View Full Version : TRIP REPORT: MAD-ORY on easyJet, April 19, 2008

Matt Molnar
04-27-2008, 09:40 PM
Route: Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD) - Paris-Orly Airport (ORY)
Date: April 19, 2008
Airline/Flight Number: easyJet 4236
Aircraft Type: Airbus A319
Aircraft Registration: G-EZBY
Scheduled Departure Time: 5:50 PM
Actual Pushback Time: 7:20 PM
Takeoff Time: 7:30 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7:50 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 8:30 PM

After a day and a half of exploring beautiful Madrid, it was time to move on to Paris. Our hotel was just a couple of blocks from the beautiful Atocha train station, so we decided to take their clean, comfortable and reasonably priced (1 Euro for a regular trip, 1 Euro extra to go to the airport) Metro to the airport. It took about an hour but was among the most painless public transport routes to an airport I've ever used.

An articulated Madrid Metro train!

EasyJet uses the older Terminal 1 at MAD, which is just a run-of-the-mill functional airport terminal, nothing like Terminal 4. When we checked in, the agent informed us that our flight was running an hour late, despite nothing noting this on the departures board. Not surprisingly, the agent told us that the bag check fee we had paid for when we booked the flight would not be refunded despite deciding not to check anything. A tip to consider: one of our bags was a larger carry-on that did not fit in EasyJet's carry-on size tester, but no one challenged us.

With some extra time to kill, we headed to a cafe near our gate and got some lunch. The cafe offered a giant window overlooking the ramp and the active runway but unfortunately all the tables next to it were occupied. We finished eating and headed to the gate waiting area, which featured a special smoking room...with no roof and no door! Hence, everything near the smoking area reeked of smoke. We moved to some seats further away and were able to breathe again.

Notice the "Zona De Fumadores" on the left, and the woman straddling the doorway.


The board finally indicated a delay of our flight. Expected boarding time turned into 18:50 and then 19:00. Finally the plane pulled up to gate 37 and a big queue formed, Southwest style. The gate agent strung up some ropes to create two lines for groups A and B (no C). Our tix were in the B group and somehow I managed to be standing at the front of the B line when he made it. The A group wasn't too big and soon it was our turn. There were still plenty of empty seats when we entered the cabin, and we took row 12 on the starboard side.




MAD is an immense airport with plenty of empty space, but for some reason, they have chosen to store these old Grummans on an abandoned runway right next to Terminal 1.


Terminal 4S and the tower.

After hearing horror stories of RyanAir and EasyJet, I was prepared for a cabin filled with advertisements, nasty cabin crew and cramped seats. None of these were the case. The seats were wide and comfortable, seat pitch was respectable, the plane was spotlessly clean and the crew was very friendly. Only oddity: the seats don't recline, which is fine with me as I generally find 2 inches of recline less comfortable than sitting up, especially on a short flight. The best part...total fare was 64.46 for the two of us for a two hour flight. That's about US$50 each at the exchange rate when I booked the flight. For comparison, Iberia and Air France fares were $400 and up (each) for the sector.

We took off through the raindrops and climbed steeply and quickly to cruise altitude, maintaining pretty much runway heading the whole way to Orly. Beverages and snacks were served, buy on board of course. I had another Coke for 2.

An interesting site during takeoff: some old Iberia 74s and DC9s being broken up, as well as a 757.


Caught some naptime then woke up while we began our descent over some very green French farmland. Saw the Eiffel Tower in the distance on final approach, landed smoothly and taxied to the gate.

Lots o' windmills.

Paris just before sunset.

Orly South Terminal is pretty small, and we got to the exit pretty quickly. Most EU countries now treat intra-EU flights as domestic flights for immigration purposes, so there was no passport check to go through. Saw some interesting aircraft at the gates.

Orly South Terminal. Some interesting history: Orly was used as a forward base by the Luftwaffe when Adolf took over in the 1940s, which of course led the RAF and USAAF to bomb the crap out of it. We later repaired it and used it as our own base until 1947, when it was handed back to the French. The USAF leased a small part of the airport through 1967 for transport ops.

Our ride.


Some French government jets:


Views from inside a terminal don't get much better than this.

Inside of the terminal.

04-27-2008, 11:20 PM
Nice report!

Both of those French gov jets were at JFK last year for UN week.

Those artic trains are wild.

04-28-2008, 10:52 AM
Nice report Matt. I'm surprised IB hasn't leased or scrapped those 74s. They own them outright but just sit there.

stuart schechter
04-28-2008, 07:48 PM
Good report! I hope you got some spotting in at CDG! Great place!

04-29-2008, 07:57 AM
Great report. What airlines use Orly as opposed to CDG? I would have thought RAM would use CDG like most other foreign airlines?

Matt Molnar
04-29-2008, 09:56 AM
Great report. What airlines use Orly as opposed to CDG? I would have thought RAM would use CDG like most other foreign airlines?
Air France is the biggest, and Iberia and TAP each serve a couple of regional routes. A couple of LCCs weigh in...easyJet being the biggest of those, along with Clickair which flies to a couple of Spanish cities. The rest of the flights are mostly smaller carriers serving the Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as a few long-distance routes, i.e. L'Avion to EWR, Delta to JFK, Cubana to Havana, Corsair to various Caribbean and Canadian destinations...and IranAir to Teheran (of course I took a picture of their Champs Elysees office when I walked by, which I'll post soon. :))

I didn't get to do any spotting at CDG as I was only there 2 days and had to do some sightseeing. I did get to see the inside of CDG (actually more than I should have thanks to yet another incompetent Paris cab driver) when I flew on to London, which will be my next report.

stuart schechter
04-29-2008, 08:37 PM
I look forward to that report on such a short hop. I would have personally taken the TGV, quite a cool experience to be going as fast as a regional jet while your on the ground!

Iberia A340-600
04-29-2008, 09:10 PM
Very nice report, Matt.

I actually flew Easyjet as well between MAD and ORY back in 2005. I found the flights rather enjoyable except for on the return leg I wasn't lucky enough to get a window seat due to my boarding number. Whenever I transfer through Paris I normally use CDG but in the 04-05 year I used ORY a couple of times and actually found it more convenient and easier to use then CDG. I was very happy to discover the observation deck on Orly Sud! Something I can never understand is why Royal Air Moroc uses their sole 747 between CMN and destinations like AMS and ORY rather then to JFK.

I'm also very used to the subway connection out to Barajas. When I lived in Madrid I was constantly taking the 10 from my local metro stop to Nuevos Ministerios and then the 8 out to the Barajas stop. It normally took me about 20 minutes max to get out to the airport which was nice. I love the Madrid metro, it is certainly one of the nicest I have come across.

Terminal 1, 2, and 3 are certainly nothing compared to Terminal 4. Terminal 3 is definitely the nicest out of the 3. You should have seen the mess those terminals were back when Iberia was still using them. Utter chaos!