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Flying With The ‘Touris’: Egypt And Back On LTU  
User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4843 times:

Some three weeks ago I found myself in immediate need for sun, the winter was starting to turn me crazy and so I decided to book a last minute trip somewhere to the South. Usually I’m not a fan of beach holidays or anything like that but the winter must have had a strange influence on me – so I forgot some old principles for some time…  Wink/being sarcastic
At the travel agency we found a nice offer for Hurghada, Egypt, four plus star hotel, all inclusive at a very attractive price. The only decision left was on taking which airline. Air Berlin, Hapag Lloyd, Thomas Koch, LTU and even AMC Airlines were possible. I decided against the omnipresent B738, and I didn’t want to take the Kochs (I will try to get the 753 elsewhere), and AMC Airlines is not an airline I really would enjoy to fly…so I voted for LTU which I hadn’t flown before and which I was very interested in trying out.


06.03.2004
München (MUC) – Hurghada (HRG)
LT 6654, 20.20-01.35
Airbus A320-214
D-ALTJ (2002 model, msn 1838)




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I arrived at MUC early and had to kill some time until check in counters opened. I walked over to Terminal 2 and realized for the first time that there is no underground connection between the two terminals. One always has to leave the buildings, with only that high roof construction offering a bit protection from the weather – it doesn’t keep off the wind well. It was so damn cold that day that I turned really angry at that strange construction. But since both terminals were not planned to function as connection terminals they had a good reason to save money for a underground tunnel.
When the counters opened about 40 people were already waiting and I was glad being there early. Typical ‘touri’ atmosphere soon could be felt as people started to complain about other people who obviously didn’t wait in an exactly straight row …
At check in I requested a seat in row 29, right side. I received my boarding pass and went through security. Terminal 1, section C was not very frequented, only few flights were about to depart or arrive at this late Saturday evening. Air Mauritius B762, Aer Lings A320, Onur Air A321, that was all. According to the departures screens my flight was supposed to leave at gate C10, but my boarding pass said C6. I found out there was another LTU flight to Hurghada 20 minutes later and I wasn’t sure which gate was the right one. At C6 it showed my flight number so I guessed this was the right gate. An announcement later confirmed that. The nose of the aircraft showed a standard livery and a closer look showed me the registration was D-ALTJ.
Boarding was started on time and I took my seat 29E. Seat pitch was not good, as expected. 174 seats is close to the full capacity and that’s what you get on the ‘touri bombers’. The flight was completely full, no seat was left empty.
After leaving the gate we passed the other LTU A320 to HRG which was scheduled to leave 20 minutes later, and of course I knew it before, it was a soccer logojet, the Bayer Leverkusen one. Bad luck again and again, who is the bastard who calls the airlines and tells them ‘hey, take the standard plane, crazy guy Udo is coming!’… ?  Pissed
However, missing the soccer logojet is not comparable to the trauma which I once suffered from after I had been sat on a worn out Cathay B744 without PTVs and in old colors while the other London flight got the shiny Spirit of Hong Kong…  Nuts

We taxied to the southern runway quite fast, no other traffic around and without waiting we turned in and accelerated. A fully loaded A320 on a four hour flight is not a rocket but well, it’s still miles ahead of an A340 classic. Shortly after take off we turned left and headed towards Austrian airspace. The flight routing was shown for about 20 minutes, then they started LTU ads and previews, followed by a movie with Walter Matthau which I didn’t watch. I decided to invest the 2,50 Euro for the new designed LTU headset on the return flight.
A cold dinner was served one hour later, it consisted of pieces of chicken breast, potato salad, fruit salad, cheese, and a tasty cake. I would rate the meal’s quality really good. Alcoholic drinks had to be paid for but I didn’t mind and remained with soft drinks. Cabin crew was very friendly by the way.
We flew along the Croatian coast, then we directly crossed Crete and headed towards Cairo. The flight was not very smooth, and the captain warned of possible upcoming turbulences due to wind speeds of more than 250 km/h over Egypt. I was already looking forward to see our ‘touri bomber’ being shaken but nothing happened. We passed Cairo in the West and came closer to Hurghada. I had read most of the time and time had passed quickly. Soon descent was started and after a turn off the Red Sea coast we approached Hurghada. Touch down was normal, and after taxiing to our parking position it happened: people started to applause!!! Oh my god, how embarrassing…  Wow!

Stairways were placed at both ends and after walking out I was almost blown away by the wind, and it was damn cold! I though we had landed in Germany again, not a nice welcome. A bus brought us to the terminal building which didn’t look really big. Some other LTU flights had landed as well, plus some other planes and the arrival hall was packed with masses of touris. However, passport control and visa check could be passed quicker than expected and we could start waiting for the luggage. The belts didn’t really work at the beginning and airport staff had to use force in order to make them move. Trolleys by the way were only given away for 2 Euro…
Finally our cases showed up and we could follow the masses of touris fighting their way towards the 20 or 30 busses waiting outside.


14.03.2004
Hurghada (HRG) – München (MUC)
LT 6655, 02.35-06.05
Airbus A320-214
D-ALTC Bayer Leverkusen logojet (2001 model, msn 1441)




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Spotting by the way was only possible on distance because the airport is totally blocked off and cannot be reached by visitors but only passengers. And even if, then I would not try to use my binoculars there – and never would I try to write down regs…Egyptian prisons are definitely not a good place to spend the summer I guess…  Wink/being sarcastic
I then watched aircraft approaching and leaving from the beach which was possible most of the time. There was great traffic on some days, examples were Kras Air IL86, East Line IL86, different TU154, Air Finland B757, the remaining Flash Air B733 (!), AMC MD80, plus most European holiday carriers.

After a very relaxing week in and around Hurghada it was time to go home. I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to catch a good seat at check in because all people on our flight were brought to the airport at the same time. It was impossible to take an earlier bus though there might have been empty seats. But the rule was ‘same flight – same bus’. At the airport I found myself as number 40 or so to check in but I was lucky almost nobody seemed to request certain seats. I decided to take row 30, seat A this time. Oh, before reaching the check in area, every piece of luggage and every passengers is screened. The Egyptians take security really serious!
After check in one has to pass another security check, along with passport and visa control. Then you reach the departure area which doesn’t look very inviting. The area looks like a big bazaar, and walls, roofs, seats, everything is in a bad shape. When we tried to use the toilets we were stopped by four guys who wanted a 2 Euro entrance fee – and I said, thanks, I’ll use the LTU toilet instead!  Laugh out loud
Masses of passengers were moving through the area since there were around eight flights within an hour – quite a high number for the small facilities. 45 minutes prior to departure we decided to proceed to the gate and we were shocked because there was an endless queue of people waiting – another metal detector check had to be passed and there was only ONE entrance! I though we might face some time pressure but the queue moved faster than expected. Then another gate confusion occurred: on the TV screen at the gate for the LTU to Frankfurt they showed our flight to MUC. People for both flights headed to the same gate and then boarding was started for the FRA flight – with MUC pax also trying to go out there. Then there was a correction announcement on the gate issue and the combined FRA and MUC crowd looked like a confused swarm of bees…I then had passed security and arrived on time for boarding – at the right gate.
We were taken on a bus again I had already expected to see another standard plane – but oh wonder, we got the Bayer Leverkusen logojet!  Big thumbs up
It was really funny when our bus stopped in front of that large Bayer 04 logo…most pax were Bavarians and many of them Bayern München fans obviously…and while I was laughing, I heard a nice mix of wild voices, shouting thinks like ‘What is this?’, ‘Is that a joke’, ‘Sauerei’, ‘Sakrament, wolln dei uns verorschn?’  Laugh out loud

I left the bus and unfortunately I found only the front entrance being accessible…and the queue didn’t move. It was so damn cold again, and the wind almost blew me away again. Then after some 10 minutes they realized the problem and a stairway was placed at the rear entrance. I was the first running around the wing and could soon enter the warm cabin. A very nice crew welcomed me and I took my seat 30A. Boarding was soon completed and again the aircraft’s 174 seats were filled. We left the parking position on time and taxied towards the runway. We waited for a departing Air Polonia B734 and then we took off. No spectacular event again, however the strong winds could be felt intensively.
This time I bough a head set but soon disappointed about LTU’s audio channels. There was no channel with new hits or charts, but just stuff like folk songs, classic, Cuban, Caribbean, Latino and whatever music. Very weak, LTU, very weak. They showed the movie ‘Seabiscuit’ but I didn’t watch it.
Seat pitch was even worse in the last row and I just had to tolerate it. Four hours is really the maximum for such a pitch, how terrible!  Angry
It was announced that a hot breakfast would be served and I though we would get it some 1,5 hours before landing. However, they started serving it half an hour after departure – 03.15 at night is not a perfect time to eat an omelette with cheese and ham. Meanwhile we passed Cairo and it was impressive to see its endless lights.
After breakfast cabin lights were turned back and I started to sleep a bit. Drinks were only served twice during the whole flight (the same as one week ago) which was quite disappointing.
After some four hours we passed Salzburg and descent was started. As aircraft number three on arrival this morning we landed some 10 minutes early. Again my ears were forced to listen to some guys’ happy applause…it was really time to leave the aircraft NOW!

At the end it was a nice trip, but I was disappointed by LTU. They are quite average, I haven’t seen any special strengths which would make them different from their competitors. The service or overall product offered was not very spectacular. I’m quite sure traditional holiday carriers like LTU, Thomas Cook or Hapag Lloyd will have to question their short and medium haul operations in the long term. LCC are already in use by tour operators and I fear we will see more transitions from holiday carriers towards LCC in the future. A free meal and free soft drinks are just not enough to justify higher costs.


Regards
Udo

[Edited 2004-03-16 21:18:09]

[Edited 2004-03-16 21:21:25]

[Edited 2004-03-16 21:23:36]

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8506 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4752 times:
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Great report Udo,many thanks

Mark Smile



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4716 times:


Thanks for the detailed report, I've been waiting for some time to read about a flight to the Red Sea and you hit the nail on the head.
If you had left on a Tuesday, you would have flown on an LTU A330-300 (LT658) which they have been using on this service for some time.

A few questions?

Where did you stay in Hurghada?
Did you see any Italian carriers? Apparently they are the second most frequent tourists in Hurghada after Germans. Carriers usually use 767 and 330 on the Italian services.



EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4662 times:

Hi Horus,

I stayed at the Siva Grand Beach, it’s a quite good hotel. I really cannot remember seeing any Italian carriers, and there weren’t any Italian tourists in the hotel. I noticed many flights from Poland with LOT and Air Polonia, several Lauda Air flights, of course masses of Russians, and many Scandinavians.

LTU uses A330-300 on Thursdays from Munich but it was completely impossible to get access to this flight. I tried several tour operators and none was able to book that flight. So I had to take the LTU A320, all other options would have been B738s or Thomas Cook A320/B753.


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4693 posts, RR: 43
Reply 4, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4645 times:

Hi Udo,

Good and funny report about one of our typical touristic charters! It certainly brought back a lot of memories and reminded me, why I am trying to avoid flying with an Airbus or Boeing full of holidaymakers.  Big grin

BTW - I find the applause upon touchdown to be a nice touch, although I expect the flight crew to take me back to terra firma in one piece! Big grin



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4603 times:


Udo

Did you see any Scandinavian airlines then?



EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4595 times:

I saw Novair and Britannia (Sweden) B738, as well as Maersk B73G and Air Finland B757.

User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 60
Reply 7, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4576 times:

Thanks for your help!

How comes you didn't want to fly with a 753? Condor won't have them for much longer! They're actually quite common in SSH and HRG.

Another question, seeing how Germans are among the top 3 tourists to visit Egypt why do so many go to Hurghada rather than Sharm El Sheikh?



EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4564 times:

Horus,

I personally don't like the Thomas Koch guys for their terrible name change and the introduction of the dumbest ever expression in aviation 'powered by Condor'...LTU at least was wise enough to return to its traditional colors.
As for the B753, I'm planning to fly Northwest to LAX in summer. Btw, Condor will keep its fleet of 13 B753s, they have just decided to get rid of all B752s. The main reason for that decision was that there are no possible customers for B753s...

I think there are more hotels in Hurghada and therefore more capacity which has to be filled. Trips to SSH were more expensive than to HRG when I searched in the travel agency. Sharm El Sheikh is more attractive than Hurghada, right? Next time I will probably go there - or even better next time I will visit the famous pyramids and the sites around Luxor.


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineHorus From Egypt, joined Feb 2004, 5230 posts, RR: 60
Reply 9, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4561 times:

Udo

I have been to Sharm El Sheikh so many times and I never get bored of it. I have to say it is much bigger and better (loads of more stuff to do and see). Next time you should do the 2 week around Egypt tour; stay a few nights in Cairo, go to Aswan and Luxor and have a cruise down the nile and finally a few nights of diving or relaxing in Sharm El Sheikh. Heavan Big grin



EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
User currently offline9V-SPF From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 1375 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4514 times:

Great report as usual, Udo!

We waited for a departing Air Polonia B734 and then we took off

It would have really surprised me if the Bayer Leverkusen Logojet had NOT been second on take off!  Big thumbs up

Daniel


[Edited 2004-03-18 17:34:43]

User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4490 times:

Hey Daniel,

That Bayer Leverkusen joke was a mean one, don't you agree? Just kidding, I don't really follow Bundesliga that much, and when I do, I just care about 1860 München...  Big thumbs up
Oh, did I mention that we were the third aircraft arriving at MUC that morning?  Wink/being sarcastic


Regards
Udo


User currently offline9V-SPF From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 1375 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 4455 times:

I could get into creating mean "60er" jokes as well, especially after the recent scandals produced by Mr Wildmoser but then again we´re in an aviation forum so I will spare you that.

Daniel


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6500 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4388 times:

Nice trip report, Udo! Too bad you didn't watch Seabiscuit since it's a really good movie.

LAX will be a good trip for you, I won't be there unfortunatly, still stuck in IAD because of work. I guess you will try NW's new A330 as well ? I highly recommend trying KL's 777 in one direction also  Smile

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4368 times:

Hi Lars,

Yeah, I will get the NWA A330 as well. I'd really like to try KL's B777 but the main purpose of my LAX trip that summer is getting the one and only, 'holy' MD-11...and it was very hard to find the right connections. Most seats are already gone and I could catch a last minute booking at a reasonable fare. If everything works out I will get NWA A330 and B753 via AMS and DTW and KLM MD-11 and F70 via MSP and AMS on the return trip.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6500 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4356 times:

Wow! Four new types in one trip ! So KL will fly M11s to LAX ?? Or are you coming back from/via SFO ? When are you going ? Send me an email, maybe we can meet up there one of the days you are there.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineDALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 25
Reply 16, posted (10 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4402 times:

funny trip report. i specialy liked the one about the bayer leverkusen logo.that was realy funny.
hello from switzerland
DALelite



They loved to fly and it showed..
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