let's write another 'article' about Air Berlins lowcost services between AMS and TXL, a route which is operated twice a day at convenient times. It's the second time for me personally using this service, now to enjoy a 2 day city-break with my boyfriend just before Christmas. Berlin is well known for it's famous shopping centres, department stores and 'German style' Christmas-markets. Also the lights which lighten the 'Kürfürstendamm' are just beautiful at night!
But let's go on with the short trip-reports of our flights, and which will be the more important for most readers. If you want to know about Berlin 'The City', you should book a flight yourself
21 December 2005
Flight: AB8023 AMS-TXL
Aircraft: D-ABBQ Boeing 737-800
Seat: 17E/F Economy Class
STD: 08:25 ATD: 08:23
STA: 09:40 ATA: 09:36
Photo © Miguel Nobrega - Madeira Spotters
When we arrived at the airportvery early this morning to catch our outbound flight we had to check in ourselves at Terminal 3, which is mostly used by longhaul carriers, and usually not by European airlines. This seems to change more and more at AMS since the winterschedule started last month. Check-in was busy with only 1 counter open for passengers (queue of about 25 people waiting) and 1 counter was dealing with some excess baggage for this flight. It took about 15 minutes before we got our boarding passes. My FFP number was already now, not the one of my boyfriend, which was on the same reservation and we requested to groundstaff to input his data in the system. And so she did.
We had to walk all the way down from T3 to gates B13, from where our a/c was departing. This means around 30 minutes walking in total, including the always nice security check halfway your walk.
As we approached the departure area we we called for boarding shortly after, and preboarding was done first. Some 5 minutes later we were able to get on the beautiful B737-800, a first for me as this one was fitted with the blended winglets! Yes, something new for me
Doors were closed at 08.21 local time, and immediately after the pushback and engine start up followed. Good performance for AB also on this flight, departing a few minutes ahead of schedule
After enjoying the safety demo on the screens, which are located below the overhead bins every 5 rows or so, we relaxed in the grey leather seats of our aircraft. We only had a very short taxi this morning to the holding point of runway 24. As there were no other flights in front of us, a rolling take off started powerful. Not strange, as the cabin was only some 50% filled with passengers. Shortly after takeoff we dissappeared into the clouds and a uneventful flight of 50 minutes followed.
View outside the window was very enjoyable for me, as being for the first time in a 737 with blended winglets. I really love these things! A shame for AB that most vacant windowseats were dirty or scratched on this aircraft
The crew offered a choice of Salami or Cheese sandwich, plus one drink for free. Very fresh and tasty food in my opinion. Well done again AB! Earphones can be purchased for EUR 1.50/each, and you can listen to some of their music, and listen to the sounds of the Mr.Bean movies, which were playing in the cabin.
Soon after we finished our sandwich and tea, we approached TXL. Landing was done smoothly on runway 26R, full breakes and we vacated the runway at 0932 local time. A few minutes later we were parked on a remote stand from where 2 buses picked us up and brought us to the arrival lobby.
Conclusion: a good and nice start of this short holiday!
22 December 2005
Flight: AB8148 TXL-AMS
Aircraft: D-ABAA Boeing 737-700
Seat: 13A/(B)/C Economy Class
STD: 15:35 ATD: 15:57
STA: 16:55 ATA: 17:10
Photo © Florian Kondziela
The return flight of this journey started different as AB told us that I was able to check-in, but my boyfriend was already checked in and seated on seat 7D
20 minutes time left standing on the counter and waiting to get the problems solved. What did the ladies do?... They checked in an other passenger under a wrong name!! Stupid! Finally we got our boarding passes, the other passenger was called over the terminal intercom to get a new boarding pass and now we had to hurry to catch our flight
We entered the departure lobby of gate 02 some 10 minutes before scheduled departure time. But, no aircraft on the platform. A delay was foreseen now, and we took seats. Around 60 other passengers were waiting in the lounge. Soon after our aircraft came in. Announcements were made of a short 15 minutes delay due to late arrival of incoming aircraft. Very fair notice at the end, as we left only 23 minutes late. That's what I call a turnaround!
As we were seated I noticed that we got a startup on the stand by using a jetstarter. Could this have been the reason of the delayed arrival of the previous flight? First officer Mr. Daniel Berger who was doing this flight today was in a hurry to minimize the delay and was speeding up the taxiway. We took of from runway 26L at 17.01 local time. Nice detail, all the way until takeoff Christmas songs were playing of the intercom. (except for the safety demo )
We saw the beautiful sun disappearing on our way back to AMS. The usual service started. Again same sandwiches: Salami or Cheese, plus coffee/tea. For free of course. Hmm... let's put a picture of the cheese sandwich in here:
The crew cleaned up the rubbish when we decended to AMS and over lake IJsselmeer for the runway 18R approach. It was just before 17.00 local time, and usually with the runway combinations in use at this time, runway 18C will open at 17.00L.
And little later, on final approach, we made a very sharp left turn, and right turn again to get on the ILS of runway 18C! We were down shortly now and touched at 17.01 local. The flight ended by a high speed taxidrive over 'The South' to our gate B11. Before we blocked in, we had to wait for a departing SK MD87, which was having pushback from B11. This delayed our arrival a little more.
After all, AB still is a great company in my opinion. They offer a good product for reasonable fares. Have a nice variety in their fleet, so chance to get on different aircraft types. Seatpitch is very ok for the European standards.
Only complaint about them this time is about the wrong checkin of passengers. The groundstaff should be extra careful on this. This could be of possible danger for a flight, and may cause unneccesary delays. This time, all went ok. We're at home again
[Edited 2005-12-22 23:04:02]