Now that I had the main ticket it was time to find the options to travel inside Spain. So after checking all the websites (Vueling, Spanair, Iberia, Air Europa and Clickair) I found three great deals. And finally I had a real interesting itinerary for my summer vacations:
Aug 6th CCS-MAD on IB A340-600
Aug 10th MAD-SCQ on IB A320
Aug 21st SCQ-BCN on XG A320
Aug 25th BCN-VLC on IB Dash 8
Aug 27th VLC-MAD on IB CRJ-200
Aug 28th MAD-TFS on JK MD-83
Sep 5th TFN-MAD on JK MD-83
Sep 6th MAD-CCS on IB A340-300
As this is the 1st part of the report I will write about the CCS-MAD-CCS leg. If you want to check out the part 2 (The national flights) please click here.
Spanish Flavor Pt.3: Canary Islands (Pics+vids) (by Cybergus Sep 9 2007 in Trip Reports) Spanish Flavor Pt.2: La Peninsula (Pics+vids) (by Cybergus Sep 9 2007 in Trip Reports)
August 6th, 2007.
Aircraft: A340-600 (EC-JLE) "Santiago Ramón y Cajal"
ETA: 07:35 (Aug. 7th)
ATA: 08:15 (Aug. 7th)
Photo © Stefan Hofmann
Photo © Jakub Sulima
Finally the day arrived. I was pretty excited since the night before. I woke up pretty early cause I wanted to be really tired in the night to take some sleep in the flight. Well my journey to the airport began around 12 o'clock. Now that the highway to the airport has a new bridge there is no reason to get worried about the traffic. Considering that there was an accident in the highway we made a really fast approach to CCS. I arrived to the counters at 12:40 p.m, there was already a huge line that took me for surprise because I was there almost 5 hours before the flight. Here is a picture of the checking area.
Anyway the line began to walk really fast and I reached the counter at 13:15. I made my check in and asked for a window seat. The lady at the counter was really nice and she offered me the 25L which I accepted without complaining. After I got my boarding pass I went with my parents to TGI Friday's to lunch. Around 14:30 it was time to say goodbye. I went through the first security point very quickly. Then I made the line for the passport control which was huge. Well when I was almost the first one in the line a security agent from the airport came to me to ask me a few questions about myself. I understand him because there are a lot of drug trading problems in CCS so seeing a guy around 20 years old traveling alone came very suspicious to them. Right after answering all the questions I went to the emigration progress where my passport was stamp. Then I enter in the gates zone. I made a first stop in the duty free store to buy a few things like bubblegum and chocolates for the 8 hours flight. I paid my stuff and then it was time to go to the VIP lounge. In the VIP lounge I served myself a Baileys and then I connected my computer to the Wi-Fi zone. Here are the pictures.
My Bayley's as usual!
My Boarding pass
I chatted a little bit in MSN and checked out my emails. At 16:35 it was time to go to gate 23 to board the beautiful A340-600. But for my surprise when I arrived to the gate my name was call. I had to go downstairs to the ramp to open my luggage because the National Guard needed to check out some stuff from it. Well the thing is that I and 10 more passengers went with an Iberia agent to the basement of the airport just to ensure that our baggage didn't have anything wrong. This activity was the responsible of the delay of the flight. As I was the first one to get the baggage checked I ran directly upstairs again and boarded the plane without any more complications. I sat down on the 25L which was obviously a window seat and waited for the pushback of the plane. Here are some pics.
S3's 767 bound to MAD
S3's 757 arriving from MIA
At 17:55 doors were close and right after the pushback begun. It took about 2 minutes to start the 4 engines of the little baby. Then a safety video was played. At 18:04 we were already at the beginning of runway 10. We waited for a VH Dc-9 that was landing and then it was our time to takeoff.
The takeoff was very quiet and very smooth I must say. I was a little bit impressed of it. Here is the video.
We climbed very slowly and then we made a left turn to reach our course to Europe. About 30 minutes later the flight attendants gave us the earphones and a sort kind of socks that you could use during the flight to be more comfortable. I didn't use them by the way. I turn on my ipod and put some music to my long journey.
At 20:00 (CCS time) dinner was served. You could choose between Pasta and Meat. As I ate pasta the day before I chose meat. Also I ordered some wine to drink. Here is the picture of my amazing menu.
I must admit that dinner wasn't bad at all. Obviously as all the airplane food you can't compare it with a restaurant, but this one was quite nice. The wine was also very good, indeed I drank two bottles (Yeees I was pretty drunk before bed time!). Well after I ate the diner and started getting dizzy the F.A cleaned up the main cabin. Then lights were turn off and the first movie was played. It was "Waitress" (It looked pretty badly so I preferred not to watch it). As the cabin was pretty dark I tried to sleep a little bit but I couldn't. The flight was filled with a lot of turbulence but it wasn't anything to be worried. Like at 23:00 (CCS Time) I finally get to sleep, but 1 hour later the cabin crew turned on the lights again indicating that we were near MAD and it was time for breakfast (At this moment I wanted to kill Iberia's crew for waking me up!). Back to theme, the breakfast looked very nice too. It was a ham and cheese sandwich, fresh fruit, some kind of yogurt and Orange juice. As my jetlag was pretty huge I wasn't hungry at all so I only ate some fruit and drank the juice.
F.A serving us
Like about 45 minutes later the plane started to descend. The F.A cleaned up the cabin again and right after they were giving the immigration form. As I am Spanish I didn't need it. Well at 8:05 (MAD Time) we were almost on finals for Barajas and the TV's were showing information about the T-4 and the connection flights.
We touched down at 8:15 and finally I was in Barajas after 8 hour and 20 minutes. Here is the video of the landing (With claps included...) and some pictures when we were taxing to the terminal.
Look who arrived before us
Some IB planes...no doubt who is the king of Barajas.
The people disembarked the plane really fast. I walked all the T-4 and I must admit that is just amazing. It left me breathless. Here are some pictures of it.
The connection train
After I got down of the connection train I went to the Immigration line. The Venezuelans line was really huge but as I said before I'm Spanish so I went through the citizen's line which was empty. In fact they didn't stamp my passport. The policewoman in charge just said to me "Welcome to Spain again sir".
Then it was time to go to the baggage belt to pick up my suitcases. It didn't take to long to get them so I put them in the little trolley and went outside to take a cab.
And finally here ends my first day in Spain after a long trip. I hope you enjoyed the first leg as I did. Here are some pictures of Madrid.
Some Airlines in MAD
Me and the most wonderful stadium in the world!
A month later...
September 6th, 2007.
Aircraft: A340-300 (EC-GGS) "Concha Espina"
Photo © Carlos Vaz - SJU Aviation Photography
Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu
The fatal day arrived . It was time to go back home...what a shame! I woke up at 8:00. Get ready and at 8:30 the taxi was already at the gate waiting for me. I reached the airport at 9:05 and went directly to the check in counters. I checked in myself and everything was perfect. The lady gave me my boarding pass and told me that the departure gate was still unconfirmed so I had to check out the displays. I passed through the security points and started my journey to gates U, S and R.
To get to that gates you must take the train so that is what I did here are some pictures.
Going to the gate
On the T-4S
My breakfast...a chicken wrap
After getting around in the duty free shops for a while I checked out the departure flights board and there was my flight with its gate. It was R7 so I went directly to it. I sat down and waited for the boarding time. At 11:42 boarding was call. As usual in all the Venezuelans flight the people like to make huge lines to board the plane. They don't understand the meaning of the boarding by seat section. So I just laughed and waited for my turn to board. Here are the pictures.
The famous boarding line
At 12:10 everybody was inside de bus. Doors were closed and the jet-bridge was already deployed. I looked at my watch and it was 12:20 time to go.
But the plane didn't make the pushback. Something was wrong. Twenty minutes later the captain made the announcement. We were a little bit delayed because there was a problem with the airport's fuel trucks. So we had to wait inside the plane with a lot of heat and with no drink service for two hours. At 14:34 we were finally refueled and it was time to go. We made the pushback and get towards to the runway without any problems. At 14:45 we were ready for takeoff here is the video.
The takeoff was pretty slow. Ten minutes later the F.A made a real important announcement. They were asking for a doctor onboard. Apparently a lady a few rows before mine had a heart attack. For our miracle there was a doctor inside so the F.A gave him some medical supplies and he was able to nurse the lady. After this not so grateful moment the flight continued its route. We had already 2 hours in flight and the IB staff started the meal service. We could choose between tasty paella and a chicken plate. Of course I chose Paella. Here is the picture.
Then the first movie was played. For my luck it was Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer. As I hadn't seen it before I watched it. When it ended it was time for the second movie. Pirates of the Caribbean 3...I felt very lucky my favorite movie!
Well after 3 hours of pure movies we were 2 hours for our arrival. The F.A started again the food service with a snack. I thought it was chicken but then when I taste it I didn't guess what it was. Here is the picture of the awful snack.
When I finished with the snack it was time to fill up the forms of immigration and customs. When I was filling them the plane was already descending towards CCS.
Twenty minutes later we were on final approach to Simon Bolivar. We touched down at 17:08. Here is the video of the landing.
As you might heard on the video some people clap which I find pretty stupid but bah! Whatever. Then we taxied to our gate which was Gate 18. Everybody disembarked the plane without any problems (Including the lady that had the heart attack). The immigration line was quite long considering that 3 flights from MAD arrived at the same time (UX, S3 and IB). But the baggage claim was really fast. My two suitcases came out without any problems and finally I was again in my hometown after an amazing month.
Well this was all my Trip report I hope you enjoyed it. Special thanks to all the people who made this trip possible.
[Edited 2007-09-10 00:00:05]