The airline with the best average rating is LAN Airlines with 7.9/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 33 minutes.More information
Hello there and welcome to another little travel series - if I might call it that, considering it's really just two flights. First, let's start with the destination. Madrid was kind of a random choice, as my boyfriend and I only knew we wanted to travel one more time this year, but we didn't really have any idea or preference where. So, browsing Skyscanner it was. Actually, the cheapest destination from Frankfurt would have been Mallorca, but we both didn't really feel like it. Nice was also on the list, but we ultimately went for Madrid, as Air Europa offered some comparatively low fares to and from this destination.
Also check out the flight report from the flight back, which you can find here.
Note: the arrival time is a guesstimate as a) I don't really remember it anymore, b) the Flightradar24 stream was cut off, and c) the time stamps of my camera were broken.
Most passengers traveling through Frankfurt will probably experience the big sprawling Terminal 1. Air Europa, as other Skyteam carriers, however, use Terminal 2, which is slightly more modern but not exactly charming either. If you arrive by train from Frankfurt Hbf (central station) or Hauptwache, you will arrive at the regional train station. From there, there are convenient links to Terminal 1, but not to Terminal 2.
Terminal 2 is indeed a bus ride from there. Makes you wonder why the Sky Line people mover exists.
Anyway, the shuttle bus was easy enough to find and runs frequently enough as far as I can tell.
…which wasn't exactly true for our bag-drop counter. The lack of logic behing the naming of the counters was astounding to say the least, with crazy counter numbers existing (897, 898, 899, 899.1, 899.2…). However, if you once know where you can find the counters, it's not as bad. In contrast to Terminal 1, Terminal 2 is compact enough to not be that confusing.
The bag drop was alright, and at least we as Y passengers were invited to the Business Class counter as it wasn't busy when it was our turn.
There was a little line before the security checks, but the checks themselves were okay, too. Random side note, I was again singled out for an additional pat down, which seems to happen uncannily often.
After the security check, we found ourselves in a little area with shops and restaurants, left and right of which followed some gates. The waiting areas were rather uninspiring. True, there were corners dedicating to resting and even a gaming area. But overall, there were very few seats and also not a whole lot of restrooms available. The lack of a drinking water fountain was also noted.
Below: random planespotting. This was basically the extent of planespotting possible, given the obstructed view from the terminal building. (Nice to see Japan Airlines again).
Today's flight would be boarded via bus. Here is today's plane sitting at the apron and being prepped for the journey back to it's home base at Madrid.
Today's ship: EC-MQP, a Boeing 737-85P delivered new to Air Europa in August 2017 (5 years old).
Boarding for our 19.10 departure started already at 18.25, which seems to be normal for bus boarding. Good that we arrived at the airport early-ish. We had some snacks before the flight, then slowly processed to the boarding gate around 18.30, while boarding was already in full swing. As much as a bus boarding can be. As boarding began on time, the final business class passengers were called when we arrived at the queue.
After our boarding passes were checked, we went through a little separate waiting area and then down some stairs for the bus boarding. We were kind of lucky, as we reached a new bus that was as empty as expected. (The previous bus had left shortly before).
We waited for around 5 minutes until the bus was full, then it was quite a short drive to today's apron position. And there she was, our ride to Madrid. There were two doors that could be used to board; as we were sat in row 21, we boarded through the aft door, where we were greeted by some Air Europa crew. They welcomed us aboard and reminded us passengers of the mask mandates still in place both in Germany and in Spain (even though the mask mandate on flights has been lifted since on the German side).
As this aircraft was built in 2017, it featured Boeing's quite modern and elegant Sky interior. Also noteable were the screens that were folded out of the ceiling and which showed a mixture of landscape shots, ads, and (later) inflight information.
Time for a little seat tour! First image below is the view from seat 21F. As you can see, pretty nice wing view while still good for having a look at the landscape and clouds below. As my legs are short and not really helpful to measure seat pitch, I "borrowed" my boyfriend's (who is 176cm) to demonstrate that seat pitch on Air Europa is nothing to write home about - but not abysmal either, compared to other domestic/inner-European configurations.
Each seat featured a fold-out tray table as per usual, and also a seat pocket containing a safety card and inflight magazine. The cabin was also fitted with mood lighting.
Under the seats you can find universal power outlets, 2 for every row of 3.
Although boarding was completed and the doors closed on time (about 19.10), pushback was a little late and occured only at about 19.27. A security video, which was quite standard, was screened shortly after pushback. The audio was just Spanish with English explanations provided as subtitles. Anyways, it was a short taxi to Frankfurt's runway 25C, and an even shorter wait until the plane hit full throttle and - after a slightly long take-off roll - finally soared into a somewhat cloudy evening sky over Hessen and eastern Rheinland-Pfalz.
Not only the take-off was somewhat slow, the ascent to cruising altitude was also strangely tardy. Doesn't matter though, because some time later we were already breaking through the clouds and it pretty quickly became dark outside.
Of course, there are no complimentary snacks and drinks on this flight. There was a buy on board on this flight, though, and the crew did make at least one round during this flight. I didn't have too much of a look at the options, but as far as I can tell, prices seemed fair compaired to the competition. I personally would still rather take my own drinks and snacks if I wanted to have something on a flight this short.
As I wrote above, the screens offer inflight information during the flight. While they are folded in during take-off and landing, they folded out for the flight and showed maps as well as infos to time, speed, and altitude. Quite a nice touch on a standard inner-European flight.
Midflight, we encountered some turbulence, which wasn't that terrible. Still, the seatbelt sign was turned on for much of the flight, with the captain informing us about the turbulences.
The descent into Madrid Barajas began shortly after entering Spanish air space at around 21.10. As it was already completely dark outside, little could be seen outside.
As I wrote above, I lost the time of the touchdown but the landing itself was pretty smooth. We kept rolling a while after touchdown, passing a couple of the may I say ancient fleet of Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas. Ancient in a positive sense, given that they still operate several A340s (300s and 600s).
Finally, we came to a stop next to another Air Europa 737-800 in their old livery.
Deplaning was again conducted via stairs and buses. It took a considerable while until we were cleared to leave the airplane.
A last look at today's plane… (and of course I couldn't stop myself from touching the fuselage upon leaving).
The bus ride itself was unremarkable.
Once inside the terminal building, it was only a short walk to the baggage claim area. There was clear signage about the belt at which the baggage from the different flights would arrive. Once we had found the correct belt, it was only a wait of one or two minutes until we spotted our suitcase being transported towards us.
As it was already late, we only wanted to get to our downtown hotel quickly and call it a night. There was only one problem - how to get there. As you may or may not know, Madrid Barajas airport is connected to the city by subway (line 8) or Cercanías suburban railway lines 1 and 10. The latter ones would have been most convenient for us, but it turned out the station was located at terminal 4. So we asked an airport employee how to get there and she told us something about a shuttle bus…
…only problem being that no discernible shuttle bus would come and that signage at the bus stop was ambiguous to say the least. After waiting for about 10 minutes, we settled to take the subway instead, which is connected to Terminal 2 via a nice covered walkway.
We would need to transfer twice on the metro, but at least it ran from the place we thought it would run from.
Also, the fare system may seem a bit complicated if you're new to it, but it's actually quite okay to use. We found that the metro is a convenient, quick, and reliable way to navigate the city, anyways.
And now look at this nice mural inside the station :)
This pretty much concludes this trip report. The report of the flight back will be linked above, once it is finished and released. Until then, I wish you a good day and safe travels!
UX: Save for a few notable exceptions, inner-European Economy class air travel has truly become like a bus ride above the clouds. Thus, when comparing different airlines in this area, operational factors become more significant. And in this regard, the flight was pretty much excellent. Everything went smoothly, the information policies of the airline were good, and the arrival was on time. Suffice to say, service-wise Air Europa didn't stand out in any ways. All in all, a solid product when it comes from getting from point A to point B.
FRA: I probably will never really like Frankfurt's terminal 2. While terminal 1 is just "ok" in comparison to some other international airports around the world, terminal 2 just feels sterile and not as well thought-out as the other, bigger terminal. This sentiment stems from little things such as finding the right bag-drop counter, and I have to admit that the experience of the compartmented international departure gates that sometimes even lack basic amenities bias me a bit. Access from the city is quite good, cleanliness and availability of services (even basic things like restrooms) could be improved. The selection of stores and eateries was also rather "meh."
MAD: A pretty standard experience except for a few things. While efficiency and cleanliness of the airport were quite good, I liked the availability of staff to help with stupid questions. Access from and to the city weren't that great though. While subway line 8 runs directly to the airport, many places in the city require 2 or more transfers to get to. Transport between the terminals was also somewhat puzzling to figure out. The metro station of terminals 1, 2, and 3 was quite nice, too.