My plan was to fly VIE – AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA in the early afternoon to meet with some people in Frankfurt and to take the last flight to VIE back home. Nothing to write home about. In the morning I checked the 'Trip Reports' forum A.net and found TriStar500's trip report "Ciao (Al-)Italia DUS-FCO-VCE-MXP-DUS" (http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/44288/). Thought this would make a good reading on my flight, printed it, and got back to work.
LH3535 was scheduled to leave at 14:50, and at 13:22 I ran out of the office to catch the 13:30 airport bus. Made it (obviously, my office is close to the bus station), and at 14:10 I stepped off the bus and into the terminal building. The first Quick Check-In machine went on strike, but the second one worked and even let me already choose my seat (I non-rev, you know). With my ticket/boarding pass I proceeded to the gate, C60 this afternoon, after making a box-stop at the loo. When I handed the check-in agent my boarding pass, she said she wanted to see some ID. Great, I rummaged through my bag and found my employee tag. She looked at it, examined it carefully, and mumbled she had meant my personal ID card. Well, lady, then you should specify which ID you want to see. I was about to fumble for my identification card when she said she doesn't need it anymore. All right … yeah … *grrrr* … exhale … be calm … be nice! Security was the usual Viennese style. I think if I carried an explosive belt around my head, they would not find it. The waiting area at the gate was a little filled, and I waited till around 14:30 when boarding was commenced. We were told that use of the boarding zones was going to be made, and zones 1 and 2 were called to board. Well, looks like *everybody* had zone 1 and 2. Interesting! Nevertheless, boarding was a breeze since the load factor was light on this flight.
VIE – AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA
June 02, 2004
Airbus A321-100 (D-AIRA)
Gate C60, Seat 29F
14:50 – 16:15 (scheduled)
take-off: ca. 15:10 (rwy. 29)
touch down: 16:29 (rwy. 7L)
Photo © Jörg Thomas
Photo © Oliver Brunke
The captain, Sebastian L., came on-line to tell us about a slight delay due to a slot issue. Soon after his announcement we were pushed back and taxied to runway 29. It did not take long to reach the runway's threshold and we performed more or less a rolling take-off. I got a good overview of VIE as we took off and saw an LH Cargo MD-11F, an Asiana Cargo B747, and a Lockheed Electra (Atlantic Airways??). I cannot write anything about the in-flight service because it was practically inexistent. There was a meager beverage service and some chocolate bar, a Milka Nussini (http://www.milka.de/milka/page?siteid=milka-prd&locale=dede1&PagecRef=63). Yuck!
As mentioned earlier I read TriStar500's trip report. Time flew by and at 16:06 we were on short final for runway 25R at AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA. All of the sudden the engines spooled up, and we climbed out again. MY FIRST GO-AROUND!! It was not very impressive overall, but there was a weird silence on board. Some minutes later the captain informed us that all of a sudden rain showers had formed on final approach. The down pour of the rain caused the wind to blow in all directions and the tail wind landing limit had been exceeded; thus the go-around. After the announcement the atmosphere in the cabin relaxed. I still think it was awesome!! A few minutes later the captain informed us that that the runway had now been changed. O.K. – same procedure as before, and we had an average touch-down on runway 7L. Breaking was a bit hard. We taxied all the way to Terminal 2 to park at V108. Along the way I say several C-17s and one C-5 at the USAF.
After having finished what I came for to AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA, I arrived at the terminal at 20:25. To my surprise the Quick Check-In let me choose my seat again, which was probably due to the light load. Knowing that the security screening at AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA is taken seriously and takes some time, I proceeded to the check-point right away. Of course, I got patted down, but *everyone* at AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA gets patted down. Remember, at VIE this barely happens. The gate was A32, so all the way down near the end of Pier A. I took my time and strolled around. Boarding was to begin at 20:55.
AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA – VIE
June 02, 2004
Airbus A321-100 (D-AIRA / D-AIRD)
Gate A32 / A 30, Seat 30F
20:30 – 22:50 (scheduled)
take-off: 23:56 (rwy. 25L)
touch down: 00:55 (rwy. 29)
Photo © Prem Andreas
Photo © Kai-jens Meyer
Photo © Kai-jens Meyer
The fact that I did not see an aircraft made me assume that we would be delayed. Indeed, at 20:55 an announcement was made that our new departure time would be 22:25. A few calculations and a look at the bus schedule made me think that catching the last airport bus in VIE would be tight. Our check-in agent said that boarding would commence at 21:45 and with that she left. Well, 21:45 passed, new check-in agents had arrived, as well as our aircraft. No further announcements were made when we would start boarding or why we were delayed. In short, Craphansa's customer service at its best. Finally, at 22:20 we started boarding. Upon entering the aircraft via the jet bridge I saw maintenance guys working on the left engine. Boarding was completed soon; as I said, a light load. The captain announced that maintenance was fixing something, which would take a few more minutes. The rest of the crew … what can I say … a bored and annoyed look on their faces. At 22:35 baggage loaders arrived and began loading the luggage. I thought to myself that this aircraft was not going anywhere, and indeed some ten minutes later the captain made an announcement that this aircraft was unusable. He told us that some pins on the left engine looked burned and therefore, the aircraft needed to undergo thorough maintenance. D-AIRA was the same airplane as on my inbound flight where I experienced the go-around. So … we all got off-board and headed to gate A30 to wait some more. Once the crew had occupied the new aircraft, we were cleared to board again, at 23:15. Our new airplane was parked on the apron, at V128, and we had to take a bus there. D-AIRD, Coburg, was also an A321-100. By the time we were all on-board it was 23:20, but the luggage was not on board, yet. Guess what, more waiting. Finally, we began taxiing at 23:45, got to runway 25L and took-off at 23:56. The cabin crew did not do anything to "comfort" people. I understand that they were pissed about this delay themselves, but they should remember that they work for the paying passengers and not for themselves. We got one drink and a "snack", a tiny mini Prinzenrolle (http://www.griesson-debeukelaer.de/index.php3?ci=138&language=2). I should say that people did not complain, but my personal impression is that the crew did a poor job. The flight itself was bumpy due to winds. We had full moon and the atmosphere caused by that above the clouds was eerie. However, I should say that the captain tried to make up for all the inconveniences. He said that he had radioed VIEST to make sure enough taxis would be available. Nice move. Apart from being bumpy, the flight was uneventful. We touched down on runway 29 at 00:55 rather hard, slammed the brakes, and were at the gate at 00:58. In the arrival hall I choked a cash dispenser, got a taxi, drove home, and paid EUR 37.00 for the ride.
In conclusion I can say that this trip was exciting: first go-around, first aircraft change. Don't get me wrong: such things happen and they are force majeur. What irritates me is LH's poor in-flight service. Moreover, the poor situation management at AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA (gate staff) and by the cabin crew on my AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF), Germany">FRA-VIE flight. They don't need to do much, a smile would be sufficient.
Hope you enjoyed it and are still reading. Comments, feedback, suggestions are welcome.