Tag: europe

EasyJet Flight Flown By Off-Duty Pilot Going On Holiday

An off-duty EasyJet pilot was heading on vacation with his family, but ended up flying the plane they were traveling on due to a missing pilot.

The EasyJet flight was due to depart from Manchester to Alicante on September 2nd, 2019, however, due to effects of the French air traffic control failure on Sunday the pilot was stuck at home in Liverpool.

Passengers were informed of the delay to their flight, so Michael Bradley (an EasyJet pilot traveling with his family on this flight) called his employer and asked if they would like him to get everyone to Alicante. 30 seconds later, they called him back and said “yes”.

A spokesperson for EasyJet confirmed these events by saying they were fully in line with regulations, as the pilot had his flying license and pilot’s ID with him.

https://www.facebook.com/MichelleBoutiqueBabez/posts/10156730903415910

S7 Flight Runs Off End Of Runway And Barely Takes Off

The passengers on board S7 Airlines flight S7-263 from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Simferopol are lucky to be alive after their Boeing 737-800 aircraft ran off the end of the runway before finally getting airborne on August 5th, 2019.

Once the flight became airborne it flew successfully to Simferopol where the landing was problem free, however, the flight could have ended in tragedy.

Russian investigators are still researching the cause of this near accident, but initial thoughts are pointing to a miscalculation by the crew for the takeoff weight. Sources online have noted that the 737 was 15 tonnes heavier than initially thought. They believe the crew may have mistakenly calculated the takeoff performance using zero fuel weight instead of the actual fuel weight (which makes up the 15 ton discrepancy).

After the incident in Domodedovo, an inspection of the runway was performed and revealed glass debris as well as 5 damaged runway lights. Once the flight landed in Simferopol, an inspection of the aircraft was carried out and found to have glass embedded in the landing gear as well as 3 damaged tires.

Jazeera Airways Announces New Service Between London And Kuwait

Jazeera Airways has announced new nonstop service between Kuwait and London Gatwick beginning on October 27th, 2019.

This new service will be operated using the new Airbus A-320neo aircraft on each of the 7 flights per week.

This flight marks the first time that both the United Kingdom and Kuwait will be connected in over 55 years.

Jazeera Airways has much larger plans than just offering passengers a new nonstop route between these two capital cities. The airline offers onward connections to other cities such as Dubai, Bahrain, Doha, and New Delhi.

This new flight marks the first time a low cost Middle East carrier is launching long haul flights on the new Airbus A-320neo.

The new London service on Jazeera Airways will offer a three class configuration: Business Class, Premium Economy Class, and Economy Class.

The 120th anniversary of the Kuwaiti-British Treaty of Friendship is approaching and this flight is a great example of continued friendship between both nations.

Smoke Fills Cabin Of British Airways Flight

Passengers panicked as smoke filed the cabin of British Airways Flight BA422 this week from London Heathrow to Valencia, Spain. The flight was noted as being normal and uneventful up until 10 minutes before landing. It was at that point when the cabin began to fill with smoke.

The passengers on board the flight said that there was no communication between the crew and the passengers, as well as the oxygen masks not deploying for them to breathe.

Once the aircraft landed in Valencia, the emergency slides were deployed and all passengers and crew disembarked safely.

The incident is being investigated.

Flight Review: United Airlines – Frankfurt, Germany to Washington Dulles (FRA-IAD)

Timeliness
Flight Crew
Food/Beverages
Seat Quality
Entertainment
Value
Average

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to fly on United Airlines from Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Washington Dulles (IAD).  This was my first long haul experience with United, as well as my first trip on a Boeing 777.

As I approached the gate in Frankfurt, I realized I had roughly 30 minutes prior to departure and sat in the boarding area.  It was slightly eerie, as there was nobody else sitting around me.  I approached the gate agent to confirm that I was in the right area for my flight back home.  She told me that the flight was very light, and I could actually board early if I would like.  I took advantage of this opportunity to settle in early, and boarded the aircraft.

While I boarded the aircraft, I was expecting similar service like I had received on Lufthansa.  By this I mean cheerful flight attendants that greet you and point out where your seat is located.  Sadly, I did not encounter this type of service.  I cheerfully smiled and said ”Hello” to each of the three flight attendants while I made my way to the seat.  None of them cracked a smiled, and only responded with a forced sigh and “Hello” back to me.

My seat for this flight was located in the very last row of the aircraft.  I looked around, and there was not a soul nearby, except for the young gentleman one row up and across the aisle. Not long after boarding, they closed the cabin doors, and our flight back to the United States was under way.  The flight attendant made her welcome announcement, and was probably one of the most unenthusiastic and uninviting announcements that I have ever heard.  At this point, I could only imagine what the inflight service would be like as well, because I now felt that I had been spoiled with the high level of service that I received from Lufthansa on my way over to Europe.

The in-flight entertainment was just as bad as the service that I would receive on this flight as well.  There were (3) seats in my row, and two of them had broken headphone sets.  I politely asked the flight attendant for a working set, and her only response was “I don’t know.  I’ll see what I can do”.  45 minutes later, the flight attendant reappeared and said “here”, while throwing the headphones at me.  I was shocked and appalled!  Out of the 3 in flight entertainment units, only 1 was working.  It also had a tendency to freeze up with errors and reboot every 15-20 minutes.  This was going to be a LONG flight home…

I was pretty hungry and we were served a soft drink and snack.  I had asked for Coffee and Water, and an extra bag of pretzels.  The flight attendant rolled her eyes, and granted my request.  I was getting pretty upset with their service and wanted to complain so bad!  The meal we were served was pretty awful, but I ate it anyway.  Not everyone can have the same quality of food as Lufthansa I guess.

Finally, after many many hours of flying, we landed in Washington Dulles Airport.  I was so happy to get off my flight and be one step closer to home.  Honestly, this experience on United Airlines was pathetic and terrible.  I will never fly United Airlines on a long haul flight again.  Take my advice, and spend the extra money to fly on a European airline, as they tend to value service and the customer more than US airlines.

Park Inn By Radisson Nevsky – Saint Petersburg, Russia

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Employees/Staff
Wi-Fi
Pool / Amenities
Food / Dining
Surrounding Area
Likely to Recommend?
Average

I have stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson (Nevsky) on two separate occasions, and it is by far my favorite hotel in all of Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Park Inn by Radisson is centrally located in a great part of Saint Petersburg.  You are just steps away from the huge Galeria mall, with many levels of shopping, dining, and entertainment.  The hotel is also across the street from the entrance to the Metro, and just steps away from the famous Nevsky Prospekt, where you can find any store to satisfy your shopping desires, or any food to satisfy your hunger.

My most recent stay at the Park Inn by Radisson was in August of 2015.  I was flying from Kos, Greece to Saint Petersburg overnight, which had my flight arriving in Saint Petersburg at 3:30am.  Based on my past travels, that put me arriving in the hotel around 4:30am.  Since this was well before check-in time,  i had contacted the hotel to see if it was ok for me to check in VERY early, or if i needed to purchase another night to cover these few hours.  The girl at the hotel confirmed that there was no need to purchase another night, and she would notate my reservation to allow for check in at 4:00am.

I landed in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and breezed through customs/immigration.  Within 20 minutes of landing, I was outside the airport and in a cab on my way to the hotel.

When the cab pulled up to the hotel, my excitement began to build.  I had not slept in over two days, and was looking forward to the few hours of rest I would get before my fiancee met me at 9am.

I walked into the welcoming entry of the hotel, and was greeted by a young, but friendly front desk clerk.  I handed him my passport and reservation.  He seemed puzzled at my arrival, and began to enter my information.  After a few minutes, he handed my passport back, and explained that there were no rooms for me to check in to.  My heart immediately fell.  I was tired, had traveled for 2 and a half days straight, and just wanted to sleep!

The front desk worker saw the notation on my reservation that read “Guaranteed Early Check In At 4am per *the girls name*”.  He shook his head and told me that this girl who did this was new, and did not understand that Friday night (the night that was finishing) the hotel was at 100% occupancy.  The following night (day i was checking in) the hotel had only 80% occupancy, so there were many rooms to accommodate a very early check in time.

The young clerk could see that i was tired, and had traveled a long way.  He told me not to worry, and that he would find me an alternative solution.  After a few minutes, he presented me with three potential ideas.

1.) There was a hotel down the street that i could stay at.  The rate for the next 5 hours would be $275.00 USD.  I quickly turned down this offer.

2.) The second choice was to stay at their sister hotel for free (since it was their mistake).  The only problem with this option was that the hotel was on the other side of the river, and all of the drawbridges w
ere up.  The earliest I could get to the other hotel was 6am.  I turned down this option.

3.)  The third option, “is free”.  There was a couch in the corner of the lobby, he offered to w
atch my bag while i slept in the lobby.  I was so tired, that i didn’t care where i slept.  I figured it was free, and safe, as there was a security guard stationed just 5 minutes from the couch.

I went over to the couch, took out my blanket, put on my eye mask, hugged my leather bag with all my personal items, and fell asleep.

About an hour later, the front desk man came over and began to shake me.  “Mr. John.  There is a room available if you would like”.  I shot right up, grabbed the key from his hand, and ran up to my room.  The door was not even shut before my clothes were off, and i jumped into bed.  I set my alarm, and was off to sleep.

The next morning, we were presented with two coupons for free breakfast.  This was a nice touch.

I love the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel.  The staff has always been friendly, helpful, and try to do the best they can.  The location is great, and the price is awesome.  This is one of the best hotels for the money in Saint Petersburg.  The rooms are clean, modern, and fresh.  Bathrooms are nice, but i hate the showers. I understand that these are common for Europe, but it’s tough for me to get used to them.

In short, if you find yourself in Saint Petersburg, you should pay a visit to the Park Inn by Radisson on Nevsky.

Dorint Airport-Hotel Zürich

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Employees/Staff
Wi-Fi
Pool / Amenities
Food / Dining
Surrounding Area
Likely to Recommend?
Average

My friends and I recently spent a night at the Dorint Airport-Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. It was an overall pleasant experience and I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a place to stay near the airport.

For the past week, I found myself traveling through Germany, Switzerland, Greece, and Russia.  Our flight home had a long layover in Zurich, Switzerland, so we decided to get a hotel for the night.  We were shocked at the insane prices.  This was the cheapest option at $325 USD per night.

We later found out from a cab driver that hotels in Zurich charge not by the room size like in most of the world, but per bed.  Since there were 3 of us, we could never find a thing for less than $300/night.  $100/bed (person).

This hotel was literally 90 seconds by cab from the airport.  However, the 90 second cab ride will cost you $26 USD.  The route is not walkable.  Cabs are required.

We walked into the Dorint Airport-Hotel Zürich and were instantly satisfied with our choice.  You could tell that this was a higher end establishment, and overall, well worth the $325 for one night.

The man working the front desk greeted us with a smile, and made check-in a quick and easy process.  He also gave us slips with logins for the free Wi-Fi…. ANYWHERE!  We had spent the past week paying obnoxious amounts of money for terrible quality Wi-Fi in our hotel lobby.  It was nice to get it anywhere for free.  In the room, bar, outside, anywhere.

We decided to head up to our room, and were pleasantly surprised.  This was one of the nicest hotel rooms I have ever seen in my travels around the world.  Since there were three of us, we had 2 rooms in one.  There was the big room with a king sized bed, and then a small room to the side with a roll away bed.  Since my flight departed very early in the morning, i took the roll away bed in the small room.

The bathroom was spotless and sparkling clean.  The shower was also very enjoyable.  The shower head was almost a feeling of being in a warm rain shower. It was cool.

We decided to head down to the hotel bar and enjoy a beer after the long frustrating day we had just had.  I was hungry and wanted to eat, but there was nothing around the hotel within walking distance.  The hotel bar offered a tiny ‘limited menu’.  These were basically peanuts, cheeses, and a microwaved pasta plate.  I opted for the pasta plate, as it was better than nothing.  I honestly don’t think I have ever spent $28 on re-heated noodles before in my life.  Either way, it was pretty darn good.

After my friends grabbed another beer, the bartender began cleaning up for the night.  We decided to go outside and sit on the couches.  We enjoyed the cool Swiss air for a while, and headed back inside to go to bed.

The next morning when I left to head back to the airport, a cab arrived within 2 minutes.  This time, the ride to the airport took almost twice as long.  3 whole minutes.  However, it was another $26 charge…

Overall, this hotel is great if you are looking for a place to stay near Zurich Airport (ZRH).  Be prepared to spend a lot of money, as Zurich is the most expensive city in the world.

Atlantis Hotel – Kos, Greece

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Employees/Staff
Wi-Fi
Pool / Amenities
Food / Dining
Surrounding Area
Likely to Recommend?
Average

The Atlantis Hotel is a 510 room hotel situated right on the beaches of the sea.  I stayed at this hotel for a few nights and have a mixed opinion on the overall experience that we had.

While planning our trip to Greece for a friends wedding, we wanted to find a reasonably priced hotel that was situated near the town of Kos, but also near or on the beach.

There were many options available, but based on price, reviews, and photos, we decided on the Atlantis Hotel on the North East side of the island.

The Atlantis Hotel is about 45 minutes from the airport, and about a 35-50 Euro cab ride.  Upon arrival, there was a long wait to check in to our room.  Since there were four of us traveling together, we had booked a four person room, and were very curious to see how the arrangement of beds would work out.

After waiting about 20 minutes to check in, the front desk receptionist walked us to our room.  Since there were four of us, we were placed in a building a few minutes walk from the main hotel.  There were no elevators, so we had to carry our overly heavy suitcases up 3-4 flights of stairs.

Once we arrived in the room, we were pleasantly surprised.  The bathroom was simple, yet clean.  The main room contained two small single beds, a table with chairs, and a kitchen area complete with stove, refrigerator sink, etc. The main bedroom led out to the balcony, and contained one large bed, and an older television.

The only room with any type of air conditioning was the main bedroom.  However, it was very weak and would keep the room slightly cool at best.

Since I was due to leave and fly to Russia, I had to shower and get ready.  Upon entering the shower, i instantly became frustrated with the water, and then the shower curtain, as the rod and curtain fell down completely!

A few days later, I returned to the hotel after my trip to Russia.  Things had turned from normal to bad.  The room had not been cleaned in days.  The towels were the same ones, and it was just overall disgusting.

I went to the front desk with our old towels and politely asked for new ones.  The front desk receptionist told me “i am sorry, but we only give new towels every few days”.  I was shocked! “Every few days!”  That is one of the most disgusting things I had ever heard.  After a few minutes of arguing and fighting, they finally agreed to send up “just a few” new towels to shower with.

The room had not been cleaned in days, and i had asked about this as well.  Luckily, the next day a housekeeper appeared and cleaned the room, but at this point, it had been 5 days without a cleaning.

The Wi-Fi in the hotel is NOT free, but is cheap.  The downside is that a connection is only available in the lobby, and it is a very weak signal.  I was not able to make calls on Skype/WhatsApp/Facetime, and sending a plain text email took 2-3 minutes to “send” from the outbox.  This was a major let down since I had some work that needed done.

The food was good.  We didn’t purchase the “all inclusive” plan, but ate all of our meals at the hotels facilities.  No one ever checked or asked, so we didn’t bring it up.  The food was all in buffet style format.  Overall, I thought the quality and quantity was good.  You could never leave a meal hungry, but, you could find yourself running from the table back up to your hotel room bathroom.

The hotel offered a pool area and the beach.  The pool was nice, but overrun with families and children.  We relaxed by the pool and enjoyed complimentary snack and coffee.

The beach area was ok, but nothing incredible.  The hotel next to Atlantis Hotel was called “AquaBlu”, and offered an amazing beach that was much better than the Atlantis beach just a few steps away.

The reason I complain about the beach at the Atlantis Hotel, is that it was very rocky.  I enjoy fine grainy sand, and don’t like walking and hurting my feet on stones and rocks of all sizes.  Also, as you entered the water, you could only walk out about 5-6 feet before it dropped off completely.  I really hated this.  It was similar to the water I had experienced in Abu Dhabi a few months earlier.

Since this beach experience was a bit dissapointing, my friend and I walked down the beach to the “AquaBlu” hotel.  As we walked, there were big signs that read “Do Not Enter.  Restricted Military Area”.  Since the corner of the island where Atlantis Hotel and AquaBlu meet is directly across from Bodrum, Turkey, they are an epicenter of refugees entering Europe.  Each night, hundreds or even thousands of refugees will get on to small inflatable rafts, and make their way across the sea to Kos, Greece.  As we walked along the beach, we could see washed up rafts, life vests strewn about, and personal items scattered everywhere.  It was crazy to think about what these items represented.  These were people that made their way from oppression in Syria, through Turkey, and now into Europe.

After crossing through this restricted Military area, we found ourselves on the wonderful beach of AquaBlu.  The reason we did not stay at this hotel, was simply because of price.  A room for us would have been in the $300-400/night range, compared to $100/night for the Atlantis Hotel.

The beach of AquaBlu was amazing.  Finely grained sand.  No rocks.  

As you enter the warm water, you could walk out for what seemed an eternity.  After enjoying the water for a few minutes, we saw a friend of ours named Robert.  He joined us, and we played a fun game with a ball in the water.  I will never forget standing in the water and looking at everything around me.  To the left side was Turkey (Asia), and to the right was Greece (Europe).  It was so cool being at a crossroads like this in the world.  We had fun with our game, and then went to relax on the beach for a while.

My overall opinion on the Atlantis Hotel is this. If you are looking for a nice, safe, clean place to stay in Kos, then this is perfect for the budget minded traveler.  If you have the means to spend more, then stay at the AquaBlu hotel.

The Wi-Fi is a let down, and the staff at this hotel is miserable.  I did not encounter a single helpful, friendly, or courteous person during our entire stay.  The food is good, and the beach is acceptable.

There is a small store next to the hotel where you can buy anything you might need.  Seriously.  ANYTHING.

Also, the thing that bothered us the most with our (4) person room was that we only had ONE key.  Yes.  One key for (4) people.  That was very troublesome, because it meant we always needed to remain together.  The hotel had no other keys, and it was impossible to ask an employee to let you into the room.

If I ever returned to Kos, I would not stay at the Atlantis Hotel.

Flight Review: Edelweiss – Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH) to Kos, Greece (KGS)

Timeliness
Flight Crew
Food/Beverages
Seat Quality
Entertainment
Value
Food / Dining
Surrounding Area
Likely to Recommend?
Average

Airline:  Edelweiss (WK 356)

Date:  Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Departure City:  Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH)

Departure Time: 6:35 AM

Arrival City: Kos, Greece (KGS)

Arrival Time:  10:17 AM

Aircraft:  Airbus A-321

This flight was the fourth leg of a multi flight trip to Europe with my two friends named Matt.  Today’s flight would take us from Zurich, Switzerland, to Kos, Greece.  The purpose of this trip for my friends was to attend a wedding, but my trip had another purpose.  I wanted to visit my lovely fiancee (Olga) in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  I would later attend the wedding in Kos, but first, had to arrive in Greece, and then take another flight to Russia.  You can read about that in the next article.

We arrived at Zurich International Airport very early in the morning to check in for our flight.  I had spent a very frustrating 3 hours on the phone (international long distance) trying to sort out our flight arrangements for this day.  What happened was, back in Pittsburgh, our initial flight to Newark was delayed.  This in turn meant we would miss our connection to Zurich.  Once the agent had re-booked our flights, she forgot to re-confirm the segment on Edelweiss to Kos.  Therefore, it canceled out not only this segment, but the rest of the trip!  Long story short, I was able to get us back on this flight.  Whew!

My friends and I were very impressed with Edelweiss and the service they provided.  The seats were nice and spacious, and the in-flight map was a much needed tool to keep track of our progress.

Upon boarding the aircraft, I located my seat (14C), which was another aisle seat next to my friends.

We pushed back and took off on time.  Everything was going as planned!

Once airborne, the flight attendants served drinks, followed by a meal
service.  Our flight time today was about 2.5 hours.  The meal was actually pretty delicious!  We all enjoyed it.

To pass the time, we played cards and watched the plane move along down the Adriatic Coast, and then turn towards Kos.

Once we had landed in Kos, our flight parked at a remote stand at the airport.  Kos is a tiny airport, but very busy with flights from around Europe.  There are no jetways, and all passengers are bused to and from the terminal.

After deplaning onto a bus, and into the terminal, we had to figure out which of the three conveyor belts would contain our baggage.  There were no visible signs, so it was anyone’s guess.  Luckily, I needed to find a bathroom, which led me to a sign, far away, that said “Switzerland Flights” with an arrow.  I found my bag, and then shared this with my friends.

As we walked outside of the airport, we met an awesome taxi driver named Tony.  He would become our driver, and a sort of friend to me for the remainder of the trip.

Welcome to Greece!

Pros: 

  • Clean and spacious seats
  • On time departure / arrival
  • Meal service was very enjoyable
  • Semi-organized boarding process

Cons:

  • Lack of in-flight entertainment