TXL-FRA-MAD-LCY/LGW-MAN-MUC-TXL-DUS-TXL (Y)

Click here to read the report on Airliners.net.

Hello and welcome to my 4th trip-report!

***BACKGROUND-INFO:***

I started planning this trip, because I wanted to celebrate the opening of the new BER airport. I planned to take-off from TXL one last time on June 1st 2012 and return to the new BER airport on the first day of operation, June 3rd. As I was fascinated by the number of trip-reports about 5th freedom flights on intra-European routes I started investigating what routes could be flown on one weekend without having to take some days off from work. After making lots of travel-plans and weighing up which route to take I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t my first priority to take as many 5th freedom flights as possible. I prefered adding some new type to my list of aircraft I have flown and to stop in London to finish what I started with my 2nd TR in 2010. I ended up booking two 5th freedom flights, LA from FRA to MAD and SQ from MAN to MUC. Two days after booking the trip I was informed at work that I have to take part in a training course at DUS on Monday and Tuesday after coming back from my trip. As I would be arriving late on Sunday, I opted for flying to DUS and back and included these flights in this TR. As we all know, BER wasn’t opened on June 3rd and the opening is postponed until sometime in 2013. Here is the complete routing:

This map and all other maps in this TR created with www.gcmap.com, copyright Karl L. Swartz.

— TXL-FRA —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

Despite the postponed opening of BER I was still very happy to go on this trip, it would be my 4th TR, but only my 2nd trip I just booked for the sake of flying, so I was still quite new to this a.nutter TR business. On a normal friday I work till 3:00 PM, but this day I called a cab at 11:55 AM and was picked up at 12:10 PM, arriving at the airport about 7 minutes later. I paid the driver and got out at my departure gate 6.

When I entered the fantastic building of TXL I just had to walk 20 meters from the curb to the waiting area at my gate. I had checked in online and just walked past the check-in desks.

GIDS? Gate Information Display? Whatever…

My aircraft D-ABGN waiting for me at the gate, just some minutes left until boarding…

Closer view, with a BA Airbus departing overhead:

***FLIGHT TXL-FRA***
Date: 01 June 2012
Airline: Air Berlin
Flight: AB 6555
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Aircraft Reg: D-ABGN
Departure Airport: TXL / Berlin – Tegel
Arrival Airport: FRA / Frankfurt am Main
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:55 / 12:55 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 14:10 / 02:10 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 16F (window)

While taking the last picture boarding was called, it took some time to get on board as the flight was very full. Still, at least they were prepared for a full flight and started boarding early, the fuel truck was still attached to our aircraft. An AB A332 in the background.

Modern cabin with slimline seats and drop-down LCDs, typical for AB on its short- and medium-haul fleet:

Closer view of D-ABXB, one of the AB A332s:

Window cleaning, I got a weird look by a FA, I think she isn’t into aviation photography…

Spoiler check on taxi-out:

TXL as we know it, BMI at the gate, at this point still part of LH group:

D-ALPG, another AB A332:

Take-off, some Russian Air Force heavies on the military ramp as Mr. Putin was in town to visit Mrs. Merkel:



Overflying the “Tegeler See” on climb-out with islands Scharfenberg (top), Bäumwerder (lower right) and Valentinswerder (lower left) visible as well:

What a wonderful day for flying and spotting:

Legroom was very good, the slimline seats are great if used the way AB and LH do it, get one more row of seats into the aircraft, but also giving more legroom to the passengers:

A full row of three seats for me, I think that was the only row that empty on the plane…

At cruise level:

I took the salty snack option and my standard airplane drink, OJ:

Descend, lots of contrails in the vincinity of FRA:

Banking hard right, right into the clouds…

…flying through them and coming out, again, beautiful weather:


Overflying Frankfurt am Main:



Final approach and touch-down on the new runway 25R:



As we were landing in western direction we had to taxi really long, more than 15 minutes I think, from the most eastern part of FRA to an apron parking position on the most western side, West of Terminal 2:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

I left the aircraft via the rear exit and took one last photo:

A bus picked us up and brought us to Terminal 2, I went to the first FIDS, but they only showed flights up to 06:10 PM, so I went on to leave the airside area to go to the visitor terrace:

Spotting at FRA:

















My airplane being prepared for its next flight:

More spotting:





















— FRA-MAD —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

At 3:40 PM I left the visitor terrace and went to the golden M just by the entrance/exit to the terrace to get some “hamburger plain”.

After I finished my lunch I went to the BA desks to check-in online for my flights on the next day. To my surprise it didn’t work. I tried multiple times until a BA desk-agent came to me asking if she could help me. I said yes and we proceeded to her desk. She tried to check me in, too, but had no success. She said it should work and she has no clue why it isn’t working. I gave up and decided to give it another try in MAD.

As I still had more than 1 hour left until my gate would open I went to the visitor terrace again, one last spotting session:

















Two hours before depature-time I left the terrace again and went through security, which took me no more than one minute, too bad only I was singled out for an extra security scan. “Bugger!” I thought, but it was no real hassle and it took them just 3-4 minutes. After they had scanned my camera backpack for explosives I proceeded to the next FIDS, now showing my flight and the gate, D8:

I proceeded to the gate, but it was still closed, here the GIDS:


It got boring after waiting for 30 minutes, so I entered the waiting area of gate D7, which was open and not in use, to watch some aircraft take-off and land, I took these pictures of the KE A380 and my LA A340-300X:



Finally, 50 minutes before departure our beautiful LA gate agent showed up and she started scanning everyones boarding passes and passports before letting us into the waiting area. Some 20 minutes later boarding was called. They boarded by rows, everyone followed the rules and those who didn’t were kindly asked to wait their turn. I was a little bit impressed to see such an orderly boarding procedure by a South American airline.


***FLIGHT FRA-MAD***
Date: 01 June 2012
Airline: LAN Chile
Flight: LA 705
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300X
Aircraft Reg: CC-CQF
Departure Airport: FRA / Frankfurt am Main
Arrival Airport: MAD / Madrid Barajas
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:30 / 07:30 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:20 / 10:20 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 17L (window)

Forward C class section while boarding:

I was greeted by two friendly flight attendants and turned into the right aisle:

Passing the smaller rear C class section:

I had picked a seat right over the A340s massive wings, I love wing-shots!

Pushback:

Taxi-out, passing a TG 772:

NH 77W:

Terminal 1, between A and B pier, LH land:

Mirror image of my airplane:

Passing one of the cargo ramps, LH MD11F:

Lining up on runway 18:

Climb-out:


PTV with video-on-demand showing the map and data pages under 10000 ft:


I have to say legroom and shoulder-room was awful, the aircraft is not made for tall people and the seat pitch was tighter than on tha AB short-/medium-haul Airbus aircraft.
See here, the curvature of the wall comes right up to the seats on floor-level, so I could only put my seat between the seats, not between seat and wall like on most widebodys:

At the height of my shoulder the wall curves again in my direction what was annoying to me, too. Perhaps this wouldn’t have been an issue if there had been more legroom available:

No gaspers, too, I hate airlines who do that:

Legroom, compare that to the AB shot from my thread-op:

Cabin shot:

A snack was served, a sandwich and OJ for me. The OJ was great, the sandwich smelled like it was a few days old, I put it back into the box, my seat neighbor had the same problem with his sandwich and put it back in, too.

The window was very scratched and the low evening sun wasn’t helping, so I pulled my shade down:

The snack-box including a Mars (tasty as always) and the “old” sandwich:

As the sun was hanging too low to watch out the windows, I opted for watching two episodes of Big Bang Theory:

Right over the Pyrenees we came into high-level clouds at FL370, I had never experienced something like this:




After passing the Pyrenees the clouds disappeared and I was treated by a wonderful sunset above the clouds:



Worn-out seats:

Descending into the Madrid area:

Ice forming on our wing, but only at this riveted area:

Approaching MAD in the last rays of sunlight:


Touchdown:


Taxi-in and parking beside an IB A340:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

Entering the terminal on the arrival level, lower level is the departure level:

On my long way to immigration:

Waiting in the queue, that took me about 10-15 minutes, despite three officers at work:

Taking the airtrain from Terminal 4S to Terminal 4. 4S is only a satelite terminal without an exit to the landside area of this airport:

I passed the luggage pickup-zone as I was only travelling with cabin luggage.

I went one level up to the BA desks to try checking in for my flights on the following day. Again without success. As there were no more agents around at this time of the day (11:00 PM) I gave up and went to the pickup-zone for the hotel busses, called my hotel, the Crowne Plaza Madrid Barajas Airport and waited long 20 minutes till my bus arrived. That the thermometer was still showing 32 deg C at 11:00PM wasn’t that nice, too.


The hotel room was very nice, no complaints about this hotel:

I went back to the lobby and asked the night clerk if I could get internet access somewhere in the hotel. He offered me a laptop, so I don’t have to pay for wifi-access, very kind. I went to the BA website and found the reason for my unsuccessful attempts to check-in. I had to enter my passport number. Still no explanation why the gate agent at FRA did not realise this.

After checking in I went back to my room, it had been a tiresome week of work and a long travel day with lots of spotting in the hot sunlight…

— MAD-LCY —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

As my flight was leaving at 07:40 AM, the hotel had booked a bus at 6:00 AM for me, much too early in my opion, but I was too tired to argue with them the night before, so I got up at 5:00 AM, showered, “packed” and went down to the lobby awaiting my bus. It arrived five minutes late and we arrived at the airport about 10 minutes later. I am 100 percent positve that the driver was a fan of Fernando Alonso, trying to break his own record from hotel ground to airport MAD Termina 4.

CIDS? Check-In Information Display? Only showing the check-in desks…

On my way down to the underground-airtrain:

Riding the airtrain:

Most shops were still closed at this early hour, only the book store was open, so I went straight to my gate:


As I had about an hour until boarding I walked around, picked up something to drink and took photos from the parked aircraft:

My gate and the aircraft which would take me to London:






Boarding:

***FLIGHT MAD-LCY***

Date: 02 June 2012
Airline: BA Cityflyer
Flight: BA 8752
Aircraft: Embraer E190SR
Aircraft Reg: G-LCYJ
Departure Airport: MAD / Madrid Barajas
Arrival Airport: LCY / London City
Scheduled Departure Time: 07:40 / 07:40 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 09:05 / 09:05 AM
Class: Economy
Seat: 16A (window)

Overwing, window view from this Embraer E190SR. Don’t you love the sky at sunrise? Beautiful atmosphere…

Safety Card:

Taxi-out:



Line-up and take-off:



Climb-out of MAD:


I should really play a round of Golf in Spain some day, you see so many GCs from above:

Gaspers and reading lights:

Cabin view from the last row:

Small galley in the back:

Window view while in cruise:

Legroom was excellent, seats are wide, love the Embraer E-Jet!

Snack and drink service:

Me smiling (yes, that is my smile! ^^):

Breakfast and OJ:

Old yoghurt with mould on top, the FA offered me a new one, but I declined because I was a little bit afraid regarding an interrupted cold-chain in MAD.

More in-flight photography:


Descending through thick clouds over the Channel:

Approaching LCY through low hanging clouds:


Landing:




Cabin and wing-view while taxiing to our parking position:


BA A318, perhaps going to NCY via SNN later this day?

The dock-runway:

Lots of regional jets:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

Apron views after deboarding:



Landside at LCY, after taking this picture a police officer told me not to take photos on the airport ground, what a joke:

On my way to the DLR station:

DLR train arriving:

Some views from the train:

— LGW-MAN —

***LONDON:***

Part of my 2nd TR was a city tour through London. I did about everything possible you can do in two days regarding the touristic attractions of this wonderful city. I just missed out on passing the Tower Bridge on daylight and taking the Tower of London tour. While booking this trip I planned to have enough time between my flights so I could finish what I started about 18 months earlier.
Tower Hill Memorial:

Trinity Square:


The Tower of London:



Our tour guide, great guy, fascinating stories and a real comedian:

The tour:



















I have no photos from the crown jewels because it was not allowed to take photos in the Tower itself. Nevertheless I was really happy that my tight schedule worked as I had planned it. I landed at 09:05 AM, started the Tower tour at 11:20 AM, came out of the Tower at 12:40 PM and now had 20 minutes left to reach the Butlers Wharf steak restaurant at the other side of Tower Bridge to have lunch.
The Shard, still not finished at this day:

The Tower Bridge:

Passing the Tower Bridge:




Lots of ships on the Thames River preparing to the Queens’ Golden Jubilee on the next day:


TV camera being installed for the Jubilee:

The bridge opening for a larger ship to pass:

At the Butlers Wharf, having the beast steak I ever had my life. I had a lot of steak, because I love steak. If you are in London, go to this place and have a steak and try their self-made bread. Unbelievable! Prices are a little bit high, typical for a restaurant close the touristic attractions. But this one is so good, it is worth every cent. And they did not pay me to say this. haha…



Back over the bridge to the underground station:

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

My train to Gatwick:


At Gatwick airport station:

Airtrain to the North Terminal, the trains from London only stop at the South Terminal:

North Terminal airtrain station:


Inside the Terminal or should I say “Shopping Mall”? I hate airports like these, too crowded, shopping mall atmosphere, etc.

FIDS:


For the domestic BA flights it only showed “Gate opens” with no further information. So I asked at the information where my flight would leave and that all domestic BA flights leave from the Gate 55 area. I strolled around a little bit, exploring the terminal, then went to my departure gate:




My aircraft:

Boarding was called very early, about 35 minutes before departure, the load was very light, so we sat around in the aircraft for about 20 minutes before we taxied out:

***FLIGHT LGW-MAN***

Date: 02 June 2012
Airline: British Airways
Flight: BA 2908
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Aircraft Reg: G-EUPW
Departure Airport: LGW / London Gatwick
Arrival Airport: MAN / Manchester
Scheduled Departure Time: 15:50 / 03:50 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 16:50 / 04:50 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 19F (window)

I was the first person to board, so I had time to take this photo:

Old comfy leather seats, very thick:

Baggage or freight was still loaded:

The mighty bridge connecting the two piers of the North Terminal:

Aircraft taxiing by and at the gates:








Taxi to the active runway passing the Hongkong Airlines A332:

Old aircraft:

Lined up and ready for departure:

Takeoff and climb-out:



Legroom was okay, but not great compared to the new slimline seats:

Empty seats, so I could still stretch out after the fasten seat-belts signs went off:

The cabin:

Window views at cruise level:


Salty snack and OJ:

Cabin service going on:

Oldschool overhead-panel, like it:

Descending through thick clouds after a very short flight:


Approach and landing on runway 05L:




Thanks to the very kind cockpit-crew for letting me take these photos:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

Landside again:

It had started raining while arriving at MAN, so hurried to get to the bus-stop where the hotel busses stopped. I called my hotel, the Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport and the bus arrived five minutes later:

My room, total contrast to the hotel in MAD, very worn out and loud (with the airport 500m away), but at least it was clean:

View out of my hotel room window, that was the best shot I could take from a bypassing aircraft, the weather wasn’t on my side on that evening:

I hope the rooms will be renovated soon, because the rest of the hotel is very modern und just perfect. Friendly personell, great food, an excellent pan-asian restaurant, wifi-access in the room.

— MAN-MUC —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

That’s me after showering on the next morning. No further comment needed.
The lobby after checking out:

Bar, lounge and breakfast restaurant:

Scrambled eggs, cooked too “British” in my opinion:

After bus-transfer to the Terminal:

Thomas Cook and First Choice Check-In area, totally crowded:

After having picked up my boarding pass at the SQ desks:


Who planned this terminal? First you go up the escalators, pass over the departure level, go through security, then go back down?



Passing security took nearly 20-25 minutes, rather long, here the first FIDS I found airside:

QR A332:

My gate area, crowded:

The aircraft which will take me to MUC some time later:


When boarding was called I realised how full the flight really would be and because SQ didn’t bother boarding by rows or areas, I just went to the Business Class line as this line was empty and was allowed to pass on through. Saved me 15 minutes standing in a very long line…

***FLIGHT MAN-MUC***

Date: 03 June 2012
Airline: Singapore Airlines
Flight: SQ 327
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Aircraft Reg: 9V-SWO
Departure Airport: MAN / Manchester
Arrival Airport: MUC / München
Scheduled Departure Time: 09:10 / 09:10 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:15 / 12:15 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 46A (window)

Rainy window view:

Everything in my seat pocket:

Menu Card for the short hop to MUC:

Takeoff:



Climb-out:



Weather forecast for MUC, seems to be a sunny day:

PTV/AVOD – Krisworld, an amazing system:


Widow view at cruise level:

Legroom, excellent. What else? It is SQ!


Breakfast, excellent. What else? It is SQ! You get it? SQ is excellent! No, really, everything was tasty and the service was top-notch.

Watching some cartoons, flashbacks of the late 80ies:

Cabin view:

Watching more recent cartoons, Family Guy, love this episode:

Descending through thick clouds and rain, so far the weather report was wrong:


Approach and landing:





Pulling into the gate:

Catering trucks already awaiting the arriving aircraft for its journey to SIN:

Rear economy cabin:

Forward economy cabin (I was seated in the back cabin):

Business Class cabin:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

Airside, directly after leaving the airbridge:

My aircraft being serviced:

Lots of small shops, bars and restaurants on my way out of the terminal, but no shopping-mall feeling, I liked that.


As I had to change terminals coming from an Star Alliance flight connecting to an AB flight, I had to pass the MAC, the München Airport Center:

— MUC-TXL —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

After arriving in MUC I felt very tired and the long ways through the Terminals annoyed. I had more than six hours to pass until my next flight, but I wanted to try to get on an earlier flight, so I went to the AB desks. They wanted to rip me off and offered me an earlier flight for an additional 245 Euro. Lets say it this way, I really had to force myself to be a nice guy at this moment, as I knew it wasn’t the fault of the desk-agents.

After that shock I needed a good beer to relax and went back to the MAC for the airbräu, the airports own brewery. Great place, I had two “Kumulus unfiltriert” and stayed there for about 90 minutes before heading to the visitor terrace above Terminal 2.

View from the visitor terrace. I was disappointed as you always have a window in front of you, not a good place to take some photos. I stayed no longer than 20 minutes before heading back to the airbräu.

On my way to the airbräu I picked up a Döner Kebap, than settled down at the airbräu with another Kumulus…

Some impressions from the airbräu:



After I took these photos I went to sleep right there in the airbräu. It wasn’t on intention, I just fell asleep, while closing my eyes for some minutes. I woke up about 80 minutes later, more than a little bit shocked, checked my luggage, thank God everything was still there. Crazy experience! I grabbed my stuff and went to my gate, I had about one hour left until my scheduled departure time.

FIDS, Gate A11 for me:

Landside in Terminal 1 at Concourse A, busy evening:

Seating area at gates A10-A12:

As there were no power outlets around and the one I found turned off or broken I just went to the desk at the empty gate A12 and loaded my smartphone there. Ten minutes before boarding the AB agent arrived and made an annoucement that our plane would be arriving 20 minutes late. I asked here if we would still arrive on time in TXL and she told me yes, I should not worry. Let’s say I was worried as I only had 55 minutes between scheduled arrival and departure time in TXL. Not 20, but 30 minutes late our aircraft pulled into the gate…


Boarding was called 30 minutes late, everyone was in a hurry now:

***FLIGHT MUC-TXL***

Date: 03 June 2012
Airline: Air Berlin
Flight: AB 6202
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Aircraft Reg: D-AHXB
Departure Airport: MUC / München
Arrival Airport: TXL / Berlin-Tegel
Scheduled Departure Time: 18:55 / 06:55 PM
Actual Departure Time: 19:20 / 07:20 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 20:05 / 08:05 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 20:30 / 08:30 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 22A (window)

Boarding finished, doors closed, pushback started, time for a cabin shot…

Pushback:

It had started raining again while waiting at the gate, now with our departure slot gone, we were about number 7 or 8 in the line and waited very long until lift-off:


Line-up and take-off, 25 minutes after scheduled departure time:





Window shot at cruise level, lots of dark clouds surrounding us:

Salty snack and apple juice:

Legroo was excellent:

Cabin shot at cruise level, now that looks better with sunlight and no rain:

Dense blanket of clouds on this Sunday evening:

Descend:

Approach over Berlin, coming in from the East:

Final approach, overflying Kurtschumacher Platz:

Landing:


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Taxi to gate, we arrived 25 minutes late, taking into account that the between departure and arrival time there is always some time for taxi and congestion factored in, it seemed like the flight crew was able to make up some time:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

FIDS after rushing off the aircraft, to my shock they had moved the DUS flight to Terminal C, now I had 39 minutes left until departure, 9 minutes until boarding time:

— TXL-DUS —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

When I arrived at Terminal C five minutes later it took me more than 10 minutes to pass security, I continued on and rushed to my gate just to realise this flight would be late, too. The postponement of the BER opening caused a major chaos at TXL and it seemed like all flights were late. Now I was happy I hadn’t missed my flight, but was afraid of missing my train in DUS…

Total chaos, three flights departing within 5 minutes from gates 38-40:

Boarding via bus:

Evening apron shot:

***FLIGHT TXL-DUS***

Date: 03 June 2012
Airline: Air Berlin operated by TUIfly
Flight: AB 6451
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Aircraft Reg: D-ABBB
Departure Airport: TXL / Berlin-Tegel
Arrival Airport: DUS / Düsseldorf
Scheduled Departure Time: 21:20 / 09:20 PM
Actual Departure Time: 21:45 / 09:45 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:30 / 10:30 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 22:55 / 10:55 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 15A (window)

Pushback, 25 minutes late:

Line-up and take-off:



The moon, fascinating…


Lots of legroom in the exit-row:

A bifi and double OJ:

Descend through a thick layer of clouds again:

Landing, again 25 minutes late:

We parked on an apron parking positon again and were transfered by bus to the Terminal:

***POST-FLIGHT:***

I rushed through the Terminal, trying to still reach my train. I missed it by about one minute, I saw it leaving the staion and had to wait one hour before the next train arrived. Great! Not.

— DUS-TXL —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***

After finishing my training course on Monday and Tuesday I went back to the airport at Tuesday around 3:00 PM, arriving thee at 3:30 PM. This is the airtrain from the mainline train station to the Terminal:


Inside the terminal on my way to the visitor terrace, I had three hours to pass until departure time:

Spotting at DUS:






















Back through the terminal, now later in the day, with mood-lighting:

FIDS, Gate B27 for me:

Passing the “landside mall”:

Passing security, that took about 5 minutes, still acceptable:

Passing the “airside mall”:

Seating area at Gate B27, I spent about 30 minutes sitting there watching the passing aircraft, then boarding was called on-time:

***FLIGHT DUS-TXL***

Date: 05 June 2012
Airline: Air Berlin
Flight: AB 6448
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Aircraft Reg: D-ABDR
Departure Airport: DUS / Düsseldorf
Arrival Airport: TXL / Berlin-Tegel
Scheduled Departure Time: 18:50 / 06:50 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 20:00 / 08:00 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 19:40 / 07:40 PM
Class: Economy
Seat: 13A (window)

After boarding, watching the CA A332 taxiing in, while a KL F70 departs above:

Cabin shot:

Line-up and take-off:




Bifi and OJ and an interesting read about architect Meinhard von Gerken (company GMP) who was the architect of TXL, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof and is now the architect of BER.

Lots of legroom in the exit-row again, an additional empty middle seat made that flight very pleasant…

Cruise level photo, wonderful day for flying:

Approach to Berlin, again from eastern direction:






Landing:


***POST-FLIGHT:***

My aircraft after deboarding:

Manual GIDS, we landed 20 minutes early:

***FINAL WORDS:***

7 flights in 3 days or to be more correct 8 flights in 5 days, 2 new aircraft (A340 and E-Jet), 1 new subtype (77W) for me, 3 new airports (MAD,LGW,MAN), overall a great trip for me. No airline or airport have been a letdown for me, only the weather wasn’t on my side on Sunday, too much rain.

The airlines:
– AirBerlin was nothing special, but I have flown them just too many times on their narrowbody fleet to get too excited about them. Nevertheless the service was good, the crews were very friendly and I can not blame them for the late flights, the reason was clearly the postponed opening of BER.
– LAN Chile was okay, the crew was friendly, the IFE was better than expected, the seat was acceptable, but I would not like to sit in that seat for a 12 hour flight to SCL, seat pitch is just too narrow for a long-haul-airplane. The letdown was the sandwich, but that was no biggie for me.
– British Airways was okay, too. Again very friendly crew, the E-Jet was great, the worn-out Airbus from LGW not so great. On-time and nothing to complain about, but nothing to get excited about either.
– Singapore Airline was excellent and I can’t describe you the reason why. The wole experience, even in Y was perfect. Excellent and super friendly crew, great breakfast and additional drink service, top-notch aircraft, on-time, no complaints.

The airports:
– TXL was okay, I am not blaming them for the chaos on Sunday, because of the same reason I am not blaming AB for being late: BER ! I am still hoping they would not close this wonderful airport in 2013.
– FRA was great, much better than what most people say about the airport. I have been through FRA now multiple times in the last year, have been to both terminals, I think the ways are not to long, passing through this airpot is hassle-free.
– MAD is a great and modern airport, the ways between curb and gates are a little bit long, there could have been more elevators between the airtrain stations and the terminals, but besides that point a good experience, too.
– LCY is great. Small and efficient airport. Security personnel is a little bit uptight and had a problem with me taking photos inside the terminal.
– LGW is a mall with gates, but still efficient, not too bad.
– MAN is a little bit too hectic, the path to and through security is a little bit weird, post-security feels too mall’ish again, but the waiting areas at the gates are fine. I liked that airport and would have liked to spend more time there for some spotting.
– MUC is not so great. I like the MAC and the airbräu, I like the beer there, the terminals are modern, but the ways from the end of one terminal to the MAC or to the end of the other terminal are just too long, they really need an airtrain IMO. The visitor terrace is a joke.
– DUS was great. Very efficient, short ways, modern, I have never been to the new terminal, the last time I have been to DUS was after the big fire when the gate areas were placed in large tents.

That was my first trip just for the sake of flying without visiting a city or country longer than some hours. Would I do it again? Yes, without question and I am already planning the next trips. But normally I would prefer not to just fly to some place, but to see something from the places, too. My next report will be more touristic again, but with lots of flying, too, 22 flights in 3 weeks, expect that report to be online at the end of december.

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