Aloha and welcome to my first new trip report in well over a year. I know it's been a while since I did anything on here, but thanks to… obvious reasons, flying was off the cards here in Europe for some time and I didn't really feel like reading or commenting on trip reports either. But now, as things have gotten somewhat better, I was able to go on my first real holiday in about a year. This year's summer trip would lead me back to Italy, where I would meet up with a friend in Trieste and then visit different places such as Roma and Siena before heading back to Germany from Firenze. I looked at night train connections, but nothing good really came up. The only airline where I could book this journey for a relatively tolerable price was, unfortunately, Lufthansa. This flight report is about the first part of the journey, flight LH 244 from Frankfurt to Trieste. Lastly I actually intended to take the same flight, but it was canceled and I was rerouted to Venice instead. This year, however, plans worked out.
For this flight, I had already checked in at home. So I only had to check my luggage after arriving at the airport by train. I quickly found the self-check terminal, where I was able to retrieve and fix my tag. However, all (!) the luggage machines were broken, so I had to turn back and go to a staffed counter again.
On another note, it was nice seeing the airport somewhat populated again! (Last photo of the gallery with a nostalgic (for me) view of the Business Class counter, where I started last year's Italy trip, see here).
Security was rather quick and efficient, but the distances to walk are a bit longer as of now, as renovation is being done to the security line area. After passing through security, it was again time to take the compulsory walk through the big duty free shop and after that through a long, gray, and somewhat empty terminal building.
As to airport facilities, I think FRA has improved over the years. Not only did I see a sign pointing to "Showers", there are also several seating spaces, separate areas for children and relaxation (the latter weirdly translated as "leisure zone"), and a place to fill up your water bottle. There was even a gaming room, and, if you smoke, multiple rooms to get your final nicotine shot before the flight. The terminal itself was rather empty, with rare exceptions, for example a flight to Stockholm (I can totally understand why one would like to go there now…)
As to plane spotting, not a lot was going on in that part of the airport. The most noteable mentions are: LH A340-300 D-AIGM (24 years old) getting ready for its flight to Bangkok after arriving from Tokyo Haneda and LH E190 D-AECF (11 years old) preparing for flight LH1222 to Geneva.
Note the pragmatism with the stop marks: just A321 & B738, A319, and then "other types."
For some reason it seems like I've forgotten to take pictures of the gate area. Well, as gate A2 is a bus gate, it is situated in a separate part of the terminal, in a quite confined space with only few seats in the waiting area. From there, you take a few steps downstairs and get loaded onto a bus. Once in the bus it seems that boarding groups don't even matter anymore. So it might be a good idea to actually board the bus later to be quicker on the plane :)
Boarding itself commenced a few minutes late, 15:06 instead of 15:00 for a departure planned for 15:40. Even before the other priority groups, an unaccompanied minor was allowed to go through first.
Driving through half of the airport, passing several other regional and European planes, of course with a heavy focus on LH group airlines. Engaging in a race with LH A320. Encountering an Air Dolomiti E195, foreshadowing my flight back home…
Today's ride: Lufthansa Cityline CRJ900LR D-ACNB, initially delivered to Eurowings new in May 2009, christened Wermelskirchen after a small German town near Düsseldorf. It has been reconfigured to have 90 of these current Lufthansa regional seats (more to them later). Despite the plane being 12 years old, it still felt quite fresh on the inside, even though it could maybe have been a tad cleaner. I had already forgotten how narrow these planes are. Though I had never flown on a CRJ, I know the DHC8, which shares the same basic fuselage design with it. Anyways, I felt cramped in the aisle even though I am not tall at all.
The plane was pretty full, as far as I can tell, but surely not to 100%.
I had reserved seat 22F, i.e. a seat as far back as possible at the point of booking & check-in, in the hope of getting a nice view of the engine. Well, that didn't work out too well. If you like to have a good view, take a window seat in another row as row 22 is situated right between two windows….
The seat design itself is simple; there's a larger literature pocket on the upper part, right behind where the tray table folds in. Furthermore, there's another storage pocket below. In the literature pocket were the safety card, clad in plastic, and a sickbag. Prepackaged desinfectant towels were distributed while boarding by the cabin crew.
A view out the window to complete the gallery.
Boarding completed 15:33, 7 minutes earlier than planned. The captain and the cabin crew did their respectice announcements/safety briefings. They did both using the classic "Meine Damen und Herren/Ladies and gentlemen", which earns them a thumbs-up from me for skipping the nonsensical new gender-language speech rules of the company. The captain also warned us of turbulent weather along the journey…
Runway 18 was used for take-offs that day, so at least the taxi was short. Most noteable mentions were an Ethiopian A350 and an ANA 787 waiting for their respective trips back to Addis Abbeba and Tokyo. It was also the first time I noticed the safety training plane of FRA being an old Avro RJ85. I guess it's great that they spared one of those from scrapping like this.
A quick thrust from the two CF34 engines mounted on the back, and we were up in the cloudy skies over Southern Hessen.
After take-off, we took a turn to the left (East). That was pretty interesting for me, because on the ground below I could recognize quite a few places. For example, on picture 2 in the following gallery you see Darmstadt's suburb of Weiterstadt with its megastores along the Autobahn. Photos 3 and 4 give you more views of the city of Darmstadt itself, with its extensive railroad tracks and the large Merck chemical plant at the bottom of the pictures.
Soon after that, we rose to clearer skies, with everything below disappearing below a thick layer of clouds.
Actually, passengers were supposed to not leave their seats whenever possible due to Covid, but the gentlemen in the seat next to me decided to find another seat shortly after take-off. After wondering if I had eaten something smelly or forgotten to shower, I decided to just enjoy the free seat next to me during the flight :)
Inflight service consisted of a bottle of water (330ml) and a small piece of chocolate, which wasn't anything to write home about. After I had received my piece of chocolate…
…service had to be interrupted due to turbulences. I was in the first row affected. But service resumed a few minutes later already, between two bursts of turbulences. Better safe than sorry, I guess, and on a flight this short you would normally survive without water, anyways. Still, it would have been a bit unlucky if service hadn't been resumed.
Theoretically, one could purchase additional food and drinks with Lufthansa's "Onboard Delights" programs, but I didn't see anyone actually doing this. I sincerely hope that buy-on-board service on so-called full-service/legacy/premium carriers is on its way out again, with BA and KLM undertaking steps to offer better service to their Economy Class passengers again, as far as I know.
I said I would be saying something more regarding the seats… well, I never had such an uncomfortable experience on a plane before when it comes to seats. Legroom was alright for a regional jet, but the way my body is built, the weight of my back was constantly resting on a horizontal metal piece in the seat frame which had no padding whatsoever over it, ony the leather seat cover. It was tolerable for an hour or so, but I would hate to fly to North Africa or Russia like this. How anybody could approve of something like this is a mystery to me. (I hope my explanation was comprehensible enough).
After getting literally no views of the Alps, the descent into Friuli, where Trieste Airport is located, started. The airport, also called "Ronchi dei Legionari" after a close spectacular monument for the fallen Italien soldiers of WWI, is near the town of Monfalcone. Trieste itself is located on a narrow and very hilly panhandle of Italy into the Northern Balkans and wouldn't allow for an airport to be constructed easily. However, the city itself is not located in Friuli, as every Triestine will be eager to tell you.
The descent became very steep, with flaps deployed pretty extremely. It was quite shaky, too, leading me to think a go-around would be necessary. Not good, as I was beginning to feel slightly nauseous at that point… Luckily, we touched down shortly and uneventfully.
Trieste Airport is pretty small. Other than our CRJ, only an Alitalia Embraer E-Jet on their only connection (Roma-Trieste) and a few fuel trucks were present. (You know you're in Italy when the state-owned airline registers their planes in Ireland to save taxes, something normally only seen in Russia where the objective is to evade high taxes for imported airplanes),
Not being in a particular hurry, I waited a bit with disembarking, only to see this…
That means we're just walking to the terminal building across the apron? Nice! (Well, at least it would have been very nice if there had been more planes).
After saying goodbye to the crew, it was time to deboard and take some final photos of the ride that brought me here.
In the terminal building, the body temperature was measured first. Then all passengers had to go through a "Passport Control", where IDs and/or passports were checked, but mainly vaccination or test certificates. The waiting times were short, though. A few meters later, we were in the baggage carousel area. There I instantly saw my suitcase and only had to pick it up from the belt, then I was good to go.
Thanks for coming along today. I hope this flight report was somewhat informative or even entertaining to read, even though not a lot happened. This, however, will change with my next flight report from the flight back from Florence to Frankfurt. If you want to find out what happened - then stay tuned for the report of that flight, coming up soon.
LH: The cabin was okay, except that it was pretty narrow. The seats are a big no-no for me. Can't say anthing about entertainment/wifi as I didn't use it, but there weren't any kind of screens or (printed) inflight magazine. Catering was as basic as it gets without providing no catering whatsoever.
FRA: Same experience as always. Good airport to reach from the city and other places in the region, by train and via the Autobahn. Reasonably clean, too. Sometimes, though the walk ways are kind of long and depressing, and the bag drop machines were out of order. Glad to see, however, that there seem to be improvements made in terms of different rest areas and passenger facilities.
TRS: Neat little airport, with quick and efficient services, well-maintained and also well-linked to places in the region. Trieste can be reached quickly by car or by regional train, which runs frequently between Trieste and Venice directly in front of the airport. PS: I just noticed that this is the first flight report ever featuring TRS airport on this site! Well, you're welcome for that, even though I'm sorry I didn't take more photos on this occasion.