Although I had been reading this great forum for many years, it was only about a month ago I joined the community. When Flieger67 told me about the meeting, I thought it would be great to meet some A.Net veterans. I had some hesitations first, as the fares were really expensive, but then I decided I would go. It was quite a challenge to get suitable connection without exceeding the budget I had planned for the trip, but luckily succeeded in finding one.
Warsaw to Frankfurt
LH 3021 operated by Eurowings (first time on the carrier)
Gate: 025 (027)
A/c type: Canadair RJ 900 (first time on the type)
A/c reg: D-ACNT
Seat no. 9 F
I arrive at the airport at 0800. When inside terminal building I notice it’s surprisingly busy for a Saturday morning. Having done OLCI I proceed straight to the security. Due to relatively long line, it takes me ten minutes to get through. Getting to gate 025 is a breeze as it is situated exactly opposite the security, one has only to go through the retail to reach it. There has been some change, as the board at the gate indicates OK777 to Prague. I must find the gate, but I feel that first I should empty my bladder. When on the way to the loo I discover that newly assigned gate for my flight is neighbouring gate 027.
After the visit to the restroom I sit at the gate and take a look at the apron. I spot my today’s ride pulling in at the remote stand next to MA’s DH4 sporting retro livery. Soon the boarding begins and we go down the stairs to the bus. After a short drive we park next our today’s ride.
When entering the aircraft I say “Hello” to the purser, but she seems not to notice me, as she’s looking towards the cockpit at the moment. I move on and spot some reading material in the overhead bin above the first row. There’s only one Polish title, a local daily newspaper “Życie Warszawy”. A strange choice, if you ask me, but I grab one nevertheless. I settle in my seat and take a look around. The interior is in a immaculate condition, the leather grey seats look really nice. The cabin is reasonable airy, but I feel really cramped in my seat. The legroom is fantastic, but it’s width limited by the side wall that ruins the whole experience.
Soon the boarding is completed, the purser comes over the PA and gives us a welcome speech. Unfortunately this is followed by announcement from the cockpit advising us that we have missed our slot and we have to wait for the next 10mins. Nothing happens for a longer while, so I decide to check the latest news, but nothing interesting, as expected. Finally (I think it was much longer than announced 10mins) it’s time for the safety demo. It is performed in English and German. Next the tape in Polish is being played, but it makes no sense at this point, as the demo has been already done.
After a 5mins taxi we stop next to RWY 33. We wait for K2’s AT5 to land and enter the runway. Take off is rather powerful and in no time we are airborne. Soon “fasten the seatbelt” sign is switched off and the FAs begin the service. We are offered “Kölln” branded muesli, which I decline. After a short while the drink service begins. The FA serving me is quite friendly. When I choose OJ, she asks me if I would also like to have coffee or tea. I stick to the juice, though.
The weather is nice as we are cruising above Western Poland, so I enjoy the views for a while.
Then I decide to take a look into Lufthansa’s magazine. To keep it longer in a good condition, it is packed (together with safety card) in a plastic bag.
I read the article on the 747-8, which is quite interesting. I had no idea that it was LH management that encouraged Boeing to built the aircraft. The rest of the flight is uneventful. The western we go the cloudier it gets.
Soon we start our descent towards DUS and touch down on RWY 23L around 1110. During the taxi I notice some aircraft I don’t see on regular basis, such as KM’s 319, AB’s 332 and LH’s 333. After a while we reach remote stands, take right and stop among some other Eurowings’ CR9s. The apron on the other side of the taxi way is exclusively LH Regional territory. I say goodbye to the purser and head to the awaiting bus. Interestingly, it is not Cobus, but Solaris sporting a steal grey livery. We get to the terminal building at 1115 and I quickly climb the stairs heading to the entrance for transferring passengers.
LH 079 (first time on the carrier)
A/c type: Boeing 737-500
A/c reg: D-ABIA
Seat no. 20 F
I reach gate A71 in no time, as it is situated very close to the entrance. Since there is still some ten minutes to boarding time, I visit the restroom located on the upper level. When back at the gate I sit and take a look around. The place is somewhat gloomy, as natural light is limited, due to small size of the windows.
The boarding begins at 1140. At the door I am greeted by a friendly purser. I go down the aisle and take my seat 20 F. Since the impressions from previous flight are still very fresh, the interior seems to be extremely spacious. The cabin is well maintained, but it shows its’ age. The old style seat is really comfortable. Although I’m sitting in the second to the last row the seat pitch is more than fine.
At first, the last rows rule seems to work as seats next to me remains empty.
I am taking the picture of our neighbour, D-AIZD, when a family of four arrives at my row. Daddy and one daughter take two seats on the opposite side of the aisle while mummy and second daughter, aged about 5-6, sit next to me.
It is 1200 when I can hear purser advising the cockpit that boarding is completed, but nothing happens for next 5-10 minutes. The little girl gets bored and her mum does great job keeping her busy by means of Lufthansa branded “Optische Täuschungen” (optical illusion) cards.
Couple of minutes later captain comes over the PA and informs us that we have to wait a longer while for the pushback, because the skies are exceptionally congested this Saturday due to increased traffic in the direction to the Mediterranean destinations. It is estimated that we would arrive at FRA at 1310. Connecting passengers are advised that their onward flights would not depart without them. Not good news at all. It is especially not welcomed, as PH was so kind and agreed to wait for me after his arrival from NUE, so we would go together to the meeting point. I switch omy mobile on and text PH informing him about the delay.
Meanwhile my little seatmate has gone through all the cards and starts to show some signs of impatience. When she reaches for the safety card her mum takes advantage of her interest and gives daughter a private safety briefing. Once it’s done she summarises her some article from LH Magazine. I am truly impressed with woman’s skills to keep little lady entertained.
Soon the purser gives an announcement that we are about to be pushed back. It’s followed by the safety demo. We taxi for a while and unexpectedly take position on the stand situated in the middle of the apron. We let some aircraft through and then continue our taxi to the active. When we leave the stand I see five planes in the line ahead of us, so it takes us quite some time to get to RWY 23L. During the taxi I spot an interesting round shaped building with a viewing deck overlooking both runways’ thresholds (when home I have learned it’s the airport railway station biulding). We wait for TK’s 32S wearing *S livery to touch down and it’s our turn to go. The take off roll is one of the most powerful I have ever experienced.
Once airborne we do lots of turns before we level up and “fasten seat belt” sign is switched off. The weather is fine, just a bit cloudy.
We fly straight for a longer while and then do some more manoeuvring. Couple of minutes later there is an announcement from the cockpit. It’s rather unclear, due to the noise in the cabin and somewhat crackling speakers, so the only things I get is the temperature in FRA (27C) and “thank you for your attention”.
I’ m enjoying the views outside when I notice a nice formation of thick white clouds.
We get some relatively mild turbulences as we are flying into the clouds and in no time “fasten the seat belt” sign is switched back on. Shortly after the purser comes over the PA informing us we are about to start our descent towards FRA. At this point the ride gets really bumpy. After a longer while we leave the clouds and the turbulences get much smoother. I enjoy the views when we are overflying the city of Frankfurt. We continue our cruise along the Main river for a while and next we take a 180 degree U turn. Some more correcting turns and we line up for our approach to RWY. Unfortunately, it gets very bumpy again and my little seatmate has to use a sick bag. I notice her mum is looking for another one, so I offer mine. Luckily the crises is gone, so no need to use it.
Soon we touch down and after a rather short taxi we pull in at gate B10.
When I switch my mobile on I see I got some new messages including one from PH, who, despite the delay, has kindly decided to wait for me and one from Flieger67, informing me that guys are waiting at Mc Donald’s next to the viewing deck entrance. There’ s no time to wait, so I quickly make my way down the aisle, say goodbye to the purser and leave the aircraft. It’s my first time at FRA, so I carefully follow the signs and soon get the right direction. I’m walking quickly down the corridor, when am halted by policemen blocking the passage leading to the exit. I approach one of them and he informs me that it will take ca. 10mins before they let people through. Great! Luckily it is more like 5mins, so soon I find myself landside. I take a stroll along the hall looking for PH, but I can’t see him. I decide to stop at some characteristic point and give him my position. Soon U. shows up there. We greet each other and go up the stairs to the Skyline train. It is a short ride to Terminal 2 and after a while we join the rest of the group gathered in the food court. We exchange our greetings and it is time to go to the viewing deck.
I have a great time shared between having many interesting chats with enthusiasts from all over Europe and some spotting. FRA is definitely a spotters’ paradise. The number of movements and variety of aircraft and airlines is simply amazing!
There's only one ruler in FRA, though.
Thanks to Flieger67, we have also possibility to visit a spotting place next to RWY18. I’m in a second (?) group he gets there today. Unfortunately, after a while it starts to rain, so we head back to the terminal building where we thank for the drive and bid him farewell, since he is already going back home. When we are about to re enter the viewing terrace we encounter the rest of the group who has decided to go for some drinks. We sit in the bar, so there is time for some additional talks about airlines/aircrafts flown, places seen and plans for the future. All too soon we say our goodbyes, as it’s time to leave for our respective flights / train rides home.
Frankfurt to Warsaw
A/c type: Embraer 175
A/c reg: SP-LIM
Seat no. 9 A
Almost no line to the security so I am through in about 5mins. I reach the gate, buy the coke in a vending machine and quench my thirst. Then I decide to explore the surroundings. There is not many facilities in the area. Small bistro/cafe , one retail and (hip hip hooray !) “Camel Smoking Zone’’ booth. First I pay a visit to the shop where I buy some sweets for my beloved wife. Later I wait a bit till the booth gets empty (it is much smaller than the one in ZRH) and have a cigarette. When I get back to the gate I notice it has become relatively crowded, so I take one of left seats and make some notes for this report. The boarding commences bang on time. Since I am pretty tired I decide to board without further delay, in order to get seat on the bus. After a short while we move to the remote stand. And “remote” should be read literally in this case. Our aircraft is parked in the furthest part of the apron, situated behind a gas station, ground equipment depot etc. It’s a enjoyable ride nevertheless, as we are passing by many interesting planes from the Gulf region (Oman Air, Ethihad, Emirates). Finally we pull in next to our today’s ride SP-LIM. Interestingly, it is possible to board both through the front and the rear door.
Having seat 9 A I board through the front door. I am greeted by the purser and offered on newspapers which I accept. I go to my seat to learn it is already taken. I tell the guy sitting there he has mistaken the seats and he moves to the aisle seat. Apparently the man, who has asked him to switch the seats, so he could sit next to the son, has given him wrong info regarding his original seat number.
Once settled I take a look around. The interior is clean and well maintained. The leather dark blue seats look fine. The seat pitch is pretty good, though tighter than on both flights I took earlier today. Luckily, the width is no issue, so it’s way more comfortable than on Eurowings’ CRJ.
Then I take a last picture at FRA. Note ground equipment depot building on the right.
Some minutes later the bus with second group of passengers pulls in next to the aircraft. Some smooth melody is being played throughout boarding process. It is completed at 2050. I take one more look around the cabin. I spot only handful of open seats in economy. First two and a half row constitute business class section, but there is only one seat occupied.
Soon the purser gives a welcome speech in Polish and English informing us that our flight is predicted to last 1h25mins. It is followed by the German version played from the tape, which obviously doesn’t contain info on flight time. Next manual safety demo is performed and afterwards we begin our taxi towards RWY18.
For two reasons it is a spectacular experience for me. Firstly, it seems the longest taxi distance-wise ever. We have a really long way to cover: first we head in direction to the terminal, then we take left and taxi perpendicular to the runways 25/7, next take right and continue all the way along RWY 25/7 L to RWY 18. Secondly, it is definitely the fastest speed-wise ever. Especially when on the taxi way parallel to RWY 25/7 L we reach a really high speeds. Once we reach RWY 18 we take left and perform a rolling, powerful take off. Shortly after the wheels go up we take left and I notice the next aircraft already getting airborne. I think local traffic controllers deserve the highest admiration. They are doing a really good job!
Soon the “fasten seat belt” sign is switched off and we are informed that in-flight service is to commence in couple of minutes. We are flying above thick layer of clouds when cabin crew begin the service.
First refreshing towels are handed out.
The meal service follows. It consists of a cheese sandwich and Prince Polo chocolate bar. A for drinks, we are offered wines, beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea. I decide to take tomato juice and tea. The sandwich is really tasty, mostly thanks to delicious spicy tomato dressing.
Both cabin crew members are friendly, but it’s middle aged purser, whose job I’m observing with a pleasure. She approaches the passengers with a true courtesy and attention. She speaks slowly and the tone of her voice is warm. It reminds me of good old days, when stewardess (as it used to be referred to) was an elite occupation.
When I’ m enjoying the meal, the captain comes over the PA and gives us some information on the flight. At the moment we are cruising above Prague at the level of 11000 feet, at the speed of 800 km/h. It is estimated that we will land at WAW in 50mins, the temperature in Warsaw is nice 20C.
Some minutes later I feel we are starting our descent. Soon, it is confirmed by an announcement in Polish, English and German version played from the tape. “Fasten seat belt sign” is switched back on and the lights in the cabin are dimmed.
Now the fun begins! The 3-4 years old kid sitting in front of me starts to cry piercingly. At first I am lenient with his shouting. “Poor boy, got scared”, I think. However, my sympathy is all gone, when I notice, that the more his mum tries to calm him down, the louder (can’t believe it’s possible) he screams. Even a soothing voice of the purser and the bribe in the form extra chocolate bar and drink doesn’t work. It gets really unbearable at one point. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do, but patiently go through these tortures. I look around and see other passengers seem to be at the edge of nervous breakdown. The guy sitting on the other side of the aisle puts his fingers into his ear-wholes, but judging by expression of his face, it is not a very effective method. The kid’s sirens accompany us all the way to WAW where we touch down on RWY 33 at 2230. In fact, he doesn’t stop crying till we stop at the remote position. Then, the “fingers in the ear-wholes” guy starts a short discussion with mother of the kid. She answers his criticism with the suggestions that he should/colud have rented private jet or travelled in business class. Especially the latter seems to be missed, as I am sure it wouldn’t have helped even if flying on an aircraft of the size of 747, not to mention little E175. Anyway, we soon de-board go to awaiting bus.
I have just taken very last picture of our today’s ride, when I see the purser running down the stairs with a copy of the book in her hand. She approaches the bus and asks who of us has been sitting in seat X, because that person has left the book in the seat-pocket. Nobody answers, but I can hear giggling at the back of the bus and American (judging by the accent) woman saying her companion that it’s hers, but she has left it there on purpose, because she has finished it anyway. I feel sorry for the purser, so I deliberately take the book from her and pass it to the owner. Also, I don’t think the cabin of the aircraft is a proper place to dispose of unwanted book. No guarantee the book hasn’t been left on the bus, though, since I am the first person to leave it. I take a quick walk down empty corridors, pass through deserted baggage claim and get landside. I go outside the terminal and wait for Mrs SPLTA to pick me up. Soon she arrives and after some 15 mins drive I’m home.
WAW-DUS flight on Eurowings was OK. It was delayed, but I made it on time for my connecting flight. Although I skipped the meal, I think it was just fine for the length of the flight. Regarding the cabin crew, they seemed not to have paticularly enjoyed their job. However, they were friendly when serving passengers, so no complains there. As for the aircraft, the cabin looked fine and it was in immaculate condition. The only, but major issue is a seating comfort in the window seat. Next time when to fly on CRJ I have to make sure to choose aisle seat.
DUS-FRA flight on Lufthansa was also delayed, but one can’t help ATC restrictions. No drinks/snacks were served on the short short hop, which surprised me, but was no problem at all. Due to the lack of the service I can’t tell much about the cabin crew. Although showing its’ age the cabin was in good condition, old style seats were comfortable, and the seat pitch in the last rows more than good.
FRA-WAW sector on LOT was a standard intra-European flight. It was on time, the meal was tasty and sufficient. Regarding the cabin crew, the purser was just great. Sadly, this kind of personnel seem to belong to endangered species nowadays. The FA was also friendly and professional, but she’s definitely not in the same league as her older colleague. As for the aircraft, flying on LO E175s was a nice experience. Spacious cabin, decent legroom, clean interior. Having experienced flight on CR9, I can tell LOT made an excellent choice regarding their regional fleet, at least from passenger’s stand point.
It was great pleasure meeting other enthusiasts. I had truly fantastic time that Saturday afternoon. It’s a shame I arrived when the meeting reached its’ midpoint and had no opportunities to have a chat with all participants. I hope to have opportunity to catch up when attending the next meeting.
Last, but not least I would like to thank Flieger67 for notifying me about the meeting, as well as for arranging things with viewing deck visit and for the drive to the spotting place. Also, I would like to thank PlaneHunter for waiting for me, in spite of late arrival of my flight from DUS.
Noch einmal, vielen Dank!
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. Your feedback is much appreciated.