Photo © Balazs Pinter
Checked-in online the night before so already had my seat assignments. Just needed to collect my boarding cards so arrived at the airport about 40 minutes before departure. There was a huge queue at the check-in desk but fortunately an agent approached me and said if I was travelling with hand baggage only I could check-in at the ticket desk. So, in no time at all I had my boarding cards and was on my way. Security was a breeze, took less than two minutes meaning I even had time to get a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich before my flight was called for boarding! Boarding was a complete shambles. Although the flight was called by seat row numbers everyone crowded around the gate area and it ended up as a free-for-all. Once on board this completely full flight we were away without any delays and were soon heading towards AMS. Flight time was a brisk 50 minutes in really good flying conditions. The seat was very comfortable with adequate leg room and the service was friendly and efficient. We were offered a sandwich and a cup of coffee which was fine for this short flight. After landing it was a short taxi to our stand and then for me onwards to my connecting flight to FRA. I have to say that I’m always impressed by the people at passport control at AMS. Without fail they are charming, polite, efficient and friendly – not very often you can say that these days!
21 April 2004 AMS/FRA
Photo © Florian Kondziela
I finally got an F70! I had been trying to get on one for some time and the last time I booked a flight on one it was substituted with an F50 at the last minute. The aircraft was about 60% full so the seat next to me was free. The seats on these little planes are very comfortable and despite its small size the F70 looks deceptively spacious from the inside. Take off was quick and the little Fokker climbed like a rocket. With the engines at the back the flight was very quiet and again the service was friendly and efficient. Very soon we were on the ground at FRA and at our stand in the fabulous terminal 2. What a modern, clean and efficient terminal this is – typically German (that was a compliment, by the way)! I then took the transit to terminal 1 and my first ever visit to the viewing gallery at FRA. Absolutely stunning! What a great little facility this is – I had no trouble passing away the few hours I had before my flights back home. The icing on the cake had to be that it was a gloriously sunny and warm Spring day. Sitting there with my cup of coffee and a fantastic view I had to ask myself if life gets much better than this.
21 April 2004 FRA/LHR
Photo © Nik Deblauwe
Again, I had checked-in online the night before, so just had to go to the self-service machine to get my boarding cards. Then through security, which was surprisingly stringent. After going through the usual security check prior to getting airside, there then followed another, much more detailed check before being allowed towards the gate. The second check involved bags being x-rayed again and this time everyone had a thorough clothing check. This meant that there was quite a delay in getting to the gate but I certainly felt that I was going to be as safe as is possible to be. Boarding had already started and a very long line snaked its way through the departure area owing to the fact that this 767 was completely full. I had a window seat in the rear section of this tired and dirty looking aircraft, but it was comfortable. After departure service comprised the usual BA all day deli with tea, coffee and a free bar. Very soon we were descending towards LHR but as usual were faced with 20 minutes holding before we could start our approach (how typically British!). Once on the ground we had a long taxi in but transfer to domestic departures was quick and painless.
21 April 2004 LHR/MAN
Photo © Ingo Kleideitert
Scheduled departure was 2115 but the flight was showing a delay to 2130 – then to 2150 and then to 2200. Finally the flight was called and we were bussed what seemed like several miles to our waiting Airbus. Once on board the Captain told us that due to two A319s going technical the aircraft scheduled to take us to MAN was sent to WAW instead. The problem was then compounded by our aircraft having to hold for 35 minutes on its way in from TXL. Take off was at 2235 and after a very quick flight up North we landed at 2315. Service was OK – the usual all day deli and bar and the crew were friendly and apologetic for the delay.
All in all a good day tainted only by the delays at LHR. FRA is an amazing airport and I’ll certainly be visiting there again.