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Shorthaul With Lufthansa And Niki: MUC-VIE-MXP  
User currently offlineSR117 From Mexico, joined Jun 2000, 799 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 7537 times:

Prologue

I'd always been keen on visiting Vienna. However the strong euro and lack of intercontinental nonstops have been strong dissuaders.

After I found a great deal for the Le Meridien Hotel using cash and Starwood points, it was suddenly worth it to battle the obstacles.

As I was flying standby, it was a bit of a hassle choosing the right gateways, but eventually we settled on MUC-VIE with LH on the inbound and VIE-MXP with Niki on the outbound. Euro short haul, how fun can it be? Let's find out:

23 Apr 2011
LH2328
Airbus A319 Y Class
MUC-VIE
11:25-12:30


Airport Experience

After a nice flight from ATL with Delta, we were at Munich's Terminal 1. All of my MUC Experiences had been in T2, but T1 didn't seem bad at all but it's slightly less schnazzy than T2, immigration was quick and polite, and we were off to T2.

T2 is about a 10 minute walk from T1 which isn't too bad considering you can simply walk over, the walk ends in a large plaza with the U-Bahn entrance and even a nice looking beer garden, too bad it was too early for a brew.


My ride after her transatlantic hop.


Munich's Terminal 1.


Transfer from T1 to T2.


It's 8am already, open up !

Munich airport was built from the ground up, a rare thing in Europe, but I LIKE it. We managed to check in at one of the handy Lufthansa self-check in machines and only visited the counter to check in our bags, the entire process took less than 10 minutes. Security was also less than 5 minutes since most passengers checked all large carry ons and rollaboards, making the security screening fast


These magic check in machines even worked with my standby ticket.

My only beef with MUC was that the observation deck at T2 seemed to be shut down, a shame as it was a gorgeous day.

This was not my first time in Munich's T2, but it was the first time I wasn't running to catch a flight, so it was nice to explore the terminal at leisure.


New, slimmer seats, is less more?


Airside at MUC T2.

If you have a few hours to kill, MUC is definitely not a bad airport to do so. The terminal is one big long building, but it has a great airy feel to it. And best of all, it has a few cafe stations along the length of the building where you can have some tea or coffee for free, yep, you can get your caffeine buzz anytime you want, courtesy of good ol Lufty.


Am I cheap if I'm won over with a free cup of tea?

Once boarding time came, it became clear we would get one of those nasty remote gates, I was disappointed until I realized I'd get a nice tour of the airport ; )


Scenes like these make me wish I had a pair of those roller shoes that kids use.

It never ceases to amaze how fast the boarding process can be in some places. The entire boarding process took less than 15 minutes, I dare say it was probably closer to 10, two busloads boarding through 2 airstairs, and we were good to go.




I'm in the last row so, through the back we go.


There's no better way to board.


Can seats get any slimmer?

On Board Experience

Service to Vienna was on board one of LH's refurbished planes, ultra slimline seats which seem comfortable enough for a short flight, as with any new plane, things look good, despite the thin seats legroom doesn't seem any better or worse than standard economy.

There's not much you can serve on a short 40 minute flight, still, LH manages to provide a full beverage run complete with complimentary beer/wine. Cabin crew was young and polite, they quickly managed to serve all passengers in an efficient manner and even served a candy bar, luxurious indeed. Seriously though, at 40 minutes, some airlines would even shy away from a beverage service, so it's nice to see LH make an effort.


Flying into the Bavarian skies.




Just so you know who you're flying on.


For the record, I didn't mix beer and chocolate, I gave it to my seatmate, this is just for illustration purposes


As soon as you're up, time to go down again.


Fancy a dip?

Arrival Airport

Vienna's Schwechat looks old school, but, in some ways charming, the curved and narrow corridors, big windows, it almost feels like the shopping arcades within a subway station, except with tarmac views   The airport has a convenient rail connection to the city (S-Bahn, much better than the overpriced and infrequent "Express" service.)


Short turnaround before flying back to Germany.


I wonder whose hub this is ?



Vienna

Vienna is a great place to visit, compact, artsy, and with good food too ; ) I'd love to go back.


Ahhh nothing quite like a sunny spring day




Le Meridien Vienna, excellent choice for a stay.


Not a bad deal for 60 dollars a night.


You can't go wrong with meat and potatoes.


Nighttime shopping.


Great evening for a drink outside.


Love me some cheese in the morning.


Old town.


Easter Sunday.




Old style streetcars.


Beer and Schnitzel.


Vienna from the Belvedere.

[Edited 2011-10-12 23:03:47]

[Edited 2011-10-12 23:07:24]

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSR117 From Mexico, joined Jun 2000, 799 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 7535 times:

26 Apr 2011
HG8822
Embraer 190 Y Class
VIE-MXP
06:20-07:40


Airport Experience

Now this is where I have to give a thumbs down. Early morning departures from Vienna (6am or so) are somewhat complicated as the first S-Bahn to the airport doesn't leave till about 4:30am. We took the second S Bahn into the airport at 4:55 and by the time we were at Schwechat it was already a zoo. The Niki/Air Berlin check-in area was a madhouse and worst of all, people had to line up at individual check-in counters, if you got a slow agent, bad luck for you.


Up and about in the train station at 4:50, never fun.


Check in at VIE's Terminal 1A.


Early morning crowds.

We managed to line up at a fast counter but even then time was short. By the time we were done with security it was cutting it close.


The Austrian zone looks more civilized.


Heading down to the C gates.

Boarding was via bus which made things a bit slow. Flight was scheduled to be an A320, but when we got to the plane, turned out to be an Embraer, I was pleasantly surprised as I've enjoyed my previous E-190 flights.


Love the fly on the nose.


Rear boarding again.

On Board Experience

The cabin looked new and well maintained, I find it very surprising that a regional plane like the Embraer 190 can be more comfortable than some intercontinental planes.

Crew was dressed in the typical Niki jeans and blazer outfits with pink accents, they were very friendly and outgoing despite the early hour.

On board service with Niki was very surprising as I had an image of them as a low cost carrier. The actual experience proved to be much more upscale. All seats had a nice looking menu with options which were unfortunately pre-order items. But to my surprise, we were actually offered a choice of a tomato or ham sandwich. Can't help but feel a bit odd though, getting excited about a ham sandwich, hehe. But hey, how can you beat chowing down a nice sandwich while watching the gorgeous views of the alps beneath ?

Not only was a meal served but the crew also came by various times offering beverages, coffee and duty free items. Crew performance was excellent on this very short flight, they never seemed to disappear and were always on top of things.


Murky Morning.


Looks like we left just as the bad weather came.




Nicer weather up here.


Airy feeling cabin for a small jet.


Decent legroom.




Oh, look what we have here.


Not a bad for a free snack.


Nice view with breakfast.


Menu for pre-purchase meals.


I'd hit that.


I'd definitely hit that too.


Meatballs in a box? Bring it on !


If you're feeling a bit like Asian.

After less than an hour in the air we were descending into murky weather again, this time over Italy, we touched down in Milan-Malpensa on time and so ended our flight with Niki, a surprisingly good experience.




Big mountains.


More murky madness.


Good morning Malpensa.


Thanks for the ride.

Arrival Airport

Now, a special mention has to be made about Malpensa Airport, an airport that was inaugurated in 1998 but it looks like it came directly from the 60s or 70s. Designed by the famous Ettore Sottsass, it seems quite unique to say the least. One could hardly believe that the airport is not even 15 years old. Despite the repulsion, I can't help but feel strangely fascinated by the ugliness, the green hues and odd materials, sort of like the strange siren song of Yoko Ono. Perhaps it is a feeling better explained through pictures.


Well, Hello Milano.




Handy transfer counters, except they're empty!


Baggage claim.


Arrivals area.


In need of repairs so soon?


Pink, yellow, gold and green.


I could swear those buttons are 30 years old.


Check-in Lobby.


Airside.


Departure gate.


Those tall chairs are quite comfortable actually, big thumbs up.


Not many food options.


Not so bad looking here.


These green counters remind me of something, maybe I should take a closer look.


Yes ! I've seen that green plastic used in trash bins.


Chinese visitor.


Ride back across the pond.


Notables, Mexicana still there, new JAL logo already here (it had barely been introduced the previous month).


Delta crew awaiting boarding.

Conclusions

I had a great time both with Lufthansa and with Niki. However the on-board experience with Niki was definitely a notch above due to the good catering and energetic crew. When it comes to ground handling though, LH made the formalities much easier, VIE and MUC are home airports for both carriers so you'd think they would be on equal standing.

Hope you enjoyed reading, questions and comments are welcome.

Ricardo


User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7179 times:

Hi Ricardo,

Many thanks for this very enjoyable intra-Europe report. Nice you got to sample 2 carriers, the Niki Jungle Jet looks very smart indeed. Nice pics as well!

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
Am I cheap if I'm won over with a free cup of tea?

No you're not. Certainly a bonus point for LH there for providing these facilities.

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
Flying into the Bavarian skies.

Great overview shot on MUC.

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
The Niki/Air Berlin check-in area was a madhouse and worst of all, people had to line up at individual check-in counters, if you got a slow agent, bad luck for you.

No self checkin machines or OLCI possible?

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
Airy feeling cabin for a small jet.

Yes, the Embraer seems to be succesful in that aspect.

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
Those tall chairs are quite comfortable actually, big thumbs up.

The only positive aspect on MXP perhaps? Ever been to the even more dreaded T2 (the Easyjet terminal)?

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 7068 times:

Hi Ricardo,

thanks for sharing! Your pictures are very neat, can I ask what kind of equipment were you using? I read your description of Malpensa with great interest as it's the airport I use most to fly home. It is sad to see how big the difference is between MXP and MUC in terms of appeal but this is the outcome of a project being designed in the early 1990s where aesthetycs was somehow different from now, especially for Ettore Sottsass. Perhaps things would have been different if the design of the internal parts would have been given to, say, Renzo Piano. His Kansai Airport is much more modern looking than Malpensa despite being somehow older.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 2):
The only positive aspect on MXP perhaps? Ever been to the even more dreaded T2 (the Easyjet terminal)?

I wouldn't be so harsh about MXP, it also offers great airside views and it's tremendously compact so you can stroll from one corner to the other in less than a couple of years!


User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 7043 times:

Quoting JL418 (Reply 3):
it also offers great airside views and it's tremendously compact

That is indeed very true  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6943 posts, RR: 77
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6946 times:

Hi Ricardo,

very nice report with good pictures. It seems you had an enjoyable trip.

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
However the strong euro and lack of intercontinental nonstops have been strong dissuaders.

You prefer nonstops???

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
immigration was quick and polite

That's not the norm!

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
and even a nice looking beer garden, too bad it was too early for a brew.

Ever heard of a "Frühschoppen?"  

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
My only beef with MUC was that the observation deck at T2 seemed to be shut down, a shame as it was a gorgeous day.

It's open daily from 08:00 to 22:00 - I'm not aware of a closure in April.

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
Beer and Schnitzel.

Was it a real "Wiener Schnitzel"?

Quoting SR117 (Thread starter):
On board service with Niki was very surprising as I had an image of them as a low cost carrier.

Niki has always been a high-quality LCC. Did you notice the fly with Niki Lauda's voice in the safety video? I once had the pleasure to meet him on the flight deck after a FRA-VIE flight:

Cirrus D38, Adria CRJ & Captain Niki Lauda On Duty (by PlaneHunter Jul 27 2010 in Trip Reports)


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1268 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6695 times:

How were you able to get a room at Le Meridien for $60 a night? Website? Thanks.

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1965 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6264 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Good report and very nice photos! I went to Vienna many years ago, and really enjoyed my trip there. We enjoyed the city very much; Looks like you had a great time!

LH always seems to provide a good service, no matter what class of service you are in.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineSR117 From Mexico, joined Jun 2000, 799 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5936 times:

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 2):

Many thanks for this very enjoyable intra-Europe report. Nice you got to sample 2 carriers, the Niki Jungle Jet looks very smart indeed. Nice pics as well!

Thanks Sultanils, yeah, it's nice to have some variety with carriers when it's practical. Thanks for the pic comments too  
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 2):
No self checkin machines or OLCI possible?

There were some common Air Berlin/Niki check in machines available but they weren't quite as handy as the Lufthansa ones, a lot of people seemed to have trouble with them and they wouldn't let me check in with my standby ticket.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 2):
The only positive aspect on MXP perhaps? Ever been to the even more dreaded T2 (the Easyjet terminal)?

I have not had the pleasure yet, I'm curious to see how bad it can get.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 3):
thanks for sharing! Your pictures are very neat, can I ask what kind of equipment were you using?

Thanks JL418, I used a Nikon D90 dslr + Canon S90 compact (useful when discretion is needed.)

Quoting JL418 (Reply 3):
Perhaps things would have been different if the design of the internal parts would have been given to, say, Renzo Piano. His Kansai Airport is much more modern looking than Malpensa despite being somehow older.

Now that you mention it, it really is amazing that MXP is from the same generation as KIX or HKG. I'm really curious as to the original concept though, perhaps something was lost in translation from Mr Sottsass' vision to implementation.

Quoting JL418 (Reply 3):
I wouldn't be so harsh about MXP, it also offers great airside views and it's tremendously compact so you can stroll from one corner to the other in less than a couple of years!

That is indeed true, views of the apron were great and windows were clean.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
You prefer nonstops???

Hey PH ; ) I know, blasphemy ! But due to certain circumstances, it's usually cheaper for me if I can get there with the least amount of segments possible, and if Delta can get me there, even better, hehe.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
That's not the norm!

I've been pretty lucky with MUC, arrived there 3 times and usually I've been waived through after a short wait. This time I was the second in line and the lady stamped my passport after asking where I was flying to.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
Ever heard of a "Frühschoppen?"

I was not familiar with the term but I think the subject certainly requires some hands on research.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
It's open daily from 08:00 to 22:00 - I'm not aware of a closure in April.

Maybe I tried to get there the wrong way? I went up some stairs and then found a bridge that seemed to lead somewhere but the entrance was blocked with some pole things. Figured the entrance was closed off for some reason. Perhaps I was trying to get into the airport jail instead : )

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
Was it a real "Wiener Schnitzel"?

I certainly hope so, I read good reviews about the place online so decided to check it out. Prices were reasonable too.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
Niki has always been a high-quality LCC. Did you notice the fly with Niki Lauda's voice in the safety video? I once had the pleasure to meet him on the flight deck after a FRA-VIE flight:

Wow, you shook hands with Niki Lauda himself, nice to see he's a nice guy in person. Seems like staff hold him in high regard as well.

I knew that the old Lauda had very high standards, It was quite silly of me to expect anything less from his new venture. I hope the Air Berlin partnership is fruitful for them.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):
How were you able to get a room at Le Meridien for $60 a night? Website? Thanks.

Cash and points with Starwood ; ) 4000 points knocks it down to $60 per night plus the booking is fully flexible, love it !

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
Good report and very nice photos! I went to Vienna many years ago, and really enjoyed my trip there. We enjoyed the city very much; Looks like you had a great time!

It's a great place, definitely looking forward to seeing more of Austria in the future.


User currently offlineLGWflyer From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2011, 2348 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5845 times:

Hey SR117, cheers for sharing. I enjoyed your TR very much, loved the pics! Thanks!  


3 words... I Love Aviation!!!
User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1946 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5761 times:

Thanks for sharing this wonderful report!

Niki is an excellent airline and I am glad that its service is well maintained. Its sister carrier, Air Berlin, really can't come close to the high standard set up by Niki. I am glad that Niki keeps the free sandwiches service (as Air Berlin has cut that service on many flights), and I bought the special hot meal before. They were really good.

Thanks again,
Carfield


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 11, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5560 times:

Hi

Nice trip report thanks for sharing! Like the detail given in the pics. Glad you enjoyed LH and Niki



Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineJL418 From Italy, joined Jun 2009, 493 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 5429 times:

Hey Ricardo, just a quick question regarding your reply below:

Quoting SR117 (Reply 8):
Thanks JL418, I used a Nikon D90 dslr + Canon S90 compact (useful when discretion is needed.)

How's the Canon S90? I'm toying with the idea of buying a "powerful" compact and I've read great reviews about it. Would you recommend it? Thanks!


User currently offlineROGERBCN From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 5397 times:

Hola Ricardo!

Great TR.

You have really great pictures on your TR. They look really bright and shiny, very nice.

Loved both Niki and LH comments, really great airlines for these short European hops.

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
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