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Flying From Braunschweig To Catch The Tu-134  
User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8708 times:

TRIP REPORT

Flying from Braunschweig to catch the Tu-134
22-23Dec11

Introduction


This trip was a combination of two things I wanted to do for much of 2011. First was my desire to try the odd and only scheduled from Braunschweig (BWE/EDVE), which was a twice weekly flight by Air Berlin (AB/BER) to Moscow-Vnukovo (VKO/UUWW), which first appeared as scheduled flights operated by Embraer 190 in the May 2011 issue of the OAG Pocket Flight Guide. Second was my desire to get once again, and maybe for a last time, on the Tu-134, the classic two engined Soviet-engineered jet. (With a seating capacity of around 80 this would be called a regional jet nowadays.)

Two things seemed odd to regarding the flights from BWE to VKO when I first saw them appear. Firstly, no other flights from BWE were existing, secondly, AB was already flying to Moscow-Domodedovo (DME/UUDD), therefore it seemed strange that they now also served VKO. Some further research revealed that these flights were employee shuttles for Volkswagen, which is based in neighbouring Wolfsburg. There is also a Volkswagen plant in Kaluga, Russia. As VKO is situated on the road from Moscow to Kaluga, the choice for VKO made sense. The flight was published as a scheduled flight to sell surplus seats to the public and the flight was made bookable over AB’s website. To get the aircraft to BWE, it was necessary to operate empty sectors from VIE to BWE and back, as I found out.

With some accidents in Russia with the Tu-134, Yak-42 and An-24, in a knee-jerk reaction the Russian government said they will ban those aircraft (plus the Yak-40) by 01 January 2012 if they are not equipped with GPWS (ground-proximity warning systems). This added some urgency to my plans to fly those aircraft types again. I fortunately had flown on all of them previously but my desire to experience it all again was very strong.

Several planning attempts failed during the summer of 2011 failed, the most advanced one in September, when I attempted to wrap this flight into a journey also comprising the Tu-134, Yak-42 and An-24.... So when I heard that the BWE-VKO flights will stop in December 2011 I knew it was time to finally go ahead. It also became clear that the last Tu-134’s (and Tu-154’s) were disappearing fast, with UTair (UT/UTA) replacing them with Canadair Regional Jets (for the Tu-134) and Boeing 737’s (for the Tu-154).

When I learned that the BWE-VKO route would be given up before Christmas 2011, it was now urgent to find a suitable date in December to do it. With the holidays approaching, most of the dates were already quite full with private and business appointments. The schedule for the BWE-VKO flight was Friday evening (BWE-VKO-BWE) and Sunday evening (BWE-VKO) and Monday morning (VKO-BWE). So it was inevitable that I would have to use at last part of any weekend to make the trip. And all my weekends were already booked up! Fortunately, a closer inspection of the schedules revealed that the very last flight would not be on Friday, 23 December but already - as an exception to the schedule presumably because of the Christmas holidays - on Thursday, 22 December. Now this was the opportunity I was waiting for.

To get to BWE - and I wanted to be there more than 1 hour before departure to prevent an early departure without me (me not being on the passenger list traveling on a staff ticket) - I had the option of flying from Zurich (ZRH/LSZH) to Hamburg (HAM/EDDH), Hanover (HAJ/EDDV) or Berlin-Tegel (TXL/EDDT) and take the train from there. I finally settled on the HAJ option, giving me more buffer should something go wrong and also resulting in a shorter and therefore less expensive train ride. Now the question of what to do from Moscow remained. It was clear that I wanted to fly on a Tu-134, Yak-40, Yak-42 or Tu-154, or possibly the Sukhoi Superjet 100. First I analyzed whether I could take a domestic flight to somewhere from VKO immediately after my arrival there. Unfortunately there were none on Russian-built equipment that fit. Another option was spending the night in Moscow and then do a Moscow-somewhere-Moscow flight and fly back home from Moscow. However I had to make sure I was back on Dec 23rd as Christmas eve on the next day was already fully planned with family commitments. After investing a lot of time and analyzing all the possibilities, I found three options which appealed to me. First, continue VKO-GOJ with UT on the ATR 72, spend the night in GOJ, then continue the next morning on with UT on the Tu-134 to St. Petersburg (LED/ULLI), from there I could take a number of flights back to western Europe. Second, spend the night in Moscow, then take Aeroflot (SU/AFL) on the Ilyushin 96 to Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (TLV/LLBG) and from there take Swiss International Air Lines (LX/SWR) to Zurich on the Airbus 340-300. The third option was also take UT AT7 to GOJ but from there fly SU with the Superjet 100 to SVO and from there SU to Istanbul (IST/LTBA) on the Il-96 and LX back home. After discovering that the GOJ-LED flight on the Tu-134 was the second last flight operated by the TU3 on this route and the CRJ would take over two days later, it was clear to me that I’d go for the first option. I booked both UT flights over UT’s website, which was easy to use. VKO-GOJ was RUB 1990 (approx. EUR 51 / CHF 62) and GOJ-LED was more expensive at RUB 3590 (approx. EUR 92 / CHF 112).To get home from LED I settled on SAS (SK/SAS) via Copenhagen-Kastrup (CPH/EKCH) to ZRH, one sector on McDonnell Douglas MD-87 and the next one on an MD-81 - resulting in a day using only classic twin jets all the way from GOJ to ZRH. For the SK flights I again used a stand-by ticket. So my routing finally looked like this:

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map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright Karl L. Swartz

Flights

Date: 22Dec11
Route: Zurich (ZRH/LSZH) - Hanover (HAJ/EDDV)
Flight number: LX 814
Schedule (local times): ZRH 0730 - HAJ 0855
Scheduled block time: 01:25
Airline/Operator: Swiss European Air Lines (--/SWU) operated for Swiss International Air Lines (LX/SWR)
Aircraft type: British Aerospace/Avro RJ100
Registration: HB-IYS

83rd flight on subtype AR1/143, 148th flight on ARJ/146 family, 3rd flight on HB-IYS, 1310th flight overall


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Photo © Tamas Vekony
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Photo © Stéphane Mutzenberg


I was at the airport around 6:20 and went to check-in area 3 (located above the railway station) to check-in. Holding a stand-by paper ticket (yes, they still do exist!) I was not able to use any machines but rather had to queue at a counter. After maybe a 5 minute wait it was my turn and I was issued a boarding pass with a confirmed seat number. I then slowly made my way to the new centralized security control area, located in a newly erected building between check-in areas 1 and 2. There was no wait at all and I was through in a matter of seconds. From this new security control building you are dumped into a duty free shop - not the way I like it. When checking the screens for my gate, I noted it was gate A53. Now that seemed odd as these gates had not been used for quite a while. To my surprise however I found out that the airport had renumbered the gates, what were previously the 50-series gates hat become A01-06 and what were previously the A01-08 gates now were gates A50-59.

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typical morning departures from ZRH

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the gates now designated as A01-06, accessible but not used this morning

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and the gates now designated A50-59, previously A01-08

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boarding for an exciting trip via Germany to Russia

Boarding was on time by bus and it was nice to get HB-IYS, painted in “Zurich Airport Shopping Paradise” special colours. During boarding I noticed a technician carrying a ladder around the aircraft - not a good sign. Anyway I boarded last so that I could pick my seat among those remaining empty - I was not satisfied with my window in the front, as my view would be blocked by the engines hanging down from the wing. I took a seat in the rear, which was quite empty. The load factor was maybe 50% in total.

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the Zurich Airport Shopping specially-painted RJ100

The cabin crew consisted of a male maitre de cabine and a female flight attendant and both were quite friendly. All preparations went normally, but somehow the engines were not started but instead chocolates were distributed. After a while, the captain came on and informed us that the aircraft had a slight technical problem with an engine indication. They would have to make a short check to rectify the problem. After maybe 10 minutes the captain came back and informed us that the problem could not be solved and that they had to test something by switching on and off the troublemaking engine twice and that this would take maybe 15 to 20 minutes. During that time, passengers were allowed to stand up, use the toilets or make phone calls. The events somehow mirrored those experienced a year ago when trying to get to MUC on a LX RJ100 - back then the flight had to be cancelled (see report. Fearing the worst, I began to think about alternatives, but basically the only option would be a flight to TXL departing at 08:50 for which I had no ticket... this would have allowed me to still reach BWE by train just in time. Oh well, by now it was already 08:20 and I was still sitting on the flight to HAJ. So that was not really an option anymore. Meanwhile, one could hear the engine started and switched off again twice. Well, we got lucky, after a while the captain informed that all was well now and we could go on our way to HAJ. Phew, that was close!

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nasty ZRH weather, at least some daylight now due to the delay

We took off from runway 28 and within a couple of minutes were above the nasty weather. Food service consisted of a croissant and drinks, I chose coffee plus a ham sandwich lovingly prepared by my wife at home. It couldn’t get any better!

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breaking out of the clouds

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croissant and coffee were on offer

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the rather roomy cabin, thanks to 5-abreast seating

After a seemingly short flight we descended towards the clouds into HAJ. We landed on runway 27R, followed by a lengthy taxi to the terminal, where we docked with a delay just a bit above 1 hour at around 10 o’clock. The weather in HAJ was as miserable as in ZRH.

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back into the murk again

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short final runway 27R in HAJ

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oops, almost forgot the leg room shot


plenty of room sideways, too


same seats on LX AR1as on mainline LX 32S, I like those seats


goodbye green nosed HB-IYS

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departures from HAJ, hey tiny Arvidsjaur (AJR/ESNX) seems to be a popular destination; I took that AB flight last year, guess to go fly which aircraft type from AJR...

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HAJ airport model on the way to the airport train station

Despite the delay, I still had plenty of time to get on the train at 11:06. I decided to go to the airport train station first anyway to get the ticket. This proved to be a good decision. When I arrived at the train station at around 10:20 there were huge queues at the two ticket machines (a third one was out of service) with people trying to get tickets for the 10:36 train. As I needed only to take the 11:06 train, I let people go ahead of myself in the queue so that they would not miss it. Almost everybody managed to get on by 10:36. The train started to roll on-time but suddenly stopped again abruptly. Apparently a door was not closing properly and the train was now stuck. I now bought my ticket and decided to jump onto this train. If something similar would happen again with the 11:06 I would miss my connection in Hanover main station to Braunschweig. After about a further 10 minutes, the train finally departed for good.

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half-hourly trains to the city

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still a small queue at the ticket machine

In Hanover I had 30 minutes time before my train to Braunschweig would depart. I quickly explored the square in front of the station. There was a Christmas market taking place but apart from that there’s not much to see except the statue of British-born Ernst August I., King of Hanover.

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scenes from just outside Hanover main station

Soon it was time to board my train to Braunschweig, which was running approximately 5 minutes late. After 32 minutes, the train pulled into Braunschweig’s main station. I had enough time to buy a bus ticket. I took the half hourly bus line 436 to the airport.

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TIDS, my train is the one on the last line

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old-fashioned train carriage

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my train at Braunschweig’s main station

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“city of research” - Braunschweig

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Braunschweig’s train station from inside and out


BK or McD?

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the futuristic tram and bus station

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my bus to the airport pulling in

Date: 22Dec11
Route: Braunschweig (BWE/EDVE) - Moscow-Vnukovo (VKO/UUWW)
Flight number: AB 1990
Schedule (local times): BWE 1420 - VKO 2005
Scheduled block time: 02:45
Airline/Operator: Niki (HG/NLY) operated for Air Berlin (AB/BER)
Aircraft type: Embraer 190LR
Registration: OE-IHE

4th flight on subtype E90, 12th flight on EMJ (E70/E75/E90/E95) family, 1st flight on OE-IHE, 1311th flight overall


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Photo © Swen E. Johannes
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Photo © Dejan Milinkovic - Pixstel Photography


The airport’s main building is looking rather like an old office building, were it not for the tower on top of the roof. I entered the main entrance to find a desk used as a check-in counter and two security points behind. Nobody else was there and the counter was unmanned. I found a Czech Airlines (OK/CSA) board on one of the walls showing the schedules for the two flights taking place today.

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BWE airport main building. reminds me somewhat of THF

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sign at the main entrance door

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check-in, security and immigration facilities in one shot

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today’s two OK movements on a rather old-fashioned version of FIDS

In a corridor leading sideways I found a friendly lady working in an office. I asked her about the check-in for the flight to VKO and she said it would open about 1 hour before departure. I took the time to wander around the airport. There is a restaurant and above it a viewing terrace. An unmarked Dornier 328 (D-CATZ) was there and a Swiss-registered Canadair Challenger was being refuelled. Other than that there was no activity.

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another view of the main building

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a Do328 in the rain

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typical BWE traffic

The weather was quite nasty and I went back to the terminal. After a while they set up the check-in counter. I made myself known to the check-in agent, which had not seen a stand-by ticket before but after some phone calls with AB’s headquarters was able to accept it. According to her there were just 5 passengers booked. When I heard a jet arriving, I once again went to the observation deck to witness the arrival of the Niki (HG/NLY) Embraer 190 operating this flight.

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my aircraft just arrived empty from VIE

After taking a couple of pictures I went back to the terminal where I was given a boarding pass for free seating. I then went through security and immigration and on request got an exit stamp in my passport by the friendly policemen acting as immigration officers. Load was indeed light, only 3 passengers plus myself finally boarded.

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waiting rooms after security, judging from the pictures on the wall no question what is the main destination...

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...or who is the main customer using these facilities

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that winglet sure looks nice

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traditional under-wing shot

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after entering the cabin, which seat should I choose?

I took a seat somewhere in the first half of the aircraft, just before the wing. The other 3 passengers, a lady and her two teenage daughters took the first row. The friendly cabin crew consisted of three girls from Austria. Doors were closed quickly and we were on the way on-time. We taxied to runway 26, followed by an immediate take-off.


view from my seat

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their work is done

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on our way to the runway

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ready for take-off on runway 26

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bye bye BWE, I’ll probably never see you again from the window of an airliner...

After a while, we were above the clouds and had some sunshine, followed by a nice sunset. The crew took turns in serving drinks and a double decker sandwich. Unfortunately, they did - not unexpectedly - not have any buy-on-board food available.

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breaking free of the clouds

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nice cloud shapes


empty cabin, the crew is spending time in the last row, not much to do on this flight for them

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Niki’s double decker sandwich

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nice sunset

As it got dark, the crew also switched off the cabin lights for the remainder of the flight, so I had to use the reading lights. They came around asking if I wanted more water several times. I was asking for Russian landing cards, which they did not have. After a while the engines were slowing down and we descended on our way to VKO. There was not much to see outside as we were above clouds. Once we came out underneath, I could see some streetlights but unfortunately, photography did not really work due to the low amount of light. We landed on runway 01 and I was able to spot an unexpected Yak-42 in UT colours (I didn’t know they had them, but as I found out they have some operated by Tulpar Air) and I also got a glimpse of the Russian government fleet of Il-96’s.

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crossing a motorway just before touching down

After we left the runway, we taxied over snow-covered taxiways for a while, but then had to stop for about 10 minutes. According to the pilot, who came over the PA system, our parking position was still occupied. Time between this flight and my connection was only 1:55, so this worried me a bit, not knowing what the situation would look like at immigration. After a while, we finally parked and were able to disembarked.

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VKO tarmac scene

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a Red Wings Tu-204 in the distance

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UTair with boring and exciting equipment at VKO

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almost forgot the leg room shot again


the seats on Niki’s E90, I love the view of the Red Wings Tu-204 through the window

A minibus waited for us and what followed was a nice, long tour over the VKO apron. Among others, the following aircraft were visible: A330-300 of Vladivostok Avia, Tu-204 of Red Wings, Tu-154 of UTair and an unidentifiable An-24. When we were arriving at the international arrivals door, it was locked and the minibus driver had to radio that we were there. He had to confirm several times that we were only 4 passengers. After a couple of minutes, the doors were unlocked and we were able to proceed to the absolutely empty immigration hall. I wanted to fill in a landing card, but there were none available, so I went to the immigration counter regardless. They scanned my passport and visa and the landing card was automatically printed with the date from my scanned passport and visa. I only had to sign. This process took maybe 2 minutes and then I was able to continue to the baggage hall (empty, of course). I did not have any baggage so I was out in a minute.

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that’s how you spell Braunschweig in Russian

I then had to walk outside from the international terminal B where we arrived to the newly built terminal A, where check-in for UT was located.

Date: 22Dec11
Route: Moscow-Vnukovo (VKO/UUWW) - Nizhniy Novgorod (GOJ/UWGG)
Flight number: UT 159
Schedule (local times): VKO 2200 - GOJ 2330
Scheduled block time: 01:30
Airline/Operator: UTair (UT/UTA)
Aircraft type: Aerospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-500 (72-212A)
Registration: VQ-BMA

9th flight on subtype AT7, 18th flight on ATR family, 1st flight on VQ-BMA, 1312th flight overall


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Photo © T.Laurent

still in wearing test registration F-WWED, no pictures as VQ-BMA in a.net database yet...

I first had to go through the security check just at the airport entrance door. I then found the UT check-in counters upstairs in the new terminal A quickly. After queuing for a couple of minutes it was my turn. UT offers online check-in from 23 hours before departure, so I had already checked in on that flight, but of course wanted a regular boarding pass. This was dealt with in a matter of a minute or so. I had to show my handbag and was given a handbag label for it.

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UT check-in desks

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FIDS in check-in area: minus 22°C in Magadan... it could be much worse!

After that I went through the security control point immediately. In Russia, the norm is that shoes have to be taken off in all cases, blue plastic oversocks are provided and being used by everybody. Once I was through, I found myself in the newly built terminal A gate area. According to a orientation monitor, only a quarter of this new, big building was in use. There were a couple of shops and cafés and a restaurant. Apart from that, there was not much to do except to marvel at the size of this building.


orientation map, showing the green area in use, the rest is not yet finished

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impressions from the new terminal A

Most gates were occupied by UT flights, some were delayed because of the weather conditions (it was still snowing). The most exotic gate was used by Vologda Aviation Enterprise flight BG2389, a twice-weekly flight operated by Yak-40 to Vologda (VGD/ULWW). Something to try on a later trip. The FIDS showed some other rather exotic destinations such as Makhachkala (MCX/URML), Novy Urengoy (NUX/USMU), Yamburg (no known IATA or ICAO codes, Gazprom’s private airport) or Beloyarskiy (EYK/no ICAO code).

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quite interesting destinations on these monitors!

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UTair territory.... and maybe Star Alliance soon??

My flight was from gate 31A, a bus gate. Boarding took place at around the scheduled departure time, so only a slight delay for me today. I saw an An-24 being prepared for a flight and so had just a faint hope that we would have to use it.... but our bus pulled up to an ATR 72, VQ-BMA.

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gate for my flight to GOJ

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first look at the brand new VQ-BMA

There were maybe 5-10 centimeters of snow between the bus and the aircraft, and I was glad I was wearing sturdy winter shoes. We boarded from the back door, as is usual on the ATR’s. When entering the aircraft, I was immediately surprised by the new look of this cabin, there was even a new-car smell still lingering! It must have a brand new aircraft, and research after my trip showed it indeed was. The delivery date was given as 20 December, two days before my flight. I settled in my window seat, but directly behind me was a UT positioning crew, so after boarding was completed I decided to go two rows forward since I wanted to make some pictures during the flight and did not want to get caught.


26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8713 times:

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brand new cabin, it even smelled new!

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leg room

The cabin crew consisted of one guy and two girls. Deicing was performed and took some time. We were then taxiing to the runway but I have no idea which one we used.

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nice Airbus 330-300!

During the flight a light meal was served, consisting of a bread roll, soft cheese and butter. Hot tea water was served by the crew. There was a nicely done in-flight magazine, showing the in all detail UT’s network and fleet, unfortunately only in Russian but still very nicely done.

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meal plate and the detailed contents of it, the drink is apple juice

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brand new safety card

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UT’s nice in-flight magazine (Russian only), nice detailed route maps for each hub and detailed aircraft information, even some exotic helicopters

The flight was not very long and soon we were starting descend to GOJ. I could see some street lights from above. I believe we landed from the north on runway 18R, but I couldn’t be completely sure about that. In GOJ we parked away from the terminal and had to take a bus to the terminal. An unidentified An-26, a UT Tu-134 (my ride for the next day) and a Rusline Tu-134 were parked there.

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not much to see on approach to GOJ

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a lonely An-24 parked

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welcome to Nizhniy Novgorod, also known as Gorkiy during communist times

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inside GOJ’s small terminal

GOJ’s terminal is a very modest affair and I was out quickly, looking for a taxi driver to bring me to my hotel not far away from the hotel. I managed to get a private car for RUB 300 (approx. EUR 8 / CHF 10), a price I was prepared to pay. With couple of words of Russian I explained to him that I was only staying one night after he mentioned to me (I believe) that my hotel was a bad hotel. He was a nice guy to chat with. At the hotel, the lady receptionist spoke a bit of English. I inquired about how to get to the airport the next morning by route taxi (called marshrutka), but she couldn’t really explain it to me. Odd was that she copied each and every page of my new and therefore still quite empty passport. Anyway, I got to sleep around 1 o’clock until I woke up again at 5:30 in the morning.


sign for “Russkiy Capital” hotel and the actual hotel building

When I went outside the hotel, it was snowing. I found a tram line running along the street and I decided to take the tram instead of a marshrutka to where the road to the airport branches off. I had some Google Earth material printed and with me to help me find the way. I did not have to wait for long until a tatty old tram came along. It cost RUB 12 (approx. EUR 0.30 / CHF 0.35) for the ride.

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the road in front of the hotel at 6 am

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district heating tubes running along the road

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typical Russian tram scene

Unfortunately, I overrode my station and had to walk maybe 500 meters back along a busy, snow covered highway. Then I found the airport road, which was less busy and enjoyed the 20 minute walk through a forest to the airport. I was of course equipped well with a cap, gloves and a warm jacket. On the way there, a MiG-17 fighter is displayed as a gate guard. There is also an airport hotel, which I did not find on-line when I booked my hotel. When I entered the airport building, I first had to shake off snow from my shoes, jacket and backpack, before going through the cursory security check at the entrance.

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marching along the airport road

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a lot of icicles hanging down here

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the MiG-17 fighter in front of the airport hotel


that’s the airport hotel

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and the view from there towards the terminal in the distance

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approaching the terminal in a great wintry setting

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GOJ’s terminal

Date: 23Dec11
Route: Nizhniy Novgorod (GOJ/UWGG) - St. Petersburg-Pulkovo (LED/ULLI)
Flight number: UR 643
Schedule (local times): GOJ 0800 - LED 1000
Scheduled block time: 02:45
Airline/Operator: UTair Express (UR/UTX) operated for UTair (UT/UTA)
Aircraft type: Tupolev Tu-134A-3
Registration: RA-65609

6th flight on type TU3, 1st flight on RA-65609, 1313th flight overall


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Photo © Senior
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Photo © Oleg Ziminov RovSpotters Team


The main hall of GOJ’s small airport was dominated by a Christmas tree in the center. The check-in area was very small, only two counters (maybe four, depending on how you count - see picture). One was assigned for the flight to VKO, the other one for my flight to LED. There was quite a queue, as a sports team was being checked in on the LED flight. I had to wait around 15 minutes, maybe more, before it was my turn. I had already selected a seat when checking in on-line on the previous day. Everything worked find and the check-in agent, untypically speaking English very well, had my boarding cards issued after checking my passport. I got the window seat I had selected. I then went to look around the terminal, but there really was nothing to see.

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check-in counters at GOJ after the rush

So I made my way upstairs to security. There was no queue to speak of, but as always shoes had to be removed. I was hoping to get some views of the tarmac, but unfortunately the waiting area was completely windowless. There was a coffee bar and rows of uncomfortable metal seats, that was it. So I got to watch small children running around instead of some aircraft.

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windowless gate area

After a while, boarding was called and finally we could go outside. The way led over a balcony and over a set of metal stairs down to the tarmac and into a bus. I could see my Tu-134 waiting for us. The ATR 72 with which I arrived was also still there, closed up ready for departure and undergoing deicing. The bus drove the short way to the Tu-134. How I love boarding by bus - I got out and waited until all other passengers had boarded. I was soaking up the excitement before boarding this old lady. Simply standing on the snowy tarmac watching this beauty was exhilarating! What a joy! I noted the registration, RA-65609. After everybody else had started to climb the stairs, I was ready to go inside this aircraft.

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the way from the terminal to the airport bus

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the brand new ATR 72 that brought me here the day before being deiced

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what a beautiful aircraft

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waiting on the tarmac to board this classic aircraft

The Tu-134’s entrance door is very small and you have to duck to avoid banging your head. A member of the cabin crew, which consisted of two young and one middle aged ladies, greeted me. I made my way to my seat in the last third of the aircraft, just behind the wing. Unfortunately this was going to be a full flight and on the aisle next to my seat a lady was already sitting. She had to get up to let me through. It was quite tight fitting my backpack and my feet in the space in front of me, until I remembered that on Russian aircraft you can lift up the seat and store stuff under your own seat. After settling into my seat, it was time to look at the cabin of this old, marvelous aircraft. Fortunately, this aircraft was not equipped with a Western type of interior (as on my last UT Tu-134 flight) but had the original Tu-134 interior. The windows are large round portholes adorned by blue fabric curtains. No window shades here. The overhead racks were of the open type, with parts of coats and handbag handles hanging down. The seats were upholstered in worn blue fabric and the tray tables of solid metal.

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some cabin views, note the open overhead lockers

After the doors were closed, the deicing procedure began. They used a modern deicing truck as we know them in Western Europe, too. The deicing procedure took some time, as the aircraft was covered in some fresh snow. After that was done, finally one engine was started. I simply love that shrieking sound, a real pleasure for me. They initially started only one engine and then started taxiing out. The second engine was started on the way to the runway. After reaching the beginning of runway 18R we lined out. I was now very excited to fly again - and maybe for a last time - the Tu-134. We lined up and then engine power was increased for maybe 10-20 seconds, before idling back again. Then the engines were turned up again full power and we started the take off-run. After a surprisingly short distance, we lifted off from the bumpy runway. As is common in Russian-built aircraft, climb is rather shallow, which allowed for good views until we reached the clouds. When we reached cruising level, morning was just dawning in the east. Soon service commenced and we received a nice, typical Russian airline meal, followed by a service of hot tea - and I mean hot. The meal was served in a plastic box and consisted of a piece of black bread, a bread roll, cold ham and salami cuts, preserved salted cucumbers and tomatoes (which I didn’t eat) and a sweet. The bread and meat was quite nice, actually.

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meal box containing a traditional hearty Russian airline meal


an A3XX on the sugar bag - sugar bag designers going wild!

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tea time

My plan was to go up and get to the toilet. No not for my personal comfort but rather to enjoy the view from the roof toilet window towards the t-tail. But this plan was thwarted by my seatmate, who slept through the whole flight, not even taking the meal or anything to drink. I didn’t want to wake her up so I had to be content just to take a couple of pictures from my seat. After not nearly enough time spent on this classic airliner we already started our descent towards LED. It was now nearly 10 o’clock in the morning, but there was only a hint of dawn during the whole flight.


passengers making themselves comfortable during the flight

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a new day dawning in the east

As soon as we descended, it was getting completely dark again. Of course LED is quite far up north, resulting in long nights in winter. But the other contributing factor that it was still dark was that Russia decided to keep summer daylight saving time as standard time. So it was really one hour darker to what it naturally should be. We landed from the east on runway 28R. After touchdown the pilot applied a nice amount of thrust reverse.

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final approach to runway 28R in LED

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leaving the active runway

We then taxied back along the runway and stopped on a remote tarmac near a Russian Post building near Terminal 1. A couple of helicopters were parked there. We stopped on the taxiway, the engines were switched off and an announcement in Russian was made. I didn’t understand it, but I knew what it meant, as I had experienced it in Russia a couple of times already. We waited for pushback into the parking position. The aircraft was being pushed backwards into the parking position so that for departure no towing would be necessary. This procedure took a couple of minutes and then we were free to unbuckle and get up. I used this opportunity to take a couple of cabin pictures discreetly.

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some cabin details, how I love the fabric curtains!

A bus was waiting in front of the stairs, unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a good picture of my aircraft because of the darkness. The bus brought us to the domestic arrivals area in Terminal 1.

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Tu-134, thanks a lot for that ride!

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old-fashioned arrival FIDS in LED, my flight arrived 13 minutes early according to it

I decided to stay in terminal 1 for the time being. This terminal is much nicer than the small international terminal and offers more restaurants. Not having had much sleep last night, plus the 3 hour time difference to Europe, I was quite tired and found a bench near the newly built Burger King where I slept for less than an hour.

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Burger King in LED’s terminal 1

After that, I felt much better and it finally was daylight. From next to Burger King there is a good view onto the tarmac, but sadly there were only Western aircraft types to be seen, with the exception of a Rossiya An-148. What a difference to 2007, when I was here for the first time!

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not a Tupolev, Ilyushin, Antonov or Yakovlev in sight!

I decided to get some fresh air outside the terminal, playing with the thought of taking a bus to the city. I waited for a while at the bus station, but no bus came, so I gave up on this halfhearted attempt and retreated back into the warmth of the terminal, going through yet another cursory security check.

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outside view of the terminal with the typical round glass domes

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that must be the construction for the new terminal

I found a nice Italian restaurant upstairs, where I had sort of an early lunch at around 12:00 local time (09:00 in Europe and in my head). It was then time to think about going to terminal 2 for my flight to CPH. There is a free transfer service between the terminal. There is a counter at the small arrivals area downstairs where I now went to. Unfortunately it was unmanned when I arrived. After maybe 10 minutes somebody arrived and she took note of me and told me to wait. After me, a Canadian passenger (as I heard from his conversation with the lady behind the desk) also wanted a transfer but he did not have a flight booked, he just needed to go to the Lufthansa office there. From what I gather she didn’t want to take him as he had no flight booked. In the end the guy just looked up a schedule on his smart phone and gave her a flight number. She was then happy. When the transfer bus finally was here, she told the Canadian and some other people to go out to the bus, but she forgot about myself. Oh well, I just followed the Canadian and hopped on the bus. The transfer is quite a distance, the shuttle goes onto the road to LED and then has to make a u-turn to go back to terminal 2. As I said before, it is quite a modest affair landside. I entered the terminal - this time the security check was thorough and I had to unpack my whole backpack.

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LED’s terminal 2 is a small affair

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FIDS in terminal 2

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EK has arrived in LED, not quite with the A380 yet...

Date: 23Dec11
Route: St. Petersburg-Pulkovo (LED/ULLI) - Copenhagen-Kastrup (CPH/EKCH)
Flight number: SK 737
Schedule (local times): LED 1520 - CPH 1425
Scheduled block time: 2:05
Airline/Operator: SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK/SAS)
Aircraft type: McDonnell Douglas MD-87
Registration: OY-KHU

14th flight on subtype M87, 86th flight on M80 (all series) family, 1st flight on OY-KHU, 1314th flight overall


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Photo © Tommy Desmet Photography
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Christian Weber


I then went to see the SK sales desk, to see whether there were seats available to CPH. There would be seats available and I was invited to proceed through to check-in. Before entering the check-in area, passports and tickets are checked. I was issued boarding passes from LED via CPH all the way to ZRH, which surprised me. The agent was efficient and nice and I even got window seats. I was now ready to go through immigration, about 1 hour before scheduled departure. After immigration I was shocked at the length of the queue to the security check and at how slowly it moved. Now I understood why the check-in agent was rushing things a bit. Fortunately, after standing in this queue for maybe 15 minutes and not moving much during this time, a second checkpoint was opened and I was just in the right position to start the queue to this newly opened point. Shoes off and all and I was through in a couple of minutes. I was again shocked on how small the gate area was. There were by no means enough seats for everybody and there was just one small snack bar. This area was really not suitable for an international airport anywhere. About time they build a completely new terminal in LED.

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the snack bar in the small gate area

I bought a drink and a “butterbrod” (a smallish slice of bread, with butter and two slices of salami on top) from the snack bar, knowing there would be no free food or drink on SK. After a couple of minutes wait at the crowded gates, boarding commenced. A bus took us to the aircraft. Again, it was possible to spend a couple of minutes on the tarmac before everyone had boarded. The most interesting aircraft were two Transaero 763 and a Rossiya 763 (no Russian-built metal to be seen).

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two UN 767’s on LED’s ramp

We were greeted by an all male and efficient crew. My seat was located close to the engine (second last row), the way to go on an MD-80 if you want to indulge listening to the engines. The departure was on-time and we taxied the short way to runway 28R. During line up I could see an engineless former Pulkovo Il-86 parked in the distance. During the take-off roll I could get a picture of “my” Tu-134 parked.

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Pulkovo terminal 2, the three large buildings in the background don’t belong to the airport

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lining up 28R

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the engineless Il-86: a lonely reminder of better times for us enthusiasts

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you can see the air streaming into the engine during take-off roll

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my Tu-134 still parked there

After reaching cruising level the crew began the buy-on-board service and I had my butterbrod. The flight was uneventful and the views to the ground non-existent due to the compact cloud cover. However I could enjoy some much needed sun.


climbing out of LED

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some cabin views, look at the headrest covers with season’s greetings

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leg room


most enthusiast’s favourite way to enter or leave an MD-80

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clouds as far as you can see...

After some sleeping, some reading and some picture taking on board it was soon time to descend. This flight was sort of a time machine, despite the two hour block time I gained one hour due to the time difference of 3 hours and my arrival was actually taking place before departure! We landed in CPH from the north on runway 22L, giving me a good view of Saltholm Island.


Saltholm as seen during approach to runway 22L

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yes, this is CPH

We parked next to an Egyptair 738. I had enough time to transfer, therefore I decided to get out of the transfer area to explore the terminals in CPH, plus a long walk to the domestic terminal and back.

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welcome to CPH


view from my window, are the farmers taking over CPH airport?

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my MD-87 parked in CPH

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FIDS with some interesting things: IR stopping for fuel in BUD and a flight to FAE I’d love to take...


CPH’s terminal 3 is crowded...

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...and so is terminal 2


airport architecture near terminal 1 entrance

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4670.jpg
two interesting airlines, one still missing from my log...

Date: 23Dec11
Route: Copenhagen-Kastrup (CPH/EKCH) - Zurich (ZRH/LSZH)
Flight number: SK 609
Schedule (local times): CPH 1740 - ZRH 1925
Scheduled block time: 1:45
Airline/Operator: SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK/SAS)
Aircraft type: McDonnell Douglas MD-87
Registration: SE-DIP

15th flight on subtype M87, 87th flight on M80 (all series) family, 1st flight on SE-DIP, 1315th flight overall


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Gareth harvey
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Niklas Holmberg


The schedule mentioned an MD-81 for this flight to ZRH. The fleet list for SK shows only MD-82’s and MD-87’s and I assumed the code M81 would stand for a subversion of the MD-82. So when I saw an MD-87 parked at the gate for my flight, I was a bit disappointed. It also got me worried, because an MD-87 is of course smaller than an MD-82. So would there still be seats available if it was a last minute aircraft substitution? Guessing from the amount of passengers at the gate I figured everything would still be ok and indeed it was.

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4672.jpg
my gate to ZRH

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4673.jpg
hmm?


flight preparations

This time I had a window seat in the first third of the aircraft on the right side. Both seats next to me were also occupied. The flight was on-time and we took-off from 22R. I have no special recollections of this flight, except that it felt quite short. We landed on runway 14 from the north and parked at the A-pier in ZRH, next to another SK aircraft, a 736, which must have operated the flight from Stockholm-Arlanda (ARN/ESSA). I was out quickly, bringing this trip to a close.

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4677.jpg
it seems the leg room around row 12 is better than on my previous MD-87 in the back

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4686.jpg
SK’s cabin once again

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4688.jpg
nice neighbour

User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8698 times:

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/LXM83/20111222_BWEVKOGOJ/20111223_4690.jpg
SE-DIP, thanks for bringing me home!


some interesting departures from ZRH, too

Conclusion

It was a great trip and both my objectives, to ride the oddball route from BWE to VKO and to score a soon-to-be-extinct Russian built aircraft once more were successfully completed. Apart from the delay, the flights on both LX and SK were standard, at least on LX you get a drink and something little to eat for free. Of course to ride on the SK M87s was also sort of nostalgic and I enjoyed it. Basically I flew all the way home from GOJ to ZRH on classic twinjets! The Tu-134 flight was great and I was very happy to get an aircraft with the original interior. Hearing that engine sound once again, maybe for the last time, live and not on Youtube is unbeatable. The flight with UT on the brand new AT7 was very and I’m convinced UT will be one of the surviving airlines in Russia. They offer good quality service. My guess would be that UT will join Star Alliance at some not-so-distant point. (And why else would LH shift many of their services to VKO instead of DME?). That leaves the flight from BWE to VKO. All the way from check-in and immigration to immigration in VKO this flight was something special. The airport in BWE is almost like a family-run affair, where everybody, from the check-in agent, to the ramper and the police officer knows each other by name. Of course flying in an almost empty aircraft is always something special - just like on a biz-jet.

Next Trips

The short hop between Wales and England on a Swiss-registered twinjet has already happened. Please stay tuned for a report. Next up will be a Darwin Airline inaugural flight and plans to fly on a new fifth-freedom flight from ZRH to Italy on a widebody are being made.

Previous Trip Reports

You will find my older trip reports here:
Dec 2011: Longest RJ & Longest Widebody: ZRH-MAD-LHR-ZRH
Nov 2011: 6 Legs, 6 Carriers, 6 Types, 1 Inaugural: BRN-BEG
Aug 2011: The rarest Embraer RJ, twice in a row? Not quite!
Jul 2011: A340 Switzerland-Germany To Meet Trip Reporters
Jun 2011: Not A LOT Longer: The Embraer 175 & Props @ RIX
May 2011: The People’s Way: ZRH-VIE-ACH
Mar 2011: Manx2: Dornier 228 And Let 410 In One Day!
Jan 2011: The Dornier 328Jet from MUC to DLE
Dec 2006: AY to Japan & domestic flights & visiting Santa Claus
Mar 2006: Cubana Il-62, Yak-42, An-24 & Belize & Guatemala

Thanks everybody for reading, hope you liked it. Looking forward to your comments!
LXM83


User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1844 posts, RR: 42
Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 8440 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi LX, thank you for sharing! A very well written and enjoyable report.

Great job logging the TY-134, and I'm quite envious of the two M87's as well! Nice to fly on such a brand new ATR on one hand, on the other hand, I'm quite sad that it's just another ATR instead of something Russian..

Best regards,

Martijn



Fly DC-Jets!
User currently offlineeicvd From Ireland, joined Mar 2008, 2147 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 8331 times:

Hi LXM83
Great trip report, always nice to read reports involving those old Russian aircraft. I have only ever seen a handful, never got to fly on one unfortunately. Nice to see 2 ex EI aircraft in the report also, I actually flew on the FV 735 pictured back in 2004 between TLS & DUB. Thanks for posting.


User currently offlineCarmelo From Hungary, joined Sep 2005, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 6 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 8233 times:

I was really enjoying reading this, easpecially the russian part.
Amazing that you flew only with 3 other pax from Braunschweig...I was once with 22 on a 738.
Waiting for your new reports!



Carmelo
User currently onlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1162 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7822 times:

Interesting that they have a flight to Ohrid from Zurich.

User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4304 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (2 years 6 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7625 times:

Thanks for this nice report. You are so lucky to get on the Tu-134 just in time, with an old interior to top it off. If the Tu-134 is really being grounded and with the Koryo Tu-134 not being featured in the North Korea trips, this might be the final ever Tu-134 trip report here...
Have you found out if UTAir or other airlines are still flying them in 2012 and onwards?



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlinevolvair From Germany, joined Oct 2011, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 6 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7343 times:

Hi J.,

Thanks for this great report! I have been waiting for that one mainly because of the flight ex-BWE. But you fixing in a rare, soon-to-be-gone Russian classic really was the icing on the cake!

I wondered how you got on the BWE-VKO hop as I saw the prices they charge non-VW staff (300€), but this...

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
(me not being on the passenger list traveling on a staff ticket)

...explains. How great to be able to see the operation before it ceased. I guess with UTair from HAJ and Germanwings from HAJ and SXF all to VKO there is really no need for the semi-charter ex-BWE. Also the 45 minutes you need to drive more when going to HAJ instead of BWE are irrelevant as travelling from Wolfsburg to Kaluga always takes a whole day with the time difference and the 2hr drive from VKO.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
An unmarked Dornier 328 (D-CATZ) was there

Flying for Private Wings, used on VW charters.


UTair and VKO also look quite okay, I am very impressed by the nice new ATR. This is good to know as UTair's network is very appealing and it being one of the top 4 Russian carriers.


User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1327 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 6 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7343 times:

Excellent report! Loved the pictures in Nizhny Novgorod. Sooo nice   And BWE is defnitely a nice experience obviously. What a cool flight with only 4 passengers  

User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (2 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7245 times:

Hi LXM83

Thanks for sharing this report! Great itinerary you've go. Braunschweig looked interesting, must feel quite funny to almost have an aiport for yourself.

The highlight was the Tu-134, very interesting! would be an amazing one to log myself once, just so different compared to our western types.

Finally i'm glad you got the MD80-series from LED to ZRH. Something I missed out on my BRU-ARN sector


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (2 years 6 months 20 hours ago) and read 7118 times:

Hi J,

A terrific trip report, loved everything about it!

That Brunswick/Braunschewig airport looks cute, I knew about this flight to Moscow but couldn't really figure out why they operated it, thanks for the explanation.

Also congratulations for logging one final flight with the Tu-134, certainly a bit different than the E-jet you flew to Russia or the brand new ATR... All these Russki reports are starting to dent my prejudices about Russia... Heck, I'm even transiting through Sheremetyevo four times this year so maybe one day I'll get a visa and do some domestic flying there as well...

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
(With a seating capacity of around 80 this would be called a regional jet nowadays.)

Well, back in the Soviet days there was no need for the marketing people coming up with new terms and inventing new needs...  
Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
So my routing finally looked like this:

Now that's a cool route for a two day trip!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
the Zurich Airport Shopping specially-painted RJ100

Love that livery, very nice and so different.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
departures from HAJ, hey tiny Arvidsjaur (AJR/ESNX) seems to be a popular destination; I took that AB flight last year, guess to go fly which aircraft type from AJR...

A certain turboprop with a three letter designation which also means the professional tennis player's association?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
When I arrived at the train station at around 10:20 there were huge queues at the two ticket machines (a third one was out of service) with people trying to get tickets for the 10:36 train.

Ahh, I've witnessed this at Schönefeld, it actually caused me to miss my train (and consequently also my flight ex-TXL as well) last year. Those DB ticket machines aren't the most user friendly for people not used to them and the fact that most of them don't accept credit cards always causes a lot of confusion.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
There was a Christmas market taking place but apart from that there’s not much to see except the statue of British-born Ernst August I., King of Hanover.

I spent some four hours on a January Sunday at Hannover some years ago (after flying in on one of the very first BT RIX-HAJ flights) and I pretty much exhausted everything the city has to offer in the first hour. It's not the most exciting city out there... Maybe they should put up a Scorpions (it's their hometown after all!) museum or something to spice up the tourist offering a bit...  
Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
old-fashioned train carriage

This train line seems to have then quite frequently. As a continuation of my trip I took an Intercity train from Hannover to Berlin and I ended up in the same kind of old and tatty train.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
BK or McD?

Aber natürlich gegrillt!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
BWE airport main building. reminds me somewhat of THF

Wow, a cute airport and definitely something different. It looks like some sort of old mansion or a hospital building in the countryside, but not an airport, not by a long shot!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
I found a Czech Airlines (OK/CSA) board on one of the walls showing the schedules for the two flights taking place today.

Hmm, is that flight bookable for normal passengers? Would love to log BWE at some point.

Maybe they should rename that airport the "Volkswagen Executive Airport" or something BTW.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
The other 3 passengers, a lady and her two teenage daughters took the first row.

Now that's a low load. And an interesting mix of passengers - possibly the family of some Volkswagen executive?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
Niki’s double decker sandwich

Looks good. Interesting that they have the standard Niki service on this route.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
impressions from the new terminal A

That one looks very good, certainly not the old Soviet style you'd expect.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
When entering the aircraft, I was immediately surprised by the new look of this cabin, there was even a new-car smell still lingering!

That's always very nice. Congratulations getting on a new bird like that - although I'm sure you'd preferred a good 'ole Antonov much more.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
leg room

Looks generous. How many seats do they have on these ATRs? That looks like the older FC examples with 68 seats, the newer ones have an extra row (72 seats) and the legroom is not very good as a consequence.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
sign for “Russkiy Capital” hotel and the actual hotel building

Looks very... Russian.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
district heating tubes running along the road

Ahh, this is a common sight all throughout the former Soviet sphere of influence.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
typical Russian tram scene

And typical Russian tram passengers there too!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
some cabin views, note the open overhead lockers

Must be quite common for stuff to fall down from the shelf when flying through rough skies.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
some cabin details, how I love the fabric curtains!

I love those round windows, they remind me of cabin windows on old fashioned ships and smaller boats!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
I was quite tired and found a bench near the newly built Burger King where I slept for less than an hour.

What? There are BKs in St. Petersburg? Now this is just wrong - there are BKs in Sweden as well but why do they keep avoiding Finland. That is bloody wrong.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
Pulkovo terminal 2, the three large buildings in the background don’t belong to the airport

Interesting to see the Norwegian tail there, I didn't know they flew to LED!


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39693 posts, RR: 75
Reply 12, posted (2 years 6 months 18 hours ago) and read 7056 times:

LXM83,
Fantastic report!
You got to fly two aircraft type that I really want to fly on before they're all gone.
The TU-134 and Bae146/Avro85.
I've seen and heard the TU-134 takeoff from SVO a few years ago. I loved the sound of those engines.
Did you get a chance to use the toilet?
The TU-134 has windows on the ceiling and supposedly able to see the horizontal stabilizer from lavatory.
Looks like you visit Russia at a good time of the year - nice & full of snow.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineB738FlyUIA From Switzerland, joined Dec 2009, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 6 months 18 hours ago) and read 7046 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi LXM83

Thank you for sharing this very interesting, great TR with wonderful photos!! Looks that you did have a wonderful time and especially a flight with TU3!!!!!!!!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
after entering the cabin, which seat should I choose?

Why they keep this flight when it's so empty??? Or maybe the cabin staff told you for the flight back home would be full?? I've been on HG and find the service for a LCC very good! Especially when one compares them with others!!!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
old-fashioned arrival FIDS in LED, my flight arrived 13 minutes early according to it

I remember this photo very well as on the same day about 17-18hours later I arrived in LED via SVO. My TR is available!!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
some cabin views, note the open overhead lockers

Looks very special and flight seamed to be full!!!! Did you have only russian announcements no the flight or there where in english also?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
Burger King in LED’s terminal 1

Another to remember, did you notice at this place when turn around 180 there was a little shop (the first on the left when enter the security) selling A/C Models? They had there some nice russian ones next to a A380, B773 etc for a price that is really okay!!!

Over all I really didn't expect that VKO would be as that large, not only from Traffic but also Terminal wise!!! Seams they are really expanding there and have only experienced DME & SVO!!! Maybe this is all for the Olympics!!!

Regards



Next Flt: ZRH-KBP-ALA-TSE Rtn on PS/DV 29.7 - 11.8.2014
User currently offlineKnightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1750 posts, RR: 18
Reply 14, posted (2 years 6 months 17 hours ago) and read 7013 times:

Hi LXM83

Thanks for posting, I greatly enjoyed this report. I think this must be one of the more exotic reports I've seen here in a long time. I didn't know Braunschweig even had an airport.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
When I went outside the hotel, it was snowing. I found a tram line running along the street and I decided to take the tram instead of a marshrutka to where the road to the airport branches off. I had some Google Earth material printed and with me to help me find the way. I did not have to wait for long until a tatty old tram came along. It cost RUB 12 (approx. EUR 0.30 / CHF 0.35) for the ride.

That sounds rather cool, quite an adventure. I don't think I've ever been in a place where the airport would have been within walking distance through the snow. Especially at 6am in the morning.

I envy you for catching the MD-80 on your way back to ZRH!

Thanks for posting in any case.

Cheers,
William


User currently offlineTupolevTu154 From Germany, joined Aug 2004, 2178 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (2 years 6 months 16 hours ago) and read 6982 times:

Great report, reminds me of my trip to Russia in November. We did a portion identical to yours too. LED-GOJ-LED on the exact same aircraft. We arrived into GOJ on the last flight of the night and left on the same flight as you, after an all too short stay in Nizhny Novgorod.

I saw those large pipes everywhere too, interesting to know what they are! Also surprised to see a hotel so close to the airport. The closest we could find was a 40 minute drive away in the city centre!

Alot of familiar places seen in your photos, brings back some fond memories of 134 flying!

And, as you missed it, here's your view from the toilet from my flight  http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v476/Toml/IMG_2835.jpg

And this is as bright as it got from my flight too!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tom Lowther



These were my first and last flights on the awesome 134, I was slightly disappointed to have flown on one without a glass nose. Still, the noise on takeoff was simply incredible. Like afterburner from a fighter!



Atheists - Winning since 33 A.D.
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 959 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 6 months 16 hours ago) and read 6959 times:

Great read, thanks!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
Two things seemed odd to regarding the flights from BWE to VKO when I first saw them appear.
Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
When I learned that the BWE-VKO route would be given up before Christmas 2011, it was now urgent to find a suitable date in December to do it.

That sure would seem odd at first. I hadn't even heard off the BWE before reading this report. I guess only 3 passengers explains why the service is cancelled in 2012.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
BWE airport main building. reminds me somewhat of THF

Yeah, that does't look like an airport at all.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
today’s two OK movements on a rather old-fashioned version of FIDS

I guess OK operates those flights for Skoda?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
impressions from the new terminal A

Looks bright and spacious.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
Anyway, I got to sleep around 1 o’clock until I woke up again at 5:30 in the morning.

That's a short night. I guess sleep is overrated anyway, if the reward is flying those exotic airlines and airliners.


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1658 posts, RR: 30
Reply 17, posted (2 years 6 months 15 hours ago) and read 6946 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hell LXM83,

What an excellent report of an excellent trip. Nice variety of planes and carriers as well. It’s good to see your hard research and planning work paid off in the end. In these small airports, you tend to get stuck if things go wrong and there are not much alternatives then...

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
To my surprise however I found out that the airport had renumbered the gates, what were previously the 50-series gates hat become A01-06 and what were previously the A01-08 gates now were gates A50-59.

Due to the new terminal?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
nasty ZRH weather, at least some daylight now due to the delay

That’s your next ‘assignment’ parked at the adjacent gate, no?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
goodbye green nosed HB-IYS

From this angle it looks just like a duck  

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
today’s two OK movements on a rather old-fashioned version of FIDS

And what’s the coolest thing: they add the aircraft type! Not that many people will be interested in that...

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
According to her there were just 5 passengers booked.

It’s great to have a plane (almost) all by yourself.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
They scanned my passport and visa and the landing card was automatically printed with the date from my scanned passport and visa. I only had to sign. This process took maybe 2 minutes

That’s a most efficient procedure and very handy as well.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
The delivery date was given as 20 December, two days before my flight.

Factory fresh and although not a Russian aircraft, I think you liked that.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
even some exotic helicopters

They even have scheduled heli flights?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
EK has arrived in LED

Has it really?

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
most enthusiast’s favourite way to enter or leave an MD-80

Ha ha the back door of course  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (2 years 6 months 14 hours ago) and read 6903 times:

Hello guys,

Wow, so many comments already!

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 3):
Hi LX, thank you for sharing! A very well written and enjoyable report.

You're welcome, thanks for reading.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 3):
I'm quite sad that it's just another ATR instead of something Russian

Indeed.... times are changing. On my first trip to Russia in 2007 the majority were still TU5, TU3, YK2, ILW...

Quoting eicvd (Reply 4):
Nice to see 2 ex EI aircraft in the report also, I actually flew on the FV 735 pictured back in 2004 between TLS & DUB.

When I flew Rossiya's 735 in 2007 they even still had the EI seat covers! Hope they've changed them by now.

Quoting Carmelo (Reply 5):
I was really enjoying reading this, easpecially the russian part.

Thanks for reading!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 6):
Interesting that they have a flight to Ohrid from Zurich.

Due to the large number of people from ex-Yugoslavia (mainly Kosovo and Macedonia) there are quite a lot of flights from ZRH to PRN, SKP and OHD, more so during holiday periods (such as Xmas).

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 7):
Have you found out if UTAir or other airlines are still flying them in 2012 and onwards?

AFAIK, UT still has a daily flight each from VKO and LED to Syktyvkar (SCW), but an overnight stay in SCW is required. This is currently still published on the TU3 until the end of Winter schedule (24 March). Then there is a weekly flight on Alrosa from SVX to OVB, also til the end of Winter schedule. Other than that... not much. Maybe Yamal on some intra-siberian routes.

Quoting volvair (Reply 8):
But you fixing in a rare, soon-to-be-gone Russian classic really was the icing on the cake!

And a very sweet one!

Quoting volvair (Reply 8):
travelling from Wolfsburg to Kaluga always takes a whole day

That's about right. But I thing VW are keen on reducing that, they bought Kaluga airport (currently out of service). So I guess they will be operating direct BWE-KLF shuttles at some point.

Quoting volvair (Reply 8):
This is good to know as UTair's network is very appealing and it being one of the top 4 Russian carriers.

I like UT a lot. They've invested in a modern fleet recently with the addition of 738's. I think they are alliance-ready. And which alliance doesn't have a partner in Russia yet?

Quoting reifel (Reply 9):
Loved the pictures in Nizhny Novgorod.

Thanks, it's a pity that I could not stay longer.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 10):
would be an amazing one to log myself once, just so different compared to our western types

Yes, they are indeed different. Try logging one if you can, time is running out fast.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
A terrific trip report, loved everything about it!

Thank you!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Brunswick/Braunschewig

I know, I know, the English term for Braunschweig is Brunswick.... it just seems so odd to use it when you're German speaking. Probably as odd as Leghorn is to the Italians for Livorno...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
the Tu-134, certainly a bit different than the E-jet you flew to Russia or the brand new ATR

Definitely a different experience!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
All these Russki reports are starting to dent my prejudices about Russia

Wow, surprise, surprise.... but I estimate it will still take some time before we start reading Russian report from the FlyingFinn...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Heck, I'm even transiting through Sheremetyevo four times this year

Yes, I saw that on FB and I thought about a computer glitch.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
A certain turboprop with a three letter designation which also means the professional tennis player's association?

And one a.netters are crazy for, for a while the reports about it prolifered.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Ahh, I've witnessed this at Schönefeld, it actually caused me to miss my train (and consequently also my flight ex-TXL as well) last year.

Really annyoing, especially considering that this will be the first point of contact with German railways for many foreigners. Doesn't leave a good first impression at all.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
I pretty much exhausted everything the city has to offer in the first hour

Not much to see. But did you know that Germans claim the clearest Germany is spoken in HAJ?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Hmm, is that flight bookable for normal passengers? Would love to log BWE at some point.

I think it isn't, unlike the AB flights to VKO.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Now that's a low load.

I was told by the crew the return flight would be close to full. I think that corresponds with the direction people commute between Wolfsburg and Kaluga - going there Mondays, coming back for the Weekends.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
That one looks very good, certainly not the old Soviet style you'd expect.

Yes, DME, once the only modern airport in Russia looks a bit dated now, compared to SVO and VKO (once it's completed).

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
How many seats do they have on these ATRs?

70, according to UT's website. (They also show the ex-Finland frames with only 68, so they haven't changed configuration).

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
I love those round windows, they remind me of cabin windows on old fashioned ships and smaller boats!

Indeed. Also the main passenger door always reminds me of a hatch on a solidly built boat.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
why do they keep avoiding Finland

No Burger Kings in Finland? I'm surprised.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 11):
Interesting to see the Norwegian tail there, I didn't know they flew to LED!

Yes, the fly three times a week from OSL. They even have a FV-code on these flights.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 12):
You got to fly two aircraft type that I really want to fly on before they're all gone.
The TU-134 and Bae146/Avro85.

For the Tu-134 you'll have to be quick!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 12):
I loved the sound of those engines.

From outside they are so thunderously noisy, from inside it's more of a whining sound. Still very loud.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 12):
Did you get a chance to use the toilet?

No, unfortunately not on this flight. My seatmate on the aisle had a very firm sleep which I didn't want to interrupt.

Quoting B738FlyUIA (Reply 13):
Why they keep this flight when it's so empty???

Well, I guess it was all paid for by Volkswagen.

Quoting B738FlyUIA (Reply 13):
flight seamed to be full!

GOJ-LED was full indeed. I did not spot an empty seat in Y. Maybe a couple of C-seats were unoccupied, but I can't be sure about that.

Quoting B738FlyUIA (Reply 13):
did you notice at this place when turn around 180 there was a little shop (the first on the left when enter the security) selling A/C Models?

No, didn't see that shop. Was probably still half sleeping while I was in that area.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 14):
Thanks for posting, I greatly enjoyed this report.

Thanks for reading, good you liked it!

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 14):
I don't think I've ever been in a place where the airport would have been within walking distance through the snow. Especially at 6am in the morning.

Yes, that was sort of nice. We haven't had serious winter yet here around ZRH, it was quite a refreshing walk in the snow!

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 15):
Also surprised to see a hotel so close to the airport. The closest we could find was a 40 minute drive away in the city centre!

Hi TupolevTu154, the one I stayed at I found on-line on booking.com. The airport hotel was not bookable on-line, unfortunately, and I only discovered it once my booking was already non-refundable.

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 15):
And, as you missed it, here's your view from the toilet from my flight

Thanks, that's a great shot! Love it!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
I guess only 3 passengers explains why the service is cancelled in 2012.

I guess Volkswagen had to do their maths. However I have not learned how they will shuttle their employees back-and-forth now.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
I guess OK operates those flights for Skoda?

Skoda belongs to Volkswagen, too, so yes, that's it.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 16):
I guess sleep is overrated anyway, if the reward is flying those exotic airlines and airliners.

Couldn't have said it better!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 17):
It’s good to see your hard research and planning work paid off in the end.

Researching and planning is half the fun for me. Always nice to see a tiny proportion of all my plans and ideas realized!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 17):
Due to the new terminal?

Yes, the renumbering coincided with the opening of the rebuilt B-pier. So it must have something to do with it, although I cannot think of any obvious reason for now.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 17):
That’s your next ‘assignment’ parked at the adjacent gate, no?

Indeed! Looking forward to that trip.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 17):
It’s great to have a plane (almost) all by yourself.

Yes, it is, however in this case it felt a bit eerie after it got dark and they switched off the cabin lights.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 17):
They even have scheduled heli flights?

No, but they have a large helicopter fleet working in remote areas of Siberia. Nice to see those aircraft described in the magazine.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 17):
Has it really?

Yep, from the start of the Winter 2011/12 timetable, once daily on the A340, I believe.

Thanks everybody for reading!
Best regards, LXM83


User currently offlineB738FlyUIA From Switzerland, joined Dec 2009, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 6 months 14 hours ago) and read 6899 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting LXM83 (Reply 18):
No, didn't see that shop. Was probably still half sleeping while I was in that area.

I was early in the morning you arrived!!!!

Maybe this just a little that missed: http://www.virovai.com/airliners.net/02.zrh-led-zrh/DSC_0306.jpg



Next Flt: ZRH-KBP-ALA-TSE Rtn on PS/DV 29.7 - 11.8.2014
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6495 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (2 years 6 months 8 hours ago) and read 6753 times:

Hi LXM83!

Thanks for a very interesting report with nice pictures ! Glad you made it on the Tu-134 a last time. I have never been on Russian built aircraft and it looks like I never will but I can enjoy what a flight is like on one thru reports like this.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 21, posted (2 years 5 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6401 times:

Hi LXM83,

very interesting report as usual! Great to get an impression of UTAir's brand new ATR and ancient Tu-134.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
In Russia, the norm is that shoes have to be taken off in all cases, blue plastic oversocks are provided and being used by everybody.

Good idea - the TSA should have a look!

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
Next up will be a Darwin Airline inaugural flight and plans to fly on a new fifth-freedom flight from ZRH to Italy on a widebody are being made.

I'm curious about that widebody flight.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5133 posts, RR: 55
Reply 22, posted (2 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6268 times:

Hey, J.,

sitting in the AMS KLM Crown Lounge and spend some time following youre story.
Equip change from the E90 for the F100, so also something oldfashioned for me.
Really special and well written, also nice pictures.
I believed you done a joke with us mentioning a scheduled flight out of Braunschweig, but well, its really true.
And also the russian experiences, well done.
Count me in for more this way.

Quoting LXM83 (Thread starter):
traditional under-wing shot

Thats the way I like it, you know.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlineLXM83 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 610 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (2 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6099 times:

Hello everybody

Quoting B738FlyUIA (Reply 19):
Maybe this just a little that missed

Indeed, I missed that shop! Always nice to look at some nice models. However I don't collect them as they'll take a lot of space and take much dust over time...

Quoting The777Man (Reply 20):
Thanks for a very interesting report with nice pictures !

You're welcome, glad I could bring some Tu-134 experience to those who could not fly on it.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
Great to get an impression of UTAir's brand new ATR and ancient Tu-134

Yes, quite a comparison!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 21):
I'm curious about that widebody flight

I'm curious if I'll get on. They didn't publish any traffic right limitations but on the other hand they also didn't publish fares. I hold a staff ticket for it, but I fully expect to get refused. We'll see.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 22):
Equip change from the E90 for the F100

I love the E-Jets, but the Fokker 100 is of course better. Many more opportunities to fly the E-Jets later on.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 22):
Thats the way I like it, you know.

Sure, I know!

Best regards,
LXM83


User currently offlineTCASAlert From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (2 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5777 times:

Excellent trip report, thanks for sharing! Would love to get on the Tu-134 before they are all gone, don't think it will be happening though.

How did you fine GOJ (for the amount of time you had to see it)? Often wonder what it is like for a non-Russian in these places, are they friendly to Europeans?

Also, what seat did you have on the MD for the LED-CPH sector? I am booked on an SK MD-87 on Monday and fancy sitting in either this seat or the one in front  

Cheers
Noel


25 LXM83 : Hello TCASAlert You're welcome, glad you liked it. Well, I haven't seen anything really except the hotel and the road to the airport during my refresh
26 Post contains images TCASAlert : Haha, I visited Moscow when I was 11 (about 20 years ago now) and we were part of a large group so I don't really remember how people were. I do reme
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