PanAmerican From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 384 posts, RR: 5 Posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4486 times:
You're about to read about a trip that I took in April this year from Frankfurt to Dubai on SWISS via Zurich:
I arrived early in FRA by train for my 9:50am flight to ZRH on this quiet saturday morning. The Skyline took me from the regional railway station under Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 where the Swiss check-in should have been open as it was already 8am. Well, not only did they decide to reschedule the flight to 10:10am, they also downgraded the scheduled Avro RJ85 to a Saab 2000.
There were so few people queueing up for check-in that the staff probably thought it wasn't worth opening up until about 8:30am. I finally made it to get rid of my luggage in exchange for the boarding passes and went straight to the gate area passing the other counters.
Strangely enough, I realized that some flights to the US had been cancelled that day so there was pretty much hell going on at the counters of DL, NW and US. I don't know why, maybe it was due to the Iraq war. I had heard the the military sometimes needs planes from the airlines that take part in the CRAF, maybe that was the reason.
After waiting for a long time with the other 20 or so people that were booked on Swiss I started to worry that I might miss my connection in ZRH.
Boarding started late and we were bused to the Saab in Crossair colors that was waiting at a remote stand far away from the gate area.
Frankfurt Rhein-Main - Zurich Unique
12 April 2003
Swiss flight LX 1071
Seat 10A (Y)
Dep: 10:10am, actual 10:55am
Arr: 11:15am, actual 11:55am
I climbed into the very small plane and sat down on my blue leathered window seat in row 10 of the 1-2 configured plane.
Now I'm not exactly claustrophibic or anything but this little plane really was a change, in a negative way, from the usual jets as my opinion is "the bigger the better" when it comes to planes.
When the beast started up the engines I wondered why I didn't bring any earplugs along. It was a hell of a noise!
Ready to go? No way, the captain came on the PA and addressed the passengers saying we'd take a little tour of FRA before getting to runway 18.
We taxied for maybe 25 (!) minutes along the south side of the airport to Rhein-Main Air Base. I suppose there was more traffic than on the civilian side as the Iraq war had only started a few days earlier. I have never seen so many C-17s, C-5s and C-141s all at once!
Plus there were a few UA 744s and World MD-11s parked.
When we finally got to runway 18 I wondered if the thing still had enough fuel to make it to Zurich. Upon rolling for take-off, the noise level incresed by about ten times the level on the groud. By then I wasn't worried about the fuel anymore but rather about me being hearing impaired after this flight !
The flight itself was a quick 40 minutes with a small breakfast being served by the two FA's on board. The seats were ok (they were actually better than on the A330) for such a small plane and the plane seemed to be in a good shape except for that noise.
The pilots were assigned a more direct route to ZRH so we were touched down by 11:50am and lined up at the end of a row of Crossair planes parking accross from Terminal A. The noise fortunately came to an end I could even hear the stewardess say good bye
When I sat down I immediately knew I wasn't going to feel very comfortable for the next 6 hours. It's just too cramped for me. On top of that the IFE box takes away a lot of space. My only concern was now that my seat wouldn't recline as it was the last row of that section. However it did recline, though not very far. On the way back I found out that all other seats don't recline enough as well, so except for the headrest there is really not a lot of comfort to enjoy if you're over 6 feet.
The IFE was very cool however. I definetely enjoyed all the channels and playing "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" but somehow the questions are repeated very often which was good for me because I was able to win millions of Euros with that game being so easy. Swiss however never paid me...
Food was ok, some special Swiss dish they were serving. Nothing you wouldn't get for 3 Euros in a cheap italian restaurant though.
Time just flew and since I had enough of Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant I took a nap when we were over Turkey and woke up some time later over southern Iran with only one more hour to go.
It was already pretty dark outside as we approached Dubai.
The FA's came around and put little stickers on the seats of the passengers that continued to MCT. I was surprised to see that about 65% of the 95% full flight were actually flying on to Oman.
The landing in Dubai was from the landside so we overflew the Emirates a bit before turning and heading back to DXB for a straight approach.
We landed on time at 8:45pm local time.
I was interested to see the new terminal but I just found myself in a very long tunnel to the main building.
Immigration was quick, no lines, no questions. The official didn't even look in my passport. He just scanned it and stamped it in a very bored, routine manner. Luggage took forever to arrive and when I finally had it I was quick to be outside. When the exit doors opened the warm night struck me, it was just great! 9:15pm and still about 85°F!
Dubai is just an amazing place and I really enjoyed my time there where I met a lot of nice people and had a very good experience.
Well, though I would have liked to stay it was time to go back to my university after two and a half weeks of internship at that wonderful place.
Before being able to enter the check in area there is a security checkpoint where only ticketed passengers and crew are allowed to pass.
The line was very long so I just moved lines and passed behind a KLM crew.
Check-in was quick as there was no line at all (I was very early again).
After passport control I had to descend to that very long tunnel again which leads to the gate area and the shops.
I had a lot of time looking through the Duty Free Shops and all others and I have to say that I'm not really that impressed with the new terminal.
Except for that car lottery I didn't think that there is anything out of the ordinary there (at least not from what you'd come to expect from Dubai).
Maybe it's a little fancier and the prices are lowere than elsewhere but it's not that big there....
At 1 am I moved to gate 22 where the A330 had just arrived from Karachi, Pakistan. There were about 100 pepople boarding in Dubai so I figured that a lot of people were already on the bus from KHI.
Boarding was a little chaotic but I finally made it inside the bus.
Dubai International - Zurich Unique
28 April 2003
Swiss flight LX 247
Dep: 1:50 am on time
Arr: 6:25 am on time
Indeed the flight seemed to be filled up with passengers from Pakistan and I wondered how 100 additional people were going to fit in.
The plane already looked very chaotic and I was happy to find my seat empty.
What I was not happy with was, however, that I had called Swiss to reserve an exit row as I did not want to be cramped again. I was given 29B thinking 29 is the exit row, however that was row 28! So what! At least I had a seat. It turned out that there were even people sitting in the FA's seats on the exit (after take off they were relocated there). The best of all was the Pakistani baby in the front row though as it cried all night long! It was amazing how it did that, with such resolve that the parents resingned to try keeping it still one hour into the flight. After a night snack I tried to get some sleep which was a real challenge with the crying baby in front.
Eventually, I did manage to sleep for an hour or so.
I was too tired to care about the IFE this time.
My seat neighbor, an odd Pakistani man who had already behaved very demanding towards the crew when dinner was served, in fact he had behaved really weird and I was thinking that is may be his first flight, had fallen asleep before me producing strange noises... That made it even harder to get to sleep.
After my quick nap I read a little and then I did watch a movie just to distract myself from the baby and my snoring neighbor.
A warm brakfast was served again which consisted of an omelette and croissants and rolls. It was edible.
Well, at some point we did reach Zurich, and after a nice approach over the Alps this flight came to and end, and tell you what, I was glad.
This was probably one of the very few times that I did not enjoy a flight, even though this might not have been the fault od Swiss or the FA's.
I had a good hour to look around ZRH before my next flight to FRA.
The shops are small and there are very few of them in the gate area.
I was too tired so I settled down at my gate and waited for someone to show up and let me in...
At some point half an hour later my wish came true and I was able to line up to climb in the A319 that was parked there.
It was new to me that security checks your passport at ZRH again before you board.
Zurich Unique - Frankfurt Rhein-Main
28 April 2003
Swiss flight LX 1070
Dep: 07:50am, actual 8:20am
Arr: 9:00 am, actual 9:15am
This time I was really positively surprised again, as the seats were much better again than on the A330. Also, I was happy that I did not have to fly on a Saab again.
Well, when I sat down on my window seat I knew I would have a good one hour sleep on that flight. The middle seat was empty so that was even better.
After a beautiful take-off with great view of the mountains and lakes I didn't even wait for the breakfast, I fell asleep immediately.
I only woke up on approach to FRA and this time we taxied straight to a gate at terminal 2. When I got off the plane I couldn't believe how cold it was...
Just the usual German weather.
Well, this was my first time on Swiss and on the whole these were ok flights but nothing spectacular.
I had chosen these flights for four reasons:
-Swiss is one of the few airlines that arrives in DXB at a decent time.
-the price was one of the lowest I could get when I booked in Dec 02 (512 Euros).
-I wanted an airline with IFE.
-I was able to collect AAdvantage miles on Swiss.
I really liked the IFE (still can't believe some airlines like LH try to go without!) but the food was nothing special and the seating was too cramped for me (6').
On top of that, I know now that I do not like the Saab even though it didn't make me deaf.
Well, I didn't see any big differences to the bankrupt Swissair...
I was thinking of flying on Qatar Airways via Doha, they would have been even cheaper, however they don't have IFE on their A300s.
I'll consider them next time.
DoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4295 times:
I really enjoyed that report, especially because I used to live in Dubai (back in 1993, was at an Int'l college there). Where did you spend your internship? In my opinion, Dubai is great for a vacation, but living there can sometimes be a headache...it's almost too perfect, like a Utopia & you forget about the real world outside. Well, I suppose some people like that.
A shame you didn't enjoy the flights 100%, but what can I say; flying a longhaul flight in Economy is no longer an exciting prospect for me (unless I know someone who has the authority to upgrade me ).
I didn't like Swiss very much - I flew their MD-11 to EZE, their seats were hard & uncomfortable and the FAs on my flight were really horrible, treat us like peasants (even though most of us will be earning 10x more than them)...
I hope you manage to fly Qatar, they are apparently quite good!
Kilavoud From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4295 times:
Interesting report and pleased to know that the Saab didn't make me you deaf, even not your snoring neighbour on the flight DUB-ZRH. Like you I like to fly on big birds only.
I had myself a high frequency snoring neighbor sitting next to me on a LH flight MAA(Madras)-FRA last year, but as it was in business class where the seats are bigger and the wines better than in coach, it was surely more bearable for me than for you. And on this flight I had such a beautiful night airview of Dubai that I will never forget it.
So what! At least I had a seat. It turned out that there were even people sitting in the FA's seats on the exit (after take off they were relocated there)
Do you mean that for take off and after take off passengers were in the FA’s seats, and that they have been in those seats for the full flight ? Difficult for me to understand because at first sight it does not look good that passengers can sit in FA’s seats. Or maybe the cabin layout is allowing it on some Swiss planes ? I remember once when flying between Madras and Singapore on a SQ409 at the end of June 2003 (747-400 / seat 49H), as the passenger sitting next to me have decided for his own comfort to sit down in one of the FA’s seats facing our row, to stretch out his body and legs and to put his feet on his allocated seat 49J. So instead of him I suddenly had his feet next to me for a short while ( I was shocked by his indiscretion and was just keeping my mouth shut ). As soon as a FA saw him sitting on a FA’s seat, he was polity but firmly invited to seat back next to me. So again I had his face instead of his feet near me. I must agree that both his feet and his face reinforced my sixth sense that we had not a lot in common. I would not feel safe in an Airline mixing crew and passengers’ seats, even if this would happen in the rear of the plane where it is less visible.
Regarding your flight ZRH-FRA, you report : After a beautiful take-off with great view of the mountains and lakes I didn't even wait for the breakfast, I fell asleep immediately
We will never know if on this flight your breakfast would have been edible.
No problem, we will survive.
But please let us enjoy some more trips in the future, and thanks again for your nice work.
Ba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8527 posts, RR: 54
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4241 times:
Thanks for taking the time to post.
Regarding crying babies/children,i have none(at the moment,perhaps never - who knows?),babies/children should not be allowed to travel at a young age,it is not good for them,they hate it,and we hate them even more.
My last AA trip from LHR>ORD had a blasted baby that must have cried the whole trip,i'll tell more when i post the report.
PanAmerican From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 4236 times:
Thanx for the comments. DoorToManual:
You're right, Dubai seems almost perfect. However, it's not...
Well, living there is definetely different from anywhere else, but if you have lived there all your life I'm sure you don't wanna leave.
So you studied there? That must have been an interesting experience....
By the way, I spent the two weeks at a small, German-run office in the new Dubai Media city, you wouldn't know the company as it is fairly new and has only a few employees. I was doing some corresponding and translating there, nothing big though it was very interesting and I enjoyed it, except for the air conditioning in the office.
I have no idea what those passengers were doing in the FAs seats on the emergency exit and I didn't ask anyone. All I know is that they sat there from shortly after dinner till short before landing. Don't know if they just sat there because they preferred the seat but I don't think so as the flight was entirely full in Economy. I found this strange as well and I wouldn't have liked to change with them
Ok, I'll try to write some more trip reports but I don't have any upcoming trips for now (no time for traveling ) so I can just tell you about past experiences that I've had while in the air...
I was actually thinking of either writing next about my last TWA flight in 1996, a trip to DC I took in 99 on Delta or an Air France flight to Fort-de-France in 2000.
I will see when I'll have time to write....
I have seen very cute and quiet babies on planes, you never know how they'll behave before they actually fly the first time (I guess I would have loved it as much when I was a baby as I do today ). People have to go places and they have to take their babies... nothing you can do about that. Well, maybe there should be an age restriction but I'm not sure if that would really make sense.
FLIEGER67 From Spain, joined Sep 2003, 5157 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4240 times:
nice report, I enjoyed reading.
Dont understand your problems with the Saab2000, I flew a lot of legs with Turboprops like ATR42/72,Saab 340,Beech 1900, no problems up to now.
I think its a bit more real flying when you sit in the first row of for example an Saab 340 with open Cockpit Door and see/hear the pilots at work (That was on Kendell Airlines from Adelaide to Kingscote return in 1997).
Im on travel with my son since he´s 1 year old, we fly two to three times a year and theres no problems up to now. I think he like to fly like his dad!
Hope no problems with Turboprops and flying with my son will be in the future,
but your right Im also on flights with babies crying the whole time, thats terrible.
Hope the hear more of your last trips.