Finally I managed the time to complete this report. I’m little behind my schedule, with quite a backlog of flights which I recently took. Anyway, this tripreport is not super special, since it only gives you an insight on the Lufthansa Cityline product.
I booked this trip, mainly to fly a CRJ-200 for another time. But bad luck, since it changed to CRJ-700 after booking. Anyway, I got my part of the Bombardier family again. I sincere hope you still enjoy this kind of ‘standard’ report.
Flights were on June 23, 2010 and just 5 days after my travel to Morocco which was featured in 2 tripreports:
Amsterdam Airlines – The New Wings From Holland (by Airbuseric Jul 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Royal Air Maroc: Nador - Amsterdam On The B737-400 (by Airbuseric Jul 24 2010 in Trip Reports)
The day started early with a wakeup call at 5am, about 2 hours before my flight. You might think what a luxury for me, but I live close to the airport here. Nevertheless 5am is a bit too early usually, especially when I know that the flights will be mostly standard stuff. A quick little breakfast, and dressing up, gets me in a public bus-service to the airport leaving around 545am, and takes roughly 20 minutes until I arrive in the departure hall.
With all boarding passes in my hands, all printed at home, still I feel the need to reprint the first one on a real paper. The self service machines of Lufthansa work very fine for this. By the way, LH uses desk 5 in departure terminal 1 at AMS. It’s a combined desk with SWISS.
Security was a breeze this morning. I had no situation with staff, especially since I didn’t say a word to them. No beeping, always good to go! Still you always take the risk to be a ‘random’ person as indicated on those x-ray machines. Then you’ll go for the bodycheck anyway.
Not much time to spend, but still need my caffeine shot that morning so Starbucks was the place to go. Quite a bit of queue forming already, and of course, they had 2 types of regular coffee brewing (according the display): 1 was not brewing, and the other one was another taste. Come on! Remove those displays then, or make sure to get everything running smoothly. EUR 2.60 for a regular coffee is not so bad, keeping in mind the airport you are at, and other facilities are a more expensive, and give you smaller quantities!
Anyhow, time to walk to the gate. The coffee in my hands of course. Lufthansa flights are leaving from the B-concourse, making it quite a bit of good morning exercise. Calculate about 10 to 15 minutes, a.netters maybe 30 minutes (yes, you have some photo opportunities) to reach the B-concourse from the main departure lounge.
Gate B17 is mine that morning, aircraft is already on position since it came in the night before and had some sleep on Dutch soil.
Although it looked a bit quiet around the aircraft. Also, no lights on and passenger door still closed. Not a surprise, when at 0645am the crew was finally arriving at the gate. A bit late I think, since the departure should be 25 minutes later. Let’s see if this Lufthansa crew can manage their preparations on time. Apparently they could, since boarding was announced at 7am sharp.
No use of the passenger bridge here, so halfway down the bridge you walk outside, stairs down onto the apron towards the aircraft. Large handluggage had to be placed on a cart, and handling staff would arrange loading in the bulk hold for that.
When I entered the cabin, a friendly female greeted me in German (as I did to her also), and I grabbed my Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. KLM… do you read this? Free newspaper. Yes, also for Economy Class.
Flight No.: LH 4705 Date: 23JUN’10
STD: 0710 ATD: 0714
STA: 0835 ATA: 0837
A/C: Bombardier CRJ-900 Reg No.: D-ACKA
Seat: 05F (Class: Y)
Photo © Klaus Ecker
D-ACKA is delivered factory fresh to Lufthansa Cityline in 2006 and named after the city of Pfaffenhofen a.d. Ilm. It flies a mixed configuration of 84 seats in total, in the standard 2-2 layout. My ride on D-ACKA is my 4th time to fly the CRJ-900 series, and first time on this particular aircraft. Furthermore I did numerous flights on the smaller –700 and –200 series.
Block-out was with a minimal delay so the crew made up their late show up. During taxiing to the runway, one of the crewmembers did the manual safety demo. Taxi time was very short, runway 24 in use, and intersection departure from S5 was taken. Airborne just minutes after block-out, flying into the clear summer skies!
With a load of 61 in Economy, 2 in Business Class, not too bad. I was happy with 2 seats here, and made it comfortable. The departure was via a Lunix1S routing, giving good fews on surrounding cities and also the now closed former airforce base ‘Soesterberg’.
Soesterberg Airforce based (closed):
Crew on the flightdeck were Captain Alexander Rahm and First Officer Frederik Mentink, a Duthman. He gave enroute flight info in 3 languages, so also in my own (Dutch) that morning. Very nice touch here from LH, not a everyday happening.
Service was a sandwich with ham or cheese, 2 drinks as usual on LH. One cold drink taken (juice) and they always offer additional tea or coffee. Big plus here also, I think LH offers a good product on flights with this duration. The sandwich tasted fresh, and I was able enjoy the story about our Dutch ‘Bavaria girls’ who were send back to freedom after their arrest in South Africa for wearing a Bavaria Beer dress during the world cup.
For the rest during the smooth ride, I noticed Dusseldorf Airport, also Cologne-Bonn was visible in a far distance, then we overflew of course Frankfurt-Main, with the 4th runway under construction, followed by descent and approach for Munich.
Dusseldorf (DUS) Airport:
Frankfurt Main (FRA) Airport:
We landed on runway 08L, followed by some strong brakes and quick vacating. I guess some other traffic was following us closely.
Obvious which airline is around here:
Parking was, as usual, on a remote spot on the commuter apron. Also as usual at MUC, the bus is already standing by, so able to continue the ride to the terminal within minutes. I am still impressed by Munich Airport. I rate this airport really very high on my list when it comes to service and handling. A clean and well arranged airport with good offerings to passengers.
I had a few hours to kill. My next flight was to Vienna. I checked flight informations and noticed a 0900am departure to Vienna (LH3550) was cancelled. Actually I found out later, this was a ground turn back. So, technical trouble, my own conclusion. Another departure of LH3552 was showing a delay, and I was waiting for LH3554 at 1120am. My own knowledge made me worry slightly, with the delays on the screen, one cancellation etc. Maybe this will influence the operation of my flight also.
And of course I kept tracking the flight informations from that moment, seeing it already forecasting a 30 minute delay for my flight. Not too bad. We’ll see.
Somebody in for shopping?
Once my gate was assigned (G26), I went there and found a further delay. Total 55 minutes now. For sure this was caused by the happening earlier that morning. No further information from groundstaff though.
...and now even a bit more delay:
At least Munich Airport, together with Lufthansa/Star Alliance offers a good selection of newspapers and free coffee/tea also. Waiting was not an issue for me. Plenty of comfortable and available chairs all around, good views on the apron also.
My aircraft came in for a finger gate here at 1150am. Surprised a bit, since mostly also the Embraers are on remote positions. Not here, so no busride.
Boarding started at noon, using the barcode scanning to enter. A friendly hello from the crew when I entered a spotless cabin. For sure this was a new aircraft, smelling good and everything like new!
Flight No.: LH 3554 Date: 23JUN’10
STD: 1120 ATD: 1224
STA: 1220 ATA: 1319
A/C: Embraer 195LR Reg No.: D-AEBE
Seat: 27F (Class: Y)
Photo © Benjamin Exenberger
Delivery of D-AEBE was on 28 April 2010, and when I took this flight, the latest Embraer in the Lufthansa fleet and less then 2 months old. These Embraer 195’s seat 116 passengers in a mixed configuration, changable on demand. For me, this was the 6th time on the Embraer 170/190 series, an aircraft range I definitely fell in love with!
A load of abuot 70%, the seat next to me remains free. Legroom is also very good on this Embraer. Lightgrey leather seats. Typical Lufthansa style, always a pleasant experience. No screens on this machine, so a manual safety demonstration performed by the crew.
Seats on the LH E195:
Meanwhile we taxi to runway 08R for departure. Yes, delay is exceeding 1 hours by now. Also here on the taxiway, crew hands out the snack already. It’s a Milka chocolate bar.
Passing something heavy bound for Qatar:
Departure is without special effects so nothing to tell actually. Some slight bumps during the climb, probably caused by the warm temperature. It’s a usual thing in summertime.
And above the clouds:
When seatbelt signs went off, crew rushed into their service duty of distributing drinks. I got a coke, with ice cubes. Plus the milka bar of course, that was given already. Not bad at all for this afternoon departure now, and the only very short flighttime. Actually, cruising was almost not excisting, because soon we started the descent already.
Cabin view on D-AEBE:
We overflew the city of Vienna before a very turbulent approach to runway 34. Turbulence caused by very strong winds, and giving a lot of discomfort here. Landing was quite rough also, landing one hour late.
Almost arriving at Vienna Airport:
During taxiing to the remote spot I noticed a Polet Flight Ilyushin 96 Cargo, parked far away. Definitely not an everyday sight!
Nice Ilyushin from Russia:
Disembarking was via both forward and rear exit, using stairs. A bus was awaiting us and delivered us to the terminal building.
Disembarking by stairs onto the apron:
Once arrived, you’ll have to choose either straight out to arrival hall/baggage reclaim/exit, or up to gates C/D, or left to gates B. Checking the flight information, I saw gates B for my flight so I went there immediately. Definitely not a wise decision I found out.
Security was a bit of hassle. A very uninteresting looking girl playing here role as security officer told me to take out my DSLR and lenses and put it apart in a tray. No way I thought, and I told here I wouldn’t comply to her request. I said, you know this bag? This is a camera bag! Therefore my camera will stay inside. Apparantely she agreed now, since she didn’t say a word and so I cleared security.
Now the B-gates at Vienna. I hope the airport management is listening, since that place is ready for the scrapyard. Very old-fashioned, marginal seating and the seats are metal ones with nails missing. So very, very uncomfortable. Also noisy, since they have loose parts because the seating is broken. Only 2 shops or so, selling stuff nobody wants to have (why a kind of fish/caviar shop overthere!), and 1 overpriced bar. Oh yes, the toilets were very dirty, and smell bad too!
Positive is free wifi offered by the airport, so I bought the overpriced coffee, and took at least a good seat in the bar, surfed the internet for while on my PDA, and waited for my next flight.
But hey, Vienna! You better change terminal B soon. The times of SkyEurope are over now, and I fly a so called legacy airline. Now I expect some decent terminal and waiting lounge also!
20 minutes before departure 1 bus turns in backwards to my assigned gate: B26. Boarding is announced immediately then and everybody too a place in the bus. I counted a total of 49 passengers on this flight. The bus drove to the remote apron again, with my aircraft waiting.
Crew is friendly when I enter the cabin.
Flight No.: LH 3593 Date: 23JUN’10
STD: 1530 ATD: 1528
STA: 1655 ATA: 1650
A/C: Bombardier CRJ-700 Reg No.: D-ACPB
Seat: 19F (Class: Y)
Photo © Sven Ole Niwek
This CRJ-700 is named after the city Rüdesheim a. Rhein and delivered new to Lufthansa Cityline in 2001. It’s among the oldest CRJ-700 examples in the fleet now and seat 70 passengers in mixed configuration. This being the 5th time on a CRJ-700 series, and a new registration for my log.
We left ontime. Just taxi out of the stand, pushback was not needed here. A manual safety demo here, and 2 seats for me again also on this leg. Further in the back now, a bit more noisy here, but good view on the wing and engine if I want.
Taxiing was not long, and on my right some interesting Antonov 26 cargo hauler from Hungary taking off in front. Operated by CityLine Hungary. Runway 29 was used and we were airborne just minutes later.
Actually there is not much to report on this flight, since it was a standard one. Some reading and music, and service consisted of a 33cl Warsteiner beer and some biscuit. Not the best combo, since I preferred some more salty snack. Anyway, it did the job and I survived the flight well.
Cabin LH CRJ-700:
Remarkable maybe, was that no enroute information was given. The cockpit was completely quiet on this flight, so also the routing was not know to me.
Descent to Hamburg was slightly bumpy, but nothing serious either. Landing was on runway 33, with a very short taxiing to the parking spot, a remote position (61) on the apron. A bus was standing by and a short ride to the terminal.
HAM is a modern airport, with ample shopping possibilities. Various restaurant (mostly overpriced though) on the main floor, while some foodcourt is located upper level. Here prices seems to be more decent, although my glass of fine almost reaching a price of EUR 6,00 is on the higher end for my taste. It went well with the fish though, and once spend, I don’t miss the money. Hamburg is among the most expensive cities in Germany, so you can expect this kind of levels here, suiting the clientele mostly.
My next and last that day was from gate A22, lower level and meaning a busgate. It seems my next flight would also leave from the remote apron. A shame though that the planned CRJ-200 was exchanged for a CRJ-700 now. It has been a while since I took my last CRJ-200 flight back in 2003 on J-Air.
The gate was not too busy with people, so I expected not a busy flight. A glimpse on a PC located at the counter gave me the information. 40 Economy bookings, 2 Business Class. It seems another comfortable flight here.
A bus came on time, and drove to the apron. Hoping for it not to stop at D-ACPB which me flew in from Vienna earlier. And I was lucky, we got one of the 2 Star Alliance logojets from Cityline. This means another new registration for my log.
Boarding was smoothly, friendly greeting by the cabin attendant also here.
Doors closed at 18:06, just on time I would say.
Flight No.: LH 4666 Date: 23JUN’10
STD: 1810 ATD: 1812
STA: 1910 ATA: 1915
A/C: Bombardier CRJ-700 Reg No.: D-ACPQ
Seat: 07A (Class: Y)
Photo © Manuel Mueller
Only a few minutes late as the engines fired up. And also here, taxi out of the apron without further assistance. Runway 33 in use for takeoff, and following a KLM Embraer 190 closely. Let’s see who wins the race to Amsterdam.
KLM was lucky in front, and we had to await 3 landing aircraft before it was our turn.
Take off on these CRJ’s is always pleasant, very quiet actually when seated in front, and powerful also.
After takeoff a good view on Finkenwerder Airport, or also home of the German Airbus Industries. And 2 A380’s visible, 1x Air France, 1x Lufthansa.
The flight also flew along Lemwerder Airport, previously the place where the manufactory of the Transall C-160 and also VFW-614 aircraft were build. It seems the hangars are now gone, and not much activity around. Apparently EADS still uses this field for test purposes?
Service on this short flight was very good. A coffee, a cream cheese sandwich (a bit spicy), and a softdrink was offered. Not bad at all! The crew was super friendly here as well.
LH catering HAM-AMS:
Later I noticed also airfield Hoogeveen in The Netherlands, only a grass runway and home to light aircraft. Afterwards we overflew the city of Zwolle and Kampen, both cities of the Hanseatic League.
Further the descent, we overflew Lelystad Airport, were now also the KLM cityhopper Fokker 100 (PH-OFA) can be seen in a corner of the aviation museum. It was donated by KLM and flown from AMS to Lelystad earlier that same day actually.
Lelystad Airport with their museum:
Hazy conditions over the Markermeer took most of the sights now during the further descent and approach for runway 18C. Yeah, that has been a while since I came in on 18C! Before landing some good views of the city of Zaandam and Amsterdam and it’s harbour.
Amsterdam in the distance and it’s harbour:
After landing I officially found out that the winner today was KLM, since PH-EZF (the Emb190 on the HAM-AMS flight) was already on stands at B32.
KLM ahead and the winner:
We arrived on a remote spot on the B-apron, a bus was standing by and drop off close to the immigration facility a while later.
After all, Lufthansa performed very well, despite the delayed MUC-VIE flight. Service was very good on all flights, maybe the VIE-HAM flight was a bit basic compared to the rest. But still a pleasant experience on the several regional jets that day. Plus some mileage on my account, also a main reason to do such trips once in a while.
Thanks for reading. Your comments, questions etc. are always appreciated, so don’t hesitate to put something online here below.
[Edited 2010-08-04 11:29:03]
[Edited 2010-08-04 11:30:57]