12March 2002 Bournemouth railway station - Southampton airport SOU and back by train (British Southwest Trains)
12March 2002 BOH-HHN FR8097 EI-CSI
It all started four weeks ago, when searched on www.ryanair.com for cheap flights. I flew Ryanair HHN-PIK-HHN last year in June and I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to make a similar trip again. I found a flight HHN-BOH-HHN for 0.61€ return per person (yes, that's 61 cent!), so I immediately called Contact Air (the a.net user) and asked him if he wants to join me on that trip. Of course he did. So we booked that flight, including taxes we had to pay ~24€ per person, 47DM, which is still very cheap!
Keep in mind that Contact Air and I are living in Stuttgart, and Stuttgart-Hahn is a real hell of a trip. We left at 10am, but due to traffic jam on the A81 highway, it took us more than three hours by car. Unfortunately there is no train service to HHN, so we had to take the car. Parking at HHN is free but overcrowded, so we had park far away from the terminal building. (Last year, hardly anybody parked at HHN, and even the car park close to the terminal was for free. This very car park, however, is no longer for free, it would have cost 8€ per day I think)
Photo © Edwin Olinowetz
There was a small check-in queue, but the check-in staff worked efficient, so it took us less than five minutes until we had checked in. I asked for the number of passengers booked, and she told me that they expected a little more than 100 people. Most of the people around us in the queue were British, I guess that less than 25% on that flight were German. - We left the terminal then, to have a look at the parked Air Atlanta 742F, and we watched the landing of two Ryanair 738s. Then we went back into the terminal and passed the security (which was very thorough). Boarding started at 14:50 and was very quickly; we took seats 31A and 31B. The aircraft left at 15:06 which is 4 minutes ahead of schedule.
Flight time was 55 minutes, the sun was shining when we left, and about 20 minutes after departure, we saw Brussels airport from high above. Later, it became more and more cloudy, and when approaching BOH for landing, it was overcast and raining. We were 15 minutes ahead of schedule when we arrived at BOH, we left the aircraft and walked to the arrival hall, which can't be called terminal building, it's more like a wooden hut.
We didn't have much baggage with us, so we walked a little bit around, watched "our" 738 leave, watched the Ryanair 732 landing from DUB, saw the parked Channel Express F27, Emerald HS-748, LeCocq Trislander and, most importantly: the new European 742 G-BDXJ in black/yellow livery, it must have arrived only hours before, because neither a.net nor justplanes.com had this aircraft in the database. We also saw a VIP 727 from Cyprus, a VIP BAC-1-11, some FR Aviation Falcon and Do228. And then of course, we saw many retired aircraft: two ex-South African A300, *many* European BAC-1-11, a BAe125, ...
Then we took a taxi to our hotel in Bournemouth city, 13GBP.
Photo © Ian Haskell
The next day, we got up early, walked to the near Bournemouth railway station and took the next train to Southampton airport. Journey time was about 40 minutes, a return ticket per person costs ~12GBP I think. We only had a very short stay at SOU, but 9:30 am was a rather busy time, we saw some BA ERJ, Scot Airways Do328, an AF CRJ and a British European Dash8-300. At 10:30 we took a train back to Bournemouth, and then the bus to the airport (2.50GBP per person).
We arrived there at 12:00, had lunch at a restaurant near the viewing garden, the BOH departure terminal is rather small, too, but new, clean and convenient. Because there was no scheduled traffic at all (the arrival of "our" Ryanair was the next movement), we decided to visit the Bournemouth Aviation Museum, about 500m from the terminal building. Most interesting displayed aircraft are the AB Airlines BAC-1-11 and the Channel Express Handley Page Herald, which both used to be in scheduled service until three years ago! Both aircraft were opened, we could have a look inside the cockpit - wow - and the cabin of both aircraft.
At 14:10 (two hours before departure) the Servisair staff opened the check-in counter, there was no queue at all, they worked very efficient, too, again I asked how many passengers were booked, only 66 passengers this time.
As a sidenote, it's really impressive how young the staff at BOH is! When I started as a ramp agent at STR, I was 19 years old and one of the youngest in the company, maybe at the whole airport. At Servisair BOH however, there was only one, let's say, "experienced" lady, all the others (both at check-in and on the ramp) were younger than 20, some even looked younger than 18. But they worked really efficient.
Photo © Kajetan Steiner
The flight BOH-HHN was on time, we left at 16:05 (16:10 is scheduled time), but we had to wait for a few minutes for some landings of Pipers and Cessnas, plus the Ryanair 732 from DUB, then we could finally take off. Due to only 66 pax on that flight, the last 5 rows were blocked, we took 28A and 28B, which is closer to the engines, and it was really much more noisy than on the HHN-BOH flight on 31A/B. Once again, the Ryanair crew was friendly, but announcements only in English, although some of the f/a were German.
There were so many free seats, for landing at HHN I decided to take 26F. We arrived very early, 18:25 (18:45 is scheduled).
We took our baggage, went through passport control - once again, German passports were the minority - and walked to my car, arriving at Stuttgart at 21:30. The end of a short, but rather cheap trip.