Hello everyone, I had an interesting invitation to visit some Executive Jets under maintenance in London, alongside Instagram’s CaptainChris. As I was in Berlin at the time, at short notice, there were no affordable fares. However, Eurowings had an offer at just over 100 Euros if I changed in Dusseldorf.
In theory that would give me time for lunch in Dusseldorf and a ride on the A220. So I was rather pleased.
I’ve split this report into three sections, one each flight and one for my visit.Part 1
Berlin to Dusseldorf
My journey started rather early in the morning, as I headed for a 9am departure. Unfortunately Berlin Brandenburg’s railway station was shut, meaning the train dumped me at the old SXF station. That station looks to have seen better days, but I did smile at this sign.
Luckily local buses were still operating and the X7 got me across in around ten minutes. Fortunately the airport was not very busy, although most security queues were 20+ minutes long.
Luckily I was able to walk straight up to an x-ray point in a neighbouring building, and it seemed odd airport management weren’t proactively doing this. Being a fairly hot day, the body scanners were stopping most passengers, because they were hot and sweat sets them off. That must be quite a challenge for the security staff.
I found a small cafe in one of the wings, which has a great apron view. A coffee and a sandwich was 13 Euros, which is insanely expensive, and as paying I got this message.
Having paid so much, I didn’t feel bad hogging the table and enjoying the view, especially as my flight ended up being a full two hours late.
However, my top two tips for BER are:
1. Check the different security check times by checkpoint, they randomly vary and you can save a lot of time by going to the quietest.
2. Airside, the best cafes are in the departure gate areas, there is little on offer in the main hall
One of the stranger features of BER is that there are excellent travellators, but they’re not signposted. Had I been travelling with elder family members, as from time to time I do, this would have been quite upsetting. Definitely an easy opportunity for improvement.
It was a shame to notice that the floor throughout Pier A is cracking up, which surely must be a worrying sign.
Once I reached the gate my A319 was sat waiting, with passengers disembarking.
Boarding was done in two simple groups, those who paid more and those who didn’t. The process was very easy and organised, the boarding staff were timing it well, so there was no terrible scrum inside. Well done.
In terms of first impressions, there is very little to differentiate Eurowings from Lufthansa, I’m fairly sure an average passenger simply wouldn’t notice any difference.
A nice touch was that the captain came out from the cockpit to make his welcome announcement, a simple human gesture that I rarely see.
He gave a detailed explanation about the reason for our delay, which was because the Federal Police had closed Dusseldorf Airport after somebody was mis-screened at security. That means in other words, they should have stopped and checked but were let through by mistake.
I was pleasantly surprised to see I had a block of seats to myself. When I checked in, I gathered people were sat there, perhaps their plans changed with our delay?
As you can see legroom was perfectly fine.
Eurowings offer quite a comprehensive in-flight buy on board menu, as you’ll see below
You can get a better view herehttps://www.eurowings.com/content/dam/e ... n_2022.pdf
The crew were extremely efficient and perfectly friendly. They worked hard to serve everybody during this short flight. I’m not sure if this is normal, but everybody got a free coffee, perfect for a short journey like this one.
I was surprised that we stayed fairly low for much of our flight, perhaps they accepted a less favourable option to get back quicker? I’m not sure, but it gave a real sightseeing flight.
Approaching Dusseldorf was, as is usually the case, somewhat bumpy. However, once on the ground it is a very efficient airport.
It was pretty obviously that today Dusseldorf was bursting at the seams. Apparently the problems at AMS has seen more Dutch people head east towards DUS as an alternative.Part 2
Dusseldorf to London Heathrow
Eurowings operated by Air Baltic
The airport transfer from Dusseldorf Airport Station to the terminals is via a fairly unique Danglebahn. It’s a very fun and unique mode of transport, to my knowledge the other main example of this mode is not far away in the town of Wuppertaler. It’s certainly a memorable entry to the airport.
Dusseldorf’s central hall is extremely impressive. Sadly there is a rather dark history, as due to poor design, a small welding fire spread rapidly in the original building killing 17 people. So, after the original terminal was demolished, this rather impressive building replaced it.
In fact, the legacy of that fire is a huge part of why Berlin Brandenburg more than a decade late opening.
Security queues to Pier A where I would depart were more than 20 minutes long, so I used Pier B. Pier B is the newest part of Dusseldorf Airport.
My plane is in the top right of this photo, whilst one of Condor’s stripy plane is on the left. What do you think of Condor’s livery?
My flight used a bus gate in the basement of Pier A, which had a rather more relaxed vibe than elsewhere.
I was very excited to be boarding my first ever A220 aircraft, without knowing quite what to expect.
It was immediately obvious that the A220 has an extremely bright and airy cabin, quite unlike anything else flying.
I was impressed by the small overhead monitors which displayed a tiny safety video, plus I seem to recall it acting as seatbelt signs.
The seat design seemed to provide a nice amount of legroom, helped by this rather innovative tray layout. They do creak a bit though.
On take off it was interesting to see the engines took about ten seconds to spool up, with a rather loud mooing sound. Altogether we took 40 seconds to rotate, which somehow seemed a little slow to me. I stand to be corrected. Upon rotation it took off fairly sharply over a very dry looking Rhine.
Another interesting feature is that the huge windows allow one to look directly up, which helps create that very bright cabin.
Unfortunately the cabin crew were not quite on their A game, starting a big argument with a customer who’s fare entitled them to free food. Anyway the crew refused, which was just an odd exchange. The guy wasn’t rude or anything. Very unfortunate.
The crew walked off without serving me, although I managed to catch them, albeit they forgot most of my order. It was a very odd moment and sure enough the guy was entitled to a coffee and foot item.
In terms of cabin noise, I found the A220 quieter than a MAX, but louder than a NEO. The flight was not especially smooth either, but I can’t possibly guess how another aircraft would have handled it.
We got a direct route into Heathrow over Windsor and here the bigger cabin windows made me realise just how different a familiar approach can be. I noticed many things I’d never seen before. After an uneventful landing, we docked at the main T2 building.
Heathrow’s border is, well, not great right now, and it took me about an hour to get through passport control. Not the end of the world though.
It was a quick hop on the Piccadilly Line toward my accommodation. Whilst much busier than I’ve seen it in a while, this is hardly the evening peak I remember! Hangar visitLegacy 600
The Legacy 600 is an Embraer business jet with 13 seats and trans Atlantic range. The Legacy is derived from Embraer’s ERJ-145 passenger jet.
Captain Chris filming a Cabin Push.Challenger 850
This Challenger was getting ready for returning to line service, but was still missing some key cabin elements and has quite a long way to go. Bombardier’s 850 has similar performance to the Legacy, but slightly less range. It's derived from the CRJ200 passenger jet, a distant relative of Air Baltic's A220. Lineage 100
Embraer’s Lineage is quite a rare aircraft, only 18 civil versions were ever built. It is derived from the E190 and achieves trans atlantic range by converting the luggage hold with fuel tanks.
This particular aircraft is having the equivalent of a D Check, you can see the landing gear is off.
Inside an engine
Interior being stripped, ahead of major refurbishment
It was terrific to see behind the scenes and to meet Captain Chris, a great ambassador for aviation. Hope you enjoyed.