Eurowings: Through Europe with the Air Baltic A220

Air Batlic flies on behalf of Eurowings (Photo: Jan Gruber).
Air Batlic flies on behalf of Eurowings (Photo: Jan Gruber).

Eurowings: Through Europe with the Air Baltic A220

Air Batlic flies on behalf of Eurowings (Photo: Jan Gruber).
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Eurowings has had two Airbus A220-300s operated by Air Baltic under contract for a few weeks. These are currently stationed in Stuttgart and are used on numerous routes operated by the Lufthansa subsidiary. In the 2022 summer flight schedule, the Canadian Airbus jets will switch to Düsseldorf Airport.

Eurowings and Air Baltic concluded a long-term wet lease agreement for several Airbus A220s towards the end of last year. As a result, the Latvian carrier is currently flying this type of aircraft from Stuttgart and in the summer from Düsseldorf on behalf of the Lufthansa subsidiary. Unconfirmed rumors even say that Eurowings and its parent company could test the A220-300 extensively in their route networks with the help of the ACMI deal and possibly order identical aircraft themselves.

If another airline, in this case Air Baltic, flies on behalf of the carrier that issued the ticket, there is usually little change for the passengers. The fare provisions and rules of Eurowings continue to apply with this wet lease. Check-in is also done via the Eurowings homepage or app or the check-in counter. Air Baltic is only responsible for the execution of the flight.

Eurowings inflight sales, but otherwise hardly any branding

In the past, Eurowings had CSA under contract from Stuttgart, for example. On the EW flights operated by the Czech airline, there were sometimes free drinks and snacks because there were initially no board sales. This is different with the current Air Baltic wet lease, because the sales catalog is available in the cabin and the flight attendants offer Eurowings products for sale. Trolley and, for example, paper cups are kept in the customer's design.

The screens, security cards and other design features still indicate the carrier. However, there are sick bags, board magazine, sales catalog and advertising for Eurowings corona tests in the seat pockets. The safety cards are expressly those that Air Baltic also uses on commercial flights. There is no special Eurowings branding here.

For legal reasons, some seats are blocked in the front area of ​​the Airbus A220. This is clearly embroidered on the backrests in English. The background is that this type of machine has a few more seats than passengers are allowed to be on board. But that's not a problem, because these serve as a "free next seat" in Business Class. Therefore, the “locked seats” are located in the front part of the cabin. For Air Baltic flights, this is business class and for Eurowings wet lease it is biz class. Class separators were not used during the test flight from Stuttgart to Vienna.

The area subject to a surcharge is located immediately after the "Biz". These seats can only be used when booking eligible fares or by paying a fee.-From about row ten - may vary depending on the route - come, then the normal rows. In terms of the chairs you sit on, however, there is no difference in the entire machine. These are uniform. Airbus A220 seating is: two on the left, three on the right.

Used A220 younger than many Eurowings aircraft

The YL-AAS was in use during the test flight. This is 2,8 years old and was delivered directly to Air Baltic. The Airbus A220s operated by the Latvian airline for Eurowings are significantly younger than many of the client's fleet members. The Canadian medium-haul jet is currently considered state-of-the-art in one segment. Small screens are mounted above each row. The security video, for example, is played on these. In contrast to BT flights, these were deactivated during the flight and were only used again to draw attention to the preparations for landing. The A220 also scores with large windows that offer a good view and spacious luggage compartments. The aisle is wider than, for example, on the Airbus A319, which makes boarding easier. Trolley cases can also be easily pushed through the cabin. For example, on the Boeing 737, it can be observed again and again that passengers get caught on the armrests with their hand luggage. That shouldn't be the case with the A220, but mishaps are generally unavoidable.

The Airbus A220-300 is subjectively perceived to be louder than its direct competitor from Embraer (E2 series), especially in the area of ​​the engines. However, passengers perceive the volume very individually and no measurement was made during the test flight. The washrooms, on the other hand, were not only spacious, but impeccably clean. Various soap and disinfectant dispensers were also available. By the way: The same disinfectant wipes are offered for boarding as on flights operated by Eurowings itself.

The usual welcome and all announcements from the cockpit and cabin crew will be in English. The safety video that is played is the one shown on regular Air Baltic flights and also in English. However, a tape recording in German can be heard afterwards. The crew, who made a friendly and hard-working impression on the test flight, kept the number of announcements to the necessary minimum, which made the flight smooth and relaxed. The crew wears their employer's uniforms, i.e. those of Air Baltic.

Conclusion: Interesting opportunity to get to know the A220-300

Eurowings flight EW2754 was operated by Air Baltic ahead of time and reached its destination, Vienna-Schwechat, around 15 minutes earlier. In contrast to many Eurowings jets of the A320 series, the Wetlease A220 are not equipped with a WLAN system. However, this should not be necessary for most passengers on short flights.

The Air Baltic A220 wet lease with Eurowings is an interesting opportunity to "try out" this aircraft type. Apart from the minimal differences that have been described in the course of this article, there are no significant deviations from flights operated by the Lufthansa subsidiary itself. Since Air Baltic will fly for Eurowings all year round, many passengers will certainly be pleasantly surprised by this type of aircraft and the Latvian state airline. Two A220s are currently in service from Stuttgart and several units of this type are to fly from Düsseldorf for Eurowings in the summer.

3 Comments

  • YankeeZulu1, 17. February 2022 @ 08: 28

    I certainly don't want to start or engage in a quality discussion (which would be inappropriate here), but somehow as an "old-school" person I still have the idea and the requirement that "what's on the inside is what it says on the tin".
    This reminds me again (foreign wording, only read it myself):
    Does anyone remember the year 2017, when – when you booked Lufthansa – you suddenly sat on an Austrian plane, but it was “operated by Air Berlin” (with crews in AB uniforms). And in the end you might even be sitting in a WDL plane again... "welcome aboard Flight LH123 in cooperation with Austrian Airlines operated by WDL Aviation on behalf of Air Berlin"

  • Conci, 18. February 2022 @ 07: 51

    “…In the front area of ​​the Airbus A220, some seats are blocked for legal reasons.
    The background is that this type of machine has a few more seats than passengers are allowed to be on board...”

    Why are fewer sponsors allowed on board than there are places...??
    That calls for an explanation! Or at least a better description...

    LG Conci

    • Jan Gruber, 18. February 2022 @ 11: 04

      Hello Conci,
      This thing is a bit complicated to explain, but I'll try to make it as simple as possible:
      Air Baltic's Airbus A220-300 aircraft are licensed to carry 145 passengers. But there are more seats installed, which is partly due to the nature of the benches. As a result, some seats are not allowed to be used. These are blocked by an embroidered notice. These are in the first rows in the front area. At a later point in time you can generally change the seating, i.e. install more benches. However, this requires official approval. In theory, the Airbus A220-300 could transport around 160 seats in close seating. Air Baltic currently has a maximum of 145 passengers. If necessary, you want to increase at a later date, but this is a complex process because it has to be approved by the authorities.
      So why have "blocked seats" on board? That's because the alternative would have been to add "individual seats" instead of the benches to bring the number of seats to exactly 145. Back when the machines were still being put into service as CS300s, the decision was made to take normal “benches” and simply block the “superfluous places” permanently. Another consequence of this payload restriction is that below the next threshold you need one more flight attendant.
      I found a photo for you where you can see how the “locked seats” are marked. Conveniently, if you fly business class (that's not always the case with charter), you use it as a spare seat next to you. The “lock notice” is permanent and embroidered into the seat. link to Photo

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3 Comments

  • YankeeZulu1, 17. February 2022 @ 08: 28

    I certainly don't want to start or engage in a quality discussion (which would be inappropriate here), but somehow as an "old-school" person I still have the idea and the requirement that "what's on the inside is what it says on the tin".
    This reminds me again (foreign wording, only read it myself):
    Does anyone remember the year 2017, when – when you booked Lufthansa – you suddenly sat on an Austrian plane, but it was “operated by Air Berlin” (with crews in AB uniforms). And in the end you might even be sitting in a WDL plane again... "welcome aboard Flight LH123 in cooperation with Austrian Airlines operated by WDL Aviation on behalf of Air Berlin"

  • Conci, 18. February 2022 @ 07: 51

    “…In the front area of ​​the Airbus A220, some seats are blocked for legal reasons.
    The background is that this type of machine has a few more seats than passengers are allowed to be on board...”

    Why are fewer sponsors allowed on board than there are places...??
    That calls for an explanation! Or at least a better description...

    LG Conci

    • Jan Gruber, 18. February 2022 @ 11: 04

      Hello Conci,
      This thing is a bit complicated to explain, but I'll try to make it as simple as possible:
      Air Baltic's Airbus A220-300 aircraft are licensed to carry 145 passengers. But there are more seats installed, which is partly due to the nature of the benches. As a result, some seats are not allowed to be used. These are blocked by an embroidered notice. These are in the first rows in the front area. At a later point in time you can generally change the seating, i.e. install more benches. However, this requires official approval. In theory, the Airbus A220-300 could transport around 160 seats in close seating. Air Baltic currently has a maximum of 145 passengers. If necessary, you want to increase at a later date, but this is a complex process because it has to be approved by the authorities.
      So why have "blocked seats" on board? That's because the alternative would have been to add "individual seats" instead of the benches to bring the number of seats to exactly 145. Back when the machines were still being put into service as CS300s, the decision was made to take normal “benches” and simply block the “superfluous places” permanently. Another consequence of this payload restriction is that below the next threshold you need one more flight attendant.
      I found a photo for you where you can see how the “locked seats” are marked. Conveniently, if you fly business class (that's not always the case with charter), you use it as a spare seat next to you. The “lock notice” is permanent and embroidered into the seat. link to Photo

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