For the next part of my journey, I needed to get to Switzerland on June 1 because I had a reservation at Schloss Schauenstein the next day. One-way fares from Budapest to Zurich were insane for nonstop options–all over $450. Luckily, there was award availability on this flight and I managed to snag it for 8K UA miles, one of the best CPP I've ever gotten for an economy flight.
The Platinum Lounge at Budapest was the lounge I was directed to as Star Alliance Gold. It serves many Lufthansa Group carriers and can be found across from Gate A8.
The lounge was an L-shaped room with a variety of seating. The big problem was the dearth of outlets throughout the lounge.
The food looked somewhat picked over and gave me a sense that it's been under a heat lamp for too long. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves though. I decided not to have anything.
The WiFi situation was quite poor–I struggled to be able to work the entire time I was in the club.
The flight was 40 minutes delayed because of inbound plane was delayed, arriving at 7:50pm for a 7:55pm scheduled departure. Needless to say, the gate area was a mess. We began boarding at 8:13pm CET, which I thought was a reasonably fast turnaround time.
My ride was YL-ABC, a 2-years old A220-300. These are great planes for intra-European flights (and for shorter hops in general). Air Baltic, like other operators, arranged the economy seats in a 2-3 configuration.
I was in 14F, an exit row seat with plenty of leg room. Like the Swiss mainline A220 I've flown, there are also mini video screens that fold down from the top.
After boarding, there was a bit of a kerkuffle with a father trying to switch seats to sit together his young son in row 11. Per usual with these kind of situations, the father had a middle seat way in the back and was trying to switch into an aisle seat. The passenger refused after learning where he would have to move to. The father trying to protest rather aggressively for a while, but the FA was calm and firm, repeating that he needed to go to his assigned seat.
We pushed back at 8:40pm, around 45 minutes late.
Economy service began 10 minutes after takeoff, and we were handed a bottle of water.
It was an uneventful flight, but great for catching the sunset over this beautiful engine view.
Chocolates were passed out around 25 minutes after service began.
It was a short and uneventful flight. We landed at 10:02pm CET and was at our gate 5 minutes later.
As I was waiting to deplane, the adjacent Swiss flight pulled out and I saw this the very awesome Latvian flag-livery Air Baltic A220-300.
Lounge: This is one of the most uncomfortable lounges I've been in for a while. The WiFi was barely useable (which was unfortunate because I had to work), the food and beverages looked especially unappetizing, and the outlet situation was horrendous.
Cabin & Seat: The A220 is a very comfortable plan for economy with only one set of middle seats. The bigger windows and having an exit row seat meant for a comfortable flight of this duration.
Service: Service was fine, not really sure what to say here for short intra-European hop. I thought the FAs did a good job preventing the split-parent-child situation from getting out of hand.
Meal & Catering: Likewise, not much to say here, I don't really expect anything on a flight this short in economy. That said, I realize I don't have the flight experience on intra-European Y to compare it to other similarly situated flights.
Bottom Line: I probably would have preferred mainline, but this Air Baltic flight got the job done.