Germanwings LGW-CGN-LGW

Profile picture for user Mark L

Member for

16 years 6 months

Posts: 4,209

After returning from our Jet2 trip to Manchester Dan and I spent the night in the LGW Travelodge, as the room price was only £26, meaning it was far more cheaper and convenient than going home and returning the next day. After a ridiculously long walk the night before we knew where we were going, although did have to ask for directions on the last few metres due to very poor signposting. There really should be more provision for pedestrian access to airports! We checked in about 2 hours before the flight, and both of us were incredibly pleased to be told that one of the AeBal 717s was indeed running the service this morning. Seats were not allocated which we had thought they were at first, but again we were pleased to hear the flight was far from full, and we should have no problems each getting window seats. After going back up to the viewing area we went into a cafe nearer the runway so Dan could get some long exposure shots whilst I studied the menu for ab hour pretening to buy something. After watching EC-HNY land on 26L we made our way over to the satellite terminal. Where there once was a shuttle train running a connection between the main and satellite terminals now there is just a moving walkway. The gate area was rather small, and even with not a full load the area was pretty full, I'm not sure how it hopes with 3 or 4 US flights at a time. We watched an Orlando Virgin 744 disembark with everyone clutching their Disney goody bags, and once they were all clear we borded the aircraft. Dan and I scrummed it to the front, and managed to take our seats at the rear of the aircraft between the engine and the wing. I had read before that the seats were meant to be uncomfortable, but I found them just as nice as any Airbus or 737, despite being well over 6ft, although there was nobody sitting next to me. We pushed back on time, and we watched the engines start up. Taxi was out to 26L and we departed almost instantly. The power was put up, and then the brakes released which resulted in a very quick acceleration. The engines were nowhere near as noisy as I was expecting, it was not apparent I was sitting right next to it at any stage of the flight. Once passing through 10k the thrust could really be felt increasing our speed, and we quickly reached our cruise altitude. Sadly the food could only be purchased in euros, which neither of us had remembered to bring :rolleyes: and so we had to go without breakfast. In the descent I asked one of the members of the cabin crew if a deck visit would be possible, but he was the Germanwings rep on board, and as such wasn't sure and so he told us to ask on our way out. The descent was pretty normal with the spoilers being put out later into it, although they didn't appear to make nearly the same amount of noise or buffet as they had on the 737 the day before. After descending through the clouds we could see quite a lot of snow, although this cleared up as we approached Cologne. The approach was quite normal as the weather conditions were calm, although as we landed on 32R we floated for quite some distance, and rolled right to the end of the runway. We vacated and rolled onto our stand. As we dismebarked I asked if we could visit the deck. I was told no, but persevered until she asked the captain who said yes, however we were refused permission to take photos, and only allowed a few seconds as there was a bus waiting. The FO was very accomodating but the Captain was very annoyed and clearly wanted to turn the aircraft around! We got on the bus, and soon found the viewing terraces where we spent the rest of the day.
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Profile picture for user bmi-star

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15 years 7 months

Posts: 4,255

Good to hear you got the 717, both us got what we wanted like i told you, me a 732 2 weeks ago and you a 717. Wonder if 4U will take anymore one?
Profile picture for user Mark L

Member for

16 years 6 months

Posts: 4,209

We spent much of the day alternating between the two viewing points at either end of the terminal, and viewing much of the Germanwings, HLX, and DBA fleets. Also of interest were 3 IL76s, one Azerbaijan, on Uzbek, and one Volare. There was also an Iran Air A310, Turkish 738 and Hemus Air 146, along with a Blue Wings A330 stored around the corner. There were a few regional movements throughout the day including a Metro, a Saab 340 and a Dornier 228, and alos lots of Lufthansa and an EAE ATR. Sadly some of these departed from the cross runway and we couldn't see them in great detail. The German Air Force also had a fair amount of movements including a number of A310s, Transalls, Challengers and Helicopters. From one viewing area you could look out to where the IL76s were parked, alongside a number of stored 146s and Fokker 50s. After enduring freezing weather conditions and even a small amount of snow we conceded and went inside to check in for our return flight. We managed to do this 3 hours before hand, as all Germanwings flights can be checked in from any desk. We went through security were Dan once again tried to expose himself in front of the entire airport, and after distancing myself from him we wandered around until finding a good spot for taking photos. Various interesting aircraft taxiied past us including a Luftwaffe A310, and a Cirrus Dash 8 parked up right in front of us too. Additionally there was an Aeroflight A320 running some Germanwings services that day. After a while I checked the departure board, and we had an hour delay on our flight. Irritating, but then we thought it likely we would be getting the Aeroflight A320 which didn't seem so bad. After watching 2 LH MD11s and a UPS 741 arrive we went downstairs to the gate area, and waited around for them to call the flight. Once in the queue it was interesting to note a number of business travellers, including many who had high level BA executive club cards, which begs the question what are Germanwings doing right to get the business off BA, especially for such frequent flyers. Young children were called forward first which we thought rather amusing as it was a bus gate, meaning they would get stuck at the back of the bus instead of being able to board first! Anyway we soon followed on, and kept a good look out for the Aeroflight. However it was not to be, and we were driven out to D-AIPD a normal Germanwings A320 parked on a very remote stand in the corner of the apron. Presumably this was one that had gone tech but was now working again. We bordered through the rear steps and took seats quite near the back. This was clearly an ex Lufthansa aircraft with green leather seats, and some remnants of the name on various pieces of equipment, however it was not easy to tell that it was the 72nd A320 built and was over 16 years old, as it was in very good condition. The flight was much more full this time, however boarding was carried out swiftly, and we started up and taxiied out in good time, although the taxi to 32R is a very long one. We had to wait for an HLX to arrive before departing, and once again they pulled the same trick with the thrust settings, although the acceleration was not quite as good as the 717! Once airborne there was a lot of turbulence, until quite late in the climb, and once settled in the cruise we were quite surprised to hear the engines throttle back so soon. The Captain was really good on the flight, and gave us all lots of detailed information before we left, and came on soon after and explained that the TMA was very congested, and we had a speed restriction to keep. This got a few groans as we were already an hour late, but there was nothing anyone could do. About 30 minutes later the captain came on again to tell us we would have to hold for about 15 minutes which got a few more worried groans after he tried to explain where we were holding before confessing he didnt know and had to consult the FO! After descending into the clouds it was very disorientating, especially as the turbulence was quite strong. The next thing we knew we were about 200ft looking down onto the industrial area to the south of Gatwicks 26L. The visability and cloud base were very bad, and the wind quite strong too and we got quite a high bounce on touchdown. No reverse was selected, instead autobrakes went from Low to Medium about half way down which was rather uncomfortable. We made the first exit however, and taxiied all the way round to the far corner of the satellite pier, before disembarking fairly rapdily. Both of us were rather knackered and we were well over an hour and a half late and os decided not to bother with a deck visit, and instead joined the long queues to get through passport control. Overall Germanwings seemed OK, especially as we only paid £30 for the flights. No real explanation was given for the main cause of the delay, however I think I could have sufferred apalling service and still come back with a smile on my face as we managed to get on the 717, which was after all the prime reason for booking the trip!

Member for

16 years 3 months

Posts: 323

Nice report. Hope you had a good day. I did the same trip about three weeks ago specially to go on the B717. Imagine the disappointment in the morning at Gatwick when it was an A319 however I got the B717 on the return flight in the evening.
Profile picture for user SHAMROCK321

Member for

15 years 8 months

Posts: 2,495

Glad to hear you got a 717. They are flying them to Dublin at least once a week now and have announced they will increase CGN-DUB to 4 weekly.
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

Posts: 9,401

Great report again Mark - Pleased you got the 717 :)

Member for

14 years 11 months

Posts: 1,887

Great report

Member for

14 years 11 months

Posts: 41

Nice report, i'm pleased you got the 717, must try and get on that one, Sam:)