August Trip part 2…

So the second part of my epic August trip starts today… with six flights this week I’m positioning down to Cardiff this afternoon by bus & train.

So during the long journey – which includes 2 bus & 3 train journeys – I thought I’d update you on the plan for this week, which adds another new city to my list when I get to Vienna early on Tuesday. It’s somewhere I’ve always fancied visit so when the chance to combine it with some rare flights came up I had to look at a plan!

Lufthansa and their group airlines have started using some very large aircraft on short haul flights around Europe this summer and I’m not exactly sure why. Lufthansa have put their Airbus A340 fleet to use on flights from the Frankfurt hub to Munich, Dublin, Vienna and Lisbon. It’s an eclectic selection of destinations but I’m sure there must be a reason behind it.

Munich is of course Lufthansa’s second hub in Germany with a wide variation of long haul destinations also so it makes sense to link the two with larger aircraft to allow connections from across the world. Vienna is also home to Austrian Airlines who are part of the Lufthansa group, which also includes Swiss, regional airline Lufthansa Cityline and low cost arm Eurowings.

Dublin and Lisbon are two more random selections, though I have seen pictures of long haul aircraft being painted in Dublin so maybe it is to rotate these? The flights to Dublin only run once a week on a Wednesday, whilst Lisbon is served with large aircraft on Monday and Tuesday.

Vienna seems to be a few times per week alternating with Austrian’s long haul fleet also being put to work on the hour long hop to Frankfurt. Munich seems to be much more random and includes almost every option in the long haul fleet bar the A380, but not on a regular schedule, more as demand dictates. All of these are in between the multiple flights a day by the short haul A319/320/321 fleet.

So when the opportunity came up to link a few of these together, I started looking for other things to wrap around them. Following in the footsteps of trying Sichuan Airlines last week, I’ve got a leg on the other Chinese airline seen widely across Europe, Hainan Airlines. They operate a primarily tourist flight between Beijing and Edinburgh/Dublin. It runs 4 times a week, twice serving Edinburgh before Dublin and the other two days runs to Dublin first before calling at Edinburgh on the return. They sell seats rather cheaply on these legs across the Irish Sea as they look to fill what would otherwise be empty seats. Hainan have recently announced this route will be suspended/cancelled from October.

The other thing I’ve been meaning to do for years is to catch a trip on Eastern Airways’ dwindling fleet of BAe Jetstream 41 aircraft. They actually fly from my local airport Teesside on the route to Aberdeen – part of a large (but equally reducing!) network down the East Coast to ferry offshore workers around. Naturally the prices are way above what any sane person would pay and therefore I’ve never used it.

There is a very cheap way to do this, and that is the Welsh Government funded service that runs twice a day (weekdays) between Cardiff and RAF Valley, in Anglesey. Unfortunately RAF Valley is a long way out of the way for, well basically anything, which makes fitting it into a trip awkward. My flight between Cardiff and Anglesey cost me little over £20, including a bag!

So the solution to fitting all this together?

I’m on the first flight out of Cardiff to Anglesey in the morning, then catching a bus into Holyhead itself then a ferry across the Irish Sea to Dublin by early afternoon. That means I can then do a ‘simple’ return from Dublin to Vienna and back, departing Monday evening to Frankfurt on an A321neo, with an overnight stay there.

Tuesday morning I catch my first ride on the exceptionally long Airbus A340-600 on the hour long hop down to Vienna. It’s the first flight out on the morning which gives me all day to explore the city of Vienna.

Wednesday I return to Dublin, courtesy of LH partner Austrian with one of their large Boeing 777-200’s (second in a week!) back to Frankfurt, before connecting onto Lufthansa’s weekly Airbus A340-300 on the slightly longer trip across to Dublin. This then positions me nicely to catch the Hainan Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” (other names are available…) the next morning up to Edinburgh – before travelling back home either by bus or train, or a combination of both.

So to sum up

  • Sunday: Home to Cardiff
  • Monday: Cardiff to Anglesey to Dublin to Frankfurt
  • Tuesday: Frankfurt to Vienna
  • Wednesday: Vienna to Frankfurt to Dublin
  • Thursday: Dublin to Edinburgh to Home

It promises to be another interesting trip to follow this blog and I’ll keep you up to date with how it goes!


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