Ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1675 posts, RR: 52 Posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Special Thanks go out to Hans Resch, Horolsky Alexandr, Lee D. Holden, Olivier Lamoral, Teemu Tuuri – FAP, and Werner Horvath for granting permission to use their respective pictures in the video above.
Syrian Arab Airlines is an airline with a rich history; one which is favored by most aviators such as ourselves, primarily because of certain special aircraft that our age of aviation seems to no longer accommodate. Yes, Syrian Air is our playground!
As they say, time does fly, but perhaps the other way around on Syrian Air. For as we moved forward in-flight, I found myself going back to an era of 1970’s aviation that I have totally missed out on. This I thought, is the true glamour of flight in its purest and most preserved form; forget Kingfisher or Virgin, what do they know?
You probably won’t find any other airline that flies the 747-SP, the Tupolev 134 and the Yak40 altogether on this day and age, and that is precisely why this interesting airline receives frequent business from your ever so obsessed aero-freak.
I invite you to step back in time with me, as we enter this Syrian special performance of what turned out to be the adventure of a lifetime....
Welcome to my 7th Trip Report.
The intention of this TR, was to cover the following flights on Syrian Arab Airlines:
This is a joint-TR which includes a mixture between Sam Chui’s and my pictures. All his photos have been included here with his permission, and are indicated by his name on the bottom-right corner of each picture.
This trip was in the plans for over six months when Sam Chui had invited me to join him. As the sole purpose of this trip was to specifically fly the 74L, TU-134, and YAK-40, there was no doubt that Syrian Air was the the optimal choice. Apart from that, the actual selection was left for the timing of the trip. I had never thought of making it a point to fly such aircraft before, so once the decision was made, I realized that I had entered into a new dimension of ‘Aviator Obsessive Behavior,’ if I may.
After we mapped out our travel plans, we made our bookings on www.syriaair.com to discover that you can only do so much as make a reservation on their website. It is when I went to the RB office in Abu Dhabi that I learned that passport and visa details must be verified by an RB agent prior to issuing any ticket. After all that was cleared, I issued all our tickets, domestic as well as international portions. The roundtrip cost for the DXB-DAM sector was approximately AED 800, while a roundtrip domestic sector cost approximately AED 110.
The next step, which initially proved to be a challenging one, was the hotel selection. There was an Arab Summit that was going on in Damascus during the time we were going to be there, so all hotels were sold out. Furthermore, from the way I understood it, most hotels in Syria are not available for booking outside of Syria and instead, one had to go through the country’s national tourist authority through some means. In any case, the few hotels that were available for booking online were all showing as sold out. Furthermore, I also called a few hotels myself, and also arrived at a negative result. Since we had planned for an overnight stay in Aleppo, a hotel was easily found, however, we decided to take the risk of traveling without securing a room in Damascus, in hopes of finding one while we were there. Who cares? You only live once!
Thursday March 27th, 2008
I woke up around 8:30AM to shower, get dressed, and pack up my clothes, cameras, and other requisites. By 10:30AM I was all set to go, so I bid my goodbyes to my mother, who was so skeptical about my intention to fly with Syrian Air, and headed out to Dubai, where I was to meet Sam and a friend for a quick lunch before going to the airport.
On the way there I got lost for a good 15 minutes when I realized that I had taken the wrong exit. As stupid as I had felt at the time, this was due to the completion of certain construction works on a portion of the highway, that lead to the removal of a detour that I had gotten accustomed to. Nevertheless, I found my way back and by 12:30PM, I had arrived at the Lime Tree Café in Jumeirah, where we had lunch.
For anyone who is interested, the Lime Tree Café has some of the best sandwiches and desserts that I have ever had in my life.
At around 1PM, we had agreed to part ways in order to save time. I was to head straight to the airport to park my car, while Sam went to gather his belongings and catch up with me at DXB.
By 1:40PM, I had arrived at the DXB long-term parking. However, this proved to be one big hassle as it took me about 20 minutes till I actually found a parking spot. This of course, is in typical Dubai fashion!
I proceeded towards the departures entrance, which connects to the main terminal building through a tunnel of moving walkways.
DXB Long-Term Parking
Tunnel Connecting the Parking Garage to the Terminal Building
I arrived at Departure Entrance 3 to find a rather crowded terminal. Most of the passengers at the time happened to be traveling with me on Syrian Air to Damascus. As I had some time to kill, I thought I would wait by the departures area for a while and smoke a few cigarettes outside.
Check-In Area 3
I was suddenly approached by a guy who asked me where he needed to go to check-in for Syrian Air. I told him I was also on the same flight as he, and directed him to proceed to Area 3 for check-in. As seems to be the norm on all flights to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt, the man asked me if I could carry some of his extra baggage as my own, in an attempt to forego the extra baggage charge. I ‘regretfully’ declined and when he tried to persuade me, I told him that I was airport staff myself, and that this is strictly against the rules. He seemed to have respected my wish, thanked me, and proceeded inside for check-in.
At around 2:15PM, Sam had arrived. We then proceeded through security and into the check-in hall to find a long queue by the Syrian Air counters.
Syrian Arab Airlines Check-In
We stood in line and awaited our turn. As the passengers ahead of us finished checking-in, it was our turn. We handed our tickets and passports to your typical generic DNATA agent who showed little to no emotion as he took our tickets, checked our passports, and typed away at his computer.
The agent then informed us that Sam’s reservation had been cancelled, although he held a booking that has been obsessively reconfirmed time and time again. The Station Manager was then called for help in this situation. After making several phone calls, the RB Station Manager told us that he had reinstated Sam’s booking on this flight, however we would need to check with the local RB office in Damascus regarding the return booking, as that too was cancelled.
As that ordeal was taken care of, I asked the Station Manager if we could pay for an upgrade to Business Class. Unfortunately however he ‘regretfully’ informed me that Business Class on today’s flight is full. On the other hand, the check-in agent told us that Business Class today is ‘wide open’ but in order to get an upgrade, we had to go back out to the departures hall past security, and to the Syrian Air Office.
Next on the agenda was the assignment of seats. We tried our attempts at securing seats in the front row of the 747-SP (i.e. at the nose), but were unsuccessful as the seats were occupied. Our second attempts were at securing seats in the last row of the aircraft, but those too, were occupied. We thought we would then settle for two window seats, only to discover that all window seats have also been occupied. Confused to say the least, as all our backup seating plans have been unsuccessfully exercised, Sam poked his head around the counter next to the agent, to get a view of the seating plan on the monitor.
The flight today had a 100% load factor, so we had to settle for whatever was available. As such, a middle and an aisle seat have been assigned to us. As we had no luggage to check-in, the agent only printed our boarding passes and handed back our passports, and tickets.
My Boarding Pass
Before proceeding through immigration, we decided to go back out to the Syrian Air Office. The Airline offices at DXB are located one level below the main departures hall. We took the elevator to the lower level and began our search for the Syrian Air Office. There were many signs indicating the direction and room number of the RB office, in which we strictly followed. However, when it seemed like were just going around in circles, we realized that this office did not exist, and in fact, it was actually occupied by China Southern.
Giving up, we then headed back upstairs through security and straight to immigration and security again. After a long trek to the main terminal building, we arrived at the gate by 3:45PM. As we had little time till boarding, we decided to go inside the holding area. We handed our boarding passes to another DNATA lady who tore off the large portions of our boarding passes and handed back our stubs. Finally, the SP was in sight!
Syrian Arab Airlines B747-SP
While we waited in the holding area, we spotted a group of three guys taking pictures of the SP, and after taking one look at Sam, they instantly recognized him. Two of which are definite a.net members, Airsicknessbag and Johannes, and the third, I am unsure, but should not disclose any real names.
From Another Angle
By 4:15PM, five minutes after our scheduled departure time, we had not boarded the plane yet, let alone departed. As we waited for boarding, I watched out the window for any celebrity sightings.
China Airlines B762ER (B-2556) Arriving from Athens (I think)
Emirates B77W (A6-EBP)
At 4:40PM an announcement was made that our flight was delayed, and that the new departure time was 4:50PM. I’m not sure who would be daft enough to believe that they have yet to call for a full load of passengers to board a 747-SP through one aerobridge, have everyone seated and ready, close the door, get clearance to depart, pushback, taxi, and takeoff in only ten minutes. So, we decided to just watch out for more celebrity sightings.
Royal Jordanian Cargo A310-F
EK A345 & SV 772, Alongside the 74L
By 5:15PM, another announcement was made that there was to be a further delay. While no reason was specified, nor was a rescheduled departure time, we were invited to proceed to the food court for a free meal which consisted of juice and a sandwich. As such, passengers were allowed to leave the holding area but had to leave their boarding pass stubs with the DNATA staff.
Passengers Leaving the Holding Area
Shortly afterwards, I decided to go outside the holding area to smoke a cigarette. I arrived at the podium to find the DNATA agents extremely frustrated with the passengers who honestly were calmly requesting for more information on the status of the flight. I was actually surprised with this because if this was a flight to Amman for example, hell would have broken loose as passengers will not tolerate a situation like this. I left my boarding pass stub with the agent and was free to go.
Internet Kiosk at DXB
What A Lovely Surprise, The SQ Girls!
I returned back to the gate and tried to get my boarding pass stub back, however the rude DNATA staff were unwilling to give it to me because they were ‘busy’ sorting out the passengers who wanted to go out. I managed to squeeze my way through the crowd and pushed my way inside the holding area.
Drama At The Podium
What’s wrong with this picture?
That Same CA Aircraft, Turned Around & On Its Way To PEK
Sam and I then decided to go to the food court for a bite to eat. It was then when I overheard the Station Manager inform a group of passengers that there was a technical problem with the aircraft and that a part has been ordered from Emirates Engineering. I was surprised to know that EK Engineering had parts for the 74L.
Some more celebrity sightings from the food court:
Our Aircraft Again
One Of My Favorite Liveries: SV 772ER (HZ-AKE)
TNT B747-4HAF/ER/SCD (OO-THB)
When we finished eating, we thought we would go back to the gate to see if there was any update on our flight. When we reached the podium we found that the DNATA agents had given up altogether and left the gate with our boarding passes with them. There was absolutely no staff on site, with no information on our flight available anywhere.
With the entrance to the holding area no longer manned nor restricted for entry, we walked inside and sat inside for an hour or so. At around 8PM, the aircraft was pushed back, and towed somewhere, presumably at the time, to a remote stand. As this was happening, all the passengers gathered by the window and calmly watched as their plane left them stranded. By that time, rumor had it that the needed spare part for the aircraft, along with two Syrian Arab Airlines Engineers were due to arrive from Damascus in three hours.
Shortly after, a Saudi Arabian Airlines 777 docked at our aerobridge. This was followed by an announcement requesting all passengers to exit the holding area in order to make way for the departing passengers on SV. Again, no other information was given. So we left the gate, and Sam wanted to check out the Airport Hotel’s spa facilities for a possible shower/massage etc.
DXB Duty Free
Apart from showers, all spa facilities at the hotel were fully booked for the evening, so Sam and I decided to go to the Marhaba Lounge to relax until whenever! On our way we stopped by the Information Desk to check on our flight, however they had no information or any update.
Royal Brunei B767, from LHR With Continued Service to Bandar Seri Begawan
We were completely famished, so we helped ourselves at the buffet, which had a decent selection of hot and cold items. I especially liked the Sweet & Sour Chicken.
Food Offerings in The Lounge
A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
Ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1675 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Friday March 28th, 2008
At exactly midnight, I randomly thought to take a look at the FIDS to see what activity was on at the time. Finally, the screen was showing that our flight was scheduled to depart from Gate 39 at 12:30AM.
Updated Flight Information
We quickly gathered our belongings and proceeded to Gate 39. At 12:10AM we arrived at our extremely crowded gate.
There were two queues formed for entry to the holding area however, your key to get inside was the boarding pass stub. Many passengers, us included, do not know who has their boarding passes. Ten minutes later, a new Syrian Air Agent stood in a corner with a bunch of boarding passes in his hands. We all congregated around him and waited as he called out everyone’s name.
After we collected our boarding passes, we stood in line to get in and by 12:30AM we were inside the holding area, yet again! Suddenly at 12:40AM, the doors were opened and everyone got up in absolute madness to form a line for boarding. We took our places in line and by 12:50AM, we were inside the bus that will take us to the remote stand. By 1:05AM the bus had arrived by the aircraft.
We proceeded up the steps and at door 1L of this beauty we were greeted by the Captain himself, Abdul Droubi; yes, just like the good old days. By 1:10AM, we were on board.
Airline: Syrian Arab Airlines Flight No.: RB516 Scheduled Routing: Dubai - Damascus Scheduled Departure Time: 4:10PM Actual Departure Time: 3:10AM+1 (pushback) Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:25PM Actual Arrival Time: 5:40AM+1 Equipment: Boeing 747-SP Registration: YK-AHB (Arab Solidarity)
Before heading towards our seats, Sam wanted to have a chat with the Captain. We mentioned to him that we are on this flight just to fly the SP. He was very delighted to hear that, and when he found out that I spoke Arabic, he informed an ‘engineer’ of our intentions, who grabbed me by my arm, pulled me aside, and warmly welcomed me on board. He proceeded to converse with me about what I knew about aviation, in what later seemed like a ‘security assessment’ in some form. He was surprised to know that I had studied aviation. He also asked me why did I like the SP, in which I responded by saying that only two airlines use this old aircraft for commercial service. He proceeded to ask me which other airline flies this aircraft, and I smiled and said Iran Air. He then smiled and told me to enjoy the flight tonight with the SP. It was then when I realized that this guy was most likely an onboard security Marshall.
Simultaneously, Sam was chatting away with the Captain, and had asked him about the technical issue with the aircraft. Apparently the APU in DXB was too powerful for the SP that it damaged its landing gear. He proceeded to tell us that the required spare part was secured from Sharjah in which we presumably believed was from one of the grounded planes in SHJ (Kinshasa Airways maybe?).
The Faulty Part That Caused Our Delay
We had also asked the Captain if there was any chance we could sit in the front row. To my surprise, the captain immediately approached the Marshall, whispered something into his ear, then proceeded to the first row and had a few words with the passengers seated there. Minutes later, we had four seats on the front row all to ourselves.
Sam Looking Happy, and Me Looking Like A Zombie
All passengers were on board, however the door hadn’t closed and it did not seem like we were getting off the ground anytime soon. I noticed that a male cabin crew was offering water in the galley so I went a grabbed a cup of water.
Front Design, and an RB Cup Obsession Moment
At 1:55AM, a man suddenly started yelling at the captain telling him that they cannot go on treating the passengers like dirt and that they had a right to know what was going on and when we were going to depart. The captain yelled back at him and told him that whether he liked it or not, this plane will not takeoff until everything was in tact. He also told him that several other passengers had opted to offload themselves off the flight, and that he would be more than happy to offload him if he wanted to. He also proceeded to explain that Syrian Air wanted to deal with their technical issue themselves and did not want Dubai to interfere hence, they physically flew in two RB engineers from Damascus which added to the long delay. If I understood him correctly, he said that they wanted to go inside the aircraft, however RB is trying to stall them in an attempt to prevent this. How dodgy!
The Angry Man
By 2AM, the captain made an announcement requesting all passengers to calm down, and that we were waiting for clearance to pushback and depart. He also proceeded to inform us that Damascus airport will be closed for the Arab Summit by the time we arrive, so our routing has been rescheduled to Aleppo instead! Naturally, all Damascus bound passengers will be bussed to Damascus from Aleppo upon arrival. In our case, we had a hotel reservation that day in Aleppo, so this was good for us in one way however, the closure of DAM meant that all our Russian flying plans had to be scrapped.
By 3:00AM, an announcement was made by the Captain that we had been given clearance, and that we were ready to depart. He requested all passengers to be seated with seatbelts fastened and tray tables stowed, in preparation for our 3 hours and 30 minute flight to Aleppo.
The fasten seatbelt sign was switched on, and by 3:10AM, the doors were closed. This was followed by the safety demonstration. This plane was over thirty years old and was preserved this way, so there was no IFE of any kind. This naturally called for a manual safety demonstration which is when I caught my first glimpse of a female RB Cabin Crew who decided to finally make an appearance.
She performed her demonstration during the Arabic portion however, come the English portion, she quickly dangled the oxygen mask then disappeared, leaving the rest of the announcement running.
We pushed back at 3:15AM, when the four engines finally powered into life. A quick taxi to Runway 12R and by 3:30AM, the plane took off in true Arab Solidarity. We achieved take-off roll in such a short time compared with other aircraft, due to what seemed like quite the powerful 74L. It was in fact, noticeably more powerful than its more recent family members.
When we reached cruising altitude, the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off and the cabin crew got up to prepare for the service. Moments later, the male crew opened the storage compartment that was in front of us and pulled out four sets of tray tables for our front row. He attached them to our seats and headed back to the galley.
Twenty minutes later, the female cabin crew appeared with the meal trolley. There was a choice between Chicken Biryani or Fish, in which Sam requested the Fish, and me the Chicken. As she placed our trays on our tables I was so thirsty that I asked her if there was any drink service. She cut me off and responded “Yes yes, it’s coming after this” (in Arabic).
Within no time, the male cabin crew appeared with a two-leveled trolley (same as the usual Newspaper trolley) nicely set-up with all Syrian-branded beverages, coffee, tea, water, an ice-bucket, and plastic cups. I had never seen this type of set up in Economy Class before, except in the retro airline ads and pictures.
My Biryani was a little overcooked, but tasted alright however, the Fish had received rave reviews from both Sam and Airsicknessbag. As we finished our ever-so-late supper, our trays were promptly collected. By then, I was so tired that I fell asleep for the rest of the flight.
At around 5:15AM Syria time the seatbelt sign was switched on. An announcement was made requesting all passengers to return to their seats and fasten seatbelts as we had begun our descent towards Aleppo International Airport. The cabin crew made their few final preparations for landing and by 5:40AM, we had touched down at ALP.
As we taxied to the gate, the Captain welcomed us to Aleppo, apologized for the delay, and thanked us for flying Syrian Arab Airlines. Moments later, we were parked at the gate. The seatbelt sign was then switched off, and everyone got up to prepare to disembark.
We gathered our belongings, then Sam wanted to try to get a visit to the cockpit so we walked up the spiral steps, after all Business Class passengers deplaned and met the captain. As he asked us about our SP experience, the security Marshall approached me and asked me firmly in English “So, How is the SP??”
I told him it was a great experience and thanked him for everything. He smiled back and welcomed me to Syria.
When Sam had requested to visit the cockpit, they were quite skeptical about it however, they agreed to let him in but without taking any photographs.
Syrian Air Upper Deck Business Class Cabin
Spiral Staircase & Cockpit Door
We thanked the captain for his efforts in making our trip enjoyable and proceeded down the steps and out the door into Aleppo International Airport. Our flight had come to an end.
Arrival At Aleppo
I had backed out of flying back with Syrian Air on the return journey because I feared another major delay could cause me to skip a very important set of meetings I had to attend at work. Instead I took Royal Jordanian and flew ALP-AMM-DXB as per my previous Trip Report. Unfortunately I had to leave Sam behind a day earlier (Sorry Sam!).
All in all, I absolutely loved every bit of the trip. Service was definitely not an aspect for critique in this report, as it was solely for flying the 747-SP. Strangely I really enjoy my time when long delays happen, only as long as everything is within its safe parameters. Syrian Arab Airlines is your typical retro-managed government-owned entity where they call the shots, and not the customer. The overall experience reminded me of the good old days when Royal Jordanian was notorious of its nasty marathon delays, only to learn that in our case, this was a one-off incident as Syrian Air is generally quite punctual (is it?). In conclusion, this was one hell of an experience that I was glad it happened exactly the way that it did.
The remainder of the report will contain pictures taken while in Syria.
A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
Ryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4771 posts, RR: 24
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Wow... I so agree with you that these lengthy delays make a good trip report! I was once flying from Bali-Jakarta, short flight of 90 mins but the radar equipment for ATC decided to fail that day and I was caught in the middle of the mayhem. A lot of us were starnded at the airport that evening with ATC working at a snail's pace to direct planes all over the skies of Indonesia.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1807 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
An excellent report once again, and truly a walk back in time. Those tray sets that fitted snugly into the holes in your armrest were so common in first row seats in economy. I remember seeing them onboard the 742s on KL and OA back in the 80s.
Good that you took the delays in your stride. The commotion onboard the aircraft would have jolted my nerves terribly especially since I speak no Arabic. It would have been terrible not to know what was going on.
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I flew on a Pan Am SP about 25 years ago. I really enjoyed reading your report. What an adventure. The pictures of Aleppo were wonderful. I hear it's a wonderful city. The meal looked good in the pictures. You had a picture of a crew with a light blue uniform. I guess it must have been Syrian Air? They did not offer the passengers a meal due to the delay?
One of the most enjoyable and funny reports I have read. Thank you.
Ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1675 posts, RR: 52
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Thanks for all your comments!
Quoting TANS (Reply 4): my suggestion was met with such a ferocious "no"
Syria is a great country. Damascus is my favorite Middle Eastern city. Let's put it this way, it is as preserved as Syrian Air's SP's! Too bad we couldn't make it there this time around, however Aleppo is also nice.
I personally would recommend a trip to Syria. However, one should exercise caution with the food as reports of food poisoning are quite frequent. Syrian food is actually great, but it should be eaten in select restaurants and hotels.
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 6): I so agree with you that these lengthy delays make a good trip report!
haha, well i'm glad to know that im not the only one I actually thought that a thing like this could even be too much for a.net ... Good to know it isnt haha
Quoting Semsem (Reply 9): You had a picture of a crew with a light blue uniform. I guess it must have been Syrian Air? They did not offer the passengers a meal due to the delay?
The Cabin Crew that's looking at the FIDS in the picture showing the internet kiosks at DXB is actually Jazeera Airways Crew.
Syrian Air offered passengers a free meal at the food court that consisted of a small snadwich and juice. We were beyond hungry at the time, so we opted for a more hearty meal
Quoting SXDFC (Reply 11): Any shots of the cockpit by any chance?
Unfortunately i do not have any shots myself, but i am not sure if Sam has? I will check.
NorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1946 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
wow, great report, i'm so envious! i want a 74L! it's the only kind of 747 i haven't flown on, alas, i guess i'll have to hope that either politics change or maybe in my next life i'll be reborn as a european, anyway, great report and pics.
I'd rather be one of the worst and Dumbest than the best and brightest....life's so much more stress free that way
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8694 posts, RR: 54
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Roni, Sam - fantastic!
What a read and great pictures, just superb, wish I'd been there!
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter): we decided to take the risk of traveling without securing a room in Damascus, in hopes of finding one while we were there. Who cares? You only live once!
- So true!
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter): I asked the Station Manager if we could pay for an upgrade to Business Class. Unfortunately however he %u2018regretfully%u2019 informed me that Business Class on today%u2019s flight is full. On the other hand, the check-in agent told us that Business Class today is %u2018wide open%u2019
- The confusion is interesting.
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter): While we waited in the holding area, we spotted a group of three guys taking pictures of the SP, and after taking one look at Sam, they instantly recognized him. Two of which are definite a.net members, Airsicknessbag and Johannes
- Such a small world in aviation circles!!
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter): We had also asked the Captain if there was any chance we could sit in the front row. To my surprise, the captain immediately approached the Marshall, whispered something into his ear, then proceeded to the first row and had a few words with the passengers seated there. Minutes later, we had four seats on the front row all to ourselves.
- How nice of the Captain.
Whilst the overall trip fell apart due to the delay, at least you got the 74L flight uner your belt.
The lack of information during the delay was shockingly poor, though your not flying for customer service.
I find it quite amusing that once you explain why you are flying to the staff & sky marshall, you are actually accomodated for, try this in the States and your quite likely to get questioned by the fed's!
Loved the pictures at the end, are they all from Aleppo?
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7094 posts, RR: 76
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Superb report with great pics, enjoyed reading a lot!
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter): He proceeded to tell us that the required spare part was secured from Sharjah in which we presumably believed was from one of the grounded planes in SHJ (Kinshasa Airways maybe?).
It should be J2-SHF (allegedly once destined for Daallo Airlines), previously registered 9Q-CWY with Kinshasa Airways.
ClipperBerlin From Germany, joined Feb 2008, 91 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
once again great stuff by you and Sam. I myself flew with RB in March and April from DAM to LTK (Yak40, Yak40K), ALP (Tu134) and DXB (747SP). When looking at the fantastic pictures you guys took I remember that for me it really was a hazard taking any pictures at all on the planes or on ground. The FA on the SP leg to DXB (I was travelling in C) told me that is forbidden to take pictures on RBs planes and that (I quote) "it´s forbidden in DXB as well so don´t embarrass yourself". Of course I took some pictures and vids (when the security guy next to me fell asleep) but I haven´t had the time to do it properly nor did I have the leisure to take as much time as I needed for the right angle etc. Is it because of my lack of Arabic (I try my best though) or what is the story here. How do you guys approach the FAs? Same goes for pictures on Sahas 707. TUGMASTER started a threat about Sahas 707 the other day and attached a very nice shot of the tail of the 707. There are also some nice pictures taken by Sam in the database. When I flew with Saha I of course did communicate with the FAs but taking pictures was another story. They looked away a few times but in general referred to the security in front of the cabin and said NO. For future trips in such rather "photo unfriendly environments" I would really appreciate any suggestions of you guys.
OA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 28311 posts, RR: 60
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
What can I say !!! The best Trip report I have read in a long time. Amazing ... I would love to do such a trip. The delay would not bother me at all. More time on the SP. All the photos were excellent. I just love the interior of the RB SP. Soon the days will be gone when we will see such interiors. History !!
Thanks for an amazing report and it looked so much fun.
N178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1732 posts, RR: 64
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
What a great read and writing by Roni, I knew this TR will be very HOT Thanks for all your generous feedback and thanks Rone for making this trip possible by purchasing ticket in advance and co-ordinate everything from the beginning to the end.
Quoting SXDFC (Reply 11): Any shots of the cockpit by any chance?
Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo from Syrian Air SP cockpit. I do have other SP cockpit photo (alas Iran Air)...
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 19): Loved the pictures at the end, are they all from Aleppo?
Hi Mark, thanks for your generous remark. All photos at the end are from Aleppo. We didn't make it to Damascus.....
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20): It should be J2-SHF (allegedly once destined for Daallo Airlines), previously registered 9Q-CWY with Kinshasa Airways.
I believe this is the source where the spare part is located.
Well, I think with a combined luck and low profile, you can achieve more than you think. On some occasion, I just take the photo first, didn't bother to ask. On Saha, the security personnel became very friendly with me , and even suggested taking photos for them, and a visit to the cockpit during flight and engine start. On Syrian Air, they didn't let me take pic of cockpit and I was slightly disappointed....it can be better....but I am happy of what I've got.
Quoting MSYYZ (Reply 15): Speaking about Sam Chui , what happened to his trip report on Egyptair's first class posted about a week ago ? It just disappeared along with all the posts!!!!!
You can see the report from the link in my profile. It was removed due to linkage to my commercial website.
UK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2599 posts, RR: 28
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report - looks like you guys had an interesting experience.
As much as I love the SP I think the delay and pi**ed off passengers would have been a bit too much for me!
Quoting Ronerone (Thread starter): We achieved take-off roll in such a short time compared with other aircraft, due to what seemed like quite the powerful 74L. It was in fact, noticeably more powerful than its more recent family members.
I flew aboard an Iran Air 'SP a couple of weeks ago and the take-off roll lasted 30 seconds - it is an amazingly overpowered machine when there are hardly any passengers on it. Did any of you ascertain from the crew how long the 747s will remain in service? It seems they still are, but rumour has it that they'll be gone later this year - no doubt joining their many old RB fleetmates in the Damascus Airport boneyard.
: How long does it take by car / bus from Aleppo to Damas? I am guessing at least 5 hours? I hear that the ancient city of Palmyra is wonderful.
: Roni, What a wonderful TR again !!! It was like flying the trip myself - very well done, including the great shots taken by Sam and you... Too bad, yo
: Nice looking fakes,though. I love that Syrian SP model. It might come up missing if I was there (just kidding!)
: Hey Roni, Awesome trip report, its sad these Specials are now a thing of the past, amazing pics by you and Sam especially of Aleepo city, Really enjoy
: Hi karan According to Airline Route news Blog. Syrian Arab Airlines has brought back Boeing 747SP to scheduled service to cope with the summer travel
: Great report! DXB should be ashamed of those screens I see the actual Syrian info displayed with the the BA and EK symbol, and an Emaar advertisement
: Hi UK_Dispatcher, When we were traveling, we did not learn of anything related to the SP being pulled out of service with RB. It was only a week afte
: I agree with you that it was no problem taking pics of the cabin of the Yak and the Tu, whereas taking pictures on ground was almost impossible. I to
: Great and detailled report. Must have been a real adventure
: Hi ClipperBerlin, Regarding the photo-taking, as stated above, it is basically your luck at taking pictures. Just be persistent, but very subtle and c
: Well I was just wasting some time on the forum and I believe this was the last report at the bottom of the page ... and it's the first time I've seen
: Craaaaaaaaazy trip report especially the unexplained portion of the eventually more than 10 hour delay and the 'souk'-like scene before departure with
: Totally agree! I believe it's a 4 hour drive. Not too sure however. Thanks a lot for reading, and for your comments. Regards, Roni
: Roni- what a wonderful and explicit TR - I will travel back to Syria with my wife in October (there are direct flight from Marseille to Damascus on Sy
: Hi Roni! Hmm for some reason I just manage to 'stumble' upon this TR of yours. A really great and interesting read from you as usual and great to see
: You are right. I am used to them too, especially during the days when RJ was notorious for its marathon delays. As for Syria, well i would hope to go
: Am I late or am I very late? Almost like RB Roni, do I have to say how much I love your TRs? It really is. A friend of mine also runds a website about
: Mr. Aleksandar! Thank you for your consistent support my friend It's greatly appreciated! Wow! thanks for that. Seems quite informative! Hehe .. this
: Very nice report! That's a very long delay and very unfortunate that you missed out on the Tu-134 and Yak-40 as well. The777Man
: Hi The777Man, Thanks for reading. The Russian flying is still a must-do on my list, so hopefully sometimes soon it'll happen. Regards, Roni