LOT/Air Berlin/BA | B734/E175/Q400/A321 | LHR-WAW-KRK-TXL-LHR

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

This report starts out with a message I received from fellow a.netter gabrielchew whilst I was in Argentina, back in April. He mentioned that he’d found some great fares to Krakow with LOT over a weekend in June – just £85 in fact. Without much hesitation, I logged on to the LOT website and the flights were booked.

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I also splashed out an extra £19 to reserve seats, which is something new since I had last flown with the airline in December 2012.

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I guess it was a little pricey, however due to the low fares it didn’t make the final price too outrageous. Also the fact that it included seats for all four flights, meant it was still far better value than the £15 per sector that British Airways wanted to charge me for pre booking seats on a trip to Milan in August.

On to the day of departure. I did consider exploring the train, as I was still studying options to get to LHR that didn’t involve the coach but I figured as it would cost the same but take double the time I really wouldn’t gain all that much by doing so. So for the first time in a good few months, it was on to the coach.

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Upon arrival at T2, I attempted to use a kiosk to grab my boarding passes, however as I’d already checked in, it didn’t like it and I ended up having to join a queue instead.

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A few moments later, it was through a reasonably busy security, where I was singled out for a random search. Once that was done, I finally met up with Gabriel and we headed over to the very decent United Club for a couple of cocktails.

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After an hour or so in here, we moved over to the SQ lounge.

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Tasty food in here

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And the Suite style seats looked great

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The third stop of the day was the Air Canada Lounge.

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More cocktails – must admit this one wasn’t all that great.

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Again, great food selections

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The final stop of the tour was the LH lounge, which was back in T2A.

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After a good few hour lounging, it was time to board. Thanks for all the guesting in Gabriel – much appreciated. I’ll have to make the effort to get myself a Star Gold card…

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LO280
LHR-WAW
June 2015
Boeing 737-400 / SP-LLF
Seat: 21F / Economy
Scheduled: 17:50/21:20
Off Stand: 17:54
On Stand: 21:27

We made our way on to a very warm and retro cabin, along with a screaming child and some tight legroom.

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The cabin filled up reasonably quickly before the boarding complete announcement was given. There was a major downpour happening outside, and my initial suspicions were that this would reduce the flow in and out of the airport.

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The captain announced a flying time of two hours, but no delay so I guess we were lucky on this occasion. We pushed back a few moments later and made a slow journey over to 27R.

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Once we finally did get going, it wasn’t too long before we were into the cloud.

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But a few turns later we were out of it again and it appeared we were dodging a few of them.

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Before clearing them for good.

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The seatbelt sign went off and an announcement was made although I couldn’t understand a word of it.

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I stuck a couple of videos on my iPad shortly after.

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During which time, the BOB service was started – and there were quite a few takers. Once the sales service had been completed, the free service began – which was just water and a Prince Polo. Yet another cut back since I last flew with LO back in 2012.

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I stuck with the iPad until we were into our descent into Warsaw.

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We made a cloudy descent until touchdown.

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It was then off through passport control, through security and immediately into the lounge.

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Around thirty minutes before departure, we made our way down to the gate, where boarding started more or less straight away.

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LO3911
WAW-KRK
June 2015
Embraer E175 / SP-LIF
Seat: 4A / Economy
Scheduled: 22:45/23:40
Off Stand: 22:36
On Stand: 23:20

I took my seat and very shortly afterwards, the boarding complete announce was given. There were quite a few spare seats around, which was a little odd as according to the seat map upon check in, most seats had been taken.

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The legroom on this one was slightly more generous.

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Flight time was announced as just 35 minutes.

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We pushed back and made our way over to the active.

Departure came, and as soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I ventured back to find Gabriel to see if he wanted to move to the spare seat next to me.

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Although as he had the whole of the final row to himself, I took 21D instead. The service was completed pretty quickly and then descent was well under way.

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I returned to my assigned seat just as we were passing downtown Kraków.

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Not too long later, we touched down, and then spun around on the runway to head off in the direction of the terminal.

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It was then on to a bus to make a very short drive over to the temporary looking terminal.

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Strange how this was classed as an international arrival

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A few seconds later, we were in a taxi heading for the city.

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I checked into my very different looking hotel room upon arrival

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Then took a walk with Gabriel across the square to his hotel before calling it a night.

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The next day, Gabriel made his way back to my hotel and we explored what the city had to offer.

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Including some local dancing, complete with noises that sounded like a car crash…

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Shopping

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Sheltering from the rain in the castle

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Local (ish) cuisine

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Once we were done in the city, we took the bus back to the airport.

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A lot of building work going on here – hence the W.I.P looking arrivals terminal.

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Upon arrival, we headed straight for a busy security as we both had a full set of boarding passes.

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Security was pretty strict – I ended up having to to put a completely empty bag through the scanner, and Gabriel ended up having to put a pocket full of tissues through the x-Ray as they were apparently setting off the metal detector. Hmm. Once this was done, it was over to the lounge, once more courtesy of Gabriel’s Star gold status.

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At pretty much the time boarding was due to begin, an announcement was made saying that our flight had been cancelled. So it was back through security and over to the LOT office.

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Easier said than done. After around two hours in the queue we were finally seen to. They said that there were no more flights this evening and they initially wanted to put us on LH via FRA or MUC the following afternoon. Instead though, Gabriel had found a routing with AB and BA via TXL in the morning and this was granted without too much fuss. It actually worked out in our favour as we ended up being booked into a pretty high booking class – therefore getting a pretty decent haul of BA Avios/Tier Points. If we had flown with LOT, we would have earned nothing due to it being in such a low booking class.

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It was then over to another queue to sort out a hotel. As the Hilton Garden Inn across the road was a very reasonable price, we decided to book ourselves into there instead – rather than have to wait around for them to make a reservation and then take a taxi. The whole process took around three hours.

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Dinner, courtesy of LOT. I ended up bringing most of it home with me though, as I wasn’t really up to eating anything.

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The next morning, it was back across the road to the terminal. Luckily this time, things were much quieter and we were in the lounge within ten minutes.

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We stayed here until boarding was announced.

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Despite our boarding passes saying that we had fast track, there wasn’t one available so we were at the back of a long queue, before heading down to a bus.

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LO3924
KRK-WAW
June 2015
Embraer E195 / SP-
Seat: 8D / Economy
Scheduled: 17:55/18:45

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AB8203
KRK-TXL
June 2015
Bombardier Q400 / D-ABQC
Seat: 17A / Economy
Scheduled: 10:50/12:00
Off Stand: 10:54
On Stand: 12:12

We made a slow drive over to the waiting plane and I took my seat – once I had booted Gabriel out of it…

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The flight deck announced a flying time of an hour and fifteen, before the engines were started and we made our way over to the active. The initially clear skies soon clouded over.

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The crew were a little slow getting the trolley out, therefore by the time I had been served, descent had started.

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In fact the rubbish wasn’t cleared until quite late into the descent. The weather wasn’t quite as good in Berlin, but there were a few views to be had on approach.

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We touched down and then took the scenic route over to the Air Berlin terminal – with most of the other passengers getting up and grabbing their bags along the way.

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Upon arrival, it was a short bus ride over to the terminal, before heading over to the main building.

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We then spent an hour or so on the terrace, where there were some quite interesting movements.

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I ended up taking extra time due to the fact I was singled out for an additional random check – this meant exiting the security area, and being taken to a separate room to have my electronics swabbed. A few moments later I was back at the gate area where boarding began a few moments later.

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BA993
TXL-LHR
June 2015
Airbus A321 / G-EUXL
Seat: 33F / Economy
Scheduled: 14:30/15:30
Off Stand: 14:41
On Stand: 15:49

I made my way on board and took my seat, which had the leftovers of the previous occupants lunch on it.

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The flight was unsurprisingly full – despite the complaints about BA lately, the “enhancements” are clearly working… And due to this the crew spent a while re arranging bags in the overhead lockers. The captain started his speech, and no doubt he mentioned the flying time, but my attention was drawn to a stroppy elder American woman in the wrong seat and refusing to budge. She eventually did, but made no secret of the fact she would be getting up “at least six times”. We pushed back and headed off into the housing estate for departure.

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On our way up, things got a bit bumpy, and we seemed to be in cloud for a lot longer than on this mornings flight.

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Also different to the mornings flight was the fact the crew started the service much quicker. It seems that the snacks have now been enhanced to UK domestic levels on a wider selection of European flights now, as on a flight to Frankfurt (which is nearer to London) a couple of weeks previously, I was offered a wrap.

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I relied on the iPad for my entertainment on this flight.

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Descent began, and the first officer announced that it was a little busy this afternoon, so therefore we had to slow down. But even so, we would still have to hold for fifteen minutes.

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We were treated to a great aerial tour of London – probably one of the best I’ve had, before touching down on to 27R.

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It was a slow journey over to T5B before pulling on to stand. Finally back in the UK – around 17 hours later than expected…

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It was the usual wait to leave before heading back over to the main terminal, and out to wait for the coach home.

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LOT – ugh. Battered old 737, uncomfortable seats, cancelled flight, poor planning when it came to rebooking and despite being told by two members of ground staff that the flight was cancelled for technical reasons, flat out refused to pay any EC261 compensation. At least they were cheap…

Air Berlin were consistent with my other flights with them. Decent enough service pretty good crew and no reason to complain. Although its a bit of shame they have to use that temporary terminal at TXL indefinitely.

British Airways – once more, not much can be said about them. Although its a shame the on board catering appears to have been enhanced once more.

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British Airways / Air Berlin | A320/B737/A321/E170 | LHR-FRA/CGN-TXL-ZRH-LCY

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

For the last couple of years or so, I’d been aware of Air Berlin offering some semi decent fares from Cologne to London with a couple of stops thrown in for good measure. Although I hadn’t got around to booking the flights remained on the radar.

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Fast forward to early 2015 and I finally got around to booking the trip I’d been researching for the previous couple of years.

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As usual on Air Berlin, they only offer free seat selection to their own frequent flyers.

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And as usual, one of the other OneWorld members was able to rectify this.

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Next up was a way to Cologne. I had planned on taking Germanwings on a direct flight from LHR, as prices were around the £40 mark. Annoyingly though, when I came to book the prices had gone up to over £110. So instead I looked to British Airways. They don’t actually fly to Cologne, but flights to Frankfurt more reasonable – still four pounds more, but at least I’d be able to get some dinner in the lounge.

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Seat selection wasn’t an issue on this flight – at least when I booked.

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Yet another no so special offer. They used to be reasonable at under £100 but now they just seem to be the same price as you’d pay for Club anyway.

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To link Frankfurt and Cologne I’d turn to the DB. I’d wanted to try the ICE train so this seemed like a good enough excuse. I’d also wanted to visit the viewing deck at FRA for a few years (on all of my previous visits, it had been closed) so I was ticking more than a few things off on this trip.

As mentioned at the beginning of my South America series, I was exploring options other than the National Express coach to get me to Heathrow. This time I figured I’d try out the hourly bus service – it took over an hour and a half, but cost a fraction of the coach – so you get what you pay for I guess.

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Upon arrival, I grabbed a souvenir boarding pass and took a look at the fast track security. It looks more than a little busy from what I could see, so I made my way through the regular security instead. And I was through in about two minutes. So as I’ve suspected, the fast track isn’t quite that fast.

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I made my way up to the lounge for a tasty dinner of macaroni cheese.

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After this, I headed out to my favourite spot on the terrace and grabbed some juice.

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But no sooner as I’d say down, I was being told to make the trek over to the C gates – typical, as just a few weeks after they stopped giving you £15 at Starbucks, I get my first departure from T5C in nearly three years. No big deal though as I wasn’t all that hungry anyway.

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I made a couple of laps of the satellite to see what was around.

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Upon returning to the gate, I saw a massive queue so figured it would be a good idea to join it. Boarding started a few moments later and I was welcomed by name and asked how I was by a friendly ground agent.

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BA916
LHR-FRA
May 2015
Airbus A320 / G-EUYB
Seat: 19F / Euro Traveller
Scheduled: 19:35/22:10
Off Stand: 19:37
On Stand: 22:17

I took my seat, immediately followed by my two seat mates. The flight looked completely full.

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As boarding was finally completed, the captain gave the usual welcome speech and announced a flying time if an hour and ten minutes. We pushed back a minute or two behind schedule and made a rough ride over to 27R. Once there, we had to wait for a string of heavies to depart before it was finally our turn.

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The crew handed out the snack and drinks whilst I watched an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm on my iPad.

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With around forty minutes to go, the first officer announced we had started descent. Seemed a little early to me, but I guess he knows more than I do on the subject. Meanwhile, the sun was setting behind us.

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We descended through the clouds and the light faded completely.

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It was then a great view of downtown Frankfurt before making reasonable contact with one of Frankfurt’s older runways.

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Then came a lengthy taxi over to a remote stand where we arrived a little later than scheduled.

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After a further ten minutes or so I made my way towards the rear exit and down the steps.

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A bus tour followed before heading over to the Hilton for the evening.

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The next morning, I paid a visit to the viewing deck.

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Very pleased to see this one

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Before heading off to catch my train to Cologne, after some essential shopping and lunch.

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As my train was delayed by around thirty minutes, I headed downstairs to the lounge. Hardly a patch on any airline lounge, but it was better than a platform.

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Finally on the train to Cologne:

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A few pictures from my time in Cologne. Pretty much as soon as you exit the station, you’re faced with the massive cathedral.

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Walking along the river

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Paying a visit to the chocolate museum

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Out at the cathedral once more

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And my room at the Hilton, just a few steps away.

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As usual, the best pictures come after dark

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When it was time to leave, I made my way across to the station, where most trains appeared to be delayed. I jumped on one that said it was going to the airport, only for an announcement to be made after a few stops that I had to change to an S13 train. So I hopped off, only to find that was an S13. By the time I’d realised the train was leaving – so no option but to wait thirty minutes for the next one at a pretty remote station…

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Upon finally reaching the airport, it was up to check in to grab a boarding pass. The agent didn’t say an awful lot, bit did do quite a bit of typing – eventually handing me one boarding pass for all three flights.

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I then made my way through security, where for the first time ever I was told that my camera would also have to be screened separately. New rules apparently… Following this was a few steps to the Air Berlin exclusive waiting area – not quite a lounge but not quite the general waiting area either.

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At around 10:00 this mornings ride pulled in. I was glad to see it was still the scheduled 737-700 as this is a new sub type for me. And also a new operator as this one is operated by TUI fly.

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Boarding was announced, and I was the first on board – due to the fact there wasn’t a mass charge towards the gate. It was actually very civilised with everybody waiting their turn!

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AB6500
CGN-TXL
May 2015
Boeing 737-700 / D-AHXF
Seat: 18F / Economy
Scheduled: 11:05/12:10
Off Stand: 11:21
On Stand: 12:31

As I boarded, the cabin crew offered me a form to sign up to their Top Bonus program – but I didn’t see much point in taking one.

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The cabin filled up very slowly but the flight seemed pretty full. The captain gave his welcome speech and mentioned that we were still waiting for some more passengers – shortly followed by an announcement saying their bags were now being offloaded.

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As it turned out, one of the very few empty seats was next to me so I was fairly comfortable.

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We finally did push back around fifteen minutes behind schedule, and then made a long taxi over to the runway – passing quite a few cargo jets along the way.

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Luckily we were given an intersection departure so we didn’t have to go quite down to the end if the runway before departing.

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It wasn’t too long before we were into the clouds and the view disappeared.

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Service on this sector was more or less the same as what was handed out in my first AB flights back in 2013 – something “sweet or salty”.

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Descent started as the clouds cleared- meaning there were good views of the area on approach.

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On short finals, a gust of wind caught us, putting us somewhat off balance and leading to a very hard landing – possibly the hardest I’ve experienced.

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It was then a brief taxi over to the terminal – and I was glad to see that we were arriving at the main terminal as opposed to the shed that I experienced last time I flew into TXL in AB. The AB chocolate hearts were handed out upon leaving.

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As I’d arrived in terminal A, it was a short walk to the BA lounge, I did consider heading up to the viewing deck as it was such a nice day, but I figured as I’d been there but not visited the lounge here I’d go for the unknown option.

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It was a little on the busy side, but luckily I spotted a side room with nobody in it. So grabbed a plate of food and set up camp there for the next hour or so.

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When boarding was near I headed down to the gate. Despite there being a fast track, the layout meant that I’d probably upset a few people by using it – so I didn’t bother.

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The hold up didn’t matter anyway, as pretty much as I cleared security the ground crew announced a forty five minute delay. So I headed up to the Exclusive waiting area, as the gate area was packed.

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This time there was an airport security guard manning it and he demanded to see my card. I handed my BA card over and he was a little dubious. I mentioned that it’s all OneWorld so it shouldn’t matter, and he consulted a chart that was sellotaped to a post. A few moments later he let me pass through. It was a little bigger than the Cologne version but the offerings were still the same.

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A few moments later, an A321 pulled on to stand and an announcement was made saying boarding would begin as soon as the passengers on board had left.

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Boarding began, and once more I was the first on board. Although I was stopped in my tracks once I reached the aircraft do as they hadn’t quite finished hoovering.

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AB8568
TXL-ZRH
May 2015
Airbus A321 / D-ABCF
Seat: 29F / Economy
Scheduled: 14:15/15:40
Off Stand: 14:59
On Stand: 16:14

As boarding was completed, I once more ended up having the middle seat free despite it being a reasonably full flight.

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The captain welcomed everybody and apologised for the delay, blaming the late inbound arrival of the aircraft and the fact that he was a little late himself arriving from Düsseldorf. He did mention a shorter than usual flying time though of just fifty minutes so we weren’t due to arrive too late. Lucky as I was meeting somebody in ZRH…

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A flight I’d unexpectedly end up on a few weeks later

We pushed back and sped over to the active.

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Upon reaching the runway, the captain could hardly contain his enthusiasm as the throttles were advancing as we were pulling on to the runway.

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Unlike this mornings flight, it was clear skies throughout.

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The crew started the service and this time they elaborated a little more on the “sweet or salty” line – introducing the snacks as a chocolate or potato chips.

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Once this was done, there wasn’t too much flying time left – so I relied on Tom & Jerry on the overhead for entertainment.

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We made a cloudy approach to Zurich before touching down a little softer than earlier.

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A brief taxi to the B pier followed where I was met by Infodesk.

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We spent the next hour or so chatting before she headed off home after a day at work and I ventured up to check out the OneWorld lounge.

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I wasn’t planning on eating anything as I’d spent most of the day eating and drinking it seemed, but I had a hard job turning down the pasta.

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After around thirty minutes I headed to the gate, which was down in the basement area.

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There initially seemed to be quite a few people waiting around, but only once the LHR flight started boarding from the adjacent gate did quite a few people disappear.

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General boarding began – no priority boarding here, unlike on the LHR flight.

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BA8768
ZRH-LCY
May 2015
Embraer E170 / G-LCYG
Seat: 16D / Euro Traveller
Scheduled: 18:20/18:55
Off Stand: 18:26
On Stand: 19:00

I was somewhat half heartedly greeted at the door and I made my way towards the rear to take my seat.

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One thing I don’t like about the BA E-Jet is the misaligned windows

Boarding was completed pretty quickly and it turned out this flight was pretty empty.

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I decided to take a look at the inflight mag, but it appeared a dog had beaten me to it…

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The flight deck gave their usual welcome although I couldn’t understand most of what was being said due to the poor sound quality of the speakers. I did make out the fact he was apologising for the delay though. What delay?

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We pushed back before the LHR flight and made a very slow taxi over to the active.

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Luckily, takeoff wasn’t quite as slow and we were off the ground within a few seconds.

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Not too long after departure, the on board service began. There were no less than four options to choose from – a salmon salad, a pasta salad plus the crisps and biscuits found on the BA mainline domestic runs. I chose the pasta salad.

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This was followed by the drinks run, where I chose a G&T.

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With an episode of Family Guy for entertainment.

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Nice low load this evening.

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Not too long after it finished I felt the nose dip, so I figured we had started descent – so I ought to start paying attention again.

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The captain came over the PA and mentioned that it was a pleasant evening in London, but from where I was sat, I wasn’t in agreement.

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Descent continued until the rollercoaster ride began.

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We touched down and pulled almost immediately on to stand.

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Disembarking was delayed by around ten minutes due to the LX RJ100 next door starting up. When we were finally released, it took around five minutes from plane to the DLR station – aided by the fact LCY have installed E-Passport gates since my last arrival in December 2013.

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British Airways: Standard. Nothing more to be said.

Air Berlin again offered a couple of pretty decent flights. It was a bit of a shame that they were both delayed but it didn’t cause any issues. The crew were friendly and the exclusive waiting areas were a good idea for an airline that doesn’t offer a business class product in Europe.

BA Cityflyer continue to show their bigger brother how it should be done, with a range of small but tasty on board catering choices – and can they really cost that much more than the pre packaged sandwiches found on board the main line?

Qatar Airways/Air Berlin | B788/A332/B738 | SIN-DOH-BCN-TXL | Business

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Hi there, and thanks for taking a look at the eighth part of my series following my trip down to Australia that took place back in April 2014.

This part will focus on my return from Asia with Qatar Airways, and onwards journey to Berlin with Air Berlin. As I had a few days between arriving back in Barcelona and having to go back to work, I didn’t really fancy flying straight home from BCN. I looked at a few options and as I’ve been wanting to visit Berlin for a while that’s the one that stuck out the most. Since trying out their home airline last year, I was generally impressed with them so I turned to them to fly me there.

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There were a few flights throughout the day, but just the one would fit my schedule as I was due to arrive on QR at 14:15. Unfortunately, much like last year, the AB website didn’t recognise my BA status and wanted to charge me £9 to pre book a seat. No thanks.

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After a warm and wet few hours looking around the last few sights of Singapore, I headed back to the hotel to grab my bags before heading off to Changi.

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Around 45 minutes later, I was at T3 but as I was so early, check in wasn’t open.

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Never mind though, I headed up to the viewing deck instead.

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Although photography is a little difficult, viewing was good enough.

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At 17:30, check in did open, and I was seen to fairly quickly.

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I made my way through security.

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Instead of heading straight up to the lounge, I took a look at some of Changi’s other attractions.

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Eventually, I did go up to the lounge.

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It wasn’t a massive lounge. The food options didn’t really appeal to me – I’d eaten in town, but as long as they had a steady flow of cool drinks I was happy.

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I checked out the business centre to see if I could print my boarding passes, and therefore keep my QR ones, but it was a bit of a fail.

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So I decided to do something I’d never done in an airport before – take a shower! After getting very hot and rained on walking the streets of the city, I felt it was a good time to make my debut. Unfortunately, there were remnants if the previous occupant. But other than that it was clean enough.

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By the time I was done, there was something on the food table that took my fancy.

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Feeling very much refreshed and rehydrated, I made my way down to gate A10 where boarding would begin shortly.

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There wasn’t a priority line for security, which was surprising as there were 4 metal detectors/X-ray machines.

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I was though pretty quickly, and although I couldn’t actually see my jet, I could just about make out ‘CI’ on the nose wheel doors – meaning I’ll be on one of QR’s newer 787’s, delivered just a few weeks previously. As I sat and waited, I noticed a bit of a storm brewing outside. It didn’t seem to be affecting the movements all that much though.

Boarding was announced, and as usual there was the mass stampede towards the door. The ground crew did a great job at sorting it all out though.

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QR941
SIN-DOH
April 2014
Boeing 787-8 / A7-BCI
Seat: 4A/ Business
Scheduled: 21:20/23:45
Off Stand: 21:32
On Stand: 00:28

For some reason, I thought that the QR Dreamliner seat was almost identical to the CX one I’d experienced previously, although I was more than pleasantly surprised to see it was much better.

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The captain announced a flying time of 7 hours 20 minutes.

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Many seat positions

Ready and waiting for me was a pair of amenity kits and a menu.

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One of the crew took my drink order – a lime and mint.

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Meanwhile the purser came and introduced herself and offered some pyjamas and a hot towel.

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All about the QR 787

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Good amount of connectivity

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Not so good IFE controller. Way too complicated.

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We pushed back a little behind schedule, and made our way out to the runway on the opposite side of the airport. It was a pretty slow process. We would inch forward, then stop, inch forward some more then stop again. We would eventually make a quiet takeoff some 30 minutes after push back. We did a 180 degree turn over the masses of ships in the harbour, before passing SIN and then disappearing into darkness.

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Soon after departure, my PJ’s were delivered.

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Magazine rack at the rear of the cabin

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Standard flower in the 787 premium washroom

When I’d got back from changing, I found the following waiting for me. I was impressed that the crew seemed to sense my liking for the lime and mint – and therefore kept bringing me refills! After a warm day in Singapore, all of them were very much welcome.

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I decided to watch an episode of Top Gear on the IFE.

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Headphones and water in the armrest.

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A few moments later, dinner orders were taken. I skipped the starter and went for the duck for the main.

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Followed up with ice cream for dessert.

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After this, I put the seat into full recline, and fell fast asleep.

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I only awoke when the seatbelt sign came on for landing, so that goes to show how comfortable the seat was! It was a bit of a mad rush to get changed and ready for landing. A few moments later, we were on to finals and touching down into Doha.

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We initially braked a little hard before seemingly just rolling down to the end of the runway and letting the plane slow itself down. There was method in the madness though. As we had been assigned stand 1, it meant we could pull straight off the runway and on to stand.

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I took a few moments to gather my things and I was last off.

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It was then a tour of DOH, first stopping at the Doha arrivals terminal, and then the premium terminal. Once more, a couple of economy passengers managed to get on the premium bus, and were left a little red faced when they weren’t allowed entry to the premium terminal, and there was no bus to take them to the standard terminal.

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I cleared security, had a brief wander of the duty free shop before heading upstairs for a nice 8 hour layover.

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Around 2AM, I was approached by one of the staff saying the buffet was about to close so if I wanted anything to eat, I should grab something now. Not fancying anything from the buffet, I made my way to the deli instead, but I was informed that was now closed. Luckily, I wasn’t too hungry. I was now totally reliant on my iPad for entertainment…

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Pretty empty at this time of night/morning.

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A bit of Jack Dee later on.

It appeared everything would start coming back to life at 5 AM.

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Once the lounge did start waking up again, I ordered some breakfast.

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About the most I got to see of Qatar from ground level.

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At around 07:10, feeling like I’d seen enough of the lounge, I made my way downstairs as according to my boarding pass, boarding was due to start in 10 minutes. It was a little off however, as things were a little busy.

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Boarding finally did begin at 07:45, and it was on to a bus over to A7-AEG

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QR139
DOH-BCN
April 2014
A330-300 / A7-AEG
Seat: 3K / Business
Scheduled: 08:20/14:15
Off Stand: 08:29
On Stand: 14:22

I turned left at the door and was immediately met by a very orange looking Spanish steward offering me a drink. I took the lemon and mint. I must admit, I preferred the lime.

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Amenity kits, headphones and a menu were already waiting on my seat.

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Just when I thought I’d got lucky, my seat mate showed up. Shortly after, hot towels were brought around.

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The French captain announced a flying time of 6 hours 30 minutes and a cruising altitude of 36,000ft.

We pushed back and made our way over to the active. We sat and waited for around ten minutes without moving, before finally lifting off over the bay.

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Around fifteen minutes after departure, the breakfast service began. First off was the smoothie – very refreshing.

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At around the same time, I decided to put a film on, Fargo. I’d seen it before, but not for a while. That was the theory. A system reset and a new pair of headphones later and I was good to go.

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Breakfast continued.

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I then missed most of the film due to falling asleep.

To try and wake up, I went and cleaned my teeth and had a chat in the front galley about my trip. During which I was offered some fresh baked, straight from the oven cookies – well, I won’t say no!

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I returned to my seat and I tried my luck with the taking of Pelham 1,2,3 instead. It was filmed in [url=]the museum I visited in September 2012[/url]

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During the film, the crew member looking after my side of the aisle came and placed another three cookies in the centre console.

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With around two hours of the flight remaining, the snack service started. I didn’t indulge though, as it was still feeling a little full. The Spanish crew member did his best to try and persuade me otherwise, but I just didn’t feel like it. Even when he brought my seat mates meal, he once again asked if I had changed my mind.

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Around 35 minutes before arrival, the captain said we would shortly be starting our descent and gave a weather update.

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The crew gave out yet another hot towel.

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We turned over the city to some pretty decent views.

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Touchdown came at just before 14:20, and despite only being a minute or two behind schedule the crew were very apologetic about the delay. We taxied over to our stand, which just happened to be next door to the EK A380.

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There was then the usual scrum to disembark.

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It was then a case of following the signs to baggage reclaim.

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Once there, our belt was shared with no less than four other flights, meaning it took a good twenty minutes or so for the first of the bags to emerge.

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Once they did, mine was in the first batch off. It was then through customs and upstairs to start all over again!

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I ventured outside to grab some fresh air, as I’d not really had any for a while!

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When I came back in, the AB check in area was still setting up. They appeared to be having issues with their signs. They either both showed priority, both standard or the airport logo. Not one priority and the other standard.

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Once everything was set up, the agent announced that the line I was in was for priority passengers only. Despite this nobody moved. Check in was a little slow due to the guy in front checking in 4 people without them being there. There seemed to be a bit of a discussion as to why they needed to be present, but in the end he gave in and moved.

I asked about lounge access, and the attitude seemed to be ‘guess you’ll just have to go and try it…’

After this, I headed through security which took only a couple of minutes, before heading off to grab a shot of the QR jet that brought me here.

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After this I made my way up to the lounge and was granted entry without issue.

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It was basically the same as the non Schengen lounge, but the other way around. And not as busy.

I waited here for a while, until I spotted a blue tail out of the window. I recognised it as Aerolineas Argentinas, and immediately set off to investigate, as I’d not seen the new livery in the flesh before.

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I also took the opportunity to see what else was around.

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Once I’d seen what I wanted, I took a wander down the B pier before heading in the direction of the C pier where my flight would be departing from. There was an AB 737 on stand, and I figured that would be my ride up to Berlin.

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In the mean time, I found a quiet area with a view and waited for boarding to begin.

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Boarding was announced at 17:20, and I was the third on board behind a pair of AB golds.

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AB8793
BCN-TXL
April 2014
Boeing 737-800 / D-ABBG
Seat: 5F / Economy
Scheduled: 17:55/20:25
Off Stand: 17:47
On Stand: 20:15

As I boarded, the crew were handing out boiled sweets but I didn’t indulge as I’m not a fan of them.

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The flight seemed full, but boarding was completed quickly. So quickly in fact, that we pushed back a good ten minutes or so ahead of schedule.

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A flying time of 2h25 was announced. Normally I’m all up for longer flights, but this was the one occasion I wanted something a little shorter. I was starting to feel a little tired by now. We sped down to the runway and lifted off without hesitation.

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We made a couple of turns over the sea and then made our way through the thin cloud layer.

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Shortly after departure one of the crew members came through the cabin asking if anybody wanted the enhanced catering – basically a hot meal for around €10. And after this, the regular snack service. A choice of cheese or salami roll. But rather than the prepackaged option you get on LH, this was fresh in a paper bag.

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Impressive! AB have a pretty decent model here – snacks for all and the option of paying for more if you want it.

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There’s not an awful lot more that can be said about this sector – there weren’t even any views to be had really.

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Descent started, and we landed into TXL.

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Annoyingly, we were given a remote stand. Normally, I wouldn’t mind this but I just wanted to get to bed now.

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Unlike my previous flights, the crew weren’t giving out chocolate hearts on disembarkation. Shame, as I would have taken them up on that offer! It was then on to a bus for the very short ride over to the terminal – that was more like a warehouse.

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There was a bit of a wait at baggage claim, but my bag was still the forth out. It was then on to a bus to the city.

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I arrived at my hotel, the Park Inn, and was told there was a problem… Due to the hotel being sold out, they would have to upgrade my room to a suite therefore it doesn’t have a window… Whatever, as long as it’s got a bed I don’t care!

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40 hours or so after leaving my hotel in Singapore, it was finally bed time. I surprisingly woke up pretty early though and made my way downstairs for breakfast.

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Following this, it was out to see the city.

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My hotel with the Fernsehturm next door

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Berlin Cathedral

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The Amplemann

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And his very own shop.

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Brandenburg Gate

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In the city

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Checking out the Ritter Sport shop

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Luckily, the sun finally put in an appearance. Something of a rarity on this trip!

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I decided to take a look at the pretty interesting (and packed) DDR museum.

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Much like my outbound flights, the service onboard Qatar couldn’t be faulted. The only complaint is that going from their latest J product to arguably their weakest was a bit of a shock. Although the A330’s are designated to mid haul routes so I guess it doesn’t make much sense for them to fit them out with full flat seats.

Air Berlin were fine too – a decent and tasty snack option and a cheerful enough crew. Just a shame about the terminal they use at TXL.

Look out for the final part of this series that will finish off this journey with a flight on Turkish Airlines over to Istanbul, before flying on BA’s 767 in Club Europe back to London.

BA/DOT/Air Berlin | A320/ATR72/Q400 | LHR-STR/NUE-DUS-STN

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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Videos for this report:

British Airways BA918 Video report: http://youtu.be/8c-DHKLoEFw

DOT ATR departure from NUE: http://youtu.be/99lzRy3ngIs
DOT ATR arrival in NUE: http://youtu.be/b0-NQkxH6ss

Air Berlin AB8342 Video Report: http://youtu.be/PJbFflWOiQE

For quite a while now, I’d wanted to give Air Berlin a try. Due to the fact they’re in the One World alliance, it seemed the time was right to give them a try as I had recently acquired British Airways silver / One World Sapphire status. However the task would prove a little difficult due to the fact they only serve London Stansted airport – which is possibly the furthest of the London airports from me, meaning I would not only have to travel up to London, but travel across it and then take another train for an hour or so to get to the airport itself. This coupled with the fact that quite a few AB flights leave early in the morning meant flying them on an outbound sector would be a little awkward to say the least. Therefore I looked at flying them on a return sector from Germany. A destination that AB served in Germany that looked pretty interesting to me was Nuremberg. I studied dates in July and on the weekend of the 27th/28th, they had a NUE-DUS-STN sector on a pair of Q400’s for just £60, versus around £100 for all the other weekends in July and August. Without much hesitation, I booked.

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Now I needed to sort out how I would get to Nuremberg. As there are only limited flights from the London area (Ryanair from STN and CityJet from LCY) I had to look at other options. Sure I could have gone with either of those two airlines, but where would be the fun in that. I checked out Lufthansa, but their prices were pretty ridiculous.

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Next up was BA. I looked to see if there were any reward seats available to STR, FRA, MUC, and ZRH… basically anywhere within a reasonable train journey of Nuremberg but no luck there.

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So in the end I parted with some of my hard earned cash to fly to Stuttgart – another new airport on my growing list.

I linked Stuttgart and Nuremberg with a pretty cheap ticket on the DB.

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A few weeks prior to departure, I decided to check the seat maps on airberlin.com. Despite showing as a pair of Q400’s as expected, there were two different seat maps. Upon checking the checkmytrip app, it confirmed that I would instead be on an ATR72. This suited me as I hadn’t been on anything by ATR before.

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Check in for the BA flight was made the day before departure on my phone from work on the sly.

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Hopefully the cabin stays this empty.

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And then I checked in for the first of my two Air Berlin flights via their pretty easy to use website once I had got home.

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Once again, I managed to convince a friend that it would be a good idea to give me a lift to the airport – therefore giving me a bit more time in the lounge for breakfast. We set of at around 6AM, arriving at just past 06:15.

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I made my way to check in to grab a souvenir boarding pass and made my way through security, where a family of Americans walked into the automated gates then proceeded to faff around for their boarding passes, holding everybody up.

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Once through, I made my way up to the South lounge for a bit of breakfast. I’d like to say I was welcomed back, but that wasn’t really the case like it was before – maybe it was too early for them?

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Once I had my fill of the South lounge, I decided to head up to the North lounge. I hadn’t planned on this, but as I had arrived earlier than expected, I figured I could take a walk up there anyway. I did consider heading over to the lounge in T5B, but not being 100% sure of the way back, or how long it would take I decided against it. I much prefer the South lounge to the North however.

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Quite a few charters today – the first Saturday of the Summer Holidays.

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Pretty much as soon as I arrived gate A10 was announced. I still took a seat and watched a few of the arrivals though.

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At 07:30, I made my way down the escalator to the gate, where boarding was already in progress.

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As it was at ground level I came to the conclusion that we would be heading off from a remote stand. I bypassed the queue by using the fast track, ruffling a few feathers in the process – “Erm… there’s a queue here” and “Mr. I’m too important to wait in line” were a couple of comments that I heard. OK, well maybe if you shell out a fair few pounds to fly many times a year and gain a bit of status and/or fly in Club, you’ll get to jump the queue too – until then, shut up!

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The priority line was the empty area towards the left of the main queue

It was then on to a bus for a tour of T5B, and then making our way out to the remote stands past T5C. Once there, G-EUUC was waiting.

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I made my way on board, and an announcement was made that the flight was to be pretty full… at least in Euro Traveller as it turned out.

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BA918
LHR-STR
27th July 2013
A320-232 / G-EUUC
Seat: 2F / Club Europe
Scheduled: 08:10/10:45
Off Stand: 08:12
On Stand: 10:52

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It was amusing how many people thought that they could just sit themselves down in the Club section – I witnessed at least three, only to be moved on, including a mother and a young child who proceeded to climb all over the seats (the child, not the mother) . There were also the comments of people passing through ranging from, “Wow there’s actually room for your legs – how spacious”, to “all you get is proper cutlery, what’s the point”. Pretty vocal bunch on today’s flight – or maybe it was the same people from earlier that had finally made it through the queue that I had allegedly jumped.

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This one brought me back from ATL in April.

Boarding was completed and the doors were closed at 08:05. It might have been a full flight at the back, but there were just four of us in Club – so the seatmap from online check in was indeed accurate. Hot towels were handed out shortly after.

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Never noticed the in seat power until now.

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The 787 that caught fire in July. It’s still there as I type this in early October

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We pushed back a minute or two behind schedule, and made a slow taxi over to 09R.

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Spot the intruder…

Takeoff was at 08:35 into some very clear skies.

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Passing Biggin Hill

It wasn’t too long however before there was a total white out.

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Shortly after the breakfast service was started. Due to the light load in Club, there wasn’t a trolley in sight – the purser brought every tray around by hand, and also came around and took drink orders before delivering them on a tray. Great personalized service once again from BA – much like my last experience in Club World back in December to Larnaca.

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I noticed during the flight a pretty constant stream of Y passengers heading through the curtain to use the washroom at the front of the cabin. Interesting how the purser seemed to allow this on this flight, yet on my flight from LGW-AGP last year, one person tried it and was quite assertively sent back. I guess there’s no official policy on this, it’s just down to crew preference. The only time it bothered me is when I wanted to go and I had to wait, despite the other four passengers in Club being in their seats.

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Just as I was finishing breakfast, our initial descent started. For the rest of the flight, I took advantage of the fact there wasn’t anybody in the seat behind, put my seat into full recline and watched the German landscape below me. I was actually impressed at how far the seat reclined actually, although it was a little worn – as soon as I sat up, so did the seat! Also, when I put the magazines, safety card etc. back in the seatback pocket, they fell straight out of the bottom of it. Bit of a refurb needed I think.

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Shortly after the captain was on the PA giving a very short update – saying it was a very nice day with no clouds or wind, and that we will be arriving on schedule. We flew past STR before turning 180 degrees on to final, hearing the autopilot disengage on short finals.

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We landed pretty much on time and made our way over to the stand after a very relaxed hour and twenty minutes. We pulled in alongside an albino A319.

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Once on stand, there was a wait for a couple of minutes before a knock on the door, and everybody was able to disembark.

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It was then through to passport control. I asked for a stamp in my passport and this was met with a bit of a huff and a few words in German – not that I understood any of them. I was eventually given what I had asked for though.

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Once through customs, I was met in arrivals by fellow trip reporter Markus (Flieger67). He took me on a tour of the terminal before heading out to the car and driving me to the local spotting area, over the other side of the runway.

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The albino jet departed in the opposite direction to the rest of the movements.

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After around thirty minutes, Markus was kind enough to drive me into the city. Thanks Markus, and great to meet you!

As I still had over an hour until my train, I had time to look around central Stuttgart.

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This went down a treat considering the temperature was well into the 30’s.

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Around half an hour before my train was due to depart I took the walk back in the direction of the HBF. As it turned out, my train was delayed by fifteen minutes… Well it wouldn’t be one of my trip reports without some sort of delay involved!

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After a few moments the train did pull in – and it was baking on board. Either German trains don’t have air conditioning or it just wasn’t working on this train. It turned out to be the latter. We then set off in the direction or Nuremberg.

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Around an hour or so into the train ride, some water was brought around.

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Weather this is standard practice or just because it was so hot, I don’t know. Either way things were becoming pretty unpleasant for everybody on board. I did try and move, but the other carriage was completely full and I was stopped from entering any of the others for some reason – so just had to put up with the heat.

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I decided to have some recently purchased chocolate with the water…

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…although it appeared to have turned to liquid already. Instead I had some crisps that I’d borrowed form the lounge.

After a very uncomfortable two and a half hours or so, the train arrived in Nuremberg. I remember reading about Hannah’s flying sauna. Well this was a sauna on rails. On the plus side, it did actually make the temperature outside seem quite reasonable. As I was making my way out of the stifling carriage, I saw the guard fixing this sticker to the door.

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No sh…

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Upon arrival in Nuremberg, I made the short walk to my hotel, the NH. I was hoping to cool off a bit, but the Air Conditioning in my room wasn’t overly effective either.

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I spent an hour or so attempting to cool down whilst watching the end of a film on TV and then took a walk around the city. There was a great atmosphere in town with bands playing on pretty much every corner and people just having a good time in general.

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Along the way I stopped for a very German dinner. The sausage’s and beer were good, although the sauerkraut didn’t float my boat.

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I then headed off in the direction of the hotel, stopping for quite a while to watch Nuremberg’s finest Arctic Monkeys tribute act.

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After a few hours walking, I reluctantly headed back to my hotel for the night. I wanted to stay out longer, however my feet were telling me otherwise! Unfortunately the air-conditioning still wasn’t working all that effectively in my room, so not much opportunity to cool down other than to take a cold shower.

The next morning, I was awoken by my alarm at 07:30, and I made my way to the station in order to catch the U-Bahn to the flughafen, arriving at just past 08:30.

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I made my way around to the Air Berlin check in area where I was met with a huge queue.

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Luckily, there was a priority lane nearby.

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I remember from reading Gabriel’s report earlier in the year that the lounge here in NUE was a self-service affair, so I made a point if asking if there was any lounge access here. The guy said he would have to check, and asked what the card was that I had given to him. He pulled out a folder with pictures of all the One World status cards, then spotted mine and attached a sticker to the back of my boarding pass. He gave me directions to the lounge, wished me a pleasant journey and with that I went on my way.

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I headed through security, which was through some corridors that were half inside half outside… It’s difficult to explain! Looked a bit WIP though.

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Then it was past a few bus gates – strange how they would have gates before security? Unless they’re no longer used of course.

Security was painless. I was asked if I had a laptop… No, but I have an iPad – that’s fine, leave it in the bag. Anything in your pockets? Yes, in the box. I set of the metal detector, and unlike at Heathrow yesterday, I was able to leave my shoes on, and they just waved their magic wand over me. Simple. I took a walk through the concourse as I made my way down to the lounge.

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Not much happening here for a while yet.

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It reminded me a little of the Flybe lounge at BHD I visited last year, only smaller and unstaffed. Still, it was a decent enough place to wait for the next hour or so. There were two other people in here, who headed off to catch the KLM flight around fifteen minutes later. So as I had the place to myself, I got a bit camera happy.

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Good view, although not much to be seen.

At around boarding time, I left the lounge as I fancied a change of scenery. Although I saw online that the inbound aircraft was a little late, so boarding was still a few moments away.

Once boarding was called, at 11AM, I made my way down to the bus.

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I hung around as the bus emptied in order to grab a few pictures of this ATR. Interestingly, this was one of the rare ATR’s that had boarding by the front door, rather than having a cargo hold there. Shame, as I fancied boarding via the rear and being seated towards the front.

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AB6777
NUE-DUS
28th July 2013
ATR72/ LY-MCA
Seat: 6A / Economy
Scheduled: 11:10/12:10
Off Stand: 11:30
On Stand: 12:38

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Once on board, I took my assigned seat. It turns out I picked perfectly – right next to the prop! I didn’t have a seat mate on this sector.

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There were three crew on board today – two from DAT (or DOT) and a singe representative from Air Berlin. Plus another guy in Air Berlin uniform who was just a passenger hitching a lift.

There was a bit of a wait while the final checks were completed, but the engines were finally started and we pulled away at 11:30. No word from the flight crew or a flight time was given. It was a pretty quick taxi over to the active, passing an AB 737 in the One World scheme and a World MD11 on the cargo ramp. At 11:35, we took to the sky.

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No less than ten minutes after departure, the service began – which surprised me as I wasn’t expecting anything on this sector, and I was led to believe that AB were a LCC – at least back in the old days anyway. The two DAT (or DOT) crew members dished out the drinks while the Air Berlin member did the snacks. The choice was between some chocolate biscuits or ‘something salty’. I took my chances with the ‘something salty’ option and ended up with something that was very salty, and almost teeth breakingly hard. The juice was ok though.

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The rest of the flight was spent watching the clouds and listening to the whine of the prop next to me.

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Eventually, the flight deck did get in touch – stating that this flight was operated by Danish Air Transport (really, or was it DOT?), this was an ATR72 aircraft, we were flying at 6000 meters and we were due into Dusseldorf at 12:35. Descent started and we made our way down into a cloudy DUS, landing at 12:35. We rolled out to the end of the runway and pulled on to stand within a couple of minutes.

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As I exited, the Air Berlin crew member handed everybody a chocolate heart. Nice touch.

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It was then on to a bus to the terminal.

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As there was a viewing terrace here, I decided to go landside and take a look at that for half an hour or so as well as taking a look at the other side of DUS that I missed on my visit last October due to having a tight connection.

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On the way up, it was through a row of travel agents – interesting how I’ve only seen this in Germany. Frankfurt also has a similar area.

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At the end, there was a toll both and I pad the entry fee before going on to the pretty big observation deck.

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The prop that had just brought me here looking pretty lonely.

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The main attraction of the day it seemed then arrived.

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Once I was done there, I headed back through security. There was a fast track lane that I was able to use, and I’m ashamed to say I was the one who slowed things down today. I’d forgotten some loose change in my pocket – oops.

Once through, it was up to the second lounge of the day, the Hugo Junkers lounge. Or was it the entrance to the washroom?

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I was swiped in with a smile and I grabbed some lunch. It wasn’t a bad lounge – better than the one in Nice, but the selection of food wasn’t quite as good as the one in Nuremberg earlier – just a few sandwiches and a couple of hot items. It was also pretty busy. On the plus side, the view was good. I spent the next hour or so abusing the sandwiches, meatballs and Haribo on offer whilst watching the Hungarian GP.

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The views were decent.

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I decided to leave the lounge at just after 3pm as I had developed a bit of a headache. And I was also feeling a little full after all the food I had eaten! After a brief wander through the B pier, I headed through passport control. Prematurely, as there was absolutely nothing beyond it. Luckily there were a couple of windows.

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Must mean boarding is near

Boarding was called at 15:40. Being in the right place, I was called forward and I was the first on to the bus – therefore grabbing a seat with a good view.

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I’m quite a fan of these banana jets.

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Good view from the bus.

We made our way around to the remote stands where a lone Dash 8 was waiting. In fact, it had been there the whole time, as I had spotted it from the terrace earlier.

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I made my way on board and took my assigned seat of 7A – once again, right next to the prop. Although credit for this seat assignment has to go to the check in agent back in Nuremberg.

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AB8342
DUS-STN
28th July 2013
Dash 8 Q400 / D-ABQH
Seat: 7A / Economy
Scheduled: 15:55/16:15
Off Stand: 16:10
On Stand: 16:28

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I did initially have a seat mate – a teenage boy who took up far too much space for my liking, however once the boarding complete announcement was given, he moved to he free row in front – meaning that for the third flight this weekend, I’d end up with a free seat next to me.

The captain informed of a flight time of an hour – five minutes less than my NUE-DUS sector earlier today.

The engines were started and we made our way out to the active where we had to wait for three departing CRJ’s and a few arrivals. Eventually though we powered down the runway, passing downtown Dusseldorf of the left hand side.

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Once we had reached our cruising altitude the service began, and the friendly crew dished out the same savory snack as on the NUE-DUS leg or a Mars bar. As the salty snack on the previous sector almost broke my teeth, I elected the Mars bar this time around, although still feeling full from my binge in the lounge, it went straight into my bag.

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Once the rubbish had been cleared, the crew came through the cabin offering tickets for the Stansted express. I already had a train ticket for my journey home however.

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Just as this was occurring, the nose dipped, the engines got quieter and we headed back down to earth, crossing into the UK at a pretty low altitude and passing through a pretty localized rainstorm on short finals.

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Its only from this angle do you realize how close the UK and France really are.

The seatbelt sign then came on and the crew disappeared.

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Landing was made at 16:25, and we made a reasonably quick taxi over to a satellite terminal. A few moments later we were off and through to arrivals.

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Not a view you get every day. Unless you’re a dispatcher.

It was through a few corridors before making my way on to the shuttle over to the main terminal, passing the Ryanair farm on the way.

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First sign of STN’s new owner (MAG)

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I used my E-passport to bypass most of the queues, most from FR flights unsurprisingly, and then I made my way downstairs to the Stansted express.

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It was then on to Liverpool Street, arriving around fifty minutes later – easy enough.

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Then onto the Underground to Waterloo. Easy enough in theory. But as the northern line was closed, and there weren’t any announcements on the train, this made the journey more complicated, due to getting off the Central line train twice unnecessarily.

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I eventually made it to Waterloo, and pretty much straight on to a train home, arriving around twenty-five minutes later.

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So, BA was pretty much as usual really, although the light load in Club made things a little more personalized. T5 seemed to cope well with the extra traffic the school holidays brought on.

Air Berlin was a big surprise. I had pretty low expectations if I’m honest, but I found they were actually good. The chocolate hearts upon leaving them on both flights were a great touch – and very good chocolate too. Just a shame I seemed to be the only person that took one! I’d like to say I’d use them again, but the fact they use Stansted, which is probably the most difficult of the London airports for me to reach, says its probably unlikely – at least on flights from the UK. The problem with using them to the UK is that they nearly always throw up BA codeshares so I’ll have to get pretty creative with the routings if I were to use them in the future!

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