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Bumpy Descents & Rough Night: All For AZ's A332  
User currently offlineI39OO From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 76 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 8815 times:

The metal bench is cold and uncomfortable. The lights in the hall haven’t been dimmed for the night at all. The tapping of the rain on the roof above us jumbles with all the sounds of other activities happening all around me in an undistinguishable white noise. And that lady! She’s been yapping in a broken Italian at the phone for God knows how long and it seems she won’t be over with that anytime soon. Actually, she is the one who’s waken you up from a light sleep, moments ago, and if you’re asking yourself these questions, well, it’s her fault.

Where am I? What am I doing here?


Both are legitimate questions and, if the answer to the first one is pretty straightforward, the most honest reply to the second one would raise a couple of eyebrows to say the least. I’m lying on a metal bench in Rome-Fiumicino’s Terminal 3 and, well, I’m a plane geek. Interested? Read on, and you’ll know how I ended up hoboing in one of Europe’s worst airport to sleep in.

The Planning

Sometimes in late spring/early summer, news came that Alitalia was increasing frequencies from its Milan – Malpensa base to a number of intercontinental destinations, namely New York, Tokyo and Miami. Would AZ, then, base an additional widebody in MXP? Aficionados know how AZ like to think outside the box (well, some might question the thinking bit but I won’t indulge in such speculations) and will therefore reject this hypothesis as absurd.

In facts, AZ wouldn’t be basing another A332 there. Instead, what the fine minds in their planning departments decided to do was to position a big Airbus once a week from FCO. And, even better, the pos flight would have been a commercial one, previously operated by a much smaller plane: an A320, MD80, an Embraer, whatever AZ had to throw at it.

The news, and its nerdy potentials, didn’t pass unnoticed among the wider plane lover community. And how could I resist to the appeal of a twin-aisle on a domestic route which isn’t in Japan? I had to book that plane, and so I did. AZ1016, FCO-MXP, operated by an A330-200, went away for 49€ one way, a sensible price in a land where Air Passenger Duty hasn’t risen – yet – twice above inflation rate.

How to get to Rome, though? BA came, once again, to the rescue with a suitably placed BA558 flight which not only left late enough to allow me a full day at work but was also operated by a Boeing 767-300ER. Not my favourite plane at all, and one already on my books, but the chance of flying a widebody to a meeting with another widebody seemed too appropriate to miss. Add a couple of days or holiday at home and then a flight out of Malpensa (the trustworthy BA581, leaving at 9 o’clock in the evening) and the plan was done. All was left was, basically, the flying.
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17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineI39OO From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 8818 times:

Group stupidity and bumpy descents: BA558 LHR-FCO

It’s good to be back to T5 after some flights out of His Majesty of the Gloom, also known as Terminal 1, from
which I’ve flown my last LHR adventures.
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James Bond was licensed to kill but not to break the highway code: they are, apparently
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Check-in is a rather uncomplicated affair and the agent secures a window seat as well. The equipment is the promised 767 and the load, surprisingly, is very much close to sold out. Since we’re already on friendly grounds I decide to bite the bullet and ask her if she knows whether the airplane is one of those fitted with the new short haul interiors. Once again the answer is positive and I cross the customary security patdown confidently thinking that things couldn’t go better than they actually are.
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My favourite resting place in T5A: hardly anyone there but for some staff members.
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And good views too!The arch in the background is Wembley
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Stretching your zoom can also allow you to catch a glimpse of the City! Here’s the Heron tower, the Gherkin and Tower 42
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Boarding is by rows and is strictly enforced. I am in the first group to enter the aircraft thanks to my seat 27K, leaving a large group of Korean travellers (more on them later) behind. Everyone seems to be carrying enough cabin luggage to throw a low cost boarding party in despair: sure enough, the new 777-style overhead lockers couldn’t be more welcome.

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This gentleman was probably looking for his flight to Zermatt or Innsbruck…
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G-BNWX, nice to meet you!
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Entering a BA short haul 767 always felt like being the protagonist of “Life on Mars”: one second ago you are in a modern, twenty-first century looking terminal and then, bang, you’re back in 1992. Such is the power of the yellowish lighting, dusty seat covers, oldfashioned lockers and panels. Not today, though, not on G-BNWX. The Club Europe seats are the usual suspects, but the Euro Traveller seats are brand new, with a nice looking leather front and white plastic shell. And it’s not just the seats, but also the side panels and overhead bins: it feels like a more modern, brand new airplane.
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The impression stops as soon as your eyes fall on the exquisitely oldfashioned squared, little windows and to the tired-looking paintjob on the wings, covered in dirt.
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However, while I’m busy checking my seat and noting how much the shell of my seat looks like a Chinese copy of a Recaro, boarding has continued in full swing. A large contingent of Korean tourists, under the watchful eye of their guide, is occupying the rows immediately ahead of me. They all look like they have retired by some years now and they are undoubtedly in high spirits. It’s quite strange, to be honest, to see a bunch of middle aged Asian women and men behave like I did when I was 15 and on a school trip: turning on their seats to chat with the fellow behind them, high-fiving each other and erupting in massive laughter. I just hope their hormone level won’t be as high as mine was at that time… that would be a little bit too much.

Pushback happens to be delayed as we wait for yet another thunderstorm to go past Heathrow. Once the field’s clear we join the queue for the runway, taking off some 20 minutes behind schedule.
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British Airways must’ve ditched the senseless crisps/sandwich dichotomy as we are once again being served a large roll and the customary drinks service “from the bar” as the cabin crew member at the intercom makes a point to underline. The roll is a quintessentially British affair, including sesame seeds, tuna and a generous slab of mayonnaise thrown in for good measure. All in all, a good improvement from the times the Doorman Korma flavoured crisps.

It’s the moment I love most when flying: we’re comfortably above the cloud layer, I’m in a nice cabin listening to some mindless music, I’ve got a Gin & Tonic in my hands and a glorious sunset to look at.
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Everything should be, to borrow an expression from the inspired fellas at Ethiopian, “Cloud Nine”-ish. But it isn’t. And it’s not because of a lack of effort from the guys in the BA uniform, who could’ve done with a little bit more of smiles though, but it’s because of my seatmate.

He’s undoubtedly an unlucky sod, NBA-tall and confined in a space which, no matter how generous, isn’t clearly designed to accommodate the limbs associated with a 2 meters tall person. Given the circumstances, I would accept and understand him expanding into my personal sphere, but not up to this level: he’s taken possession of the entire armrest and his right knee is making intimate contact with mine – fine – but when he tosses his laptop bag and shoes into my own feet rest area, well, that’s stepping the line. What follows is a kind of comic farce with me pushing his shoes away, he putting back into my territory, me shoving his bag on his side and he throwing it where it was before… until

”I believe that the correct place for that is above our heads, not between my feet”

I say, out of exasperation. He’s a too polite to invite me to f*** off, but it’s clear that this, for him, means war. The rest of the flight will be spent in a cold silence, with him patronising the arm rest and snorting through the articles of his golf magazine. All I’m left with is the pleasure – I’m a horrible person, I know – of distracting him from the comfort of knowing why technical fibres are what any golfer would want should he, or she, dare golfing in the ‘world’s most extreme courses’ (seriously, that was the article’s title).

Two and half hours pass slowly and my hope of being treated with some views of night time Italy fade away as most of the peninsula is engulfed in clouds. The same murkiness gravitates above Rome when we begin our descent and the captain gives the fatidic “Cabin crew ten minutes to landing”.

Time, we know, is relative. In this case I genuinely feel like the bloke stuck on the ground while Captain Kirk zooms past at warp speed, as these ten minutes feel like hours. I’m not a crybaby, I understand how turbulences work and the (basic) physics of flight; I know that a plane gets hit by a lightning once a year, that it’s a Faraday cage and nothing short of an anti-aircraft missile or a big duck will prevent its turbofan from working… yet there’s something rather unsettling in what’s happening tonight, something that makes me want to feel the wheel on the ground badly.

Firstly, you can’t see a damn thing outside. Honestly, even the flashing lights on the wingtip appear distant, fugacious glimpses of light in the murkiness; then there’s the aircraft nose, stubbornly pointed down in an eternal descent. Then there’re the noises, of which the 767 has always been abundant. All the ummmhs and wizzzs and emmms that I might associate with a shipwreck and which signal, instead, that everything is working just fine. And, finally, it’s the turbulence. I’ve been through some severe one and I started to know that, as far as understatement is concerned, nothing beats the BA pilots: so when the Captain announced a “choppy approach into Rome” I knew we were in for fun. But… boy didn’t I expect anything like that. We all know the feeling and I needn’t to explain that. It’s quite uncomfortable and I can’t be delighted enough when, finally, we hit the tarmac and start the long taxi towards the stand.


User currently offlineI39OO From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 8818 times:

A hard day’s night: rough in T3

It’s now time to get back to the header of this trip report: I’ve collected my bag from a rather depressing baggage hall in T3, ventured in the rainy Roman night, dreamt of Negroni in Piazza Navona and been kicked out of T1 at shutdown and now I’m back in T3. I’ve got a fair amount of experience as far as sleeping rough in airport is concerned and, usually, I know that most of my fellow wannabe sleepers are cheap backpackers or adventurous Aussies. This time, however, I’m quite shocked to see that most of the people trying to a catch a little sleep are older immigrants, a tiny group of the approximate 5 million that decided that, after all, Italy was the place they wanted to be for their new start. These people are here, sleeping rough ahead of an equally long journey to Bucharest, Latin America or Lagos because they couldn’t afford anything else. Sleeping at an airport has never been something I looked forward to, but popping beer cans open with Kiwis getting ready to get high in Rotterdam was quite fun; seeing a young woman cuddling her boy while mantra-ing “E’ come essere a casa”, it’s like being home is rather depressing.

I wake up in the same miserable mood, homesick and quite tired of the indifferent Rome terminals. It’s still too early, so I walk up and down trying to cheer myself up with some idle thinking. The best I can come out with – that Dario Argento might have used this concourse for one of his films - however, doesn’t help much as far as cheering up is concerned.
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Premium seating, bare service: Alitalia FCO-MXP

Some hours later I find myself nursing an espresso, a sticky cornetto (not to be called brioche in Central Italy unless you want to be considered a parvenu) at arrivals. Moments later T1 opens up and I’m back there again, admiring its geometric neatness and lamenting its complete lack of basic furniture such as chairs.
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I’m craving for a newspaper but, obviously, no kiosk is open yet. A lonesome lady in the handsome AZ green uniform sits behind a desk: at first, she misunderstands my flight number and asks me to come back in some time; then, apparently realising that I’m not on a 10 o’clock flight but on a much earlier one, she literally comes running after me, awash with apologies, and personally escorts me back to her position. Talk about personalised service!

I had previously made on-line check-in, reserving a rather backwards seat in Economy which, unfortunately, happened to be on the wings. Since we’re already friends I ask her whether it’d be possible to move elsewhere, to which she replies affirmatively. ”It’s a domestic flight”, she says, ”cabin distinctions are not enforced. If you’d like to fly in Magnifica you’re more than welcome to do so. It’s a nice cabin, you’ll see”. I’m tempted, but I have already tried out the Sogerma Solstys so I decline. I’ve always been a big fan of proper Economy plus seats, so I opt for seat 9L, in AZ’s Y+ cabin. Moments later, I’m stepping through the deadest sterile area I’ve ever seen in my life.
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I know, from a number of 6 AM flights to Madrid from T5, that every airport terminal is quite an eerie sight in the first moments after its morning opening, but Fiumicino strikes me for being really sleepy. There’s people aplenty, mostly fellas wearing good tailored suits (thanks God the Continent hasn’t adopted yet the fondness for flashy ties, cufflinks and pointy shoes that seem to rule Britannia), but nothing seems to be open for business. My craving for a newspaper is reaching new heights. I want to read four pages of gossiping on Italian politics, I need to note how many spelling mistakes or wrong numbers can a journalist cram into a single article, I am desperate to marvel on the seriousness of the reports from the training grounds of Serie A squads ahead of a new football season. But.. there’s nowhere to get one.
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FIDS: My flight leaves from gate B14 and, apparently, is codeshared with Aeroflot.
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It’s already seven, now, and the only shops open are a couple of bars, all without newspapers of the day. A big bunch of broadsheet ones lies dumped in front of a closed down Bulgari branch, carefully wrapped in cellophane and waiting for being delivered. But there’s no one to tend to them and they really look like they’ve been forgotten there. A group of well-dressed middle aged men and women join me in contemplation, showing the pathetic looks of addicts. But none of us has the guts to cut the wrapping open and soon enough we drift apart, empty handed.
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Finally, 30 minutes before my flight, a newsagent opens and I’m lucky enough to grab a copy of the Corriere della Sera. The treasured newspaper wasn’t the one I was looking for but that’ll do. Moments later boarding commences for my flight to Malpensa, with a shortish queue already forming in front of the gate, including this guy who’s been standing there impatiently from T-45 minutes.
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We do a short bus tour until we finally park next to today’s chariot, EI-EJJ, named after Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, a proper bohemian before the term was even invented. The welcome given at the door is professional enough and is followed promptly by the invitation to cross the spotless galley and to proceed to my right, towards the seat 9L.
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I guess that this must be one of the first, if not the first at all, trip report on Alitalia’s premium economy product on Airliners, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I indulge a little bit with a review on the seat itself. If you’re anxiously waiting for this TR to finish then I won’t delay you any further and I’ll synthetize my judgement on the seat as: not bad, but I’ve seen better ones.
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Don’t get me wrong, the seat scores well as far as legroom is concerned (bulkhead row users might not agree), has a biiiiiiig IFE screen, USB doors, power outlets and all the mod cons; the footrest is useless as always on any Y+ seat. But what I’m not convinced about are some of the solutions proposed by the manufacturer, which I believe is the same Sogerma which put together the much nicer Magnifica class further ahead.
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Firstly, I’m not overly convinced with the seat fabric and the padding of the seat as a whole. Lumbar support feels awkward, even though it’s something that only the most spoilt Princess out of a Hans Christian Andersen tale would find it annoying. Then it’s the armrest, in which the tray table disappears: it’s not very well engineered, as both the rubber cover and the small ring used to pull it out are flimsy and can easily get broken, which is the case of my seat.
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Small crack (due to the fact that the armrest cover returns in the closed position when the tray table is extracted
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DIY-style repair…
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And this is how it’d be. Surely there are better solutions around
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Finally, a word on the cabin appearance. Rumour is that AZ has gone for the “cheap & cheerful” cleaning contract and my God does it show. Cleaning and maintaining the hardware on this A332 isn’t easy, as it’s so crammed with stuff that it’s almost impossible not to ruin something with trays and trolleys, but I think that a plane going out of its home turf shouldn’t sport big wine spots on a seat cover or another that’s almost completely ripped off the cushion. And those are the only two seats I’ve actually looked at!
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Wine stains…
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Seat cover partially detached from the cushion (after I fiddled with it to put it back in place)
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However, the safety demo follows suit, then the captain comes on the blower to deliver a pretty detailed welcome speech in Italian and English. Moments later we lift off in a choppy Central Italy sky, flying through some nice clouds and rough looking seas.
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While we’re in the air I can appreciate how quieter the A330 is if compared with the 763. Sure, this particular example is almost brand new while yesterday’s G-BNWX is almost old enough to get herself a beer in most American states, but… it’s good not to be forced to concentrate in order to hear your thoughts. And I’m literally sat over the engine!

The conditions change for the better as soon as the peculiar Argentario peninsula arrives on our starboard side, deep in Tuscan soil.
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The whole cabin is now bathed in a glorious sunshine and only the irritant glare of the star on my windows prevents me from enjoying some of the world’s best views today. Frustrated, I turn on looking at the small Y+ cabin, with a gentleman showing the perfect uselessness of the legrest.
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It is quite a cozy ambient and the colours, which I initially thought could do with some additional verve, are quite to my liking. Honestly, I find myself thinking, I wouldn’t mind spending some hours in this seat should I need to.
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Alitalia’s service on shorthaul hasn’t been luxurious for many years now, being reduced as it is to a small bag containing six or seven biscuits or salty snacks. Then, some months ago, news came that AZ was dumping even them, leaving only drinks on domestic routes in order to save fuel and, consequentially, money. At the same time, however, all new A320s were being delivered fitted with personal IFE screens which, to date, aren’t fully switched on. Now, if your point is to shed weight on a plane, wouldn’t you rather go for the expensive, heavy IFE units and their wirings? Apparently not.
The only exception from the bareness of Alitalia domestic catering is, however, the Milan – Rome route, where competition from high speed trains (whose operators offer full hot meals and good quality snacks as a premium) is highest. Would Alitalia consider Malpensa as a Milanese airport? Apparently not, as the two cabin crew members approaching my row do not look like they’re handing out anything edible.
I ask for an orange juice but the answer is a straight no. The FA apologies, but everything they have is coffee, tea or water, so for coffee I opt. I must admit that the cup is quite nice, but I can’t avoid feeling slightly baffled. Long gone are the days when a flight from Milan to London entailed a full meal, but I was at least hoping for some more choice drinkwise, at least for sale. Must be a sign of the times.
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The definitive must-have from Alitalia!
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While I nurse my rather bland coffee we arrive over the beautiful region of Liguria. Here’s La Spezia and its harbour, then the Cinque Terre, followed suit by one of the roughest pieces of the Apennines.
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The mountains follow each other in the morning haze, green woods covering every available surface, until they flatten out almost without notice: members of the Northern League you’re free to breathe again, here’s the Po Valley.
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The weather in Padania is simply gorgeous, clear blue skies and a view that spans as far as the Earth curvature or, more likely, the Alps allow. We flutter about idly, turns and turns before, finally, aligning ourselves to Malpensa from the South.
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The skies are so clear that it’s possible to see Milan and its skyscrapers from here. Then we arrive and I’m in for one of the smoothest landings in MXP, despite the breeze.
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MXP could definitely do with a little bit more traffic but, apparently, things won’t turn that way until the local government finally gets itself together to curb capacity at Linate. In the meanwhile we park at a remote stand next to the almost completed 3rd satellite, next to a company’s 332 and under the watchful eye of the majestic Monte Rosa massif. The weather outside is simply great and something in my mind starts shouting for a G&T, a terrazza over the Maggiore lake, a good book and…some more G&T’s.
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The node area of one of the third satellite’s gates, due to open this December
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None of these are to be found, unfortunately. A dark Alfa with two guys looking like the quintessential plain clothes police officers await at the end of the stairs: they pick up a lady who they treat with great respect - ”Buongiorno dottoressa” - and they speed off. A more moody Cobus awaits us and, in moments later, I’m landside, ready to see everything go completely wrong: I lost my bus by literally minutes, the next one will be in two hours and, despite Novara being only 40-something km from MXP, not a single crook ehm taxi driver is willingly available to take me there for less than 50 quids. What can I do? I grab an overpriced beer at somebody’s shop, sit down on a New Jersey barrier and dig out my book on the Crusade, which I closed on Godfrey of Bouillon at the helm of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. By the time my bus arrives and picks me up the book went through 84 years of constant battling, Baldwin V is the boss and I feel like I’ve waited for a period that’s no shorter than that one.

Epilogue

What can be said as an appropriate closing? It’s been a nice ride, even though I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would have done. Rome FCO surely deserves all the bad press it gets from airport sleeping websites and reflects what I believe is the Italian habit of designing airports as bus terminals, places you don’t want to spend more time than strictly necessary. I hope that Changi airports, a minor shareholder of Aeroporti di Roma, will change this attitude.

BA was the usual affair. Crew wasn’t particularly brilliant, but they got me there safely and they took good care of me while I was in their hands; the 763, moreover, doesn’t look like some plane to be ashamed of now that it’s been refitted.

As with Alitalia, I feel quite satisfied by them. Staff were courteous enough, spoke intelligible English and the airplane looked like a valid hard product. The moment they’ll start looking at “details” such as on-board cleaning, well, that’ll be the moment they’ll really up their game big time.

I hope you’ve liked reading this TR as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. If you feel like leaving a comment, please do so. Many thanks, hope I’ll be able to write again soon.

13900


User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1425 posts, RR: 33
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 8818 times:

Hi I39OO,

Thank you for this very well written report. You have a great style of writing, something different to what we usually see here and I really like it!

Congratulations on not only being able to log the A332 on an Italian domestic hop, but also combining it with an intra-european flight on a 767. I really must book myself something on BA’s 767 before it’s too late.

Interesting to read about AZ’s premium economy product, leg room looks ok but the damage to the armrest and the stained seat doesn’t create a good impression.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
What follows is a kind of comic farce with me pushing his shoes away, he putting back into my territory, me shoving his bag on his side and he throwing it where it was before…
Crikey, what an obnoxious seat mate you had. Well done for putting him in his place!

[quote=I39OO,reply=0]so when the Captain announced a “choppy approach into Rome” I knew we were in for fun. But… boy didn’t I expect anything like that. We all know the feeling and I needn’t to explain that. It’s quite uncomfortable and I can’t be delighted enough when, finally, we hit the tarmac and start the long taxi towards the stand.

A couple of months ago I had a bumpy approach into BSL, I honestly didn’t see how the pilot was going to make it as the plane was all over the place. It was eerily quiet in the cabin and there were several sighs of relief when we touched down safely.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
at first, she misunderstands my flight number and asks me to come back in some time; then, apparently realising that I’m not on a 10 o’clock flight but on a much earlier one, she literally comes running after me, awash with apologies, and personally escorts me back to her position. Talk about personalised service!

Haha, I’ve been known to run after passengers in similar circumstances too!

Hope to read more from you soon,

Happy flying
Infodesk   



"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlineimiakhtar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 8817 times:

Quoting I39OO (Reply 1):
.
James Bond was licensed to kill but not to break the highway code: they are, apparently

Careful now. If they catch you taking pics, they'll have your guts for garters.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 1):
the Euro Traveller seats are brand new, with a nice looking leather front and white plastic shell.

I'm yet to fly on BA 767s as most of my travels are done via MAN or BHX. How did you find the seat pitch - was it sufficient?

Quoting I39OO (Reply 1):
And, finally, it’s the turbulence. I’ve been through some severe one and I started to know that, as far as understatement is concerned, nothing beats the BA pilots: so when the Captain announced a “choppy approach into Rome” I knew we were in for fun. But… boy didn’t I expect anything like that. We all know the feeling and I needn’t to explain that.

Most people will think I'm bonkers for saying this, but I actually enjoy turbulence. I prefer to sit at the back where the fuselage tends to oscillate the most.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 3):
Thank you for this very well written report. You have a great style of writing, something different to what we usually see here and I really like it!

Indeed he does.

You have excellent prose Mr I39OO and I enjoyed reading your report.

Thankyou.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8815 times:

Hello

Great trip report, thanks for sharing it with us.
Great too see BA doing something with the 767s. The new ET looks pretty nice
AZ has come a long way as well, their Y+ looks quite comforatble as well.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1310 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8815 times:

Thank you for sharing. I will be flying this particular type to Osaka soon so that was very interesting. While I agree that the seats looked used, I wouldn't mind flying that for that long trip however. Too bad you turned down the upgrade to Magnifica though.

I agree for FCO. Especially landside is old and not very nice. Airside is average, but not too bad I think. Connecting is quite pleasant. A downside of FCO is the amount of busrides from/to planes, especially when flying Alitalia though...


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2361 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 8817 times:

Nice TR, the BA B767 looks great with the new interior!

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
The metal bench is cold and uncomfortable. The lights in the hall haven’t been dimmed for the night at all.

For all a.netters going to FCO, the best place to sleep is http://www.villarosita.com/ - outstanding service, free shuttle-bus and best, moderate prices!


User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 800 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 8817 times:

Fantastic report, great style of writing. Perhaps you should be a real writer? With that skills you wouldn't have to sleep at airports anymore.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
While we’re in the air I can appreciate how quieter the A330 is if compared with the 763.

Not really a fair comparision, on the one hand there is the huge difference in age (you pointed that out), but on the other hand you were seated behind the wings of the 763 and in front of the wings on the A330. That makes a huge difference.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
I lost my bus by literally minutes, the next one will be in two hours and, despite Novara being only 40-something km from MXP, not a single crook ehm taxi driver is willingly available to take me there for less than 50 quids. What can I do? I grab an overpriced beer at somebody’s shop, sit down on a New Jersey barrier and dig out my book on the Crusade, which I closed on Godfrey of Bouillon at the helm of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. By the time my bus arrives and picks me up the book went through 84 years of constant battling, Baldwin V is the boss and I feel like I’ve waited for a period that’s no shorter than that one.

Perhaps you should read something interesting?      If you read a good book, you can read 200 pages in 2 hours and you'll think it must have been a short 20 minutes.


User currently onlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3053 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 8817 times:

Very nice report...you have a great flair for writing! Nice that you got a BA 767 with the new cabin.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
”It’s a domestic flight”, she says, ”cabin distinctions are not enforced. If you’d like to fly in Magnifica you’re more than welcome to do so. It’s a nice cabin, you’ll see”.

Nice to get a choice of classes for the price of Y

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
Sure, this particular example is almost brand new while yesterday’s G-BNWX is almost old enough to get herself a beer in most American states,

Haha

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
I ask for an orange juice but the answer is a straight no. The FA apologies, but everything they have is coffee, tea or water, so for coffee I opt. I must admit that the cup is quite nice, but I can’t avoid feeling slightly baffled. Long gone are the days when a flight from Milan to London entailed a full meal, but I was at least hoping for some more choice drinkwise, at least for sale. Must be a sign of the times.

It is a bit measly having such a small choice. I don't think a small snack would weigh too much.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-JMK,JTR-LHR-WAW,MSQ-FRA-EZE,IGR-EZE-CUN,MEX-FRA-LCY,LHR-TXL-LHR
User currently offlineI39OO From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8815 times:

Hi all,

thanks a lot for reading and leaving a comment, I really appreciate that!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 3):
Thank you for this very well written report. You have a great style of writing, something different to what we usually see here and I really like it!

Hello infodesk, thanks for the kind words.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 3):
Congratulations on not only being able to log the A332 on an Italian domestic hop, but also combining it with an intra-european flight on a 767. I really must book myself something on BA%u2019s 767 before it%u2019s too late.

Oh, I guess that BA's 767 will stay in for a long time, at least those for European routes.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 3):
Haha, I%u2019ve been known to run after passengers in similar circumstances too!

Well, there's nothing wrong with that, shows you care and think about what you're doing. I surely appreciate it more than people not giving a rat's ass about directing customers in the wrong zones.

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 4):
Careful now. If they catch you taking pics, they'll have your guts for garters.

Hello Imiakhtar, thanks for reading. However, why would the English rozzers be angry at me snapping pictures of them? They are absolutely polite, I remember witnessing a drunk being arrested in Acton by a big bloke that told him "If you don't stop I'm afraid I'll have to Mace you!". Would an Italian Carabiniere or a French Gendarme do that? No way!

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 4):
I'm yet to fly on BA 767s as most of my travels are done via MAN or BHX. How did you find the seat pitch - was it sufficient?

I am 1.85m and it felt more than adequate, i.e. I wasn't rubbing my knees against the forward seat. If you're taller, though...

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 4):
Most people will think I'm bonkers for saying this, but I actually enjoy turbulence. I prefer to sit at the back where the fuselage tends to oscillate the most.

I enjoy too, especially when you cross a jetstream and everything starts vibrating and it feels like you're driving fast on a bumpy road. But those sudden drops out of Rome... well, they weren't really my stuff.

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 4):
You have excellent prose Mr I39OO and I enjoyed reading your report.

Many thanks Mr Imakhtar, glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Great trip report, thanks for sharing it with us.
Great too see BA doing something with the 767s. The new ET looks pretty nice
AZ has come a long way as well, their Y looks quite comforatble as well.

Hey MSS658,

Many thanks for reading. Well, BA had to do something with the Euro 76s, they were getting worse and worse. Alitalia is doing a good job, even though I don't agree with some of their choices (10-abreast on the 772, full capacity on the E175, the catering on short haul...)

Quoting reifel (Reply 6):
Thank you for sharing. I will be flying this particular type to Osaka soon so that was very interesting. While I agree that the seats looked used, I wouldn't mind flying that for that long trip however. Too bad you turned down the upgrade to Magnifica though.

Hi reifel. I hope your flight to Osaka will go smooth! Are you flying in Y, Y+ or J? To be quite honest with you, I'm not a great fan of J class. I mean, I enjoy flying it especially on shorthaul, but spending 5 grands on longhaul...isn't that a little bit absurd? I mean, I wouldn't do it with my money. And, besides, I've already had the chance to fly on the Sogerma seats that AZ uses, while Y+ was a kind of a mistery to me.

Quoting reifel (Reply 6):
I agree for FCO. Especially landside is old and not very nice. Airside is average, but not too bad I think. Connecting is quite pleasant. A downside of FCO is the amount of busrides from/to planes, especially when flying Alitalia though...

Yes, FCO is no Changi, especially nowadays with the cleaners striking! But I am a big fan of bus rides, especially when boarding a long haul plane. Sure, if you've got issues with stairs it's a pain in the neck but the retro feeling of boarding a, say, 747 via the stairs is simply awesome! And the ramp isn't a place I go everyday either, so it's a nice experience as well. Obviously, when it's wet and miserable I'm not that overenthusiastic.

Quoting debonair (Reply 7):
For all a.netters going to FCO, the best place to sleep is http://www.villarosita.com/ - outstanding service, free shuttle-bus and best, moderate prices!

Good to know debonair, thanks!

Quoting CARST (Reply 8):
Fantastic report, great style of writing. Perhaps you should be a real writer? With that skills you wouldn't have to sleep at airports anymore.

Thanks CARST, too kind. However I don't know how I could earn a living from writing without resorting to drug smuggling or things like that!

Quoting CARST (Reply 8):
Not really a fair comparision, on the one hand there is the huge difference in age (you pointed that out), but on the other hand you were seated behind the wings of the 763 and in front of the wings on the A330. That makes a huge difference.

Yes, you're right. But the 330 is not that younger compared to the 767, it mustn't be more than 5 years, isn't it?

Quoting CARST (Reply 8):
Perhaps you should read something interesting? If you read a good book, you can read 200 pages in 2 hours and you'll think it must have been a short 20 minutes.

Oh don't get me wrong, that book on the Crusades was extremely interesting. I wanted to read something on the issue for a long time and it was absolutely spot on. And, believe me, those were more or less 200 pages of history! It just felt like a very long time waiting for that bus.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
Very nice report...you have a great flair for writing! Nice that you got a BA 767 with the new cabin.

Hello Gabriel, thanks for reading. I'm stuck at stage 3 of your Asia series, how in the world do you manage to write so frequently?

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9):
It is a bit measly having such a small choice. I don't think a small snack would weigh too much.

That's my precise thought.


User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1100 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 8615 times:

Wow! I am very impressed with your dedication to catch the AZ A330. I have never had the pleasure of sleeping in an airport, but I respect you for that as I'm sure it's not pleasant.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
Finally, a word on the cabin appearance. Rumour is that AZ has gone for the “cheap & cheerful” cleaning contract and my God does it show. Cleaning and maintaining the hardware on this A332 isn’t easy, as it’s so crammed with stuff that it’s almost impossible not to ruin something with trays and trolleys, but I think that a plane going out of its home turf shouldn’t sport big wine spots on a seat cover or another that’s almost completely ripped off the cushion. And those are the only two seats I’ve actually looked at!

This is disappointing, especially since the A330s are still relatively new. I have had similar experiences on 9W and AI, where they were operating new planes with poorly-maintained interiors.

Nonetheless, AZ looks to be in much better condition that it was several years ago.

Thanks a lot for sharing, I really enjoyed the read!


User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 909 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7976 times:

Hey,

Another great read, thanks for taking the time to write this story!
The things we do for getting on a great ride...

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
My favourite resting place in T5A: hardly anyone there but for some staff members.

Hey, that's my spot too!


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 611 posts, RR: 17
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 7311 times:

Hey I39OO!

A superbly-written report. You know how to keep your audience captive!

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
Read on, and you’ll know how I ended up hoboing in one of Europe’s worst airport to sleep in.

Oh, I'm intrigued now. I have done my fair share of airport sleeping in my day, but not in FCO. I'm quite curious to hear how it was.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
He’s undoubtedly an unlucky sod, NBA-tall and confined in a space which, no matter how generous, isn’t clearly designed to accommodate the limbs associated with a 2 meters tall person. Given the circumstances, I would accept and understand him expanding into my personal sphere, but not up to this level: he’s taken possession of the entire armrest and his right knee is making intimate contact with mine – fine – but when he tosses his laptop bag and shoes into my own feet rest area, well, that’s stepping the line. What follows is a kind of comic farce with me pushing his shoes away, he putting back into my territory, me shoving his bag on his side and he throwing it where it was before… until

”I believe that the correct place for that is above our heads, not between my feet”

I say, out of exasperation. He’s a too polite to invite me to f*** off, but it’s clear that this, for him, means war. The rest of the flight will be spent in a cold silence, with him patronising the arm rest and snorting through the articles of his golf magazine.

Oh my. It's amazing how many people with this attitude I come across in my travels. I think you did well to tell him to respect your personal space.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 2):
I am desperate to marvel on the seriousness of the reports from the training grounds of Serie A squads

Haha, it's funny how I often find myself enjoying reading pre-season sports news for that particular reason.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 2):
’s almost impossible not to ruin something with trays and trolleys, but I think that a plane going out of its home turf shouldn’t sport big wine spots on a seat cover or another that’s almost completely ripped off the cushion. And those are the only two seats I’ve actually looked at!

That's something I've noticed too about the AZ cabins. The seats tend to be in a rather poor state and whatever maintenance has taken place seems to be of the DIY-kind. A couple of years ago I wrote a TR about AZ and some of the photos from their 767 are kinda hilarious: (pay attention to the 5th photo in the report and also to the 6th, 7th and 8th photo from the bottom):

Dirty Green And Red. Transatlantic AZ And FB (by Widebodyroga Dec 17 2010 in Trip Reports)


Thanks again for this lovely report.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinea36001 From Australia, joined Sep 2012, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 7006 times:

I so love the British way of saying things! Wonderful reading. Thank you for this trip report, brought a smile to my face!  

User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1155 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6788 times:

Hi there - good report. I think people must be mad to sleep in an airport, but each to their own! Good to see a few pics of the refitted BA 767 also. I sat on one a couple of months back, but only saw the front end of it. Seems like BA are trying to make the cabin standard across the fleet as the seats looks similar to the 77W seats from what I've seen of them.


A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlineI39OO From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6558 times:

Hi all,

sorry about the delay in coming back to some of you, I really could do with a functioning home PC and some more off-work time. However,

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 11):
Wow! I am very impressed with your dedication to catch the AZ A330. I have never had the pleasure of sleeping in an airport, but I respect you for that as I'm sure it's not pleasant.

Thanks MHTripple! I'm not a spotter kind of guy, but I do love to overcomplicate otherwise simple journeys for the sake of flying a plane or admiring some particular panorama from above! Sleeping at airports isn't that bad, it all depends on which airport it is. Sure, I'm not doing it that often as i used to do when I was 16!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 11):
This is disappointing, especially since the A330s are still relatively new. I have had similar experiences on 9W and AI, where they were operating new planes with poorly-maintained interiors.

Yeah, it makes you wonder what's going to happen when that plane is 15 years old or more.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 11):
Nonetheless, AZ looks to be in much better condition that it was several years ago.

That's definitevely true, the days of the MXP hub are gone. God weren't they crap at the time.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 12):
Another great read, thanks for taking the time to write this story!
The things we do for getting on a great ride...

Thanks roberts! I agree with you but what can you do, once you have a hobby you can't stop it!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 12):
Hey, that's my spot too!

Good choice!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
A superbly-written report. You know how to keep your audience captive!

Thanks Stojan, too kind.

Quoting I39OO (Thread starter):
Haha, it's funny how I often find myself enjoying reading pre-season sports news for that particular reason.

And in the older days I loved how every journalist used to say "This is going to be Inter's lucky season, they'll surely win the Scudetto" just for them to do another piss-poor performance as usual.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):

That's something I've noticed too about the AZ cabins. The seats tend to be in a rather poor state and whatever maintenance has taken place seems to be of the DIY-kind. A couple of years ago I wrote a TR about AZ and some of the photos from their 767 are kinda hilarious: (pay attention to the 5th photo in the report and also to the 6th, 7th and 8th photo from the bottom):

Dirty Green And Red. Transatlantic AZ And FB (by Widebodyroga Dec 17 2010 in Trip Reports)

God, I remember that one! AZ's 76s were shameful, honestly. I know that every airline has tired old workhorse whose NPV for a cabin refreshment programme is negative, but boy weren't those 76s in a class of their own. The thing is, though, Alitalia didn't seem to understand that the money saved by opting for crap cleaners was much, much less than the brand damage perpetrated by those Boeings and their appalling state. I dearly hope they won't do the same mistake now.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 13):
Thanks again for this lovely report.

You're welcome!

Quoting a36001 (Reply 14):
I so love the British way of saying things! Wonderful reading. Thank you for this trip report, brought a smile to my face!

Ha! And the fun thing is I'm not a Briton!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 15):
I think people must be mad to sleep in an airport, but each to their own!

Well, mad or too damn cheap!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 15):
Good to see a few pics of the refitted BA 767 also. I sat on one a couple of months back, but only saw the front end of it

Yes, I remember your TR! It looks like the 767s will remain in the fleet for a longer while then, I just hope their reliability will improve over time.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 15):
Seems like BA are trying to make the cabin standard across the fleet as the seats looks similar to the 77W seats from what I've seen of them.

Well, the cabins on the 77W are great, those Recaro in Y make a hell of a difference over other seats: no surprise if BA is trying to copy them throughout their entire fleet, I'd like to have them even on their A320s!


User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5672 times:

Hello I39OO!

Nice report again, and a good idea to catch the AZ A332 in such a cheap and easy way. The PE seat itself seems okay but shame about the bad cleaning and maintenance.
The service doesn't sound too impressive either, it's the same as I received on my AZ flight FCO-VCE this summer.
Glad to hear the BA 763's are nicer rides nowadays.

Martin


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