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US Trip 2012 Part 1: Warming Up (HEL-TXL-BRU)  
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 11996 times:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/title_small.jpg

Introduction

This is the first part in my Summer 2012 US Trip Report. It covers the flights to Brussels via Berlin Tegel on Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines, plus a quick a.net meet in Brussels.

For the introductory part and the background story, please see this:

- Part 0: US Trip 2012 Part 0: Prologue (JYV-TLL) (by FlyingFinn76 Jun 12 2012 in Trip Reports)

The two flights making up this part:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/map.gif.

Wednesday 13.6.2012

The first day of my summer vacation is here, but no time for a long sleep in today! Somehow I end up missing the bus I intended to take but no worries - I’m on a holiday here and the next one will come in just ten minutes. It indeed does, and after the usual journey I step off at HEL T1 around quarter past nine, 1h10mins before SDT.

I’m doing carry on only (something which I sort of came to regret a few times...) so no bag to drop off, just upstairs to security, through the empty fast track lane (well the normal lanes are empty as well but hey, privileges are privileges) and onto the SAS lounge which is almost empty.

Some breakfast - a shame they only had a single pancake left, those things are yummy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_2.jpg

They bring out the lunch buffet a bit later but I decide to resist the temptation this time, although those mozzarella & tomatoes sure look good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_3.jpg

The gate today is 12, a hop, skip and a short jump away from the lounge, so no need to leave early. Instead I only do so after I overhear the PA announcement about imminent boarding.

Parked outside is the expected A319, “Sinsheim” is a fortunate new entry for my log and this will be my 101th A319 flight.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_4.jpg

A bit of a queue - they announce that Business Class and Gold passengers can jump the queue but I decide not to - after all I’m on a holiday here!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_5.jpg

Dude, that is a huge carry on:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_6.jpg

HEL - TXL
LH2975
A319 D-AIBF “Sinsheim”
Seat 25A
10.25 - 11.09

Quite business friendly welcome from the crew this time, very much to the point and the smiles seem to be faux. Oh well, fine with me, I’m in good spirits anyway!

The last row strategy fails this time as I get two seatmates, luckily not very large persons though. Rather good load as well in economy, at least 90% of the seats are taken. Not sure whether the three rows of business class have any passengers though, they didn’t when I walked through.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_7.jpg

Hmm, I never came to realize that Helsinki’s ATR Apron is a good rival to Schiphol’s Fokker Farm:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_8.jpg

Flight time is announced as 1h35mins and push back is bang on time. And when we push back, we certainly push back - way back, past half of the ATR Apron before the tug finally stops and is disengaged:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_9.jpg

Must-have-717-in-a-report:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_10.jpg

With the usual take off runway of 22R still being closed for resurfacing work we take off from 22L as usual, nice summer weather here in Finland today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_11.jpg

Hey, my current office is there, right next to the Pasila train station which is in the middle of the picture - sorry buddies, can’t feel sorry for you, I’m on a holiday now:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_12.jpg

The island of Lauttasaari, the westernmost district of the City of Helsinki:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_13.jpg

Blue skies and seas:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_14.jpg

Service is the very same bag as when I took this flight less than two weeks ago on the other direction. I go for the cheese version - the sandwich is just as dry and tasteless as before and does not come with anything but cheese in it (ok, there might’ve been a dash of butter as well):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_16.jpg

The service is definitely quite lacklustre - no smiles and the FAs collecting trash completely skip our row so I still have the trash on my table by the time we are well into our descent towards Tegel. A bugger as I’d wanted to ask for a second Warsteiner but as usual don’t really want to use the call button. Oh well, there’ll be free beer in the Tegel lounge, or so I thought...

Ventspils, Latvia’s richest city:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_17.jpg

The Hel Peninsula marks our entry into Poland:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_18.jpg

The weather in Berlin is not the best, thick clouds and showers, so no great views are to be had today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_20.jpg

Landing on 26R:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_21.jpg

Hey, one of the earlier SN flights is operated by one of the few 734s they still retain from Virgin Express, wouldn’t mind flying one of those:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_22.jpg

Holding short for a departing company bird on 26L - I really like this angle:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_23.jpg

Docking to a jetway next to a Qatar narrowbody:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_24.jpg

...which apparently has a dirty windshield:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_25.jpg

Berlin Tegel Airport

With four hours at Tegel I thought about heading to the city for a few hours for a nice lunch and walk but as the weather forecast showed rain I decided not to risk it and stay at the airport instead. So with this in mind I didn’t check my trolley in. Well, in the end it doesn’t rain at all, although it is gray, cold and dull but I don’t want to walk with my trolley in tow so off to the Lufthansa Lounge it then is!

A very nice agent admits me in, we have a bit of a laugh joking about the Brandenburg fiasco.

As it is lunchtime I first check out the buffet - a very good spread today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_26.jpg

Hey, a Swabian pocket sounds very deep and full but not very willing to lose its contents like Markus can testify, but the taste was excellent:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_27.jpg

An excellent lunch, very impressed by the catering here actually:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_28.jpg

Observant readers might have spotted something funny in the above the photo. And yes, it is true: There is no real beer anywhere in the lounge!. Yes, we are in the capital of Germany, but no, there’s no beer here. The taps are empty, and all the bottles are of the nonalcoholic variety Beck’s! This baffles me a lot - the only reasonable explanation I come up with is that they have forgotten to move their beer supply contract from Brandenburg back to Tegel!

In all honesty I have to say that Beck’s Alkoholfrei isn’t that bad, especially as a beverage with your food it is fine.

Well, at least their hard liquor and wine stores are still up to par and I find a very nice Grüner Weltliner among the stock so that’ll do for now.

A bit later they bring out a bowl of delicious strawberries, I certainly don’t mind having some of those:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_29.jpg

To go with them some whipped cream from a tap (must be German engineering) - never seen this before:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/First_30.jpg

Time drags a bit, but I still manage to while away three hours quite nicely, playing the catching up game on some trip reports, watching some stuff on my Ipad and reading the papers. After tracking the incoming flight on flightradar24 and seeing it is just fifteen minutes away I pack up and decide to head to the gate. Unfortunately for SN this means the shabby D terminal annex, not exactly a favorite of mine.

Going there brings one past the lovely Essbahn, what else - brings up nice memories from our meet here one and half weeks ago:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_1.jpg

The D terminal check in hall is crowded by lots of people, tons of luggage and a lot of repackaging action going on.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_3.jpg

Luckily the security check is relatively uncrowded, so it doesn’t take too long to get through.

Just as I have gotten my trash back together I spot the inbound plane arriving:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_4.jpg

From watching the inbound on flightradar24 I know it is OO-DWI, a new plane for me and the expected Avro RJ-100, so no lucky last minute upgrade to an Airbus (or even a 734 like the one I saw a few hours earlier).

Airside has many people as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_5.jpg

...which is explained by Vueling - “the crappier airline” (like their new company slogan apparently is) boarding next to us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_6.jpg

Boarding is called quite soon. The plane is parked right outside, so luckily no bus rides or anything, just down the stairs and up another set to the plane.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_7.jpg

4 Engines 4 Short Haul:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_8.jpg

TXL - BRU
SN2584
ARJ-100 OO-DWI
Seat 19F
15.24 - 16.38

The first word that comes to mind about the cabin is: “Worn”. Yeah, this bird has definitely been worked hard during its life, the leather seats are not in a very prime condition any more, the walls are yellowed and the lighting quite dingy - it just feels very old fashioned and in dire need of a makeover (or a trip to a beer can factory).

Legroom on the last row isn’t stellar, but at least I get all three for myself:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_10.jpg

Unfortunately the seat in front of me is occupied and when the guy sits down and leans back (but does not recline) the seatback moves back a good inch or so, making my legroom and pitch worse. I’ll survive this one hour flight with that, though.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_11.jpg

Speaking of one hour, the flight time is announced as 1h10mins.

Brussels Airlines has a really strong company brand (which is good), these stylish “b” logos are everywhere, including the headrests.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_12.jpg

An announcement is made that we are still waiting for one passenger. While waiting I browse through the BOB menu:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_13.jpg

Here’s a challenge to 717flyer - perform a test on this subject:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_14.jpg

Also notice the waffle below it, no airline dared to call themselves Belgian if they didn’t have these classic things available in some form.

Apparently the passenger never shows up as nobody boards and the doors are simply shut and the engines started. Total load around 80%.

The crew consists of two quite friendly ladies, the purser is quite amazing since she makes all the announcements in English, Flemish, French and German, apparently very fluently at least judging from what my understanding of those languages is - ranging from “speaks like a native” to “A beer, please” (but not necessarily in that order).

Departure is four minutes late and we taxi to the 26s via the bypass taxiway taking one over the Tegel access road and next to this funny sign - somebody forecast at the BER meet that this sign will become the new must photo at TXL and it certainly looks so:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_15.jpg

Taking off from 26L this Avro displays its amazing STOL capacities, despite a good load we use up maybe a fourth of the runway before jumping to the skies gracefully, but very powerfully.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_17.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_18.jpg]

BOB service doesn’t seem to be very popular on this flight - a couple of people get coffee or tea and the British eurocrat in front of me some wine, but most passengers opt out. I possibly couldn’t - after all they have a gem in their BOB menu - one very fine beer from the vast selection Belgium produces - Grimbergen.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_19.jpg

So, once again it is time for the FFBOBBT(TM):

Quality: 5/5 - an excellent, tasty brew with lots of hops in it. Very nice.
Value for money: 5/5 - I actually forgot whether it cost 3 EUR or 3.50 EUR, in anyway it is a bargain no matter which one the price is. For this quality (and amount of alcohol if you are looking to get wasted) it is an amazing bargain.

This is the first BOB beer to get full ten points out of this test.

This beer certainly packs a bunch - 6.7 ABV will warm you up:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_20.jpg

Bonus points - strong branding on the napkin:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_22.jpg

Cruising towards BRU:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_21.jpg

I picked up the WSJ from the lounge - interesting article about Asian budget carriers and their ties with the regular players:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_23.jpg

The weather in Belgium doesn’t look very good either, more thick clouds and gray skies are evident during our approach.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_25.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_26.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_27.jpg

Landing is on 25R, total time in the air 1h5mins.

OE-LMP, a derelict looking A310 apparently parked here since 2007:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_28.jpg

Dark skies:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_29.jpg

A b triplet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_30.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_31.jpg

Up the jetway, across the pier, down a few escalators and into the famous Brussels tunnel connecting the A pier to the actual terminal building:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_32.jpg

On the other side another bunch of escalators need to be taken to climb up to the baggage hall and exit. Interesting art - it looks like this guy Manneken is taking a Piss right at you:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Second_33.jpg

After exiting customs you take another couple of escalators down to access the train station. They seem to have completely overhauled the station - the last time I was here was back in 2006 and I remember a dark and dingy cave - well look what it is like today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_1.jpg

The ticket office looks nice and trendy too:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_2.jpg

And I luck out with the train as well - some of the Belgian regional trains can be horribly shabby and covered in graffiti but this one going to Ghent if I remember correctly doesn’t look half bad:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_3.jpg

I almost got a shock when the ticket agent said my return ticket (well, two one ways actually) cost 10.80 EUR!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_4.jpg

Indeed they have introduced a special surcharge for the trains to and from the airport to fund the new track extension that makes it finally possible to reach Antwerp (and thus the Dutch rail network) directly from BRU airport. This is mentioned as “Diabolotoeslag” on the ticket. Silly me, I actually thought this had something to do with the devil...

Brussels

Eventually I step off the train at Gare du Nord, a huge temple of crookedness in the middle of the no man’s land surrounding it where the streets are packed with crooks who are only after your money and belongings and if you happen to be hot maybe a piece of you as well*. Fighting these guys armed with machetes and whatnot I dash (all uphill!) to my sanctuary - the hotel which has a very very weird name “Hotel (Residence) Aryan”:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_5.jpg

I prepared some documents proving my at least semi-Aryan ancestry and was ready to agree to a skull and nose measurement test as with that name you’d assume they only want true Aryan people’s business but the front desk clerk himself definitely isn’t Aryan and the subject matter is never brought up, instead he charges my credit card for 52 EUR, hands me a handful of wifi vouchers and the room key.

The room:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_7.jpg

Yeah, Brussels hotels can be notoriously expensive especially during the week (thanks, Eurocrats) so this was pretty much the best I could do. There was also an even more interestingly named “Hotel Stalingrad” in the same price range, but since this one had a better location albeit in a hostile environment* I decided to leave that for the next time. Nothing bad with this hotel really - an ok, clean room, free wifi and plenty of hot water for the shower. There’s some traffic noise from the busy street the room is facing, but since I sleep like a rock it doesn’t bother me.

View from the window - very handily trams run right in front of the hotel:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_8.jpg

After refreshing up a bit and dumping most of my trash there it is time to head out. Finding a place to buy a tram ticket turns out to be a little complicated but eventually after asking around (and holding to my backbag with both of my arms as the guy was trying to rob it at the same time*) I get pointed towards a ticket machine a few hundred meters downhill from the hotel. Beware, all these people are planning to rob you*:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_9.jpg

Is that Eric sitting there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_10.jpg

A short tram ride later I emerge somewhere much nearer to the centre.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_12.jpg

Brussels is an enigma - a completely French speaking city in the middle of a completely Flemish speaking half of the country. An interesting hodgepodge of new and old, some very nice modern architectural gems next to shabby concrete uglings from the post war years next to grand old palaces and symbols of power from the short period when the (faux) country decided that they didn’t want to be a small player next to their world class neighbours and used the vast resources of Congo to impress the ladies. An interesting mix of people from all walks of life, from all the continents mixed together - drunks on the street, immigrants recently off the smuggler boats from Africa, crooks ready to kill you for your IPhone and Doc Martins*, normal Belgian people who love the finer things of life and think nothing of the fact that their country didn’t have a nominated government for a couple of years and of course the huge army of Eurocrats and the court surrounding them, as can be found in any big capital city. All this coupled with tons of restaurants, some of the finest culinary delights one can find anywhere in the world, lots of truly excellent chocolate (yes, it is better than Swiss!) and of course tons of bars where each of the hundreds of different Belgian beers each have their own distinct glass to drink it from. Oh, and a city whose main tourist sight is a tiny statue of a small boy taking a leak. How about that?

I guess it is needless to say I like Brussels a lot - the whole place is just so surreal that it at times feels quite unreal.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_14.jpg

Oh dear, I better not go there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_16.jpg

Must... resist...:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_17.jpg

Apparently there’s some sort of football match going on tonite. Judging from the colors of their dresses the girls are firm supporters of the Dutch:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_18.jpg

The Grande Place is like Brussels itself - nothing prepares you for it. One moment you are walking along twisty streets packed with tourists, souvenir and chocolate shops and the occasional bar, the next moment you just sort of emerge in the middle of its grandeur:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_20.jpg

Ahh, Kriek:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_21.jpg

The Belgians also have a wicked sense of humor - not to mention a great talent for puns:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_22.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_25.jpg

Eventually I hook up with Marc aka MSS658 for a very nice dinner of Belgian food, Nils (Sultanils) joins us somewhat later, unfortunately too late for him to take part in this great seafood fiesta:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_23.jpg

Mussels, what else:

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 12025 times:

Mussels, what else:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Eastern_Seaboard_06_2012/Part_1/Brussels_24.jpg

Far too soon it is time to finish and head back to our separate ways. Nils very kindly offers to give me and Marc a ride, me to my hotel and Marc to his car parked somewhere out of town. So I guide him there, we spend some moments of horror trying to navigate the warren of narrow one way streets making up the Danger Zone with tons of crooks banging on the car trying to get to our money (and Nil’s supply of chewing gum)* but eventually we find the right way and Nils drops me off in front of my hotel and I dash inside, managing to outrun the hordes after my belongings just in time*.

Off to bed then to gather strength for the long day tomorrow!

Conclusions

LH was a standard LH Berlin flight. By making this distinction I’m pointing out that the catering concept seems to be completely different to the ones on the flights out of other destinations they have. Those snack bags seem to be featured on all the new flights ex-TXL (should’ve been BER of course). There’s nothing wrong with that concept at least on flights on this 1-2 hour range, but I certainly hope they will change the contents every now and then - otherwise things could get very boring. Also that cheese sandwich is quite bad, they should consider something different or at least adding some “wetness” to it. This time the crew wasn’t very good either, but I’m willing to forgive that for a bad day or whatever reason.

The last time I flew Brussels Airlines was back in 2004 when they still were a full service carrier, so in that sense service standards have gone down. On the other hand the BOB menu prices seemed perfectly reasonable, the crew was okay and the whole experience apart from the old and shabby plane was fine. Would I fly with them again? Sure, since I have two more flights with them on this trip anyway I kinda have to...

And finally big thanks to Marc & Nils for a very nice but short meeting. I appreciate you guys driving a long way just for this, thanks! Sorry that I completely forgot to bring you the black stuff, but there’s always the next time!

Part 2 will feature the flights to Canada and further to Newark. Happy contrails!

*) These parts of this report are completely fictional. In reality there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the streets near Gare du Nord. Sure, the area is very “multi cultural” and home to the Brussels Red Light District (which is similar to the Dutch ones - girls in display windows surrounded by red lights), but there is nothing to be afraid of. Period.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2457 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11852 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
From watching the inbound on flightradar24 I know it is OO-DWI, a new plane for me and the expected Avro RJ-100, so no lucky last minute upgrade to an Airbus (or even a 734 like the one I saw a few hours earlier).

Welcome to the club my dear friend... Same happend to me two weeks ago on SN, I was "forced" to fly an ex easyjet A319 - while the next day one of the ex Virgin B737 was used.   

Looking fwd to the next part...


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5177 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11794 times:

Ah, great stuff, P.,

the perfect read after a long day on the biz road.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

I’m doing carry on only (something which I sort of came to regret a few times...) so no bag to drop off, just upstairs to security, through the empty fast track lane (well the normal lanes are empty as well but hey, privileges are privileges) and onto the SAS lounge which is almost empty.

The very same way for me last Monday!.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

Hey, a Swabian pocket sounds very deep and full but not very willing to lose its contents like Markus can testify, but the taste was excellent:

True words, definitely true words, perfectly explained the southern german sense of working with the money.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Apparently there’s some sort of football match going on tonite. Judging from the colors of their dresses the girls are firm supporters of the Dutch:

Hey, should I go sometimes for the football thing?.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

Part 2 will feature the flights to Canada and further to Newark. Happy contrails!

Looking forward to this one and more.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

*) These parts of this report are completely fictional. In reality there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the streets near Gare du Nord. Sure, the area is very “multi cultural” and home to the Brussels Red Light District (which is similar to the Dutch ones - girls in display windows surrounded by red lights), but there is nothing to be afraid of. Period.

Superb, you know I like these kind of writing much mroe than the "dry" facts and facts and facts style.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineSRQKEF From Iceland, joined Jun 2011, 896 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 11775 times:

Hi FF,

Great report! Been looking forward to these series, hopefully the next part will be as nice as this one. I got the exact same kind of sandwich on a LH CityLine ARJ flight from FRA to FLR back in 2008, so these don't seem to be only on TXL flights...

SN look nice enough, and BRU looks like a great city! Have to take the (relatively) new FI service to BRU sometime...

Cheers, Sveinn  



Flights flown: 287 - Airlines: 41 - Airports: 66 - Next flights: KEF-LHR-KEF, RKV-AEY-RKV, KEF-EWR-MCO, SRQ-LGA, JFK-KEF
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27231 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 11721 times:

Hey P  

Great report and nice to see the offerings in the lounges my mouth is watering   They really put on a decent spread. As for the Chocopolis thank god Im not there .

Nice to see I'm not the only one with a iPad cover marks issue   Need to find a safe cleaner to get it back to good as new.

Anyway I'm really looking forward to reading the next one so hurry up please  

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2299 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 11672 times:

Hi there P.,

Good to see this nice 1st part up.

Nice to see pics form Brussels--been there in 2007. Liked the city a lot, if we exclude their underground central station--and the trains in general, (some of) which don't seem that great.

I'm partial to the steak with green pepper sauce and fries which every single restaurant seems to serve  

Regarding your travels:

No beer in Tegel's lounge? Haha, that's quite insane when you think about it.

The Avro is nice to experience, too bad it's not in the greatest shape.

Vueling--crappiest airline...   Well, never flown them but I wouldn't be surprised considering my Air Europa and Spanair flights...

Thanks for sharing--looking forward to reading the other parts too!


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1770 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 11228 times:
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Hello Petteri,

Interesting 1st (well, 2nd actually  ) episode of your USA adventure. Of course a visir to the most dangerous city in the northern hemisphere couldn’t be missed, I’m really glad you survived. I’ve seen quite some déjà-vu’s here, but that’s normal when other people show you things that you are very familiar with.
Apparently you have about the same opinion on SN as I have - now let’s wat and see in the next episodes if that’s about to change for the better or for the worse.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Some breakfast

Cucumber in the morning = mussels anytime of the day (= not done). Although I can’t really tell what time it actually was   Were the pancakes filled with some substance?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ventspils, Latvia’s richest city

The name alone suggests something along those lines...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
wouldn’t mind flying one of those

No, me neither. In my pre- flightlogging era I have logged 2 of those (to BCN) and 2 733’s as well (to BUD). There’s only 1 sole 733 left in the fleet - so pretty hard to get.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
An excellent lunch, very impressed by the catering here actually

Impressed and all quite healthy stuff there. You might as well take your dose of veggies and fruits before embarking to the land of the Fast Foods.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a new plane for me and the expected Avro RJ-100

Bugger on missing the A319, but still nice to get a new entry for the log.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“Worn”

Exactly, it sums it all up. These machines are in dire need of replacement or refurbishment (highly unlikely I guess).

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Brussels Airlines has a really strong company brand (which is good), these stylish “b” logos are everywhere, including the headrests.

Hmm, I remember someone taking the same kind of pic, I just don’t know who it was. Let’s look it up and file a copyright violation complaint 

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The crew consists of two quite friendly ladies, the purser is quite amazing since she makes all the announcements in English, Flemish, French and German, apparently very fluently at least judging from what my understanding of those languages is - ranging from “speaks like a native” to “A beer, please”

You know us Belgians: polyglots! One of our strongest assett’s and definitely needed in a country that is so split up in - amongst others - language regions.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Taking off from 26L this Avro displays its amazing STOL capacities, despite a good load we use up maybe a fourth of the runway before jumping to the skies gracefully, but very powerfully.

Have you ever seen an Avro taking off? You probably have and the angle of attack is usually quite disappointing... It ain’t not 757, that’s for sure.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
one very fine beer from the vast selection Belgium produces - Grimbergen.

Yummy, good choice!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Value for money: 5/5 - I actually forgot whether it cost 3 EUR or 3.50 EUR

Excellent value for money: you get a large 33cl can. On a terrace in downtown Brussels you will most likely end up paying > € 4 for this amount of beer.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Up the jetway, across the pier, down a few escalators and into the famous Brussels tunnel connecting the A pier to the actual terminal building:

Hey, you’re trespassing my territory here!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Indeed they have introduced a special surcharge for the trains to and from the airport to fund the new track extension that makes it finally possible to reach Antwerp (and thus the Dutch rail network) directly from BRU airport. This is mentioned as “Diabolotoeslag” on the ticket.

Ha ha the famous ‘Diabolotoeslag’. Something typically Belgian. I know quite some ways to avoid it so next time be sure to contact the guide first  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Eventually I step off the train at Gare du Nord, a huge temple of crookedness in the middle of the no man’s land surrounding it where the streets are packed with crooks who are only after your money and belongings and if you happen to be hot maybe a piece of you as well*. Fighting these guys armed with machetes and whatnot

Hilarious yet so untrue...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Brussels is an enigma - a completely French speaking city in the middle of a completely Flemish speaking half of the country.

Don’t even get me started on that one!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the whole place is just so surreal that it at times feels quite unreal.

Come one Petteri, don’t exaggerate! It’s just a city like any other with it’s fair share of things a city like any other has to offer. Still I’m glad you liked it in a way. I’m much more fond of Antwerp. But that’s maybe because it’s closer by and it has this nice river flowing through.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
unfortunately too late for him to take part in this great seafood fiesta:

That should read: ‘fortunately’. Also I believe you guys picked the wrong restaurant:: tourist trap alert!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
So I guide him there, we spend some moments of horror trying to navigate the warren of narrow one way streets making up the Danger Zone with tons of crooks banging on the car trying to get to our money (and Nil’s supply of chewing gum)* but eventually we find the right way and Nils drops me off in front of my hotel and I dash inside, managing to outrun the hordes after my belongings just in time*.

Damn GPS! Well what do you know: after you getting out, it magically worked again. That was some real bad Finnish karma in my car obviously  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
On the other hand the BOB menu prices seemed perfectly reasonable, the crew was okay and the whole experience apart from the old and shabby plane was fine.

That sums it up nicely. Couldn’t agree more.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
And finally big thanks to Marc & Nils for a very nice but short meeting. I appreciate you guys driving a long way just for this, thanks! Sorry that I completely forgot to bring you the black stuff, but there’s always the next time!

No worries. You flew a long way, the least we could do was drive a long way   And the black stuff? I need to pay Helsinki maybe another visit this year?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
These parts of this report are completely fictional. In reality there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the streets near Gare du Nord. Sure, the area is very “multi cultural” and home to the Brussels Red Light District (which is similar to the Dutch ones - girls in display windows surrounded by red lights), but there is nothing to be afraid of. Period.

Correct. Just take your regular precautions: walk with an open backpack containing a wallet with € 100 bills,...

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 11147 times:

Hi P, what a very enjoyable report!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
one very fine beer from the vast selection Belgium produces - Grimbergen

I've been literally addicted to this for a couple of months, since the bar I go to with colleagues after work serves it from the draft.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
some of the Belgian regional trains can be horribly shabby and covered in graffiti but this one going to Ghent if I remember correctly doesn’t look half bad:

You've been lucky on this one. It's always an embarrassment when some of the older stock is used on services from the airport, and foreigners look around them in disbelief.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Eventually I step off the train at Gare du Nord, a huge temple of crookedness in the middle of the no man’s land surrounding it where the streets are packed with crooks who are only after your money and belongings and if you happen to be hot maybe a piece of you as well
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
These parts of this report are completely fictional. In reality there is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with the streets near Gare du Nord. Sure, the area is very “multi cultural” and home to the Brussels Red Light District (which is similar to the Dutch ones - girls in display windows surrounded by red lights), but there is nothing to be afraid of. Period.

Yeah most of the reputation is exaggerated, yet the area in an around Gare du Nord can get very shabby late at night. Having the red light district a bit further away from one of the major gateways to the city would possibly help its reputation too, or perhaps it's just my old school thinking.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Brussels is an enigma - a completely French speaking city in the middle of a completely Flemish speaking half of the country. An interesting hodgepodge of new and old, some very nice modern architectural gems next to shabby concrete uglings from the post war years next to grand old palaces and symbols of power from the short period when the (faux) country decided that they didn’t want to be a small player next to their world class neighbours and used the vast resources of Congo to impress the ladies. An interesting mix of people from all walks of life, from all the continents mixed together - drunks on the street, immigrants recently off the smuggler boats from Africa, crooks ready to kill you for your IPhone and Doc Martins*, normal Belgian people who love the finer things of life and think nothing of the fact that their country didn’t have a nominated government for a couple of years and of course the huge army of Eurocrats and the court surrounding them, as can be found in any big capital city. All this coupled with tons of restaurants, some of the finest culinary delights one can find anywhere in the world, lots of truly excellent chocolate (yes, it is better than Swiss!) and of course tons of bars where each of the hundreds of different Belgian beers each have their own distinct glass to drink it from. Oh, and a city whose main tourist sight is a tiny statue of a small boy taking a leak. How about that?

I guess it is needless to say I like Brussels a lot - the whole place is just so surreal that it at times feels quite unreal.

Wow, I was already impressed at your ability to grasp the essence of Charleroi so quickly back in the day, but this is probably one of the best summary of Brussels I've seen in a long time. I'm glad you liked it.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The last time I flew Brussels Airlines was back in 2004 when they still were a full service carrier, so in that sense service standards have gone down. On the other hand the BOB menu prices seemed perfectly reasonable, the crew was okay and the whole experience apart from the old and shabby plane was fine. Would I fly with them again? Sure, since I have two more flights with them on this trip anyway I kinda have to...

I've only had nice flights with them (including on the ex-Virgin Express 734s), in C or Y. Some cabins are indeed on the worn side, yet for some reason I always enjoy their Avros (the 2+3 layout perhaps?).

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Part 2 will feature the flights to Canada and further to Newark. Happy contrails!

Looking forward to reading it!

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 1014 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 11041 times:

Great report as usual!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Some breakfast - a shame they only had a single pancake left, those things are yummy:

Those look like American pancakes! Great teaser for the trip.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Parked outside is the expected A319, “Sinsheim” is a fortunate new entry for my log and this will be my 101th A319 flight

What was your 100th A319. I must have missed that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Service is the very same bag as when I took this flight less than two weeks ago on the other direction.

I kinda like the concept of those bags. Quite a few different things in them, so greato have some variation.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
To go with them some whipped cream from a tap (must be German engineering) - never seen this before:

That's brilliant!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
After exiting customs you take another couple of escalators down to access the train station. They seem to have completely overhauled the station - the last time I was here was back in 2006 and I remember a dark and dingy cave - well look what it is like today:

Looks great! Indeed a whole lot better then the dump it used to be!


User currently offlineEurohub From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 238 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 10965 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
one very fine beer from the vast selection Belgium produces - Grimbergen.

Thank you for bringing that up FlyingFinn - I sampled this beer for the first time three days ago where it was the guest beer in my hotel near Strasbourg; the staff there didn't know anything about the beer or where it came from, but after several glasses, I "forgot" to take a note of its name for future reference! I'm looking forward to the next instalment...



Forget A vs B - Give me E or BAe any day of the week!
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3018 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 10933 times:

Hi there FF,

Nice start to your Canada / USA trip, or is it? Does "Part 0" count?   Still, excellent report as always.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Service is the very same bag

Complete with "sugar free sweets". In the same league as decaf coffee and alcohol free beer. Oh wait...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Observant readers might have spotted something funny in the above the photo. And yes, it is true: There is no real beer anywhere in the lounge!.

Becks alcohol-free beer is the only one that is any good at all, in my opinion - in my younger days living in the country with no public transport necessitated driving everywhere. The rest might as well come out of the Mannekin Pis statue.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ventspils

Sounds like what would happen if you're sailing and you let go the main sheet (spill wind  )

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Brussels

In all my visits to Brussels, all have been by rail, so I've still yet to sample BRU.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the streets are packed with crooks who are only after your money and belongings and if you happen to be hot maybe a piece of you as well*

Humour in a report always improves things in my book  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Mussels, what else:

Absolutely, and from Leon as well. I've been to several of their branches in Paris too. Very tasty!

Looking forward to the next part  

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1090 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10725 times:

Thanks to a very nice trip report, enjoy following the photos and story.

That was a lot of food consumed in 2 lounges. One great benefit of being a star gold!

As I'm not a frequent TXL flyer, just wondering if you are on separate tickets?
Why did you walk pass the check-in area once again?
Or perhaps your connection needs you to proceed to different terminal, Terminal D-annex as you mentioned?

Or did you just intend to go straight to LH Senator lounge after arriving in TXL?

Brgds,
nethkt



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 13, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10693 times:

Hello there FlyingFinn76, nice report!

Greetings from the continent of Africa, the crookful land of Morocco. Jesus this place has changed in the two years since I've last been here. Streets are now full of crooks, people with all intention of ripping you off, heck so far today I've been ripped off by the "friendly" taxidriver, the waitress at the café, and the overly religious man selling fruit. They sure keep too much change those buggers! Oh well I think you'd find it cheap anyway...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
They bring out the lunch buffet a bit later but I decide to resist the temptation this time, although those mozzarella & tomatoes sure look good:

Man those food offerings look good, light years ahead of what we get in Arlanda. Doesn't make sense to me...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
(well the normal lanes are empty as well but hey, privileges are privileges)

Much the same way beggars can't be choosers?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A bit of a queue - they announce that Business Class and Gold passengers can jump the queue but I decide not to - after all I’m on a holiday here!

It would only make sense to me since you were seated at the very back of the plane. Or trying to be a man of the people?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Time drags a bit, but I still manage to while away three hours quite nicely, playing the catching up game on some trip reports, watching some stuff on my Ipad and reading the papers

Hey that sounds like some Jonas shenenigans there! But then again what's the point on spending money for food and transport to visit a town for 1 hour anyway. Surely one must stick to the restaurants at Alexanderplatz to manage to be back in time for the flight.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
drunks on the street, immigrants recently off the smuggler boats from Africa, crooks ready to kill you for your IPhone and Doc Martins*,

Well there's no fiction about that, it's reality. iPhones and Docs are two very lucrative items.

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (2 years 5 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10266 times:

Hi guys, good to see so many comments. Thank you, greatly appreciated.

Quoting debonair (Reply 2):
Welcome to the club my dear friend... Same happend to me two weeks ago on SN, I was "forced" to fly an ex easyjet A319 - while the next day one of the ex Virgin B737 was used.   

Ouch, that's bad. But at least you got something different than an Avro.. Then again I'm quite overdosed on Avros thanks to years of flying with Blue1  . So maybe in a couple of years I'll be the first and only person on this planet being bored of 717s...

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 3):
True words, definitely true words, perfectly explained the southern german sense of working with the money.

Oh yes, trust me I know how it is with you guys down there.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 3):
Superb, you know I like these kind of writing much mroe than the "dry" facts and facts and facts style.

Well, nothing like a bit of humor to spice it up.

Quoting SRQKEF (Reply 4):
I got the exact same kind of sandwich on a LH CityLine ARJ flight from FRA to FLR back in 2008, so these don't seem to be only on TXL flights...

Yes, I've had these sandwiches on some of the last late night FRA-HEL flights I've taken. But the point here is that the catering concept on the TXL flights is different than the new catering concept that LH introduced a year or so ago together with the NEK cabins for all of their other bases.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
As for the Chocopolis thank god Im not there .

Hah, that reminded me of your obsession with the Chocolate Lounge  .

Quoting OA260 (Reply 5):
Nice to see I'm not the only one with a iPad cover marks issue   Need to find a safe cleaner to get it back to good as new.

Yeah, it does get kinda shabby when you hump it around in your back bag in the middle of other crap.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 6):
Nice to see pics form Brussels--been there in 2007. Liked the city a lot, if we exclude their underground central station--and the trains in general, (some of) which don't seem that great.

Oh yeah, the Central Station is weird. Best skipped, Zuid/Midi/South is the best station they have, heck that's where the TGVs go for example. And yes, some of those trains are in horrible condition.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 6):
No beer in Tegel's lounge? Haha, that's quite insane when you think about it.

My thoughts exactly!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 6):
Vueling--crappiest airline...   Well, never flown them but I wouldn't be surprised considering my Air Europa and Spanair flights...

Well imagine the same staff with the same attitude but even worse seat pitch and psychedelic rainbow colors in the cabin - that's Vueling for you!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
I’ve seen quite some déjà-vu’s here, but that’s normal when other people show you things that you are very familiar with.

...or maybe because you made a cameo appearance in this report?  

But yeah, I certainly know what you are talking about, I get the same feeling when someone unfamiliar writes about HEL airport or BT/KF/AY.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Cucumber in the morning = mussels anytime of the day (= not done). Although I can’t really tell what time it actually was   Were the pancakes filled with some substance?

Cucumbers? Really, you dislike those too? It was morning, just after nine thirty. And no, no filling. There was maple syrup (again very appropriate considering who and where I'm flying the next day) to sprinkle (well, pour) on top.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Ventspils, Latvia’s richest city
The name alone suggests something along those lines...

Really? Pils = Castle and Vents refers to the river at which mouth it is located on, thus literally it means "The castle on the Venta river" as that is what it historically was. That castle was a very nice visit BTW, hope they reopen the airport for some flights at some point, it is a place well wort visiting!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Hmm, I remember someone taking the same kind of pic, I just don’t know who it was. Let’s look it up and file a copyright violation complaint 

In a district court in Antwerp, no doubt?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Have you ever seen an Avro taking off? You probably have and the angle of attack is usually quite disappointing... It ain’t not 757, that’s for sure.

Well they are capable of some really nice angles of attack, I've seen the KF Avros do it. But normally no, that is true.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
Come one Petteri, don’t exaggerate! It’s just a city like any other with it’s fair share of things a city like any other has to offer. Still I’m glad you liked it in a way. I’m much more fond of Antwerp. But that’s maybe because it’s closer by and it has this nice river flowing through.

To me as a Finn, being used to the boring but very organized Finnish towns it is a completely different world! And Antwerp was a bit of a mixed bag - I liked the Schelde waterfront and that old porcelain tunnel underneath it, but since I was there on a February Sunday it was also so very dead and thus appeared quite boring. Might be completely different on a weekday or during the summer.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 7):
And the black stuff? I need to pay Helsinki maybe another visit this year?

Sounds like a plan then!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 8):
I've been literally addicted to this for a couple of months, since the bar I go to with colleagues after work serves it from the draft.

Hi F, so glad to hear that you are not only well, but well enough to go to work and enjoy a strong brew at the end of the day - very good!

But seriously, can you really drive after a pint of that stuff? It is very strong!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 8):
Wow, I was already impressed at your ability to grasp the essence of Charleroi so quickly back in the day, but this is probably one of the best summary of Brussels I've seen in a long time. I'm glad you liked it.

Well, I have a certain talent for grasping these kind of feelings.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 9):
What was your 100th A319. I must have missed that.

I never wrote a report on that, but it was on that very same route on the other direction, the inaugural TXL-HEL flight on the Sunday morning of the BER meet.

Quoting Eurohub (Reply 10):
Thank you for bringing that up FlyingFinn - I sampled this beer for the first time three days ago where it was the guest beer in my hotel near Strasbourg;

Ok, you're very welcome! I was first wondering what a "guest beer" is - sounded like a beer a guest staying at the hotel brought with him but then I got it...  .

Quoting signol (Reply 11):
Complete with "sugar free sweets". In the same league as decaf coffee and alcohol free beer. Oh wait...

I think sugar free candy is a great idea!

Quoting signol (Reply 11):
Sounds like what would happen if you're sailing and you let go the main sheet (spill wind  )

Ugh.

Quoting signol (Reply 11):
Absolutely, and from Leon as well. I've been to several of their branches in Paris too. Very tasty!

Didn't know they had branches elsewhere - I always thought it was just that one establishment in the touristy heart of Brussels.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 12):
As I'm not a frequent TXL flyer, just wondering if you are on separate tickets?

No, same ticket on HEL-TXL-BRU, actually the whole ticket was ATH-FRA-HEL-TXL-BRU, gotta do open jaws with LH as they mostly don't do discounted one ways.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 12):
Or perhaps your connection needs you to proceed to different terminal, Terminal D-annex as you mentioned?

I guess you've never been to TXL. The way that whole airport was designed and built makes it impossible to have (almost) any airside connections. From your gate you exit directly landside and that's it, if you are connecting (which is something that the airport was never intended to handle) you need to reclear security when getting to the gate for your next flight. The only exception to this is the C terminal annex that is mainly used by Air Berlin - there you can make an airside connection if your flights both arrive and leave at the C terminal, no doubt insisted by AB since they have a very sizable hub operation at TXL...

Another reason why we all were waiting for Brandenburg to open.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 13):
heck so far today I've been ripped off by the "friendly" taxidriver, the waitress at the café, and the overly religious man selling fruit.

Why are they ripping you off? You are one of their own? Or is there a foreign accent in your Arabic?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 13):
Much the same way beggars can't be choosers?

No, nothing like that.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 13):
It would only make sense to me since you were seated at the very back of the plane. Or trying to be a man of the people?

What? I didn't want to push my way through the crowds - that would be a bit rude plus what's the hurry. This is no America - there will be overhead bin space for everybody. If there was a clear second queue where I'd easily could've made my way I'd done it, but not this way.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 13):
But then again what's the point on spending money for food and transport to visit a town for 1 hour anyway. Surely one must stick to the restaurants at Alexanderplatz to manage to be back in time for the flight.

What? I'd easily had two hours to burn there, depending a bit where I'd ended in. And I most certainly wasn't planning on going to A-platz, either somewhere in Charlottenburg (a very short U-bahn ride away) or to Zoo station and KDamm - lots of interesting stuff to do there.

And yeah, I know your opinion on things - you should just stick where you get free stuff. I mean what's the point in visiting a city anyway - it is full of crooks, you actually have to *pay* for things with your own money and people will be nasty at you. Why not just use your privileges, something which you are inherently entitled to because you just are such a better person because of that Gold card in your wallet and the luggage tags on your bag - in the lounge you don't have to pay for anything and all the people are there just to serve *you*, and only *you*. And for free. Wow, this is Jonas heaven.


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 715 posts, RR: 21
Reply 15, posted (2 years 5 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10231 times:

Hi P,

first of all congrats for surviving Brussels   Good to read about your appetizer flights before getting on the long-haul ones. Looks like two solid flights, nothing special, everything just as expected (with the exception of the substandard LH crew this time). Also nice to see some pictures from Brussels, have to agree with you here, it is definitely a very interesting city, you described it pretty well. Have been there a couple of times (although never by plane) and liked it as well. I remember having had the exact same impression when I saw the Grand-Place for the first time.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a Swabian pocket

Funny translation, indeed this doesn't sound very appetizing so they should just stick to the real name "Maultasche". Reminds me a bit on a restaurant I visited once somewhere in the US where they also served this and described it as 'German Style Ravioli'    ...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There is no real beer anywhere in the lounge!

Ouch, that's bad, indeed strange. But at least there were other things to drink and the food offerings looked indeed very good.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I go for the cheese version - the sandwich is just as dry and tasteless as before and does not come with anything but cheese in it

Oh dear, again this terrible dry sandwich. Wonder why they don't vary their onboard snacks like they do on other routes.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Mussels, what else:

Looks yummy   ...Hope you had some Belgian Fries with it?

Now looking forward to read about your transatlantic experience

CaptainRed


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 16, posted (2 years 5 months 3 days ago) and read 10167 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
Why are they ripping you off? You are one of their own? Or is there a foreign accent in your Arabic?

I do speak arabic with a Swedish accent, that's why. Also I don't take a tumble in the dust every morning like most street vendors or crook boys. This was never the case in the past, but now people seem to have developed this shitful culture of ripping "foreigners" off. If people were more honest I'd gladly pay them an extra tip.

//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1090 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (2 years 5 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10065 times:

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
I guess you've never been to TXL. The way that whole airport was designed and built makes it impossible to have (almost) any airside connections. From your gate you exit directly landside and that's it, if you are connecting (which is something that the airport was never intended to handle) you need to reclear security when getting to the gate for your next flight. The only exception to this is the C terminal annex that is mainly used by Air Berlin - there you can make an airside connection if your flights both arrive and leave at the C terminal, no doubt insisted by AB since they have a very sizable hub operation at TXL...

Another reason why we all were waiting for Brandenburg to open.

Thank you for your prompt answer. I was actually there at TXL once, and not as a connecting passenger.

Now I can see it clearly why you can't transit without visa if not flying Air Berlin to Air Berlin.

Brandenburg....awesome.

I'll use your trick doing open-jaw on LH intra-Europe flight!  



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (2 years 5 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9928 times:

Hello Petteri

Nice and interesting read of your first part of the series. It was nice reading it.
Still a bit funny to find not beer in the TXL lounge, after all it is Berlin, right??
Talking about SN, I had the same opinion about the Avro's a bit outdated but still good.
Thanks for showing us BRU and it was a pleasure on spending the evening in BRU.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1367 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (2 years 5 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9912 times:

Great report there. Saw some familiar pics of the things I saw in Brussels - and some i missed. Such a big city its hard to see it all in one trip. That and having to be back at the hotel before nightfall to avoid all the muggers, murderers and prostitutes* - yeah i saw that report too!

[Edited 2012-06-23 11:10:32]


A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlinedkdaviator From Denmark, joined Jun 2009, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 5 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9882 times:

Hi FF,

That's a nice and entertaining second part in your US trip series.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a shame they only had a single pancake left, those things are yummy:

mmm, pancakes!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 9):
Those look like American pancakes! Great teaser for the trip.

They really do look like the American ones. And if you ever get the chance, you should try the ones with blueberries, they're quite nice!    

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There is no real beer anywhere in the lounge!.

What? No beer in the lounge at Tegel? The Tegel airport in BERLIN! Unbelievable!    But at least you were able to find other substitute beverages.

Sounds like it was kind of dicey there in parts of Brussels* - glad to hear you made it through!  

D.



dkdaviator
User currently offlinestipica From Croatia, joined Feb 2011, 427 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 9505 times:

Hi P. !
super nice and thanks ...you know that I am big fan of your writing and you know that I laugh too much but this is so so so ... but somehow I think that below this great irony lies great sympathy ...hehhehe still smiling stipica  



Open your eyes and think
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 22, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 9484 times:

Hi guys, thanks for the comments!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 15):
Good to read about your appetizer flights before getting on the long-haul ones.

Thank you, the primi piatto is now served for your enjoyment!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 15):
Oh dear, again this terrible dry sandwich. Wonder why they don't vary their onboard snacks like they do on other routes.

Maybe it has something to do with Berlin being a "low cost" base with lower cabin crew salaries etc.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 15):
Looks yummy   ...Hope you had some Belgian Fries with it?

But of course!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 15):
Now looking forward to read about your transatlantic experience

As I said, online now.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
This was never the case in the past, but now people seem to have developed this shitful culture of ripping "foreigners" off. If people were more honest I'd gladly pay them an extra tip.

Well maybe that's the Ryanair effect again. Ever since Morocco signed the open skies contract with EU all kinds of low costs have started swarming there, filling the place with less than top class travelers, prime material for being ripped off.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 18):
Thanks for showing us BRU and it was a pleasure on spending the evening in BRU.

Anytime!

Quoting dkdaviator (Reply 20):
Sounds like it was kind of dicey there in parts of Brussels* - glad to hear you made it through!

Well diceyness is in the eye of the beholder.

Quoting stipica (Reply 21):
super nice and thanks ...you know that I am big fan of your writing and you know that I laugh too much but this is so so so ... but somehow I think that below this great irony lies great sympathy

Thanks stipica. Maybe you should try being serious once though?  


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6643 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 9462 times:

Hi FlyingFinn!

Nice start of your North American adventure!

Brussels seems like a great city and I should try to visit sometime. I have changed trains there a long time ago but never really got a chance to see the city.

Very good also to meet up with Nils and Marc!

Looking forward to part 3 now that I finally read part 1....

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinelufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 34
Reply 24, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9118 times:

Nice report P, but the SPAR downstairs if still open would surely have sold you some proper beer you could have smuggled into the lounge. We got some very nasty stares in SK OSL lounge for guzzling own booze with my friend though... (Norwegian law restricts the hours...)

Well I was in BRU Nord this month... Let's just say you might agree with Jonas about the area if you get robbed of two phones and a few items that had just emotional value. Straight outside BRU Nord on Rue d'Aerschot. not a problem on the seedy side of it, but 3 druggies attacked me between the main entrance to that street and the Hilton Brussels City.

Regards,

Lufthansa 747



Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
25 Post contains images deltamartin : Hello P! Nice report as usual! Good to read the first "proper" report of your US series. Seems like you had a couple of nice flights on LH and the LH
26 gabrielchew : Nice part 1 (or 2!) Petteri! So you like to spend your holidays in queues? No *G blocking? Ah, you should be more like me, and "ping ping away"! I had
27 PlaneHunter : Nice second part of your series, P.! The snack on LH doesn't look bad, but I agree that there should be more on a good sandwich than just cheese and b
28 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi guys, Good to see more comments, thank you! Yes, Brussels is quite nice. Weird and at times very chaotic but nice. There are also some nice outlyin
29 okapi : Hi FF! This report is by far my favourite of all reports written by you and I usually have a great time starting the week with a nice read from your t
30 FlyingFinn76 : Hi Okapi, Thanks for you kind words! Very much appreciated. We all have our persona favorites for various reasons, but glad that you liked this. Yes,
31 Post contains images infodesk : Hi P, Good to read the next installment of your trip and to hear that you were able to fix an a.net meet as well. The airport railway station at BRU r
32 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi Hannah, thank you very much for your comments! Oh yes, always nice to spice things up a little bit. I think the last time I was there was in 2006 a
33 Post contains images AYA333 : Again, a nice day of flying! And great photos of my tomorrow's destination: Brussels. I keep forgetting how wonderful it can be! Looks yummy, indeed!
34 Post contains images Parton87 : Hello Petteri! Nice part two of your US trip! Lovely photos especially the ones after take off from HEL! Also really good pictures from Brussels. It´
35 adamspotter : Hi FlyingFinn, Part 1, another nice and entertaining report! Not that impressed with LH this time, crew doesn't sounds good and that bread with cheese
36 Post contains images Tomskii : Glad to read you enjoyed visiting our capital Nice TR Greetings Tom
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