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Snow-2-Sun: BA J To Tampa And Beyond (pics)  
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 30077 times:



Hello readers and hope you are enjoying a nice Christmas break (and are not caught up in the recent chaos at many of Europe’s airports). No doubt we can expect a few snow reports in the coming days and weeks from a.netters! This report has a snow flavour, although it dates back to the first lot of heavy snow the UK experienced at the end of November.

BACKGROUND

I was in the USA recently and reported on A.net a wild series of crazy flights taken with Delta Airlines domestically: see “Keep Climbing & Don’t Stop - 48hr DL Marathon”

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/181561/

Before that, I had to get to the USA and that is the subject of this report.

Finding a decent fare (and a schedule that worked for me), I opted to fly BA in J from London Gatwick to Tampa (TPA), then meet my mate in Fort Lauderdale (FLL). This required a short flight across Florida on a Gulfstream International (doing business as Continental Connection) B1900D, which was my first experience of this little prop. I would then fly BA in J back to the UK out of Miami (MIA) to Heathrow.

Here’s how the outbound trip looked like on the map



The view from my desk at work a couple of days beforehand.



DAY OF DEPARTURE

3 December 2010

British Airways
BA2167
LGW-TPA
B777-200
G-YMMB
Seat: 4A
Flight time: 9hrs20mins

“Considerably stressed” is how I would describe the 48 hours leading up to 3 December. Significant snowfall had hit many parts of the UK earlier that week which resulted in Gatwick being closed for 2 days. Fully expecting my flight to be cancelled, I was surprised when the airport re-opened and ba.com told me that my flight was operating. Yay. All I needed to do was be able to get to Gatwick to catch the flight…..

This turned out to be less of a problem too as there was little traffic on the road, and most roads had by now been cleared of snow. The minicab’s dashboard thermometer started out at -1C when it left my place at 830am that morning, and by the time we trundled through the suburbs of South London and eventually got to LGW, it had dropped to -5C.

Gatwick was a mess. Snow everywhere. I still could not believe that my flight was going to operate. With a deep breath, I entered the North Terminal, expecting to be greeted by a refugee like scene with people everywhere. The reality however was different. Relatively calm, with a number of people milling about trying to get rebooked (as many shorthaul flights had been cancelled again) but otherwise a normal day in the North Terminal.

Check in at the Club World counters was painless and polite. The BA representative apologetically told me there may be a slight delay with the departure given the situation but I was so grateful at that point that the flight was operating, that I was not bothered about any slight delay (as long as it wasn’t more than 3 hours!).

Not wishing to remain landside for much longer, I passed through a fairly quick security queue and headed for the BA Galleries Lounge. Not having visited this one before, I was interested to see what it was like. A couple of longhaul flights to the Caribbean, in addition to mine, were scheduled to depart today so when I got to the lounge, it was busy. Mostly full of middle aged and older well dressed people and the occasional family, I found a quiet-ish spot and surveyed the surroundings. The lounge was nothing special, although at least it had a number of windows providing a nice vista to the outside – in all its snowy glory.

At the lounge entrance, the nice lady provided me with a letter from BA, telling me that because the catering staff could not physically get to the airport, catering on my flight was to be severally restricted. Unfortunately, no J class meals were being served to Tampa today. Ordinarily this might be cause of complaint, but in the circumstances, I was not bothered but simply glad to be leaving the cold and snowy UK behind for a few days.

The view from my seat in the BA Lounge. The BA777 in the background is actually my aircraft being prepared for Tampa.



A snack and coffee later, I wanted to wander so headed out to the gate that had been allocated on the FID in the lounge. It was one of the satellite gates meaning a necessary crossing of the overhead bridge. As you’ll know if you fly through LGW often, this affords some great views of the airport. Today was no exception, and the extent to which the snow had played havoc with operations here was evident.

A couple of BA 777s operating flights to the Caribbean in the foreground



Emirates 777-300 and a few Thomson aircraft at the North Terminal



Walking along the overhead bridge



The view over the other side with the South Terminal in the background



Needless to say, this EI A320, sadly, was not going anywhere for a while. Note the all white 757s in the background having completed their careers with British Airways.



A view of the bridge from the satellite gates



The FID soon indicated that BA2167 to Tampa was now boarding so I headed up to the gate. A couple of other flights were also due to operate.



A picture of our bird getting ready to take us to warmer climes - Keeping the Flag Flying…only just!



A considerable crowd slowly gathered at the gate. I wondered whether the flight would be full, as Wednesday’s flight to Tampa had been cancelled. I expect there were numerous passengers from that flight who had been rebooked and this was confirmed overhearing my neighbours from where I was sitting. We were now -10mins to the scheduled departure time when boarding was called. No explanation for the expected delay – we’d seen the crew go onboard a while back, nothing seemed amiss.

I was able to board at my leisure and soon found myself in the comfortable confines of 4A in the forward cabin, having been greeted at the door by a cheery flight attendant.



My first time facing backwards in a BA J class seat. Looked strange, and I was dubious at first. However, I managed to soon get settled and explore my new surroundings whilst the Y class passengers were boarding. An announcement was made that the flight was busy and for people to take their seats as quickly as possible. This may have been true, but I counted fewer than 6 other passengers in J. Barely time to put my reading material away and I was asked whether I’d like a drink. Yes please and this was soon in front of me



A fair bit of faffing later – we were now +20 mins after scheduled departure time, and the captain came on the PA to tell us that we’d almost been ready to go but a passenger had failed to turn up and therefore they were now taking steps to remove the bag in the hold. I still can’t believe that there are people out there that check in for a flight and then are not able to physically show up for their flight. Ironically, it was this incident that caused more of the delay than adverse weather.

View from my seat



Nice view of the RR engine



Our neighbour



Finally, bag removed and front door was closed. Phew. We were off. It was now almost +50mins after our scheduled time of departure by the time the tug was disconnected. A slow taxi followed, passing a number of snow-infested aircraft that looked particularly sad.

Going nowhere today



Not one but two EK 773s!



Later departing for Dubai



Showing how much snow had piled up at LGW



And from another angle



This EZY A319 wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry



Iceland Express - feeling at home amongst all the ice?



Feeling a bit strange by this point facing backwards, and noted that on the safety video, passengers facing in this direction are given separate brace instructions. I hoped I would never need to remember this information. Having said that, I found the seat to be very comfortable and it had just the right amount of privacy and space. I was however lucky because the seat next to me was free, otherwise I would have had someone staring over at me as the privacy blind is “to be lowered for take off and landing”.

LEAVING SNOWY LONDON BEHIND

Not much holding time at the end of the runway today given that so few flights were operating.



Lining up and once the RR engines had been fired up, some condensation appeared which made for an interesting spectacle, as we gathered speed.



Lifting off, a quick view of the snow before heading straight into the very low cloud. I was glad to be waving goodbye to this



Not long later, we emerged from the murk into bright sunshine. A lovely view considering the previous week’s UK weather. I had to shield my eyes it was so bright at one point.



I was surprised to find that the onboard entertainment system had yet to be switched on, so I could not follow the map, but we seemed to head west/southwestly and before long, the cloud below began to break up, leaving some glimpses of a very snowy southern England below. It was deceptively beautiful from this height, and I was mesmerised by the view until the IFE was eventually switched on. Checking the map, we were indeed now over the West Country before heading out over the Irish Sea.



Southern England



Another glimpse of the snow



Gorgeous but destructive!



From London to Tampa



Continuing westward



Shortly after, the service began with a young guy in mid/late 20s asking me whether I wanted a drink with my nuts (cashews that is). I elected for another champagne and also an orange juice to get me started.

Another view of the nearly empty J cabin



Managed to read a couple of articles in the latest copy of “Airliners” and then started watching “Dinner for Schmucks” as the view outside turned to endless water. I am a Paul Rudd fan, although it had a poor write up when it came out earlier this year in the UK.

Lunch was served a few hours out and again, the crew apologised for the lack of J class catering. It turned out to be a salad, chicken curry and profiteroles. Addressed by name, and served with a smile, with the wine and bread freely flowing, it was hardly J standard, but I was no more bothered than I was when I was first told about the lack of J catering. Comfy chair, being at 38,000ft and relaxing – it was practically perfect.



No bumps really during this flight – it was smooth flying all the way across to North America, which we made contact with over Newfoundland. Whilst watching TV, I decided to experiment a bit with the seat and managed to get into a position that was highly comfortable. Not fully flat at that point, but perfect for watching TV!

Now just passing Boston



A close up of the RR engine



We progressed further south and west, passing Philadelphia. The airport could be clearly seen under the port wing and engine although I was never able to get a decent picture of it.



Some interesting whispy cloud formations over the US.



Another meal was served about 1.5hours out of Tampa just as we started flying over the Carolinas. This consisted of sandwiches (cheese and pickle) and a couple of scones with cream and jam. More drinks were also served.

About to enter Florida airspace



By now, the daylight was starting to fade as we made our way past Jacksonville and toward central Florida. The St Johns River was clearly visible on our left as was the City of Jacksonville itself. I spent a great few days there back in Feb 1997, which seems like a lifetime ago now.



Not far to go



We started our descent when we were still in the Orlando area as the light continued to fade. Lights were now appearing on the ground below as dusk set in. It seemed to have been a picture perfect December day in Florida as the skies were clear and crisp.



Our approach into Tampa was from the south and as we gradually descended, more and more lights started to flicker on, as the deep red colour of the setting sun in the westerly sky showed up on our left hand side. It was so incredibly gorgeous, and certainly one of those amazing moments that makes flying so special.



Lights coming on down there



We flew over Old Tampa Bay, passing over the W.Gandy Blvd first, followed by the Hwy 275 over Tampa Bay. The colours of the sky were magical after being exposed to the short dark days of Northern Europe in winter.



Sunset colours



On finals



Sinking lower



Smoothly touching down on 36L a short time later, we were greeted by a couple of Delta aircraft. Welcome to Tampa!

Our taxi to Gate 90 (one of the few gates in TPA that can accept an aircraft the size of a B777) at Airside F was brief and our flight was over. Although we were nearly an hour late leaving, we seemed to make up some of the time enroute, as we had a decent tailwind, so in the end, we were only 30 mins late. I still had some 2 hours before my next flight so plenty of time to transfer.



A fast de-boarding ensued, and it looked like things were pretty quiet in TPA for this early Friday evening. I soon became aware that I had not completed any US customs forms, which was surprising because I knew they were still required. It seems that the crew had failed to give any of the J class passengers a form, yet a number of Y class passengers had theirs in hand. Mmmm. Small oversight perhaps? It was no problem because I completed mine and joined the line for Immigration. Not a long wait, and a pleasant chat with the guy behind the counter, after having my fingerprints taken, and I was allowed into the US. Tampa was indeed one of the friendliest US airports I have arrived into. Much much nicer than ATL was in 2009 for example. I acknowledge that TPA has fewer international flights than ATL, but certainly for travellers, this is an advantage – it was a really pleasant experience. Thanks Tampa International!



“CONNECTING” WITH CONTINENTAL CONNECTION

Having been to TPA before, I made my way to the train which took us to the main concourse, and then sought out the signs for Continental/Continental Connection/United….at this point, I had no idea what to expect given the recently merged monolith that it CO/UA.

I got to CO’s check in area, which was literally deserted. In fact much of the check in area at TPA feels strange – feeling like it really is down in a basement. You could have heard a pin drop. A prominent sign directed passengers with flights of CO9000 and above to the United check in area, which was located some distance away. I wandered over to UA, and there was nobody behind the counters at all, with a sign saying that everyone should go to CO for check in assistance. Bit confused, I returned to CO, and there was at least one person behind the desk. A very nice middle aged lady checked me in and took my bag(s) without any problems. Being Star* Silver (a lowly status I know) was enough to be able to check in bags without any fees. I told I was confused about where to check in and she apologised and said several people had the same issue. Thankfully it wasn’t busy so everything was sorted in a short period of time.

I’ve been landside at TPA on several occasions and I quite like the feel of it – very relaxed and chilled. As such, I decided not to linger and head over to Airside A, to where my little Beech 1900D would be departing from at 850pm.

3 December 2010

Gulfstream International dba Continental Connection
CO9239
B1900D
N81533
Seat: 2F
Flight time: 1hour

Gulfstream International Airlines - “Fly Safe, Fly Smart, Fly Gulfstream”



Gulfstream International, formed in 1988, is based in Fort Lauderdale and operates scheduled and charter services to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean. It operates as a Continental Connection carrier although recently has repainted one of its aircraft in its new corporate GIA colours. It has a fleet of +20 B1900Ds.

Considerable controversy has surrounded the airline, particularly after a 2009 FAA investigation into its pilot training programmes.

In November 2010, GIA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – flights currently continue

Anyway back to the flight….Security was relatively stress free, as there were few passengers heading for Airside A at this time of night. In fact, it was very quiet throughout although I wondered whether this was just because of the way in which TPA is designed. A couple of Air Tran flights were being called, but Airside A was otherwise half deserted. Feeling a call for some Floridian orange juice, I found a small concession that was open, bought my drink and wandered around for a bit. This was the first time I had been airside at TPA.



The Gulfstream gates were downstairs at A1, so I wandered down there to see what it was like. Essentially a large holding area, where once called, passengers would walk to their awaiting B1900D. Whilst waiting, a flight to Miami departed, followed soon after by a flight to Key West. The gate area was large enough to hold a number of people so it was comfortable. I managed a picture of some of the B1900D action.



Our flight to Fort Lauderdale looked like it was one of the last of the departures for Gulfstream from Tampa that day, and we were soon called to start boarding. Prior to that, the gate agent made an interesting announcement – not one I’ve heard before given I was a Beech 1900D “virgin”.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, as there are no restroom facilities on your flight, we advise you to use the facilities here in the terminal before boarding”

Yikes! Wonder what happens to people who really need to go, and did not take note of the instructions?

When the flight was called, it looked like our flight would be pretty full tonight and it turned out that nearly all 19 seats would be occupied.

Being overly keen, I was one of the first out onto the tarmac and managed a couple of average pics of the action and our aircraft. Not pretty by any standards, but looking good in the clear night air of Florida.

Nobody seemed to mind me snapping away, which was a relief.



Up the front airstairs and into seat 2F. No overhead baggage storage so camera bag had to fit under the seat in front. No cockpit door either, so all the action from the cockpit could be seen. This is how flying should be all the time! Of course, there are no galleys on these birds, and no flight attendant either.




View from my seat with the main entry door still open



Quite a contrast in terms of personal space between J on a BA 777 and on a B1900D!

Once all aboard, the starboard prop next to me was fired up and the co-pilot crawled back to retract the airstairs. We were all set. Soon after, a recorded PA was made over the roar of the props giving us all of the safety information about the flight. We were then thanked for flying with Gulfstream International Airlines, doing business as Continental Connection. All cabin lights were turned off by the time we got to Runway 36R.

Barely a pause and we were off – the prop next to me getting louder and louder as we increased our speed. A very short take off, and we lifted off.

Climbing with some gradual right turns, the lights below us shimmering away. What a wonderful sight. By now, the noise outside did not seem that noticeable but perhaps this was because I was so focussed on what was going on down below. However, what I did notice was that the pilots seem to have had the heating on full blast, and there was hot hair coming out from a vent somewhere that felt so hot, that I had to move my foot – for fear of getting first degree burns! I know Floridians were finding it cold, but it wasn’t that cold! The intensity of th heat seemed to die down though after about 20mins.

A couple of dark shots from the window of 2F



Getting close to Fort Lauderdale



It hardly felt like any time had passed before I could see a carpet of lights outside, indicating we were heading toward the populous Miami/Fort Lauderdale region.

Floating gradually down, with a slight change in the noise of the props as we got closer to FLL



Arrivals runway was 09L, confirmed as we passed over a very busy I-95. Touchdown was smooth and we buzzed toward the gate area where passengers could disembark. I waited for most of the passengers to leave, before heading out although the passenger in 3A was fast asleep even after everyone else had left. The starboard prop meanwhile, continued to operate and was not shut down.

I thanked the pilot – who was still seated and managed to get down the narrow airstairs without falling down them, and took a couple of rampside pictures. Again, no hassle from the authorities. Goodbye little Beech and thanks for the ride!



Walking to the terminal - with CO mainline 737-800 arriving



I was at my final destination and after picking up my bag(s), I went to the arranged rendezvous point where a little while later, my mate turned up, having been down in MIA for some dusk spotting. So much for a meet and greet by one of your most nearest and dearest friends !!!

REFLECTIONS

My first BA J experience also happened to by my first BA 777 experience. I almost travelled on one back in January 1997 to PHL but BA were not due to start operating them to PHL until two weeks after my flight there. Drat. It took me 13 years to get on one. Flying to Tampa was great. Service onboard was professional and friendly and despite the lack of catering, I was so pleased to have got to my destination without delay or a missed connection. By way of postscript, BA did provide me with a £15 voucher which could be used at LGW for food or other items.

Arriving off an international flight into Tampa was a pleasure. Much nicer than my experience into Atlanta in 2009.

Flying on the B1900D was an experience I also very much enjoyed. Notwithstanding some of the controversy that has surrounded GIA in recent times, I would probably fly with them again. Even though the cabin was boiling hot for some of the time, being able to see the cockpit made it feel like real flying. We did not fly that high, and were afforded with wonderful views of Florida on a clear winter night.

My views for the next 48 hours in Fort Lauderdale - quite a contrast to London, just 24 hours before



From the balcony at the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina



How the other half live…



POSTSCRIPT

I also spent a day or so at FLL capturing some of the action - perfect weather for photography. Here’s a small selection

CO/UA 737-800



Avianca A320 - I love these colours



Air Canada A320



Spirit A320



AA 737-800



Virgin America A319



..and my favourite, the Bahamasair 737-200 C6-BFM



Thanks for reading and Happy Christmas!


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSketty222 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1778 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 29838 times:

Great report........

I really enjoyed your DL report and wondered if you were to write up how you got over to the US. I'm pleased you enjoyed BA as Club World is a good cabin and its a shame you were unable to sample the food. I'm quite surprised though that there weren't more people in J on your flight as I think, if I remember correctly, there had been a couple of cancellations previous to your flight to both TPA and MCO.
You cant beat that rear facing seat though from J, looking back at, normally, a GE engine from LGW but RR is just as good 

PS. I love that airbridge at LGW. I remember crossing it when there was a 777 underneath it and that tail does seem quite close



There's flying and then there's flying
User currently offlinelovetojetblue From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 29685 times:

Great report. What model camera were you using for the FLL planespotting?


Jetblue: The official airline of Springfield! And Eventually: The official airline of Quahog, RI
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7271 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 29640 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Fort Lauderdale and operates scheduled and charter services to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

They also fly out of Cleveland too.
Great trip report! Hope to see one on the MIA-LHR flight too?



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineCheco77 From Peru, joined Oct 2004, 1345 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 29401 times:

Excelent TR, thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed reading it, I escaped the European winter as well, thanks God we don´t have to be in the cold  )

Cheers,
Adam



Czech Boeing lover living in Lima
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 29095 times:

Hi all

Sketty222

Quote:
I'm quite surprised though that there weren't more people in J on your flight as I think, if I remember correctly, there had been a couple of cancellations previous to your flight to both TPA and MCO.

Yes, me too. I had expected all cabins to be packed as previous flights to TPA and MCO had been cancelled.

Quote:
You cant beat that rear facing seat though from J, looking back at, normally, a GE engine from LGW but RR is just as good

Totally agree!

@lovetojetblue - thanks for posting a comment. I was using a Canon 550D for the pics at FLL.

@flymia - hi! yes, I had read that after I got back to the UK. Their inflight magazine "Air Currents" only showed routes within Florida, the Bahamas, with the charter service to Havana! Will look at doing the MIA - LHR sector over the Christmas break.

Checo77 - glad you enjoyed the report and managed to escape the winter here as well - where did you go? Are you doing a trip report!???



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2468 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 28686 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
a letter from BA, telling me that because the catering staff could not physically get to the airport, catering on my flight was to be severally restricted. Unfortunately, no J class meals were being served to Tampa today.
Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
the crew apologised for the lack of J class catering.

Nice to read... Very strange, J class meals couldn't be loaded, but Y meals where no problems?! And real crystal also were aboard?! Hmmm...  


User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 28447 times:

Hello(!),

Just to say many thanks for the report/pics etc. I also wrote a report of a trip on a British Airways 777 from London Gatwick to Tampa but in economy. I haven't been to Florida in winter for a couple of years now and I really miss it. My Hilton in St. Petersberg was right next to a General Aviation airport and I used to take flying lessons there and stuff which was cool (nowone minded about me not being TSA cleared to take flying lessons either which was very cool although I should probably be quiet about that!) But even besides flying Florida is so cool in the winter time. Nice beaches, warm sea and if you can get to NASA its even better! Not sure I would have liked to be facing backwards on a flight though, maybe it's something you get used to but I guess flying over water there's not really much to see for most of the flight anyway. One time I flew to Tampa we went to Newquay and then direct over ocean all the way to Tampa pretty much and the other time we took a more Northerly routing. The return night flight with a routing over the US is also nice as there are some nice views of the US from the air before making the Atlantic crossing. Hope to see a trip report of your return to the UK.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6937 posts, RR: 77
Reply 8, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 28444 times:

Hi Palmjet,

excellent report with high-quality pictures, what a pleasure to read!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):

At the lounge entrance, the nice lady provided me with a letter from BA, telling me that because the catering staff could not physically get to the airport, catering on my flight was to be severally restricted. Unfortunately, no J class meals were being served to Tampa today. Ordinarily this might be cause of complaint, but in the circumstances, I was not bothered but simply glad to be leaving the cold and snowy UK behind for a few days.

That's quite odd. But it could have been worse...at least the flight did depart.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
A view of the bridge from the satellite gates

Very impressive building!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
My first time facing backwards in a BA J class seat. Looked strange, and I was dubious at first.

Hm, the yellowish color looks strange and reminds me of Ryanair a little bit...  

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I still can’t believe that there are people out there that check in for a flight and then are not able to physically show up for their flight.

Well, people get sick or simply cannot manage to be somewhere on time.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Lunch was served a few hours out and again, the crew apologised for the lack of J class catering. It turned out to be a salad, chicken curry and profiteroles. Addressed by name, and served with a smile, with the wine and bread freely flowing, it was hardly J standard, but I was no more bothered than I was when I was first told about the lack of J catering. Comfy chair, being at 38,000ft and relaxing – it was practically perfect.

Wow, looks quite good, better than expected.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
“Ladies and Gentlemen, as there are no restroom facilities on your flight, we advise you to use the facilities here in the terminal before boarding”

I absolutely dislike aircraft without lavatories...


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 28444 times:

Hello(!),

Just to say many thanks for the report/pics etc. I also wrote a report of a trip on a British Airways 777 from London Gatwick to Tampa but in economy. I haven't been to Florida in winter for a couple of years now and I really miss it. My Hilton in St. Petersberg was right next to a General Aviation airport and I used to take flying lessons there and stuff which was cool (nowone minded about me not being TSA cleared to take flying lessons either which was very cool although I should probably be quiet about that!) But even besides flying Florida is so cool in the winter time. Nice beaches, warm sea and if you can get to NASA its even better! Not sure I would have liked to be facing backwards on a flight though, maybe it's something you get used to but I guess flying over water there's not really much to see for most of the flight anyway. One time I flew to Tampa we went to Newquay and then direct over ocean all the way to Tampa pretty much and the other time we took a more Northerly routing. The return night flight with a routing over the US is also nice as there are some nice views of the US from the air before making the Atlantic crossing. Hope to see a trip report of your return to the UK.

Many thanks,

Pierre


User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3024 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 28370 times:

Awesome report, thank you!
Like some others, I was wondering when this would appear - it's hard not to do a TR if you have the pics!
One day I'll fly J, but for now, reading reports such as this will have to suffice  
And the little Beech looked like a nice trip - I take it that leg was booked separately?
Thanks again!

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinetravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 94 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 28337 times:

Great report Palmjet. Great shots of the planes in FLL. I also enjoyed your report of your 2 day trip on DL.

THe BA flight seemed confortable enough. I thought they would have given you more than GBP15 for food at LGW. I assumed a sizeable amount of miles or a credit at least for the woeful food. I guess it was not their fault for not loading the meal due to the weather.

The snow is pretty to look at but I guess treacherous to fly in. Never get that problem here.

Was the plane stable and highly pressurised in the Gulfstream? Have never been in a plane of 19 people before and thought it would not be as nice to travel in as say something like a 737 or A320. Smallest plane I have travelled in CRJ which held at least 100 people.

Cheers,

Rob



You can never travel too much in your life!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (3 years 12 months 23 hours ago) and read 28254 times:

@debonair - thanks for your comments. Yes, it was strange. I don't know why YCL meals were still available. I suspect they had already been prepared and were already on-site at the time they needed to be loaded onto the flight. Perhaps others with a more detailed knowledge of airline catering may have some answers here?

@Ps76, very glad you enjoyed the report! You are certainly right about the usual conditions in Florida in winter. It's so nice (compared to here!). I also thought facing backward would be strange, but it turned out that after a while, I practically forgot that I was even facing the "wrong way"! It made no difference, other than a strange sensation for take off and landing. I much preferred the BA seats (from a photography perspective) because at least you could face the window. The angled JCL seats that other airlines have mean that in many cases the window is practically behind you, and very difficult to position from for pics!

@Planehunter, hello! hope you are well. Yes, I was more relieved that the flight was operating that day, when so many were still cancelled. The yellowish tinge is perhaps due to a setting on my camera - I don't recall anything being that yellow or indeed noticeable. Also, yes, I appreciate that some people get sick and are physically unable to get to the gate, however if that happens, you would expect them or their travelling party to notify someone, somewhere that they are not able to get to the gate! The number of times I have been on a flight that has been held up by someone failing to turn up makes me think that not everyone is calling in sick!! The YCL meal was actually quite tasty - no complaints !
Ha ha - for what it was worth, I was prepared to forego the lavatory for the 1 hour flight to FLL!!

@signol - hi there. Yes, the CO flight was booked separately, which is why I was glad I had a good 3+ hours to connect in TPA, just in case there were any major delays leaving London. Also, the CO flight to FLL was the last one of the day, so I could have been stuck in TPA overnight, although that wouldn't have been so bad. The one way ticket was approx £70 including taxes.

@Rob - thanks for your comments. I was surprised to get anything at all really (although under normal circumstances I probably would have written to BA) but the food was not too bad at all. I managed to stuff myself with food on the ground beforehand too so was not even that hungry for most of the flight! The B1900D was very smooth - hardly a bump for the whole flight, but probably more due to the calm weather conditions at the time. I don't recall how high we were flying - couldn't quite see the cockpit instruments ! However, the aircraft is pressurised so assume we must have been at a pretty decent hight. The older I get, the more happy I am to fly on something other than a 737 or A320 - just for variety! I am doing an 8 hour, 8 stop Dash 8 flight next March from Brisbane to Mt Isa with Skytrans: that should be an adventure.



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinereadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3357 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 27720 times:

Thanks for that report.
I find the food problem unacceptable on your flight.
I have a suggestion for you, Email to Customer services and complain should result in a 10,000 mile bonus in your
FFlyer account.
Great pictures.Thanks



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (3 years 12 months 18 hours ago) and read 27558 times:

readytotaxi - thanks for your suggestion. I might think about writing early in the New Year. I was pleased however that the flight was operating so the meal, whilst important, was not a priority for me on this flight. Sad, because I wanted to experience the JCL meal service on BA !!!


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (3 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 27348 times:

Hey, PJ,

great story and such a number of high quality pictures.
What a superb idea to stay away from the winter mess for some sunny days in Florida,
all together with nice company, well done.

Like your FLL pictures, summer airport feeling at it´s best.

Congrats to score the Gulfstream Beech, very rare here in Europe.

Also Merry Christmas,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlinerobso2 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2010, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 27288 times:

Super report! Really enjoyed reading it! Great snaps of the giant RR's on the BA 772

I envy your flight in the B1900D!



733/4/5/6/7/8/9, 319/20/21, 752, 744, 772, 332/3, 343/6, E70/90, AT43, AR85/1, D38, D10, M82
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1965 posts, RR: 24
Reply 17, posted (3 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 27041 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello, PalmJet!

Another really nice report. Thanks for sharing! Really good pictures too .. I love those shots of the 777 wing!

Interesting about the lack of catering on-board .. I sure would be bummed about this if I had splurged to purchase the J ticket!

Thanks for sharing,

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1260 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (3 years 12 months 5 hours ago) and read 26540 times:

I think it would have been better to fly to Miami and drive or take a bus to Ft Lauderdale from the airport.

User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 19, posted (3 years 12 months 5 hours ago) and read 26511 times:

Markus - Merry Christmas to you too. Thanks for your comments. It was great to get away from Europe for a few days for sure. Look forward to more reports from you in 2011. When are you posting your TLS trip? I am waiting for that one!

robso2 - glad you enjoyed the report as well. The Beech 1900D is very rare in Europe for sure. I am not aware of any UK operators of the type either currently or historically.

Matthew - yep, know what you mean. I would have ordinarily felt quite annoyed, but given all the disruption leading up to the flight, and the fact that Gatwick only re-opened the morning of my departure, I was relieved to be on a flight that was not cancelled

lychemsa - now as an a.netter who loves to fly, why would I take the boring option of flying directly into MIA and moreover, forego the chance to fly on a type (B1900D) that I've never been on before? Also, I was flying out of MIA back to LHR in anycase, so the trip was more interesting by flying into TPA. Also, from what I've heard, arriving on an international flight into MIA can be a soul destroying exercise. Merry Christmas!



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (3 years 12 months 1 hour ago) and read 26402 times:

Hey, PJ,

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 19):
Look forward to more reports from you in 2011. When are you posting your TLS trip? I am waiting for that one

Five stories to write right now with TLS as No.3.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 26255 times:

Markus - great news! Look forward to seeing your report soon. Cheers P/jet


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineCheco77 From Peru, joined Oct 2004, 1345 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 26251 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 5):
where did you go? Are you doing a trip report!???

I escaped to Peru, as I am doing for the last three years   Yes, I did, the link is the following: Flying Star Alliance For The First Time: PRG-LIM (by Checo77 Dec 14 2010 in Trip Reports)

Have a wonderful Christmas  

Adam



Czech Boeing lover living in Lima
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2468 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 26193 times:

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 12):
I don't know why YCL meals were still available. I suspect they had already been prepared and were already on-site at the time they needed to be loaded onto the flight. Perhaps others with a more detailed knowledge of airline catering may have some answers here?



Nope- I don't think so. Working many years in this business, I assume that your meal was "stolen" for another BA service- e.g. a flight with many hrs. delay (meals can't stay long on an a/c without cooling, so the original meals were dispossed off) or that another flight was filled up in Business on a more Premium route (due to rbk.). As there was not enough time to prepare new meals, prepacked Y were taken in.


User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 25661 times:

adam - great trip report to Peru! Nice pics as well in Houston. Thanks for posting this. Merry Christmas to you too!

Debonair - thanks for the clarification. As I said, I had no idea why YCL meals were still available but your explanation makes sense. Cheers P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
25 robso2 : It is certainly rare. "Twin Jet" current operate 10 Beech 1900D within France and Switzerland
26 caspritz78 : Nice report. Will escape snowy Germany with destination Tampa tomorrow. Hopefully I have no delays.
27 Palmjet : caspritz78 - thanks and have a great trip to Tampa. Hope there are no snow delays for you! Who are you flying with? Hope you can do a report when you
28 airbuseric : Hi Palmjet, great report, really good writing about the experience in snowy UK and onboard, good pics as well. Would love to go spotting at FLL at som
29 Palmjet : Hey Eric - merry christmas to you. Thanks for your comments and yes, the explanation given seemed quite weak from BA. I will think about following up
30 Post contains images ba319-131 : Hi PJ, Nice report, good to read on this dank wet evening - Lucky, so many cancelled flights, I had 6 domestic flights cancelled over the period. - Go
31 Palmjet : Hi Mark - Merry Christmas to you - hope you had a good one. Thanks for your comments. Yes, quite a few on here have suggested that a complaint to BA a
32 Post contains images AlwaysOnAPlane : Hey PJ. Hope your Christmas went well and are looking forward to 2011. VERY nice report there mate. Glad to see you got away from the snow chaos witho
33 Palmjet : Hi Lee - Happy New Year to you! Thanks for your post. Yes! the champagne was still flowing without any problems, as was the wine generally. Glad you e
34 Post contains images LGWflyer : Another great TR! Always nice to leave the cold UK for sunny climates (especially Florida!). Loved the pics of LGW in the snow and also you gotta love
35 Coal : Hi Palmjet Great TR! I must say I always wonder why the put the backward facing seats by the window... It's like getting punished for getting a window
36 Palmjet : LGWflyer - thanks for your comments. Yes, there were planes all over the place at LGW where they aren't usually. The airport was so disrupted during t
37 Post contains images LH4116 : Hello Palmjet, nice report! Catching up on old reports sure is a pleasure Ah so now I know where you had your first Beech experience. A nice bonus ind
38 palmjet : Hi Jonas My, you have had a busy Sunday! Thanks for all your comments on the various trip reports - some of which I never expected to see again! would
39 JFKman : Some beautiful spotting and love the backgrounds
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