AVIATION & TRAVEL BLOG BY LISBONJET

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

And I was back in Punta Cana

June/July 2022

It has been 14 years since I had my last layover in Punta Cana when I was still flying for my first airline. 14 years... can't believe it!

I still keep the envelope with the briefing telling about the inclusive features of the resort where we stayed by that time.


This time we were in a different resort within the same area. Punta Cana is a recent destination for my company and I was lucky enough to get one long layover without having bid for it. A few weeks later, those flights were handed over to Hi Fly, during the month of August, due to lack of capacity. I've got another Punta Cana on my september roster and it should be one of the last flights to be operated to this destination. I don't now if it is for good or if the route is just supposed to be seasonal.

Anyway, I ruined my layover on the first day by getting relentlessly sunburnt. I did use sunscreen but clearly I'm giving up using the lowest SPF available. My skin is not used to the sun as it used to be in the past... I'm getting older and I'm not a proper beach enthusiast for some years now. The same happened to my colleague that spent most of the time with me during the layover. We agreed we would not inflict more pain in our skins just because we were in Punta Cana... So from that day on we just went to expose ourselves to the sun after 4pm until sunset. And the water temperature did remain beautifully warm during that period.

I did not take many photographs... These days I'm just trying to enjoy my moments without the concern of saving them into a virtual camera roll. But I took these:




Well... it made me remember how I miss my glorious charter days! Flying the good old L-1011.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

When you just want to fly on a 4-engined aircraft

July 2022

Four-engined aircraft are certainly a dying breed. Last year I flew on a Boeing 747-8 "Jumbo" from Frankfurt to Palma - and yes, that time I was spending a few days in Palma, such a warm and crystal clear water paradise. Last time I worked on a A340 was in October 2019. So, when a friend of mine heard that TAP Air Portugal was leasing an A340 for the Lisbon-Vienna route, he didn't want to miss that opportunity and challenged me too.

And there we were waiting for our turnaround trip to Vienna.

9H-SUN & 9H-SOL

The A340 assigned to this flight would be the one with 9H-SOL tail number, the one in an all white livery and the very same one that landed in the Antarctica some months ago.

9H-SOL © Hi Fly

Before Hi Fly, this A340 flew for Iberia and it keeps the same cabin interiors of this airline. When it operated for Iberia, it was named Maria Barbara de Braganza. We booked economy class for the outgoing flight and business for the return.

The views from my window seat:



And finally arriving at Vienna Schwechat Airport:




Speed brakes deployed during descent

Just before landing.

Then, parked side by side with a Korean Air Dreamliner:



Our super short layover in Vienna was not totally in vain as we had time to drink a weissbier in the airport terminal before boarding again the same aircraft to Lisbon. But this time in business class!

9H-SOL Business Class (ex-Iberia)

Sunset over the clouds


All in all it was a very enjoyable flight with a nice Hi Fly crew and an unusual spacious aircraft in such a short run. I know this seems a crazy plan, but in my defense I have to say that I already know Vienna very well from the time when, in 2018, I made my first (and only) around the world trip to the date, which included five days in North Korea!

More photos of these flights in the 'Photo Albums' section of the blog.

And this friend of mine... the very same one who challenged me for a crazy weekend in New York in 2006!