EasyJet/LAN/SAS | A319/B788/B736/B738 |LGW-MAD-FRA-ARN-LHR

 photo map-2.gif

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

The LAN flights between MAD-FRA have been quite a popular with a.netters over the years. Although admittedly, I hadn’t really put much consideration into taking one. Then one day, Gabriel posted on Facebook that he would be taking one in November 2013 and asked if anybody wished to join him. His report can be seen here: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/248640/

Now LAN has pushed their 787’s on to the route, it sparked my interest somewhat, and being able to take a flight with a fellow a.netter sweetened the deal. I replied as a ‘maybe’ as I wanted to see how much money I had left after my trip to Asia. As it turned out, I spent far less than anticipated, so the day after my return I booked my flight via the LAN website:

 photo LANbooking.png

 photo LANbookingconf.png

With the MAD-FRA sector sorted, it was now time to book a flight down to Madrid. Not wanting to risk missing the flight due to delays/cancellations etc. I looked at flying out on the Friday evening after work. As the BA rotations either left too early or too late I looked elsewhere. Air Europa came in at around £80 or EasyJet came in at £55, including a pre booked seat. Having been dead against flying EasyJet for many years, their new policies regarding their seating arrangements made me come around to the idea of flying them. The fact they were £30 cheaper than Air Europa and there wasn’t much difference in service sealed the deal.

 photo EZYBooking.png

 photo EZYBooking1.png

 photo ezyseats.png

I could then use the money saved to take a more interesting route home. The cheapest option to get from FRA to London was with Lufthansa, however after flying that route just a few weeks previously on my way home from Zurich, this option really didn’t appeal. I studied other options and the best one was SAS via Stockholm on a rare 737-600.

 photo SASFRA-ARNbooking.png

Pretty much from booking, despite everything online saying the LAN flight would be a 787, everything seemed to show a 767 seat map.

 photo LANseats.png

Finally at OLCI, the 787 seat map was showing up but unfortunately all but one window seat was taken. Being at the back, I figured it was probably the famous windowless row. Either way, I took my chances.

 photo Euro213.jpg

 photo Euro214.jpg

EasyJet check in was made online a massive 30 days in advance:

 photo ezyolci.png

Despite the odd issue:

 photo ezyfail.png

Everything worked out at the second attempt:

 photo EXYcheked.png

 photo EZYBP.png

 photo Euro212.jpg

I later moved forward to seat 7A

On the day of departure, I rushed home from work, got changed and was out the door within ten minutes, catching a pretty packed train to Clapham Junction at 13:45.

 photo Euro002.jpg

I made my connection at Clapham, and was then on to an even busier train for the hop down to Gatwick, arriving at just before 3pm. I made a pass of the EZY check in, but as I suspected there wasn’t any way to grab a souvenir boarding pass.

 photo Euro004.jpg

I did notice that VS have replaced their ticket sales counter with a pretty unimpressive Upper Class check in area though.

 photo Euro003.jpg

Following this I made my way up to security, where I was invited to use the fast track – which pleased me for all of twenty seconds until I made my way in and realized there was a pretty big queue. Hmmm. Around fifteen minutes later I was through – probably the longest it’s taken me to clear security at LGW in a good few years.

 photo Euro005.jpg

I was amazed at how much this place has changed since February when I was last here. Luckily, due to not having any lounge access for this flight, my favourite spot at LGW, The Bridge Bar was still in tact.

 photo Euro006.jpg

I grabbed a drink and took a seat over by the window, however there wasn’t a huge amount around.

 photo Euro013.jpg

 photo Euro007.jpg

 photo Euro008.jpg

 photo Euro012.jpg

 photo Euro014.jpg

 photo Euro015.jpg

I stayed here for around an hour or so – despite there not being much going on outside, it was still ore interesting than being in the shopping mall of a terminal. At around ten to four, I left the bar and went for a walk. I noticed that the airport had installed iPad type devices around the balcony.

 photo Euro009.jpg

 photo Euro010.jpg

I headed downstairs and had a quick look through the new shopping area, before my gate was called a couple of minutes early – which was a first for Gatwick!

 photo Euro011.jpg

 photo Euro016.jpg

So I made my way down to gate 19, where it wasn’t actually open but there was a queue. A few moments later all the speedy boarders were called forward. There were quite a few of them, which ended up leaving me at the front of the normal queue. Unusually, there wasn’t any waiting around in the holding pen – instead it was straight down on to the jetway – and instead waited around for fifteen minuets there instead – great planning there. Is this an EZY thing or the Spanish (of which there seemed to be many on this flight) being too eager to board?

 photo Euro017.jpg

 photo Euro018.jpg

Whilst on the jetway, one of the ground crew decided to move it slightly to align it with the aircraft a little better – hope there weren’t any Health and Safety execs around… Once I was finally on board, I was given a very warm welcome on board by an elder purser. I took my assigned seat, and watched the seemingly endless masses make their way onboard – this evenings flight seemed pretty full to me.

 photo EZYlogo.jpg

EZY5481
LGW-MAD
November 2013
A319-100 / G-EZFS
Seat: 7A / Economy
Scheduled: 17:00 / 20:25
Off Stand: 17:04
On Stand: 20:17

 photo Euro022.jpg

Decent enough legroom

 photo Euro019.jpg

 photo Euro020.jpg

 photo Euro021.jpg

Wonder how long this has been here?

Boarding was completed around fifteen to twenty minutes later, however there wasn’t a chance to leave early, so we just sat and waited.

 photo Euro023.jpg

 photo Euro024.jpg

During this time, the captain came over the PA and announced a flying time of an hour and fifty minutes and that it would be a little bumpy over the Bay of Biscay. We pushed off stand and made our way down to 08R a few moment behind schedule, following the Aer Lingus retro jet, and being followed by a trio of company Airbuses.

 photo Euro027.jpg

We made our way into the air at 17:25 and made a 180 degree turn to the left to fly back past LGW.

 photo Euro028.jpg

 photo Euro029.jpg

 photo Euro030.jpg

 photo Euro032.jpg

It was then darkness for the duration of the flight. Shortly after departure, the crew started their service – I’ll take a cappuccino and a brownie thanks! Delivered with a friendly smile, and an ‘ooohh, good choice’.

 photo Euro035.jpg

After I’d eaten I updated the TR and listened to some music.

 photo Euro031.jpg

I did want to get a decent cabin shot, but I was still a little scarred from my Flybe experience, so I stuck to the subtle shots instead.

 photo Euro033.jpg

I stuck with the iPod until descent started at 19:40 local. It was a little on the bumpy side, but nothing too serious. We seemed to descent to a pretty low altitude fairly quickly, before flying around for a good fifteen minutes. Almost like we were driving around a packed car park trying to find the one remaining space.

 photo Euro038.jpg

 photo Euro039.jpg

 photo Euro040.jpg

 photo Euro041.jpg

 photo Euro042.jpg

We touched down and made a pretty long taxi over to terminal 1.

 photo Euro043.jpg

 photo Euro044.jpg

Ex AeroMexico by the look of it.

We arrived on to stand, and as usual, everybody was up immediately – not that anybody was going anywhere. Around ten minutes later the captain was on the PA saying that the ground crew couldn’t find any chocks, therefore the jet bridge couldn’t be attached. A further five minutes later he was on again, and said that ‘the last set of chocks in Madrid had now been found, therefore we should all be away shortly.’ Over ten minutes later, the engines were finally shut down. As I exited, I asked the crew at the front what the full reg of the aircraft was as I hadn’t been able to see it at LGW, and they were more than happy to inform me. EasyJet had made a pretty good impression on me.

 photo Euro045.jpg

 photo Euro046.jpg

I made my way down to passport control, and asked for a stamp in my passport – this was met with a cheerful ‘of course sir’. Strange how some countries see it as such a problem, yet others seem to do it without question.

 photo Euro047.jpg

I then made the very long walk – around twenty minutes or so – down to the metro.

 photo Euro048.jpg

 photo Euro049.jpg

 photo Euro050.jpg

Once I arrived, it took a while to buy a ticket due to a group of American tourists refusing to use the machine in English as they had to practice their Spanish… Fair enough, but do you really have to practice it when there’s people waiting and you have absolutely no idea, so have to translate every word on your iPhone?! I eventually made it on to a train to Alfonso XIII where my hotel was located, arriving around twenty minutes later.

 photo Euro051.jpg

 photo Euro054.jpg

I dumped my bag and made my way back out again on to the Metro to meet Gabriel at his hotel in the Centre of Madrid.

 photo Euro052.jpg

We had a great dinner, shared a few of our stories and followed up with a drink in a bar before I had to make my way back due to the metro closing at 1:30AM.

 photo Euro053.jpg

The following morning, I headed out for a walk around the area where my hotel was, taking in a few of the local parks before inadvertently ending up in the same area I stayed on my previous visit, around where Real Madrid’s stadium was.

 photo Euro055.jpg

 photo Euro056.jpg

 photo Euro057.jpg

 photo Euro058.jpg

 photo Euro059.jpg

Around 11ish, I decided to head back to the airport on the metro.

 photo Euro060.jpg

 photo Euro061.jpg

 photo Euro062.jpg

 photo Euro063.jpg

The new IB branding has sprung up pretty quickly.

 photo Euro064.jpg

 photo Euro065.jpg

Nice terminal, shame about the main inhabitants.

I met Gabriel at the LAN check in. I asked if there were any window seats further forwards available (so I could sit nearer to my friend – or at least that was the story) and he said no, before disappearing off to chat to the agent next to him in Spanish. I had wondered if he was going to upgrade me so we could sit together, but it wasn’t to be.

 photo Euro066.jpg

We then unsuccessfully attempted to use the fast track security, so we made our way through the regular channel instead. Odd how this is basically a One World terminal, yet neither a Business Class passenger or a One World status holder are entitled. We then immediately made our way into the Iberia lounge.

 photo Euro067.jpg

 photo Euro068.jpg

 photo Euro069.jpg

 photo Euro070.jpg

 photo Euro071.jpg

 photo Euro072.jpg

 photo Euro073.jpg

After a few minutes we made our way to the third party airport lounge, accessed via Gabriel’s Priority Pass. Let’s just say, this was a short visit… we didn’t want to disturb the hordes of sleeping passengers!

 photo Euro074.jpg

 photo Euro075.jpg

It was then down on to the monorail and through passport control for the third lounge visit of the day – another Iberia lounge. Probably the best one of the day as it wasn’t too busy, had a decent food and drink selection and better views of the taxiway. The only niggle was that there was only thirty minutes of free Wi-Fi. Guess Wi-Fi rationing is alive and kicking in Spain?

 photo Euro078.jpg

 photo Euro079.jpg

 photo Euro080.jpg

 photo Euro082.jpg

 photo Euro084.jpg

 photo Euro085.jpg

 photo Euro090.jpg

 photo Euro091.jpg

 photo Euro092.jpg

 photo Euro093.jpg

This is the result of 2 a.netters being let loose in a lounge.

 photo Euro094.jpg

Gabriel spent quite a while here contemplating a future adventure.

Of course, the previously mentioned views made for some good photo opportunities too.

 photo Euro076.jpg

Bloody lamp posts…

 photo Euro077.jpg

 photo Euro081.jpg

After a while, our ride up to FRA made its way past:

 photo Euro083.jpg

 photo Euro086.jpg

 photo Euro087.jpg

 photo Euro088.jpg

 photo Euro089.jpg

We stayed here for the next hour or two, before making our way down to the gate at around 14:30, where pre boarding was under way – so we were able to go straight from the lounge to plane with no stop in-between – except for a picture or two:

 photo Euro095.jpg

 photo Euro096.jpg

 photo LAlogo.jpg

LA704
MAD-FRA
November 2013
Boeing 787-8 / CC-BBB
Seat: 33A / Economy
Scheduled: 15:15 / 18:05
Off Stand: 15:16
On Stand: 17:38

Once onboard, Gabriel turned left and I turned right towards the back. I was glad to see that I had just missed the missing window row, although the layout on this one means that neither row is completely missing a window.

 photo Euro098.jpg

 photo Euro099.jpg

The flow of people boarding stopped and the middle seat remained free, which was good as the legroom wasn’t overly generous I found.

 photo Euro100.jpg

 photo Euro101.jpg

 photo Euro102.jpg

The button.

 photo Euro103.jpg

Mood lighting in boarding mode

The captain gave a brief update, stating that our flight time would be 2 hours 20 minutes.

 photo Euro105.jpg

We pushed back pretty much on schedule and made a slow taxi out to the runway. During taxi, the crew moved everybody in the last few rows forward – I was hoping I wouldn’t be included in this, seeing as there weren’t any more window seats available. Luckily, their quest was cut short by takeoff so I was able to stay put.

 photo Euro104.jpg

Lighting now in taxi mode

 photo Euro106.jpg

It was typically quiet, and untypically (by Spanish standards) wet.

 photo Euro107.jpg

 photo Euro108.jpg

 photo Euro109.jpg

 photo Euro110.jpg

A good few minutes later we broke through the clouds.

 photo Euro112.jpg

 photo Euro111.jpg

Cruise mode

I decided to check out the IFE however nothing really jumped out at me so I stuck with the tried and tested sky map and iPod. This system was completely touchscreen – no controller in sight

 photo Euro113.jpg

 photo Euro114.jpg

 photo Euro115.jpg

 photo Euro116.jpg

 photo Euro117.jpg

 photo Euro126.jpg

Around twenty minutes after departure, the service carts were rolled forward. The meal was a cheese, ham and mustard roll and a kitkat.

 photo Euro119.jpg

 photo Euro120.jpg

 photo Euro118.jpg

Following this, I took a walk to the rear galley, although I might as well have been invisible. Except for one crew member giving me a few shifty looks for daring to have my camera in hand. They then pretty much disappeared for the rest of the flight.

 photo Euro121.jpg

 photo Euro122.jpg

Crew rest seats, complete with leg rest.

 photo Euro123.jpg

LAN branded toiletries in the washroom

 photo Euro124.jpg

Descent started as it was getting dark outside.

 photo Euro125.jpg

 photo Euro127.jpg

The mood lights in the cabin couldn’t seem to make their mind up which colour they wanted to be, but they seemed to settle on dark orange and navy on finals.

 photo Euro128.jpg

 photo Euro129.jpg

We touched down on to the new runway at 17:25 and made the long taxi over to terminal 1.

 photo Euro130.jpg

After we arrived on stand, I made my way forward and met Gabriel.

 photo Euro131.jpg

 photo Euro132.jpg

 photo Euro133.jpg

We made our way through to a busy passport control and then out to arrivals.

 photo Euro134.jpg

I also used one of the LH machines to check in for my flights the following day. Although I wasn’t too pleased with the seats I had been given so later changed them via online check in.

 photo Euro135.jpg

We then met LH4532 (Daniel) and then went to the DB lounge for a couple of hours for a chat.

 photo Euro136.jpg

When Daniels train came, we all left the lounge, Gabriel and myself bid Daniel farewell and then made the short walk to my hotel. Once again the Hilton Garden Inn would be my residence for the night.

 photo Euro138.jpg

 photo Euro139.jpg

As Gabriel still had over an hour until his train, we made our way to the supermarket and brought a couple of beers and chatted about aviation… And the trip that Gabriel had been contemplating booking pretty much all day!

 photo Euro137.jpg

After around an hour, it was time to go our separate ways – Gabriel on the ICE, and me to bed for the night before continuing my journey the following lunchtime. The following morning the weather didn’t look all that great.

 photo Euro140.jpg

 photo Euro141.jpg

I checked out of my hotel and grabbed some breakfast from a stand on the Squaire.

 photo Euro142.jpg

I then made my away across to the terminal, taking a brief look around the shops landslide.

 photo Euro143.jpg

 photo Euro144.jpg

 photo Euro145.jpg

Before heading through security. It was a little slow due to a shift change taking place, but nothing major. I spent the next hour or so wandering the A + pier and seeing what was around – mostly heavies.

 photo Euro152.jpg

 photo Euro148.jpg

 photo Euro150.jpg

 photo Euro146.jpg

 photo Euro147.jpg

 photo Euro149.jpg

 photo Euro151.jpg

 photo Euro153.jpg

 photo Euro154.jpg

 photo Euro155.jpg

At 11:30 I made my way down to the gate. I was pretty confident it would be a bus gate as it was the same area I left from when I flew FRA-BRU.

 photo Euro156.jpg

 photo Euro157.jpg

At 11:40, boarding was called although due to a problem with the electronic gates, nobody was going anywhere. A few minutes later, the problem was rectified and it was down on to a waiting bus, as expected. Before the bus had reached full capacity, it was off on a tour of the apron.

 photo Euro158.jpg

There were a couple of SAS jets parked opposite T2, and for a moment it looked like we were headed for the adjacent A320, until we swung around the back of LN-RPG. Phew!

 photo Euro159.jpg

I think we all know the saying

 photo Euro160.jpg

 photo SASlogo.jpg

SK2636
FRA-ARN
November 2013
Boeing 737-600 / LN-RPG
Seat: 18F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 12:15 / 14:20
Off Stand: 12:22
On Stand: 14:20

I made my way onboard and down to the rear section where my seat was. It appeared that boarding was completed with quite a few spare seats around, however another bus turned up and the crew announced a full flight – so I’m glad the 736 wasn’t substituted.

 photo Euro161.jpg

 photo Euro162.jpg

 photo Euro163.jpg

 photo Euro164.jpg

Once boarding was completed, we pushed back and made the long taxi down to the runway. For the first time on my few visits to FRA, departure wasn’t made from the startbahn.

 photo Euro165.jpg

 photo Euro166.jpg

We made it I to the air at 12:35 and much like yesterday, cleared the initial cloud layer pretty quickly.

 photo Euro167.jpg

 photo Euro168.jpg

 photo Euro169.jpg

Once the seatbelt signs were switched off the crew came over the PA announcing a service of complimentary drinks, salads, hot wraps or a sandwich…. But only for those in business class. Everybody else gets free tea or coffee. Nice way to encourage people to fly business there… I grabbed a tea and grabbed my iPod. My choice of entertainment for this sector would be Oasis’ final album from 2008.

 photo Euro170.jpg

 photo Euro171.jpg

Once the cabin had been served, the crew came around offering refills, which was something I didn’t experience on my SAS flights back in June, despite being a similar flight time.

 photo Euro172.jpg

Due to there not being a sky map, I relied on the live, but less detailed version instead.

 photo Euro173.jpg

 photo Euro174.jpg

As the album I was listening to was finishing, I felt the nose dip. So I took my earphones out and started paying attention again. The sun was getting pretty low in the sky, despite it only being around 2pm.

 photo Euro175.jpg

We flew past Arlanda before making a 180 degree turn on to finals.

 photo Euro176.jpg

 photo Euro177.jpg

We touched down at around 14:15, and made a short taxi over to the terminal.

 photo Euro178.jpg

There was the usual wait to disembark, the usual thanks on leaving and then out into terminal 5. What an improvement this place is over T2!

 photo Euro179.jpg

 photo Euro180.jpg

 photo Euro181.jpg

First stop was to find a transfer desk to get a SAS branded boarding pass, but I was stopped in my tracks along the way.

 photo Euro182.jpg

 photo Euro183.jpg

Once lunch was over, with a heavier stomach but a lighter wallet, I carried on my way. The agent swiped my passport, gave me my boarding pass and directed me in the direction of gate F58, saying I would be best to head over there a.s.a.p. as it was quite a walk. I did exactly that, stopping for a few pics along the way.

 photo Euro185.jpg

 photo Euro184.jpg

 photo Euro186.jpg

 photo Euro187.jpg

 photo Euro188.jpg

Still wish I’d taken one of the promo flights on one of these…

 photo Euro189.jpg

I made my way through passport control and into a ghost town it seemed! I was quite literally the only person in this part of the terminal, due to being the only non-Schengen flight at this time, and as it later turned out the flight was barely half full. The only sign of life came from a radio at a distant bar. Other than that, it was complete silence. How relaxing!

 photo Euro190.jpg

 photo Euro191.jpg

 photo Euro192.jpg

I made my way back to the gate area where a few people had come along and a pretty lonely looking 738 was on stand. Boarding wasn’t really announced. More a case of people just coming forward. I hung back a while, as I wasn’t sure if there was any kind of preboarding in progress, before making my way on board.

 photo SASlogo.jpg

SK1523
ARN-LHR
November 2013
Boeing 737-800 / LN-RGE
Seat: 29F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 16:10 / 17:50
Off Stand: 16:06
On Stand: 17:55

 photo Euro193.jpg

No sooner as I had taken my seat it seemed, the boarding complete announcement was given – meaning I not only had my row to myself, but also the row in front and behind too. I overheard one of the crew mention that there were 63 passengers onboard.

 photo Euro194.jpg

 photo Euro195.jpg

Better legroom than on the 736

 photo Euro196.jpg

The captain welcomed everybody on board and said we would be leaving early – and it was a good thing we were as there was quite a heavy headwind, giving us a flight time of 2 hours 20. We pushed back a few minutes ahead of schedule and made our way out to the runway, departing at 16:15.

 photo Euro197.jpg

Shortly after departure, the crew once again announced what business passengers would be having for their service, followed by what the rest of us would be having. As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I took advantage of not having anybody behind and reclined fully, not that the seat went back too far. The captain announced we were climbing to 40,000ft and currently had a headwind of 200kph.

 photo Euro199.jpg

For this sector I went with Curb Your Enthusiasm on iPad for my entertainment, over a tea.

 photo Euro200.jpg

 photo Euro201.jpg

 photo Euro198.jpg

Two of the crew offered refills on the drinks no less than four times before collecting the rubbish. The other three sat in the rear galley chatting. I guess it’s a little pointless getting all carts out when just the one is enough to serve everybody.

 photo Euro202.jpg

After a while I started chatting to the flight attendant in the rear galley. He seemed pretty interested in the future plans of Heathrow. He also seemed to know nothing about the other airports in the London area so I filled him in about those, as well as telling him about my weekend.

 photo Euro203.jpg

As I returned to my seat, the cabin lights were switched off. First time I’d experienced almost complete darkness on a euro hop. Although most people had their reading lights on.

 photo Euro204.jpg

I sat and listened to the rumble of the engines until descent started at around 17:10 local. Almost immediately, there were a few bumps as we made our way into some high level cloud. The captain gave a brief update – saying that unusually, we didn’t have to hold this evening. Due to the cloud and darkness there wasn’t an awful lot to be seen on descent apart from the odd flicker of lights from other aircraft in the area. That was until we descended into the clouds and there was a bit of a light show.

 photo Euro205.jpg

 photo Euro206.jpg

 photo Euro207.jpg

We touched down at around 17:50 and headed off to the other side of T3, docking at gate 11 alongside a company 737.

 photo Euro208.jpg

As I disembarked, I asked for a flight deck visit which was granted. I had a brief chat with the flight crew, who agreed that it was rare not to have to hold, and the first officer mentioned she had transferred over from the MD80 fleet.

 photo Euro209.jpg

It was then through a series of nondescript corridors to UK border control – which took longer than needed due to nearly everybody in the E-passport lane not having an EU passport.

 photo Euro210.jpg

Once through, it was customs. I used the blue lane (as I’d come from the EU) which took me through a corridor, around and then spat me back out at the entrance to the green lane – how pointless. I made my way over to the central station, fighting my way through the London Underground ticket salesman who were generally being a nuisance and on to my now familiar ride home, £10.50 poorer.

 photo Euro211.jpg

In conclusion then, I was pretty impressed with EasyJet. I’d resisted flying any LCC in the last few years. I’d tried out FlyBe a couple of times and was left massively underwhelmed. I figured I’d give U2 a go as they probably couldn’t be much worse and they were much better than expected.

LAN were an interesting bunch. Decent enough service but the crew could have been a little more outgoing.

SAS were decent enough. Sure, they may lack service but the crew were good – basically the complete opposite of LAN. If they were to merge, they would have themselves a pretty decent airline!

Advertisements