Transavia Airlines C.V., styled as transavia.com and known as Transavia, is a Dutch based low-cost airline operating as an independent part of the Air France-KLM group. Its main base is at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol while Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM), and Eindhoven Airport (EIN) are its secondary hubs. In France, Paris-Orly Airport is the main base of its French affiliate. Transavia.com chiefly operates scheduled and charter services to leisure destinations, and serves also some popular European citytrip destinations such as Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Lissabon,...
For quite a while now I was on the lookout to have a flight with them. Recently the company decided to move their scheduled operation to Berlin (users Roberts87 and Globalflyer know all about this ), from their main hub Amsterdam to the secondary hub of Eindhoven. As I happen to live about a 1 hrs motorway drive from EIN, the temptation to book this new service from EIN to TXL was very high. Timings were excellent for a quick ‘same plane turnaround’ trip to TXL on a Monday afternoon.
Their website www.transavia.com is quite a straightforward affair however be advised that it has a strong holiday and lowcost feel to it, but certainly not as bad as the Ryanair site. Due to the fact that the website doesn’t allow a return booking with a ‘same plane turnaround’, I had to book 2 separate oneway flights for the total amount of € 69. However, as usual I overlooked one thing: apparently OLCI is only available from certain destinations, including EIN, but excluding TXL. No problem at first I thought, I might as well ask at EIN to produce me a boarding pass for the return flight to TXL. More on that later...
To sum things up: a new airline and a new departure airport and something I thought that would be highly unlikely: another (short) visit to TXL after our a.net meet last June:
To BERlin? No, To TXL...: BRU-TXL-AMS-TXL-BRU (by Sultanils Jun 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
This route represents a simple line on the map (thanks to the excellent www.gcmap.com, copyright Karl L Schwartz):
After some long and winding hours at the office I pull the door behind me at around 11h30 and drive off to
A little under an hour later, I park my car at the long term car park P3, some 10 mins walk from the terminal. As I close my car’s door, I already see some expected metal taxiing past - mind you, this is not my aircraft to TXL:
A short walk later, I’m at the terminal which is located in the midst of an entrepreneurial area of some sorts. Usually airports are located quite far from any form of human life, but this one clearly isn’t. There’s some construction going on as well:
I follow these green signs which are clearly inspired by the corporate Transavia colours:
The small terminal building certainly has a high lowcost feel
It is quite full with holiday makers and the Ryanair desks have long snaking lines in front of them. Luckily I’m flying just a little more upclass today!
I queue at the Transavia desk and some 5 minutes later I’m served by a rather mediocre friendly agent. What happened here with the always cheery Dutch folks?
I ask for a boarding pass EIN-TXL - which is delivered promptly - and one for the return TXL-EIN to which the agent replies that she cannot give it to me and that I have get that one in Berlin. OK, not impressed.... So now what?
Transavia uses the C gates at TXL - as Air Berlin does - and I’m starting to think about my options on getting checked in and eventually screened in TXL. Now a connection via terminal C should be quite fast and painless according to some experienced Finnish member here on the board but still, when not in possession of that small rectangular piece of paper called a boarding pass, to me it feels very tricky right now.
I prepare mentally for the challenge to perform a proper ‘GO! RUN!’ at TXL and with quite some mixed feelings about this, I make my way to security and airside. Life is not for the faint of heart!
Airside is even more packed with people and the current area indeed seems way to small to cope with todays amount of passengers:
There’s 1 shop, 1 bar annex eatery, some tables and some chairs. It all looks kinda chaotic. Heck this makes even CRL look like a 1st class airport.
The gate for the Berlin flight is not yet listed, in spite of the aircraft having arrived some 10 mins ago:
But don’t always count on the FIDS when you have a PA! Indeed, an announcement is made that the TXL flight will start boarding at gate 5.
EIN to TXL
seat 2A, changed to 1A
Photo © Christian Merz
We are let into a holding pen like a herd of sheep and wait some more minutes before we are let out onto the apron. An eclectic mix of exotic airliners is bathing in the sun:
So my fellow passengers and me walk over to our plane, which is parked some 100m away from where we exit the terminal building:
EIN has an ultramodern passenger guidance system installed on the apron. The brown event hall is the bagage claim area:
A young and friendly female FA is at the bottom of the stairs guiding passengers to the right entrance - front or back - a nice touch and a good way of speeding up the boarding. I have 2A, so naturally I board through the front door:
One notices immediately the lush green seats, decorated with jolly designs. This cabin really gets you in a holiday mood right away:
The seat next to me is taken by an older German (?) couple. The legroom is quite surprisingly very much OK:
When the crew shuts the door I ask to switch seats from 2A to 1A bulkhead which is granted promptly:
For sure the very busy airport of EIN attracts visitors from all over the world to spot some. At least you get on for free!
Some 5 mins prior to STD, we push back, which has my spirits lifted for an early arrival and thus a greater possibility of making the transfer in time. The safety demo is played from the folding overhead screens, but as I’m sitting very near to one, the projected image is quite distortionate. Takeoff will be from rwy 22:
But we have to wait some moments for this company traffic to vacate the runway:
We turn onto the runway and rev up immediately:
I do manage to snap a pic of this cute Antonov (I think...) taxiing:
This is actually the first time I can recall myself sitting in the front end of the cabin and I must say that the noise levels here are much lower than further back - which is quite logical at second thought.
We make a steep left turn:
And as anticipated I get a (hazy) bird’s eye view of EIN after departure:
Helmond city, town or village or whatever...
The 1h flight goes by quickly. I decline any BOB offerings but decide that if I do make the connection, I’ll certainly get something on the way back.
The views outside are regretfully covered with clouds:
F/O Overland - yes these guys have a name as well - gives us the latest weather and arrival information and expects us to be on the ground some 15 mins ahead of schedule which sounds as music to my ears.
And indeed, not before long, we initiate the nice approach into the Berliner Flughafen of TXL. Windmills are plentiful in Germany as well:
On the way down, I’m treated to the same excellent Berlin city views as I had on my flights to the a.net meet in June:
Landing is soft and on 26R. I expect this plane to make a full stop at the C terminal but to my absolute delight, we dock into one of the gates at ‘The Hexagonal Ring’
I’m the first one off the plane and right here right now is where the strange layout of the terminal at TXL comes in very handy. Moments after disembarking, I find myself at the checkin desk, where I’m promptly issued my boarding pass for the return flight, inclusive of a window seat. I re-enter the gate area, am screened for explosives and knives again and in all my excitement I forget to take off my watch which of course alerts the metal detector.
On the other side of the glass windows, I can see my fellow passengers who are still disembarking from the inbound. This for sure must’ve been the quickest connection I have ever done.
Time to relax now, and my gratitude certainly goes to TXL gate scheduling or whoever: you saved my day! The slogan on the finger gate is actually quite appropriate now::
After the obligatory visit to the lavatorial facilities, it is time to get on board again:
TXL to EIN
Photo © Sebastian Sowa
The FA standing at the door is a bit puzzled to see me again. After I settle down in my seat 13F, she comes after me and asks me if something has happened because of the fact that I’m taking the very same flight back. I decide to crack one of the widely used jokes in this case saying that the weather is not the best over here and that I might as well go back to sunny Eindhoven. Her look gets even more puzzled so I just reply quickly that I’m a bit of a plane geek and fly around for fun. She gets it now and wishes me a nice flight. Now don’t tell me you have never ever met the ‘plane geek’ type before
Here’s another look to the colourful seats:
And this is what the seat pocket contains. The ‘Flyer’ magazine is not really a magazine but more a menu annex duty free annex commercial booklet. And it says ‘inkijkexemplaar’ and not ‘your personal copy’:
At around 16h05, everyone is already on board and the door is shut. A few minutes thereafter pushback is initiated, some 20 mins ahead of schedule. Impressive! I overhear the load being 98 pax - the inbound had 125.
This AB is also not in it’s usual parking space? It’ll fly to MUC.
Boy, that turnaround was pretty quick!
On our run to the way (pun intended) the safety demo is played on the overhead screens, now they are perfectly visible. The passenger in the aisle seat meanwhile is happily still using his Ipad. For a moment I think about commenting to him on it but on a 2nd thought I decide not to bother as it is not my job and ICE I will step on it deliberately anyway
See you Tegel, who knows if and when I will be back?
This is the place where I had expected us to park, I’m really glad it turned out for the better today!
Heck, even the Royals make use of the nice terminal C facilities!
We turn into 22L for take off. There’s a Lufty as well inbound for 22R:
The ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign stays on for quite some time, although I don’t feel any turbulence worth mentioning. When the cart is rolled out for the BOB show, quite some people actually make a purchase and by the time the crew reaches my row, we are already gently descending towards EIN. I buy an egg & bacon sandwich and a soft drink, price € 7,5, which is on the more expensive side. Note to airbuseric: I wanted to try the sandwich of the month but it was sold out!
The weather on the way back did not improve much, au contraire...
The angle of recline is not very generous, this is the best it can do:
Captain Hamstra - you gotta love Dutch surnames - tells us we will be landing in EIN very shortly where the weather is quite nice with some scattered clouds and 22°C. Arrival on stand is expected to be 20 mins ahead of schedule which is really good of course.
As the cabin is prepared for arrival, I finally get some decent views of German and Dutch soil again:
The (military) airport of I don’t know:
We overfly the A58 highway northbound:
And this seems a test track of some sorts, maybe one of our Dutch users can help identifying?
As promised by the folks upfront, we touch down at 16h30 sharp at EIN:
Some medium heavy braking and reverse action follow:
We leave the taxiway to the other side of the terminal. On the top right of the pic you can see a building crane towering in the sky, that’s where the terminal is. We taxi about halfway parallel to the runway, enter it back again and taxi further to the terminal in the opposite direction:
Here we are back again:
Apart from the ‘follow me’ car, the apron is empty:
How to get around at the airport premises - the Dutch way!
We make a halt and some minutes later the doors are opened. A mild summerly breeze urges me to get out but not before taking a last look to the colourful green cabin:
Alright, they have a Transavia car as well!
As was the case on the outbound, the same FA is standing at the bottom of the stairs to say goodbye to the passengers! In some 40 mins time they will be continuing their journey towards even hotter climes by the likes of AGP!
We are guided through the state of the art passenger separation system again towards the arrival hall and a few moments later I’m back landside and on the way to the parking lot to pick up my ride home. But not before going in shock when paying the parking fee: a whopping € 21 for only 6 hrs of parking. What a rip off!
Transavia did the job very well! I had a relaxing time on board, well, sort of The crew was a nice bunch and I liked the summery feel to the greenish cabin. The ontime performance was excellent as was the price paid for the flights. As for the BOB prices, they are on the high side but the sandwich I had was substantial, fresh and tasted very good.
Note to self: if the website doesn’t allow you to book a ‘same plane return’ then most likely there must be a reason for that. Well, the stressy situation with the boarding pass and checkin for the return from TXL was only caused by myself due to not investigating the matter thoroughly enough. This time however I was lucky...
EIN is not my favourite airport, it is way too small and very basic. Yes, I know it is low cost but if compared to CRL it fails on quite some points. However, I’m glad to have logged it and hope it will improve once the expansion works are finished.
Thank you for reading and comments welcome as always!