Topic Author
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:22 am

Flying the Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

The story of a mid-summer family trip to Germanys capital city.
Booked in December 2004/January 2005

Saturday, 16.07.2005
STR (Stuttgart) - TXL (Berlin-Tegel)
Flight DI 7030 operated by DBA B737-300 D-ADIJ
Gate 316 Seat 2 D/E/F
Scheduled: 09.25 // 10.40
Actual: 09.30 // 10.30
Fare: 41,33 EUR per pax
Load Factor: near 90 %

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Photo © ChW - Aviapix Worldwide
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Photo © Radoslaw Idaszak

An aircraft with a wide history:
Delivered to TEA Belgium 05.04.1991
to AirAruba 13.05.1991
to Eurobelgian Airl. 16.03.1992
to EBA Italy 09.05.1993
to EBA Belgium 01.01.1995
to Virgin Express 27.10.1996
to VEX Ireland 30.06.1999
to Virgin Express 21.02.2001
to Flyglobespan 24.03.2003 operated by Islandsflug
to DBA 09.01.2005

Arrival at the airport by car at short before 8 am. Parked at P2 and further to Terminal 3 where DBA is handled by Stuttgart Ground Services. Fellow A.Net member Ndbele read in my profiles signature that I will fly to TXL today and knows from some posts that I will go with DBA. Stuttgart Ground Services handled DBA and he will do the early layer this day, but dont know till our last mails if he´s going with DI or another airline handled by SGS. At the desks at 8 am, 3 females there in service for DI, no male in sight. My son decided for a friendly young one of the females to do our check in, no time to wait, no other customer in front, seconds thereafter check in was finished and I asked her about Ndebele, she called him by phone, but lots of business, so I thinked another time we missed each other.

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Photo © D.Lausberg

No time to wait at security. At the gate at 08.15, arrival of the incoming flight from TXL was announced for 08.48. Not that much traffic this morning. At 08.45 a DI B737-300 approached, no other DI flight on the timetable, so it will be our plane to TXL. As I was flown lots of times on DI´s 737´s I expected one of the Germania leased F100s for this flight, Saturday morning, not the main travel time to TXL, a Berlin based plane, best conditions for it, but ok another one on the B737-300.
Short before 9 am, I heard a announcement: Mr.X please contact Gate 316. What a nice gesture, Ndebele found some free minutes for a short shakehands and a small 2 person A.net meet at STR  Smile.
Greetings,Ndebele, hope your are well.
Boarding started at 09.05 by finger gate 316. Welcomed by an older friendly female at the front door.
3 female FAs on the plane.
Settled down in row 2. Free newspapers and magazines on offer. Good looking plane, nearly new painted, fitted with leather seats, good legroom and clean, shiny, tray tables.
Boarding completed at 09.20, IMO a very good loadfactor for this saturday morning flight.
Leisure flight No. 20 on the B737-300, the first on this plane.
A long way to taxi for an departure from runway 25 in western direction.

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Photo © Denis Roschlau

No time to wait there and a rolling and fast takeoff. Impressive how powerful the B737-300 is.
Flight route: STR/Erfurt/Leipzig/TXL. Detailed information from the flightdeck during the flight.
Service: Onetime drinks and a roll or a cake for free.
An interesting side note for all of the younger readers:Gerri Friedle better known as DJOetzi and his manager seated in row 1, boarded short before boarding was completed.
Good wheather to fly during the whole route, calm flight.
Approach to TXL runway 26R started 15 minutes ahead of arrival.

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Photo © Denis Roschlau

Touchdown, brakes and thrust reversers in action, deboarding by a finger gate.
TXL is the only airport i´ve ever known where all the gates have their own bagagge belts.
10 minutes to wait there for the bags, changing to the pulic area and searched for the counter of BVG public transport. No time to wait for bus X9 to the Zoo trainstation.
We stayed at the Dorint Novotel Schweizerhof, located in the city center west near the Tiergarten.
A very recommendable 4 star hotel with the largest indoor pool of all the city center hotels.
Fare: 284.-- EURO 2 adults, 1 child tax and breakfast included booked by Avigo/DER online.


SXF (Berlin-Schoenefeld) - STR (Stuttgart)
Flight 4U 2005 operated by Germanwings A319 D-AKNO
Scheduled: 17.35 // 18.40
Actual: 17.35 // 18.40
Gate: 10 Seat: Free seating
Load factor: More than 80 %
Fare: 25,81 EUR per pax

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Photo © Sascha Foerster
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Photo © Bianca Renz

History: Delivered to USAir 16.12.1999
to Germanwings 15.05.2005

We leave the hotel at 02.30 pm, changed at Zoo station to the S-Bahn and had a direct ride to SXF airport. They built a new walkway from the train station (around 200 meters) to the terminal building. At the airport at 03.45 pm and I ám negative impressed about SXF. A old, undersized building,
check in at the upper level, low spaces there.

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Photo © TZ Aviation

4 desks staffed without any customers for Germanwings check-in. I´ve booked my 3 pax group in two separate bookings, why: 3 pax together was more expensive at time of booking than 1 adult separate and 1 adult and 1child separate. The young male agent who my son decided to service us was a trainee and he had some problems therefore to localize us in his system, but finally it works. Bags off, crossed security, again no time to wait and entered the gate area. Small, oldfashioned, uncomfortable. IMO the UK system, all the pax wait in the lounge, gates announced only short before departure. First Go to gate and than boarding.
Aircraft in Action: Condor A320, Air Berlin B737-800, a Transavia B737 parked at the apron, some EZY 737´s, interesting most of the EZY flights as we are there were delayed. A 4U plane arrived, parked at the left side of the building, the flight to DUS was called Go to gate 59, short thereafter 4U to STR,
go to Gate 10, and some minutes earlier Aeroflot Go to gate 8, confusion around, the Moscow pax blocked the space in front off gate 8, all the STR pax need to cross for Gate 10 and as we are queued there, they collect the boarding passes at the entrance to gate 10. Lots of DUS pax in the queue who dont understand the difference between 10 and 59. Finally we´re passed and waited at the door as another 4U plane arrived.
Surprise,Surprise, the Berlin-Bear-Bus a good compensation for this and a well welcomed plane for the trip back from SXF to STR. 4U painted this bird in special coulours for its new base at SXF airport.
The plane parked infront off us, a very impressive turnaround, pax deboarded, bags out and the gate door was opened by an male agent. He guided us by feet to the plane, my son was first to board and we seated in row one. Welcomed by an no to friendly male FA, one male, 2 females on the plane.
Good looking plane, clean inside, sorry, dont know more about the seats.
Leisure flight No. 13 on the A319 and the first on this plane.
Doors closed, pushed back and taxi to the active runway.

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Photo © Nils Dreiling

A friendly welcome from the cockpit, the pilot can´t hide his Swiss history and a quick departure without any time more to wait.
Typical Germanwings service. Pay if you want to drink or eat something, nothing else.
The pilot again told us about severe thunderstorms during our flight and that the fasten seat belts sign will be on the whole flight. He will circle around the thunderstorms if its possible and it was really a restless flight, but no problems at all.
Approach to STR from the east to runway 25.
Smooth touchdown and low brakes, we leave the runway early and parked at the apron. Deboarding by bus and quick bags on the belt in the older part, Terminal 1.

DBA:Ontime flight, good,relaxed feeling, service, slightly higher fare than 4U
Germanwings:Ontime flight, good,low fare, the bear-bus but nothing more special.

DBA is on top this time, I hope they process the differences from the Bischoff/Germania episode fast
and doing well.

Comments and critics always welcome,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Posts: 4411
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 1999 9:50 pm

Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:01 pm

Hi Markus!
It was very interesting to read about your epxerience with DI this time, it seems like as long as the original DI crews operate the flight, the airline is luckily still up to their usual standard.
So DJ Oetzi was onboard your flight? Did your son ask him for an autograph or does the little one already have enough taste to ignore such "artists"?  Wink

Getting the Bearbus on the return is a nice benefit... especially since flying 4U is otherwise just as taking the bus IMO - nothing special really, just good, solid transportation from A to B.

Anyway, thank you very much for taking the time and effort to write this report. It is just as usual highly appreciated!  Smile
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
Posts: 2847
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2001 3:16 am

Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:59 pm

Hi Markus,

good to read that you enjoyed your time in Berlin, and of course the flights on dba and germanwings, though it's a pity you didn't get your F100. At least you got a special livery on the return, even if it's an ugly one, at least in my opinion. - The STR-TXL route is always good for meeting some famous people, in your case DJ Oetzi.

It was nice to meet you before your departure from STR, sorry again for nearly missing you. That's what I call a near-miss: We nearly missed each other Big grin So finally we actually met, instead of replying to each other's trip reports "We could have met, because I was at the airport as well", as we frequently did in the past.

A TXL approach in western direction must offer quite a good views, especially as you were sitting on the left-hand side of the aircraft. I never experienced this, because my TXL approaches were mostly in eastern direction, but I've experienced take-offs in eastern direction - very impressive!

Thanks for sharing, Alex.
Posts: 2429
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:51 pm

Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Sat Jul 23, 2005 4:14 pm

Hi Markus,

nice trip report! I hope your enjoyed your stay in Berlin.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Thread starter):
At the airport at 03.45 pm and I �m negative impressed about SXF. A old, undersized building,
check in at the upper level, low spaces there.

Youre right SXF is an outdated, old fashioned airport. But at the moment they are building a new terminal for 4U. EZY has recently (march?) opend a extension of the "EZY terminal".

Topic Author
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:30 am

Hi and first thanx all for your replys.

IMO your right, there are some differences between a DBA or an Germania operated flight, this time DBA was ok.
About DJOetzi, my son don´t noticed it, but whenever I told him, i saw a high risk for the autograph question!
My son was really enthusiastic as the Bear-Bus arrived, I´am a bit of back and forth about this special livery and its effect to me.

We had a real good time in Berlin, maybe the next time with the F100.
Will the first row always reserved for the special pax?
Finally, after some near misses, we make it to fix our airport meet, a real nice
special point around this trip and maybe followed by another one with more time?
We had good views during approach, but my son occupied the window seat, no chance for me this time!

Yes, we enjoyed our stay there real much.
I saw the building in process for the new terminal and I was in the EZY area,
but it was not that impressive to me.
More impressive was the new walk-way from the S-Bahn station, not bad.

Once again, thanx for your kind words and best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Contact Air
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2001 4:13 am

RE: Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:56 am

Hi Markus,

once again very nice report, thanks for sharing your experiences! I agree with you, DBA is one of the best options when flying domestic in Germany; although I have never been on a "Gexx" aircraft, so I can't tell if there is any difference.

Topic Author
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

RE: Flying The Bear-Bus: STR-TXL-SXF-STR

Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:51 am

Hi Christoph,
thanx for your reply.
I´am also been only on DI´s own planes, not one GEXX aircraft till now,
maybe another time!
Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

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