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Italian Duel: HEL-FCO-GOA-FCO  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 8098 times:

Introduction

Please bear with me, as the introduction section of this particular trip is rather long and winding... the reasons you can find by reading it  .

So, after last weekend’s trip: The Meet At FRA + Number 200: HEL-DUS/HHN-STN-VST (by FlyingFinn76 Jul 12 2011 in Trip Reports) I had now fulfilled my primary goal for this year, which was bringing the total number of airports in my log up to 200. Now was the time to focus on adding some more carriers instead. Lots of browsing for various options I finally figured out I could log two on one trip by first flying from Nice to Fiumicino with Blu-Express, the low cost arm of the Italian charter carrier Blue Panorama and then up to Prague with Smartwings, the low cost arm of the Czech charter carrier Travel Service (wow, is there a pattern here?). That sounded like a good idea, so the flights were quickly booked - the former was under 40 EUR and the Smartwings one around 65.

To position myself to Nice, the HEL-NCE service with DY had perfect timing for Saturday mornings with a couple of hours of transit time, so that’s what I booked next. Price was 85 EUR.
I decided to spend the night in Prague, and continue onwards from there. I really couldn’t resist adding another new airport to my log anyway, so I decided to fly to Eindhoven with Wizzair, that ticket cost a bit under 40 EUR.

From Eindhoven it was a choice to fly somewhere with FR or just take the train to AMS and fly from there. Well, I don’t really know why, but I ended up booking FR to NYO for 38 EUR all-in, including priority boarding. Maybe because the flight timings were such that it allowed me some time to visit the city of Eindhoven.

Anyway that flight arrived a bit late into Skavsta and when you factor in the travel time to Stockholm and eventually Arlanda it meant that the only way to get home would be the SAS midnight flight. That didn’t sound very good to me, so I decided to get a bit more creative and book Finncomm from nearby NRK the next morning instead. That 43 EUR ticket would actually entitle me to my 100th flight with FC, so I thought that was pretty neat, too.

So, here’s the itinerary I thought I would be flying:



Now fast forward a month or so and one day I find an Italian language email in my inbox. It is a bit hard to decode, but basically it looks like the Blu-Express flight had been retimed, now it actually departed NCE a good hour BEFORE the Norwegian one arrived, which of course wouldn’t do it for me. So it’s time to assemble an emergency reaction task force (just me and my credit card) and start the damage control process. After lots and lots of looking into various options, most of which would’ve cost an arm and an leg (mid-July is high season, after all) I reached what I thought was an acceptable solution.

So the first thing was to call Blu-Express and to request a refund - a surprisingly straightforward process despite having to listen to drab waiting messages for 15 minutes. Once I got through the girl there spoke perfect English and agreed to refund the ticket just fine. Well, apart from the fact that it’s now been over a month and the monies haven’t yet shown up on my credit card...

Then I ponied up the 35 EUR change fee for the Norwegian flight, and changed that to HEL-FCO on Friday morning - a day earlier. I still wanted to fly Blu-Express, so I booked another ticket with them doing FCO-GOA early Friday evening, which was cheap at around 35 EUR. I was to spend the night in Genoa and then fly back the next day with Alitalia for 43 EUR. This allowed me to resume my original itinerary by the SmartWings flight.

So the itinerary had now transformed into this:



Well, of course that wasn’t enough, barely a couple of days later I get a phone call from the US Expedia (who I used to book the Smartwings flight) call centre advising me that they had changed the schedules and the flight wasn’t operating on Saturdays anymore. They offered me a flight on either Friday or Sunday, but that wouldn’t do. I asked whether they were willing to rebook me on another carrier (I very much doubted this) and the girl said she needed to contact the airline and call me back after that. While she was doing this I checked the alternatives, and was VERY relieved and happy to find out that Wizz had a FCO-PRG flight only an hour later than the Smartwings flight would have been and that was available for under 70 EUR, pretty much the same as the original price. So when she called back and gave me the expected conclusion that there would be no rebooking on alternative carriers I asked for a refund (which was processed quite promptly and showed up on my credit card account less than two weeks later, very good) and I booked the Wizz flight.

Finally there was schedule change for the BV (who else) FCO-GOA flight which got pushed far later than I wished it would be, cutting down my time in Genoa quite short. Oh well, nothing to do here really but to roll with the punches.

So I crossed my fingers and hoped that at least the actual trip would be much smoother than the planning phase...

Friday 15.7.2011

I did my usual thing the previous night - made a detour via the airport on my way home from the office to check myself in using the Norwegian self-service machines and to ensure a great seat - bulkhead 1F. No need to pay for a seat reservation this way...  . So this morning I’m at HEL T2 (where DY just recently moved from T1 now that Ezy left some extra space) around 6.50. Plenty of people around as can be expected during the peak holiday season, but the new security setup seems to be working wonders here and getting through is actually quite straightforward - at least for those of us who know the drill by heart - many vacationers seem to be having much more trouble understanding the process...

Airside I’m thinking about getting some breakfast, but need to stop at a loo first. Now this proves to be bloody hard as Finavia apparently has closed all the closest ones to the security checkpoint - replaced by a new cafe and a building site, most probably for new shopping establishments. Finavia, have you ever heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?! Human beings have a tendency to fulfill their most basic needs first, and going to the loo just happens to come WAY before shopping or spending money at one your overpriced cafes...

Oh well, eventually I find the new toilet site, it is actually upstairs where once upon a time there was a lounge complex... Turning lounges into loos, way to go. Having fulfilled the most basic of my needs I decide to climb up the ladder a few notches by grabbing some coffee and a helluva overpriced but good sandwich (basic needs, level 2: sustenance) from the coffee shop right next to my gate and to shoot a photo of my chariot of the skies for this morning (level 3: flying machines):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_1.jpg

LN-DYM, a new bird for my log. The bulge on the back looks promising, so I hope that wifi will be offered on this flight.

Boarding is called around 25 minutes before departure. They try to enforce it by row numbers, but as always here it just doesn’t work at all, so I decide to ignore it as well and board at my leisure, despite being seated in the very first row.

HEL - FCO
DY5870
B737-800 LN-DYM
Seat 1F
7.59 - 10.30

The male purser is the same I had on the inaugural flight to RVN two and half months ago, he doesn’t seem to remember me though. He also happens to be the only Finnish crew member on this flight, the rest is all Estonians (apart from the captain). The cockpit door is open:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_2.jpg

The bulkhead 1F is a great seat - tons of legroom:
http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_3.jpg

It has started raining outside - I’m just SO happy to be going to sunny Italy!

Mood lighting:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_4.jpg

Quite a lot of Russian passengers on this flight, well that’s not really a surprise at all. Despite a very good load of over 90% I score the entire block of three for me - another advantage of doing the self service check in thingy as I think the agents will not assign these seats until the plane is completely full (there are three young persons on 1ABC though).

Our captain sounds like Norwegian, especially as he welcomes us onboard this “Norwegian Air Shuttle” flight. Flight time this morning will be 3h20mins. No mention of wifi being available, and I try later inflight - no signal. Bugger.

Safety demo is played on the screens - I don’t think I have seen it before, but then again my memory isn’t that good these days anymore:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_5.jpg

Push back is a minute early. This morning all take offs are from runway 15 - now that’s very rare on a jet plane due to noise abatement reasons (turboprops do it somewhat more often), but apparently the wind direction this morning is dictating so. Too bad I’m on the wrong side to see my house, but at least we are treated to a nice view over the Helsinki city center:

AY spraying some water:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_6.jpg

Primera, off to somewhere sunny and nice:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_7.jpg

I bet they feel right at home with the weather today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_8.jpg

Bye, HEL:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_10.jpg

This just happens to be the busiest road intersection in Finland, as somebody who regularly drives through it I can certainly agree with that:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_11.jpg

This is the reason why this runway is rarely used - lots and lots of houses underneath it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_14.jpg

The Hartwall Areena, a venue for hockey games and mega concerts:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_15.jpg

The Pasila railway station (think of it as “Helsinki North”) - I pass through here daily:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_16.jpg

The Olympic Stadium built for the 1952 Olympic games with its distinct tower:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_17.jpg

The famous rock church in the middle of Töölö:
http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_18.jpg

Leaving land behind over Hernesaari, looks like a cruise ship is in town:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Helsinki_Departure_19.jpg

I bet airlines get stock discount on old Disney cartoons - a week ago I was watching the same clip on Air Berlin:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_1.jpg

Somewhere near the Lithuanian-Polish border I see this AY Airbus flying very near us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_2.jpg

Plenty of traffic over Poland anyway, I see an LX Airbus crossing very near, but am too slow with the camera. Here’s a TUIfly 738, heading to Turkey or Bulgaria:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_3.jpg

Beautiful:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_4.jpg

Over south Poland the Estonian first officer makes an announcement, describing our route as “Helsinki - Poland - Slovakia - Hungary - Croatia - Bosnia and Hertzegovina - Adriatic Sea - Rome” where it is 24 degrees and sunny. Interesting route, quite a bit more easternly than I’d expected.

His Estonian-accented and somewhat pigdin English is so thick that the young lads and gal over at 1ABC can’t stop laughing and making fun of it - now that’s quite rude if you ask me. Well, they seem to spend more money on booze during this flight than I did on my ticket...

Over Hungary the clouds finally give way for some nice views of the ground.

Lake Balaton:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_7.jpg

Flybalaton airport, where Ryanair once flew:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_6.jpg

Somewhere over southern Hungary or Croatia - these villages built along the roads look like necklaces to me:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_9.jpg

The Balkan is always good for some impressive scenery:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_11.jpg

The Adriatic on sight - overflying the lake of Prokljansko jezero, halway between Zadar and Split:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_12.jpg

The town of Šibenik:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_13.jpg

Crossing the Adriatic doesn’t take too long and soon the Italian coastline comes to view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_14.jpg

Making landfall directly over Pescara:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_15.jpg

The Apennines provide some impressive views as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_16.jpg

L'Aquila:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_17.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_18.jpg

Lago de Salto - I really would like to dip into that lake for a refreshing swim:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_1_19.jpg

Soon enough descent is announced, but not before “last call” for any drinks - guess who want to have another round?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_1.jpg

The Tyrrhenian Sea on sight:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_5.jpg

Landing is on runway 16L bang at our scheduled arrival time after a flight time of around 3h20mins.

Something smoky taking off, must be an Alitalia Super-80:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_6.jpg

Taxiing to the gate takes a good ten minutes, during which I am wondering whether I can make it on time for my bus at 11.10. Bus to where? Read on!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_7.jpg

A bit of a queue for take off on runway 25:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_8.jpg

Will this be my ride for the evening:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_9.jpg

Beautiful:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_10.jpg

The green livery looks good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_11.jpg

It’s not all jets:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_12.jpg

We get a jetway parking position, ironically next to this AY Airbus who left HEL ten minutes before us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_13.jpg

Rome Fiumicino Airport, take 1

I’m one of the first ones off the plane, it’s a bit of a hike to arrivals and the way isn’t exactly clear. So baggage hall and exit is straight through the wall from here?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_14.jpg

Well, eventually I make it out to the arrivals hall with plenty of time to spare, so I drop into the tobaccionist to buy some bus tickets and then do the real Italian thing - have a delicious, cheap espresso standing up at the coffee bar opposite.

Afterwards I head outside to wait for my bus in the glorious sunshine:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_1_15.jpg

I have a layover of around nine hours before my flight (or so I thought). I’m not a very big fan of Rome, so while thinking what to do during that time going to the city wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Luckily there’s a far better alternative - the town of Ostia (often called Lido di Ostia) which actually isn’t a town at all, but instead just part of Rome is nearby, has regular buses to and from the airport and most importantly has a large beach. That sounds like the perfect place to get some sunshine between flights, so I decided to head there. The bus tickets are cheap - only 1.20 EUR (you gotta love public transportation and the Italian taxpayer!) and the ride takes around half an hour.

Ostia

I spend some lazy hours just wondering around, eating lunch and getting some sunshine.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_4.jpg

See, awfully clever:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_7.jpg

It was quite windy, with matching waves:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_8.jpg

The place is packed with Italians and Romanians, and a surprisingly number of Swedes as well.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_10.jpg

Some live music - this duo played incredibly bad cover versions of famous songs:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_12.jpg

This amusement arcade was closed:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Ostia_14.jpg

Eventually it is time to take the bus back to FCO. Definitely a recommendable place for anybody with a long stopover!

Rome Fiumicino Airport, take 2

Back at the airport I sure am glad I did OLCI - masses of people in the check in halls:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_1.jpg

And lots of pax in security as well, but luckily most of the lanes are open. Ok, I will, but only because you are begging:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_2.jpg

Busy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_3.jpg

I then make a beeline for the lounge, I’m desperate for a drink after the hot bus ride:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_4.jpg

Now this flightcare lounge turns out to be a huge disappointment - no wifi, only two ancient computers to use, dirty, stuffy, nasty and smelly toilets and a staffed bar with no beer! The food offerings are plain as well, some sandwiches, totally tasteless mini pizzas and french fries (but no ketchup and by the time they bring out the fries all the forks are gone - are you supposed to eat with your fingers?). One of the worst lounges I’ve ever been to, that’s for sure...

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_5.jpg

Ok, the espresso was fine, I give them that:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_7.jpg

After some time with the computer which keeps crashing on me I decide to head for a little stroll around the public areas. There aren’t many places where you could find a glove shop in an airport:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_8.jpg

Eventually I make my way to the gate - a weird bus gate area downstairs with lots of people, inadequate seating and a very depressing feel to it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_9.jpg

Next to us are company flights to PMO and NCE - on both gates the agents announce something in Italian which is met with a collective sigh from the people - quite funny actually. Our flight is still showing up as on time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_10.jpg

When NCE finally boards (late, of course) the whole crowd queuing there breaks into spontaneous applause - somehow I get the feeling that this is business as usual for Blu-Express...

Then a small, 25 minute delay is announced for us. Ok, nothing bad, so I decide to go for another walk. This just about summarizes it up:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_11.jpg

See, all the Blu-Express flights are delayed:

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31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 8138 times:

Hmm, did they wash this bird one too many times and the colors faded:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_13.jpg

It could be worse - look at the delays on these two flights:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_14.jpg

Around the new departure time nothing has happened, until another lengthy announcement is made which causes a lot of yells of “Mamma mia” from my fellow pax and of course tons of debate, throwing hands in the air - you know the Italian stuff. Of course it is only in Italian, so I fight my way through the crowds to the gate and ask the agent, she takes me away from the crowd and explains that the new departure time is now at ELEVEN (yes, 23.00) in the evening due to the plane going tech. There is a silver lining, however, as we will get a free snack from one of the (Autogrill, who else) cafes upstairs with our boarding passes.

Bugger that - I’m stuck for another three hours in this miserable airport, plus we will be arriving at GOA so late that the airport bus has already stopped running. For a minute I think about just dropping that side trip and finding a hotel here to resume my journey tomorrow, but alas it is too late to cancel my hotel in Genoa anymore and besides I really want to fly some more. So I head to the cafe and get a free focaccia and a coke:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_15.jpg

I then head back to the lounge, only to find out that it closes at 20.30 and the time is a few minutes after that. This lounge, however seems to be open, but I have no desire to go there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_16.jpg

Somehow I manage to kill the hours, having plenty of reading material and portable entertainment with me is always good. Back at the gate we have some false starts with boarding as a few people are allowed to board the bus but then asked to come back, they don’t look too amused, that’s for sure! We finally board the bus at 23.05.

Actually judging from the way things went I think that the plane that flew to NCE and back is now operating our flight and the original scheduled one is inoperable. My theory is confirmed as we pull in front of a 737-400 instead of the expected -300 model. EI-CUD, a new plane and carrier for my log.

FCO - GOA
BV1708
B737-400 EI-CUD
Seat 28F
23.35 - 00.21

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_17.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_18.jpg

It’s free seating - I climb the back stairs and grab a window seat last row. On the right hand side, as I’m expecting this side to give the best views of the stunning GOA approach. The seats are new slimline ones - quite a lot of legroom:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_19.jpg

Unfortunately that’s where the good news end, the seat is incredibly uncomfortable. Rock hard, doesn’t recline (on any row, not just the last one) and the arm rests are some weird lightweight flimsy ones. After sitting a few minutes there my back is already hurting. These are quite possibly the worst airline seats I’ve ever sat in.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_20.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_21.jpg

The old fashioned controls:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_22.jpg

Magazine:



Safety card:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_25.jpg

The cabin smells of either bug spray or some disinfectant.

I have a hard time staying awake during the slow boarding - the second bus takes ages to arrive. Finally everybody is on board, I actually spied the load factor from the gate agent’s computer: 107 pax today.

The flight time is announced as a quick 45 minutes and the engines awaken with a very satisfying roar - none of that whimsy whining sound you get with the modern ones! Push back is 3h50mins late.

There are very old looking TV monitors hanging from the ceiling, which are used for the safety demo:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_26.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Departure_1_27.jpg

No queue for take off at this late hour, so in a few minutes we shoot to the skies from 25. Right afterwards I manage to fall into a deep sleep, despite the crap seat.

I come back to my senses when we are just starting our approach, I have no idea whether the cabin crew did their BOB service or not - at least they are collecting some trash from the passengers.

I am indeed sitting on the right side of the plane for our approach, and it is just as stunning as I expected - the millions of lights from the city whizzing past us at high speed. No pictures though, this is the best one that came out and it’s not much:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Approach_1.jpg

Landing is on runway 28 after around 40 minutes of flight. We get a jetway, and everybody hurries through the completely deserted airport.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Approach_2.jpg

View of the seat:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Approach_3.jpg

Genoa

With the last airport bus gone an hour ago there’s no other choice than to take a taxi to town - and I am not exactly in the best terms with Italian taxi drivers and their cheating ways! And of course the same happens again - despite using the meter and the fare originally appearing to be quite reasonable it suddenly jumps up a lot when we stop in front of the hotel. Well, the “No speak English” card is again played here, so I really don’t have any other choice but to pony up the money and try to slam the door shut as hard as I can to express my anger.

A week ago I stayed in Düsseldorf in Bellevue Hotel, now I am staying in Genoa in Hotel Bellevue. Are hotels like dogs in that there’s only a predetermined pool of names you can use (and reuse)?

Anyway through the door I can see the night porter asleep with his head on the reception desk - I have to ring the door bell twice and pound the door for a while until he finally wakes up, completely confused and spends a couple of minutes finding the door key. I’m not sure if he is actually stupid, drunk or just groggy from sleeping as the check in process is anything but smooth. Oh and he seems to have far too large false teeth in his mouth as his speech is more like mumbling. Finally we manage to settle things out and I brave the dinosaur of a lift for my room. It’s not much, but at this point I’d sleep anywhere:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_2.jpg

This reading light must have all the rage back in 1963:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_3.jpg

Saturday 16.7.2011

After some much needed sleep I force myself awake early. I want to see at least something of the city as the delay wrecked my original plans of a stroll and dinner somewhere (I missed my Pesto Genovese, oh dear!!!). The hotel is a weird maze of many interconnected buildings, on the way to the breakfast room (which is very well hidden) I stumble upon an open air balcony and go outside to take in the splendid view. These are the tracks of the Principe station, right next to the hotel:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_4.jpg

The station itself:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_5.jpg

After an Italian style breakfast (i.e. not much to it apart from the good coffee) I check out (luckily the weirdo from the night before is not on duty any more) and head for a stroll.

Statue of Columbus in front of the station - it is usually accepted as a fact that he was born here, even though it is not really clear:



Like my guide book put it: “Liguria basically has no flat land at all” - and it definitely is evident in this city, its capital:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_9.jpg

The old town (parts of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list) is an interesting maze of narrow and even narrower streets:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_11.jpg

Well, it’s Italy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_12.jpg

KGB - what?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_13.jpg

They have done a good job regenerating the Porto Antico or the old port area - here’s the famous acquarium, second largest in Europe:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_14.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_17.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_18.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_19.jpg

Genoa is the biggest port in Italy, and a very important destination for cruise ships:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_20.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_21.jpg

The high rises of the CBD beyond the vast port area:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_22.jpg

This photo pretty much summarises this place up - the sea, boats and houses on hills:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_23.jpg

Kitty kitty, nice kitty, easy...

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_25.jpg

This reminds me of the city of Boston when the Big Dig was still going strong and the Interstate was running on struts on top of the city centre:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_26.jpg

Far too soon it is time to take the metro back to the Principe station:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_27.jpg

I spend a few confusing minutes figuring out that despite the metro station and the train station sharing the same name they are actually two completely different things and hundreds of meters apart. Finally I find my bearings and catch the airport bus (6 EUR, like Markus would say: The Italians know how to make money) to the airport.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_1.jpg

The terminal building is hidden behind these tall palm trees:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_2.jpg

Some views of the apron from the ramp leading up to departures - nice to see a 727 with winglets:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_4.jpg

Now that’s an interesting visitor - a KMV Tu-204 operating a charter flight to DME:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_5.jpg

I decide to head inside to see if I could catch a better shot of that gorgeous bird. The small check in hall is packed with her Russian passengers:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_6.jpg

I drop in to the lounge to ask whether I could get in with my FB Gold card, but nope, it’s not a Skyteam lounge, so no dice unless flying with AF/KL. It didn’t look like much anyway and is landside, so no biggie. Security is a very frustrating affair as I’m stuck in the middle of the Russian mob and these are charter passengers, not exactly familiar with the procedures and rules.

At least airside they mostly disappear into the small duty free shop or past passport control into the non-Schengen area. The Schengen area is not that large either:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_7.jpg

Hmm, I guess that’s the way to fly:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_8.jpg

Yes, it definitely is. Too bad the plane looks so goddamn ugly:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_9.jpg

Unfortunately the views aren’t good from here either (where’s an observation deck when you need one?), this is the best shot I could get of the Tupolev:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_10.jpg

Quite appropriately this flight is codeshared with BT:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_11.jpg

Looks like my plane approaching:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_12.jpg

Yep, there it comes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_14.jpg

It is an Airbus 319 as expected, EI-IMM which turns out to be a very new plane, having been delivered new to AZ just three weeks previously! A new plane for me, of course.

Boarding is another chaotic thing - despite the plane arriving some ten minutes early our announced boarding times comes and goes with people pushing every which way in front of the gate and the agents just chatting with each other. Finally boarding is called 40 minutes after the inbound landed. In the mean time LH from MUC has arrived:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_15.jpg

GOA - FCO
AZ1386
A319 EI-IMM
Seat 25A
11.47 - 12.38

Last row, window seat again. I figured out the A side had the best chance for a city view, and judging from the earlier take offs I won this time.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_17.jpg

Turkish next to us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_18.jpg

Boarding takes ages, in the chaotic Italian style of course. The plane appears to be completely full, the last few vacant seats are taken by some Alitalia crew (two pilots and two FAs) in full duty uniform.

Interestingly there’s no welcome speech or anything, we just suddenly push back 22 minutes late and commence our taxi to runway 10. At least a safety demo is given out by the disinterested cabin crew. This 767 was here already the previous night:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_19.jpg

Britair arriving:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_20.jpg

Well, at least the take off views are quite spectacular:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_21.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_22.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_23.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_25.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_26.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Genoa_Departure_27.jpg

Service is a drinks run with some cookies - nice to see the cookies being a Genovese specialty:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_1.jpg

Our route takes us towards the southeast over the Ligurian Sea. The island of Gorgona:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_2.jpg

The Tuscan coast:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_3.jpg

Northern tip of Elba - plenty of boat traffic around here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_4.jpg

The town of Piombino:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_5.jpg

Over Elba we turn towards the mainland, making landfall over Punta Ana:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_6.jpg

Marina di Grosseto:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_7.jpg

Grosseto Airport:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_8.jpg

Viterbo Airbase:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_9.jpg

This is a quick flight, and half an hour after take off the seat belt sign is switched on. Interestingly one of the FAs tells me to put my tray table up - when I try to offer her the empty cup with my trash in it she refuses to take it and tells me to put it in the seat pocket instead. That’s a nice attitude to customer service...

As throughout the whole flight, the views on approach are also nice. Lago di Vico:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Enroute_to_Fiumicino_2_10.jpg

Lago di Bracciano:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_1.jpg

The town of Bracciano:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_2.jpg

Urban sprawl, Italian style:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_4.jpg

We land on runway 16L after a quick 45 minutes of flight.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_5.jpg

Some minutes later we get an apron parking position next to this Mad Dog:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_6.jpg

Ahh, Triple Seven, one of the most beautiful planes ever made:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_7.jpg

A photo in Markus’ style:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_8.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Genoa_Prague_Eindhoven_07_2011/Part_1/Fiumicino_Approach_2_9.jpg

Rome Fiumicino Airport, take 3

Once the bus drops us off in the terminal it is time to go and get some lunch. With a significant amount of my travel budget now in the hands of the Ligurian taxi industry I need to be cheap and head into McDonald’s!

This part ends here. There are too many pictures so I will split this into smaller instalments. The next part will pick up from here and should be online in a couple of days!

Conclusions

Well, this report calls for the obvious: a comparison between Alitalia and Blu-Express. And needless to say, despite being far from an impressive flight in any sense (apart from the beautiful views outside, hardly the airline’s merit) it still was by far better than the competition. The service concept is fine for a flight of this duration, the seats ok, a new plane with the new plane smell and only a small delay (but again, for no apparent reason - I think the ground crew just didn’t want to stop their chat!).

As for Blu-Express: quite horrible! Starting from the schedule change hassle before the flight (and the fact that I still haven’t received my


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8089 times:

Now that's a very nice place to cut the post short.

Conclusions

Well, this report calls for the obvious: a comparison between Alitalia and Blu-Express. And needless to say, despite being far from an impressive flight in any sense (apart from the beautiful views outside, hardly the airline’s merit) it still was by far better than the competition. The service concept is fine for a flight of this duration, the seats ok, a new plane with the new plane smell and only a small delay (but again, for no apparent reason - I think the ground crew just didn’t want to stop their chat!).

As for Blu-Express: quite horrible! Starting from the schedule change hassle before the flight (and the fact that I still haven’t received my monies back from them!), to the abysmal ground handling at FCO, the depressing gate area, the long delay and the extremely uncomfortable seat - not my cup of tea. Can’t see myself flying with them again unless there’s no other reasonable alternative. I give them credit for two things: they did eventually get me to my destination and that free snack at FCO was quite nice actually. But apart from that, no dice.

Another fine flight with Norwegian - a decent price (although I could fly BT to FCO for around the same amount of money!) and the fact that the ticket can freely be changed (albeit with a change fee which is understandable) even to another destination saved me a lot of money and hassle on this trip! Comfort with the three bulkhead seats very nice, I sure hope this trick with the self service check in will continue working!

Genoa was a very impressive city, too little time to really enjoy and appreciate it, though.


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8006 times:

Hi P.,

that's a long report, so many pix! But it's nice to see Helsinki from above, since it's even special for you in this way!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
by the time they bring out the fries all the forks are gone - are you supposed to eat with your fingers?

Oh yes, we do that in Holland, not a problem as long as it are fries  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
It could be worse - look at the delays on these two flights:

From that screen I am so surprised the HiFly flight to SDJ in Japan. Last year (summer) we (JL) operated these flights on B744's but as you can imagine, the European charters are gone as well the 744's are...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
doesn’t recline (on any row, not just the last one)

Same on EZY I noticed during my recent flights, and FR also. Hmm, I have no problems with this actually.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Push back is 3h50mins late.

Are you going up for any EU compensation? It will be a story to continue forever probably, but it seems you're entitled to some compensation here,...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
I have to ring the door bell twice and pound the door for a while until he finally wakes up, completely confused and spends a couple of minutes finding the door key. I’m not sure if he is actually stupid, drunk or just groggy from sleeping as the check in process is anything but smooth.

Terrible! And the room looks bad also. Definitely not my style,... but probably it gave a good Italian 'taste' during this trip.

Would DY check-in also work for me at e.g OSL if I just take a flight from CPH later that day? That would be good for my next trip so to say  

Regards
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6938 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 7992 times:

Hi P.,

great report with many nice pictures. I was looking forward to read this after you wrote some comments on FB. It's really bad to hear about all the trouble. I would certainly avoid Blu-Express - at least if I need to connect to another flight within a certain period of time.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, apart from the fact that it’s now been over a month and the monies haven’t yet shown up on my credit card...

Well, who knows if and when...  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ok, the espresso was fine, I give them that:

If they weren't even able to serve a decent espresso, I'd be seriously concerned...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
And of course the same happens again - despite using the meter and the fare originally appearing to be quite reasonable it suddenly jumps up a lot when we stop in front of the hotel. Well, the “No speak English” card is again played here, so I really don’t have any other choice but to pony up the money and try to slam the door shut as hard as I can to express my anger.

So how much did you have to pay in the end?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This 767 was here already the previous night:

Ah, Mr. Abramovich probably flew in to make another tour on his cruise ship...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ahh, Triple Seven, one of the most beautiful planes ever made:


        



PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3361 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 7954 times:

Good job you managed to sort out your itinerary in the end - so frustrating when your plans go awry through no fauly of your own. When I was planning my FR trip around Europe, I wanted to go to GOA as the airport looks like it has a great location next to the sea.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I have a layover of around nine hours before my flight (or so I thought). I’m not a very big fan of Rome, so while thinking what to do during that time going to the city wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Luckily there’s a far better alternative - the town of Ostia (often called Lido di Ostia) which actually isn’t a town at all, but instead just part of Rome is nearby, has regular buses to and from the airport and most importantly has a large beach. That sounds like the perfect place to get some sunshine between flights, so I decided to head there. The bus tickets are cheap - only 1.20 EUR (you gotta love public transportation and the Italian taxpayer!) and the ride takes around half an hour.

One of my best friends lives in Ostia - she used to work fotr AZ as ground staff.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):

It could be worse - look at the delays on these two flights:

Pretty bad depays. Was that Sendai flight an aid flight or something?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Around the new departure time nothing has happened, until another lengthy announcement is made which causes a lot of yells of “Mamma mia” from my fellow pax and of course tons of debate, throwing hands in the air - you know the Italian stuff. Of course it is only in Italian, so I fight my way through the crowds to the gate and ask the agent, she takes me away from the crowd and explains that the new departure time is now at ELEVEN (yes, 23.00) in the evening due to the plane going tech. There is a silver lining, however, as we will get a free snack from one of the (Autogrill, who else) cafes upstairs with our boarding passes.

Mamma Mia indeed!



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 offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 7846 times:

Hi FlyingFinn!

Another great report, looking forward to the next part.
Those Blu-Express seats sure looks uncomfortable! As you said, the only decent about them was the legroom.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The Hartwall Areena, a venue for hockey games and mega concerts:

I have always been interested in arenas/stadiums etc, and i visited Hartwall Arena during one of my trips to Helsinki, rather impressive building, even from the outside. Not much compared to Ericsson Globe though!  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Are hotels like dogs in that there’s only a predetermined pool of names you can use (and reuse)?

My sisters dog is named Jussi, that's not that common, she actually got the idea from a Finnish friend of ours.

Martin


User currently offlineROGERBCN From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 7695 times:

Hola FlyingFinn76!

Another interesting story involving a trip from north to south.

Loved the views from the different planes.

Interesting to learn about the different levels of service experienced in the airlines. Good insight points and comments on your side.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Human beings have a tendency to fulfill their most basic needs first, and going to the loo just happens to come WAY before shopping or spending money at one your overpriced cafes...

True words   

Looking forward to reading the second part of this long report.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7593 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Was that Sendai flight an aid flight or something?

It's a charter operating to get the Japanese tourists into Italy, from where European tours/excursions start. Until 2010 JAL took care for all of these flights using 744's, but since their trouble and the 744 retirement, now HiFly seems to take over (a part) of these flights.



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 7345 times:

Hi, P.,

what a great story and also pictures. Genua and surroundings, simply stunning.
You know, I´am looking forward to it since our last talking around you´re "italian experiences".

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
So the first thing was to call Blu-Express and to request a refund - a surprisingly straightforward process despite having to listen to drab waiting messages for 15 minutes. Once I got through the girl there spoke perfect English and agreed to refund the ticket just fine. Well, apart from the fact that it’s now been over a month and the monies haven’t yet shown up on my credit card...

Remember my hour long talking with no english speaking Meridiana agents?.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Finally I find my bearings and catch the airport bus (6 EUR, like Markus would say: The Italians know how to make money) to the airport.

Sure they know the way, definitely.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
With the last airport bus gone an hour ago there’s no other choice than to take a taxi to town - and I am not exactly in the best terms with Italian taxi drivers and their cheating ways! And of course the same happens again - despite using the meter and the fare originally appearing to be quite reasonable it suddenly jumps up a lot when we stop in front of the hotel.

Well the italians!.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A photo in Markus’ style:

Love it.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I think the ground crew just didn’t want to stop their chat!).

Hey, they know what´s really important and talking to a nice girl is definitely much higher than a couple of pax in need to board a plane!

Best greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 7164 times:

Hey P.

What a hectic booking process with all the changes going on. Just what you dont need. At least you got to sample some of the warmer temperatures from the Southern Lands.

Love the Biosphere thing at the port of Genoa. Kinda reminds me of the indoor rain forest at KUL airport. Also whats with the cartoons on the MOBY ship? Trying to "out do" ANAs pokemon 747s?  

Thanks for writing this part up and im looking forward to the next.
Cheers, Lee.


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27308 posts, RR: 60
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 7150 times:

Great report as usual. Very nice to see Genoa again after being there in February in my cruise. I see the MSC ( Poesia) I think was in dock .  

The lounge you were in doesnt look bad shame about the lack of wifi and decent toilets/beer-food etc....

Great catch of the TU-204 Id love to get on that oneday .

Happy flying

Philip  


User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 7145 times:

Hey FF!

Glad to read yet another Italian adventure from you, seems you're on an Italian fever this year, aren't you? Next time you flight to either Milan or Turin we might actually meet, if I'll be down there. However, too bad that you missed the chance to give Genoa some more time even if the city centre, especially the small and narrow roads, can be quite dodgy at night. Genoa is one of my favourite cities in Italy; it's common saying that the locals are a little bit tight on the money side - what Brits say about Scots, we say about Genoans - but I think that's not true. Moreover, I adore their accent. Pay another visit as soon as you can!

About Blue Panorama... I told you it would be quite crap. A flight with them is always an adventure (as it is for every Italian charter but Neos) and not a pleasant experience at all. I'll never understand the blokes flying to Phuket on Air Italy or Blue Pan, I'd rather ride Thai via BKK.

Hope to read from you soon!


User currently onlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1262 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 7139 times:

One thing to see in Genova is the cemetry.

User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 6900 times:

Hi guys,

Good to see so many comments, thanks!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
But it's nice to see Helsinki from above, since it's even special for you in this way!

Yeah, indeed quite a nice aerial tour and yes, something you don't very often get.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
Oh yes, we do that in Holland, not a problem as long as it are fries  

Sure, on the street. But in a lounge, which is supposed to be a somewhat premium experience?

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
Are you going up for any EU compensation? It will be a story to continue forever probably, but it seems you're entitled to some compensation here,...

Naah, that'd just be far too tedious as you said yourself. Of course there was no mention at all about this by the gate agents  .

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3):
Would DY check-in also work for me at e.g OSL if I just take a flight from CPH later that day?

So you mean could you check in for your flight ex-CPH with the OSL machines? I very seriously doubt that, but you are free to try anyway. I'm pretty sure they only works for departures from that particular airport. At LHR T5 the BA machines refused to print me a boarding pass since my flight was departing from T3, but luckily an agent was able to do it manually at the counter.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
I would certainly avoid Blu-Express - at least if I need to connect to another flight within a certain period of time.

Wise words.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
So how much did you have to pay in the end?

Over 30 EUR. Ok, it's not that much, but I was still prepared to pay the six EUR for the bus.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
Ah, Mr. Abramovich probably flew in to make another tour on his cruise ship...

Ok, I never bothered checking the reg. A nice plane he has got  .

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
When I was planning my FR trip around Europe, I wanted to go to GOA as the airport looks like it has a great location next to the sea.

Yep, the approach is great, just do it!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
One of my best friends lives in Ostia - she used to work fotr AZ as ground staff.

On both bus rides to and from Ostia there were plenty of airport and airline workers in the bus.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 9):
Remember my hour long talking with no english speaking Meridiana agents?.

Vaguely.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 10):
Also whats with the cartoons on the MOBY ship? Trying to "out do" ANAs pokemon 747s?

No idea, but they looked very funny.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 12):
seems you're on an Italian fever this year, aren't you?

That's true. And I have another Italian trip coming up in two weeks. Sorry, no Piedmont or Lombardy this time, hanging around Trieste, Catania, Venice and Verona on that one.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 12):
Next time you flight to either Milan or Turin we might actually meet, if I'll be down there.

Yeah, I was actually thinking about flying to TRN in stead of GOA, but the GOA approach won this time!

Quoting JL418 (Reply 12):
it's common saying that the locals are a little bit tight on the money side

Hah, I read these great books by Annie Hawes, a British woman who moved to a small village in Liguria - the books have tons of great insight into the locals, their lifestyle and psyche.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 12):
Pay another visit as soon as you can!

Would love to! I missed so much of the city.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 12):
A flight with them is always an adventure (as it is for every Italian charter but Neos) and not a pleasant experience at all.

You are certainly right about that!

Quoting JL418 (Reply 12):
I'll never understand the blokes flying to Phuket on Air Italy or Blue Pan, I'd rather ride Thai via BKK.

Well, there are plenty of people here who fly to Thailand with an AY 757 with the worst legroom ever, including a middle of the night refueling stop in India... Some people don't know any better and just want to buy it all together as a package from their friendly travel agent.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 13):
One thing to see in Genova is the cemetry.

So a good place to die, then?


User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 6874 times:

Hello again,

This trip report was (and is) one I was expecting eagerly to come online. And of course you did not disappoint me.
Ostia looks really nice - should try it sometime.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Primera, off to somewhere sunny and nice:

Well, if you count BLL as that...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
with Smartwings, the low cost arm of the Czech charter carrier Travel Service (wow, is there a pattern here?). That sounded like a good idea, so the flights were quickly booked - the former was under 40 EUR and the Smartwings one around 65.

That's a carrier I've been trying to log for a while now, no bookings yet though..

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
We get a jetway parking position, ironically next to this AY Airbus who left HEL ten minutes before us:

Well, were you happy onboard DY or would you rather have arrived on AY? Or perhaps BT via RIX...  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):

Hmm, did they wash this bird one too many times and the colors faded:

Well, actually, the bird is wearing one of the new Alitalia slogans and is wearing that 'bleak' outlook to promote the "new" Alitalia, if I remember right.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
When NCE finally boards (late, of course) the whole crowd queuing there breaks into spontaneous applause - somehow I get the feeling that this is business as usual for Blu-Express...

Well yes, at least according to my experience. I had, for a while ago, booked flights with Blu-Express on FCO-PMO but I suffered a last-minute cancellation. Anyway a cheap easyJet ticket saved me so I managed to resume my travelling plans the next day. Phew...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
For a minute I think about just dropping that side trip and finding a hotel here to resume my journey tomorrow, but alas it is too late to cancel my hotel in Genoa anymore and besides I really want to fly some more.

Now, as a true plane enthusiast, how could you even think about doing that??

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
There is a silver lining, however, as we will get a free snack from one of the (Autogrill, who else) cafes upstairs with our boarding passes.

That reminds me of my trip to Croatia last year, returning DBV-HEL on KF. Just when I was about to reach the airport (by bus, of course) I got a phone call from a friend of mine who was supposed to fly HEL-DBV on the incoming flight. They had took off, but returned to HEL because of a technical fault. Soon they got another MD-90 instead and some 3 hours delay. Back then, we got a huge, yes, really huge, baguette with lots of filling and drinks. That was a great meal. And in addition, thanks to the aircraft change, I logged a new reg (otherwise I wouldn't have)....

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
The old fashioned controls:

Those modern looking slim seats really does not match such old control panels. It looks weird...

That Moby Lines ferry looks familiar, actually because I have travelled with the ferry company from Sardinia to Corsica a couple of years ago.
Also nice to see pictures from Genoa, I have a very good friend of mine living there, I should visit him sometime, of course with some interesting routing, like HEL-RIX-BCN-GOA-FCO-RIX-HEL. That's been on my mind for a while, but we'll see...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
It is an Airbus 319 as expected, EI-IMM which turns out to be a very new plane, having been delivered new to AZ just three weeks previously! A new plane for me, of course.

That's nice, sad though you did not get another MD-80 ride, considering the fact that the Alitalia MD-80 do quite a lot of domestic sectors, including Genoa.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Finally boarding is called 40 minutes after the inbound landed.

Now that's Italian efficiency!

That was a lot of text for you to read
Cheers!
717Flyer


User currently offlinetobbry From Sweden, joined May 2008, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 6853 times:

Hi

Nice report as usuall. I have had some plans flying on Blu but after reading this I think I have to think twice...

Any flight passing Arlanda soon?¨

Tobias


User currently offlineba724 From Australia, joined Nov 2010, 44 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 6830 times:

Greetings Flying Finn and what a most interesting trip report once more.Plenty of terrific photos which I enjoyed,I also think you have a great sense of humour! I had a few good chuckles reading through..eg the baggage hall and checkout "straight through the wall"!..Look forward to your next installment..Dave

User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1788 posts, RR: 30
Reply 18, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 6826 times:

Hello P,

Good to follow your story now with the Blue-Express thingy. Not the best flight you had recently it seems... You also went through an extended planning process, I think it must've consumed quite some i-net time on your hands. And hopefully you credit card will be credited soon!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The bulkhead 1F is a great seat - tons of legroom:

Nice to see you have the right gear on for going down south to (sunny) Italy  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The cockpit door is open:

You did not ask for a quick pic? I would have...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Eventually I make my way to the gate - a weird bus gate area downstairs with lots of people, inadequate seating and a very depressing feel to it:

That looks bad indeed, did you have to stay there the whole time, waiting for you delayed Blu-Express flight?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the seat is incredibly uncomfortable.

It really looks like it's made out of plastic. heck, even the seats on FR are much better  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a KMV Tu-204

Nice catch!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Boarding is another chaotic thing - despite the plane arriving some ten minutes early our announced boarding times comes and goes with people pushing every which way in front of the gate and the agents just chatting with each other

A mix of FR and Italian style boarding process you could call it.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
when I try to offer her the empty cup with my trash in it she refuses to take it and tells me to put it in the seat pocket instead. That’s a nice attitude to customer service...

Oh man, what an arrogance. No respect whatsoever from this F/A...

   Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 19, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 6666 times:

Hi guys,

Good to see more comments, thanks!

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 15):
Ostia looks really nice - should try it sometime.

Yes, a very recommendable place and not that far away from FCO. Nice beaches, although most of them are private ones where you have to pay for admission. The few stretches of public beaches were a bit more dingier...  
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 15):
Primera, off to somewhere sunny and nice:
Well, if you count BLL as that...

Oh, it was one of those flights. But yeah, I'm sure even Denmark had better weather than HEL that day.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 15):
Well, were you happy onboard DY or would you rather have arrived on AY? Or perhaps BT via RIX...  

Well, any one of those is fine with me, actually. Although a BT 757 would always be good.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 15):
Also nice to see pictures from Genoa, I have a very good friend of mine living there, I should visit him sometime, of course with some interesting routing, like HEL-RIX-BCN-GOA-FCO-RIX-HEL. That's been on my mind for a while, but we'll see...

Sounds like a nice plan. Go for it, I can heartily recommend it. If you want to do it on budget, do LPP-CRL-GOA etc.  
Quoting tobbry (Reply 16):
Nice report as usuall. I have had some plans flying on Blu but after reading this I think I have to think twice...

Yeah, I can't really recommend them based on this experience.

Quoting tobbry (Reply 16):
Any flight passing Arlanda soon?¨

A few visits there in August.

Quoting ba724 (Reply 17):
I also think you have a great sense of humour!

Thanks, life is too short to be taken seriously!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 18):
Nice to see you have the right gear on for going down south to (sunny) Italy  

You have to blend in. It was almost 30 degrees, so yes, that's the outfit you need.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 18):
That looks bad indeed, did you have to stay there the whole time, waiting for you delayed Blu-Express flight?

Nope, just take the escalator back upstairs and the whole airport is at your hands.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 18):
heck, even the seats on FR are much better

I agree!


User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1692 posts, RR: 30
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6622 times:

Excellent Trippie with very precise mentioning of the places/cities you pass, while flying !!!

Norwegian looks very comfortable in the bulkhead row; my 1st experience with them will be in September on the OSL-TOS v.v. stretches  

AZ 319 looks very new; for this length of flight, 'catering' looks OK...

Mille grazie for the comprehensive report - looking forward to your Dutch/Eindhoven adventure  



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 21, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 6556 times:

Hey FF,

Sorry to hear that you had to go through all that to finalize your itinerary. I'm also sorry to hear about the delay in refunding your original ticket to NCE.

Other than that, a great TR and a really pleasant read as always. Genoa looks like an interesting place.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Safety demo is played on the screens - I don%u2019t think I have seen it before, but then again my memory isn%u2019t that good these days anymore:


I am noticing that the norwegian CG lady in the safety demo is not as physically "gifted" as the hungarian one of Malev's.


On to read the second installment now.

Cheers,

WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6507 times:

Hi FF,

great read as always, thanks for sharing.

Never heard of Ostia before, it looks to be a nice place for layover when transitting via FCO. Great pictures of Genoa, it seems to be a very interesting city. Hopefully will get there one day.

Sorry to hear you were forced to do some major changes to your original itinerary, resulting in missing Smartwings flight. Had a chance to try TravelService when I flew on charter flights to/from Rhodes couple of years ago. I don't know if the same aircraft are deployed on charters and regural connections, but if so, I'd recommend paying extra for seat selection/priority boarding (if possible) when you take a second attempt to score Smartwings/Travel Service. The aircraft (738) I flew on was configured with 189 seats and from what I saw the standard legroom looked dramatic (I was fast enough and managed to save exit row seats at check-in on both legs   ).

Regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6672 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6482 times:

Hi FlyingFinn!

Very nice report with nice pictures !

Nice trick to get a good seat on DY!

Ostia looks really nice ! More people should stop by there if they have a long layover and they are not spotting........

BV seat looks very uncomfortable, good it was a short flight for you.

You actaully flew over "Punta Ala " from what I can see, not 'Punta Ana".

Thanks for the pictures of Grosseto and the Grosseto airport where I spent a couple of summers in nearby Castilgone Della Pecaia. Flew in to Grosseto (GRS) on Sterling Airways 727s and maybe once on a Sterling Caravelle. I don't think GRS has any charter flights since about 15 years ago. It used to be and Italian Air Force base where they had F-105s based. They used to roar over the baach perhaps as low as 1000 ft at Riva Del Sole where I stayed.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2468 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 6383 times:

As always- GREAT!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 2):
As for Blu-Express: quite horrible! Starting from the schedule change hassle before the flight (and the fact that I still haven’t received my monies back from them!), to the abysmal ground handling at FCO, the depressing gate area, the long delay and the extremely uncomfortable seat - not my cup of tea.



I know the problem- I am planning now for ages a trip through Italy. But schedule changes, bankrupt carriers, very strange flight schedules (like "weekly except July" on Windjet) prevented me to do so...

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 15):
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):

Hmm, did they wash this bird one too many times and the colors faded:

Well, actually, the bird is wearing one of the new Alitalia slogans and is wearing that 'bleak' outlook to promote the "new" Alitalia, if I remember right.



Nearly, "We move who gets Italy moving"- as you can see: "alitalia.COM" titles are promoting the new home-page!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There are very old looking TV monitors hanging from the ceiling, which are used for the safety demo:



Very strange- TV monitors but no IFE controls in the armrest...


25 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi guys, thanks for the additional comments! Ok, that's quite a lengthy flight so I suggest you try my trick. The bulheads or exit rows a great, as ar
26 EL-AL : Hey, Nice report, great photos of great country. I think you are the first passenger landed in FCO not going to Rome! I flew Blue Panorama Airlines 11
27 Post contains images infodesk : Hi P, All your reports are great, but this was really enjoyable. So much action, so many schedule changes and so many beautiful photos, both on land a
28 Post contains images parton87 : Hello Petteri! Thanks for the story. The pictures from Genoa is great, looks like a beautiful place! Cheaper that way I guess Nice! Probably:D Oh, how
29 Post contains images akhmad : Hi P., Wow, that is a long adventure and you just get started. It amazes me how you kept cool despite the inconveniences. I cannot believe what you ex
30 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi all, good to see more comments! Thanks! Well, level 4 is obvious - beer. Haven't thought about further levels. Interesting, I've actually never bee
31 Post contains images MSS658 : Another nice trip report, sorry to hear about your last minute change to skip NCE. Wonderfull airport and approach, but glad you did get to see Genoa
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