Malpensa at its best- Monarch’s 4th Enthusiasts trip
Welcome to my 2nd trip report, this will cover 2 days in July where I along with 39 others travelled with Monarch from LGW and MAN for the overnight trip which trumped them all so far.
Date- 5th Jul 12
Reg - G-MRJK
The day started for me at 1030, today was a rare occasion as I had decided with the day being an overnighter it would be cheaper to go by train and use my Tesco Clubcard points to reduce the fare. I arrived to Gatwick just after 12pm, enough time to visit weather spoons for a burger and chips which was average but cheap and also to visit the north terminal and ride the monorail, this was a good call for me as it allowed me to see the new Thomson livery for the 1st time.
After a couple of trips along the monorail I went along the meeting point at the Monarch ticket desk 15 minutes early where I found the Monarch rep, Andrea . As I had had pre allocated my seat in 4F, I had done the online check in which monarch allows, passengers who don’t have a seat are given one by check in the good old fashion way. As some of the group has already gone through security, I decided to join them at the gate. Security was painless with no waiting time at all, To be honest In 3 visits to the airport within the past 12 months, I have never had a wait at security beyond a couple of minutes, very impressive.
As I was flying through the airport a less than a week later to Palma, I decided to skip the shops completely and head down the main pier to our gate, 25. After a few minutes the rest of the party were at the gate, Boarding started about 45 minutes prior to departure and within 15 minutes the load of around 60 people were on board. The seat I had was extra legroom, which for my 6’4’’ frame was more than enough and very comfy in the 34’’ pitch, in the standard seats thought the 28’’ pitch means someone gets a unwanted knee in the back!. We left the gate and taxied to 26L were we departed to the south towards France and the Alps before landing on 35R. We didn’t have to wait to cross 35L, but we had to then wait for 10 minutes while the Lufthansa retro jet. Once it had left the cul de sac we taxied on to stand. Before we left the aircraft we all visited the flight deck for a photo. A quick chat to the crew later, some of them would also be operating the fight the next day. A word about the crew, who were excellent as I have come to expect from all my monarch flights.
G-MRJK window view seat 4F by leonard320, on Flickr
Milan MXP by leonard320, on Flickr
mrjk fd by leonard320, on Flickr
After we had all thanked the crew we headed to arrivals to meet the other representative from Monarch on the trip, we then went to the Sheraton Hotel to check in, on the way I had decided to meet with a few of the others to go spotting, we had been given a map of areas to spot from and so we headed out once we had checked in.
EC-LOC by leonard320, on Flickr
OE-LVF by leonard320, on Flickr
While out and bout we saw a few movements but decided to head back to the terminal when it got darker. Sadly we then found at 9pm most eating places including mc Donald’s were already closed and the news agents were also closing up, With this I enjoyed a bar of chocolate and a tub of Pringles for tea. The most gutting thing though was when we were looking for food we found the windows at the back of the terminal giving a view of the ramp, awful for photo’s due to tinted glass and the light, but you could still log movements with a good pair of binoculars.
At 10 pm tiredness was setting in so I headed to bed. The hotel was for the standard I tend to stay in luxury, a big room, comfy bed, and decent shower, the only issue I found was the mini bar price list was stupidly high, 4 euro’s for a 250ml can of diet coke!!
After a good night’s sleep and our breakfast in the morning, we checked out and headed for the 1st tour of the pack day. We started by meeting with the guides from the airport and getting our passes, we headed through staff security to baggage reclaim and then to the baggage system itself, where we saw all the bags going off down the ramps, I think they said the capacity was around 900 bags an hour. After the baggage area we taken just underneath the B pier with just a barrier and an airside road between us and a Turkish 738.
waiting for bus by leonard320, on Flickr
TC-JGM by leonard320, on Flickr
EC-HJQ by leonard320, on Flickr
After a few minutes we all boarded a bus which took us around to Pier A, the cargo area where we were allowed out to get pictures of the aircraft heading to 35L and also the supercars lined up awaiting their lift. After 5 minutes on the apron, we headed to the approach of 35R where we spent 15 minutes photographing arrivals with different success levels.
4K-AZ84 by leonard320, on Flickr
G-EZBT by leonard320, on Flickr
VP-BRW by leonard320, on Flickr
CS-TPE by leonard320, on Flickr
G-OZBQ by leonard320, on Flickr
Sadly we soon had to leave the airfield to go to the ATC tower, here we were treated to a talk on ENAC, the airspace and how they work before heading to the VCR (visual control room), where we were shown the SMR (Surface movement radar) ,ATM (Aerodrome Traffic Monitor) and the weather data. They also mentioned that only when there is a tail wind for 35 of over 10kt will they consider switching to 17 due to the airspace design and flow. Luckily for us today the wind was near the boundary so the DL 763/W wanted 17R so had to wait for area control to make a gap.
HA-LPO by leonard320, on Flickr
A7-AEJ by leonard320, on Flickr
LX-RCV by leonard320, on Flickr
LIMC Overview by leonard320, on Flickr
EI-CZH by leonard320, on Flickr
N175DN by leonard320, on Flickr
Before we went in we were told that no photography inside the tower will be allowed, luckily as we all had our stuff with us the supervisor said did we want to go on the balcony, here’s the result of a good 10-15 minutes of excellent photography, including the delta which due to the runway change lifted off directly in front of us.
After the Visit it was time to go over the Volandia Museum, an excellent museum just across from the airport where we had lunch and a guided tour. Here are some of the photos.
Museum by leonard320, on Flickr
I-CCAA by leonard320, on Flickr
mus2 by leonard320, on Flickr
Museum by leonard320, on Flickr
Museum by leonard320, on Flickr
In their there were old and newer types and they also said they would be expanding the collection as well.
After an enjoyable few hours it was back to terminal 1 to check in, I had already done the online check in so I proceeded to security, after 5 minutes I was through and within 10 I was in the B pier where we were to depart from.
About an hour or so before the ETD the gate come up so we headed towards the gate at the end of pier B. Unfortunately we found a nice lightning storm to be hovering over the airport, we narrowly had just avoided the same storm on the way back to the terminal, we got wet but at that point it was just rain. With the storm we knew a delay would occur.
Date- 6th Jul 12
Reg - G-OZBM
Times- 1955-2040 (scheduled)
1 hr DELAY (weather)
Just behind schedule our A321 landed but as the lightning storm was just beginning after unloading the passengers they stopped ground operations until it cleared.
Once we were fuelled we boarded and got settled down, by this time the group were shattered. Once we were had all boarded , a manual safety demo was done and we taxied out to 35L for departure. A powerful departure was made which was smooth in the end but the flight deck has warned us about the bumps along the way due to the storm, the CB clouds were rather high but sadly by this time there was no light for photo’s.
After a good 20 minutes the crew were finally released. From this moment I just slept. I woke just as we had commenced descent.
We touched down on 26L after a nice smooth descent before docking at stand 13. After we had de boarded and said our goodbye’s I went back to the train station and awaited my train home.
Overall this to date has been the best trip, the tours were fascinating and the access levels were incredible, I must thank Monarch for organising the trip and also the staff at the museum and airport who put on a great show, I wonder how it will compare though to the next trip to FDH in October.
[Edited 2012-09-16 08:00:53]