BrusselsSouth
Posts: 565
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

Wed Jul 31, 2002 4:33 pm

  • Date : 27 July 2002
  • Airline : Ryanair
  • Flight : FR043
  • From : CRL - Charleroi Brussels South, Belgium
  • To : DUB - Dublin Collinstown, Ireland
  • Price : 81,51 Euros return, including taxes
  • Aircraft : Boeing 737-230A, EI-CNZ, LN 735

    We arrived at Charleroi airport at 07:45, after a 5 minutes walk as we had parked the car in a remote street in order to avoid the expensive car park of the airport. The very small terminal building was fortunately not too crowded. A quick look at the TV screens guided us to the check-in desk 6. The check-in process was extremely fast (we had hand luggage only), although the Dutch-speaking couple just ahead of us had some difficulties explaining the guy at the check-in that they would like to take their bags in the cabin. There are only 10 (or maybe slightly more) check-in desks at CRL. As far as I could see, some work had been accomplished in the terminal since last time I'd been here (May 2002) : new cafeteria, bigger bookshop, new shop, ...

    We passed through immigration and security checks very fast, and we entered the waiting area of gate 1 (named Départ 1). Actually, there are only 2 departure + 2 arrival gates at CRL. Gate is maybe not the appropriate word as those gates only consist of a waiting room (on aircraft apron level) with a nice view on aircrafts taking off and landing. There was a nice brand new shop selling all the usual goods you usually find at airports.

    Sadly there was absolutely no traffic to watch until Ryanair 737-200 EI-CNV landed on runway 25 at 08:55, arriving as FR1012 from London-Stansted. It soon parked at the second gate and passengers quickly disembarked while other passengers prepared to board for flight FR8023 to Carcassonne. Then our plane arrived from Dublin at 09:14 : it was Boeing 737-230A EI-CNZ (LN 735).


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    Photo © Gerry Hill
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    Photo © Daniel Hamer



    Some passengers went to the windows to watch the machine closer and I had the opportunity to take a nice photo of it. A queue began to form as everybody wanted to board first in order to get a good seat. After passengers with children boarded, we began to board, both by front and rear left doors. I boarded in the rear and secured seat 19F, close to the window, while EI-CNV was taking off from Rwy 25. Amazingly, the window panel at that particular window was that of a Boeing 727 ! Some signs in the cabin were in German, showing that the aircraft once belonged to a german carrier (Lufthansa I think). After the safety demo in English by the cabin crew, a tape repeated the same in French and Dutch, while the aircraft pushed back and taxied to Rwy 25.

    We had to hold short while a Piper 38 was making a touch and go, and throttles were pushed at 09:55. After a brisk acceleration, we were airborne. As the weather was clear, I managed to see my appartment immediately after take-off (it is located 1 kilometer from the airport !). We had a very nice view until we crossed the Belgian shoreline at 10:12, then the sky became overcast until Dublin. The crew soon passed with goods and drinks. At some occasion, I could see other aircrafts passing below us. Descent to Dublin was quite brisk, and the aircraft decelerated strongly while descending (the spoilers were kept extended for a long time). We went out of the clouds shortly before crossing the Irish coast and we landed very smoothly at 10:07 (local time) on runway 28.

    We reached the gate A1 (or maybe A2 or A3) after a long taxi via taxiways N, B5, B4, P2 and C. Those A-gates are certainly not the greatest of Dublin airport, but with only hand-luggage, we soon were in the Airlink bus to the city centre.

    Return trip report to follow soon. (29 July on EI-COB)
  •  
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Wed Jul 31, 2002 4:36 pm

    Well I forgot :

    Scheduled departure time : 09:45
    Actual departure time : 09:55
    Scheduled arrival time : 10:20
    Actual arrival time : 10:15
     
    LPL
    Posts: 1038
    Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:13 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Wed Jul 31, 2002 5:33 pm

    Very good report

    Is Charleroi airport quite small?
     
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Wed Jul 31, 2002 6:26 pm

    Thanks LPL !

    Yes, CRL has a very small terminal building. There's a project for a new one, but not for soon...

    Traffic for 2001 was 773.431 passengers, but this number is rapidly growing as Ryanair opens new lines (for 2002, they expect between 1,3 and 1,5 million).

    Currently the only scheduled carrier at CRL, Ryanair operates flights to :

  • STN - London Stansted
  • DUB - Dublin
  • TSF - Venice Treviso
  • PSA - Pisa
  • CIA - Rome Ciampino
  • LPL - Liverpool
  • SNN - Shannon
  • PIK - Prestwick
  • CCF - Carcassonne

    Three of their 737-800s stay overnight at CRL in order to operate morning flights to STN, PSA and TSF.

    In addition to this, charter flights are operated during the summer :

  • Thomas Cook Airlines A320 to PMI
  • Alisea Airlines to PSR and PMO
  • Nouvelair Tunisie MD-83 to MIR

    Occasionnally, some extra charters can be seen, for example to Algeria or (seen in July) Air Mediterrannee 737 to Lourdes (France).
  •  
    Guest

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Wed Jul 31, 2002 7:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing the trip with us!

    I'm due to travel to Brussels soon, but I'm wondering whether I should take the Eurostar, Virgin Express or Ryanair.

    Of course, at the moment, Ryanair is cheapest, but I have already flown with them many times, and would like to try either Eurostar or VEX. Which would you recommend? They are about the same price.

    Do you think Ryanair provides value for money? Was it convenient? What did you feel about the staff, and is Ryanair a popular brand in Belgium yet?

    Also, is Brussels a nice city to visit in 1 day?!

    Regards
     
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Wed Jul 31, 2002 9:51 pm

    Hello Capt.Picard !

    Of course, at the moment, Ryanair is cheapest, but I have already flown with them many times, and would like to try either Eurostar or VEX. Which would you recommend? They are about the same price.

    I once went to London with the Eurostar. It was a very nice trip : comfortable, fast and for the return, I spent the all journey talking with friends in the bar. The very big advantage of Eurostar is the fact that you arrive in Brussels city centre (Brussels-Midi station) with very good subway/tram/bus connections.

    I've never flown VEX so I can't give you info on it but I've never heard something wrong about them. They land at Brussels-National, whose connections with the city center are much easier than when landing in Charleroi (Brussels-South). When in CRL, you'll need at least 45 minutes to reach Brussels.

    Do you think Ryanair provides value for money? Was it convenient? What did you feel about the staff, and is Ryanair a popular brand in Belgium yet?

    Yes I think they do provide value for money, assuming you don't give them much money. Nothing that compares to a "normal" airline, but don't forget when you book Ryanair that you book a no-frill airline. Don't forget that they maximize the number of seat in their aircrafts, that they don't offer free drinks or meals, that there's no assigned seating and so on. I've flown Ryanair three times and I've never had any problem with them. Their staff look normal, nothing better or worse than elsewhere.
    Is Ryanair a popular brand in Belgium ? The fact is that they are well known due to agressive advertisement campaigns. Now, like in other countries, you'll find in Belgium the Ryanair-lovers as well as the Ryanair-haters.

    Also, is Brussels a nice city to visit in 1 day?!

    Yes, but more days wouldn't be too much. The absolute must-see is of course the Grand Place but there are lots of other interesting places.

    Hope this helps !

    François (BrusselsSouth)
     
    Sabena 690
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    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Wed Jul 31, 2002 11:13 pm

    Hey Francois!!

    Great report  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

    What was the load factor on your flights? How was the comfort in the aircraft?

    Regards,
    Frederic
     
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 12:00 am

    Thanks Frederic !

    Load factor was 100 % (yes !) on both inbound and outbound flights ! Comfort is something like on a charter airline (I flew many times with TEA, EBA, SLR, Air Belgium, for example), but Ryanair clean their planes once a day so it can be a little dirty when you take the evening flight (as I did when coming back from DUB).

    BTW, my only regret while in Dublin was when I thought about the spotters meeting at BRU... It was a real good idea !

    Regards

    François
     
    Sabena 690
    Posts: 6065
    Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 2:51 am

    Yes, I forgot to add it.

    Sad that you could not be there  Sad

    Regards,
    Frederic
     
    BA747-436
    Posts: 1192
    Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2001 11:03 pm

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 3:17 am

    Nice report, i flew STN-CRL-STN a few weeks back on a 732 out and a 738 on the way back, i thought CRl airport was pretty small, and lacked a viewing area, you had to walk a fair distance to see anything, not that there was anything to see apart form the two MI-2 helicopters and the B727 and private aircraft. I've heard occasionaly you get a Skyways DC10 in, and i did see a 737 dept that wasnt Ryan Air, but i cant remember the airline. This airport is 100% Ryan Air, i think it could use another airline though, althoguh its distance from the city of Brussels is a major limitation.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
    On our flight back there were 3 B737-800's lined up, and we flew back on a new c/s one with hearts on it. Very nice  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
    Overall, i must say i would have really rather of flown to Brussels National, but the price made it worth it. Just 80p return (about $1.50 USD)  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
    Dan Valentine - Bad Ass MOFO Photographer
     
    Flying Belgian
    Posts: 1906
    Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2001 12:45 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 4:40 pm

    Hey Cpt Picard,

    You should try SN Brussels Airlines !!! Not a no-frill I admit but still the best on BRU-LHR. VEX is not always cheapest to BRU.


    Regards,


    FB.
    Life is great at 41.000 feet...
     
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 4:54 pm

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think SNBA and VEX flights on the BRU-LHR route are code-share flights. They use SNBA ARJ and VEX 737 alternatively.

    Regards

    Brusselssouth
     
    LPL
    Posts: 1038
    Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:13 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 5:02 pm

    Charleroi is probably like Liverpool then. Surviving on one airline I suppose.
     
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 5:11 pm

    Hi LPL,

    Surviving is maybe not the right word as the management company of CRL (BSCA - Brussels South Charleroi Airport) is losing money at the moment. More and more people are talking about bankruptcy now, and this could be due to excessive low fares offered to Ryanair.

    Another carrier would be great for CRL, but will they have enough capacity ? When 3 Ryanair flights arrive at the same time, it's already crowded in the terminal building !

    Wait and see...

    Brusselssouth

     
    airblue
    Posts: 1785
    Joined: Sat May 19, 2001 9:16 pm

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 5:37 pm

    Great report!! Smile

    When I was in CRL last April I found the terminal quite small. Now that they plan to have 1.3m of pax, there are some project to increase the capacity of the terminal??
     
    Guest

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 5:55 pm

    To Flying Belgian & Brusselssouth:

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm going by Eurostar, due to the fact that my g/f would prefer it over having to drive out to Heathrow  Crying

    I was driving home from LHR yesterday afternoon, and did indeed see an SNBA Avro RJ taxying. I have flown the old DAT from BHX to BRU and then SABENA to Luanda in Angola via Cameroon. Despite all the negative comments from some people, I actually found the old SN to be pretty good. Just my opinion.

    Anyway, looking forward to Brussels and trying some decent beers (British beers.......bleuuurghhh!)

    Regards
     
    BrusselsSouth
    Posts: 565
    Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 2:12 am

    RE: Ryanair CRL-DUB-CRL, July 2002

    Thu Aug 01, 2002 8:52 pm

    @Airblue :

    The current terminal could not easily be extended, although they've build a new cafeteria this summer in order to reclaim the space used by the old one.

    BSCA plans to build a new terminal on the other side of the runway (north side), with a planned capacity of 3 million pax. The entry into service should occur in 2005.

    @Capt.Picard :

    Enjoy your trip in Belgium (personnally I like the "Kriek", a Brussels beer with cherries).

    BrusselsSouth

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