Welcome to this very special Flight Report.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and not being able to fly, I have been searching through old holiday photos.
I was 15 years old when this trip took place with both my parents, so the photographs are not the best quality.
I came across my holiday to the wonderful Greek island Kefalonia in August 2010.
In this Flight Report I will take you along two flights onboard the Lithuanian airline Aurela.
Aurela Airline consisted off one Yak-42, one Hawker 850XP, two Boeing 737-300 and two Boeing 757-200 until the year 2013.
This FR will focus on both Boeing 757-200 aircraft's leased to Thomas Cook for the summer.
We start off at London Gatwick airport around 4:30am and already by then the South Terminal was full off passengers waiting for their flights to paradise.
When walking down the jet bridge to the aircraft, we discovered that it wasn't your average Thomas Cook airframe.
All the fellow passengers where confused and began questioning staff members about the aircraft.
Soon enough everybody began to relax and not panic that they was going to be led onto the wrong flight!
This flight was operated on an Boeing 757-200, registered LY-SKJ and aged 10.4 years old as off this flight.
She is the 931st out off 1,050 built.
Slowly it started to get lighter outside and the rain began to pour.
With the rain still falling heavy whilst waiting, I gazed out the window to admire the line up off easyJet's and the engine off our plane.
All passengers boarded, baggage loaded and doors closed, we soon made our way towards the runway.
Taxing past a Thomas Cook A320-200 and tons off easyjet's.
I did managed to get a quick photo shot off Monarch's A300-600 registered G-MAJS parked up.
I flew on this aircraft the year before (2009) from Gatwick to the Greek island Rhodes.
With no waiting around we lined up, zoomed out from Gatwick and into the heavy clouds above.
No change in the view whilst flying until we reached clear views over the Swiss Alps and coastal beaches off Italy.
Mum was reading through the onboard magazine provided by Thomas Cook, she came across this funny looking fat man on a beach.
By the looks off it he was trying not to stand on a crab.
What made it more creepy was his awkwardly positioned waist bag and how small his underwear was!
Also I only recently discovered that on one hand he has 4 fingers and thumb.
But on the other hand going behind him, he only has 3 fingers. maybe the artist forgot how many fingers a person normally have?
Still this photo made me and mum laugh.
As this flight was operated by Thomas Cook, the airline handed out pre paid meals to passengers.
I didn't have a prepaid meal, so I decided to tuck into my little cheese/ham and crackers I got from duty free.
The crew did however hand out several drinks complimentary… I had a refreshing coke.
Soon enough it was time to descend over Corfu and prepare for landing into Kefalonia.
With a little bump on touch down we soon made our way past some parked aircraft's.
Boeing 737-400 registered to Brussels Airline as EI-ELU leased to JetTime airlines.
Also the rare Blue1 airlines MD-90 registered OH-BLU from Finland.
Waiting for the engines to shutdown I watched passengers walk away from the Blue1 aircraft passing the fire rescue planes.
Stepping outside I felt the warmth off the air hit my face.
The smell off aviation fuel is strong as I start to walk down the aircraft steps and towards the terminal.
Looking back on the 757 I just flew on. Just a basic livery but looks amazing.
From the airport I stayed 2 weeks in the little village Lourdas.
Amazing beach stretched out for miles with aqua blue sea….paradise!
From my hotel I could see the neighbouring Greek island Zakynthos.
But sadly the first 5 days off the holiday, myself and mum caught a very bad stomach bug.
We also had to stay within the hotel complex due to arsonists setting most off the mountain range on fire.
I did see people near by starting the fires.
This lead to our hotel and tour reps telling us to stay safe until it stopped.
I managed to see the fire rescue fighter planes in the early hours off the morning.
Flying past the hotel collecting water from the sea and dumping it over the fires.
Near to the end off the first week the fires stopped and myself/ mum got better from our sickness.
This is when we all began to enjoy the holiday properly. Went on boat day trips out to sea and visited little villages on the island.
After the two weeks on the island exploring, relaxing and making new friends it was time to head home.
As you can see from the photos, social distancing defiantly was not happening back in 2010.
The airport departure hall was packed with passengers waiting to fly back home.
It was extremely hot and uncomfortable inside the terminal.
Whilst waiting for my flight two aircraft's loaded up with passengers.
XL Airways Germany Boeing 737-800 registered D-AXLD painted in the ITS 40 years livery.
Blue1 Airlines MD-90 registered OH-BLF painted in the Star Alliance livery
Soon enough it was time for our flight back home to London Gatwick.
The best part about Greek island airports, you get to walk to your plane getting up close to all the aircraft's!
This flight will be operated on the 2nd leased 757-200 from Aurela Airlines to Thomas Cook, registered LY-SKR
Since flying on both off the Aurela Airlines 757s the airline closed down in 2013.
LY-SKJ was sold on to Flyingcorp Ltd, Icelandair for which the airline would lease it to The United Nations.
Icelandair then leased her to Air Niugini for a few months in 2014 and then returned back.
Since 2014 the aircraft is still operated for Icelandair (as to when this report was published)
LY-SKR was sold onto Flycraft II Ltd, then to Wings Aviation in 2011.
From 2012 she was sold to Fly Jamaica until November 2018. The aircraft had to return to departure airport with reports of hydraulic issues, resulting the aircraft to overrun the runway upon landing.
This caused the right-hand main landing gear to collapse and separating the engine from the right sided wing.
Thankfully all onboard survived.
It's crazy to think this aircraft crashed, such a shame.
Getting excited now walking to board, realising that I only have a few minutes left feeling the warmth and sunshine.
The parked Thomson 757-200 is very close! Is this normal/safe?
It has made a cool photo anyway!
With boarding and safety demo completed we made our way to the runway for takeoff.
A huge storm was making its way into the island, good thing we are departing now before it comes.
Taking off over the beaches and the blue sea, already starting to miss Greece!
We climbed over the Ionian Sea towards Italy.
Flew over the famous Nardò Ring test track in Italy, which is a giant complete circle.
Flying over Italian airspace we made our way over the Swiss Alps.
I do like reading the in flight magazine to see what the aircraft's the airlines operate.
On the safety card I really appreciate Thomas Cook has stated that this aircraft is operated by Aurela Airlines.
Aurela Airlines had a different style for the seats being blue on the aisle/ window seating. For the middle seats they are red.
After 3 and a half hours off flying it was time to land into London Gatwick.
With the aircraft shadow below getting closer we landed onto Runway 08R.
Taxied past a Viking Airlines Boeing 737-300, this airline ended operations 2 months after this flight.
(sorry for the blurry photo!)
Parked up next to a fellow Thomas Cook 757-200 aircraft at the South Terminal at Gatwick.
During the summer of 2010 easyJet had 4 Boeing 757-200 aircraft's leased from various airlines.
I managed to see two whilst disembarking.
That was it, two flights with Aurela Airlines and my 2 week holiday had ended.
From what I can remember from these flights the crew attendants did a fantastic job, all managed by Thomas Cook Airlines.
Both aircraft's were very old but well maintained and cleaned.
Thank you for reading this Flight Report, hope you enjoyed it!
Have you ever heard of Aurela Airlines before? or flown with the airline when they operated?
Leave a comment below.
Until my next FR, Stay safe and don't stop planning your future travels! :D