You all know how I like to live dangerously (Well maybe you don't…)
Well, I had to go to Leipzig Germany and the only company that has a direct flight between Paris CDG and LEJ Airport is Etihad Regional. Darwin Airlines was taken over by Ethihad in January 2014. For those who didn't read the 3 flight-reports reporting Darwin flights, it's a Swiss company based in Lugano operating a fleet of 10 Saab2000.
The inaugural Etihad Regional operated by Darwin Airlines flight took place on January 23 and their first accident took place in CDG Airport on January 28 on the flight F7250 between LEJ and CDG. As The Aviation Herald reported, the aircraft touched down hard, bounced and touched down a second time causing the the nose gear axle to fracture both nose wheels separated from the nose gear strut causing the strut to collapse and the nose of the aircraft to contact the runway.
That wasn't the most reassuring news I read before taking a flight, but as I told you, I like to live dangerously! (Actually I told myself that all the planes would be checked and rechecked twice, to avoid a similar accident to happend, so I wasn't so stressed at all…)
However, the thing that stressed me a little bit, 5 days before the flight, when I booked my ticket online, was that all the seats were free on the seat map when they asked me to choose my seat. I was the only passenger on the plane… Even if it would have been pretty awsome to be the only PAX onboard, I decided to call the hotline the next day to be sure that they wouldn't cancel the flight because I was the only PAX registered. They told me that I wasn't the only PAX booked on this flight and that it would take place normally. Phew…! :D
I arrived in the Terminal 2D pretty early because I came from another domestic flight which landed at 8:10am at the terminal 2G.
I already knew that I would have a lot of time to kill between 9:00 and 15:20, but when I looked at the departures screens I saw that my flight was delayed… That wasn't a good start for Etihad Regional.
I asked at the Welcome desk if they had any informations about my flight and they answered that it would be delayed for 2 hours. As I had some big luggage and no BP, I decided to stay and wait in the terminal 2D.
I tried to understand why my flight was delayed by searching the plane on Internet, and find another Ethiad Regional plane that was delayed. It was probably the Saab2000 I was supposed to take, but I guessed that they prefered to book another plane for us to reduce the delay.
After taking a little breakfast at the Brioche Dorée I sat in a landside waiting room called La Terrasse and located in front of my check-in gate. This room is colorful, with tables and a lot of different and pretty comfortable seats, where you can rest.
There are a lot of USB plugs and power plugs, which are really useful if you are planing to watch the Olympic games on your phone during the next 8 hours…
Unfortunately the 3G and LTE Networks were a bit difficult to catch from this room, so I had to leave my quiet spot and sit closer to the gates to find a passable speed.
After 5 hours spent in that room, the gate opened and I had the confirmation that I wouldn't be alone on the plane! They printed our BPs on which they hand wrote 16:15 for the boarding time and 17:00 for the departure time instead of the 15:20 initially planned.
I went through the security checkpoint pretty quickly and without any problems.
As I was airside I tried to spot some planes…
Then I went underground, to wait in front of the boarding gate D40, where the guy that printed my BP (propably working for swissport) came and told me that they found another plane and that we would take off sooner as expected.
At 15:30 we all went to a PAX-bus that took all the PAX and some additional crew members, that were not working, to this denim Air Fokker 50.
And here's my bird!
Just before boarding, I tried again to spot something in the sky, I don't know exactly what that plane was, but I like that picture!
The plane wasn't filled, but I wasn't alone either (as I thought when I booked the flight).
The seats were pretty comfortable…
…with a good pitch
Please note that you won't be able to put one of your feet on the floor because of the seats design.
That's why I changed for the empty aisle seat next to me.
The only view I had was the undercarriage, so you won't have any winglet picture in this FR!
Here are the safety instructions
Let's have a look outside
Then I fell asleep and when I woke up,I noticed that I had missed the first catering service…
…but the cabin crew came back and gave me a Coke (they only had Coke Zero) and a Pick-up cookie because they had no Chips left. The napkin, the refreshing towel and the coffe cups were the only clues telling us that we were on an Etihad Regional flight.
Time to have another look through the window…
…and the crew came back for a second round, which is (even if there was almost nothing left) very positive on a 1:45 flight. Notice the LH box on the trolley… Etihad, Darwin, Denim, LH + a second crew as PAX onboard… That was a bit confusing!
Second Coke Zero and second Pick-up cookie:
Beautiful colors for this sunset:
And here is a view of Leipzig. On the left side you can see the Red-Bull arena, the white triangle shaped building in the middle is the Zoo and on the right side you can see the huge railway station.
The plane flew over the BMW and Porsche plants before landing, but I could only spot the first one, with its 4 windmills, because it started to be too dark for my camera.
Landing was all right, then a PAX bus took us to the terminal and we waited a little bit for our luggage to be delivered.
In the end the delay was 1 hour, and to forget about it I bought a box of Kinder Überraschung chocolate eggs with awsome gifts inside ! A330-300 TK and Airbus :D
Thanks for reading ;)
Paris - CDG
Leipzig - LEJ
I was a bit disappointed to fly in a fokker 50 instead of the Saab2000 initially planned, but the fokker isn't too bad with those seats.
Considering the delay, I think that Etihad Regional could have done way more to explain it, or to apologize for it.
The crew was good, two catering services, unfortunately the catering selection was pretty poor.
Both airports were all right.
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