This report is the second and last part of a daytrip I took some time ago, for the first part please see: Mallorca Bound On An A(B)333: BRU-STR-PMI (by sultanils Aug 17 2012 in Trip Reports) *
Part 1 has seen me arriving at PMI from STR on a fully packed holiday configured AB A333. However, some questions are still left unanswered (see *). This part will reveal more
Palma de Mallorca airport - PMI
The Cobus drops us off at the bottom of an escalator which leads up to the terminal building. When I arrive upstairs, there’s an AENA employee awaiting shouting out a lot of destinations. I overhear him saying to some other pax: ‘Barcelona? C61!’, so that’s where I go. These live FIDS really are quite handy when you’re in a hurry. With some 30 mins to spare, I make my way over to the boarding gate, feeling quite confident that I will make the short connection.
To the left, at the end of the corridor, is the gate that I need to be at. I obviously don’t have much time to explore but by the looks of it, there’s no need to. The terminal looks not too inviting and is expectedly quite full with people.
Boarding is already well under way, but with a long line - and obviously a healthy load today - I have some time to sit down and watch the whole scene.
PMI to BCN
Photo © Felix Gottwald
With the boarding pass scanned, I make my way down for what appears to be a boarding-by-bus procedure. Now you also have the answer to the first question in the first part of this trip report: I have indeed made the connection and it was a quite comfortable one by my standards
During the walk down, I see this ‘retro’ scheme of the airline I’m about to fly for the 2nd time. I must admit I like the new one better.
The bus drives off in the Mediterranean heat and drops us at one of the multiple Air Berlin occupied apron stands. This ramp worker tries to prevent sunburn by standing under the wing. Was he maybe expecting FLIEGER67 to take a pic?
This plane looks nice in the Mallorcan sun:
Another engine view:
Deliberately I’m the last in line to climb the aircraft stairs. My eyes feast on an abundance of white and red planes:
I turn around and spot a familiar one: there’s the A333 that brought me here:
Finally I enter the cabin as the very last passenger. I’m pretty excited to see the aircraft is a rather new one and equipped with the Sky Interior.
I get a nice greeting by a young male and female crew member. I only notice now what uniforms the FA’s are wearing, they look more like casual clothing and give certainly a different expression than, let’s say more ‘conservative’ FA’s clothing. I have not yet figured out if I like that or not...
I’m seated pretty much upfront, at 4F. The dropdown screens are down and my mood is up as I anticipate some nice clear views on departure out of PMI. This is a first good view, a Niki sistership with an Air Berlin tail! Have you ever seen that
The seats are comfy and the legroom is fine as well:
The airshow is showing our current position and it is quite a show. The flight time is very short, the captain says we will only need 35 mins to BCN.
Sky Interior, yes:
We leave the stand pretty much on time and taxi out to the active departure runway, which is the southwest oriented one. Luxair seems also active here:
JFK or PMI?
This military plane landed just after our A333 and is standing idle at a parking position next to 24R:
Finally, our turn has come and we turn onto the runway to go for a rolling take off:
The take off is nothing less but scenic:
La Palma city in the distance:
Some cruisers for OA260:
We climb further and overfly the holiday beaches in the southwest part of the island:
Beaches full of burning meat
I’m able to get a last glimpse of PMI:
And after that it is mountains and sea...
Meanwhile inside the plane, the crew is released and ready to service. Well, service...? They race up and down the aircraft with Air Berlin branded paper bags and hand one out to every passenger who fancies one. The contents is a bottle of mineral water and some cheese cookies. Being very thirsty I drink the whole bottle at once but the cheese snack disappears in my backpack. Quite some other people have the opposite idea and decide on eating those cheese thingies. I don’t need to describe what kind of disgusting smell fills the cabin immediately...
Our route until now looks like this:
The views over the Med are hazy and fluffy white and blue:
Hmm, I didn’t notice the ceiling turning from blue to pink. Anyone knows how these colours are controlled (time of day,...?)?
The engines revving down and some gentle left turns initiate the descent into BCN’s El Prat. After a scenic departure now follows a scenic arrival
The sprawls of Barcelona:
Another cruiser for OA260!
Crossing the ‘rio Llobregat’ means we are very near the airport perimeter:
We touch down at 25R some 10 minutes ahead to schedule. Last time I saw this view was in Jan this year, coming from MAD on an Air Europa B738. My Ryanair flight to CRL was already visible - perhaps now as well? - but I had to get myself from T1 to T2 in 30 mins, a task I completed with not a second to spare. You can read the full details here: My Fit-o-meter & RyanAir Europa: CRL-MAD-BCN-CRL (by Sultanils Dec 8 2011 in Trip Reports)
Just like PMI is Air Berlin territory, BCN is Vueling territory:
This one is for The777Man:
We dock into one of the furthest gates on T1, next to - of course - some Vueling metal. I bid adieu to the crew and manage to have a short chat with the pilots in their office:
The crew apparently has some rest now, since this plane will be leaving again for BCN in 2,5 hours. A bit strange scheduling if you ask me...
One last look to my plane:
Barcelona El Prat airport - BCN
Once inside the terminal I’m feeling a little peckish and thus head for a food hunt. As BCN is an airport in a shopping annex eatery mall, this is not too difficult.
Since I didn’t have any time to admire the beauty of this terminal last time, I know have ample time to look around and indeed: it’s a pretty nice terminal.
Well, nice and hot it is. I’m sweating like a pig - the deo comes in handy here - neither the airco nor the hygroconditioning (if there is such a thing) are working properly:
Btw, there you got the answer again to one of the final questions in part 1 of this trip report
And the FIDS doesn’t work properly as well: still no gate for the flight to ‘Bruselas’...
There are not too many planes around, but those that are present are all nice ones:
45 mins delayed
What is the thing with SN and it’s Spanish destinations, they’re delayed almost all of the time.
I sit myself at a table - no window view unfortunately - with a parmesan cheese salad and some cold lemon tea and enjoy my meal whilst watching the Barcelona beau-monde walk by. At T-60 mins I notice on a FIDS that a gate has been assigned but since I have some time left I decide to walk all the way to the very end of the terminal which would permit me a nice view on the active runways. There really is not a living soul in sight so I make myself comfy and have a sit-in on the floor. I even dare to take off my shoes
Nope, it doesn’t go any further than this:
After some tranquil zen moments I grab hold off my belongings and head off to the assigned gate where the boarding process is in full swing. To my surprise, there is no line formed, it is all very informal and peaceful. Are we in Spain?
BCN to BRU
Photo © Björn Van Brussel
Ah, ‘The Joy Of Vueling’ is my soulmate for this flight. I hope she comes true to her name!
Walking on the aerobridge I realize that in FlyingFinn76’s worst nightmares, all planes are white , although taken strictly, that doesn’t apply to this one:
As I enter the plane, a good looking and friendly FA greets me with a jolly ‘Hola’ to which I reply ‘Hola’ (as well). The plane is already well filled - and will be 100% full in the end - and I immediately notice that the legroom will not be anything to be enjoyed this evening.
I sit straight in my seat and still my knees are jammed.
This is by far the worst legroom I have ever come across. On top of that I get 2 female seatmates. That’s not all bad because they turn out to be all giggly and chatty, most likely they had a nice stay in the city. I overhear them saying what I am thinking: ‘This legroom is awful’. ‘Yes indeed me ladies, I agree on that’. ‘We didn’t have this when coming over here, the seats were much slimmer’. ‘Oh, really?’.
So it appears there are Vueling planes around who do have better seating comfort than this one. This one has seen better days as well: the crack on the seat support is awkwardly placed as it cuts into my arm when I lay it horizontal:
On a positive note: the crew is very helpful in assisting passengers. They try to seat some families together - to which they succeed in a diplomatic way - and assist with putting bags in the overhead bins.
A look out of the window:
‘Boarding complete’ sounds barely audible through the speakers and some moments later the pilot shifts this lady in reverse. When the tug is disconnected and the engines are started, we make a beeline for 25L for departure into this glorious blue sky:
Some friends are following us:
The takeoff is really overpowering. I’ve never experienced this in a mundane A320 before. The angle of attack is so steep and liftoff is so sudden that for a moment I think the plane is about to go into a stall. Luckily this is not the case, but I do get butterflies in my stomach. I believe the pilot in charge must be an ex-jetfighter pilot!
The views on takeoff are very nice again:
We do a series of turns over the sea and come back inland to continue our course to the north, next stop BRU:
We pass over the Pyrenees and since it is summer, there’s no snow to be seen. It’s not the Alps, but nevertheless the views are nice enough:
All too soon, the curtain closes and the show is over. Time for some mellow tunes!
It takes the crew quite a long time to roll the cart out, but as I’m still full from my evening meal, I let them pass without placing an order. The ‘ling’ magazine is actually a pleasant read:
The rest of the flight passes by quietly. I occasionally try to re-seat myself to get the strain out of my knees but it’s difficult to find a good position. If you take this flight from let’s say the Nordics to Tenerife or so, you leave bruised and battered.
Occasionally, the clouds make way for some ground views. This is somewhere over France:
But as we come closer to BRU, I realize it’s game over for today with the sightseeing...
One of the cockpit crew comes on and mumbles something about ‘centigrados’ stuff, but I’m not quite susceptible for this fast Spanish and the English translation is also not one I’ll remember for a long time. Well, at least they said something...
We do an approach from the west, flying north over the airport and finally establish the final descent coming in from the east inbound for 25L:
It’s haziness and clouds galore at BRU this evening:
At 19h50, 10 minutes ahead to schedule, we make contact with the runway and some 5 minutes later, we dock into the A terminal, next to an Aegean bus as always:
I enjoyed myself to the fullest on this excellent flying day: 4 flights, 3 new airlines and my 1st Sky Interior Boeing. Everything worked out as scheduled, which is a nice bonus.
Germanwings were a pretty nice surprise. For a (semi) LCC they are very good value. The cabin was immaculate and pleasant, with plenty of space and not only because I practically had the whole plane to myself. The crew did their jobs, but nothing more. I do hope this route will sustain as they have some interesting connecting destinations via STR, so I hope todays load was not exemplary for the usual load on a normal working day.
Air Berlin I found to be a bit of a mixed bag. Sure there was the A333 which was the main highlight of the day, but the plane itself was totally worn out. No IFE but worst of all the service was not good. What is the purpose of ordering your meal online beforehand and having to ask for it in the plane? Was the crew not aware or they didn’t care?
The next flight was a whole lot better, the nearly new Boeing was a nice surprise and the small service round was not expected but fully appreciated. The crew was OK, but please Air Berlin, do something about your crews’ uniforms!
Last but not least, there’s of course Vueling, of which I did not have high expectations from the start. While the crew was by far the most pleasant one of the whole day, the legroom and seating comfort on this airline is one’s worst nightmare - yes, even worse than albino planes. Heck, even Ryanair and easyJet offer better seating comfort! Another main gripe I have with this airline is it’s abominable website. While making a booking was doable, viewing, let alone editing was virtually impossible. So Vueling, get your act together: don’t try to be too much hip and trendy but make your website work and throw out at least one row of seats on your planes and you have my business again. But anyway, thanks for the € 10 voucher
And no, luckily my knees are not sore anymore so that’s all questions answered!
Thank you for reading and feel free to leave your comments!