Introduction: Budapest was on my to-do list since a long time. My books told me that early september is a good time to go there.
CSA was an airline i´ve never flown before and the offer was ok, so I booked that trip in early april this year.
STR (Stuttgart-Echterdingen) - PRG (Prague-Ruzyne)
OK 563 operated by ATR 42-500 OK-JFL
Scheduled: 09.10 // 10.30
Actual: 09.30 // 10.30
Load factor: good 60 %
Roundtrip fare: 200,45 EUR Classic Paper Ticket
Photo © Borut Smrdelj
Photo © Dmitriy Pichugin
Delivered new to CSA: 30.07.2004
My first flight of this tour departs at short after 9.am, late enough to choose the train option to the airport. Wake up at 5.00 am after a short night, the train was scheduled for 06.42 am from a station roundabout 20 minutes from my house and was really cheap, only 6,50 EUR for the 1 hour 10 minutes ride to STR airport. Present there at T1 station, changed to T3 for the Czech Airlines check in desk.
Handling was done by Stuttgart Ground service, one counter open, no customers there. I´ve booked these flights on CSA´s homepage, but no E-Ticket was available. Instead they send me the classic, old-fashioned one, issued by their Frankfurt town office.
I presented tix, passport and AF/KL Flying Blue membership card. I´am curious what they pay for these flights.
A friendly young male checked me in, no bag to check and after 1 minute I hold both boarding passes for this day in my hands. I was pax No. 16 for the STR-PRG fllight. Back to T 1.
Photo © Sascha Foerster
Crossed security, no time to wait there, strict as always and looked for the assigned gate. After some airport shopping at T1 I changed again to T 3 and settled down at the far eastern end of the gate area with good views to the arriving planes.
My plane was expected for 08.30 from Prague. Interesting traffic this morning especially from Turkey, Onur Air A300-600, 2 AtlasJet B752´s and 1 A320, MNG MD83, Pegasus B737 old and NG in special colours.
OK-JFL, a ATR 42 as announced arrived finally at 8.30, parked at an apron position. Time to go to my gate in T1 now, down the stairs to the bus gates, crossed passport control without further questions and at the gate at 08.40 am, the printed boarding time.
Boarding started than at 08.50 by bus. Roundabout 30 pax in the bus, all leisure travellers. My first leisure flight on an ATR42-500. Placed my cabin-sized small suitcase on the car beneath the planes stair.
I like these delivery-at-aircraft situations, always good for some confusion around the non-frequent-travellers!. Rear door boarding on the ATR´s. Welcomed by a friendly young female FA, another young friendly female in the front part of the cabin. CSA operated ATRs with the last two rows as Biz class,
empty for this flight, my seat was in the next row, 10D this time. The seat beneath me remained also empty.
The captain informed us short after boarding about a 30 minute delay during to bad wheather conditions
over eastern bavaria, heavy thunderstorms there. Doors closed, the FAs served water and orange juice to all pax and 15 minutes later the captain announced engine start earlier than planned, we´re ready to go. No screens on the ATR, that means the classic safety demo. It seems to be a new plane, dark, blue leather seats fitted with modern alu parts, clean and good looking, legroom was ok.
A long taxi to the entry for runway 25 in western direction, no time to wait and a short takeoff roll and a steep departure, a long right turn and on the way to the east.
Flight route: STR-Nuremberg-PRG. We´re flying through clouds from 5 minutes after departure till 35
minutes in flight, but no heavy turbulences around. The wheather was better near the czech border and
becomes foggy short ahead to PRG. Detailed informations from the flightdeck during the flight.
Crusing altiude 6000 meters.
The FAs offered free drinks again and a snack box with a cheese or ham sandwich, a joghurt and a muesli bar. Not bad.
The fasten seat belt signs was on most of the flight. Approach to PRG started 20 minutes ahead to arrival. Some circles during approach and a hard touchdown on runway 24 follows.
We leave the runway early, fast IMO, passed a short before landed OK B737 on another taxiway and parked on the apron. Engines stopped, doors opended and I said goodbye to the FA´s, picked up my suitcase from the bag car and entered the bus. This bus was a good reminder to the old eastern times,
old fashioned small and dirty. The bus stopped between Terminal A and B, up the stairs and looked for my next gate. The FA announced short before landing the gates for the pax with quick connections.
Prague airport opened Terminal C only days before. The ground floor was under construction but the first floor was opened for business, large and spacious with lots of glass and aluminium.
1 hour 30 minutes till the announced boarding time for my next flight. Lots of locos there, BMIBaby,Smartwings,
Jet2, Norwegian, Germanwings and the typical european classics, AF,BA,Finnair,SAS,SNBrussels,LH
and lots of CSA planes A310-300 included, TravelService, Fischer Air and so on.
PRG (Prague-Ruzyne) - BUD (Budapest-Ferihegy)
OK 790 operated by ATR 72-200 OK-XFB
Scheduled: 12.35 // 13.55
Actual: 13.00 // 14.15
Gate: B 11
Seat: 11 D
Load Factor: near 100 %
Photo © Jakub Gornicki[epwa_spotters]
Photo © Sören Klinger
Delivered new to CSA: 17.04.1992
Boarding started ontime at 12.10 for my next flight to BUD. I was checked in as pax No. 5 for this flight. Again bus boarding, a real friendly good looking elder female at the gate. Minutes to wait in the bus till some late pax arrived at the gate. A apron tour followed to the smaller planes parked outside.
I was checked in as pax No. 5 for this part of the trip.
An ATR 72-200 was announced for this flight, so it is. OK-XFB, leisure flight No. 7 on the ATR 72-200 and the first on this bird.My suitcase on the car, delivery-at-aircraft again. Rear door boarding also on this type. 2 very friendly, good looking females on the plane. This plane was the total difference to the first flight, heavy used old and flat fabric seats,
scratched windows and a slighty dirty floor, it shows its age. The pilot made his welcome announcement and told us about some 30 minutes to wait till engines start while waiting for some connecting pax.
Time goes by, doors closed, engines started then at 1 pm . No screens, the classic safety demo follows. I am once again impressed about ATR pushback. Return with its own engines and without a stop, engines turned and we taxied along the apron. The other runway this time
Photo © Olli Mattila
for our departure, IMO only used for smaller plane departures. No time to wait, no stop at the entry, power on the taxiway
and only seconds after we entered the runway, our heavy loaded ATR 72 lifted off. Good wheather along the whole tour. Flight route: PRG-between Brno and Bratislava-BUD. The FAs offered some newspapers
and short after the fasten seat belt sign was off they started their service. One time free drinks and a
box with a ham or cheese sandwich, a choclote bar snd some peppermints.
No free seat to see all around, biz included was fully booked. Again nearly all vacationeers.
One information from the flight deck during cruise flight at 6.500 meters.
Approach to BUD started 25 minutes ahead to departure. A low pass over the city center of BUD and a rather long landing on runway 13R follows.
Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner - WorldAirImages
The taxiway to BUD T2 apron was at the far end of the runway, the reason for the long landing. Only 3 or 4 planes there, the whole space on the apron for the smaller planes was empty. Doors opened, said goodbye to the FAs, picked up my suitcase from the car and with a modern bus on the way to the terminal. Some minutes to wait at passport control with other pax from an AZ Milan service in front, no problem there. I changed some Euros in Forint in the arrivals hall and
entered the small public area to search for the Airport Minibus transfer counter. Lots of people there to avoid to go by taxi. 3900 HUF return, not to expensive for a direct ride to my hotel. Time goes by quick as I had a nice chat with a norwegian girl there . The driver called me and on the way downtown, 20 minutes to go.
My hotel was located only 3 subway stops from the city center, Sydney Apartment Hotel in a quiet street, a small, well designed one with indoor swimming pool. 111,50 EUR per night B&B booked by HRS.de.Recommendable.
I had 3 good days there, not the best wheater but ok, great architecture.
BUD (Budapest-Ferihegy) - PRG (Prague-Ruzyne)
OK 791 operated by B 737-400 OK-EGP
Scheduled: 14.15 // 15.20
Actual: 15.20 // 16.20
Load Factor: 20 %
Photo © Dmitriy Pichugin
Photo © Viktor László - Budapest Aviation Photography
Delivered new to CSA: 19.03.1999
I called the Airport Minibus Service Line at Sunday morning to pick me up at the hotel Monday 11.00 am. The driver arrived some minutes ahead, a Prague city tour followed to pick up other travellers and we need more than an hour to the airport.
CSA partners with Malev, so all the flights operated from T2A, exclusive used by Malev.
Photo © Tamás Mihalik - Skyarts Aviation Photography
They operate separate check in desks for every flight, my one scheduled for 2.15. pm was not yet on the screen, so time for a short visit to the airport exhibition. That means some displayed old eastern smokers, a Tu 134, a Yak 40, a Il 18, not far from the airport building and real interesting.
In the terminal again at 12.30 am. I read in the teletext news about a bomb threat at Prague Ruzyne this morning and so I expected a delay, so it was. The check in desk was announced at 12.35 with a 40 minutes delay. I had 1, 30 hours to connect in Prague, downsized to 50 minutes now.
2 desks opened for my flight, no time to wait and I was quickly checked in by a friendly young female as pax no. 4 to Prague. I asked about my connection, she answered, no problem at all.
Crossed passport controll and security without problems, checked the gate, 17 on the boarding pass,
19 on the screen which was right and searched for a good viewing position. I found a good place at the corner of T2B and viewed the action there. Real interesting: a B767-200 ER from Hainan Airlines goes to Peking and Shanghai, Moldova S2000 to Chisinau, AirMalta A320 to Malta, a Antonov 12 from Bulgarian Vega Airlines done a smoky late takeoff and so on.
I checked the screen at 1.45 pm and the delay was now an hour to 3.20 pm, that means 30 minutes to connect. Followed the arriving planes if there is a CSA plane viewable.
At 2.50 pm a B737 classic approached, the CSA logo to view, my plane was there.
A B737-400 was announced and so it was. OK- EGP , leisure flight No. 6 on the B737-400 and the first on this plane. Plane parked, heavy action outside, pax deboarded by the finger gate and at 3.15 pm boarding for my flight was called by the friendly female from the check in desk earlier.
4 female FAs on this flight, according to the load factor with maximum 30 pax, 7 to 8 pax served by one FA, not bad for us. Another well used plane, fabric seats, god legroom in my row, it was the exit row. Plane looks a bit worn. No screens there, that means the manual safety demo.
Only leisure travellers on this flight, no pax at all in front off my seat. Doors closed and pushed back,
taxi to runway 13L follows. A short take off run and our light plane departed steep.
Good wheather around, the fasten seat belt signs goes off quick.
Service: The usual snackbox with a ham or cheese sandwich, a chocolate bar, peppermints and free drinks.
One information during cruiseflight from the cockpit with a comment like they searched for the fastest possible route to prague, no information about the bomb threat.
After 30 minutes in flight we started our descent into Prague airport.
A calm touchdown on runway 24, heavy brakes and thrust-reversers to vacate the active quick and parked on the apron beside the ATRs.
The female purser announced the gates for the pax with short connections, me included, by the interkom.
That means bus deboarding, a modern one this time. The same entrance like saturday, in the building at
4.20 pm, up the stairs to the gates , rushed to the B area, down the stairs again, 5 minutes to wait at security, passed without questions and at the gate at 4.30 pm.
PRG (Prague-Ruzyne) - STR (Stuttgart-Echterdingen)
OK 560 operated by ATR 42-300 OK-VFI
Scheduled: 16.55 // 18.20
Actual: 17.15 // 18.15
Gate: B 12
Load Factor: near 100 %
Photo © Alan Lebeda
Photo © Alan Lebeda
Delivered new to NFD: 08.02.1990
Transferred to Eurowings: 01.01.1993
In Service with CSA since: 22.05.2000
I was really on time. Boarding started only minutes after I was there at gate B 12, I was pax no. 6 for this flight.
The usual bus boarding procedure, 10 minutes to wait in the bus for some late connectors, at the plane at 4.50 pm.
An ATR 72 was announced for this flight. OK-XFB, my plane from saturday and OK-XFC parked there, the bus drives along the planes and stopped in front off, surprise, OK-VFI an ATR 42-300.
Leisure flight No.3 on the ATR 42-300 and the first on this plane.
Stored my suitcase on the car, rear door boarding as always and welcomed by another friendly female FA. Have you ever seated in 1D in an ATR? That means you seat face to face backwards, an really unusual plane situation. All the bus pax in the plane, some empty seats around, another pax asked if its possible to change seats but the FA answered that the flight will be completely full, and he will stay in his seat. The female purser announced by the interkom that we have to wait again for some lost pax, IMO a hard day for the OK employees there. Another bus arrived with pax and the plane filled up, not to much legroom for me in this situation, doors closed and 3 A and B remained empty, a quick change and a row for me alone!.The classic, manual safety demo follows.
Once again a well used plane, old fabric seats and some scratches all around.
We taxied to runway 24 , seconds to wait for another CSA B737 arrival and with some loud vibrations we´re gone faster and lifted off. 3A was direct beneath the propeller,
a bit noisy there.
The fasten seat belts sign goes quick off and we cruised not to high without turbulences in southwestern direction via Nuremberg to a Stuttgart approach from the east.
Again the snack box with a ham or cheese sandwich, a chocolate bar and some peppermints with free drinks. One time information from the flightdeck that during the good wheather and not to much traffic in the area, the pilot awaited an ontime arrival. Good wheather with only light clouds along our route.
A lot of biz pax on this flight. Approach started 20 minutes ahead to arrival followed by a fast touchdown to vacate runway 25 quick, hard brakes on the taxiway, the plane stops nearly there. We parked on the apron, had to wait 2 to 3 minutes for the delivery-at-aircraft bags, waved good by to the friendly FAs and in the bus to STR airport T 3.
Conclusion: I was impressed by CSA. IMO a good fare on a real classic airline with friendly employees at all. Recommendable.
Comments and critics always welcome,