Booked yesterday evening for total price of GBP 52.00 (26 pounds each way plus taxes)
Two check-in desks are allocated to Germanwings at Stansted Airport. I arrived at 0645, where there were some old grandmothers checking-in at the desk on the left. Other than this, the other desk was free, so I walked up and handed over my confirmation printout and passport. The lady asked her collegue to check the manifest, as she couldn't retrieve my booking. 'Oh-oh, here we go again', I thought. Perhaps I had made a mistake with my name or the dates? I was a bit nervous, but fairly confident the problem would soon be resolved.
It was. Because I had booked my flight only around 9 hours previously, and the passenger manifest was apparently printed out before this (they must have a cut-off time), my name wasn't on the list; but of course, after phoning the airline office (don't know where, she said 'Hi, this is Germanwings at Stansted', to the person on the other line), she was happy to check me in. Phew!! I don't like these surprises!
Gw is handled by Aviance at STN. The staff are fine, and efficient. GW has a free-seating policy, similar to other low-cost airlines I've flown.
Boarding was at Gate 38, at the far end of one of STN's piers. The weather was nice and sunny. It is interesting to see all the Ryanair planes in hybrid colours. Some aircraft still had the basic Continental colours of grey and white, one even had the CO 'globe' on the tail. Other aircraft in semi-buzz colours still, and there is even the odd plane in full 'go' colours. Other aircraft included a KLM F50, easyjet, Air Berlin (not the -800), and on the cargo side, a 747 of AFX and a Qatar A300.
Boarding started at 0730. This flight was only, I estimate, about 1/3 full. I was the first to board, so I grabbed the first row on the right; I pretended I was in Business class.
I personally saw two male crew and a lady, but there might have been more than just the 3. The crew were nice, said hi, helped out people with luggage, etc. etc. the usual stuff you would expect from a reasonably good airline.
I love the Airbus, and this is the reason I chose my flight today with GW. I could have flown to Hahn with Ryanair or to Cologne just the same, with HLX, but both operators use Boeing 737s which I have flown once too often (low-cost air travel now makes me fussy and spoilt....)
The seats on GW are quite nice - grey leather with red edges. The Airbus cabin feels more spacious than that of the 737. I don´t know the technicalities, it´s just a perception.
Within 15 minutes we were all aboard, but had to wait for our allocated 0800 slot. I forgot to mention that Stansted was unusually quiet this morning - perhaps because the first wave of flights has already left by 0630.
The livery on GW is quite nice too - metallic silver with yellow horizontal stabilisers and winglets.
We pushed-back at 0800 (German precision, it never surprises me), and made a short taxy to runway 23. The Captain made a brief welcome announcement - his English would have been ok if he hadn´t spoken at 100 miles per hour, so I actually only discerned a view words such as '33,000 ft' and 'Cologne-Bonn' !
The takeoff was quite nice, not too weak, not too powerful. The climb out over Essex county in the early morning sun was very nice indeed. I noticed the Ryanair 737 that had taken off ahead of us, turn right, and fly down parallel to us. We made a left turn and soon levelled off for a while; London came up on our right about 7 minutes later; the skies looked a little crowded, I counted quite a few aircraft in our vicinity, and further to the west, circling over downtown London. Nearer the west coast, and flying now towards Holland, we began to climb up again.
The first row on this Airbus was nice; I had two windows and when you look out of both at the same time, you can almost see yourself going up and up - really nice.
We levelled off at 33,000ft and the crew came round to do the drink and snack service, which I wasn't interested in. The person next to me was in an aisle seat, so the middle seat was free. I passed the time watching the window and reading a magazine (the new Airways is still not out in England!!)
Well, the flight was eventually coming to a close, and we began to descend quite rapidly over the Rhine-Ruhr. This area is very built up, and there are many large factories which you pass by as you fly down towards Cologne. We approached from the north-west, and I watched the flaps emerge. The landing in Cologne was very smooth, but the nose came down a bit too fast, so that spoiled it.
As we approached the threshold, I saw a Deutsche BA 737 holding short, some HLX 737s, GW Airbus aircraft, DHL and UPS aircraft, and a Crossair Saab 2000.
The flight was very enjoyable, and great value. Probably the cheapest ticket at such short notice (less than 12 hours). I like the Airbus, I like the leather seats, the livery, the flight was good, all very punctual. As you leave the aircraft, the crew is distributing chocolates for our eating pleasure, very useful as well as generous.
I definitely recommend this airline if you can get a cheap seat. For me personally, it was a fresh break from just flying on British (or Irish) cheap airlines. By the way, I notice that some of the food trolleys belong to Lufthansa.
Looking forward to my flight back to London tonight, maybe I can get an A319 this time, that plane is still hiding from me.
Jumbolino From Germany, joined Mar 2001, 490 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3225 times:
great long report
I enjoyed and I was the first to board, so I grabbed the first row on the right; I pretended I was in Business class. --> same happened to me on my first germanwings flight, was a great feeling
and yes the "frill" the free chocolate is usual with germanwings (on the four flights I had ....)
DoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3144 times:
Hello, thank you for your pleasurable feedback. Thank you Ikarus for clearing the confusion. I am a newcome to this scene, as well as England. Thanks Godbless for the info regarding your nice Lufthansa airline, I never did know that GW was Lufthansa in disguise! Hi XQ, sorry I know my English is quite bad; I was referring to the Aviation magazine "Airways" which I sometimes like to buy. But to add to this theme, I should say that GW is indeed not very well known to me - by chance a friend of mine who is also of A.net from England (Argentine too) told me about it. Otherwise we only see Ryanair and Easyjet promotions in our papers here.
I had a nice day in Cologne, and I have to say German girls are better looking than British ones (maybe thats not difficult )
But actually, I decided to take the train to DUS Flughafen, to do some spotting. I have no cameras or books, I just stand and watch beautiful planes climb gracefully into the sky.
DUS is very nice, and the viewing deck is excellent in my opinion. It is not exactly Heathrow, but LHR is special. Even so, I had a very nice time watching the aircraft taxy to the holding point, which is where the deck is situated. I cannot remember every aircraft but here are a few: Lufthansa 737s, BA A319 and RJ100, Turkish A310 (with waving pilots, very nice), Thomas Cook 757, Hapag Lloyd 737-800 and A310 (nice blue colours), Emirates A330 (more waving from the flightdeck, I saluted them), Pegasus 737-800, Balkan Air Charter Tu-154 (the spotters were in heaven, me too...), LTU A321 and A330. We saw all these line-up and take-off. It was truly great fun. The weather was great, and there were many serious spotters (of course, some were British, you can't get away from these people!! ).
The skytrain then takes you to the other deck, part of Terminal A-B, directly beneath ATC. There is also a gift shop with excellent aviation items. Totally 10/10 for DUS, it just needs to be a little bit busier.
Ok, my return trip.
First of all: My plan was to take the train from the DUS (airport) station to Koln Hauptbahnhof (my German is learned from today, excuse errors!), and from there to Cologne Flughafen. There was an accident at DUS (city) station, so all trains were seriously delayed or cancelled. Since I was already running massively late I had to think quickly on my feet; by a ticket with Air Berlin to STN from DUS (there was a flight according to the screens), or taxi direct to CGN.
Taxi it was. Well, at least I got to savour the pleasures of a nice luxury Mercedes going full speed on the Autobahn...I felt like a Diplomat!! But it cost me like a Diplomat....85, euros
Well, I rushed to the GW desk at 1845 - 5 minutes before closure...phew.
CGN - STN
A319 D-AKNF (finally, an A319...)
Scheduled & Actual: 1920
Scheduled: 1945 Actual: 1930
Well, in CGN GW hand out a special plastic card with a number which depends on how early you check-in; obviously, I was late, so I recived 89. Now that I can look back, I remember our aircraft was sitting right behind the windows of the building, in front of me. But for some reason, they made us walk all the way to gate A, which is actually right at the far end of the terminal building...indeed so far you see no more, you hear no more planes. I could almost hear the birds...
Well, the plastic cards were a waste of time, because as soon as the blue bus pulled up outside, everyone just got up and walked quickly towards the gate, so a bit like Ryanair. Sorry, I forgot to mention. The staff at the check-in desk and gate were nice, and they were effcient.
Once everyone was on the bus, we made our way all the way back to the other side of the terminal building, where GW operates from. Our little A319 was waiting there for us, looking just beautiful. Stairs were placed at both ends. This time, I decided to make for the rear stairs. As I walked in I was greeted by two male crew members. I turned left to the aisle, and just grabbed the last row window seat, for a nice change.
Now that I have had a second look at these seats, I think they are also wider than on 737s. Even the armrests are wider. No one sat in the two seats next to me, so that was nice. This time the flight was probably about 80% full.
The actual boarding took little more than 20 minutes - what a refreshing change compared to the 747....
Doors were soon shut, the crew made their welcome and again, with the sort of precision only Germans seem capable of, we spooled up and rolled forward at 1920 'on the dot'. Very impressive and pleasing.
The taxy was rather long, as we had to make our way to the threshold for runway 32, which was at the other end of our initial position. This time, the safety information was in audio-visual format, courtesy of LCDs which popped down from above. The video is presented using computer graphics, so the kids and adults look similar to the people in Toy Story. Once the video was complete, we were able to enjoy Airshow, with all the benefits such as geographical information, as well as atmospheric information.
The take-off was surprisingly short and quite steep. After gaining some initial altitude we turned left, and soon the Rhine and the Industrial belt was passing under the left wing.
There was much less traffic on the way back home - in fact, I saw only one aircraft on the whole trip - it looked like an Air France Airbus, passing below us. Our route was basically Cologne - Maastricht - Antwerp - Channel - British mainland. As we approached the east coast of Britain, I noticed a build-up of some rather dark and showery clouds, and already we were encountering moderate turbulence as we began our descent.
The descent to runway 23 at Stansted was very bumpy actually - on account of much thick, fluffy cloud on our route, but interspersed with some nice sunny rays of light. The landing was firmer this time, and was accompanied by some rather harsh braking - which I think is kind of fun. The rest is not really very interesting, as you can imagine. We were able to disembark from the rear, which is when I caught the registration. Leaving from the rear has its disadvantages though: I didn't get any chocolate this time. I'll remember to make for the front next time.
Thanks for reading my report. Its short, but I am a bit tired, as you can imagine.
I am very impressed with GW, the first German airline I flew with. The stories about German efficiency seem to be true. DUS airport is also great, I think its nicer than Stansted. Oh, your trains are also great! I will be back, but next time with Air Berlin to Berlin or HLX if I ever want to go back to spot at DUS (yes!)
DoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3112 times:
Actually, I was told the flight was full, so I didn't get to ask about the price, although such a last minute purchase would have been at least 85, euros don't you think? Or maybe cheaper? Yes, the return was a bit expensive heheh...
But I had a good day, why should I let a minor accident bother me? You only live once, best not to get too stressed and just try to enjoy life!
Besides, the taxi driver gave me a great history of Konrad Adenaeur, first chancellor of Germany, why should I complain?
XQ737 From Germany, joined Mar 2003, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3104 times:
you said: "...(with waving pilots, very nice)..."
you are right, its very nice.
I like it when a pilot waves to me.
Some weeks ago I visited with a friend the airport of Zurich. In the late morning we spend our time on the viewing deck of the airport. At Zurich you have the planes direct in front of you (I think 5 - 10 meters away).
When it was boring we tried to wave to the pilots to make some nice "waving-pilots-out-of-the-cockpit-shots" (with 300mm lens). It was really cool. I made around 5 till 8 pilot-waving-picks who waved to us back. Like a child but very "geil" as we say in German
TriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4705 posts, RR: 40
Reply 12, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3016 times:
You've done a really good trip report here! All those details vividly describe the flights you have taken, and when I read it, it feels like I am also sitting on the plane.
I am definitely looking forward to further trip reports from you!
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
XQ737 From Germany, joined Mar 2003, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3013 times:
I'm sorry, I have no pics which I can show you because I have no scanner.
But I've found two pictures (from another spotter) which were taken from the viewing deck at Zurich Airport. Here you can see 2 pilots waving. The 2nd picture is very cool!