FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:19 pm

Introduction

The Finnish independence day is celebrated on the 6th of December and it is naturally a national holiday. This year that date falls to a Tuesday, so it creates the perfect opportunity for a long weekend off. With this in mind I decided to go somewhere during that time. Somehow the Med area was etched into my mind - the weather in early December here is not exactly very pleasant, unlike most of the Mediterranean. Of course me being the flying kind of Finn it also had to provide some interesting things aviationwise.

I quickly narrowed the options down to either Turkey (cheap fares and lots of interesting domestic carriers there). Cyprus (flying with Cyprus Airways) or Malta (with a flight on Air Malta). After playing around with various booking engines and checking out the fares and schedules I settled on Malta, mainly for price reasons (and the fact that most of the flights would be with *A). I found an excellent fare on LH and OS for only around 180 EUR via Frankfurt on the outbound and VIE on the inbound. The good part was that MLA-VIE would be an OS codeshare on Air Malta metal. The bad part was that this flight left already just after six on the Monday morning, cutting my long weekend a bit short. The beautiful part was the fact that I still had the Independence free for another trip!

The simplish route I thought I would fly:



Now those who have been following my recent reports know that OS recently dropped their route to HEL, so that brought some problems for my itinerary. I wanted to keep the KM sector so I didn’t want to call the Expedia call centre or Lufthansa (whose ticket stock it was) as I’m pretty sure they’d just routed me directly back on LH via FRA. So while passing through the HEL airport on another trip I reserved some extra time and went to the *A ticket desk at T1 in an effort to sweet talk the girls there into a better itinerary for my purposes. Well, turns out they had received instructions that all the pax on the canceled OS flights should be rebooked on LH or LX metal (they obviously want to keep the business in the family!). So I explained my desire to keep the Air Malta segment and luckily the friendly lady had no objections to that and just added VIE-MUC-HEL on LH to get me home. After looking at my itinerary for that Monday (leaving MLA at 6.10 in the morning, getting to HEL around 12 hours later) she said: “But you will spend your whole day at airports and planes!” - well, obviously she didn’t know me and my habits... I just said that it won’t be a problem, after all I’ve got lounge access and stuff to ease the “pain”.

The rebooking went fine, but unfortunately they are not able to issue tickets anymore here, just rebook passengers (weird, I know), so the woman instructed me to call the Austrian call centre to have them do it and gave me the number. I asked that shouldn’t it be Lufthansa instead as the fare was published and the ticket issued by LH, but she insisted it should be OS as they are the ones who canceled the flight. So I call, and as I expected they tell me that they won’t have anything to do with this matter as it is a LH ticket and I should call them. So I do, still being a little bit uneasy about some overzealous agent there starting to wonder about the unncecessary detour in my itinerary but luckily nothing like that happens and the whole reissuing is very smoothly taken care of (that’s German efficiency for you!), so I’m good to go!

Here’s the new route, that pattern looks like a lightning bolt to me:

.

Saturday 3.12.2011

Another early Saturday wakeup call for me, getting to HEL T1 at six. Quite a few people around the check in hall as usual, but luckily not at security yet so it’s a smooth progress to get through and head right into the lounge for a coffee - there’s some breakfast out but I am not really up to it yet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_1.jpg

Hey, a new coffee machine here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_2.jpg

Swiss quality (I’m sure Jonas will be able to tell me the exact make and model plus average price tag):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_3.jpg

Gate is 18 this time, a bit further away. When leaving the lounge I say “See you on Tuesday if you are on the morning shift!” to the guy on duty - he confirms that he’ll be here then as well.

At the gate the expected A320 is parked, today’s ride is the “Timejet” D-AIQA (In Finnish “aika” means “time” and K and Q are pronounced the same). This is an old friend of mine - flown with her two times previously, both between HEL and FRA.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_4.jpg

HEL - FRA
LH855
A320 D-AIQA “Mainz”
Seat 5A
6.33 - 8.07

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_5.jpg

A full ride this morning as usual, I don’t think there are any empty seats in economy. The three rows of business seem to be mostly full as well.

The captain announces we need to be deiced - my first time at HEL this year. Flight time to FRA this morning 2h15mins, with push back being pretty much on time.

On the way to the deicing place we taxi past an Air Berlin A321, never seen one of these babies at HEL before.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_6.jpg

Take that, you pesky ice:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_7.jpg

Take off is from 22R. As the temperature is below zero (hence the deicing) the skies are clear giving me a nice view of the Capital Region lit up:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Helsinki_Departure_9.jpg

The service is again a hot sandwich on Finnish potato bread - this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce (sorry, by this time I was getting ready for a brekkie so I couldn’t help but take a bite before the photo):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Frankfurt_1.jpg

Quite tasty actually, works fine for me.

I try to sleep for a while but it doesn’t really work out so I just admire the nice dawn out of the window (picked an A seat just for that purpose) and read the morning paper:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Frankfurt_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Frankfurt_3.jpg

Our captain keeps referring to our destination as “Frankfurt Rhein-Main airport” which sounds funny especially as his Rs are thicker than the Sea Captain’s from The Simpsons!

Once I see this plane doing a parallel approach:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_1.jpg

...I’m pretty sure we are landing on the new runway 25R again - a bugger as it means a rather long taxi time of course.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_3.jpg

Gliding past the terminal buildings on short finals:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_5.jpg

Total flight time was around 2h10mins.

There’s quite a large bunch of Polish men aboard, right after we turn off the runway half of them stand up and start reaching for the overheads - a few stern “ZIT DOWN!!” commands from the FAs who sound like they used to be DDR border guards are needed before they understand that yes, maybe they should sit down a few more minutes.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_6.jpg

In the case of 25R that is of course more like ten minutes than a few, but eventually we end up in an apron parking position next to a Condor 753:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_7.jpg

A new day dawning:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_8.jpg

Bye, Mainz:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_10.jpg

I’m not particularly happy about the packed bus ride - AFAIK all the bus arrivals at FRA T1 are always to the B concourse and my ride to MLA will almost definitely leave from A.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Approach_11.jpg

This if course happens, so eventually we get off the bus at “Schengen arrivals B Ost” (no, it’s not cheese!) and yes, the monitors display A36 as the next gate so I head for the lengthy walk there through the B → A tunnel.

Checking out the flight details - D-AISV is be a new plane for me and expected to depart on time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_1.jpg

A quick stop at the Senator lounge halfway down the A pier - the place is packed and I get the last free table. These smoothies are quite good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_2.jpg

Standing room only:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_3.jpg

The lounge warden compliments me on my hat - at least that’s what I assume she says as I only understand the hat part (and her smile and hand pointing at it).

New signage pointing to the Z gates which the “A Plus” pier ones have been designated as:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_4.jpg

The gate is almost empty already, most of the passengers are already onboard.

FRA - MLA
LH1276
A321 D-AISV “Bingen”
Seat 28A
9.19 - 11.39

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_5.jpg

Upon entering the plane I check the loadsheet on the wall - 123 passengers onboard this flight with 9 in Business clas. Should be plenty of room to spread out then!

During a temporal lapse in my lateral thinking process I picked up a seat at the rear exit row - well I should’ve remembered this seat has the best legroom out there but, shock horror - no window:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_6.jpg

Well, with that light load I’ll just move somewhere else. The friendly older steward with white hair positioned at that exit confirms that there should be some 60-70 empty seats up for grabs. After boarding is completed I notice the whole row 28 being empty, so I grab the A seat there - after take off some other people move to the DEF block but three for me is just fine.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_7.jpg

Flight time is announced as 2h5mins and push back is a couple of minutes late.

No doubt who’s the boss here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_9.jpg

FRA and reflections - like two peas in a pod:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_10.jpg

Jumbolino:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_11.jpg

Hey, I took this flight two weeks ago - luckily from a jetway back then:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_12.jpg

Taxi to runway 18 is nice - it takes us past pretty much every plane type in the extensive LH fleet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_14.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_15.jpg

Sorry for the blurry shot, but must have an A388 in a FRA report:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_17.jpg

This CRJ was following us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_18.jpg

Taking off:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_19.jpg

Skies north of the great divider also known as the Alps are overcast today:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Frankfurt_Departure_20.jpg

Again the new LH service concept manages to surprise me - although not in a positive way this time (yes, I’m invited):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_1.jpg

Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_2.jpg

I guess the reasoning is that this flight still falls into the breakfast category, even though the SDT is 9.15. Still some kind of a sandwich would’ve been more appropriate I think.

I’m on the wrong side for the Alps as these are the only views I get:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_4.jpg

According to the captain and from what I see from the windows over the other side the big Alpine peaks are there but I just can’t be bothered to go there to check out the view. The captain is very German in his attention to details, he mentions our take off weight (73 tons), V2 speed (300 km/h) and some other details, including the most important one: it is 17 degrees currently at Malta, yay!

Breakfast time or not it is never too early for a Warsteiner plus some quality reading material:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_5.jpg

Not sure who this was:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_6.jpg

This orange one is much easier to identify:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_7.jpg

Over the Tyrrhenian Sea the weather clears.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_8.jpg

Isola del Giglio:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_9.jpg

During a toilet/beer run I chat a bit with the crew who are enjoying their third or fourth serving of the yogurt breakfast in the back galley - apparently they don’t exactly like the NEK on the A321s as LH decided to get rid of the mid-plane toilets in favor of installing additional seats (in economy there are now only the two toilets on the back of the plane) so on longer flights the toilets see some heavy usage and queues. I guess a 4-hour flight like FRA-CAI or TLV on these would be pushing it a bit.

Cabin view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_11.jpg

Hello, Sicily:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_12.jpg

I kept hoping to catch a nice view of Etna but it never came - just some other mountains in the rugged interior of Sicily:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_13.jpg

Leaving Sicily - this is the city of Licata:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Malta_14.jpg

Right after this we commence our descent towards Malta.

First glimpse of the Maltese archipelago - this is the northeastern coast of Gozo:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_2.jpg

Gozo is a very small island so it is quickly overflown:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_3.jpg

Tiny island of Comino, lying between Gozo and Malta:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_4.jpg

And finally the main island, Malta:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_5.jpg

A resort - I think this is the Ramla Bay Resort:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_7.jpg

An oil rig under construction at St. Paul’s Bay:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_8.jpg

Bugibba:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_9.jpg

The views during our approach are amazing - so good to see these lush, green landscapes and sunshine, such a contrast to the dire Northern European weather.

Malta is really built up:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_12.jpg

That’s Sliema near St. Julian’s where I’m staying:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_14.jpg

Landing is on runway 13 after a bit more than two hours in the air.

The weather forecast had some rain showers - but the only rain is this small one over half the airport - apart from this it was T-shirt weather all through my two days in the Island:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_16.jpg

The terminal building:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_17.jpg

Unfortunately they only use the front stairs, so getting off takes a bit of a time. I chat about the weather with the white haired steward, he isn’t exactly very eager to get back to Frankfurt...

This is the Christmas decoration in business class - the previous flight had a similar one as well - most Finns hang these on their front doors during the Christmas period:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_18.jpg

Soon enough I step out of the plane and on the asphalt covered soil of the last EU country which I haven’t yet visited, Malta.

The tarmac is still wet from the shower, but the skies are clear:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_19.jpg

Malta International Airport to St. Julian’s

I just missed the bus from the airport to St. Julian’s where my hotel is, so I have an extra 20 minutes to wait. I decide to check out their arrivals lounge at the luggage hall. A very friendly (as all the Maltese I met during this trip were!) girl welcomes me in and we have a bit of a chit chat (turns out her neighbour is a Finn - I guess it is true that we really are everywhere like the Brits!) and I have my first contact with the symbolic Maltese softdrink, Kinnie:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_21.jpg

Can’t say I really like it, must be an acquired taste. It tastes like Jägermeister without the alcohol. The lounge:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_20.jpg

A quarter later I head to the arrivals, buy a day ticket (tremendous value - for 2.60 EUR one gets unlimited travel in buses all throughout the island for one day!) from a self service machine and head out in search of the bus stop. The buses are definitely running in island time as the one I was supposed to catch never shows up but eventually the next one comes.

Still, I don’t mind as the weather is excellent:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_22.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_23.jpg

And there’s a nice bus dispatcher who I chat some with - a very funny fellow.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Approach_24.jpg

Soon enough the X2 shows up and I hop in. The “X” in its route designator appears to signal that it is a some sort of an express bus, but my definition of express doesn’t really include the numerous stops it makes throughout the journey, including a detour via Mater Dei, the main hospital on the island.

Eventually we reach St. Julian’s and I set off to search for my hotel which is a bit hard but after asking a very nice (see, it definitely is a trend here!) older man for directions I eventually find it - the St. Julian’s Bay Hotel, apparently offering “4 for the price of 3”:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Hotel_1.jpg

Well, I wouldn’t call this four star, but just fine for me, I’m not planning doing more than sleeping here anyway:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Hotel_2.jpg

The price is good, 75 EUR through booking.com (more on this later) for two nights - although I saw at the desk that the rack rate during off season (i.e. now) for a single room like this is only 20 EUR, but I think they charge extra for these seaview rooms (with a balcony, yay!):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Hotel_3.jpg

The next 36 hours are spent exploring the lovely island of Malta - I really liked this place a lot, to such a degree that I’m planning another trip here next summer, of course with some interesting aviation-related twists!

Republic Street, the main street of the capital, Valletta:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_2.jpg

St John’s Co-cathedral - a weird name for an impressive church:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_3.jpg



Yes, it is a little Britain out there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_6.jpg

But the Malti language is not very Britishlike:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_7.jpg

Typical hilly street scene:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_8.jpg

Fort St. Elmo - I guess they hadn’t heard of “Tickle me Elmo” when they came up with that name:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_12.jpg

View across the Grand Harbor:

http://i895.pho</div>

			
									
									
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FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:22 pm

Two Maltese icons:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_14.jpg

The Valletta Waterfront is a new development of restaurants and bars at site of former port warehouses - the only problem is that it is not really that accessible from the city:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_17.jpg

Sadly the colorful classic Malta buses are now gone, replaced by modern buses operated by Arriva. They are cheap as chips and a very nice way of getting around the compact island, the only problem is that they are dog slow as there are lots of stops and the traffic can be very bad (Malta apparently has the most cars in the EU in cars per capita and it certainly feels like that!) on Sunday morning it took me a full hour to go to Valletta - five kilometers or so!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_18.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_34.jpg

For Hannah:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_32.jpg

Paceville in St. Julian’s - the party area:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_20.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_22.jpg

The traditional horse cabs:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_21.jpg

I had to try:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_23.jpg

Legroom is okay for one person, a bit tight if you have a mate opposite you:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_25.jpg

It’s a tight fit - luckily the horse kept its cool:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_26.jpg

I had planned to catch a flight with Malta Harbour Air with their floatplanes operating off the Grand Harbor, but unfortunately they failed to mention on their website that they do not operate any flights on Sunday afternoons, so this was the sight waiting for me at the passenger terminal around 14.00 on the Sunday:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_27.jpg

I was quite a bit annoyed at this as I was prepared to take the 10 minute flight to Gozo (a bargain at 44 EUR!) and then the ferry and bus back. I called them and the guy was genuinely sorry about it so that made me feel a bit better at least. Oh well, more reasons to come back to this amazing island!

Colorful traditional fishing boats at the fishing village of Marsaxlokk:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_28.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_29.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_30.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_31.jpg

View towards Valletta over the Marsamxett Harbor:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_33.jpg

Wouldn’t want to live there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_35.jpg

Monday 5.12.2011

Unfortunately my flight was already leaving at 6.10 on Monday morning so that called for a very early start and my mobile wakes me up just after after three (I’m turning into Markus I see). Shower, packing up and I head out around 3.30.

Interestingly I tried to pay for my room last night to speed up things this morning but the guy insisted that the room was prepaid and there was no need to pay for it. Well, who am I to argue with him (of course three days later back in Finland I got a call from a girl working at the hotel telling me that I need to pay for the hotel and could I please give them a credit card details as the one I provided for booking.com had expired in November... No free lunch this time.).

My research showed there to be a night bus from St. Julian’s to the airport leaving at 4 AM. So I get to the stop, chat bit with another friendly Maltese guy (who even offers me a bite off his pizza slice but nope, no food at this hour for me!) and wait. And wait. And wait.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_1.jpg

There’s no timetable for this bus posted there and the guy thinks that it might go at five instead of four - definitely island time here! Around quarter past four I decide I’ve waited long enough, walk to the corner of the street where I saw a bunch of taxis and apply Markus’ tactic of going with the older drivers which turns out to be a good choice. The guy is very friendly and nice - we chat about the life in Malta, Libya and stuff during the quick drive to the airport (in your face, X2!).

Sure, he turns off the meter and probably pockets all of the 20 EUR we agreed as the fare but who I’m to blame him - since our governments seem too keen to spend the tax revenues on all kinds of stupid endeavours I’m all for the working man to get a decent wage!

At the airport the guy shakes my hand (hmm, this is becoming a habit) and insists that I come back next summer (see, another reason...) and tells me that he’s going home to sleep now, fair enough.

The airport is terribly quiet before five on a Monday morning:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_2.jpg

There’s a Nativity scene even here - the Maltese are devoted Catholics (heck, divorce is actually illegal here - looks like I can visit all I want but definitely not *live* here...) so it’s not really a surprise:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_3.jpg

Check in is a fifteen second affair - after asking about the load the guy tells me that I have an empty seat next to me which is just what I wanted to hear. I’m quite surprised to get the boarding passes for the LH sectors as well (and with window seats on both of them, yay!). Not sure what they have against electronic devices in checked luggage though (see the last point):



I think these guys are not operating any flights soon:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_5.jpg

I head through a very smooth and easy security check and follow the escalators upstairs which reveals a nice overview of the check in hall:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_6.jpg

Oh yes, you access the gates through the duty free store, what else:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_7.jpg

Awfully clever, isn’t it:



Johannes’ favorite drink:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_18.jpg

I get some chocs and Maltese biscuits for the office - the cashier is another cordial person who beams with pride and thanks me after I tell her that the airport looks very nice with these Christmas decorations (did I mention that I really liked Malta and especially the Maltese):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_10.jpg

FIDS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_9.jpg

Oh yes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_11.jpg

I’m a bit confused as the lounge is nowhere to be seen. Finally I spot a sign pointing towards the duty free store - and indeed the lounge entrance is right in the middle of the duty free store:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_12.jpg

Now this is very peculiar, I’ve never seen a lounge at such a location before! But I guess the airport is like Malta itself - compact and packed so they just built things wherever they fit instead of doing it the slow way like in Finland where everything is so tightly controlled that zoning for a new shop to be built can take years....

Upon entering the “Valletta Club Lounge” I comment to the (again very nice) girl at the reception that this is the first lounge I’ve ever seen which is in the middle of the duty free store - she agrees with me and confirms that yes, they are actually open for 24 hours. My joke “Oh, I should’ve just saved the hotel rate for last night and came here in the evening!” is answered with “But we have a three hour time limit on visits!” - fair enough.

Quite a decent lounge this one:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_14.jpg

Aquarium:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_15.jpg

Smoker’s Box - the people around here appear to be quite the chimneys:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_16.jpg

Breakfast:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_17.jpg

Eventually the flight shows as boarding so I head through the duty free store to the gate where most of the pax have already boarded the bus (no jetways at this airport). Sign at the gate - gotta love this “less able to stand” terminology - so British:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_19.jpg

A short drive through the pre dawn darkness brings us to our plane this morning, the expected A320 9H-AEO, a bird that was delivered factory fresh to KM in May 2006, spent a short time with Libyan Arab Airlines but is now firmly back at Maltese hands. Oh and obviously a new entry for my log.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_20.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_21.jpg

I really like that Maltese Cross on the tail - very stylish:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_22.jpg

See anything there, mate:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_23.jpg

MLA - VIE
KM512
A320 9H-AEO
Seat 18A
6.15 - 8.15

Half of the cabin crew is quite senior, half youngish. Nice with welcoming smiles - nothing less expected from the Maltese!

I read somewhere that the legroom on KM is very bad but at least in this bird these thick, old fashioned leather seats have quite a normal legroom:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_24.jpg

Maybe the A319s have tighter seating.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_25.jpg

Ads on the headrest covers:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_26.jpg

In the end I get the whole block of three for myself, very nice. Load in economy is maybe 60%, two rows of business class have three or four passengers.

The red safety belts remind me of Air Berlin:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_27.jpg

All the announcements are played off a tape, in English, Malti and Deutsch. The captain’s welcome speech is nice and personalized as he names the entire crew members, explains our flight path as “A departure towards the south east (rwy 13 then!), a right turn, following the west coast of Malta to Gozo, then straight north to Sicily.” 2h10mins to go to VIE this morning.

Airshow, yay:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_28.jpg

The inflight mag is in a Christmasy mood:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_29.jpg

Safety demo is played off the overhead screens, very nice of them to use real actors instead of those silly cartoons everybody is doing nowadays:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_30.jpg

Departure is five minutes late, with take off indeed from 13:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_31.jpg

A new day dawning:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_32.jpg

This is the area around Marsaxlokk with the colorful boats:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_33.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_34.jpg

Nice views of the north of the island:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_35.jpg

And Gozo:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Malta_Departure_36.jpg

Hello, Sicily:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_2.jpg

I do a toilet run over Sicily and use the opportunity to check out the view on the other side, hoping to see Etna there. Well, no such luck, but I think this mound of clouds is actually Etna, at least the position seems to be okay as you can see the Strait of Messina behind:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_3.jpg

Cabin view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_5.jpg

KM seem to be a bit xenophobic when it comes to their toilets:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_6.jpg

By the time I get back to my seat the service cart is just reaching my row and I get handed this:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_7.jpg

There’s a quite decent cheese sandwich, a sinfully chocolatey muffin that almost melts if you give it a long hard look and a tub of water. Coffee (my choice, definitely), tea and soft drinks are offered later (I think they made an announcement that alcohol can be purchased):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_8.jpg

Not one, but a whopping TWO wetwipes, wow, they really are living it up aren’t they:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_9.jpg

From Sicily onwards the land is completely covered by clouds, so no views to be seen. Feeling very tired I nap on and off during the rest of the flight.

Reaching Croatia:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Enroute_to_Vienna_10.jpg

Not much happens during this flight, most of the pax are doing the same as me and trying to catch some shuteye. Descent starts just after passing Zagreb, the captain announces 25 minutes to landing and warns us of strong winds around Vienna which will cause some turbulence for us.

Hello, Austria:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_5.jpg

There indeed seems to be quite a lot of wind, the plane is bouncing around a lot and even touch down on runway 34 is very shaky and uneven but the pilots definitely earn they pay on this flight and get us down safe and sound.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_6.jpg

For some reason all the other landings seem to be on 29 (as are most of departures, causing a bit of a queue to build up), we are pretty much the only plane to land on 34. Might explain some of the weird and wobbly approach as the wind direction seems to be perpendicular to this runway’s alignment.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_7.jpg

I didn’t know AB (or LGW) used flew the Dash to VIE:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_8.jpg

A Niki duo:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_9.jpg

A slow taxi brings us to our parking position in front of the new pier (what the heck is happening with that project - it’s been like this for years and I don’t see anybody doing and work there either. Must be a political scam of some sorts!) next to PS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_10.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Approach_11.jpg

From the bus I see that on the other side of our plane the People’s Viennaline E170 is parked, good to see them still doing business (and hope Markus flies it soon!).

Vienna Airport

The Schengen bus arrivals are at the pits - or next to the entrance to the downstairs B bus gates area which is the dumpiest part of already a very dumpy airport. Luckily I get to walk the stairs up instead of passing through security to that horrible area.

Vienna is definitely a red airport - and let’s not even talk about the politics:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_1.jpg

Next stop is the OS Senator Lounge - I have almost five hours to kill here.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_2.jpg

Well, I have to say I’m quite disappointed - this broken shower sign pretty much summarizes up the whole lounge:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_11.jpg

This is Austrian’s flagship lounge at their home airport so I really expected that it would be at least on par to the new LH Senator lounges at FRA & MUC but no, no dice.

Well, at least these lounge chairs are rather comfortable (too bad the view is of some dire access road landside instead of the apron):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_9.jpg

The airport wifi seems to be overused as the signal is very bad and keeps breaking every now and them - why can’t the lounge have its own network?

Breakfast offerings, not really appetizing:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_4.jpg

Thirsty?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_6.jpg

Ginger Ale test © Planehunter (don’t worry, we have a bilateral agreement that he can use FFBOBBT(TM) any time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_10.jpg

At eleven they bring out the lunch spread and I’m ready to change my opinion a bit - the catering is apparently from DoCoMo and today the menu consists of a VERY nice chicken Ceasar salad and some weird Austrian fusion cooking: a strudel filled with minced meat! Sounds weird but is actually very tasty - I’m sure gabrielchew would enjoy this:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Airport_12.jpg

They also have some nice Austrian wines on offer, so I’m ready to say that this was an okay lounge, not bad but not that good either!

Anyway after a long time there I decide to head to the gate early to have time to pick up some nice Grüner Veltliner wine (my absolute favorite!) from the Travel Value. The gate is C42, opposite the lounge.

Love the consistent pink style of this chocolate shop:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_1.jpg

Again VIE shows what a crap airport it really is - security is at the gate here and there’s only one Xray machine working and it is very slow going. A large man with a Nigerian passport is on the queue after me, I compliment him on his VERY nice looking shoes, asking if they are made out of crocodile or snake skin (they sure look like!) but he thinks I’m joking and says “Hahaha, you are funny my friend!”. Well, the one time when I’m trying not to be funny this happens. Bugger.

Apron views from the holding pen are appalling:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_2.jpg

This sign claims the flight is boarding:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_3.jpg

But in reality the plane hasn’t even arrived yet. At least they are already anticipating a ten minute delay.

Finally the inbound arrives some fifteen minutes late, it is the expected A320 D-AIPC, my first flight with “Braunschweig” (or Brunswick for all your Canadians).

Boarding finally commences at the SDT.

VIE - MUC
LH2329
A320 D-AIPC “Braunschweig”
Seat 12F
12.56 - 14.00

In the front galley your sterotypical Bavarian male purser is greeting passengers. He definitely has enjoyed the good life a lot, judging from the size of his girth, but anyway he’s a very jolly guy with a big smile on his face. That’s the difference between the Catholics who know how to have a good time and enjoy life and us Protestants oh so keen on self-flagellation and modesty... Sorry, I’m drifting somewhere again.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_4.jpg

Eight rows of business class on this bird, around half full. Economy is fullish as well, including both seats next to me on the exit row.

Looks like in addition to NEK inside they could also do something outside the plane - this bird is over 22 years old:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_5.jpg

Once again I’m amazed how little attention people pay to the signs around them as all the other pax on the two exit rows apart from me and my seat mate (who looks like a very frequent biz traveller working on autopilot) try to put some hand bags or whatever on their feet despite the big stickers forbidding it. Well, this is a German airline so they are of course taken care of, in a friendly but stern way by one senior FA.

The captain apologizes for the delay, explaining it with “Gusty weather in both VIE and MUC”. 45 minutes to Munich.

Our pushback is only 16 minutes late, quite an efficient boarding procedure here.

These windows belong to two restaurants, airside (below) and landside (above) - they offer very nice apron views and are a good place to have a pint and watch planes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_6.jpg

Of course there’s a large queue to 29, there are six OS and one IB bird before us, plus at least four birds landing before it is our turn.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_9.jpg

Norwegian classic:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_10.jpg

Top
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:23 pm

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_11.jpg

What’s this - JFK?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_13.jpg

17 minutes after pushback we enter the active and take off.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_14.jpg

The giant oil refinery next to the airport and the Danube:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_15.jpg

Take off and the initial climb out is again quite uneven, you definitely feel the strong wind around.

Vienna:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Vienna_Departure_17.jpg

Service is the standard short flight service concept - first Toblerone bars are passed out (I opt out) and then a full drinks service is conducted. A glass of rather passable red wine is fine for a flight of this duration.

In no time at all we are again descending, landing on 26L after a flight time of 47 minutes:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Approach_1.jpg

Another Lufty taking off from 26R:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Approach_2.jpg

Egyptair 737 in *A colors:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Approach_3.jpg

We get a jetway gate somewhere around the middle of the terminal:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Approach_4.jpg

Our neighbour:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Approach_5.jpg

Munich Airport

I decide to head to the older Senator lounge as it is a bit closer and in the right direction as there’s not much time. Should’ve gone to the new one instead, this one is packed and a bit worn down:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_1.jpg

Nice gingerbread house, too bad it is not really meant to be consumed by guests:



I’m not really hungry at all but still have to try these meatballs:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_3.jpg

Something sweet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_4.jpg

Due to the winds many flights are posting small delays (nothing like gabrielchew’s experience the next day!) and I’m getting a bit antsy as my flight is not showing anything even ten minutes before the SDT. I go to the front desk to ask what’s going on - the guy there seems to be surprised that I’m still here and says “You must go to the gate now, it is a ten minute walk from here!”. Well, I say that I’m a fast walker but decide to mosey there anyway.

No, it didn’t take me ten minutes, less than five to reach gate G40 actually - a large number of people have already formed a quasi queue of sorts, but boarding has not commenced yet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_5.jpg

If you look closely, you see that the people are queuing for the counter, not the self boarding machine, though. So this means I can be bold and just make my way there once the boarding starts (which I do).

Let’s check out the ride:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_6.jpg

The expected A320 D-AIPX. This is actually my first flight with “Mannheim” but second flight with this particular A320 as I flew with her back in 2004 when she was operating for Germanwings!

Here’s a faux lounge for Jonas:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_7.jpg

While taking the plane shot I saw the cleaning crew leaving the plane which acts as a cue for me to edge myself closer to the boarding gates, and right after boarding is called and I manage to be among the first ones walking down the jetway... so easy when you know how to do it!

MUC - HEL
LH2464
A320 D-AIPX “Mannheim”
Seat 5A
15.10 - 18.26

Random fact about this flight: It is actually my 99th flight with the A320, making it the most common plane type in my log! Special celebration coming up when I reach the 100 milestone!

A tall big sister next to us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_8.jpg

They made the usual announcements about this flight being full and only once piece of hand luggage being allowed (for some reason I was let onboard with my back bag and a duty free bag...) - looks like somebody indeed had to gate check their bags:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_9.jpg

There are three rows of business class with four or five passengers. Economy is over 90% full, but somehow I end up with an empty middle seat next to me, one of the few I see. Very nice.

The captain explains the delay by the inbound plane arriving late but they’ll try to make up the delay during this 2h5min flight up to Helsinki.

Pushback is 25 minutes late.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_11.jpg

We follow this Emirates A380 to 26L, I didn’t know they flew the whalejet here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_12.jpg

The regional apron, a good variety of types like always:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_14.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_15.jpg

No deicing needed:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_16.jpg

Take off is ten minutes after leaving the gate - some nice views:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_17.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_18.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_20.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_21.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_22.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Munich_Departure_23.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_2.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_3.jpg

LH never fails to deliver a surprise with the inflight service - this time a negative one:
Yes, it’s a sandwich made with full corn bread and some very thick slices of cheese. A bit of a disappointment really, I’m glad I had those meatballs in the lounge! Some Warsteiners help to wash it down.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_4.jpg

While announcing our descent towards HEL the captain drops the bomb - apparently there is snow on the ground! Well, how’s that - the first snow came when I was enjoying the nice 20 degree weather and sunshine in Malta!

Daylight fading fast:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_6.jpg

The clouds are hanging really low, but during our short finals on 22L I indeed spot the white stuff on the ground, whee.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_10.jpg

Total flight time was 2h6mins.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/Malta_12_2011/Final_11.jpg

A couple of minutes later we dock to a jetway at T1 and I manage to catch the next bus home so no extensive waiting in the cold outside (wearing a T shirt with my summer jacket - not really appropriate for this weather here!) and for once arrive home at a reasonable time instead of the usual wee hours of the morning!

Conclusions

I think I made it already quite clear that I liked Malta a lot. That tiny island has so much going for it - great climate, despite the small size there are tons and tons of things to see, very interesting history and historical sites and beautiful views. Very friendly and nice people, you get by with English everywhere and life is rather cheap there as well, so yes, I’m already planning to go back soon! I think things might be a bit different during the high season with more tourists around, but still I think I would enjoy it.

Lufthansa provided a number of solid flights in their usual high standards, plus managed to surprise me with their catering on all the longer flights. They are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you are about to be served  .

Air Malta was a far better experience than I anticipated - reminded me of TAP actually in many aspects. Would have no problems flying with them again!


As I mentioned the next day brings a birthday for my country and more travel for me - two new airports in Sweden and two joint a.net flights as well on a Saab 340. The route is HEL-CPH-LPI-ORB/ARN-HEL. Happy contrails!
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 21321
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:58 pm

Great report P .  

Lovely read and photos.

I love Malta have good friends there and always enjoyed my time there. Kinnie is lovely and Pastizzi also . Ricotta cheese pies .  

KM are a great little airline and its nice to see a report on them.

Regards

Philip  
 
FLIEGER67
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:00 pm

Hi, P.,

what a nice Sunday evening read. Well done with such an amount of nice pictures from Malta.
Been there a couple of years ago and I like it also.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

Unfortunately my flight was already leaving at 6.10 on Monday morning so that called for a very early start and my mobile wakes me up just after after three (I’m turning into Markus I see). Shower, packing up and I head out around 3.30.

That´s it, definitely.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Around quarter past four I decide I’ve waited long enough, walk to the corner of the street where I saw a bunch of taxis and apply Markus’ tactic of going with the older drivers which turns out to be a good choice.

Good choice, for sure.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

From the bus I see that on the other side of our plane the People’s Viennaline E170 is parked, good to see them still doing business (and hope Markus flies it soon!).

With a new deearture airport, why not?.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
rather cheap there as well, so yes, I’m already planning to go back soon! I think things might be a bit different during the high season with more tourists around, but still I think I would enjoy it.

What about to spend a birthday party next November there?.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
brings a birthday for my country and more travel for me - two new airports in Sweden and two joint a.net flights as well on a Saab 340. The route is HEL-CPH-LPI-ORB/ARN-HEL.

Looking forward to this one, you know.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6522
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:06 pm

Hi P.,

great report with many nice pictures! Very enjoyable stuff! Malta looks lovely, I should go there one day. And I may try KM, the product looks quite decent.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A320 D-AIQA “Mainz”

D-AIQA has been nameless for a while, its much bigger brother D-AIHK is the new "Mainz". Interestingly, even the "Airbus A320-200" lettering has disappeared from D-AIQA. That didn't happen when D-AIPU and some 737s lost their names.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Taxi to runway 18 is nice - it takes us past pretty much every plane type in the extensive LH fleet:

Nice to see D-AIHA again - it was MUC-based when I flew SFO-MUC in late 2010.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

Not bad at all!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Breakfast time or not it is never too early for a Warsteiner

There's never a good time for a Warsteiner!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I think these guys are not operating any flights soon:

Oh yes, they do. Some planes are active again. Afriqiyah and Buraq Air restarted operations, too.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ginger Ale test © Planehunter (don’t worry, we have a bilateral agreement that he can use FFBOBBT(TM) any time:

Sure we do!  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
In the front galley your sterotypical Bavarian male purser is greeting passengers. He definitely has enjoyed the good life a lot, judging from the size of his girth, but anyway he’s a very jolly guy with a big smile on his face. That’s the difference between the Catholics who know how to have a good time and enjoy life and us Protestants oh so keen on self-flagellation and modesty... Sorry, I’m drifting somewhere again.

Very good to see you stopped writing more about that! We Bavarians are as diverse as we can be.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
We follow this Emirates A380 to 26L, I didn’t know they flew the whalejet here:

There's a funny story to tell. EK originally planned to start A380s operations by January 2012. However, LH wanted to be the first carrier to offer "scheduled" A380 services from MUC, so it announced MUC-JFK-MUC A380s flights between 6th and 12th December. Shortly afterwards, EK hit back: It postponed its A380 services to KUL and instead announced that A380 flights to MUC would start in late November. And what's the lesson to be learnt from that? Never mess with Emirates!  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, it’s a sandwich made with full corn bread and some very thick slices of cheese.

That looks very dry!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
volvair
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:29 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:22 pm

Hi FF,

great report with nice pictures.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The Finnish independence day is celebrated on the 6th of December and it is naturally a national holiday.

I "celebrated" Finnish independence day last year in Helsinki and Tampere, eating reindeer soup and playing laser tag!  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, I wouldn%u2019t call this four star, but just fine for me, I%u2019m not planning doing more than sleeping here anyway:

Those tiled floors don't really make this look like a cosy room.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I had planned to catch a flight with Malta Harbour Air with their floatplanes operating off the Grand Harbor, but unfortunately they failed to mention on their website that they do not operate any flights on Sunday afternoons, so this was the sight waiting for me at the passenger terminal around 14.00 on the Sunday:

Sorry to hear it did not work out.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
first Toblerone bars are passed out (I opt out) and then a full drinks service is conducted. A glass of rather passable red wine is fine for a flight of this duration.

I did VIE-MUC in Dec 2010 on OS and they seem to have the upper hand service-wise. Got served 2 pieces of delicious Do&Co cake.
 
deltamartin
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:48 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:27 pm

Hi FF!

As usual a great tripreport!
Malta looks like a beautiful island. Definitely a place to visit some day.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Hey, a new coffee machine here:

Looks fancy.  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The service is again a hot sandwich on Finnish potato bread - this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce (sorry, by this time I was getting ready for a brekkie so I couldn’t help but take a bite before the photo):

I can say that I'd probably love that sandwich.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

Not sure who this was:

Looks similar to the KF livery on a 757 or something!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This is the Christmas decoration in business class - the previous flight had a similar one as well - most Finns hang these on their front doors during the Christmas period:

Like the Swedes then.  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

I had planned to catch a flight with Malta Harbour Air with their floatplanes operating off the Grand Harbor, but unfortunately they failed to mention on their website that they do not operate any flights on Sunday afternoons, so this was the sight waiting for me at the passenger terminal around 14.00 on the Sunday:

Ahh, what a bummer. But as you said; a reason to come back!

Looking forward to read about your Swedish adventure!

Martin
 
Luxair747SP
Posts: 564
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 2:24 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:48 pm

Hi P.

What a nice read for a sunday night!
The service on LH looked fine on the morning flight, but they could definitely improve it on some sectors.
KM also looked fine and very similar to my experience some years ago.
The A319 offers about the same legroom I think.
I would not mind drinking all the Kinnie in the Duty free store  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
There's never a good time for a Warsteiner!

PH, you are so right about! Nothing can beat our local brew  

Thanks a lot for sharing
Cheers
Johannes
My blog about travelling in Moscow & Russia:
https://russiainanutshell.wordpress.com
 
gabrielchew
Posts: 3750
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:30 pm

That report brought back nice memories of Malta, thanks!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, with that light load I’ll just move somewhere else. The friendly older steward with white hair positioned at that exit confirms that there should be some 60-70 empty seats up for grabs. After boarding is completed I notice the whole row 28 being empty, so I grab the A seat there - after take off some other people move to the DEF block but three for me is just fine.

Lucky there was lots of space

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Again the new LH service concept manages to surprise me - although not in a positive way this time (yes, I’m invited):

It seems every flight on every route pretty much has it's own snack style. I wonder how many different choice the LH chefs have come up with.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Soon enough I step out of the plane and on the asphalt covered soil of the last EU country which I haven’t yet visited, Malta.

Congrats on ticking them all off!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Sadly the colorful classic Malta buses are now gone, replaced by modern buses operated by Arriva. They are cheap as chips and a very nice way of getting around the compact island, the only problem is that they are dog slow as there are lots of stops and the traffic can be very bad (Malta apparently has the most cars in the EU in cars per capita and it certainly feels like that!) on Sunday morning it took me a full hour to go to Valletta - five kilometers or so!

I'm so glad I made it to Malta before those boring new buses arrived. Did you see any of the old style ones?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Interestingly I tried to pay for my room last night to speed up things this morning but the guy insisted that the room was prepaid and there was no need to pay for it. Well, who am I to argue with him (of course three days later back in Finland I got a call from a girl working at the hotel telling me that I need to pay for the hotel and could I please give them a credit card details as the one I provided for booking.com had expired in November... No free lunch this time.).

Very sloppy

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
KM seem to be a bit xenophobic when it comes to their toilets:

Haha

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Breakfast offerings, not really appetizing:

Was that the only choice, egg and tomato?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
At eleven they bring out the lunch spread and I’m ready to change my opinion a bit - the catering is apparently from DoCoMo and today the menu consists of a VERY nice chicken Ceasar salad and some weird Austrian fusion cooking: a strudel filled with minced meat! Sounds weird but is actually very tasty - I’m sure gabrielchew would enjoy this:

Yes, it does look tasty

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, it’s a sandwich made with full corn bread and some very thick slices of cheese. A bit of a disappointment really, I’m glad I had those meatballs in the lounge! Some Warsteiners help to wash it down.

Mmm, it wasn't a good sandwich
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
AlwaysOnAPlane
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:55 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:45 pm

Howdy Mr P.

Something about this report puts it in amongst the best I have read from you. Not fully sure why? I just enjoyed the style and the pictures so much. Great stuff mate.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Here’s the new route, that pattern looks like a lightning bolt to me:

Nice little kink thrown in there.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The service is again a hot sandwich on Finnish potato bread - this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce

Looks good. A warm snack always sits better with me.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
First glimpse of the Maltese archipelago - this is the northeastern coast of Gozo:

Really good pictures here man. Kinda looks like a model village. I think it's the heat shimmer from the exhaust giving a kind of tilt-shift effect?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There’s a quite decent cheese sandwich, a sinfully chocolatey muffin that almost melts if you give it a long hard look and a tub of water. Coffee (my choice, definitely), tea and soft drinks are offered later

That looks like a really good food service. Nice to see.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, I have to say I’m quite disappointed - this broken shower sign pretty much summarizes up the whole lounge:

Looks a bit cramped to me. As you say, not a reflection of what one would consider a flagship lounge. At least the food pulled it round some.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Nice gingerbread house, too bad it is not really meant to be consumed by guests:

A shame indeed. I could see if few of these getting demolished if it were the case.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I indeed spot the white stuff on the ground, whee.

Well, you went long enough without it this year.


Again, really enjoyed this report mate. Nice way to finish off a weekend.
Cheers, Lee.
 
LondonCity
Posts: 1008
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:57 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:20 pm

Hi FF, thanks for a detailed and interesting report. The "modern" Arriva buses you refer to are, I believe, the unpopular London Bendy Bus of which a number were recently sold to Malta. But, according to this video report, the Bendy Buses are proving too cumbersome for Malta's narrow streets and tight junctions.

http://www.lbc.co.uk/londons-bendy-buses-to-be-sent-to-malta-48368
 
reifel
Posts: 1538
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:53 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:36 pm

Thanks for the nice report, what a trek  
I agree on VIE, strange airport, quite old, dark, badly organized... Don't really like it.
Malta didn't impressed me. Some beautiful sights, sure, but a lot of garbage everywhere, very built up with usually not very nice buildings, atrocious road conditions... and almost no beaches   But indeed a nice lounge. During daytime they serve maltese food, very cool... The pizza by the way looks great!
 
EL-AL
Posts: 1417
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 8:29 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:49 am

Hey FF,

Very interesting well written report (as always), thank you for shearing!

Many of your malta insights reminded me of my Malta trip (also on the AEO): Nightmares And Thefts: Air Malta TLV-MLA-TLV (by EL-AL Oct 22 2010 in Trip Reports)

With sunny +21C tomorrow in Tel Aviv, next time you look for escape from winter take Israel into consideration.

Jonathan
every day is a good day to fly
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8159
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:23 am

Great read P!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“But you will spend your whole day at airports and planes!” - well, obviously she didn’t know me and my habits... I just said that it won’t be a problem, after all I’ve got lounge access and stuff to ease the “pain”.

-Lounge access, wifi and a visable ramp/runway is all I ask for  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
so the woman instructed me to call the Austrian call centre to have them do it and gave me the number. I asked that shouldn’t it be Lufthansa instead as the fare was published and the ticket issued by LH, but she insisted it should be OS as they are the ones who canceled the flight. So I call, and as I expected they tell me that they won’t have anything to do with this matter as it is a LH ticket and I should call them. So I do,

- See, nothing is a seamless as the alliances claim.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The service is again a hot sandwich on Finnish potato bread - this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce

- Not sure I like the idea of BBQ sauce at this time of day.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Again the new LH service concept manages to surprise me - although not in a positive way this time

- At least it's a surprise  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

- Looks ok though yoghurt needs a spoon, not a fork like device you seem to have.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
guess the reasoning is that this flight still falls into the breakfast category, even though the SDT is 9.15. Still some kind of a sandwich would’ve been more appropriate I think.

- I would agree plus it will be more filling.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This is the Christmas decoration in business class - the previous flight had a similar one as well - most Finns hang these on their front doors during the Christmas period:

- Quite popular here too  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a day ticket (tremendous value - for 2.60 EUR one gets unlimited travel in buses all throughout the island for one day!)

- That's a steal!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
, I wouldn’t call this four star, but just fine for me, I’m not planning doing more than sleeping here anyway

- Agreed, not the usual style for a 4 star...........

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Not sure what they have against electronic devices in checked luggage though (see the last point):

- Odd, I always pack my electric shaver in checked luggage, if I need to check a bag.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the lounge entrance is right in the middle of the duty free store

- That's a first for me too!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
LH never fails to deliver a surprise with the inflight service - this time a negative one:
Yes, it’s a sandwich made with full corn bread and some very thick slices of cheese. A bit of a disappointment really

- Looks a tad dry, LH gave me something almost identical last december.

Air Malta looked better than I seem to recall them being on the last reports I read here.

Malta looks nice, always wanted to go there, thanks for the images.

Cheers

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
Knightsofmalta
Posts: 1689
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:29 am

Hi FF

Thanks for the interesting report. Those pictures you took are lovely and really show the island from its best side. I have a question about the Air Malta lounge in Malta: normally access is by invitation only. Were you given an invitation or was it enough for you to show your *A card?

Cheers,
William
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:34 pm

Hi all,

Good to see so many comments, thank you!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Kinnie is lovely and Pastizzi also . Ricotta cheese pies .

Yes, I know and had a few! Very tasty and dirty cheap from the hole-in-the-wall places!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
What about to spend a birthday party next November there?.

Let's see, although I was thinking doing if earlier...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
Malta looks lovely, I should go there one day. And I may try KM, the product looks quite decent.

Yes, it is a very nice place and definitely recommendable! Air Malta wasn't bad either, they actually managed to exceed my (quite low) expectations. I've seen some really cheap fares with them and LH so maybe you could book yourself a little winter break there.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
D-AIQA has been nameless for a while, its much bigger brother D-AIHK is the new "Mainz".

Ok, good to know, thanks. I guess it might be leaving the fleet soon...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
There's never a good time for a Warsteiner!

Well, beggars can't be choosers, can we?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
Oh yes, they do. Some planes are active again. Afriqiyah and Buraq Air restarted operations, too.

Good to know this as well, I knew one can always rely on your vast knowledge on these subjects  .

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
Very good to see you stopped writing more about that! We Bavarians are as diverse as we can be.

Yeah, that's just my style you know. No offence meant.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
And what's the lesson to be learnt from that? Never mess with Emirates!

Heh, a funny story. The seem to be really proud about their A380s!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 5):
That looks very dry!

Oh, it was!

Quoting volvair (Reply 6):
I "celebrated" Finnish independence day last year in Helsinki and Tampere, eating reindeer soup and playing laser tag!  

Hey, that's nice. Not sure about the laser tag, though - not terribly Finnish that. But yeah, there was a LOT of snow back then (and coincidentally I was doing joint a.net flights in Sweden on that day as well...  ).

Quoting Luxair747SP (Reply 8):
I would not mind drinking all the Kinnie in the Duty free store  

I know, I know!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
It seems every flight on every route pretty much has it's own snack style. I wonder how many different choice the LH chefs have come up with.

There must be quite a few permutations there. A nightmare to manage, but good for the passengers.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
I'm so glad I made it to Malta before those boring new buses arrived. Did you see any of the old style ones?

No, all were Arriva vehicles.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
Breakfast offerings, not really appetizing:
Was that the only choice, egg and tomato?

The hot choices yes, in addition there were cold cuts and lots of different breads. Hmm I think yogurt and müsli was available as well.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 10):
Something about this report puts it in amongst the best I have read from you. Not fully sure why? I just enjoyed the style and the pictures so much. Great stuff mate.

Thanks Lee. Can't really put my finger on it but this one was a really piece of work to finish, took me far longer than usually.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 10):
Really good pictures here man. Kinda looks like a model village. I think it's the heat shimmer from the exhaust giving a kind of tilt-shift effect?

Yes, that's it. Thanks for putting it to words, couldn't really do it myself.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 10):
Well, you went long enough without it this year.

...and now it is basically gone again, thanks to a couple of days of nonstop rain.

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 11):
But, according to this video report, the Bendy Buses are proving too cumbersome for Malta's narrow streets and tight junctions.

Oh, interesting to know. Yes, the streets aren't very spacious there.

Quoting reifel (Reply 12):
very built up with usually not very nice buildings, atrocious road conditions... and almost no beaches

Built up it sure is and the traffic is just horrendous, but I don't really care for beaches anyway - just give me sunshine, warmth and the occasional beer and I'm fine.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 13):
Many of your malta insights reminded me of my Malta trip (also on the AEO): Nightmares And Thefts: Air Malta TLV-MLA-TLV (by EL-AL Oct 22 2010 in Trip Reports)

Oh yes, now that you reminded me I do remember this report. Your experience apparently wasn't as good as mine!

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 13):
With sunny +21C tomorrow in Tel Aviv, next time you look for escape from winter take Israel into consideration.

Nothing like that here in the North. This morning it was minus three, now it is over zero and helluva wet everywhere.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 14):
- Looks ok though yoghurt needs a spoon, not a fork like device you seem to have.

Well that was more of a spork, quite okay for eating the stuff.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 15):
I have a question about the Air Malta lounge in Malta: normally access is by invitation only. Were you given an invitation or was it enough for you to show your *A card?

Neither - I accessed it using my Diners Club card, it was enough to have the girl at the reception to scan it.
 
User avatar
sultanils
Posts: 1931
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RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:38 pm

Hello Petteri,

It’s nice to see another summerlike report popping up, what a contrast with snowy Helsinki. I’d say ‘get used to it’, but as a true Finn you most definetely are   Malta is indeed a lovely island, I haven’t been there but my parents have – not that it’s a reference then. I did not realize it was so tiny until I saw your pic of the inflight map in comparison to Sicily. Next time you go there you can maybe do a sidejump to Cyprus (quite a large one  ) on Emirates?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The beautiful part was the fact that I still had the Independence free for another trip!

That’s totally you but I guess: shouldn’t you be at home, in front of the flag singing your national hymn?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Swiss quality (I’m sure Jonas will be able to tell me the exact make and model plus average price tag):

It’s shiny so it must be new & expensive.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
but eventually we end up in an apron parking position next to a Condor 753:

That one would probably already be back from some Mediterranean destination. Just like you PMI flight lately which was back at FRA at around 10 and a bit.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
AFAIK all the bus arrivals at FRA T1 are always to the B concourse

You know, that was my luck last time connecting to my KU flight at the B’s.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
this seat has the best legroom out there but, shock horror - no window:

What on earth was on your mind when selecting seats for this flight. Lucky for you the problem was quickly solved.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
This CRJ was following us:

Like flies to some…

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

Actually I think this a very good, it was only like 10 in the morning or so and weekend: people sleeping longer having the breakfast later and so.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A resort - I think this is the Ramla Bay Resort:

I have no clue what people see in these kind of holidays: sitting by a pool all day and sleeping in a giant brick bunker. But that’s a personal choice of course…

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
most Finns hang these on their front doors during the Christmas period:

And do you have one?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I%u2019m turning into Markus I see

While Markus is coming back from these early departures a bit, you are more and more atracted to them it seems.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
did I mention that I really liked Malta and especially the Maltese

Yep and now you mention: clearly Maltesers as well.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Ginger Ale test

And this is the real one from Schweppes!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Here’s a faux lounge for Jonas:

A more suitable name would be ‘Würstenlounge’  

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I manage to be among the first ones walking down the jetway... so easy when you know how to do it!

 

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
signol
Posts: 2652
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:18 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:16 pm

Hi FF,

looks like you had some good solid flights there, Shame about the rebooking but at least it would have counted as an extra sector on the M&M account?

Malta was lovely, I agree, we went for a few days a few years ago:
Air Malta LGW-MLA-LHR (by Signol May 15 2008 in Trip Reports) (no photos but I put a link to my Facebook photo album)
A shame about the seaplane, but like you said, yet another excuse to return!

And Air Malta again performed admirably. Their magazine said that they serve a hot meal over 3h of flight time, which includes London. However your sandwiches looked good anyway.

Thanks again for the great report!

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
Widebodyroga
Posts: 609
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:35 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:39 pm

Just like Gab's Moldova TR, this is one I was looking forward reading since you announced your arrival in Malta. Malta has been in my radar for many years. I regret not visiting the island when I used to live in Europe (Scotland). Nowadays there are flights even from EDI and PIK to Luqa. Why were those routes not available when I used to live there? Argh!

Loved the TR. For a moment I felt like I was there. Malta does not look like the prettiest place in the world, but it sure looks like it has tons of character (and friendly people I'm pleased to hear!).

Too bad about the seaplane to Gozo but no biggie since you will be returning there sometime soon. Didn't know about the old buses being retired. That's a bit of a shame, but I bet the locals are thankful for that.

Thanks for putting this together.

Cheers

WideBodyroga

[Edited 2011-12-12 10:41:15]
Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
 
LXM83
Posts: 573
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 12:48 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:23 pm

Hello FlyingFinn76

Thanks for yet another entertaining and interesting report. I liked your pictures from MLA. Congrats on scoring a new airline, airport and country!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The Finnish independence day is celebrated on the 6th of December and it is naturally a national holiday.

An opportunity not to be missed for flying away!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The beautiful part was the fact that I still had the Independence free for another trip!

Beautiful, indeed! And more reading stuff to come up for us readers.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The rebooking went fine

You seem to be on a roll here.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce

Hm, I'd love it without that sauce.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
There’s quite a large bunch of Polish men aboard, right after we turn off the runway half of them stand up and start reaching for the overheads

Not as bad as when landing in PEK on HU - as soon as the thrust reverse subsided - we were still on the runway - half the 767 was standing up! No chance for the FAs to bring the situation under control. It seems your German crew was more efficient in this case.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the Z gates

Now who came up with that letter? I bet there will be lots of confusion between Z and C. My bet is it will not last a year before they change it.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
But the Malti language is not very Britishlike

Indeed seemingly a very complicated language.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the new pier (what the heck is happening with that project - it’s been like this for years and I don’t see anybody doing and work there either. Must be a political scam of some sorts!)

I wondered about that many times. Seems unreasonable to build it but not using it for years...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
LH never fails to deliver a surprise with the inflight service - this time a negative one

Their concept is really surprising.... it will only work if the majority of offers will appeal to the passengers.

Thanks and best regards,
LXM83
 
MSS658
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:05 pm

Hi P.

Nice trip report, thanks for sharing this with us! Nice to see KM in your log as well! Seems like they have a pretty decent product! VIE airport looks very poor, would prefer being in FRA, ZRH or MUC instead!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Sorry for the blurry shot, but must have an A388 in a FRA report:

I'm relieved I made a run last August in the A-concourse to capture it !


GReetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
LH4116
Posts: 1183
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:39 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:24 pm

Hello Petteri P, great report as always!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Of course me being the flying kind of Finn it also had to provide some interesting things aviationwise.

I've sort of gotten the impression of there only being two kinds of finns, the drinking kind and the flying kind (Is there a Dudeson kins as well?  )

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
(that’s German efficiency for you!), so I’m good to go!

Seems like you were quite lucky this time. There's a backside of that coin, and it's called bureaucracy! A true, proper german will never ever in the history of jaja, you know the rest... break the rules, no matter how unreasonable those rules may be!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Swiss quality (I’m sure Jonas will be able to tell me the exact make and model plus average price tag):

Looks like a nice change from the usual WMF machines. In fact they have an identical one at the Jernhusen Lounge in Gothenburg, which I had the privilege to try out a few weeks ago. Coffee taste really good from those machines.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Take that, you pesky ice:

If you only knew what that ice does to the airfoil of the wing!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
a bugger

Ah, there it is! The good'ole catchphrase 
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
after take off some other people move to the DEF block but three for me is just fine.

Interesting, why is this man staring at you? Giving you that face. Is it the hat perhaps, or did it go in the bin already?  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

I suppose the changing food offerings is the only inconsistent thing about Lufthansa. And yes, they should change the name to "Be Surprised" instead  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Cabin view:

And why is this man too staring at you? Does this happen on all flights?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I decide to check out their arrivals lounge at the luggage hall

Was this a DIners Lounge, or did you access it with EBG/*G?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
of course with some interesting aviation-related twists!

Well, I'm sorry to say this but I'll beat you on logging that Twin Otter! 
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
I had to try:

Was this included in that €2,60 bus ticket?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
so this was the sight waiting for me at the passenger terminal around 14.00 on the Sunday:

Now this calls for a Bugger! – You came to Malta for nothing!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“But we have a three hour time limit on visits!” - fair enough.

Now this calls for a Bugger! – Too bad, otherwise it would've been a good reason for me to visit the island  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
two rows of business class have three or four passengers.

How come you didn't buy one of those €50 Business Upgrades on Air Malta?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Not one, but a whopping TWO wetwipes, wow, they really are living it up aren’t they:

Now this calls for a Bugger! – There are actually THREE wetwipes  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
the catering is apparently from DoCoMo

Now this calls for a Bugger! – They're actually called Do&Co, not DoCoMo (which I believe is a Japanese cellphone carrier)

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The clouds are hanging really low, but during our short finals on 22L I indeed spot the white stuff on the ground, whee.

Now this calls for a Bugger! – Too bad it was snowing in Sweden as well.

Thanks for sharing!
//Jonas
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
infodesk
Posts: 1462
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 11:06 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:41 am

Hi P,

Like Lee, this one ranks as one my favourite reports. It brings back many happy memories of our trip to Malta in 2006, we also stayed in St. Julians (very nice boutique place called the Juliani) and I hope to go back one day.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Here’s the new route, that pattern looks like a lightning bolt to me:

It does too!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
head right into the lounge for a coffee - there’s some breakfast out but I am not really up to it yet:

No food, were you feeling ok?  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The service is again a hot sandwich on Finnish potato bread - this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce (sorry, by this time I was getting ready for a brekkie so I couldn’t help but take a bite before the photo):

Considering the early hour of the flight, that sandwich looks quite unappetising.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

Poor offering by LH.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A resort - I think this is the Ramla Bay Resort:

The travel agent tried to send us there, thanks goodness for trip advisor - I soon realised it was in the middle of nowhere.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I have my first contact with the symbolic Maltese softdrink, Kinnie:

Ooh, I love that drink!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The buses are definitely running in island time as the one I was supposed to catch never shows up but eventually the next one comes.

I don't remember there even being any timetables, we were just told to wait until the next one turned up!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Sadly the colorful classic Malta buses are now gone, replaced by modern buses operated by Arriva.

Those old buses were the best. Seeing the Arriva logo on a modern one just doesn't have the same charm.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
For Hannah:

Thanks, I knew you wouldn't let me down. That branch even had a bargain basement!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I was quite a bit annoyed at this as I was prepared to take the 10 minute flight to Gozo (a bargain at 44 EUR!) and then the ferry and bus back

That's a shame. Still here's a tip: we did a jeep safari on Gozo. The guide told us that as 99.9% of visitors arrive by ferry from Malta, there are no ticket checks when sailing back from Gozo. Don't know if that still applies.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Sign at the gate - gotta love this “less able to stand” terminology - so British:

Quite pc.....

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
By the time I get back to my seat the service cart is just reaching my row and I get handed this:

LH take note, that is a nice snack box for a 2hr flight. When I used KM you still got "proper" warm meals, but that offering is also more than adequate.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A large man with a Nigerian passport is on the queue after me, I compliment him on his VERY nice looking shoes, asking if they are made out of crocodile or snake skin (they sure look like!) but he thinks I’m joking and says “Hahaha, you are funny my friend!”. Well, the one time when I’m trying not to be funny this happens. Bugger.

Perhaps if he'd owned up to it they would have got confiscated?! I'm sure you wouldn't get past customs here with crocdile skin.

Thanks again, really enjoyed it!

Happy flying
Infodesk   
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:35 pm

Hi all, good to see more comments, thank you!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 17):
I’d say ‘get used to it’, but as a true Finn you most definetely are

Well, it's long gone now...

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 17):
I did not realize it was so tiny until I saw your pic of the inflight map in comparison to Sicily.

Yes, the main island is much smaller than the city of Helsinki for example, while having two thirds of the population of it, kinda puts things in perspective.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 17):
Next time you go there you can maybe do a sidejump to Cyprus (quite a large one ) on Emirates?

Well guess what I am planning?  
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 17):
That’s totally you but I guess: shouldn’t you be at home, in front of the flag singing your national hymn?

Nope, not really. Unless I'm invited to the traditional president's reception I don't really have any burning reason to be here. And even if that happens only because I want to taste their famous punch!  
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 17):
What on earth was on your mind when selecting seats for this flight. Lucky for you the problem was quickly solved.

I think it was a vague recollection of a rather nice ride I had on the front exit seat on a LH A321 when coming back from Bogota and then just somehow ending up selecting the back one.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 17):
most Finns hang these on their front doors during the Christmas period:
And do you have one?

I do, it's somewhere buried in my other trash. No, didn't bother searching for it and putting it up.

Quoting signol (Reply 18):
Shame about the rebooking but at least it would have counted as an extra sector on the M&M account?

Nope, not really as I credit these flights to Eurobonus where only SAS group flights count as qualifying ones. Besides I've already booked all the qualifying ones I need to retain gold until September 2013  . They did rebook me into a 100% point earning fare class though, so that was nice.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 19):
Just like Gab's Moldova TR, this is one I was looking forward reading since you announced your arrival in Malta. Malta has been in my radar for many years. I regret not visiting the island when I used to live in Europe (Scotland). Nowadays there are flights even from EDI and PIK to Luqa. Why were those routes not available when I used to live there? Argh!

That's the Ryanair effect! But now you have a good excuse to get back to 'ole Europe. And besides weren't you on the prowl for a holiday destination?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 19):
Malta does not look like the prettiest place in the world, but it sure looks like it has tons of character (and friendly people I'm pleased to hear!).

Well, I think it was really pretty. Of course my definition of pretty might be quite different to some people's but that's their problem, not mine!

Quoting LXM83 (Reply 20):
Congrats on scoring a new airline, airport and country!

Thanks, indeed a nice triple whammy! Plus I got the full Eurocoin set!

Quoting LXM83 (Reply 20):
It seems your German crew was more efficient in this case.

German efficiency, you know. Wel, you're Swiss so of course you know!  
Quoting LXM83 (Reply 20):
Now who came up with that letter? I bet there will be lots of confusion between Z and C. My bet is it will not last a year before they change it.

I hear they wanted to designate the gates "A+01", "A+02" etc. but that would've been even more confusing  
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
Looks like a nice change from the usual WMF machines. In fact they have an identical one at the Jernhusen Lounge in Gothenburg, which I had the privilege to try out a few weeks ago. Coffee taste really good from those machines.

But you didn't tell me the make and model, price tag and whether it is faux or not? Are you loosing your edge?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
Interesting, why is this man staring at you? Giving you that face. Is it the hat perhaps, or did it go in the bin already?
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
And why is this man too staring at you? Does this happen on all flights?

Taking photos probably gets some people's attention.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
Was this a DIners Lounge, or did you access it with EBG/*G?

Diners, baby.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
I had to try:
Was this included in that €2,60 bus ticket?

Come on! Those are tourist attractions - that short ride cost 20 EUR or almost four times the money I spent on buses during my stay there!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
How come you didn't buy one of those €50 Business Upgrades on Air Malta?

Because none were offered?

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
Now this calls for a Bugger! – There are actually THREE wetwipes

No, there are TWO wetwipes. The white thing on the left is a sugar sachet for my coffee.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
Now this calls for a Bugger! – They're actually called Do&Co, not DoCoMo (which I believe is a Japanese cellphone carrier)

Freudian slip.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 23):
No food, were you feeling ok?

Well it was a bit too early still for me and I knew there was the hot sandwich coming up onboard.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 23):
The travel agent tried to send us there, thanks goodness for trip advisor - I soon realised it was in the middle of nowhere.

That's a pretty good description. Sometimes that can be a good thing, if you are just looking to get away from it all for total relaxation.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 23):
I don't remember there even being any timetables, we were just told to wait until the next one turned up!

Arriva has changed things somewhat, now there are timetables, even incomplete ones posted at the stops. Plus the main bus interchanges have Arriva dispatchers on duty helping people to find the correct buses (and to coordinate with the drivers) - it all seemed a bit chaotic to me, though - especially the main bus interchange just outside the Valletta city gate which was quite a hive for activity.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 23):
That's a shame. Still here's a tip: we did a jeep safari on Gozo. The guide told us that as 99.9% of visitors arrive by ferry from Malta, there are no ticket checks when sailing back from Gozo. Don't know if that still applies.

Thanks for the tip, but it's not like that ferry costs an arm and leg.
 
akhmad
Posts: 2498
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:40 pm

Hi P.,

I have never been to Malta. But thanks to your nice report and the beautiful scenery pictures, you make me eager to go there.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
she said: “But you will spend your whole day at airports and planes!” - well, obviously she didn’t know me and my habits

She just wanted to be accommodating.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
leaving the lounge I say “See you on Tuesday if you are on the morning shift!” to the guy on duty - he confirms that he’ll be here then as well.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The lounge warden compliments me on my hat - at least that’s what I assume she says as I only understand the hat part (and her smile and hand pointing at it).

You do make friends everywhere.  


Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The service is again a hot sandwich on Finnish potato bread - this time it is cheese and ham with some barbecue sauce (
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
I’m not really hungry at all but still have to try these meatballs:

Yummy! LH really knows how to please your palate.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
but, shock horror - no window:

Yikes! It reminds me of my own experience on board of BA 772. Luckily, you could move elsewhere.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

Healthy breakfast. A dash of honey would have been nice as well.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Breakfast time or not it is never too early for a Warsteiner plus some quality reading material:

Warsteiner is addictive, isn’t it?   


Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Cabin view:

Look how you attracted the attention of the guy on the left. 


Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
most Finns hang these on their front doors during the Christmas period:

Can you imagine these hanging on the front doors of the Airbuses?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
turns out her neighbour is a Finn - I guess it is true that we really are everywhere like the Brits!)

and Dutch people!   


Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
I had to try:

Is the white shirt yours?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
View towards Valletta over the Marsamxett Harbor:

Beautiful.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Oh and obviously a new entry for my log.

Congratulations.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
security is at the gate here

Just like AMS. Good to know about that.



Thank you for sharing another trip inspiration.

Best wishes,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
CaptainRed
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:22 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:00 pm

Hi P.,

another very nice and interesting report, thanks a lot for sharing. Malta is also still missing on my list. Your report really makes me want to get there.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
“But you will spend your whole day at airports and planes!”

That's a really funny one   But true, she only wanted to be helpful. But nice that the rebooking worked out for you at the end and you even one extra leg.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Yes, this is all - some yogurt and fruits to mix in:

No, fore sure something different, but I wouldn't like that either, doesn't look too good.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
First glimpse of the Maltese archipelago - this is the northeastern coast of Gozo:

Wow, what a stunning approach, very nice pictures.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I really like that Maltese Cross on the tail - very stylish:

It is indeed nice, the whole livery actually looks very good, simple but stylish with these slim blue lines.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
By the time I get back to my seat the service cart is just reaching my row and I get handed this:

A nice snack for a flight like this, pretty good. Looks like you had a nice experience on KM. Actually some of the KM pilots got their initial flight training at the same flight school in the US where I got my PPL back in the 90s. Had a good time with these guys back then.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I didn’t know AB (or LGW) used flew the Dash to VIE:

They used to fly to FKB from VIE with the Dash occasionally (and sometimes with the Niki E-190), but this route is sadly gone now.

CaptainRed
 
Burj
Posts: 747
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:57 pm

Wow very cool trip report! I always love reading about your adventures!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A very friendly (as all the Maltese I met during this trip were!) girl welcomes me in and we have a bit of a chit chat (turns out her neighbour is a Finn - I guess it is true that we really are everywhere like the Brits!) and I have my first contact with the symbolic Maltese softdrink, Kinnie:

Don't forget the dutch...they are everywhere too!  

I agree the Malta cross is very distinctive and looks great on the tale!
 
The777Man
Posts: 5936
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:02 am

Hi FlyingFinn!

Very nice report with very nice pictures !

Nice that you were able to keep the return with KM from MLA; a detour via MUC wasn't too bad  

Very impressive that you have now been to all EU states! Malta seems very nice and I'll try to go there one day. Too bad that you missed out on the sea plane flight. Make sure it woks to go on it the next time!

As for the terminal in VIE; I was there in October 2007 and it looked like it was finished then......Not sure what's going on. My guess is that they are not renovating the lounge because the new terminal should hopefully open soon.

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
photoshooter
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:12 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Hey FF,

nice TR you've got there! you keep surprising me with every TR you post.


I think it's the same location as your photo  

I went to Malta back in November 2010. Had a great time and the island kept on surprising me.

As for KM, I'm quite surprised how good they are so I'll consider flying with KM next time I'm going to
Malta.


Thanks for this TR and keep 'em coming!
'A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.' - Winston Churchill
 
717Flyer
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:41 am

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:58 pm

Bonswa P!
(oh yes, thats in Maltese).

First of all sorry for my late reply, unfortunately I've been busy doing things not related to aviation.
Secondly - what a great report! I've always wanted to go to Malta, specially after having done quite an extensive project about the islands in school, ending up meeting some Maltese people in Finland and we're still keeping contact.
There's also many things we in Finland could learn from them - did you know that in the Maltese general elections of 2008 some 93 % voted, and that's the lowest percentage in 35 years!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I found an excellent fare on LH and OS for only around 180 EUR via Frankfurt on the outbound and VIE on the inbound.

I found exactly the same connection some months ago when playing with the new Aurinkomatkat flight search. The price was around 195 EUR then though.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Well, turns out they had received instructions that all the pax on the canceled OS flights should be rebooked on LH or LX metal (they obviously want to keep the business in the family!).

LX metal? That sounds interesting! As far as I know they do not fly to Malta though? What could the routing have been? MLA-FRA-ZRH-HEL?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The good part was that MLA-VIE would be an OS codeshare on Air Malta metal.

Ah, Air Malta, an airline I've always wanted to fly on! They caught my attention for the first time a couple of years ago operating some HEL-MLA charter flights for the Hispania tour operator with the flight leaving Helsinki at 03.15 at night. I don't think such a departure time would be allowed anymore!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Now those who have been following my recent reports know that OS recently dropped their route to HEL, so that brought some problems for my itinerary.

Yeah, that is such a shame. There's a silver lining however - as they instead codeshare with SK and offer connections via ARN to VIE - you can book a oneway ticket for a decent price! 100 EUR isn't the best price on the market but yet you get the OS/VO experience on the second segment.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I just said that it won’t be a problem, after all I’ve got lounge access and stuff to ease the “pain”.

Yeah, I would happily have done it without lounge access too!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
During a temporal lapse in my lateral thinking process I picked up a seat at the rear exit row - well I should’ve remembered this seat has the best legroom out there but, shock horror - no window:

How could you! (Now who didn't do his homework...)

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Cabin view:

...with one passenger very eager to get his face on your cabin view photo!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
First glimpse of the Maltese archipelago - this is the northeastern coast of Gozo:

Some really stunning shots, wow!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Tiny island of Comino, lying between Gozo and Malta:

...featuring one hotel, two motor-driven vehicles and a total population of seven (7) persons!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Malta is really built up:

And that looks like the stunning Church of St Mary in the middle!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
A very friendly (as all the Maltese I met during this trip were!)

Also according to my experience!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
But the Malti language is not very Britishlike:

Ah, the only Semitic language that uses our Latin alphabet! And yes, I agree that after studying a bit of the language, it doesn't seem very British at all, even though it has been quite heavily influenced by the English language.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Malta apparently has the most cars in the EU in cars per capita and it certainly feels like that!

Now that's interesting! I thought I read somewhere that Malta is one of the European countries where the largest percentage of citizens use the bus. Yet, that doesn't stop them for buying many cars.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Colorful traditional fishing boats at the fishing village of Marsaxlokk:

Those luzzus, if something, makes me book tickets to Malta right away! And yes, some of your other photos also made me think this way
(Do note the eye of Osiris featured on many of the boats - it is supposed to protect those travelling in the boat from everything evil).

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The inflight mag is in a Christmasy mood:

I don't get it - is their inflight magazine changing name as the season changes? Next up is MidsummerLife?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Love the consistent pink style of this chocolate shop:

...and the chocolates inside!

Grazzi hafna,
717Flyer
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: Moderate Malta: HEL-FRA-MLA-VIE-MUC-HEL

Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:34 pm

Hi all, good to see more comments, thanks a lot!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Warsteiner is addictive, isn’t it?

When it is free and the only choice then yes.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Look how you attracted the attention of the guy on the left.
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
...with one passenger very eager to get his face on your cabin view photo!

Must be the camera.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Can you imagine these hanging on the front doors of the Airbuses?

Well I think they would cause quite a threat to jet engines at airports being blown off during take off...  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Is the white shirt yours?

Nope, the driver's.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 26):
Wow, what a stunning approach, very nice pictures.
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
Some really stunning shots, wow!

Yep, the views were indeed excellent. The sunny weather and contrast to the dire Northern/Central Europe I left behind of course helped as well!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 26):
Actually some of the KM pilots got their initial flight training at the same flight school in the US where I got my PPL back in the 90s. Had a good time with these guys back then.

Interesting, I had no idea you had a PPL!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Very impressive that you have now been to all EU states!

Well I visited all of the "old ones" already many years ago and then had a hard time catching up after their big expansion spree. Now I'm on top of it again and have even visited the two next ones to join so I'm safe for a while...  
Quoting photoshooter (Reply 29):
I think it's the same location as your photo

Yes, it is. That kind of view just begs to be photographed, methinks  
Quoting photoshooter (Reply 29):
As for KM, I'm quite surprised how good they are so I'll consider flying with KM next time I'm going to

Hmm, I wouldn't call them "good". I mean they were okay, and better than many airlines, but not particularly good in anything either. More like "strongly mediocre" or something. But I guess that depends on your expectations really!

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
There's also many things we in Finland could learn from them - did you know that in the Maltese general elections of 2008 some 93 % voted, and that's the lowest percentage in 35 years!

That's an impressive figure, only surpassed by countries like North Korea, Soviet Union etc.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
I found exactly the same connection some months ago when playing with the new Aurinkomatkat flight search. The price was around 195 EUR then though.

Well must be their frees on top of that. This was through Expedia as usual. I saw similar fares for next summer with LH + KM.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
LX metal? That sounds interesting! As far as I know they do not fly to Malta though? What could the routing have been? MLA-FRA-ZRH-HEL?

Err that wasn't specific to the MLA flights, basically any passenger on the discontinued OS/VO HEL-VIE-HEL flights should be rebooked on LH or LX flights (which in the case of ZRH-HEL would of course mean KF metal). I don't think those instructions were clear whether someone flying XXX-VIE-HEL should be rebooked to do XXX-VIE-FRA/MUC/ZRH-HEL or just straight XXX-FRA/MUC/ZRH-HEL, thus I was able to work it to my advantage.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
operating some HEL-MLA charter flights for the Hispania tour operator with the flight leaving Helsinki at 03.15 at night. I don't think such a departure time would be allowed anymore!

A long time ago my parents went to Malta for a vacation flying one of the KM charter flights from HEL. It was around April or so and of course sleeting with a really crap weather in Finland. My father said that the KM FAs were standing at the plane's door, watching the weather and shaking their heads in disbelief.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
...featuring one hotel, two motor-driven vehicles and a total population of seven (7) persons!

Yeah, that's what my Lonely Planet told me. Plus a number of tourists in high season.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
Now that's interesting! I thought I read somewhere that Malta is one of the European countries where the largest percentage of citizens use the bus. Yet, that doesn't stop them for buying many cars.

According to the taxi driver many families have 4-6 cars (being a Catholic country I guess the families tend to be large)! There were a number of park & rides around so I guess it is popular to drive a bit and then catch the bus from these.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 30):
I don't get it - is their inflight magazine changing name as the season changes? Next up is MidsummerLife?

I think we will se "WinterLife", "EarlySpringLife", "SpringLife" and "NotQuiteSummerYetLife" before that!

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