Just got back from vacation in London and a nice spotting trip...
July 22, 2000
BUF-LGA Comair 6040
We did a curbside check-in right outside of the terminal which is nice and clean, modern and spacious in Buffalo but had to go to the check in desks to check in of course. Wait looked long and we got to the airport at around 5 AM for the 6:10 flight. There was a big group of people all together for a later flight ahead of us and by letting us go ahead of them, we were right at the front of the line. Walked to the gate and it was 90% darkness outside and to my amazement, we were going to be flying on N729CA, the Cincinnati skyline special colours jet. There were only 9 people on our flight as it was a Saturday morning. Service was good, only 1 flight attendant and she served assorted juices, I had cranberry and it was lovely as I could move to both sides of the rather empty CRJ. Leather seats were very nice, a very executive style interior. Got into LGA on time on 31 and were at curbside within 10 minutes of stopping at the gate, paid $22 US for the bus ticket to JFK.
JFK-LHR Virgin Atlantic 26
Got to JFK at around 8:00 for the 9:20 flight on an Airbus A340. Check in was very quick and smooth. Virgin made the best of impressions on me from check in to baggage claim. Anyways we went to the departure area and I was pleased to see our flight would be on G-VHOL, the 2nd A340 ever manufactured and it is painted in the lovely new Silver Dream Machine colours. Boarding commenced around 50 minutes before departure. Taxiing out we passed a lot of great international aircraft I shot out of my window in 61A, at the rear of the large plane. Takeoff was on 22R and we climbed out in great weather over Long Island. Unfortunately, the jumpseat was unavailable as it was a training flight and a check captain occupied it. Service was the greatest I have ever experienced. First off the interior was very colourful and lively, and upbeat music was quietly playing on the sound system, obviously all Virgin Records hits. Flight was nice and long, and the personal TV's really made crossing the Atlantic a much more enjoyable experience than what I am used to with Royal Airlines. The cabin crew were all wonderful, every single f/a was dedicated to making the flight as enjoyable as possible and the food was abosolutely lovely. We landed on 09L at Heathrow at dusk with a nice approach over Windsor and Eton College was off to my side. Used our British passports and totally bypassed a HUGE lineup of 'foreigners' at passport control. Baggage was claimed within 5 minutes of arriving at the carousel. We had to wait a while to finally get the the Budget lot via shuttle bus but it wasn't bad as when I got out of baggage claim, I bought the latest Airliner World (BA 757 on cover).
July 29, 2000
LGW-CDG British Airways 2820
Got to Gatwick very late, almost missed the flight but I would rather not talk about that. We decided to go to Paris for the weekend for some spotting and to see the city. Flight was on a Boeing 737-4Q8 which used to belong to Dan Air. It was G-BSNV in the Union Flag tail, now very common amongst most BA aircraft, mainline and franchisee. Flight to Paris was nice, leather interior, good service which was a sandwich. Got up to the flightdeck and it turned out the 2 pilots were brothers. We only had carry ons so when we got into the CDG gate about 5-10 mins late, I stayed at our little rotunda and waited for BSNV to push back so I could grab some photos of it. Spent the rest of the day at CDG spotting with a British fellow, a could of Dutch guys and a couple of Hungarians, one of whom shot that published shot of the Concorde in flames, truly a tragedy. He showed me the originals which were of much higher quality than the newspaper versions. Anyways Paris was truly lovely and the spotting was great as well.
July 31, 2000
ORY-LHR British Airways 3263 (Air Liberte)
Flight was ok, not up to BA standard in my opinion, much less legroom and f/a's were rather snooty. Flew on F-GHEB, an MD-83 with the Rights of Man tail. Approach to LHR was interesting, 27R right over London.
August 6, 2000
LHR-JFK British Airways 177
Again, we almost missed our flight. The check in desk was closed when we arrived and luckily the captain approved us to board. It was on G-BNLT, a 747-436 painted in the Koguty Lowickie (Polish) world tail. Flight was great, but not a good as Virgin Atlantic's service. Visited the flightdeck but the captain didn't allow me to snap a photo. Long wait to clear customs as the claustrophobic JFK T7. Nice approach over Long Island yet the weather was rather unpleasant.
LGA-BUF US Airways 464
August 7, 2000
LGA-BUF US Airways 2316
LGA-DCA US Airways Shuttle 6863
Well, US Airways is a horror story. 2 cancelled flights in a row and now a stop in Washington DCA. Flight was the 13:00 and was very short, aboard N104UW, an Airbus A320. Had a cranberry juice and they had to take it away when I was half done because 'we are landing' Flight was fine, uneventful and nothing special, as expected from a Shuttle flight. Is nice to fly an A320 on the route, and the flight was 20-30% full so there was tons of room.
DCA-BUF US Airways 1488
14:45 flight was almost full. Aboard a 737-300 N511AU still in the old colour scheme. Again, a short flight which was uneventful except when we got into BUF our baggage hadn't made it and we are still without it. Terrible thing, first US Airways cancelled our flight on the Sunday night, then the Monday morning, then put us through DCA and finally lost out luggage. TERRIBLE service, all they gave was a hotel room last night because we were connecting from a different carrier, and a $150 US voucher valid only for their horrible air carrier. They are the worst airline I have ever flown, the service was nothing special, worse than Royal and Canada 3000 and we had to wait in a 3 hour line at LGA last night to find out how we would get to Buffalo and if they would put us in a hotel. I'm VERY frustrated with them and only envision me flying them once more, to redeem those cheap vouchers. Not even a flight's worth of vouchers, it's horrible.
Hope you all enjoyed that.