Canberra From Denmark, joined Apr 2004, 310 posts, RR: 4 Posted (10 years 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 6279 times:
This time I had the ‘luck’ of trying out the brand new charter airline of tour operator Corendon. Not surprisingly the airline is called Corendon Air, but according to a small sticker on the rear part of the fuselage of their only aircraft it is operated by the, for me, unknown company ‘Touristic Jet’.
Anyway the plane is an ex. Easyjet/GO aircraft and seems to be in decent condition. It is operated with a very friendly all-Turkish crew. The aircraft is quite busy in the summer period. It is flying two rotations a day to Istanbul – Sabiha Gokcen from either Eindhoven (7x week), Amsterdam (4x) or Brussels (3x).
We booked the trip on-line, 4 nights, including tax, transfer, hotel and flights at only 580 EUR for two person. Extremely cheap in my eyes, taken in to account this in the middle of the Dutch May school holiday period (high, high season). At that price you cannot expect every thing is perfect (even though most do). As you will see not everything wasn’t perfect, but less horrible than expected.
As the date for our departure was getting closer, we got a phone call from Corendon announcing that our flight was rescheduled and was now to depart at 2030L instead of 1635L according to the original plan. A bit annoying as we would now arrive Istanbul in the middle of the night, but at least we were told well ahead of time.
Finally it became May 1st, and after a lazy day with reading about Istanbul we drove down to Eindhoven here from The Hague. We were told to be at the airport at least 2½ hour before departure, but after running into some roadworks we didn’t make that. Anyway it didn’t matter as our flight of course was delayed, as were all other Turkish charters these days (Some Onur Air flight from Amsterdam had a delay of 12+ hour).
Eindhoven Airport was a bit of a nightmare though. The very small and simple terminal is clearly not build to handle the busy holiday traffic. New terminal is under construction, but that didn’t help us, so we waited in the check-in line for a bit more than an hour. Most of the line was actually outside the terminal, but luckily it was not raining.
After having completed check-in at 2030L we went to the viewing terrace to have a bite and enjoy the view. At 2100L the Boeing from Corendon arrived, so we went down and proceeded through security and passport control without any hassle.
Date: May 01, 2005
Flight: CAI 854
Route: Eindhoven (EIN) – Istanbul/Sabiha Gokcen (SAW)
Aircraft: TC-TJA B737-3Q8 Corendon (operated by ‘Touristic Jet’)
Planned schedule: Departure EIN 2030L – Arrival SAW 0030L
Actual schedule: Departure EIN 2135L – Arrival SAW 0125L
After the long wait the atmosphere improved a lot as we started the short taxi to runway 22. This it really a big advantage with these small airports, after 5 mins we were airborne, at Schiphol you can taxi 20 mins with a bit of bad luck.
As it was getting dark I packed the camera in the bag after having taken this photo of our flight as it arrived Eindhoven. Therefore no pictures taken from our flight down to Istanbul.
The flight went fairly uneventful. Shortly after takeoff drinks and food where sold for very reasonable prices. See here for more info: http://www.corendon.com/netherlands/cabininfo.asp . Besides these snacks an omelette meal was served for 5 EUR. Cannot tell if it was any good as I already had a burger at the airport terrace.
Usually I would sleep on a flight like this! I also managed a bit but I was not sitting very comfortable! We were unlucky enough to be seated on row 26 (last row), and eventhough legspace was fairly tight allover the last row lacked an extra few centimetres.
Anyway good that I was awake then we landed at Istanbul – Sabiha Gokcen at 0125L after a bit less than 3 hours flight. It was quite dark but the airport lighting made it possible to read off some of the nice stuff parked on the apron (Il-76, Yak-42, An-24 and Tu-154s).
Also working surprisingly good (price taken into account) was the transfer to Istanbul city centre. Immigration was cleared fairly easy and without hassle, and a guy was telling everybody which bus they should go into. Around 40 mins after landing we were on the way to the hotel.
Istanbul is a fantastic city with lots of sights and a fantastic atmosphere. We were staying in the Sultanahmet area within walking distance to many of the sights, the Grand Bazar and not the least the trainstation that can take you to the Air Force Museum and Florya Beach where you can photograph the arrivals going into Istanbul - Ataturk. I made a ½ daytrip there, first to checkout the Museum and thereafter to have a bite (bring you own food) at Florya Beach while watching the planes arriving. Below see a few examples of what can be seen around there.
Well, city holidays have to be fairly short in my eyes, so we were going home again after three full days in Istanbul. We were picked up by the transfer bus around 0230L and arrived the airport a bit after 3 o’clock. We were supposed to leave at 0545L but when we arrived the airport our flight was delayed with two hours. Would have been nice if we would have been picked up two hours later as this was a scheduled delay (if that is what you call it). The plane was waiting on the apron but was delayed because the airport in Eindhoven only open at 1000L because of Ascension Day. Normally I don’t mind staying at an airport, but it was dark and I would only have missed one An-24 if we had arrived three hours later.
Sabiha Gokcen is not exactly a busy place but they have quality stuff going in and out of there! Seen where an Il-62 (Cargo!!), Il-76, Yak-42, An-26 and two An-24s. Also a few boring Germanwings aircraft departed shortly after we arrived.
The terminal if relatively OK for spotting purposes with an all glass front, but the glass is too thick to make decent photos though. In the morning the sun is really against you, and I think that will be the case all day, but the higher the sun the smaller the problem. In the afternoon it might be OK as well. Didn’t have a look around outside the terminal, so I don’t know if there are any sights from there. Security wise there was no problem with photography in the terminal or on apron on the way to the aircraft.
This time we had a bit better seat on row 22, so I fell asleep shortly after takeoff. Woke up after around two hours flight just in time to make a few photos from the air. Among others we passed Dusseldorf Airport before arriving Eindhoven.
After circling above Eindhoven for a few minutes, waiting for the airport to open at 1000L, we finally landed. Apparently we were the only ones waiting, as there were already three planes on the ground when parked at out stand. Among those a Eurofly A320 to pickup the lucky AC Milan player, that just made to the Champions League final after losing 3-1 to PSV.
Though most of the arriving planes were other charter flights from Turkey. Among them the above MNG B737. It arrived the same time as us, but the passengers where only allowed of the aircraft after our flight had cleared immigration almost 45 mins later, most of the time waiting outside on the apron.
Our mood improved a bit when picking up our car from long-term parking though. The machine asked 22 EUR for 4 days parking (already cheap) but unfortunately (for them) the card reader in the machine didn’t work and we were let out without paying!
All in all well done Corendon! Almost everything went better than expected! Only minus points were the extremely little leg room on row 26 and that we were not told about the delays of the flights.
As for Eindhoven Airport, way to many planes very flying in and out at the same time for the small terminal to handle in a decent way. Plus point for finding the sweater I left in the plane on the way back though!
Well this was about the end of a very nice short holiday.
All the best, Michael
PS. Watch this space for the report from my upcoming trip to Afghanistan in the near future!
(sorry, I can't get the twomaid to work one time in the post, so the rest of the pictures posted one by one.)
It takes courage to push things forward . . (Mo Mowlam)
One seat left on the way out (the one in front of me), totally full on the way back, but keep in mind the was school holiday and there was 15-20 extra charterflights to Turkey a day in this period, so I am not sure this is the normal picture!
All the best, Michael
It takes courage to push things forward . . (Mo Mowlam)