London Stansted - Paris CDG 146-300
Arrived for Check-in at 6am and walked straight up with no queue at all. Sadly the service was little more than OK, suppose it was a wee bit early. Looking to buy a lounge voucher for CDG, I went to the KLM Desk (Buzz is of course part of KLM UK), they weren't amused at being bothered by a mere Buzz Passenger, but the Buzz assistant who came up was very nice and friendly, but unable to sell me a Paris Pass despite the brosure assuring me it could be done.
EU passengers were being allowed through the NonEU Fast Track at Security. I had to laugh at the fact this exits into the Duty Free Store, so subtle. The airport was quiet and transit system unoperational (they were glazing above the track as part of the extention), so we had to bus across to Satalite Two which infact was far better than the transit.
The facilities here a basic. Boarding OK, none of the mad Ryanair rush.
The confiq. was 3+3 which provided adequet room. Leg room at 32 inches is well above average for a budget airline, but with a window seat, although the seat width is fine (not noticably different to a 737), it is pressed right up against the wall which (the edge of the seat is moulded differently to fit) feels a little crampt. Seat was very comfortable apart form that. The interior is very bright, with bright lime green bulk heads, seats medium purple with light purple swirls, which actually worked very well.
The 146 is a very smooth plane to fly. Service was a bit slow off the mark, but crew very professional and business like for this business flight. Coffee Catiteres (sorry for the misspelling) were a smart touch and did a good trade. Wide menu at good prices.
Flying into CDG we were para with an AF A340 comnig in, which was good fun watching. Thought the cabin was quiet (not what you hear here), when the flaps move there is an unusual sound, bit like a V8 I suppose, but it's only brief.
Landing smooth and French Passport Control not even checking passports. I do love
that airport, it's such a 1970s time warp.
Paris - Stansted 146-300
ADP Staff were very helpful with my lounge voucher even if at ten minutes it did seem an unnecessarily long transaction. Check in OK. Nobody bothered to check my boarding pass before entering airside and the guy at passport control exasperated by someone searching for their passport just smiled and sent me through without checking.
The lounge like everything else at CDG 1 was abit hard to find. The decore was old, but it was comfortable. Each seat had a choice of four TV Channels, there was plentiful drink and nibbles at the self service bar. It cost me about 130ff (£13) but was good value.
It was ten minutes walk to the gate, boarding 20 minutes early, not by row as at STN but matters were orderly. Infact we were ready early and took off before time. Various announcements were made by the pilots who kept us informed and our arrival was 30 minutes early. I slept so can't tell you much.
First surprise at STN was the number of people sleeping overnight in the terminal between flights 50-60 at least. About another 100 were surrounding the Buzz Checkin desks so I joined in. A lot of people were enoyed because nothing opened until 5am, but Buzz make a big deal about arriving 2 hours in advance (earlier than 5am). Buzz then opened two All DESTINATIONS desks at the other end, so people coming last got served first. Having said that the agent was very good indeed and I enjoyed a good joke with her.
Quick through security, although by accident I smuggled my camera through without it getting any form of security check (I spent a day with security and saw mock bombs capable of puncturing aircraft skin if stowed right smaller than my camera), so actually that's a pretty serious breach, perhaps their security problems have yet to be solved.
there was the Aeroflot DC10 and Atlas BA 747-400F over at the Cargo Area. Plus a wingletted BBJ at the General Aviation Side.
The way they display Gate Closed before boardings begun anoys me. This time a Boeing 737-300 on lease from D. BA, interior was a bit shabby I thought. There was a long delay but we were not kept informed at all. Plane had on 42 pax, I hate sitting there stressing "will I get three just to me!". I have to ask why are they still charging £110 if they're almost empty? When we did move the fumes in the cabin were overpowering and gave a bit of headache, which doesn't seem right?
From take off only 10 minutes until service commenced. Staff were functional and inoffensive but not terribly good. They also spoke no German and the Germans English Skills vary greatly (although in fairness one person stood up on the return when the boarding call was made in German). Had a large tea and chocolate muffin which was £2 all up, not bad prices and very nice. Seats comfy, pitch 29 inches not too bad. buzz have advertising posters on the back of the seats.
Midway through the flight it was announced we'd only be five minuted late in.
Schonefeld (the ex East Berlin Airport) was very quiet, litered with the homeless oddballs of commercial aviation. There was a white A340 parked up with it's engines covered, numerious Mi8 helicopters and AN26's? although not sure how flyable they were. At the terminal a few rare birds including a BELAVIA Tu 134. A reception committee from the City of Berlin awaited us to mark the new service (a man in bear costume giving out free chocolate, which was nice!).
Berlin SXF - Stansted 737-300
We were the nights flight at SXF, so it was quiet.Travelled out on German Railways DB new ICE T Supertrain, not aviation I know but one hell of a fine way to travel.
Staff.... being king they were functional. Security very tight. Lounge area tiny with only a coffee counter. Buses over to the plane and took off early and at quite an angle!
To balance the plane everyone was stuffed in at one end or the other, except me and another lady half way down with seven rows to ourselved. Crew very good this time, had a hot chocolate and cheese salard (ie. plowmans with you construct yourself) with cost £4.50 all up. They were apologetic for not having the usual menu (which is rather more up market, 3 cheeses, garnish, crackers, a roll etc etc).
Landed at STN about 20 minutes early.
Buzz usually a very professional and pleasing way to travel. Nice little airline.