OS 191 (opb VO)
CRJ 200 OE-LCI "Zürich"
Photo © Makis Galiatsatos
9th flight on a CRJ, 2nd on a -200, 1st on this bird
3rd flight on VO
Oh my goodness!
It's been 6 months since I last was on a plane and I had already started to feel like a heavy smoker who's contained in a pub in Germany or an alcoholic in Saudi-Arabia. I was trembling and drooling whenever a plane passed over my place (which happens all the time).
Thank god university ended in July and I had the time and money to go to Cologne.
Erm...Cologne? Why on earth would anyone want to go to Cologne?
As simple as that.
Moreover, OS had their wonderful €99 return fares again (Red Ticket) and choosers can't be beggers. (Alright, enough Cologne-bashing now. Nice place,...in a way.
Originally, FRA would have been my destination of choice.
The day before my departure I was going through some recent TRs:
Being the poor student that I am, I do not own a car, so, given my early departure, I had two options to get to the airport.
1.) Taking the train the evening before, which would have had that awkward "lost" Interrail feel to it that I dread.
2.) Being nice to my father, hoping for him to get up early and drive me down to VIE.
Yup, I went for the second option.
When I arrived at VIE at around 05.15, I couldn't believe my eyes.
The check-in halls seemed crowded. Stressed-out families ("Yes, sweetheart, I know we're going to Australia, and no, honey, I will not unpack your Game Boy!!!"), earnest business people who all had that "I am trying to do some serious business, but, god, is my secretary hot" kind of look , foreign tourists, wandering about helplessly ("Is Dnjepropretrovsk the airport of New York? Does my flight to Graz stop in Helsinki?"), Indian families (could have been whole towns on tour, as well...) who seemed to have packed all their belongings in old Samsonites that were bulky enough to destroy the whole baggage transport system...
Rather shocked, I decided to get into the queue and hope for the best. However, I must have looked so dazzled that, at some point (about two minutes later) a nice OS staff came up to me and told me that I could use the self check-in counters.
Ah, well... I had seen them, of course, but they seemed so deserted that I had assumed they were all out of order. Silly me! Silly everyone else!
I entered my booking confirmation code only to be welcomed by a blank screen stating "Wait!" (or something more polite) that remained for about a minute. Just as I was about to flee the airport, not wanting to be blamed for a day-long service interruption, the screen showed my booking data.
Within a minute, I received my boarding passes for both legs, with my pre-selected seat, 6F, confirmed. You can select your desired seat online for free, which I think is a great thing and one of the reasons to choose OS.
Like always, I had come to the airport way ahead of time. And, like always, I was happy about that.
I took a stroll through the whole airport, visiting both parking lots and enjoying the sunrise.
It was strange to see how deserted some areas of the airport still were, despite the crowds that were checking in.
Taking stupidity to a whole new level. This supermarket (to the right) opens an hour later than all other branches of this (nationwide) chain. Logical?
The rather new underpass towards parking lot P4, VIE's only moving sidewalks, at least until the new terminal opens next year:
That's a pretty neat service. A counter that provides you with traffic information as you head for your car.
OS' 737 look sharp!
A general view of what will be a new age in Vienna's airport history. I can't even tell you how much I am looking forward to this terminal. SkyLink will, at last, assure that Vienna has an airport worthy of the #10 EU city. (BTW, the angle reminds me a little of MAN and KIX)
I was pleased to find the expansion of P4 having been opened already. In the course of the renovation works, I was please to find they had painted over some teen-age love message (you know that XY+XY kind) I had left years ago on one of the pillars...
I was as tired as I look here:
Finally some new architecture:
The view from the other parking lot. The only CRJ you can see in this pic turned out to be the one taking me to Germany:
After my devastating experiences with the prices at the airport cafés and restaurants, I had brought a Coke that I had baught the day before in the city (€0,89), in order not to have to get one at the airport (€3,20). Also, I had filled a bottle with coffee at home, so I was basically independent of the VIE hyenas.
763 arriving from I do not know where, QR 320 behind:
Paper, passport, boarding pass, CRJ fleet list with CGN train departures.
I really believe Vienna deserves better than that:
Wohoo! Here comes the sun! (Doodadooda!)
I then made my way towards security, where some guy was startled to find he had to take out his wallet, two seconds later was surprised to hear he had to take out his keys, then walked through the checkpoint (which, unsurprisingly, beeped), returned with a concerned look on his face, scratching his head. Eventually he realized that he had a phone, as well. Again he went through, just to set off the alarm again. Yes, he did have a Swiss knive in his pocket.
It was like at the cinema. I laughed.
However, I stopped laughing when it turned out that I had forgotten both my bottles in my bag (yes, the ones I had brought to avoid unnecessary expenses). Unwilling to throw them in the bin (and let the system win), I asked, if I could just drink what I had with me. The security chap looked at me with his eyes wide open and said: "Sure, if you can handle it." (While I gathered that he wanted to say was: "Sure, if you want to die slowly and painfully, It'd be a pleasure for us to watch.")
Picture that: Half a liter of Coke, followed by half a liter of (strong) coffee with hardly any milk filling my belly within one minute. Not sure about it...
I threw the bottles away, trying to put a triumphant expression on my face. However, all I managed was to whisper in my broadest Viennese dialect: "Pfoah, g'sund is des sicha net." ("Woah, that sure isn't healthy.")
All that coffeine directed me (instinctively) towards the toilet.
Having escaped from my liquid torturers (actually they escaped me), I proceeded to gate B27, which was still very much empty.
OE-LAW being towed to the hangar:
Please note the BCN flight at 10.25.
As boarding started, the Indian family I had written about before, made its way to the checkpoint ahead of me. When they handed their boarding passes over, the nice OS lady stopped to smile and looked at the pieces of paper in her hands again and again, before, mildly surprised, handing them back, saying: "You are going to Barcelona. This is the flight to Cologne. Your flight leaves in four hours."
The high clouds provided a kind of light that I somehow adore. It enables one to enjoy the structures and textures and the various shades of grey that you don't usually see. Moreover, it promises a good view on take-off.
Looks like a "men-only" flight, and in fact, out of the 23 passengers (yup, a very light load), only 5 or six were women.
I was the last one to board, so I could take a look at our neighbour, OE-LFL:
OE-LBD being pushed back. Probably it was either going to LHR or to CDG:
The much-feared CRJ seats. I could hardly remember what they were like, as my last first-gen CRJ flight had taken place in 2004 (OSL-MUC on LH). They turned out to be more comfortable than expected. The pitch was absolutely fine, the width fortunately never bothers me. The only thing I didn't enjoy was, as all of you understand, how low the windows were located. They seemed to have been designed for ramp workers to enjoy busty female passengers. What the guys in Montreal obviously didn't have in mind was a device for people to establish visual contact with the world outside the plane without risking serious and permanent spine damages.
Is that Hugh Laurie?
Kind of ironic to see caricatures on the difficult financial state of OS. I imagine the "concerned passenger" talking to the FA: "Ma'am, has the captain had a warm meal in the past 24 hours? Can you afford kerosene or do you use apricot liquor?"
About ten minutes late (no explanation given - tststs...) we rolled out of the gate and made our way towards RWY 29, which, due to the prevailing western winds, happens to be the primary T/O runway, at least before noon.
OE-LBD spooling up the CFMs:
OE-LBU following her longer sister (Here's one to think about: If we refer to planes as "she", can we call the 321 "skinny", rather than "long"?)
As you can see, the runway is anything but flat:
Lining up. We had not been greeted by the cockpit crew yet.
Two 777s at once. Nice to see some larger planes (or, in my logic "obese"?) at VIE:
With a load factor of less than 50%, we soon blasted away:
The OS maintenance ramp. I assume this IB MD80 is the one that had its emergency landing some days before? Can anyone confirm?
The (relatively new) GA terminal, which was quite a busy place during the football EC, two months ago and the Danube.
I had chosen an F seat, because I had expected a RWY29 departure and I wanted to see Vienna.
The Donauauen. As far as I know, it's the only National Park within the city limits a European capital.
OMV oil refinery, Schwechat:
Simmering power station, Austria's biggest Coal power station, our very own Battersea:
My wonderful hometown. I could cry when I look at this picture (Yes, call me pathetic! Go ahead! )
The green area towards the bottom left is the Central cemetary, the biggest in Europe. There's a (mean) saying about it: "Half as big as Zürich, but twice as funny". I cannot subscribe to that.
Towards the right, you can see the Prater and the Ernst-Happel-Stadion, which functioned as Vienna's EURO venue in June.
Donaucity mid-rise cluster:
Communities in the south and the S1 motorway:
Schönbrunn palace and gardens. My place is in the middle of the picture. Sorry about the bad quality.
Leaving it all behind:
What was intended to illustrate the low load and the bright interiors on this morning flight, turned out to become a scary self-portrait. Apparently I grossly underestimated (misunderestimated?) the enormity of my head.
Nice to see that the traditional triangle shape is still in use.
Quality and taste was excellent (three of four different choices of warm and crispy rolls to choose from), quantity needs improvement, though.
I just wasn't sure whether that orange fluid was yoghurt or thousand island salad topping. I honestly couldn't tell.
We were then, finally informed about the flight from the flight deck. The speakers were way to quiet to actually retrieve any useful information other than the FL (310) and the nationality of the Captain (German, judging by his accent).
I assume this is the Rhine, the great river?
Landscapes of North-Rhine-Westphalia:
My first glimpse of Cologne. By the awkward angle we looked at it, I could tell that we were approaching RWY 24.
Rösrath and A3 motorway:
We were quickly decelerating and vacated the runway via a hi-speed taxiway.
As we pulled into our stand, this WDL (operating for 4U?) was just about to depart.
Merkel's A310, the only hint that gave away that we had arrived at was used to be a capital airport.
Saying goodbye to the nice crew and getting onto the bus:
Empty gates all over the place:
The connection of T1 and T2 (and the railway station I was heading for):
It's a crappy picture but I simply have to get off my chest, what a huge load of feces these machines are. Basically, they're easy to use, it's just that you'll have throw in the coins from a distance with the kind of power you might expect to see in Beijing athe Games at the moment, or else they will happily return to you.
Other than that, CGN's airport and the S-Bahn-System are wonderfully easy to use. (But I had expected that, as that's what Germany is famous for.)
This was only the first part. Stay tuned for the second one tomorrow. I've been working on this first half for three hours, so I feel I deserve some rest now.
Please feel free to praise this report (or burn in hell ).
Nah, seriously. I'm eager to read what you think about it.
Good night for now!
In the meantime, feel free to read my previous TRs:
VIE-FRA-HEL-FRA-VIE (OS/LH; Jumpseat)