MSYtristar From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 6242 posts, RR: 51 Posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 9288 times:
Well, I guess you can say that I've had an interest in the A300 since I saw CO fly them to MSY back in the early 90's. In fact, I liked the plane so much, I wrote a poem about it and mailed it to CO corporate...who in turn forwarded it to Airbus Industrie of North America, who in turn mailed me a model A300 in the prototype colors along with a letter from the Airbus NA chairman. I still have the model and letter today, and I'm pretty proud of that. But even though CO brought the big Airbii down to NOLA once...sometimes twice daily on the IAH run...I never got on one. And when CO got ride of its A300 fleet in the mid 90's, I figured it would probably be even tougher to get on one.
So today, I got to do what I've wanted to do since 1993: fly on an A300. No, not the A300B4 model that CO used to fly, rather the A300-600 in the colors of AA, a plane which has seen its fair share of bad press since the crash of AA587 nearly six years ago, but one which has a pretty decent safety record all things considered. Also, I've read about how horrible the planes are to fly on (on a.net of course), so I sort of wanted to see that for myself.
My journey started on the wingleted wings of this 738 outbound from Hartsfield to MIA. It was just about a totally full flight, just a few scattered seats open in coach. Boarding commenced right at 0545, and since I was in group 2, I was on the plane in a matter of minutes. This was my first time on an AA 738, and although I think the seats are comfortable enough, I hate the old style TV monitors above the aisles. Like the 757, if you're at the window, you can't see half the screen. Very poor design. Anyway, pushback was on time, and we were airborne by 0620. In flight service consisted of beverages only, not that I was expecting anything more. Besides a few chops on departing ATL, it was a very smooth flight. We landed at MIA from the West a few minutes early and parked at one of the C gates. I didn't take many pics on this one, but I got a few, and you can see them below.
* layover in MIA *
It's nice to see construction taking place at MIA...I'm sure it will be really nice when it's all finished....but much of the airport is in shambles right now. I won't hold that against the place, though, because it's such a cool city.
After grabbing a slice of Pizza for breakfast, I made my way to gate D39, to await the boarding of AA1845 to SJU.
Business class boarding commenced right at 0945. I made my way down the jetway and entered the cabin of the beast. Immediately I noticed it was one of the refurbished birds with the LCD monitors and new seat designs. I found my seat, 2J, and sat down. It was very comfortable. I really liked the feel of the small business cabin...very intimate. The plane looked really good on the inside all in all. It took a while for all 250+ passengers to be seated, but we ended up pushing back right on time at 1020. One small gripe: there was no pre departure beverage service for the full business class cabin, which I thought was sort of a shame, but whatever. After a very slow taxi, we were airborne in around 30 seconds, and man was it ever a steep takeoff! It was...well, awesome, for lack of a better word. I liked the "feel" of the plane...it just had that old school wide body feel and sound to it....moreso than the 767 I think. Climbout was smooth under a mostly clear sky. I got some great views of Miami downtown, Miami Beach, and of course the clear blue waters of the Atlantic. About 20 min. after takeoff, the f/a's came around with a beverage and warm nut service, followed by a hot towel service. There were two options for lunch today: Chicken salad on Foccachia bread, or a Turkey wrap. I had the Chicken salad, and it was good...it came with a corn salad, crackers and cheese, and a warm cookie. And free booze, of course. I don't usually fly "up front" so I don't have much to compare the meal to, but the portion was adequate and the presentation was nice, served on a glass plate with real utensils and glasses. I was pretty much stuffed after the meal so for the rest of the flight I just relaxed and took in the sights.
The weather deteriorated as we neared the Dominican Republic...clouds, clouds, and more clouds...very hazy sky. In fact it continued until we were on our final descent into SJU, where it cleared up a bit, but still, it looked like it was going to be a murky day. Final approach was choppy but the 'Bus handled it with ease, and we made a bumpy and firm touchdown right on time at 1255, concluding a very enjoyable (and very scenic) flight on a classic workhorse!
Here are the pictures from AA1845...
* layover in SJU*
I had about 4 hours to kill give or take, but the weather was not really cooperating enough for me to go spot or go to the beach, so I did the next best thing: hit the bar. I actually had a couple of decent cocktails before taking a stroll around the airport and paying a visit to the Best Western hotel which is connected to the SJU terminal. The airport was crowded all day long, and I made my way back through security at about 1430 to avoid the mad rush.
SJU-MIA (continuing service to JFK)
Dep: 1720 (actual 1755)
Arr: 2000 (actual 2005)
This bird was a little late coming in from somewhere (SDQ I think), but it looked like there was a chance we'd only be about ten minutes late departing...that is, of course, until they annouced the dreaded "mechanical delay". At that point I was worried about my connection, seeing as I only had an hour to start with. But as it turned out, the mechanics were finished pretty quickly, and boarding commenced at 1725...with the flight time being annouced at 2h10m, my connection seemed doable. So here I was in A300 coach class....this particular plane was NOT refurbished...it had the old drop down monitors, old leather C seats, and coach seats without headrests. But, for all of its shortcomings in that department, at least it was clean, and my tray table worked properly. Once again, another packed flight. I think every seat was taken on this one. We pushed at 1750 and were in the air at 1755, after another amazingly short takeoff roll. We made a big left turn a few seconds after takeoff to align ourselves with MIA. Although the sky was clear for the first few minutes, it went downhill fast, and we spent most of the rest of the flight in clouds. Pretty choppy at times, but nothing too bad. Some kids movie was shown, and beverages were served. They were selling Lay's chips, cookies, trail mix, and candy bars for $3 each....no thanks...besides, I was still full from earlier. I just had a Coke and enjoyed the ride. The flight was uneventful until 15 minutes out of MIA, and then, out of nowhere, it became eventful. It hit me like a freight train. I was looking out the window when all of a sudden WHAM. "What the hell is wrong with my head???" My head felt like it was going to explode. I noticed almost every person in my area with at least one hand on their ears. Moments later the captain annouced: "Well folks, as you have noticed, we have experienced a loss of cabin pressure...we're working on some things up here to get it resolved....we really do apologize as we know it is quite uncomfortable." Not to make it more than it was, but it was the worst feeling I've ever experienced on a plane. As the minutes rolled along it got better, but my head was still buzzing to say the least. We flew over Miami Beach before turning back around and landing to the East. Once we got on the taxiway the captain annouced: "Since we're on the ground now, here's what happened....both of the cabin pressure systems on this aircraft failed at the time, so we had to manually take command of it to get the pressure back to sea level." He apologized again, and we parked moments later at one of the E gates, concluding an enjoyable, albeit mildly painful, flight.
Here are pics from AA588...
Here's the landing in MIA....note the clapping in the background lol....
My flight back to ATL on AA1748 was a blur...I slept the whole way...so I won't talk about it at all, other than to say it was a typical, full 738 flight.
So what was my verdict of the A300?
Honestly, I liked the plane. Quite a bit actually. Both classes of service were comfortable...the planes really were not dirty...the ride was smooth and it handled well in turbulence...and it just "feels" like a wide body, as I said earlier. And that takeoff...folks, it's worth the price of admission alone, trust me.
So go out and give the old girl a try before she's put out to pasture in a few years. And remember, loss of cabin pressure can happen to any aircraft.
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8263 posts, RR: 56 Reply 3, posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 8947 times:
Great TR, great photo's too!
Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter): Well, I guess you can say that I've had an interest in the A300 since I saw CO fly them to MSY back in the early 90's. In fact, I liked the plane so much, I wrote a poem about it and mailed it to CO corporate...who in turn forwarded it to Airbus Industrie of North America, who in turn mailed me a model A300 in the prototype colors along with a letter from the Airbus NA chairman. I still have the model and letter today, and I'm pretty proud of that
- That's a pretty neat story.
Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter): I hate the old style TV monitors above the aisles. Like the 757, if you're at the window, you can't see half the screen. Very poor design.
Glad you finally got on an A300, or rather 2 different ones. I've only had about 4 A300 flights, but she is a special bird to me for some reason, my last one was a TG machine back in Jan 2006, that was a nice flight.
DCAjet From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 367 posts, RR: 5 Reply 5, posted (5 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8886 times:
Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter): So go out and give the old girl a try before she's put out to pasture in a few years. And remember, loss of cabin pressure can happen to any aircraft.
Great report - and does justice to a type that seems to get more that its fair share of bashing around this neighborhood. It's really a classic. Some of the criticisms folks have of the AA A300 600s (dirty & tired cabins, maintenance) have more to do with AA and the use the type gets than with the type itself... Having flown LH's A300 600 many times, they are impeccable in every possible way...
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
BostonBeau From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 459 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8094 times:
I always thought the A300B4 was a very comfortable plane. I used to fly them when Eastern used them on the Air Shuttle from Boston to New York. I think those may be the same planes Continental later....err...."adopted". Although obviously the Air-Shuttle DC-9's were configured with more leg room than normal, I don't know if the A300's were since they were not used exclusively on the Air-Shuttle. But in any case, there was plenty of leg room (I'm 6'1" tall) and seat width in Coach. Speaking of the Eastern Air-Shuttle, I remember how funny it was on there for a while, just after Pan Am had started their shuttle, when Eastern had their cabin crews both collect fares AND serve a snack/beverage during the short flight to LaGuardia. They used to hand you a bag full of food: there must have been at least 10-12 items in there (fruit, muffin, cookies, chips, candy, etc.). They didn't have time to ask you what you wanted, so they just gave you the whole thing!
Jmy007 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 591 posts, RR: 2 Reply 14, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8052 times:
Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter): annouced: "Well folks, as you have noticed, we have experienced a loss of cabin pressure...we're working on some things up here to get it resolved....we really do apologize as we know it is quite uncomfortable."
I do wonder, at what point do the oxygen masks come out? I would think that would be the sudden loss of pressure they always talk about in the safety demo. But I guess not.
Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
MSYtristar From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 6242 posts, RR: 51 Reply 15, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 8029 times:
Quoting Jmy007 (Reply 14): I do wonder, at what point do the oxygen masks come out? I would think that would be the sudden loss of pressure they always talk about in the safety demo. But I guess not
I was wondering the same thing, actually. Maybe an A300 guru out there can shed some light on the subject. All I know is what the Captain told us upon landing: "Both cabin pressure systems failed at the same time".
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 679 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7902 times:
Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter): So go out and give the old girl a try before she's put out to pasture in a few years. And remember, loss of cabin pressure can happen to any aircraft
Very nice report on the A300 and I'm glad you had a chance to fly it. AA uses it mostly on Caribbean routes and you see a lot of them at MIA and JFK and some at BOS.
It is a good airplane. I had a chance to fly in on BOS-MIA 5 years ago just to try it. I can't compare it to the 777 but I'm glad I got to fly it.
What altitude were you at when you lost cabin pressure? Normally the oxygen masks don't drop unless you are at the higher altitudes
Celestar From Singapore, joined Jul 2001, 245 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 7666 times:
I, myself is a great fan of A300, espeically the B4 version. I am a big fan of the China Airlines AB300, in old color (with the national flag version) Yup, I know CI had two of them crashed but nothing beat the look of a not so big, not so small AB300, especially in that iconistic livery of CI. The AB330 is too 'big' and for regional flight, the AB300 is just about right. Though I had taken only once on CI, I had great fond memory of it. Being a spotter, just love the AB300 take off, what a swifty looking bird! I envy you for the model that AIRBUS send to you and thanks for the info that CO used to fly AB300, a fact that I was not aware of.
Khaleej777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2007, 90 posts, RR: 0 Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6320 times:
Thanks for a really enjoyable trip report, MSYtristar. I'm also a big fan of the A-300 and your report has brought back happy memories of clocking up so many miles shuttling DXB-LHR through the 1990s on EK. A wonderful aircraft. Very pleased for you that you achieved your ambition to take a ride. And you're right about the powerful take-offs too!
Best wishes, Khaleej777
25 B747forever: What a great TR. The pics and videos are really good. Thank you for sharing. B747forever.
26 Thai744: Great trip report. Thanks for posting! Just regarding the 737 sectors and photos... I think AA is the first airline I have seen that has the company w
27 Atrude777: For the US, no Southwest Airlines did this first. Then AA started it next with their 737's, for the US. Ryan Air, and other UK airlines already did t
28 Thai744: Great! Thanks for the info! I learn so much "useful trivia" on this site! No airline in Australia does it, and I haven't been to the US for about 8 ye