FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 6731 times:
Ryanair keeps steadily introducing new flights to Tampere, their oldest (and by consequence, also the largest) destination in Finland. Oh and of course dropping certain underperforming routes as well, but you’re not supposed to mention that as it would be bad publicity! This year they seem to have finally realized the full potential that offering destinations in the Med for us sun-starved Finns. It started last year with AGP, and I bet those flights had one of the largest average ticket prices across the entire Ryanair network (as a coincidence TMP-AGP is also the longest flight on the whole FR route map!) - (one way) fares in the excess of 200 EUR were more the norm than the exception!
Anyway this year the apparently lucrative theme was continued, with the introduction of TMP-ALC, resumption of TMP-AGP for the summer season and as a new development a bunch of new destinations in Italy in addition to BGY that has been seasonally served for a couple of years now. These destinations, in the order of the routes being opened are: PSA, CIA and finally TPS.
So some new airports to log and a cheap (usually) way of getting to Italy - sounds good to me so let’s go!
Since PSA was the first route to be launched that was the first one I booked. Too bad I couldn’t make the inaugural flight as that was one day before I was attending the DY HEL base inaugural celebrations and flights: Norwegian Base Inaugural Day: HEL-RVN/OUL-HEL (by FlyingFinn76 Apr 2 2011 in Trip Reports)
So I searched around for some openings in the calendar and good fares and found the perfect combination two weeks after the route launch. The cost was 34 EUR all-in, including priority boarding.
The flight arrives just before midnight at Pisa, so it was obvious I had to spend the night there. For this I booked a B&B just a few hundred meters from the terminal.
I definitely wanted to see that tower that the city was so famous for, so any return trip would have to start in the afternoon to allow me the morning for ticking this task off my todo list. I found a nicely timed afternoon flight on Ezy to Berlin Schönefeld for 29.99 EUR and booked that.
Finally Air Berlin’s late night flight to HEL would close the gap nicely, and I even managed to book it during one of their fare sales so it cost only another 29.99 EUR (interestingly these cheap fares used to be 29 EUR, now they seem to have added the 99 cents on top of that like all good retailers do...).
I have a couple of hours to transfer from SXF to TXL, so that should be fine. Here’s the route for this trip:
After the rest of my spring travels had been sorted out I also realized that the outbound Ryanair flight would actually be the 1000th (yes, THOUSANDTH) flight in my log. Bugger, I’d preferred it to be onboard some other carrier, but couldn’t really book any additional flights before that so it’d had to do. Maybe it’s a good indication of the state of the aviation in modern times - more and more low costs and less traditional carriers...
After a normal day in the office I take a local train into Pasila station, running a few minutes late as is the norm with the shameful on time performance the State Railway company has been keeping up for the last few years now... In Pasila I have just enough time to grab a burger for dinner, buy some snacks for the train journey and finally catch the Intercity train to Tampere.
Great legroom onboard:
Some guy tries to kick me out of my reserved seat by claiming that he has the same seat assignment - well actually he does and we wonder about it for a while, until he realizes that he made a mistake and that his ticket is actually for May (and for a date which coincidentally happens also to be my brother’s birthday - how spooky can things get?!). Not that it matters as the conductor accepts it just fine... If this is the state of the things I think I will start reserving my tickets to some random dates in the advance to get advantage of the 20% early booking discount!!
One and half hours later we pull right on time to Tampere (oh, did I mention the departure was around five minutes late...). Having half an hour in my hands I head for a favorite watering hole of mine opposite the station to wet my whistle a bit with a cheap pint (something you just can’t get in the Capital Region nowadays...) and then head back to the station to catch the 19.30 Ryanair bus to Pirkkala airport.
Traffic is light (and so is the load in the bus), so in less than 20 minutes we are there, but unfortunately they have a really annoying system for collecting the 6 EUR for the bus ride - the driver does not handle any money but instead somebody from the handling company is supposed to come and handle the payment when the pax leave the bus. Well, today this is not really happening - we are early but still, this is ridiculous. After waiting for more than five minutes in front of the terminal building I tell the bus driver that I really need to go to the loo (well, I really do) and that I have exact change so if he could be so kind and do the payment for me - he agrees and asks me to tell the people inside that the bus is waiting here, and I’m released from my prison. The other pax, all of whom seem to be foreigners BTW are still left in the bus, wondering what the heck is going on.
Inside I tell the infodesk (the airport facility... oh well, this joke is SO old) that somebody should really go and do the bus. Next stop is check in - they have this annoying habit of wanting to check everybody’s documents at the counter despite doing OLCI and having only hand luggage - another reason to dislike this shack of an airport. The girl takes one look at my small back bag and mutters something about it looking light enough so that it doesn’t have to be weighted...
Off to the security queue, where I try to shoot a picture of the dingy check in hall, but disaster strikes - I drop my camera on the hard concrete floor! I pick it up and the bloody thing doesn’t turn on - panic follows. After investigating I can breathe normally again - if I push the battery cover with my thumb the power stays on, but turns off again if I take my finger off, so looks like the cover or the spring has gotten loose! Luckily it’s nothing a small piece of paper jammed inside wouldn’t fix.
This whole rundown terminal and annoying crowds around me are starting to get me very irked - I snap rudely at the security agent for asking for my boarding pass again (“Come on, this is ridiculous - I just showed it two minutes ago!”), but luckily she keeps her calm and just explains me patiently that it’s a regulation. Sorry gal, it is not your fault I’m in a bad mood today!
Airside the place is packed, as can be expected with two 738s leaving within the next hour and half or so - the other flight is to KUN. I head upstairs to the cafe for another malted beverage, sitting in a table with a very nice Italian - Finnish couple. We chat a bit - they are genuinely happy about this new service as the guy is from Tuscany, around 50 kilometers from the Pisa airport and this is very convenient for his VFR trips. The guy must be the fist foreigner I’ve ever met who thinks Finnish is an easy language to learn - and very good his Finnish is, too! Oh, and I also manage to fix my camera with some paper stuffed to keep the battery in place - who needs MacGyver?!
The inbound plane arrives right on time at 20.25. EI-EBM - a new one for my log. Sorry for the bad quality image, the light was fading fast and the window extremely dirty:
Right after most of the pax head downstairs to the sole gate, and soon I join them as well. Downstairs a complete chaos is going on - there’s not much space here but lots of pax so I guess that’s only natural. There are even quite a few pax with priority boarding, quite unusual I must say.
Boarding is called less than ten minutes after the inbound arrived - very efficient. And indeed we are free to board right away, instead of getting stuck in a holding pen or something.
Interestingly a police officer in full duty uniform is escorting a deportee, an African girl to the plane. He was given priority access as well. When I pass him at the 1L door I ask “Is the Finnish state too cheap to book tickets on proper airlines?” but he doesn’t really answer to me, just leaves the plane, handing over the girl to the crew - I thought officers usually follow their human cargo all the way to the final destination?
No lie flat business class seat for my 1000th flight, just a comfortable enough exit row window seat with lots of legroom.
As usual, most of the pax with priority boarding pick up crap seats in the front of the cabin, but at least one Finnish couple is well informed and pick up the other side of the row 16.
All four FAs are quite young Italian females today, not the usual Eastern European staff you often get on FR. All four are also very disinterested in their job and look like they’d rather be just about anywhere else.
Soon enough two older Finnish women join me on the exit row - after settling in they seem to be very confused by the large legroom so I point out that these indeed are the best seats in the house. The friendlier one next to me thinks for a while and then says “So how come they were still free!?!?” - Touche, my point exactly! People just aren’t very well informed at all!
Boarding and refueling of the plane takes its sweet time - while this is going on the British captain makes a welcome speech, explaining our route as TMP-STO-BER-VCE-PSA with an expected flight time of three hours.
Load is good, as usual on Ryanair, 80% or so. We are fully ready to go by our departure time, but for some reason nothing happens and we sit still for a long while, before finally starting the engines and taxing out a good 23 minutes late. Not sure what that was about - maybe an ATC restriction over Central Europe but I find it a bit annoying if the cockpit crew thinks things like this are not worth communicating to the passengers!
Take off is two minutes later from runway 24.
These are pretty much the only views for the whole flight - at least until we reach Italy - it is overcast and dark all along our way:
This being a special flight for me I’d planned on splurging on a (mini) bottle of champagne, but by the time the cart reaches the exit row in the middle of the plane most of the drinks have already been sold - this is a flight to and from Finland after all! The last wine bottles were sold for the ladies in the row ahead of me - so I have to make do with whatever they have left:
Not my idea of a celebration, but I toast anyway...
I chat on and off with the lady next to me, read some long overdue magazines and chill out with some music and the flight passes surprisingly fast. Around 2h15mins into the flight the seat belt sign is switched on and I spot the lights of Venice on our left hand side. Soon the captain announces landing around half an hour from now.
Our approach takes us right past the PSA airport on the western side and over the Ligurian Sea, where we make a 180 degree turn towards the left to line up on runway 04L, where we land after a flight time of 2h50mins.
Soon enough we park in front the terminal building - lots of FR planes are spending the night here:
The bad part about the exit rows is that you end up being one of the last ones leaving the plane - not that I’m in a particular hurry today. Bye:
My B&B is supposedly within a walking distance from the airport - too bad the map I have doesn’t exactly tell you how to get there and being a Finn and thus stubborn as hell I refuse to read the directions in my booking confirmation. I make a couple of detours via some dodgy looking streets:
But finally reach the right house:
It’s completely dark, so I push the door bell. Mild panic follows as nothing happens despite me pushing it many times. I’m already making backup plans in my mind and hoping that the airport stays open throughout the night and reaching for my mobile to call the B&B number when a car pulls in, the driver opens the window and asks “Mr. Flying?” (yeah, he got my first and last name mixed up ). Phew! It turns out he was actually picking up some other pax from my flight.
All the guests for the night are Finns, and all arrived on the same flight from TMP - a nice coincidence methinks!
This is my room - quite cosy:
Next morning I wake up around half past seven, shower up in the shared bathroom and hit the kitchen for some breakfast which I asked to be ready at eight. A very friendly, youngish Italian girl is there, probably the owner’s (the guy from last night) daughter - she’s very sweet but unfortunately her English is just as bad as is my Italian so communication is a bit tough. Soon a Finnish family of four (with the teenage sons acting exactly like you’d expect teenage sons to act - i.e. obnoxiously!) joins us so the awkwardness passes (not that a Finn ever feels awkward at sitting in a silence with other people - that’s our natural trait! ).
After a cup of so strong Italian coffee that it is probably outlawed in half the US states and Singapore (and therefore I like it a lot!) and some sickeningly sweet things I grazie my way out of the kitchen, pack up and hit the road again.
It being daylight I realize that there is a far more direct route to the terminal, only two hundred meters or so, walking along the railway station platform.
Windjet, oh yeah:
Despite being around two kilometers from the city centre this airport actually has a railway connection to the Central Station with some trains continuing to Florence as well. I’m not sure who came up with the train timetables, but they are completely messed up - at this hour you have two trains per hour, which leave within 20 minutes of each other - now what an earth is the logic behind this? A job creation scheme for the bus and taxi drivers?
The tracks stop here:
Well, it being more than half an hour til the next train I decide to take the bus instead. Buying a ticket turns out to be quite an ordeal - the ticket machine at the bus stop has a two Euro coin stuck in its slot so I’m unable to use it. With my keys I actually manage to grab the coin from the slot, but the machine still doesn’t want to accept any smaller coins - at least I gained 2 EUR!
The bus driver advices me that one can get tickets from inside the terminal as well. Yes, there is a combined train/bus ticket counter but it has a long queue. No other choice than to join the queue and more than ten minutes later I finally get my precious bus ticket. 1.10 EUR, not bad at all!
The bus ride to the Stazione Centrale takes less than ten minutes, it indeed is very nearby. From there, I head to explore the city.
The Arno river flowing through the city (and Florence further upstream as well):
Handy, they put a target mark right in the middle of the bridge should there be a need to bomb it to smithereens from the air:
I know Italians have a thing for socialism, but this is just ridiculous:
Part of the city walls from outside:
Hmm, that house is quite short:
Ok, that looks somehow familiar:
Oh yes, mission accomplished:
Didn’t bother going up - you need to get a queuing number and the climb up the stairs scared me. Plus it is a bit pricey:
The cathedral - the tower is actually its bell tower:
Looks like they did a better job with the cathedral - doesn’t appear crooked to me:
Lots of military personnel around - I guess there was some sort of thing about to start:
Posing for the most cliched of all photos:
Quite a lot of tourists (and souvenir stalls!) around:
Ahh, Italy & coffee:
Palm trees, nice:
University courtyard - a number of students looked at me funnily for taking photos:
Is it still used by professors:
What’s this - a drive thru church?
There were quite a lot of these Hercules planes taking off and flying around - I also saw quite a bunch the last night at the airport. Wonder if it has something to do with the NATO fiasco in Libya:
Having exhausted pretty much everything Pisa has to offer I’m back at the station, determined to ride out the train this time. For a while I thought about walking back to the airport, shouldn’t take more than half an hour or so, but laziness won over (plus the fact that my feet were killing me after walking around the city for many hours).
Interesting painting inside the station:
A cute small train, but quite ancient and appallingly dirty and worn out:
The train ride is fun, it takes around three and half minutes to reach the airport station. Fare was the same 1.10 EUR as for the bus ticket.
The terminal building feels old and quite stuffy:
It being around lunchtime I head upstairs where there are a couple of decent looking restaurants. I end up in the one that seems to be very popular with the airport workers - always a good sign that the food should be good value for money. Indeed my gnocchi Bolognese turns out to be exactly that:
Then I’m off to find the lounge - according to my information it is landside, but where it used to be there’s a sign saying it has moved a couple of months ago and is now airside, behind security. So that’s where I head next. Airside looks quite claustrophobic with lots of shops and bars packed in a small area together with plenty of passengers everywhere.
Is that supposed to be funny:
Interesting to see Edelweiss operating a flight to HEL. London seems to be a popular destination here:
The entrance to the lounge on the second floor near the entrance to the non-Schengen gates is less than inviting:
But inside, much nicer:
Some promo material for local wine growers:
Initially it is almost standing room only, but after a LH flight to MUC and an IB/Air Nostrum to MAD depart most of the pax leave and for quite some time I have the whole lounge to myself until a couple of Brits arrive. The sole attendant has some trouble keeping up with the trash collection:
The drink offerings are quite impressive:
Not much food though, just some prepackaged sweet things and nuts and crisps.
Yay, more stuff more my collection (too bad these things weight a ton and take up a lot of space!):
The bad part about this lounge is that there’s no free wifi, so I have to spend some money for an hour of internet time.
Time passes when you are having fun (or drinking free beer), and eventually it is time to head to the gate. The first thing I see in the departure hall if a mass of Finns, all looking a bit frustrated and angry and all of the “organized tour” type. The explanation is here:
With a more than three hour delay I’d head to the city for a couple of hours, but of course these are the kind of people who would be lost and scared without the safety of their tour guide and bus, so I guess they’ll just have to rough it out at the airport. I hope Edelweiss (or their handling agent) was at least decent enough to hand out some food vouchers...
There’s already quite a queue at my gate, so I decide to join it. The place is packed with people and very cramped - and everybody is of course already queuing for their flights - not very comfortable at all. I spot the inbound landing around half an hour before the SDT, and after it stops in front of our gate I see the reg: G-EZAI, your bog standard Ezy A319, but at least it’s a new one for me.
They seem to have some trouble getting the stairs to the plane so it takes a while before the inbound pax can get off. At some point boarding is called, and as expected is another very chaotic affair - there are no clear queues and everybody is just pushing and shoving. What’s even more annoying is that we don’t really board yet, people are just crammed in a tiny holding pen between the gate and the apron and once that becomes full the progress just stops. Very annoying and frustrating.
Finally after a while the doors are opened and the mass explodes out to the apron. I pick the back stairs, deciding to do without an exit row seat this time:
The weather forecast mentioned some showers - luckily up until now the day had been dry. But it is drizzling now and these clouds look very wet:
I grab a window seat somewhere in the back. I soon get an Italian young couple as my seatmates. The load is very good at 95% or so, so not many free seats anywhere, although one of them is right in front of me - yes, you read that right: the old couple in that row are sitting on the B and C seats, leaving the A one vacant. I can’t really figure out why someone would want to do that, but hey, it takes all sorts. In all fairness, later during the flight the woman does move to the window seat...
Flight time is announced as 1h40mins, with the captain explaining that we are waiting for pushback and currently number three for that as it is “quite busy here in the Pisa area”. Right after this we get pushed back, ten minutes late. Are these numbers one and two ahead of us:
Look closely - those two FR birds are going against each other:
It looks like there was a runway direction switch - that first bird was taxiing to 04R for departure like all traffic before it, but was told to come back by ATC. The second one which was conveniently located at the 22R threshold got cleared right away and so overtook the prior one...
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6742 times:
Take off is a further seven minutes after push back:
Thick, heavy clouds all around us so the next views are only when we reach the Alps:
Feeling again peckish I decide to order a hot mozzarella and tomato sandwich from the menu - well I should have taken a cold one instead as it takes around 25 minutes before I get my sandwich (the crew does their BOB and sales rounds in between), and by the time I get it it is overdone, slightly burned and very hot, so another fifteen minutes passes before I can actually eat it! Even the taste isn’t that good.
This flight seems to drag on forever for some reason, but finally we start descending for some nice light effects through the clouds:
I’ve always said that Brandenburg around Berlin looks a lot like Finland:
New railway connection being build, I guess to serve BBI:
Landing is on runway 25 after exactly 1h40mins in the air. BBI looks far more complete than the last time I was here over a year ago:
The terminal building is quite far from the runway so taxiing in takes its sweet time.
I didn’t know West Air had ATRs as well:
Hmm, what’s that building:
And something orange:
Finally we stop at the furthest possible parking position in what looks like an Ezy annex to the main terminal.
Berlin Schönefeld to Berlin Tegel or “a very frustrating experience”
It’s a bit of a hike to the main terminal. Notice the ambulances in this picture - not sure if they were attending to that Sky flight or the Germanwings one:
Finally reaching the main terminal I try to buy a train ticket for my ride, but the first machine I use doesn’t accept any credit cards, the second one that accepts cash has a huge queue and the kiosk is out of them. I decide to head to the train station and try my luck there as my train is leaving in 15 minutes or so.
The station is connected to the terminal with a covered walkway - I think there used to be a shuttle bus as well but not sure if it runs anymore:
Inside the station (or rather a dingy corridor running below the station) there are more ticket machines, but most of the tourists using them are confused out of their mind about them and take a helluva long time to buy a ticket. And again half of them work only with plastic, but of course NOT with credit cards. DB, this is really bad, fix it! So what happens is that I actually MISS my intended train since some bloody French women are fighting with the damn machine in front of me.
Bloody hell, I’m getting quite pissed at this whole stupid thing - why can’t they have a short cut on the main screen saying something like “Single ticket to Berlin City Center” - that would help things out a lot! Finally getting my ticket I head upstairs to the platform to wait for the next train which is in half an hour. I’m not really worried about my connection as I still have time, but it looks like a lounge visit at TXL is out of the question now...
Finally the next train arrives, and my mood gets a lot better as we start nearing my beloved Berlin, a city I have loved ever since I first stepped out the Zoo station all those years ago and will always love. Great views of the former East Berlin along the route.
25 minutes later we reach the new and very impressive Hauptbahnhof:
BTW that ad is for Bombardier the trams and trains, not Bombardier the planes.
One of the ubiquitous Berlin bears:
Is this a shopping mall or a station:
There are frequent buses running from here to TXL, so I go out to the bus stop. Goody, looks like the next one is arriving very soon:
...except that it isn’t. According to the display at least three buses should’ve come in the 25 minutes I wait there, but nothing happens. A young guy is calling somebody on his mobile and talking something about a delay, so I ask whether he’s going to Tegel as well. He answers that not to Tegel, but somewhere nearby with the bus. He says that there are some “political problems” with the buses today and that it is uncertain when the next one will come. He suggests I should take a taxi instead, since I only have an hour before my flight is supposed to leave. I assume he means some sort of strike action with “political”...
I give in, and flag down a passing taxi. Despite the taxi having stickers for Visa and Mastercard on the window the first thing the driver advices me is that today it is cash only. I’m a bit short on cash, so ask how much it’ll be - he says “16 or 17 Euros”, which IS just the amount I have so I say let’s go. I also ask what is going on and he explains that there’s a Nato Convention in town which has caused some traffic chaos and certain streets to be blocked off - OK, that explains both the “political” aspect and the missing buses...
We get to Tegel in 15 minutes, I’m nervously glancing at the meter but once we pull in front of the main terminal (the driveway to the C terminal was packed so I figured out it’ll be better to ask him to drive here) it shows 16 and change. Wow, this guy is really good! I give him pretty much all the cash I have left - including a too modest tip but one that seems to be appreciated anyway, thank him and head to the C terminal. I made it!
Berlin Tegel Airport
I pick up a boarding pass from the baggage drop desk - again I checked in using my mobile the previous day but want a genuine boarding pass. Through security which as always here is tight but very smooth - one of the security agents recognizes me, I think I pass through here WAY too often...
Some retail therapy follows (back to the land of plastic payments), and boarding is called pretty much right away as I reach the gate. The place is packed, as usual:
Parked in front of the gate is the expected A320, D-ABDR this time, which is a new entry for my log.
Quite a few passengers seem to be connecting from the BKK flight, AB seems to be giving AY some good competition. There’s also a large group of Italian schoolgirls - acting as only Italian schoolgirls can: giggly and noisy, something which I could do without at this late hour!
Legroom is okay:
I hear the crew discussing the load as “120 something”, with an empty middle seat next to me. Right after the doors are closed the captain makes his welcome speech, first announcing our flight time as 1h50mins and then dropping the bomb - due to ATC restrictions we have a departure slot around half an hour from now and thus will hold still for fifteen minutes before starting up and taxiing slowly to the active and taking off.
This is exactly what happens, a quarter later we start up and push back, ten minutes late.
Our neighbour departing to VIE:
Take off from 26L is the promised 15 minutes later.
I read for a bit, but then tiredness gets the best of me and I end up sleeping through the rest of the flight - so no inflight service for me.
Landing is on runway 15 after a flight time of 1h42mins. A few minutes later we dock to a jetway at one of the the furthest Schengen gates at T2, 30. The chocolate hearts are again handed out during deboarding, so looks like they do that on the international flights as well.
Quickly through the terminal to arrivals, where I’m less than amused to see that I just missed my bus and the next one is half an hour away. I’m not in a mood to hang around the airport any longer than necessary, so I splurge in a taxi ride - the distance is half the one in Berlin, but the fare a few Euros more - welcome to Finland indeed!
Well, it was another quick low cost trip to a nice city.
Ryan, Ezy and AB all provided comfortable enough flights that were very affordable and did the job nicely. Air Berlin of course is still in their own class above those two, and I certainly hope they stay that way. Ezy was a bit of a letdown with the slow food service, minus points for that!
Of course the big thing for me was passing the thousand flight mark. Actually that’s only flights from late 2001 onwards, I’ve flown some 50 flights before that, but those are not written down anywhere and thus do not really count.
So it took me roughly nine and half years to log a thousand flights. Out of those thousand flights 210 have been domestic and 790 international. Not sure of what my next target it (apart from this year’s target of reaching a total of 200 airports - only seven to go for that goal so that’s not really a challenge in itself!), but maybe to log a thousand international flights would be a good one. Let’s see.
Not that I’m stopping my flying at this milestone, so it is two and half weeks and the Easter holiday without any flights and then it’s time for yet another domestic hop up to Rovaniemi to catch another interesting KF wetlease by doing HEL-RVN-HEL.
Congratulations! I've done 380 (although must have done about 50 before that), with 18 booked for the future including our BOG trip. Looks like aI;ve got a way to go to hit 1000!
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): unfortunately they have a really annoying system for collecting the 6 EUR for the bus ride - the driver does not handle any money but instead somebody from the handling company is supposed to come and handle the payment when the pax leave the bus.
Seems like an awful system.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Didn’t bother going up - you need to get a queuing number and the climb up the stairs scared me. Plus it is a bit pricey:
My PSA flights worked out badly, arriving at 2330, then leaving the next day at 1200. I've booked a city centre hotel, and will be at the tower at 0830 with a timed ticket! I'm not going to miss out!
FLIEGER67 From Ethiopia, joined Sep 2003, 4758 posts, RR: 56 Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6379 times:
what an enjoyable evening read after a long day on the road around the office.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
So some new airports to log and a cheap (usually) way of getting to Italy - sounds good to me so let’s go!
Italy, always welcome, you know.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): After the rest of my spring travels had been sorted out I also realized that the outbound Ryanair flight would actually be the 1000th (yes, THOUSANDTH) flight in my log
Big congrats, you´re way ahead, you know.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): If this is the state of the things I think I will start reserving my tickets to some random dates in the advance to get advantage of the 20% early booking discount!!
Well, what about that southern german sense of spending money.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): tell the bus driver that I really need to go to the loo (well, I really do) and that I have exact change so if he could be so kind and do the payment for me - he agrees and asks me to tell the people inside that the bus is waiting here, and I’m released from my prison.
Florence, that sounds good, some four weeks to go for me.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Didn’t bother going up - you need to get a queuing number and the climb up the stairs scared me. Plus it is a bit pricey:
As long as you climb on the right side!.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): . I end up in the one that seems to be very popular with the airport workers - always a good sign that the food should be good value for money. Indeed my gnocchi Bolognese turns out to be exactly that:
SirThomas From UK - England, joined Jul 2009, 193 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 6231 times:
Oh when going to Schoenfeld don't bother getting a ticket, they never have any conductors on the trains - I've tried numerous times to no avail and have just held a 20euro note in my hand when riding the train in case.
No one ever buys train tickets in Berlin anyway (Especially on the U-Bahn... It's a godsend to have a Metro without those bloody ticket barriers, especially when in a hurry!)
And I've always wondered what that large building in the middle of SXF was too.. Kinda thought it may have been an old VIP building back in the GDR days?
Flown On: A319/A320/A321/A332/A333/AT45/734/736/738/744/DH8D/T204/T154/IL62/T134/IL-18/An-24
JL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6 Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 6194 times:
congrats for your 1000th flight, that must have been an achievement! (too bad it happened on FR, though...a nice flight on Emirates' first class would have been more appropriate, don't you think? )
Anyway, thank you for sharing with us your TR, you've been really productive these days! Unfortunately I'm a true lazy arse and I couldn't find the time to comment any of your latest posts, not to think about writing down some TR myself.
I'm happy you liked Siena (even if, I have to say, it might qualify for being one of the least interesting towns in Tuscany). The large crowd of red-basqued soldiers you've seen was a bunch of Paras, as their base is close-by: half of PSA airport is indeed a military base, home of the 46th air brigade which is flying the C-130J you've seen.
Speaking about military aircrafts, Tuscany is quite a good place for the spotter looking for sun, sea and airplanes: I've been to Castiglione della Pescaia, where the sight of low-passing by Herculeses and Eurofighters is a daily event, so daily that locals don't pay attention to it (I did and, indeed, I was too distracted by three EFs dogfighting to notice that I was scratching my car against a concrete wall!).
NCLflysBA From UK - England, joined Nov 2010, 15 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6129 times:
congrats on the 1000th flight! , Dont bother with a ticket at SXF, you either get away with not paying or you can get a single ticket on board if the conductor comes round! if they start banging on in deutsche just feign ignorance n tell them you dont speak german your a tourist! they usually roll their eyes as if to say ohhhhhhhhhh god not another one lol...
ill be there myself in July! 1st trip report coming direct from my second home city! last time into TXL before the merger into BBI
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5531 times:
Hi guys, thanks for the comments! Very much appreciated.
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3): A nice TR! I'm glad you went to PSA with FR as I'm booked to go with them in May on a rather circuitous route (STN-FEZ-PSA-MLA-BLQ,RMI-STN).
Thanks, Gab. That's quite a routing and a lot of Ryanair I can tell you that! Did you score a good deal on all these tickets or something? But as I mentioned on the other thread, definitely get priority boarding for the longer sectors (to/from FEZ and RMI-STN, I'd do the Malta flights without if you're skimpy).
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3): My PSA flights worked out badly, arriving at 2330, then leaving the next day at 1200. I've booked a city centre hotel, and will be at the tower at 0830 with a timed ticket! I'm not going to miss out!
Ahh, lovely timing. You need to run. There was one hotel ("Hotel Duomo" or something like that) which was maybe 300 meters from the tower, perhaps you should try that?
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 3): I'm shocked at the number of LON flights, esp the fact that BA seems to serve both LHR and LGW. Is the LHR flight new?
Yeah, I think they only started (or maybe shifted some of the LGW flights to) LHR this summer reason - i.e. two weeks ago.
Quoting SirThomas (Reply 5): Oh when going to Schoenfeld don't bother getting a ticket, they never have any conductors on the trains - I've tried numerous times to no avail and have just held a 20euro note in my hand when riding the train in case.
Ok, I thought about that but I'm a honest Finn and we don't usually do stuff like that!
Quoting SirThomas (Reply 5): No one ever buys train tickets in Berlin anyway (Especially on the U-Bahn... It's a godsend to have a Metro without those bloody ticket barriers, especially when in a hurry!)
I was once in the Berlin U-Bahn when the ticket inspectors came. They checked my ticket, and once the guy turned his back to check the other pax the girl sitting next to me tried hard to get me to give my ticket to her. I refused as I had a day pass, not a single ticket. She ended up being escorted out of the car to the platform and probably fined - I can tell you her gaze could've frozen lesser beings when she passed me!
Quoting SirThomas (Reply 5): And I've always wondered what that large building in the middle of SXF was too.. Kinda thought it may have been an old VIP building back in the GDR days?
That's what I assumed too. Maybe it's some sort of administrative building nowadays.
Quoting JL418 (Reply 6): congrats for your 1000th flight, that must have been an achievement! (too bad it happened on FR, though...a nice flight on Emirates' first class would have been more appropriate, don't you think? )
Well yeah, but as I said - that's aviation nowadays. Maybe the 2000th...!
Quoting JL418 (Reply 6): I'm happy you liked Siena (even if, I have to say, it might qualify for being one of the least interesting towns in Tuscany).
Err, it was Pisa actually .
Quoting oa260 (Reply 9): Another nice report and some nice pics of Italy. That lounge looks like an American diner lol...
Actually it reminded me more of some coffee houses, thanks to the decoration and the cloth in the seats.
Quoting oa260 (Reply 9): Shame you cant get miles on all these trips! You would be Platinum by now
Well, there are some miles to have - if not anything else then the credit card miles from the ticket costs! But I do have a Gold card with BT, currently *S with SAS, about to become *G in a couple of weeks etc.
Quoting LXM83 (Reply 10): Well, it seems you got the full LCC treatment on this trip.... the most ridiculous thing is always when people are already queueing even if the airplane ist not there yet...
Yeah. And to make things worse people are getting so accustomed to it that you often see this, even on airlines where you have assigned seating!
sultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1398 posts, RR: 31 Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5354 times:
Good report & many congrats on logging your 1000th flight! I think that's quite an achievement and I don't think you want to know how much of your undoubtedly hard earned €'s you have spent on them all. By the time I get to that status I will most probably look like this:
For your 1000th I would have hoped to see a report of you indulging in the luxury of first class on some 5* carrier but no... you chose FR above it all. How humble you are
Having been to Pisa by motorbike on a mission called 'eating a pizza in Pisa', your pictures looked very familiar to me. It's a nice city but apart from the crooked tower and it's surroundings there's not much to do, is there?
I also loved your dramatic pics of the Alps!
CaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 647 posts, RR: 21 Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5144 times:
first of all congratulations for your 1000th flight, that is some accomplishment. Well done!!! A shame it was just a Ryanair flight, but at least you got an exit row seat and a can of Heineken to celebrate
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Not sure what that was about - maybe an ATC restriction over Central Europe but I find it a bit annoying if the cockpit crew thinks things like this are not worth communicating to the passengers!
That's really bad, come on, it shouldn't be hard to push that button on the mike and make a short announcement to the passengers? Same thing happened to me in Porto recently, there was some 45 min delay, but no information at all, no excuse, nothing.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): No other choice than to join the queue and more than ten minutes later I finally get my precious bus ticket. 1.10 EUR, not bad at all!
That's one thing I like about Italy, prices for public transport are still very reasonable.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1): why can’t they have a short cut on the main screen saying something like “Single ticket to Berlin City Center” - that would help things out a lot!
Well, the DB ticket machines are very (in)famous in Germany. As they introduced them they needed an officer at every machine to help people use it. That's what we call usability They improved it somehow but I guess for people who are not used to it it is still complicated. But why didn't you take the SXF express bus, it is also quite fast and would have saved you the walk to the station?
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1): Air Berlin of course is still in their own class above those two, and I certainly hope they stay that way.
Yes, I agree, AB has a great product, can't really compare them to the real LCCs like FR or EZY. And it is a nice touch that they now give out the chocolate hearts on international flights as well.
Thanks again for sharing this trip with us, looking forward to read about the next 1000 flights
In the US, it depends on the person being deported. Most people are just sent off by themselves. Some more high risk people are escorted by two officers all the way to the destination.
Nice pictures from Pisa! The cathedral actually leans as well and in three different directions but not as much and you have to stand in certain separate spots to see it.
Very impressive with 1000 flights even more so in 10 years!!! I'm at 803 but that's lifetime since 1966 although most of them (700) in the last 18 years. I usually do about 40 flights a year so it will be few years before I get to 1000.
Looking forward to a long haul trip report from you.....
Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, LX and LH 777s
AlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2 Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5113 times:
Firstly, congratulations on the magical 1000 segments. Really something of an achievement mate and hope your drive to keep us posted on your travels remains strong.
Very interesting to see the leaning tower, something also on my "to visit" list. Some very interesting buildings around Pisa too judging from your pictures(glad you found a fix for your camera by the way). Time to think about making plans to get it done.
Some good loads observed on your flights then. I guess travel is now more in peoples minds as we near some (hopefully) better weather.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 4959 times:
Good to se more comments - thanks & keep 'em coming!
Quoting sultanils (Reply 12): For your 1000th I would have hoped to see a report of you indulging in the luxury of first class on some 5* carrier but no... you chose FR above it all. How humble you are
Well, I'm not sure it's about being humble or not -- more like bad planning from my part and me being cheap!
Quoting sultanils (Reply 12): Having been to Pisa by motorbike on a mission called 'eating a pizza in Pisa', your pictures looked very familiar to me.
Hmm, that sounds like an interesting mission! Did you manage to eat any pizza at all?
Quoting sultanils (Reply 12): It's a nice city but apart from the crooked tower and it's surroundings there's not much to do, is there?
Well, that's true. As I put it, A few hours of walking around the city and taking in the tower and the cathedral was pretty much it. If I'd spend more time in the area I'd definitely head into Florence.
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 15): Well, the DB ticket machines are very (in)famous in Germany. As they introduced them they needed an officer at every machine to help people use it. That's what we call usability
Kinda like the ticket machines they first introduced in Finland maybe 15 years ago - there was a lot of talk about how illogical those were. The ones they use nowadays are a bit better, but still confuse the heck out of anybody over 50!
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 15): But why didn't you take the SXF express bus, it is also quite fast and would have saved you the walk to the station?
Ok, I had no idea there was such an option! Live and learn. I know there are lots of local buses that serve SXF (I've taken one of them once when I had a hotel in Neukölln), but never knew about the express option. Where does it go? Alexanderplatz/Hbf/Zoo?
Quoting The777Man (Reply 16): Where are they supposed to check ID if not at check in ? They have to make sure you have appropriate documentation.
Yeah, I know. But since Ryanair is nowadays a 100% OLCI airline, on all the other airports I've flown them with it's always been a matter of just showing up at the gate for boarding with your OLCI paper on your hand and that's when they check your documentation. Oh, that's what they of course do (again) at the TMP gate, too - so really pointless if you ask me.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 16): Looking forward to a long haul trip report from you.....
Well, what do you know, I actually have a longhaul trip booked in October!
It's not showing any signs of weakening! This has been a sick day for me - am home suffering from a nasty spring flu and what have I been doing the whole day but daydreaming (and looking up) about interesting trips!
Yep, and it was as good as we'd hoped it would be! Sometimes the best travel ideas come from long nights with friends in a bar somewhere... Like another accomplished mission of mine: 'Throwing tomatoes at La Tomatina in Valencia, Spain'
Being in the USA, I don't fly EasyJet too often (2 flights logged), but one was on G-AZAI. I flew on her back in 2005, EDI-LGW, when she was practically brand-new! Yes, standard is the name of the game, and legroom was tight compared to most domestic US carriers, but it was a 1 hour flight and the service was more than adequate. Plus I made sure to sit as close as I could (without being too creepy) next to an attractive blonde on the same flight!
Oh dear, but it could have been worse (like for example a can of warm American Bud light... )
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 18): but never knew about the express option. Where does it go? Alexanderplatz/Hbf/Zoo?
Last year I took one of them from Südkreuz Station to SXF, I don't know if there are other options. But it was rather fast, for the regular bus ticket price. And from Südkreuz you have a lot of S- and U-Bahn connections, so no problem to reach other places in Berlin.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6496 posts, RR: 78 Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4680 times:
congratulations on getting your 1000th flight! Who knows if or when I will pass that mark, in 10, 15 or 20 years. But on the other hand, I have different priorities.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): After the rest of my spring travels had been sorted out I also realized that the outbound Ryanair flight would actually be the 1000th (yes, THOUSANDTH) flight in my log. Bugger, I’d preferred it to be onboard some other carrier, but couldn’t really book any additional flights before that so it’d had to do.
Yeah, an AY A333 J Class flight would have been appropriate - or what about a VIP flight on Air Baltic? They probably would have organized that for one of their most active promoters.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Maybe it’s a good indication of the state of the aviation in modern times - more and more low costs and less traditional carriers...
The shift towards low-cost in many fields of life is not good at all IMO, but that's another discussion...
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): This being a special flight for me I’d planned on splurging on a (mini) bottle of champagne, but by the time the cart reaches the exit row in the middle of the plane most of the drinks have already been sold - this is a flight to and from Finland after all! The last wine bottles were sold for the ladies in the row ahead of me - so I have to make do with whatever they have left:
Wow, that's amazing. I guess FR could easily increase its BOB prices on these routes...
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Through security which as always here is tight but very smooth - one of the security agents recognizes me, I think I pass through here WAY too often...
Or probably you look somehow memorable?
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Not sure of what my next target it (apart from this year’s target of reaching a total of 200 airports - only seven to go for that goal so that’s not really a challenge in itself!), but maybe to log a thousand international flights would be a good one. Let’s see.
How about a flight on the magnificent 777? Engine start-up alone is a special experience.
akhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2421 posts, RR: 53 Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4452 times:
When I saw the title, I thought you had an encounter with John Cleese. But no, it was about your 1000th flight, so congratulations! Can you tell me when it all started?
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): Off to the security queue, where I try to shoot a picture of the dingy check in hall, but disaster strikes - I drop my camera on the hard concrete floor! I pick it up and the bloody thing doesn’t turn on - panic follows.
I agree. It dosen´t look like German country-side for sure.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter): why can’t they have a short cut on the main screen saying something like “Single ticket to Berlin City Center” - that would help things out a lot! Finally getting my ticket I
I experienced the same thing at DUS when going to the city. You have to choose zone, city parts.....very confusing.