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The Blow-up F/A: PMI-VLC-PMI W/DE (30+ Pix)  
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Posted (11 years 2 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6596 times:

About this trip

This report covers the “center part” of our three trip reports – one covering Alex’s (Ndebele) and Christoph’s (Contact Air) flight STR-PMI-STR
( http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/55785/ )
and one covering my, Jens’s (TriStar500), flights DUS-PMI-DUS
( http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/55932/ )
..., which were part of our “a.net mini meet” in Valencia. You will now join the three of us in the old Terminal A at PMI, where we are waiting for our short onward hop to VLC to start boarding.

The following part was written by Jens (TriStar500)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI)

After walking around the spacious, albeit somewhat empty terminal halls for a few minutes, we returned to the departure gate (A19) in Terminal A and waited at one of the large panoramic windows for boarding to commence.

Judging from the crowd lounging on the rather comfy seat benches around the gate counter, our passenger mix would be a lot different from the “old folk’s home” I experienced on my flight from DUS: a lot were young Spaniards, who were benefiting from the low fares Condor is offering on the short rotations between the hub in PMI and the destinations on the Peninsula.
About half an hour before scheduled off-block time, boarding was called, and the crowed leisurely and relaxed moved from their respective resting places towards the gate, where they presented their boarding passes and entered the jetway to our Airbus.

The following part was written by Christoph (Contact Air)

The flight (PMI-VLC)

Palma de Mallorca Sont San Juan (PMI) – Valencia Manises (VLC)
Flight number: DE 3272
Scheduled block time: 1050h – 1140h
Off-block: 1048h
Take-off: 1100h (RWY 06R)
Touchdown: 1128h (RWY 30)
On-block: 1132h
Airbus A320-212
c/n: 809
first flight: April 1998
Seats 5E and 5F (Alex and Christoph), 6A (Jens)

With Condor titles and Thomas Cook tail logo but still in the yellow colours:

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Photo © Gustavo Bertrán - Iberian Spotters
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Photo © JetPix

Some earlier photos of this aircraft, when it was “the other way round” (Thomas Cook titles but Condor tail logo:

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Photo © Valter Alves
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Photo © Georg Noack

So we all three entered the aircraft for our next flight, this time through a jet bridge. Jens had a pre-selected seat on the left hand side while Alex and me took our seats on the right. The flight was nearly full; to my surprise there were also many Spanish travellers joining at PMI who obviously took advantage of Condor’s cheap one-way fares for this short domestic hop. Doors were closed on time, and we got to see the safety video again, followed by a tape in Spanish language. The captain also welcomed us and told us that he and his crew had just come in from SXF. He also said a few words in Spanish.

We were off-block soon, and together with us, the other DE planes also left PMI: AGP, XRY and FAO were the other holiday destinations (all operated by 753) while further two A 320’s went back to Germany.

Waiting at the runway threshold for take-off clearance

A FlyNiki A320 passing us by, also operating a internal Spanish flight, although as part of the AB/HF/HG-Alliance

A bit later we were up in the air and got a nice view onto the Isle of Mallorca again. Flight time was only 30 minutes, so there was no additional food or drink service. The screens showed permanently the pictures of the outside camera; also no air-show on this flight.

Take-off from PMI's runway 06R, check out the Spantax CV-880 in the background

Beautiful scenery of the central Mallorca and the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range

A small village in a narrow valley – after several flights across it, I am still trying to figure out its name. Does anyone have more information?

A look back at PMI

Scenic view of Palma de Mallorca and the Bahia de Palma

It became partly clouded, but as we were crossing the Mediterranean Sea, there was not too much to see anyway.

Looking out of the window became more interesting again when we were approaching VLC. We had a great view of the really large container harbour and the rather big city with some very modern buildings.

A look over the new, but also very sterile looking suburbs of Valencia.

Soaring across the huge industrial zone adjacent to the airport

We landed on the only runway of the airport and found our parking position on the apron where three busses were awaiting the passengers. An AB 738 was already there; as well as an FR 738, a Ford Air 73G and some IB / Air Nostrum regional planes.

A TNT Bae-146 Quiet Trader waiting for her night shift

FordAir B737-700 preparing for a flight to STN later this afternoon

A bus took us to the terminal building which we left again shortly after to explore the surrounding a bit.

A look at the not very impressive VLC terminal from the apron

The following part was written by Jens (TriStar500)

Valencia Manises Airport (VLC)

The immediate vicinity of Valencia Airport is not exactly the most breathtaking one – a somewhat desolate looking cargo area with a small and run-down terminal, lots of trash piles in the corner of the large employee and rental car parking lots and precious few opportunities to wtch the action on the apron from the perimeter fences. Therefore it came as no surprise that after a brief stint at the fence, the three of us decided to walk back to the terminal and try to check in for our return flights.

Equally unimpressive, the terminal at VLC from the landside

Condor, as a side note, does not allow check-in for day trip, since they have outsourced the handling of their flights at the destination airports to a large number of subcontractors with reservation systems which are very different from Condor's one.
Well, to be fair, one has to acknowledge that day trips were probably not the kind of travel profiles the designers of the reservation system had in mind for a leisure airline...

Even more interesting and to a certain degree funny was to observe, how our four-segment day trip must have „beaten the system“ - after taking a look at my ID at the check-in desk, the girl behind the counter obviously had some serious trouble to identify my passenger name record in her system. A quick word with her supervisor ensued, who send me – and after the same procedure was repeated with Alex and Christoph – also the two other guys – to Condor's ticket counter at the other end of the fortunately small departure level.

Here, almost the same procedure was repeated all over again – a check of our ID's, a look at the record in the reservation system, followed by a critical check of our printed reservation confirmation. Finally, the girl at the ticket desk took up the telephone, dialed a number and ask someone called „Marisa“ (most like the supervisor at the check-in desks) to manually check us in.

Back at the check-in counters, we finally received our boarding passes – or to be more precise, at least some of them. While it was possible to check me for both my following flights (i.e. VLC-PMI and PMI-DUS), Alex and Christoph only received boarding passes for the first hop across the Mediteranean to PMI, where they would have to check-in for the second leg. Also, due to the curious loss of our reservation records, my previously assigned seats were gone – although I could live with that very well.

We spend the next two hours until the departure of our flight in a small spectators area on the second floor of the temrinal building, where also a few snack bars were located. VLC is a relatively tranquil mid-sized airport compared to such holiday hotspots like PMI, AGP, LPA etc., even more so on a slow Wednesday during the winter timetable, so there wasn't much going on on the apron except for some Ryanair flights, an Iberia A320 inbound from MAD and an Air Belrin B737, which was also operating a rotation from their respective hub on Mallorca.

Once inside the sterile portion of the terminal – which is mirroring our experiences on the landside, i.e. not much of interest going on here and everything looking slightly dated in a somewhat „used“ and slightly run down fashion.

A look inside the terminal

The „future“ of VLC – I wonder, how many of the ambitious dreams will eventually become reality?

We walked around for a while and watched the cattle stampede during the boarding one of Ryanair's flights – incredible, how the Irish carrier demands their passenger to walk huge distances through the elements only to save a few Euros for a bus transfer!

A Ryanair 737-800 leaving for STN after an impressive 25-minute turnaround

The distance between gate and aircraft door on the tarmac must have been at least 750 meters! Not much of a distance for young, trained people on a dry day, but imagine, what kind of ordeal this has to be during rain, storm, or for elderly citizens.

Well, if you pay peanuts...

Boarding for our flight commenced about 30 minutes before scheduled off-block time. We presented our boarding passes to the gate agent, walked down some stairs towards a waiting bus, which then whisked us away to our waiting A320.

The flight (VLC-PMI)

Valencia Manises (VLC) - Palma de Mallorca Sont San Juan (PMI)
Flight number: DE 3273
Scheduled block time: 1415h – 1505h
Off-block: 1405h
Take-off: 1415h (RWY 30)
Touchdown: 1445h (RWY 06L)
On-block: 1448h
Airbus A320-212
c/n: 809
first flight: April 1998
Seats 25A and 2B (Alex and Christoph), 31A (Jens)

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Photo © Mario Nonaka

Because I was sitting in the very last row on this flight, I boarded from the rear airstairs and entered the cabin just as a Spanair MD-80 was landing on the runway adjacent to the tarmac with a loud rumble. Now THAT'S a macho airplane after all – not one of those quiet, environmentally friendly effeminate Airbusses or Boeings!

Anyway, I was greeted at the entrance by two very young an attractive girls, which is a rare event when you are flying Condor nowadays, because due to the cutbacks inr ecent years, most of the cabin crew are of a lot higher seniority. Don't get me wrong – as long as service and safety are alright, I don't care about the rest, but still it is nice to see someone in your own age group working on an airplane once in a while.

Our flight today was booked very lightly with a seat load factor of approximately 25 percent.

While our Airbus started its engines and then commenced the slow taxiing towards the runway threshold, the safety briefing was announced. Untypically for a Condor flight, this would be done manually by one FA in the front and one in the center cabin. Usually, all safety briefings are done via the LCD drop-down screen situated above every third seat row...

We learned about the reason for this irregularity pretty soon – when the chapter “how to inflate your life vest” was announced, the girl in the center cabin pulled at the straps and witha loud “BANG!!!” the life vest inflated!
While the poor girl was visibly surprised and even a little shaken – possibly asking herself whether she had doen something wrong – loud laughter erupted in the front and rear galley, while the speaker announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome aboard our new colleague, whi is today working on her first flight. Please give some applause for her special performance!”
While the rookie flight attendant tried to untangle her head from the blown up life vest without damaging her hairdo, which was an event in itself, everyone in the cabin was laughing and aplauding to her. Finally, she made her way out of the grip of the evil rubber vest and walked back to her station w ith a glowing read head.

Nice show, girls!
After ending our lengthy voyage to the RWY through the murky Valencia afternoon weather, engines spooled up and thundered down RWY30, passing five stored Iberia A300 to the left – a sad sight, because these fine birds are almost destined to never fly again after alengthy storage period.

We climbed out of the hazy ground layer and soon turned towards the east, heading for Mallorca. As we were reaching the coastline, the weather cleared up a little and the shore became visible while we were climbing out towrds our cruising altitude of 24.000 feet, cruising at apprcimately 400 to 450 miles per hour.

Due to the short duration of our flight (30 minutes flying time), there would be no cabin service. After we had climbed to our peak altitude and remained there for about five minutes, decent was initiated again. Our final approach lead us right across the Bahia de Palma and alongside some of the more beautiful, and some not so beautiful but nevertheless (in-)famous sights of Mallorca.

Cabo Tramuntana and the Isla Dragonera

Beautiful Port d'Andraitx

Magaluf and Palma Nova, infamous holiday hotspot of the British “bucket and spade brigade”

Palma harbour, a container vessel is just entering the mole

With a notable drop in altitude and an increase in cabin noise, the flaps were lowered and just a few minutes later, the landing gear followed suit with a noticeable thump. During the final seconds of our short flight we soared across the northernmost part of S'Arenal, infamous holiday home of the German “bucket and spade brigade...

...and across the coastal highway, which is connecting Palma to S'Arenal and the airport.

Touch-down was very hard, and with a lot of spoiler-, thrust reverser- and braking action, our flight crew actually managed to slow down or lightly laden Airbus within a minimum distance in order to vacate the ruwnay right across from our destination terminal.

Reaching the jetway was only a matter of a few more minutes, until we finally connected to the terminal and left the airplane in due course.

The rest of the trip
Thank you very much for your patience so far! If you want to find out, how Alex's, Christoph's and my trip continued, you might want to read the reports about our flights back to STR
( http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/55785/ )
and DUS respectively
( http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/55932/ ).

As usual, questions, comments and constructive criticism is always appreaciated!  Smile

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBalboy From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2000, 143 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6185 times:


I'd love to do the to someone on my crew , but I'd be too scared...

Very funny. Good report..

User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 56
Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 6107 times:

Lovely Big grin Big grin

Great report and pics too  Smile


Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5243 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6055 times:

Hi Jens,
Hi Christoph,
Really entertaining to read about your DE "adventures". I feel like I was there again in the small viewers area 2 weeks ago at my VLC visit.
Markus (FLIEGER67)

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5875 times:

Thank you very much for your comments! Even a few small words make all the hours of work worth the while.

After being there, I must say that VLC airport is not really a place where one would like to spend several hours. It is small, looks dated and offers very little in terms of entertainment, be it o the apron or in the way of shops, restaurants etc. But anyway, it is good to have been there and delete it from the "to do"-list. Big grin

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8743 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5837 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report guys and loved the photo's!

I've not been to VLC so this trip gave me a little insight to the airport. I must say, what a dreary looking place, especially from the outside!!

Magaluf, went there about 6 years ago, a stag 'week' - what a nasty place, very tacky!!

Thanks again



User currently offlineA319114 From Netherlands, joined Aug 2004, 541 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days ago) and read 5826 times:

Very nice, Jens, I love the pics!

Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation
User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 28
Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 months 2 days ago) and read 5818 times:

What a superb report. Malaga airport also has one of those posters in the security area, with the same pink graphics detailing their plans. I'm going to read your other reports now.



It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 8, posted (11 years 2 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5704 times:

Thanks a lot! The very same can be said about your Vienna report. Where is your next trip report taking us?  Smile

Thank you very much and have fun reading our other two reports. Big grin I remember the extension plan in AGP, too, but at least according to my knowledge, in AGP they are actually already building the second runway and extending the terminal building unlike VLC, where there are only ambitious plans and precious few building activity supporting it (at least this was my impression).

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (11 years 2 months 22 hours ago) and read 5574 times:

Thanks for taking the time to write the report about our VLC trip, Jens and Christoph. Jens, the photos are excellent!

After take-off from VLC, I saw a sort of I think deserted airport close to the sea, and I wondered what it could be. Take a look at this photo:

The photo was taken only a few minutes after take-off from VLC, a few kilometres east of VLC. Does/did Valencia have a General Aviation airport (if so, it's quite a large one), or was it a military airbase?

Regards, Alex.

Edit: Apparently we were not the only a.netters at PMI that day:

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Photo © Markus Buttinger

Taken on 16 March 2005

[Edited 2005-03-28 15:05:21]

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 months 19 hours ago) and read 5506 times:

Hi Jens,

thanks a lot for illustrating my part of the report with your pics - and for putting everything together! 

It was nice to meet you, and this VLC-trip togehter with you and Alex was definately a lot of fun!

Thanks to all the others for your replies!!


[Edited 2005-03-28 18:01:29]

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 11, posted (11 years 2 months 4 hours ago) and read 5283 times:

@Alex, Christoph
I definitely have to agree with you - it was really fun to meet you guys in Spain. Big grin I hope we'll get a chance to repeat this sometime this year.

Regarding the mysterious airport on the picture, I have no idea, what this might be. IMO this looks much too large for a G/A airfied, it could be a military airbase. Since my interest in military aviation is rather limited, I have no clue if this actually the case though.

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (11 years 2 months 2 hours ago) and read 5245 times:

Thanks for this report – now that all three of your mini-series are published, it’s even more fun to read them. When only one or two were available, it was kind of like a cliffhanger…

I love the story about the life vest prank. I knew these jokes were done with newbies in the good old days, but I had no idea it was still done in today’s (very much more regulated) aviation world.
I remember reading about the classic, the newbie has to collect an airsickness bag full of warm puke (which is in fact a baby meal) only to discover her colleague go like "hmmh, what’s this, tastes great!" *yummy*

Regarding the deserted airfield: Spain decommissioned quite a lot of air force bases after the Franco era, this might be one of them. E.g. the University of Alicante (where I studied) is such a former installation. It’s great, a huge campus (-> the runway aerea), the old hangars and barracks are in use by university administration, and the ERASMUS office is located in the very stylishly renovated tower.

Daniel Smile

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 2 months ago) and read 5226 times:

I wasn't able to read the trip reports forum during the past week, and what a pleasant feeling it was when I saw the 'line-up' of Tristar500-Ndebele-Flieger67-... trip reports!

Just like your 'home carrier' Lufthansa, the trip reports were again as reliable as ever! Big grin The same consistent quality, what else could we expect.

A smile appeared on my face when I read the story about the 'blown-up' flight attendant...

Thanks for posting, looking forward to more! Big grin Any other trips ahead?


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 14, posted (11 years 1 month 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5086 times:

I have also read and heard various stories about pranks which are played with rookie cabin attendantsm but this was the first time I have actually seen one myself.
The crew on these flights different in some other regards from the regular Condor staff anyway -they were at least ten to fifteen years younger in average and really conducted most of their announcement in a rather funny, sloppy way - or maybe it just sounded less formal because it was an SXF-based crew and their accent was "Berlinerisch".

Haven't heard or read from you in a while and it is good to see that you are still around.
Besides some business trips and some rather bland (because they have been covered here pretty well by now) short trips e.g. to PMI, I am planning to write reports at least about the following travels this summer:

CGN-THF-DTM with a DI F-100 and a DauAir Saab-340B, also this will be my first airside visit to the architectural monument Tempelhof. You can be sure that this report will include lots and lots of photos.

CDG-EXT-CDG with a FlyBe Dash8Q-400 or BAe 146-200

MAH-MAD-MAH with AeBal B717 (still pending)

maybe also

DUS-MAH-DUS because of the DE B757-300 (also pending)

DUS-ZRH-DUS because of the AB F-100
as well as
DUS-CDG-DUS because of the AF A318

... and you never know, what other spontaneous projects will come my way.. Big grin

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2905 posts, RR: 21
Reply 15, posted (11 years 1 month 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 4920 times:

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 13):
Thanks for posting, looking forward to more! Big grin Any other trips ahead?

I have just started writing my next report, which I hope to finish and get online tomorrow morning Big grin

User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4706 posts, RR: 39
Reply 16, posted (11 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4823 times:

Hi Alex!
Did I forget that you were up to some other projects after our visit in Valencia? I thought you were minimzing your travels this year and focussing on the summer voyage to Japan?

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
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