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BA Connect STR-BHX-STR, With Pics And Vids  
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 15590 times:

Thanks for deciding to read the report about a trip to Birmingham which Christoph (Contact Air) and I did last week, on BA Connect, or should I say BA CitiExpress, British Regional Airlines, Citiflyer Express, Manx European, Brymon, Birmingham European Airlines or whatever they call themselves these days...

The flights were booked on ba.com in January, 89EUR for the return flight all-inclusive, or 14EUR plus taxes and fees. In February, we got an eMail informing us about the implementation of the new brand BA Connect, and that we would no longer get free meals on board. I think they even offered us a full refund in case we would decide not to fly due to this change. But of course we took those flights.

STR-BHX
BA1740
14 September 2006
STD: 07:05 ATD: 07:22
STA: 07:55 ATA: 08:00
Seats: 17B and 17C
Number of passengers: between 30 and 35
ERJ-145
G-ERJD
Built and delivered in July 2000.

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Photo © Darren Wilson
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Photo © Laurent Herjean



We checked in the evening before at BA's counters in Terminal 1 (I hate those check-in machines), however the agent there walked with us over to the check-in machines and then she checked us in there. Our frequent flyer numbers were already entered during booking, BA Executive Club for Christoph and SNBA Privilege for me. Not sure how many miles we got, but it must be something like 125 miles - wow Big grin We got our boarding passes for both STR-BHX and the return BHX-STR:


The next morning I took the bike to the airport. Christoph and I met at gate 111. I was a bit unsure what was allowed in my carry-on for a flight to the UK, so I passed through security early. However the UK flights were using just the same security control as every other flight. There used to be a second security check in front of the gate when I last flew BA in December, but apparently this is no longer the case.

Boarding started on-time at 06:45.


All announcements said "BA Connect", I had the feeling the use of the new name was really important for them. A bus drove us 30 passengers out to the plane, which still carried the British Airways titles:


The two flight attendants welcomed us aboard, and we walked back to our seats just behind the wing. As the row in front of us remained empty, I later moved there in order to take some photos of take-off, while Christoph took care of the take-off video. An announcement was made that due to air traffic control restrictions, we would have to wait 20 minutes before we could leave.

A few words about the cabin: It was in excellent condition, blue leather seats, with BA Connect (!) headrest covers, BA connect safety cards and BA Connect pay-for-food pricelists in the seat pockets, ... the name BA Connect was everywhere.

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Photo © James Rowson



Engines were finally started and we taxied towards runway 25.

The take-off video...
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v5.../?action=view¤t=BHXvid01.flv

The take-off pics...

The fire brigade:


The Daimler-Chrysler Aviation and Lufthansa Technik hangars:


Terminal 3 with an Air France A319 and a DBA F100:


Terminal 1:


The "Fildermesse" construction side - it's interesting to see the building of this new fair growing each time you take off from STR:


Echterdingen:


Leinfelden:




The Engelbergtunnel near Leonberg:


It was a strange weather outside: Not really cloudy, not really cold, but hazy, which created a strange feeling once the sun was rizing:




The two f/a's were coning through the cabin, distributing BA Connect menu cards:

A variety of hot and cold snacks and drinks. Prices were neither cheap nor overpriced, I would call them reasonable. They sold quite a lot of coffee and tea, Christoph who ordered the full English breakfast was more or less the exception, as they didn't sell many meals. Anyway, the meal looks quite good, a hot meal for all-together 5 pounds:


A nuclear power plant somewhere along the river Neckar:


Somewhere over Belgium, it became more cloudy and later completely overcast.


"...und Sehnsucht uns begleitet":


The North Sea behind us, the UK ahead:


Somewhere below all the haze you can see Stansted airport:


Some pics of the approach - it was raining at BHX:






Thomsonfly (powered by Britannia) B757:




Touch-down with a European B737-200 in the distance:


BHX somehow reminds me of BSL: terminals which were built for a sort of Eurohub / Eurocross operation which no longer exists in the way it was meant to be - so all the jetways are a bit out-of-place by now. Our ERJ parked in front of one of those jetways, we left the aircraft and walked over the tarmac just to walk up some stairs up to the jetway. I guess the airport planners expected some larger equipment, however BA's operations are down to mostly ERJ, with an RJ100 here and there.

This photo of our aircraft is crap - but notice the BA Connect titles which they have applied to their cars already:




A sister aircraft parking next to ours - did I mention that it was raining?


After a visit to the observation deck (which is literally hidden somewhere next to Terminal 1) we took the train to the city of Birmingham. 15 minutes by train, 3.30GBP.





The Akropolis of Birmingham:


We didn't know about what sights could be seen at Birmingham, so we basically just walked around the city centre. Once the rain became heavier, we decided to take the train back to the airport.

BHX-STR
BA1743
14 September 2006
STD: 14:20 ATD: 16:15
STA: 17:10 ATA: 19:00
Seats: 15B and 15C
Number of passengers: between 35 and 40
ERJ145
G-EMBH
Built and delivered in January 1999

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Photo © PTN - VIP Vienna International Planespotters



This aircraft operated in "Blomsterang" World Tail colours until quite recently:

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Photo © Jim Groom
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Photo © Stewart Andrew



Already when we had arrived at BHX in the morning, the screens showed a delay for our flight back home in the afternoon. Surprisingly, the frequently-changing new expected time of departure was always an exact time, changing from 15:11 to 15:52, then 15:34 and so on. I have no idea how they could predict the delay so exactly some seven hours in advance! Anyway, in the end the delay came close to two hours, which the service counter explained to us due to the delay of the operating aircraft which was to arrive late from Milan.
We spent most of the waiting time again on the observation deck, as this place offers some decent views and -most importantly- you don't get wet, as it was still raining.

BA Check-in in terminal 2:


Security check in the UK. No liquids allowed in your carry-on. Laptops, mobile phones and all other electonic devices have to be x-rayed separately, shoes have to be taken off and x-rayed, too. However this time they didn't take photos at security (or at least I didn't notice). Very useful: a BA counter just behind security where you can check-in everything which security doesn't allow in your carry-on.

What I don't like about British airports is the late announcement of the gate, the screens say "wait in lounge" until boarding begins. While we were waiting in lounge, we saw FlyBE's new Emb-195 landing, which was delivered only a few days before.

Finally our gate was announced, gate F12 if I remember correctly. Now our flight was delayed by nearly two hours. No gate announced so far meant nobody could complain at the gate agent about the delay, but even now at the gate I didn't see any angry passengers. Well, they're British, I always find it nice to see how much more relaxed british passengers react when their flight is delayed by hours - in Germany you would see people complaining at the counter all the time, asking for refreshment vouchers and so on. Then again, BA was lucky to keep the delay a few minutes below the magic two hours.



Boarding began, once again through a jetway, at the end of which they had a stairway attached, and we walked the last few meters over the tarmac.

The captain made an announcement explaining the reason for the delay once again. Then we were pushed back and on our way to the runway.

A last view to the terminal:


The BHX take-off video (which we kept much shorter than the STR take-off video):
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v5.../?action=view¤t=BHXvid02.flv







Meal service - Christoph had a big sandwich for 2.50GBP:


The runway 07 approach to STR was quite unusual, leading us over the city of Herrenberg - I have never approached like this, especially not when arriving from the northwest. I guess this was some kind of flying a holding, as there was some other traffic in front of us, e.g. the CSA ATR72 which we saw flying somewhere below us and which we later saw again at the airport.

The city of Herrenberg:


The Autobahn A81 with the Schönbuchtunnel:


I really don't know if this is Holzgerlingen or Weil im Schönbuch. But then again- who cares Big grin :


The Schönbuch forest:


The city of Stetten:


Flaps full down:


Touch-down with the tower and the real,- supermarket in the background:


We taxied towards our stand and were bussed to terminal 1, where there was no waiting time at all at passport control, so in a matter of a few minutes I was already riding my bike back home.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this report. Feel free to leave your comments or questions, they're appreciated. Best regards, Alex.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineThomsonfly From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 229 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 15532 times:

Hi
Very enjoyable trip report - glad you came to my home town nice to see some action going on here! i work at BHX and have often taken a ramp congestion delay down to ba connect and their little pathetic excuses for aircraft compared to mine but nice to see the service isnt bad on 'em  Smile

Regards
Mark


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5137 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 15368 times:

Hi, Alex,
thanx for posting this nice report.
Your pic of BHX BA check in reminds me to a unscheduled night in Birmingham
during Eurohub times.
It seems the wheather become better when you leave!.
Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8506 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 15344 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Alex,

Thanks, another super report and on a plane still missing from my collection:-(

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
There used to be a second security check in front of the gate when I last flew BA in December, but apparently this is no longer the case.

- Gooid, I find it very annoying.

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
the meal looks quite good, a hot meal for all-together 5 pounds:

- Not bad at all for a fiver!

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
We didn't know about what sights could be seen at Birmingham, so we basically just walked around the city centre.

- Hmmm, I'd have stayed and watched planes.

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
in the end the delay came close to two hours

- Bit of a shame, especially since the weather had been poor.

Thanks again.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1916 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 15179 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Wow, what a good report! Great pictures of your flights, and of Birmingham.

I've flown on lots of ERJ-145's, and I find them rather nice. Sometimes I can feel cramped, but if there are not too many people onboard it can be very nice.

Looking forward to more reports!

767747


User currently offlineRyanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15116 times:

Great report, full of nice pictures. I’ll have to try BA Connect sometime from MAN.

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
We didn't know about what sights could be seen at Birmingham, so we basically just walked around the city centre. Once the rain became heavier, we decided to take the train back to the airport.

Birmingham isn’t the most exciting place in the world; it’s just a normal UK city with very few sights or things to do (unless you like shopping).

Ryanair737


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 14982 times:

Hi Alex,

thanks for writing this report about our trip to BHX. I also enjoyed the flights on BA Connect. Despite being some kind of LCC now, they are not bad indeed.

Of course the aircraft on our flights weren't completely booked out, but load factors don't seem to be too bad on that route, especially if you keep in mind that STR-BHX is served three times a day which is quite a lot for a route connecting two more or less smaller airports.

Christoph


User currently offlineRaffik From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 1716 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 14903 times:

Wonderful trip report! Love the shots and vids.
Food on BA Connect seems to be of a brilliant standard, and honestly priced, also!



Happy -go- lucky kinda guy!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14794 times:

Thanks for your replies everybody!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 2):
Your pic of BHX BA check in reminds me to a unscheduled night in Birmingham
during Eurohub times.

This sounds like a missed connection? May I ask what your routing was? Thinking about the map of Europe, a "Euro-Hub" at BHX only makes sense for connections from mainland Europe to other UK destinations. For a routing from mainland Europe to mainland Europe, a flight via BHX always seems a bit like a detour.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):
Hmmm, I'd have stayed and watched planes.

Yeah, maybe. But unfortunately the traffic just didn't seem to entertain us for the complete eight hours, so a visit to the city was nice. And don't get me wrong, I didn't say Birmingham isn't nice - it's just that we didn't know where to go and so just walked through the rainy city without any plan.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):

I've flown on lots of ERJ-145's, and I find them rather nice.

So do I, but having had 14 flights on the Swiss ERJ, it was nice to fly another airline's ERJ finally.

A short update, I got my SN Privilege miles credited. They gave me 136 miles per flight, which is weird as I expected only 125 miles as BA Executive club gives. Is there such a thing as a BA:SN FF miles exchange rate???

Regards, Alex.


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5137 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 14773 times:

Hi, Alex,

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 8):
This sounds like a missed connection? May I ask what your routing was?

That was back in 2000 or 2001, I think pre A.Net times.
Booked was a quick trip STR-CDG-DUB-CDG-STR, but AF was on strike.
So they rebooked me on STR-AMS (KL operated by Eurowings) AMS-DUB
(KL by AerLingus in Biz) DUB-BHX (BA by AerLingus) and finally BHX-STR (BA by MaerskAir).
The DUB-BHX service was delayed and the fun level goes really down as both
AerLingus and BA do not want to care about their missed connectors.
Finally AerLingus payed the night in the Novotel BHX airport, I had great fun with a girl from DUS who has also missed her flight, at the bar and so the fun level goes back straight up.

Regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 14752 times:

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 8):
A short update, I got my SN Privilege miles credited. They gave me 136 miles per flight, which is weird as I expected only 125 miles as BA Executive club gives. Is there such a thing as a BA:SN FF miles exchange rate???

I just checked my BA Executive Club account and I got 137 miles per sector for the same flights. The answer for this is: the "real" flown miles on that route (STR-BHX according to BA) are 546 miles. BA (and obviously also SN) credit 25% of the real flown miles for a discounted ticket. 25% of 546 miles are 136.5 miles. Obviously BA puts that up to 137 while SN goes down to 136 - so in fact BA Executive Club seems to be a bit better than SN Privilege  Wink

If the flight route is shorter than 500 miles (like for example STR-LHR), you get 25% of 500 miles which are the famous 125 miles.

Christoph


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4693 posts, RR: 43
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 14677 times:

Hi Alex!

Thanks for writing this excellent report. Nice collection of pens you got there, too! Big grin

It is always interesting to get an update of the infrastructural situation in the STR area from the aerial pictures in your report.  Wink Expecially intriguing to me is the site of the former Autobahn in Leonberg - you can still see, where the road used to run before it was deviated into a tunnel.

Thank you also for your thorough desciption of BA Connect's services - I will be flying a DUS-BHX-FRA-MAN-DUS daytrip with BACON next year, so I now already know what to expect from this latest incarnation of BA's main regionbal carrier.



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 14429 times:

Thanks again for the replies!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 9):
(KL operated by Eurowings)

The times, they're changing...

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 10):

I just checked my BA Executive Club account and I got 137 miles per sector for the same flights. The answer for this is: the "real" flown miles on that route (STR-BHX according to BA) are 546 miles. BA (and obviously also SN) credit 25% of the real flown miles for a discounted ticket. 25% of 546 miles are 136.5 miles. Obviously BA puts that up to 137 while SN goes down to 136

Interesting details about our miles, I didn't know that!

Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 11):
I will be flying a DUS-BHX-FRA-MAN-DUS daytrip with BACON next year

This sounds like a nice joyride for a day. Be sure to let us know how you liked BA Connect.

Regards again, Alex.


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4693 posts, RR: 43
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 14360 times:

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 12):
Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 11):
I will be flying a DUS-BHX-FRA-MAN-DUS daytrip with BACON next year

This sounds like a nice joyride for a day. Be sure to let us know how you liked BA Connect.

A daytrip this crazy is certainly worthy of a report here. Big grin



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 77
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 14279 times:

Servus Alex,

good report and nice pictures!

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
We checked in the evening before at BA's counters in Terminal 1 (I hate those check-in machines)

What's wrong with these machines?

Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
Anyway, the meal looks quite good, a hot meal for all-together 5 pounds:



Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):

Meal service - Christoph had a big sandwich for 2.50GBP:

The prices are really reasonable.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Reply 15, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 13728 times:

Now after all the efforts BA has taken to introduce the BA Connect brand (as described in my report above), I simply can't believe they're already giving up only nine months after starting BA connect.

User currently offlineEurohub From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 236 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 13575 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 3):


Quoting Ndebele (Thread starter):
There used to be a second security check in front of the gate when I last flew BA in December, but apparently this is no longer the case.

- Gooid, I find it very annoying.

I'm afraid that when I flew STR-BHX on BA1742 on the 13th October, the pre-gate Security Check had been re-introduced. Also, despite still checking in with BA at T1, we didn't use one of the usual downstairs 1xx gates, we had to clear domestic security at T1 and then walk through airside to T3 for our gate!

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 15):
simply can't believe they're already giving up only nine months after starting BA connect.

It looks like my trip above will have been my last BA trip out of BHX which is very sad. BHX-STR attracts alot of corporate business from the likes of DaimlerChrysler but I have never seen a full ER4 on this route. I'm not sure what BE will think about the loads on this and other thinly sliced BACon routes (!). Will my next trip be on a BE Q400 or a 4U A319 from STN?



Forget A vs B - Give me E or BAe any day of the week!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2899 posts, RR: 23
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 12548 times:

Quoting Eurohub (Reply 16):
I'm not sure what BE will think about the loads on this and other thinly sliced BACon routes (!). Will my next trip be on a BE Q400 or a 4U A319 from STN?

Well at least for the moment, they still keep thsi route, now of course with BE code. By the way, I just realized that G-ERJD, the plane of our outbound flight STR-BHX was the first to receive the new titles:

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Photo © Gordon Stretch



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