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Flash Transatlantic No2 (pics!)  
User currently offlineWideBodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 8153 times:

Hi everyone. This is going to be a fresh TR about yet another of my flash visits to the UK (2 and a half days in total this time), the second of this kind in the last 6 months. The first one (ORD-JFK-EDI-CDG-ORD) can be seen here: A Transatlantic Flash-trip To EDI (pics!) (by WideBodyroga Feb 20 2009 in Trip Reports)

This time the purpose of the trip was to attend my sister's graduation from UCLan in Preston, Lancs. Even though I was not planning to be there for the event, two weeks before it was meant to take place I decided that I had to go. I found a reasonable deal with BA and AA (ORD-LHR-MAN with BA and MAN-ORD with AA) so I decided to book. Given that I was not planning on visiting home this summer it was a good opportunity to see my sister and mom in the UK.

Living in Hyde Park it is always a challenge to get to ORD. Depending on how much I have to carry I sometimes use the OMEGA Airport shuttle (which however has become very unreliable) or I simply take the No6 bus to downtown and from there the CTA blue line to ORD. Often enough I also end up getting a lift from someone. This time it was a combination of the latter two, getting a lift all the way to Irving Park blue line stop and from there I continued on the CTA for a few stops until ORD. Before that, I could not resist a stop at Chinatown to have some of my favorite Wonton Soup with BBQ Pork at the Great Wall restaurant. The place doesn't look all that great from the outside (...or the inside for that matter) but the food is exceptional.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture001.jpg
View from inside the CTA train on my way to ORD


July 11 2009
BA
ORD-LHR
B 747-436
G-CIVJ

Once in the terminal building, I wasted no time, took the little train to the international terminal and got to a still pretty short line at the check in. I had already printed my boarding passes so I simply had to drop off my bags. Even though I am a window man (for obvious reasons, like every A-nutter) I have started to appreciate isle seats, especially on long-hauls, but only on routes that I have already done, and especially when traveling to Europe, where the window shutters have to remain closed for most of the flight. An isle seat it was for me then, which gave me the flexibility of movement but had the downside of giving me nothing to lean against when asleep, or having to be potentially woken up by my seatmate if he/she wished to get up.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture002.jpg
Waiting for the inter-terminal train to take me to the International terminal

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture007.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture005.jpg
Inter-terminal train

After doing some shopping, I went through security, which took no more than 2 minutes and proceeded to the gates. Other international traffic included a LH, a THY, a LO, a SAS, an OZ, a MX and a RJ. I was hoping to get a good look at our 747 but unfortunately because of the configuration of our gate it was impossible to see anything but the nose.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture003.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture004.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture006.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture012.jpg
Some of the international traffic

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture008.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture010.jpg
My ride

After boarding I sat next to an old couple from Wisconsin who were traveling to Europe for the first time and they both seemed extremely impressed by the size and features of the 747. They also seemed very pleased and surprised to find out that they will be served a meal (and a snack) and that they could watch movies on a personal screen, all free of charge... That's what happens when you are used to fly only within the US Big grin. I took up the role of a guide, explaining a few things to them and also advising them on their trip, which was meant to include visits to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna and Rome. They seemed very enthusiastic about it and I was very happy for them.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture013.jpg
Seat Pitch
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture016.jpg
Amenity kit

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture014.jpg
IFE Screen
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture015.jpg
Cabin view


BA had given us their usual amenity kit (socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and eye covers), a blanket and a pillow. The crew was very friendly throughout the flight and soon after take-off (which was fairly noisy I must say, the cabin was shaking and the overhead compartments were making a loud noise in the process) we were served a tasty hot meal that included a beef and rice dish, a lettuce, tomato and mozzarella salad, and a chocolate fudge cake. Seat pitch wasn't too bad, but of course the person in front of me decided to fully recline so I had to sit sideways anyway.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture018.jpg
Meal Service

The flight was full with Indian passengers who were connecting to flights to the subcontinent at LHR. The choice of movie features was endless and I can only compare it to the AF one on my CDG-ATL trip in my previous Trans-A flash trip. After a couple of movies I fell asleep and woke up just in time for breakfast, which consisted of a Danish pastry (it was nice but cold) and some orange juice.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture020.jpg
Breafkfast

Much to the delight of my co-passengers the pilot circled above downtown London before making his final approach, thus providing them the opportunity to enjoy the city from above. Landing was a bit bumpy and after a relatively short taxiing we made it to our stand. I was surprised to find out that we had not stopped at a gate and that, instead, we were going to be transferred to Terminal 5 by buses. As a result the process of getting us off the aircraft was excruciatingly slow as for some reason there was a big delay between the loading of one bus and the arrival of the next. The whole process (after the doors opened) may have taken up to 20 mins and there were many more passengers left on the plane after the bus I got on departed. The ride to T5 took a good 5 mins and once there I had less than an hour for my connecting flight to MAN. I didn't know what to expect at immigration and security so I made sure I did not waste too much time. Eventually, immigration turned out to be fairly quick and so did the security check so I had a bit of time to have a look around my gate which looked very nice and modern (unlike most of the other LHR terminals).


http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture021.jpg
Deboarding

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture022.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture023.jpg
T5 views



July 12 2009
BA
LHR-MAN
A319
Registration: ???


http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture024.jpg
The aircraft that would take me to MAN
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture025.jpg
...and a close-up.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture064.jpg
Boarding
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture066.jpg
On the stairs

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture027.jpg
Our neighbor at the stand

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture067.jpg
Seat pitch

I had chosen seat A1 for this flight so despite its short length I was looking forward to not having anyone in a seat in front of me. Unfortunately I did not get hardly any photos during the flight as a FA insisted that I gave him my fannypack (yes, I do wear one when traveling, don't judge me) where I was keeping my camera because it would have prevented me from taking the brace position should it been necessary. Nonetheless I took this photo after it was handed back to me once we reached the gate.
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture028.jpg

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture030.jpg
Skylink
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture031.jpg
Skylink from outside


The plan was to meet my sister and my mom at MAN, but they were to arrive there two hours later than me, so I made my way to T1 (I had landed in T3) and sat down to listen to some music and read. Once their LH flight from Munich landed it took them no more than 15 minutes to collect their luggage and meet me at the arrivals area. We made our way to the train station and hoped to a train to Preston where we would spend the next couple of days at Holiday Inn.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture039.jpg
The Manchester Hilton as seen from inside our train.


The two and a half days went by really fast. Graduation was lovely and everyone enjoyed it. After a short cab ride to the station we took the direct train to MAN and an hour later we were there. I was flying out of T3 again, while my mom and sister out of T1 so we split at the station, checked in for our flights and then I walked back to T1 to spend some more time with them.

A couple of photos from Preston:
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture051.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture052.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture048.jpg
http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture043.jpg


http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture055.jpg
A Virgin train at Preston station while waiting for our ride to MAN





July 15
AA
MAN-ORD
B767-300
N379AA

For my check in there was a security screening which was probably the lengthiest I have ever experienced. The guy however was super polite and he would even joke with me. While checking in (for some reason I was not allowed to check in online the night before) I asked for an isle seat and I was in fact given an exit row one which was very welcomed. Following security, I did some quick duty free shopping and headed for my gate. I was boarding with Group 5 so I hanged around for a bit before it was time to get on board.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture060.jpg
Our plane at gate 55 (coincidence?).

On my previous flights with AA to/from Europe (namely LHR, BRU and FCO) the 767 had personal TVs so I was expecting the same to be the case now but to my disappointment there were only overhead screens. I guess there aren't many (if any) direct flights out of MAN for ORD so good IFE is not necessary for this route to attract passengers. The movies to be shown were Journey to the Center of the Earth and Inkheart (Both staring Brendan Fraser ). The quality of the sound through the headphones was atrocious and I could hardly hear anything (the actors sounded like Darth Vader) so I chose to listen to music on my mp3 player and read instead. The crew for our cabin were all male in their 40's and very helpful even if somewhat less formal than one is used to. I personally liked that.

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture062.jpg
Seat pitch

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/Picture063.jpg
Meal

http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/ab165/WideBodyroga3/del55.jpg
Our route according to Flightaware (green line). The reddish line is a reconstruction based on the information provided by the pilot.

We were served a nice Beef Stroganoff (the other choice was pasta of some kind), a salad with a Thousand Island sauce and some awesome chocolate-y/apricot-y cake. It was rather cold in the cabin and some people were asking for duvets (!) in addition to the blankets that were already provided. I got some sleep and once more woke up shortly before the snack service. This time it was a small pizza, some grapes and a couple of Scottish shortbread pieces. Our route took us south of Iceland, just over the south tip of Greenland and over Canada before reaching Michigan where according to our pilot we would start our descend. Landing was smooth and the taxing to the terminal much shorter than I am sued to in ORD. I wanted to beat the 5pm traffic so once more I wasted no time and proceeded to immigration where it took me some 20-25 mins to go through. My bag was already waiting for me so I got onto the inter-terminal train, made my way to the CTA blue line stop and went downtown from where I got the No6 bus to back home. From landing to my front door it took me just 2.5 hours which must be a record, especially when considering that I did it on public transport.

Overall I have to say that I was pleased with both airlines, even though the BA product was overall superior, but one has to bear in mind that the ORD-LHR route should not be compared to a MAN-ORD one. Given however that I have flown with AA to LHR (and other popular destinations in Europe, all of them recently) I have to say that BA offers a better service.

Thank you for reading. I'd love to hear your comments.


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6944 posts, RR: 77
Reply 1, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 8092 times:

Hi WideBodyroga,

interesting report with some nice pictures. BA's product looks good as usual, it hasn't changed since I flew them last time on a long-haul route in 1999.

Quoting WideBodyroga (Thread starter):
A319

It was an A320 (double emergency exists over the wing). Looks like G-EUUM (see the gear door), but it's hard to recognize.

Quoting WideBodyroga (Thread starter):
On my previous flights with AA to/from Europe (namely LHR, BRU and FCO) the 767 had personal TVs so I was expecting the same to be the case now but to my disappointment there were only overhead screens. I guess there aren't many (if any) direct flights out of MAN for ORD so good IFE is not necessary for this route to attract passengers.

I don't think AA operates 763s with PTVs in Economy Class. The 777s have them in all classes.

Quoting WideBodyroga (Thread starter):
Overall I have to say that I was pleased with both airlines, even though the BA product was overall superior, but one has to bear in mind that the ORD-LHR route should not be compared to a MAN-ORD one. Given however that I have flown with AA to LHR (and other popular destinations in Europe, all of them recently) I have to say that BA offers a better service.

Too bad AA doesn't offer as good meals any more as in 2002. They served a delicious beef on a DFW-LGW flight, one of the best airline meals I have ever had.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineWideBodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 8031 times:



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
It was an A320 (double emergency exists over the wing). Looks like G-EUUM (see the gear door), but it's hard to recognize.

I'll take your word for it. I am still pretty bad at telling them apart. My itinerary listed the plane as an A319 so I automatically assumed it must have been one.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
I don't think AA operates 763s with PTVs in Economy Class. The 777s have them in all classes.

Are you sure about this? My flights to FCO, BRU and LHR on AA were all in 767s and they all had PTVs. Could I really be so wrong, it was only a year ago... I must be getting older Big grin
I used to remember things...



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineAvek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4417 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7647 times:



Quoting WideBodyroga (Reply 2):
Are you sure about this? My flights to FCO, BRU and LHR on AA were all in 767s and they all had PTVs. Could I really be so wrong, it was only a year ago... I must be getting older

AA has only installed PTVs in Y on its 777 aircraft. If you were in Y, and had a PTV, you were NOT on a 767. The AA website also bears this out.



Live life to the fullest.
User currently offlineWideBodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7625 times:

Thanks guys. The truth of the matter is that I have been a civil aviation enthusiast only after coming across a.net last summer so I had not been paying much attention to the aircraft I was flying with before that. My tickets suggest I flew in 767s but I'm guessing that AA changed the aircrafts to 777 for these flights without me realizing. Thanks again guys.  thumbsup 


Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7563 times:

I like BA but the legroom in my view is tighter than on AA on long haul flights. One gets more legroom on short flights.

User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1708 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6993 times:

Great TR, thank you very much. BA is decent enough, their catering seems better than AA's though.
Thanks for sharing and congrats on your sister's graduation  Smile


User currently offlineBrittrvl From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5708 times:

Many thanks for posting! Crazy as I am about to post a similar trip as I ended up going back to my birthplace of Preston in May!!! Really funny to see Fishergate and Friargate on ANet! I was in shock. Congrats on the graduation. Have never done the train to Preston yet and have wanted to do so for some time!


Airlines flown: AA,AF,AS,AZ,BA,BD,CX,DL,MH,NW,SQ,TG,UA&VS
User currently offlineWideBodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 5218 times:



Quoting Directorguy (Reply 6):
Great TR, thank you very much. BA is decent enough, their catering seems better than AA's though.
Thanks for sharing and congrats on your sister's graduation Smile

Thank you Directorguy! I would have to agree about the catering. Both the quality (and to some degree the quantity) are superior in BA in my opinion too, even though neither of them are as good as some other trans-atlantic carriers' such as AF for example.

Quoting Brittrvl (Reply 7):
Crazy as I am about to post a similar trip as I ended up going back to my birthplace of Preston in May!!!

I'm looking forward to that! When should we expect to see your report?

Quoting Brittrvl (Reply 7):
Congrats on the graduation. Have never done the train to Preston yet and have wanted to do so for some time!

Thanks! Where do you plan to take the train to Preston from? The ride from Manchester is fairly unremarkable I have to warn you. The highlight of the route is the Manchester Hilton building which you can see shorty after leaving Manchester. However if you are coming from the north, then the scenery is mesmerizing.

I'm glad you liked the TR, despite the mistakes (which all of my TRs seem to contain - I promise to improve).



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
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