A 5 star meet in the Bavarian heat!!
Part I of the series can be found here:
Germanwings, A Near Miss And A Smart Upgrade! (by MSS658 Mar 29 2013 in Trip Reports)
June 2012, After being invited by fellow member and friend Daniel (LH4532) to meet somewhere in Europe in the middle of August I decided to look into possible options. This particular airport is a stopover point of two foreign airlines that makes a round trip in Europe before heading back to their homebase in Asia. A particular flight came into mind and the price was reasonable. So I decided to go ahead and book that flight. Due to pricings on my last leg out of Brussels I would have to depart from Dusseldorf or Cologne to Manchester. Both options involved new carriers, eventually I decided to opt for Cologne due to better timing and price. I would be flying Germanwings for the first time. The aircraft type would unfortunately be on a standard Airbus A319 aircraft. The Dusseldorf option would have contained a flybe Embrear 175. Oh well, we can’t have all in life.
Germanwings policy regulate that only one carry on bag is strictly allowed on board. Even more do Economy passengers pay 10 EUR to check in a bag. With the added costs an Economy ticket between Cologne and Manchester only costs a few Euro’s lesser than Economy plus (no bag fees, free snack). So I was more than lucky to treat myself to an Economy plus (Smart) ticket. (more can be seen in Part I of the story)
Off course I needed to get to the mini meeting in Munich and back home later that day. I gave some obvious hints in Part I, for the ones who wouldn’t have figured it out yet I would be taking Singapore Airlines to Munich. SQ operates a daily flight from Singapore to Manchester and back via Munich and sells tickets on these sectors. Funny enough a Lufthansa one way ticket in Economy was about equal to Singapore Airlines’ Business class. While service wise you will receive on Singapore in Economy as one might expect in Lufthansa’s Business class. Not all LH is bad off course, I opted them for my return trip back to Cologne from Munich a few hours after my arrival. I would fly on the mighty Boeing 777-300ER to Munich and fly the rather common A319 back to Cologne/Bonn airport! If I would have chosen to fly to Dusseldorf I could have logged the Airbus A321, a plane that I only logged twice. Including once when I was only 10 years old. On another occasion I flew them in the US between Ft Lauderdale en Charlotte
Wifi And Condensation On US Airways! (by MSS658 Dec 10 2010 in Trip Reports)
The alarm went off at 5.00 for a 6.00am departure. I ordered the airport shuttle, after going to a few more hotels I arrived at Terminal 1 shortly afterwards at 6.20. Terminal 1? Wait a minute?? Doesn’t Singapore Airlines leave from Terminal 2??
Leaving Manchester Ringway airport
For the ones who are a bit familiar with the Manchester airport it’s clear that this isn’t the correct terminal. Did the driver made an error? Not at all. I decided to jump off the shuttle here since I wanted to check in for my Munich-Cologne leg later this afternoon. After an unsuccessful attempt at the kiosk the Lufthansa agent explained me it was not possible to check in since I’m flying SQ to Munich but she successfully manually checked me in for the leg. Seat 24A was printed out on a grocery receipt and I was ready to go. Nice how Etihad made it’s ticketing desk in the rather dull terminal 1.
After this being dealt with I started my walk to Terminal 2 via the long corridors where I arrived at around 7.
Terminal 2 for Singapore Airlines?
In comparison to the other terminals here in Manchester terminal 2 doesn't look bad at all. SQ 327 to Singapore via Munich is running on time.
After a short line I was given a boarding pass on an equal quality grocery receipt for my pre-assigned seat 38A. Next it was up to security, the line was quite crowded since we had quite a bit of charters leaving to the Mediterranean and Caribbean area. Finally by 7:30 I passed security and was in Terminal 2. Quite a nice variety of traffic to be seen here, like this Monarch A300 that is ready for departure as ZB654 to Malaga.
A quick peek to the FIDS, Singapore Airlines 327 to Munich and Singapore is still running on time. The inbound had just arrived actually. I’m happy I wasn’t flying United to Washington this morning as UA 21 was posted with a delay of nearly 9 hours.
Breakfast at Pret-a-manger with a great view
As in almost each UK airport I’ve been in, the duty free section is the only thing that isn’t dull at all.
I wonder what the delayed UA passengers were thinking when they saw this!!
Between a Terminal filled with Boeing 767s, 777s and A330s this one looked a bit lost.
Virgin Atlantic A330-300 G-VSXY whom had just arrived from Orlando MCO as VS 074
Etihad and Thomas Cook at Terminal 1.
While there was no gate assigned yet to my Singapore Airlines flight I started to wander around Terminal 2. Until I got stopped by this.
9V-SWH would have the honor to transport me to Germany this morning.
Look from up front.
Soon I went to the podium and asked about the load which only is half full today. I asked for a threesome for myself and got seat 40K. As soon as the gate got assigned on the FIDS the passengers started to appear. There was an announcement made in the gate area announcing our flight time to Munich to be 1hr 45 mins. The ones continuing on to Singapore would be another 12 hrs 45 mins in the air before reaching SIN. As a free gesture of SQ we got mints before boarding! Great way to start a great flight.
Boarding was called at 8.30 UK Time, 9:30 Germany and a few minutes later I was onboard of.
17. Singapore Airlines flight SQ 0327 from Manchester to Munich
Saturday, August 18 2012.
Manchester (MAN/EGCC) - Munich (MUC/EDDM)
Singapore Airlines 0327 (Virgin Atlantic 7327)
Boeing 777-312ER (LN:615) Economy 40K
Delivered to Singapore Airlines on 27 February 2007
09.10-08.58 (Gate 206; Terminal 2; wheels up on runway 23L at 09.11)
12:15-11:43 (Gate H34; Terminal 2; wheels down on runway 08L at 11.43)
Announced flying time: 1 hour 33minutes
Cruising Altitude: FL370
Load factor: 50% in Y
172th flight registered
17th flight in 2012
1st flight on Singapore Airlines
17th flight on the Boeing 777
4th flight on the Boeing 777-300ER
1st flight on 9V-SWH
Movies made onboard SQ 0327 from Manchester to Munich
Taking off in Manchester:
Landing into Munich:
Planehunter flew this exact same flight on this exact aircraft a few years before me, you can read his report here
Guernsey, Ash Cloud Alarm & Mostly Empty SQ 77Ws (by PlaneHunter Sep 26 2010 in Trip Reports)
When boarding I was greeted by 2 young flight attendants. I tried to make them believe that seat 40K is to the left! I responded with you can try but we will send you right back then. Great response and it sat the tone towards the start of a great flight and turned right. There are some good seats if you turn right as well..
A seat behind the wing is a sight I’m more used to.
Another A300 bound for Sharm El Sheik
The usual pre-flight routines took place, the box appeared from out of my bag and I received a big thank you. With a load this light boarding was soon completed, the ground crew came on the intercom wishing us a pleasant flight and the door was closed soon. Pushback commenced 10 mins prior to our STD. Monarch, Firstchoice and Delta are present at terminal 2.
I must say I just love the massive wing and size of the 777
A view of the Aviation viewing park
At 9:10 in Manchester, or 10:10 in Munich the engines were spooled up and 9V-SWH started her long trek towards Germany and Singapore.
Soon above the English countryside
Bye Bye MAN! See you in a couple of months with a bunch of A.netters.
Soon we reached our cruising altitude and the Singapore magic began.
A Nice, fluffy pillow and a comfortable blanket was provided, fancy this on a flight that is only an hour and a half.
Generous legroom and legrest
Just in case you would get bored of Krisworld
Coat hangers, cupholders, remote... All you can name.
Paper menu’s in Economy class.
Offerings on this mornings run to Munich
9.40 UK Time or 10.40 in Central Europe we would be leaving the English coastline.
Soon the trays were cleared but while stowing my tray table I found this new gadget.
Singapore’s IFE has a lagoon of video and audio channels. Did not have time to check each single feature, I should try a longhaul sooner or later. While having a huge choice of options the system was a bit hard to navigate with.
The flight information channel, where I kept the IFE on during the majority of the flight.
Or fancy some music?
Soon it was time to make a small walk throughout the cabin. I wouldn’t mind to continue on to Singapore actually. The rear cabin with beige/Yellow seating.
Comfortable seats .
Forward Y cabin (where my seat is) with green/tourqoise seating.
Flight progress on the overhead monitors, waving hey to all the Dutch friends and members here.
Just passed the Rotterdam area
Soon the Economy Class leader thanked me for the chocolates and we had a nice conversation about the industry, the job, my hobby.... I thanked him for the wonderful flight. Singapore Airlines does set the bar.
11:15 Munich time, 10:15 Manchester time the engines were brought to idle and the massive Boeing 777 started descending. During our descent the Economy Class leader brought me some more homework.
Somewhere over the FRA area.
I liked the tone of the lights that were set for decent.
Speed brakes deployed.
It looks like a good day above Germany today .
Soon I discovered another hidden feature in the seat, plugs! Hmm... I really should try a long haul flight with them soon or later..
The Austrian alps in the far distance
Looking if I can see a friend of mine who was starting a road trip to Innsbruck and would be passing around Munich now
Final Approach onto 8L
At 11:38 Central European time, or 10:38 UK time. The mighty Singapore 77W touched the soil of runway 8L ending this gorgeous flight. Soon passing an A340-600, ‘a type that’s high on my to fly list’ Departing as Lufthansa 428 to Charlotte.
Before reaching our gate we passed at the viewing terrace where a group of familiar a.netters were awaiting my arrival. Fellow member and friend Daniel (LH4532) took a great shot of 9V-SWH before reaching it’s next parking position. Can anyone see mee?
11:43 Munich time/ 10:43 UK time 9V-SWH came at a complete stop at gate H34, 30 mins before our STA. Good job for the on-time performance.
Not long after the deboarding started, Another review of the J-class cabin
I was allowed to peek in the first class as well, would not mind spending some hours in this seat.
One of the F/A’s noticed me and offered on taking my pic in one of the F seats which I did except. Unfortunately no front office visit on this trip so I was trough the jet glass bridge at 11.50, or 10.50 back where this flight departed from.
Transfer time in Munich airport
One last view of 9V-SWH, now being prepared for the continuation leg of Singapore Airlines flight 327 to Singapore.
From what it looked like half the passengers would remain in Munich, the other half deboarded and waited in the gate area until a new crew would take them on to Singapore later on. As Munich standards everything went extremely smooth and soon I was met in the arrivals hall by fellow member and friends Planehunter, Johannes (Luxair747SP), Elias (Emek96), Daniel (LH4532) and Robert (MD11Bob). Soon we had a great lunch in the airbrau, funny detail on the menu card.
Following the local advice
Soon I boarded another 777. Not to Singapore, not yet to Cologne.. But in Planehunters 777 for a tour around the airport and the different spotting places.
When using my 200mm lens I noticed a fairly familiar bird. A Condor Boeing 757-300 registred D-ABOL. The same bird that took me from Frankfurt to Palma de Mallorca 6 weeks prior. You can read a detailed report on this flight here.
Flying The 274 Narrowbody Jet To Mallorca! (by MSS658 Mar 17 2013 in Trip Reports)
The Whale jet at the gate
Dash 8 Q-400
Air Dolomiti ATR 42
Airberlin is present here as well
High on this list to log once!
When spotting in German airports (Or Palma, but since there are more German registred planes than Spanish one could count it as a German one) I always seem to run into the DB-logojet
Spot the intruder!
Emirates 50 super leaving towards Dubai
I had a little surprise from Belgium, for the fellow members however after opening we soon realised that the chocolates did not survived the Bavarian heat (which was +34). We joked it still could be used as a gift trick on a flight that isn’t that good. As all good stories end 16:15 approached and Planehunters 777 dropped me and MD11bob (who was on the same flight as me) off again at terminal 2. After exchanging our thank you’s and goodbye’s it was time to head to the airport.
Lufthansa 1992 to Cologne/Bonn is running on time
Soon I went to the kiosk to print my boarding pass, now I at least have one that has a bit better quality. After security and buying a new (and better) box of chocolates I proceeded to gate G34 where my airbus A319 was awaiting me. D-AILA named Frankurt would be operating today’s flight to CGN. Irronicly enough this is the same gate where I arrived earlier from Manchester. The 777 did look better at that gate IMO.
The gate area in one of my favorite european airports
Enough 777’s in one day? I wouldn’t think so quite yet. JA 8105 arriving from Tokyo Narita as ANA 207.
Not long after I noticed an amount of people walk towards the podium and towards the jetway. Boarding had started without any kind of announcements. Thumbs down for Munich and Lufthansa on this one..
At 17:15 I was onboard of...
18. Lufthansa German Airlines flight LH 1992 from Munich to Cologne/Bonn
Saturday, August 18 2012.
Munich (MUC/EDDM) - Cologne/Bonn (CGN/EDDK)
Lufthansa German Airlines 1992
Airbus A319-114 D-AILA ‘Frankfurt’ CN 609 Economy Class 24A
Delivered to Lufthansa German Air Lines on 24 june 1996
17.30-17.28 (Gate G34; Terminal 2; wheels up on runway 08L at 17.35)
18.35-18.24 (Gate C40; Terminal 1; wheels down on runway 32R at 18.20)
Announced flying time: 52minutes
Cruising Altitude: FL2470
Load factor: 100% in Y
173th flight registered
18th flight in 2012
6th flight on Lufthansa German Airlines
19th flight on the Airbus A320 series
9th flight on the Airbus A319-100
1st flight on D-AILA
Movies made onboard LH 1992 from Munich to Cologne/Bonn
Taking off in Munich:
landing into Cologne/Bonn:
When entering I was greeted by a rather Business friendly male F/A and was directed to the second before last row where I was greeted by another female F/A whom I distributed the infamous chocolate box where I got thanked for. I find our 319 to be rather small if you compare it to this bird.
The majority of the cabin was filled by a Czech youth soccer team. Once they got settled in we pushed back and where on our way a bit earlier. passing the ANA being prepared for it’s long journey back to Narita.
Munich seems to be rather calm at this time a day since there were barely any other movements at this time. We were at the threshold of runway 8L in no time.
at 17:35 D-AILA lifted off from runway 8L. Well runway?? from my position it looked like we were still on the taxiway. There must be some explanation for this. However we entered the Bavarian skies safely.
Bye Bye MUC! Thanks for a few wonderful and hot hours.
As the majority of Lufhansa’s shorthaul fleet this A319 has been equipped by the newer NEK seating. Unlike the Brussels Airlines version of NEK I found this version to be rather bland. The cabin looked to be pretty well used as well. One advantage about NEK is the decent amount of legroom provided.
Brussels-Frankfurt! The Kuwait Way! (by MSS658 Dec 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
The carts were in the aisle soon. However on today’s flight there were only beverages, no mystery snack. Not a good move for Lufthansa here as they do a snack service on the even shorter Frankfurt-Brussels hop (which is 35mins). With the added fact that their major competitor airBerlin had a choice of 2 snacks on a similar domestic flight and that I was hungry really made this thumbs down for Lufthansa... or maybe I was still spoiled from my Singapore experience... Well for so far the Lufthy cuisine....
For the reference
Going Home, The Star Alliance Way! (by MSS658 Mar 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
The Easy Way To (Air) Berlin! (by MSS658 Feb 16 2013 in Trip Reports)
Cruising over the German countryside
Our descent started at 17.55 over a point quite a few members will recognize? I will let the guessing to you guys!
Over the Rhine Valley...
Cabin shot of our fully loaded A319
Speed brakes deployed, It’s been a nice day on this side of Germany as well.
A few twists and turns later we were on final approach to runway 32R, I do love the rural landscape around the CGN area.
At 18.20 D-AILA hit the runway and slowed gently down, this almost meaning the end of my trip. We were treated by a special bird during our taxi!
The gate where I departed from to Manchester a few days earlier, occupied by another Germanwings A319.
At 18.24 we came to a halt at gate C40 at terminal 1 next to a Germanwings A319 D-AGWR, looks like 4U occupies both terminals in Cologne.
Cabin after the flight from Munich before being prepared for its return journey to MUC as LH1993.
Not long later I bid the crew farewell and entered the terminal!
Arrival in Cologne/Bonn Airport
When walking through the terminal I noticed terminal 1 looked a bit nicer than terminal 2 where I departed from.
With no baggage to claim I was soon landside again. Seems like we are in a huge peak of Germanwings arrivals with only my MUC flight and another Lufthy from Tegel arriving at 19:35. Here is a quick peek of the FIAS!
After saying goodbye to Robert I quickly used the free wifi. Soon I realised that I had one problem, due to the lack of time on the inbound I totally did not have a clue where I parked my car, thankfully I found it after a few minutes of searching! I like the design of the CGN airport, reminds me a bit of Tegel!
At 19:00 I was on the highway for a long drive over the German, Dutch and Belgian highways, this time in relaxed spirits. I even had time to get a typical ‘Pakje friet’ just after crossing the Belgian border.
I reached home at 22.00, tired but happy about another successful trip.
Logging the Singapore Airlines flight from Manchester to Munich has always been high on my to do list and I’m happy I finally had the chance to log Singapore Airlines. Even with a few very small details SQ beats all the others out there. Very comfortable seating, a real meal, great inflight entertainment and professional and friendly Flight Attendants.I would love to try them out on a long haul flight sooner or later. Maybe on a future US trip between Frankfurt and New York? Maybe elsewhere... Who knows...
Lufthansa on the other side was more on the average side. Business friendly F/A’s a cabin that was rather well used and a very limited catering which only contained one beverage, no snack or whatsoever. Common, you serve a more generous catering on a flight from Frankfurt to Brussels which is half as long as the Munich-Cologne flight and let’s not even get into what Germanwings or Airberlin do serve on a similar flight. The lack of boarding announcements did not help my rather mixed impression about Lufthansa neither. Will I keep flying Lufthansa? Sure, this flight is a one off and I had in the meanwhile another domestic flight with them and was very satisfied.
Finally I would like to thank fellow members Planehunter, Daniel, Johannes, Elias and Robert for the great afternoon in Munich! With special thanks to Planehunter for a tour in his 777 .
Singapore Airlines 0327 from Manchester to Munich (Total score is 86%):
Departure: 80% (Airport felt like a bit of a maze! free mint service and very nice ground agents compensated a lot)
Aircraft cleanliness : 80% (Great and warm, some signs of age could be seen however)
Seat Comfort: 90% (Firm, headrests and tons of extra’s)
IFE: 90% (tons of options for a flight taking a bit over an hour)
Crew: 90% (Nice, proactive, joking and friendly.)
Catering: 70% (Cheese or ham sandwich which tasted ok)
Arrival: 90% (Well signed and easy)
Lufthansa German Air Lines 1992 from Munich to Cologne/Bonn (Total score is 72%):
Departure: 70% (Easy and very efficient, no boarding announcements however.)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (Well used cabin and bland seating)
Seat Comfort: 80% (NEK)
Crew: 70% (Business friendly.)
Catering: 60% (only a round of drinks)
Arrival: 80% (Fast and smooth)
How did todays flights compare?
1. Short Haul Economy
Best score: Singapore Airlines 86%
Singapore Airlines score 86%
SQ 0327’s score (MAN-MUC): 86%
Lufthansa’s score: 77%
LH 1992’s score (MUC-CGN): 72%
Worst score: American Eagle 60%
Conclusion: SINGAPORE Airlines has set the bar for short haul flying with 86%. Today's flight from Manchester to Munich was even rated as the best flight taken in 2012! Lufthansa scored a bit lower than the average short haul score!
Best Airports: Toronto MAN@18/08/2012: 80%
Worst Airport: Berlin SXF 30%
Conclusion: Most airport experiences were rated pretty good on today’s trip. While the transfer experience in Munich was rated slightly below average, the Manchester and Cologne airports were rated way above their averages. Munich is rated as my 7th best airport experience.
3. Aircraft Types
(Average rating per type)
Best rated types: Q400 85%
Boeing 777-300ER Average: 82%
A319-100 Average: 73%
SQ0327 MAN-MUC 86%
LH1992 MUC-CGN 72%
Worst rated types: ATR72 60%
Concusion: Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER scored better than the average flights operated by the 77W! The Boeing 777-300ER is listed as my 3rd favorite aircraft type!
Lufthansa’s A319 scored slightly lesser than other flights on the A319-100.
As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in Manchester, Munich and Cologne/Bonn
Manchester Ringway International Airport
Munich International Airport
Cologne/Bonn International Airport
Total facts in this trip report
1 New Airlines (Singapore Airlines)
2 New Registrations (9V-SWH and D-AILA)
Thanks for reading and viewing this trip report, I hope you enjoyed reading it. As usual, comments and feedback are always welcome
Stay tuned for my next trip report:
b.transatlantic to the b.apple
[Edited 2013-05-02 06:50:19]