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AY BRU-HEL-VAA-HEL-BRU  
User currently offlineSabenaA320 From Belgium, joined Nov 1999, 114 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4722 times:

Hello everybody

After reading many, many trip reports here, I'll try to make one myself. I wont have many pictures, because I was travelling with my 2 children (2 and 5 years) and they wanted to sit at the window. And the pictures I've taken from the inbound flight were with an Ipod, so bad quality. But, here we go.

Background
Around 5 years ago my mother moved from Belgium to Finland (Pietarsaari/Jakobstad). So every year we try to make a trip to this beautiful country. She lives in the western (Swedish-speaking) part of Finland and I have two airportoptions: KOK and VAA. And two airline options: AY and KF. We choose to fly during the summer holiday and then there is a reduction in flights on the domestic market. Blue1 flights from VAA to HEL are discontinued after the 4th of July, so that's no option because we're staying until the 8th of July. So AY/FC then. First I was looking for flights to KOK, but they were way overpriced so I choose the flight to VAA. A week later after I've booked the tickets, KOK-flights were also cheaper   .

Wednesday 29.06.2011

Airline: Finnair
Route: BRU - HEL
Flight: AY 811
Equipment: A319 OH-LVI
ETD: 11:40
ETA: 15:15
Economy row 14
Load: 100%



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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Gerry Stegmeier
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Photo © Borut Smrdelj



We arrived at 9:30 at the airport so well ontime. It was a very busy day at the airport but no line at all at the check in for AY. Our bags were sent through and I asked the checkin agent if the flight was full and she told me that it was overbooked by 4 in economy. That's a surprise for me, because I've never had a full flight with AY.
After that we started our morning walk to the A-gates. People who have travelled to BRU may know this "famous" problem. So, 1 escalator down, another one down and then a long walk under the tarmac. There was a long line at security but it all went smooth. 10 minutes later, we were through. Then 2 escalators up and we were in the spacious terminal.

At 11:05 boarding started and at 11:40 doors were closed and pushback commenced. We taxied to 25R and we had a smooth take-off. I sat in the middle seat on this Airbus A319 and I noticed that those seats are narrower then the aisle and window seat. After a while it felt strange. As far as I know, these seats are only used on the A319.
Dinnerservice started after 30 minutes in the air. Still free drinks and a sandwich wich tasted good. It was a brown sandwich with chicken honey on it. After 2h we started our approach into HEL. We flew south of HEL and then parallel to rwy 33/15 and then we made a 180 degree turn to land on rwy 15 and we arrived at gate 24 at 15:15.

HEL approaching from the south
http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g427/SabenaA320/IMG_0013.jpg

Parallel to rwy 33/15
http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g427/SabenaA320/IMG_0014.jpg

We had an hour to spare at HEL and what do you do with children. Yes, you go to a playground and there are 3 of them at HEL. We sat at the playground around gate 20. As you can imagine a lot of fun for parents...........woehoe!!!
45 minutes later it was almost time for boarding so we went to gate 18A for a bus boarding.......woehoe again!!!

Airline: Finnair operated by Finncomm
Route: HEL - VAA
Flight: AY3895
Equipment: ATR72-500 OH-ATL
ETD/ATA: 16:35/17:20
ETA/ATA: 17:35/18:15
Load: 100% again
Economy, free seating




We immediately started boarding the bus, so no holding pen. Push all those people in one bus, close the door and off you go. We drove to our waiting ATR and the doors opened and everybody rushed to the bus. And when I mean rush, that was understatement. People were thinking that flight would leave without them. So what happened we were one of the last to board and the only seats free were the one in front of the ATR (boarding in the back, exit seats in the front). The flight attendant told us in Finnish and after that in English that we couldn't sit here. And I was thinking: do you have an alternative??? So we, the non-Finnish speaking tourists, had to ask people if they wanted to switch seats and the flight attendant was standing there doing nothing. (but she was for the rest of the flight a very friendly flight attendant) All those friendly Finns didn't mind to switch seats of course.
When everybody sat, doors were closed............or not. The pilot on the mike to tell us there was a problem with the door and the mechanic had to fix it. Bye bye, ontime departure. So 20 minutes later that problem was fixed. Pilot again on the mike, door can be closed now but we lost our slot and ATC told we had to wait another 20 minutes. 5 minutes later, pilot again on the mike, he misunderstood ATC, we had to wait 2h20 min. Not so fun anymore. He said that Finncomm office was going to call with ATC for a new sooner slot. Never knew that was the procedure. Water was distributed. 5 minutes later, pilot on the mike (never heard a pilot talk so much), we had a confirmation for a 17:20 departure...........woehoe again!!!
Off we were. Taxi to rwy 22R and smooth take-off and flight. We were served juice, water, coffee or tea and a cheese sandwich. Also good. One hour later we arrived at sunny VAA. Picked up our bags and our vacation started.

After 10 days of good weather and fun, we had to go back home. Back in the car to VAA.

Friday 8.07.2011

Airline: Finnair operated by Finncomm
Route: VAA - HEL
Flight: AY3838
Equipment: ATR72-500 OH-ATH
ETD/ATD: 14:25/15:05
ETA/ATA: 15:30/16:10
Economy, free seating
Load: 90%


We arrived at the airport 45 minutes in advance. Domestic flights, don't rush. We saw that our flight was delayed. We had a short connection in HEL of 1 hour. She told us there was an ATC restriction so the flight had to wait in VAA. And she told us if we were in time at the gate we could get priority boarding. (kids, remember) At 14:15 we went through security to the gate, were the flight was allready waiting.

Our flight (new to this, so tilt your head a little bit and everything looks normal)
http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g427/SabenaA320/IMG_3317.jpg

At 14:45 the agent walked over to us and told us that we could allready go on board. That was a smooth boarding procedure and at 14:55 everybody was on board but we had to wait another 10 minutes untill we could depart. Our connection time became shorter. We took off from runway 34. A straight out departure. We were up in the air at 15:10 and service started after the seatbelt sign went off. Again a sandwich with ham this time and the same drinks. We asked the flight attendant if we're going to make our connection and he told that they were going to call and ask if they want to wait for us. 5 minutes later he told us it wont be a problem.

Flying above the clouds
http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g427/SabenaA320/IMG_3319.jpgAirline: Finnair
Route: HEL - BRU
Flight: AY817
Equipment: Airbus A320 OH-LXH
ETD/ATD: 16:40
ETA/ATA: 18:20
Load: 50%
Economy, row 25,26 EF



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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Samuel Dupont
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Patric Borg



Our neighbour waiting at the treshold of runway 22R (new to this,....)
http://i1101.photobucket.com/albums/g427/SabenaA320/IMG_3320-1.jpg

When we arrived at the gate there were only 5 people waiting, but we were told we had to wait for a second bus. We drove to stand 124 were our Airbus was waiting. We were the last one to board and took our seats. Last row (read something about that) and 4 rows for us. There is on the other side (abc) a row 27 and there was 1 person sitting at the window. The other places were free untill row 21. So enough screaming and playing (kids....) room. But they were calm. Doors closed and taxi to runway 22R. A finncomm ATR42 in front of us and we're the next one. Smooth take-off and very fast rotation. About the seats; they were better, I had again the middle seat and it was the same as the aisle and window seat. Dinner and drink service started 30 minutes into flight. Non-alcoholic drinks were free and we got some tapas for dinner (real Finnish food ). Wich was very good. (Some meat balls, Feta cheese, Tortilla and a sandwich).

During our approach, it became bumpy because we were flying through some rainy clouds. But when the runway came in sight, skies were clear. We landed on runway 25L around 18:20. Taxied to gate A59 and made our long walk back to the bagage belt. And we already assumed that our luggage wont be there. We've already experienced this once with Finnair (also short connection) but we were sure that our luggage would arrive the next day.

Saturday 9.07.2011

Our bags had another AY flight to BRU. They were onboard AY 811 (A319 OH-LVB) and at 13:30 they were delivered at our door.

Conclusion

Very good flights with AY and FC. Only those terrible ATC restrictions. Something to do with the closure of runway 04R/22L at HEL?? Would fly them again next year probably or maybe sooner .

Greetings
Ralf


9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 1002 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 4400 times:

Hi, thanks for TR! It sounds your kids enjoy flying, like most children do. I used to fly a lot as kid on domestic routes in Finland, thats how this madness started  
Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
As far as I know, these seats are only used on the A319.

Yes their 319 has the old school seats still, others have the new thinner Recaro seats.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
So we, the non-Finnish speaking tourists, had to ask people if they wanted to switch seats and the flight attendant was standing there doing nothing. (but she was for the rest of the flight a very friendly flight attendant)

Strange the FA didn't help you, FinnComm FA's have a reputation to be very friendly. Hopefully that won't change now when FC is changing to FlyBe Nordic, the new company owned by FlyBe/Finnair.


User currently offlineAYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 4356 times:

Thank you for this report!

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
Only those terrible ATC restrictions. Something to do with the closure of runway 04R/22L at HEL??

Air traffic controllers are negotiating on their salaries etc at the moment. Because those negotiations have taken very long without any results, they no longer agree to work overtime. That has caused many delays. Next week there will also be some strikes if the negotiations are still without a result.



319,320,321,333,343,388,717,732,733,735,736,73G,738,752,AB4,AR1,AR8,ATR,AT7,D9S,D10,DH4,E45,E70,E90,F27,F50,M82,M83,M90,
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 4235 times:

Hi Ralf,

Welcome to the Trip reporter's guild! A very nice first report, and of course always very interesting to see your home airport and home carriers through a foreigner's eyes.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
Blue1 flights from VAA to HEL are discontinued after the 4th of July, so that's no option because we're staying until the 8th of July.

Yep, that's really annoying. They do this most of the years or at least reduce the flights drastically - July is THE holiday month in Finland, so most of business travel shuts down and I guess the airline staff want to have their holidays as well.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
Equipment: A319 OH-LVI

Oh, I'm a bit jealous! That's the only AY A319 I haven't flown.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
That's a surprise for me, because I've never had a full flight with AY.

It's been known to happen  . Overbooking much less regularly, at least to such a degree that they'd need to bump somebody.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
After that we started our morning walk to the A-gates. People who have travelled to BRU may know this "famous" problem.

Oh yeah, it definitely gives your legs a bit of a stretching! It's even worse when you have a short Schengen to non-Schengen (or v.v.) connection...

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
As far as I know, these seats are only used on the A319.

Yep, those are the good old seats, very comfortable. All the Airbuses used to feature them, but nowadays they only seen on the A319s for some reason.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
So we, the non-Finnish speaking tourists, had to ask people if they wanted to switch seats and the flight attendant was standing there doing nothing.

Now that is very bad and unacceptable of the FA! That kind of stuff should be covered in their basic training, heck even most Ryanair FAs with questionable English language skills will do this for you (although their motives might be a bit different!).

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
One hour later we arrived at sunny VAA.

Vaasa once boasted the slogan "The sunniest city in Finland", but unfortunately it was proven (statistically) to be second on that list, the first one being Mariehamn in the Åland Islands. Strangely they didn't adopt it by adding on "continental Finland" but just dropped the slogan all together  
Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
. Dinner and drink service started 30 minutes into flight. Non-alcoholic drinks were free and we got some tapas for dinner (real Finnish food&nbsp Wink. Wich was very good. (Some meat balls, Feta cheese, Tortilla and a sandwich).

A tip for your next report: Pictures speak more than thousand words, especially when it comes to inflight catering! But yes, sounds good.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
, he misunderstood ATC, we had to wait 2h20 min.
Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
She told us there was an ATC restriction so the flight had to wait in VAA.
Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
Only those terrible ATC restrictions. Something to do with the closure of runway 04R/22L at HEL??

Now that's simply ridiculous. But yes, as AYA333 already pointed out this is all some Italian striking and other industrial action by the ATC's union. These whiners want more money, so they have decided to mess up ATC during the heaviest travel season of the year - not a very wise thing to do, just look at what happened to AY during the famous strikes last year...

Once more - welcome!


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4114 times:

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
. I sat in the middle seat on this Airbus A319 and I noticed that those seats are narrower then the aisle and window seat. After a while it felt strange. As far as I know, these seats are only used on the A319.

On some airlines, the middle seat is slightly wider, so compensate for being stuck in the middle.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
So we, the non-Finnish speaking tourists, had to ask people if they wanted to switch seats and the flight attendant was standing there doing nothing.

That's not very good - the FA should have proactively either saved you a space (after checking her manifest for young families) or asked people to move on your behalf.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineLufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 33
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3923 times:

Nice report... I flew Finnair again after quite a while and great service CDG-HEL in Business.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
Now that's simply ridiculous. But yes, as AYA333 already pointed out this is all some Italian striking and other industrial action by the ATC's union. These whiners want more money, so they have decided to mess up ATC during the heaviest travel season of the year - not a very wise thing to do, just look at what happened to AY during the famous strikes last year...

They should go flip burgers at McDonald's Tikkurila instead of inconveniencing travellers. Finland is soon worse than Italy/France/Spain for air travel disruptions. I expect a massive protest for this FlyBe Nordic thing as well.



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3816 times:

Welcome to the trip reporters community.

You have a nice first trip report, looks like AY is a good carrier to fly on.



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1358 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3782 times:

Hey Sabena, welcome on board!

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
because I was travelling with my 2 children (2 and 5 years)

Well, I wanted to seat in the window seat too when I was this age. Only it didn't change till now.

Quoting SabenaA320 (Thread starter):
Airline: Finnair operated by Finncomm

never heard of them!

Very nice short report, thank you for shearing!
Jonathan



"In Israel, on order to be a realist, one's must believe in miracles" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineSabenaA320 From Belgium, joined Nov 1999, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 3679 times:

Hey all

Thank you for the replies!

Quote:
FinnComm FA's have a reputation to be very friendly

That was just one minor point. The other times it was +++++

Quote:
Air traffic controllers are negotiating on their salaries etc at the moment

aha, that explains alot. I found Finland a not so congested airspace, but now I know the problem. Tnx

Quote:
Oh, I'm a bit jealous! That's the only AY A319 I haven't flown

That's something unique  
Quote:
A tip for your next report: Pictures speak more than thousand words

I was planning to do this, but it was almost finnished

Quote:
looks like AY is a good carrier to fly on

a very good carrier, only a little bit too expensive

And again tnx for the compliments

Greetings


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3655 times:

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 5):
They should go flip burgers at McDonald's Tikkurila instead of inconveniencing travellers..

Nope, not Tikkurila - after all I go there every now and then and that would be kinda uncomfortable... 


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