ilyag From Israel, joined Jan 2001, 110 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 6150 times:
Here is a report about my recent business trip to Germany. Will try to keep it short and let pictures to tell the story. Apologize in advance for poor pictures quality – they are taken with my cell phone and thus leave much to be desired.
This time I decided to go with LH/LX to maximize the number of airports/aircrafts, while staying with the same airline group. The outbound flight via MUC is very conveniently timed, leaving at 3PM. It doesn't require annoying midnight wake up and transfer to the airport (as it is typically happens with most ex-TLV flights). Ben Gurion T3 in Saturday afternoon is relatively empty, with only a few flights deparing before the evening. Here are some impressions:
TLV B concourse – empty on Saturday afternoon
Ex-LY 752 now flying with Sundor (which is pretty much same as LY)
My 343 – sorry for the dots, could not get a better view
LH 744 parked at C6, going to FRA
DL 744 to JFK, parked at C8
Aircraft: Airbus 340-311
The flight to MUC was uneventful and went smoothly. Time in the air is only 3:30, so it probably helps too. The A343 is quite old, and cabin is definitely showing its age. However, the seats are new and nicely colored, in distinct contrast to the overall cabin ambience. The biggest problem of these seats is that they are VERY uncomfortable – hard and unsupportive. I cannot think of a more uncomfortable aircraft seat I have ever tried. You can probably survive a 3.5h flight, but I would not want to spend more time in them. The relatively new IFE system is unimpressive, but works quite well and helps to make this flight pass by quickly. The food is OK too – nothing special, small portions, but edible. The flight was full in Y (very colorful mix of pax, apparently connecting in MUC to all over the world), but 2-4-2 seat arrangement works well and I don't feel cramped. Legroom is quite good too (probably thanks to the new slim seats).
Pax queue up for deplaning upon arrival in MUC
Transfer in MUC:
This is my first time in MUC T2. I have traveled through MUC T1 several times before, but have never been in T2. We docked at I9, which is international arrival gate. On exit, you climb 3 levels to a corridor leading to passport control. For Schengen transfers, you leave secure area and need to reclear security, which is not a big deal, since I have plenty of time and security control is rather empty. In general, MUC T2 is very impressive – large bright halls, high ceilings; everything is sterile clean and very well maintained. Here are some impressions from my MUC transfer:
TK 738 next to my A343
T2 check in area
A343 I arrived on from TLV
Endless and sterile clean T2 concourse
LH Avro parked next to T2
LH 346 pushing back
ANA 77W going to NRT
LH A320 seen from a ground level bus gate
Aircraft: DHC-8-402Q, operated by Augburg Airways
My onward flight to STR is very short. We board right on time via a bus gate, an old blue bus takes us to remote parking somewhere on the other side of the airport. Augsburg's Dash-8 is OK – not new, but clean and well maintained.
STR terminal (next morning)
A very nice week in Germany passes by quickly (mostly working, but also having fun), and I have to pack my suitcase and head back to the airport.
I arrive at the airport quite early and have at least one hour to kill before boarding. STR is OK, but not really impressive; here are some pcis from this morning:
LH 733s – one pushing back for FRA, the other one goes to TXL
AF A318 to CDG
STR T3 gate area
Aircraft Avro 146-RJ100
Boarding called punkt on time and we go off with a bus to remote parking stand in front of the terminal. When approaching the aircraft, I'm very happy to discover that his is HB-IYS featuring Zurich airport shopping special scheme. On the inside, this Avro is tired, but clean; seats are comfortable and worked very well for such a short flight. The flight is full, but everybody boards quickly and in a few minutes we are on the way. After a very short hop we land in cloudy ZRH and taxi to concourse A. Some pictures from this flight:
Swiss Avro close up – what a nice surprise to get this special scheme
Avro cabin on arrival
HB-IYS parked at A concourse in ZRH
Another Avro parked at concourse A
Transfer in ZRH:
ZRH is definitely one of the nicer airports I have been through and I have very fond memories from previous transfers in ZRH. On the downside, the transfer from concourse A to the new concourse E takes ages and security is painfully slow. My scheduled connection time was 45 mins – I would surely miss my flight, but my flight to TLV is delayed by 30 minutes due to late arrival, so both me and my luggage make it to TLV together on the same plane. The new concourse E looks very modern from the outside, but it is a bit of a letdown inside – lots of bare concrete walls and very little color. New concourse B construction is underway and it looks similar to E – hope that inside will be nicer though. Another disappointment – I hoped to take a glimpse at Singapore A380 departing nearly at the same time, but A380 is parked at the very end of concourse E with all the views blocked by the jet bridges – will have to plan for more time in ZRH next time and go to visitors terrace which should be very nice. Here are some ZRH transfer pics:
Swiss A333 with LH A319 taking off at the background
The mighty A388 – unfortunately this is all you could see from the terminal
Swiss A333 with a company A343 pushing back at the background
AA 763 going to JFK
Swiss A333 pushing back for BOM
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
I knew that A332s days in LX are numbered as they are being phased out, so I was hoping to for a last minute sub with a sparking new A333. Well, it didn't happen. The flight was again full, which is certainly great for LX, as they are able to fill a weekend flight in off-season time. On the inside, the aircraft still looked very nice, modern and clean - much better than LH A343 I flew to MUC. The seats are original dark-blue, quite comfy but with noticeably less legroom. The biggest letdown – IFE didn't work. Tried several times, but the screen was blinking and very little could be seen. My neighbor had a similar problem but with different channels. Several attempts to catch FA to ask what is going on didn't work either – they were polite and professional, but very busy with inflight service and completely ignored my call button. At the end I gave up and just worked on my laptop for the rest of the flight. Quite a disappointment here – I understand that they get rid of this plane soon, but not caring so much for the IFE is not good; LX is supposed to be a quality carrier (at least judging by their fares), so I expected more. Pictures from this flight:
My A332 HB-IQQ parked at gate E52
A332 front section close up as I board it
Soon-to-be-gone A332 economy cabin
Arrival in TLV – LH 744 next to DL 744
IZ E95 pushing back
My A332 parked in TLV
TLV passport control was completely packed with pax coming from LH744 from FRA, OS A321 from VIE and IB A343 from MAD. Luckily, I have a fast track passport control card, so I get through in several minutes. My bag shows up on the belt soon and I'm off through customs to meet my ride home.
That's it. To sum this up – nice and smooth flights with LH/LX without major surprises, but not without disappointments. Thanks for reading!
ilyag From Israel, joined Jan 2001, 110 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5421 times:
Thanks for your comments!
Quoting nethkt (Reply 3): I'd be perfect only if you could provide the food of the meals on board.
Sorry, since I was taking pictures with my cell phone, I didn't want to use it in flight, even though it was in offline mode. Anyway, from my memory, LH had a drinks run (only soft drinks, no alcohol), followed by a hot meal. LH offered a choice of chicken or beef. I opted for chicken, that came with pasta, little salad and little cake for dessert. The meal itself was OK, but really nothing special. LX meal was surprisingly similar - also chicken (but no choice this time), with fried potatoes in tomato souse, accompanied with a small salad and a cake. LX drink offering was more generous though - they gave away a full can (which happens rarely nowadays) and also had free beer and wine. None of these meals were really memorable, but pretty much inline what what I have had before (not counting US carriers, famous for subpar meal offerings in Y). I was surprised by the the full size metal cutlery in LX - usually cutlery in Y is plastic or tiny metal, but LX had a full size normal cutlery that looked quite nice.
gjunnar From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4962 times:
Good report, glad there are also trip report involving STR from "inbound" travelers. TLV definitely is a destination that is missing in STR, particularly now that many German airport have seen a substantial increase in flights/frequencies. There used to be at least a weekly charter flight on Saturdays a couple of years ago, nowadays there ain't nothing.
Kinda disappointing to read about the rather mediocre impression that you got on LH/LX. They are quality carriers and are supposed to live up to their reputation. Maybe it just was coincidence that both mother and daughter had a bad day...