FLIEGER67 From Turkey, joined Sep 2003, 4391 posts, RR: 57 Posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3171 times:
The trip: Short after germanys major leisure carriers announced the change of their policy to the LOCO-concept, I searched their websites to find cheap fares for a short early spring trip to, hopefully, sunny Andalucia.
I´ve booked the trip in early November last year.
02.02.2005 STR-PMI Condor A 320-200 D-AICG DE 3290
Load factor: 90 %
Fare: 59.-- EUR
Gate 316 Seat 18 F
Arrival at the airport at 06.00 am after 45 minutes drive in icy and snowy conditions. Parked the car at P2 as usual and rush to the Terminal building, not about the check in time, but about the temperature, - 5 degrees celsius.
Condor Check in was done in the new Terminal 3, 3 desks staffed for all the Condor flights this morning. 1 to 2 minutes to wait, checked in by a middle aged female agent, normal business friendly. I presented my Miles and More Card, Condor spend Miles for all their flights to M & M (750 this time). I choose Seat 18 E and F. Bags checked to XRY, our final destination this day.
Passed security, no beep for me, but my wife wears boots and a big buckle at her belt, you know what I mean. She was forced to take off her belt and shoes. No further problems thereafter.
Gate was 316, direct behind security, enough time to do some airport shopping at the big travel value store. It was dark outside, not much to see this early morning.
Boarding started by airbridge ontime at 07.00 am, with boarding rows 18 and higher first. Welcomed by 2 friendly females at the front door, presenting some free magazines and newspapers.
D-AICG today, a new one to my collection of DE A320s, not much gaps in the list left!. Plane looks like clean and well maintained. Short after we had taken our seats the Captain welcomed us by phone, announced a delay about waiting for a free de-icing position and told us that his FO, Miss Vanessa Pabst,will fly us to PMI. We had to wait roundabout 30 minutes till we start the engines and taxied to the de-icing positions, another 5 to 10 minutes till they finished a BA A319 to LHR and then started the procedure. Two trucks worked left and right hand of the AC and sprayed the snow down.
We made it short before a HF B737-800 at the other position to reach the runway treshold. Had to wait again for a Swiss EMB 145 on short finals, behind us the HF B737-800 and an EAE ATR 42. An USAF Galaxy taxied far behind to departure. We entered the runway and departed in western direction over the "Weidacher Höhe". Always interesting the departure (and the approach) from the pilots view by the onboard camera.
The load this morning contains most of older german couples on their way to find the spring, some younger people, 3 or 5 children.
After 1/2 hour in flight they served hot and cold drinks twice and a cheese or turkey sandwich. No tray this time. They learned it from their parent company!
Not much to see along the flight with lots of clouds around. One more information in flight from Miss Pabst about wheather at destination and so on.
Very friendly Cockpit Crew and also friendly Cabin Crew (based in Berlin as they announced). Flight route: STR/Black Forrest/Basle/Geneva/Marseille/along the eastern spanish coastline/crossed Majorca island, circled over the bay of Palma and landed in eastern direction.
Nice views from the onboard camera. Uneventful landing, we´re the last of 7 or 8 other DE planes starting from gate A20 (Left and right) to gate A16, IMO the older part of PMI airport. We want to do some shopping at PMI, changed to the public area and find us a bit in a hurry after we heard the first and final boarding call for our flight at 10.30, crossed security again and walked to the very last gate at area A, and...
02.02.2005 PMI-XRY Condor B 757-300 D-ABON DE 3054
Gate A16 Seat 18F
Load factor: 85%
Fare: see above
... boarded the AC quickly after most of the other pax, welcomed by a male and female FA at the middle door, the female FA friendly, the male FA desinterested.We find our seats occupied by the typical retired german couple with one flight experience every 5 years, no problem, they had the same seats 2 rows earlier, we take their seats. The AC looks older than the A320.
Interesting load this time, lots of Spanish people on the way to XRY, included some business people. IMO this concept works well (also at AB!) to fly domestic in spain. Some 5 minutes after we boarded the plane and with 10 to 15 other late passengers, the doors closed and we are the last DE plane of this mini-hub to leave PMI direct after an A320 and another B757-300. Again flown by the FO, male this time, with flightdeck informations on the ground from the Captain and arrival informations during cruiseflight from the FO. Both very friendly. We entered the runway, wait 1 to 2 minutes for an departure from the other runway and had a powerful takeoff in eastern direction, we circled north and west and routed to XRY: PMI/IBZ/Alicante/Granada/XRY.
No meal on this leg, only one service with hot or cold drinks. We had a direct approach to XRY in western direction, no circling around.
IMO the runway at XRY is not to long, heavy braking action after a soft touchdown, XRY that means a runway without any taxiways, the plane stopped at the end of the runway, turned around, taxied back to a short ramp, small not to use for two planes and stopped there, a HF B737-800 and a
IB MD 87 parked there and IMO there is space for 2 or 3 planes more, thats all.
We deplaned by stairs and had to walk to the small, old fashioned terminal building, 2 bagagge belts there, belt 1 crowded with the pax from our flight. The bags arrived fast (lifo = last in at PMI, first out at XRY!).
Rental car booking was done by TUI Cars, the car was from Europcar and the office was open from the public area and the baggage are, so I´ve done my rental agreement in 2 minutes before the bags arrived. Good service. Fare: 72.-- EURO, Fiat Punto.
We had to drive 45 minutes more to the south to Novo Sancti Petri to reach the Iberostar Andalucia Playa, a recommendable 4 star resort hotel, booked by Thomas Cokk: 140.-- EUR 2 days halfboard and had 3 really enjoyable and sunny spring days there.
We´re at the airport at 3.00 pm, early enough for our 4.45 pm departure, 2 desks open for the STR flight handled by IB, another agent at the desk beneath waved the pax to check in STR pax while no IB pax waited there. Only secons to wait. Check in was done by a young female agent, unexpected really friendly, I had some other experiences with IB handling in the past years.
I presented my BlueMilesCard. HF started their own FF-Programm late last year. This time I had to lift my belt, not my wife, we had the same clothes like wednesday in STR, why that?. Our plane parked nearby, it was the one and only plane till we are waiting. The reg is funny, isn´t it? (HF is owned by TUI). We do some shopping at the small Duty free shop, expensive prices, now I know where the profits of AENA comes from!.
Boarding started by bus at 4.15 pm, the bus stopped at the front door, all the pax at the front door, no one at the rear door, which was also open for boarding. We need a lot of time till all the passengers find their seats. Also on this flight, lots of spanish passengers (around 40 %).
Welcomed by two business-friendly females and also welcomed by the Captain as we reached our seats. This plane looks really new. We started the engines, turned around, had to wait at the runway entry for landing of an AB B737-400 from PMI, taxied down the runway, turned around there again and had to wait till the AB leaves. Powerful departure, a sharp right turn directly over the city of Jerez to avoid some big clouds. Flight route: East of Seville/MAD/Lourdes/Toulouse/Lyon/Geneva/ZRH to STR.
HF served a hot meal on this flight, some italian style noodles, rolls, cheese and yoghurt. It was ok. Very interesting was the high traffic on this route, first another plane passed as a bit lower than our flight level, in the MAD area I saw some other planes crossing and passing, and on the way from the french border till the swiss border we had a race with another plane on the same route. It flys from my point of view a bit lower and a bit faster than ours.
The signs were clearly visible, another HF plane. After half an hour race, the Captain announced it is an HF A310-200 on the way from LPA to STR, 600 meters lower and 10 km/h faster, it passed us near the swiss border direct under us and arrived minutes before us at STR.
Approach in eastern direction over the Weidacher Höhe, late touchdown with hard brakes and we joined the crowd of other HF planes at STR at their Friday evening hub to roundabout 10-12 other german cities.
Conclusion: Condor: Good fares, friendly service, ontime flights (Expect the wheather related delay)
Hapag-Lloyd: Good fare, friendly service, ontime flight
Whats the difference?: Condor on the right way to future profits?
Hapag-Lloyd still in profits, but how long?
Comments and critics always welcome,
Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14 Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2461 times:
great report - very interesting comparision between two of the main German holiday airlines. Having only had a few flights on DE so far but having never been on HF yet, I liked a lot to read about your experiences. I share your positive impression of Condor - they are quite good indeed.
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2895 posts, RR: 25 Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2423 times:
always interesting to read about flights to/from STR, thanks for sharing. It was a nice comparison between the two charter airlines.
After half an hour race, the Captain announced it is an HF A310-200 on the way from LPA to STR, 600 meters lower and 10 km/h faster...
Now that is what I call interesting information from the flight deck - not the usual weather / temperature / time-till-destination thing, but some really interesting information.
TriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4685 posts, RR: 47 Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2328 times:
Thanks for another interesting trip report from your side. It was quite suprising for me to hear that DE also sells their internal Spanish flights to the local population - I always thought that only AB is doing that. I have seen quite alot of AB advertisement in Mallaga and Mallorca, but never any DE commercial promoting their cheap alternatives on domestic routes.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
FLIEGER67 From Turkey, joined Sep 2003, 4391 posts, RR: 57 Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2309 times:
thanx four your reply.
Bookable on condor.com. One of my uncles lives at PMI, he said that
local travel agents at PMI sell the flights to the residents for trips to Germany and to the spanish mainland.
FLIEGER67 From Turkey, joined Sep 2003, 4391 posts, RR: 57 Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2266 times:
thanx for your reply.
I really enjoyed it and I know the Barrosa Garden Hotel, only a few meters away. It was our second stay, there in Novo Sancti Petri and your right, large sandy beaches, not the usual mass of people (especially in spring) and relaxed atmosphere.
Ryanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1876 times:
Excellent trip report Markus! I'm flying to Jerez (XRY) in a few weeks time and I will actually be staying in the exact hotel as you did (Andalucia Playa)! Nice to hear that you enjoyed the Hotel and the resort.