Snow//The FRA experience. VIE-FRA vv on LH
PART ONE - VIE-FRA on LH 3531
is every plane buff's dream. What a lucky fella I am to have a wonderful girlfriend who happens to live there! On Jan, 21 it was time to visit her. I had booked the flights on LH
's website mid-December and managed to grab a €99 return fare. I do realize that intra-European eco flights fail to shine, compared to those exotic airlines, airplanes and airports that make this section of the site so special. However, I tried my best to make you "feel there" by including dozens of pictures, as simple explanations simply wouldn't make the effort of compiling a TR
worthwhile. Not these days. ("We got a chocolate bar." "Check-in was smooth." and other simple phrases wouldn't get you in the mood to fly, I assume.)
So, get up with me, as I rise at 6.30 a.m., only to find that it had snowed the previous night.
View through Vienna's bitterly cold morning air.
My father had agreed to drive me to the airport, an offer that I gladly accepted. The rat-runners that we are, we managed to avoid the rush hour traffic jams and all the accident sites we heard about on the radio. The fresh snow had really taken its toll.
Not the best day to fly.
Despite all these problems, we arrived at VIE
at quarter past eight, allowing me to explore the parking lots and all the other interesting spots.
I had checked in online the previous day, which went quickly. I chose a seat towards the back of the A321, hoping to have an empty seat next to me. What can I say? It worked.
Dropping off the baggage went quickly, as well. The agent seemed pretty surprised by my final destination. "So, Mr. Kunz, is Frankfurt actually you final destination??" "Surprisingly, it is, yes."
Not too busy, not too empty.
Oh, how I love to spend time at the airport. Knowing that the baggage is no longer your business, being free to roam about as you wish. Feeling happy to visit the girl I love, happy to be flying again, for the first time since October (VIE
738, no TR
yet...), I decided to get myself a beer at the airport supermarket, located on the lower level, between the train station and arrivals. Why pay €4 for a small Heineken in a restaurant, when you can get local brew (Ottakringer, from Vienna) for 70c?
Yes he can!!! Even build Vienna's new terminal?
Then, I was off to parking lot number 4, which overlooks the north-eastern apron and is (usually) excellent for watching afternoon arrivals on runway 34.
I arrived on the top deck and an icy stiff breeze blew me straight back into the elevator. I felt somewhat silly with my chilled beer in right hand, the camera hanging from my neck. I suppose there were times, when people like me landed in mental institutions. Quite rightly so.
The view was breathtaking. Or, rather, the air was.
It had, once again, started to snow. Heavily.
Normally a highly popular spot...
The north-eastern apron.
73G arriving from CGN. The passengers must have been thrilled that they did not even get covered airstairs...
Here's one bird that doesn't need de-icing.
Un hiver quebecois for this CRJ.
The airbridges of the new terminal, "Skylink". Opening date gets postponed regularly...
Overlooking the current facilities, including the rather monolithic new access building to the train station.
Well, well...enough freezing for me. For the moment, at least. I decided to make my way through the entire terminal, towards parking lot 3 for views ("views") of the western apron, which is mainly used for regional jets and props and runway 11/29.
Back in the terminal building I noticed that my flight already showed a 30 minute delay. (11.30 rather than 11.00). Oh, well. Not too bad. Actually, VIE
seemed to handle the snow very well, with hardly any flights running late.
Views from P3:
2 763s, 1 772
Visibility getting a little better. Just a little better.
Having gained some additional time, I thought I could as well take a look at Austrian's new HQs.
OS to the right, VIE's HQs right, across the street. It is well known that VIE and OS are not the best of friends and they are constantly fighting. Obviously, however, they could never exist without each other. Now, when times are rough, they could throw things at each other, from one HQ to the other.
Trying the zoom.
Having had a fair share of cold air and wet feet, I passed the boarding pass control and entered the air side area.
Note that security checks are not centralised at VIE. That allows you to carry liquids (another beer, in my case...) all the way to your gate.
The walkway to the C-gates (Schengen destinations.) Shops to the right, airfield views to the left. Good views!
At my designated gate, C52, they were still handling the OS
flight to ATH
, so I went up to the security officer, and asked when i should be athe the checkpoint for the FRA
flight. I was suggesting 10.45 and he told me: "at the very latest!" Ah well...
Centralised shopping mall.
767s at the A gates.
Pretty busy western pier. (C)
OE-LBN being pushed back.
LX 320 in a wintry camouflage.
I then returned to C52, to find they had switched the FRA
flight next door to C53. Fine with me. The queue for security was substantial, however.
The FRA crowd.
Once in the waiting lounge of C53, it turned out that the plane had not even arrived. What's with the crap about turning up at 10.45?
The two OS
ladies behind the counter struggled with the amount of pax worried about their FRA
connections. All they could tell them was that they would be rebooked on the next possible flights.
At this point, things started to get boring. The lounge eventually filled up with no LH
plane in sight. The OS
lady came on the PA twice, announcing ever new delays, "due to bad weather at VIE
". What? Sorry? Did the bus not depart FRA
on time due to VIE
weather? Ah, well.
You might expect a collective sigh of relief when the much anticipated aircraft finally shows up. However, it seems that pax did either not notice (being to busy reading their FAZ or Die Presse) or had fallen asleep by that time. Or at least feeling too dizzy to cheer. Did I mention it was pretty warm?
Airbus A321-100 D-AIRS "Husum"
11.00-12.35 (actual 12.43-14.08)
Statistics: 13th flight on LH
, 30th on a 32S, 7th on a 321. 120th flight overall.
D-AIRS arriving at the gate. Local time was 11.43. 43 minutes after our scheduled departure.
The bored crowd. Mainly businesspeople, as you might expect.
Inbound pax leaving the jetway.
Finally it was time to board and I was among the first on the plane.
D-AIRS looking good in the snow. Note that the flaps and slats are deployed. Does anyone know the reason for that?
Some might find it bland, and compared to OS, it is. I, for one, like LH's elegant interiors.
CL arriving from MUC. On time, btw...
For undisclosed reasons, we spent another 30 minutes on the ground. In the meantime, the snow started to build up on the window panes.
We left the gate 103 minutes late and the captain announced we were in for a de-icing treatment. Always fun. But NOT, when you should have arrived at your destination some minutes ago.
The wind helped getting the windows snow-free.
Average load. A 320 would probably have sufficed.
After de-icing the flaps were retracteed. We then taxied towards runway 16 which meant a northerly departure and crossing the A4
motorway as well as the Danube right after rotation. Also, it took us across the fields, towards the point of the airport that is farthest away from the terminal buildings.
This small lookout tower is a wonderful photography location in the afternoon. Not today, though. Not at all!
ATR arriving from BEG.
The flaps remained at 0° until we lined up. I was getting increasingly nervous and was preparing to shout: "Klappen! Klappen!!!" ("flaps, flaps!!!"), to get the FA
's attention...but it wasn't necessary in the end. ;D
Take-off video. Pretty grey day. Note the Danube, however.
Now, what on earth is that??? Ah, I remember...we used to call it "blue skies".
I had never notice LH painted the lower half of their wingtip fences grey. Since when have they been doing this?
"Breaking news! Europe hass been swallowed by enourmous fluffy creatures!"
I always have a beer on flights. As Krusty, the Clown puts it: "Man, that really passes the time." However, I decided not to have the chocolate bar, as I assumed my belly wouldn't respond particularly well to that combo. And it probably wouldn't have gone too well together, either.
Warsteiner and Milka.
Before long, we were well on our way to FRA
and started our descent pretty soon.
Germany, engulfed in clouds. At least, it remained dry for the day.
The double-slotted flaps make the 321 easily identifiable on wing shots. The river Main below, hinting at a 25L/R arrival.
Is this Offenbach?
Somehow, our arrival seemed to catch the whole cabin by surprise. The crew were still busy going through the loooong list of re-bookings and some passengers were still standing up by the time the gear came down. You can hear the the FAs tell people to "sit down immediately" in my landing video.
Landing vid. Note the CX 744 taking off on 25R.
I always enjoy the 25 arrivals in FRA
. The view of downtown is exellent and the Waldstadion is always nice. (I refuse to call it by any other name!)
Crossing runway 25R.
Two 738s. I never noticed that the BBJ2 had only 2 overwing exits. I understand that it's perfectly alright for Privatair's configuration, but what if they want to sell it to another operator? Will that even be possible?
At the gate. At last! Thank God Almighty, I'm here at last!
My seat, 26F. A good one.
I said goodbye to the friendly crew (as opposed to some of the arrogant business pricks who ignored them on their way out). By the way, do you know the movie "The 'Burbs" starring Tom Hanks? The neighbour, Mr. Klopek? Well...he was our lead FA
D-AIRS in all her beauty. I really do like LH's 321s.
FRA's endless hallways...
I hurried as I really didn't want my girlfriend to wait for me much longer, but I could have taken numerous nice pictures of parked planes.
Dull and confusing. FRA really is a hub. O&D passengers are a rare breed here.
My lonesome bag. Only about 15 passengers from the VIE flight were actually collecting their luggage.
After some incredibly precious moments of reunion, we took the S-Bahn to town. I had arrived. Safely and happily.
German public transport. Love it.
PART TWO - FRANKFURT AIRPORT APRON TOUR
I was so excited. SO excited. We took the FRA
apron tour. 45 minutes of nothing but planes.
I'll let the pictures do the talking. However, some information about where and when.
It is 6€ (5€ for students and such) and it's worth it. The tour guide himself is not very reliable or knowledgable, but you will hardly get a chance to get closer to the planes as a regular visitor than here. I loved, how much they even encouraged us to take pictures. I complied.
Weather conditions were miserable and the bus was moving most of the time, so please have some mercy on me.
Skyline tracks overhead.
D-AIKE's crew getting aboard.
D-AISG (somehow I never seem to get on a LH 321-200...it's always the 100s for me...)
Being overtaken by D-ACHC
D-ALCK getting loaded. (Double entendre??)
Youthful antics. Nice to see that people can enjoy themselves, having to work in these conditions.
D-ABUF. She brought me to YXY, way back in 2005...
Somon Air. I must admit I had never even heard of them before...
TK 738 getting in the way of the 744's runway 18 departure.
The 77F IS a beautiful plane. But can it ever rival the elegance of the MD11? We all know she can't.
Unfortunately we didn't get closer to T2, but I thought that the size comparison of the 318 and the 77W was pretty neat...
PART THREE - FRA-VIE on LH 3542
We arrived at the airport early to allow enough time for our goodbyes. I had checked in online, in the morning, so all I had to do was drop off my bag again. There was virtually no one in line ahead of me.
FRA T1 check-in hall.
On my way to security.
No lines. Gooood...
I was through security within a minute. Again, without setting off alarms. The only airport, where it always happens, is TXL
Airbus A321-100 D-AIRR "Wismar"
Statistics: 14th flight on LH
, 31st on a 32S, 8th on a 321. 121st flight overall.
A17, my gate.
I was hoping for a -200 or at least RX
or RY. However, no such luck. Once again I got on a regular -100.
D-AILS. She had brought me from FRA to VIE once, as well.
I love the tradition of naming planes.
At this point...I basically fell asleep. It had been incredibly fulfilling days. Also, they had been incredibly filled. I recall waking up for take-off, however I can't even remember which runway we used. The first thing I remeber after that was this sight:
Vienna! I was shocked. Never before had I slept through a whole flight. I guess the long days and sleepless night had taken their toll on me. Judging by the other landings, we had arrived on runway 11 which meant crossing the city. Perfect...missing out on the sea of lights that Vienna becomes at night...
Two 321, right next to each other. Both belong to LH, in a way.
VIE looked like my head felt: empty.
Goodbye. See you soon.
That was that. Thanks for reading. I sincerely hope you enjoyed my report, regardless of any flaws. Please feel free to ask questions and comment. I am looking forward to all forms of feedback.
(Nah...let me be honest...I'm only looking forward to positive feedback.
Thank you and good night.
DH3 DH4 CR1 CR2 CR7 CR9 F70 732 733 734 73G 738 752 762 763 772 742 743 319 320 321 333 343