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CGN-FDH-CGN On Contact Air/Team LH  
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2972 times:

Hi everybody,
Seems like you all were busy churning out trip reports about our new German LCC's so I guess I have to find something equally exotic  Big grin to get some interest here.  Smile

The new German low fares market
The introduction of new low-cost competition on the German market has prompted LH to introduce a couple of new, lower fares even on the domestic market, which was so far dominated and - at least in terms of fare levels -strangled by our beloved national carrier.
Thus I was pleasantly surprised when LH announced their new 88 Euro-fares for any nonstop flights between all destinations within Germany. And as there are quite a couple of friends of mine living in far-away parts of our country, I didn't hesitate one bit and booked a couple of nice weekend trips to visit people who I usually see far only rarely  Sad.

Friday, December 6th 2002
Koeln-Bonn Adenauer Airport (CGN) - Friedrichshafen Loewental (FDH)
operated by Team Lufthansa/ Contact Air
Fokker F-50

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Photo © Andreas Zeitler

Scheduled block time: 1705-1825h
Boarding call: 1645h
Door closed: 1705h
Off-block: 1709h
T/O: 1717h
touchdown: 1822h
on-block 1825h

The airport (CGN)
The last time I visited CGN was during that fateful spring of 1996, when a day after the great fire at DUS, many flights were diverted to this airport. At that time, I was more concerned with picking up my parents arriving with their diverted flight from AGP, so I didn't have much time lo look around.

This year, I actually arrived very early at the airport, and had completed check-in at the LH counters in the old Terminal 1 by about 1430h. The only passengers checked in before me (my sequence number being 012) were most likely businesspeople travelling on daytrips, who had checked in already in the morning for their return flights. Still it was early enough to get a window seat (11A).

Being in the aiport planning business myself, I took some time to check out the terminals and airport layout I basically only know from plans and charts.

LH's flights depart exclusively from one of the two star-shaped terminal piers in T1, while the other one is used by its (virtually) daughter-company germanwings.

Here is a good picture giving an overview of the terminal layout:

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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

The whole airport notably breaths the air of the late 1960's/ 1970's design with low ceilings, concrete wall and relatively small window areas. There are a few shops and bars grouped along the root of the terminal half-circle providing the traveller with all his necessary travel goods like newspapers, souvenirs as well as hot and cold drinks.
One could really notice the surge of weekend travellers arriving within the next few hours. Most of them being businessmen (and a few -women), they were visibly looking forward to spending a weekend with their families at home.

Terminal 2 on the other hand, is one of our contemporary glass-and-steel passenger complexes with an emphasis on atmosphere and architectural design rather than mere functionality like T1. A lot more retailing opportunities are even situated on the landside, so they are available for both passengers, meeters and greeters as well as visitors. This reflects the current trend among airports to maximize their revenue from secondary business fields.

About one hour before departure, I decided to proceed to my gate. When I tried to pass security, the metal detector went off for the first time, really surprising me in the process!  Wow! It seems like the tolerance level of the detectors has been increased in recent weeks, as the same problem occured on my return from FDH a few days later.

The inside of LH's Terminal 1B can be described as "easily comprehensible. There are (as far as I remember) eight gate areas positioned in the triangle corners of the star-shaped terminal pier. In the center of the pier, travellers with a desire to spend some cash will find a small coffee and snack bar and the inevitable duty free/ travel value store.
After running around CGN for almost two hours, I was more than longing for a comfy seat, a newspaper and something hot to drink. Thankfully, LH provides all this free of charge to all their passengers, since there is a coffe and tea machine as well as a selection of international newspapers at every gate area.

At a quarter to five, boarding finally started at gate B1, and after handing our boarding cards to the very friendly ground personal, we were guided downstairs to the apron, where a bus waited for us in order to bring us to our Fokker 50.

The flight (CGN-FDH)
After climbing up a few steps via the onboard latter, we were greeted by two relatively young and very courteous flight attendants. The inside of the Fokker is surprisingly airy compared to other turboprops in its size class. LH has configured the aircraft of their regional partner airlines with a light-weight version of the bright grey leather seats which can be found on their European mainline fleet, so there is a good consitency regarding the product that is offered to the customer.
Our flight this evening was totally packed - and from overhearing a few conversation at the gate - there were actually some additional passengers on standby. Almost all of the passnegers were businesspeople flying back for the weekend, with only a few leisure travellers (like yours truly) dotted in between.

This trip was my first flight on a Fokker 50, and I anticpated the same deafening roar you'll get to endure when flying with the competitors. To my very pleasent surprise however, when the turboprops were started up and our flight went off-block at 1709h, the noise level inside the cabin was comparable to that of jet-turbine powered aircraft. This very nice impression remained consistent during the entire flight even on climb-out. Fokker must have really had a winner at their hands - too bad that quality sometimes is a little more expensive, and most airlines went for the competitor's products.  Sad

Since the wind had blown from a northeasterly direction all day, our Fokker proceeded along the taxiway to the treshold of RWY32. Unfortunately for the casual spotter hidden inside of me, I was sitting on the left side this time, so I missed checking out the UPS cargo planes I had noticed a little bit earlier.

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Photo © Frank Schaefer

One of the positive aspects of CGN is the lack of aircraft movements- we proceeded to the threshold very quickly, and without any delay whatsoever, our Fokker lifted off at 1717h after a quick stop at the holding line.

By this time, night had fallen, and a dense cloud layer didn't help to improve visibility during our climb and cruise at all. Nevertheless, the next one hour passed away quickly, and at least from my perspective, a relaxed weekend atmosphere was very evident among the passengers, who gladly accepted the drink offers by the flight attendants during their two service cycles.

One aspect had changed since my last flight on a Team LH aircraft more than one year ago though. At that time, passengers could expect to receive a bag with a light refreshment, usually consisting of some fruit, a roll or sandwich and some candy. Seems like this little amenity fell victim to another round of inevitable cost-cutting. I won't complain though - I rather just pay the 80 Euros.  Smile

About 30 minutes after take-off, a quick announcement from the flight deck gave some information about the trip tonight. Our cruise level today was 19.000ft with an average speed of 500kph. Flight time was estimated at 1h5min. This announcement was followed by what seems to be the remnant of happier catering standards long gone by - every passenger was presented with a neat little chocolate Santa Claus made by a very fine and well known chocolatier - a very nice little gesture which only improved my already good impression.  Big thumbs up

Some minutes later, descent into Friedrichshafen started, but it wasn't until the very last minute or so that our aircraft broke through the low cloud ceiling and I was able to see the lights of Friedrichshafen's shoreline along Lake Constance. Touchdown came at 1822h on RWY 06, and 3 minutes later were were on-block exactly on-time at 1825.

The weekend
I won't go into any detail here, but definitely have to recommend a short holiday break at Lake Constance. Lots of pittoresque medieval towns, very good dining and especially in winter - cosy and charming christmas markets in the German, Swiss and Austrian towns and villages along the lake are definitely some of the reasons for me to go back there next winter - even if I won't be able to see the impressive Swiss Alps due to the low ceiling, which did not go away during my entire stay.  Sad

And now the return flight...

Monday, December 9th 2002
Friedrichshafen Loewental (FDH) - Koeln Bonn Adenauer Airport (CGN)
operated by Team Lufthansa/ Contact Air
Fokker F-50
D-AFKP (again)

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Photo © Kai-jens Meyer

Scheduled block time: 1030-1150h
Boarding call: 1015h
Door closed: 1025h
Off-block: 1030h
T/O: 1038h
touchdown: 1139h
on-block 1144h

The airport (FDH)
One of our typical regional airports and not really worth a longer stay even if you're a die-hard enthusiast. All movements this morning consisted of a Eurowings ATR-72 to FRA departing about 30 minutes before us and a A321, which must have been parked at the airport for quite a while, since all the engines and various service hatches were sealed off in order to protect the aircraft from the fierce winter weather.
The great aspects of these airports - and that's why I prefer to fly from them as frequently as possible - are the very brief diestances between check-in and gate. Added to this is a more personal and relaxed atmosphere among the airport personal, which offers a friendlier service than their stressed colleagues at the hubs and larger counterparts.

Here's a picture of a Contactair F-50 at FDH:

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Photo © Thomas Köpfler

The flight (FDH-CGN)
Not much more information to add compared to my inbound trip. Take-off was performed from RWY 06 without any holding at the treshold whatsoever. Our flight route took us from FDH across STR and FRA to CGN. Thankfully, the weather was much better this time around, and as soon as our Fokker had left STR, we were treated by a beautiful view over the wintery landscape - I was even able to see as far as the wintery mountains of the Roehn and Thueringer Wald from my window seat at 12A.  Big thumbs up
Flight level again was 19.000 feet and the speed set at 500kph. Same catering like on the imbound (including the chocolate Santa Clause), but our FA had a much reduced workload this time, with a seat load factor of maybe 50%, among them a colorful mix of busines people and leisure travellers.

We actually managed to touch down on RWY 04 at CGN a few minutes early, passing over a KLM Cityhopper F-50 and an Air Berlin B737-400. And I might add - this touchdown was followed by the speediest taxying I ever experienced onboard an airliner - seems like our Captain Haas was quite a bit of a Formula 1 fan himself. Big grin
On-block occured a little earlier than scheduled at the very same apron position we had left from a few days earlier. A short bus trip to the terminal marked the end of a nice, eventless and punctual return trip on Contactair/ Team LH.

Team LH offers on domestic flights the same reliable and punctual service without any surprises like its mainline counterpart. With some new low fares in place, LH definitely has a winner at their hands, which might come into play after the introduction of the new controversional ticketing system of German Rail. I would definitely recommend taking a look at what LH has to offer if you're planning to travel within Germany domestically - with low fares even on "exotic" routes like this, I can only wonder, how long it will take until this very good value for money gets more publicity.

Thanks for bearing with me. I hope you enjoyed this little report and maybe I was able to convince you that the future doesn't necessarily rely on LCC's alone.  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2936 times:

Very interesting and detailed trip report, I enjoyed reading. The trip sounds interesting for me because the F50 is still missing in my "plane collection", the fare is not too expensive and you also receive 2.000 Miles on your M&M account.


User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2927 times:

Thanks for this trip report, TriStar500 - indeed very detailed and interesting to read; I liked especially your comments about CGN from the airport planner's point of view.

What about FDH? Any interesting aircraft there? Your flight left at 10:30 - did you see the Ryanair check-in? (I guess there is still only one terminal building at FDH) Were they busy? Anything else you could mention about FDH? Although it's only 100km from where I live, I haven't been to FDH for years, I'm very interested any information about this airport - so I really enjoyed reading your trip report!

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 3, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2912 times:

The F-50 is definitely a great aircraft from a passenger perspective. I would rather go for this plane instead of any of the much more cramped ERJ's and CRJ's.
BTW - if you really want to go for the F-50, how about visiting Ndebele? Seems like he is not living too fara away from FDH.  Smile

The most interesting aspect of FDH is the Zeppelin base adjacent to the terminal buildings. During summer, there are several flights per day. I was able to peek through the windows of the huge airship hangar and saw the two blimps. Must be really spectacular to see them in operation! That's one of the sights I really want to see when I am going back to my friends in FDH sometime in spring or summer.

Regarding FR: the check-in counters are located next to LH's ones, which is kind of ironic, if you ask me. Big grin However, at the time I was arriving at the airport this morning, there was no activity whatsoever.

Airliner movements are especially scarce in winter, although there was an Onur Air A321 and the previously mentioned YP A321 on the apron on the evening of my arrival.
There seem to be some exotic movements however - the highlight today was a Do328 operating to St.Tropez with the airline designator "GG". Still haven't found out what airline this is...

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2909 times:

Hi Jens,

I will visit Ndebele on December 31 but I fly from DUS directly to STR on EW (BAe146, also still missing in my collection  Smile/happy/getting dizzy ) and back on LH (735, boring  Big grin). I love the ERJ but now I am really interested to fly on the F50, a meeting with Ndebele at FDH in the next year is a very good idea.


User currently offlineKuba74 From Poland, joined Mar 2000, 432 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2871 times:

Thanks for this excellent trip report, one of the best I`ve seen on this forum. I always enjoy reading reports of the short, regional flights. BTW is it possible to take a cockpit visit nowadays on the domestic flights in Germany?

User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2860 times:

>>>With some new low fares in place, LH definitely has a winner at their hands, which might
come into play after the introduction of the new controversional ticketing system of German Rail.

My standard route via rail increases by 50 % in price - fare will be 14 EUR less than flying. Hmmm...


I´m glad I got the F50 last year on a FRA-FMO flight, merely weeks before this route (and DTM) was taken over by some other airline; I don´t quite remember which one, maybe you can help me Big grin
I hope to get FDH into my "collection" next year by a YP (also new) routing FKB-CFU-FDH-FKB (FKB also new) - would be nice to fly from the two airports in my home state from which I haven´t flown yet in one trip.

I agree with TriStar500 the F50 is a very nice plane for the passenger, far better than a CRJ; however I find the Dash8 more spacious. Pity that this other certain airline substituted IQ´s Dashs on all DTM flights  Laugh out loud

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2856 times:

Very nice and detailed trip report!
I really enjoyed reading it.
I was considering flying CGN-STR-CGN since it is also flown by the F-50 but then Sabena332 told me about his trip to STR from DUS and I then joined forces with him and now will also fly EW and LH.

Your report gave me a new idea... I'm considering a CGN-FDH-STN-CGN tour for next year with three different airlines... Sabena332, your word to this? At least I could then for the first time fly with a Turboprob.


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2851 times:

Thanks guys for your kind words!  Smile
I will be flying DUS-LEJ-DUS in January on EW - a first for me - and it will be interesting to compare both LH partners. With all your positive feedback, I will post a report about when I have returned.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 9, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2842 times:

>>> I'm considering a CGN-FDH-STN-CGN tour for next year with three different
airlines... Sabena332, your word to this?

I´m not Sabena332, but I´ll say something anyway: So you plan to book LH CGN-FDH-CGN for 88 EUR and no-show on the rtn flt?

BTW, other cheap options for you to fly a prop, Max: MHG-SCN (Cirrus Dash 8 [or Do 328 if you´re extremely lucky]), SCN-LUX (LG F50), DTM-FMO or -PAD (EW ATR). Out of these I did MHG-SCN (as a trip on its own) and DTM-PAD as a stop on a FRA flight; I´ll definitely do SCN-LUX in the future, maybe as part of a MHG-SCN-LUX connexion (connecting time 20 minutes - woohooo).

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineJumbolino From Germany, joined Mar 2001, 490 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2806 times:


Nice trip report and a detailed one, too.
Well, the Fokker-50 is also missing in my flight book and this only because last year I'd the coice between an F-50 or an ATR-72 operated by EW trip (both on behalf of LH, they did the ZRH-MUC routing together for one summer season, and of course before SR demission). But BAe146 isn't missing in my flight book (and I enjoyed all four flight I had !) - Patrick yesterday I found an FS2002 add on Eurowings Professional here in one of our "ich bin doch nicht blöd" markets and of course I baught it.
There is also the BA146 Swissair Express (Flightline) in it and also germanwings A319  Smile/happy/getting dizzy unfortunatly I crashed both (virtually).

Cu Jumbolino (Jutta)

Kind Regards, Jutta.
User currently offlineAstrojet From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 565 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (13 years 5 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2782 times:

Hi TriStar500,

now I can even less wait my NUE - MUC - NUE domestic flight with EW next Dec 22 and add the BAe-146 and ATR-72 to my list. Had the luck to fly the F-50, ATR-42 DHC-8 and CN-235! I really like those turboprops. Nice to read about the service you got, wondering what service I´m gonna get, if any on such a short flight.

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