A continuation from the trip report published yesterday: Woeful Iberia, Wonderful Binter Part I
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria has a great spotting deck on top of the terminal building. There are signs and it is relatively easy to find. We headed up there to get an overview of the proceedings. The deck was filled with tourists desperate for their last rays of sun before heading back into the northern European frigidly cold winter.
LPA sees a large variety of flights, mostly charter and during the winter there are numerous flights from Scandinavia, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. The most exotic arrival on the board this day was an Mauritania Airways flight from Nouakchott but we would be long departed from LPA by the time this flight was due to arrive.
Las Palmas - Tenerife South (Reina Sofia)
After an hour or so on the deck, we decided to check in for our next flight to Tenerife (South), go through security and head to the gate to ensure we got decent seats for the next sector. Another friendly encounter with Binter staff at check in and security was a breeze, even though the airport was busy.
We were only at our holding gate for a short time before the bus arrived to take us to our aircraft. This flight to Tenerife South Reina Sofia, would take 35 mins and would be operated by EC-JCR. A new registration and aircraft for me. The seats were red leather and the aircraft looked well maintained inside and out.
We had to hold for a bit at the end of the runway before departure, as the airport remained consistently busy. Another Binter ATR72 followed us to the runway.
There was an IB A340-600 at one of the far gates, so I presumed that IB operated one flight a day from MAD with the 346.
In the air and out and around over the airport again, with some nice views below climbing out of LPA, including a nice view of the airport below.
Mountainous landscape of Gran Canaria and a great day for flying
Service on board was similar to the TFN - LPA sector. Water and a chocolate wafer. Again the crew onboard were very friendly. I also picked up a copy of the airline’s inflight magazine.
A short hop and it barely felt like we’d got to our cruising altitude when it was time to descend into Tenerife South. The weather for flying today was great. Clear views of everything around us, including a great view of the snow capped Pico del Teide or Mt Teide on Tenerife, which the highest peak in Spain and is an active volcano - last erupting in 1909.
Another view, and getting closer to TFS
We seemed to just drop lower and lower at quite a rapid speed, before lining up for our arrival into TFS. TFS was opened in November 1978 by the Queen of Spain, after whom the airport is named. Tenerife's North Airport (Norte) was the island's only airport for many years, until during the early 1970s, it was decided to relocate some of it flights due to increasing foggy conditions. It also seems that the collision in 1977 of the two 747s certainly made the case for a new airport on the island that was not beset by the same climatic conditions. Today, TFS processes between 7 - 9 million passengers a year.
A smooth landing, and a short taxi to our parking stand meant the end of our flight NT . Our luggage was available on a few minutes after entering baggage reclaim, and it was off to spend a few days in the sun. Of course, we found some time for spotting, which is quite easy from around the airport.
Pulling into our parking stand
Passing this Dutch bird on the bus to the terminal
Welcome to Tenerife South
Spotting from TFS
Air Berlin B737-800
Air Mediterranee A320
From another vantage point near the terminal
Air Europa B737-800
Some airport views of TFS
Exterior of the main terminal building
Overall, my first flight experience on Iberia was poor, and the airline certainly seemed to live up to its less than stellar reputation reported via other trip reports on A.net. Whilst the hardware on IB was OK, and ground staff at MAD were polite, it was the cabin crew who really couldn't care less. I tried to search to see whether Iberia has ever won any customer service awards and unsurprisingly, I could not find any.
The return trip, from TFN - MAD was aboard an A321, which was marginally better, although we were nearly diverted to Valencia, because of “air traffic control problems” in Madrid! I did like MAD however, particularly Terminal 4 - what a great terminal. It’s a shame that the terminal is not matched by its main tenant. Our flights on Binter, in contrast, were excellent.
I am already planning my next trip back to the Canaries to fly Binter next year!