A few weeks after my previous trip: BRU-MXP-BRU: The EasyWay (by sultanils May 26 2010 in Trip Reports)
it was again time to be up in the air!
What follows is my second trip report from a recent daytrip which brought me from Brussels/Belgium to Warsaw/Poland on LOT, continuing to Riga/Latvia, again on LOT and back to Brussels/Belgium on airBaltic.
There's not really a story here, I just wanted to start summer with a relaxing day of flying and spotting.
Flights were booked well in advance which ensured I had the cheapest fares available, well done Sultanils!
The day before I checked in online for WAW-RIX and RIX-BRU. For some reason OLCI for BRU-WAW was not possible, the system did not recognize my booking reference and a call to the LOT office was not helpful either.
So the next morning I drove to the airport on time to check in manually, this was done in seconds by a friendly agent. My flight left from the A gates, so a long walk ahead.
After queuing for 10 minutes at security, I arrived at the A gates
Iberia A321 to MAD
My ride to WAW at gate A53
2 BrusselsAirlines A333's at the B gates, just arrived from Africa
2 Thomas-the-Cook's getting ready for a charter flight
BrusselsAirlines A333 on tow to the T gates, later to Africa
Another Cook on the roll
SAS & Lufthansa
Boarding was on time.
Aircraft (scheduled): Embraer 175
Aircraft (actual): Boeing 737-500
The aircraft looked quite used & worn with fabric cloth seats. However legroom was excellent and the seats were comfy. A nice breakfast with complimentary hot & cold drinks was offered. Two thumbs up for LOT here! No comment from the flightdeck however so no route info either.
Some pic's on the way:
Taxiing to the active runway
On to runway 25R... or not? (Actually, we did not turn left to 25R but right to 20, a nice surprise!)
In the middle on the left an overview of BRU (sorry, hazy picture)
Some pic's on the way from BRU to WAW:
Rocky Mountains or something else (presumably over Germany)?
One wing or another
WAW airport on my side (sorry, hazy picture)
After passing WAW we took a sharp left turn and came into finals:
On short finals
Touchdown and braking
Wow, we're in WAW!
Reaching our parking position, hi neighbour!
And parked next to this lovely lady
Bagage claim in WAW, oops, I do not need to be here lol (I urgently was in need of the toilet
WAW is excellent for spotting from the terminal building when airside; apron view
After arrival I had to go through security again. This was a real mess, people pushing and cutting the line, only 1 lane was open and it seemed everybody's flight was leaving at the same time. On top of that the staff was rude and unorganized. At the A gates in BRU I had bought a bottle of water, sort of 'grab & fly', meaning you can take the bottle on the plane. Since I stayed in WAW in the Schengen zone, I thought I could keep this bottle for my next flights. I thought wrong and had to dispose of it. I wanted to argue but in stead I just shut up and decided to keep the honour to myself
Boarding for the flight to Riga was a little late. It involved a strange procedure: upon showing your boarding pass and ID to the gate agent, you got a card which said 'GATE 44 BUS ADMISSION'. I went down 2 stairs and arrived at, you guessed it, a bus! I returned my admission card to the driver and was thus allowed on the bus. Funny, really funny!
Anyway, it was boarding by bus then and we arrived at our aircraft:
Aircraft (scheduled): ATR72
Aircraft (actual): ATR42
Hmm, another change of aircraft... Its seems LOT plays around with it's aircraft a LOT
The aircraft was in good condition, leather seats, low legroom however and a general claustrophobic feel to the cabin (hey, Sultanils, you're in a prop you know
I was seated next to the right engine exhaust, hence the haze
Waiting for takeoff, ladies first!
And off to Riga...
The crew came round with hot & cold drinks and a tasty sandwich. No info from up front...
Overflying downtown Warsaw
Little fluffy clouds, how cute...
For the non-believers, it indeed is a prop!
Turbulent approach to RIX airport
And here we are, welcome to Riga!
Some F100's sitting on the apron (a Carpatair and something else)
Nice tail of EuroLOT
After deboarding and a short busride to the terminal I arrived at RIX International; a tiny cosy little airport. No strange security procedures here, the atmosphere was very relaxed. I posted myself at a window in a nice bar, got myself an icecold Coke and enjoyed the view.
Lufthansa to FRA and Ryanair to ?
The ATR that brought me in from WAW, getting serviced
CSA on arrival from PRG
After a few more arrivals & departures the airport got quiet for quite some time, until suddenly the evening rush began and one after another airBaltic came in to land.
Turkish Airlines to IST almost ready to go
Departure time for my flight to BRU came closer until suddenly I got an unexpected SMS from airBaltic informing me that the flight to BRU was delayed by half an hour. Nice touch to inform passengers this way, very modern.
After some more waiting, boarding was announced and we walked in the nice Latvian sun to the aircraft.
Some airBaltic F50's getting ready for their next flight
Walking to our aircraft
Nice shiny engine
I like their livery
Aircraft (scheduled): Boeing 737-500
Aircraft (actual): Boeing 737-500
The delay was already up to 30 mins; the plane was still being refueled while we were waiting in our seats, it was very hot inside. Legroom was excellent and the new Recaro slimline seats were very comfy.
The captain waiting to sign the fueling documents
On our way to the active runway meeting brother or sister
And off we go!
Climbout towards the sea
A 737-500 wing (nothing special really lol)
Some nice clouds on the way over Poland
Another one of my hobbies
We passed this airport along the way, anyone know which one it is?
Almost back in BRU, I think this is the city of Hasselt
After 2h of flying, we started descending for BRU
On very very very short finals
And braking on 25L
Then we stopped on the taxiway for 10 mins, according to the captain, someone was occupying our parking space and we had to wait for it to be clear.
Waiting in the sun
CSA also arrived at the A gates, presumably from PRG
Lufthansa taxiing out
Our neighbour on stand
And so I was back where I started from: BRU (but an hour late). A lovely day it was for sure.
In conclusion I can tell you the following according to my personal experience:
+ good seating comfort on the B735
+ meal service & meal quality
+ ontime performance
- switching of aircraft (I wanted both the EMB75 and ATR72 and got the B735 and ATR42)
- claustrophobic cabin on the ATR42
- B735 a bit worn out
+ excellent seating comfort in the refurbished cabin
- (nothing really)
Thanks for reading,
Next story coming up: From the city of light to the city of night: CDG-LHR-CDG on the AF A380
In thrust we trust.