It had been two years since my mother had been on a holiday and she had always wanted to visit the "Sound of Music " city of Salzburg,
At first I was hesitant ,but i agreed on one condition that i would be allowed to choose the flight combinations no matter how inconvinient they turn out, and we could combine this trip with FRA and MUC as I have always been fascinated with these two airports.
The cities finalized by us were FRA MUC SZG and VIE
So I had the following choices ,
LH non stop to FRA and return via Vienna with surface journeys to MUC and SZG, also the most convenient but not at all exciting for me as it was on an LH 744 ,32$ & 333, cost of this ticket was around 50,000 INR.
but what really made me want to go ahead with plans was the possibility of flying the elusive and rare Airbus 340-500,
Which I would get on EK from VIE, so similar situation as LH ,BOM DXB FRA , VIE DXB BOM, Aircrafts being 332/332/345/332, for around 48,000 INR, but the thing that deterred me was the thought of doing EK rusted old workhorses i.e. the 332s for an umpteenth time on so many legs.
Then EK announced a schedule change to the FRA flight where in they would operate the 345 on it for a short while, I was thrilled, but unfortunately ( in hindsight ) greed got the better of me and I decided to make an inconvenient journey by trying to fit in a MUC departure which would have a 380,
So my final ticketed itinerary looked like this
EK 509 BOM DXB 332
EK 043 DXB FRA. 345
EK 050 MUC DXB. 380
EK 504 DXB BOM. 77W
HG 8392 VIE MUC Emb 190
Altough i would be enduring the hassale of making a few inconvinient surface journeys but i felt it was worth for All this variety for around 45,000 INR [EK Price ]
A few days later I learnt about the wing Crack issues on the Super Jumbos, and this resulted in a substitution for my 380 with a 77W for a 5 day period on the MUC sector and my departure day was the first of those substitutions ,
also the subst happened a tad too late as all my hotel and rail bookings were done so there was no way for me to change the flight.
I guess I learnt a valuable lesson , I should not inconvenience others when it comes to my personal agenda for aircrafts.
And I made my peace with the fact that I flew on an AF 380 last year and that EK will have 380s in their fleet at least for another 30 years.
But I did pray that I get a 77W with the new ICE .
We proceeded around 8pm for the flight to a surprisingly deserted Ek line., the experience with the ground handling agency was quite out of the ordinary.
Her:Where are you'll traveling?
Her:What seats you prefer ,?
Me:I have already web checked in
Her:Here is the boarding pass.....
Me:Where is the FRA one
Me:My reservation is till FRA you have given me my boarding pass only till DXB (on checking my tags ) and have given me my baggage tags only till DXB,
Why have you not checked us in all the way
Her:Array Bhool Gayi, ( oops I forgot)
Other staff member:Tu aisi hi hain ( your like this only) guy at adjacent check in counter
Her:Chup re ( shut up)
As you can see highly unprofessional, I collected my stuff checked everything thoroughly And then
Proceeded to Immigration and security which was now the standard chaos time at Bombay
I went to the master card lounge to which I had access and is also used by a plethora of carriers, nothing great on offer just picked up a water bottle and made my way out
Boarding was soon announced and it was a packed flight.
Airbus 330-200, A6-EAE
Photo © Artur Jarosz - Warsaw Aviation Photography
Now I have been on the Ek 332 at least on 10 previous sectors and they have the worst hard product amongst theEk fleet , so I was not particularly looking forward to this flight,
There was a long line to get in and as we queued are way towards the aircraft door I came across ,my first positive impression of EK, [b]one of the crew members who was welcoming passengers would check the boarding card and if it had a skywards FFP (ours did), would say "welcome back " and if it did not have the Ek FFP she would simply say "welcome sir/ma'am ",
This was very nice on her part and it's the first time I have come across some one greeting like that. Two thumbs up
The aircraft as I mentioned was something I was expecting used and worn out,
Boarding was the normal I sit here u sit there chaos, which is typical on most Indian and Middle Eastern flights.
We left the gate before time ,there was a good brief given by the FO , I clicked a few pics of our gate neighbors and during taxi
Menus were handed out
What i did not know is EK offers champagne to Y class at a charge
Most of the flight was pretty uneventful except that the meal service took a long while to start,
On my friends suggestion I had opted for the low cal meal and it was much better as it was basically the same fish that was on the menu only instead of being fried it was grilled, which was not at all bad
My mums meal
I tuned into the non AVOD entertainment and chose to watch a bit of an Indian comedy movie I really like "Bade minyan chote miyan"
We soon began our descent from our cruise altitude of fl380
And the approach to rw 30l was a nice one as we were put in a spiral holding pattern so you could see all the aircrafts which are lined up behind you, quite a sight
We parked At a remote stand at the boundary of the airport, de boarding was smooth and we had to go by bus to the terminal, as we exited the aircraft there was this massive sight
Now came the worst part , the bus ride it was just pathetic ruined the entire experience of the flight took us 30 mins to get to the airport as we were crawling at a snails pace once near the terminal ,People were toppling and stepping on one another as the bus started and halted every few feet, bags fell on each other, one guy hit his nose against the pole and had a nose bleed
No point providing All the amenities on board and getting on time when the finish touch is not there
Please EK do something about this
Once we finally managed to get in we cleared security and made our way through to the shopping complex called dubai t3, it was overly crowded and prices are not cheap compared to USA and major Indian Cities, for example a 200 ml bottle of perfume costs the same in "duty free" as it does in one of the major departmental retail store chains in India but I guess they target more the EU and blue collar traffic from cities like DAC,CGK, GCC and African countries
We hung out a bit had some refreshments from Starbucks, and rested , it was a long 4 hour transit but soon it was time to head towards our gate,
The moment i had been waiting for My first 345 flight.
Airbus 340-500, A6-ERE
Photo © Rainer Bexten
Some of my aviation buddies will tell you how much I harass them to get me the 345 schedules
As the gate agent let me into the holding area I asked him how the loads were and he said it about "half full"
I could finally see her in all her glory parked at one of the 380 gates and looked ever so gorgeous
It was a tired and patient wait as boarding was called, I made my way greeted by the FA and was overwhelmed with joy that my first 345 flight was soon gonna commence.
I took my window seat and began boring my mum with details of the aircraft this at around 430am by our standards, I told her how EK used this to open up non stop routes to SYD and JFK, and how they introduced mood lighting which is now even seen on NBs
The MAN 380 flight was right next to us
Menu and cold towels were distributed ,
Taxi and take off commenced on rw 30R,
Flight was as smooth as expected , they gave the cold food item which was tasty and after Fiddling around with ICE for a while I dozed off for 3-4 hrs
I saw a lot of crisscross contrails over the European skies,
Breakfast service at fl360
The captain soon announced decent into FRA and he made some exciting banks over these clear skies
As we were on approach I could see an LH 737 on parallel with us, I put on the forward camera and I could see an LH 343'in front of us.
Landing was butter smooth and as we came on the taxiway I saw an LH346 land , so if anyone was spotting they got the chance to see a343 345 346 in succession a sight which will soon be a part of my memories as quads get replaced with twins
I loved the taxi in FRA got to see so much action that I did find the need to visit the observation deck
My aircraft docked into the gate and this marked my entry into Deutschland
This concludes Part 1 of my report will put up part 2 soon
till then here are some of my previous reports
Jet Airways Domestic Business Class BOM-DEL-ATQ (by karan69 Apr 6 2013 in Trip Reports)
Is This The "New Air India?" BOM-JFK On The 772LR (by Karan69 Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
GF Air F Class Extravaganza BOM-LHR-MNL-BOM [Pics] (by Karan69 Apr 14 2007 in Trip Reports)
Aero India 2007 The Indian LCC Way-Go Air (by Karan69 Aug 2 2007 in Trip Reports)
BOM-ATQ-BOM Via DEL IC/9W 737-900/Trains/Fog[Pics] (by Karan69 Dec 24 2006 in Trip Reports)
CX:A Bit Dissapointed BOM-BKK-BOM 773[56K Pics] (by Karan69 Aug 9 2006 in Trip Reports)
SQ Adventure BOM-SIN-HKG-BOM[64 56k Friendly Pics] (by Karan69 Jul 13 2006 in Trip Reports)
Jet Airways 343/AI 310 Buss Class, Security? [48 Pics] (by Karan69 Aug 1 2005 in Trip Reports)
Indian Airlines/Air Sahara BOM-DEL-BOM-many Pics (by Karan69 Nov 23 2004 in Trip Reports)