The days’ trips were as follows,
Manchester – Dublin
Dublin – London Stansted
London Stansted – Frankfurt Hahn
Frankfurt Hahn – Manchester
Anyway.... the day finally came, 19th of September, Saturday morning. I got up at 5 to be at the airport for 6, as my granny was coming along with my cousin; the cousin for the trip, the granny to learn how to use an airport. – she would be flying LS the following week, and was curious about on-line check-in - I gathered the boarding passes printed the night before and jumped in the car with dad to pick everyone up. We got to the airport dead on time for out 7:55 departure.
MAN - DUB
EI-DHH - built in 2005.
STD: 07:55 ATD 08:03
STA: 08:55 ATA 08:32
Flight time: 29 mins
Scheduled time to connection from touchdown: 155 mins
All the videos featured in this section http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHiR-33wYvU
Dad dropped us off at the airport at 6 as planned. The first stop of the day was the arrivals hall of T1, where we hoped we would end up at the end of the day. Since the refit, there’s now a Greggs here, a great place to start the day with a sausage roll breakfast...mmm... Granny grabbed us both a Coke and a savoury each and we tucked in. Rather nice, and a good wake up I’m sure you’ll agree.
Once finished, we went upstairs, right the way round to the security area. In my opinion, Manchester has one of the best security screening facilities in the country. It took us under ten minutes to get through. As we had checked in online, we simply had to scan our barcodes on the machine, and it let us through. A quick walk through the scanner and we were in.
Terminal 1 airside is really good. There is a large variety of shops and coffee shops to choose from. The only drawback is the fact that you have to walk through the main duty free shop to transition to the gates, but one can deal with that. Once you’ve found your way out of duty free, you come to a mass of shops. Here’s a map;
Once we’d had a look round it was time to catch our flight! As this was my trip, I decided I wanted to be the first to board the plane, so, given my knowledge of where FR usually board their planes, I dragged the other two to the pier and a random gate (forgotten the number...sorry). As the gate number isn’t given until 40 minutes before departure, there was no one else there.
Spotting shot whilst waiting...
I kept glancing over to the departure board and sure enough, the gate we were at popped up next to our flight. I was right! We were at the front of the queue. I myself had purchased “Priority Boarding”. Ryanairs’ guarantee to get on the plane before everyone else in the “Other Queue”. I decided not to tell my companions until boarding started and they had to get in the other line.
About 30 minutes before the departure time and just as the aircraft arrived on stand, boarding commenced. Strangely enough, this was also the time that my boarding card says “boarding closes at...” I handed my printed paper over to the boarding agent who looked and tore and gave it me back. No mention of thanks for the fact that I had previously scored a line on each of our 12 boarding cards for the day, right along the tear line. (Just trying to get on quicker and speed the process up a little). I raced down the stairs then turned around to take a picture;
(Sorry about the quality of most of these shots...shooting whilst walking)
View out of the head height window
I must have waited ten minuets’ then at the bottom of the stairs for the doors to open. The others in my group were only 3 people behind me in the queue, so I didn’t have to worry too much about keeping the seats once onboard. Once we were let out, I let out a huge power walk to the front steps, taking shots as I went...
Once onboard, the steward took my boarding card and glanced at the flight number, scribbled on it with a crappy pen that hardly worked, and then told me to take a seat. “Thanks!” I told him. I had already done a bit of research for the best seats on a 737-800. This concluded...after watching many videos and reading reports... that seats 11F, 23A and F were the best seats. 11A had no window and was just a blanked out space, for air con?
Sat in my seat I looked out of the window and saw the bird we would be racing against today. EI-DET was an Aer Lingus A320. Due to depart at 8am sharp. Both EI and FR fly from Manchester to Dublin within 5 minutes of each other, so I like to think it’s a race. FR553 is supposed to depart 5 minutes before the A320.
Another shot, including our wing:
Once settled in, I decided to take some pictures of the seat area and outside.
Safety card ON the seat in front of you...
Decent leg room, mainly because there’s no seat pocket, comfortable enough though.
Then I noticed the A320 next to me pushing
Dam! EI had won today. Better luck next time Ryanair – “...the world’s most punctual airline...”
After that we pushed back, and the crew did the usual manual demo. I really like the pre-recorded safety message, it makes it easier to understand the procedures I find, and also it’s clear and not rushed like often they are. Engines were started and we taxied out to the runway. Today we were going up on 23L. No pics of taxi or take off, but there is a vid;
Directly behind us were the most annoying people I have ever heard. Please watch the video to find out why. Don’t you hate it when there’s some rowdy nonsense talking loudmouth behind you?
The flight itself was very smooth. Once airborne the crew more or less immediately went round serving drinks and taking orders for the hot food selection. The climb seemed very fast and quite steep, steeper than I’m used to on longer flights. Some pictures;
Nice shot of the engine
Wing through the window
Cabin shot during BOB service
Starting the decent
Video of cloud surfing during climb and decent...I think...
Bellow the clouds
Across the horizon
After that the crew took up landing positions and we touched down smoothly after a 29 minute flight. That’s the shortest flight I’ve ever flown. What fun!
The landing was really smooth, really nice.
Some pictures of the airport;
Off the plane and walking to the terminal. Bye bye plane, see you next time!
The walk from the plane to baggage reclaim was massive; it must have taken 5 or ten minutes to get there. Immigration was good though, just walked to a booth and out, no queues which is always good.
Once in reclaim, we followed the signs through flight connections, which brings me nicely to the next part...
DUB - STN
EI-DHX - built again in 2005.
STD: 11:30 ATD 11:56
STA: 12:45 ATA 12:51
Flight time: 55 mins
Scheduled time to connection from touchdown: 165 mins
Report vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYJZs4qU1gA
As we worked our way through baggage reclaim, we followed the signs right to the bottom and up some stairs to catch the next flight of the day.
View up the stairs, with the sign at the top.
We followed the sign round what can only be described as a passage filled with junk, trolleys and clutter. The walkway was dark and narrow; it felt more like a back alley than an airport. However, we made it through to connections and were shown to the front of the security queue. The people who worked on security here were very nice. Just as my bag was going through, I realised I still had a drink from Manchester in it, ‘oops’ I quickly grabbed it and disposed of it. Half a bottle left in there, ah well, my mistake. We were soon through and greeted with a huge board displaying the flights of the day on. One thing I like about Dublin airport is that it shows you what gate your flight is leaving from hours in advance; unlike every other airport on today’s itinerary!
We decided that the best thing to do next was to sit down again for some more food and take a trip to the lavatory. As neither of us had ever been to Dublin before, we sort of stumbled around looking for the restaurant. Once we found it, we went and bought two Panini’s and 3 coffees. What a joke! The Panini’s were absolutely disgusting. They were horrific. Top Tip; never go to the restaurant next to security at Dublin Airport. Honestly. The food was bad, and only one coffee machine was working. All the others didn’t say where the working one was, so that was a farce. Then there was the price. They were extortionate. Now I know that airport prices are notoriously high, but it was ridiculous. I can’t remember the price of the top of my head, but I know it was high! Once we paid we had to find somewhere to sit. Here’s what greeted us;
Not a clear table in sight. Every table had rubbish on, and the amount of left food pays heed to what I said about the poor quality of food being offered. There needs to be some new management or something here because it is terribly poor.
After leaving my “snack” I went off to the bathroom to check out the toilets. Same story here I’m afraid, they were dirty and wet; tissues everywhere and no soap. Not really what you expect from a Capital City Airport. After this disappointment though, we decided to explore the vast expanse of Dublin’s piers (also a chance to do a little picture taking)
Random shot of US 757
Nice treat, delta sky team livery
Citijet Avro liner parked next to burger king. Oh how I wish we had gone here for a snack! Much cleaner.
After a good look round, and buying a beer mat from the Guinness shop, we headed to the gate, D61 if I remember correctly. Other than the poor catering, I found Dublin Airport to be a very pleasant experience, good shops, nice and spacious, and plenty of room for all the flights. I’d like to see what the new terminal ends up like though would be interesting to compare.
As we were waiting to board the flight, all of a sudden everyone stood up and started to queue. I then noticed that as soon as the dispatcher started to stand behind the desk and fumble around, people instinctively rose and tried to beat each other in order to get seats together; kind of funny really. I wasn’t bothered; I was in the Priority line. Two or three minutes later, the board in front of the desk changed to another destination, Eindhoven I think. This really did confuse people. I quick walked over to the departures board, only to find our gate had been moved to D62, just up the pier. I signalled to granny and cousin to hot foot it over there. Sure enough, as soon as we got there, the man behind the desk called out that there had been a gate change; he seemed to find it quite funny, as though it had been done as a joke. To be honest so did I: watching people turn around and run over. I just managed to catch our plane taxi to stand.
No sooner was it parked up, we were boarding. Strangely enough, once again at the time boarding was supposed to close! This seems to be a running theme.
Boarded and sat in 23F, great view of the wing and flaps; right where all the stuff happens! Whilst settling in, I took some pictures;
After taking this shot, I overheard some North American folk behind me saying that one of
them had lost their passport...here we go... the daughter of the group claimed she had lost her passport. How I really don’t know, how can you lose it between the gate and the plane? She had though. The crew ordered a search of their bags, but it was not to be found. A full offloading commenced, as they’re bags came out of the hold, and they were escorted back inside the terminal. I have to applaud the crew though, they were very professional. Just before the pax left, they went through every bad in the area they were sat, checking each bag belonged to someone seated. Not to my surprise, one did not, and after several calls to the passengers being offloaded, the bag was found to be theirs. How can you leave your bag on a plane? We finally got underway 26 minutes late. Taxi video is in the full video of this flight.
We taxied along runway 16 to the end, where we turned held short of 28 whilst an EI A320 landed.
Take off vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeL4SK52Kz4
Once airborne, we made a sharp 180 to the right. The g-force was great, we were pushed right into our seats as we banked and climbed hard! Just the sort of flying I like!
During the flight, the flight crew gave us regular updates on our position and height, a nice offering on this leg, as nothing was said on the first flight. They told us we were cruising at flight level 330, ahh the good life. We were advised that landing would be at 12:50, and we were over Liverpool at the time of the announcement. I took the chance to take some pictures.
Whose stadium is this?
Check out the clouds shadow on the ground.
Is this BHX?
Where is this? I flew to the right of this airfield a few weeks prior en-route to Ibiza, now I’m on the left
The guy sat in front of me was obviously drunk. He could hardly put two words together and was stupidly loud. You wouldn’t mess with him though. He did bring something to my attention though. He bought some red wine and used a note to pay for it. The note was a larger value than the wine, and so change was required of 4 or 5 euro. The crew though did not have enough change to provide him with this, and so they requested he either have something of the value of the change, or do without his change. Eventually after much deliberation, he was given a sandwich, which he subsequently tried to give to ever passenger around him. Surely they should carry enough change for this?
We started the decent:
It was a long approach, but we landed at 12:51, one minute behind the ETA. Not bad. 6 minutes late on the scheduled time though.
Landing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye4TU3C78zc
Landing was very long, and there was some pretty fierce braking at the end of the runway. I mean very sharp. Very nice though!
At the gate.
Some deplaning shots;
I like that one
Upon getting to immigration, we were told that as long as we had our boarding passes, we could walk straight through. Ireland to UK seems to be treated as domestic, but the other way around does not. Anyone know why?
Anyway, once we found our boarding cards, we were surprised to find that no one was even there to check them! So we just strolled on through to the baggage hall.
Very nice airport from this view so far. We had to walk a lot though to get from the plane to immigration, further than in Dublin dare I say.
Now onto the 3rd leg, and one of the most crucial!
STN - HHN
EI-DLW - built in 2006.
STD: 15:30 ATD 15:40
STA: 17:45 ATA 17:40
Flight time: 60 mins
Scheduled time to connection from touchdown: 60 mins
Video for the flight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8u5oamCEZk (only take off and initial climb due to having to move seats)
If you’ve not already noticed, this flight is one of the more crucial flights of the day. The connection time from touch down to the take off time to Manchester is only 60 minutes, in actual fact, meaning there’s only 30 minutes until boarding starts (or ends according to the boarding cards trick). Now I’ve never been to Frankfurt Hahn before, so I had no idea of how long the queues would be for security, or to clear immigration, so I was understandably worried. Just before we boarded the flight, the three of us were still debating whether or not to just get the bus back to Manchester rather than risk being stranded in Germany the day before Mums birthday! We decided to take a risk; life’s more fun that way.
Anyway... after standing in the baggage hall for 5 minutes trying to find a flight connection access, we discovered there was none. I was quite shocked by this, but I suppose it’s understandable, as it’s mainly LCC who operate here, and they don’t offer connecting flights. So after clearing customs, we were out into ‘land side’ where everyone else is.
Because of our short connection time in Hahn, we took the chance to visit the Ryanair ‘help desk’. I had narrowed the Hahn to Manchester leg down to be an aircraft coming from Oslo Torp – that was completely wrong, but it gave me piece of mind – and so I merely asked the staff at Stansted if FR9829 (from Torp) was on time into Hahn. After repeating myself, (and waiting 15 minutes to get served) all I got told was “Ryanair do not do connecting flights!” “Thanks” I said, and then toddled off to find the other two. ‘Well that was a success’ I thought to myself. So I did the next best thing, ring the other granny back home and ask her to check online. She did, and it was. Bugger! Now I was bricking it about catching the leg home. If only it was delayed a little to give me more of a chance...but, that’s the way it goes, so off we went to catch it.
Security at Stansted baffled me. There are numerous different channels to go through, and to a newcomer, it’s confusing. After reading the signs we figured out we could go through any one, and so we chose the shortest queue. Security was bad. It took us all 15 minutes to get airside. The agents were great, very friendly and helpful, it was just a slow process that’s all, and there weren’t even many people in front, not a patch on Manchester!
Once through, the lounge was very nice, shops, restaurants, cafes...etc. very well laid out too, everything was in a central location and was easy to see and work out. The airport itself felt vary spacious, I particularly like the canopy roof that sweeps across the whole area, very well designed. As I have said before, the gate number isn’t given until 50 minutes or so before the flight, and as each pier is quite a walk from the other, we decided to stay in the main lounge. Whilst waiting, we called into Starbucks, and had another Panini. That was a good move; it was utterly delicious, and cheaper than Dublin’s efforts. After tucking in though, the gate number was up, and we had our stand. Our plane was waiting at the far end of the terminal...what a trek. We got there front of the queue again, and boarded once more at the gate closing time.
Who’s advertising here then?
Other Ryanair bird
Stupid sign that said boarding as soon as we got there, even though boarding didn’t start for a good half an hour.
The important part: the plane. I really like the pop out steps on these 737’s
Once we were on board, the cabin slowly filled up with other passengers. In fact, people were still boarding up until the departure time. All we could think about is taking off quick. In fact, because we were so anxious, we sat in one of the bad seats for spotting, row 3 – we’d be able to jump out quicker. Row 2 was unusable because of weight and balance, and I didn’t fancy row 1, I’d have to stare a beautiful stewardess, but the bloke next to her put me off. Eventually, 10 minutes late, we took off.
Take off was nice and fast, just as I like it. Once airborne, we made a right turn towards the south east, and past over a few easy jet birds flying below us – sorry my camera doesn’t zoom too good -
The flight was relatively uneventful, and was very pleasant, even if it seemed to go on forever.
During the climb
Yep, nothing’s changed from the first safety display I saw today. Although since this trip, I flew on Ryanair and the life vest was actually under the seat, not above my head. Does anyone know why?
Coming into land at Hahn...a rainbow.
I don’t have any shots of the landing, as halfway through the flight I swapped to the aisle seat so I could make a dash for the exit on landing.
The landing was very smooth though, and the breaking was fairly soft compared to the previous leg. As we pulled up on stand, I leapt up and dashed for the exit. During the flight, my granny had had a word with the steward about our connection, and he had agreed to let us of first.
As we were waiting to deplane, I took this sneaky shot:
Once the stairs had popped out, we scrambled down them, only to be met by one of the ground crew, who after hearing off the steward our situation, escorted us from plane to terminal, opening all the doors and making sure we cleared immigration first. Now that’s customer service!
Now the final leg.
HHN - MAN
EI-EFN - built in 2009 – a new bird :D:D
STD: 18:45 ATD 18:58
STA: 19:20 ATA 19:22
Flight time: 84 mins
Scheduled time to connection from touchdown: Last leg
All the videos featured in this section: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og2A0Lo2nWg
So, here it was the final flight of the day, the one we had all been most worried about, and the one that was to ultimately be the best.
As we cleared the immigration booths, we were sprung past two or three baggage belts and then out into the arrivals hall. Hearts racing, we knew we only had 30 minutes to get to the gate. We franticly searched for security and a board detailing the gate. After spending the night before studying a map of the airport, I more or less found it straight away, but I had to look twice to be sure, you can’t rush these things.
Looking twice, we realised that there was absolutely no queue at security, unbelievable, we were in luck. As we rushed on through, power walking all the way, I once again left a bottle of water in my bag. The security man looked at me, pulled it out, shook his head then pushed me on through. Immediately through is a small cafe, and to either side two or three gates. That’s when it struck me how small this airport was. It was tiny!
We dashed right and to the end where I flight would depart from. Something I hadn’t experienced yet today; a holding pen. As we approached the gate area, there were two immigration officials sat in their booths, each checking everyone’s passports as we went through to the gate. We weren’t allowed out again.
View from our gate area to the next, and the end of this part of the airport.
As boarding got underway, I got to the front and waited for the others.
This was the view out of the door.
The temperature was rather high inside the holding area, and we were then delayed for what seemed like ages. In fact, we didn’t get outside until very near the take off time. Not to worry though, this flight could be late, I had wanted it to be, but we made the connection with plenty of time, probably around 30-40 minutes to spare. There was an entertaining display though;
You have to love the map
Once outside I took some more shots:
Our plane was freshly landed
When we landed there were no other birds here, now there were three!