FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:12 pm

Introduction

For introduction about this trip and the first half of it, see the first part: European Capital Tour, Part 1: HEL-LHR/LCY-MAD-CDG (by FlyingFinn76 Feb 2 2011 in Trip Reports)

This story picks up where the first part ended, deep asleep in my hotel room in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.

Saturday 29.1.2011

I wake up feeling quite miserable, with that unmistakable feeling of an oncoming flu. The long night and beers at the weird corner bar where the bartender was just as drunk as the customers just down the street sure didn’t help either... Anyway since my flight is only departing mid-afternoon there’s no need to rush so I have a long lie-in, wondering about the weirdness of French TV.

I finally get my act together, shower, pack up and head out. The weather has turned quite nice - sunshine but cold, just a few degrees:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_7.jpg

I walk back to the Gare du Nord station:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_8.jpg

I decide to treat myself to a nice, juicy burger at Quick just opposite the station - I just didn’t have the energy to go to the breakfast and somehow the general hotel atmosphere made me convinced that it wouldn’t be that spectacular... Besides you need all those extra calories when you are sick:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_9.jpg

Inside the station:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_11.jpg

TIDS:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_12.jpg

Another RER ride up to the CDG T3 stop follows, this time the train is almost empty. From T3 the automated CDGVAL train takes me to the cylindrical concrete donut also known as T1. You can say many things about this terminal, but at least the toilets are very stylish:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_2.jpg

Check in is on the second level - by the time I get there there’s already quite a queue and people appear to be carrying tons of luggage. The agents are just setting up the counters. I actually checked in on line, but couldn’t print out my boarding pass. However I spot a separate bag drop desk so that’s where I go to ask the agent if I can use it. No problems with that, although it takes some minutes to get the computer up to speed, but I appear to be the first passenger of this bunch to receive my boarding pass.

Up through the funky tubes - I’m starting to like these, very retro. I’m just wondering what an earth were the designers thinking (or maybe drinking - oh, it was the sixties so probably just expanding their mind)?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_4.jpg

There’s a lounge accessible with my Diners Club card, but it’s on the non-Schengen side. The website said I should get an invitation from the info desk but can’t see one one my route so decide to try my luck. The boarding pass checker in front of the passport desks accepts my explanation, as does the border guard after I show him my card.

The Icare lounge is upstairs, next to the UA RCC. A quite nice facility actually, with two very pleasant women as staff, especially the younger one.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_7.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_8.jpg

The lounge is almost completely empty, I ask about this and apparently right now is lull time between various departure banks. Not sure which airlines use this lounge, but at least FlyBE does.

Free wifi is offered, as expected from any decent lounge, so that helps to pass the time. I keep monitoring the inbound flight from acarsd.org, it is showing SX-DVP but referring it to as A320 - so I assume an equipment change had taken place. I just hope they can still give me a good seat - I’m again on the last row and - well, show me an A320 with 34 rows and I’ll show you a special charter flight for supermodels! Anyway the check in agent said that it wasn’t busy at all when I asked so I’m having my hopes up.

I leave a bit early for the gate as there’s still a virtual international border to cross and I have no idea how busy it will be. Not to worry, there are no passengers at all on the passport controls, although the young French guy checking documents and boarding passes and sorting people to the correct queues tells me that Finland “is not EU, monsieur!”. Where do they find these guys?! Luckily after a bit of arguing his supervisor comes there and puts him straight.

Another funky piece of 60’s surrealism follows - the under-apron travelator to the satellite terminal - the same one used by LH (and SK/KF I think?):

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_9.jpg

Looks like I timed my arrival just right as most of the passengers are already airside and there are no queues at the security check. At the gate I am relieved to see that it indeed is SX-DVP and it still is A321 - looks like acarsd needs to update their database!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_10.jpg

Boarding has not yet started, actually it takes another twenty minutes before they do so. The 09s are in use today, so there’s a constant stream of planes taxiing out to departure just past the satellite terminal, so I don’t mind the wait:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_14.jpg

Finally boarding is called 25 minutes before departure.

CDG - ATH
A3611
A321 SX-DVP
Seat 34F
14.29 - 18.18

The first officer and the purser are both welcoming passengers on the front door. Very friendly all-female cabin crew onboard today. I like the red highlights in the cabin:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_15.jpg

Very comfortable slimline leather seats, ok legroom:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_17.jpg

Yep, it’s a new plane, as can be told from the latest controls:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_18.jpg

The load ends up being less than 60%, a whole block of three for me which is very much appreciated. The captain promises an “on time departure, good weather enroute and currently ten degrees at Athens” - finally some warmth, heck in Finland we call that kind of temperatures balmy, and that’s during the summer!

The purser adds her own bit of announcements, the most important thing being a flight time of 2h50mins. Push back is a minute ahead of schedule.

Hola, mi amigo:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_19.jpg

I had no idea Cimber flew here, to BLL I assume:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_20.jpg

The AF long-haul operation here is really quite impressive - here are three widebodies (headed by the Whalejet) lining up for take off:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_21.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_23.jpg

Before take off candies are handed out - the FA taps my shoulder as I’m so engrossed watching the traffic through the window:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_22.jpg

Latest Airshow system on this new bird:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_24.jpg

A very powerful take off from 09R commences nine minutes after pushback.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_25.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_26.jpg

You could very easily think that the Concorde is actually taking off:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_27.jpg

Part of the gigantic T2, the (somewhat) nicer part of CDG:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_28.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_29.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Paris_Departure_30.jpg

Okay, I guess they really don’t want any trash in the toilet:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_1.jpg

Cabin view:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_2.jpg

I kinda like these virtual cockpit views on the new Airshows:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_3.jpg

… but alas it was not to last, soon they started some utterly crappy American “family friendly” movie:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_4.jpg

Not that I really care about the movie, I have my own IFE, thankyouverymuch.

Soon a good smell of food being heated up starts wafting through the cabin. The woman in front of me is served her special meal first, but apart from that they start their service run from the front of the cabin so it takes a looooong time before they reach the last row. Not that I mind, I have these nice views of the Alps to admire:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_7.jpg



Is that powder snow?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_9.jpg

Finally I’m served my meal tray (as the last person on this flight), featuring a hot meal of mince meat patties with weird cube potatoes and veggies:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_10.jpg

There’s also an appetizer salad, apple pie for dessert and a warm roll. Additional (warm) rolls are offered from a basket. Quite a good meal, everything is pretty tasty, apart from the apple pie which is sickly sweet so I eat only a few spoonfuls of it. Getting additional wine bottles is not a problem.

Somewhere over the Balkans the skies start to darken with a great views of the setting sun towards the west:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_11.jpg

Almost there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_13.jpg

I really like this display with the day/night boundary:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_14.jpg

Descent starts some 120 miles out of Athens. I am treated to a gorgeous view of the last rays of the sun:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_Athens_16.jpg

Followed by interesting lighting effects as we penetrate the clouds to the darkness below:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Approach_1.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Approach_2.jpg

Over the Aegean Sea south of Piraeus we turn left to line us up with ATH:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Approach_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Approach_4.jpg

Landing is on runway 03L after 2h40mins of flight time.

We get an apron parking position, next to this interesting bird - never heard of the carrier before:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Approach_5.jpg

There’s also an Hellenic 743 nearby, more about that tomorrow.

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Approach_6.jpg

Athens

A couple of buses take us to the terminal. Outside I catch the next X95 bus to Syntagma - a packed and quite lengthy ride, but nice value for money at only 3,20 EUR.

Syntagma square at night:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_1.jpg

From Syntagma it’s about a 20 minute walk to my hotel - the areas keep getting more and more rundown, and by the time I finally reach the hotel the area is looking like something out of Baghdad or somewhere in Africa. All kinds of riff raff, panhandlers and idle young men just hanging around, and let’s put it this way: Greek they sure ain’t!

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_3.jpg

Now I understand why this hotel, Hotel Marina was so cheap at 42 EUR for the night!

Inside at the reception there’s an older British couple who seem to be shocked - their taxi driver told them not to carry any large amounts of cash with them in this area! The friendly guy checking me in is a bit more down-to-earth with it, and we chat a bit about the immigrant situation in Greek and the EU rules only making it worse.

My room, very old fashioned and the free wifi signal is very flaky:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_2.jpg

After refreshing and a bit of a rest I head out for dinner, the guy at the reception told me a way to an area with many restaurants and bars side by side just next to Monastiraki. Well, he showed me a detour via the major roads on the map, apparently he thought that I should stay clear of the direct route through more dodgy areas. Well, I’m a Finn, and as such stubborn as hell, so I find a far more direct route from the map and use it instead. Sure, there are weird guys hanging around, lots of abandoned buildings and some interesting sights:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_7.jpg

Hmm, is that the superlative form of “super market”?

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_8.jpg

Anyway I’ve been to far rougher places and am pretty streetwise, plus a big guy so no problem for me, although I bet those two Maghreb youngsters who tried to run me over with their moped will remember the Finnish swearwords I hurled at them for quite a while!

Oh, I couldn’t leave Athens without at least a picture of the Acropolis, could I:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_4.jpg

A very generous portion of Chicken Gyros at a nice but far too empty (sign of the economic hardships, I guess) restaurant - I could barely finish half of it:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_5.jpg

The perfect way to end a Greek meal and kill flu bugs - Ouzo:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_6.jpg

I have a couple of drinks at some bars in this very lively area, but that soon turns out into an annoyance as sitting in an outdoor table I keep getting harassed by beggars, gypsies, kids selling worthless junk and all kinds of weirdos, so I decide to head back to the hotel and just crash for the night.

Sunday 30.1.2011

I wake up feeling not very refreshed at all - the night was bad with my flu and the room door being made out of balsa wood (or so it seems at least) I could hear everything that was going on in the corridor - sounds like a lot of people were out partying during the night. To add insult to injury it sounds like they decided to start doing some repairs including lots of hammering in the opposite room at six in the morning - on a Sunday! Sweet.

Another lazy lie-in, shower and packing operation later I’m out of the hotel at 9.30. Feeling so weak I decide to give the metro a try for the short hop to Syntagma:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_9.jpg

Another fast food brekkie follows, this time at McD’s:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_10.jpg

The original idea was to walk around a little bit but I manage just a small circuit before deciding to head to the airport early.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_13.jpg

I’d really liked to take the metro there, but since it is more than twice the price of the express bus and takes just about as long I vote with my wallet and hop in the bus instead - quite weird really, I think they ought to promote train travel more - but I guess the infrastructure has to be paid for, and the Greek state isn’t exactly swimming in cash right now...

The ride is much more pleasant this time as traffic is light, the bus is not so packed as the previous night and there’s actually daylight outside. I’m quite surprised by the urban sprawl of Athens and the Attica basin - the city just seems to go on forever. Finally we reach the motorway and eventually the airport.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_1.jpg

I pick up my boarding pass from an bag drop desk - again I did OLCI from the hotel. Next stop is the pharmacy downstairs to pick up some drugs for the flu, I think I’m running a slight temperature as well. Then I head for the Swissport Lounge on the non-Schengen side, stopping for a bottle of Ouzo from the travel value store.

This lounge is very nice, located at the far end of the terminal and providing a nice view of the apron where all the arriving traffic from 03L taxies past. The place is almost empty as well, nice and peaceful.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_2.jpg

The drink selection is good:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_7.jpg

They have the famous Greek spinach pastries - yummy:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_8.jpg

I grab a nice easy chair right next to the window and spend some quality time reading the paper and watching passing traffic:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_4.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_5.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_6.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_9.jpg

Since the security is at the entrance to the gate area here I finally decide to leave a bit early - a good thing as the security check is a bit of a hassle. Our gate, A22 is a bus gate downstairs - come to think of it there are absolutely no OA planes docked to the jetways, only A3 and various foreign visitors.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_10.jpg

I timed my arrival perfectly, as soon as I sit down they announce boarding for the flight. Out to the bus - this got a chuckle out of me, I don’t think “Tropical” means “diesel fumes and bad BO”...

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_11.jpg

We drive to a line of four Olympic Airbuses a short distance away from the terminal, stopping in front of SX-OAT, the expected A320, and a rather new one with almost exactly one year of age.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_12.jpg

They are using both stairs for boarding, and having a seat on the last row (again?!) I of course use the back stairs.

ATH - LHR
OA269
A320 SX-OAT
Seat 27F
13.26 - 15.00

I most certainly didn’t expect these weird colored cloth seats! They feel somewhat old-fashioned compared to the leather ones with Aegean and not as nice. I think the legroom is slightly worse as well:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_15.jpg

Emirates taxing past:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_14.jpg

Judging from the number of people in the bus I expect this to be a quite lightly loaded flight, but after a while another busload of pax joins us, bringing the load to somewhere around 70%. At least I manage all three seats to myself - for a while at least. The captain announces our flight time as 3h10mins and a take off from 03R followed by a left turn over the sea and then direct to London.

Pushback is four minutes early, followed by ten minutes of taxi to the runway.

See, no OA tails to be seen:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_16.jpg

...because they are all here, the empty spot was ours:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_17.jpg

Baby Etihad:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_18.jpg

What’s this - some sort of midfield terminal? Anyway nice to see some Hellenic 743s:

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FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:15 pm

A better picture of the Mad Dog from last night:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_20.jpg

A third one:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_21.jpg

Colorful Metroliners:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_22.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_23.jpg

Taking off:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_24.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_25.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_26.jpg

Bye, Greece:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_27.jpg

The island of Nisida Stira:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Athens_Departure_28.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_1.jpg

Another hot meal is served on this flight - chicken meatballs with a salad appetizer and warm bread:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_2.jpg

Olive Oil Balsamico, just like on the Aegean flight - goes perfectly with the salad:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_3.jpg

The main course - very good although the veggies are a bit stale:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_4.jpg

There’s also a small chocolate mousse dessert - VERY tasteful, almost sinful! Fortunately it is just a small portion.

Some businessman looking Greek guy joins me on the aisle seat during the meal and stays for the remainder of the flight, fine with me as long as you leave the middle seat free!

It stays overcast for the first hour or so, somewhere over the Balkans the clouds start to give way for some pretty views of the very impressive rugged Croatian coastline. Leaving land for the Adriatic Sea, over Kep i Rodoni, Albania:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_5.jpg

Split:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_6.jpg

With SPU airport across the bay:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_7.jpg

Islands near Zadar:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_8.jpg

Finally reaching the Alps, we are treated to some spectacular views - the skies are nice and clear at least here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_9.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_11.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_12.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_14.jpg

Is that the Hello MD-90 with many a.netters onboard?  http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_10.jpg

The mountains look like islands floating in a sea of clouds:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_15.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_16.jpg

Something orange heading the other way over France:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_17.jpg

An unrecognized city in France:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_18.jpg

Descent starts right after leaving the French coastline, around 2h45mins into the flight - this is Boulogne-sur-Mer:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_19.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Enroute_to_London_2_20.jpg

UK landfall, this is Dungeness:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_1.jpg

Passing DY near Gatwick:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_2.jpg

Well, the second approach to Heathrow on this trip, and of course another holding pattern over South London follows, only a single turn this time. Of course we are not alone here:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_3.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_4.jpg

I think this is the buzzing metropolis of Croydon:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_5.jpg

The Big Town:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_6.jpg

Passing Heathrow on the downwind leg, looks like it’ll be the 09s again:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_7.jpg

The M25:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_8.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_9.jpg

Turning back over a nice looking estate:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_10.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_11.jpg

The Legoland theme park in Windsor:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_12.jpg

Quite a beautiful weather, actually:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_13.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_14.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_15.jpg

Landing is on runway 09L after 3h25mins in the air.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_16.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_17.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_18.jpg

With T4 being across the other runway we need to hold for a while for some departing traffic.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_19.jpg

First some Speedbirds:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_20.jpg

Followed by an Air Canada A330:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_21.jpg

Alitalia the black-nosed Airbus tailing us:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_22.jpg

Can’t have a trip report without a picture of a Contact Air F100, can I? Most probably bound for STR:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_23.jpg

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_24.jpg

The seats during deboarding:



The cabin:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_26.jpg

Real business class seats:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_27.jpg

Bye:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Heathrow_28.jpg

London Heathrow Airport

While walking towards the transfer facility (as a side note I seem to be the only passenger having a connection here, all the others are heading straight to arrivals) I start having that sinking feeling of forgetting something in the plane. Let’s see - my bag, check, my rollaboard, check, my clothes, check, my hat, check, my head, ...check, my wallet, check, my Ipod... wait a minute, where’s my Ipod?! Panic settles in as I remember putting it on the middle seat but failing to put it in the bag.

I turn around and head back to the jetway, unfortunately the door is already shut as deboarding has finished. I ask a cleaning lady who directs me to the security folks at transfer. So back I go, and to the security desk at the inter-terminal area. They direct me to the intra-T4 transfer area where there are airline transfer desks. Too bad this is behind transfer security, which luckily is empty. I explain my business and they let me through, of course not before searching me and having a chuckle with my bottle of Ouzo (apparently the receipt in the bag is in Greek alphabet so they have a hard time reading it).

Alitalia handles Olympic Air here, so I head to that desk and explain my problem to a very friendly Italian girl. Immediately she makes some phone calls (in Italian), and after hearing the word magnifico exclaimed a couple of times I know I won! She tells me to take the lift back to the departures level, and head directly to gate 10 where they will be waiting for me. I grazie her a couple of times and do just what she told me.

At the gate I finally see my precious Ipod, but apparently I can’t get it just yet, as technically it is now considered to be in transfer and hasn’t yet been screened and that needs to be taken of care first. While waiting for somebody to come to do it I ask the gate staff what do they think is the weirdest thing somebody ever lost in a plane - the guy there says that once a girl lost her boyfriend, but somehow I suspect that might’ve been deliberate!

Anyway soon enough a pleasant older chap arrives, takes my Ipod and tells me to follow him. We head into the main security check point, he takes a tray, puts the thing through the X-ray, followed by an explosives swab test and finally hands me my Precious, sending me away with “Do not leave it in the next plane!”. I thank him and retreat back to the lift to transfer.

Phew, that was a bit too close - I already lost one Ipod in a plane a couple of years ago, but I blame SAS and the free-flowing Champagne in my four business class flights that day for it!

At transfer the guy who screened me earlier asks if I got it back, I just give him the thumbs up and head for the bus transfer to T3. I get a whole dedicated bus for me, and some 10 minutes later am in T3, where yet another security check takes place. The same confusion about the Ouzo, the same jokes about having the security staff to sample it (lots of volunteers just like at T4, what’s it with the Brits and booze?  ) and finally I’m sent on my way.

A quick stop at the BA transfer desk to pick up my boarding pass (yep, another OLCI done last night from the hotel) and after my little adventure today I decide that some good British (yes, I know, I know) comfort food is just what is needed so I hit the Bridgehouse pub for some okayish Chicken Tikka Masala:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_1.jpg

The whole endeavour with the lost Ipod ate up quite a lot of time, so I don’t have too much time to spend in the lounge. At least they have finally gotten their free wifi up - the last few times I’ve been here it never worked. I’m also surprised to find plenty of seating available - usually it’s been packed. Maybe they should add “Burberry caps” to this list to keep the chavs away:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_3.jpg

Hello, beautiful:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_2.jpg

Knowing that BA likes to board early here, I head to the gate as soon “go to gate” is displayed. On the way the status already changes to “boarding” - here are three flights to HEL boarding all at the same time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_4.jpg

By the time I get to the gate (the 24 bus gate area as always) the place is already empty, I ask the agent about it and as I assumed the first bus has already gone and the rest of us will be packed to the second one. A bit of a wait, but finally everybody is there and we drive to the parking area between T3 and T1 that BA uses.

G-EUYC today, a new one for me:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_5.jpg

LHR - HEL
BA798
A320 G-EUYC
Seat 14F
18.16 - 23.10

Eight rows of Club Europe on this flight, which looks like half full. Economy load around 70%, but another empty middle seat next to me. The captain announces that we are ready to go a good eight minutes before schedule with flight time to HEL being around 2h35mins and it being cold there (surprise!), minus six degrees at the moment and dropping towards the night.”

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_6.jpg

Push back is four minutes early.

QF A388:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_7.jpg

Take off is from 09R 24 minutes later.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_8.jpg

T4 down there:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_9.jpg

I doze most of this flight, waking up enough to accept another BA sandwich. This one with egg and ham isn’t exactly one of my favorites, but otherwise passable enough.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_10.jpg

Back on the normal northernly track this time:

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_11.jpg

I sleep more, all the way up to our final approach where I’m surprised to see that we are actually landing on 22L, not too common at this late hour. Landing is ten minutes ahead of schedule, total flight time 2h30mins.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_12.jpg

Of course we get the absolutely furthest gate at the non-Schengen terminal, but at least the long walk to immigration wakes me up and stretches my leg a bit. Lots of people in the long haul terminal as AY flights to HKG, BKK and SVX are about to depart soon.

Outside it’s a nice shock compared to the mild temperatures in Athens this morning - more than minus ten degrees. Twenty minutes to wait for the bus, another quarter home and yet another trip has been successfully completed.

http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/FlyingFinn_photo/London_Paris_Athens_01_2011/Last_13.jpg

Conclusions

Well, another long weekend spent zigzagging around the European capitals. Five new regs, three new airlines and one new airport, not a bad catch at all.

BA (and Cityflyer) once again proved what a high quality airline they really are. Very friendly crews, very consistent (and good) service, usually on time, not much to complain. Every time I fly BA I like it more.

LAN provided another interesting short flight on a widebody. Perfectly enjoyable, service was friendly and pretty much ok for the short flight even though the sandwich wasn’t good at all. I do have some doubts about how comfortable it would be for a 10+ hour transatlantic flight on that cramped seat, though.

And of course there’s a natural head to head setup here - Aegean vs. Olympic Air. Both of them provided good flights, with better than average service standards and new Airbuses. The hot food on both of them was good, but the Olympic food was a bit better on this occasion, although just barely. However I preferred my flight with Aegean more - the seats were more comfortable, there was IFE (not that I watched it apart from the airshow) whereas OA didn’t even use any drop down monitors and the cabin crew just were that extra bit friendlier. Oh, and the cheaper fare and *A miles of course helped as well. Since the merger has now been called off by the EU market authorities I wonder what will happen with the two companies.


It’s only a short night’s sleep in my own bed, half a workday and another trip beckons - this time flying an inaugural flight aboard yet another KF 717 and returning the well known route: HEL-TLL-RIX-HEL. There just might be some very exciting developments to that story, so stay tuned!

Happy contrails!
 
DunaA320
Posts: 530
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:48 pm

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:43 am

Great report P!

Lucky you got your iPod back, I had a similar incident here - but didnt realise until I cleared arrivals. Luckily I had a great crew who handed it in!

Oh and the curry looked good!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The M25:

My house is just out of shot there in the bottom right of the pic
 
BAViscount
Posts: 1977
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:06 am

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
I think the legroom is slightly worse as well:

I must remember to head to Finland the next time I feel the need to buy orange jeans!  

Nice report, thanks for sharing.

Cheers.

Andy.
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barbados
 
MH017
Posts: 1475
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:17 am

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:51 am

P.,

Thanks for your explanation in the previous TR about your fare-search-websites !!! Will keep that in mind for my next planning  

Another great TR, P. !!! You, sure have been hopping around Europe (and collecting miles I presume) with this one...

The pictures of ATH brought back some memories: I was, more or less, at the same places/areas you were at.

No wonder BA is offering some real good fares, considering 3 flights (AY/KF/BA) depart for HEL within 30 minutes...

Looking forward to your next KF/BT installment !!!

Cheers,

P.
don't throw away tomorrow !
 
User avatar
airbuseric
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:24 am

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:18 am

Hi P.

another good one, nice follow up on the flights to CDG before. You're feeling better in the meantime?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Anyway nice to see some Hellenic 743s:

Those are 742's. I think your last chance in Europe to fly one. Often operating on behalf of charter companies in summer months when they have operational problems. I remember last year on the worldcup soccer. One of these Greek 747's was in for a charter AMS-JNB with over 400 pax, but delayed for technical reasons, more and more. The crowd on board almost missed the match, but apparently they've just made it in time. I think the condition of these birds isn't the best and I wonder how long they can keep them in the air...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):

With SPU airport across the bay:

Nice! I was in there with an An12, it's actually a nice coast, also for a summer holiday.

Regards
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
AlwaysOnAPlane
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:55 pm

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:33 am

Hey P. Enjoyed reading this 2 section report. Glad all went to plan in terms of timetable and for you getting your i-pod back. Man, that would suck to loose another. Easy done i guess to leave it in the seat pocket.

Nice to see your perspective on the LAN flight. Gotta love 5th freedom. A nice way to take a short flight.

The BA cityflyer E jets look very smart. Im going to look at the EDI-LCY route to sample this. Very good loads reported i hear.

Your views of the Alps are as spectacular as ever. Always a treat.

Also nice to see a comparison between A3 and OA. The A3 cabin looks nice and i agree that the red inserts are a nice touch.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Maybe they should add “Burberry caps” to this list to keep the chavs away:

But then you would be banned from the lounge mate!!!  
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6537
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:48 am

Hi FlyingFinn,

nice comparison between A3 and OA, I really need to try them, too. Maybe later in the year after two upcoming long-haul trips.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Quite a good meal, everything is pretty tasty, apart from the apple pie which is sickly sweet so I eat only a few spoonfuls of it. Getting additional wine bottles is not a problem.

Both the A3 and OA meals look quite good, actually better than what you get on various long-haul carriers.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Hello, beautiful:

It used to look even better:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © OlivierG




PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:27 am

Hi guys, good to see all those comments!

Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 2):
Oh and the curry looked good!

Well, comfort food it definitely is!

Quoting DunaA320 (Reply 2):
My house is just out of shot there in the bottom right of the pic

Ok, good to know. I'll wave the next time.

Quoting BAViscount (Reply 3):
I must remember to head to Finland the next time I feel the need to buy orange jeans!

Actually that's just wrong on so many levels that I just have to correct you  . Those are actually brown Timberland work pants, very good for traveling as they are very sturdy and spills and stains do not stick to them easily - quite interesting when you want to minimize your carry on stuff and don't want to bring a spare set. And I actually bought them, of all places, in Ireland quite a few years ago!

Quoting MH017 (Reply 4):
(and collecting miles I presume)

Some, but not too much. Cheap fares and crappy frequent flyer programs aren't a good match. Interestingly the most miles I got on this trip was from the cheapest flight - the LAN one  .

Quoting MH017 (Reply 4):
No wonder BA is offering some real good fares, considering 3 flights (AY/KF/BA) depart for HEL within 30 minutes...

Yeah, there's quite a bit of competition but it is somewhat flawed. With AY you only get decent fares if buying a roundtrip (and besides all the BA/AY flights are crosscodeshares anyway). And with KF the cheapest fare is about on par with BA, but based on my experience you usually get much better availability on the cheaper fare classes with BA. But the absolutely cheapest fares can be had by booking the BD codeshare on that KF flight - you can get a one way for a bit over 50 EUR if lucky.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 4):
Looking forward to your next KF/BT installment !!!

Should be online in a couple of days. It'll be mostly KF as the BT flights were extremely standard ones and I slept through most of them. But I promise there'll be a very nice surprise in there!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5):
You're feeling better in the meantime?

Yes I am, thanks for asking Eric. The flu passed by the midpoint of the week.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 5):
Those are 742's.

Oh, mea culpa. Thanks for putting me straight.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 6):
The BA cityflyer E jets look very smart. Im going to look at the EDI-LCY route to sample this. Very good loads reported i hear.

I guess that route is a banker's wet dream - plenty of suits to be expected! Unless you are doing it on a weekend.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 6):
But then you would be banned from the lounge mate!!!

No Burberry on me. Well occasionally, but definitely not a cap or any form of head wear!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 7):
nice comparison between A3 and OA, I really need to try them, too. Maybe later in the year after two upcoming long-haul trips.

Yep, both of them offer very nice service compared to the usual standards out there and are quite close to each other. I think it is just a matter of getting lucky with the crew and catering to decide which one feels better at any particular time. The A3 route network is far more extensive in Europe, plenty of departure airports in Germany, for example. And the fares generally are lower as well.
 
akhmad
Posts: 2502
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:12 pm

Hi P.,

You're right about A3. The on-board service was totally different in the better way from your previous experience. Well-groomed flight attendants, nice meal offering, free flow of alcohol and in-flight entertainment.

Shame that you got flu during your trip. But you have made the best of it. Well, perhaps you could have finished the chicken gyro.   

Luckily you managed to get your Ipod back. The LHR security officials seemed to get more and more customer oriented.

Interesting that the non-Schengen lounges tend to better than the Schengen ones. Probably the Schengen lounges are merely focused on functionality while the non-Schengen ones on the luxury.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Emirates taxing past:

She kept running after you.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
A better picture of the Mad Dog

With deployed thrust reverser. What might it serve for while being docked?

Thanks for the enjoyable read.

Cheers,
Suryo
There is no deity except You. Exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.
 
Widebodyroga
Posts: 609
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:35 pm

RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:23 pm

Like always an excellent TR by FF. I'm sorry you had to find yourself in such a bad part of Athens. I've been there a couple of times and I always try to find hotels near the Music Hall; the area is pretty decent, with a metro station and you can find some reasonably-priced hotels too.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):
Another fast food brekkie follows, this time at McD’s:

Noooo! When in Greece and in the mood for McD-type food, one should always opt for "Goody's". The menu is very similar to that of any US-based fast food chain, only fresher, made with olive oil and good meats. My wife loves their stuff (And she is a full blood Midwesterner!). They are a tad more expensive but it's totally worth it. Make sure you try them next time you are in Greece.

Thanks for a very entertaining TR. I can't wait for your next one, which I'm sure won't take too long.
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lukeyboy95
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:26 pm

Hi FF.

A very nice concluding part to this TR. A great shame your flu stemmed your usual entertaining booze consumption.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
The weather has turned quite nice - sunshine but cold, just a few degrees:

I know, and love this time in Paris. The Parisians are much more pleasant and the streets don't smell of sewage. Much prefered...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
area is looking like something out of Baghdad or somewhere in Africa. All kinds of riff raff, panhandlers and idle young men just hanging around,

Haha. I think most African cities I have visited so far are even better.

I liked the look of both of the Greek carriers. But does BA not operate a competitively priced widebody out of ATH? This would be too tempting for me.

I also like very much how despite taking quite expensive forays on airlines, your are careful and observant about the price of matters. Perhaps you have some Scottish blood. McFlyingFinn.

L
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
FLIEGER67
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:25 pm

Hi, P.,

what a really nice conclusion of you´re part one, checking some European capitals.
Great pictures by the way and good to read about youre last row experiences.

So it seems you´re not really lucky with the hotel decisions around the second part of the trip.
But hopefully the flu goes away and doesn´t return again.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Can’t have a trip report without a picture of a Contact Air F100, can I? Most probably bound for STR:

No way, absolutely no way.

Looking now for the TLL inaugural, also interesting.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
DLBOIFIN
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:17 pm

Hi,

Great report again, thanks for sharing. Your experience in Athens seemed quite bad...I didn't got any urge to travel there myself any time soon. Too bad as I like Greece in general.

I also like flying BA, but one thing that I don't like about them is that from/to LHR, the HEL flights are always from/to bus gates. I can't remember when was the last time I would have boarded thru jetway on BA!

DLBF
 
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rogerbcn
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:25 am

Hola FlyingFinn76!

I am reading your excellent TR at LX lounge at ZRH, my stopover between TXL and BCN. Really great, I enjoyed all the stories and the pictures are superb.

This morning when we landed at ZRH we approached from the East and I had a great view of the Alps surrounding the city, really great. I told the captain when we disembarked, it was not difficult as there were only 20 of us on a whole A320. I hope to see them again when crossing to BCN in an hour.
Obviously I did not take the camera this time as I assumed to be an ordinary flight... 'There are no ordinary flights for real a.netters Roger'

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Latest Airshow system on this new bird:

They have the same show in LX but they always interrupted to have some of those old 'Just for Laughs' or 'Mr Bean'... I do not care during daylight but at night is nice to have a clue where you are flying over.
This system does not really adjust to speed and altitude changes as fast as the old one did, but some of the presentations, like the cockpit view are wonderful.

Thanks for this interesting story about crossing Europe from North to South and west to East.... a great installment.

Looking forward to reading the next one.

Salut!

Roger
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Traveling is Living)
 
parton87
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:25 am

Hello Petteri!

Nice continuation from part 1! Again what a shame that I couldn't´t join you! The service on both Aegean and Olympic looks really good!
Sorry for the bad parts from Athens. Your were lucky that you didn´t get robbed or something!

Greetings
Robert
 
FlyingFinn76
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:59 pm

Hi guys, thanks for the comments!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 9):
Interesting that the non-Schengen lounges tend to better than the Schengen ones. Probably the Schengen lounges are merely focused on functionality while the non-Schengen ones on the luxury.

Well, I don't really think it is like that. You have good lounges and bad lounges - and the location is purely secondary in this respect. Depends on the way the particular airport is setup etc.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 10):
I'm sorry you had to find yourself in such a bad part of Athens. I've been there a couple of times and I always try to find hotels near the Music Hall; the area is pretty decent, with a metro station and you can find some reasonably-priced hotels too.

Naah, don't be. It is interesting getting a bit closer to the street life instead of the more sterile parts. Completely fine with me. And I had a chat during the metro ride with a couple of Brits - they were staying at a hotel nearby as well, but their street was far worse with drug addicts injecting themselves in broad daylight and working girls positioned at every street corner...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 10):
Noooo! When in Greece and in the mood for McD-type food, one should always opt for "Goody's".

Thanks for the tip! I saw a few of those around (mainly from the airport bus, though) and wondered what they were. But I was so under the weather that the closes joint won, and this time it was good old MickeyDee's.

But I'll keep that in mind when I return - I most certainly will, hopefully with a bit more time to spend this time!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 11):
I know, and love this time in Paris. The Parisians are much more pleasant and the streets don't smell of sewage. Much prefered...

I agree with you, Luke, all those things are something which I don't like about Paris at all! Very crisp and nice weather in January.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 11):
But does BA not operate a competitively priced widebody out of ATH? This would be too tempting for me.

Yep, there's a daily 767 service - I actually saw it unloading when arriving with Aegean. And since it is BA, it is always competitively priced!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 11):
I also like very much how despite taking quite expensive forays on airlines, your are careful and observant about the price of matters. Perhaps you have some Scottish blood. McFlyingFinn.

Does that title come with reduced price on whiskey?  

But seriously speaking I am a price-conscious person. Having quite strict cost control is the only thing that allows me to fly as much as I do.

That statement actually reminds me of a funny story - many moons ago an ex-colleague (a Finn) of mine was at the GLA airport, waiting for his flight to Heathrow (and eventually, home to HEL). He was browsing through the whiskey shop there, which had an offer like "buy two and get 50% off" or whatever. Back in those days the Finnish customs were still very strict about the amount of alcohol you brought in and limited it to a single liter of spirits, EU country or not (fortunately this has since changed for EU). Anyway he overheard a couple of elder Scottish ladies discussing whether they could afford a particular bottle they were examining or not. He approached them, suggested that "why don't we pool our whiskies together - I'm looking to buy one bottle and obviously you want another one, let's buy them together and we both get a 50% discount!". The ladies looked at him like he was an alien and after a while exclaimed: "Finally there's somebody who is even more of a penny pincher than us Scots! Where are you from, young man?" - "Errr, Finland."  .

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 12):
But hopefully the flu goes away and doesn´t return again.

Markus, you know better than that. Flus and other annoyances always return!

Quoting DLBOIFIN (Reply 13):
Great report again, thanks for sharing. Your experience in Athens seemed quite bad...I didn't got any urge to travel there myself any time soon. Too bad as I like Greece in general.

Well, don't get me wrong. Athens is nice, but the problem is that it is full. Bursting at the seams, as is. The main problem is that the border between Greece and Turkey is leaking. A lot. So everyday lots and lots of illegal immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and whatnot from Africa, Middle East and Afghanistan arrive at Greece, usually through some kinds of human smuggling operations. And they all eventually end up in Athens. Ironically this is only made worse by the recent year's surge of low cost flights into Istanbul, as now many people from poor countries can afford to fly there and then try their fortune at getting into the Shangri-La of the EU.

It is made worse by the so called Dublin regulation of the EU, which dictates that any illegal immigrant or asylum seeker should be returned to their original country of entry into the EU while their applications are processed. In this case it is Greece, so many deported people are flown back there and basically just released to the streets. Add to that the current perilous state of the Greek State's finances, an economic crisis and you have quite an interesting stew in your hands. That's why many areas of Athens have been completely overrun by migrants, and since they are usually out of work and money and uncertain about their future it is bound to cause lotsa problems.

Quoting DLBOIFIN (Reply 13):
I also like flying BA, but one thing that I don't like about them is that from/to LHR, the HEL flights are always from/to bus gates. I can't remember when was the last time I would have boarded thru jetway on BA!

Which end do you mean? Nowadays at the LHR end it is always a bus ride as BA does not use any jetways at all for the few shorthaul flights remaining at T3 (VIE, MAD, BCN, HEL, maybe some others as well?).

At HEL it varies - when arriving on the later flight I've always gotten a jetway due to the late hour.

Quoting parton87 (Reply 15):
Sorry for the bad parts from Athens. Your were lucky that you didn´t get robbed or something!

Well, don't be. I'm okay, as you know, I'm a big guy, streetwise and quite tough. Had somebody tried to rob me I think it would've gotten very interesting as I sure as hell wouldn't just let it happen! And usually that kind of petty criminals are looking for the low hanging fruit - fight back or even look like one who would do it so and they are too scared to act on you.
 
ba319-131
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:59 pm

Hi P,

Another great story, though your late night Athens pics don't paint a good picture of the city.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Up through the funky tubes - I’m starting to like these, very retro. I’m just wondering what an earth were the designers thinking (or maybe drinking - oh, it was the sixties so probably just expanding their mind)?

- Indeed, what were they thinking!?

All in all looks like a good bunch of flights, nice to get hot meals on the Greek carriers, shame BA dropped them, still think they should be offered on longer flights such as LHR-HEL.

Cheers

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
 
The777Man
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:48 pm

Hi FlyingFinn!

Nice report with nice pictues ! Leegroom looks a bit tight on both Aegean and Olympic Air.

Great pictures of the clouds at dusk on the approach to Atherns!

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
lewis
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:45 pm

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Well, don't get me wrong. Athens is nice, but the problem is that it is full. Bursting at the seams, as is. The main problem is that the border between Greece and Turkey is leaking. A lot. So everyday lots and lots of illegal immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and whatnot from Africa, Middle East and Afghanistan arrive at Greece, usually through some kinds of human smuggling operations. And they all eventually end up in Athens. Ironically this is only made worse by the recent year's surge of low cost flights into Istanbul, as now many people from poor countries can afford to fly there and then try their fortune at getting into the Shangri-La of the EU.

It is made worse by the so called Dublin regulation of the EU, which dictates that any illegal immigrant or asylum seeker should be returned to their original country of entry into the EU while their applications are processed. In this case it is Greece, so many deported people are flown back there and basically just released to the streets. Add to that the current perilous state of the Greek State's finances, an economic crisis and you have quite an interesting stew in your hands. That's why many areas of Athens have been completely overrun by migrants, and since they are usually out of work and money and uncertain about their future it is bound to cause lotsa problems.

Although many countries have put the Dublin returns on hold for now, the situation is getting worse in Athens day by day. When I left Greece there was not a single intersection without at least 5-6 illegal immigrants standing around begging, cleaning or selling stuff, and that was in the good parts of the city. Unfortunately the old city centre has become a ghetto dump, all locals have fled and now its mainly illegal immigrant squatters that live around there, although I hope they can have a city cleanup operation and improve the looks of that area. When booking for Athens, make sure you avoid those areas, a lot of things have changed around the city during the past two years.
 
stipica
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:50 pm

Greetings from sunny Split...what to say this is my first message on airliners.net...    ...I am very pleased that you photographed my hometown and our little airport always a good feeling...highly respect your work and I heard rumors that the flight KF861 waiting for you...  ...stipica
Open your eyes and think
 
MSS658
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:13 am

Very nice and detailed report, glad you got you're ipod back.
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:58 am

Hi guys, thanks for more comments.

Quoting lewis (Reply 19):
Although many countries have put the Dublin returns on hold for now, the situation is getting worse in Athens day by day. When I left Greece there was not a single intersection without at least 5-6 illegal immigrants standing around begging, cleaning or selling stuff, and that was in the good parts of the city.

Thanks Lewis for the insight. This is indeed the picture I've gotten about Greece nowadays. A real shame, hope something will be done soon to help the situation.

Quoting stipica (Reply 20):
Greetings from sunny Split...what to say this is my first message on airliners.net..

Hey, congratulations on that!

Quoting stipica (Reply 20):
..I am very pleased that you photographed my hometown and our little airport always a good feeling...highly respect your work and I heard rumors that the flight KF861 waiting for you...

Thanks. I was actually thinking about visiting Split and Croatia fir the first time later this year, although I was looking at the new DY service from HEL. But let's see, those plans were for August which is still half a year away...
 
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OA260
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:08 am

Hey great report thanks for that. Sorry for late reply but as you know I have been away for nearly two weeks. Glad you had a good enough OA experience. I love the proper J class seats but not the Y class. It lets them down as other A/C have really nice leather seats .

As for Athens in fairness you stayed in the ''bad'' area , there are plenty of nicer safe areas. Omonia always has been notorious for drugs/hookers/illegals etc... ( even in the good times )   If you go again I would look at Syntagma/Monastiraki areas. I agree though the EU rules are using Greece as a dumping ground and now that Greece has decided to build a wall along the Turkish border the EU are crying again !! It needs addressed urgently by the EU . At the moment Greece is damned if they do and damned if they dont .

Happy flying

OA260  
 
odafz
Posts: 270
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:38 pm

Dear FF

Thank you for such a nice report, and I am happy that you liked A3 and OA. Speaking of temperatures, for us, Greeks, 10C is freezing cold and we have a very rainy and cold winter as per Greek standards.

Next time you visit ATH, drop me a word, it will be a joy to entertain you .
I wish you a lot of good travels and a lot of trip reports to write and for us to read.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:10 am

Another good report! Where's next?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Up through the funky tubes - I’m starting to like these, very retro. I’m just wondering what an earth were the designers thinking (or maybe drinking - oh, it was the sixties so probably just expanding their mind)?

I remember my first time in CDG T1 - it was just before New Year, and it was raining. They had lots of flashing lights hanging down between the tubes, but you couldn't see them properly because the glass was wet. I must say, I was momentarily confused as to where I was, because CLEARLY it wasn't an airport!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Not to worry, there are no passengers at all on the passport controls, although the young French guy checking documents and boarding passes and sorting people to the correct queues tells me that Finland “is not EU, monsieur!”. Where do they find these guys?! Luckily after a bit of arguing his supervisor comes there and puts him straight.

The training some people undergo must be minimal, or else they are thick, or don't care. Surely knowing the EU countries is a fairly basic requirment of that job? When booking some reward flights to Asia a few years ago, I spent a while trying to persuade a LH agent on the phone that OZ and NH were both part of Star Alliance - she said she'd never heard of them.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Before take off candies are handed out - the FA taps my shoulder as I’m so engrossed watching the traffic through the window:

That shows a good service attitude - it would have been easy for her to just ignore you.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Our gate, A22 is a bus gate downstairs - come to think of it there are absolutely no OA planes docked to the jetways, only A3 and various foreign visitors.

Why is that? Saving money?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 1):

Another hot meal is served on this flight - chicken meatballs with a salad appetizer and warm bread:

Fairly decent meal for intra-EU
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR
 
infodesk
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:31 pm

Hi P,

Oops, somehow missed this one. A nice conclusion to this busy weekend.

Ooh, Gare du Nord and the impressive departure board...brings back memories of my Eurostar days when I spent the best part of 12 hours getting from CH back to England. There's still something exciting about seeing London on the board at a French railway station.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
You could very easily think that the Concorde is actually taking off:

If only she was! Thanks for the A380 shots, reminds me of the July trip.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Thread starter):
Is that the Hello MD-90 with many a.netters onboard?

  Also enjoying the beautiful Alps from above

Interesting to see another Aegean vs Olympic comparison, it does make you wonder what the future holds. Those C-Class seats on OA look most impressive. Shame your impressions of Athens weren't more positive.

Glad you got the ipod back. It's always quite a difficult thing when something's left on a plane as any number of staff can take it and until you locate just where it is can be a tricky process. Often for people in transit the time is too short. Even worse when the plane's parked at an open stand.......

Happy flying
Infodesk   
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
FlyingFinn76
Topic Author
Posts: 1698
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RE: European Capital Tour, Part 2: CDG-ATH-LHR-HEL

Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:26 pm

Hi all, good to see more comments!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 23):
I love the proper J class seats but not the Y class. It lets them down as other A/C have really nice leather seats .

Oh yes, those cloth seats definitely were a blast from the past, especially in such a new plane - and what's up with the funky colors of them?! Anyway I did like A3 more for three simple reasons: the seats, lower fares and *A!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 23):
If you go again I would look at Syntagma/Monastiraki areas.

Yeah, both of those looked nice from what little I had time to see. Quite amazing actually to consider that Omonia is just a stone's throw away from both of those...

Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 24):
Next time you visit ATH, drop me a word, it will be a joy to entertain you .

Ok, I'll keep that in mind, ODAFZ!

Quoting ODAFZ (Reply 24):
I wish you a lot of good travels and a lot of trip reports to write and for us to read.

Thanks mate, and well, you can't take the stripes out of the tiger can you?  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 25):
When booking some reward flights to Asia a few years ago, I spent a while trying to persuade a LH agent on the phone that OZ and NH were both part of Star Alliance - she said she'd never heard of them.

This is my pet peeve - it shouldn't be so that the customers know the rules and the product far better than the customer service people - but unfortunately this happens far too often. I've had interesting arguments with various airline representatives (usually FFP -related) about various issues where I knew I was right but the other side didn't want to budge nor involve their superiors...

Quoting infodesk (Reply 26):
There's still something exciting about seeing London on the board at a French railway station.

Yes, there is. Being a Finn international train travel is still a novelty for me - especially considering that the only connection from here is to Russia, which is made far more complicated by the need for a visa and besides I have no real desire to visit Russia at all. Of course in CE trains have not known borders for decades, so it's become very commonplace.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 26):
Also enjoying the beautiful Alps from above

Hey Hannah, you still need to name all those mountains for me!

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