dc9northwest
Topic Author
Posts: 2142
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TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:38 pm

TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, and Nicosia

Introduction:

Hi there everyone, welcome to my new trip report. First, I will detail the effective flights of the entire trip.

RO251, OTP-LCA, B733, 08:10-10:20, Day 1, YR-BGB
EK107, LCA-MLA, A332, 12:15-14:10, Day 2, A6-EAP
AZ887, MLA-FCO, A321, 14:00-15:25, Day 3, I-BIXE
AZ1317, FCO-BLQ, A319, 17:50-18:55, Day 3, EI-IMT
9U881, VCE-VRN-KIV, A320, 20:20-00:35, Day 5, ER-AXT
9U857, KIV-OTP, E120, 18:30-19:30, Day 6, ER-EMA

Now, this might sound like a bizarre itinerary, right? How did I ever come up with that? Well, it's a long story, but here are the main points:
1. I want to have stepped foot in all European countries as soon as possible
2. I noticed EK offers a 5th freedom LCA-MLA-LCA on an A332
3. AirOne cancelled my direct VCE-OTP flight
4. Air Moldova just launched their northeastern Italian flights this summer
5. Air Moldova has an E120 operating the Bucharest flights.

First flight, and Nicosia (Lefkosia):

This amalgamation of factors led me to this itinerary. First stop: Larnaca, Cyprus. I spent the night in Nicosia as it sounds like a much more interesting destination than the beach town Larnaka.

As on my previous trip, I took a taxi to the airport. This time, the driver didn't try to drive without a meter and also barely spoke a word at all. I gave him somewhere around 25-30 lei, the regular fare... I reached the airport around 06:30 and went to the TAROM counter.

Warning: if you love airlines and are sensitive to someone bashing them, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

TAROM was, as all of its brothers in Eastern Europe, a state-owned airline during the communist regime. This meant an utter contempt for its customers, unhelpful staff and all that. Well, I felt I went back in time for sure. I went to desk 13, which was the desk where business class and flying blue members are supposed to check-in. Mrs. Bici (that's not her real name) was standing there, in a deep conversation with her male colleague. After a couple of minutes, he left so I stepped up to the desk to get my damn boarding pass. I gave her the documents and my ID card for this. After a half a minute, she told me the go to her colleague at desk 10. I asked her “may I ask why?” And this is where she pissed me off, marking the first time I felt an airline employee would deserve getting slapped. She answered, completely “a la roumain”, that “I have to close my shift... and there's your answer”. Which is bullshit, because then she proceeded to check-in a family of 5. Anyway, I guess I had forgotten to give her my FB gold card, but this shouldn't have mattered. There was no one in line (the family arrived about 2 minutes later), and it doesn't take long to either say “please show me your FF card” or to check whether there was indeed this information in my reservation (there certainly was). Bici just didn't want to work... it interfered with her gossiping. Oh, one more thing, she was on the phone using very informal language in front of me. Not swearing, but not something that's appropriate in front of a customer either. Romanian customer service is a mixture of French and Russian customer service, so let's just say there's basically no such thing... with Bucharest being almost certainly the rudest city in the country. Finally I went to desk 10, where the nice and helpful young girl (TAROM and Romanian companies in general should stop hiring anyone over 26 years old in customer service positions... this would ensure the employees don't remember the communist regime) helped me even though she hadn't yet set up her computer so she couldn't check me in. She told me I should go to desk 13 (“I know that, but Bici there sent me to you”) so she eventually got me ahead of the line at desk 11, since I really don't want to deal with Bici again. Soon, I finally had my boarding passes.

Romania is a place in the vein of Italy, where you must argue if you want your rights to be respected. When someone fails to respect me, I simply am unable to respect them back. I do try my best to not ruin anyone else's day. I think I was calm 10 minutes after the incident, though still internally unsettled.

Oh, congrats RO, this just cost you 350 Euros (OK, technically not all that money goes to you, just 120, maybe). I just booked a OTP-VIE-OTP flight for my mother and I. Normally I would certainly choose TAROM, but in large part due to this incident I chose OS. Congrats on shooting yourself in the foot!

Flight: RO251
Aircraft: B733
Reg: YR-BGB
Delivery year: 1993
STD/STA: 0810-1020
Seat: 05F, Window
Y load factor: ~60%

Afterwards I headed to security... Well, for some reason the people there are much nicer than Bici. You know how in the USA they scream at you “belts, hats, coats, shoes, laptops out”? None of that here. I placed all my belongings in a tray, my backpack on the belt... The security agent even moved my laptop to another belt without shouting at me for being stupid. As usual, passport control took all of five seconds and I went to the TAROM lounge. The girl at reception was nice (again, young, so none of the communist mentality) and no problems. 30 minutes later I headed downstairs to board the bus that was to take me to YR-BGB. I still waited 10 minutes at the gate before starting boarding. I let most of the people get up and queue, and only then proceeded to board the bus after boarding pass and ID control. Well, inside the bus, they were playing classical music... Nice surprise I guess and good for some much needed relaxation.

Aircraft from the lounge:

KL 739


Blue Air with a heavy presence:


Nicer livery:


After leaving the lounge:


New infrastructure:


YR-BAG:


RO retrojet, back in commercial service this time:


Boarding... ahh that classic 737 engine:


I boarded YR-BGB, one of 2 aircraft in RO's jet fleet that doesn't have any entertainment options aside from the magazine. The newer 733s, 73Gs and 318s all have TV screens, but YR-BGA and YR-BGB do not. I got seat 05F for myself during OLCI the day before (which works!). In the end, there would be 3 seats for me here, that's good.

Company A318:


Decent legroom:


Still empty row:


Presidential A310:


Since we don't have a legitimate president at the moment, I'm not sure who's using this aircraft  


Service commenced relatively soon after take-off. We were offered a selection of cold drinks, a sandwich (a full one, not a half one like on OS), as well as a selection of tea/coffee. Afterwards, we were offered another drink if we wanted it. Since this was a morning flight, I have no idea what kind of alcohol they offered, since it wasn't displayed, but I'm sure the drinks are free.

Meal:


As can be seen above, I had a coke and a green tea with mint (Lipton brand). The sandwich wasn't bad but I wasn't feeling very hungry after the earlier incident. I only ate a little bit. The flight attendants were “business friendly”, but decent enough. Unfortunately YR-BGB is already showing its age and perhaps RO should be getting ready to order 319s, 73Gs or even E190s to replace these older 733s. Although, if you want a typical 1990s experience, fly RO. These 737-300 aircraft usually fly to AMS, LCA and LYS as far as I know.

The flight today would be just under 2 hours in flying time. The captain seemed quite young, and offered quite a bit of information about 30 minutes into the flight, and then again a few minutes before landing. The route taken was over Varna, out over the Black Sea, overflying Istanbul before turning south-east towards Cyprus, overflying southern Turkey on the way. I was curious whether we'd avoid Turkey or not. We did not, so I'm glad that's not a problem anymore.

Bulgarian coastline, dedicated to WideBodyroga  

IST:


Istanbul:


Wing/Engine view:


Turkish mountains:


737 cabin pic:


Approaching LCA:




The approach was strange: we overflew the airport at a few thousand feet, coming in from the north, did a turn towards the east, then doing a 180 degree turn, giving a good view of downtown Larnaka on my side. We landed on runway 22 and docked at a jetway in LCA.

Larnaka during final approach:


LCA baggage claim area:


On-time arrival:


LCA terminal and CY Airbus:






After disembarking, I proceeded outside looking for the bus into Larnaka town. I couldn't see it, so I asked a security guard where the bus stop was. He told me where I should go and that they come about every 30 minutes, good information. It was already almost unbearably hot but luckily there was some shade I could use to cool down, or not heat up  

After about 20 minutes or so, the bus no. 431 arrived, heading towards Phinikoudes/Larnaka. Before this, however, a woman came to ask me something about the buses. I tried to help, but I couldn't understand too well. I should have just said “I'm not from around here” at first and saved her the trouble. I have no idea what she was asking, or why she kept trying to communicate in half-English half-Greek when I clearly couldn't speak the latter. Maybe she didn't speak enough English?

1 Euro to the bus driver and I received my ticket into Larnaka town. 20 minutes or so later I was at Finikoudes promenade. It was an unbearable 35+ degrees at this hour and it was only getting hotter. I had about 2 hours in Larnaka, before my bus to Nicosia would leave at 13:00. I decided to walk around... and there wasn't much to do. The sights were Phinikoudes promenade, filled with Russian and Romanian tourists, Agios Georgios church (I hope that's right), which was actually quite nice, and the medieval castle (closed that day). One hour later I pretty much started getting bored, and hung around the promenade trying to keep cool but failing. In fact, I had already burned my hands and forearms in the intense Cypriot Sun.

OK, at 12:45, my green bus to Nicosia showed up, immediately creating a melee of people trying to get on. Sardine cans comparisons aside, there's not much to say.... and it's also why I hate intercity buses. Luckily I was born in Romania so I know how to handle crowds... and luckily I didn't get pick-pocketed. I was about number 25 or so getting on the bus, so finding a place wasn't a problem... 3 Euros poorer I got on the bus, finally. Wonder what would have happened if it was indeed full. Thumbs down for the Cypriot Intercity bus company for its lack of organization. At 13:05 we left, and headed for the other two bus stops in Larnaka. Don't know if we stopped in the third one, as I fell asleep, waking up close to Nicosia. After crossing the city to the center, I disembarked in Plateia Solomou and headed to the Castelli Hotel 200m away.

I got there and had a very friendly welcome from the guy manning the front desk. He even gave me an upgrade to an executive room. The price for the room was 60 Euros a night (the most expensive one on this trip), made through booking.com. This includes internet access (only through booking.com, how strange!?). After cooling down in my hotel room for a bit, I proceeded to the Leventis Municipal Museum, being almost alone in the entire facility. Free entry here. Other museums were closed, so then I went to the Ledras observatory, at a price of 2 Euros. I managed to see sights in all directions, but in 15 minutes there was nothing more to do here. Next stop: Northern Cyprus. Heading north on Ledras street, I soon came across the border post... The Cypriots didn't check any documents upon exit. The Turkish cypriots make you fill out a 3 part visa paper: name/surname, nationality, passport number. That's it. The Turkish border agent had no issues stamping my passport.

I spent a good couple of hours in the Turkish side, seeing the Mosques and nice enough neighborhoods as well as some poorer ones. I think that I enjoyed the Turkish part a bit more, likely also because the Ramadan fast kept more people indoors than usual and I'm not a big fan of crowds. Unfortunately I couldn't step foot in the Mosque as I arrived during prayer time. Still, I have photos on the outside—an interesting building.

Then, I stopped to pick up some food from Avo's Armenian food—a kebab and lahmajoun for 5,30 Euros... A big difference compared to Norwegian prices! In the morning, I strolled for about an hour and a half in (Greek) Nicosia... Not particularly impressive overall. I've seen some bad-looking neighborhoods around the mosque—much more so than equivalent neighborhoods on the Turkish side.

Going back to the airport was a bit easier as the bus wasn't full. Again I found some people trying to speak Greek to me. I told them I don't speak Greek and they didn't switch to English... Again, I don't know why. About an hour or so later, we were in Larnaka, and I took a city bus to the airport—again, I waited about 20 minutes. Soon, I was at LCA once more, ready for my EK flight.... That, in my next report!  

Here are photos from Cyprus:

Larnaka

Phinikoudes promenade:


Castle:




Nice church:


Interior:


Jesus raising the dead:


Tombs:


Outside view:


Cactus tree:


Room at the Castelli Hotel in Nicosia (executive room-I'd been upgraded):


Nicosia

Street:


From Ledras observatory:


The Turks seem to be a bit more nationalistic than the Greeks:


Greek Nicosia:


Buyuk Han, in Turkish/occupied Cyprus:


Selimiye Mosque, formerly a Cathedral:








Nice building and nice area: very quiet since it's during Ramadan, I guess:


The Konak:










Ledras Street:




Orthodox church:


Central Nicosia:




Museum (closed):


Building:


Venetian Walls (?):


Street in Nicosia:


Church(?):


In the morning:




Impressions:

TAROM
Ground handling always was RO's worst area, and still is. This area cannot receive my seal of approval.
In air, the service is probably above-average by European standards, with enough drinks offered, and a decently filling meal, I suppose. As usual, no problems in the air.

Unfortunately, looking at this trip, I cannot recommend TAROM. I'm sorry to say that, as usually their ground service is not this bad. I would suggest, if possible, to avoid anyone looking older than 30 at RO check-in desks to reduce the risk of such an encounter. On a normal day, I rate them above-average, but on this day they severely disappointed me.

Cyprus:
Too hectic, too hot for my liking. The people however, are quite friendly and ready to help... if you can communicate with them. I actually expected more people to speak English. I've encountered at least 4 people who could barely speak English, (or didn't want to do so for whatever reason). Of course Greek is the primary language, but I think everyone exaggerates Cypriots' English skills based on my short experience there. Overall, not my favorite country, but I'm glad I went, at least for the unique geopolitical situation.

Northern/occupied Nicosia:
While certainly poorer, this part of the city seems more interesting to me. Some areas, at least, seemed better taken care of than areas on the Greek side. The mosque is an impressive building.

Border control at Ledras Street:
Absolutely no issues, at least on an EU passport.


Previous TRs:
Norway, Part V: LYR-OTP, SK/OS, 73G/100 (by dc9northwest Aug 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
Norway, Part IV: Tromsø Og Svalbard (by dc9northwest Aug 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part III: Bodø, And A Widerøe Dash 8 To Tromsø (by dc9northwest Jul 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
Norway, Part II: Bergen/Trondheim (by dc9northwest Jul 25 2012 in Trip Reports)
Norway, Part I: OTP-FRA-OSL, LH, A320 (by dc9northwest Jul 22 2012 in Trip Reports)
Delta's 757-300, FLL-ATL, 22MAY12 (by dc9northwest Jun 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
ORD-JFK-FCO-OTP, B6/DL/AZ, June 2012 (by dc9northwest Jun 16 2012 in Trip Reports)
Bahamasair's 737-200, UP205, 21MAY12 (by dc9northwest May 24 2012 in Trip Reports)
March 2012, ORD-CDG, Delta, 763 (by dc9northwest Apr 8 2012 in Trip Reports)
March 2012, FCO-JFK-ORD, Delta, 333/CR7 (by dc9northwest Apr 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
March 2012, OTP-FCO, Alitalia, A319 (by dc9northwest Mar 28 2012 in Trip Reports)
MCI-OTP: Three Upgrades And A380 Flight Deck Visit (by dc9northwest Feb 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
The Baltic States In 6 Easy Flights (by dc9northwest Dec 26 2010 in Trip Reports)
Romanian TR: Bucuresti-Suceava Via Timisoara (by dc9northwest Dec 24 2010 in Trip Reports)
Connecting In ATL, Right Before The Snowstorm (by dc9northwest Mar 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
MCI-ATL-AMS-OTP With DL And KL (60+pics And Vids) (by Dc9northwest Jun 14 2007 in Trip Reports)



[Edited 2012-08-23 08:16:20]
 
Widebodyroga
Posts: 609
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:35 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:29 pm

First it was mainland Norway, then it was Svalbard, now it's Cyprus and next comes Malta (flying there with EK no less). You are killing me Alex. It's like you had a look at my list of dream destinations and you decided to visit them all in a month. What's next? Iceland and Greenland? The Azores and Madeira? OK, don't tell me. I don't wanna know  
Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
“I have to close my shift... and there's your answer”.

Typical balkanism. I'm against violence but some people need to be slapped in the face for their own good.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Bulgarian coastline, dedicated to WideBodyroga  

Thanks! Much appreciated. It's funny though that I've been there only once in my entire life 


I have to say the occupied territories look very interesting. It seems like when Turkey invaded they picked all the nice parts. The semi-limbo situation of the occupied territory, in addition to the embargo that has been placed upon it, gives the area a certain North Korean-esque or Belarus-esque appeal to it. How about all those flags though? I'm not a big fan of displays of national pride (a glorified soccer fan attribute as far as I'm concerned) so that's a minus (at least for me).


Anyway, looking forward to the Malta part now  

WideBodyroga
Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
 
palmjet
Posts: 1230
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2001 2:35 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 pm

Hi Alex

Super report- thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed it.

Ground service (or lack of) seemed pretty bad with TO. Ugh. Not a good way to start your flight.

Some great shots from the air as well.

Quote:
Cyprus:
Too hectic, too hot for my liking. The people however, are quite friendly and ready to help... if you can communicate with them. I actually expected more people to speak English. I've encountered at least 4 people who could barely speak English, (or didn't want to do so for whatever reason). Of course Greek is the primary language, but I think everyone exaggerates Cypriots' English skills based on my short experience there. Overall, not my favorite country, but I'm glad I went, at least for the unique geopolitical situation.

Sorry to read about your experience and overall impression - you certainly saw more of the island than I did. I only spent a long weekend in Larnaca but contrary to your experience, I found that most people I spoke to were only to happy to speak to me in English, which I had no trouble understanding and were friendly and helpful:

Going Retro, Chasing The Sun: BA B763 To Cyprus (by palmjet May 21 2012 in Trip Reports)

I would love to go back and see more of the island. I guess going there in the height of summer means it's going to be roasting - when I was there in early May, it was perfect - not too hot and not cold.

Looking forward to the next instalment - I watched the EK 332 come and go when I was there.

Thanks again - P/jet
Eastern - Number One To The Sun
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 21105
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:16 pm

Hi Alex very nice report.

Cyprus is a very nice Island to visit . Shame you couldnt get into the mountains and to Pafos as you would have got a more varied picture of the Island rather then the industrial areas .

The Turkish part of Nicosia is actually nicer I agree . I really enjoyed my visits there. Its not so off the beaten track these days . I was there 15 years ago first time when you couldnt cross and the tourism was minimal. It really was a North Korea type feeling back then . I must go back oneday and see how its changed. If you had the time it would have been great to take a car and go to Kyrenia and Apostolos Andreas in the tip of the pan handle.

With regards to the English speakers your right I was surprised too when I was there . Because it was a British colony people expect more of an English feel but more people in Greece speak English than Cyprus IMHO.

Anyway glad you enjoyed it .

Regards

Philip  
 
The777Man
Posts: 5923
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:29 pm

Hi Alex !

Nice report with nice pictures !

You really make the most of your summer vacation to travel! Cyprus looks nice and interesting to see the Turkish part as well. I think it's better to go there in the winter time when it's not so hot.....

Looking forward to the 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
 
debonair
Posts: 2705
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:09 pm

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
I just booked a OTP-VIE-OTP flight for my mother and I. Normally I would certainly choose TAROM, but in large part due to this incident I chose OS.

May I ask, why you choose OS and not HG? I think HG is offering a better product...

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Afterwards I headed to security... Well, for some reason the people there are much nicer than Bici. You know how in the USA they scream at you “belts, hats, coats, shoes, laptops out”? None of that here.

I have to admit, that I had never problems with US security personal. Ever tried Poland Border Patrol- especially Gdansk? After showing you their special "hospitality" and full "attention" you will just love the TSA! Luckily more and more airports will take the security process "in-house"...

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
9U881, VCE-VRN-KIV, A320, 20:20-00:35, Day 5, ER-AXT
9U857, KIV-OTP, E120, 18:30-19:30, Day 6, ER-EMA

Looking fwd to this more "exotic" part!
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:33 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:23 pm

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):

First it was mainland Norway, then it was Svalbard, now it's Cyprus and next comes Malta (flying there with EK no less). You are killing me Alex. It's like you had a look at my list of dream destinations and you decided to visit them all in a month. What's next? Iceland and Greenland? The Azores and Madeira? OK, don't tell me. I don't wanna know

Hey S, thanks for stopping by!

Haha, well, no, next will be VIE and Bratislava, and then Canada, and then Seattle... Iceland's on my 2013 list, possibly spring break. OK, I've said too much 

Well, I'm glad you're enjoying my choices, haha.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Typical balkanism. I'm against violence but some people need to be slapped in the face for their own good.

Yeah, it's in fact very typical. So typical I thought I was in a bad movie or a bad dream.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Thanks! Much appreciated. It's funny though that I've been there only once in my entire life 

That's once more than me, so it still applies  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
have to say the occupied territories look very interesting. It seems like when Turkey invaded they picked all the nice parts. The semi-limbo situation of the occupied territory, in addition to the embargo that has been placed upon it, gives the area a certain North Korean-esque or Belarus-esque appeal to it. How about all those flags though? I'm not a big fan of displays of national pride (a glorified soccer fan attribute as far as I'm concerned) so that's a minus (at least for me).

Well, it is indeed an interesting situation... It's not exactly North Korea or Belarus, but it's close. It's EU territory so access isn't a problem anymore. On the other hand Cyprus can't become a Schengen member due to this situation.

Flags? Well, I don't mind them, but maybe it's a bit over-done. It's their choice after all... It depends on how you do it. It's OK to support your country as long as you aren't overly antagonistic to others. Let's say patriotism is OK but nationalism is not.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Anyway, looking forward to the Malta part now

Hopefully, coming up this weekend  
Quoting palmjet (Reply 2):
Ground service (or lack of) seemed pretty bad with TO. Ugh. Not a good way to start your flight.

Some great shots from the air as well.

Hi Palmjet,

Thanks for your comments!

Yeah, RO was a bit of a disappointment.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 2):
I only spent a long weekend in Larnaca but contrary to your experience, I found that most people I spoke to were only to happy to speak to me in English, which I had no trouble understanding and were friendly and helpful:

Hmm, I didn't mean that the English they spoke was hard to understand--just that I found a lot of people unable or unwilling to speak it. I'm not sure why/how. Cypriots were friendly and helpful in my experience as well, aside from the bus incident, haha.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 2):
I would love to go back and see more of the island. I guess going there in the height of summer means it's going to be roasting - when I was there in early May, it was perfect - not too hot and not cold.

Yes, well, I got a bit of a tan--but I don't particularly like that, haha. I was thinking winter would be a good time to go, but it might be too rainy then... I'm not a beach fan, so I don't mind lower temperatures.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 2):
Looking forward to the next instalment - I watched the EK 332 come and go when I was there.

When I was in LCA on Day 1, I saw the A330's approach through a couple of buildings... No luck in taking a picture unfortunately.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 2):
Going Retro, Chasing The Sun: BA B763 To Cyprus (by palmjet May 21 2012 in Trip Reports)

Thanks! May 21... Hmmm I was in the Bahamas when you published this TR. Thanks for the link  

Anyway, thanks, I hope you'll like the next installment!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Cyprus is a very nice Island to visit . Shame you couldnt get into the mountains and to Pafos as you would have got a more varied picture of the Island rather then the industrial areas .

Hey Philip!

Well, I'm generally speaking a city kind a guy. Maybe Pafos would've been nice but I found Nicosia the most interesting.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
The Turkish part of Nicosia is actually nicer I agree . I really enjoyed my visits there. Its not so off the beaten track these days . I was there 15 years ago first time when you couldnt cross and the tourism was minimal. It really was a North Korea type feeling back then . I must go back oneday and see how its changed. If you had the time it would have been great to take a car and go to Kyrenia and Apostolos Andreas in the tip of the pan handle.

Ah, I see. That's very interesting, 15 years back it would have been difficult; where did you cross the border (or did you land at Ercan)?

It doesn't feel that different now... The cars are a bit older on the Turkish side, that's actually pretty noticeable, but that's about it. Not many locals out on the streets when I was there, for the reasons I've mentioned.

Do these rental cars also come with drivers, I wonder? I don't enjoy driving and I'm not gonna spend my holiday driving, that's for sure. But they do have buses/mini-buses to different locations AFAIK...

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
With regards to the English speakers your right I was surprised too when I was there . Because it was a British colony people expect more of an English feel but more people in Greece speak English than Cyprus IMHO.

Quite strange if you ask me. Malta was more what I was expecting with respect to British-ness. Anyway, I didn't expect Little Britain or anything, but on the internet everyone was writing stuff like... "English is no problem, maybe except waitresses"... Not in my experience!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Anyway glad you enjoyed it .

There are not many places I've hated to be honest...   I just wish it would have been cooler... maybe 32C! 
Quoting The777Man (Reply 4):

Hi Alex !

Nice report with nice pictures !

You really make the most of your summer vacation to travel! Cyprus looks nice and interesting to see the Turkish part as well. I think it's better to go there in the winter time when it's not so hot.....

Looking forward to the next report!

Hi The777Man!

Thanks for your comments!

Oh yes, I do indeed try to travel a lot, summer break and even during the year... I've mentioned this previously somewhere... this is what I save the money I earn for   People my age tend to spend a lot on other things, but I just don't have the same notion of fun as them  

An, yeah, my thoughts exactly--a winter destination to get away from the cold.

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
May I ask, why you choose OS and not HG? I think HG is offering a better product...

Hi debonair, you sure may... Price was the deciding factor. HG was much more expensive than OS.

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
I have to admit, that I had never problems with US security personal. Ever tried Poland Border Patrol- especially Gdansk? After showing you their special "hospitality" and full "attention" you will just love the TSA! Luckily more and more airports will take the security process "in-house"...

I'm not a big fan of the TSA. I don't mind the private security firms at some airports, like MCI for example.

I'm sure that border guards have made this hospitality into an art form. Was this hospitality a way of obtaining some "dinero" by any chance?

Anyway, Poland? No, never tried. But border guards are well known for being very hospitable around this part of the world...

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
Looking fwd to this more "exotic" part!

Coming soon to a website near you  

Thanks for reading and commenting, guys!
 
debonair
Posts: 2705
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:09 pm

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 6):
I'm sure that border guards have made this hospitality into an art form. Was this hospitality a way of obtaining some "dinero" by any chance?

No, but this was for sure a military drill and not a security check at all: "shoes off, belt off, your passport now, stand still, don't move". Very, very strange...

"Baksheesh" I should only pay in Cairo as BusinessClass passenger flying Egypt Air.
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:05 pm

Hi Alex,

very promising first part of your latest series with very nice pictures from Cyprus! Bad to hear about your RO experience. I'll fly RO soon, but it will just be a short domestic leg.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
RO251, OTP-LCA, B733, 08:10-10:20, Day 1, YR-BGB
EK107, LCA-MLA, A332, 12:15-14:10, Day 2, A6-EAP
AZ887, MLA-FCO, A321, 14:00-15:25, Day 3, I-BIXE
AZ1317, FCO-BLQ, A319, 17:50-18:55, Day 3, EI-IMT
9U881, VCE-VRN-KIV, A320, 20:20-00:35, Day 5, ER-AXT
9U857, KIV-OTP, E120, 18:30-19:30, Day 6, ER-EMA

Sounds very good! I'm particularly looking forward to your EK report.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Company A318:

So cute...my itinerary still shows an A318. Hopefully RO won't switch to another type. I have already flown on the A318, but getting on that bird again would be great.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Unfortunately YR-BGB is already showing its age and perhaps RO should be getting ready to order 319s, 73Gs or even E190s to replace these older 733s.

It's not a matter of age. Just yesterday I flew on a LH 735 from 1991, the interior looked nice and fresh.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
gabrielchew
Posts: 3726
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:08 pm

Shame the check in procedure in OTP was such a mess, and with such poor staff.....how long before the Soviet mentality gets completely removed?

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
I had about 2 hours in Larnaka, before my bus to Nicosia would leave at 13:00. I decided to walk around

How come you didn't take the direct bus from LCA to Nicosia?
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-BKK-AKL-TBU-NAN-WLG,WHK-AKL-BKK-LHR
 
reifel
Posts: 1538
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:53 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:52 pm

Thanks for this great report, as we don't read too much about Tarom. Looking very forward to the following parts, especially Air Moldova
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:13 pm

Hi everyone!

Quoting debonair (Reply 7):
No, but this was for sure a military drill and not a security check at all: "shoes off, belt off, your passport now, stand still, don't move". Very, very strange...

How strange, indeed. I'm not sure what could've happened there...

Quoting debonair (Reply 7):
Baksheesh" I should only pay in Cairo as BusinessClass passenger flying Egypt Air.

Ah, yes, the country of baksheesh  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8):
Hi Alex,

very promising first part of your latest series with very nice pictures from Cyprus! Bad to hear about your RO experience. I'll fly RO soon, but it will just be a short domestic leg.

Hi PH,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8):
So cute...my itinerary still shows an A318. Hopefully RO won't switch to another type. I have already flown on the A318, but getting on that bird again would be great.

Unfortunately they really screwed up on that day. Hopefully it will go better for you... I smelled trouble before I even stepped up to the desk.

CLJ, right? They do get their fair share of A318, should be safe  

How are you getting back from CLJ, are you staying a night or flying straight out?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8):
Sounds very good! I'm particularly looking forward to your EK report.

I think I'm gonna start it tonight  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8):
It's not a matter of age. Just yesterday I flew on a LH 735 from 1991, the interior looked nice and fresh.

Yeah, that's true. TAROM doesn't have that much money as of late.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
Shame the check in procedure in OTP was such a mess, and with such poor staff.....how long before the Soviet mentality gets completely removed?

I did a quick calculation... Should be gone by 2050! Yup, that's 40 more years!

Indeed, quite a shame, but that's life..

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
How come you didn't take the direct bus from LCA to Nicosia?

Decided to visit a bit of Larnaka as well... Also, the buses were departing Nicosia from a rather inconvenient location, and I wasn't sure what/if city buses would get me there.

Quoting reifel (Reply 10):

Thanks for this great report, as we don't read too much about Tarom. Looking very forward to the following parts, especially Air Moldova

Thanks reifel!

Air Moldova was... well, you'll see. Impressive in some aspects, horrendous in another.


Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone! It's much appreciated  
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:50 am

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 11):
CLJ, right? They do get their fair share of A318, should be safe
Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 11):
How are you getting back from CLJ, are you staying a night or flying straight out?

Yes, I will spend the night at CLJ and take Wizz Air to DTM on the next day, connecting to 4U to MUC.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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sultanils
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:37 pm

Hello Alex,

You sure have a steady flow of ncie reports here lately. Much appreciated, so keep them coming pls. I kinda like the idea of trying to set foot in every Euro country. That shouldn't be too hard I think?
Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your miserable ground experience at OTP. Indeed, the RO checkin staff need some proper customer oriented training here! I'm glad the flight itself was a whole lot better. I was supposed to set foot on a RO plane for the first time in Nov, but they bastards cancelled my flight so now I booked some alternative travel to OTP. Blue Air is still on the 'booked and confirmed' list. I hope that doesn't change...

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Presidential A310

Lucky him, he gets to fly the nice oldies!


Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
On-time arrival

Strange FIDS, it appears to be projected on a wall as such?

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:36 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 12):
Yes, I will spend the night at CLJ and take Wizz Air to DTM on the next day, connecting to 4U to MUC.

Hi PH, good to know! Hope you'll enjoy CLJ. It's an interesting city for Romanian standards.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 13):
Hello Alex,

You sure have a steady flow of ncie reports here lately. Much appreciated, so keep them coming pls. I kinda like the idea of trying to set foot in every Euro country. That shouldn't be too hard I think?
Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your miserable ground experience at OTP. Indeed, the RO checkin staff need some proper customer oriented training here! I'm glad the flight itself was a whole lot better. I was supposed to set foot on a RO plane for the first time in Nov, but they bastards cancelled my flight so now I booked some alternative travel to OTP. Blue Air is still on the 'booked and confirmed' list. I hope that doesn't change...

Hey Nils!

I'll do my best to keep them coming. It'll be a bit harder during school, though  

No, it shouldn't be too hard, if we exclude Belarus with its expensive visa and no other real reason to visit aside.

Thanks... They've cancelled your flight? Hmm, was this a BRU flight? Have they decided to not do double daily to BRU anymore?

Hopefully Blue Air is fine and safe... Although, you never know with them...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 13):
Lucky him, he gets to fly the nice oldies!

Well, he's suspended for now. But yes, B707 until a couple of years back... and now A310. Not bad.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 13):
Strange FIDS, it appears to be projected on a wall as such?

Yup, that's exactly right. Not very common AFAIK, although I've seen it before.
 
Knightsofmalta
Posts: 1687
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:10 pm

Hi Alex

Blimey, I'm having trouble keeping up with you! In any case, thanks for the excellent report and the lovely pictures of Cyprus. I looks rather nice, and in some places quite similar to Malta.

I hope I don't sound too ignorant in asking this but can you just simply cross over the boarder from the Greek Cypriot to the Turkish Cypriot part? Somehow I always thought that would not be possible.

As for your Tarom, what can I say? To be perfectly honest, they sound like rather a horrific experience on the ground. But as you say, as the old guard retires things are bound to improve. However I also think one has to be fair and not collectively blame their attitude on socialism or Balkanism or whatever. A while back I flew with Iberia from Barcelona to Madrid. I arrived at the check-in counter and there was this old guy sitting there under a no-smoking sign with a cigarette dangling rather unattractively from the corner of his mouth. He was the check-in agent and I honestly think he could not have cared less if I had dropped dead right in front of his counter!

Cheers,
William
 
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sultanils
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:21 pm

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 14):
Thanks... They've cancelled your flight? Hmm, was this a BRU flight? Have they decided to not do double daily to BRU anymore?

I was booked on a Friday morning, the morning flight is no more on Friday   

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 14):
Hopefully Blue Air is fine and safe

Safe is the most important here 

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
DIESEL1337
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:15 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:25 am

Great report! Any more photos of the new terminal at Otopeni?
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:08 am

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 15):

Hi Alex

Blimey, I'm having trouble keeping up with you! In any case, thanks for the excellent report and the lovely pictures of Cyprus. I looks rather nice, and in some places quite similar to Malta.

Hi again William!

Thank you for commenting  

Yes, the climate and vegetation look a bit similar--however, I personally liked Malta more.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 15):
I hope I don't sound too ignorant in asking this but can you just simply cross over the boarder from the Greek Cypriot to the Turkish Cypriot part? Somehow I always thought that would not be possible.

Yes, ever since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, there can be no problems for EU citizens at the border, due to the right of free movement anywhere on EU soil (which N. Cyprus most definitely is). I believe in 2007-2008 they opened the Ledras Street crossing in the old town, and the process seems to be very quick.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 15):
As for your Tarom, what can I say? To be perfectly honest, they sound like rather a horrific experience on the ground. But as you say, as the old guard retires things are bound to improve. However I also think one has to be fair and not collectively blame their attitude on socialism or Balkanism or whatever. A while back I flew with Iberia from Barcelona to Madrid. I arrived at the check-in counter and there was this old guy sitting there under a no-smoking sign with a cigarette dangling rather unattractively from the corner of his mouth. He was the check-in agent and I honestly think he could not have cared less if I had dropped dead right in front of his counter!

You're right. Not everyone is like the woman at desk 13. That said, her attitude was so typical, and I've seen it so many times in Romania... And apparently our friend Widebodyroga has also seen it in Bulgaria... so we would only be fair in calling it a Balkanism  

Regarding your experience in Spain... Well, I can't say I'm very surprised. It didn't seem to me the Spanish care that much about rules and they're not that friendly. Just my opinion; I'm sure there are a lot of nice people in Spain.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 16):
I was booked on a Friday morning, the morning flight is no more on Friday   

That's a shame... Why did they do that?  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 16):
Safe is the most important here 

I bet. I'm booked on a BlueAir flight to Bergamo in December... You may know what that leads up to  
Quoting DIESEL1337 (Reply 17):

Great report! Any more photos of the new terminal at Otopeni?

Hi Diesel1337,

Thanks for your comment!

Feel free to check my previous TRs that involve OTP... I don't have that many pictures of OTP, but there are a few here and there  
 
MSS658
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:17 am

Hello A.


Great report, thanks for sharing. Getting the classic 737 is pretty rare nowadays.
Thanks for sharing the LCA pics, was going to go there. But due to fare changes I went to PMI instead.

Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
akhmad
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:38 am

Hello Alex,

I may not be reading your trip report series in chronological order, but I came across this installment of yours just later on. Boy, I was excited as well by what I might get to read, especially when it’s about your experience with your home country carrier.

Sadly, the first excitement was smashed up by your encounter with Mrs. Bici.  

Luckily the agent of desk 10 was willing to help you further. I am glad to learn that the further encounters (with security staff, lounge agent) only got better!  



Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
YR-BAG

Y(ou)R BAG. Sorry, I cannot help it! 


Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
I boarded YR-BGB, one of 2 aircraft in RO's jet fleet that doesn't have any entertainment options aside from the magazine
Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Although, if you want a typical 1990s experience, fly RO

To use Palmjet’s words, you were definitely going retro!   


Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
I was curious whether we'd avoid Turkey or not. We did not, so I'm glad that's not a problem anymore.

Oh? Please tell me more about the history.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
In fact, I had already burned my hands and forearms in the intense Cypriot Sun.

Ouch! It must have hurt.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Room at the Castelli Hotel in Nicosia (executive room-I'd been upgraded):

Was there Executive Lounge as well? If so, did you get complimentary access?


Again just like your trip to Malta, I really appreciate the virtual sightseeing with you. Thank you.

Too bad about RO, I wish that you could be proud of your home country carrier like the way I am of Garuda.


Best wishes,
Suryo  
Friends forever
 
deltamartin
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:48 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:49 am

Hi Alex!

Nice report again! Quite different destination though compared to your Norway TR's!  
Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
She answered, completely “a la roumain”, that “I have to close my shift... and there's your answer”.

Ughh, not a good start of a vacation.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Service commenced relatively soon after take-off. We were offered a selection of cold drinks, a sandwich (a full one, not a half one like on OS), as well as a selection of tea/coffee. Afterwards, we were offered another drink if we wanted it. Since this was a morning flight, I have no idea what kind of alcohol they offered, since it wasn't displayed, but I'm sure the drinks are free.

Glad to see their service in-air isn't lacking at least.

Martin
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:54 pm

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 19):
Hello A.


Great report, thanks for sharing. Getting the classic 737 is pretty rare nowadays.
Thanks for sharing the LCA pics, was going to go there. But due to fare changes I went to PMI instead.

Greetings
Marc

Hey Marc!

Thanks--although for me, a 733 is the most flown on aircraft type. Although I'd still take it over an A320, for sure  

Shame you couldn't go to LCA and had to go to Spanish Deutschland instead  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Hello Alex,

I may not be reading your trip report series in chronological order, but I came across this installment of yours just later on. Boy, I was excited as well by what I might get to read, especially when it’s about your experience with your home country carrier.

Hi there, Suryo  

I'm glad to know you're reading my reports--BTW, I have read your Air Asia report to Darwin but I'm also writing my Moldovan experience as of now... I hope to reply ASAP, however.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Sadly, the first excitement was smashed up by your encounter with Mrs. Bici.  

Luckily the agent of desk 10 was willing to help you further. I am glad to learn that the further encounters (with security staff, lounge agent) only got better!  

Yes, an unfortunate experience, and one that came at the worst possible time--there aren't many RO reports and I have to open with this--imagine how I must have felt!

Some people are nice, but, unfortunately, some are not...

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Y(ou)R BAG. Sorry, I cannot help it! 

Well, I do find that funny  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
To use Palmjet’s words, you were definitely going retro!   

Yes, this experience was quite something--90's customer service, 90's aircraft. Well, it's not bad if I think of it like this 
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Oh? Please tell me more about the history.

Well, the Greeks and Turks always had contentious issues, starting in Ottoman times... Anyway, in the 1970s, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus with the purpose of protecting Turkish interests on the island. The Cypriots and Greeks took that as an act of war (which in effect it was)... This is also why the main airport is in LCA. The airport of Nicosia was caught in the crossfire, and is now situated in the "Green Zone", essentially no man's land. I know my grandfather was telling me stories about this and it always sounded interesting.

Anyway, I understand that the Turkish government did not issue overflight permits to flights originating in Cyprus. Also, flights to Northern Cyprus (Ercan) must stop on Turkish soil first, as Ercan's status is not recognized by ICAO as international--all flights must pass controls in Turkey.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Was there Executive Lounge as well? If so, did you get complimentary access?

Again just like your trip to Malta, I really appreciate the virtual sightseeing with you. Thank you.

Too bad about RO, I wish that you could be proud of your home country carrier like the way I am of Garuda.

Haha. Well, there was a bed and a lounge area in the room... where I lounged--free access indeed  

You're welcome. I hope you enjoyed your journey through Cyprus.

I wish I could as well, Suryo... They did improve, lately. Or I thought they had.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 21):
Hi Alex!

Nice report again! Quite different destination though compared to your Norway TR's!  

Hi Martin!

Thank you! Indeed, something else entirely, this time  
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 21):
Glad to see their service in-air isn't lacking at least.

No, on a good day in-air they're among the best in Europe...

Thanks for reading, Martin, and I hope you enjoyed!
 
akhmad
Posts: 2498
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:47 pm

Hi there Alex,

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 22):
BTW, I have read your Air Asia report to Darwin but I'm also writing my Moldovan experience as of now... I hope to reply ASAP, however.

No problem. Take your time.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 22):
there aren't many RO reports and I have to open with this--imagine how I must have felt!

I can imagine your feeling, but what could you do about it? Thanks for nothing to Mrs. Bici! She should have known better!

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 22):
but, unfortunately, some are not...

Sad, but true.  


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 22):
Well, the Greeks and Turks always had contentious issues, starting in Ottoman times... Anyway, in the 1970s, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus with the purpose of protecting Turkish interests on the island. The Cypriots and Greeks took that as an act of war (which in effect it was)... This is also why the main airport is in LCA. The airport of Nicosia was caught in the crossfire, and is now situated in the "Green Zone", essentially no man's land. I know my grandfather was telling me stories about this and it always sounded interesting.

Anyway, I understand that the Turkish government did not issue overflight permits to flights originating in Cyprus. Also, flights to Northern Cyprus (Ercan) must stop on Turkish soil first, as Ercan's status is not recognized by ICAO as international--all flights must pass controls in Turkey.

Thank you so much for the in-depth information. Your grandfather must be a well-read family member you are proud of.  


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 22):
a lounge area in the room... where I lounged--free access indeed   

That’s fair enough. 


Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 22):
I hope you enjoyed your journey through Cyprus.

Sure! It reminds me of my own visit to Paphos and surroundings in 2009.


Suryo  
Friends forever
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:54 pm

Hi Suryo,

Quoting akhmad (Reply 23):
No problem. Take your time.

I have managed to reply  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 23):
I can imagine your feeling, but what could you do about it? Thanks for nothing to Mrs. Bici! She should have known better!

Indeed--couldn't do a thing at all. A shame, really, but the truth is the truth.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 23):
Thank you so much for the in-depth information. Your grandfather must be a well-read family member you are proud of.  

Yes, we're proud of him. He led a good (but not easy) life. He was well travelled, as well. His stories inspired me to travel... He travelled to Cyprus a few times, I believe.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 23):
Sure! It reminds me of my own visit to Paphos and surroundings in 2009.

Good to know--haven't seen Paphos myself, but never say never  

Thanks for some more comments, I appreciate it  
 
CaptainRed
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:22 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:44 pm

Hi Alex,

great report here, really enjoyed it.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Now, this might sound like a bizarre itinerary, right?

Yes, that's indeed a wonderful itinerary, well done. Nice selection of carriers, plane types and some pretty interesting destinations, that's something I would like as well   ...

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
She answered, completely “a la roumain”, that “I have to close my shift... and there's your answer”.

Ouch, what a terrible behavior. Someone like this should definitely not be dealing with customers. Very annoying. Even more so since the flight itself and the service on board seemed to be very nice. Plus flying a classic 737 was fun for sure.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
IST:

Hey, I will be there later this year if all goes well.

Also enjoyed reading about your experience in Cyprus, seems to be an interesting country. Nice pictures. Good to read that one can cross the border there to the Turkish side so easily nowadays.

CaptainRed
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
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RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:54 pm

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
Hi Alex,

great report here, really enjoyed it.

Hi CaptainRed!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
Yes, that's indeed a wonderful itinerary, well done. Nice selection of carriers, plane types and some pretty interesting destinations, that's something I would like as well   ...

Thanks   Sometimes it all works out and you can make up an interesting itinerary without too much of a hassle... Pieces fall into place. Not even very early morning flights  
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
Ouch, what a terrible behavior. Someone like this should definitely not be dealing with customers. Very annoying. Even more so since the flight itself and the service on board seemed to be very nice. Plus flying a classic 737 was fun for sure.

Yes--very bad form there...

The flight was nice, no complaints--yes, they're getting rare, although both RO and Blue Air are still flying a few. Although I have more than enough 733s for my log  
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 25):
Hey, I will be there later this year if all goes well.

Also enjoyed reading about your experience in Cyprus, seems to be an interesting country. Nice pictures. Good to read that one can cross the border there to the Turkish side so easily nowadays.

Good to know!

Yeah, Cyprus was rather interesting--and no more problems getting into Northern Cyprus.

Thanks for your comments, CaptainRed!
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4050
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:49 am

Awesome trip report. Thanks for writing it up as it was very detailed and informative. You had quite the summer itinerary ... adjusting back to Chicago must be hard  .

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Warning: if you love airlines and are sensitive to someone bashing them, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

= LOL.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Romanian customer service is a mixture of French and Russian customer service, so let's just say there's basically no such thing

= LOL again.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
I spent a good couple of hours in the Turkish side, seeing the Mosques and nice enough neighborhoods as well as some poorer ones. I think that I enjoyed the Turkish part a bit more,

= Absolutely agreed. I think the Turkish side is so much more interesting in general than Cyprus. And if you go beyond the capital, you truly see this difference amplified.

Thanks again for taking the time to write it up.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:33 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:57 pm

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 27):
Awesome trip report. Thanks for writing it up as it was very detailed and informative. You had quite the summer itinerary ... adjusting back to Chicago must be hard  .

Thanks, Alex!  

Indeed, this summer was very conducive to travel--gonna have 65 segments by the end of the year, which is not bad for someone who has yet to travel for business  

Chicago--well, I'm still about a month away from going back, and still a couple of destinations away. However, it's going to be hard to go back into study mode  
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 27):
= Absolutely agreed. I think the Turkish side is so much more interesting in general than Cyprus. And if you go beyond the capital, you truly see this difference amplified.

Thanks again for taking the time to write it up.

It's a bit hard to get around Cyprus for me, someone who doesn't really enjoy driving. I might come back to Cyprus one day, although I get the feeling the current state of events might be gone by then...

Thank you for reading  
 
FlyingFinn76
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:22 pm

Hiya Alex,

Wow, one week you're doing a grand tour of Norway, the other week you're heading in the exact opposite direction for a grand tour of the Med! You certainly get around a bit, don't you?

Anyway it sounds like you are doing quite an interesting tour of some very nice places, so yes, I'll be eagerly reading this series too!

Great pictures from Cyprus - I should really go back there soon, especially since they've opened a couple of HRCs there now. Cyprus was actually the first "real" foreign country (Sweden doesn't count for us Finns) I ever visited when I was seven years old. That trip was also my first one with an airplane (a Finnair DC-8 both ways - bliss!) and I've been hooked ever since as you probably can tell  .

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Afterwards I headed to security... Well, for some reason the people there are much nicer than Bici. You know how in the USA they scream at you “belts, hats, coats, shoes, laptops out”?

Yeah, this is my pet peeve about the TSA. I don't have a problem with "tighter" (well more like the illusion of it) security with different rules or even the ridiculous number of times you have to show your ID and passport and those TSA agents looking so shit important and scrawling those weird markings on your boarding pass. But why on earth do they have to be so damn rude at it and treat all passengers like they are a) morons and b) terrorists. A little respect goes a long way, as that door swings both ways. No respect for me, no respect from me for you. Simple as that. Most of Europe still has civilized and even polite security agents, which is very nice.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
As on my previous trip, I took a taxi to the airport. This time, the driver didn't try to drive without a meter and also barely spoke a word at all. I gave him somewhere around 25-30 lei, the regular fare...

On my visits to Romania I was kinda impressed with the taxi drivers. None of them tried to rip me off, they always used the meter and the one dude in Timisoara even spoke excellent English and was good for a nice conversation. This doesn't sound like the Romania I know - maybe the authorities have really purged the taxi forces and revoked the licences of all the rip off artists?

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
TAROM was, as all of its brothers in Eastern Europe, a state-owned airline during the communist regime.

Well your check in experience sounds exactly like that!

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Blue Air with a heavy presence:

Kinda surprised to still see them around - they were on their last breath two years ago when I flew with them and had some crap experiences with my canceled flight but somehow they seem to have managed to struggle another couple of years...

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Service commenced relatively soon after take-off. We were offered a selection of cold drinks, a sandwich (a full one, not a half one like on OS), as well as a selection of tea/coffee.

Hmm, this looks so much better than the catering on my single Tarom flight to date, BRU-OTP. We were offered a full hot meal, but it was one of the crappiest meals I've ever been served onboard, probably on par with the Armavia pork leg for the worst inflight meal ever award. Some kind of chicken in utterly disgusting sauce with mashed potatoes that you could use to affix wallpapers to the walls of your house, yuck.

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
Since this was a morning flight, I have no idea what kind of alcohol they offered, since it wasn't displayed, but I'm sure the drinks are free.

Well on my flight they didn't have any wine in economy - for the flag carrier of a major wine producing nation this is very, very bad. And the beer they served was horrible too. It takes a lot for me to call a beer "crap", but that brew did earn it. Can't remember the brand though.
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:33 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:49 am

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Hiya Alex,

Wow, one week you're doing a grand tour of Norway, the other week you're heading in the exact opposite direction for a grand tour of the Med! You certainly get around a bit, don't you?

Hi there P,

What can I say--2012 went pretty well for me, gonna have 65 flights by the end. Not as much as some professional travellers but I don't think it's too bad!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Anyway it sounds like you are doing quite an interesting tour of some very nice places, so yes, I'll be eagerly reading this series too!

Good to know--and thanks a lot for your comments!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Great pictures from Cyprus - I should really go back there soon, especially since they've opened a couple of HRCs there now.

Interesting. Speaking of which, just how many HRCs have you been to? I'm sure the list is pretty long by now.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Cyprus was actually the first "real" foreign country (Sweden doesn't count for us Finns) I ever visited when I was seven years old. That trip was also my first one with an airplane (a Finnair DC-8 both ways - bliss!) and I've been hooked ever since as you probably can tell  .

Ah, a DC-8 for your first flight? No wonder you're hooked! I had a boring ol' 734 for my first flight and I'm still hooked, haha. Regarding your statement about Sweden... do all Finns learn Swedish in school, or only in certain parts of the country? How does that work?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
I don't have a problem with "tighter" (well more like the illusion of it) security with different rules or even the ridiculous number of times you have to show your ID and passport and those TSA agents looking so shit important and scrawling those weird markings on your boarding pass.

Indeed--not to mention those boarding passes like like shit with all those scribbles no one understands! I'm really not a fan of the whole process in the States--although, the private security firms do have some more polite agents, they still employ some of the "shoes, belts, laptops, etc., out" persuasion...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
But why on earth do they have to be so damn rude at it and treat all passengers like they are a) morons and b) terrorists. A little respect goes a long way, as that door swings both ways. No respect for me, no respect from me for you. Simple as that. Most of Europe still has civilized and even polite security agents, which is very nice.

Well, I'll get flamed for this for part a) is probably because most people flying there are morons. Not in the sense they're intellectually challenged or have a low IQ, but in the sense that they don't really know to fend for themselves... Indeed you're right--most of Europe does offer nice agents, only CDG does not in my experience  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
On my visits to Romania I was kinda impressed with the taxi drivers. None of them tried to rip me off, they always used the meter and the one dude in Timisoara even spoke excellent English and was good for a nice conversation. This doesn't sound like the Romania I know - maybe the authorities have really purged the taxi forces and revoked the licences of all the rip off artists?

I have little clue, really. All taxi drivers and cars must have a license and the fees are enormous--however, the price isn't regulated by the government. There are many with a price of 1,39 lei/km, some with 3,50 lei/km and there used to be some with 7,39 lei/km, though I haven't seen the latter lately... All of those authorized taxis at OTP are 3,50 lei/km... Which means 20 USD to central Bucharest, more or less. Otherwise it should be 8 USD max.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Kinda surprised to still see them around - they were on their last breath two years ago when I flew with them and had some crap experiences with my canceled flight but somehow they seem to have managed to struggle another couple of years...

Yeah, I'm kinda surprised myself, although I don't really see them failing now as much as a couple of years back. They had to get rid of their 738s but they seem to be in a bit better shape now.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Hmm, this looks so much better than the catering on my single Tarom flight to date, BRU-OTP. We were offered a full hot meal, but it was one of the crappiest meals I've ever been served onboard, probably on par with the Armavia pork leg for the worst inflight meal ever award. Some kind of chicken in utterly disgusting sauce with mashed potatoes that you could use to affix wallpapers to the walls of your house, yuck.

Hah... I might've asked you this before, but what year was this? I flew to BRU in 2007 and don't remember anything that disgusting. TAROM was really quite bad in the early 2000s and as you can see, sometimes those times can come back...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 29):
Well on my flight they didn't have any wine in economy - for the flag carrier of a major wine producing nation this is very, very bad. And the beer they served was horrible too. It takes a lot for me to call a beer "crap", but that brew did earn it. Can't remember the brand though.

That's a shame--about the beer, I sorta remember RO serving Ursus... But I'm not sure about that and they probably change the brand every once in a while.

Thanks for your in depth comments P, I really appreciate it.
 
win1290
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:38 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:04 pm

Hi Alex,

Very nice trip report, and great destination pictures too, thanks for sharing.

The check-in story sounds quite bad, but at least the young girl (at counter 10) seemed enthusiastic and helpful. Its always great to see the Classic 737, I really like this type of aircraft. I think the onboard offering was quite good too.

Thanks,

Win
 
adamspotter
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 pm

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:34 pm

Hi Alex,

Great report for the beginning of your next series, heck I still have to read your Norway series  
Anyway another great report, thanks for sharing. RO groundhandling does not sounds that impressive at all, the flight looks quite good with a nice snack.
Love your destination pictures too!

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
IST:

Great overview picture!

Quoting dc9northwest (Thread starter):
He even gave me an upgrade to an executive room

Very nice of him

cheers,

Brendan
 
roberts87
Posts: 1091
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:59 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:05 pm

Nice report again, thanks for posting! Tarom is not often reported here, so interesting to read about them, despite the negative experience.
 
dc9northwest
Topic Author
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:33 am

RE: TAROM, OTP-LCA, B737-300, And Nicosia

Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:20 pm

Hi guys

First off--sorry about the late replies, I've been caught up with a few things lately...

Quoting win1290 (Reply 31):
Hi Alex,

Very nice trip report, and great destination pictures too, thanks for sharing.

The check-in story sounds quite bad, but at least the young girl (at counter 10) seemed enthusiastic and helpful. Its always great to see the Classic 737, I really like this type of aircraft. I think the onboard offering was quite good too.

Thanks,

Hi Win,

Thanks a lot, glad you enjoyed.

Yeah RO is alright once you get in the air, but the whole experience leaves a bad taste in my mouth--looking back, I'm surprised it hasn't happened more often... that's the kind of service you can get in Bucharest unfortunately...

The classic 737 is fine, but I prefer the -400 (first flight was on one) and the -500 (very few flights on one of these). The -300 has 1st place in my number of flights ranking! 734s and 735s are getting rarer...

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 32):
Hi Alex,

Great report for the beginning of your next series, heck I still have to read your Norway series  
Anyway another great report, thanks for sharing. RO groundhandling does not sounds that impressive at all, the flight looks quite good with a nice snack.
Love your destination pictures too!

Hey Brendan--and sorry for the delay!

I'm backed up as well--I've read the first couple of parts of your US series--but still have to catch up on replying--and reading too.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 32):
Great overview picture!

Yeah, luckily I managed a decent enough shot of IST.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 32):
Very nice of him

Yeah, good customer service in Cyprus... People are very nice there  
Quoting roberts87 (Reply 33):

Nice report again, thanks for posting! Tarom is not often reported here, so interesting to read about them, despite the negative experience

Well, Robert, first thanks for reading!

Second, what can I do--I report on actual flights, not some fantasy... I have to say it as I see it... And, unfortunately, this is exactly what I saw  

Thanks again, guys!

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