PhilInBRN From Switzerland, joined Jun 2009, 321 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 20312 times:
For a long time I've wanted to ride a heavy airplane on a short route. What better than to actually do it between some place and one of the closer airports to my home. Korean Air allows you to book the VIE-ZRH leg, which is flown three times a week, for 120 Euros one way in Economy. Not the cheapest option on this route, as it's flown about 14 times daily by OS, LX and HG, but still a very good price considering the luxury of flying a 747.
So I planned a day trip with a morning flight to VIE, spending the day in Vienna and then head back in the evening on KE 933. As I'd purchased the Air Berlin City Tour pass which allows you to book five flights for 220 Euros I spent one coupon for a flight on the 9 AM departure by Niki to Vienna.
In the early morning of July 7 I first had to take a 90 minutes train ride to Zurich airport train station. I'd checked in online on the evening before and got myself seat 4A on the Niki A320.
After quickly clearing security I had to wait another thirty minutes or so for boarding to be announced. So I had time to wander around and also to look at the progress that'd been made on the new Dock B to be opened in about 4 to 5 months.
About 45 minutes prior to departure the Airbus A320 named Hip Hop with the distinctive fly on its nose appeared at Gate A68.
Boarding soon began and along with about 120 other passengers I entered via the jetway. It was my first flight on Niki and I was a bit baffled by the outfit of the cabin crew being just regular blue jeans and a pink blouse. Nevertheless I felt very comfortable aboard, and after everyone was seated the FAs came around to distribute newspapers and magazines. Just at about 9 am we made our takeoff roll on runway 28 to the West.
Some views after departure
The morning was perfect for some nice panoramic views over first the Swiss and then the Austrian alps. Shortly after reaching the cruising altitude the FAs came around with a choice of three different sandwiches.
Crusing towards Vienna
And finally after about 45 minutes in the air on the right hand base the lovely city on the blue Danube
After a 180 turn to the right ILS 16 was established and the Airbus swiftly touched down at its home base in VIE.
Lovely view of a river boat
And finally the famous VIE ATC tower
And the soon to be opened Skylink terminal
After a quick bus ride to the arrivals terminal I hoppened on a Airport bus to get to Schwedenplatz in the city centre. I spent about 5 hours in Vienna just walking around and enjoying the beautiful summer afternoon.
The opera house
The Stephansdome amidst construction
Nice afternoon atmosphere at Belvedere castle
In the late afternoon I returned to the Danube river and took the bus back to the airport in order to check in at Korean Air.
Check In was done rather quick although it must have been baffling to the waiting fellow passengers to see somebody check in just with a small bag like mine. I requested a window seat on the left side of the airplane only to later find out that I was seated over the wing, not exactly what I had in mind. I then proceeded through passport control in the D-gate area. Unfortunately it's not a very nice area to wait more than an hour for a flight as there are only a limited number of food stores and shops around. The security check points are located just before the gates meaning you have to proceed through there only minutes before departure, not something very modern in my mind.
Anyways, as my flight to ZRH was delayed for more than an hour I spent some time using the free Wifi at Vienna airport (thumbs up for that). At around 7:20 pm boarding was announced for KE 933. The flights routing is ICN-VIE-ZRH-ICN. All passengers have to leave the plane in Vienna and in Zurich in order to allow refueling and cleaning of the plane. The crew usually changes in Zurich.
Boarding went rather quickly considering there were about 250 people to board. As mentioned above I was given a window seat above the wing which I didn't like very much. But realizing that the weather had changed much to the worse I decided not to bother the crew with a seat change request. I settled into my seat and enjoyed the sun for the last time this day.
Next to the big 747 was an Austrian A320 to Pristina
After push back another view of the scenic ATC tower
During taxi the safety demonstration was done via the individual inseat video screens. With a delay of about 50 minutes the 747 HL7492 lined up on runway 29. The engines roared and after about a quite short takeoff roll we lifted off followed by a pretty steep right curve heading to ZRH.
VIE can be seen looking over the wing
As I said above the weather got really bad at that time. We cruised through clouds and I was glad I at least got some nice inflight pictures on the morning leg to VIE. So I settled down to following the flight's progress on the AVOD screen.
Just to give you an impression that the weather could've been much better for such a flight experience.
Soon we had crossed the Swiss border and Lake Constance. We then had to fly in a holding pattern in order to later join the runway 34 approach from the South as all the other planes would approach ZRH at this time from the East on rwy 28.
The captain of this flight by the way was Swiss as I found out recognizing his Swiss English accent. As I later realized he is the guy who has written a book about his experiences on flying the Korean 747 etc.
If anyone is interested, here is the cover of the book in German only:
Holding pattern over eastern Switzerland. By this time it was too cloudy and too dark outside to take any pictures
Flying along Lake Zurich on the rwy 34 approach.
The closer we got to Zurich the nastier the weather got. It was now storming outside.
We touched down in heavy rain and taxied to our gate at Dock E next to the Swiss San Francisco A340. This bird by the way will get repainted in mid August.
After exiting the plane in the jetway was a sign dividing passengers who would remain on board to ICN and passengers who would exit here in ZRH. I of course proceeded to the skymetro station below Dock E but had to take a last picture of the blue beauty. Although the flight was a bit tinted by the bad weather it was still a nice experience to fly the Jumbo jet after almost four years of not flying on one.
I then went down to hop on the skymetro train and proceeded to Swiss immigration.
The guy at the immigration desk swiped my passport and probably noticed that I didn't really exit Switzerland or the Schengen countries. So he asked me where I just came from. I replied ''Vienna sir''. He had a confused look so I just said, ''you know, you can fly Korean Air from Vienna to Zurich''. He agreed and let me through. It put a little smile on my face knowing that probably not too many people fly just this short route on the Asian airline.
I then hustled to the train station only to see my train leaving from above the platform. Not that big of a deal for me as I took the train thirty minutes later and was home by about half past eleven.
I hope you enjoyed this brief report. I wish I could've provided you with some more pictures of the Korean flight but unfortunately the weather didn't play in my favor this time.
Please feel free to ask questions or add some remarks. I appreciate it.
Next trip report coming up will be about touring Spain including a Monarch flight to Gibraltar and an Air Europa A332 on a Spanish domestic leg.
retrolivery From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 206 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 20272 times:
No meal service or anything on this flight? Granted, the sector is quite short for cabin crew to serve a 747 full of passengers but still - even NIKI manages a sandwich. I'm surprised that KE didn't seem to offer anything!
A3, AA, AC, AI, AK, AM, AP, AZ, B6, BA, CO, DL, EK, EY, FL, FI, FR, KL, KM, LH, MA, MH, MS, OA, OK, OS, SR, TA, TG, U2,
PhilInBRN From Switzerland, joined Jun 2009, 321 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 20221 times:
Quoting retrolivery (Reply 1): No meal service or anything on this flight? Granted, the sector is quite short for cabin crew to serve a 747 full of passengers but still - even NIKI manages a sandwich. I'm surprised that KE didn't seem to offer anything!
I'm sorry I forgot to mention this. While there was some meal service, it was not very impressive. The FAs handed out a plate with a very little salad a bread roll and a cup of orange jelly (I think that's what it was). They also didn't have the entire range of drinks available. The only came around with orange juice or water cups to chose from.
After all one has to consider that passengers coming in from ICN probably had two meals on the ICN-VIE leg and passengers flying VIE-ZRH-ICN will enjoy two meals on the ZRH-ICN leg.
WhereToNext From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 96 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 19310 times:
Thanks for the great trip report! I knew Korean Air operated to both ZRH and VIE but I wasn't aware this was a 5th freedom flight too. Thanks for shedding some light on the issue! Great pictures of Vienna, too!
Yes, it is always something special! Luckily there are still a few of these fifth freedom widebody flights within Europe. It was fun back in the days when LH used the A300 on high density domestic routes.
Quoting PhilInBRN (Thread starter): As I'd purchased the Air Berlin City Tour pass which allows you to book five flights for 220 Euros I spent one coupon for a flight on the 9 AM departure by Niki to Vienna.
Interesting, never heard of this. Are there any capacity controls or can you use it on any flight as long as there's a seat available?
Sultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1903 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 19094 times:
A quite nice report on your 'unusal' hop from VIE to ZRH. A good way to spend some time in a 747, albeit indeed a little on the expensive side. But then again: I recently booked FRA-GVA on a KU A343 for € 111, so that's not much of a difference
Online checkin is only possible if you'd been signed in on their website as either a website member or a Korean Air FF-member. I was neither of the too upon booking the trip so I had to check in regularly.
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7): That's a lot to choose from in the wee hours of the morning, did you taste all 3?
I think I had Cheese and Salami sandwiches.
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 7): Is that a pattern? The flying pilot must've been, it looks very wobbly
I haven't noticed that. But considering that the pilot was very familiar with ZRH and the stormy weather circling on FL 10 I assume this is a regular pattern that's flown not too precisely.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 5): When are they finally going to get around opening it? It certainly has been a long time coming?!
According to Wikipedia the opening date is set for early 2012. Initially it was planned to be opened in 2008...
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 5): Interesting, never heard of this. Are there any capacity controls or can you use it on any flight as long as there's a seat available?
The city tour pass was for everyone under 25. One had to make proof of the age once booking the ticket. You can choose five very different leg on the entire Air Berlin network (excluding holiday destinations). So I still have four flights remaining that I have to use somewhat intelligently until they expire on August 31.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3): Sounds interesting. Does UX regularly use A332s for domestic operations?
Well to make matters clear I flew a UX A332 on LPA-MAD. When booking the trip a 767 was planned to operate the flight but that was later changed. I'm quite sure that this is one of the few if not only domestic route that UX operates with a heavy airplane.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3): Well, that's Niki. Did you notice the speaking fly in the safety video? It has Niki's voice.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4352 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (3 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 18632 times:
really nice to get a 744 on this short hop, considered it myself as so many others. Sorry about the weather on the KE flight. Couldn't you move to another seat yourself without troubling the crew about this matter?
Looking forward also to your UX A332 experience, sounds really interesting indeed!
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
Were you the only one to leave the aircraft in ZRH?
As explained above, about half of the passengers coming in from ICN leave in VIE and about half of the passengers leave in ZRH. I was probably the only one only flying VIE-ZRH but there were a lot of passengers that left in ZRH as well. Also the crew changes in ZRH as passengers await the onward flight to ICN.
Quoting PhilInBRN (Thread starter): desk swiped my passport and probably noticed that I didn't really exit Switzerland or the Schengen countries. So he asked me where I just came from. I replied ''Vienna sir''. He had a confused look so I just said, ''you know, you can fly Korean Air from Vienna to Zurich''. He agreed and let me through. It put a little smile on my face knowing that probably not too many people fly just this short route on the Asian airline.
Yep, I'm sure that suitably confused him!!
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
Ps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 13809 times:
Just wanted to say many thanks for the report. I enjoyed flying with you (in writing) on both FlyNiki and Korean Air. I live near Heathrow airport in London and often see the very elegant Korean air flight attendants in the Renaissance hotel when I'm looking at planes. Would be great to fly on them. Was cool to see the pictures of Vienna too and I especially liked the one of the tram. Only one quick question, was there any food/drink service on the Korean Air flight? Would have been nice to get a sandwich or some Kimchee!
DALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1809 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 13036 times:
Nice little jump with the gracious lady. It's funny to see a lot of people doing more and more efforts in finding these gems in the European airspace!
Thanks for sharing!!
ps. didn't even know KE is flying to ZRH
PhilInBRN From Switzerland, joined Jun 2009, 321 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (10 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4061 times:
Thank you for the report. I'm glad you were inspired by my report.
You took some beautiful pictures there. Good choice to take a flight operated by the 77W (only operated for a short period of time). This route is now operated directly ICN-ZRH-ICN in summer and should switch to the ICN-VIE-ZRH-ICN routing again in winter.