Contact Air
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TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:40 pm

I still had some days of holiday left which I had to take in January, so I was looking for an interesting short trip to a European destination. I found a very good offer at TUIfly, from my home airport Stuttgart to Venice for EUR 78.00 return, including all taxes.


Monday, 12 January 2009
Stuttgart (STR) – Venice (VCE)
Airline: TUIfly
Flight number: X3 3694
Scheduled departure time: 07:15
Scheduled arrival time: 08:35
Type of aircraft: Boeing B 737-700
Registration: D-AHXJ



This aircraft was built in 2008 and delivered to TUIfly in May.


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Photo © Markus Buttinger
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Photo © Holger Frank




As I live very close to Stuttgart Airport I decided to use the late-night check-in. I arrived at Stuttgart Airport shortly before 18:00 on the evening before my flight, and the TUIfly check-in area in Terminal 3 was deserted:



There were only two early morning departures on the next day: VCE and HAJ, so there were only six other passengers apart from me at the check-in desks. TUIfly had reduced their offer from STR shortly before: flights to TXL (with several daily services), ARN and PSA have been discontinued. At 18:00 two check-in agents arrived and all passengers were checked in in no time. I got my boarding pass for seat number 25F in the back of the aircraft:



On the next morning I arrived at Stuttgart Airport by train only shortly before the departure of my flight, passed security check quickly and proceeded directly to gate 331, a bus gate on the first floor of Terminal 3. Boarding started 30 minutes before departure. While the other passengers were boarding the bus I stayed outside and checked the apron for our aircraft. The bus driver approached me; at first I thought he would tell me to board the bus instead of standing outside, but he just wanted to show me which aircraft would fly to VCE.  bigthumbsup It would be D-AHXJ, a new entry for my log, built and delivered to TUIfly only eight months ago. When all passengers had arrived the bus took us to the parking position of our plane:



I boarded through the rear door. Three flight attendants (2 female, 1 male) welcomed all passengers. Newspapers and magazines were available in the overhead bins near the doors. The cabin is equipped with the typical Recaro-seats. Please also note the “hlx.com” wall at the back that was installed into this aircraft more than a year after HLX had stopped to exist – probably the walls had already been produced in advance (picture was taken on the return flight two days later):



The outside temperature in Stuttgart had been around minus 10 degrees Celsius that night, so it was freezing cold inside the cabin as well. The flight attendants were wearing coats and most passengers, including me, also left their coats on as it didn’t get much warmer before take-off. One of the flight attendants announced “Boarding completed, 65 + 0”, so obviously there were 65 passengers on board which was a load factor of 44%. I had a complete row for myself. Most passengers were German tourists, but there were some Italian families as well, plus a few business travellers of both nations. The safety video was shown in German language with English sub-titles.

We went off-block at 7:15, just in time, and taxied to one of the three open de-icing positions. During de-icing, the captain made a welcome announcement. Like usually on a leisure carrier with many inexperienced travellers, he was very informative. He especially explained the de-icing process in a very detailed way, how it worked, how long it would take and why it was necessary. De-icing:



We taxied to runway 25 where we took off into the clear winter morning with no waiting time.

Fly me to the moon:



Flight time was less than an hour, so they didn’t sell headphones. But the four audio channels were working (I had brought my own headphone to try out): actual charts, oldies, German folk music and a children’s programme. Luckily there were no short movies or advertisements on the screens, just the air-show which I enjoy most when flying:



Food and drinks are sold on the shorter flights of TUIfly (on the longer routes it is free). I had decided to pre-order a breakfast tray for EUR 9.90 which was quite good:



Soon we were reaching the Alps:






The first officer, who was the pilot flying, made another announcement, informed us about our flight route and the weather at Venice that would be fine, sunny and with plus 1 degree Celsius much warmer than at STR.

Lago di Ledro in the Italian Alps:



Lago di Garda:



The flight route:



The lagoon near Venice:



The City of Venice (sorry for the bad quality of the picture due to backlighting):



We touched down on runway 04 and taxied to a parking position on the apron where we were on-block on time. On leaving the aircraft, the cabin crew distributed sweets to the passengers.

Leaving D-AHXJ:






A bus took all passengers to the arrivals facilities. Luggage arrived quickly.

After a turn-around time of 30 minutes, D-AHXJ was on its way back to STR again:




For those of you who are interested, here are a few pictures of Venice in winter as well:

This new bridge designed by Spanish star-architect Calatrava is now the “entrance” into the city centre of Venice:



Typical Venice scene:



The monastery on the island San Giorgio Maggiore:



Dodge’s palace:



The Island of Giudecca:




Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Venice (VCE) – Stuttgart (STR)
Airline: TUIfly
Flight number: X3 3695
Scheduled departure time: 09:10
Scheduled arrival time: 10:25
Type of aircraft: Boeing B 737-700
Registration: D-AHXJ



This aircraft was built in 2008 and delivered to TUIfly in May.


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Photo © Stefan Sjogren - Stockholm Arlanda Photography
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Photo © Lukas Bluth




Two days later it was time to go back. On the way to Venice Airport, TUIfly has placed a large advertisement:



Obviously they want to attract some (more) Italian passengers as well. With Alitalia reducing their capacities to Germany more and more, TUIfly has become an important player on the Germany-Italy Market. Out of VCE, they are serving TXL, HAM, HAJ, CGN and STR.

Check-in opened two hours before departure with only one counter (at least at the beginning). I got my boarding pass for seat number 25A, the same row as on the outbound flight, but this time on the other side. After passing security control I entered the gate area:



I watched the morning traffic through the huge glass front of the terminal building. The TUIfly aircraft arrived from STR on time. It was D-AHXJ again, the same aircraft as two days before. But with only two B 737-700 aircraft based at STR, chances weren’t too small. I proceeded to gate 5, a bus gate on the ground floor. Although seats were pre-assigned, many passengers were already queuing at the gate. The gate agents walked through the crowd of waiting passengers and inspected the boarding cards. Obviously they were looking for a particular passenger. Boarding started 30 minutes before departure with two busses. On the bus, the gate agents came around again and said they were looking for a passenger that had checked in one bag. Later one of the gate agents used the microphone of the bus and announced that they were looking for the passenger with the baggage receipt number 508636. Everybody was checking his / her baggage receipt – it was a bit like a lottery. But unfortunately I didn’t win – my number was 508606 – so one digit was wrong…  Wink The passenger they were looking for wasn’t in my bus, but I guess he had to go back for a special luggage inspection. Finally the bus left the terminal and reached the aircraft bound for STR shortly after.

Boarding D-AHXJ once again:



There were again three flight attendants (2 female, 1 male). Music videos were playing during boarding (James Blunt). This time there were 80 passengers on board which was a load factor of 54%. I had a row for myself again. The safety video was shown in German language, this time with Italian sub-titles as there were many Italian passengers on board (no English version).

We went off-block and taxied to runway 04 where we took off in Eastern direction. It was raining outside, so the view was not the best:



Maintenance facilities with a parked former TAM MD-11:



After take-off:



Soon we were up in the clouds, so there were no more views.

I had pre-ordered a breakfast tray again that was similar like on the outbound flight:



The flight attendant asked me if I wanted my croissant hot, but this would take about 10 to 15 minutes and with the short flight time I decided to have it cold. They sold quite a lot on this flight, especially coffee and sandwiches. The passengers behind me even bought some items from the board shop.

When we had already reached German airspace, the female captain made an announcement as well. She informed us about our routing until now which had been from VCE towards INNMUC and now we were shortly before AGB and would reach STR ahead of schedule.

The view got better over Southern Germany:



A town in the Swabian Mountains (Schwaebische Alb):






Our routing on the monitor:









The station of the town of Plochingen:



The town of Neuhausen:



Farms in the Filder-area:



Final approach: the motorway A8:



We touched down on runway 25 and taxied to a parking position in front of Terminal 3 where we were on-block five minutes ahead of schedule. All passengers left the aircraft through the jet bridge.

D-AHXJ is waiting for its next flight which leads to Italy again, this time to Bari:



Luggage arrived quickly and I took a train home.


Conclusion: Once again I was very happy with my flights on TUIfly. Prices were very good, flights were on time and cabin crews were really friendly and attentive on both flights. Information from the flight deck was very detailed as well. They offer a wide network out of my home airport STR, so I will definitely fly them again.

Thanks for reading my report. Questions and comments are always appreciated.

Regards

Christoph
 
pumaknight
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:40 pm

NIce TR and great piccies. Thanks for posting.
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FLIEGER67
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:53 pm

Hey, Christoph,

I´am in desperate need for some flying-out-of-STR report´s  Wink .
Therefore great to read your story about Tuifly and VCE.
Venezia looks like stunning with these bright winter sun.
Indeed a good idea to go there.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
It would be D-AHXJ, a new entry for my log, built and delivered to TUIfly only eight months ago.

Congrats!.

Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
Sabena332
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:35 pm

Fantastic report there, the ideal mix of relevant pictures and informative text!

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Fly me to the moon:

Great pic!

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
the air-show which I enjoy most when flying:

I enjoy the air-show as well, epecially on short-haul flights, definitely better than "Funniest Home Videos" or other retarded stuff. But then again, I hope that PTVs becoming standart on short-haul flights within Europe! So great that some airlines in North America are offering this since a few years already (DirectTV and XM Sat Radio kick ass)!

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Typical Venice scene:

I've been there approximately 20 years ago and it still looks there like it looked 20 years ago.  Wink

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
I had pre-ordered a breakfast tray again

The food looks good actually! Ok, a bit overpriced but definitely better than an easyJet sandwich that comes for 4.50 EUR.

Patrick
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B747forever
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:20 am

Great TR with nice pics

Seems you had okay flights with TUIfly.

Pity that you got the same aircraft twice.



Thank you for sharing

B747forever
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DALCE
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:25 pm

Hi Christoph,

Nice to see a winter scenario trip report from STR, with lovely winterly pictures  Smile
It was a very enjoyable read, also since there were not too many european reports online lately.
Good to see you score another new registration for your log. Always a pleasure to add something new there!

Thanks for sharing!
Joost ( D-ALCE )
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Contact Air
Topic Author
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:58 pm

Hi and thanks to all of you for your replies!

Quoting Pumaknight (Reply 1):
NIce TR and great piccies.

Thank you!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 2):
I´am in desperate need for some flying-out-of-STR report´s

Well, maybe we will read an STR-report with destination Morocco soon?  Wink

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 2):
Venezia looks like stunning with these bright winter sun.
Indeed a good idea to go there.

For me it's much nicer in winter - the atmosphere is great as there aren't many tourists there.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 3):
But then again, I hope that PTVs becoming standart on short-haul flights within Europe! So great that some airlines in North America are offering this since a few years already (DirectTV and XM Sat Radio kick ass)!

Yes, that would be great. But I doubt that we will see it in Europe soon.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 3):
I've been there approximately 20 years ago and it still looks there like it looked 20 years ago.

It probably looks like it looked 200 years ago as well...  Wink Well, maybe except the motor boats.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 3):
The food looks good actually! Ok, a bit overpriced but definitely better than an easyJet sandwich that comes for 4.50 EUR.

On the other hand, you could have got two beers on Easyjet for the same price as the TUIfly breakfast.  Wink

Quoting B747forever (Reply 4):
Pity that you got the same aircraft twice.

Yes, but chances weren't too small as TUIfly's B 737-700-fleet isn't that big and I have already been on a few of them.

Quoting DALCE (Reply 5):
Nice to see a winter scenario trip report from STR, with lovely winterly pictures

I really like flying in winter - especially crossing the snowy Alps is fantastic.

Quoting DALCE (Reply 5):
Always a pleasure to add something new there!

Yes, and in this case it was a shiny new aircraft as well.

Regards
Christoph
 
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airbuseric
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:24 pm

Hi Christoph,
I liked this report a lot. For some reason I like this airline. It's the yellow on their planes, and the B737-700's just look stunning machines. Also the seat design, very modern appearrance, and I tried them once myself, and kinda like the comfort for a European (short) flight.
btw, is Venice much more quiet in wintertime? Or does it still attract lots of tourists?
Thanks for the report. You made a good choice to spend your days off like this  Wink

Gruß
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
Contact Air
Topic Author
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:40 pm

Hi Eric and thanks for your nice reply.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 7):
I liked this report a lot. For some reason I like this airline. It's the yellow on their planes, and the B737-700's just look stunning machines. Also the seat design, very modern appearrance, and I tried them once myself, and kinda like the comfort for a European (short) flight.

I also like TUIfly. They offer a good product on European flights and good value for money. You realize that they want to become a quality carrier again, after their excursion into the low-cost segment with HLX.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 7):
btw, is Venice much more quiet in wintertime? Or does it still attract lots of tourists?

It is definitely much quieter than in summer. The streets and the boats aren't crowded, although you are not alone, of course. You still hear some English, Japanese, German and other languages in the streets.

Regards
Christoph
 
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Vio
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:00 am

Very cool trip report!

That yellow is really cool. It stands out from all those boring "European White" colored planes. I can't stress enough how cool it is that you guys get meals on y our European flights (even if you pay for it), not just a crappy sandwhich you have to pay 5 bucks for. (I know... it's weird, but I LOVE airline food... LOL)

Thanks for the report. Venice looks fantastic by the way. I need to get there one day.
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Ryanair!!!
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:30 am

Curious question... How do you pronounce the name of this airline? Do you say T-U-I Fly or do you say "too-ee" Fly?
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gjunnar
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:38 pm

Another great trip report, Contact Air. TUIfly seems to do alright even though they don't have a clear cut strategy (IMO).
Let's hope they won't ax too many more routes out of STR.
 
Contact Air
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:23 pm

Once again thanks for your comments!

Quoting Vio (Reply 9):
I know... it's weird, but I LOVE airline food... LOL

It isn't weird at all - I somehow love airline food as well. I like to eat something (good) while enjoying the view out of the window.

Quoting Vio (Reply 9):
Venice looks fantastic by the way. I need to get there one day.

It's definitely worth a visit - especially in the off-season with not so many tourists around.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 10):
Curious question... How do you pronounce the name of this airline? Do you say T-U-I Fly or do you say "too-ee" Fly?

We say "too-ee" Fly, like the German tour operator which is also pronounced "too-ee", although TUI originally stands for "Touristik Union International".

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 11):
TUIfly seems to do alright even though they don't have a clear cut strategy (IMO).

Yes, their strategy changed a lot in recent times.

Quoting Gjunnar (Reply 11):
Let's hope they won't ax too many more routes out of STR.

I hope so too - they still have some interesting destinations served from STR.

Regards
Christoph
 
Sabena332
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:37 pm



Quoting Contact Air (Reply 6):
On the other hand, you could have got two beers on Easyjet for the same price as the TUIfly breakfast.

Yes, the beers I had on the plane were my breakfast actually.  Wink

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:12 am

Servus Christoph,

great report with many nice pictures from Venice! The breakfasts are well presented - but almost 10 Euro isn't cheap.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Please also note the “hlx.com” wall at the back that was installed into this aircraft more than a year after HLX had stopped to exist – probably the walls had already been produced in advance (

Interesting to see that on the newer 73Gs, too.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
Ndebele
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:32 am

Thanks for posting this well-written report with again some nice pics!

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Later one of the gate agents used the microphone of the bus and announced that they were looking for the passenger with the baggage receipt number 508636.

Interesting. Don't they print the passenger name onto the bagtag? And can't they see in the computer whom this baggage receipt number has been assigned to? I can imagine this announcement created a lot of confusion, as passenger usually don't know where to look for their bagtag number.

Quoting Contact Air (Thread starter):
Maintenance facilities with a parked former TAM MD-11:

As VCE is doing MD-11 cargo conversions, I wouldn't be surprised to see this aircraft flying for UPS or FedEx soon - in case cargo demand rises again soon hopefully.

Regards, Alex.
 
ba319-131
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:45 pm

Nice report and pictures Christoph, thanks for sharing with us.

Looks like both were pretty good flighs and not too full, always nice to have the seat next to you free, let alone 3!

Still not sure about those seat fabric colours though!

Regards

Mark
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Contact Air
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:12 pm

Thanks again to all of you for your replies!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 14):
The breakfasts are well presented - but almost 10 Euro isn't cheap.

It isn't cheap, but also not much more expensive than the stuff you get in the airport restaurants.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 14):
Please also note the “hlx.com” wall at the back that was installed into this aircraft more than a year after HLX had stopped to exist – probably the walls had already been produced in advance (

Interesting to see that on the newer 73Gs, too.

I was surprised as well. The wall doesn't fit into the actual corporate identity. But on the other hand you only realize it on the second view - and most passengers probably won't notice it at all.

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 15):
Interesting. Don't they print the passenger name onto the bagtag? And can't they see in the computer whom this baggage receipt number has been assigned to?

I was wondering about those questions as well. I have no idea why they weren't able to find out the name of the passenger.

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 15):
I can imagine this announcement created a lot of confusion, as passenger usually don't know where to look for their bagtag number.

You are right; it did create a lot of confusion. Everybody tried to remember the six digits while searching his / her bags for the luggage receipt.

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 15):
As VCE is doing MD-11 cargo conversions, I wouldn't be surprised to see this aircraft flying for UPS or FedEx soon - in case cargo demand rises again soon hopefully.

The new cargo door was already installed, so UPS or FedEx is a good guess.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 16):
Looks like both were pretty good flighs and not too full, always nice to have the seat next to you free, let alone 3!

It's indeed nice to have a bit more space.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 16):
Still not sure about those seat fabric colours though!

Definitely a matter of taste. I somehow got used to it as all TUIfly aircraft (except the leased ones) are equipped with these seats.

Regards
Christoph
 
elevate
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:49 pm

Another amazing report here on Airliners.net!! (How do you Guys do it? Big grin)

TUI seems to other a very attractive package... and if all else fails, those boarding cards are cool!  Smile


Sam
 
Ndebele
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:34 pm



Quoting Elevate (Reply 18):
and if all else fails, those boarding cards are cool

Only a minority of their fleet is wearing the TUIfly colours - but at least the aircraft printed on the boarding cards is showing the TUIfly livery Big grin
 
Contact Air
Topic Author
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RE: TUIfly STR-VCE-STR (+pics)

Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:32 pm



Quoting Elevate (Reply 18):
Another amazing report here on Airliners.net!!

Thank you!  Smile

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 19):
and if all else fails, those boarding cards are cool

Only a minority of their fleet is wearing the TUIfly colours - but at least the aircraft printed on the boarding cards is showing the TUIfly livery

So true!

Regards
Christoph

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