Andrey Shilov at WordPress

The notes of a journalist working in Europe for Russian TV

Posts Tagged ‘planes

Will the crisis correct them?

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Buying railway ticket online? Of course!


I tried it twice in Germany – both times with a problem, with a scandal, loosing money. Unbelievable!


Last time I chose the train and time, wrote my bank card number, got a confirmation by email. Is it the end? It’s the beginning!


Then one has to click a link in the email, write login and password, see the word “e-ticket” – and print it? Wrong answer!


-It is not a ticket, – I was told in the train on my way from Berlin to Munich.

-Why not a ticket? It is written here – “e-ticket”. Here is my name, destination, my seat number…

-It is not a ticket. You had to print out the ticket.


I had to pay second time, with cash, right in the train.


Later I learnt that one more step should have been made. You get the email, click the link, write your login and passwod, get the page with “e-ticket” and all other info – and click one more time. Then print it out.


Triple protection!


Today’s story.

My friends came to Berlin from Russia. Well I am experienced guy! I found the site, wrote passenger’s name, paid with my bank card, got confirmation by email, clicked the link, wrote login and password, and clicked, and clicked one more time. And printed out.


I just got a call from my friends from the train: “It’s not working!”

According to the rules of “Deutsche Bahn”, passenger must pay for his ticket himself.

-Why? – I was shouting on the phone. – It is unconvenient! It is inhuman! What’s the difference for you?

-It is the rule and I have to follow it. Your friends refused to pay and will be taken out from the train.


So that’s how I heard about rules in Germany for the first time.

But this story is not about Germans. Russians see unconvenience and dullness in their country often enough, too.


I have been flying with German “Air Berlin” for about three years and I never had any problems with paying, registering, showing documents etc. You write your bank card number – that’s all. No clicking, no passwords, no printing. You paid it. All the rest is the company’s business.


Sometimes it is so plain simple:

there is private business caring about customers,

and there are state behemoths who don’t give a spit about clients. They follow their own rules. The other day the head of “Deutsche Bahn” resigned with a scandal but it won’t change anything: there are no other companies one can use when travelling from Berlin to Hannover.


The rules of market and monopolies are the same everywhere.

Written by andreyshilov

April 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

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On AN-2 above Berlin

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Old Soviet planes AN-2 fly above Berlin regularly these days, it is actually the high season. Till Thursday, October 30, when Tempelhof airport closes down.



Here is our ticket. And that’s what AN-2 itself looks like.



This particular plane was made in Poland in 1968 – the pilots say the bi-planes were made in two places outside the USSR – in Poland and in China.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are 9 passenger seats in this AN-2. It used to be a training plane for skydivers during the GDR times, later it has been transformed for sightseeing flights and the seats have been added. As a tenth passenger I got a seat near the pilot…



…but everybody wanted to see everything and take pictures…



so we swapped places and others could enjoy the view.


Old Soviet planes flying above the Brandenburg Gate wouldn’t be nice memories for the Germans, I presume. So we didn’t fly towards the Berlin center.



Tempelhof is situated to the south from the center and the sightseeing route goes away from it. Actually AN-2 has been designed after the WWII, in 1947, and has being produced ever since. The AN-2 history site claims the plane is even in the Guinness World Records Book. Well I don’t know whether it is true but AN-2 is indeed a classic for Russians. “Annushka” is a tender name for it (sounds just like a diminutive from the name Anna); “kukuruznik” (to be pronounced “kookoorooznik”) is a common name, it comes from the word “kukuruza” (“maize” or “corn”). AN-2 is universal and has been used a lot as an agriculturial aeroplane. It works quite well as a tourist plane, too – personal ventilation tools are particularly impressive.



So no Reichstag or Brandenburg gate in view – the only real “Berlin thing” we noticed was the television tower. I will show it in my report on NTV on Friday and will give the link to the video here, too.

UPD Here is the link



Written by andreyshilov

October 29, 2008 at 11:45 am

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