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The Spirit Of Cologne/Bonn To Istanbul  
User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 4654 times:

I had booked this trip back on December 24th, 2002 when Germanwings started taking bookings for the summer schedule. I looked through all dates starting in April until June to find a way to fly for 38€ (19€/flight). So as soon as I had found those flights I booked them and good so. Just two hours later both flights were at 79€flight.

June 15, 2003
4U 908
D-AIPH "Spirit of Cologne Bonn"

After I got to the airport roughly two hours before take-off I went to the check-in so that I could get a boarding card below number 65 (first group to board the plane) which I also managed in the end. It was cool to see all the luggage the passengers brought with them. I guess cargo would already suit more... Amazing that they did not bring their dish-washers, TV's and microwaves with them... I looked really naked with just my carry-on.
After I had gotten my boarding card (no. 24) I walked around the airport a little. I went to the viewing deck on top of the C-concourse and than after a few minutes I started to walk around the terminal looking for new spots to view planes and so on. I found out that there is also a viewing deck over the A-Concourse so next time I will take some pictures of Lufthansa aircraft rather than Germanwings...

At 2200 I went through the security to go to the gate because I wanted to sit down for a while. Before I could enter the gate I had to go through the passport control. The queue was quite long as the flight to Izmir was also gonna depart at 2245 so the passengers of two flights stood in line at two desks.
While waiting in line our plane arrived at the gate. All I could say was "thank you god!" I had expected an A320 (they for sure needed the belly cargo space....) but the chances to get the "Spirit of Cologne Bonn" was just 25% but here she was.

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Photo © Gerardo Dominguez
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Photo © Benny Bartels

After I got through the control I sat down and than I talked to Sabena332 on the phone until boarding started. First families with kids of which there were quite a few and than boarding cards 1 to 65 could enter the plane. I was the second to go after the families with kids.
I walked down the aisle and than the F/A that was standing in the emegency exit row asked me if I would be so kind and take a seat in the emergency exit row as he in a case of an emergency would prefer having a passenger taking his commands that also speaks German as this flight had more than half Turkish passengers. Most of which live in Germany and use the cheap way to get to their home country. After I took my seat I started to talk with the Flight Attendant. We talked about the load factor of the Istanbul flights, the fleet of Germanwings and how the crews like the nightshift of the Turkey flights.
Although this does not really belong into this trip report I flew Germanwings to Venice just five days later and that flight attendant was again on duty. As I walked by him he said hello to me and I said "hi, for the second time this week" and he answered: "I was just thinking, didn't you fly to Istanbul on Sunday?" So than we talked about my trip to Turkey and so on. But anyways this is not a trip report about my Venice trip...
After I took my seat I started to look around a little and than shortly before boarding was complete a young Turkish guy, my age or maybe a little older sat down beside me.
We started to talk a little and he started to ask me if Germanwings was safe and he told me that he did not really feel comfortable sitting in an airplane. What is the best you can tell a guy like that?!? I just told him that "only" 2000 people die in plane related crashes per year worldwide while alone in Germany 20.000 people die or are severely injured each year by car accidents. Not the right way to make someone feel comfortable I later thought... But than I told him that we would be the first to leave the plane in a bad situation as the "door" was right next to me. I guess he enjoyed that thought as we than could talk about other things. He declared me crazy when I told him I was gonna fly home again on the next flight while he was going to stay in Turkey for a whole month.

After boarding was complete our plane was pushed back and than the engines started to speed up and as they developed enough thrust we started our taxi to the runway where there was no long hold so we could paste down the runway and lift-off into the dark but yet nice German sky. The engines made a real funny noise which I had never heard so far yet but they did their job so nothing to be worried about.
As the A320 fleet of Germanwings all come from Lufthansa they are not equipped with LCD-sreens as are the A319 so there was no flight map shown so I can not say exactly which route we flew.

But before that was the case I had a "Happy Snack" which consists of a sandwich, a non-alcoholic beverage and a chocolate bar and it costs 5€.
The crew had handed out a sheet to every passenger which was to be filled out which I thought was really funny.
These were the questions asked:
- Name
- Mode of Transport (Ground, Sea, Air)
o Flight number
- Contact in Turkey
- Do you have the following symptoms:
o Fever-cough
o Breathing difficulty or shortness of breath
- Have you or your family been in contact with SARS-affected?
- Have you been to any of these areas within the past 10 days?
o China
o Hong Kong
o Taiwan
o Canada (too bad I didn???t take my Canadian passport...)
o Singapore (no, but gonna go soon...)
o Mongolia
- Any other country?

After I ate and had filled out the formular I slept using my Air Namibia pillow which I got back in March of 2002 when I flew on them FRA-LHR.

I woke up a few minutes before we landed and I could see huge Istanbul at night from the plane before we touched down on the runway of Ataturk International airport.
It was 0250 when we reached the gate, so it was perfectly on time. The only problem was now how to spend the time until busses start going to town.

I stayed in the baggage-claim area and slept on the floor until about seven o'clock until I took a bus downtown to spend the day there.

June 15, 2003
0345-0600 (actually 0450-0700)
4U 909

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Photo © Juan Rodriguez - IBERIAN SPOTTERS
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Photo © Garry Lewis

I had arrived at the airport from town at about 1900 so I had another almost seven hours to kill before I could check-in for my flight back home to CGN so I walked around the airport and than after a while I tried to sleep a little so I sat down in the seating area of the International Terminal. At about 0030 I woke up again and walked around a little again and than I sat down where I than fell asleep. When I woke up again I got a shock, it was already 0245 so I hurried over to the check-in desk where I got a boarding pass and the Germanwings reusable boarding cards. There was no queue at all as most passengers had already checked in for the flight. I went through the passport control where I finally got a stamp of Turkey and than I went to the gate, it was about 0300 when I got there and the board already said "final call" so I thought that maybe they changed the schedule, after all I had already booked the flight back in December and a lot can change in that time. Our passports and boarding cards where again checked before we could enter the waiting lounge. After I had taken a seat I could see our plane already at the gate. It was D-AIPC, also a bird on lease from Lufthansa.
After everything was settled we were allowed to board the aircraft it was not long until more than 100 passengers had taken their seats in the plane hoping to leave soon so one could sleep the rest of the night.
For a few minutes nothing happened.
Than a lady from the airport came in and very unfriendly commanded a guy to show her his passport again, it was the guy sitting next to me. She than took his ID and walked out of the plane with it and a few minutes later she came back doing the same to another passenger. This went on like this for about ten minutes and than she walked up to the purser and they started to talk for a minute and you could see that he did not like what she said.
The announcement came that one passenger had entered the plane without going through the security so everybody had to leave the aircraft to go through it again. We had to take everything we had with us. I asked myself how it is possible for a person to just walk by 10 police officers go past the screener and walk into the plane while people were only let through one-by-one. Considering that there was only one more flight from IST in that night it felt more like them being bored wanting to use some extra time so their shift won't feel that long. After all it would have been by far easier to send a few guys into the plane to check passports and boarding cards but no, they are the police so you better do what they say.
Until everybody had left the plane, this took a while because some had to be woken up again including quite a few children, and had been screened it was 0440 already.
The crew apologized for this mishap of the Turkish police and promised to try to get to Cologne as soon as possible. After all the plane would not have much time as it's day was not over yet since it would have to serve on other flights.
We were pushed back shortly after the reboarding was complete and it did not take long until we reached the runway. After a short stop the engines were turned up to full thrust and we raced down the runway lifting off the ground after a fairly short run.
The crews again offered the typical Germanwings / Lowcost service but by the time they had reached my row I was already far asleep and I first woke up shortly before we landed at CGN.
With one hour delay we touched down at 0700 and came to an halt at the 4U-Concourse a few minutes later.

From this flight which were number nine and ten of my Germanwing flights (Hapag-Lloyd Express leads with 11 flights with two more to come on Friday) I can only say that this airline is for sure the Mercedes amongst the Lowcost carriers. The service was as always professional and friendly all inconvenience being caused had nothing to do with the airline but outside influences. And besides the fact that you have to pay for what you eat you do not notice that you are not sitting in an aircraft of a full frills airline.

Just as sidenotes, not only did I have the same F/A on my flight to Venice but I also had the same aircraft as on my flight from Istanbul (D-AIPC) going to VCE. And I saw the "Spirit of Cologne / Bonn" in Venice while I was there so I got to see all equipment used on CGN-IST-CGN within less than a week and all outside of Cologne. Coming home from Venice I saw them all again at CGN, I had to smile.

I hope you enjoyed this rather long trip report. I hope I did not miss out on anything as from the time I flew to IST and now where I wrote it I had four flights so I might have missed the one or other detail.
Please feel free to comment, if positive or negative everything is welcome.

Thank you,

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinePatroni From Luxembourg, joined Aug 1999, 1403 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 4602 times:


great trip report - and yes, the Turkish guy was right, you ARE crazy to go to Istanbul without a decent possibility to sleep. If I would have slept on the floor in the terminal, I would have walked around in the city like remote-controlled the next day. But I just saw your age in your profile, maybe I am getting old? *caugh*

Anyway, I fully agree with you, germanwings is definitely the top low cost carrier in Germany. Flew 6 times with them so far (2x CGN-STN vv. and 1x CGN-VIE vv.) and enjoyed all these flights.

Now looking forward to see more sleepless flight reports from you  Big grin



User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (12 years 11 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4488 times:

thank you for your kind reply.
Sleeping in airports is an easy way to save tons of bucks... And I found out that the Italian police has a little hole in their brain when a passenger WITH A VALID TICKET wants to sleep in an airport... I hate them! Well but besides in that country it has always been quite cool.
My last rest I found at an airport was actually last friday at LTN but I did not spend a night there just fell asleep for a few hours. Fairly comfy. *lol*


User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4468 times:

Hi Max,

thanks for this great report, and with 19€ one-way a really low fare! I have one question about CGN, I'm a lottle confused: Last time I've been there (1996 or so...) the new terminal was not yet opened. Now Germanwings uses Concourse C, is that the old or the new terminal?

Grüße, Alex.

User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4443 times:

Hi Alex,
Thank you for your reply! Concourse C is in Terminal 1 which is the old Beton is beautiful Laugh out loud one.
Here is a picture of it, you can see the new one on the right side.

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Photo © Airsnaps


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4442 times:

Hi Max,

very good report as usual, you had luck because you got a flight with this special painted bird (I don`t like this livery very much but I would also love to fly on it). My cousin got a flight on the same plane last Friday on his return flight from ZRH, it was his first flight with Germanwings and he was impressed by the good and friendly service.


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 12 hours ago) and read 4416 times:

Jeeze, I know what I felt like after two days/one night at Istanbul, but I can´t imagine going back 24 hours after arriving. Getting old I presume...

>>> [At the IST] check-in desk [...] I got a boarding pass and the Germanwings reusable boarding cards.

I still don´t understand that. Turkish law requires them to have paper boarding passes for each pax, why don´t they just do away with them plastic ones? At CDG the legal situation is similar, and there you only get normal ones.
BTW, did you notice the plastic boarding cards for IST (a relatively new destination) flights are smaller than for the original cities? I guess after the first few months of ops they realised a huge savings potential in removing 5 square centimetres from the new cards...

Daniel Smile

P.S.: Nearly forgot: GRAA  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

User currently offlineFly-K From Germany, joined May 2000, 3204 posts, RR: 48
Reply 7, posted (12 years 11 months 5 hours ago) and read 4389 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I once encountered problems at IST when LH only printed my boarding pass information on the ATB ticket instead of inserting it into an extra ticket sleeve. The officer at passport control refused to let me pass and I had to return to the LH counter to get a proper boarding pass. Talk about being officious...


Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4398 times:

A great trip report covering some unusual events! I guess I have to agree with Patroni, I'd rather pay a few bucks (or Lira?) more in order to not having to sleep in a Turkish airport. I would be too afraid to oversleep the check-in time or get my possessions stolen to enjoy such an experience.

But then, my lust for adventures of THIS kinf is rather limited.  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4365 times:

Patrick, Daniel, Konstantin and Jens thank you for your replies.

I so far have only gotten the 4U-cards in CGN and now also in IST. In MAD, CDG and VCE I always got normal boarding passes. Hapag-Lloyd Express now gives out boarding passes on all their flights also from Cologne.
To be honest I didn't really check the size of the cards... I will if I ever get back to IST.

it was no problem as all my luggage was in my carry-on and I used it as pillow so I would have woken up if somebody had wanted to steel it as my head would bang on the steel chairs where I was sleeping... Added to that I had the strap of it tied around my body and I don't know if draging me along with my bag to get my tooth-brush would have been really worth it...

This is btw. my boardingcard on my flight CGN-IST:


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 10, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4343 times:

...now how did you get a scanner or color copy machine so quickly at CGN? Or did you accidently "lose" this card? Big grin BTW - what happens if a passengers loses the reusable boarding pass anyways? Does anyone have an idea?

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 11, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4339 times:

I am wondering also, why could you keep this boarding card, Max?


Btw: Somehow I found an Air France blanket in my trolley after I arrived in CDG Big grin

User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4340 times:

Looks to me like it was not a scanner, but a digicam? At least the background looks more like concrete (e.g. the floor/wass of an airport terminal) to me.

Or did you accidently "lose" this card? BTW - what happens if a passengers loses the reusable boarding pass anyways?
Well, what's happening to the passenger, the answer is simple: It's an electronic ticket, so he shows his passport to proof he's the missing passenger, then he's allowed to board without boarding pass.
It's much more annoying for the airline / handling agent: One missing card means that the whole set of boarding passes must be destroyed, and you need to print a new set, in another design. First of all, it's too expensive to print one single plastic card with the number of the card that got lost, it's probably cheaper to buy a whole set of new boarding passes. And secondly, you have somebody walking around who has a valid re-useable boarding pass, who can enter any 4U flight from CGN to IST, which is a security problem.
On the other hand, the gate agent would hopefully notice when he gets two boarding passes with the same number. In fact, the solution is often to have some spare boarding passes without a number, and an "Edding" pen to write the missing number on it.

User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4329 times:


you win the prize, now I recognize also that it is CGN`s terminal, it is not a scan but a photo made with a digi-cam.


User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (12 years 10 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4318 times:

Damn, you are good.  Big thumbs up But Patrick, sorry it is not in the Terminal but I took the picture on the observation deck on top of the terminal. But actually the tiles there are more grayish than blueish but that doesn't really matter...

The gate agents will have to count the cards they have before a plane departs and they will notice if there is a passenger that wasn't really expected plus that there will be a double number in the stack. The only trouble will than be checking through all the passengers finding that one unpleasant guest. I guess our lawyer knows what they would than sue him for (Beeinträchtigung des Luftverkehrs or something like that?).
For the passenger that lost the boarding card it might be hard to get to the gate without it as they will want to see his card at the security check, at least it was always the case when I was there.


User currently offlineJumbolino From Germany, joined Mar 2001, 490 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (12 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4316 times:

Just arrived from our (little) a.net meeting in MUC (report will follow I promised Patrick)

Max -  Big thumbs up  Big thumbs up  Big thumbs up "GRAA"

but I've to admit you're crazy ( we are all crazy, aren't we ?) Big grin


Kind Regards, Jutta.
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