June 20th, 2001
LH 2147 PAD-FRA, operated by EW
My girlfriend and me arrived at the airport about an hour before takeoff and went directly to the EW check-in counter. We were second in line, right behind two Asian guys flying to Shanghai who were desperately trying to get seats together. We did not have that problem as we already made our seat reservations for the transatlantic segment when buying the tickets. Overall the check-in was alright, the agent was quite friendly but not too fast.
We went through security, got some of the newspapers LH offers for its customers, and boarded the plane about 15 minutes before scheduled takeoff. Our seats were 16A and C. The ATR wasn't full at all, only about 30 passengers were on board. We left on time and the 2 flight attendants started their service right after takeoff. They served a drink of your choice (coke for me) along with the lunch bag you seem to get on about every flight with Team Lufthansa as well. Those bags contained two rolls with cheese and ham, an apple and orange juice in a box. Furthermore they offered chocolate bars a little later. The flight was short and uneventful, only a few turbulences right before landing in Frankfurt. We arrived about 15 minutes early and we brought to Terminal 1 by bus from our parking position East of Terminal 2. As we had about 2.5 hours to kill, we decided to go to the observation decks at both terminals. However, there weren't to many interesting aircraft to spot, mainly European carriers such as BA, AF, AZ and SN besides LH. Highlights were definitely Eastern European airlines like Aeroflot and Transaero.
June 20th, 2001
UA 977 FRA-IAD
We finally went to the gate C6 where we arrived at 16:30, about 30 minutes before scheduled takeoff. I've never been to Concourse C at FRA before, so far my flights had all been out of A and B, and I must say that C is most likely the worst part of FRA. It was dark and the interior was all seventies style, not comparable to the new T2 and the Concourses A and B being upgraded to today's standards.
When we boarded the aircraft, I recognized that N208UA did NOT have economy plus. I was a little disappointed, at least the aircraft had PTVs. The plane was packed, I'd guess connecting passengers from all over Europe make that flight quite successful for UA. They even had FAs speaking quite a variety of languages, including French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Dutch and German. Our seats were 21H and J. Takeoff was at 17:30 and once we were airborne the FAs started handing out hot towels and immigration form afterwards. The video programming wasn't that interesting IMO, they just showed two movies (Down to Earth and Anti Trust) as the third movie channel did not work. I decided to stick to the map and Channel 9 for most of the time. We flew directly over London and left Europe above Ireland. About 2 hours after departure we were served dinner, choice was between pasta, pork and chicken. I chose pasta and it was decent. My girlfriend had her special meal and it was okay as well. During the entire flight the friendly FAs came around and served drinks very frequently, that was much better than when I flew UA transatlantic before. When we reached North America, I heard on Channel 9 that there was a thunderstorm in the NYC area, so we had to take another way to go to IAD. The route was like Halifax, Portsmouth, Albany, Binghampton, Harrisburgh, IAD. A small snack was served about an hour before arriving Dulles 30 minutes late in a thunderstorm. This was the first time I've seen lightning from inside a plane. Immigration at IAD was rather fast, there was obviously not too much international traffic that late any more. The airport itself was not impressive, I really do not like those mobile lounges. They look kinda ridiculous.
June 23rd, 2001
UA 1702 IAD-LGA
After some nice days in D.C. we were heading to NYC. My girlfriend and me arrived at Dulles at 9:30am. There was a really long queue in front of the UA check-in counters. After standing in line for about 45 minutes a lady finally asked who had 11:00am departures and those people, like us, were then checked in ASAP. That was quite good, but they definitely did not have enough staff that day. The gate for our flight to LGA was D3, so we had to take one of those ugly mobile lounges again to get there. On the apron, you could still see a variety of international carriers as flights could not depart the evening before due to a thunderstorm. Those included SR A332, AF A343, BA B772, LH B744, JK B763, BMI A332 and SV B744 (I've seen the last 2 for the first time). Boarding was fast even though the A320 was quite full. Our seats were 12A and B. Pushback was at 11:05, but the plane stopped on the apron. 15 minutes later, the captain finally said what was going on. They had trouble with the flight computer, so we had to go back to the gate. I thought it was pretty funny when the captain said: "You don't have to worry about me bringing you in danger. I'm the biggest chicken in the world!". Apparently the problem was solved quickly and we were pushed back again at 11:35am. But the plane stopped again with the same problem. On Channel 9 I could hear the First Officer talking to the maintenance guy who said that they tested it just without the engines running. So they had to check the computer again. At 12:15, the problem was finally solved and we were refueled due to possible circles because of bad weather in NYC. All three airports in the city were closed. So we just stayed in Washington until 1pm when we finally took off even thought the NYC airports were still closed. During the entire time we had to wait on the ground the FAs came around with water only once, I think they should have given their customers a drink of their choice at least. During the flight they offered pretzels and drinks again. We had to fly circles over Philly as all NYC airports were still closed. At one point I could hear on Ch. 9 that the captain even considered going back to D.C. if the situation did not clear up soon. LGA was finally opened again and we were the very first plane to land there. The visibility was still bad, but I think it was alright to land. The airport was a mess, there were like 20 jets waiting at the runway ready to start. We disembarked the A320 and went into the terminal which was very crowded as well. Now I can understand some of you guys bitching about LGA as it is probably even worse in winter.
June 27th, 2001
B6 6 JFK-BUF
As we arrived @ JFK quite early, we had plenty of time to explore parts of the airport. As I had not been to the airport for five years, there were quite noticeable changes, e.g. the new Terminals 1 and 4. JetBlue's Terminal 6 was rather unimpressive but functional. The check-in personal was friendly and quick, we did not even have to stand in line. Boarding of was at gate 10 and the aircraft just looked superb with its spotless leather interiors. I was really surprised to see so many people in formal clothes on that flight, JetBlue really seems to be appealing to business travelers as well. Takeoff was at 5:45pm on runway 31L. Once we were airborne, the FAs announced today's inflight service. Due to the short distance and full load (it was packed!) they did not offer all drinks but just coke, sprite and water, plus their famous blue potato chips which were really delicious. The flight route, which I was able to track on my PTV went right above Scranton, Binghampton to Buffalo. The PTVs are a very good feature but they still have their faults as the airplane looses the TV signal during certain flight conditions, e.g. turns. So there is still room to improve the system. Other than that: Great job! Even though we left JFK late, we were still on time in BUF. The airport there looks awesome, I love the design of their terminal. Overall I must say that JetBlue is a great airline, especially when you remember what you pay for them. I'd definitely recommend them to everybody!
July 15th, 2001
UA 1459 BUF-ORD
Due to the full load on this flight, we could not get seats together. We got one in standard economy, 15B, and one in economy plus, 6E. The aircraft really looked spotless from both outside and inside. When I checked the reg, after being home again, I found out that it was still brand new, only 3 weeks old. Takeoff was only 15 minutes late and the flight was enjoyable but rather short. We got pretzels and drinks from the attentive FAs and I had a nice chat with a German living in Buffalo sitting next to me. Arrival in Chicago was on time.
July 15th, 2001
UA 944 ORD-FRA
My girlfriend and me had about 4 hours to kill at ORD. So we used the monorail to go to the different terminals and spend some time there standing at the windows just watching plane taking off and land. For our flight to Frankfurt we already had seat reservations for seats 44 K and J. Once we boarded the B747 at gate C18, we found out that this very aircraft did have economy plus, luckily we did have some space to stretch out on that longhaul flight at least. Takeoff was at 3pm and about 2 hours later they started serving dinner. The food was very good IMHO, I had shrimps, tossed salad, potatoes, vegetables and steak. To my surprise, there were only German and English speaking FAs on this flight as opposed to the other transatlantic crossing. Service was fine, they did come around with drinks quite frequently as opposed to some other transatlantic flights I have taken. As the plane did not have PTVs, they showed movies and some reportage for most of the time but a route map only twice. Channel 9 was good though. The flight patch was something like Chicago, Goose Bay, Greenland, Shannon, Frankfurt. Before landing in FRA, they offered a small breakfast with fruit salad and wraps or bagels. We landed in foggy FRA on time. Highlights on the ground were the folowing: China Airline A340, Turkmenistan B757, Gulf Air B767, US Airways B767 and A330, Delta and American B767, Air Canada B747 and A330, Northwest DC10, South African, Qantas, Cathay, Thai and Air Namibia B747.
July 16th, 2001
LH 2142 FRA-PAD, operated by EW
After getting the newest copies of Airways and Airliner World at a book store we went to Concourse A. At the gate I grabbed some newspapers before boarding the bus bringing us to the ATR. Takeoff was at 8am and the 2 FAs started their service right after being airborne. They had plenty of time handing out their breakfast bags as the plane was only about 40 percent full. Furthermore they offered drinks. The flight was smooth and comfortable, thanks to EW's leather seats. After about 30 minutes we landed at PAD. All our bags made it back home, that's another plus for the airlines involved.
Hope my report was not too boring. Any feedback is appreciated. Feel free to ask some questions!