you´ve asked for trip reports on Russian aircraft, so here is one (leg 4/6):
(Not as long as it looks like because of the pix; plus it´s six legs.)
1) TUE Feb 20, DTM-PAD, LH 248
A/c was Augsburg Airways/Team Lufthansa Dash 8-300 D-BHAT, built in 1997:
Photo © Florian Kondziela
This was my first flight from Dortmund´s new airport, and I´ve to say I´m positively impressed. Tiny DTM has finally become a real airport, with a huge departures hall, very roomy, lots of glass and metal, the gates are just a short walk from there. The former (cramped and old) departure "hall" (shed) is the GA terminal now.
The flight was just a 20 minute hop, no service because you can´t book that leg isolated.
2) TUE Feb 20, PAD-FRA, LH 249
Same a/c as before, everybody had to leave the plane, and I had to spend 30 minutes in Paderborn´s transit area. Another eventless flight of about 40 minutes with the usually spotless "City Class" service provided by two stewardesses. There were about 30 people on board. We arrived on time at our bus parking position.
3) TUE Feb 20, FRA-MLA, LH 3912
A/c was LH A320-200 D-AIQN "Laupheim", built in 1992:
Photo © Brian Hill
After two hours at FRA, another bus took me to this Airbus which is, despite her relative age, in a remarkably good state. The half full plane left 20 minutes late but arrived 20 minutes early time. I was allowed to the flightdeck for about half an hour but couldn´t stay for the landing. Visibility was quite bad, except some sunny parts over the Alps and Sicily.
4) WED Feb 21, MLA-GZM, KM 904
A/c was MAC Mi-8 LZ-CAR
Photo © Harro Ranter
(Not the actual a/c but a sister ship.)
This helicopter is operated by Malta Air Charter on behalf of Air Malta; it´s leased from Balkan, I believe.
Anyway, the trip from Malta-Luqa to neighbouring Gozo island is Malta´s only domestic route and offers incredible walk up one way fares of about 13 € for students!
Other than me, there was only one pax, so we could pick the best seats from the 26 ones on offer to take some photos of Malta from the air. There was even a stewardess, but obviously no service on the 10-15 minutes flight - she was only there to remind us to keep the seatbelt fastened all the time (she was quite firm on that, using her Russian [or Bulgarian] charme to get that point over ). It was quite windy and bumpy but nothing special. The flight was smooth, the landing perfect, what else can I ask for? (Perhaps windows without holes? I agree they give you a nice fresh atmosphere in the cabin, but it does get a little cold with time...)
5) SUN Feb 25, MLA-FRA, LH 3913
A/c was LH A321-200 D-AISG "Dormagen", built in 2000:
Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
This is LH´s newest A321 and she´s really a gem. All new, comfortable seats - a looker inside and outside. I clinched the best Y seat on this plane, directly by the emergency exit and with a crew rest seat beside you -> loads of legroom and only one neighbour. The only problem: I had checked in so early to get that seat that I was not on e of the two lucky fellows who got the two cockpit jump seats due to overbooking . For that reason I wasn´t allowed to the flight deck on my first flight in the -200 .
In spite of having left Malta half an hour late due to late arrival we landed on time and (finally!) got a gate position.
6) SUN, Feb 25, FRA-FMO, LH 066
A/c was Contactair/Team Lufthansa F50 D-AFFI, built in 1993:
Photo © Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt
My first Fokker flight, and now, after being a pax on Dash 8, ATR and F50, I have to say the Dash is definitely the best from a pax´ point of view with the Fokker a close 2nd and the ATR way behind them. Flight time was announced to be 35 minutes, so the two stewardesses really had to hurry to complete their C service in time, as the plane was full with 50 pax. However, 30 minutes into the flight, the F/O told us we were going to land in Muenster/Osnabrueck in 20 minutes. Huh? 30 + 20 = 35? After we had landed, I found out what had happened: there had been a massive snow storm in the region, just at the time we were supposed to land, so I assume the pilots slowed down deliberately to arrive after the worst was over.
FMO is a great airport; DTM may have surpassed PAD, but it´s a long way to go for my home airport to reach FMO´s standards.
So, time for a resumé: Apart from six more flights under my belt I have seen six airports, among them all three in Westphalia, and four airlines. I have experienced my first flight in a Russian a/c, and it was a positive experience which I believe will give me some insight when people bash them Russkies again.
All in all, a very pleasant trip which I advise everyone else to take. Fly Augsburg Arws as long as you can, before EW takes over .
Kudos and thanks if you´ve read the entire report, hope you enjoyed it and it wasn´t too boring.