After my recent flight with airBaltic to Riga I still had a second trip with the airline back to Berlin as part of my multi city booking through AirBerlin.
The flight to Berlin Tegel (TXL) from Riga international took roughly 90 minutes and airBaltic is flying one of its older aircraft, a Bombardier Q400 on this route.
Check-in on RIX was pretty quick and straightforward, since the airport is the biggest hub for airBaltic they have a pretty huge presence there. Unfortunately for Y+ tickets there is no fast track so I had to use the normal security check which was extremely crowded and slow.
It also features the most unfriendly and unprofessional security personal that I have ever experienced at any airport. The metal detector did not beep on me as usual, so I was just moving on to pick up my stuff. At this point one security guy approached me and told me that he is going to check me. I asked why since it did not beep and he said it beeped (if he just requested a random check of course I wouldn’t object, but he specifically claimed that it the metal detector beeped), so I offered to walk through it again and made a step towards it at which point he pushed me aggressively backwards and started to search me. With all my air travel I have never experienced such a rude and aggressive security staff and it sadly matched the rest of my experience in Riga.
Maybe I just had very bad luck all the days there but it seems that Latvia is not a specifically friendly country and common decency amongst people does not exist big scale.
After passing security (surprise surprise, I did not smuggle any metal…) I had a tea and waited for boarding. Riga international airport has a pretty decent selection of duty free shopping including Victorias Secret, a convenience store, costa and some restaurants as well as a business class lounge.
Boarding was done through on of the bus gates even though we just walked into the plane since it was a small plane that can not fit a jetbridge.
On my flight to Riga I had the pleasure to enjoy their newest plane, a CS300, which was announced as being significantly bigger and nicer than their existing aircraft. After my trip in the Q400 I do absolutely understand that comment now. It comes in a 2-2 configuration and it was by far the smallest, most cramped, least legroom and tiny seats plane I have ever been on so far, ever.
I made the mistake of selecting a window seat, it turned out that the seat is mounted so near to the wall that window seats have basically enough space for only one foot, the other one you have to place on the wall of the aircraft. It was extremely uncomfortable.
The service matched exactly the one on my previous flight, with the difference that this crew was significantly more friendly and smiled basically all the time. There were 2 flight attendants for this flight, opposite to 5 on the other flight.
While the flight was not bad for the duration and I managed to watch some series on my iPhone and talk to my seat neighbour I found this to be the most uncomfortable flight I have ever been on and the price does not reflect this. After all I paid EUR310 for both trips and even for intra Europe commuting the product delivered is underwhelming to say the least.