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W-E In Washington (1): AF Train + A380 BRU-CDG-IAD  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13908 times:


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When I published the first edition of my transatlantic traffic analysis on A.net in April 2011 (http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/aviation_polls/read.main/216043/), I received a couple of interesting private messages from A.netters commenting and discussing my work. Little did I know then that one of those discussions, with one particular American A.netter, would evolve into what has become one of my possibly strongest, certainly most interesting friendship relationship in a long time. From the analysis at hand, our correspondence drifted to more personal topics and we discovered each other a surprisingly vast amount of common interests. The geography/history/politics part of this sustained correspondence, which is still going strong as I start the writing of this report, reactivated the interest for U.S. history and geography that had always been part of me, albeit sleeping while I was busy with the discovery of other countries.

Long story short, another visit to the U.S. was in order after my last visit to New York in 2008 ( BA BRU-LHR-JFK-EWR-LHR-BRU (Pics/Vids/go-around) (by BrusselsSouth May 7 2008 in Trip Reports) ) (not counting a change of planes at PHL in 2009 - Canada : 9 Flights W/ LH/US/WS/AC/BD Lots Of Pics! (by BrusselsSouth May 7 2009 in Trip Reports)). A discussion with the aforementioned A.netter and friend (let's call him Mr B for the remainder of this report to protect his A.net identity, if he has no problems revealing himself, he'll just comment on this report) related to one of his recent travels to Washington, DC had made the U.S. capital a no brainer in my mind. As is often the case, the sparkle igniting the fire was the discovery of a promotional fare on AF/KL from Europe to North America, for travel in January/February. Before booking, I contacted Mr B to assess the feasibility of a quick meet in Washington, but unfortunately, as we both had a very busy schedule during the discounted fare period for business/personal reasons, we concluded that there was too little advance notice for the meeting to actually happen.

This would oviously not prevent me from going by myself, and it would provide me with a good reason to come again to the U.S. for a proper meet at a later point. Upon checking the schedule options on the AF website, I realized that they wouldn't charge more for a multi-city itinerary which I took as an excuse to look for an alternative return routing. There came another no brainer: for a very reasonable fare, AF/KL allowed me to compile the following itinerary:

- High speed train (Thalys train with an AF code) between Brussels and CDG.
- CDG-IAD on the AF A380.
- MIA-AMS on the KL MD-11.
- AMS-BRU on the KL Fokker 70.

While I had already tried the AF A380 ( AF A380: WhaleJet Across The Channel (pics) (by BrusselsSouth Aug 12 2010 in Trip Reports) ) and KL F70 ( Copenhagen In One Day: BRU-CPH-AMS-BRU SK/KL (by BrusselsSouth Dec 23 2011 in Trip Reports) ), the MD-11 did appeal to me big time, especially amidst all the noise about KL retiring them soon (and pulling out of MIA completely). Mr B mentioned that after her retreat from MIA, the KL MD-11 would be operating on AMS-ATL (which I actually took as an invitation), but as another round of personal problems is already scheduled in my near future life (health problems, again, but don't worry, a credible solution exists although its implementation will keep me away from the skies for a couple of months), I played it wise and followed the saying that claims that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

All I still needed was a hotel (found a good deal for the ideally located Hilton Garden Inn DC, three blocks away from the White House) and a way to reach MIA from Washington on the day of my return. In true A.net style, Mr B had very wisely suggested that I use both IAD and DCA during any trip to Washington as a way to discover both airports which were, according to him, both very different experiences. As I was supposed to arrive at IAD, I started searching for DCA to MIA options only to find that no airline beside AA operate the route. I opted against connections to maximize my time in the capital and minimize the risk of missing my flight back to Europe. With no other options in sight I booked myself on an AA 737-800 (no possibility for a Mad Dog here), allowing plenty of time for the connection at MIA.

A couple of days later, I bought an upgrade to Y+ for the KLM MIA-AMS segment, in an attempt at getting some sleep during that flight since I had to work the day following my return. I even enrolled into the Flying Blue FF program even though I've been a Miles&More member for long, since it appears that I find myself more often than not on SkyTeam carriers. This being said, the program doesn't look exactly generous, but what can you loose when it's free?

The following days, I received lots of suggestions and tips from Mr B which turned out to be very useful. My plan called for an exhausting but extensive visit of Washington in a short (2 full days, starting on Friday noon till Sunday noon) time frame. The "must visit" list featured both facilities of the National Air & Space Museum, at Dulles (Stven F. Udvar-Hazy Center) and on the National Mall.

So, now that the background is set, fasten your seat belts, put your seat back in the upright position and join me for a ride to the U.S. capital.

A train with a flight number

Like most of my personal travels, this trip begins with an early wake-up at 4am. The first thing I do is a quick check of the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) for the day:


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A warm shower and a couple of cups of coffee later, I'm on a cab that drops me at the Charleroi-South railway station.


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Not many souls around at this early hour, I catch the first double-decker IC service to Brussels of the day.


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50 minutes and 4 intermediate stops later I reach the Brussels-Midi/Zuid station where I find my way to the airport-style Air France check-in counters. Checking in online doesn't exempt you from a visit to the manual check-in counter for Air France's train service. As stated on my "boarding pass" (train ticket), my "flight" (train ride) will depart from "gate" (track) 4. I'm also given a boarding pass for the CDG-IAD segment by a, let's say, not too friendly agent.

I wait for a couple of minutes on the platform until a trainset formed by the coupling of a Thalys PBA and a TGV-Réseau shows up. This train serves CDG before continuing to Marseille.


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Boarding is a brilliant mess with everyone, including me, walking the whole length of the train multiple times in a desperate attempt at finding the car mentioned on the boarding pass. Finally, a catering loader solves the mystery by realizing that a "1" has been prefixed to the car number on the boarding pass. So, car "11" actually means "1", "12" means "2" and so on. I find my comfortable seat in a first class car (I believe all Air France customers are seated in first class carriages) with more legroom than you could ever dream of on a plane, even in First. I notice that there is a large load of Air France ticketed passengers on board the train, with a good proportion of Africans about to connect on AF's subsaharian network.

As usual, the Brussels to Paris journey is a short (1:15) and smooth ride that ends right at the heart of the action at CDG, between terminals 2C/D and 2E/F (we were served complimentary biscuits and drinks during the journey).


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I counted no less than 13 U.S. departures in the 10:00 - 11:00 time frame. Note the cancelled Tbilisi flight on Georgian Airways.

While I hear many complaints about the supposed difficult navigation through CDG's terminals, I always (well, for the three times I used it) seem to find my way there easily, all it takes is a careful following of the signs.


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CDG Terminal 2E check-in hall.

There's a short line for passport control, before I board the small automated train called LISA (Liaison Interne Satellite Aérogare) that leads to the satellite hosting gates E51 through E75.


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That's where security control takes place, after a few minutes of waiting and without hassle. That part of terminal 2E boasts a very airy and spatious architecture with plenty of natural light.

Terminal 2E is SkyTeam territory:


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Two A380s are parked on the western side of the satellite, docked to Whalejet-specific air bridges allowing boarding on both decks simultaneously. One is on duty for my flight to IAD while the other will take off to JFK after us. The waiting lounges are large with plenty of seating. I find a spot at the southern tip of the terminal where I can watch departures and arrivals on the 26's.


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While there's no lack of movements, most are AF or standard Euro-stuff, anyway I manage to catch these (sorry about the reflection on some pictures):


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F-GUFD to Nurnberg.


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Old AF colors...


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... and new colors.


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N346AN departing as AA45 to JFK.


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C-GTSN arriving from Samana, Dominican Republic.


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7T-VJY arriving from Algiers.


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AF in retro livery departing to Barcelona.


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France Air Force F-RADA.

Crossing the Pond on a whale(jet)

Flight details:

+ AF028
+ CDG-IAD
+ Scheduled: 10:50 - 13:10
+ Actual: 11:05 - 13:25
+ Aircraft: Airbus A380-861 F-HPJA MSN33, first flight 12-FEB-2009

Soon enough my flight is called for boarding. Two gates (E53 and E54) are used to separate premium classes and elites from the Y cattle, each gate being divided into lower and upper deck corridors.


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The weather looks slightly better for English speakers...


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I make my way upstairs after a lengthy queue and enter the beast through the U1L door (a "U" or "M" prefix is added in front of A380 door designators to distinguish between Upper and Main deck).


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I cross a large section of the C cabin ("Affaires"), then Y+ ("Premium Voyageur") to find my seat (92L) in the mini Y cabin at the very back of the upper deck. SeatGuru has those Y seats at the standard 32" pitch but they sure feel comfortable, almost like 33".


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They feature a large IFE touch screen, adjustable headrest and foldable footrest, and a classy red pillow and beige blanket set waits on each of them. A nice feature of the A380 upper deck is the presence of stowage bins between the cabin wall and outer seats, I find this very handy to store items you want to have at hand while not wanting to open the overhead bins all the time.


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After doors are closed, my seatmate spots a free row and moves there, leaving me with two seats to make myself comfortable. We leave the gate on time while a recorded safety demo is played, and taxi to runway 27L for a westbound departure.


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The captain makes a welcome speech, mentioning the weather and also the fact that F-HPJA is the first A380 that was deliverd to AF. The tail camera feed is played on our individual screens during taxi and take-off, very nice but that's the last time the feed would be available until final approach and landing.


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The A380 is so incredibly quiet during take-off that you barely notice the take-off roll.


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Soon after departure, the crew makes a pass to distribute a small "amenity kit" containing earphones, ear plugs, eye shades and a refreshing towel.


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I'm surprised to read on the menu that bubbles are free for us Y guests so I order that, you know, just to check, and sure enough, even if the glass is not in the purest French tradition, it contains real Champagne. It's actually not bad as a matter of fact.


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I then order the salmon and pollock main dish which comes accompanied by a vegetable salad with chicken strips, tasty rice, camembert cheese, excellent chocolate mousse, a mandarine orange and multiple rounds of bread served from a tray. I wash it all down with a bottle of white wine and another one of water, before the flight attendant comes for coffee.


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I'm already filled when she proposes scotch of liquor (all this for free, wait, a quick look at my boarding pass, that's economy, right?) and as I don't want to have too much alcohol I decline.

After the meal is complete, attendants request that all window blinds are closed as to allow sleeping. I hate that as looking out of the window is my favorite IFE (yes, even above oceans) but a fellow passenger across the aisle makes me understand that the light from the window causes reflections on her IFE screen. Oh well...


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I try to sleep without much success while the complaining mate across the row takes advantage of the light load to make herself comfortable by laying on the 4 middle seats.


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Without much to do, I actually make use of the "official" IFE by testing the games (not really my thing) then watching a randomly picked movie, "The beaver" featuring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. The only good thing with stupid movies like this is that they make time pass fast.

For the first time in my life, I decide to do what hardcore A.net trip reporters do, going to the lavatory with a camera. Here's the result, it definitely felt weird to take pictures of the loo I'll admit:


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Before I knew it we were reaching the American continent abeam St John's. From time to time I quickly open up the my window blind, ignoring a few angry looks, to get a view of icy and snowy Newfoundland, then Nova Scotia and later Maine and New Hampshire.


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Over Maine.


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Concord, NH, and its airport (CON/KCON).

Around Boston, cabin lights are switched on and the afternoon snack service begins, giving me an excuse to open the window blind for good, followed by most other passengers. Said snack is a sandwich with biscuits, OJ, Actimel fermented milk and a round of drinks.


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Connecticut river.

The skies have become clear at this point, and the snow on the ground disappears somewhere before we reach the New York area. I had anticipated a more easterly route which would have offered nice views of Boston, NYC or Philly, but ours was a little too far inland. Here are some of the sights though:


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Stewart Airport (SWF) near New York.


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Delaware river.


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Susquehanna River with the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear powerplant (right smoke plume) and the city of Harrisburg, PA under the wing. MDT airport is visible just above the smoke from TMI.

After some slow and relatively low flying (for ATC reasons, according to the captain, at FL210 according to FlightAware) we pass IAD downwind...


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... before executing a right turn...


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... that brings us to a greasy landing on runway 1R.


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Interstate 66 running toward DC at Centreville.


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Final approach.


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We taxi to our stand at the A gates, from my window the airport looks deserted, with a Continent... err... United Q400 (N354NG) and Delta MD-80 being the only metal in sight.


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N354NG about to depart to Buffalo/Niagara (BUF/KBUF).


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Old Dulles Tower.

I guess there must be more action on the other side, such as this South African A340 I spot when disembarking.

Once inside the midfield terminal, we are directed to one of those typical Dulles "mobile lounges" that lead us to the iconic main terminal designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen.


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The queue for immigration is not that impressive, but it takes a while to process each person so I end up spending more than 30 minutes in the queue. When my turn finally comes, a long queue as formed behind me, with not only my fellow passengers from the AF A380, but also a freshly arrived load from EI's weird MAD-IAD service. A few questions, fingerprints and a photo later, I'm welcomed to the U.S. by a not too welcoming immigration agent.


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Here's a FlightAware map of our route:


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National Air & Space Museum / Part I: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

My first mission on American soil consists in visiting the Dulles facility of the National Air & Space Museum, named the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. I have a bit of spare time in front of me since immigration took later than expected, making me miss my targeted bus. I take advantage of this to "visit" the impressive main terminal, admiring the graceful beauty of its roof designed in the late fifties.


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Thanks to Mr B's advice, reaching the museum by minibus is a breeze.


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The security guard at the entrance is impressed to see a Belgian although I suspect the number of foreigners visiting the museum must be significant. The inside is like a dream come true, here's just a small selection of highlights:


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SR-71 Blackbird (I built a model of it as a kid).


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The Boeing 707 prototype (Dash 80).


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The B-29 that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.


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Lufthansa Ju-52/3m.


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Space exploration hall.


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Mr B's surprise welcome

The sun is already about to set when I take the bus back to IAD, to catch another bus (Metrobus 5A) to Washington. Following Mr B's suggestion, I remain on the bus till the end of the line as to see the Pentagon and pass on the infamous bridge that got struck by Air Florida 90 in 1982. The then 14th Street Bridge is now the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge in the honor of a passenger from that flight who repeatedly gave up the rescue lines to other survivors before drowning.

A quick Metro ride later, I check in at my hotel where a surprise awaits me: a large box has been delivered by UPS, with my name written in the addressee area!


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As soon as I reach my room I open the thing to discover a present for every member of my family. As a clue for fiding out who the sender is, presents include a selection of typical southern U.S. (more precisely Georgian) culinary products. A nice letter welcomes me to Washington and directs me to a bottle of typical Georgian wine stowed in the bottom of the box.


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The sender has been so kind as to include a cork-screw to spare me a crual frustration. My surprise turns into extreme excitement when I extract a large, and absolutely unexpected aviation related present from the box, something I have been dreaming of holding in my hands during a recent discussion with Mr B. Oh wait, the letter is signed by... Mr B and his family! How cool is this? Thank you so much Mr B and family!

Visiting Washington (part I)

After having enjoyed a couple of glasses of this lovely Muscadine wine, I crash into bed as the time zone difference takes its toll on me: it's already the middle of the night in Belgium. The next day, after a delicious breakfast, I start my (very cold) visit of Washington with a walk to the U.S. Capitol. It has been snowing during the night, but not enough to make walking difficult.


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Library of Congress.


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Supreme Court.


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U.S. Capitol.


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Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Captiol rotunda.


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The Crypt was supposed to look down on George Washington's tomb. A star on the floor marks the point where Washington DC is divided into 4 quadrants.


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The Capitol Dome. The frieze on the left depicts a summary of American history, until the birth of aviation.


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The Apotheosis of Washington is a large fresco painted by Constantino Brumidi in the dome of the Capitol in 1865.


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Detail of the frieze depicting the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903.


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The old Hall of the House of Representatives now houses a large part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.


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Looking across the National Mall from the Capitol toward the Monument. Construction works are in progress...


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... for this reason.


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The National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall.


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The Smithsonian Castle, on the National Mall.


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The 555 feet Washington Monument was the world's tallest structure from 1884 to 1889.


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The difference in color just above the flag marks the place where construction stopped in 1856 before being resumed in 1879.


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World War II Memorial.


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This one is for Mr B...


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... as is this one from the Lincoln Memorial.


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Lincoln Memorial.


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National Mall seen from the Lincoln Memorial.


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Korean War Veterans Memorial.


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Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


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The memorial displays the names of 58,272 servicemen who were either killed in action or went missing in action.


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In the reflection on the memorial wall is A.net member BrusselsSouth...


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The Three Soldiers bronze statue depicts a White, African and Hispanic American looking toward the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


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The Vietnam Women's Memorial.


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The Federal Reserve building.


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The White House seen from the South...


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... and from the North.


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Lafayette Square, close to the White House.


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U.S. Treasury building.


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(Continued in Part 2)

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 13895 times:

Link to part 2 : W-E In Washington (2): DCA-MIA-AMS-BRU AA/KL MD-11 (by BrusselsSouth Jan 29 2012 in Trip Reports)

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8539 posts, RR: 54
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 13496 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures, thanks for posting, the pix from your tour of Washington are excellent!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
A nice feature of the A380 upper deck is the presence of stowage bins between the cabin wall and outer seats, I find this very handy to store items you want to have at hand while not wanting to open the overhead bins all the time.

- Indeed one of the nice features of the upper deck, especially for Y passengers.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
After doors are closed, my seatmate spots a free row and moves there, leaving me with two seats to make myself comfortable

- Result!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
After the meal is complete, attendants request that all window blinds are closed as to allow sleeping. I hate that as looking out of the window is my favorite IFE

- Always unwelcome, I don't recall that happening when I flew AF A380 to JFK a few years back though.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Around Boston, cabin lights are switched on and the afternoon snack service begins, giving me an excuse to open the window blind for good, followed by most other passengers. Said snack is a sandwich with biscuits, OJ, Actimel fermented milk and a round of drinks.

- Actimal for me is a morning drink with breakfast, find it odd to be given out as part of an afternoon snack!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
My first mission on American soil consists in visiting the Dulles facility of the National Air & Space Museum, named the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Cente

- Still on my list of places to visit, perhaps next year.....

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 offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3005 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 13346 times:

Hi BrusselsSouth,

Excellent, detailed report, made especially good as I flew this aircraft:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Aircraft: Airbus A380-861 F-HPJA MSN33, first flight 12-FEB-2009

myself in December, JNB-CDG. When we arrived, it parked at the end of 2E next to another A380, arrived from JFK (I think) - so maybe your plane had just come from one of those too as well. We sat downstairs in the Y cabin.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Mr B

Nice that such a good friendship has grown thanks to a.net! But a shame you couldn't meet this time. There will be other occasions!

Thanks again

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1708 posts, RR: 30
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13209 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Bonjour François,

Once again an excellent report with high quality pics, congrats!

I find it nice to read in your prequel that you made a good friend throught the website. And what agood friend he is: treating you with a nice gift upon your arrival in the hotel!

AF seems to have given you an enjoyable experience all the way into IAD. I didn't know that AF pax travel 1st class on the TGV from ZYR to CDG? Terminal E @ CDG actually is quite nice. I did the A380 to LHR as well and we had the same gate back then as you had that day.
You were provided good meals by the looks of it. I just wonder: how was the crew?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
I'm on a cab that drops me at the Charleroi-South railway station.

Not the most pleasant NMBS station, when I look at this photo...

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
AF in retro livery departing to Barcelona.

Excellent! Don't you just love this big reg lettering!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The captain makes a welcome speech, mentioning the weather and also the fact that F-HPJA is the first A380 that was deliverd to AF.

Good detailing by the cpt! But I guess the majority of the pax wouldn't give a rats a... about that fact   

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
For the first time in my life, I decide to do what hardcore A.net trip reporters do, going to the lavatory with a camera.

I'm certainly NOT hardcore then. But from now on, you are!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
such as this South African A340 I spot when disembarking.

Where? Where?  

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Thank you so much Mr B and family!

Kudos to Mr B indeed. And as well to you, the 'other' mr B  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineplateman From United States of America, joined May 2007, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13108 times:

Nice TR .. glad you enjoyed Washington. After living here for a while, I always love seeing comments that visitors post and what photos they take! I've showed many European friends around, and it's always the same good stuff.  


"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 12977 times:

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 2):
the pix from your tour of Washington are excellent!

Thank you!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 2):
Still on my list of places to visit, perhaps next year

Definitely worth a visit. As the icing on the cake, admission is free.

Quoting signol (Reply 3):
myself in December, JNB-CDG. When we arrived, it parked at the end of 2E next to another A380, arrived from JFK (I think) - so maybe your plane had just come from one of those too as well. We sat downstairs in the Y cabin.

Nice to hear. On the day of my CDG-IAD flight, F-HPJA had arrived from DXB earlier in the morning.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 4):
Once again an excellent report with high quality pics, congrats!

Dank je Nils!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 4):
I just wonder: how was the crew?

I forgot to mention it in the report. They were very polite, very professional, maybe just a little bit too professional to be friendly, but I prefer this than the other way around.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 4):
Not the most pleasant NMBS station, when I look at this photo...

The photos say it all.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 4):
Don't you just love this big reg lettering!

Absolutely, I love retro liveries and that one is no exception. There are two other retro liveries (US Airways/PSA and KLM) in part 2.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 4):
Where? Where?

I didn't get any opportunity to take a photo of it, just saw it while disembarking.

Quoting plateman (Reply 5):
Nice TR .. glad you enjoyed Washington

Thanks. Definitely an interesting city.



Thank you for your comments

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1937 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 12922 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Really nice first part of your trip. I love the photos from Washington - definitely a city I want to get back too soon. I flew through IAD back in September, when we connected from MSP to our SAS flight to CPH. I wish I had had some more time there; saw lots of international airlines at Terminal A.

Looking forward to Part # 2 !

Best,

Matthew


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 12499 times:

Hi

Great trip report, thanks for sharing it with us today! Glad you where able to log the 380!
It's a nice feature of Air France to have Y on the upper deck.
However I found the service to be rather mediocre on AF. I flew them back in 2010 and was not overly happy
A Short Hop On A Big Bird! (by MSS658 Feb 27 2011 in Trip Reports)

I like the DC pics as well, been there in 2009 and must say it brought back memories.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 12054 times:

Thank you for this incredible TR!


next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 986 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11297 times:

Great report, with great pictures!

I visited Washington myself this summer, so your pictures look very familiar, with the main difference being white snow instead of blue skies!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
I even enrolled into the Flying Blue FF program even though I've been a Miles&More member for long, since it appears that I find myself more often than not on SkyTeam carriers. This being said, the program doesn't look exactly generous, but what can you loose when it's free?

It's generous, no. A lot of fares only give 25% award miles, so it takes like forever to be able to recieve an award flight. It is relatively easy to become a FB Silver (Skyteam Elite) though, when flying in Europe, as only 15 segments are required (as oppose to 30 with M&M). And Skyteam Elite offers a bit more perks that *S doesn't, including business class check-in, priority security and boarding, extra luggage allowance and bonus miles. No lounge acces though.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
So, car "11" actually means "1", "12" means "2" and so on. I find my comfortable seat in a first class car (I believe all Air France customers are seated in first class carriages) with more legroom than you could ever dream of on a plane, even in First.

I think that has to do with the fact that the train consisted of two trainsets. Car 11 means car 1 on the first trainset, and Car 21 would mean Car 1 on the second trainset.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
As usual, the Brussels to Paris journey is a short (1:15) and smooth ride that ends right at the heart of the action at CDG, between terminals 2C/D and 2E/F (we were served complimentary biscuits and drinks during the journey).

I didn't realise AF pax get a free drink and snack onboard the TGV. Are all AF pax put in a seperate car, to seperate them from normal TGV passengers?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
While I hear many complaints about the supposed difficult navigation through CDG's terminals, I always (well, for the three times I used it) seem to find my way there easily, all it takes is a careful following of the signs.

I agree. My connections at CDG have been easy as well. Yes, it's a maze, but just follow the signs and you'll get there.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The weather looks slightly better for English speakers...

LOL. And interesting to see that the name of the Captain is mentioned on the FIDS. Never seen that before.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
'm surprised to read on the menu that bubbles are free for us Y guests so I order that, you know, just to check, and sure enough, even if the glass is not in the purest French tradition, it contains real Champagne. It's actually not bad as a matter of fact.

Yes, champagne! One of the few pleasures of flying AF in Y. The meal service looks good too, though.

I'm off to read part 2 now!


User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 778 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10922 times:

The A380 experience is a must do! thanks for sharing yours

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The first thing I do is a quick check of the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) for the day:

forgive my ignorance but what is that and where to you get this info?

your pictures of Washington are stunning



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlinemk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 10860 times:

Very nicely written Part I. From the pics, it seems the ride to IAD on AF 380 was very comfortable. The DC pics are superb. Even though I live by Dulles airport and use it very often, seeing its pics still brings a lot of excitement.

Can't wait to read part II. I must also add that Mr. B gave you quite a nice welcome to the US.



come fly with me
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 10830 times:

Thank you all for your comments.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 11):
Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The first thing I do is a quick check of the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) for the day:

forgive my ignorance but what is that and where to you get this info?

No problem, just see this Wikipedia article.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10737 times:

Hi Francois,

Wow, I'm quite stunned after reading this first part! What an amazing report - nice writeup, good observations and lots of nice pictures all around. I'm very happy that after your dry travel year 2012 is bringing you something better! A shame you couldn't meet your new friend. That gift package from him was a very nice touch, just lovely.

Very good timing and choice of destination as well, I'm heading to the US in June (coincidentally flying the longhauls to and from BRU actually) and I'm planning to spend a weekend in the DC area. And I was actually planning on making a detour via Florida as well to add some interesting new carriers to my log - plenty of cheap fares down there and back...

Thank you a lot for posting this, will read the second part a bit later! Hope all is well.


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6566 posts, RR: 55
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10634 times:

Hi Francois !

Thanks for an amazing report with amazing pictures !

AF looks good as always especially the food is always very good.

Very nice with the pictures from the Smithsonian at IAD! It seems that they are adding aircraft every now and then.

Fantastic pictures also from DC; I saw most of the same monuments about three weeks ago but there was no snow then. I was there yesterday, 29Jan12, and went to the Iwo Jima Memorial and Jefferson Memorial.

Will have a look at Part 2 soon.

Glad to see you travelling again!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineswedenflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 10562 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
A few questions, fingerprints and a photo later, I'm welcomed to the U.S. by a not too welcoming immigration agent

All the ones I've encountered seemed OK.



FlyingFinn76, abrelosojos
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10256 times:

Thank you all for your nice comments!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 14):
I'm heading to the US in June (coincidentally flying the longhauls to and from BRU actually) and I'm planning to spend a weekend in the DC area

Hi Petteri, that's a nice coincidence. If you happen to have some time in BRU and don't mind going to the public areas, the beers will be on me (I'm serious, just let me know if it works for you, it will be my pleasure).

Quoting The777Man (Reply 15):
Very nice with the pictures from the Smithsonian at IAD! It seems that they are adding aircraft every now and then.

The space exploration hall was a bit of a mess during my visit, because they are preparing for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery, which will replace the current Enterprise.

Quoting swedenflyer (Reply 16):
All the ones I've encountered seemed OK.

For some reason, I'm yet to encounter a friendly one, but I've learned to not expect it.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 10038 times:

Hi Francois,

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 17):
Hi Petteri, that's a nice coincidence. If you happen to have some time in BRU and don't mind going to the public areas, the beers will be on me (I'm serious, just let me know if it works for you, it will be my pleasure).

Thanks for the offer. I'll send you a note a bit closer to the date. Since my flight leaves at around ten in the morning I'll need to spend the night in Brussels anyway. Planning some meetings with other local guys, so you will fit right in!  


User currently offlinexaapb From Mexico, joined Jan 2005, 438 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9758 times:

Hey fantastic trip report!! I hope Im able to visit Washington DC looks like a very beautifull place! Thanks for sharing and great pictures!!


Jorge Meneses
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