In the last days of June 2021, Helvetic Airways announced a new base at Basel / Mulhouse EuroAirport, with two E195 E2 to operate a range of routes starting July 4th.
The timing was really strange, how can an airline start a vast range of scheduled flights within 2 weeks without any advertisement?
The first aircraft HB-AZI arrived on June 25th and immediately after flights were announced: Jerez on Friday, Santorini on Saturday and Larnaca on Sunday. More flights were supposed to be added shortly.
In fact, they started flying to JTR and LCA as planned. Jerez was never flown. And that was it. The second Embraer never arrived, more flights were never scheduled.
The aircraft stayed mostly on storage from Monday to Friday and flew once Saturday, once Sunday. Once the aircraft flew to ARN and back, one to BUD, once to BRN and that's it.
At the end of the summer season, LCA was also almost dropped, September and October saw only 2 flights to Cyprus. Beginning of the winter timetable the aircraft was flown to BRN and is in storage there. This is what I call a big fail.
About Helvetic, they operate a fleet of 4 E190, 8 E190-E2, 4 E195-E2. 3 of the 4 E190 are stored for the time being. The last one hasn't flown since Nov 09th
About the E190-E2 : they all are wet leased to Swiss and fly
About the E195-E2 : two are stored in BRN, one in ZRH. The last one flies only for Helvetic and his last flight was November 02nd
A week before the flight, I checked the price and a one way ticket costs 150€ + 10€ for a seat selection. I was looking at this flight for a long time and the price was always the same. As I really wanted to check it out, I booked a ticket, added a flight with Aegean to ATH, a night in Athens and an EasyJet flight back home.
I would have loved to stay in Santorini but hotels there are too expensive in the summer.
When booking the flight, I checked the seat map and only two seats were pre-booked. I thought I would not pay for a seat since the flight looked empty. When checking in online, the seat map was still only showing two pre booked seats and the whole cabin was empty. I selected 3A.
My father dropped me off at 06H15 the airport was quiet:
See you soon!
No that much people today:
I went to the check in since I wanted to have a paper boarding pass and to be sure about how many people would be on the flight. 21 pax were booked for 135 seats… Very low load factor :(
Security was a breeze:
Gate 40 today:
Nobody at border controls:
Starbucks was closed:
This way for me:
Corendon to RHO:
Boarding started on time via bus:
Here is the beautiful E195-E2
A warm welcome was given and this is the cabin that looks really nice:
The safety card:
Together with a COVID Card:
USB ports are available:
The pitch is more than adequate:
The recline is good:
We are 20 minutes early but can't go right now since we need to land at our assigned time slot at JTR, the airport being fairly small. In the meantime a cup of water is offered:
Then we start our taxi:
2 738 Enter Air:
Runway 15 today:
And off we go:
Above the clouds:
I paid a quick visit to the loo:
This is the Helvetic Breakfast box:
The box is smart and looks good, but it isn't that much for a flight over 3H30…
I took a coffee and orange juice to go with:
Close up of the meal:
Muffin, bread, butter and jam:
It was really nice, though on the small side. But it was free. And this is what matters :)
Another lav visit allows me to visit the front galley and take the aircraft doors in picture. You will notice that the doors on the E2 are slightly different than on the E1
Overflying the Adriatic Coast:
I went to the back to get different views:
Behind the wing:
At the back the pitch isn't that good anymore:
Rear Galley and doors:
This screen is only for the cabin crew and shows the ETA:
Jump seat and intercom:
Here you see the whole cabin, with all passengers.
A second drink service is performed, I took another coffee:
Only alcoolic drinks are to be paid for.
And arriving around JTR:
Quelles falaises !
JTR in distance:
Last turn to align with the runway:
Must be a nice place to spot arriving aircrafts:
ATR Sky Express:
Wizzair from VNO:
Paxbus for us:
This bird is really beautiful, sad it is not flying enough :(
On arrival, only PLF are checked, no additional controls:
No stop here:
And I am outside, but not for a long time since my flight to Athens is in a couple of hours :)
I was happy to be able to take this flight, I'll come back to Santorini another time :)
The cabin is nice, bright and comfortable. The crew was equally nice. Sad that for a nice bird like this that there is no Wifi.
The catering was on the light side, but is free of charge and was good.
Nothing special to mention about EAP and JTR that were perfect.
Stay tuned for the next piece with Aegean :)