2 Photographers and friends
Going to Innsbruck and not having any snow: Priceless!
After drooling over photo’s from Innsbruck for a very long time we (Kas (AirKas1) and myself (Jurgen (JRadier)) decided halfway through September that the time was there to stop wanting and start doing! So we started looking around when we wanted to go, what were the best days etc etc. Kas is starting his internship at GRQ in February so we had to do it sometime before that. The last weekend of the Christmas-vacation was decided as the best possible time to go so the start for the best airfares was off.
Saturday is by far the busiest day in INN, with Sunday as a good second and the rest of the week is downright a struggle to stay awake. HV was looked at as the first option, but as they arrived on Saturday that was quickly put away as a less-interesting option. SkyEurope was pretty cheap but flew Thursday/Sunday, not exactly what we wanted. So we checked out LH (amongst others) which gave us a good fare just €20 above SkyEurope and somewhat cheaper then HV. Of course the 2 extra flights weren’t exactly a punishment either. It was quickly decided that Friday-Monday would be good days to fly and the flights were booked.
Then the waiting began. During the end of December we started to get a tad worried about the snow, or lack thereof. Fields were still green and we hoped that would change. We were out of luck this year.
This trip report is written by both of us so you will see some differences in writing style. This first part was written by Jurgen. If we change writers we’ll indicate that with our name between brackets. Please note that this board screws up photos that are 800px wide, just click on them to view them properly. We hope you have as much fun reading the trip report as we had making and living it!
Friday, January 5
(written by Jurgen)
So after 3 months of waiting the day finally arrived, we’re going to Innsbruck! I drove to the airport together with my dad and went inside. I met Kas around quarter to 8 at the LH desk so we could check in. After some initial confusion (try explaining that you don’t want to sit together but have window seats close by) we got our boarding passes. On the FRA-INN sector we both had a window seat but on the AMS-FRA flight I had 11F (exit row) but Kas was sitting next to me in 11E. Considering the outside is far more important to photograph then me we decided to ask at the gate. After going thru security (I set off the metal detector with some metal on my shoes. While waiting for my shoes to be screened I had a conversation with a lady who thought the same of the new liquid-rules as me. On our way to the gate we both bought a magazine and met up with my dad (who was flying KL to HAJ for work).
At the gate Kas went to the gate-agent to see if they had another seat, and they did. Kas got 10F, which is an exit row as well according to the gate agent. That struck us as kind of odd, as we were flying a 737-300, which has only one over wing door. Kas was so kind to give me the exit row, regardless which seat that was. Upon taxi-in of the incoming flight 5 minutes late we started boarding. There was something Kas and I did differently, as soon as boarding was announced Kas got up while I usually wait a bit. We got on board however.
Aircraft: Boeing 737-330
Flightno.: LH 4671
Departure: 09:40 AM
Arrival: 10:55 AM
Date: Friday, January 5
Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt
When getting on board I asked if it was possible to take some photo’s of the cockpit, which was agreed on after the flight. When we got to our seat we found out both seats were an exit row, with the original 10F seat removed (the door is there) and 10E renamed into 10F. So I had a complete row to stretch my legs (which is welcome as I’m 1,98).
Push back complete
Push back was right on time from gate B11 and we taxied out to runway 18L for a departure to the southwest. Clouds surrounded us pretty quickly but it didn’t take long to break out of them and we got to see a nice cloud deck. Always a good thing to leave that behind. A ‘sandwich’ was soon served which was cold (and I don’t mean room temperature), hard and very basic. A far cry from the great buns LH used to serve a couple of years ago. The service didn’t really make up for it, a forced smile was the most I got and even when I answered them in English they replied in German. I speak a bit of German (and practiced it while in INN) but this is not a way to treat your customers.
In the take-off queue
Soon afterwards we started our descend into FRA and we started guessing which runway we would land on. I first guessed 25R but it turned out we landed on 25L. After a pretty bumpy taxi to the terminal (they don’t have one stretch of concrete in FRA but use large tiles) we parked. After a quick visit to the flight deck we got on the bus which brought us to the terminal.
Cockpit access after the flight!
Airline: Austrian Arrows
Aircraft: DeHavilland Canada Dash 8-314Q
Flightno.: OS 286
Departure: 12:05 PM
Arrival: 13:55 PM
Date: Friday, January 5
Photo © Giovanni Verbeeck
Photo © Kai-jens Meyer
(Written by Kas)
After getting off the aircraft I wanted to get something to eat. So we found a place where we could get some food and sit down during our 1h40 lay-over. Incidentally, we sat down right in front of our gate (B12) which we didn’t know until we looked at the gate numbers.
We got onto the bus that would drive us to our aircraft which was parked all at the other end of the airport, at the remote stands. As scheduled, it was a Dash 8-300. Jurgen’s camera bag had to go into the hold, just as we suspected, because it was too big for cabin luggage. Our seats were at the end of the engine, giving us a reasonable view.
Our aircraft, OE-LTM
Another photo of the nose
Kas looking forward to Innsbruck
Not exactly a comfortable AoA
One of the 2 engines that will bring us to INN.
We sat down, strapped ourselves in and waited for push back, which we didn’t have to wait long for. We taxied to runway 25L and took off about half way, banking to the left and giving us a nice view of part of the airport.
Climbing away from FRA
Pretty soon we were up in the clouds and we gradually climbing higher and higher until we reached our cruising altitude for the flight. I was looking out of the window (of course we had window seats!) almost the entire flight. About halfway the F/A’s came by with a drink and some food, which was quite good!
See below for a photo of our lunch:
Kas being surprised that I (Jurgen) took a photo
Kas taking some cabinshots
Jurgen on board
After lunch we were starting the descent. Transitioning from blue sky and sun, to clouds. But soon we spotted a large gap in the clouds and saw some of Austria’s countryside! It wasn’t all-white as we had hoped, but we still saw some snow on the ground.
Dirty window and prop during descend
And then, there it was! We were flying over the mountains! Snowy peaks, large mountains. My mouth just dropped open. This was SUCH an amazing view!! I happily snapped away with my camera.
Amazing views of the mountains!
We flew into the valley in which Innsbruck is located and I just sat in my seat in awe. I was having the time of my life.
After a few minutes we landed at INN and waited for all the other pax to deplane, so we could get some cockpit shots (which we were allowed to )
INN has no jet bridges, nor did a bus pick us up. We had to walk to the terminal. Of course we took our time, looking around and getting some pics of aircraft parked on the apron.
On final over Innsbruck city
Platform at INN
Kas starting to take photos right away
We went into the baggage hall to collect our suitcases. I was very impressed at how fast we got them! It didn’t take more than 10 minutes. Some handling companies should take note of that…
We went into the terminal and found our way to the viewing terrace (which offers an excellent view of the apron!) We took our suitcases with us, and we grabbed our cameras and started to get our first INN-shots.
Our initial plan was to make the most out of that day and stay there to get some night shots as well. But after a while I was getting very tired and Jurgen had enough of it for the day too I think, so we decided to pack up and go to our hotel.
Photo © Kas van Zonneveld
We stayed at the Ibis hotel in the center of Innsbruck. It’s a good hotel, no fancy things, but just good, as one can expect from the Ibis. It’s located next to the main railway station and the bus stop is literally a 100m walk! From the bus stop to the airport you pay €1.60 for a one way ticket, which is not bad in my opinion.
We went into our room, put down our suitcases, and went outside to get some food. There are 2 supermarkets very close to the Ibis and just across the street is a Burger King and a nice restaurant called “Insieme”. We dined there twice, with me having a wiener schnitzel (D’oh!) on the first night.
Then we got back to our room and went to bed… At that time it was around 8PM.
Saturday, January 6
So today would be the first full day of spotting for us. We woke up pretty early, after having slept for about 11-12 hours. We bought some juice and bread the night before in a supermarket on the corner, so that was to be our breakfast, nothing fancy.
We packed up our stuff, some food and drinks and headed for the bus station. But due to a misunderstanding we had to wait 14 minutes for the next bus, but oh well.
We got to the airport at around 8:30AM and went straight to that great viewing deck. The weather was a bit cloudy and foggy, but I was already enjoying myself, hoping it would turn out ok.
Luggage waiting for the aircrafts to arrive
At 11AM we met up with the best-known-resident-INN-A.netter, Mr. Florian Trojer. We decided to go where the action was, which meant we drove to the INN dam, one of the best spotting places you can imagine.
Kas looking at his shots of the OLT Saab 2000 from Bremen
Florian shooting an Austrian Fokker 70 from the Inn-Dam (also known as the damn-dam)
We had a great time over there. At that place, you have the mountains right in front of you and a great view of the aircraft. The weather was also getting better, which meant we got to take some nice photos. Throughout this trip report you will notice some aircraft shots Jurgen or I made.
Florian at work
Kas shooting a Dash-8
Florian using his 100-400 to the full extent
Some of our accepted photos from this day:
Photo © Jurgen Radier
Photo © Kas van Zonneveld
At about 3PM we went back to the terminal. Florian had to leave, but we stayed for a night photography session. We ended up at the hotel again around 8PM I think. We had dinner at the Burger King (…) and back in the room I watched some TV (Bad Boys 2 was on, but gawd… I hate those German synchronized movies :S ) and browsed though the photos of that day before going to sleep.
Sunday, January 7
(written by Jurgen)
We woke up at a pretty reasonable hour (forgot which one) and got ready to go to the airport. We already bought something to drink the evening before and decided to buy something at the bakery at the airport which was reasonably priced so of to the bus it was again. It was a bit colder then on the Saturday but the weather was noticeable better. After buying lunch (I’m fine with just bread rolls so I was done for under 1 euro!) and looking upstairs on the visitor deck we went to the spot next to the runway again, walking this time.
Traffic was a lot slower this time so we spent most of our day reading, hanging around, listening to music (at least I did, Kas forgot his discman…) and stuff like that. When the sun went behind the mountains we walked back to the terminal, getting something to eat (again at the bakery, very good value for money, especially considering it is at the airport) and waiting for the sun to set.
Kas waiting for the evening traffic
The evening was pretty good traffic wise. The 2 OLT Saabs returned and OM-SEE (SkyEurope with a large Tirol advertisement on the fuselage) were around, amongst others. We both were hoping for a good shot of the OM-SEE, but after the stairs were removed it took only a short time before some others were parked in front, unfortunately. Around 19:00 we chose to head back to the hotel and go to restaurant ‘Insieme’ again for dinner. During dinner I confused the hell out of the waitress (which we made up with a nice tip, which she clearly didn’t expect) by speaking Dutch (to Kas), German (to practice) and English (when I didn’t know it in German). The food was great again, I had a nice cream-tomato soup and Spaghetti Bolognese. After that we went back to the hotel, had a look at out photo’s, started packing and talked for a long time about a broad range of things.
Monday, January 8
Today was the last day of the trip and basically only for traveling home. We got dressed, threw the last things in the suitcase and checked out of our hotel. After that we took the bus to the airport for the last time and checked in. We got window seats for both flights (for the LH flight FRA-AMS she gave us seats for disabled (bring on the comments!) after confirming there were none) and went upstairs to see what was on the Apron. Besides an Embraer Legacy there wasn’t much of interest so we waited a bit. After a while 2 older Swiss guys appeared again (we saw them before during the weekend) and I had a pretty good conversation with them in German, or at least my German . Lucky for me they didn’t have a heavy Swiss accent and I was able to understand them. Kas wasn’t as lucky and had a hard time to follow the conversation. During that time a Q400 came in from FRA and we hoped that would be our bird. Unfortunately it was towed to the hangar so we feared we would get the scheduled Q300 which was parked over there as well. But lucky for us the Q400 was towed back so, knowing that the VIE flight wasn’t due for another hour, we basically knew we would get this lovely aircraft. We proceeded through security (where they didn’t check boarding passes or passports) and waited for the boarding time, which came and went. A little while later we started boarding (again without our passports being checked) and we got on board
Airline: Austrian Arrows
Aircraft: DeHavilland Canada Dash 8-402Q
Flightno.: OS 285
Departure: 10:20 AM
Arrival: 11:50 PM
Date: Monday, January 8
Photo © Bianca Renz
Photo © Borut Smrdelj
Kas before boarding
Jurgen before boarding
I wasn’t completely happy with my 10F seat (looking at the side of the engine) so after boarding was complete I asked if I could switch to 6A, which wasn’t a problem. Turns out tho Kas had the same idea. The window wasn’t the cleanest so there was not much lost anyway. The flight itself was pretty uneventful. Lunch was very good again with a nice salad. It’s not too big but for a regional flight of an hour it’s superb!
After arriving once more on 25L we taxied to the stand opposite of where we departed from. We deplaned and got on the bus to the terminal. Half-way home!
Aircraft: Boeing 737-530
Flightno.: LH 4678
Departure: 14:05 PM
Arrival: 15:15 PM
Date: Monday, January 8
(Written by Kas)
So we found ourselves being in the FRA terminal again. Our gate to Amsterdam was A42, which was located at the far end of the terminal!!.
So after we walked for about 30 mins, we finally were at the gate, with still 1.5 hours to kill.
Jurgen went on to read his book again and I put on my music and just looked around. We were next to the taxiway, so that was a cool sight. Especially when 747’s came taxiing by!
(Also, there was this good looking girl in the seat across us, white cap, white jacket. If you read this, please make yourself known! )
So at one point I saw this soccer nosed LH 735 taxi by, going in the direction of our gates so I got up and took a look. And it was to be our aircraft! .
I was sooo happy, as I really wanted to fly a 735 (I flew 3 new types this weekend )
After a while we started boarding. Jurgen and I were both in window seats and had a nice view of the wing, but it wasn’t blocking our view too much. FRA was a bit windy, wet and cloudy, but as soon as we entered the low clouds it was improving significantly. The cloud layer wasn’t that thick and soon enough we were enjoying a great blue sky and the sun.
I took some wing photos, the rest of the time I spent looking out of the window.
Then lunch came. It was a nice lunch again, the service was pretty good overall.
And then it came… I had been looking for contrails every flight. I finally saw one, a BA jet crossing our path above us. I reached down, got my converter, put it on, dropped a few lens caps, and tried to slide down, but then the cramps hit my right leg. Sucky! The BA was already too close for my 280 to get a good shot of it. Damn... opportunity missed. I didn’t see one again
By now we were flying over Holland and saw the landscape, we flew over the Ijsselmeer and then over Amsterdam, to land on RWY 18R. We taxied to our gate and waited until most pax were off the aircraft. We went up front and asked if we could take a look in the cockpit. They allowed us in and we took some photos. The crew told us they knew A.net, so if you guys read this, thanks for the nice flight! In-flight photos are in the queue, waiting to be screened!
At the gate in AMS
After we picked up our luggage, we each went our separate ways, back to our homes.
Written verdict (By Jurgen)
AMS: One of my favorite airports. Big, lots of room, lots of glass, just a great airport to travel.
FRA: It’s clear that Terminal 1 (except for the A-pier) is quite old, although they are refurbishing it. Overall it’s pretty cramped and low, with a lack of a good food court. The A pier is a lot better but still lacking shops. I’m not really a fan of this airport to travel through.
INN: Nice little terminal but inadequate on Saturdays. Nice bakery and overall a good atmosphere. Good visitor terrace and it’s great to walk to your plane (note: on weekdays). Scenery is lovely as well.
Lufthansa: Not what it used to be. I found the F/A’s to be business like (not genuine friendly), on board service very basic (how hard is it to reply in English?) and a lousy excuse for a bread roll. They used to be so good…. Cockpit crew was generally friendly tho. Would fly them again, because of the price.
Austrian Arrows: A great airline in my opinion. Nice aircraft, genuine friendly crew, good service and the food was excellent, especially for a regional. They rank very high for me and reminded me of QX.
Ground staff: In general very friendly, especially in INN.
Hotel Ibis: Nice new hotel, clean, friendly staff, good location. Room price is reasonable.
Total Trip: I want to go again!
Marks (By Kas)
Dinner (2x): 8 (@ A restaurant called "Insieme")
Burger King: 6 (uneventful.. )
Ibis hotel: 8
Public Transportation: 7.5
Total trip: 9
We hope you enjoyed reading this report as much as we did making it.
Thanks for reading!
Jurgen & Kas
[Edited 2007-01-16 23:34:15]
[Edited 2007-01-16 23:41:06]