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Fly-K
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Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:06 pm

Aircraft and itinerary:
Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB Airbus A330-202 7T-VJX „Mers-el-Kerbi“

The verdict first:
Possibly one of my worst flights ever, ne jamais pas!

The trip details:
We were in Algiers for the relaunch of Lufthansa service. After flying in on the first LH flight and some great days in Algiers, the shortest way home was the twice-weekly Air Algerie flight ALG-DXB with a stop in BEY, operated by their new A330-200.
The AH GSA in the UAE only issued us Economy tickets, but with 7 hours total flight including one hour on the ground in BEY, we thought it would be OK.

We tried to arrive at Algiers airport early as the security measures in place there require their time. After going through several steps and checks (I think the authorities won’t appreciate it if I provide details of the procedures), we arrived at the waiting room 45 minutes before scheduled depature, expecting that boarding would begin soon. The waiting room was, like the entire terminal (a new one will open next year), very basic, so it was no pleasure that the scheduled departure time came and went by, with no announcement or monitor providing information. Finally 30 minutes after the scheduled time, the first bus arrived at the door and people were slowly, one by one, allowed to leave the building. About 20 minutes later, the last bus finally left from the terminal, and I was surprised to see that when we arrived at our aircraft (7T-VJX) on the ramp, the first bus was still waiting there with everyone inside. Some more lengthy security procedures followed, and then we were finally on board. The aircraft still looked nice and new inside, although the cabin design was rather basic, just like the seats, just bought off the rack it seemed. Economy class had a decent seat pitch and blue/violet colored cloth seats. Business was 7-abreast, blue leather and looked very tight, maybe 40 inch. First Class featured 6-abreast seating in grey leather. To be fair, most of the routes aren’t longer than 2-3 hours, so for these flights, the seats would be adequate. However, AH has intentions to go longhaul to China and Canada, then this would definitely be poor seating comfort.

We sat on the ground for another 15 minutes until we were finally offblocks with a 80 minutes delay. No reason was given or apologies offered. We taxied to the runway, with a view of the large storage yard featuring the past glory of Air Algerie’s fleet, 727, 737-200, A310 in full, basic or all white colors, altogether approximately some 15 aircraft. On the active ramp, a few AH 737s, a 767 and some ATR72s were visible. The night we arrived, it was more impressive, the leased 747, all A330s and a leased A310 (from Saga) had been present. We took off in a westerly direction, followed by a sharp 180 degree left turn for heading East and climbing into the hazy afternoon sky, which only provided limited views of the scenery.

My seat was in 40A, luckily the aisle seat next to me was free, although the flight was well booked. Looking around the cabin, I noticed that the only positive aspect was the newness of the aircraft, but there was not much else to write home about. The seat pitch was average and so was the seat comfort, but there was little else to enhance the in-flight experience. No inseat video, and of the overhead monitors, only two were working towards the front end of the cabin, showing only the airshow map (safety demo was manual). No audio program was running, and no headphones distributed, but for the first hour of the flight, loud classic music was played over the PA system. The list goes on: No inflight magazine and not a safety card in every seat pocket, no pillows and no blanket. The cabin wasn’t really clean, neither were the lavatories even just after takeoff. After the seat belt sign was turned off, the crew (all male aged above 40) continued reading the newspaper (none of which were offered to the passengers) until they finally began with the service. The first meal was basic, classic airline fare: tuna salad with peas and carrots, chicken with rice and the same veggies, breadroll, butter and cheese, a slice of cake and some chocolate. Water was served with the tray, the beverage cart followed with some delay. At least they had wine for free. Everything was cheap plastic, including the cutlery, so not a pleasing experience to the eye. But I was hungry anyways and finished everything. After service, the crew disappeared again, but one could occasionally smell cigarette smoke coming from the galley, followed by the sound and smell of air freshener spray…

The route took us along the Algerian coastline, crossing Tunis, passing in between Sicily and Malta and then over Crete and Cyprus into Beyrut. In fact a very scenic transmediterranean flight. We had a great view of downtown Beyrut on approach. The airport was rather quiet at 22:30 local time, with some MEA aircraft, Royal Jordanian A321, Menajet A320, Cyprus A330 and Islandsflug Cargo A300 in sight. Dubai-bound passengers had to remain on board, some cleaning and catering was done and after one hour we left again. I wish it had been daylight as we taxied by the old TMA hangar, with 5 707s stored (in old green TMA colors, in new colors and all white). Also, an untitled L1011 was present. Takeoff was to the south, interestingly followed by a wide turn to the west, then north and then finally east towards Dubai, maybe there is a no-fly zone in southern Lebanon?
Another warm meal of slightly better quality (catered in BEY) was served, and the rest of the flight (another 3 hours for the second part of the flight) was just as uneventful. Even though it was in the middle of the night, cabin lights stayed on, so it was hard to sleep. Thus I was more than relieved when we finally arrived in DXB at 03:30am local time, more than 2 hours delayed (and yet no sorry from the crew).

How can an airline possibly still offer such poor service these days? It’s just not enough to buy state-of-the-art technology, you have to invest a little more. Apparently, AH still has a hangover from socialist times.
Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:21 am

Thank you for sharing with us! Good to read some report from some other then regular airline  Smile You're save home now... and that's most important Big grin
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
Ndebele
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:38 pm

This sounds like a bad trip - but an interesting-to-read report anyway, very exotic, thanks for sharing.
 
cfm-56
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:33 am

It's incredible how an airline can operate with that kind of attitude from the crew! And smoking in the galley!? I guess they just lack competition in that part of the world!
I'd sack those guys in the crew immediately.
Anyway a very informative trip report about an airline not so frequently discussed here, thank you!
 
salim
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:49 am

btw for the Tristar, I was on the jumpseat while flying gva bey two weeks ago, so I asked the pilots about it and they told it is leased by TMA ans it's the only plane they fly
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:14 am

Hi Konstantin,

Thanks for the trip report about this not so pleasant experience! The fact that you got to fly quite a rare airline made up for this I guess?

Quoting Fly-K (Thread starter):
We taxied to the runway, with a view of the large storage yard featuring the past glory of Air Algerie’s fleet, 727, 737-200, A310 in full, basic or all white colors

Those storage yards, with mostly a lot of interesting airlines/aircraft parked, are always very interesting in my opinion. Certainly in African and Middle Eastern countries, quite some interesting aircraft must be parked over there!

Out of curiosity: how is it going in Dubai? Any plans to return to Europe?

Regards
Frederic

[Edited 2005-07-21 20:14:48]
 
BA
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:43 am

Quoting Fly-K (Thread starter):
Takeoff was to the south, interestingly followed by a wide turn to the west, then north and then finally east towards Dubai, maybe there is a no-fly zone in southern Lebanon?

It is to avoid getting close to Israel. There is a no-fly zone south of Sidon. There is also a no-fly zone around Rayak Airbase near Baalbeck in the east of Lebanon.

Well it sounds like you had an "interesting" experience.  Smile

How many passengers got off in Beirut? Roughly half of the plane or less?

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
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Fly-K
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:54 pm

Thanks for all comments!
Frederic: I'll probably be here for another 2 years - and enjoying it!
BA: I would say that about 50% got off in BEY. Only very few boarded in BEY for DXB.
Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
 
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Flying Belgian
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:57 pm

Interesting Konstantin. I like to get feedback from such an "exotic" trip.

I guess AH will feel pain once EK and QR will land in Algiers.

I'm yet still amazed to see how poor the level was + the cigarette issue !!!

Many thx for reporting.


FB.
Life is great at 41.000 feet...
 
BrusselsSouth
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RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:12 pm

Hi,

Very interesting trip report, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

I'm just back from Algeria where I spent more than one month (expect my trip report soon, including AH ATR-72 ALG-GHA-ALG), visiting the country (I made a long tour, very beautiful country, landscape-wise, by the way).

My domestic flights with AH weren't that bad... very basic, but just what one would expect on a short flight within Algeria. However, Algiers airport (especially the 'international terminal' in summer) is the worst I've ever seen (I'll give details in my report).

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 8):
I guess AH will feel pain once EK and QR will land in Algiers.

QR already operates A300-600 service DOH-TUN-ALG. It seems that more and more airlines are going back to Algiers since one or two years, after the 'black period' of terrorism (nineties). The airlines operating out of Algiers (apart from AH) include :

  • AF (ORY 3 daily and MRS, + AF Cargo)
  • AZ (MXP and FCO, both daily)
  • LH (FRA, new, started this July)
  • BA (LGW, with plans to start LGW-HME)
  • ZI (Aigle Azur, french company operating A321 and A320s from many cities in Algeria to many cities in France).
  • TU (TUN)
  • AT (CMN)
  • QR (DOH via TUN)
  • MS (CAI)
  • SV (JED, RUH)

    Regards
    BrusselsSouth
  •  
    mrniji
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:55 am

    Thanks for this report! It is always nice to read about airlines which are not that well known amongst travellers..

    Quoting Fly-K (Thread starter):
    How can an airline possibly still offer such poor service these days? It’s just not enough to buy state-of-the-art technology, you have to invest a little more. Apparently, AH still has a hangover from socialist times.

    Was the ticket expansive? I.e. was your trip value for money, or was it overpriced?

    Well, I hoped to read about a more positive experience.. I guess AH is state-owned, as you are referring to the old socialist era..
    "The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
     
    ba319-131
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:23 am

    Many thanks for posting this, we don't get too many AH trip reports, in fact I don't recall ever reading one!

    Well very interesting I must say, the thought of the music being played is pretty rough, what about all those poor pax who just want to read or sleep?

    I could go on but won't.

    Seems an airline to avoid.

    Thanks again.

    Mark
    111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
     
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    Fly-K
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:03 pm

    Mrniji, it was not a regular ticket (ID50 for duty travel), so I don't know what the regular price would have been.

    BTW here's a photo of the cabin:

    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

    Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
     
    Amir
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:13 pm

    Thanks for this nice report!

    I like: the smoking and air freshner..... the most!

    Brgds
    Amir
     
    Sabena332
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:59 am

    Hello Konstantin,

    A very nice and interesting report about an airline which is not featured very often here! Shame that I didn't saw this report earlier, it was a pleasure to read!

    Quoting Fly-K (Thread starter):
    but one could occasionally smell cigarette smoke coming from the galley, followed by the sound and smell of air freshener spray…

    In case you are interested, I also smoked a cigarette with a F/A of the airline you are working for. It was during a FRA-JFK flight in January this year, we sat in the rear galley and used a mini Coca-Cola Light can as an ashtray. Big grin

    Sorry, I didn't want to rat on anyone but just to point out that it is still normal on every airline. I will not know how many cockpits are still "smoking zones" nowadays!

    Patrick
    NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
     
    MEA310
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sun Sep 04, 2005 1:45 am

    Very pleasant report to read, I can't believe Air Algerie "sucks" that much, I thought with the new A330s they would introduce IFE/PTVs and all the things that every carrier out there is offering...

    MEA310
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    Fly-K
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:21 am

    MEAA310: Air Algerie is not MEA... that is a totally different experience!
    Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
     
    BA
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:17 am

    Thanks for the cabin shot Konstantin.

    Indeed, I am quite surprised! Quite a bland cabin for an A330. The seats look like very basic economy seats and of course as you said, no PTVs.

    Oh well... Maybe one day they will realize that they are not up to modern airline standards and will launch a major refurbishing program and put in a nice interior!

    Regards
    "Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
     
    Sabena332
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:13 am

    Quoting BA (Reply 17):
    Oh well... Maybe one day they will realize that they are not up to modern airline standards and will launch a major refurbishing program and put in a nice interior!


    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt



    Yes, hopefully other airlines will do the same!  Wink

    Patrick

    Edit: These deposition compartments in the seat in front of you are super neato, aren't they?  Wink

    [Edited 2005-09-06 02:17:20]
    NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
     
    BA
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:07 am

    Haha Sabena332,

    When I first saw those seats on LH's A346, I was very surprised.

    The seats themselves look very nice, but the fact that they lack PTVs is quite strange, especially since the space for them is available.  Smile

    Hopefully in the future LH will introduce PTVs. Since those seats already has the space for them, they can be added easily.

    Having said that, I really like LH and I really don't have any complaints. I've done 3 long-haul flights on them (all A340-300s) and all have been very pleasant flights with professional and friendly staff.

    Regards
    "Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
     
    Sabena332
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:23 am

    Quoting BA (Reply 19):
    When I first saw those seats on LH's A346, I was very surprised.

    It is an A333 cabin shot, but this is even a reason more to be surprised.  Wink

    Quoting BA (Reply 19):
    Hopefully in the future LH will introduce PTVs.

    Yeah, hopefully my grandchildren will experience that. Oh wait, I will teach them not to fly Lufthansa, so they can't. Big grin

    Quoting BA (Reply 19):
    Having said that, I really like LH and I really don't have any complaints. I've done 3 long-haul flights on them (all A340-300s) and all have been very pleasant flights with professional and friendly staff.

    Lucky you!

    Patrick
    NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
     
    BA
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:01 am

    Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 20):
    It is an A333 cabin shot, but this is even a reason more to be surprised.

    I know, but the seats look almost identical to the A346 seats.  Smile

    Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 20):
    Yeah, hopefully my grandchildren will experience that. Oh wait, I will teach them not to fly Lufthansa, so they can't.

    What will you tell them to fly on?  Smile

    Regards
    "Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
     
    Sabena332
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:29 am

    Quoting BA (Reply 21):
    I know, but the seats look almost identical to the A346 seats.

    They are the same, or? "New" LH seats without PTV's are the same on the 346 and 333 I think.

    Quoting BA (Reply 21):
    What will you tell them to fly on?

    On any other airline.

    You know, when you have the choice between LH and any other airline, always take the other airline, and you did the right thing.  Wink

    Patrick
    NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
     
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    Fly-K
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:43 pm

    Oh yes, my AH WAS of course better than any LH flight. My advice: always fly AH.
    Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been...
     
    BA
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:41 am

    My gosh...why do Germans on Airliners.net hate their airline so much?  Smile
    "Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
     
    Sabena332
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:54 am

    Quoting Fly-K (Reply 23):
    Oh yes, my AH WAS of course better than any LH flight. My advice: always fly AH.

    I would definitely give them a try when they would offer a good fare for - let' s say - Germany to Dubai via Algiers.

    Quoting BA (Reply 24):
    My gosh...why do Germans on Airliners.net hate their airline so much?

    Book an Economy Class roundtrip ticket to FRA and you will find it out.  Wink Their new Business Class however must be really good, I didn't flew in it myself but I only heard positive things about it.

    Patrick
    NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
     
    abrelosojos
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:51 am

    Quoting CFM-56 (Reply 3):
    And smoking in the galley!? I guess they just lack competition in that part of the world!

    = "in that part of the world" ... jeez ... get over your neo-colonial attitude. Most times I have seen cabin crew smoking have been on European airlines ... primarily Iberia. However, I don't extrapolate that to meaning anything about "that part of the world".

    PS - I also dont see how competition could change social and cultural mores immediately.

    Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 20):
    Yeah, hopefully my grandchildren will experience that. Oh wait, I will teach them not to fly Lufthansa, so they can't.

    = Hahaha ... mine neither. "THOU SHALL NOT FLY LH".
    Live, and let live.
     
    Joelatbsl
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    RE: Air Algerie ALG-BEY-DXB A330-202

    Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:40 am

    Here at BSL/MLH we get AH a few times per week in summer and the people who have been on those flights often tell me stories of what happened on AH flights. Just imagine being on one of the mid-summer France-Algeria flights with no free seats left and that poor (non-existing) IFE and those nerdy F/As and so on... I start believing that those people (French and Algerians) don't just tell me stories.

    As a spotter of course I love them for being so creative with their fleet planning. This summer they showed us 736, 738, 738/Winglets, 310 (Eagle Aviation) and 310 (Saga)... Maybe one day it'll be 763 or 332...

    Thanks to Konstantin for the report. Not too often you get to see one of those reports.  Smile

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