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Brussels To London: The American Way & Back To AMS  
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 15623 times:

Dear all,

It’s not too long ago that I finished writing on my last trip done in 2009. You can find them here in case you missed them:

Istanbul Delight: AMS-IST On LX Business (pt. 1) (by Airbuseric Dec 3 2009 in Trip Reports)

Istanbul Delight: AMS-IST On LX Business (pt. 2) (by Airbuseric Jan 8 2010 in Trip Reports)





Brussels to London: The American Way & back to AMS



A friend attended me on the flight reported in the report here. Flying a widebody on intra-Europe services is quite rare, although I’ve done a few before:

MAD-FRA on LA A343
MAN-GVA on SV B772
AMS-FRA on JL B744F
TFN-MAD on IB A343
FRA-MUC on LH AB6
DUS-MUC on AB A332
AMS-PMI-AMS on MP MD11
AMS-LPA on MD MD11
AMS-TFS on OR B763

I didn’t hesitate too long to book me on another flight, and another Boeing 767. I logged only 2 flights before on this type (ArkeFly and Skymark), so it was still a welcome additional treatment for me. For about 65 Euro’s I found myself on board the silver American Boeing 767-300ER.

This flight will not last long and does not return in the summer schedules. It is a tag-on of the BOS-LHR flight and is doing a short hop across the Northsea to Brussels. The LHR-BRU-LHR flight is flown by a bunch of JFK-crew.

I was not sure how to go to Brussels myself. Either on an industry-rated ticket with KLM, or by train. After a few days I managed to secure a good fare for a 1st Class seat on ‘Thalys’, the highspeed train running between Amsterdam and Paris Nord. It calls also at Brussels-Midi. You need to change to a local, airport-bound trainservice.

Travel was done on January 12, 2010.



My bus to the airport was at 715am. Fully loaded with commuters to work, not the best way to start a day. It was cold too, outside. And snow on the roads, making it a bit slippery at some locations. The drive took longer then usual, but around 745am I arrived safely at AMS. I will take my train from AMS, since the airport offers a ‘Lounge’ for 1st Class passengers. A first time for me, to let’s check it out!

The NS Hispeed Lounge is located at Plaza shopping centre, in between Arrival Halls 3 & 4. The entrance is easy to recognize, and your ticket will be checked at the counter.
I was the only passenger going inside, and to be honest, the lounge is interesting. But I am not sure if this will really become a success, and also the location is too far away from the railtracks.
The interior is very ‘black’ but modern and stylish. Newspapers are provided, as well a few magazines. Dutch news on the television. The seating area is nice, but not set up for privacy.
At the bar you will find numerous drinks, wine/beer included. I didn’t see anything to bite on, maybe that was to be expected though at this time of the day. It does not seem a good place to grab some food for breakfast. Information panels in the lounge said my train was ‘on time’ so I didn’t stay long and went to the platforms.
Arrived there, and after taking my position for the right car, the usual announcements came:
1) The Thalys to Brussels and Paris will arrive in about 5 minutes (or, delayed by minimal 5 minutes!)
2) Thalys to Brussels and Paris is driving in opposite carriage-setup today. First Class is at the end of the train.

Usual stuff, but I can’t understand the matter. Finally the train drives into the station about 10 minutes late. On the signs still ‘on time’ though. Well done NS! The Dutch railways are just not able to organize. Maybe I can offer them some of my skills in the near future… I would be happy to provide them some of my knowledge and opinions.


Entrance to NS Hispeed Lounge at AMS



Inside the Hispeed Lounge



Reading table in the Lounge



Beverages on offer at the bar



Lounging at the Lounge



Are we running late today? It seems so…


Anyway, we left now and after 5 minutes the hostess came along with breakfast offerings. You can choose of 2 trays, various breads and coffee/tea/water. The breakfast is complimentary and included in your 1st Class ticket. A refill for the drink is given too.


Thalys (old style) interiour / First Class



Complimentary Breakfast in Thalys First Class



WiFi is free of charge (after registration) in First Class


We suddenly came to a stop after leaving Rotterdam station. After 20 minutes the driver announced problems with their infrastructure, and it will maybe mean about 1 hour delay (or even return to Rotterdam again). Not good I thought, and it would minimize my time in Brussels. We luckily continued our way in the correct direction, with a little as 1 hour delay. Well done once again! How reliable your travels can be sometimes…
I arrived at Brussels-Midi one hour late, and no refund-voucher was given. I’ll find out to get a refund later from the railway company. I quickly looked up the screens to catch the first available local train to the airport. It was a regional train bound for Leuven, calling at Brussels-Nationaal too.
For your information, tickets for Belgium trains can be bought online on the NMBS website and payment by creditcards is available also. The train needed about 15 minutes to get to the airport.


My connecting train at Brussels-Midi, to the airport



A basic interior in Belgium regional trains



When I arrived at BRU, check-in was open already and only 1 other passenger was in front of my at desk 3. One counter was serving for this flight, and I first had to talk with a security officer. She asked me about my purpose to travel, and was a bit wondered of my travels that day. She asked if this was my profession and about my luggage. Friendly enough though, and I was free to check-in.
AA.com offers seat selection online, and I was given my preselected seat at the counter.


American Airlines check-in counter at BRU


American Airlines & BA ticket counters at BRU



Passport control is located next to the check-in counters of AA, and done in seconds. A joke with the immigration officer, since his family name was the same as mine. The terminal in BRU is also a bit of a joke. Almost nobody was inside. It felt so deserted in that area. No passengers in the shops, bars mostly empty. Only a few passengers at the security-point leading to the gate area. I have seen these situations before at BRU, and I still wonder how this airline can keep it’s head up.
Security was done in seconds, a real breeze, and my gate (B1) was located on the right. I spotted the shining B767 right away. No winglets on this one, a slight disappointment maybe.
About 20 minutes waiting for me until boarding began. And good news for thirsty travellers: Starbucks is opposite of gate B1!


Deserted shopping areas in BRU departure lounge



… and still very quiet …



Flight Information Screen



Some other traffic… but in general very quiet also on the apron.



What a beauty. The shining American Boeing 767!



… one more, starboard side of the B767-300ER



Counter at gate B01


Boarding started at 1250pm, and was quickly completed. I heard the crew mentioning a load of 19 passengers. And that can be correct, in the aft Economy class section were I was seated I counted 17.

BRU-LHR
Flight No.: AA155 Date: 12JAN09
STD: 1315 ATD: 1309
STA: 1330 ATA: 1313
A/C: Boeing 767-300ER Reg No.: N359AA
Seat: 38J – Economy Class


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Suresh A. Atapattu




AA First Class



Economy Class


As mentioned the load was almost nothing, and the crew was joking a bit in the complete back of the aircraft. The captain informed about our flight and that we would be ready to leave soon.
And indeed we pushed away from the gate a few minutes early.
The safety demo was visible on the screens above the aisles. This B767 had no personal IFE, and also no IFE boxes were under the seats. Legroom was tight though, and I know from experience that the B772’s are much more comfortable.Row 38 can look out of 2 windows, which is a good thing of this seat.
Taxiing took not too long towards runway 25R, used for our departure. Lot’s of snow around, not too often seen at an airport like BRU.


Taxiing…



and off we go!


As expected with the load, a powerful takeoff lifted us in the air within 10 seconds or so. It was a really, really short run. Nice to experience again, after done this before on a Japanese domestic run. After a few minutes the captain came on the speaker and informing that, due to the very short flighttime, the seatbeltsign will stay on during the complete flight. And prompt the cabin crew came into action as well.


Climbing out of BRU


I didn’t expect much on AA, on this short flight. After reading so much about US airlines and cost cutting measures. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to get a bag of Tex Mex Nachos, and orange juice & water was offered as well. It was not from the cart. Crew came along the aisles with serving trays. Especially the male steward –a Elton John lookalike- was very friendly.
He came along once more, now with large cups of coffee or tea. In average, you get an above average service on this AA flight, compared to European Y-class on similar routes.


Juice and a bite



And a large coffee



Cabin View on AA155 BRU-LHR, almost empty cabin



Legroom/Seating in Y-class on AA B767-300ER N359AA



Enjoying a view enroute…



Throughout the flight the flight information, a map, LHR arrival information etc. was visible on the screens.

As expected the approach to LHR started already, and I noticed a BA 777 in a holding pattern, though we slipped through and came in straight for a runway 09L arrival. Cloudbase was rather low, but once below also London served me a white landscape. Gladly it wasn’t snowing today! That could have ruined my travels!


Were are we heading to? Approach for LHR


After landing, a right turn, and basically straight ahead into our parking position, next to a company Boeing 777-200ER and an Air Canada A330-300. Disembarking was quickly too, and before I left I had a quick chat with the captain. We talked a bit about the company I work for, and about his schedule around this flight. He was New York based, and they did this run in between a normal JFK-LHR return, giving them 2 nights in the UK.


Vacating runway 09L



Docking into our parking position



Flightdeck on N359AA after landing



London terminal 3 always has some interesting traffic. You see so many widebodies, so many compared to e.g. AMS, which makes my homebase to look like a regional airport.


Other Terminal 3 traffic, e.g. QR & VS A346, MS A332, AC A330


I had to transfer now to Terminal 1, and stayed in transit. You will follow the ‘purple’ transit signs and been guided into a seperation room for the various terminals. Buses are driving on the airside roads to deliver passengers to their desired terminals. A bit old-fashioned way to do so at this very big airport, and maybe even inconvenient. But it offered me a few more glimpses on the apron, and also the Emirates A380 which was being served.


Transferring at LHR



… big bird is here. The EK A380 from DXB being served



After arriving in Terminal 1, I was walking into another security checkpoint, which was a breeze. Less then 10 people in front of me, unique for Heathrow? I never experienced such a smooth transfer at this airport before. In case you need, various airline transfer desks are located behind this checkpoint.

Terminal 1 was the the place were I had to kill a few hours. After checking out some gadgets at Dixons, reading some airline magazines at WH Smiths, it was time for some coffee at Nero, and try one of their sandwiches. It offered me a good place with a view on the apron, used by BD aircraft. I also saw a few widebodies taxiing in the background. Very entertaining to sit down a while, and read a bit in the newspapers I got earlier that morning.


Terminal 1 shopping



Café Nero with a view



The gate for my next flight was announced 1 hour before the departure time. It was gate 23, meaning a longer walk from the main hall. I was off to the gate, through a very depressive walkway. Come on LHR, you can’t call this an airport! Also the waiting area at gate 23 is a disgrace! No ceiling, old chairs, dirty carpet, electrical heaters in the middle of the hall, wires for electric power plugged in the wall. How can this serve as an airport… If I was the airline, I would not accept this gate to be used for my flights, but it was BD who took care for the next flight. And being the AMS-route, to be axed within a few months now, it didn’t care for them. Probably.
A quick chat with the groundstaff, finding out if the seat next to me was still vacant, and it was. Lucky me! And during the waiting in this area, another BD groundstaff informed all to use to restrooms of the airport now, since all lavatories on board were out of order. Also a few more technical issues with the aircraft would result in a small delay, he said.


Waiting lounge gate 23



Boarding started consequently later, at 350pm, only 10 minutes to go before schedules departure time.

LHR-AMS
Flight No.: BD111 Date: 12JAN09
STD: 1600 ATD: 1613
STA: 1820 ATA: 1815
A/C: Airbus A319 Reg No.: G-DBCK
Seat: 05A – Economy Class


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Neil Guinea



Boarding completed, 5 minutes late. Loads around 70% maybe? Maybe middle seats not occupied. Good to see BD taking care of it passengers comfort, and not check single travellers in on these middle seats when it’s not needed. Meanwhile the captain informed about the lavatory problem on this aircraft, and they currently water was being served and we would be ready in a minute. After this, crew did their manual safety demonstration.


Awaiting pushback. A brandnew LH A320 (D-AIZB) next to us


Seats were comfortable. Thick blue leather seats, seatpitch is good enough. I still like the cabin setting on BD. Nice colours, good combination of blue and the brown tints. It gives a cosy feeling to me.

We started up and taxied out. The famous ‘Airbus barking sound’ was heard for over 5 minutes, while taxiing to runway 09R. We followed an NZ B744. What a sight! Would love to take NZ once to HKG and try their Prem Y product.
Also EP-IBB of Iran Air took off in front of us. This aircraft went off the runway in ARN 4 days later.


Taxiing to runway 09R



The Iran Air A300 (EP-IBB) which went off-runway at ARN 4 days later



A view on terminal 5, lined up on runway 09L.


We lined up and the evening came over London. Nice to see all the lights of Heathrow. The takeoff itself was smooth, and we did not encounter turbulence from the preceeding NZ B744.
I must say, the calmness on this flight made me sleepy and I apparently dozed off for the main part of this flight. I didn’t notice anything of inflight sales, etc. Can’t comment on that. Sorry!


Enroute LHR-AMS on BD111


I woke up again during descent. Cabin lights were switched off and cabin was checked. It was easy to understand that it would be a straight-in approach for runway 06, meaning a quick arrival when coming in from the UK.
Approach was nice, and I was able to see my house and garden. I live very close in the vicinity of the 06/24 arrival and departure route, and it’s always good to see my neighbourhood from the air.
Just a minute later we smoothly touched the concrete on runway 06, at 611pm. We are going to arrive ahead of schedule I thought, and so we did. Arrival gate was D22.

To conclude this day:
It’s nice to fly the AA B767, but the Thalys trains between Amsterdam and Paris are still not fully reliable enough to secure good connection. These trains make use of the newly opened railtrack dedicated for the highspeed trains, but still a lot of troubles occur. The railway company calls this ‘infrastructural problems’, but I don’t care. If you open a track then you should be able to provide the service as in a timetable, but apparently this is too much to ask for. I wonder how long it will take to get everything in order. Of course I gladly made my flights!
AA performed well. I was pleasantly surprised by the catering received on this really short flight. Crew was friendly to me. Loads were bad, and this flight only exists to keep slots at LHR, I heard. It will discontinue soon.
LHR was good to me, and I had a smooth transfer between terminals. But terminal 1 is a disgrace and I cannot understand why BAA keeps it open for serving passengers. They should quickly refurbish and restore the building.
BD was good enough, fare was really low on the LHR-AMS flight (about GBP40). I like BD’s interior, the seats are very fine for me. And, they provide a reliable service, and informed me well about the small delay.

Thanks for reading. Your replies or comments are appreciated of course. And stay tuned, I’m off to London and more next week again, hopefully with more interesting metal!

Regards,
Eric


"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1858 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15442 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi Eric, nice report! Always a pleasure to fly the 767!

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
and also the location is too far away from the railtracks.

I concluded that myself too, however it's nice you have some pictures of the lounge itself. It looks pretty decent.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
Maybe I can offer them some of my skills in the near future… I would be happy to provide them some of my knowledge and opinions.

Please do! They are a disgrace to our country. I am always astonished at the delays of the int'l trains, especially seeing that AMS is only 15 minutes away from their starting point!

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
You see so many widebodies, so many compared to e.g. AMS, which makes my homebase to look like a regional airport.

I always have that feeling too at major foreign airports. I mean AMS get's quite some wide bodies but all the more exotic airlines go to LHR.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
Come on LHR, you can’t call this an airport!

Agreed, luckily you didn't have the same gate area as I did as that was even worse!

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
I live very close in the vicinity of the 06/24 arrival and departure route, and it’s always good to see my neighbourhood from the air.

So do I since last week  Wink

Thanks for sharing!

Regards,

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15413 times:

Hi Martijn,

thanks for your reply;

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 1):
I am always astonished at the delays of the int'l trains, especially seeing that AMS is only 15 minutes away from their starting point!

Indeed, I have the same findings. Also last December I took the ICE from Utrecht to Germany. It was over 20 minutes delayed. After starting in Amsterdam, Utrecht was the first stop enroute. Unbelievable... and that train continues all the way to Basel in Switzerland. All the way delayed, caused by the Dutch railways.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 1):
I mean AMS get's quite some wide bodies but all the more exotic airlines go to LHR.

Indeed, we miss quite a few destinations which would grant interesting traffic.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 1):
So do I since last week

Let me guess... In which of the 10 towers do you live? If it's the same place were I started? I was in tower 3 btw, on the 4th floor, years ago!

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2452 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15398 times:

Hi Eric,

I have been waiting for this trip report! You really have had a good catch with AA service from BRU. I agree with you that their on board serving is not bad after all. Shame that this flight will not last after the summer.

Your covering of Thalys was simply a nice addition. I was wondering what it would be like. The NS Hispeed lounge looks fantastic!

Great report and thanks a lot for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Spain, joined Sep 2003, 5157 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15367 times:

Hey, Eric,

as promised, checking A.net this wet afternoon and you´re story is online.

Well done, good pics, especially that rail lounge, really good looking.

Looks like good service on AA, a shame with that load, definitely a nice alternate on that
route, especially on the also here not well covered B763.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
another BD groundstaff informed all to use to restrooms of the airport now, since all lavatories on board were out of order. Also a few more technical issues with the aircraft would result in a small delay, he said.

It sounds that happend more often than I ever know.

So, looking for the next story and hopefully no snowy delays all around.

Greetings,
Markus (FLIEGER67)

[Edited 2010-01-17 10:57:02]


Next: Shopping and sun med style!.
User currently offlineLuftfahrer From Germany, joined Mar 2009, 1013 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 15279 times:

I wish riding in 1st class on the ICE included a complimentary meal and a lounge access at the train station... so to speak, I am really impressed by the Thalys, despite the look of the cabin.

Indeed an enjoyable report - lovely pictures as well. Thanks for sharing!



Et là tu montes encore plus haut et ça persiste, alors on vole
User currently offlineRogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1207 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 15216 times:

Hola Eric!

Thanks for this original TR. It was a real nice start for the New Year... at least you avoided the snow storms that hit all Europe (even sunny Spain) those days.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
MAD-FRA on LA A343
MAN-GVA on SV B772
AMS-FRA on JL B744F
TFN-MAD on IB A343
FRA-MUC on LH AB6
DUS-MUC on AB A332
AMS-PMI-AMS on MP MD11
AMS-LPA on MD MD11
AMS-TFS on OR B763

If only SQ could sell tickets on the BCN-MXP leg on board the B777... I'd gladly commute every week  Smile

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
It was gate 23, meaning a longer walk from the main hall. I was off to the gate, through a very depressive walkway. Come on LHR, you can't call this an airport!

Lucky you! Last summer I took LX to ZRH and had to walk down to the very end of this 'dungeon'... it is really pitiful. No Cool Britannia here!

About the railway, I traveled this summer BRU-AMS on a regular train, Thalys was far more expensive and only 20 min. shorter ride, is it faster now?

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 15112 times:

Hi all,

thanks for your replies! Appreciate it  Smile

Quoting Akhmad (Reply 3):
Your covering of Thalys was simply a nice addition. I was wondering what it would be like. The NS Hispeed lounge looks fantastic!

Really an idea to take this train, when the fares are good too!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
Looks like good service on AA, a shame with that load, definitely a nice alternate on that
route, especially on the also here not well covered B763.

I'm thinking of adding another B767 to my log, hopefully a B762, but I will have to set a good schedule first. It's not my favourite type to fly though, especially not on longer runs. Prefer it's bigger brother, the B777 anytime!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
So, looking for the next story and hopefully no snowy delays all around.

Yes, 2 of the airports to be flown next week have suffered a lot by snow last week. Let's hope their operations are back to normal...

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 5):
I wish riding in 1st class on the ICE included a complimentary meal and a lounge access at the train station... so to speak, I am really impressed by the Thalys, despite the look of the cabin.

Thalys gets new interiors. I've travelled a new one last June in 2nd class, and was impressed. Much better then before. I wonder when all work is finished.
Indeed, I've travelled a few times ICE on 1st class and never received a meal or invitation. Though, when you now travel ICE 1st out of Amsterdam, you can visit a similar lounge at Amsterdam Centraal Station.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 6):
It was a real nice start for the New Year... at least you avoided the snow storms that hit all Europe (even sunny Spain) those days.

We were hit by snow a lot and we had AMS closed for shorter periods lately, but not giving too much trouble. I was indeed a bit afraid for the day I flew above ones, in the middle of fronts passing over Europe with loads of snow Big grin Gladly I made it  Wink

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 6):
If only SQ could sell tickets on the BCN-MXP leg on board the B777... I'd gladly commute every week

I forgot to add the RG MD11 CDG-AMS I did before too, but as you say, SQ would be interesting also. I think it is possible to book the SQ 77W between MAN-MUC.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 6):
About the railway, I traveled this summer BRU-AMS on a regular train, Thalys was far more expensive and only 20 min. shorter ride, is it faster now?

Thalys as well regular intercity run now on the new track, in 1H53Min. Quite a bit faster then before  Wink

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 14958 times:

Hi Eric,

Fantastic trip report and great pictures as always. A day-trip on a wide-body-aircraft sounds like a good idea.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
A friend attended me on the flight reported in the report here. Flying a widebody on intra-Europe services is quite rare, although I%u2019ve done a few before:

Wow, that's an impressive list. I have only travelled on EI A330 DUB-SNN and many years ago on a DE DC-10 FRA-PMI.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
I heard the crew mentioning a load of 19 passengers. And that can be correct, in the aft Economy class section were I was seated I counted 17.

That is not impressive at all. No wonder the route will be discontinued.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
London terminal 3 always has some interesting traffic. You see so many widebodies

Indeed, T3 is probably the terminal at LHR with the most interesting traffic.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 7):
Indeed, I've travelled a few times ICE on 1st class and never received a meal or invitation. Though, when you now travel ICE 1st out of Amsterdam, you can visit a similar lounge at Amsterdam Centraal Station.

Just as a side-note: DB operates First Class lounges at some major stations in Germany as well, among them FRA. The offer is similar to the Thalys lounge (free drinks and newspapers but no food).

Regards
Christoph


User currently offlineAmsspot From Netherlands, joined Jun 2005, 79 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 14892 times:

Nice and rare flight. I've always wondered what that flight was like so thanks for sharing.

User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8527 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 14783 times:
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Hi Eric,

Thanks for getting this on-line, been looking forward to reading it.

The train lounge looked pretty good, better than some airline lounges I've been in!

The low load factor on the AA flight amazed me, I honestly though the load would have been higher than that, I imagined a 40% or so figure.

Shame you never got winglets, but not many of the AA fleet have them yet, so quite rare beasts.

Looking forward to the LCY & Baboo flights  Smile

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1710 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 14738 times:

Good evening Eric, you posted the report in the right time!  Wink

Interesting to see the Thalys, looks like a very nice train, would love to try it out soon!

I remember that we passed by the NS High speed Lounge in AMS, and it looked pretty nice from the outside, but when it comes to the inside, hmmm...
The Lounge itself looked great, nice interiors, and a great food and beverages section, much better than the SJ Lounges that we have here, where you only get a cup of bland coffee (the same as served on board the train) and a biscuit.
But I didn't like the darkness of the lounge, to me it looked like one of these Amsterdam Bars, and I would certainly not like to drink my morning coffee in a lounge like that. I mean, what's up with the Disco Ball? Did they play loud earbraking music in there as well? Big grin
If only they had gone with some brighter looking interiors, and lightning, the lounge would have looked perfect!

The breakfast served on the Thalys looked great, both by means of quantity and the presentation. Looks like Thalys have moved away from those airline Y class'ish looking, red plastic containers they used to have in F.

The Interiors looked pretty OK, the seats look pretty similar to the F seats found on the High speed Regional trains, I commute on. (1st is sold as 2nd class, though most people don't know about it)

A "small" pic of the SJ Lounge just as a comparison  Wink


I did not know that AA operated the flight between BRU and LHR, I had always thought BRU was served non-stop.

The Interiors of the 763ER looked pretty shabby back in Y. Strange that they had decided on installing the new linings and pivot-bins in Business Class, whilst keeping the old ones in Y.

Btw How was the coffee onboard the AA flight, was it bland or did it have some aroma left in it? I usually find some airlines coffee to be very bland, KLM i.e, while others like SAS seem to make it just perfect, hmmm...  Wink

Anyway, it was a nice report, i.e a great study break. Hopefully I'll make a similar report next month, and this time they'll accept it in the TR forum this time  Smile

Thanks for sharing!
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineStarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 14619 times:

Interesting TR! I never knew AA flew BRU-LHR? Is it marketed as a BRU - US via LHR? How did you learn about this service?


Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 14619 times:

Hi guys, thank you for another batch of replies,

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 8):
A day-trip on a wide-body-aircraft sounds like a good idea.

It is indeed, but quite hard to manage nowadays. Of course the BA 763's come to my mind that will do LHR-CDG and LHR-FRA in summer. Might be an option.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 8):
I have only travelled on EI A330 DUB-SNN and many years ago on a DE DC-10 FRA-PMI.

Ohhh, would love to fly a DC-10  Silly

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 8):
No wonder the route will be discontinued.

As far as I know, this route only flies to keep the LHR slots with AA. It's not really for sales reasons. The slots will probably be used again for a US bound flight from summer '10. Then the BRU legs discontinue indeed.

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 8):
DB operates First Class lounges at some major stations in Germany as well, among them FRA. The offer is similar to the Thalys lounge (free drinks and newspapers but no food).

Good to know. I'll be checking it out on my next ICE 1st class trip then  Wink

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 10):
The train lounge looked pretty good, better than some airline lounges I've been in!

True. It's very new, and a stylish/modern furniture. But as Jonas pointed out also, it's too dark, to much black colours used and lights are dimmed too much also.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 10):
Shame you never got winglets, but not many of the AA fleet have them yet, so quite rare beasts.

It was a hit or miss. Would've been a nice extra though...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
Interesting to see the Thalys, looks like a very nice train, would love to try it out soon!

Actually if you really want to try it out, you can try it out soon. Think about that option...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
The Lounge itself looked great, nice interiors, and a great food and beverages section, much better than the SJ Lounges that we have here,

This NS Hispeed lounge does not offer food. Drinks only  Wink

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
But I didn't like the darkness of the lounge, to me it looked like one of these Amsterdam Bars, and I would certainly not like to drink my morning coffee in a lounge like that.

Hehe... if only the colourssetting was more pink  Silly But I think I've to agree, it is indeed a bit dark for this lounge. For bars it's no problem though  Wink

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
A "small" pic of the SJ Lounge just as a comparison

Looks good, nice view on the central hall.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
I did not know that AA operated the flight between BRU and LHR, I had always thought BRU was served non-stop.

Me neither, but I have a good PA in Finland working for my schedules  Yeah sure

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
Btw How was the coffee onboard the AA flight, was it bland or did it have some aroma left in it?

American bland. And with my usual milk in it, more water then coffee. But come on,... that belongs to the AA experience.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
Hopefully I'll make a similar report next month, and this time they'll accept it in the TR forum this time

As long as you include the trains and planes in one good report with the same mission, it shouldn't be a problem.

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 14613 times:

Hi StarAlliance;

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 12):
I never knew AA flew BRU-LHR?

Me neither,...

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 12):
How did you learn about this service?

My 'PA' in Finland pointed this out for me. Always a good help for scheduling.

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 12):
Is it marketed as a BRU - US via LHR?

Yes, it's sold as BRU-BOS (via LHR). But this flight is apparently only here for a short while, to keep LHR slots with AA. This service discontinues with the start from the summer timetable.

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26912 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 14588 times:

Hey Eric.
Great report as usual . Nice to have the train with the flights. I would love to F class train Germany or France sometime. Also nice to be able to fly AA on such a short flight. Nice loads for doing TR's but maybe not for the airline.

Nice pic of the EK A380. Would love to get on that also.

Chat soon

Philip


User currently offlineBwaflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 689 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 14500 times:

Terminal 1 is in the its last couple of years of life. The new terminal 2A (Heathrow East) has started construction (satellite pier is nearly complete). Once this opens in 2012/2013, Terminal 1 will close. Don't expect to see any refurbishment of Terminal 1! BD has no control over gate allocation, this is handled by BAA.

User currently offlineAA767400 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 2354 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 14467 times:

Great trip report Eric!

You mentioned the premium cabin on this aircraft as First class, but on the 763/75L it is Business class. The 777/762 are the only ones with a 3-class product.

Also, the Crew that worked your flight were BOS based, not JFK.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
The Interiors of the 763ER looked pretty shabby back in Y. Strange that they had decided on installing the new linings and pivot-bins in Business Class, whilst keeping the old ones in Y.

Correct. AA went halfway with this modification, which in my book is just plain tacky.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 11):
Btw How was the coffee onboard the AA flight, was it bland or did it have some aroma left in it? I usually find some airlines coffee to be very bland, KLM i.e, while others like SAS seem to make it just perfect, hmmm...

To be honest, it depends on the water tanks that day. One plane can have great water, while another could have very metallic tasting water. Also, two bags instead of one takes care of it being watered down.  Smile



"The low fares airline."
User currently offlineFlyingfool From Netherlands, joined May 2005, 437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 14419 times:

Hey Eric

Nice report!

The layout of the meal offered on the Thalys looks similar to an airline food tray...

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
You see so many widebodies, so many compared to e.g. AMS, which makes my homebase to look like a regional airport.

AMS also get a lot of widebodies, just check the arrivals between 5 and 7AM on any average day and you can believe that there are many airports and spotters in the world which are getting jealous on the amount of widebodies arriving in such a short time. Only downturn is that most of this aircrafts are wearing the KLM and Delta colors...

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
Come on LHR, you can't call this an airport! Also the waiting area at gate 23 is a disgrace! No ceiling, old chairs, dirty carpet, electrical heaters in the middle of the hall, wires for electric power plugged in the wall. How can this serve as an airport...

In this case AMS is waaaaaaaayyyyyy ahead of LHR!!!!

Mike

[Edited 2010-01-17 15:48:28]

User currently offlineLX64A332 From Switzerland, joined Aug 2007, 273 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 14145 times:

Nice TR! I hope on catching the SQ 77W between MAN and MUC sometime soon!

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
MAD-FRA on LA A343
MAN-GVA on SV B772
AMS-FRA on JL B744F
TFN-MAD on IB A343
FRA-MUC on LH AB6
DUS-MUC on AB A332
AMS-PMI-AMS on MP MD11
AMS-LPA on MD MD11
AMS-TFS on OR B763

Unfortunately many of those do not exist anymore!  Sad
I would have loved to also try the SV 772 or the LH AB6!



SWISS remains Swiss. With Lufthansa. :D
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 20, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 13803 times:

Hi Eric,

Nice read about the shortest widebody flight in AA's schedule. I was looking at the United 777 pulling in from LHR yesterday at BRU for its overnight stop and really wanted to catch it. Too bad their schedules are worse than AA's - but maybe I can figure something out. The UA flight seems to be around for the summer schedules as well, yay!

The NS lounge looks very nice - I love the ambiance. Shame about the offerings though, but if you get food onboard the train for free I guess drinks are enough. The location doesn't sound too convenient, though - it should definitely be located somewhere closer to the tracks.

Appalling load indeed, but I guess it is to be expected on this oddball service. Any idea about whether all the other pax continued to BOS?

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 14):
My 'PA' in Finland pointed this out for me. Always a good help for scheduling.

Glad to be of assistance. I delegate routes I cannot fit into my schedule to other people  Smile

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
On the signs still ‘on time’ though. Well done NS! The Dutch railways are just not able to organize. Maybe I can offer them some of my skills in the near future… I would be happy to provide them some of my knowledge and opinions.

You could offer your consultancy to VR (The Finnish State Railways) as well - lots of problems here recently. I don't think a single commuter train I took to and from work during the last two weeks was on time. And as you mentioned, informing the passengers was the biggest issue.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
A basic interior in Belgium regional trains

Argh - they are still using these old railcars. I once accidentally boarded the 1st class car at BRU airport and was kicked out by the conductor. Glad that he mentioned it since I saw no difference between 1st and 2nd class (ok, maybe there was a little less trash and chewing gum) apart from the fact that the first was completely empty  Smile.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
PThe terminal in BRU is also a bit of a joke. Almost nobody was inside. It felt so deserted in that area. No passengers in the shops, bars mostly empty. Only a few passengers at the security-point leading to the gate area. I have seen these situations before at BRU, and I still wonder how this airline can keep it’s head up.

I think the non-Schengen B-pier has lost quite a lot of traffic since most of the new EU countries joined Schengen as well and moved to A-pier. A is pretty busy especially during the morning and evening rush hours - most of the BRU traffic is to EU destinations!

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
Lot’s of snow around, not too often seen at an airport like BRU.

None of it left yesterday anymore, although the lakes were still frozen!

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
After arriving in Terminal 1, I was walking into another security checkpoint, which was a breeze. Less then 10 people in front of me, unique for Heathrow? I never experienced such a smooth transfer at this airport before.

My last two transfers at Heathrow have been to T3, on both occasions I was the first person for a completely empty security checkpoint (ok, I did make sure I was first off the bus and did some powerwalking), a real surprise considering the way LHR transfers sometimes can go.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
But terminal 1 is a disgrace and I cannot understand why BAA keeps it open for serving passengers. They should quickly refurbish and restore the building.

I think that's on the charts next, after the demolition of T2.

Looking forward to your Baboo adventure as well!


User currently offlineVandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 13663 times:

Hi Eric,

Great report, and some great pictures.

I have always wondered what the NS lounge would look like. It looks nicer than I expected it to be.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
and it will maybe mean about 1 hour delay

Apparently these problems haven't been solved yet. As mentioned before, the international trains, except maybe the Hannover and Berlin service, rarely ever make it on time.

AA product looks good. I like the foldable tray tables. Probably better than the cupholders seen on other carriers.

Quoting Airbuseric (Thread starter):
If you open a track then you should be able to provide the service as in a timetable

Luckily the new sprinters saw more test riding than the average aircraft before taken into service.

Tim,


User currently offlineInfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1451 posts, RR: 33
Reply 22, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 13529 times:

Hi Eric,

I love these train/plane combos. It's always nice to read something a bit different, especially such a short hop on a widebody. Great that you managed to book something before the route stops.

The Thalys looked nice in 1st class. It's such a shame though that it doesn't seem too reliable. There's nothing worse than being sat on a stationary train knowing you have a connection to make. Happened to me once when I was connecting to Eurostar and got to Waterloo just 5 mins before the check-in closed. There's a 1st class lounge at Zurich main station now but only passengers on international trains and those with a 1st class season ticket can use it.

The low load on the BRU-LHR must have added to the experience. I love getting on a plane with so few passengers  Smile

Glad you had another successful trip & happy flying
Infodesk



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 13255 times:

You were impressed by Tex Mex Nachos? I don't see the big deal. Maybe because I hate the stuff. I find these peanut / nacho snacks a waste of their money.

However AA meals on transatlantic flights are good in my opinion, way way better than Continental, Delta or Air Canada. And recently they were improved.

BA also give a drink. I assume the Belgian airline also does.


User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 24, posted (4 years 7 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 12913 times:

Hi Eric,

Excellent report with some great pictures to go with it.

Suddenly a US Airline sounds so appealing to me when flying such a route. I was not aware that AA did a BRU-LHR shuttle. Very interesting!


While BRU seems like a dead airport, it does seem to have an interesting mix of airlines such as 9W, HU, and ET amongst others for example. But from your pictures, i think AMS is miles ahead of BRU though  Wink


As for transfering between terminals at Heathrow, it is a nightmare! I love that airport to death, but it is just a complete hassle to transit through it!

Thanks a lot for sharing!

Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
25 Airbuseric : Hi all, thanks for reading and your comments; I look from another viewpoint. BD is customer, and if I was BD, I would not accept a terminal like this.
26 Flyingfool : Eric, Actually they fly the MD11 freighter to LGG. Mike
27 DunaA320 : Hi Eric Thanks for posting this report. I myself really want to fly this route before it goes! When I looked at planning it, my plan was to do the exa
28 Ollieg84 : Fantastic report, and a great tip! An 'important' mid-morning meeting has come up tomorrow in BRU... A quick return with AA has been booked! Brgds, Ol
29 FlyingFinn76 : Let's see. I just realized that the ex-LHR schedule isn't too bad actually with an afternoon flight. Could even do it as a daytrip from HEL, but I'm
30 Directorguy : Hy Airbuseric, great TR. What a great way to fly! I always thought that flying an exotic, international airline on a short tag-on added spice and flav
31 CYSAFAN : Wow a very nice trip report thanks for sharing. It seems that NS Hispeed are improving on the First class service with a impressive looking lounge and
32 LHRBFSTrident : Great report - thanks for posting! wow - BA should have canned their A321 service and code-shared on AA for the duration of this service, but alas the
33 AA767400 : Correct, but the Captain was the only JFK based employee. The First Officer and Flight Attendants were BOS, including your Elton John look alike. Not
34 LHRBFSTrident : ah well, just shows you how often I'm tempted to get the coffee on AA then...
35 DALCE : Hi eric, Nice report of your latest intra-European-wide-body-flight experiences. AA really surprised me to offer such a decent service on a short flig
36 PlaneHunter : Hi Eric, very nice report, good decision to try AA's 763 on that short hop. I wouldn't want to fly on these birds on long-haul routes. Great deal. Loo
37 FlyingFinn76 : How come? Three of my last four transatlantic flights have been on AA 763s (the fourth was a company 772, agreed it was way nicer!) and perfectly com
38 Shamrock321 : Nice report, good to read and nice pictures.
39 B747forever : Good TR I knew of the BOS-LHR-BRU service, but never knew they could sell LHR-BRU-LHR tickets. Wow, that is way to few pax! Thank you for sharing B747
40 Airbuseric : Hi again. Thanks for all your feedback! Yes, I noticed that now also after searching for pictures of it. It's an interesting MD11 in that ET livery! S
41 Post contains images DunaA320 : I need to try fit this in before it's cancelled for the summer timetable, got alot of things planned in so hopefully I'll be able to get this one sor
42 Ollieg84 : Flights were good thanks - had N352AA both ways, managing to bag 21J for both sectors as well! Unfortunately no winglets either though
43 Cysafan : Hey Guys!! Singapore Airlines is still using B777-300ER on the Milan> Singapore> Milan Malpensa>Barcelona From Barcelona > Barcelona >
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