The trip:I´ve booked a one week vacation trip in late may for my wife and my son to Gran Canaria and as the time goes by and I had the possibility to meet them for some days I´ve checked the web sites of the major airlines to the canary islands if it´s not to expensive to do the trip.
16.06.2004 STR/LPA Condor D-AICL A 320-200 Seat 8F
Flight DE 3458 13.25/16.55 Gate 316
Fare 79.-- EURO Load Factor max. 60 %
First some INFOs about Condor notix online booking: As I booked online they announced: Please print the site wit the booking reference and the flight times
for your records and be sure that a confirmation mail will send to you no more later than 24 hours with the flight details again. As I had a confirmation mail for my return flight from ACE minutes after booking and no confirmation for this flight I´ve send a mail to the Condor help desk, no answer the next 24 hours. I called them and they said the flight was booked ok and I dont need a separate confirmation, why do they say I need one?
All in all the female call center agent was not too friendly, she said after the low price campaign they had a lot more online bookings, this advertising works really well.
Arrived early at the airport at roundabout 11.00 am as there was not so heavy traffic as I expected this morning. Parked my car at P4 long term car park, the first time after September 11th that I was there and the cra park was nearly full, only free spaces at the lower levels 0 and 1.
Entered the building at the side door to Terminal 0, after Deltas change to T3 i´ve never seen any activity there and was surprised as I see the masses of people in T1 this wednesday morning. A good sign for the growing passenger numbers at STR.
Crossed T2 to arrive at T3 where Condor Check In was done and lined me in one off the long queues in front off the announced 3 open check in desks.
Nothings going further, I noticed that they opened 4 more desks and quickly changed the desk to build a new queue in front off one of the newly opened desks, I thinked so, but never had so an chaotic check in.
Only one of the previously announced 3 counters was open for business, the 2 others were staffed but not open due to techical problems, the other counters they want to open were all not ok, printer offline, system error and so one. One of the female agents called the helpline and short thereafter a supervisor arrived but nothings going on, stop somethings going on, the queues grow, larger and larger .
But I´m really lucky, they tested one counter after the other and the one still in front off me started to work. Checked in my bag by a female LH agent, nevertheless she was really friendly and I think she was glad that she could start her work now after all the technical problems.
Security was strict and effective, as all the times I fly from STR but it was no more than 3 or 4 minutes to wait there. Arrived at my gate, used the time to spot the traffic and wait for the departure call.
Boarding started half an hour before scheduled departure time, goes on quick by a finger gate, last rows boarded first, and we were airborn 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
The AC was the newest in Condors A320 fleet (delivered 03/2001) but looks a bit worn, fabric seats, you think without a pad and not really clean.
The FAs (4 females) were not to friendly, typical Condor (German?) business, effective, fast but without any specials. They served a hot mela (Chicken or Pasta) and offered free newspapers.
Roue: More western than usual:STR/Black Forrest/SXB/West of Dijon and Toulouse to LIS and over the Atlantic to LPA.
Good and often informations from the flight deck (IMO very positive) and lots of informations along the flight via the information system included the famous on board camera, you think especially around the descent, the Captains seat was yours.
Smooth and calm flight, early arrival, deboarded by stairs as all the fingers were blocked as we arrived by HF/AB/Air Europa/Spanair and Thomas Cook Belgium planes. My bag was quick on the belt, I checked the rental car desk at the arrivals level, not easy to fing as it was in the back of the older part of the terminal building but I know it from other trips before.
Booked online by TUICars 81.-- EURO, a new VW Polo all inclusive, not to expensive I think. A quick drive to the south to join my family at the Gran Hotel Costa Meloneras at Maspalomas/Meloneras, a really recommendable hotel for a relaxed high standard beach holiday, 3 days half board booked by ThomasCook online = 294.-- EUROs.
It was important to be back in Germany at Sunday as my company sponsors a Golf challenge and I had to meet some clients there, so it was time to go at...
19.06.2004 LPA/ACE Binter Canarias ATR 72/500 EC-HEZ Gate C1
Free Seating Flight NT 532 16.00/16.40 Fare 63,37 EURO Load Factor 60 %
No queues at the 4 open Binter desks, 2 customers at 4 desks, a good quote for us customers there. Checked in by an older male Iberia agent. He was surprised as I used an E-Ticket, I think its not in common use in spain, there was no online booking engine at Binters Website, so I booked it at START.de
(AFAIK a TUI company). Do some airport shopping there as I thinked LPA was cheaper than Germany for fragrances and cosmetics but this was not true and waited for my flight to ACE.
The airport was rather empty this time, only one Braathens flight to Oslo, I saw an Russian registered AN26 which was not on the timetable, Topfly operated a MetroLiner to El-Aoun in the West-Sahara. Later at around 6 to 8 pm a lot of UK and Ireland flights on the screens but this time very low activity. Boarding started at 15.40 ontime, guided by a supervisor to the plane, the Binter planes parked directly by the side of the Terminal building and had to wait several times, at the stairs from the terminal, on the apron, at the planes door before its alowed to enter the plane.
The plane was ok, not the newest (delivered 1999) with some scratches and bimps but I think that was normal on this heavy used ATRs.
2 female FAs, friendly in their spanish way serving first a chocolate and short before landing some sweets.
Quick departure, no flight deck informations and a lot of turbulences and bumps as there was a heavy wind situation there. Especially at descent into ACE the plane jumped around, uo and down and I heard some "oohs" and "uuhs" around, I like it .
Ontime arrival, later I saw from the viewers terrace the landing procedure of another Binter ATR and it looks like really amazing, heavy sidewind, you think the plane wants not to land on the runway as it flys nearly cross to the runway, touched down with the left maingear first, drive some meters and touched down again.
19.06.2004 ACE/STR Condor D-AICL A 320-200 Seat 31 C Gate 9
Flight DE 6551 18.25/23.25 Fare 129.-- EURO Load Factor near 100 %
Not the spotters paradise to fly the same plane like Wednesday. A lot of Condor/Futura/Volar/HF planes there but it was again D-AICL.
Half of their 12 planes strong A320 fleet I have flown with but this time no new addition.
4 or 5 counters open to check in all Condor flights, roundabout not more than 6 to 7 minutes to wait there. Checked in by an older female agent of EuroHandling.
Boarding by a finger gate started ontime, departure ontime.
Route:ACE/FAO/MAD/east of Toulouse/LYS/GVA/ZRH/STR, the usual route to southern germany. Again smooth and calm flight with lots of informations from the flight deck, flown by the female FO, Miss Probst. Again effective work by the FAs, this time 2 male/2 females much more friendlyer in spite off the heavy load factor, ontime arrival (last passenger plane this day) and this time a special: Greeted by the captain himself at the cockpit door. I think he was the same like on an Germanwings operated by Condor flight I´ve done in late March. I´ve had this experience often in Australia and sometimes on US airlines but AFAIK not on german planes, except March, I like it.
Conclusion: Condor,ontime flights, not to expensive, good service (Meals/Newspapers) but please a bit more specials from the FAs (for example more ), job well done
and Binter, ontime flight, service ok for this short flight, but to expensive?
Comments and critics always welcome,
Greetings Markus (FLIEGER67)