Part 1 can be found here:
Roundtrip Of La Réunion And Mauritius In Y Part 1 (by DrStrange Jun 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
Feedback is as always appreciated.
After having spent a fantastic week on La Réunion it was time to say “Au revoir” and make our way to our second destination, the beautiful Ile de Maurice, or Mauritius.
One week is definitely not enough for the island. We were able to see just the bare necessities. Our flight with Air Austral to Mauritius was the very first one of the day, so we had to get up very early and make our way to the airport.
We returned the rental car in a matter of minutes and headed for the terminal. You just have got to love daybreak in the tropics:
Landside was empty, although it was filling up. I later found out a Corsair Flight was leaving for Paris.
I did not expect much of a queue for an ATR72
Check in was easy with boarding passes issued fast and efficiently. The agent also checked our return flight from MRU to France. I read that Mauritius seems to be very serious about immigration with proper funds and a return ticket. This, of course, posed no problem for us package-holiday types.
After dropping the Golf bags at the oversize drop-off, we made our way through security. They checked boarding passes twice and were very interested in my noise-cancelling headphones. Apparently they give a funny image on the x-ray screen.
Airside was very small with 4 gates right next to each other.
The “domestic” flights to Paris were in a separate area to the left our gate area.
A few non-descript shops were lining the back side of the hall.
I was trying to get some decent shots of the UU 77E, but was unlucky as you can see. But time passed quickly and it was time for boarding.
This was a non-jetway gate so, we were bussed to our ATR-72. Again, I had to take pictures facing the sun, but I kind of like the rays of sunlight passing over the 77E.
Close-up of said 77E:
Friday, 28th May 2010
St-Denis, La Réunion(RUN) to Mauritius(MRU)
Air Austral – UU102
Photo © Pascal Maillot
Photo © Laurent May
We were bussed past a Corsair A332 and quickly arrived at our little ATR72. I snapped two pictures before entering and being greeted by a friendly FA.
The plane had a 40% load and everyone took their seats quickly.
Now check out the legroom compared to my high-density 77W on my way to RUN (see Part1):
Amazing! Is this Business Class I thought? –Ok, I’m exaggerating here, but it was pretty cramped on the 77W.
We turned onto the runway and performed a rolling takeoff. I still think these are some of the most powerful takeoffs you can have (save the good old B752). Maybe the feeling is stronger, because the plane is smaller and you notice all the movements of the plane more directly…
We reached cruising altitude and the crew began handing out snacks and drinks.
Those were the same biscuits we got on our leg from FRA to CDG on AF. Tasty. This does not hold true for the coffee. The coffee was bad on all flights, but it is economy after all and I can’t expect a professional coffee here. But it did the trick: hot and gets you going!
I flipped through UU’s magazine and of course stopped here:
After looking through the magazine I saw that UU sells models of their planes. I wanted to buy the model of the 77W, but unfortunately they only sell these on long haul flights. Again, all this communication with the crew conducted in my cave-man French
We quickly descended to MRU and landed on the only runway of the airport. (RUN has two, they kind of look like scissors.)
Some MK planes waiting for their next flight:
Well here we are now on Mauritius. We were picked up by a shuttle and driven to our hotel, where we would spend the next 9 days to relax. This was very much needed, as we had overextended ourselves on Réunion.
I think pretty much everybody can imagine why we went to Mauritius:
Ok, Mauritius is of course very much more than beach, but we only managed to get away from it once. Having to leave it all behind to go to work was hard and made us a little sad. But we’ll be back! We’ll be back…..
A day before our departure time, we found this note in our room:
I thought to myself, wow that’s a good idea to generate extra revenue for MK. They charge ~14€ per person for this service. We had already reserved seats and meals. Hotel shuttles pick you up with more than enough time to spare, so I thought: “What’s the point?”
We were bussed to the airport in the evening. That was good, because it allowed for another whole day at the pool / beach / hotel. The transfer took 1:15h, because we had to cross the whole island more or less to reach the airport.
It was pretty crowded and it took ages for some people to be checked in. We were fourth in line, but it took roughly 25min until we were able to check in. Our check in took 3 minutes… just because the baggage belt did not work and they manually had to push the luggage to the back of the belt.
We passed security and while standing in line I noticed MK offered last-minute upgrades for ~400€ per Person. But I found that to be too much, so we passed and went airside.
Airside was terribly crowded, because 3 planes were leaving at the same time:
MKs to Delhi, London and Paris.
We grabbed a bite to eat at the only eatery, which was ok and helped keep the blood sugar at an acceptable level until we were fed again. As soon as boarding time drew closer I got up to take a picture of the bird (fittingly dubbed: “Paille-en-Queue”) which would take us to CDG. The Paille-en-Queue is the mascot of La Réunion and Mauritius next to the ill-fated Dodo.
It was time to board the aircraft and boarding was announced also by rows. We queued up were ready to go on the….
Saturday, 5th June 2010
Mauritius(MRU) to Paris(CDG)
Air Mauritius – MK34
3B-NBE, "Paille en Queue"
Photo © Charles-Henri Fontaine
Photo © Mohammad M.Rassi - Persian Gulf Team
We were greeted by a friendly FA, who checked our boarding passes and directed us down the second aisle. The first thing that came to my mind was: “Hm, everything looks kind of old school.” Later I found out that I was pretty much spot-on… but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.
So we stowed our stuff and took our seats. Legroom was excellent, I had plenty of room to sit.
Unfortunately the IFE box under the seat was bigger than the actual IFE itself. It used up a lot of the room beneath the front seat.
I settled in my seat and started relaxing and exploring:
The seats were old and you could tell by the leather. Strangely enough I felt the AF seats were much more comfortable to sit in.
Old school bins:
Shortly before pushback I took the standard wing picture:
EK 77W to Dubai leaving ahead of us. I might get flamed for this, but I actually thought for a split second, when the GE90s spooled up a couple of meters away, that we were starting our engines…. Talk about vibration and humming. I laughed to myself.
We were pushed back with a full load in Y and started to make our way towards the runway. It was very dark and I could not take any decent pictures. But this one was able to capture the rwy lights. We entered the runway and backtracked on it until we made a turn in one of the turning spots at the end of the runway.
Ok, now this takeoff and initial climb was interesting. I timed the takeoff roll from full spool up until liftoff. It took our dear A343 52 seconds. In my opinion that is normal, as all heavy A343s I’ve been on took around that time. (I think the 77W took ~40s at ORY). After that it felt like we were getting nowhere fast… I primarily remember LH’s A343s and the climbout did not feel as slow as this one. I tried to estimate climb rate with the airshow, but that is probably pretty inaccurate. I made it out to be ~3 meters in 1second, giving us roughly 600ft / min. Now I do not know if that is normal, but it felt terribly slow. I think we reached cruising altitude when we were already in the vicinity of Madagascar (~1,5hrs into the flight). The other thing I remember was we remained at 1600 meters when overflying Mauritius after a hard starboard turn after lifting off.
On our long way to cruise, I inspected the seat some more and noticed the fabric covers to be extremely worn. Apparently they were attached to the seatback with Velcro. I couldn’t help but verify that first hand….
Interesting, I never knew what a seat looks like from the inside. A honeycomb design makes sense though, saves weight and is very durable. While I was fiddling with the seat, special meals were already being served.
Vegan dinner for MrsStrange:
Quite tasty, I tried some myself. Especially the lentils (brown stuff in the bottom third).
I had the usual choice between chicken or fish, I chose chicken, as I had good past experiences with “the chicken”.
The sauce was of the mild curry kind they serve as a speciality on both islands. It was good, but I liked the mustard sauce on AF better. While eating I watched “Invictus” Clint Eastwood’s 2009 picture about Nelson Mandela using the rugby world championship in South Africa to unite the country after apartheid. I thought it was a good movie. The quality of the screen was pretty bad and it was not AVOD (as advertised in their in-flight magazine). The movie was interrupted quite a view times by “PA in progress” but, nothing was said. It seemed like they accidentally hit the button. Oh well…
After a good movie and a good dinner, the expected result:
I was terribly tired after dinner, so I got a last shot of the airshow and tried to get some sleep.
Even though I had much more space on this MK flight compared to the AF flight, I found it harder to sleep “comfortably”. The IFE box bothered me the most, strangely enough, but I managed to get a full 5 hours of sleep (with the usual feet spinning and change of position in my seat of course…)
When I woke up, I turned on the airshow to see we were about to cross the coastline of the Mediterranean.
I got up to stretch my legs an get some water, as I felt really dehydrated. MrsStrange told me there had been no water runs all night long. I went to the rear galley and asked for water. All FAs were standing there chatting away, but at least I was given my water with a smile. I chugged three glasses immediately (to the amazement of the FAs) and went back to my seat.
Day was about to break and I was treated to a nice sunrise:
Shortly afterwards breakfast was being served. This time, there was a vegan breakfast for MrsStrange.
It was good, nothing special.
Trays were cleared and I took a picture of the bulkhead with a painting of fish:
We made our way towards Paris, descending into one of the 26s.
On our final approach I noticed some else on approach to the 27s. Unfortunately I could not make it out.
Crossing the runway:
We were in for a looong taxi to the other side of the airport (again!) and I used the opportunity to take some pictures:
We reached our final parking position at a remote stand close to Terminal 2. We left the airplane and boarded a bus, who would take us to the terminal.
This AF A332 was really dirty. Thank you AF for serving the stereotype.. In-between flights:
Since our baggage was already checked through to FRA, we made our way through immigration (past a very disinterested border policeman, who took 1 second to look at our passports). We needed to go to Terminal 2D to catch our connection to FRA. There was no rush though, we had 4 hours to spare. All other flights were full at our time of booking (also the direct flight to STR).
After a 10minute walk we arrived at Terminal 2D:
We sat down in a café to kill some time and had one baguette, one cappuccino and one very small ice tea for a whopping €13,30.
After killing some more time we went through security and waited at our gate for our flight to be called.
Roughly 40 minutes prior to our SDT, our A319 arrived at the gate.
Sunday, 6th June 2010
Paris(CDG) – Frankfurt am Main(FRA)
Air France – AF1918
Departure: 13 :15
Arrival: 14 :35
I forgot to note the rego... so I’ll just use two fotos of the type.
Photo © Szabo Gabor
Photo © Mike Fuchslocher
Boarding was called and we took our seats quickly. This time load was around 80%.
Sistership at the next gate:
On our way to the runway we passed an Al Afriqiyah A332 parked in the distance.
Air Transat A332
Approaching RWY 27
Holding for traffic
We took off towards the west and made a 180° turn towards Germany. On our way we passed some nice clouds.
I did not take a picture of the coffee and snacks, because they were the same as on our flight to CDG. (I would have been surprised hat it been any different….) Service was ok, albeit a bit slower, because of the larger plane and higher load compared to our first leg (A318 vs A319). We passed straight over FRA to turn into 25R. You can see the construction of the new 4th runway coming along at the top right of the picture.
I like this approach very much, as it gives you excellent views of downtown Frankfurt aka “Mainhattan” (which is a mix of Manhattan and the river “Main” passing through Frankfurt)
Frankfurt’s big soccer stadium the “Commerzbank Arena”
I noticed one of the high speed rails called ICE (Inter City Express), one of which would take us home to Stuttgart in a short while.
Terminal 2 apron:
After a smooth touchdown we were on a long roll towards Terminal 2. That allowed for some nice pictures, of which I’d like to share a sample with you guys.
Jade Air Cargo 744 deploying reversers
LH 744 doing the same
We stopped across the holding point for departures off 25R, which was nice, as there was a lot of action at FRA at this time of day. We held there for a good 10 minutes, as the MU A332 was delayed at our gate.
LH A343 rolling
LH A333 holding short of RWY 25R (taxiway DW)
CO B764 also holding short of RWY 25R (taxiway D)
FI B752 following the CO B764
UA 744 following the LH A333
TAM B77W on short final to Rwy 25L
Pulling into our gate, with the cause of the delay waiting for us to pass…
Again parked at the next gate we find EK’s B77W to Dubai, just like on our 1st leg.
One thing I have never understood is the need to jump up and stand in the aisle instantly after the seat belt signs have been switched off. Oh well…
Our bags arrived last and we took one of the ICE trains to Stuttgart. The trains were bursting full again, as it was the last day of the Pentecost holidays so we again had to stand all the way to Stuttgart.
I really enjoyed all of the flights we did on this vacation. I was a bit disappointed by the old IFE on the MK flight, but I managed to get some sleep, which was even better. The food was good an all flights, even the snacks were tasty. Coffee on airplanes in Y is nothing you can do right, I think, so we should not worry too much about that. I’d love to try the coffee on EK or SQ in J, after having read so much about it in my fellow Anetter’s trip reports. Another thing dear airlines: Water runs are important! Especially on long flights. It does not help to tell people to drink, you need to offer water proactively as well. Ok, some might say, just get up and get some. But sometimes that is not possible due to sleeping neighbors etc. I just think it is part of the service, even in Y. Overall I really liked the diversified flights, even though I could not collect *A miles.
The last thing to note is baggage: I did not have any trouble whatsoever and no questions were asked about our golf bags or luggage. I have to admit that I made sure every suitcase weighed ~23kg, but I never got any trouble at all. I only had to repack once, while flying BA, because one suitcase was 24kgs… oh well. It was my fault after all. I just wasn’t used to it, because in the past I travelled with 30kgs on eg OZ, EK and LH.
I hope you all enjoyed my two trip reports. My next big trip will probably be next year, but maybe something comes up in between I could write about. My business trips from STR to HAM and back on LH 733 and 735s are not really spectacular….
A good day to everyone.
[Edited 2010-06-12 04:45:11]