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Munich into Austria at New Year

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Howdy All

We are thinking of going to Oetz / Kuhtai / Solden at new year for a family bash and considering flying into Munich rather than Innsbruck as the last two times we've "flown" to Innsbruck we've been diverted due to fog etc...

We'll be hiring a car and I know that the Saturday traffic will be horrendous, but if I get Sunday flights will it be any better?

Thanks All
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@mauddib, it will certainly be quieter on the Sunday, unless there is a football match on, but most accommodation is likely to be Saturday to Saturday, especially in this peak week
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ousekjarr wrote:
@mauddib, it will certainly be quieter on the Sunday, unless there is a football match on, but most accommodation is likely to be Saturday to Saturday, especially in this peak week


I don't think the peak week has anything to do with the changeover day....once you have decided your day you stick with it for the season
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@holidayloverxx, I agree, and 95% of it will be Sat-Sat. If the OP was thinking of Sunday to Thursday for example, then the answer in the most expensive week of the season will either be “no” or “yes, same price as the whole week”
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@mauddib, we did that journey a couple of years ago in the off season. From memory even on a good day it’s 3h 15 to 3h 30 hours long. The roads will be horrific at that time so budget up to 4.5 hours (maybe more). Last year we drove from Munich to Mayrhofen at NY and that was bad enough.

Do you have to go to that area? Many more areas closer to Munich.
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@mauddib, in many cases diversions from Innsbruck are nothing to do with the airport, as flights will continue to land and take off even when you're half-way to Munich. The reason for this is that the cheaper airlines employ cheaper pilots and aircraft, which may not have the instrument landing systems which will permit access with lower cloud levels. Even then, the worst offenders have diversion rates of about 10%, so being diverted twice in a row is pretty unusual.

If you really can't face Innsbruck, and are worried about traffic from Munich, have you considered Friedrichshafen instead? Easyjet fly from Gatwick direct, or you can fly via Frankfurt from most major UK airports. The drive is about 30 minutes less from Friedrichshafen in general, and much less likely to be affected by traffic, plus as anyone who has hired a car from Munich will tell you the queues there can range from absent to 2 hours depending on the company and dates. At Friedrichshafen, the facilities are more basic, but that also means that queues are minimal and the car hire desks are not a 2 mile walk through the terminal.
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i've used friedrichshafen a couple of times to Ischgl, about 2-3 hrs (Oetz would be roughly the same.. Monarch and BA used to fly there, just Ba I guess now.

Alternatively theres the old Ryanair Favorite Memmingen, would be about the same journey as Friedrichshafen.
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ousekjarr wrote:
@mauddib, in many cases diversions from Innsbruck are nothing to do with the airport, as flights will continue to land and take off even when you're half-way to Munich. The reason for this is that the cheaper airlines employ cheaper pilots and aircraft, which may not have the instrument landing systems which will permit access with lower cloud levels. Even then, the worst offenders have diversion rates of about 10%, so being diverted twice in a row is pretty unusual.

l.


Hmm average age of Ryanair fleet 5.5 years all of which have ILS

Average age of EasyJet fleet 8 years all of which have ILS

Average age of Lufthansa fleet 11.9 years

Average age of British Airways fleet 13.7 years
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@TQA, the age of an aircraft tells you nothing about what equipment is fitted on it, as they all have a rolling program of upgrades if they are required. See https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/innsbruck-airport-flights-autopilot-thomas-cook-airlines-safety-a7463096.html for an example - Thomas Cook were previously the worst offender in terms of flight delays and diversions, as https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ski/news/Worst-airports-for-delayed-ski-flights/ makes clear, but they've invested in technology to improve their performance. Adding £100K of technology is cheaper than replacing a $100M airframe.
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The Munich-Austria route is chaos all weekend in peak-season.

Avoid.
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@Bennyboy1, we're also looking at Mayrhofen and Soll, but prefer Oetz / Kuthai as it's generally quieter and a lot less Brits Happy

We did Mayrhofen last NY and were supposed to fly into Innsbruck, but were delayed at Manchester and eventually flew to Salzburg as Munich was too busy with all the other diverted planes. It was an absolute farce from start to finish. Eventually got to the hotel at something like midnight after a €250 taxi journey from Salzburg.


@ousekjarr, @Bob, we used Friedrichshafen a few times when we've stayed in Hochgurgl, but you can't get there from north of England anymore Sad

Looks like we might have to risk Innsbruck
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@ousekjarr, I am afraid you are wide of the mark regarding Innsbruck. Whilst some locos do not have the highest level of ILS (CatIII and its derivatives) because a lot of the airports cannot meet or have not fitted the ground equipment and it is not worth it. There are 3 elements to a precision approach, the ground equipment, the aircraft equipment and crew training. In the case of Innsbruck (like Chambery) it is the terrain that causes the issue during bad weather, the approach to Runway 26 terminates at about 1000ft above ground level when a pilot must be able to see the runway and alter heading and miss a mast to arrive safely. For Runway 08 you effectively approach to 26 and do a visual circuit.

The most basic ILS brings you down to 200 feet so its all about geography and not low cost airlines paying less for their aircraft or crews. Boeing and Airbus don't care who buys them and they are pretty similar and most airlines pay the going rate for the blokes at the pointy end or they wouldn't recruit, although for those that like jetlag there are some advantages to flying long haul.

In addition aircraft have to meet performance limits to get above the terrain at Innsbruck and special qualifications are required for the crews.

So unless you set about Austria with a big JCB and some dynamite the approach minima cannot drop. Technology can only help so much in this case.
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@ousekjarr,

http://youtube.com/v/RLFT7z6bnnQ

Skip the 1st 60 seconds if you wish
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@chocksaway, So is it the quality (training of pilots). Sorry not clear from your answer.
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@chocksaway, I know - but while the locos have some aircraft with the right kit and the right crew to get into Innsbruck, they also run tight schedules and as soon as anything slips the on-call crew and airframe are used and they're not able to get into INN either because the airframe doesn't have the right level of kit or performance, or the crew are not qualified or have not submitted the required paperwork. Also, please explain the detail in the Independent link above, as it reads that Thomas Cook added new technology to allow them to fly the approach on autopilot - yes, it refers to changes in 2016, but that's recent enough.

@Mr.Egg, yes, I have seen it before, and experienced it from the cheap seats on several occasions. Lovely ride, if you're not a nervous flyer, and especially entertaining when there are INN virgins next to you who panic at the sight of a mountain outside the window... Plus that was on runway 26 - its more fun to approach from the west, do the U-turn inside the valley at the end of the Zillertal, and come back west for the landing Happy
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@Bennyboy1, Nothing to do with the quality - all pilots are equally qualified to fly - that's their licence. However, for some approaches (eg Chambery and Innsbruck) you have to be specifically trained and qualified and as that is expensive, maybe not all the crews have the training. A problem indeed for the rostering department. This may cause some problems if there is an hiatus in the schedule elsewhere.

@ousekjarr, This is a new development and offers some hope for the future. I wonder how many airlines have it? As Thomas Cook is a low cost airline in all but historical name I do not believe it has anything to do with the loco model. They are paid to fly there by the TOs there a lot so have done a cost benefit analysis and think it is worth it (especially when combined with the more esoteric Mediterranean destinations) others may not have. Also at Innsbruck you have to consider the departure, ironically the 757 (now long in the tooth) has a better reputation with pilots at Innsbruck as its single engine performance is superior to more modern aircraft (it was designed by engineers not accountants!), in a nut shell it is overpowered for most tasks but is very handy at Innsbruck.

My aviation experience is military but there is much more on this thread: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=66876&highlight=innsbruck&start=40 where a couple of commercial pilots give an explanation.
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Always assumed it was the pilot qualification that was the issue.
All my flights to Innsbruck have been fine. Bastid checkin on return though, but that was the days before online checkin etc.
There was the Manchester-Innsbruck plane redirected for one of the Birthday Bashes one year, redirected due to weather. I was already in Innsbruck, and the weather was glorious. So my assumption was that the BA plane doesn't even leave MAN until it's got a flight plan and authorised to fly direct to MUC. We were watching SAS, Norwegian, LH/Austrian flights land as the message got to us that the BA flight was being redirected.

For Sölden/Arlberg etc. I'd fly to Innsbruck (or Zurich, Friedrichshafen, etc.) rather than Munich. I'd pick Munich as an option for the Zillertal and anything further East. But traffic can be a nightmare. Or it can be perfectly fine.
Frankfurt is a bit of a trek though, to whomever mentioned that. At least a 6 hour drive to any reasonable ski resort. Better to use it as a changeover if flying from Manchester or Scotland or Ireland, and hope the bags arrive.
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@andy, That’s not quite right. I was on that Manchester flight and it wasn’t BA but a Thomas Cook flight which did fly to Innsbruck and very nearly landed but aborted due to visibility. It went to Munich to refuel and then flew back to Innsbruck.
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@geepee, ah thanks for the correction
It was lovely weather by the time we got the text message that you'd gone to Munich.
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@mauddib, It'll be busy, Easter we nearly missed our flight took over 4.5 hours from St Anton-MUC, we've booked ZHR flights for this season and will be on the train - traffic is getting crazy to Munich, done it for years but now in no rush to do MUC car journey at weekends.
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I have twice in the last two seasons been at Innsbruck waiting for BA flights to land and seen EasyJet flights redirected. Our BA flights landed and took off albeit slightly delayed. This was during bad weather or low cloud.
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@andy, Yes, I think it was a brief spell after the Gatwick flight landed and ours didn’t. It was fine weather when we flew back.
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@mauddib, I think it’s 2 hours to on the train to Zillertal from Munich. Maybe do as@Markymark29, suggests and take a train? Seems like the best plan.
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I would say its much longer than 2 hours from Munich airport to the Zillertal by train
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I would say its much longer than 2 hours from Munich airport to the Zillertal by train
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andy wrote:
Frankfurt is a bit of a trek though, to whomever mentioned that. At least a 6 hour drive to any reasonable ski resort. Better to use it as a changeover if flying from Manchester or Scotland or Ireland, and hope the bags arrive.

It was mentioned as “via Frankfurt” to get to Friedrichshafen... no-one was suggesting driving from there wink
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Munich airport to Mayrhofen by train is 3.5 to 4 hours, according to oebb.at
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If traffic is bad it's a right pain driving into Zillertal so the train might be a good option although from our last Ellmau experience the trains will be busy as well. There are routes to most the other main Austrian areas that avoid traffic though.
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@mauddib, Be aware that train from MUC to anywhere around Tirol Innsbruck valley is a pita, 2 changes minimum and at busy times with bags/ skis and tight platform changes its not great experience, that's why if doing trains we go Zurich, straight through train.

In order of preference i'd suggest:-

1. Direct flight to INN (I've never found prices or timings that work though)
2. Fly into ZHR Swiss and Oebb train
3. Car Hire ex MUC (as mentioned above mega queues at busy times going back to MUC)
4. Train MUC to Tirol (if at weekend) - if quiet time its great, awful at busy times. Once in Austria its fine but changes in Germany are a nightmare.
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If you do take the train, make sure you get on at the main station in Munich and not one of the stations nearer the airport as getting on the train is a mad scrum, my wife almost got left behind. I had to physically shove an irritating 20 something up the train to make room as he seemed to think blocking the corridor was a good idea. And forget making it to your reserved seat.
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@Ghost Dog, Ha yes, nobody helps with your kit either, they stand there waiting and let you struggle......and that was pre-invoking article 50, they'll likely kick it under the train now! rolling eyes
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Sunday will be better than Saturday for traffic. If you end up with Sat-Sat accommodation then consider flying on the Friday and getting a hotel for the night somewhere on the way. The difference in price between a Friday and a Saturday flight can often pay for the extra hotel night. If you got a hotel around Innsbruck then you'd be in resort early enough to get yourself an extra day's skiing too. The main motorway from Munich into Austria does clog up horribly at peak times but the more direct route (via Seefeld) might well be less busy.

Same logic on the way back: a morning ski followed by a stress free drive to Munich for a last night of holiday, overnight in a city centre hotel then fly on the Sunday.
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@mauddib, not sure the autobahn will be completely clogged up that weekend, February is always the worst as far as the winter goes. It also depends on what time you arrive in Munich. If you catch an early flight out of the UK you will probably end up up leaving the airport late morning / lunchtime which is probably the worst from a tourist traffic point of view. Also bear in mind that the worst traffic is Saturday mornings southbound but Sunday afternoons northbound. Weather can also play a significant role, a blizzard (not likely if recent years are anything to go by) will mess things up, unlikely to actually stop anything but makes it all much slower.

If the autobahn is completely overrun you can go via the Achenpass (it is very low extremely unlikely to have snow issues).The drive through Tegernsee can be a bit slow but after that it should be clear. It is a good bit shorter but only worth considering if the autobahn is very busy.

I wouldnt recommend the route via Garmisch and the Fernpass, if the autobahn is very busy so will this road be.

The train is perfectly possible but (depending on your destination) involves 2 or 3 changes and so not the quickest.

If you are going to the more westerly Tirol Zürich might be another option.
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Quote:

If you end up with Sat-Sat accommodation then consider flying on the Friday and getting a hotel for the night somewhere on the way


Good advice, we usually fly Lufthansa into MUC arriving 21.30 Friday evening and then hire car drive to Innsbruck arriving late 23.30 ish, and stay near the express road, early breakfast and in resort for 09.00, no traffic. Coming back is where the issues lie.....used to fly out Saturday evening, ski until 3pm and then airport dash but too many hold ups and stress......much easier to ski until normal finish, book Novotel at MUC airport for Saturday night and take Sunday LH flight home, but its all cost and adds to a longer than needed trip......works though.
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sounds like a lot of hassle.
Maybe just take the chance on innsbruck.
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@Mr.Egg, Innsbruck flights are not easy to find, only tour op charter flights and odd timings from others. I’ve never yet struck lucky in 25 years of visiting Tirol (maybe ok from SE UK but from north it doesn’t work).
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