OK, posting pictures works again, so here's an embedded version of my trip report...
So it's that time of the year again - summer vacation, here we come! This year me and my bf decided to visit Montreal. And for the first time, we made the big step and upgraded ourselves to Business for the return flight. As it turned out, it was definitely worth it.
The entire trip consists of 4 legs, which I'll try to describe as accurately as possible for all you fellow A.netters...
Airplane: Saab 2000
Operated by: Darwin Airline
We didn't even have to get up too early. Lugano is a nice little airport in southern Switzerland, and you can literally check-in until 30 minutes before departure. We did web-checkin, so we were able to show up at the airport at 10:00.
The entrance of Lugano Airport
The Saab 2000 taking us to ZRH
View from my seat
Boarding began on time, about 15 minutes before departure, and we took off right at the scheduled time. The estimated flight time was 35 minutes, but it turned out we had to hold about 10 minutes overhead Zurich because of the usual congestion there is at that time. At the end, we still landed on time.
As usual, this was a short, uneventful but still very nice flight with Darwin Airline's Saab 2000 - actually my favorite airliner. Service consisted of 1 bottle of water and some Swiss chocolate.
Take-off video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9fwaWk_VXU
Landing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L94s2OEGQY8
A look out of the window right after landing in ZRH
Just got off the Saab 2000, bags already being unloaded
Inside the bus taking us from the stand to the terminal
We now had 1:25 hours to get to our next flight - plenty time in Zurich. We even had time to get something to eat.
Airplane: Airbus A330-200
After lunch, we took the SkyMetro to go to gates E.
Our gate, with already lots of people standing in line - boarding hadn't begun yet.
When on board, I had a very nice surprise: I was one of the 2 people in the Economy section to have a lucky seat where I could actually stretch my legs to one side, because there were only 3 seats in front of our row of 4!
Take-off was 10 minutes after the scheduled time. The flight was really quiet, no turbulence to speak of. The service was great, I would say above average for Economy. Smiling FAs, very efficient and quick.
We received a snack shortly after take-off (some pretzels and drinks - yes, the entire can, without asking!), then later some lunch. There were 2 choices, of which you can see the pictures below:
Both were actually quite good. Yes, airline meals can get better with time
Landing was right on time. There was a 10 minute wait at immigration, and our bags were already there after that. The terminal we arrived at in YUL
was a little shabby IMHO. Right outside, we took the tickets for the Aérobus taking us to our hotel.
Sorry, no videos for this flight, as we were seated in the center seats.
For those who care, you can look at the pics we took during the vacation itself in the following gallery:
We took this as a very relaxing and easy vacation, really just doing some sightseeing around the city, and driving to Quebec City for 1 day. Montreal is a nice place, and I'd recommend it to everyone.
Airplane: Airbus A330-200
ETA: 06:15 (+1)
Fast forward 9 days, it was already time to leave again, vacation was over. Too bad... but a nice flight in Business class was waiting for us
which cheered us up a bit.
We took the same Aérobus to get to the airport. Being used to North American standards, we showed up at the airport around 14:15 - 2:30 hours early. It turns out this was *way* too early, especially because we were flying in Business. There was no queue whatsoever, and even security looked empty. Check-in and security took about 10 minutes total, and we were there at 14:30 ready to board. Our airplane wasn't even there yet. Hah!
Luckily we had the right to access the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, which we obviously did. Free drinks always sounds good
I also took the time to play with my MacBook and iPhone 3GS: tethering actually works, and is quite fast, too!
At 15:00, right on time, our airplane from ZRH
Around 16:15 we went to the gate. Boarding started just when we arrived, we bypassed the queue (OK, I admit it, I really enjoyed that part, especially because I never did it before) and boarded immediately. We had all the time in the world to make ourselves comfortable in our seats.
Now that's what I call legroom!
The view from my seat
Take off was about 10 minutes late, but no problem, we had already received our welcome drink. Champagne, please...
And that's the part I prefer:
After take-off, service started with an apéro. The same pretzels we had during the onward flight, but with some white wine and a nice white tablecloth on the table.
Later, we were given the menu, where we had a choice among 4 meals. I picked "Seared beef tenderloin in red wine sauce with potato and portobello mushroom purée, carrots and green beans". Delicious and with a very nice presentation!
Lights were turned off at 01:00 (Swiss time) and turned on again for breakfast at 04:30. Those who can sleep on airplanes could have slept for 3:30 hours straight. For some reason I'm unable to do so - probably I need a totally quiet environment to sleep - but I was still able to relax nicely while listening to some music.
Yes, the A330-200 still has the old Business class cabin, and therefore no lie-flat seats. But still, for us this was a huge difference and we found them really comfortable.
Then, breakfast was served - we were asked to fill out a form right after take-off with our breakfast preference, and I received what I wished. Unfortunately it was too dark to take a decent pic of the breakfast, but it was once again very nicely presented and very good.
And here's a quick shot I captured while approaching ZRH
Take-off video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5siRvRwUyfc
Landing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhcQbx8XtaY
Landing was 15 minutes early, at 06:00. We got off the plane, took the SkyMetro and headed for the Business lounge at gates A. We had to wait for 3 hours until we could board our flight to Lugano.
We relaxed a little bit on the massaging chairs - it actually gets annoying after a couple of minutes, so I just turned it off and stayed there relaxing a bit and enjoying (...) jet lag. I hate travelling weast-to-east, and it really screws up my day. Luckily melatonine works wonders, and I only feel like not having slept an entire night (which is true) after having taken it.
Airplane: Saab 2000
Operated by: Darwin Airline
3 hours later, we finally headed to our gate for the flight to Lugano. Boarding started just as we arrived.
The bus took us to the stand...
...and we boarded.
A quick glimpse at the cockpit before take-off...
The Saab 2000 door
We took off 10 minutes late, but the flight was supposed to take only 30 minutes. Really short, nice. We chatted a bit with the FA
, as she was 2 meters from us on her jumpseat.
The view from my seat
And out of the window
After 15 minutes, the captain announced we were starting our descent. Yes, these flights are really short.
I noticed that our descent wasn't really taking place as fast as it should. I fly on this route quite often, and we were still at about 15000 ft while only about 10 nm from the point where the approach starts - and the airplane is normally at 6000 ft there. I was right: the captain came on the PA to announce that an airplane had blown a tire on the runway in Lugano, and that we had to hold at PINIK until the runway was cleared.
After 10 minutes of holding, I dared, and I nicely asked the FA
: "as we're holding and the pilots are probably not too busy, is there a chance to visit the flight deck?". She said that she doubted, but that she would still ask. And guess what - it was granted!
Sorry, no pictures of that part. The captain was very nice and explained me some things about the Saab 2000, while the F/O checked the airplane flying the holding pattern over and over by itself. Both very nice guys, thanks again for this opportunity!
At a certain point the captain sent me back to my seat and said we were going to divert to Milan MXP
because the runway was still closed and we had used up all our holding fuel. Not what I wanted to hear, but oh well. The plan was to land in MXP
, refuel, then take-off again to LUG
as soon as the runway would open again.
So, after holding for 45 minutes, we started our approach into MXP
After a while, the engines spooled up again, and the captain announced that LUG
was now open again, therefore we wouldn't have to divert to MXP
. Good news!
Here's a pic of Mount Bre near Lugano during our approach:
Sorry, no videos of this flight, as we chatted with the FA
all the time. She was really nice. Apparently there was a passenger who wanted to sue the pilot who blew the tire, and now we were 45 minutes late because of that. WTF?! He should be glad that our pilot decided to abort the approach into MXP
, otherwise it would have gotten much, much later.
After a nice landing and 2 minutes waiting for our bags, we were on our way home.
All in all, these were 4 great flights, with great flight attendants and even a cockpit visit. What could I whish more than that?
I hope you've enjoyed reading my trip report. All feedback is welcome.