The flights were booked via the HLX call center in February, costing 69EUR all incl. per person for the return flight, which is incredibly cheap for Manchester - you don't find 19EUR-tickets on this route.
We arrived at the airport by 17:00, and after about 10 minutes queueing at the check-in, we were able to check our baggage in and received our boarding passes.
Later we went through security and passport control (no queue) to gate 410, where a delay was announced at 19:00. The aircraft was already at STR, however the crew was late because they came from another delayed aircraft, and as HLX would change the crew from one aircraft to the other, our flight would be delayed by 30 minutes. Boarding started by 19:30 and we were bussed to the aircraft which we entered via the rear stairway.
As you can see, the aircraft is equipped with monitors, which are used to show the airshow and of course HLX ads.
Instead of the normal HLX headrest covers, headrest covers on this aircraft were sponsored by T-Mobile:
Ha-ha, these slogans are so funny. NOT!
The T-Mobile logo jet was parked next to us:
Doors were closed at about 19:55, but then it took again 20 minutes before engines were started. No announcement by the crew about the reason for waiting. Most probably it was caused by ATC, but an announcement informing us about the reason for this additional delay would have been nice. Anyway, by 20:15 engines were running and we taxied towards runway 25.
Through the clouds...
...then above the clouds...
Inflight service began. Christoph (ContactAir) who was with me on this flight had a Happy-Meal consisting of a salami baguette, a Snickers and a Fanta for together 6EUR.
I didn't order anything, which was quite the exception, most of the other passengers bought at least a tea, coffee or beverage. By the way, about half of the passengers were British, the others German.
Another oh-so-funny sickbag:
Routing was the usual one, Stuttgart - Mannheim - Luxemburg - Brussels - Southend - Luton - Manchester. This all above the clouds, so no air-to-ground pics this time, only when we were approaching MAN.
Wir haben gehalten
In der langweiligsten Landschaft der Welt
Wir haben uns unterhalten
Dass es uns hier gefaellt:
Old Trafford Stadium (well, maybe not...):
Buckingham Palace (well, certainly not):
Landing on runway 24R at about 20:45 local time. We taxied towards our parking position and the crew apologized for the delay. We were informed that we could leave the aircraft both through the front and the rear door, but this turned out as false - though there was a stairway, the rear door was never opened.
A last two photos of the aircraft:
So sieht der Flieger aus, schalalalala
So sieht der Flieger aus, schalalala:
Then we walked to the baggage claim to pick up our trolley (waiting time: about 10 minutes). This is already the end of this short report. The teturn flight three days later was departing at 9pm so it was too dark to take any good photos, and there was also nothing special to write about the return. Oh wait, one thing: The return flight was on-time, which was actually the first time ever I think that I was on an on-time HLX flight. Though they really managed to reduce their several-hours-delays (which they used to be famous for), they're still always good for a more or less small delay. Anyway, I don't want to complain, and all in all this flight to MAN was quite alright, and incredibly cheap for this route. Though it was not easy to find such a low fare, and it meant we would have to spend the soccer world cup finals weekend in the UK. The biggest fear we had was a finals England vs. Germany, which we would then have to watch in an English pub. But as you know, this didn't happen. Maybe it's better this way. Thanks for reading my report, I kept it short, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask or just leave a thank-you-message. So long, I say good-bye with the promiss that my next report will cover a more interesting airline/aircraft combination. Hope you enjoyed this report anyway, and best regards, Alex.
MichiganMAN From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 139 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 8507 times:
The soccer stadium is Edgeley Park, of course I use the term stadium in it's loosest term........however Stockport County whom play there used to be in Division 1, now languishing in Division 3.........I used to be a season ticket holder before I left for the USA.
Sale Sharks rugby team also play there and are English Champions.
UK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2606 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 8322 times:
Nice report and pics - always nice to see photos of the approach into MAN - one which I have also done many times. Shame you weren't sat on the right - I wanted to see a pic of Morrisons in Cheadle where I used to do my shopping
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2904 posts, RR: 21
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8126 times:
Thanks for your replies! I made another trip on HLX yesterday (daytrip to Paris), just for the record, the morning flight STR-ORY departed ten minutes ahead of schedule, the return flight in the evening 1h 10min delayed.
Quoting Pdanicic (Reply 1): They seems to be somehow not-too-much-noticed LCC, at least for me
That is possibly because you live in Serbia. I'm sure they're far better-known in Croatia where they fly regularly.
That's a funny story, in fact Christoph had ordered the snack combi sandwich/soft drink for 5EUR, but the f/a asked him if he wants a Mars, Twix or Snickers with that, making it the Deluxe Snack which then cost 6EUR.
I knew there would be MAN locals / ex-locals who would be able to correct me regarding the stadium. Thanks for that!
Nickrose87 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2006, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 8041 times:
Ive flown with HLX MAN-STR-MAN. All i can say is that the service could be better. Me and some friends flew to STR last September before going downt ot the Okbtoberfest in Munich. The outward flight left on time but the return flight was the worst flight i have ever taken. We got to the gate 5 mins late as there was a tearful goodbye with out friends. We thought we would get there as it was boarding but it was delayed 30 mins. So we went to the shops for a bit, then went back with time till it started boarding. Then it was delayed an additional hour. (they never explained why). Then it was delayed another hour. Flight was meant to board at around 1830 but we were still sat at the gate at midnight. There was noone from the airline or agent at the gate when the boarding time changed to 0700. We were all like complaining as we were all tired by this point. An airline worker came about 20 mins later to say we were going to hotels for the night. Stupidly, HLX didnt book enough rooms for everyone, so half of our party got sent to one hotel before HLX realised that they hadnt booked enough. So there was about 8 of us sat in the Check-in area until 2 in the morning. They finally sent us to a hotel but we didnt even have 4 hours there before we had to be back at the airport. We ended up flying back on Hapag-Lloyd instead. Get this though. Not once during our delay were we given food vouchers or anything to get food at the hotel. HLX paid for a "light" breakfast at the airport, which was a hot drink and a slice of toast. As we were starving when we got to the hotel, we had ot raid the mini bar as room service had ended. A drink each and a bag of nuts came to about €30 euros for 3 of us. HLX refused to rebait this back to us because it was our choice to use the mini bar.
Now im going back to STR in 2 weeks but am now flying with a reputable airline, namely KLM.
Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 8014 times:
thanks for writing this report about our trip to MAN which is always worth a visit, especially the famous "Airport Hotel" close to the runway.
I agree, HLX is a typical low-cost airline where nothing special can be expected. However, we got to the UK at a quite good fare and cabin crew especially on the return leg was very friendly. However, statements like the one of Nickrose show that punctuality isn't always a strength of HLX...
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2904 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 7788 times:
Thanks again for your feedback, it's really appreciated guys!
One thing I forgot:
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3): "Hannover Airport"
That qualifies for a special cls aircraft!
It does, and finally I got to fly on "Hannover Airport", after I was to fly this aircraft already last year on STR-HAJ, however for technical problems the aircraft had to be changed (resulting in another HLX'esque delay of 3 1/2 hours, and we were still lucky compared to Nickrose's delay...) and we flew on a normally-painted aircraft instead. But I don't care too much about my flights' liveries too much, to be honest.
GodBless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 7605 times:
It's been a pleasure to read, gives a real good picture what HLX does offer and where they lack in quality. They just don't seem to know how to make sure to get their flights off the ground on time. That they always want to turnaround their planes in 20 minutes doesn't help much either, rather it creates more delays.
I would like to know if it is like that in CGN as well, because during "my times there" they seemed to be quite on time in general.