I noticed in mid May a late August weekend without any activities. The chance for a long expected daytrip to the UK.
STR (Stuttgart) - LHR (London-Heathrow)
BA 917 operated by British Airways AirbusA320 G-EUUM
Scheduled: 07.15 // 08.00
Actual: 07.20 // 08.10
Gate: 108 Seat: 24F Euro Traveller
Load Factor: 80 %
Fare: 81,97 EUR E-Ticket
Photo © Kjc Photography
Photo © Botterman Bram
Delivered to BA: 23.12.2002
BA sold its Germany Eco tix in Loco Style as one-ways. At the LHR competitor LH you pay a high Biz-Fare oneway or you book a Eco-return. Nothing to say about my opinion this way.
BA announced online check -in for STR e-ticket departures available 24 hours ahead for all ExeClub members and 12 hours for all others. I want to choose this option and hold my Execlub number during booking. At Friday evening I visited BA.com and proceeded to On-line Check-in. Simple and easy,
all available seats on the screen, done and printed in some minutes. The only negative thing was that I want to book the flight on Asia Miles which I choose now as my favourite Oneworld FF Programm,
simple and easy to change according to the website but no button to find to do it?
Amazing, I was pax No.17, 11 hours ahead of departure.
Out of the bed at 4.45 am, a short breakfast and on the way at 5.30 am, present there at 5.50 am, parked my car at P2 and inside T1 at the BA check-in counters at 6.00 am.
Photo © Sascha Foerster
Around 20 pax in front. 10 minutes to wait. 3 desks staffed, 1 male, 2 female agents.
A older, very friendly female managed my FFP-problem withhin seconds. She asked me as I explained my thing which airline Asia-Miles runs. This flight was code-shared with CX and AA and she dont know about it! IMO not to much Asia-Miles clients in the STR area.
She explained further that the flight is operated without catering according to the Gate-Gourmet problem at LHR. Breakfast boxes and something to drink will be at the gate. All in a very warm way.
Crossed security 1 for all pax, strict as always and security 2 for the US and UK flights, the same procedure again. At the gate at 06.30. Two securicor employees arrived seconds later with big bags filled with breakfast boxes and water and softdrink displays.
Inside the box: A sandwich, a small cake and an orange-juice. Not bad at all. Free newspapers also on offer there.
Boarding started at 06.50, by finger gate 108.
Leisure flight No.22 on the A320 and the first on this plane.
Welcomed by a very friendly middle aged male FA at the front door. 2 male, 2 female FA´s on the plane, the male purser was from germany. All in all friendly and professional.
Interior: Dark,blue leather seats, dark blue floor, the plane not really clean, my window was a bit dirty
also the floor. Good legroom and comfortable seats. A route map was showed during the whole flight
on the flat screens after every third row. Very interesting for me.
A friendly welcome from the flightdeck follows, the captain introduced himself and the FO and the purser by name.
Push back at 07.20 ontime. Taxi cruise from the first finger gate along the whole apron to runway entry
Photo © Denis Roschlau
The classic manual safety demo during taxi. A long run and a not to steep departure follows. Flight route: STR-Mannheim-LUX/BRU/channel/LHR.
Service during the flight was one-time free coffee/tea/water.
Good wheather along the flight, only some light clouds. Clouds become stronger as we crossed the channel. Interesting to follow a B767 flying 10 minutes beneath us, a bit higher and slower. Smooth and calm flight, no fasten seatbelt signs during the whole tour.
Heavy traffic on approach to LHR. The captain announced 15 minutes to circle around before finals.
I count 6 to 7 planes around us during the circles. As we leave the circle for final approach a LH A306 breaks through the clouds, so near I´ve never seen it before on another flight.
Only some light clouds over London and a real sightseeing flight follows with approach over downtown
to LHR´s runway No. 27R.
Photo © Ismael Jorda
A soft touchdown and heavy brakes, IMO our captain want to leave the active early. A short taxi and
5 minutes to wait as another plane was at our gate.
The captain said thankyou to us pax and to his crew.
At the finger gate at 08.10. am. IMO LHR T1 is an oldfashioned building with masses of people all around.
I leave the arrivals area, change to departures and searched for the BMI self service desks to check in for my next flight.
What to do in London from 8.30 am to 1.00 pm?
Fellow A.Net member Andy (BAViscount) invited me to a short London City meet as he knows from some post about my itinerary for this day.
Down the stairs to the Heathrow Express ticketoffices. I´ve booked a return fare to Paddingston station online for 33,41 EUR , collected my ticket from a friendly agent and shuttled to the city.
We meet at Paddington and gone by tube to the city center.
I had a good time there, saw a lot of sights. This was not my first London visit, but it was 7 to 8 years ago. I had a very nice conversation with BAViscount about our special interest and took lots of photos
with approaching Wide-Bodies over Londons sights.
Hi Andy, that was a great day, hope you are well. Time gone by quick, we said goodbye at Nottinghill station. I took the next HEX to LHR T1 and arrived there at 11.50 am.
LHR (London-Heathrow) - GLA (Glasgow)
BD 006 operated by BMI Airlines Airbus A321 G-MIDI
Scheduled: 13.05 // 14.30
Actual: 14.00 // 15.00
Gate: 8e Seat: 33A
Load Factor: 100%
Fare: 55,67 EUR E-Ticket Tiny Fare
Photo © Kjc Photography
Photo © Ingo Lang
Delivered to BMI 26.03.1999
BMI changed their busiiness policy from 01.August. My fare called TINY FARE is only bookable online by BMI. Check in is only allowed to do as self-service. Flight detailes were stored on my LH Miles and More Card as BMI is a Miles and More Partner. I insert my card, choose my seat, simple and easy and hold receipt and boarding pass withhin seconds. 4 hours, 30 minutes earlier I was checked in as pax No. 21.
Entered the part of the terminal with the UK domestic flights, walked along to the far end with the BMI gates and settled down in front of a panoramic window with marvellous views to the active arrivals runway. Wait in lounge was announced at 12.10. am. I checked the screen again 10 minutes later and it said: Delayed t0 1.40 pm. Not the best at all, the GLA connection to my next flight was the shortest on the whole trip. GLA check in will be close at 3.45 pm, 1 hour flight-time, that means roundabout 1 hour to connect there.
The next time they announced Gate 8 e for the flight. At 1 pm a BMI A321 arrived and parked at 8e.
It seems that this will be my plane.
Leisure flight No.6 on the A321 and the first on this plane.
Pax deboarded, agents at the gate, heavy actitvity all around. Boarding started finally at 1.30 pm.
Welcomed by a older female, no smile this time. The FA´s 3 male, 3 females looked stressed.
One announcement during boarding, that this will be a busy flight and the pax take their seats quickly
for no further delays. Boarding completed at 1.45 pm. The classic safety demo follows. There are flat screens in the plane after every third row but they re only used for a BMI announcement about their service changes. Pushed back, a friendly welcome from the flight-deck, the pilot said sorry for the delay happened by another delay earlier this day and we joined the huge departure queue. The captain announced number 9 to departure. I´am a bit thoughtful about the situation at GLA. We made it a 2 pm to the entry for runway 27L.
Photo © Ismael Jorda
A powerful takeoff-run and a steep departure follows. The fasten seat belt sign was quick off.
The plane looks like a heavy used one, oldish flat and hard fabric seats, scratched windows and a dirty
red floor. All eco service on this leg, that means in typical loco style they sell something to drink and eat from their trolleys.
Flight route:LHR-MAN-GLA, we´re cruising at 29.000 feet.
The captain announced strong headwinds but low traffic and a expected arrival for 2.55 pm.
Approach to GLA was interesting, circling around some thick clouds, hopping over a small hill and a bumpy touchdown on runway 23.
We use the whole length of the runway, taxied back to the terminal and deboarded by a finger gate.
Deboarding was a rather long procedure.Glasgow International is a old-fashioned building with long small walkways and not to much space all around.
GLA (Glasgow) - STN (London-Stansted)
EZY 216 operated by Easyjet B737-300 G-EZYO
Scheduled: 16.15 // 17.40
Actual: 16.10 // 17.20
Gate: 4b Seat: 20A
Load Factor: 90 %
Fare: 65,29 EUR
Photo © Kai-jens Meyer
Photo © Josep Manchado
Delivered to EZY : 23.08.1999
Leased to EZY CH: 08.05.2002
Back to EZY: 15.09.2003
Back in the public area at 3.15, checked the screens for the EZY check in location.
That was done in T2. That means you leave T1 walk some 30 meters to a small transition-style building
used especially for Loco Check in (EZY and FlyBe).
2 female agents in their typical orange suits there, no customers. A young, friendly female picked up my passport and seconds thereafter I was checked in as pax No. 123 to STN.
T2 was only used for check in, you need to go back to T1 for the departure gates.
Crossed security, searched for my gate 4, down a small stair to the groundfloor and arrived in a small
lounge with 4 gates only all in orange. Corporate identity in its best form.
This part of GLA looks like a orange painted garage!.
A EZY plane arrived at 3.45 pm parked with its nose nearly in the building direct in front of my announced exit door, that will be my plane.
Leisure flight No.21 on the B737-300 and the first on this plane.
EZY operated the boarding in groups system. There are 4 lines installed, I was as Pax 123 in Group D.
As soon as the plane arrived, the pax queued in line, pax deboarded and 10 minutes later at 3.55 pm boarding started, that means they opened the door, the 2 agents collected the boarding passes and the pax walked the very short distance to the plane. Most of the pax queued at the front door and I managed it as one of the first pax in group D to find a empty row in the back of the plane with a free window seat.
A friendly welcome at the planes door from a young female FA. 3 young, good looking females on the plane. Boarding was done quick. The captain welcomed us in a friendly way, he said thank you to us pax for beeing early at the gate and ontime in the plane. Doors closed and push-back at 4.10 pm.
A short taxi to the active runway, again 23, no time to wait there and a powerful departure run and a steep take-off follows. The plane was in very good conditions, IMO new looking fabric seats in company style, negative was the low legroom. The 3 girls where really friendly, sold a lot of things from their kiosk.
The captain announced later: "Dear passengers, strong tailwinds and low traffic on the route to STN
will alow me to announce an arrival 20 minutes ahead of schedule, enjoy your flight".
Good wheather, good views, no planes to see around. Approach to STN runway No. 23.
Photo © Stefan Strömwall
started 20 minutes before arrival, during approach we´re flown over a airfield with lots of displayed planes, a Concode included, anyone know where it is?
Smooth touchdown, low brakes and arrival at STN. My first time there. I was impressed, large and spacious, the terminal building with lots of glass and good views to the action all around. We deboarded by stairs and walked over the bridge to the main building.In the public area at 5.45 pm to
search for the counter to check in for my next flight.
STN (London-Stansted) - STR (Stuttgart)
4U 2337 operated by Germanwings A319 D-AILK
Scheduled: 20.25 // 22.55
Actual: 20.35 // 23.00
Gate: 33 Seat: 19 F
Load Factor: 90 to 95 %
Fare: 58,51 EUR
Photo © Radoslaw Idaszak
Photo © Markus Bauer
Delivered to Lufthansa: 05.05.1997
Leased to Khalifa/Algeria: 05.07.2001
Leased to Germanwings: 15.03.2004
Lots of people all around. I expected some time to wait for check in about the early time but at the desks, employed with 2 middle aged females from Swissport were 5 to 6 clients, only 1 minute to wait.
One of the females takes my passport, I said hello, she said nothing, no eye-contact, printed my boarding pass and that was it. If this is Stansted style, than welcome to Ryanairs home.
I was pax No. 42, 2 hours 30 minutes prior to departure, IMO a group checked in earlier.
Long queues at security, but it moves quickly forward, 10 minutes to wait there, crossed it and searched for the gate. Gate 33 means to drive by the people-mover to one of the buildings near the apron.
The area was nearly empty as I arrvied, I had the whole glass-front seaters row alone with very good views to the action outside. Planes there Ryanair, Ryanair and sorry I forget Ryanair. I dont count it but it was a high number of FR planes in and out. EZY with B737´s and A319´s, a Balkan Holidays T154 operated by Hemus Air of Bulgaria, a European B737-200, a FedEx MD11 arrived and a AsianaCargo B747-400 departed, some unknown planes, a B757-200 and a B737-800 not as boring as expected.
Time goes by and the first of 2 Germanwings planes arrived at 8 p.m., STR service was 25 minutes earlier than CGN, so it will be my plane.
Leisure flight No.15 on the A319 and believe it or not my 4.th flight on this plane in one year.
Some pax started qeuing at the gate. The annoyed female agent their announced: Pax stay at your seats,
your plane is just arrived and boarding will be starting in 15 minutes. Some of the pax settled down again.
Boarding started then at 8.15 and this female was really in a bad mood, she shouted to the pax faster,
a women with a baby car was another real big problem for her, STN style?.
Down the stairs and another 5 minutes to wait before the door opens and we´re be able to go to the plane.
As always all the pax boarded by the front door, only some at the back door. Welcomed by a friendly young female at the back door, lots of free rows around and I took window seat F in the second last row.2 female, 1 male FA on this flight. Not unfriendly.
Plane in LH style. Bright grey leather seats, clean, over all ok. Boarding completed at 8.30, pushed back, welcomed by the Captain, Peter Stein and on the way to the active runway, again 23. Safety demo in classic style, no screens on the plane.
No time to wait there and a short, powerful takeoff run and a steep departure. Good views to the nightly scenery.
Flight route: STN-BRU-LUX-Mannheim-STR. The FAs want to start their programm but the flight was so bumpy as we crossed the channel, they cant do it. The fasten sealtbelt signs was on during the first 20 minutes. The air was calmer between BRU and LUX and they started their service quick, but sold not to much this late saturday.
Approach to STR runway 07 started 15 minutes ahed to arrivals
only light clouds and good views all around.
Photo © Denis Roschlau
A soft touchdown, normal brakes, and we taxied to a apron parking position there at STR.
Said good bye to the female at the back door, a quick deboarding by bus and with lots of pictures on the way home.
Conclusion/Rating in my personal opinion:
1. British Airways: This flight costs the highest fare this day but it was worth it. Flying BA feels real like a classic airline with a personal touch, ontime flights, good job BA.
2. EZY: Ontime flights, fast, professional service, a very friendly captain and the girls in a good mood.
3. Germanwings: Ontime flights, friendly cockpit crew, FA´s ok but not with that personal touch at all
4. BMI: Where will BMI go. A classic carrier with accetable fares and service or a LoCo?
IMO they do not know it, stay in the middle of nowhere can´t work well. This is the classic "me too"
situation, not really classic but also not LoCo. Who needs "me too".
For example: I heard a conversation from a row behind me between a pax rebooked on this flight from a lost connection. He payed a full fare biz ticket and seats in an all eco service. He asked for some compensation (free drink and meal) and the FA dont know`s if she´s allowed to do it.
Some routes and flights all eco, some with biz class.
IMO they´re not on the right way.
Comments and critics always welcome,