Hello, thank you for your pleasurable feedback. Thank you Ikarus for clearing the confusion. I am a newcome to this scene, as well as England. Thanks Godbless for the info regarding your nice Lufthansa airline, I never did know that GW was Lufthansa in disguise! Hi XQ
, sorry I know my English is quite bad; I was referring to the Aviation magazine "Airways" which I sometimes like to buy. But to add to this theme, I should say that GW is indeed not very well known to me - by chance a friend of mine who is also of A.net from England (Argentine too) told me about it. Otherwise we only see Ryanair and Easyjet promotions in our papers here.
I had a nice day in Cologne, and I have to say German girls are better looking than British ones (maybe thats not difficult
But actually, I decided to take the train to DUS
Flughafen, to do some spotting. I have no cameras or books, I just stand and watch beautiful planes climb gracefully into the sky.
is very nice, and the viewing deck is excellent in my opinion. It is not exactly Heathrow, but LHR
is special. Even so, I had a very nice time watching the aircraft taxy to the holding point, which is where the deck is situated. I cannot remember every aircraft but here are a few: Lufthansa 737s, BA
A319 and RJ100, Turkish A310 (with waving pilots, very nice), Thomas Cook 757, Hapag Lloyd 737-800 and A310 (nice blue colours), Emirates A330 (more waving from the flightdeck, I saluted them), Pegasus 737-800, Balkan Air Charter Tu-154 (the spotters were in heaven, me too...), LTU A321 and A330. We saw all these line-up and take-off. It was truly great fun. The weather was great, and there were many serious spotters (of course, some were British, you can't get away from these people!!
The skytrain then takes you to the other deck, part of Terminal A-B, directly beneath ATC. There is also a gift shop with excellent aviation items. Totally 10/10 for DUS
, it just needs to be a little bit busier.
Ok, my return trip.
First of all: My plan was to take the train from the DUS
(airport) station to Koln Hauptbahnhof (my German is learned from today, excuse errors!), and from there to Cologne Flughafen. There was an accident at DUS
(city) station, so all trains were seriously delayed or cancelled. Since I was already running massively late I had to think quickly on my feet; by a ticket with Air Berlin to STN
(there was a flight according to the screens), or taxi direct to CGN
Taxi it was. Well, at least I got to savour the pleasures of a nice luxury Mercedes going full speed on the Autobahn...I felt like a Diplomat!! But it cost me like a Diplomat....85, euros
Well, I rushed to the GW desk at 1845 - 5 minutes before closure...phew.
A319 D-AKNF (finally, an A319...)
Scheduled & Actual: 1920
Scheduled: 1945 Actual: 1930
Well, in CGN
GW hand out a special plastic card with a number which depends on how early you check-in; obviously, I was late, so I recived 89. Now that I can look back, I remember our aircraft was sitting right behind the windows of the building, in front of me. But for some reason, they made us walk all the way to gate A, which is actually right at the far end of the terminal building...indeed so far you see no more, you hear no more planes. I could almost hear the birds...
Well, the plastic cards were a waste of time, because as soon as the blue bus pulled up outside, everyone just got up and walked quickly towards the gate, so a bit like Ryanair. Sorry, I forgot to mention. The staff at the check-in desk and gate were nice, and they were effcient.
Once everyone was on the bus, we made our way all the way back to the other side of the terminal building, where GW operates from. Our little A319 was waiting there for us, looking just beautiful. Stairs were placed at both ends. This time, I decided to make for the rear stairs. As I walked in I was greeted by two male crew members. I turned left to the aisle, and just grabbed the last row window seat, for a nice change.
Now that I have had a second look at these seats, I think they are also wider than on 737s. Even the armrests are wider. No one sat in the two seats next to me, so that was nice. This time the flight was probably about 80% full.
The actual boarding took little more than 20 minutes - what a refreshing change compared to the 747....
Doors were soon shut, the crew made their welcome and again, with the sort of precision only Germans seem capable of, we spooled up and rolled forward at 1920 'on the dot'. Very impressive and pleasing.
The taxy was rather long, as we had to make our way to the threshold for runway 32, which was at the other end of our initial position. This time, the safety information was in audio-visual format, courtesy of LCDs which popped down from above. The video is presented using computer graphics, so the kids and adults look similar to the people in Toy Story. Once the video was complete, we were able to enjoy Airshow, with all the benefits such as geographical information, as well as atmospheric information.
The take-off was surprisingly short and quite steep. After gaining some initial altitude we turned left, and soon the Rhine and the Industrial belt was passing under the left wing.
There was much less traffic on the way back home - in fact, I saw only one aircraft on the whole trip - it looked like an Air France Airbus, passing below us. Our route was basically Cologne - Maastricht - Antwerp - Channel - British mainland. As we approached the east coast of Britain, I noticed a build-up of some rather dark and showery clouds, and already we were encountering moderate turbulence as we began our descent.
The descent to runway 23 at Stansted was very bumpy actually - on account of much thick, fluffy cloud on our route, but interspersed with some nice sunny rays of light. The landing was firmer this time, and was accompanied by some rather harsh braking - which I think is kind of fun. The rest is not really very interesting, as you can imagine. We were able to disembark from the rear, which is when I caught the registration. Leaving from the rear has its disadvantages though: I didn't get any chocolate this time. I'll remember to make for the front next time.
Thanks for reading my report. Its short, but I am a bit tired, as you can imagine.
I am very impressed with GW, the first German airline I flew with. The stories about German efficiency seem to be true. DUS
airport is also great, I think its nicer than Stansted. Oh, your trains are also great! I will be back, but next time with Air Berlin to Berlin or HLX if I ever want to go back to spot at DUS