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BNE to Europe, 14 Sectors, 5 Airlines, 7 Aircraft Types

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  • BNE to Europe, 14 Sectors, 5 Airlines, 7 Aircraft Types

    Welcome to my first trip report. During May/June I spent nearly 5 weeks travelling in Europe. I had 14 flight sectors with 5 different airlines travelling on 7 different aircraft types.

    My Itinerary
    11MAY BNE-KUL MH140 747-400
    13MAY KUL-LHR MH004 747-400
    16MAY LCY-ZRH BA8765 AVRO RJ100
    21MAY ZRH-DUB EI345 A320
    25MAY DUB-FCO EI406 A320
    29MAY NAP-TRN AP6158 > TRN-CDG AP4230 CRJ900
    05JUN CDG-ZRH LX635 > ZRH-ATH LX1838 A319/A321
    10JUN ATH-ZRH LX1831 > ZRH-CDG LX656 A321/A320
    12JUN CDG-KUL MH021 777-200
    13JUN KUL-SYD MH141 > SYD-BNE MH141 747-400

    Apologies for the lack of photos, I did have photos of most of the aircraft however due to a memory card failure I lost all photos taken before I arrived in Rome including a heap of photos from the observation deck at Zurich Airport. All recovery programs I have found so far have not worked, any suggestions welcome.

    Now onto the trip report.

    11MAY MH140 BNE-KUL 747-400
    Seat: 39K
    Departure: 11:59PM Arrival:6:10AM next day

    Arrived at the airport around 9PM, there was a short line for checkin so didn't have to wait too long. There is a weird seating policy on this flight which prevents preallocation of seats, they can only put in a request. Despite my request for a window seat I had been preallocated an aisle, this was changed easily.

    This flight was not very full, empty seat next to me, aisle seat taken and nobody in front of me which was great.

    We were served a light dinner after takeoff which was nice however I cannot remember what it was. A very small breakfast consisting of a Vanilla Ski Dlite yogurt and a berry muffin was served about 2 hours before landing. I was starving by the time we arrived in KL.

    The IFE was playing up on this flight however I was more interested in trying to sleep and I did get a few hours at most.
    Baggage collection etc in KL was reasonably quick and painless.

    13MAY MH004 KUL-LHR 747-400
    Seat: 60A (moved to 61A due to light load so I had nobody in front of me)
    Departure: 10:05AM Arrival: 4:15PM

    After leaving the Hilton I headed straight to the KL Ekspress station. Thankfully MH are one of a few airlines who offer checkin at KL Sentral for train passengers. I bought my train ticket then checked in for the flight, my preallocated seat 60A was all ok. Train station checkin is such a wonderful idea, its so nice not having to cart baggage onto the train and also there was no queue for checkin.

    This flight had a very light load probably around 50% which was absolutely wonderful as I had heaps of space and was able to wander around as much as I wished.

    Food Service
    Lunch after takeoff Mexican Chicken with wedges, shrimp salad and warm roll, ice cream for desert.
    Snack Box served midway containing dried fruit, crackers & cheese, cake
    Light Meal before arrival Beef Stroganof with Mashed Potato.

    The journey across the Bay of Bengal was full of turbulence but otherwise the conditions were quite good.

    There was a major IFE failure on this flight, I had no IFE for the entire flight apart from the map display in between constant system reboots. On my regular walks around the cabin I did see a few seats with functional IFE but not many. Fortunately I was prepared for such an event and had my portable DVD player fully charged so I had 6 hours of video. I read a book, looked at the inflight magazine and went for plenty of walks around the cabin.

    I did ask a crew member about the IFE and was told that it was a problem on all aircraft. For the geeks out there I noticed that the system runs on Linux, I saw a lot of that penguin.

    Arrival into London was pretty much on time after doing a bit of a loop around before landing. Arrival into T3 and arrived into one of the gates closer to the exit so not too far to walk. Baggage collection was easy.

    16MAY BA8765 LCY-ZRH Avro RJ100
    Seat: 12A
    Departure: 12:50PM Arrival: 3:30PM

    I stayed at the Ramada Docklands which was very convenient for LCY only a 12 minute walk from the hotel. I booked this flight during a sale for only GBP43.20 which was airfare of GBP1 + 42.20 taxes!

    This was my first flight from LCY and my first flight on an RJ100.

    I had checked in online however was unable to print and the cardboard boarding pass is nicer too. Checkin was quite slow with only 2 counters open, also the Quick Kiosks were all out of order.

    Boarding was fairly quick with a very light load of 20 pax (I counted) so I had 3 seats all to myself. A window seat on one of these planes wouldn't be very comfortable on a full flight unless you are short as the headroom is restricted. However the leg room was good as was the seat width.

    Took off like a rocket, guess a combo of the light load and short runway.

    We departed late due to a late arrival caused by earlier delays in Amsterdam.

    Lunch was served after departure consisting of 2 good sized chicken sandwhiches, very tasty.

    Arrival at Zurich was at a remote stand and we were then bussed to the terminal. Passport check quick and easy and baggage was already waiting on the carousel.

    21MAY EI345 ZRH-DUB A320-200
    Seat 1A
    Departure: 4:05PM Arrival: 5:20PM

    Checkin was quick and easy, after checkin I spent some time on the obersvation deck taking photos of planes (which were on the naughty card but anyway) and then headed out to the E gates where my flight was departing from. I spent some time in the Bellevue lounge courtesy of Diners Club before heading to the gate.

    The flight was delayed by about 15 mins due to late arrival from Dublin.

    I decided to pay the extra and preallocate myself 1A for my two EI flights as the legroom in the normal rows is not very good. The wall in front was annoying but there was still more space. The tray table was annoying as it was on a lean and using a dvd player on a leaning table is no fun.
    Overall this was a pretty ordinary flight, buy on board food.

    25MAY EI406 DUB-FCO A320-200
    Seat 1A
    Departure: 3:20PM Arrival: 7:20PM

    We encountered quite a bit of turbulence over the english channel and after a while the captain announced that we would be slowing down and decsending to a calmer altitude.

    We were delayed disembarking due to shortage of ground crew as an EI flight had also just arrived from Cork.

    29MAY AP6158 NAP-TRN connecting to AP4230 TRN-CDG CRJ-900
    Seat 11A NAP-TRN & 10F TRN-CDG
    Departure: 3:00PM Arrival: 6:35PM (45 min transit in TRN)

    Check in at Naples was fairly quick however for some reason I was not able to get my boarding pass for the connecting flight.

    Naples is a fairly small airport with a lot of regional aircraft. There are no aerobridges here, everyone is bussed to the aircraft.

    Boarding was slow and lots of pushy people. You need to watch your head when boarding these planes. After I was seated I had some italian woman come up to me with a boarding pass for the same seat. The cabin crew were able to quickly find her another seat. Service onboard was basic with a pack of biscotti and a drink. The seat was comfortable enough with good legroom however the positioning of the windows on these planes is not very good.

    Landed in Turin on time in the rain. Onto the bus to the terminal where I had to enter the terminal to get my boarding pass, the flight had already closed but the very helpful staff member was able to print it out. I then had to reclear security with little time to spare and a huge line. Then a run to the gate and the same guy who got my boarding pass was there too, pity he didn't offer to get me through security quicker. Then back on the bus to the same plane I had just gotten off.

    Back on board and there was more confusion with seats. Service on board was the same as previous flight just a different flavoured biscotti. On my booking confirmation they actually listed Breakfast for the meal on the second flight even though it was 5pm so I had assumed I might get a meal.

    Arrived into CDG T1 pretty much on time despite a late departure.

    Baggage collection took a little while to start after arriving at the carousel and after watching bags go round and round the screen changed to delivery completed. Except that my bag had failed to appear along with at least 2 other passengers. Off to find the luggage desk, Air One places a lot of emphasis on their partnership with Lufthansa so I figured they would be a good place to start, they said no try the general desk, they said no you need to go to the SAS counter. So eventually got the luggage report done and my bag arrived at the hotel at 11:30pm the following evening. It would seem that some fool offloaded the baggage from the plane at Turin.

    A few pics of planes taken from the viewing area in the terminal

    05JUN LX635 CDG-ZRH A319
    Seat 29F
    Departure: 11:00AM Arrival: 12:15PM

    Unfortunately Swiss use the dreadful Terminal 2B, I have previously used this terminal once on a trip last year when I flew BA to LHR and was delayed for 6 hours!. Did I mention I hate this terminal. I have decided that the B stands for bad.

    Checkin did not open until 90 mins before the flight so I went and had some breakfast first and due to the stupid design I ended up going through passport control twice to get out then again after check in. Checkin was quite slow and at 10AM there was still a number of people in line and that was the official closing time of the flight.

    The recaro seats on SWISS planes are excellent and comfortable. Leg room was good. On this quick flight was served a bread roll with cheese and pickle or something I didn't like the look of so just had the cheese.

    We arrived at a remote stand in Zurich on time and were bussed to the terminal building. I made a quick and easy connection to the gate for my connecting flight to Athens.

    The A319 that took me to Zurich.

    LX1838 ZRH-ATH A321
    Seat 15F
    Departure: 1:00PM Arrival: 4:40PM

    Departed about 40 minutes late due to ATC restrictions between Zurich and Athens. Meal service was a toasted wrap which was quite tasty.

    Arrived into Athens late however baggage collection was quick and easy and SWISS had no problems transferring my baggage between flights with only a 40 min transit. My luggage was also one of the first off.

    10JUN LX1831 ATH-ZRH A321
    Seat 11F
    Departure: 2:10PM Arrival: 4:00PM

    Check in was a bit slow due to confusion as I had checked in online but not printed by boarding passes, eventually sorted out and on my way.

    I chose Seat 11F for this flight which is a great seat as there is no 10F due to emergency exit and crew seat so heaps of leg room, except during takeoff and landing when legroom shared with crew member.

    Departure on time.

    The meal service was the same as LX1838.

    My ride back to Zurich

    Olympic Airlines flight to Heathrow.

    LX656 ZRH-CDG A320
    Seat: 7F
    Departure: 4:40PM Arrival: 5:55PM

    Quick and easy connection once again, I love Zurich airport, it is a wonderful airport to use.

    Had Seat 7F which is the first row of Economy however the curtain for business class was a bit annoying.

    Served an ice cream on this short flight.

    Luggage delivery was slow to start but when it did my baggage was one of the first off again.

    My ride back to Paris CDG.

    Special Livery

    12JUN MH021 CDG-KUL 777-200
    Seat 32A
    Departure: 12:00PM Arrival: 6:35AM Next Day

    Arrived at the checkin area just before 9AM, checkin opened at 9. Checkin was quick and easy. After checkin had breakfast at McDonalds then headed upstairs to look around the few shops then out to the gate.

    CDG T1 is somewhat better than 2B but very limited food options and shops.

    Light load again on this flight so had a free seat next to me which was great when the guy in front of me reclined as I could move sideways.

    Takeoff was 30 minutes late at 12:30 due to ATC restrictions, it was raining heavily and the climb was fairly bumpy.

    Meal Services
    Lunch was served after takeoff: Beef stew with potato wedges Standard Snack Box midflight
    Breakfast was served about 2 hours before arrival: Omlette with chicken sausage, potato etc.

    There was a lot of turbulence over the Bay of Bengal again which was during breakfast so that made life interesting. It was announced that there would be no hot beverages served due to the weather.

    IFE was working perfectly this time and I watched movies and TV shows for most of the flight as I wasn't sleepy.

    We arrived into KL slightly late at around 6:50 at the Main Terminal.

    As I was just in transit I headed straight out to the satellite terminal and made use of the Plaza Premium Lounge for 2 hours in between flights. Lounge cost me A$27 which included showers, food, internet, comfy seats and a 15 minute seated massage which was good.

    My ride from CDG-KUL

    13JUN MH141 KUL-SYD-BNE 747-400
    Seat 54A
    Departure: 10:00AM Arrival: 10:45PM

    A light load again on this flight so had 2 seats free next to me.

    We departed KL a few minutes late.

    Meal Service

    Lunch was served after takeoff: Mexican Chicken, same as MH004
    Snack: A small chicken roll was served about 2 hours from Sydney.
    Snack: A small roll was also served on the short flight to Brisbane.

    Lots more turbulence on this flight, firstly around Indonesia and then again for at least 2 hours coming into Sydney due to strong winds, noticed on the flight data that head winds were up to 200km/h at times.

    The IFE worked flawlessly on this flight as well and I also got a few hours sleep as I didn't sleep on the flight from Paris I had no trouble getting to sleep.

    Transit through Sydney was spent mostly in line for security check, why they need to do a security check in transit I don't know. I even got the explosives test and frisking done again.

    Then back onto the plane for the 1 hour flight to Brisbane which was a nice smooth flight straight up the coast then through Moreton Bay with a U turn at the southern end of Bribie Island and into Brisbane. Landed a bit late about 11PM.

    Passport control was crazy with no seperate lines for Aussies and a few other flights had also just arrived. Baggage was waiting on the carousel. Customs was easier as they just let me through with no xray check, I did have some chocolates in my bag which I declared but no problem.

    Overall a really great trip with a few challenges, although a bit less turbulence would have been nice. Some is fine but hours at a time is no fun.

    Heres my summary of the various airlines:

    Malaysian: I last flew Malaysian in October 2005 before all the cutbacks and I really noticed the reduction in meal sizes, all the food was quite tasty but they need to up the portions a bit. Otherwise they remain a great airline to fly with, 34 inch pitch in economy and great crew. IFE is AVOD which is great although the 6.5inch screens are a bit small.

    BA: Great service for short flights with nice food and comfortable seats.

    Aer Lingus: Front row or exit rows are best as standard pitch is only 30inch. Service was friendly and buy on board selection is good and reasonably priced.

    Air One: Maybe I was just unlucky but I would be hesitant to fly them again on a connecting flight. For a single sector they would be fine.

    SWISS: Excellent service and comfortable seats. I love the swiss chocolates too. Great on time performance overall. Would happily fly with them again.

    Hope you enjoy this report, all comments welcome.

    My next trip is in September to Europe for a friends wedding travelling with my sister, brother in law and 18 month old niece.

    Same flights to and from Europe with MH, stopping overnight in KL both ways. Flying BA from LHR to Vienna and back and across to CDG (was less than half cost of train). I am also doing a trip to Berlin and Zurich from Vienna flying Austrian (Tyrolean) on a Fokker 70 then with Eurowings/Lufthansa on a BAE146-200 then Niki back to Vienna on an A320.

    Hopefully there will be lots more photos.