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Weekend-Trip To PMI: FRA-PMI-FRA With HF And LT  
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Posted (9 years 7 months 23 hours ago) and read 4602 times:

Ok - here it is, my first trip report... about my first trip of the year - no idea, how many more (trips, that is) will follow, but I guess I'll see...

Anyhow - a friend and I decided to fly down to Mallorca for a weekend, catch a bit of sun and a few sights of the Almond trees in bloom, so I went searching through the obvious websites and found fligths with Hapag Lloyd and LTU: the flight to Mallorca, from Frankfurt, ended up costing us €54 per person, the flight back was €42.

The flights were quickly booked through the respective websites (after I had gone through several "last minute bookings" websites, as well as through the GDSs I have at work, without finding anything better), and while HLF only sent a confirmation by eMail, LTU also sent - several - confirmations by regular mail... the vegetarian meal for me was confirmed within minutes by HLF after I sent them an eMail, while LTU didn't reply to my eMail but only confirmed the meal request after I phoned them... and then followed up the confirmation by sending another two letters by regular mail - on top of the eMail that they also sent.


Outbound:
Flight: HF5393
Departure: 04:20 / 28JAN @ FRA
Arrival: 06:30 / 28JAN @ PMI
Aircraft: Boeing B737-800, D-AHFA
Seats: 9C and 9D
Gate: A01


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Ok... how did I get myself into this mess? A departure at 4:20 in the morning? I must have been drunk when I booked that...  Big grin ... anyhow, we both ended up not sleeping that night, but drinking a bottle of wine, followed by two (quite large) cups of coffee, waiting for the taxi to the airport to arrive at 2:30. The whole evening of the 27th it had been snowing, so we were watching closely, but when it stopped snowing around midnight it was quite clear that we wouldn't be running into any problems.

The taxi ride to the airport ended up taking about 15 minutes, and cost about €30 - barely any traffic on the Autobahn... then again, who's awake at such an awful time of the day anyhow...

Check-In was quick, we got two aisle seats in the same row, went through security and arrived at the gate - only to notice that we still had about an hour until boarding... watching planes was no option, because at that time, there just aren't any planes moving around to watch. I ended up reading a bit, and I guess I must have dozed off for a few minutes, because I suddenly found my book on the floor - and a line forming for boarding.

On the plane, I tried to put my carry-on case into the overhead bin first, but that was full - so I tried the seat in front of me, but it didn't fit - and this is a carry-on that I got from Lufthansa specifically designed to be put under the forward seat... so I went back to looking for space in an overhead bin, and finally found space in row 13.

By the time that the boarding process was finished, 170 passengers were spread over the 189 seats on the plane - and while we were still on the ground, I started feeling a pain in my back... the seats were those quite modern Recaro seats, and they were uncomfortable as hell. The fact that the passenger sitting next to me filled about 10 to 20% of my seat as well also didn't help... regarding the pitch - it was quite cramped, but for the two hour hop to Mallorca, and especially at the fare I paid, I really don't mind all that much.

So there we were, waiting for the plane to start moving, but nothing happened... at least not until about 4:30, when the pilot announced that we'd be de-iced in a few minutes - it took another 5 minutes for that to start, and the whole process seems to have lasted about 5-10 minutes (although my mind may be playing tricks on me with that - I think my brain was shutting down more and more after around 22 hours of being awake, including a full day at work.

When all that was finished, the engines were started up and the plane taxied along the normal route along Terminal 1, the cargo apron towards runway 18 ("Startbahn West"), from which we took off - after a strangely long wait at the holding point - after a relatively short, but quite powerful, accelleration.

There was some turbulence after takeoff, but that didn't last long - and within minutes, the service started - breakfast was served, with a small delay for me because the crew couldn't locate my vegetarian meal at first: the tray included a roll, a pack of butter, some chese, a spicy vegetable-spread for the bread, a pack of dark bread, a yoghurt, some cake, and a pack of orange juice - coffee, tea and one other beverage came with that, depending on what you wanted.

The only other thing I remember was that I went to the forward lavatory and nearly got a bruise on my forehead: I have never seen an airplane lavatory with such a low ceiling before - at least not on anything larger than a regional-jet...

The rest of the flight was uneventful - no surprise there - and we touched down at Palma de Mallorca's Son Sant Joan Airport on runway 6L about 15 minutes behind schedule.

Overall, I'd book HLF again, especially if it's at a fare this low - but I'm going to do whatever I can to avoid departures earlier than 6:00 or 7:00.

By the way: D-AHFA was the 7th B737NG built, it was HF's first B737-800, and with that, it was the first B737-800 built and first flew on 31 July 1997.


Inbound:
Flight: LT1281
Departure: 21:00 / 30JAN @ PMI
Arrival: 23:15 / 30JAN @ FRA
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200, D-ALTI
Seats: 9C and 9D
Gate: C40


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On the return flight, we had a much more humane departure time - a time that gave us the whole day on the island and still got us back on the ground before midnight...

Since it was getting dark around 18:00, we decided to return the car a bit earlier than planned, proceed to check-in and then head towards the duty-free shop and a café.

That was the plan...

We dropped of the car just past 18:10, but when we got into the terminal, we found out that the check-in counter wouldn't even open until 19:00 - so we were back to waiting...

Anyhow, after somehow wasting the time away, the check-in counter finally opened up, we checked in, got two aisle seats again, and headed upstairs, where the duty free shop was hopelessly overcrowded. Since I had promised some friends that I'd be bringing along some cigarettes, got one or two other presents, paid and went to the security checkpoint...

... and almost got a nervous breakdown when I saw the queues: Air Berlin's evening PMI-hub-wave was just about to leave, so everybody and their families were standing in line...

... and looking at the monitor, I discovered that our flight was now delayed by 30 minutes.

Well, at least that took all pressure off of waiting in line - not that there was any to begin with, since we were there very early, but now we had more than plenty of time.

We ended up drinking a few more coffees, I read a bit, listened to a bit of music on my MP3 player, and then finally saw the plane taxi towards the gate just prior to our original departure time of 21:00.

The whole turnaround was accomplished quite efficiently, and boarding began at around 21:15 - and by 21:25 we were being pushed back.

In contrast to the plane on the outbound leg, this one was nowhere near full - I'd guess around 80-100 pax on the 176 seats.

The pitch was better than on HF, and the seats were much more comfortable, but the fact that we both had a 3-seat-bench for ourselves was probably a help in that as well. Anyhow, I moved over to the window seat, since it was available, and the middle seat remained empty throughout the flight.

The safety demonstration was, unlike normal operations on LTU, performed "live" - the video wasn't working, although the entertainment system itself worked fine.

After taxiing around the terminal, we soon arrived at the holding point of runway 6R, from which we took off heading towards Formentor and on towards France, Switzerland and into Germany.

Dinner was served a few minutes after we reached our cruising altitude, an altitude that I though was surprisingly high: 38000ft.

Again, just as on the outbound flight, the crew had misplaced my meal at first, but found it within a few minutes - it consisted of a cheese sandwich, a yoghurt as well as coffee or tea, an orange juice and, again, an extra cold drink.

The crew on this flight was in a quite good mood - joking around with passengers, so the impression of the crew on LTU that I got is better than the one I got on Hapag Lloyd... then again, I don't think being slighly grumpy before 5 in the morning while serving breakfast to somewhat grumpy passengers is that bad - I think it's rather understandable.

After dinner, I read a bit more, listened to some music and dozed a bit.

Our approach into Frankfurt was a bit bumpy, and there were lot's of clouds: I was able to see the stadium, but downtown was nowhere to be seen... we touched down on runway 25L around 30 minutes past our scheduled arrival time, then taxied past Terminal 1 all the way over to Terminal 2, where we parked at a gate just three gates away from a Qantas B747-400 preparing for it's flight to Australia.

Overall, given the choice, I'd prefer LTU over Hapag Lloyd on future flights - but the margin really isn't all that big... I'd also fly HLF again without a second thought about it.


The weekend was worth the money, and even if we got one of the coldest weekends Mallorca has seen in a long time, we at least missed the snow that fell there on Wednesday night... Big grin

The island itself was nice, as always, at least as long as you stay away from the typical tourist spots - it's a great place for a relaxing and refreshing weekend trip.

Ok - that's it... now I'll just see if I can find those notes I took during my flight on LX to BOS in October last year, then I might post another trip report... but I think I lost all those notes when I let the battery in my PDA run dry without recharging it...

I hope you enjoyed reading this a bit...  Big grin

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8534 posts, RR: 54
Reply 1, posted (9 years 7 months 23 hours ago) and read 4533 times:
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Nice first report,many thanks Frank.

What was the interior condition of the HLF 738 like,i'm just interested as it is such an early machine.

Thanks

Mark



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 offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 2, posted (9 years 7 months 23 hours ago) and read 4520 times:

Hi Mark,

the condition of the plane on the inside was very good - the seats and trays were clean, the carpets and all other visible surfaces looked as if they had just recently been put in there - a bit of a welcome surprise considering the condition of some planes that I've flown on during the past few years...

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineNamaskar From Switzerland, joined Dec 2004, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 4379 times:

Hi Frank,

Nice report and informative.

Interesting to read also how you configured the two one-ways and got a great deal. Since midweek fares from Berlin to Barcelona are either very high or have poor timing for biz travellers, my office travel desk has sometimes suggested two one-way segments: one from Berlin to PMI, and the second from PMI to BCN (Air Berlin even flies between PMI and BCN). These combi-tix are a great way to reduce cost, and judging by your report the onboard svc might even exceed some mainline carriers.


User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Reply 4, posted (9 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 4362 times:

Great first trip report, Frank, that's been superb reading - a nice comparison between HF and LT, well done!

User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 7 months ago) and read 4343 times:

Hi Frank,

very nice trip report, I enjoyed reading it very much! And congratulations for flying the first ever B737-800, not easy to get it in HF's large fleet!
I have never flown HF, but my impression of LTU was quite positive as well.


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4331 times:

Hi Folks... thanks for the replies!

Namaskar, actually, Air Berlin is - regarding comfort - still a bit better than HF is: AB only has 184 seats in the B738, which is one row less than HF (with 189 seats)... no idea, how they configure their B73Gs and F100s, but the B738s are quite comfortable compared to other charter planes. As for the flights to BCN - they actually offer that as a connection through PMI, so you don't even need separate tickets from TXL to PMI and from PMI to BCN, and the fares are usually very good - and, nice for business travellers, bookable as oneways or returns, and the flights are usually changeable for a small fee (my parents actually once got a namechange for €25 per person on two oneway-tickets for €30 from HAJ to VIE).

Udo, yes, I was quite happy to see D-AHFA at the gate, after all, it is a somewhat historic plane - I don't think I've ever flown on a "first of a series" before... it was my 8th B737-800, and it was the first B737 that I've flown on with HF... now I just need to fly -800s in the US and in Australia, then I'll have all continents covered with it... Big grin

Ndebele, thanks - it was interesting for me to be able to see the differences between the two in such a short timeframe - and I'll probably be able to compare AB and DE on my next flight down there, which'll probably be in March... yet another weekend trip...



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4313 times:

Great report, Frank! A nice comparison between two major German holiday airlines. Especially nice was that I could read something about HF's service, my last flight on them is 21 years ago, HF served the first and second flight in my life, since then I never got the chance to fly on them again.

Do you agree with me that these weekend trips to "Malle" are fun? Two buddies and I did such a trip in October last year (we flew on AB from DTM), I found it great that we could sit on the beach promenade and having a beer while it was cold and rainy in Germany.

I am looking forward to more reports from you!

Patrick


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 8, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4297 times:

Patrick, I fully and absolutely agree with you - that's why I try to book at least one of these weekend-tours a year, and more if possible: they're fun, you get quite nice fares for flying over there, the flight's short, you've got a huge choice of hotels and just about anything you could need on a tour like this available and at good rates, and you can do just about anything from partying through the night up to hiking through mountains...

The island is really beautiful - and can be extremely fun.

And I remember several visits to Mallorca, during which I had temperatures around 15-20°C, while snow was falling at home.

As for Hapag - even though they're my "hometown carrier", being from Hannover, I somehow never really managed to fly on them: I flew from HAJ to HER and back in 1999 on an A310-200 and A310-300, and now the B737-800, but otherwise, I somehow always ended up on Air Berlin on the routes served by both...

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4693 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4233 times:

Hi Frank!

After reading your first report, I must say that I am impressed by the amount of detail and the excellent narrative style you have put into this report! Hopefully we will read more from your past and future travels!  Big thumbs up

No questions from my side about your report - both HF and LT are certainly very decent holiday carriers and a weekend in PMI (or even a daytrip) is always worth the while, especially considering the rock-bottom fares at the moment.



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 10, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4208 times:

You are correct Frank, the short flying time, the (mostly) good weather and the large range of hotels make Mallorca ideal for a weekend trip, furthermore is it not difficult to find a cheap fare because nearly every bigger German airline is flying to PMI.

When we were there in October, we paid 58 EUR per person/return flight and 45 EUR for the hotel room, so altogether 73 EUR per person. That is not too expensive if you ask me and was definitely worth the fun we had. Ok, I had to add another (undisclosed) amount of money for drinks to the 73 EUR  Big grin.

Patrick


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 11, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4188 times:

TriStar500 - true, the fares really do make short trips down there interesting, and seeing, how many flights are offered every day and how many fare combinations are possible now that most charter carriers offer their fares based on oneways, it really makes the whole thing even more interesting... I'm still thinking about flying over again on the easter weekend, because I found some nice fares again... although they're nowhere near as low as those that Patrick mentions...

€58 per person for the return flight? Yikes... nonrev? PEP? Or regular "available-for-everyone" fare?

And about that undisclosed amount for drinks...  Big grin ... no, I won't ask... or are you not disclosing it, because you simply cannot remember the amount, due to slightly elevated levels of alcohol in your blood at the time? Big grin

In any case, I've been looking everywhere for those notes about my trip on LX, but I just can't find them - I'll probably have enough time this weekend, maybe I can recover some things from my memory after all...

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 6 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4178 times:

€58 per person for the return flight? Yikes... nonrev? PEP? Or regular "available-for-everyone" fare?

It was a regular fare but I think it was some special offer which AB, 4U and their ilk are offering every second week. I didn't book it by myself, just received a call from a buddy while I was in the beverage shop, he asked if I fancy a trip to "Malle" and I immediately accepted when he told me about the cheap fare.

And about that undisclosed amount for drinks... no, I won't ask... or are you not disclosing it, because you simply cannot remember the amount, due to slightly elevated levels of alcohol in your blood at the time?

I can remember the amount very well but I won't publish it here. We drunk excessively on this weekend and everyone of us spent a ridiculous high amount of money on beer, wine and booze but everything went smooth, we didn't get involved into a fight (no, even not with Brits  Big grin), nobody puked on the beach promenade and even the hotel room looked ok when we left it  Big thumbs up.

As for your LX trip report, definitely keep it coming!

Patrick

Edit: Typo Embarrassment

[Edited 2005-02-02 23:51:19]

User currently offlineMrNiji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4083 times:

Hey Frank, good report..! Interesting to see that LH will face a large amount of domestic competition.. probably the best way to compete - in view of the repost - will be the seat pitch Big grin

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4077 times:

Thanks Frank for the great report!

I always like to ask or mention something when I reply to a trip report (in order to avoid those boring 'thank you' messages), but the reports of the Germans on here are mostly so detailed, that there is just nothing that can be added.

Keep up the great work!

Frederic


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 15, posted (9 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4026 times:

So, welcome to the guild of trip reporters here, Frank. Nice one.

Awful flying times, I mean Palma is nice for sure, but, especially after arriving that early, you must have been bored to death since 1500 or so...

Daniel Smile


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 16, posted (9 years 6 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4005 times:

Hi Daniel,

no - 4:20 in the morning isn't awful: 6 or 7 in the morning is awful - 4:20 is much, much worse!!!  Big grin

And, to be really honest, I think the hours between 13:00 and 18:00 were simply skipped that day, because I really have a complete blackout for that time: no recollection at all, though I know that this wasn't alcohol-induced... Big grin

But, still, it was worth it - and next time, it's gonna be worth it to pay a few Euros more to have a decent departure time!

Grüße,
Frank

P.S.: Frederic... calling me German is a bit like calling a Belgian French (a mistake I once made, which got me into quite a long discussion)...  Smile ... but since I live here and, because of that, have the German flag in my profile, I won't feel offended...  Big thumbs up ... seriously - I'm really not German...



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineLindy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3953 times:

Nice report. I enjoyed reading it.

Thanks,
Rafal


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