Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9 Posted (12 years 2 months 4 weeks ago) and read 4284 times:
For a few years now it is a tradition that Alex (Ndebele) and me go on a spotting-weekend to LHR (at least) once a year. This year we connected this with meeting a lot of A.net-members. Here is the report of our flights:
Stuttgart (STR) - London Heathrow (LHR):
Flight number: LH 5966 (operated by LH CityLine)
Date: July 12th, 2003
Scheduled departure time: 11:25
Scheduled arrival time: 12:15
Type of aircraft: Avro RJ 85
Registration: D-AVRP (built and delivered to LH in 1997)
We used the late-night check-in on Friday evening for our flight on Saturday. As we were the first passengers to check in for this flight, we still had the choice between all seats. We chose seats 3E and 3F, in the first Economy-class row behind the curtain.
At the next morning we arrived at the airport about one hour before departure. I used the time until departure for some spotting while Ndebele had something to eat. We met again at the gate after passing security check quickly and without waiting time. Boarding started on time and we were bussed to the aircraft. The flight was fully booked in Economy class; only two rows for Business class with 5 passengers.
Among the Economy-passengers there was a school class of maybe 15 or 20 teenagers. They didn't care much about the seat numbers; two other passengers said to two of them "you are sitting on my seat" so they had to move. It was a bit complicated until finally everybody had found his/her seat.
It was my first flight in the newly configurated Avro-Jets of LH, now with 3-3-seating (before it was 2-3). Although they used this for a complete refurbishment of the planes (the whole interior is new) you have to say that the new seating (especially the middle seat) is rather cramped. My opinion about the new seating: you have to admit that LH offers very reasonable prices on many short-haul routes now (for example Germany-LHR starting from EUR 99 return incl. taxes). If you have such a cheap ticket, you can't complain about narrow seats. But LH is still a quality carrier and also wants to attract business travellers. The Business-class ticket STR-LHR, for example, costs more than EUR 800 return. If I had paid so much money I wouldn't be satisfied with the space they offer, although the middle seat remains empty in Business-class. But that doesn't make the seats larger.
But back to our trip. The cabin crew welcomed us and made the typical safety announcements. We left our parking position at 11:35 and taxied to the runway. Not much traffic at STR to that time so we could take off without waiting time. Some of the teenagers were screaming at all opportunities (when the plane accelerated, when the plane took of, when the plane was in the air, when there was a slight turbulence, ...).
There were no clouds so we had a good view. We took an unusual route this day: at first we flew in South-western direction over the black forest, than over France, via Paris (as the captain announced later) and the Channel (mostly the flights on this route are directed via Brussels).
Soon after take-off the friendly crew (two female flight attendants) started with the meal service. On LH they have tray meals even in Economy on inner European flights of a certain flight time. Meal consisted of a roll, bread, butter, cheese, ham, a rice-pineapple-salad (which tasted a bit strange) and a bar of chocolate. All in all very good. They came along with drink service twice. After they had collected the trays again we started our descent into LHR. No holdings in the air; we flew over the city of London (great view on the River Thames, Tower Bridge and other typical London sights) and landed shortly after. We taxied to our gate and arrived there at 12:07, "8 minutes ahead of schedule" (as FR-crews would have said). But we couldn't leave the plane yet as the ground crew was not yet present. After about 5 minutes they finally arrived and we could enter the terminal building.
As spotting from the terminal is no longer possible (the spectators area on Queens Building remains closed) we went directly to the bus station and caught the Hotel Hoppa (3 pounds for a 5-minutes-ride, a really good bargain!) to our hotel, the Renaissance Hotel. We requested a room with runway view and were still lucky to get one (Patrick / Sabena 332 who arrived in the late evening only got a view facing the other direction). For the afternoon we stayed in our room and enjoyed the fantastic view. Later Patrick joined us; in the evening we met the other A.net-members. We spotted from our room until darkness, then some went to the hotel bar. If you want to read which members were there and who drank how much beer later at the bar, I recommend you Patrick’s report:
The next day (Sunday), Alex (Ndebele) and me visited Gatwick by coach (great !!).
London Heathrow (LHR) – Stuttgart (STR):
Flight number: LH 5971 (operated by LH CityLine)
Date: July 13th, 2003
Scheduled departure time: 17:55
Scheduled arrival time: 20:30
Type of aircraft: Avro RJ 85
Registration: D-AVRP (built and delivered to LH in 1997)
We returned about two hours before our departure. We already had checked in at the check-in machine before we left for LGW. In Terminal 2 we met Patrick (Sabena 332) and Antoine (707CMF) who were also waiting for their LH-flights (Patrick to DUS and Antoine to LYS via FRA). After some more spotting and chatting we said goodbye to each other. Ndebele and me went to our gate. Our aircraft had just arrived from STR (again D-AVRP). We could watch our plane being prepared for the flight back. Boarding started 10 about minutes before departure. The flight was again fully booked. We taxied to the runway (on the right side we hat a good view on the T5-construction site) and had to wait in line before take-off (the captain told us that we were number 9 in the waiting queue – it seems always to be that busy to that time of the day). After about 15 minutes waiting time we took off.
There is not too much to tell about this flight; a very good view to the ground again (I always enjoy the flights across the channel), friendly service and a good meal again (similar to the first flight; this time with noodle salad). We landed at STR and arrived at our parking position about 10 minutes late (which you can’t really call a delay). We left the plane and were bussed to the terminal.
The two flights were really good; LH is still one of the airlines with the best service on short-haul flights in my opinion. With their quite reasonable prices they offer a good value-for-money.
Spotting at LHR was great, of course, and it was great to meat some of the A.net-members “face-to-face” for the first time. I am looking forward to a meeting at LHR again or at any other airport.
This was all for the moments; comments, additions, criticism, etc. are welcomed as always.
Sabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4217 times:
excellent trip report, I enjoyed reading. The onboard service sounds like it was on my flights but we didn`t get a tray with food, only a sandwich but that is ok for a 50 minute flight from DUS.
I agree absolutely with you, the 3-3 configuration is a real joke, I sat also on the middle seat and it was cramped as hell, really uncomfortable. At least I got a very nice seat on my return flight but there I wished I would sit a little bit closer to the cute blonde girl on the window seat .
SQ325 From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 1467 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4208 times:
On european flights the middle seat in the Business class is blocked and will not given to any passenger.
Check in agents don't have the possibility to offer these seats to somebody!
So for businessclass passengers the new Configuration is great.
btw. the cabin of the RJ85 is only 12cm smaller than the B737/3/4/5 cabin.
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2904 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4102 times:
Hi Christoph, thanks for posting this report, well-written and entertaining! Talking about LH's new ARJ configuration: Indeed it was really cramped, reminds me of my Buzz flight on a BAe146 on the middle seat - and even if the middle seat free, I somehow doubt that C-class passengers are happy about this new configuration, but I might be wrong of course.
Anyway, at least the cabin was completely refurbished, the seats were all new and in excellent conditions. One question: I think LH started to introduce the 3-3 seating in May - are there still any ARJ's in traditional 2-3 seating?
This trip was the first time the check-in machines actually worked for me - I always had problems with missing e-Ticket records, broken magnetic stripes, ... however this time everything went fine, the machines even accepted my miles&more card, although I had a comment "no milage credit" printed on my ATB
Godbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4039 times:
I finally found time to read this report and I really enjoyed reading it.
It is really cool to be able to read many different perspectives of trips to the same airport for the same purpose as it was the case here with LHR.
Too bad I was not able to go to LHR that day or better those days. I was considering a LH-deal for 99€ from FRA to LCY and back via LHR. I would have loved to fly to LCY but it didn't work anyway afterall. I hope it will the next time though.
Kevin752 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 741 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4000 times:
I have flown on LH many times from LAX-FRA-ZAG on LH and I really love their flights. I actually think their transatlantic flights are very good and I like their 747-400's are very nice and also their 737-300's are also great. They have very good inflight service on all their flights.
Thanks to Frederic for taking this photo, it's amazing, whenever I fly into LHR there is (nearly) always somebody standing at Hatton Cross and takes pictures of "my" flight landing Thanks as well to Max (Godbless) for putting this photo online.
Catholic2006 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 357 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3909 times:
I think that that was really really cool that you airliners.net people got to meet with each other. That's a nice union for people who share a common interest. I wish that I could have come, but I'm only 15 and my parents would never allow.
I've never flown on commuter jets. How are they? I haven't flown on regional aircraft either. Maybe one day I might be able to. Excellent report and keep meeting each other. God bless!!!
Ne vous inquietez pas. Je ne vous hais pas . . . . encore, mais faites attention !