As Go is now officially no longer (since last week, Go and Easyjet are operating under a single CAA license) and the Go booking page has now gone (since Saturday the only thing remaining is a link to easyjet.com), I figured I'd write up my latest flights on them...
I was at the airport way too early (as usual, I guess), and so after a wait of 30 minutes I was the first to be allowed to check in. Got seat 1A as requested, and I asked the check-in lady to classify my luggage as fragile. She put a sticker on it and asked me to bring it to the bulky/fragile luggage counter where I watched it being x-rayed and sent off into the bowels of the airport...
Then two competing credit card companies fought for my attention (a Mastercard and a Citibank Visa Platinum card) with different gifts and offers, and after a while I spontaneously decided to apply for the VISA card (probably won't get it, but hey, one organizer for me!)
Security control was more or less standard (the lady stung her fingers on my bag of hollies and was a bit miffed) and I went to the gate quickly. The little shuttle train never fails to amaze me, with its announcement in Italian, French, German and only then in English, sometimes just as the train enters the first station, sometimes a bit later. (The announcement tells you which gates the station is for)
At the gate, I bought Flight International (quite interesting, and always enjoyable to read something with a provocative cover in a departure lounge - an A340 with a targeting cross aimed at it in reference to the Arkia attack) and waited. The inbound plane (from Prague) was delayed by 20 minutes, but then they began to board. Downstairs, the doors were locked and passengers began to pile up. After 10 minutes someone apparently told them all to turn back, so we went back upstaris where everyone was given a random boarding card, which would be collected on the second boarding attempt. So I turned from Robert ... into Vera ... but hey, that's not a prob. Another 10-15 minutes passed by, then they began boarding anew. What was the problem? A passenger on the previous flight had stolen a little light bulb from the emergency exit lighting. First they figured out the lighting didn't work, then they tried to find the fault, and then they found the empty socket where the bulb was missing. Mmmh. That's taking collecting things a bit far, IMO.
The plane was in full easyjet livery, with easyjet safety cards, but a friendly Go crew. The stewardess was very helpful and stored my hollies in her cleaning cupboard, after I worried that other passengers might sting their fingers...
The flight itself was standard. Takeoff (into the dark), 90 minutes of flying (in the dark) and then a landing. A few things, however, caught my attention. After crossing the channel, we saw city lights down there. And, surprisingly, there were some giant rectangular brightly lit surfaces visible, wider than roads and bigger than football pitches. Dozens of them in some towns, just a few in others. Now they weren't externally lit spaces (like parking lots), but it seemed they were lit from within. What were they? Could these be greenhouses or something?
Other city lights were equally impressive, though less startling. And, after I dozed off, it did not take too long to reach Munich, where we landed on the runway that's closer to the Besucherpark, towards the hill, and taxied to our stand. The Munich airport handling agent, Aerogate, was ultra-efficient, and placed exactly one bus there, which did not drive away until even the last passenger had squeezed in. Just as we drove off, another bus appeared, and I overheard a conversation between the bus drivers on the radio. (apparently the other one was disappointed that no one was left for him to pick up). Then, after a sightseeing drive around the airport, the passport control took absolute ages, (including some slapstick moments as a group of 3 seemingly senile Bavarians managed to get completely lost and eventually separated, while also managing to set off some silent alarms by keeping doors propped open etc.), and finally I escaped from the airport about an hour after the scheduled landing...
Good flight, helpful friendly crew and still up to the usual Go standards.
I had not originally been booked on this flight, but the evening flight on the 11th, so I wasn't prepared for this daylight flight (scheduled departure 12:05 pm) and did not have my camera ready.
This time, the flight was ultra-punctual, in fact even early at arriving and leaving, and there were only 82 passengers on board (of which at least 20 were a British school class returning from a school trip). No wonder I got my ticket on Wednesday for 40 Euros.
Takeoff wasn't too spirited, but at least I got to see the new terminal building in Munich (looking more and more finished every day). We quickly disappeared into the clouds.
As we broke out of the cloud cover, we flew parallel to 3 other planes. Shortly thereafter, the first got closer and closer until it crossed our path above us (it was an A340 or a 747 - my guess is an Austrian A340). The second one followed even closer (an A320) and the third only minutes later (A Tupolev 154). During this flight, I spotted a total of 8 aircraft, all of which were close enough to take pictures like these ones:
Photo © Bailey
Photo © Bailey
Photo © Ivan Rodriguez
However, as we started our descent above the channel, I really, really got to regret not having my camera with me. Some of you might recall that Virgin 747 I took a picture of last year (after all the childish posts I made about it, being rather overjoyed ). Well, this time, a plane got much, much closer than that...
It started out when I saw a KLM plane flying parallel to us in the distance, I though it was a 738 or 767, but it was too far away to identify the type. Then it turned out that our flightpaths were not parallel, but just crossing at a very shallow angle, and the plane got closer. Soon enough I was certain it was an MD-11. But it got closer, and closer, and I swear it was just the legal minimum 300 feet separation underneath us when it crossed. I almost thought I could hear the roar of its engines (though that must have been my imagination). Well, imagine this photo:
Photo © Karel Huis
... now imagine it would have been taken at 80mm zoom or less. Yup. That's how close it was.
Well, I got to enjoy the sight, and I waved at the pilots of the MD11, and who knows, perhaps (though it's unlikely) some other brave aviation enthusiast soul was aboard either of the 2 planes and took a photo, and perhaps I'll find one on the internet (though I wouldn't bet on it)
But, it was definitely among the top 10 of my most enjoyable / exciting flights so far!
Landing in STN was smooth, with relatively moderate deceleration and little use of thrust reversers. The FedEx MD11 parked at the cargo terminal was farther away then the KLM MD11 that had passed directly underneath our plane, and I was still grinning while deboarding. They actually used a "finger" this time, because it was drizzling down, and they told us they didn't want us to get wet. Outside, I watched Ryanair boarding with the stairs as usual, and a queue of people in the rain...
Go definitely is my favourite low-cost airline so far, and I will miss the airline when it is gone entirely. The safety cards were those of easyjet, even in IGOB, which is still in the old Go-livery. Oh, and I bought a model of G-IGOA (they had IGOA and IGOK in the duty free shop on board, and in the one-line guide - their airline mag - they have an IGOH model depicted - so there's lots of room for collectors to try and get the Go fleet before they disappear!)
Mmmh. Funny. I flew there on Go, a separate airline. But on my return, they were already operating on the same license as easyjet. So I guess that was my first easyjet flight today...
Hope you enjoyed the report