Airplane or airport experiences...

narf

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It's around the world in 80 *days*, not 80 *hours* :tease:


To actually contribute, LH's pricing policy is getting nuttier every day. Paid 98€ for HAM-FRA-HAM this week, kept watching prices because a day after my booking it quadrupled and kept climbing steadily to over 600€... they're being accused of abusing their monopoly, but keep claiming "it's the algorithms!", so I was expecting a packed plane.

Was it? Nope. On the way down, a flight attendant had to re-seat me and another passenger so all four over-wing exit rows had at least one occupant, about 50% seats filled. On the way back, maybe 70%. Talked to the gate attendant of the previous flight (missed boarding that by a few minutes), they weren't full either.
 

calvinhobbes

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narf;n3544123 said:
It's around the world in 80 *days*, not 80 *hours* :tease:
I did it in 74 hours, if you count passing 95°20′29″W high above western Iowa. Which I do. :tease:
 

93Flareside

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narf;n3544123 said:
It's around the world in 80 *days*, not 80 *hours* :tease:


To actually contribute, LH's pricing policy is getting nuttier every day. Paid 98€ for HAM-FRA-HAM this week, kept watching prices because a day after my booking it quadrupled and kept climbing steadily to over 600€... they're being accused of abusing their monopoly, but keep claiming "it's the algorithms!", so I was expecting a packed plane.

Was it? Nope. On the way down, a flight attendant had to re-seat me and another passenger so all four over-wing exit rows had at least one occupant, about 50% seats filled. On the way back, maybe 70%. Talked to the gate attendant of the previous flight (missed boarding that by a few minutes), they weren't full either.
that was like my trip to Tampa last year. Half filled plane and a fair amount of people got their own rows.
 

Eye-Q

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Oulu Airport (EFOU/OUL) is a nice small airport. It has just one runway, but with flights every 1 1/2 hours or so mainly to and from Helsinki and Rovaniemi it isn't really busy anyway. ;) In the area behind the security check there are many amenities for people waiting there: there are seats with 230V- and USB power outlets, in other areas there are rocking chairs, cosy sofas, there is even a grand piano with big writing "feel free to play". The free Wi-Fi is fast as well. I liked it. :)
 

narf

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Had a big WTF moment today... A319, row in the back quarter, aisle seat, disembarking through the front door. As usual half the aisle seats get up, start fumbling around with carry-ons and coats. I'm in no hurry, the middle seat next to me was still waking up, so I remained seated until actual movement arrived at the row ahead of me.
However, roughly when the door was opened, the window seat stood up, and after a "why aren't you getting up?" - "there's no point, we'll be stuck back here until everybody has left" she proceeded to climb over us. What the actual fuck?
Inevitably, she stood there for about five minutes, and left roughly five people ahead of where she would have been.

Worst part? She stopped in the jet bridge to take sunset/airplane/whatever pictures on her phone. Either you're in a hurry to catch a connecting flight (we were running late, but then nobody flies LHR-HAM to connect in HAM... and she didn't specify a reason), or you're not in an actual hurry.
Loud cursing ensued.
 

Eye-Q

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narf;n3546574 said:
Either you're in a hurry to catch a connecting flight (we were running late, but then nobody flies LHR-HAM to connect in HAM... and she didn't specify a reason), or you're not in an actual hurry.
Don't say that - I have a friend who was in London a couple of years ago and missed his flight back home. I was at home so he called me and I managed to get a decently priced flight from London to Hamburg via Copenhagen. :p
 

93Flareside

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Frankfurt (FRA), your check in area is hella fucked. Airlines are grouped by counter sections with a lot not being used by anyone and airlines being scattered across a very crowded check in area. On top of that, rental cars are only near terminal 1 and no real ease of transport between other terminals. Yes there's a train but it's just efficiently laid out.

Reykjavik (RVK), this was ok but, being filled with mostly Americans meant there was a lot of people stopping for no reason to complain about the poor signage to themselves and getting lost. To transfer from I'm guessing european terminal to the american international terminals, you had to go through passport control which moved nicely. After that you're forced to walk through a store to buy Icelandic things.

Lufthansa Boeing 747 - Very nice in business class, food gave me the runs but was otherwise ok because it happened after I had landed and gotten luggage.

Icelandair Boeing 757 - Weird to fly in a plane I've been in that went from Los Angles to Chicago. Plane was decent and didn't have the typical smell of dirty people crammed in a tiny tube. Things were ok until we got over north america. for some reason the plane got really warm until just north of sudbury ontario. After that things cooled down again and all was normal. from Frankfurt to RVK and RVK to ORD were 757's. Icelandair's boarding style seems to make a lot more sense than boarding groups. What they do is board by seat rows farthest from the back and then to the front. If you have status, you board first of course but, that seemed to only affect those in first class.
 
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CrzRsn

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Playing with itineraries for my Le Mans trip.....

1. I hate searching for fares. I consider myself good at this and mainly use ITA Matrix with advanced routing codes to find the flights I want at the times I want on the airlines I want, but have been running into some frustration with the results I've been finding. Did 3 searches that theoretically should have given me the same results, but they didn't.
First I searched Toronto (YYZ)-Paris (CDG)-YYZ, with no restrictions on layovers. Could be non-stop, could have 1, 2, 3 or more stops. Got one set of results.
Next I searched YYZ-CDG-*-YYZ. A round trip with a single forced layover on the return journey anywhere. Theoretically this should be a subset of the first search, however, I got several flights that weren't shown before that were cheaper than those shown in the first set. I did make sure to disable "hacker fares", only showing single itineraries to make it comparable to the first set of results.
Third I searched YYZ-CDG-AMS-YYZ. A round trip with a single forced layover in Amsterdam on the return trip. Again, theoretically this should be a subset of the second search, but again, I got flights that weren't shown before, and again, some that were cheaper than shown in the 2nd search. I chose AMS because some of the cheapest flights in the 2nd search result had stops there. Again, "hacker fares" were disabled to ensure apples-to-apples results.
Last I searched YYZ-CDG, CDG-AMS, AMS-YYZ. A multi-city itinerary with the same schedule as the cheapest flight found in step 3. Understandably this flight was more expensive since there was no formal round trip on this ticket. Again, no "hacker fares".

I understand that ticket pricing has a million variables, from ticket class to length of stay in each city, but its still annoying. And yeah, I get that there are literally tens if not hundreds of thousands of combinations and even the most powerful flight search engine cannot possibly search all of them so it shows the most logical combinations, so I'm not trying to change anything, just venting my frustration. Plus I'm sure I could most definitely find cheaper flights by opening up the searches to "hacker fares", but those carry inherent risk since you lose all protections if one flight is late and you miss your next flight.

2. Next annoyance. Flights from Toronto are at least $1,500 cheaper than from Detroit (DTW). Its only a 3.5 hour drive, so that's clearly a no-brainier. At one point I found a flight that was YYZ-DTW-CDG-DTW-YYZ for $1,200 less than an itinerary from DTW on those very same flights. Airlines generally don't let you skip the first leg of a trip, but I tried to play the "environmentalist" game and called the airline with the argument saying "for a $1,200 savings I'm obviously going to drive my car to Toronto and back, but that wouldn't be very green of me with all the CO2 emissions from my car, nor would it be of you considering the extra CO2 emissions of your plane flying me back to Detroit, so how about you let me skip the first and last legs of that flight and we'll call it good." They didn't go for it, though thanks to my status with the airline they offered me a bunch of miles for the inconvenience if I bought that ticket. Was a nice gesture and very tempting since it was enough miles for a Detroit-Boston round trip ticket, but I wasn't quite ready to buy the ticket just yet.

3. And now to put my insanity on display, ladies and gentlemen, the flight that's my leading option right now. Found a YYZ-CDG-AMS-London (LHR)-BOS-YYZ for only $20 more than a nonstop YYZ-CDG round trip. For the same price, I could have my option of either an overnight in Amsterdam or an overnight in London. While this sounds like madness, this option gives me the ability to quickly see a 2nd city for effectively no extra cost. That and I actually don't mind flying and spending time in airports. Also helps that I get free lounge access when traveling internationally. Oh, and I'm a whore for miles and need to maintain my status :LOL:


And yes, I've watched all the Wendover Productions videos regarding how airlines handle pricing and scheduling.
 

CrzRsn

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What are "hacker fares"?
I’ve seen multiple definitions, but I’m referring to itineraries that require multiple tickets. Could either be one airline to get to Paris and a different one to get back, which carries no risk, or the riskier option is one airline to a layover and a different airline from there. After that post I searched those out of curiosity, and I did find a very cheap option that would take me to Dublin via Reykjavik on Wow Air and then to Paris on RyanAir but with an extremely short layover. No thanks. At least if you have a short layover on one ticket and miss the connection, the airline will try to help you.

The other commonly used definition of “hacker fare” I’ve seen is a ticket that goes beyond your final destination that you don’t use all the way. For example, if you want to go to city B from city A, but for whatever reason its cheaper to book a flight that is A-B-C than it is A-B, you’d book the former and just not get on the plane to C. The issue here is that all you flights after the missed flight become void, so this only works with one-way tickets, or on the last leg of your journey. I was actually toying with the idea of getting the YYZ-DTW-CDG-DTW-YYZ ticket I mentioned earlier, then getting a seperate one-way DTW-YYZ ticket, leaving my car at DTW then missing the last leg to YYZ. Would still be cheaper than a DTW-CDG-DTW ticket and I’d save myself the 7 hours of driving to and from Toronto. But now we’re back into the issue of having 2 tickets.

Or I could just stop whingeing and buy the next reasonable non-stop round trip to Paris that doesn’t require me living like a bum out of airports in 5 different countries on a 5 day trip.
 
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DanRoM

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Thanks for the explanation. The crazy pricing system is one more aspect of flying that I hate.
 

narf

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For "book A-B-C but use A-B" you need to keep the fine print in mind - many airlines reserve the right to recalculate your ticket price if you deviate from your flight plan.


To add to the actual topic, had a very pleasant experience at LPA last Sunday: Beach to Gate in 35 minutes 👍
 

CrzRsn

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After searching over 50 flight combinations for my France trip, I think I finally picked an itinerary that balances price, timing and planes flown. Namely this itinerary gets me on KLM's 747 for the flight home. And yes, I know KLM's jumbo's are fairly old -400 models, but I'd like to fly the Queen of the Skies sooner than later as fewer and fewer SkyTeam airlines are flying them. Only other one I can think of offhand is Korean flying newer 747-8is from the west coast to Korea....... which is the opposite direction from where I need to go.

The only reasonable flight combo that gets me on an -8i would be a Lufthansa flight, but its about $450 more for the round trip, and I don't have any status with Star Alliance, so no perks.

And before anyone says "why don't you just take the cheapest, most direct itinerary", I like flying and getting on the upper deck of a 747 is on my bucket list. Granted, the ticket for an upper deck business class ticket is way too expensive, but I'll get close enough with a preferred seat close to the front of the plane and will attempt to upgrade for miles as the departure date approaches. Oh, and this 747 itinerary is only $40 more than a direct flight on a 777.
 
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marcos_eirik

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I would actually avoid the the upper deck of the 747. In my experience it was much more cramped and noisy than down on the main deck. it was nice and quiet until about half way to cruising speed, then the wind noise got very noticeable. This was onboard a Lufthansa 747-8i for about ten hours from FRA to LAX back in 2013 in business class, so I can't speak for the First class section in the nose... ;)



 

CrzRsn

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Interesting. I think I'd still like to experience it anyways. KLM doesn't fly 747s from Toronto on Wednesdays otherwise I'd try to book it for both transatlantic legs of my trip and sit upstairs once, and in the nose cone once (KLM doesn't put a first class in the nose, only more business).

The view from 1A seems pretty wild (at 5:49)
 
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CrzRsn

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Stopped waffling about and booked the trip. Non-stop from Toronto to Paris. Then off to Birmingham, UK for a 7 hour layover, enough time to get to the city and walk around a bit. Then Amsterdam for an overnight so I can catch KLM's 747 back to Toronto.

Now to start the process all over again for my Ringmeet flights.
 
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CrzRsn

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Hmmm, choices choices. Found 2 options for Ringmeet so far. One gets me onto Delta's A350 via an AMS-DTW leg. The other gets me onto KLM's 787 via an AMS-JFK leg. Both options are approximately the same price (+/- $15), are significantly cheaper than a direct/non-stop DTW-FRA-DTW trip and I haven't been on either aircraft type yet. I have yet to find an itinerary that can get me on both in one trip for a reasonable price, but I'm trying. Another thing to consider is that if I take the 787 option, the cheapest return flight to Detroit will put me on Delta's brand new A220, so that would be cool (ticket back to Detroit is already factored into the "approx same price" statement above).

EDIT: Found this insanity.


Some notes:
  • Despite living in DTW, I need to start the trip in NYC to keep costs down. That means I'd need to buy a separate DTW-NYC ticket. A trip that starts in DTW with DL132 and ends back there on some other flight (be it from JFK or straight from Europe) is about $800 more than the combined cost of this 6 flight trip + the cost of the separate DTW-NYC trip. I know I sound like a broken record, but this is really dumb.
  • This NYC-DTW-AMS-FRA trip is the same price (+/- $15) as NYC-AMS-FRA and even NYC-FRA.
  • Trips that omit FCO and go straight from FRA to AMS are about $150 more than trips with the layover.
  • I could do an overnight in FCO instead of AMS, but morning flights are about $150 more than evening flights.
  • I actually enjoy airports and spending time in airplanes (I read a lot more than I do on the ground, and sleep pretty good too), so 8 flights over the course of a 6 day trip does not bother me. Plus this will be a huge help for me to maintain my Skyteam status for 2020.
 
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