Welcome to the first report on this site about a flight from Hévíz/Balaton Airport (SOB), a regional airport in Western Hungary near Lake Balaton and the thermal spas of Hévíz and Zalakaros. The airport only has about 16,000 to 18,000 passengers per year. There are mostly charter flights by Germania, Lufthansa and ČSA but they offer scheduled direct flights to Prague as well.
The road to the terminal is surrounded by former Soviet military barracks as the airport used to be a military airfield from the ’40s to 1990. A large parking area is available in front of the terminal building named after the famous Hungarian footballer, Ferenc Puskás.
We got there two hours prior to the scheduled departure time so I was able to see a departing Lufthansa CRJ-900. The building is in very good condition. It includes a fairly small check-in area, a few counters and a basic café, which was unfortunately closed when we arrived at the airport.
There were only 8 (!) passengers (including us) for this flight so check-in took no more than 3 minutes for everybody. We went through security in a few seconds, too.
The waiting area was more than enough for the 8 passengers, and it was also incredibly boring - we had to wait more than 30 minutes there due to the delay of our arriving aircraft.
OK-NFU, a 9-year-old ATR-72-500 arrived with many people from Berlin.
Boarding started immediately after the travellers from the German capital deboarded. I was super excited when I got onboard because I've never flown with a small turboprop plane like this. The cabin crew consisted of two flight attendants. After they welcomed us they asked all of us to sit separately in the back of the aircraft so everybody had a choice of either a window or an aisle seat.
The seats were comfy, the legroom was bearable for this 1 h 20 min flight, the desks and the windows were in very good condition. The plane looked brand new. We took-off at 20:28, 33 minutes after the scheduled departure time. The announcements were made in Czech and English. The cabin crew started offering meals and beverages 15 minutes after take-off. I had a coke. ČSA offers buy-on-board service for these short hops.
The next hour wasn’t very eventful, I read some articles from the flyOK magazine and my Prague guidebook (was written by my friend David – as I see it, it’s the best ever guidebook written about Prague). To be honest, I almost felt like it was a private jet. The view from my seat:
Landing was smooth at 21:35. The Czech capital’s airport actually still had some heavy traffic - we had to take a bus from our parking position, so I was able to watch some taxiing aircrafts at a close range.
The terminal building is spacious and the airport crew was very fast this time so we had to run a little to catch our baggage on the belt.
Sármellék - SOB
Prague - PRG
The main reason of this flight was the departure airport, even though Prague was also in my range of vision. I was glad that we had a chance to fly from Hévíz/Balaton. I’ve never been at such a small airport like that one, it was interesting and unique experience.
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