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Christmas Spirit: HEL-DUS/MST-GRO-CIA/FCO-TXL-HEL  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 9475 times:

Introduction

This trip started again as an impulse purchase from one of the Air Berlin sales. Couldn’t find any suitable 29 EUR fares this time, but a 39 EUR fare on a Saturday noon flight in December on HEL-DUS sounded good to me, so I booked it.

While thinking on what to do with this flight I realized that I had not been to the Netherlands at all this year, and as this was probably the last chance to do so and with DUS located close to the border that sounded like a good idea. So I concentrated on the two most convenient Dutch airports nearby, MST and EIN, nowadays quite popular with the low cost carriers (and conversely, not much else...). I found a Ryanair flight MST-GRO for the next morning for less than 30 EUR all-in including priority boarding. As Girona would be another new airport for me, offered the chance of some Spanish sun and lots of onward connections with FR I booked it.

From Girona I ended up booking a flight to Ciampino, the secondary, low cost Rome airport, which would be another new addition to my log. Ryanair again, of course, would be the carrier, and the flight cost 25 EUR all in with priority boarding.

I had initially thought about burning some miles to fly home on the direct Finnair service ex-Fiumicino, but AY had apparently changed the schedules and on Sundays there was only a noon flight available, they used to have a late flight at seven or so which would’ve been perfect for me. The next option, airBaltic was departing too early as well for me. I finally found a decent fare of 130 EUR again with Air Berlin via TXL, with a convenient departure time of 18.05 and booked it to get home.

Here’s what the complete itinerary ended up looking like:

.

Saturday 11.12.2010

A nice noon departure, so I can have a bit of a lie-in, very much appreciated after another very busy week at the office. The day is quite cold and very snowy, but so far no significant delays are posted on the airport website so I stick to my original schedule and take the bus to the airport, arriving there around an hour before departure. T2 through the snow:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_1.jpg

I did OLCI the previous day, but due to AB joining Oneworld next year AY is awarding triple miles on AB flights until the end of the year and I want to snag those. The OLCI did not allow one to change the FFP from Top Bonus so off to the check in desks I go to get it done - no queues and a couple of very pleasant agents deal with my request immediately and with good humour thrown in as well.

Security is a bit slow - there’s a large bunch of elder and definitely not very well traveled Spanish pax in front of me. It being around lunch time I grab a sandwich from Stockmann - I guess it tells something about the inflated prices at this airport when Stockmann, the “Harrods of Finland” is the cheapest place around to buy food and water!

An Air Åland Saab (operated by NextJet) looking very lonely against the whiteness:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_2.jpg

The gate today is 27, so I head towards that general area and decide to treat myself to a nice, if horribly expensive glass of some good quality German Riesling. I kinda like the way this picture turned out:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_5.jpg

The inbound plane arrives from TXL a few minutes late at 11.40:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_3.jpg

D-AGEP, a new one for my log. I tried to capture a picture of the snowy vortex generated by the engines, but this is the best I could do:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_4.jpg

Boarding is called half an hour later - again I’m the first one to board. While walking down the jetway I notice this bird is carrying an “Operated by Germania” sticker under the cockpit windows - yay, unexpectedly this would become my second flight with Germania!

HEL- DUS
AB8921 Operated by Germania
B737-700 D-AGEP
Seat 2A
12.48 - 13.59

Despite the bird being a Germania one and the seats their thick leather ones everything else is Air Berlin: FA outfits, the welcome candies, announcements, the works.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_8.jpg

I grabbed 2A from OLCI, 2C was already occupied and I figured out that the middle seat had a good chance of remaining free - which it in the end did, despite a very good load of over 90%!

Boarding takes a long time as most of the travelers again aren’t very well versed in the procedures - that’s the bad part about traveling on weekends! They make repeated announcements asking people to hurry as we have a slot to make and who knows what happens if we miss it - not that anyone apart from me seems to be paying any attention. They even ask the gate agent who is delivering the pax manifest to make the same announcement in Finnish, but this seems to have no effect either! How I miss domestic German flights on weekdays, especially with LH - all frequent flyers in suits, and everybody knowing the process by heart!

Doors are finally closed at 12.25, five minutes after our scheduled departure time. Flight time is announced as 2h5mins. Of course the praying mantises are here to spray us with some hot stuff:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_9.jpg

Deicing takes quite a long time or maybe we are just waiting for our slot - anyway push back is finally 23 minutes later, 28 minutes late. Taxi to runway 04R takes another 7 minutes, taking us past some interesting sights. I wonder how much deicing fluid they have to use on these heavies:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_10.jpg

Very snowy AY birds:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_11.jpg

Czech Air Holidays 737 classic, I guess it was subbing for AY during the strike (which luckily just ended):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_12.jpg

City Airline MD-87 operating for KF and one of the KF 717s in front of their maintenance hangar:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_13.jpg

For some reason the captain wants to use every bit of TORA, so we turn left from the taxiway, taxi another couple of hundred meters to the very end before turning around and shooting to the skies:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_14.jpg

Of course we use only half or so of the available runway, so I have no idea what that was about:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_15.jpg

Looks like 15/33 has not been cleared of snow:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_16.jpg

Soon we disappear into the clouds, only to emerge into sunshine a bit later - now that’s a welcome sight during these dark months:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_17.jpg

The Germania version of the inflight map is older, but at least it puts Helsinki and Tallinn at the proper places unlike the newer one:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Helsinki_Departure_18.jpg

Service is standard AB - turkey or cheese sandwich - cheese always as I’ve been disappointed far too many times by the meaty one:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Dusseldorf_1.jpg

It remains overcast for the rest of the flights, so not much to see, just catching up on some reading. Descent starts right after passing HAJ, around 1h45 mins into the flight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Dusseldorf_2.jpg

Far less snow here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_3.jpg

Landing is on 23L after a flight time of 2h2mins, 14 minutes late.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_5.jpg

I didn’t know MS flew to DUS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_6.jpg

A TUIfly bird in yet another special color scheme:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_7.jpg

Cityhopper from AMS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_8.jpg

Deboarding is through a jetway to the B pier. Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Dusseldorf_Approach_9.jpg

Düsseldorf to Maastricht via Aachen

DUS seems to be in a Christmas mood:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Maastricht_1.jpg

Not very busy this Saturday afternoon:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Maastricht_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Maastricht_3.jpg

I hurry to catch the sky train to the airport rail station, the next train to Aachen is departing shortly and I really want to make it as these direct services run only once per hour, other services require change of trains somewhere down the line. I buy a ticket from the self service machine (which this time accepts my credit card just fine, whoa!) and make my way down to the platform only to see this:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Maastricht_4.jpg

Yes, I think it is quite obvious what “später” means...

Exactly 15 minutes late (the Germans are sehr pünktlicht even with their delays) the “NRW Express” regional train shows up. It stays completely packed until Köln Hbf, but onwards from there for the last 45 minutes there are far less passengers and it’s somewhat more comfortable.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Maastricht_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Maastricht_6.jpg

At Aachen Hbf the next bus to Maastricht is just pulling in to the stop when I get there - very good timings. For another 5,50 EUR I get a ticket to Maastricht and hop in. The bus gets packed at Aachen city centre, lots of Dutchmen have been on shopping trips and visiting the famous Aachen Christmas markets (I did as well some years ago and can definitely recommend them!).

It being dark and not much to see outside I use this opportunity to get some more shut eye, and wake up as we are nearing the city of Maastricht. Terminus is the Centraal Station.

Maastricht

By this time I’m starving, so I head off to find a place for some dinner. This being Holland, the old colonial masters, there are of course plenty of Indonesian restaurants around - I find a nice looking one and settle for a very good dinner of spicy Indonesian fish.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_3.jpg

Afterwards I spend a couple of hours walking around, there are a couple of Christmas markets here as well, although they are a bit different from their German counterparts (come ‘on, ferris wheels and giant slides - what were you thinking?!).

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_8.jpg

The good old staple, Glühwein keeps me warm:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_11.jpg

Christmas carols were being sung at many places by various entourages - is this a Dutch tradition?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_12.jpg

So Dutch:



Finally it is time to head to the airport and my hotel there, I catch the bus there from CS. The bus stop is right in front of the terminal, which is then directly attached to my hotel - the Tulip Inn Maastricht-Aachen Airport. Quite a dump if you ask me, probably built back in the 60’s or so, and these dire corridors make it look like a motel in rural Iowa:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Hotel_1.jpg

The room is a bit better:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Hotel_2.jpg

Not sure if I agree with these earthy colors in the bathroom:



Interestingly I got handed a minibar form, but where’s the actual bar:



For a second I wonder if I should tick all the items in the list as apparently they all, including the fridge itself have been consumed...

It’s been a while since I’ve had this instead of a key card - I think the last time was in Las Palmas half a year ago:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Hotel_5.jpg

Anyway I discover that the free wifi they so proudly advertised in the room description only works in the lobby and restaurant (oh, there indeed is signal in the room but it is through T-mobile and costs money - cunning folks these Dutchmen). Not having had enough of my online fix today I head to the bar, drink a last tall Heineken and spend some (more or less) quality time online before retiring to my room for some sleep.

Sunday 12.12.2010

Up around seven or so. The very first thing I hear outside is the sound of an approaching jet - I open the curtains just in time to see a Turkish Air Cargo Airbus landing in front of my window - the runway is just a stone’s throw away, making this hotel an ideal one for spotters - too bad there isn’t much traffic to spot here!

Normal morning rituals and outside, there’s a different woman at the reception desk from the previous night - I ask what’s the deal with the minibar. She explains that this hotel will be torn down next year or so, possibly replaced with a new one, so they don’t bother changing broken equipment anymore. Well, about time I’d say! She’s a bit apologetic about it but I say it’s fine.

You gotta love these onsite airport hotels - a hundred meters of walking brings me to the terminal entrance:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_1.jpg

Why, oh why did they have to use this horrible yellow color?!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_2.jpg

Not too busy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_3.jpg

Not much is happening inside. There’s an open cafe upstairs, so I head there, grabbing a capucchino and a very Dutch (cheese and lots of it!) sandwich for breakfast.

Back downstairs. The girl guarding the entrance to the security check and checking my ID wishes me a good flight - I answer “It’s Ryanair - you just can’t have a good flight with them!” - Immediately she snaps back “Well, then it is time for you to fly another airline!” which causes the next pax in line to laugh out loud. Bit of a character on this girl - I like it!

At the security checkpoint there’s another boarding pass check - I try to argue that it was just checked less than 20 meters away but the woman just mutters something under her breath.

The airside is as ugly as the landside, at least there’s plenty of seating areas (and lots of Dutch wooden shoes on sale - seriously, how cliche can you get?!):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_5.jpg

Quite soon priority boarders are called - another boarding pass and ID check follows. And guess what - five meters and yet ANOTHER boarding pass check, this time the bar code is scanned into a machine. I tell the woman “You know, this is the fourth time my boarding pass has been checked, don’t you think it’s a bit too much?” - “Oh, we just want to make sure you get on board. By the way there’s another check in the plane” - I roll my eyes at this.

The handling of priority boarding is very good here - other airports should take note: the seven of us (two more join in a bit later) are led into our own private holding pen (or rather a room as it is very large), separated from the great unwashed by a glass wall:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_6.jpg

Wow, this feeling of being locked up in my ivory tower is definitely worth the extra 4 EUR I paid for it!  

The inbound plane lands around 8.10, half an hour before departure. Too bad these pieces of equipment are blocking the view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_7.jpg

Going head to head with this Transit:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_8.jpg

Very soon, less than ten minutes after the plane doors were opened an agent comes and unlocks the door, allowing us to proceed with boarding.

Didn’t catch the registration earlier, it turns out to be EI-EMK, a new bird for me and quite a new bird in general, having been delivered to Ryanair seven months prior.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_9.jpg

MST - GRO
FR6912
B737-800 EI-EMK
Seat 16A
8.41 - 10.15

Quite jolly Spanish crew on this flight apart from one girl who turns her head away from pax so that she doesn’t have to greet them, well good morning to you as well, love. With Ryanair and a flight longer than an hour there’s no doubt which seat I end up in:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_10.jpg

Flight time is announced as 1h40mins with “Nice weather at Girona, plus six degrees and scattered clouds”. Load is quite low for Ryanair, less than 70%. An empty middle seat next to me and crew who doesn’t care about mine and the aisle woman’s stuff lying on the middle seat (some of the crews are very strict about this) ensures reasonable comfort.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_11.jpg

Departure is pretty much on time, taxi to runway 21 takes us right past the hotel and my room:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_12.jpg

Hmm, a spotter?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_13.jpg

What’s this - trailer park for the Dutch white trash:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_14.jpg

Take off is four minutes after we leave the parking position. Quite a line up of Fokkers here, I guess these are all ex-KL Cityhopper:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_15.jpg

Paint the tails green and sell ‘em to BT is what I say!  

Limburg is quite hilly for the flat image commonly associated with the Netherlands:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_17.jpg

Departure pattern is a bit weird, right after take off we make a very sharp left turn towards the east and fly into what must be German airspace for a while before making a counter turn towards the right which points us southward. I guess this is done for noise abatement reasons to avoid overflying Maastricht city?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_18.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Maastricht_Departure_19.jpg

Overcast for the rest of the flight until the Med. The European skies sure a busy, when I took this shot somewhere near Paris I could count the vapor trails of six planes at one time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Girona_1.jpg

The Alps just barely visible on the horizon:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Girona_2.jpg

I decided to get the Ryanair Cabin Crew Calendar - purely because all the proceeds go to charity, mind you, obviously not for the girls in bikinis! Too bad this plane is out of it, let’s hope for better luck on the next flight!

Just before descent the FO makes a small announcement, saying that we should be landing at 10.15, a good 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Oh, hello Med, looking good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Girona_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Girona_4.jpg

Approach is very pretty as we first follow the rugged coastline:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_3.jpg

Before heading inland:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_4.jpg

What are they burning?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_6.jpg

Girona city:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_7.jpg

During finals there are some amazing views of the valleys covered with thin wisps of mist:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_9.jpg

This approach seems to work no matter which side of the plane one sits as other one is treated with very pretty views of the snowy Pyrenees...

Landing is on runway 20 after a flight time of exactly one and half hours.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_10.jpg

Something landing right after us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_12.jpg

Oh, it turns out to be another flight from Holland, HV from MS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_13.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_14.jpg

While walking to the terminal I snap this photo of the Transavia bird:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Approach_15.jpg

Right after I get yelled by a ramp agent for having the guts to perform such a bold act.

Girona Airport

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_1.jpg

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan:

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25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 9478 times:

The weather is beautiful - sunshine and no clouds, but coldish at under ten degrees so I decide to stick indoors. It’s getting about lunchtime and I spot an ad for a Subway at the gate area so head through security there. Having filled my gut I take a look around the airport - not very large but surprisingly nice for a FR airport:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_3.jpg

Nice plane mural:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_4.jpg

They have these outdoor terraces for smoking and with what looks like a beer garden for summer, but closed now:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_5.jpg

Not too much traffic, after the HV flight departs it’s just a bunch of FR flights. At some point I notice a queue starting to form in front of the entrance to some gates - I realize it is actually my flight and these people have formed a loooooong queue 45 minutes before departure:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_6.jpg

I decide not to bother as I trust on my priority boarding and natural charm to get me a good position. This turns out to be a wise choice as once the gate agents arrive one of them opens another door and asks for “Prioritaire”. It is ten minutes before the scheduled departure time but no plane has arrived, so obviously we will be late. I ask about this and am told that the inbound plane from RAK is 30 mins late. I happen to be the only pax with priority boarding, wow how’s that for an exclusive feeling. I get a good chuckle out of one Italian gentleman’s fight with the gate agents about his trolley size - in the end he has to wear a vest he had tucked away in the trolley to make it barely fit the frame. Let me tell you he isn’t exactly happy about this!

The inbound arrives soon enough - boasting “Pride of Scotland” (and I thought it would be whisky, stupid old me!) titles:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_7.jpg

EI-DCD, another new entry for my log and quite an old one for Ryanair with almost seven years under her belt.

Oh, a Christmas theme with the crew:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_8.jpg

Boarding is called only ten minutes after arrival. I follow the FA with the Xmas hat towards the plane, trying to struck up a conversation. She is a bit shocked when I tell her about the weather I left back in Finland the day prior, of course mentioning about it being the true home country of Santa!

GRO - CIA
FR9182
B737-800 EI-DCD
Seat 16F
13.03 - 14.24

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_1.jpg

Once onboard, it’s another exit row seat for me. I chat a bit with Saul, the sole male FA on this flight manning the exit rows. I ask about the delay - “We were delayed at Marrakesh, the boarding took a very long time. You know the Marrakesh passengers, they are... special.” - Oh indeed I do know about the Maghreb countries! I ask whether they have the Ryanair calendar in stock and to my delight he says yes, they indeed do! I ask him to reserve a copy for me.

Good load of around 90%, empty middle seat next to me though. Whee. The captain makes a quick welcome speech, announcing the flight time as 1h15mins and not much else. Departure is 28 mins late.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_2.jpg

Taxi to runway 20 takes a while, and we finally take off ten minutes later.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Girona_Departure_7.jpg

North coast of Mallorca in the distance:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Ciampino_1.jpg

Oh, the precious calendar:



Sardinia:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Ciampino_3.jpg

Leaving Sardinia, this is Olbia:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Ciampino_4.jpg

When nearing the Italian coastline it gets overcast:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Ciampino_5.jpg

The seat belt sign is switched on exactly an hour into the flight and we proceed through the bumpy murkiness. We are already very low over central Rome when we finally break the clouds - here’s Termini station, where I’m trying to get to:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_14.jpg

Is this then the Italian version of a trailer park:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_15.jpg

Landing is on runway 15 after 1h11mins in the air. Interestingly they play the “On time” Ryanair fanfare even though we actually landed 14 minutes late. Tsk tsk.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_16.jpg

Fire bombers, not having much to do during the winter:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_17.jpg

Stopping next to the arch enemy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_18.jpg

The doors are kept closed for quite a while, they finally announce that we are waiting for a bus to take us to the terminal. Well, a bit later it is announced that the bus has arrived. Once out on the tarmac there’s no bus, instead we are ushered to walk the short way towards the terminal - wonder what that was about?

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Ciampino_Approach_20.jpg

Rome Ciampino to Fiumicino via Termini

I get quickly out to the open to try to find a bus that would take me to Termini. I find one and purchase a ticket for 4 EUR only to realize that it leaves a good 20 minutes from now and that the other bus company next to us would leave earlier - bugger.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1.jpg

At least the Rome traffic isn’t that bad on a Sunday - be it weekday and I think I’d been far more worried about my connection. The ride ends up taking around 35 minutes. Once we pull to our stop near Termini I spot a bus going to Fiumicino next door. I ask the ticket guy when this is leaving - in five minutes sounds good to me but unfortunately it’s completely full.

I accept defeat and head into Termini. This is exactly what I tried to avoid - I don’t like Rome at all and I think Termini is pretty much the epicentre of all the things that are wrong with it. Packed, noisy, dirty, confusing and very chaotic - I try to avoid it at all costs! Had Dante lived during the more modern times I bet Termini would’ve heavily influenced his Divine Comedy and its descriptions of Hell and Purgatory!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2.jpg

I barely make it to the next Leonardo Express to FCO - stopping to buy a ticket for the rip off price of 14 EUR at a self service machine along the way. Why an earth do these trains depart from these far away binarios, these must be at least a kilometer away from the others?!

Leonardo Express is quite a flattering name for this piece of junk train that reminds me of some of the worst rolling stock the Latvian State Railways inherited from their previous Russian masters. Of course it is completely packed and uncomfortable and of course we are mysteriously delayed along the way stopping in the middle of nowhere for unspecified amounts of time and of course there are no announcements whatsoever about it.

Finally we reach FCO. As an icing on the cake half of the doors of the train are broken and the ones that do work open for five seconds at a time, creating interesting guillotine effects on people. Boy am I glad to be off this particular train!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_3.jpg

Fiumicino Airport

Air Berlin lives in “Terminal 3”, more like check in hall 3 if you ask me. Alpi Eagles, this time resurrected as Eagles Airlines (errr, what’s up with the multiple plurals?):



Ok, it is called “Leonardo da Vinci Airport” after all:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_5.jpg

Check in staff is great for a change - I again ask them to change my TopBonus number for AY Plus, first the girl tries to argue that “Air Berlin own program only”, but after I stand firm and point out the upcoming Oneworld membership she actually gets her supervisor to call Air Berlin (not sure where, she spoke Italian on the phone) and apparently they confirm it and she enters the number, even saying she is sorry about it, must be a new thing. I tell her that it is ok and yes, it indeed is a new thing. Grazie!

Oh dear, I’m so fed up with their boarding music - luckily all flights on this trip had some 80’s Christmas hits instead:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_6.jpg

Security has lots of people, but they have many lanes open so it isn’t too bad - apart from the double boarding pass check here as well. Being in Italy I decide to grab a slice of pizza at yet another Autogrill outlet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_7.jpg

A bit of shopping (the folks at the office loved the famous Baci Perugia chocolates, well I do as well!) later I head to the D-gates area. I get to the gate around 50 minutes before departure and a lot of folks are already queuing! Why, oh why? You have assigned seating after all!



An announcement is made that boarding will start in about 20 minutes, so I decide to head for a relaxing beer.

I still have a hard time remembering that Wizz flies to FCO instead of CIA:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_9.jpg

I come back 25 minutes later and right when I’m about to sit down boarding is called, with my usual elegance mixed with boldness I manage to jump most of the long queue - Opportunist is my middle name.

Through a window in the jetway I see that it indeed is the expected 738, D-ABBD, my second flight on this bird, the first one was HEL-TXL almost exactly three years ago.

FCO - TXL
AB8271
B737-800 D-ABBD
Seat 24F
18.02 - 20.12

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Fiumicino_Departure_1.jpg



The flight is almost full, just a bunch of middle seats towards the back remain vacant, luckily including the one next to me. The captain comes on with a very detailed welcome speech, this time he doesn’t leave out any details in the English version either. Take off will be from 25 towards the west, with a right hand turn following over the Tyrrhenian Sea and then straight northwards to Tegel where the weather is freezing with snow showers in the area. The whole flight should take 1h50mins.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Fiumicino_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Fiumicino_Departure_4.jpg

Push back is three minutes ahead of schedule, however there’s quite a number of planes in front of us so take off is not until twenty minutes later.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Fiumicino_Departure_5.jpg

Nice views of the cities of Northern Italy all lit up in the clear night, couldn’t get any decent photos, sorry.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Fiumicino_Departure_6.jpg

Service is, yes you guessed it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Tegel_1.jpg

Just before the Alps all views of the ground disappear under a thick cloud layer, staying so until final approach to TXL. The route:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Enroute_to_Tegel_2.jpg

Barely 1h20mins into the flight the captain is on again, announcing that we have already started our descent and should be landing on runway 26R in half an hour. Apparently it is now minus two degrees with very cloudy skies at Berlin.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Tegel_Approach_1.jpg

This proves to be very accurate, landing is on the aforementioned runway 1h51mins after take off.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Tegel_Approach_2.jpg

Too bad we get a jetway at the main terminal building - the HEL flight is departing from the C gates area and I’d rather avoided the trek and subsequent security rescreening to get there, but no can do.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Tegel_Approach_3.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Tegel_Approach_4.jpg

Tegel Airport

The weather outside is quite miserable, luckily the walk is quite a short one (no bomb scare this time) and mostly through a covered walkway - from where I snap a final shot of my ride:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Tegel_Approach_5.jpg

I’ve always found the C terminal security to be very efficient, today is no different. Airside I go on a small shopping spree - there’s no place like Germany for cheap booze! Lots of Nordic people around, with flights to CPH, OSL, GOT, ARN and HEL all departing shortly, and all of course hording up alcohol like it is going out of fashion!

Just enough time to have a final beer before heading to the gate area. A long queue has again formed here (why?!), but since the gate next to us doesn’t have a flight I know what will happen - they will board using both gates at the same time, so I sit down near the empty gate instead. As always, this happens, so when boarding is called at 21.05 I’m one of the first ones to get through, I can feel the angry stares from the people in the other queue on my back!

No stupidly short bus rides this time, the plane is parked right in front of the gate. It turns out to be a D-ABDS, an A320 delivered a bit over three years ago and a new entry for my log.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_1.jpg

TXL - HEL
AB8310
A320 D-ABDS
Seat 14A
21.21 - 00.07

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_2.jpg

Good load on this flight as expected around 90%. Interestingly the exit row 13 in front of me stays completely empty. Even though I have two seat mates I can’t be bothered moving there, though.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_3.jpg

Flight time tonight 1h40mins. Push back is nine minutes ahead of schedule, well done. Take off from 26L is around our scheduled departure time.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_6.jpg

I try to sleep, but some light dozing is the best I manage.

Service is the very same cheese sandwich for a third time on this trip:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_7.jpg

Well, I wasn’t able to sleep before, but of course fall asleep right after our descent and landing in 20 minutes is arrived!

Landing is on runway 04L after 1h37mins of flight, 18 minutes ahead of schedule. As this is the far runway it takes quite a while before we reach the terminal and dock to a jetway.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Maastricht_12_2010/Final_8.jpg

Out to the freezing night air (minus ten) and home on the next bus.

Conclusions

Three new airports and a couple of new planes for my log, a good achievement. Maastricht in Christmas spirit was a nice and very relaxing experience, enjoyed it.

Air Berlin once again proved that they are a welcome addition to Oneworld - high quality, good fares and very consistent and friendly service.

Ryanair - well no problems for me. The Spanish crews were quite nice, far better than some of the Eastern European ones. Excellent fares and some more secondary airports to add to ones log.


A couple of days and then it is time for the last trip of the year for me, featuring a detour to snowy and cold Lapland and coming back in the front of yet another KF 717. HEL-RIX-TMP-RVN/KTT-HEL is the itinerary! Stay tuned!

Happy contrails!


User currently offlineshamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1598 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8892 times:

Great repot as usual!

User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27000 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8862 times:

Hey great report as usual. I love the routes you take, they all turn out very interesting.   Oneday I must get you to plan a route like that for me !

Keep the reports coming, I love the snow  


Philip


User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2476 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 8611 times:

Hi P.,

I have been waiting for this report of yours. I especially like the MST part featuring the visit to an Indonesian restaurant, a glimpse of Tulip Inn and MST airport. I was wondering how it looked like.

I like the idea of the FA leading passengers the way to the aircraft in GRO. It reminds me of Air Asia. Too bad, it does not seem as a FR standard procedure.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Oh, the precious calendar:

I wish FR would publish the male version.

Thanks a lot for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4695 posts, RR: 50
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 8557 times:

Nice report man! Good to see you visited that province that is officially part of the netherlands  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Take off is four minutes after we leave the parking position. Quite a line up of Fokkers here, I guess these are all ex-KL Cityhopper:

Looks like they are ex-Denim Air instead. Their base maintenance was done by SAMCO (who owns the hanger in the background) and after the bankruptcy of Denim Air they parked most of their fokkers there.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5170 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 8509 times:

Hi, P.,

great stuff again.
Well done with that number of less covered airports here, not to say that I will go more often on these very special niche carrier from the western island, but new departure airports is a strategic target for 2011 here.
Booked my very first leg on Wizz these days, EIN-PRG to catch a new one.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, I think it is quite obvious what “später” means...

They should fix it on the screens, standard these days!.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: Capital travel on schedule!.
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8480 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,

Great report and pictures once again.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Czech Air Holidays 737 classic, I guess it was subbing for AY during the strike (which luckily just ended):

There seemed to be some interesting equipment on AY-routes during strike. If one had known the schedules in advance, it might have been tempting to book a flight on such a rare aircraft.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
At some point I notice a queue starting to form in front of the entrance to some gates - I realize it is actually my flight and these people have formed a loooooong queue 45 minutes before departure:

Typically Ryanair-passengers...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Interestingly they play the “On time” Ryanair fanfare even though we actually landed 14 minutes late. Tsk tsk.

Maybe they thought people might not realize the delay in they play the fanfare?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Alpi Eagles, this time resurrected as Eagles Airlines (errr, what’s up with the multiple plurals?):

Interesting - I didn't know they were back in service.

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8470 times:

Very nice report FF76. A nice series of flights you've taken. Looks very cold in Finland at the moment. Glad you made all your connections too. I've seen MS in DUS before - a couple of years ago when I was last there, an A320 was on the ground. Looks like the service is year round - I thought it may have only been seasonal as I was in DUS during the summer. Agree with you about the Roma Termini - not my favourite place at all !! Thanks for posting this. Planing to squeeze any more flights in before Christmas? P/jet


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineozzietukker From Netherlands, joined May 2007, 62 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8449 times:

Great Report and quite interesting route as usual.

As a Dutchman myself I have shamefully admit I have never been to MST airport.... Thing is that it is not close to where I live at all, and I cannot put myself flying back to an airport which is more then 2 hours from my home....

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Right after I get yelled by a ramp agent for having the guts to perform such a bold act.

I am not sure why some ramp agents think they should say something....


User currently offlineaflyingkiwi From New Zealand, joined Nov 2010, 515 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8408 times:

Another Great Trip Report. You do make some of these LCC flights more interesting then they probably are.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I think Termini is pretty much the epicentre of all the things that are wrong with it.

I got to agree with you there, Italian Train Stations (especially the larger ones) aren't exactly the nicest places in the world.

Regards
aflyingkiwi


User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8373 times:

Hey mate.
The weather sure looks much more wintery at HEL now than it did a few weeks ago. Love the de-icing shots and the trucks look cool. I would love to have a shot in one.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I did OLCI the previous day, but due to AB joining Oneworld next year AY is awarding triple miles on AB flights until the end of the year and I want to snag those.

Too good to pass up on for sure.


I agree, the picture with the Riesling looks very smart. Nice to see your hat in the picture also  

More than on FR flight on the same trip!!! Are you feeling alright mate?

The cheese sandwiches on AB look very good indeed, will have to give them a try.

Thanks for the posting P.

Cheers, Lee


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 684 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8343 times:

Hi FlyingFinn,
another great one from you as usual. Some lovely pictures, especially the ones from the takeoff in MST and the approach to GRO. Interesting as well to read about Maastricht, indeed an unusual Christmas Market there, but at least you got a glass of Glühwein.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Exactly 15 minutes late (the Germans are sehr pünktlicht even with their delays) the “NRW Express” regional train shows up.

Oh well, Deutsche Bahn. Usually they add another 5 or 10 minutes to the 'Verspätung', you were probably just lucky.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Not too much traffic, after the HV flight departs it’s just a bunch of FR flights.

Indeed, that's what I thought as well last time I have been to GRO. I think without the FR base they would just have one or two flights a day.

Nice you got that Ryanair calendar, doesn't it just feel great to do something for charity  

Greetings
CaptainRed


User currently offlineDunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 614 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8310 times:

Hi P!

Great report and thanks for sharing, im surprised how quick you get your reports online!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The airside is as ugly as the landside, at least there’s plenty of seating areas (and lots of Dutch wooden shoes on sale - seriously, how cliche can you get?!):

I suppose thats like us in England with our London Taxi's, Red Buses, Telephone Boxes and Beefeater Bears.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“You know, this is the fourth time my boarding pass has been checked, don’t you think it’s a bit too much?” - “Oh, we just want to make sure you get on board. By the way there’s another check in the plane” - I roll my eyes at this.

Sounds a like an overkill to me.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
What’s this - trailer park for the Dutch white trash:

Haha, probably something like that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
s an icing on the cake half of the doors of the train are broken and the ones that do work open for five seconds at a time, creating interesting guillotine effects on people. Boy am I glad to be off this particular train!

Remind me not to take this train, so used to brand new trains in England, its always like stepping back in time when taking a train on the continent. Italian public transport sounds like an absolute comedy!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Air Berlin once again proved that they are a welcome addition to Oneworld - high quality, good fares and very consistent and friendly service.

They really seem like a good airline from the reports on here. I well most definately be trying them out when they start LGW next year.

Matt


User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3005 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8302 times:

Thanks for another great read, and cool pictures!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
but where’s the actual bar:

As long as they didn't try to charge you for the cost of the fridge!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Right after I get yelled by a ramp agent for having the guts to perform such a bold act.

Maybe he thought you'd taken a pic of him slacking off while at work?  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Termini is pretty much the epicentre of all the things that are wrong with it.

Agreed. I had a night train booked to Paris (a future idea? Only cost EUR26!) and had dropped off a hire car at FCO, and suffered the Leonardo Express as well. It was probably the same, broken down train as you had...

Thanks, and looking forward to the next!

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 8128 times:

Hi P.,

very nice report, I enjoyed reading and the pics are good too. Nice selection of B737s on this trip, only been on D-ABBD myself of this bunch.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Of course we use only half or so of the available runway, so I have no idea what that was about:

That's because the braking action and in case of rejected takeoff, the crew wants to have some remaining asphalt in front for extra safety. It can be quite slippery surface in those conditions  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Oh, it turns out to be another flight from Holland, HV from MS:

I guess that's a flight from RTM instead though.

I must say, the fares on the Eagles look interesting enough to try them out some day.

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 8082 times:
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Hi P,

Good read as always as is the route, always interesting!

AB look pretty decent, like the consistent service, even down to the catering!   - I'll have to try them out on a few legs once the join OW.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
D-AGEP, a new one for my log

- An early NG series too, 1998 build, no 16 off the line me thinks.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the Tulip Inn Maastricht-Aachen Airport. Quite a dump if you ask me, probably built back in the 60’s or so, and these dire corridors make it look like a motel in rural Iowa

- Looks quite nasty, indeed looks similar to something grotty you would find in the states.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Service is the very same cheese sandwich for a third time on this trip:

- Good job you like them!

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 offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7864 times:

Hi all, glad to so many comments!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 3):
Oneday I must get you to plan a route like that for me !

Sure, my standard fee is 5% of the airfares but is negotiable!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 3):
Keep the reports coming, I love the snow  

Well, I bet you do sitting in snowless (I hope!) and much warmer Greece!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 4):
I like the idea of the FA leading passengers the way to the aircraft in GRO. It reminds me of Air Asia. Too bad, it does not seem as a FR standard procedure.

It's happened on some other FR airports as well, for example on my recent trip ex-LPP and some others. Wizz does it at some airports too.

Quoting JRadier (Reply 5):
Looks like they are ex-Denim Air instead. Their base maintenance was done by SAMCO (who owns the hanger in the background) and after the bankruptcy of Denim Air they parked most of their fokkers there.

Ok, thanks for the correction. I never realized Denim had so many Fokkers, I thought they had more Dashes.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 6):
but new departure airports is a strategic target for 2011 here.

Hey, me too, me too.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 6):
Booked my very first leg on Wizz these days, EIN-PRG to catch a new one.

Congrats, I have been wondering why the pink airline was still missing from your log!

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 7):
There seemed to be some interesting equipment on AY-routes during strike. If one had known the schedules in advance, it might have been tempting to book a flight on such a rare aircraft.

Indeed. The problem is that I don't think they published the schedules at all so it would've been very hard to figure out which flights will indeed get operated and what not.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 8):
Looks very cold in Finland at the moment.

Actually it's not that cold here, around minus ten or so, although it should go down this weekend somewhat. It's just that we have tons of snow which makes certain things difficult and makes everything so damn white.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 8):
Planing to squeeze any more flights in before Christmas? P/jet

Oh yeah, didn't you read the last paragraph properly? Leaving today afternoon for the last trip of the year.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 10):
You do make some of these LCC flights more interesting then they probably are.

Well, that's what good drama writing skills are all about!

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 11):
The weather sure looks much more wintery at HEL now than it did a few weeks ago.

It's the snow. There's plenty of it.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 11):
I did OLCI the previous day, but due to AB joining Oneworld next year AY is awarding triple miles on AB flights until the end of the year and I want to snag those.
Too good to pass up on for sure.

Yeah, the miles posted very quickly and were surprisingly generous. I think I will post all my upcoming AB flights to AY for sure, Top Bonus has gotten quite worthless recently.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 11):
I agree, the picture with the Riesling looks very smart. Nice to see your hat in the picture also  

Sure, the good ole' traveling hat.

Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 13):
Great report and thanks for sharing, im surprised how quick you get your reports online!

Well, Lutheran work ethics, that's what we are known for!

Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 13):
They really seem like a good airline from the reports on here. I well most definately be trying them out when they start LGW next year.

Definitely, do give them a try.

Quoting signol (Reply 14):
Agreed. I had a night train booked to Paris (a future idea? Only cost EUR26!) and had dropped

Hmm, sounds interesting and a great fare indeed. But were I traveling between those cities I think I'd prefer the KU fifth freedom flight!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
Oh, it turns out to be another flight from Holland, HV from AMS:
I guess that's a flight from RTM instead though.

At least it was departing back to AMS, check the FIDS shot and I think the arrivals monitors showed it arriving from Schiphol as well, although can't be 100% sure, though.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 15):
I must say, the fares on the Eagles look interesting enough to try them out some day.

Oh yes, Tirana sounds very very very interesting to me! Have to look into this next year.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 16):
- I'll have to try them out on a few legs once the join OW.

No Executive Club earnings yet? AY already even started codesharing with them on the flights to Germany.


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4269 posts, RR: 51
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7842 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 17):
At least it was departing back to AMS, check the FIDS shot and I think the arrivals monitors showed it arriving from Schiphol as well, although can't be 100% sure, though.

Yes, you are probably right. I checked and see HV now have only a few weekly flights from AMS also (very cheap fares still available even for todays flight, so I guess loads are very, very low).



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1459 posts, RR: 33
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7771 times:

Hi P,

No sign of you letting up with the flying at the end of the year!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I kinda like the way this picture turned out:

Very classy.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
For a second I wonder if I should tick all the items in the list as apparently they all, including the fridge itself have been consumed...

Haha! That really would've foxed them.

Looks like you made a good choice with Maastricht, what with the Christmas market and festive lights it looks very pretty.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Why, oh why did they have to use this horrible yellow color?!

Makes it look like FR land, was this deliberate?!

Great pics from your flight into Girona, what the lighting above the clouds, the Med and that low-lying mist.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
4 EUR

I'm not au fait with FR, but 4Euros to avoid the stampede seems almost, dare I say it, too cheap.

Bring on the Lapland snow.....!
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 offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8546 posts, RR: 54
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 7730 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 17):
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 16):
- I'll have to try them out on a few legs once the join OW.

No Executive Club earnings yet? AY already even started codesharing with them on the flights to Germany.

- No and BA are sponsering their entry into OW too!



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 offlineMD11Bob From Germany, joined Mar 2010, 112 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7566 times:

Great report as usual  

User currently offlineRogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 7508 times:

Hola FlyingFinn76!

Another very interesting routing.

Glad you made it from snowy HEL to sunny GRO, btw. we are having below 0ºC temperatures these cold mornings, even on the coast... no snow so far, but who knows maybe I can ski on the beach in a few days  

It seems AB offers a decent product at very competitive prices, I am not very keen on them but I guess I would give them a try now that they are integrated in Onewrold, so I can get some more points in my IB+ account.

The hotel in Maastricht had a very 'special look'... BTW, it is a very nice city, I do not know if you had the chance to walk around, but it is really worth the visit.

Hyvää joulua!!   

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlinenkops From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2665 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7186 times:

Beautiful pics.... the Christmas shots were awesome!!!   


I have no association with Spirit Airlines
User currently onlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 24, posted (3 years 9 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6843 times:

Hi FlyingFinn!

Very nice report again with nice pictures! Nice to see that at least you get a sandwich on AB which is more than you get on SK.......

I agree that the train from Termini is very bad; have taken that once or twice but it's probably worse now......

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 25, posted (3 years 9 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6772 times:

Hi all and thanks for the new comments!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
Looks like you made a good choice with Maastricht, what with the Christmas market and festive lights it looks very pretty.

Yep, it was very moody all around. Maastricht is quite a pretty city and the city centre was just bustling with people, some doing late night Xmas shopping, some just hanging around having a good time.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
Why, oh why did they have to use this horrible yellow color?!
Makes it look like FR land, was this deliberate?!

I don't think so, I think these desks predate the Ryanair era at this airport (which hasn't been going on for too long) by many years.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 19):
Great pics from your flight into Girona, what the lighting above the clouds, the Med and that low-lying mist.

Yep, very atmospheric. I loved the views.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 22):
Glad you made it from snowy HEL to sunny GRO, btw. we are having below 0ºC temperatures these cold mornings, even on the coast... no snow so far, but who knows maybe I can ski on the beach in a few days

The Pyrenees seemed to have a fresh coat of snow! And yes, it was quite cold outside.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 22):
BTW, it is a very nice city, I do not know if you had the chance to walk around, but it is really worth the visit.

I've been there before, so I know it somewhat. Yes, it truly is a pretty city.


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