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 outbound flight, which you can find here.
Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal 2
Having made our way from the city with the metro, we soon found ourselves in front of the large Air Europa check-in area in the terminal. While it seemed as if all self check-in machines were out of order…
…there were plenty of staffed counters open, so the waiting time was virtually nonexistent.
Once our bag was checked, we located our flight to Frankfurt on the departure board. Not really necessary, but always nice to know that one's flight still officially exists. ;)
The security checks were easy enough to find and rather well-organized. They also use the belts on which multiple people can load up baskets simultaneously. Also, this time no additional pat-down for me :)
As is usual, a giant duty-free store right in front of the security check exit. Choices were plentiful enough and prices okay-ish for a location like this (some good special discounts), but the variety of shops throughout the airport wasn't anything to write home about.
Customary convenience store one needs to pass through to access the gate area…
Today's departure gate is E83. It is located at the very end of the terminal building. On the way, we picked up some surprisingly cheap but otherwise very mediocre food. (Good cost performance for inside of an airport, but not really appealing if the place were outside an airport). Gate E83 and adjacing gates are located one level above the other gates and reached via stairs, escalator, or elevator.
Facilities in this area were nothing special. On the contrary, it seems as though seating was lacking quite a bit. Otherwise, there was a restroom on this floor, which was sufficiently clean.
I walked around the terminal a bit in search for interesting aircraft but encountered nothing special. Pretty much Air Europa 737s all the way…
…like this in their old livery, headed for Bilbao that day.
Another Air Europa 738 headed for Munich.
Also, I completely forgot what kind of airline this is and which area they serve. Also, I couldn't find out anything starting from their livery and registration bit (???ZD ?). So if you know anything, feel free to let me know.
Boarding for the 3.10pm departure started about an hour early, leading me to believe that we would bus board again. Yet I was proven wrong; we were led down a set of stairs, where I could snatch this way of today's airplane.
Today's ship: EC-MPG, a Boeing 737-800 delivered new to Air Europa in June 2017 (5 years old).
While boarding started early, it was slightly messy. Passengers were asked to line up according to their boarding groups and then the groups were subsequently called. However, there seemed to have been some system to what appeared to be chaos, as boarding was completed very early. So early in fact that not only the loading of baggage was not completed yet…
…but also refueling.
It should also be noted that this particular baggage handler was quite nice, appearing as if he wasn't completely indifferent towards the state of the baggage when it arrives. Also, with this photo above, you have the view from seat 23F. For more pics and a (short-ish) review of the cabin, please check out my review of the outbound flight.
Boarding was completed at 2.55pm, with pushback happening around 3.09pm.
Taxi was quite long, but at least we got some sort of an airport tour. Right after leaving the parking position, we were overtaken by an Air Europa 787-9, then encountered an Embraer 195, making the Air Europa fleet somewhat complete when it comes to types (yes, they also have 787-8s). More highlights were a TAP Air Portugal A321 landing in the distance, as was an Iberia A350 and a Royal Jordanian A319. Finally, we navigated around what appears to be the international terminal, with several long-haul jets from Iberia and other airlines being parked there.
Enjoy the take-off shots!
The ascent was rather quick and uneventful and complete at around 3.30pm.
Inflight Experience (Sort of)
The flight was very uneventful and I spent most of the time listening to music or dozing. Shortly after take-off, though, we were treated with some lovely views of the Spanish countryside, before we reached cruise altitude.
When I woke up from my nap, I found myself flying roughly parallel to the Southeastern French coast.
We followed this trajectory until about the latitude of Frankfurt. Inside a thick cover of clouds, we turned starboard towards Germany. The progress of the flight could be mapped using Air Europa's inflight wifi, whose interface, however, I found a bit cumbersome. And the information available there left something to be desired as well. For the most part, you're probably better off just looking for the info on the onboard screens.
…though, of course, having a decent-ish GPS app helps too ;)
Clouds surrounded us for most of the rest of the flight, until we had started the descent into Frankfurt. The following was pretty much the first landscape photo I could take during the approach.
We overshot Frankfurt for a final approach from the east. Enjoy the customary Frankfurt east approach photos in the gallery below…
…including a landscape around Hanau (photo 1), downtown Offenbach (photo 2), Eastern Frankfurt (photo 3) with a close-up of the ECB central (photo 4). And of course Germany's one and only skyline, Frankfurt's (photo 5) with the Ginnheim TV tower/Europaturm in the background.
Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2
Finally, we crossed the Main-Neckar railway and the Autobahn 5 on our way to runway 25C. The landing was pretty good, especially considering the somewhat windy conditions.
Directly after touching down and slowing down the aircraft, we turned right and were welcomed in Frankfurt by the crew. Near terminal 2, we not only encountered cargo planes and an ANA 787 but also a Finnair A350.
Also caught two rather nice pics of a landing Emirates cargo 777 here…
On the way to the gate, we also passed this Royal Air Maroc 737-800…
…and this Air Astana 767 (one of the last built passenger versions)…
…before arriving at our gate, next to this China Eastern A350. Today, we would deplane via a jetbridge.
Speaking of deplaning, that process was delayed by quite a bit. Over the PA, the crew announced that German police would check documents inside the terminal directly after deplaning. I have no idea what happened here, e.g. if they were looking for someone and for what reasons, but with our German ID cards we were just waved through the checkpoint, and were landside in an instance. The baggage took a while to arrive, but then we were good to go.
And with that I'd like to thank you for following me on this trip today. I'm looking forward to sharing more with you, whenever that will be. Until then, safe flights, nice trips, and see you around :)
Madrid - MAD
Frankfurt - FRA
UX: An unspectacular service, but in the good sense. Of course, you shouldn't expect anything too exciting from an inner-European flight on a hybrid (?) carrier in Eco. But Air Europa get the basics right, e.g. reliability, transparency of conditions, staffing. The only viable alternative to Air Europa on this trip for us would have been Lufthansa, who would have charged more than double the fare. Honestly, I couldn't tell you a single reason why to prefer Lufthansa on this route under these conditions (safe for bonus program related things, perhaps).
MAD: A fairly good experience, overall, partly thanks to the good availability of staff on part of Air Europa. Otherwise, there were sufficient places to kill time before the flight, a good-ish selection of shops and places to grab a bite. The only downside probably is the lackluster connection to downtown via public transportation. You can get there, but it's not as easy as it could be and as you would expect on Madrid's otherwise great efficient public transit system.
FRA: I struggle to understand why Frankfurt consistently is the airport where I have to wait longest - by far - for my baggage to arrive. Other than that, another solid show from Frankfurt airport. I think I have rated this airport so often now that you could just look at any other reviews of this particular airport I've written in the past. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, so I guess there is nothing to add here.
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Hi Manbou. That plane with the livery you couldn't figure out is an A320, tail number EC-LZD, that flies for Iberojet, a Spanish/Portuguese charter airline that flies out of Spain and Portugal on behalf of tour operators.
Hi. Thank you for reading and your explanation. Could have figured that out by myself - if I had actually bothered to also read the "focus city" airline list on Wikipedia ;) So thanks for doing that legwork for me :)
Hi Manbou, thanks for sharing this report!
What on earth is that plane? It is a fusion of UX and N0 with that longboat tail, quite peculiar.
UX continues to look like one of the LCCs, the IFE is definitely distinguishing. It might be limited, but at least a moving map is a good way to pass the time. Great shots departing MAD on a sunny day.
It's a Norse 787 leased to Air Europa. They've leased 4 (I think?) out for a year while N0 ramps up operations. I remember seeing them around UX's network in the full N0 livery before, guess they finally bothered to slap the UX letting on at least.
Oh I didn't even notice anything funny about this plane's tail. Well thanks for stopping by and for the clarification :)
Hi NGO85, thanks for reading and the nice words regarding the photos! Yes, they look like a standard LCC, but isn't that true for most European airlines in Economy nowadays? (Sadly).
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