Trip Report FRA-CPH-SZZ-WAW-FRA
FRA-CPH SAS A321-231 OY-KBL May 09
Since this summer, SAS brings their new A321s to FRA on the midday flight to CPH, and it happened to fit in with my travel plans. Upon boarding, I immediately noticed the very nice and comfy interior with new, larger overhead bins than on other Airbus narrowbodies. As always, SAS offered excellent, friendly and relaxed service, with lunch boxes (cold cuts, potato salad, water, bread and candy) given out in Economy Class, drink service and refreshment towel. But the highlight is without doubt the takeoff/landing camera (the aircraft is equipped with dropdown LCD monitors and also a new version of the Airshow system). Takeoff at FRA from runway 07L, the turning North, and landing CPH 04L after a flight time of 70 minutes, and it was really great to witness the cockpit view of the landing on the monitors. The A321 truly is the new flagship of SAS’ European fleet.
Nice weather greeted me in CPH, but approach took place from the "wrong" side, which meant that the spot you can walk to from the terminal only featured takeoffs already high up in the sky. As LOT doesn't have too many flights from CPH, I could only recheck in 90 minutes before departure, but then I was able to take some photos from the concourses, incl four of SAS A340s and a 767 in the new colours, Air Botnia Avro and Atlantic Airways (Faroer Islands) 146. Unfortunately I missed Iceland's 757-300 and three colourful Sterlings 738s. The Greenlandair 757 was parked too far away at the MyTravel hangar. MyTravel itself was present with a white A320 which had the new fuselage sticker and another A320 in the old colors without any logo or titles. A white ex-SAS 763 was parked in front of the maintenance hangar next to an Icelandair 757 in old colors and titles of a tour operator. Again, CPH amazed me by the large number of excellent shops, definitely one of the more pleasant European airports, and one that I’ll have to revisit.
CPH-SZZ Eurolot ATR42-300 SP-EEA May 09
Only six pax on this flight, so plenty of space. The aircraft featured burgundy leather seats and a little outdated interior as this was an older series ATR. After takeoff from 04R, we turned right over the huge Öresund bridge connecting CPH with Malmö/Sweden, then following the Swedish coastline crossing the Baltic Sea west of the island of Bornholm while the friendly crew served cocktail sandwiches, chocolate, drinks and refreshment towels. By the time we reached the Polish coastline, we were descending again and arrived at Szczecin after 50 minutes flying time. We were the only airliner at SZZ (only five scheduled flights per day), but they have a new terminal and a huge fleet of Polish-built "Dromedar" sprayplanes, some with Bombeiros sticker, hinting that they are sent southwards in the summer as firefighters.
SZZ-WAW Eurolot ATR42-300 SP-EEE May 12
The late morning flight was about half-full, and again the crew delivered good service (drinks and a candy bar). Everything from procedures to English announcements was clearly on Western standards, for those who should still be in doubts. We landed at WAW after a 75 minute over vast farmland and scattered towns and villages on rwy 15 with some heavy crosswinds. Again, my impression was that the ATR is fairly quiet for a turboprop and a more spacious cabin than most other types adds to that.
I had about five hours time in WAW and after rechecking in for my FRA flight I went upstairs to the obs deck which offers a good view but unfortunately faces southwest (thus mostly into the sun). There I met two local spotters, Jacek and Petr, with whom I had email contact beforehand, so it was nice to meet them in person. We spent some hours together until it just got too hot. I was able to complete my LOT fleet with the 733 (which only flies charters) and the 762/763 (of which I saw four in total out of a fleet of five). An immaculate Polish Air Force TU154M was also present and I could add the White Eagle 734 to my collection. WAW’s terminal is modern and functional (of late 80s-vintage) but lacks some flair. Unfortunately, photography from the gate area is limited as there are separate waiting rooms for groups of gates so that one can’t walk the full length of the building, and a corridor runs between the waiting rooms and the ramp windows.
WAW-FRA LOT B735-5L9 SP-LLK May 12
About 60 pax boarded this 737 which LOT leases from Maersk, which was obvious in some cabin details. Takeoff from rwy 15. Shortly after dinner (a cold platter) was served, the first thunderstorms appeared on the horizon over Western Poland. While we could still bank around the first ones, with awesome views, they became more compact, so eventually we had to overfly some of them, resulting in some heavy bumps and spilt coffee. Combined with the endless flat farmland below, I thought I was over the Midwestern US on a hot summer day with afternoon thunderstorms. Fortunately the worst was over after some minutes and the rest of the flight progressed smoothly until we landed in FRA on 25L after 100 minutes in the air.
LOT really delivers a good standard of service, and I’m happy that they are becoming a partner of my employer, thus further contributing to the integration of Europe.
That was my trip in a nutshell, I hope I was able to share with you some impressions. Some photos will be added to this site in due course.