Swiss/SAS | Airbus A319/A320 | LGW-GVA-CPH-LHR | Economy/Business

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

Back in September 2014, I was informed that Swiss were having a pretty good sale. The best bargain to be had was on their flights between Geneva and Copenhagen – with ticket prices at around £25 for their business class cabin. Fellow a.netter Gabriel asked if I wanted to join him on a date in December – I did, however as I had long run out of leave from work by then, I had to decline his offer. I still looked at other dates though, as I’d heard great things about their airlines Business Class. I eventually settled on a date in mid January on the GVA-CPH sector.

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This left a slight issue – I don’t live in either Geneva or Copenhagen! No matter. I decided to fly out to Geneva the previous day and I studied various options. The previously mentioned Swiss sale meant that LX were once again the cheapest on the LON-GVA route – with a decently timed flight on their seasonal Gatwick operation.

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Although it still cost more for Y than for the following days J class ticket…

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The final piece of the puzzle was to find my way back from Copenhagen. SAS came in with the best flight times and prices, so they were the winner. Also, a (very) slight bonus would be that this flight would be operated by the A320 – so far I’d only been on SK 737’s. It would also be my first time using T2 at LHR.

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So the final map looked like this:

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So a trio of Star Alliance flights for the weekend. A bit of a culture shock as I’m firmly planted in the OneWorld ecosystem. Still, it made a change from the seemingly endless BA flights I took in the final months of 2014.

On to the journey then:

I took a pretty empty train to Gatwick, arriving at around 8AM.

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Close enough I guess…

I headed over to the Swiss check in area to grab a souvenir boarding pass, before heading through security.

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Security was an experience. Once I’d reached the front of the queue, the machine had a bit of a technical glitch, therefore everybody had to give up and head over to another queue. The staff said we would be given priority but it seemed like this priority was only granted once the people at the front of said queue had passed through – the whole experience taking around thirty minutes.

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Once I was through, I had a choice of two lounges to access via my Airport Angel card – the Aspire lounge and the No.1 Lounge. I opted for the Aspire lounge as I’d not been in that one before. I was given a half hearted welcome and once I was in, it was small, busy and there were virtually no views to be had.

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At least they had bacon rolls


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After around thirty minutes, I surrendered to the No.1 lounge…

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Except I was told that they didn’t accept airport angel. Funny, they did on my last visit. Plan C then was to grab a drink from the Bridge Bar.

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That didn’t work out either as it had transformed into a Nandos since my last visit, so I sat and used Gatwick’s pretty slow wifi to check in for my flight from GVA-CPH the following day.

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Once I had done this it was more or less time to head down to gate 24.

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Once there, I was finally able to get some view of the action outside. And as the air was more or less deserted, no issues with photography either.

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G-VROM back in action after its mishap a few week previously.

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Boarding started around fifteen minutes later.

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LX363
LGW-GVA
January 2015
Airbus A320 / HB-IJU
Seat: 14A/ Economy
Scheduled: 10:10/12:45
Off Stand: 10:03
On Stand: 12:31

I made my way on board and got comfortable.

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A few moments later, the boarding complete announcement was given and I’d managed to score the entire row to myself.

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We pushed back around ten minutes ahead of schedule and made the short journey over to the runway.

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Once we were there, it became apparent that ATC were sending the heavies off in one go, so we waited for ten minutes. During which time I had a great view of Golden Girl passing by.

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Once the bigger guys had left, we ambled forwards on to the runway and lifted off into some initially clear skies, that soon turned grey.

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As we passed through the bad stuff, the seatbelt sign was turned off and the crew started their service, a choice of a cheese sandwich or nothing. Still, it was better than the birdseed that BA dish up. I also asked for some “tea” and a water to wash it down with.

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I’m not too sure what was going on with the tea but the cheese sandwich was very tasty.

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Meanwhile, I took the time to update the report and listen to a bit of Royal Blood.

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For the rest of the flight, I took advantage of their being nobody behind and reclined whilst watching the various Swiss scenes on the overhead screens.

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Descent started around thirty minutes prior to arrival.

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The famous Swiss chocolates were handed out a few moments later

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There wasn’t much to be seen until on very short finals.

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Once we did land, it was a short journey over to our remote stand.

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Once we did arrive, everybody was up instantly despite the seatbelt sign still being on due to one of the engines still running.

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Once the remaining engine was shut down, the whole aircraft was plunged into darkness.

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The lights soon came on again though, and it was down the steps and on to a bus to the terminal.

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Passport control was a little busy, but it still only took around ten minutes or so. Once I was in, I grabbed a free train ticket from the machine in baggage claim and headed off to find a train to the city.

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As I still had a couple of hours or so until I could check in to my hotel, I took a look around the city.

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Like most cities, the old town was of most interest.

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I then made my way to the Design Hotel F6 where I had reserved a room for the evening.

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During which time I checked in for the following days SK flight.

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Some more shots of the city after dark.

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Early the next morning, my alarm was sounding at 06:00. I got ready and headed out to the station to make the six minute journey to the airport.

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Once there, I grabbed a souvenir boarding pass from the LX business desk. There was a family ahead of me with a whole load of suitcases, yet the two agents on the first dest continued to sit there chatting amongst themselves rather than call me forward.

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A few moments later, I met up with fellow trip reporter Signol, who by coincidence happened to be on the same flight as me.

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We passed through security and made our way up to the lounge for breakfast.

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After around thirty minutes, we headed off to the first class lounge, courtesy of Signol’s Star Gold card – thanks for that! The first lounge was more or less the same as the business lounge, although smaller and busier. They had a few more food offerings but not too much.

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After this, we made our way down to the gate. A plane pulled on to stand and it became apparent there would be a bit of a delay – although as far as we could hear there wasn’t any announcement made.

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Boarding commenced at around 09:00, but we were then held on the jet bridge for a good ten minutes.

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LX1286
GVA-CPH
January 2015
Airbus A319 / HB-IPU
Seat: 2A / Business
Scheduled: 09:00/11:00
Off Stand: 09:22
On Stand: 11:26

Once we finally did make it on board, it turned out that there were just three of us in business – so almost an a.net private cabin!

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I was handed a bottle of water and a wet wipe and asked if I wanted a newspaper. Flight time was announced as an hour and forty minutes.

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We pushed back twenty minutes or so behind schedule.

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It was then a pretty quick taxi over to the active, where we joined a pretty long queue for takeoff.

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We finally did make it into the misty air forty minutes or so late.

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After takeoff we were treated to some very good views of the surrounding area.

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Shortly after departure the meal service began. At around the same time the captain made an announcement – I couldn’t really understand much of what was being said, but he did apologise for the delay.

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There wasn’t any choice in meal selection – other than the bread.

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I initially didn’t want to risk the tea again, but I then noticed Signol received a mug with its own bag and two chocolates. I figured if I could make my own maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad? I ordered some and it came from the usual airline style tin tea pot – so the lukewarm milky mess I had on my previous flight. And I didn’t get any chocolates…

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The rest of the flight was spent in seat 2D talking to Signol who was seated in 2F. During which the purser did the rounds with the chocolate basket.

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Descent started around thirty minutes before landing, so I made my way back to my own seat.

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There wasn’t too much to be seen on approach due to the cloud cover.

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We touched down and made our way over to the A gates, disembarking a few moments later.

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After a brief stop at the Transfer centre to get some boarding passes, we had a brief look at what was around.

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Before heading up to the SAS lounge, where Robin once again guested me in – thanks once again.

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Decent enough food options – including meatballs, salad, bread and cheese.

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We grabbed a pair of seats in a quiet corner and spent the next couple of hours chatting.

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At around 14:00, I made my way through passport control and along to gate D102 where a pretty lonely looking A320 was waiting.

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As it turns out, this particular one is no stranger to LHR, having started its life with British Midland back in 2001 as G-MIDV. In somewhat of a coincidence, a few moments later, former sister ship G-MIDT (now wearing a BA uniform) pulled on to the adjacent stand.

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SK505
CPH-LHR
January 2015
Airbus A320 / SE-RJF
Seat: 19F / SAS Go
Scheduled: 14:50/16:00
Off Stand: 14:48
On Stand: 15:40

Boarding began, and was completed pretty quickly. Initially there was somebody sat in the aisle, although they quickly moved, meaning I had the row to myself again.

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The flying time was expected to be an hour and a half.

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We pushed back a couple of minutes early and headed over to the runway, departing pretty quickly.

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We were into some clouds soon after.

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And just a few moments after that, we emerged from them again.

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Soon after, I watched a couple of episodes of Family Guy on my iPad.

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During which time the Drinks service was performed, with seconds offered a few moments later.

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I stuck with the iPad until a few moments before descent started.

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We took the scenic route past London, which was lit up brilliantly in the low winter sunlight before touching down on to 27L.

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After we landed, the captain appeared a little lost… (I’m sure he wasn’t though). Instead of taking a right in the direction of T2, we turned right and headed off in the direction of T5. Once we reached T5C, we did a U turn and headed off in the right direction.

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We pulled in next to an A3 A321, and as it turned out we were parked on probably the nearest stand to border control.

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From leaving the plane to seeing the sculpture out the front took around five minutes at the most due to there being no queue at all at the E passport machines. It was then through the tunnel to the bus station.

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And with that, my first trip of 2015 was at an end.

Swiss continue to impress, and I’m glad I had the chance to try their business class cabin – the only slight complaint was that they could have offered a little more for breakfast – but maybe I’m being a little picky.

Same goes for SAS – if you can find a decent fare, then they’re a very good airline with friendly crew and a decent lounge, at least at CPH.

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Swiss/Lufthansa | RJ100/B737/A321 | LCY-GVA-ZRH-FRA-LHR

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

Around mid 2013, after the success of the airliners.net meet in MAN, it was decided that a further meet would take place in October in Zurich. As I wasn’t able to attend the meet in Manchester due to being in the USA at the time, I was glad that the dates chosen would work for me and I’d finally get to meet a few of you that had I had got to know online. There were a few options to get me to Zurich, including quite a few direct flights – although it would be sacrilege to attend my first a.net meet using a standard BA/LX A320 return from LHR route! Although BA had some pretty attractive fares in Club to be had… There were quite a few other direct options, including a Helvetic F100 from BHX which really appealed. However due to it departing at 08:50 meant it was pretty difficult – and catching a train up to Birmingham the night before then staying in a hotel would cost more than the flight itself! That was most definitely on the B list. In the end, I found a nice schedule from LCY routing through GVA with LX on their RJ100’s and back on LH through FRA, with the ZRH-FRA sector being operated by one of their classic 737’s. Perfect.

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Another bonus would be that I got to depart LCY for the fist time. I’d flown into there before, but was yet to fly out of there. There was also an option of selecting which type of seat you wanted in the flight preferences. If you’re not able to select your exact seat, this is a great compromise and I wish more airlines would do it!

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Check in was made 24 hours before departure and my request had been fulfilled, however I had been allocated seat 7A – which is a row with a missing window. I moved back to 8A later on.

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The following morning, I set off a little earlier than needed, as I had to pick up something important:

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It was then on to the train for the thirty minute or so journey to London Waterloo. As I was running early and the weather was pretty good, I took a walk up the Thames walkway:

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I then took the boat to the O2 Arena, in order to catch a train to LCY. This definitely wasn’t the quick option, but a million times more scenic. The journey from The London Eye to the O2 took around an hour or so.

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(Very) Slowly edging towards the Docklands area.

I finally arrived at the O2 where I could pick the train up – and I was starting to feel a little on edge as boarding was less than an hour away, and I still had to make two train journeys to reach the airport!

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I arrived at the airport at 11:30 – some 20 minutes before boarding. I grabbed a souvenir boarding pass, passed through the very quick security check and had a brief look around.

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As I reached the end of the terminal, my jet was pulling in – HB-IYV, in the Star Alliance scheme.

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Almost immediately, the gate was opened and I made my way down to the holding pen, and perched myself on one of the toadstools. I like how I can turn up so late, and yet still be here in plenty of time.

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Boarding was called at 12:00 and I made the walk across the Tarmac.

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LX435
LCY-GVA
October 2013
Avro RJ100 / HB-IYV
Seat: 8A / Economy
Scheduled: 12:15/14:55
Off Stand: 12:18
On Stand: 14:45

When I reached my assigned seat, there was a guy already sat in it. I asked him to move and the reply was ‘you can take my seat, it’s 7F’. Well no that doesn’t have a window, so shift! He reluctantly moved with a few huffs and puffs.

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The engines started and we made the very quick taxi to the runway – taking about a minute at most. Then the engines powered up to full throttle before we went hurtling down the short runway.

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During the climb, my seat mate got up and moved over to the spare window seat on the other side of the aisle. Suited me. With the generous legroom offered, I now had plenty of space!

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Around ten minutes after departure the service was started. The snack was a pretty small salami roll. There wasn’t a vegetarian option, and quite a few were actually handed back. Tasted pretty good although was a little on the dry side. The two crew members were like chalk and cheese. The purser had plenty of smiles to go around where as the other had a face like a slapped arse for the most part.

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The famous Swiss chocolates swiftly followed.

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I relied on angry birds to keep me entertained for the remainder of the flight.

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The business class cabin on this flight seemed to be entirely LX crew heading back to GVA. The engines spooled back at 14:20 and we made a definite nose dive back to solid ground.

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The crew made their final checks before being seated for landing.

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We made a reasonably rough touchdown, before heading over to a remote stand.

It was then on to a waiting bus to clear passport control and head over to my next gate.

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It was a pretty long walk over to one of the satellites.

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Once I reached my next gate, I was greeted with a very familiar sight.

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Pretty busy Satellite – serving mostly U2 flights it seemed.

Boarding was called at 15:40, and I made a wet walk over to a familiar jet. In the last few years I’d been lucky not to get any repeat registrations… Now I’ve had repeats on my last two trips!

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LX2813
GVA-ZRH
October 2013
Avro RJ100 / HB-IYV
Seat: 14F / Economy
Scheduled: 15:40/16:35
Off Stand: 15:50
On Stand: 16:39

The flight was pretty full, but the middle seat remained empty. There wasn’t quite as much room at the back of this jet, but the legroom was still pretty good.

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It would appear there had been a crew change between flights on this one. And once again there seemed to be quite a few LX crew positioning back to ZRH, but no familiar faces from my LCY-GVA hop just over an hour ago.

The flight time was announced as 35 minutes and we pulled away from our stand a few minutes late.

During taxi the flight crew came over the PA and said we were number one for take off – so not that busy at GVA today it would seem.

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We took off at 16:00 and made a U turn, passing GVA on the right before a complete white out.

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A few moments after departure the seatbelt sign was switched off, and the drinks trolleys were rolled towards the front of the cabin. The choice was water and the Swiss chocolate or nothing. I went with the water and chocolate. I did notice however there were rolls handed out in business. Impressive – not only do LX offer a business class on a domestic flight, but also offer a decent looking service.

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There were no views to be had at all on this short hop until we reached the Zurich area.

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We made a smooth touchdown and made a pretty long taxi over to the stand at the A gates.

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I then made my way through arrivals and up to the service center where I met up with Eco, who had arrived on the KL flight just a few moments after my flight landed.

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We spent the next hour or so on the observation deck, courtesy of InfoDesk who had arranged free tickets for the group – thanks again!

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Useful FID’s

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Where the rest of the group were…

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Something more familiar heading back to LHR

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My ride from LCY via GVA preparing to head off to HAM

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My only two RJ100’s in the log in one shot

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At around 18:30, we both made our way back downstairs to meet up with the rest of the group and head over to the Runway 34 restaurant for a great meal.

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Great tasting cheese dumplings

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In loving memory of PalmJet, who couldn’t attend.

A few hours later, after many chats about all things aviation related, we made our way over to the Hotel Allegra.

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The rest of the evening (and maybe just a bit of the following morning) was spent in the bar with the rest of the group who were staying at the hotel – minus The777Man who headed off to bed after a LONG day!

The following morning, I made my way downstairs and checked out – and just happened to bump into RogerBCN who was having breakfast. MSS658 followed shortly after and we took the shuttle over to the airport. Marc went on his way and I took a train into the city for the next couple of hours.

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View from my rather chilly balcony.

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Our chariot for the ten minute or so journey.

Double decker trains are still a bit of a novelty as they’re non existent in the UK.

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In central Zurich now.

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Autumn was definitely approaching after a pretty decent summer.

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After a brief look around, it was time to head back to the airport.

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Of course, I had to grab a couple of souvenir boarding passes…. Especially since I’d forgotten to screenshot my mobile ones – and with no internet connection, it rendered them useless.

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I met up with the rest of the group and made my way through security with luxair747SP, Emek96 and LH4532, who would also taking the Lufthansa flight to FRA.

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It was then up to the Swiss lounge where SloAir guested me in – thanks for that, much appreciated!

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The F&B selection here was pretty good:

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After quite a while in the lounge, we made our way down to gate A65 – where a ten-minute delay had occurred.

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We saw our jet, D-ABEA land and taxi over to the stand. At approaching 23 years old this one is definitely a classic!

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Boarding was announced a few minutes behind schedule and we all made our way on board. As we boarded we were handed the in flight meal – which was a first.

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LH1191
ZRH-FRA
October 2013
Boeing 737-330 / D-ABEA
Seat: 14A / Economy
Scheduled: 14:50/15:55
Off Stand: 15:05
On Stand: 15:55

Boarding was soon complete, with the middle seat remaining free. With the three other guys sat in the row in front, I hope the guy in the aisle knew what he had let himself in for! Although he stayed buried in his paper throughout.

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We pushed back and made our way over to the active, making a pretty loud and bumpy take off a few moments later.

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There were then a few sharp turns to the right before being buried in cloud.

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Retro

A few moments later, the drinks service began, with three crew members blitzing the cabin.

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Pretty much as I took my last mouthful, descent started and the seatbelt sign was switched on.

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We made a rattily touchdown at one of FRA’s older runways and made a pretty quick taxi over to a remote stand.

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It was then on to a bus, for a journey that seemed to take twice as long as the taxi in.

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I was under the impression that I had quite a while before my next flight, but Johannes pointed out the time to me and I realised that things were a bit tighter than I first thought! Luckily, the bus pulled up at the B gates, which just happened to be where my next flight was departing from – so things weren’t quite so rushed after all. I bid farewell to the guys, and made my way off to my next gate.

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I took a bit of a walk through the terminal, grabbed a LH branded souvenir boarding pass, and my now traditional Ritter Sports (to make up for the melted ones from my last trip to Germany).

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Following this, I made my way to the gate, just as D-AIDJ, just over two years old, was pulling on to stand. So it would appear this flight was slightly late too.

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I took a seat at one of the café style tables and watched the goings on outside.

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Boarding was called at 17:00, and I managed to avoid most of the crush. There were two jet bridges attached to this jet – can’t say I’ve noticed this before. Felt odd boarding a narrow body and not having the flight deck immediately to the left though!

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LH916
FRA-LHR
October 2013
Airbus A321-200 / D-AIDJ
Seat: 35F / Economy
Scheduled: 17:10/17:50
Off Stand: 17:28
On Stand: 18:12

As it turned out, despite the flight being reasonably full, the middle seat remained free once more – in fact I don’t think I’ve ever had a seat mate on LH?

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Decent legroom, even down the back.

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The captain came over the PA and announced a flying time of an hour and five minutes. This was actually my second female captain of the weekend after my GVA-ZRH sector yesterday. We pushed back around twenty minutes behind schedule and made our way over to the startbahn.

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As the previous departure was a LH A380, there was a bit if a wait until we were cleared for takeoff. We finally made it into the air around 35 minutes behind schedule.

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The service was started shortly after departure. The sandwiches were dished out pretty quickly, however it took an age for the drinks to reach my row. By the time they did we had already started our descent!

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The new Airbus cabins are a good improvement over the older ones.

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Is this mood lighting or paint? I couldn’t tell.

During descent, the first officer came over the PA and announced that due to congestion over London, we would have to hold for fifteen minutes. I’m used to five minutes, but fifteen?!

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After many laps north of London, we broke through the cloud cover and were treated to the scenic approach to 27L.

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On short finals, a pretty big gust caught us and the right wing dipped quite considerably. Yet the flight crew did a great job of catching it and still made a smooth touch down. Nice work!

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It was then a lengthy tour of Heathrow as we made our way over to T1.

As I was exiting, the crew member manning the door said he’d noticed I was taking quite a few pictures during the flight – and wanted to know if I had taken any of the crew. I replied I hadn’t and I made sure not to take pictures of anybody. He was fine with that and I went on my way. See Flybe, that’s how it’s done….

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Following this, it was the usual walk to passport control, through customs – with not one person manning it – and through the tunnels to the central bus station. Of interest, the huge area with nothing in as your exiting passport control in T1 now does have something there – a pretty lonely looking Heathrow express ticket stand!

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Overall it was a great weekend being able to put faces to usernames. Although I’m still kicking myself for taking the later flights out to ZRH and missing out on the SR technics tour! On the plus side, I thought LX were pretty good – having only experienced them on a short MXP-ZRH hop previously. LH was also decent enough. Surprisingly, these were my only two flights with the airline in 2013 despite them being my joint most flown airline in 2012.

Swiss/Lufthansa | RJ100/B737 | MXP-ZRH-DUS-LHR

This is the second part of my trip down to Milan. The first can be found at:

Part 1: 5 Flights 3 Airlines LHR-BRU-MXP in theory

Todays route

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Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

The entire planned journey.

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And the modified journey after I was sent via Munich due to a delay on the first flight.

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This part will cover my return journey – from Milan Malpensa, Zurich, Dusseldorf and back to London Heathrow.

Now where were we?

After yesterday’s fun and games, I was hoping today would go a lot more smoothly. Due to my late arrival into Milan, I hadn’t got anywhere near the city, so that was on the agenda for the morning.

I checked out of the hotel around 08:30. Shame, because for probably the first time ever I had actually managed to get a decent nights sleep in a hotel.

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After coming out of the front doors of the hotel, I was immediately at Malpensa station and on to a waiting train for the half hour or so journey to the city for a return price of €15 – the most expensive train ticket I had brought on a trip this year, although still cheaper than the UK.

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I arrived in Milan around 9:30, and spent the next few hours seeing what the city had to offer. And being hassled by Senegalese/Rwandan/Ethiopian’s to take their ‘free’ bits of string. If they’re free then why are they so insistent for you to have them?!

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Guess they don’t like their neighbors?

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Duomo


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Lemon and cheese. Odd combination, but actually quite good!

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Strangest thing I’d seen since a lemon and cheese croissant…

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Liking the retro trams!

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At 12:15, I decided it was time to head back to Malpensa. I was hoping everything would go to plan today. I’d been in contact with Infodesk (Hannah) earlier in the day to see what the weather was like in Zurich, and she said it was foggy, but it should clear by the end of the day. I hoped so, as due to missing out on the RJ100 yesterday, I really wanted this one to go to plan.

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Pretty clean trains here – reminded me of the new Fyra I went on in Amsterdam

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Sure sign that the train was almost there

Once I arrived, I headed off to check in to try and finally check in for my final 2 sectors of the trip. This was met with more confused looks as to why I was taking such a strange routing. I also overheard one of the other check in agents telling another passenger the flight was completely full.

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There were quite a few windows in the departure hall, which offered some good views.

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After that I went to grab a bite to eat. Figured I’d try an Italian pizza.

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I was expecting a slice, not a quarter of the pizza

On my travels, I saw my plane land, along with a couple of others.

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Then it was off through a busy, but amusing security.

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Once the security guard saw my name he translated it into Italian. I replied, “Thanks I’ll remember that”. At which point, he shouted to all his colleagues “It’s Jacamo Bianci! Hey, it’s Jacamo Bianci!” Good to see the Italian security officers are human.

As I arrived out of security something caught my eye

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I figured as I’d had pasta and pizza this weekend, it would be rude not to have gone gelato. Not actually had it before, but I’m sure I’ll be having it again.

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Whilst eating i made a slow walk down to gate A20, taking a few more pictures along the way.

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Even LH passengers heading for the lounge don’t escape the duty free here

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As it was a bus gate, there were a grand total of about 4 seats, all of which were taken.

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Just before 14:30, I saw a bus pull up and then reverse up to the doors – and a couple of second’s later general boarding was announced.

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A few moments later, we were off on a pretty good tour of the airport before arriving at HB-IYT. This one had seen service with BA Cityflyer before joining the Swiss European fleet in 2006.

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There was a bit of a wait on the tarmac, which was fine with me as it was nice and sunny and the SkyTeam AZ 777 was starting up pretty close by – which can be seen in the video below.

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LX1629
MXP-ZRH
21st October 2012
Avro 100/HB-IYT
Seat: 19A
Scheduled: 15:00/16:00
Off stand: 15:07
On stand: 15:56

The check in agent wasn’t joking when she said this flight was completely full. First impressions of the RJ100 were that it was pretty roomy, even despite the full load. As expected, I had a seatmate. When he noticed all he picture taking and writing, he asked if I was keeping a travel log. I told him about airliners.net and we had a brief chat about our travels. He asked my opinion on Virgin Atlantic, and I told him about my flights to JFK with them last month. He said he flew with them from SYD and wasn’t impressed. He also mentioned he wasn’t to impressed with BA on that route either. He seemed to know his stuff as he knew the RJ100 was British built and he said he flew a lot of them with Ansett.

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The engines were started at just past 15:00 and we made our way out to the runway. During the taxi, the flight deck came over the PA and welcomed everybody on board, although no flight time was given. Take off was a just past 15:10 – I was surprised at how loud this little jet was! And to think, it used to be the only jet allowed at LCY because it was so quiet.

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Then there were some spectacular views. A lot of cameras were out for this part of the flight.

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No sooner had we taken off it seemed, the engines spooled back. At around the same time the crew had reached my row. No food offering on this flight, except the Swiss chocolate, although to be honest on a flight so short I wasn’t really expecting anything.

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At just before 15:40, the flight deck was on again, saying we had started our descent and that he expected landing in around 20 minutes. During descent info was given for connecting flights, although they were all Swiss flights. So no use to me!

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Cabin during descent

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Touchdown was at 15:50, and we made quite a long rollout before heading off in the direction of the A gates, arriving on to stand at 15:56.

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It was then on to a waiting bus, before checking the FID’s. Annoyingly, they said my gate wasn’t due to be announced until 17:25, so I wondered around in the A pier, checking out some of the views along the way.

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Told you these doves are getting common!

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Interesting

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Still no gate announced

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No mistaking where I was

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The jet that had just brought me to Zurich

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This seems to be the Dusseldorf gate, although I was due to be on the next flight

A few weeks before my flight, Hannah kindly said she would arrange a free pass to the observation deck for me… But I figured an evening towards the end of October would be a cold and wet affair so I turned it down. How wrong was I – it was a very sunny and warm day outside. Luckily there were more than enough windows to keep me entertained for the next hour or so.

After seeing most of the A pier and the endless LX A320’s, I went for a wonder and ended up in the part of ZRH I recognized from the pictures I’ve seen.

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No familiar faces today

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Impressive – this part seems much newer than the A pier

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At 17:25 gate A62 was announced, although the previous flight, also to Dusseldorf, hadn’t vacated it yet. Out of all my flights this weekend, this was the one that couldn’t go wrong, as I only had a 45 minute transfer time in Dusseldorf. Although I guess if Lufthansa cause the delay, I’ll get an extra night away at their expense. Also of note is that if all goes to plan this will start a run of 3 737 classics. At 18:00, with less than an hour before departure, there was still no sign of a Lufthansa 737. Or any other Lufthansa plane for that matter.

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At 18:15 I spotted a Lufthansa 737 over in the distance.

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And shortly after it was on stand

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At which point I headed upstairs to the gate.

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Boarding commenced at 18:35

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LH3139
ZRH-DUS
21st October 2012
737-530/D-ABIE Hildesheim
Seat: 14F
Scheduled: 18:55/20:05
Off stand: 18:53
On stand: 19:55

The flight seemed pretty full to me. There was somebody sat in the aisle of row 14, but nobody in the middle seat, so there was still a fair bit of space. The boarding complete announcement came at 18:47, before pushing back 5 minutes later a couple of minutes ahead of schedule. A flying time of 55 minutes was given.

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Luckily the plane wasn’t on a stand too far from the runway and we took off at 19:00. Very good work of the ground crew to get this one turned round in 38 minutes.

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After takeoff the meal service began. And it was once again time to play Lufthansa meal roulette. Tonight it would be a cheese croissant.

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Quite tasty actually

Not much more can be said about this sector really. No watching the world go by this evening.

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Just your standard Lufthansa flight, but with no decent views as it was now dark, although the other side of the plane had a very good sunset by the look of it. The meal service was very quick and efficient though. I asked if they knew if this aircraft would be docking anywhere near where my connection to LHR would be leaving from, but they said they didn’t know but as DUS is so small and we were on time, I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I had a quick browse through the in flight mag to pass the time.

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Reminds me of the Air Europe 757 I went on to Mexico for some reason?

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Interesting that this exact aircraft is featured.

Shortly before 19:30, descent started.

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Passing Dusseldorf on finals

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Touchdown was at 19:52, and we made our way over to the terminal.

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Then it was on to a bus for a quick tour of DUS. I’m guessing this one would now be stopping for the night, as there were jetbridges available.

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Almost under the wing!

After a quick bus ride I was in the terminal and heading for gate A76.

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Once at the gate, it was clear that the aircraft had only just arrived as all the previous passengers were only just disembarking. Although this flight could now be as late as it wanted as this was my final sector.

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There’s always one who thinks the plane will get there quicker if they’re on first.

My short time in DUS was spent sitting at the gate, as once through passport control there really isn’t much to see or do. Just a sandwich bar really. Also there were 5 or 6 British tourists that seemed amazed with the vending machine, as they hadn’t heard of any of the brands in it. Guessing they don’t go abroad much… Boarding started at 20:37. I’d imagine that it would be a bit of a push to be away by 20:50, but surprisingly this was achieved.

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LH3388
DUS-LHR
21st October 2012
737-330/D-ABEB Xanten
Seat: 23A
Scheduled: 20:50/21:15
Off stand: 20:50
On stand: 21:16

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Interesting to note was that this one had been upgraded from the scheduled -500 to the -300. The same thing happened on my flight from LGW to FRA in March. Also, it means that my run of 737 classics would now be a -300, -400 and a -500. Amusingly (and somewhat amazingly), during boarding the crew came over the PA and pointed out that this aircraft was going to London Heathrow, and that somebody just got on thinking this was the Munich flight – how did that happen?! It was a reasonably full load – which will explain the bigger than anticipated plane, and it was a similar situation to my previous flight, just under an hour ago – the middle seat remained free whilst there was somebody on the aisle. A flight time of 1 hour was given.

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Not a huge difference in legroom from my previous flight.

Pushback was at 20:50 local and we made our way over to the same runway that I had touched down on just under an hour ago.

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Take off was at 21:00

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We made a 180 degree turn to fly back past DUS

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Last view of the ground until the M25!

Tonight’s Lufthansa roulette meal threw up a cheese sandwich. Delivered with a smile. And an OJ.

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The rest of the flight was much like the last. Uneventful until, descent started at just before 20:30 UK time.

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Another cabin view just for the sake of it.

The captain came over the PA during the descent to inform us that we were to be put into a holding pattern for 5 to 10 minutes. This came as no surprise though. The weather update was no surprise either – windy and wet!

Descent was a pretty dull affair. Due to the cloud cover there wasn’t much to be seen until around 1000ft.

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The view for most of the descent

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Then it was a pretty hard touchdown on to 09L, and a short taxi over to T1 pulling up alongside a freshly painted BD/BA A319.

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After waiting round for about 5 minutes on stand, the cabin crew came over the PA and announced we would be disembarking through the rear doors. Unusual, but a nice surprise.

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There was a ground crew member shouting at me while I was taking these pictures but it was only because she was holding the door open for me and I was taking my time – a quick “sorry” and she gave a smile and said that’s fine and I was on my way. A world away from the ground crew I experienced at BHD back in July.

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After this, it was through the numerous corridors of T1 to immigration.

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Good to see a 737 classic at LHR

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Explored pretty much every corner of this place yesterday…

Passport control was pretty quick, then through to arrivals.

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Surprised they haven’t seen an opportunity to stick a duty free shop in here.

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Departures area is pretty empty at this time of night.

And finally, out to the central bus station for the coach home, arriving at around 23:00 pleased that today’s flights had gone exactly to plan. Now it was time to hang around for 45 minutes for the coach home.

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