the last row as I´ve noticed that some other people here are fascinated by it
My ride OH-SAP after the flight:
Please, return all your weapons here:
After the arrival I decided not to take the Arlanda Express train to the city. I absolutely adore Stockholm but I was so tired that I thought the wisest thing would be to stay at the airport and either to read something or try to have some sleep. Weather in Stockholm wasn´t that good either.
At first I went to Sky City for a Big Mac meal at McDonald´s and then it was time to head for terminal 2 where I had some coffee and kanelbulle – the most Swedish of all combinations! I also tried reading Haruki Murakami novel I bought some time ago but being very exhausted after a hectic week, I only decided to watch all the people around me. It was very enjoyable after the week I had at work!
Christmas time is soon here:
Stockholm Arlanda airport, terminal 2 (dedicated for infodesk):
Check in began at 12.45, 2 hours before scheduled departure time and I was third in a row. After seeing my Finnish identity card, the check in agent asked her colleague ”Kan man åka med sånt här till Wien?” meaning if I can use it for travelling to Vienna. Her colleague said that she didn´t know and told maybe to ask their boss. At that point I told her that of course it can be used for travelling within Schengen area. She was happy with my explanation and gave me my boarding pass wishing a nice flight. This is the first time my identity card hasn´t been accepted immediately within northern Europe!
Clearing security was a quick experience. So, I had plenty of time for shopping and having more coffee.
Niki A320 OE-LEF arriving from Vienna – what a livery!
Oh, maybe this flight will depart ahead of schedule?
Boarding was announced early. Unfortunately agents had some difficulties with their computers so boarding actually took some extra time.
Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) – Vienna (VIE)
Seat 30A (window)
Scheduled time 14.45-17.00
I was assigned a window seat in the front. While boarding I noticed that the two other seats next to mine were already occupied, so I asked the FA if this flight would be fully booked. She immediately understood and told me that of course I could choose my seat where I wanted. So, I took the last row again and luckily I had the whole row for myself. Very friendly!
Computer problems caused some delay so that our actual time of departure was on schedule and not 10 minutes ahead as was the forecast earlier.
Delta to JFK:
My very first knee shot (actually, my knees do appear in one of FlyingFinn76 reports this spring):
Soon a tasty ”double sandwich” (one with ham and one with cheese) and free non-alcoholic drinks were handed by the friendly flight attendants. I have to admit that I was impressed by the quality of service of this airline!
Coke light and a sandwich:
For the rest of the flight I listened to music on my iPod and read my book. These two hours were quickly vorbei and we were soon approaching Vienna airport! It was already getting dark when we landed. We were parked to the apron and taken to the terminal by a bus.
Inside terminal all transit passengers had to enter a new security control. After meeting all not-so-happy Nordic people earlier during the day, I was really surprised to find smiling and friendly personnel by the security control point. I was not in the grey north any more
I headed for the gate B41 and listened to music while waiting for the next flight to depart. It was also very interesting to watch all the lively Italians to communicate with each other. How much I´ve missed that lately!
Our boarding started and we had again bus transportation to our plane. I was surprised to see that instead of a promised A320 there was an Embraer 190 waiting for us. Fantastic to get to fly that beauty in wonderful Niki livery!
Vienna (VIE) – Milan Malpensa (MXP)
Seat 2A (window)
Scheduled time 18.50-20.10
This time my seat wasn´t on the last row, but number 2A. And yes, some gentleman was sitting next to me and my seat felt really cramped. But it was only a 1.5 hour flight so I could make it
Flight was on time again, luckily. I was really expecting the much needed sleep that would only be 2-3 hours away in Milan. Luckily I had my iPod with me!
On this second Niki flight there was a friendly and attentive cabin crew again. I have to wonder how Niki does it? Lovely people working for them and the snack service was much above average and the ticket prices aren´t that high either. On this route same kind of tasty ”double sandwich” again but with different kind of filling than on ARN-VIE -route. Not bad for sort of a low cost airline!
Legroom could have been better:
Milan was rainy and dark. There was also a bus transportation to the terminal where I did took care of my check in for my early morning flight to Warsaw by the check in machines.
My morning flight already visible:
Sheraton Milan Malpensa
Sheraton Malpensa is located by the terminal and railway station. There is no need to go outside so the rainy weather was not bothering me at this point.
Walkway to the hotel:
My cosy room:
I set the alarm for 4.30 in the morning so that I would have time to take a shower, have a breakfast and find my gate in the morning. Finally it was time for some sweet dreams!
Monday November 15th 2010
Unfortunately I woke up already at 3.30. Well, better too early than too late! After taking a shower, I rushed to the terminal and security control only to find the airport fairly empty. So no queue!
Another empty airport:
My breakfast consisted of Cafe Latte, freshly squeezed orange juice and a croissant. Very Italian and very delicious! After the much needed food it was time for shopping because a friend of mine was having her birthday and I knew she loves all kinds of Italian things! So, Italian coffee for her and some Italian food for me as a souvenir!
My gate A09:
Boarding was commenced approximately 20 minutes before the scheduled time of departure.
Lufthansa Italia LH3748
Milan Malpensa (MXP) – Warsaw (WAW)
Seat 27F (window)
Scheduled time 06.55-09.00
This time I had the last row seat again. My worst nightmare came true and the flight was fully booked. So, also the seat next to mine was taken by a young woman and I really felt like I was stuffed inside some can. But luckily this wasn´t a trans-Atlantic flight but a short intra-European trip!
The flight departed on schedule. The all-German crew was less attentive than the one on Niki the previous day. I actually felt that they couldn´t care less of me and my needs. But of course I was served my daily dose of free Coke light and a free sandwich. Sandwich was quite ok but not a one to remember.
an Italian airline?
Horrible legroom again:
During approach the weather was fine and I was actually able to take some kind of photos of the Warsaw area.
My plane at Warsaw airport:
The weather in Warsaw was wonderful and I had more than six hours to spend. So I took bus 175 from airport to the city. The ticket cost 2.8 PLN (0.75 EUR) one way so it wasn´t that expensive.
I spent most of my day around the Palace of Culture and Science because I´ve previously visited the Unesco world heritage listed old town and the area around it. Many people were only wearing t-shirts so as a Finn it was nice to enjoy of the brilliant weather!
Palace of Culture and Science:
Warsaw Centralna railway station:
After some hours in the city, it was time to return to the airport. At the airport I had some time to use the free wifi before boarding the plane. There was a bus transportation to the plane. At first there were some problems with a bus door that was out of order and wouldn´t close. Our driver did have to step out of the bus to fix the door.
I just love the nose of Embraer 170 and 190:
Warsaw (WAW) – Helsinki (HEL)
Seat 18D (window)
Scheduled time 16.35-19.25
Last row seat 18D and this time I had the whole row for myself again. Flight attendants were nice and smiling. So the boarding went well except that I was maybe the last one to board the plane and had to wait for all the people to have their hand luggage stored. Departure was on time.
Really nice legroom for a change:
Service included free drinks and a roll filled with something plus some chocolate. The roll was tasty but I wasn´t sure what it was supposed to be. The rest of time I read my book and listened to music.
My plane arrived in Helsinki 10 minutes early and since I had no luggage, I was able to walk directly to the bus stop and take a regional bus 615 to center of the town and continue home by metro. I was at home about 20.30 in the evening. So I had plenty of time to sleep well before tuesday and another day of hard work!
I had great expectations for this trip and I sure wasn´t disappointed. Niki is a great airline with great service and it was fun to try both their A320 and E190. Blue1 and LOT were as nice as always. I do have to admit that I expected a lot more of Lufthansa Italia. Their cabin crew wasn´t very much interested in the customers – maybe that had something to do with them being all Germans and not Italians so that they probably didn´t have common language?
Sheraton Malpensa was a nice hotel and the location was wonderful practically inside the terminal building. Maybe it was a bit pricey but really value for money!
My next trip is HEL-SVO on AY in the beginning of December. Return is on a Russian night train Moscow – St. Petersburg and on a Finnish Sibelius train St. Petersburg – Helsinki. It will be on the last week of service for the Sibelius train before it will be replaced by a new high speed train. So possibly there will be another trip report
initious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1066 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 10452 times:
Hi AY333, wonderful trip report there! A very good debut! Makes me feel like I was with you on the flights and it seems like Niki has a wonderful product onboard, on top of a lovely livery. Hope to see more great reports coming soon!
AlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 10381 times:
Nice first report indeed. Good varied choice of Airlines and Aircraft on this trip. I love the NIKI livery. Didn't know they have the "fly" on the wingtip fence also. The sandwich looks quite tasty and a decent size so thats nice to see. I must try and fly them soon.
I was very interested in your views of the MXP Sheraton as i stayed there myself just over a week ago. Did you get access to the club lounge included in your rate? I also notice your bathroom was slightly to mine as you had a bath, mine was just a shower tray.
Anyway, thanks for the write up. Hope you will find time for more.
I can only agree. Btw - you got the newest A320 in the fleet.
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): I have to wonder how Niki does it? Lovely people working for them and the snack service was much above average and the ticket prices aren´t that high either. On this route same kind of tasty ”double sandwich” again but with different kind of filling than on ARN-VIE -route. Not bad for sort of a low cost airline!
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 9040 times:
Good to see this report up! A very good debut from you, hope to see far more in the future...
Part of the your format seems very familiar, but I always like when people post details of their planning sessions and fares, as those are things I pay a lot of attention to.
Very interesting mix of carriers, planes, routes and carriers for such a short trip. Weather doesn't look too good along the route, but at least Warsaw made up for it!
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): At first I booked the last flight WAW-HEL on LO. Usually their one way fares have been much higher but by chance I noticed they had started selling tickets for 58 EUR (one way, including all taxes and fees).
I noticed this as well and booked WAW-LHR for the same price for January and built a trip around it - but as you probably know things changed quite radically and I had to ditch those flights for something far more interesting!
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): It was a quite depressing and grey day and I was tired but I decided to make this sunday a nice and memorable one!
Interesting, by the time you were at the airport I was still fast asleep, when I woke up closer to eleven the morning had actually turned quite a gorgeous one - sunshine all around.
I think this facility is a new one - I spotted it last Tuesday as well.
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): This is the first time my identity card hasn´t been accepted immediately within northern Europe!
This has happened to me as well at ARN - a couple of years ago (but after Estonia's entry into the Schengen agreement) I was checking in at the SAS transfer desk at T5 airside for my ARN-URE flight on OV. The agent kept insisting that I need a passport instead of my ID card, even though I pointed out that a) Estonia is nowadays in Schengen and b) I've traveled to the country dozens of times with that particular piece of plastic, even before the Schengen thingy. Well, she finally checked with her supervisor and got the positive word and gave me my precious boarding pass.
There's a logical explanation to this, though, as explained to me by some Swede at another message forum: apparently the Swedish national ID card is NOT a valid Schengen travel document due to missing some vital piece of information (nationality I think, although might be wrong). So since the Swedes can't travel just with their ID cards outside the Scandinavian Common Travel Area some Swedish agents have problems in dealing with other national ID cards as well, I guess the Finnish ones must be extra confusing as they have all the labels in Swedish as well...!
I was surprised to see that instead of a promised A320 there was an Embraer 190 waiting for us.![/quote]
Good for you!
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): Soon a tasty ”double sandwich” (one with ham and one with cheese) and free non-alcoholic drinks were handed by the friendly flight attendants. I have to admit that I was impressed by the quality of service of this airline!
Got the same service on my only flight with Niki so far, a less than an hour hop between ZRH and VIE - very impressed actually. Although I very strongly disliked the casual "jeans and shirt" uniform of the cabin crew - yeah, I know Niki tries hard to be different and your best mate but still, I just love women in uniform! (Hmm, that's an Iron Maiden song, isn't it?!)
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): My next trip is HEL-SVO on AY in the beginning of December. Return is on a Russian night train Moscow – St. Petersburg and on a Finnish Sibelius train St. Petersburg – Helsinki. It will be on the last week of service for the Sibelius train before it will be replaced by a new high speed train. So possibly there will be another trip report
Thank you and wow, a very smart-looking desk. I like the walk-in idea.
You don't read about HG that much, so good to hear your views. It seems they offer a very good inflight service, although as you say the legroom looks a bit tight.
Beautiful shot of the sunrise on your MXP-WAW leg and some very nice pics of Warsaw itself. And what a surprise to see a Swiss Lindor chocolate on LOT, yummy!
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): maybe that had something to do with them being all Germans and not Italians so that they probably didn´t have common language?
Never having been on LH Italia I can't really comment, but would have expected crews to be employed who speak some Italian.
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter): Return is on a Russian night train Moscow – St. Petersburg and on a Finnish Sibelius train St. Petersburg – Helsinki. It will be on the last week of service for the Sibelius train before it will be replaced by a new high speed train. So possibly there will be another trip report
Sounds fantastic, I really hope you're going to treat us to a report
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
AYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 8152 times:
Thanks for the feedback! I´ll try to write something also on my trip to Moscow!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter): Well, Niki Lauda knows how to run a customer-orientated airline. Too bad Niki wasn't in command on your flights. I was lucky when I flew HG back in May:
I did read your report and found it very interesting. I was actually expecting Niki Lauda to be in command, but unfortunately he wasn´t
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 8): Part of the your format seems very familiar, but I always like when people post details of their planning sessions and fares, as those are things I pay a lot of attention to.
Wonder why That has always been one of my favourite parts of any trip: to find new and interesting routes, planes, prices etc. Sometimes I even like it more than flying itself
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9): There's a logical explanation to this, though, as explained to me by some Swede at another message forum: apparently the Swedish national ID card is NOT a valid Schengen travel document due to missing some vital piece of information (nationality I think, although might be wrong).
Ok. That explains it! But why on earth do they have such an ID card? What is it good for then?
Quoting infodesk (Reply 10): And what a surprise to see a Swiss Lindor chocolate on LOT, yummy!
Very tasty, of course! As only Swiss (or Belgian) chocolate can be!