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Alpine Detour: S20, F50, E70 & A Hydrofoil  
User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7267 times:

To get from Zurich to St. Gallen, one could take the Intercity train and get there in about an hour.

Or......

....how about some detours, making use of some interesting and exotic flight connections around the alps? Throw in a nice bike tour and a ride on a Hydrofoil, take along a good friend and spend some days in Vienna – and you get a great weekend trip, getting you from Zurich to St. Gallen with some nice experience in between.

In the end, instead of taking the train, we flew ZRH-LUG-VIE-ACH. Read below to find out how it all went.

How on earth had I come up with this itinerary? Well, I always had the intention of flying in and out of LUG with its stunning views and steep approaches. Some time ago I read about the Greek airline Minoan Air's intention to start flights on the LUG-FCO and LUG-VIE routes. My first thought about the LUG-VIE route was "WTF?!", but right after that I thought "I need to try this flight!"

It wasn't difficult to convince my friend who's also an aviation freak to join and thus we booked ourselves two tickets at an affordable price, not without making jokes about the expected passenger figures on that flight. We were actually surprised that Minoan Air was still operating the rather weird route when we wanted to fly and made bets about the load. My bet was more than ten passengers, my friend bet that it would be less than ten. More on that later.

To get to LUG, we first thought about taking the train from Zurich, but then decided to book a ZRH-LUG-ZRH flight and use the return leg another time individually. And to get from VIE to ACH, there's nowadays only one option: The very special airline called People's Viennaline, operating a single Embraer 170 on its single route to an airport that is actually only served by this airline and that is also operated by the same company. In this case it was quite useful to be still enrolled as students as PE offers nicely discounted one-way tariffs for students.

Here's the map of our flights, courtesy of Great Circle Mapper:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/gcmap.png

It all started on Thursday, 2 May 2013, around noon at ZRH. I had just arrived from downtown Zurich by S-Bahn train and met my friend at check-in hall 3. We checked in, got our boarding passes for the ZRH-LUG flight and headed towards the gate.

ZRH-LUG
2 May 2013
LX 2906
Swiss International Airlines, operated by Darwin Airline
Saab 2000
HB-IYD (delivered to Crossair in 1998, after some years with LX and Polet now with Darwin Airline since 2009)
12:50-13:35 (actual flight time about 35 minutes)
Load: approx. 90% (though quite a lot of standby/non-rev passengers)


A quick view onto ZRH's apron on the way:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080530.jpg

Our gate, A55, was already quite crowded.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080531.jpg

Boarding commenced on time; we noticed a lot of standby passengers (probably LX staff living in Ticino) who received seat assignments on little print-outs when passing through the gate.

A bus took us to the open stand next to runway 10/28 where the scheduled Saab 2000 was waiting. Boarding took place via the internal front stairs.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080537.jpg

Baggage loading was in process.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080539.jpg

The Saab 2000 is quite a long bird, seating 50 passengers in a 1-2 cabin layout.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080546.jpg

I took my assigned seat 7A while my friend was sitting further in the back. Here's a cabin impression with the rather attractive blonde Ticinese FA.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080550.jpg

And of course a legroom shot – not too much space but of course sufficient for a short flight.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080553.jpg

Boarding was soon completed and the engines were fired up. The Saab's electronic noise suppressing system seemed to be somewhat malfunctioning as a weird buzzing sound was audible during the flight. We taxied out of our position without any pushback required.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080561.jpg

A powerful takeoff followed from runway 28.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080566.jpg

We left the ground long before the runway intersection.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080569.jpg

The seatbelt sign remained on during the flight. Catering consisted of a bottle of water (distributed while still on ground) and a Swiss-branded chocolate (distributed while in the air).

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080578.jpg

Unfortunately, the view was far from clear and the window was a bit dirty and scratched. Still, I enjoyed the views – below was the Vierwaldstättersee...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080584.jpg

... then the Gotthard massif...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080590.jpg

... and soon we crossed Lago Maggiore coming from the west.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080606.jpg

The gear came down quite early while we were south of Lago di Lugano...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080611.jpg

... and then we flew some turns around the lake...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080615.jpg

... above Melide and the dam across the lake...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080620.jpg

... and then in parallel with the airport.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080624.jpg

This meant a nice approach from the north – I was quite excited as this approach is steeper than the southern variant!

We overflew the city of Lugano...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080631.jpg

... made a series of sharp left turns while descending steeply...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080632.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080633.jpg

... and finally lined up with runway 19.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080638.jpg

The steep descent continued...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080641.jpg

... and we touched down firmly...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080643.jpg

... with some heavy braking allowing us to exit the runway quickly.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080644.jpg

Deboarding was again via the internal stairs...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080653.jpg

... and I took a picture of the sleek Saab 2000's nose.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080658.jpg

We walked towards the small terminal building...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080659.jpg

...and on the way passed by our ride for the next morning, Minoan Air's classic Fokker 50 SX-BRS:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080660.jpg

Inside the arrivals hall...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080666.jpg

... it didn't take long for the baggage to arrive.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080667.jpg

We exited the terminal and had a look around:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080668.jpg

Then we got on our way towards the Agno railway station which was about a 10-minute walk away, through some nice streets:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080669.jpg

It didn't take long for the train to arrive.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080671.jpg

The train went around the airport...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080675.jpg

... and then up a hill alongside the airport.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080686.jpg

After arriving at Lugano station, we decided to have lunch with a view:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080692.jpg

After a delicious pizza (though with very slow service), we took the bus to our accommodation for the first night: The Lugano Savosa youth hostel where we had booked a two-bed room.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080694.jpg

I must say this is one of the nicest youth hostels I've ever stayed at – especially the garden was beautiful and the overall setting was very relaxed. We bought some snacks for dinner at a nearby supermarket and just made it back in time before a heavy thunderstorm with hail set in:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080699.jpg

[Edited 2013-05-06 15:41:12]

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7237 times:

The next morning, we got up early and took a taxi to the airport because the public transport schedule from the hostel at that hour wasn't convenient. After about 10 minutes, we arrived at the terminal.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080704.jpg

We proceeded to the check-in counter and checked in. When asking for the number of passengers booked on this flight, to my frustration, the agent said "five" – my bet was lost. My friend had just earned a beer in Vienna.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080705.jpg

LUG-VIE
3 May 2013
MAV 2590
Minoan Air
Fokker 50
SX-BRS (delivered to KLM Cityhopper in 1991, after a few years with Hellas Jet now with Minoan Air since 2012)
07:45-09:40 (actual flight time about 1 hour 35 minutes)
Load: 10% (exactly 5 passengers including my friend and myself)


Security was a breeze with no-one in front of us and we went to the gate area which was rather small with just a few seats and a bar.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080706.jpg

The display at the gate showed our flight as on-time.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080707.jpg

The FIDS showed all flights of the day – besides our flight to VIE and the other Minoan Air flight to FCO, all other flights were operated by Darwin Airline. The ZRH flights are operated on behalf of LX, the GVA flights under Darwin's own F7 code.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080708.jpg

A view out onto the tarmac: Our Fokker 50 was already being prepared and the crew was on board.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080713.jpg

A small delay was announced and we observed the takeoff of the Darwin Saab 2000 on its flight to ZRH.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080715.jpg

A few minutes after the scheduled departure time, boarding for our flight was called and together with the three other passengers, my friend and I went through the gate.

Before boarding, we took our time to take a couple of pictures of the Fokker.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080721.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080722.jpg

We were greeted by two friendly, and very blonde, female FAs from Greece. The cabin looked quite old-fashioned but the seats seemed to have been recently refurbished.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080724.jpg

Legroom was rather tight in my seat 14A:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080725.jpg

All passengers were seated in the rear cabin, I assume for weight and balance purposes. After a friendly welcome and the manual safety demonstration, the engines were started with quite some noise and we taxied towards the runway, past some biz jets.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080729.jpg

Our take-off in a southerly direction began with full engine power applied while the parking brake was set, then we accelerated quickly and took to the skies after a short take-off run.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080734.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080737.jpg

The scenery was quite gorgeous – we overflew much of Lago di Lugano – but the dirty, wet and scratched windows together with the sun shining in my direction didn't allow for any decent pictures.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080745.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080755.jpg

After a few more minutes, the seatbelt sign was turned off and both FAs sprung into action. Cold drinks, tea and coffee were offered and my friend and I opted for sparkling wine in order to celebrate the occasion that we were on this very interesting flight. To be honest it was a rather disappointing kind of sparkling wine, but the chocolate muffin that was also served was quite tasty.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080771.jpg

As we climbed to higher altitudes and flew along the mountains towards higher mountain ranges, some snow-capped peaks came into view.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080775.jpg

The Fokker 50's rather low cruising altitude (the captain later came on the PA and informed us that we were flying at 24,000 feet) helped to make this a particularly scenic flight over the alps.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080795.jpg

I later moved towards the front where it was a bit quieter and I had a glance at the propeller:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080798.jpg

The scenery continued to be great.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080804.jpg

A look back at the empty cabin:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080807.jpg

More scenery:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080809.jpg

When we approached VIE after about 1 hour, the FAs asked us to go back to our seats (again, presumably for weight and balance reasons). More and more clouds obstructed the view.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080821.jpg

Our descent first took us through lots of cloud layers until some fields came into sight. The gear was lowered:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080832.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080833.jpg

We approached the runway...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080839.jpg

... and touched down smoothly, followed by only very soft braking.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080842.jpg

A bus was already waiting at the parking position.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080849.jpg

We thanked the crew and climbed down the internal stairs. A picture of the Fokker 50's classic-looking nose:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080851.jpg

A map of Crete on the engine (if you don't know what it is, you might mistake it for peeling paint):

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080855.jpg

A final picture from the bus – Greece / EU / emergency... interesting!

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080860.jpg

The bus took us to the Schengen arrivals entrance from where we took a long walk to the baggage claim – the bags were already waiting there.

We decided not to be ripped of by the City Airport Train (charges you three times as much for a somewhat quicker ride to the city) and took the S-Bahn to Wien Mitte/Landstraße. There, we connected to the metro and arrived at our hotel, the "Falkensteiner Hotel am Schottenfeld". This hotel is very recommendable, a nice room and a great breakfast buffet, friendly staff and conveniently located. Overall real good value for money.

We then walked around the city for a bit and had a delicious Wiener Schnitzel at Fliegenmüller's.


User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7237 times:

The next day, we rented bikes from Pedal Power near the Prater and went on a nice bike tour on the Danube bike route which isn't really going on the banks of the Danube but actually goes through a beautiful landscape a bit off the river.

We left Vienna behind, heading for Bratislava which is 65 km away...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080863.jpg

... cycled along the peaceful route...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080871.jpg

... and took a nice break at the Danube later.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080875.jpg

Most of the route went on a dyke, later also through some fields and towns.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080894.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080905.jpg

We crossed the Slovakian border which consists of an abandoned border post...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080907.jpg

... and an open gate in the fence.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080908.jpg

Bratislava's castle came in sight quite soon.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080912.jpg

We also saw the interesting bridge pillar with an integrated observation deck.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080913.jpg

After buying the tickets for the Hydrofoil back to Vienna, we headed into town...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080919.jpg

... where we had a nice beer and a snack.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080922.jpg

We didn't bring enough time to fully appreciate this apparently very nice city but I guess there'll be another time. It was time to head back to the river where the "Meteor III" was already waiting for us.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080926.jpg

We boarded and stowed our bikes on board.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080927.jpg

Most of the 1.5 hours back to Vienna was spent on the observation deck in the middle of the boat.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080933.jpg

The Hydrofoil quickly left Bratislava behind and we passed a cruise ship – check out the nice reflection of the "Meteor III" in the windows.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080955.jpg
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http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080950.jpg

I briefly explored the cabin...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080975.jpg

... and got a beer from the bar.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080976.jpg

The boarding platforms above the forward wings were open, allowing for a nice view outside.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080979.jpg

There was also a little window with a view to the "flight deck" where the captain could be observed at work.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080981.jpg

The forward passenger cabin had some nice views up front.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080984.jpg

In the meantime, we passed the beautiful meadows on the Danube's banks.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080987.jpg

View towards the aft:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1080991.jpg

I tried a legroom shot in the aft passenger cabin, but the vibration was so strong (and it was loud, too) that it was difficult to get a decent picture.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090002.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090008.jpg

After an hour at full speed, the Hydrofoil slowed down as we approached the locks next to Vienna.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090013.jpg
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http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090016.jpg

It took about 20 minutes to lift us to the next water level.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090026.jpg

Another 15 minutes at full speed later...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090034.jpg

... we arrived in Vienna.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090047.jpg

When we exited the Hydrofoil, we noticed that the seats fold down like on a Soviet airliner.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090048.jpg

A last look at the "Meteor III" – sure a great way to travel between those two cities:

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090050.jpg

The entire Sunday was spent with some chilling, reading, football watching and dinner.


User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 7231 times:

A day later, it was time for the last segment of this weekend trip: The flight back to Switzerland on People's Viennaline.

We took the S-Bahn to the airport again – this time, it was overcrowded and under-airconditioned, so we wondered whether ÖBB intentionally dispatched a crappy and short train in order to lure passengers into the expensive City Airport Train next time.

Anyway, we reached VIE and walked from the station into the terminal hall. It struck me how badly designed the signage at VIE is. Rather than a clear "Departures" sign, all we could spot was that "ABCD" sign at the end of the hall.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090068.jpg

No problem for us, but not so nice for a confused first-timer. We followed some more signs towards the separate check-in building "1A" that People's Viennaline (together with Easyjet and others) uses.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090073.jpg
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http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090074.jpg

Online check-in wasn't possible with our student discount tickets. So we obtained our boarding passes from the last counter in this dingy check-in hall.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090076.jpg
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http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090077.jpg

We headed back into the main terminal building across the street and again found the signage measly, to say the least. The only directions were given by the small letters below this FIDS.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090083.jpg

VIE-ACH
6 May 2013
PE 103
People's Viennaline
Embraer 170
OE-LMK (delivered to Finnair in 2006, with People's Viennaline since 2011)
15:45-16:45 (actual flight time about 1 hour)
Load: 34% (24 passengers)


After the boarding pass check, we followed a narrow corridor beside a construction site...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090087.jpg

... towards a broken escalator next to a makeshift sign.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090090.jpg

Our gate was B31, a bus gate in the basement.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090092.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090093.jpg

Boarding commenced on time and we boarded a bus with 24 passengers in total (another lost bet by the way, I thought the flight would be at least half full now that OS has left the VIE-ACH route to PE).

We arrived at the apron parking position where the Embraer 170 was ready for boarding through both doors.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090104.jpg

The aft door was already being closed once I reached the top of the front stairs.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090111.jpg

I settled into my seat 6A and took a legroom shot.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090115.jpg

Loading was quickly completed...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090116.jpg

... and we were on our way towards the active runway.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090127.jpg

We passed the EK 77W and lined up on the runway...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090130.jpg

... and quickly took off.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090134.jpg

Unfortunately, there was no alpine panorama to be seen today due to lots of clouds.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090138.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090142.jpg
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http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090153.jpg

The cabin made a very inviting and clean impression, just like on my previous flight with PE about two years ago.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090154.jpg

The friendly FAs (one female, one male) then came around with their service carts: A nice cake was served and I took a glass of white wine and a water.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090159.jpg

After a short continuation of the cruise...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090161.jpg

... it was already time for our descent towards ACH, taking us over beautiful Lake Constance.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090169.jpg

The town on the little peninsula is Lindau (definitely worth a visit).

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090175.jpg

We then turned sharply to the left...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090182.jpg

... and then to the right.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090186.jpg

Towards Lake Constance's southern shore...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090189.jpg

... and then we aligned with the runway after another right turn.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090192.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090193.jpg

Very short finals...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090195.jpg

... and a gentle touchdown with only idle reverse.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090196.jpg
.
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090197.jpg

We passed a herd of cows and sheep (within the airport perimeter fence, but fenced in separately!)...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090199.jpg

... and left the runway towards the terminal.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090200.jpg

The external stairs were being prepared.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090207.jpg

And this pleasant flight was over!

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090208.jpg

A short walk to the terminal...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090210.jpg

... and a last look back at OE-LMK.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090211.jpg

The cleaners on their way.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090216.jpg

A small aircraft takes off from ACH...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090220.jpg

... while we walk towards the tiny arrivals hall...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090221.jpg

... with its single baggage belt.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090222.jpg

The airport is quite compact and convenient, indeed.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090226.jpg

Outside, the People's shuttle buses towards Austria were already waiting.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090229.jpg

However, we wanted to go to Rorschach's train station and waited for the public bus...

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090232.jpg

... which then took us past ACH's runway.

http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o257/dikktus/P1090238.jpg

At Rorschach, we took the train to St. Gallen (about 15 minutes) where our trip was officially over. My friend stayed there and I took another train back home to Zurich.

A great trip was over, some memorable flights and a nice time in Vienna – a fantastic weekend.


User currently offlineFshplns From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7073 times:

Thanks for the nostalgia trip for me, went to Bratislava back in 1993, then further train travels through Slovakia. Was supposed to take the hydrafoil like yourself, but the other direction. Due to a major snafu(my own fault), I was forced to ride a small bus from Frankfurt to Bratislava and back.

Chris


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2430 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6752 times:

Great TR! Fantastic routing, outstanding "exotic" airlines - well done!

User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 6497 times:

Hi HAM,

I must confess that this is one of the most interesting reports I've read in a while, at least with regard to the rarity of the carriers flown.

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
And to get from VIE to ACH, there's nowadays only one option: The very special airline called People's Viennaline, operating a single Embraer 170 on its single route to an airport that is actually only served by this airline and that is also operated by the same company. In this case it was quite useful to be still enrolled as students as PE offers nicely discounted one-way tariffs for students.

I had honestly never heard of them. I guess that's not surprising given that they operate a single aircraft and they fly to a destination I did not know existed either. How interesting.

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
The Saab 2000 is quite a long bird, seating 50 passengers in a 1-2 cabin layout.

I would love to fly one of these bad boys. Ever since I found out about Darwin I have been kinda obsessed with them. They have one of the coolest names around. I had plans to fly them a couple of years ago but couldn't make it work.

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
...and on the way passed by our ride for the next morning, Minoan Air's classic Fokker 50 SX-BRS:

Sweet. I knew Minoan was flying domestic routes in Sweden, Spain and the UK but I was unaware they were flying in Switzerland/Austria too. What a weird choice of a route though. With loads like the one you had I can't see them keeping this going for much longer...

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
After buying the tickets for the Hydrofoil back to Vienna, we headed into town...

May I ask how much it costs to ride the hydrofoil between Bratislava and Vienna?

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
It struck me how badly designed the signage at VIE is. Rather than a clear "Departures" sign, all we could spot was that "ABCD" sign at the end of the hall.

I have read a lot of negative reviews about VIE; that it is dark, crowded, somewhat boring and (in this case) badly signed. It's kind of a shame given that this is the major tourist hub for Austria. I wonder whether other major Austrian airports are like that too?

Thanks for the interest read,

Widebodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8507 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 6449 times:

To me the best part of the trip report is the hydrofoil journey! That looks like an ex-Soviet era Meteor hydrofoil built in Ukraine.

User currently offlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1431 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 6333 times:

What a great report. I really enjoyed it. I've seen some unique airlines that I didn't even know existed and of course the beautiful scenery.

Quoting HAM (Reply 1):
We proceeded to the check-in counter and checked in. When asking for the number of passengers booked on this flight, to my frustration, the agent said "five"

Ouch... I wonder how much longer that airline will be in service.

Quoting HAM (Reply 1):
he Fokker 50's rather low cruising altitude (the captain later came on the PA and informed us that we were flying at 24,000 feet) helped to make this a particularly scenic flight over the alps.

That's pretty normal for a turboprop. We we fly our King Air we go anywhere from 24,000 - 27,000, depending on winds. ATRs usually do the same thing.

Quoting HAM (Reply 1):
here, we connected to the metro and arrived at our hotel, the "Falkensteiner Hotel am Schottenfeld". This hotel is very recommendable, a nice room and a great breakfast buffet, friendly staff and conveniently located. Overall real good value for money.

Good to know. I'll be in Vienna in less than a month on a bike trip from Munich - Passau - Vienna - Bratislava.

Quoting HAM (Reply 2):
We left Vienna behind, heading for Bratislava which is 65 km away...

Yup. Not as scenic as the ride from Passau to Vienna, but it's still nice. I'm very much looking forward to it.

Quoting HAM (Reply 2):
A last look at the "Meteor III" – sure a great way to travel between those two cities:

Good to know, but I would opt for something with a more "open deck" Is there such thing? (even if it is slower)

Interesting flight in the Embraer, but again 24 pax you said? Horrible load. Thanks again for the report. I really enjoyed it. While I have flown on Saab 2000s quite a few times (with Carpatair) and the Embraers (with AC, Frontier, etc) I have never flown the Fokker 50. I'd like to try it one day.

Look for my upcoming "mega report" in the next 2 months when I get to travel over 100,000 kms in 2 months. May / June will be a VERY VERY VERY busy time for me, including trips all over the Canadian Arctic, Germany, Austria Slovakia, UK and Romania.

Cheers,

Vio



Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5996 times:

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 7):
May I ask how much it costs to ride the hydrofoil between Bratislava and Vienna?

It was 23€ per person (oneway; return is not that much more) plus 4€ per bike.

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 7):
That looks like an ex-Soviet era Meteor hydrofoil built in Ukraine.

Indeed it was.

Quoting vio (Reply 8):
Not as scenic as the ride from Passau to Vienna, but it's still nice.

Right, I wouldn't call it scenic but rather a relaxing ride through some beautiful nature. I heard good things about the Passau-Vienna ride, too.

Quoting vio (Reply 8):
I would opt for something with a more "open deck" Is there such thing? (even if it is slower)

I saw the "Twin Cityliner" catamaran ferry go down the Danube, and it had a more open deck than the Meteor (I think even with seats outside). These two operators are competitors on the route.

Quoting vio (Reply 8):
Look for my upcoming "mega report" in the next 2 months when I get to travel over 100,000 kms in 2 months.

Sounds great, enjoy your trip!


User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1875 posts, RR: 42
Reply 10, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5773 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi HAM, nice report! Quite interesting to see these little airliners around Switzerland and Austria! I also liked the part with the hydrofoil, that's something I did years ago on the same route, albeit on the Meteor V, apparently they have more! Funny to see you also noticed the forward folding airliner seats, I guess we really are anutters 

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5248 times:

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 10):
that's something I did years ago on the same route, albeit on the Meteor V, apparently they have more!

I think they have three. We actually passed another one which did the Vienna-Bratislava run that evening, but unfortunately I didn't have my camera ready to take a pic.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 10):
Funny to see you also noticed the forward folding airliner seats, I guess we really are anutters 

I couldn't resist taking that photo  


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5061 times:

Hello HAM

Great report, thanks for sharing this one with us! I'm always wanting to log the Saab and I'm glad you loggedd it.
Thanks for showing us an array of new airlines that I haven't heard from. Minoan and PE look great!
Enjoyed reading about the Hydrofoil as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4939 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 12):
Minoan and PE look great!

From a passenger perspective, absolutely - and that's all this TR was really about.

I personally think that especially Minoan won't make it long on this route, and I question the viability of People's Viennaline. But at least the latter has been around for some time now and maybe they can make their monopoly route work in the long run.

By the way, here's a great video that my friend took of the entire trip: http://vimeo.com/66217391

It includes all the takeoffs, landings and overall experience. Enjoy!


User currently offlinebritjap From Japan, joined Aug 2006, 280 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3696 times:

Hi HAM,

What a fantastic report. I love the little airlines that fly little routes, and what a great collection of aircraft you flew on this trip. Lugano looked quite idyllic. And the day trip to Bratislava looked lovely.

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
Or......

This really is the right attitude. Its ALWAYS better to take a flying detour!!

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
Darwin Airline

That's a little disconcerting. Makes it sound like a flight with them is certain suicide!!!

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
my bet was lost. My friend had just earned a beer in Vienna.

That's a shame. But I hope you bought your friend some quality Austrian beer and didn't skimp and just buy him a Carling!!:D


Quoting ham (Thread starter):
very blonde, female FAs

That seems to have been a theme of your trip... BTW, when you describe someone as "very blonde" the meaning can shift from describing their hair colour to meaning that they are very ditzy. Or maybe that was your intention?


Quoting ham (Thread starter):
dirty, wet and scratched windows

Sadly this was also a theme. Always a shame when this happens

Quoting ham (Thread starter):
The town on the little peninsula is Lindau (definitely worth a visit).

Anything particular in Lindau? I once had to fly out of Friedrichshafen which was another great little airport in the area. Does Bregenz have its own airport?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 6):
I knew Minoan was flying domestic routes in Sweden, Spain and the UK

These guys fly in the UK? Can you give me a hint as to whereabouts??

Cheers


User currently offlinegemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5671 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3625 times:

Ham

Great trip report!
Can I ask about long the bike ride from Vienna to Bratislava took? It looked pretty flat, is that correct?

Thanks

Gemuser



DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineHAM From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 287 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3088 times:

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
Anything particular in Lindau? I once had to fly out of Friedrichshafen which was another great little airport in the area. Does Bregenz have its own airport?

Well, Lindau has a nice old town and the fact that it's on a peninsula (or rather an island connected through a railroad & car dam) adds to its charm. And no, Bregenz doesn't have its own airport - ACH is the nearest and PE offers a shuttle bus service timed for the respective flights.

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
These guys fly in the UK? Can you give me a hint as to whereabouts??

They fly from OXF to DUB and EDI.

Quoting gemuser (Reply 15):
Can I ask about long the bike ride from Vienna to Bratislava took? It looked pretty flat, is that correct?

It's around 80km, so it can be easily done in 5-6 hours net biking time with a relaxed pace. Add some nice breaks along the way and it's about a half-day trip. And yes, it's very flat with the only climbs being onto bridges and dykes, except for a small climb in the town of Hainburg.

Quoting britjap (Reply 14):
Quoting ham (Thread starter):
Darwin Airline

That's a little disconcerting. Makes it sound like a flight with them is certain suicide!!!

Given they've survived for quite a while now I'd say they are winners of the evolution   Seems like they found a niche to which they could successfully adapt.


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