I recently had the pleasure of taking Alsie Express flight 104 and 105, which travel from Copenhagen to Sønderborg and back. The flight is operated by an ATR-72 500 with registration OY-CLY, and I have to say, it was a great experience overall. In this review, I'll be detailing my experience, starting with the flight from Copenhagen to Sønderborg. I took this flight as part of a trip with multiple flights. You can check out my flight to Copenhagen here!
The aircraft is a very clean ATR 72-500 leased by Air Alsie. In the configuration OY-CLY features, it offers massive legroom (see "Seating"). The ATR 72 is a short-haul aircraft built by the French-Italian joint venture ATR (Aérospatiale & Aeritalia). Today, it is owned 50% by Airbus and 50% by Leonardo. Another popular model is the ATR 42, which is a shortened version of the ATR 72. The ATR 72 and 42 have an excellent safety record and are used all over the world. On a per-aircraft basis, the ATR 72 is more efficient than the Dash 8 Q400, used for instance by Norwegian Widerøe.
To my surprise, there was a snack service offered on this 30-minute flight. Chocolate and mini-nachos were offered. The chocolate was salted and very tasty. However, the mini-nachos were not very flavorful, so I would recommend sticking with the chocolate. The apple juice offered was also delicious. It's worth noting that snacks are included in all fares and all products are sourced locally.
Upon arrival at Sønderborg, I was greeted by a small airport. If you're transferring, you'll have to go through security again, but that was done in a breeze. There is WiFi offered at the airport, but it's not very stable. After going through security, I waited in a small waiting area before boarding the aircraft for the return flight. The waiting area is quite nice, and offers some wall plugs.
On the flight to Sønderborg, I was seated on seat 5F. On the way back to Copenhagen, I was asked to sit further ahead (at least row 4). Since I wanted to keep a good look at the engines, I sat on seat 4F. This is right next to the propeller, while 5F offers a nice view of the prop from a little back. The seating was very comfortable and had massive legroom. For comparison, I am around 195cm (6'4) and was able to fully stretch my legs. It is worth noting that the other ATR 72 operated, OY-CLZ, has more seats and therefore offers less legroom (48 seats vs 64 seats; 109 cm vs 81 cm seat pitch). The seats were very comfortable and nicely padded.
I deliberately boarded last on the flight back so I could have a quick word with the captain. I asked him if it would be possible to visit the cockpit after landing, and he agreed. After landing, I was invited to the cockpit. I got to ask some questions about the aircraft and working as a pilot, and even got to take a photo of the flight deck. He kindly turned the avionics back on for my photo. Thanks a lot!
The story behind this route is pretty interesting. The airline operates 8 flights a day on this route (MMD101 - MMD 108). In our article about Scandinavian Regional Airlines, we talked about DAT Danish Air Transport, which is the Danish regional airline. It originally operated this route as well. However, locals and some companies based in Sønderborg wanted a more reliable connection to Copenhagen. DAT did not perform as they wished, which led to the local charter airline Air Alsie chartering the two ATR 72s from Danish leasing company NAC. Since then, they operate the route. The new airline Alsie Express first did not perform as expected, having many empty seats. Over time however, DAT retired the route because of passengers switching to Alsie Express.
The target audience for the airline are mostly business travellers, however many locals also use the route to travel to CPH for their flights. Surprisingly, many people from northern Germany also use the route, which is made more attractive by free parking at Sønderborg airport and the relatively cheap flight. The nearest alternative for many would be flying from Hamburg to Copenhagen, a route which is operated by an SAS ATR 72 but will be more expensive for many.
All in all, my experience with Alsie Express was great. The aircraft was clean and offered plenty of legroom, the snack service was a nice touch, and the opportunity to peek into the cockpit was a unique and exciting experience. The economy on Alsie Express feels like a business class, with comfortable seats, massive legroom and free food and drink. While Sønderborg airport is small and the WiFi is not very stable, it's a minor inconvenience considering the overall great experience. I would recommend Alsie Express to anyone looking for a quick and enjoyable flight.
Images in this postThe aircraft seen in Sonderborg via findaflight.eu
Snack Service on the first flight via findaflight.eu
Seat Map of OY-CLY (source: alsie.com) via alsie.com
Legroom on seat 5F of OY-CLY via findaflight.eu
Cockpit of OY-CLY via findaflight.eu