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High Frills · Low Cost ­–» AB Enroute AMS-PMI-BCN  
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4438 times:

Hi there,

And here is another report on Air Berlin out of their 'booming hub' AMS!  Smile This week AB announced new services from AMS to MAH from coming May! So that's the third destination out of AMS, after startup services I think now just 1 year ago. AB now operates services to PMI, TXL, and MAH. It's just waiting for another new route to be announced by this great airline...

Ok, let go on with the report. I purchased some '29 Euro' vouchers during a public relations campaign of AB among a large Dutch supermarket. These were sold out all within one day, and I got 5 of them. One was used 2 weeks ago on a trip to BIO (see my other tripreport in this forum), and now I used these ones with my boyfriend for a short break in Barcelona. Finally we enjoyed a very nice climate of 18ºC, lots of sunshine and of course the city itselves with nice architecture (e.g. Gaudi), good shopping areas, fine restaurants and just being away from the cold Netherlands!

I was able to book the complete leg AMS to BCN (via PMI) for 1 voucher of EUR 29.00, making the total return fare for one person EUR 58.00, including all taxes. Unbelievable cheap, as you get 4 flights, convenient departure times, and inflight service (free food/beverages). And we were able to collect miles on our FFP.

The flight to PMI leaves at 07.00am which means an early check-in was neccesary to obtain some good seats. This was not a problem just 1 hour prior to departure. It was quiet at checkin, 3 counters were opened for the AB flight. We checked in our luggage, it was checked through to BCN, and we got 2 boarding passes each, for both legs. Seats are assigned on check-in, which means no hurries upon boarding, like you will experience when flying e.g. U2 or FR. We slowly walked to security, which was a breeze, although the queue was quite long that morning. It all went smoothly, and we noticed our departing gate on one of the new flatscreens located everywhere in the departure lounge. Assigned gate was B17, which actually is almost at the final end of the B-gates. When we arrived, we immediately started boarding our flight, 25 minutes before departure. We saw our Boeing 737-800 with blended winglets waiting for us. This aircraft was manufactured and originally delivered to AB in February 2003, and is now just over 3 years old.

16 March 2006

Flight: AB9264 AMS-PMI
Aircraft: D-ABBH Boeing 737-86J/WL
Seat: 22E Economy Class
STD: 07:00 ATD: 06:53
STA: 09:30 ATA: 09:08


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Photo © Sören Klinger
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Photo © Jose Muñoz - Iberian Spotters



Boarding was completed quickly, and doors closed at 06:51am. Almost immediately we got our pushback, and were offblockes 7 minutes early! Good job. That's what you call a good start of the day  Smile This advantage was blown away when we noticed that our takeoff runway was 36L, the new and far away located so called "Polderbaan". We taxied between a couple of KL F100's, heading for the UK most probably and were finally airborne at 07:08am. The morning sun was shining on the blended winglet. I really like watching those wingtips! They make the wing 'less boring'.



Captain Roberto Günther was flying this morning, and he informed us shortly after takeoff about the estimated flight time, weather enroute and at PMI. We dissappeared into thick clouds and relaxed for a while, till the breakfast was announced over the PA system. Our pursus Claudia Rens and her crew handed out everybody a tray containing a warm small breadroll, a ham and cheese plate, fruit salad (melon, apple, orange), yoghurt, and tea/coffee + orange juice. Great isn't it! We didn't had breakfast at home (too early to eat when we left home Big grin) so this was a welcome offer  thumbsup . When we were eating, we passed the city of Paris which was visible from our cruising altitude at 31000 ft. After the crew cleaned up the tables, we listened to our MP3 players, and had beautiful views on the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France and Andorra!



We passed the cities of Girona and Barcelona, turning towards the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca). More and more clouds came insight, and finally the island was not perfectly visible for us  Sad A small dissapointment for us, as we've been on holidays at Mallorca last year, and it was nice to get back some memories of course. We didn't know yet that the weather conditions became better later that morning. We flew constantly over the Mediterranean Sea and headed for runway 06L. It was a uneventful landing at a still quiet airport. We only noticed a couple of Air Europa 737's, one IB MD88, and a few turboprops of Air Nostrum/Iberia Regional. In fact, we were the first AB aircraft arriving at this 'AB-hub'  Smile We got parked almost 30 minutes ahead of schedule at terminal D, gate 64.

Upon arrival in the terminal building, we were greeted by 2 AB groundstaff informing all connecting passengers about the departure gate for the onward connecting flight. We were told to go to gate D67. The aircraft which brought us to PMI was heading for OPO.

When we were walking around the terminal during our one hour stay, more and more AB aircraft were arriving from several European airports. All were parked next to eachother, making a total of around 10 different aircraft at the gates within 20 minutes after our arrival!

Our aircraft also arrived, another Boeing 737-800, another one with blended winglets  Smile Boarding announcements were made at 10.05am, and it became more crowded at the place.

16 March 2006

Flight: AB2478 PMI-BCN
Aircraft: D-ABBJ Boeing 737-86Q/WL
Seat: 04F Economy Class
STD: 10:30 ATD: 10:33
STA: 11:20 ATA: 11:30


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Photo © H. Meier
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Photo © Markus Schuster



Boarding was completed, doors were all closed in time. But due to ATC reasons (runway changes), we were offblockes a few minutes late. Instead of the expected runway 06R for takeoff, we were assigned to runway 24R. Takeoff in the direction of the city of Palma and sea.



Due to taxiway construction works, we entered the runway first, taxied to the beginning, made a 180º turn, and were allowed for takeoff. We got airborne at 10.48am. Weather became nice now, lots of sunshine all over the island of Mallorca! It gave some outstanding views of Palma city! A city with a population just below 400,000 citizens.



During our climb we turned right, now heading to BCN. During the turns, some more great views on the island were offered to us. A nice additional inflight entertainment for us Big grin



As we reached our cruising altitude of 18000ft, for this short flight, the cabin crew came along the aisle to handout bags, with Air Berlin logo on it. They contained a sandwick with salami, and a bottle of 0,33l Nestlé water. There was no choice for vegetarian and/or cheese.



Shorly after we got our food, the captain informed us about the final decent into BCN. Weather was cloudy, and landing was expected to become a little bit bumpy. It was actually not bumpy at all, but that doesn't really matter Big grin

Landing was at the runway located near the sea, 07R, and we had to make a long way to our remote parking stand. We were onblockes at 10.30am, 10 minutes behind schedule. 2 buses were waiting to bring us to the terminal building. When disembarking the aircraft, I noticed a Air Madid A330-200 and AR B744 parked behind us. A shame that I didn't take my camera out to make some pictures. After a 'airside bus tour', we were dropped at the arrivals hall, were our luggage arrived within 15 minutes on the belt. Luggage made it to BCN without problems, like we did. We found our way through immigration/customs to the Renfe trainstation. The train was the final transportation to the citycentre, where we enjoyed some days off  Smile

Conclusion can be only positive again. AB flew ontime again, they flew me again in great 737-800's with the blended winglets (I really like them), seatpitch is good for the European flights, breakfast/drinks were fine for me (except PMI-BCN, they only offered salami, but I don't prefer eating any kind of meatproduct). For the short flight it was no problem, and I've read on AB's website that I am able to order a special meal. Maybe I'll try out this service next time  Smile The loads on both flights were quite good, AMS-PMI some 70%, mainly holiday makers to Spain. PMI-BCN was almost fully loaded, also lot's of Spanish people on this flight. I think the EUR 29.00 fares are good for Spanish people, when you compare the lowest fare on IB and UX (from EUR 49.00/single).

The return flights BCN-PMI-AMS were also fine, ontime, good food (but again only meat on BCN-PMI), D-ABBI (B738) brought us to PMI, D-ABAH (B734) to AMS. I will fly AB again (of course) in May, to TXL, also making me 'Silver' in their TopBonus FFP. I really hope you enjoyed this report and experience on this great German airline. Any comments and replies are more then welcome again.

Thanks
Eric


"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4269 times:

Good to read that you once again were happy with your AB-flights ...
And 29 EUR oneway really is a bargain!

Did you enjoy your stay in Barcelona? Wasn´t it a bit cold to visit the city ? "June" should be a very good time, but by then a) the airfares and b) the hotel rates will be considerably higher again ...  Sad
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineAtco2b From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 1114 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4075 times:

Air Berlin look like a brilliant carrier! Wil definitely be trying their service one day!

Thanks, nice pictures.



Hey, you want to go out for pizza and some sex? What, you don't like pizza?
User currently offlinePlanemanofnz From New Zealand, joined Sep 2005, 1675 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3771 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Was their IFE on these flights?

User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3644 times:

Hi Eric,

great report and some nice pics - very enjoyable to read!

Christoph


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3642 times:

Quoting Planemanofnz (Reply 3):
Was their IFE on these flights?

AB has some overhead screens along the aisle, showing promotional videos about their destinations, sometimes short 'Mr Bean' movies or other comics. Also enroute information about remaining flight time, a map, altitude etc. is given from time to time.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 4):
great report and some nice pics - very enjoyable to read!

Thank Christoph, always nice to hear!  Smile



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineJohnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2576 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3588 times:

Really nice to read your report.

But that salami...it looks a bit radioactive, no?


User currently offlineETFokker50 From Netherlands, joined Feb 2006, 107 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3535 times:

Long live Digros / Bas van der Heijden / Dirk van de Broek...
I shouldn't be talking though as an ex-employee  Smile


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3475 times:

Quoting Johnboy (Reply 6):
But that salami...it looks a bit radioactive, no?

whaha,... taste was good from what I've heard Big grin Didn't eat it myself actually!

Quoting ETFokker50 (Reply 7):
Long live Digros / Bas van der Heijden / Dirk van de Broek...

Yeah, it was a real bargain now! But also without these supermarkets, I was flying AB. As I did more then once before, and will do in the future, without the flight-vouchers.  Smile



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAussie_ From Australia, joined Dec 2000, 1766 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3396 times:

what were the passenger loads like on the flights?

User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3305 times:

Quoting Aussie_ (Reply 9):
what were the passenger loads like on the flights?

Both flights were very well loaded, in percentage around 85% each. AMS-PMI flights of AB are also used by touroperators, which include the flight in their holiday-package. This may help a lot to fill the flights.



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineBlackandWhite From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 113 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 3263 times:

I flew AB GLASTNDUS in march and on boarding the plane a F/A was standing with a basket offering pax a sweet , havent been offered a sweet in flight for years, thought AB service and cabin crew for what i paid was very good, considering i flew back NRNPIK on FR at not all that much less than i paid on AB

User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1684 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 3228 times:

Eric,

Excellent report and pictures; glad to see you're still very happy with AB, same as with me  Smile

Congrats with your upgrade in AB's TopBonus scheme...more facilities offered to you now !!!

Considering what you've paid for, AB's service is top-notch, and I even consider it better than that of the legend carriers like KL and IB...



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2571 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3139 times:

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
We found our way through immigration/customs to the Renfe trainstation

Clearing inmigration/customs for a domestic flight PMI-BCN? Why is that? Yet you didn't do the same when arriving at PMI from AMS. I don't understand, Schengen treaty should let you bypass inmigration checks.

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3111 times:

Quoting Luisde8cd (Reply 13):
Clearing inmigration/customs for a domestic flight PMI-BCN? Why is that? Yet you didn't do the same when arriving at PMI from AMS. I don't understand, Schengen treaty should let you bypass inmigration checks.

All flights, including domestic ones and European and intercontinental flights arrive in the same main terminal building at BCN, with several exit through immigration. There you may choose your way through the 'blue lane' (EU pax) or 'green lane' (nothing to declare) or the 'red lane' (something to declare). Of course, immigration officers can stop everybody for random checks.
BCN offers not the same Schengen designated terminal as known from other airports like e.g. AMS.

Hope this helps you out,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4693 posts, RR: 43
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3058 times:

Hi Eric!
Once again a highly enjoyable trip report from you!  Smile With the new base in AMS, I wonder if AB is also employing Dutch cockpit and cabin crews for flights from the Netherlands. While the name of your captain sounds pretty much German/ Spanish to me, I wasn't so sure about the purser's name.

Silver status is a nice thing - it allows you, among other things, to pre-reserve your seats without extra cost.



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1684 posts, RR: 31
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 6 days ago) and read 3051 times:

Hi Tristar500,

AB has been looking for cabin-crew based at AMS for some time now, and has even published that on their web-site...not sure about cockpit-crew...
They have been looking for additional staff at their AMS service-desk also lately, so, apparently, big plans for expanding AMS schedules !!!



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3036 times:

Quoting MH017 (Reply 16):
not sure about cockpit-crew...

Yes they also were looking for B737 type-rated flightcrew some months ago. It now dissappeared from their website actually.

@ Tristar: Thanks for reading! Nice to hear from you again,
AMS is a good new business for AB I think. This summer they'll fly:

AMS-TXL
AMS-PMI
AMS-MAH
AMS-ALC

plans (and slots!) are there for twice daily AMS-HAM

AB is used already by large Dutch touroperators, I think due to decreased capacity by MP on European flights this summer. MP wants to fly more cargo instead of pax (they only fly 1 MD11 pax this summer).

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2571 posts, RR: 31
Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2989 times:

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 14):
All flights, including domestic ones and European and intercontinental flights arrive in the same main terminal building at BCN, with several exit through immigration. There you may choose your way through the 'blue lane' (EU pax) or 'green lane' (nothing to declare) or the 'red lane' (something to declare). Of course, immigration officers can stop everybody for random checks.
BCN offers not the same Schengen designated terminal as known from other airports like e.g. AMS.

Thanks for the reply.

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis


User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 24
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2849 times:

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 14):
main terminal building at BCN, with several exit through immigration. There you may choose your way through the 'blue lane' (EU pax) or 'green lane' (nothing to declare) or the 'red lane' (something to declare).

Sorry, but that should not be "Immigration" but "Customs".
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
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