Apologies for the slight delay posting this TR
. I was in Rhodes for a fortnight after doing this trip and I’ve been very busy since. Also, I’m warning you now, this is LONG (over 6000 words) and has around 150 pics! I’ve split it into four posts for easier reading and to ensure nothing gets cut off. Here goes!
This is my first proper TR
on A.Net. I did write the following short, non-photo report about a Ryanair emergency landing: FR BHX-SNN Emergency Landing (by Gpbcroppers63 Feb 16 2009 in Trip Reports)
a while back but I’ve never posted a full report with pics here. I hope it works OK
The term “contshovel” came from the Let's Wave The Lufthansa Kontschaufel Goodbye (by LH526 Jun 16 2009 in Civil Aviation)
thread where AustrianZRH offered it as an English translation of “Kontschaufel”. I liked the term so much that I decided to use it in the title of this TR
I decided that I’d better take a trip on LH
’s AB6 before they were retired and a round trip fare from FRA
of €88.50 made this trip possible. If I’d booked an official connection from DUB
, it would have taken the price up by around €200 so I looked for other options. Originally, I was going to go on FR
to Hahn but when booking my LH
flights, I decided to get the 16:00 departure to BCN
instead of the 21:00. I did this as I was booking the first departure out of BCN
the following morning so I thought that if the aircraft was changed on the 21:00 that RONed, I would miss out both ways. By booking the 16:00, I would guarantee two different registrations and the chance of the AB6 being changed on both flights was far lower. Because of these timings, the FR
flights just wouldn’t have worked so I ended up booking on EI
for around €100.
I then set my sights on hotels. All of the hotels around BCN
were coming in pretty expensive so I decided to look at hotels in the city. I eventually settled on the Barceló Sants as it was near to the Cercanías station that I would use to get to and from the airport (more on this later). I was able to get a suite here for less than I’d have paid for an airport hotel so decided to spoil myself! The final part of the plan was a hotel near to DUB
as my EI
flight left at 07:00. I could have driven over from Galway that morning but it would have meant leaving at around 1:30 in the morning and I thought I’d be tired enough as it was. I found a great deal at the Lucan Spa hotel which is about 20 minutes drive from DUB
. I paid around €32 for this so I was very happy.
I’ll start with some pics of the Lucan spa hotel as this is where my weekend adventure begins.
Outside the hotel (it was a complete building site but inside was pleasant enough):
The way to my room:
The view from the window:
Right, now on with the story. I got up at around 4:00. The hotel had kindly arranged an early continental breakfast for me. My rate included breakfast but this didn’t start until 7:00 so the girl at check-in asked if I’d like to have cornflakes and toast before I left for the airport. This was an excellent service and I’d definitely use the Lucan Spa hotel again for this reason and because it was a perfectly pleasant hotel for a brief overnight before heading off.
I left for DUB
at around 4:50 and was there by 5:00 comfortably. I’d pre-booked my parking in the short stay car park for €10 per day as I wanted to get shifting after I got back from FRA
the following evening to make sure I got back to Galway at a reasonable time. This car park was excellent and saved a load of fussing with shuttle buses and, if pre-booked, works out at €0.50 more expensive than the turn up rate in the long stay.
I’d already checked in online for my flight so once I got inside the terminal, I headed straight for security. It was a good thing I did as the queues were massive. It took me around 45 minutes to clear security and I was finally airside by 6:00. My flight was leaving from gate A8 so I had to walk through the new area connecting the main departure lounge and the A/D gates. It is a really pleasant area and I took a few pics to add to the ones already posted by other a.nutters including OA260.
New area connecting the main terminal with Piers A and D and a shot of a CityJet Avro:
Finally, we get to some information on the flights. Sorry if I’ve bored you so far but I promise there’s flight information from here on. I made my way to gate A8 and waited for a few minutes to board. They called boarding and I made my way to the back steps as I had chosen seat 29A during online check in.
20th June 2009
Airbus A320 EI
Off blocks: 07:01
Wheels up: 07:23
Take off runway: 28
: 10:00 (Local time)
On blocks: 10:09
Landing runway: 25L
I got on board very quickly as I was the first person to use the rear stairs and I made the very short walk to 29A. I was hoping for a whole row to myself but a German guy came and sat in the aisle seat. At least the middle was free. He tried to put his bag in the overhead locker above row 29 but this was taken up with safety equipment so he just had it between his legs. I wasn’t happy about this as it would impede my exit if anything went wrong (you can’t be too careful) but I didn’t say anything for the moment. I assumed the crew would spot it when they secured the cabin.
We were all on board in plenty of time but the captain came on the PA and said we’d be slightly delayed pushing back due to congestion behind us. We eventually pushed back just after the STD but it took another 20 minutes or so before we took off. While taxiing, the crew did the safety demo and secured the cabin. The male cabin crew member checking my row didn’t say anything to the German guy about his bag so I decided to be the awkward passenger and asked him to tell the guy to push it under the seat. The bag was too big for this so the crew member put it in the overhead a few rows in front. The German guy didn’t look amused with me but I don’t really care to be honest!
Legroom is pretty good in Row 29 on EI
View from my window at the gate:
Taxi, takeoff and climb out pictures:
So after the slight delay taking off, we were eventually airborne shortly after 7:20. We made a right turnout and headed towards the Irish Sea and the UK. The FO later informed us that our route was DUB
. The flight time was estimated at 1 hour 45 minutes so we’d be a little late in FRA
but nothing too serious.
As soon as we were airborne, the girl in front of me reclined her seat. Fortunately, the last row in this aircraft also reclined so I was able to get a bit more space for myself. The seatbelt signs went off after around 15 minutes and the crew started to prepare the cabin service. Even though I’d had the continental breakfast in the hotel, it was a while ago and I fancied trying the world-famous EI
full Irish breakfast. I’d had it once before and enjoyed it so I thought I’d give it a whirl again. It was pretty good but it was smaller than I remember and I’m pretty sure it was more expensive too.
I enjoyed that:
I’m now going to have a little rant about the state of the aircraft. This was its first flight of the day but it was still fairly grubby. There were biscuit crumbs on the floor and the seat backs didn’t look as if they’d been wiped down in ages. I can understand this on the last flight of the day when turnarounds are short but they’d had all night to clean the aircraft and they didn’t do a very good job. This bothers me less on FR
when I’m paying less than €50 return but I’d expect more from EI
. Rant over!
The flight continued smoothly at FL370 and around an hour after takeoff, the FO informed us that descent was beginning. Our ETA was 10:00 (around 40 minutes after the announcement) and the weather in FRA
was quite pleasant with a south-westerly breeze and a temperature of 15o.
In flight, approach, landing, taxiing and parked at the stand:
The approach was slightly bumpy and we landed on runway 25L after around 1 hour 35 minutes flying. The taxi to stand V115 was fairly fast and we were on blocks only 9 minutes late. While we were taxiing in, the German guy in my row turned his mobile on and started receiving text messages. The male cabin crew member told him to turn it off which he didn’t do of course. When he received another text message, the cabin crew member turned to him again and had a major rant with him and made him turn it off until we parked. This guy really was an idiot with no care for safety or cabin crew instructions! I really hate people like that. Rant over.
We disembarked on to buses and drove to terminal 2. One flight down, three more to go.
After I exited the arrivals hall, I went straight upstairs to the free internet terminals to check in online for my LH
flight from BCN
the following day. LH
allows online check in 23 hours before departure (so German to be this precise!!) and I wanted to make sure I got a good seat on the AB6. I checked in without a problem and got sequence number 1. After I checked in, I made my way to terminal 1 on the train to get my BP
printed for the return flight and to get a proper BP
for the outbound flight instead of the paper one I’d printed out off the internet. When I got to T1, the queues for economy class were massive so I chanced my arm at the business class check in area. The queue guardian wouldn’t let me in and informed me that my online BP
was a “proper” BP
so I could just go to the gate with it. Time for plan B!
I made my way over to the check in desks between the terminal and the train station. The queue here was only about three people so it didn’t take long at all. When I got to the desk, I explained to the lady that I wanted her to print my BP
for the return flight and to get a reprint of my BP
for the outbound. She seemed a little confused until I told her I was doing the trip to get on the AB6 and then she understood that I wanted them as a souvenir. She’d already reprinted them once but she’d written on them to mark the gate number and boarding time so she ripped these up and gave me brand new ones without any writing on them. She was really kind and helpful and was amazed that I’d managed to get a return from FRA
for €88.50. She wished me a pleasant flight and I was all set to go.
I now had a few hours to spend around FRA
so I just wandered around. I didn’t think it was worth paying to go on to the terrace as I didn’t have that much time. I cleared security fairly early and went for a nose around the airside part of terminal A and walked through the tunnel to terminal B. I used the wonderful information terminals to find out that my AB6 would be arriving on time from TXL
and that the registration was D-AIAX.
Not my AB6. This is D-AIAZ. I can’t remember where she was off to: