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Big UK Spotting Trip: 10 Flights + BA Strike  
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 9013 times:

Hello All,

First an introduction to this long trip report.

Around November 2003, me, Ivan (Apuneger) and Tom (Turbotrent), decided to go spotting abroad.

Since I visited LHR in September together with Tom, and Ivan and Tom also visited LHR in October, LHR had to be part of the trip (which airport has the traffic that LHR has?).

After some weeks of browsing through fares, schedules, looking for hotels, spotting information, etc etc, our flights were ready for booking.

This is the full itinerary (like it was planned, local times apply):

1) 12/07: BRU-LHR: BA389: 7u40-8u: B767-336ER
2) 14/07: LHR-EDI: BA1448: 15u-16u15: B757-236
3) 14/07: EDI-MAN: BA1868: 19u15-20u20: DHC8-300
4) 15/07: MAN-EDI: BA1867: 19u20-20u30: DHC8-300
5) 16/07: EDI-DUB: FR813: 8u15-9u15: B737-200
6) 16/07: DUB-SNN: EI119: 13u30-14u15: A330-202
7) 17/07: SNN-DUB: EI118: 8u30-9u15: A330-202
8) 17/07: DUB-EDI: FR816: 15u-16u: B737-200
9) 17/07: EDI-LHR: BA1463: 19u15-20u30: B757-236
10) 18/07: LHR-BRU: BA404: 19u35-21u45: B767-336ER

We decided to divide the trip report in 2 parts: Ivan wrote 3 parts, I wrote the rest (7).

I hope you like the very long trip report, any comments/suggestions/questions are of course very welcome!

To make the reading a bit more fascinating, I implemented some pictures.

Best regards,
Tom, Ivan and Frederic

PS: To make browsing through this trip report a bit easier, every flight is posted in a reply.
PS2: Thanks to Tom for the webspace, making it possible to display the pictures in the trip reports below

42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8882 times:

Saturday July 12th 2003: BA389 BRU-LHR with BA B767-336ER G-BNWY

(written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

After a short night, I got up at 4am, and prepared for the 45 minute drive to the airport.
My dad was going to drive me to the airport due to the early departure to LHR, and because we all wanted window seats (= early check in), no trains were early enough to bring me in time.

After doing a last check (looking if my tickets, passport, hotel reservations etc are in my handluggage), we were ready at 4.45am.

We left home, and arrived at about 5.30am at the airport, where I met Tom, and about 20 minuts later Ivan.

BA opens check in 2h before departure, and at 5.40am, there was already a big crowd in the row which did not seem to progress quickly.

Anyway, at 6h10, we were in the line with about 15 people in front of us, and at 6h30, check in was done. I asked the very friendly check in agent about the load, and she told me that it was a full house, every seat was occupied on the B763.

BA has a stupid limit about hand luggage, they only permit 6kg in contradiction with LH, EI and even Ryanair who permits 7kg.

My handluggage was 1,5kg too heavy, but she did not make a problem of it, Tom only had 6 kg so it was not a problem. Ivan had almost 10kg, but because it was a B763, she said it was not a problem as long as he put it under the seat in front of him.

After this, we went to the ticket counter, because our EDI-MAN-EDI flights got another flight number + schedule in the 6 months between flights and booking.
The change was done quickly by the very friendly ticketing agent, and after the goodbye kisses between Ivan and his girlfriend Claire, we were ready to go through passport control.

We were talking so busy that we didn’t notice that we were in the queu for International departures for non-European citizens, and after 10 minuts, we changed to the right queu, which took about 5 minuts.

Once we passed the security checkpoint (security was done within seconds, no-one got problems while going through the ‘beeper’), our B763 was shining at it’s gate B01 in the early morning sun.

Flight nr: BA389
Aircraft type: B767-336ER
Registration: G-BNWY
STD/STA: 7h40-8h

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Photo © Art Brett
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Photo © Steve Dreier

After a short walk through ‘Pier B’ (where nothing special was parked, besides N643UA, a UA B763 which we would meet again in LHR a few hours later since this aircraft flies to SFO via LHR; at Brucargo, an SQC B744F was parked together with a Tu204 and a L188, nothing else for the rest), we entered the long queu for boarding ‘our’ B763. The queu went quickly, and after we passed the ticket control, we entered the jetway on our way to Whisky Yankee.

Once on board, we were welcomed by 2 friendly stewardesses who showed us the way to our seat. First, we passed through the business class (who was already very full), at the intersection between C and Y, we were again greeted by 2 friendly f/a’s, the same again at the last intersection between the 2 Y parts in the B763.

Boarding went quickly, I took my seat 34K in front of Ivan (35K) and Tom (36K) and at 7.43h, we were ready for push back and engine start, after a friendly announcment of the captain + purser.

Apparently there were a few no-shows, since about 5 seats were empty. The safety video played, and we rolled towards 25R for departure.

At 7.55 we crossed the holding point of 25R, and we made a rolling take off. The engines spoiled up, and after a short roll, we took off and made a quick right turn over the Brucargo facilities.

Once we were almost at cruising altitude, the f/a’s started the service preparations (it has to go fast on a short hop like this if you have to serve a full house).

We got the typical ‘All Day Deli’: a very good sandwich (a croissant this time) filled with ham and egg mayonaisse. Very tasty! This was accompanied with orange juice, and the f/a’s came around to offer us a full drink service.
As a kind of tradition on all my flights, I took a cup of tea. I had a look in my small box if there was any sugar in it, but only found pepper, salt, a spoon and a napkin, but no sugar. I asked the f/a some sugar, and she kindly gave me one. Believe it or not, but after I finished my tea, I looked again in the small box, and what did I find…sugar! I was probably still asleep?

Below you can see a picture of the meal:

At 7.15am, the captain made an announcment that the ETA was 20 minuts later than announced earlier in the flight, but still 25 minuts ahead of schedule. This was followed by another announcement 10 minuts later that we were put in holding, and that the flight again would take a little bit longer. In the meantime, he was talking about nice views on the right and the left. Never, but never have I been on a flight with so much announcements about the flight, about nice views in the surrounding, about ETA’s, about weather etc etc etc, and this was something I noticed during the next 5 BA flights also. The pilots seem to be extremely informative, which is of course very nice.

At 7h30, the captain announced that we would land in 10 minuts (so 20 minuts before our ETA). On our right side, an AA B772 passed while we were turning to finals for 27L.

Just before touch down, I noticed an open hangar in which two Concordes were stored. Nobody knows the regs of those 2?

Anyway, at 7h40LT, we touched down on 27R, and we made a long taxi to our stand at Terminal 1.

Once we were at the immigrations, we had a look for William (UTA_Flyinghigh), but we did not see him so we proceeded to the Central Bus Station to take bus 285 to Hatton Cross.

At LHR, we had a great weekend together with Christophe (Contact Air), Alex (Ndebele), Patrick (Sabena 332), William (UTA Flyinghigh) and Antoine (707CMF).

Reports from the spotting weekend can be found more detailed in the trip reports of Patrick, William and Alex/Christoph, will not repeat this again over here.

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:12:17]

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8876 times:

Monday 14th July 2003: BA1448 LHR-EDI with BA B757-236 G-CPEL

(Written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

We did some spotting in the morning at Hatton Cross (take off’s were from 09R, so at 27L we saw the aircrafts coming nice overhead).

At 11h15, we went back to the hotel, took our bags, checked out, and went to the airport (T1).

We had to be in the ‘East zone’ for our BA domestic flight, but didn’t see the signs. So we asked a BA employee who gave a friendly explanation.

Once we arrived at the check in counters, and were going to enter the line, somebody of BA stopped us, and we had to show our tickets and passports. She checked us, compared everything, and said we couldn’t enter the queue yet (we were 25 minutes too early).

So we went to a snack bar where we bought some sandwiches and a drink. I paid for 2 sandwiches and a small bottle of coke more than 10£, what a rip off.

Once we had finished our snack, we went back, and joined the line. We went to a male check in agent who was quite cold and rather unfriendly. We asked to check us in on the LHR-EDI leg (of course) but also on the EDI-MAN leg later in the evening, and for the MAN-EDI leg the next day (this is for example one of the reasons why I like to avoid low cost as much as possible). We asked all for a window seat, and got our boarding passes. I said we only had handluggage which was cleared already in BRU, and he didn’t weigh them (luckily for me and especially for Ivan, who had quite some weight too much).

We got our boarding passes, proceeded to security control, got through very quick and went to the gate. Already very fast, our aircraft, G-CPEL arrived. We saw how it was offloaded, and later loaded again. G-CPEL has the ‘Animal and Trees’ world tail, I was very glad to be on it.

Flight nr: BA1448
Registration: G-CPEL ‘Animals and trees’
STA/STD: 15h-16h15

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Photo © Laurent FAURE
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Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner

Boarding was announced on time, we entered the jetway (newspapers were available), and were welcomed by very friendly cabin crew members.

While I was seated in row 8 (so in the first section of the aircraft), Tom and Ivan were seated totally in the back. Apparently, the first 2 sections on the B752 had leather seats, and the last section had seats from stuff (or how do you say that).

We were ready on time, but than… apparently one passenger was not on board, and his bags had to be offloaded, so we stayed at our gate, and 5 minutes after STD, we were going to push back, but apparently we had missed our slot. Next slot… within 2,5h! At this time, I was a bit scared that we would miss our connection to MAN (which was separately booked at fully restricted tickets, + it was the last flight of the day from EDI to MAN). The pilot seemed to be very annoyed with the long delay, and said he would keep us op to date as much possible (what he did).

After 20 minutes, the captain announced they got an earlier slot, and we would push back shortly. After 5 minutes, we were pushed back, engines were started and off we were. We passed several VS A343’s, a VS A346, several UA and AA B772’s, and after a taxi-ride of about 5 minutes, we joined the queue for take off. About 6 aircrafts on our side of the runway were waiting, + about 3 on the other side (BA B772’s + B744’s). Two aircrafts behind us was G-CEAI, the EAC B732 flying for BMI, apparently also flying to EDI since I saw her over there a few minutes after we landed.

We had a quick take off on 09R, and 15 minuts after take off, the cabin service started. We were served, by a very friendly cabin crew, a very nice sandwich which you can see over here:

Also the tea was very good. Excellent flight on board of the comfortable B752!
Here is a picture of the seat pitch, I personally find the seats to be comfortable:

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Photo © Frederic Backaert

We passed MAN (funny that we fly from LHR to EDI first, to return afterwards to MAN Big grin), and after about 20 minutes, we were ready to approach EDI, after being in holding for a few minutes.

Good landing, taxied past 2 EZY B737’s, and this nice flight came to an end, 30 minuts late. I waited until everybody was off the plane, took the picture of the seats you can see above (in the meantime, I saw the f/a preparing the meals for the pilots, what a nice big cold plate! Where is the time Y-pax got this, even on 1h flights?).

I said goodbye to the very friendly crew, and sat down in the terminal for about 2 hours waiting for our EDI-MAN flight.

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:12:39]

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8888 times:

Monday 14th July 2003: BA1868 EDI-MAN with a BA DHC8-311 Dash 8 G-BRYI

(Written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

Nice on time, our turboprop arrived from Amsterdam. I was glad since, for the second time that day, we would fly on a world tail.

G-BRYI taxied in, wearing the beautiful ‘Chelsea Rose’ colours.

Flight nr: BA1868
Registration: G-BRYI ‘Chelsea Rose’
STA/STD: 19h15-20h20

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Photo © Colin K. Work
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Photo © Lee Archer

I’m not a big fan of turboprops, so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. They shake, annoying sound, and are very small (although I have to say I found the BA DHC8 very comfortable).

We were welcomed by two (again) very friendly flight attendants. Boarding was done quickly, since only 18 passengers were onboard this flight.

When I went to my seat (07A), I saw that Ivan sat down on it by mistake, so I went to 08A, and a fat ugly women sat down on 08B. She had seen I was the pax of 08A, so I had expected her to stand up, but no. Nothing happened. I said, ‘Excuse me, may I sit down please?’. She had an annoying look, and still didn’t stand up. She moved her fat legs a bit to the right, and I could pass (luckily I am not as fat as she).

Besides this, she had an extremely annoying cough, so this was going to be quite a loooooong flight.

Engines were started before push back (something I notice a lot with turboprops, why is this?), and after a quick taxi, we took off. The plane was quite shaky and noisy. I was seated just besides the landing gear so could follow the whole process while the landing gear was retracted.

Very soon, the cabin service started. They only had a drink trolley, so I thought that this was going to be a drinks-only flight. I ordered an orange juice, which I emptied immediately.

After about 10 minuts, the crew came again, not to remove the dirt but… to offer a second (!) drink service, and this time together with the All Day Delis! What a service!

I ordered a tea this time (hot drinks were not available on the first drink service), and for the ADD we had a choice between egg mayonnaise and bacon + iceberg lettuce + tomatoes. I took the bacon sandwich, which was very tasty. Also the tea was very good.

A picture from the meal:

Soon we were ready to approach MAN. We saw MAN on our left, the pilot made a left turn, we landed at the new runway, and spotted a Balkan Holidays Tu154.

At the door, one of the female flight attendants greeted us. Because she was so friendly during the flight, I said to her ‘Thanks for the nice flight’. She replied with a big smile: ‘I’m glad you enjoyed the flight, thanks for flying BA, see you next time!’. Nice touch from her I think!

We left the airport, and searched the hotel. Once in our room, I saw a QR A300 + EK A332 depart.

Since there are always people interested in hotel information, just a short word about the Bewleys hotel in which we stayed: this is the ex Holiday Inn. Rooms are totally refurbished, very clean and roomy, and also the price is ok: for a triple room we payed 59£. If you are a bit lucky, you can see the departing or landing traffic, depending from the wind direction.

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:12:57]

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8877 times:

Tuesday July 15th 2003: BA1867 MAN-EDI with BA DHC-8-311 Dash 8Q G-NVSB

(Written by Ivan – Apuneger)

Flight nr: BA1867
Aircraft type: DHC8-311 Dash 8Q
Registration: G-NVSB
STD/STA: 19h20/20h30

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Photo © Gary Watt
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Photo © Colin K. Work

Flight BA1867 from Manchester to Edinburgh July 15th 2003 was the 4th flight of our UK & Ireland spotting trip. And boy, would this be an eventful flight…

After a whole day of spotting at ‘The Airport Pub’ close to the RWY 06L/24R threshold, we went to the airport at around 16h30. After visiting the famous parking garage, we decided to head for the departures terminal at around 17h10. Since the flight had an STD of 19h20 and we had already been able to check in for this flight the day before (due to only hand luggage), that would leave us plenty of time for a drink and something to eat at the airport terminal.

However, once we arrived at the airport, we had our first surprise of the day: the flight had been delayed for an hour due to a late inbound aircraft, so now the ETD was 20h30. Bummer indeed. But, hey, we just went to the departures gates anyway and put ourselves somewhere we could see aircraft take off. That way we managed to still kind of enjoy the delay and make the best out of it.

A bit later, the departures television screens showed that our flight had an extra 30 minutes delay. 5 ùminutes later, the screens showed once again an additional 30 minutes delay! So, instead of departing from MAN at 19h20, we certainly wouldn’t leave before 21h30. What a mess! Fortunately, EDI was our final destination for that day, so we didn’t had to catch any connection flight. So, in orde kill time, we did the funniest things, such as playing with child toys and even reporting a broken telephone to BT, how about that?

Anyway, at around 21h00, we were told to go to gate 148, as our inbound aircraft, BA Dash 8-311 G-BRYI, would arrive shortly from Glasgow. And indeed, at around 21h10 the aircraft reached its stand and engines were shut down. After deboarding, BA groundstaff immediately commenced preparing the aircraft for its last flight. In the meantime, about 37 passengers had entered the gate lounge hall.

Unfortunately, at 21h35 we were told by the nice BA boarding lady that they had discovered a technical failure on Yankee India, but a new aircraft was available. At 22h00, we finally got on a bus that would take us to our new aircraft, G-NVSB, that arrived at 20h50 and normally wouldn’t fly anymore that day.

At around 22h10 I finally got on board of the aircraft. Since one of my handluggage pieces was way to big to ever fit in the overhead bins, it got a tag ‘delivery at aircraft’, and was taken outside to get loaded in the aircraft’s baggage holds. Next, I got to my seat, seat 8A, next to the engine and landing gear. I was quite satisfied with this seat, since the seat next to mine remained empty, thus increasing my leg room!

Now, since I had only flown G-BRYI the day before, I immediately noticed the difference in cabin layout between G-BRYI and G-NBSB. The latter had nice leather seats, more comfortable overhead switches etc…

Refuelling of the aircraft started at 22h13. After that, and once everybody had boarded the aircraft, we got a nice explanation from the Captain for the delay (different problems with their aircrafts, priority landing at GLA,…). He also apologized for any inconvenience caused by the delay.

At 22h20, we finally had engine start upand two minutes later, our aircraft was pushed back from the stand. After taxiing to our runway, we took off from RWY 06L at 22h30. We experienced some minor turbulence during the climb.

10 minutes after takeoff, I was served a nice orange juice together with some ice. The cup allowed for some 100 ml of orange juice I think. Later on, I decided to find out what magazines and other reading BA had to offer me: High Life July 2003 (BA Inflight magazine), Business Life July/Aug 2003 (BA Inflight magazine), a safety card and yes, a nice blue barf bag. The overall seat pitch on board of this aircraft was really good, especially since I’m 1m83cm tall. My knees didn’t get pushed into the seat in front of me, so that’s good!

At 22h50, we were served our ‘All Day Deli’ meal and some more drinks. I got the ‘Bacon Letucce & Tomato’ sandwich (to use before 17 July 2003) and a 150 ml Coca Cola can.
Service started, just like on the EDI-MAN leg, first with a drink service:

This is a picture of the Bacon option:

This was the Egg mayonnaise option:

Ten minutes later, the Captain informed us about our route progress and once more apologized for the severe delay (approx 3 hours already!). That’s how I foud out we were cruising at FL160 with an ETA of 23h25.

Just after 23h00, the cabin crew (one woman and one man) commenced collecting all garbage and we commenced our approach into EDI. 5 minutes later, the flight attendant checked all seats and passengers.

During our approach, we noticed some turbulence, and we saw some dense fog beneath us. The fog was really dense, and we only entered it after the landing gear had been extracted and flaps set for landing. After we entered the clouds, we could hardly see the end of our own wings!

After a spectacular night approach, due to the fog (we only got out of the fog 30 seconds or so prior to landing) we finally landed at EDI at 23h15. What a flight indeed.

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8874 times:

Wednesday July 16th 2003 : FR813 EDI-DUB with FR B737-2E7/Adv EI-CJI

(Written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

Personally, I am not a big fan of low cost, and certainly not Ryanair, so I was actually looking forward to my first flight on FR to see if they matched my expectations.

The reason we had chosen FR on the EDI-DUB-EDI is simply due to the fact this flight is still operated by a B732, and where can you still fly those nice noisy jets these days?

Due to the big delay the day before (check the previous TR), we knew we were not going to get a lot of sleep due to the early departure (8.15am). We wanted to be early at check in to be in the first group for boarding, so we decided to take the free shuttle bus at 6am to the airport.

Thanks to Tom, the night was even shorter, because he had put the alarm clock on his mobile phone on the correct hour, but he forgot that his mobile was still on Belgian time (so one hour earlier). Luckily for him, me and Ivan had nothing heavy in the neighbourhood to throw at him  Big grin

So at about 6.05am, we arrived at EDI and waited 10 minuts until check in opened for our Ryanair flight.

Exactly two hours before departure, the counter opened, and we were almost the first to check in.

I said ‘hello’ to the female check in agent, and apparently she must have had an extremely bad night. On my ‘hello’, the only reply was ‘reservation number and passports’. The mood of the old lady checking in besides here seemed to be even bad. “Where is your luggage”. “We only have handluggage”. “Put it over here, there is a weight limit”. So I put it on the balance, the display gave 7,7kg. “It’s too heavy” she said. I replied: “Actually not, since Ryanair permits 7kg”. She looked confused and said “No, Ryanair permits 6kg”. This while in front of my nose was a big plate which said ‘Ryanair permits 7kg of handluggage’  Big grin. So she asked the unfriendly check in agent besides her what the limit is. “I think it’s 10kg” was her reply. Can you imagine??? So they have to check in bags while they don’t know how heavy it may be?

Anyway, after she browsed through a few papers, she said the following: “Aaah, it’s 7kg. Yours is ok. Next!”. So Tom put his handluggage on the balance, his was only 6kg so it was ok. Ivan had about 10kg so he had to check in his handluggage.

We got our boarding passes, no thank you or have a nice flight, so we proceeded to the restaurant above to have breakfast.

After the security check, we went to Gate 01C and there we waited for the arrival of the flight from Dublin, that landed 5 minuts ahead of schedule.

Flight nr: FR813
Registration: EI-CJI
STA/STD: 8h15-9h15

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Photo © Danny Hill
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Photo © Paul Morley

We were, after the children with their parents who were called first, the first ones in the row to board. We hurried to the plane to make sure we had the seats we wanted (3 window seats in front of the engine, while on the return, we wanted 3 seats behind the engine to experience both). We boarded the aicraft, there was no stewardess to say hello, only one a bit further in the galley on the left. I said hello, she just looked (I really hate it, people who just look at you after you say hello, is it so difficult to just be friendly?). Anyway, we all took our seat, boarding was done quickly, and after the cabin filled up with a load of about 90%, we were ready for push back spot on time.

After a short taxi, we had to hold for about 2 minuts because a KLM UK F100 was landing. Once landed, the captain made announcement that we were ready for take off, and that we would make a left turn once in the air. We lined up and the old B732 gave as much power as possible to get us in the air on the way to DUB.

Once at 16000ft, the cabin crew started the preparations of the inflight sales. During boarding, they went around with inflight magazines (with a shopping card in them). Not a lot of pax took one, and not a lot of pax purchased a drink/snack/…
This is a picture of my meal  Big grin:

On our cruising altitude (24000ft, 500miles an hour) the captain announced at 8h50 that we were ready for descent, and already told us for the first time about our early arrival.

Arrival was indeed early: we touched down at 9h02, 13 minuts before STA. This was announced 2 times as a ‘landing far ahead of schedule’ (in this case I understand it, but the landing back in EDI a day later was 3 minuts ahead of schedule, and this was also announced as ‘landing far ahead of schedule’).

We left the plane, nobody was saying ‘goodbye’ to the passengers. We were quickly of the plane, looked a bit around (saw a US B762, some EI A330’s and a CO B764 which was parked on an airbridge just besides us).

Passport control was done quickly, and we proceeded to the departure terminal where we first checked in on the handluggage desk of Aer Lingus for our flight to Shannon about 4h later.

After this we decided to buy some food, so we went above, found a nice snackbar with runway views, and spent our time over there until it was time to go downstairs for EI118.

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8889 times:

Wednesday July 16th 2003 : EI119 DUB-SNN with EI A330-202 EI-DAA

(Written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

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Photo © Shawn Byers
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Photo © Art Brett

Flight nr: EI119
Aircraft type: A330-202
Registration: EI-DAA
STD/STA: 13h30-14h15

After spending a few hours at a snackbar, we went downstairs to the passport control, with quite a long row in front of us (several groups in front of and after us were waiting for Milan, apparently there were 3 Eurofly flights to Milan in the afternoon!).

We passed passport control and security without any problems, and stepped down to gate B23, about 1 hour before our departure time. Once there, we saw that the lounge was about full. Not difficult, with our A332 being a full house, a lot of people waiting for the US B762 (N655US) besides us + EI-LAX, another EI A332, parked on the other side of ‘our’ A332, EI-DAA.

Strange was that the airbridge was not connected to our aircraft. A few minuts later, technicians arrived, so apparently there were technical problems.

At 13.05h, boarding was announced, while the airbridge was still not connected to the aircraft. Better for us, aviation enthusiastics, because what is better: stepping through an airbridge or first make a wander around the aircraft before boarding?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

As usual, childs and pax who need assistance were called first, together with business class and elite members. When it was our turn, we hurried a bit to the aircraft (always interesting that there are not too much people around you when you want to pick some safetycards away).

2 friendly f/a’s greeted us, and directed us to our seat. While entering the several sections, we were again greeted by friendly cabin crew.

Because, after landing at SNN, this aircraft proceeds to Washington Baltimore BWI, every seat had a pillow and a blanket, which would make from this very short hop (flying time 30 minuts) and extremely comfortable ride on this very nice A330. Also free headsets could be found in the seatpocket in front of us (now somewhere in my room  Big grin).

Exactly on time, we were ready for push back. The first officer welcomed us all, and told us about the flight to SNN, the weather in SNN etc etc. A pitty that this also was the last announcement of the flight deck. In comparision with previous flights, the pilots were certainly not very informative.

Than a surprise: during engine start, there was a smell of kerosine in the cabin, the first time I experience this on an aircraft. The same happened on the SNN-DUB flight (same aircraft), and 2 days later on an A319 of BA. Is this common for Airbus aircrafts?

We taxied to the runway, and had a very powerful take off. Once in the air, I tried the pvt’s (my first flight with pvt’s!). A pitty that, besides the games, nothing was turned on (I was especially looking for the airshow, it’s always interesting to see how you fly, but unfortunately, it was not loaded, the same with videos, audio,…). Also the seat pitch was comfortable (although my knees were also pressed in the seat in front of me, I felt I had still enough space, especially in comparision with the B763 of BA).

There was of course no service on this flight, I just took a picture of the meal tray:

EI cabin photos:

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Photo © Frederic Backaert
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Photo © Frederic Backaert

At 14.05, we touched down at SNN, where the weather was extremely bad. Rainshowers, wind, cold, … Stored in SNN: several a/w SK B763’s, one SK B763 in full o/c was parked in a hangar, a Panair B737 was also parked in a hangar, an a/w B707 is std, also an IB B727, Lina Congo B732 and an MD80 from a company I don’t know (have to look it up, the aircraft had no titles…).

Other EI A330’s at SNN were EI-CRK and EI-EWR. Also a World MD11 N277WA , a Channel Express A300 and a DHL A300 were parked.

After we checked in in the Great Southern Hotel Shannon (100m from the airport), we went to the viewing terrace (actually an area above the terminal surrounded by glass from where you can see the aircrafts parked at their gate in front of you + take offs and landings).

EI-CRK was ready for take off, and after 15 minuts, EI-DAA pushed back and started taxiing to the runway. Shamrock One One Niner Heavy took off, and we went to the restaurant in the departure terminal where we ate (IMO) the best and cheapest meal we had during our trip. Apparently Ireland has better cooking skills, and for a better price, than England has. The only thing left waiting for us, after we finished our meal, was our bed (after a very tiring day).

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8867 times:

Thursday July 17th 2003: EI118 SNN-DUB with EI Airbus A330-202 EI-DAA

(Written by Ivan – Apuneger)

The night before, we had a really nice flight DUB-SNN on board of an Aer Lingus Airbus A330-202, aircraft EI-DAA. Once we got off, it flew further to Washington Baltimore.

This morning, we would fly back to DUB on the very same aircraft that got us to SNN, after it had flown all the way to Washington Baltimore. Since we had already checked in the day before, and our hotel was really close to the airport of SNN, we decided to put our alarms at 6h00.

After we had checked out of the hotel, we had a nice breakfast at SNN’s airport terminal. Afterwards, we headed to gate 7, where our aircraft had just arrived at 7h20. All passengers had to get off the plane, for customs and security reasons apparantly.

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Photo © Christian Galliker
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Photo © Art Brett

Flight nr: EI118
Aircraft type: A330-202
Registration: EI-DAA
STD/STA: 8h30-9h15

At 7h55, boarding commenced for the short trip SNN-DUB. Just as the day before, I got seat 38K, behind the wing and a window on the right side. A major drawback was the condensation that seemed to have gotten not only in my window (yes, ‘in’), but in everybody else’s window as well. So, no chance of taking good pictures unfortunately.

The aircraft’s cabin condition seemd to be quite good (except for the fact that it was a bit less clean than when it departed from DUB): individual screens for most passengers, a remote in the right arm rest, acceptable seat pitch and nice IFE (games, airshow, movies, audio, help – movies and airshow did not function on the leg SNN-DUB). The f/a’s also were very friendly and as most other flights this was a full non-smoking flight with smoking alarms in the toilets.

At 8h28 the Captain spoke to his passengers, and 2 minutes later, we pushed back from the gate and received our safety instructions. Next, our engines were started and we taxied to the runway. At 8h40, we took off i a westerly direction. After our initial climb, the f/a’s told us that due to the short flighttime, we would not receive inflight service. No mealtray picture was taken, since it was exactly the same aircraft as the DUB-SNN leg.

At 8h50, we were informed by the Captain that we were cruising at FL150 and at 400 mph. 4 minutes later, we already commenced our descent into DUB. We entered a really thick and dense cloud layer, and we wouldn’t see anything until 10 seconds or so prior to landing. What a pitty indeed. All we could see is white clouds… Fortunately, during our short finals, we saw contrails coming off our wing and even some huge clouds coming off the wing.

At 9h15, the aircraft came to a stop at stand 33 at the B-Pier. After most passengers had deboarded the plane, we asked to one of the f/a’s if we could make some cabin pictures, and they allowed us. However, after a while they asked us quite aggressively to leave the aircraft. It was also impossible to make flight deck pictures, since some workers had already begun carrying out some minor maintenance work.

After a couple of hours, our aircraft, EI-DAA, departed back at 12h03as flight EI145 bound for LAX.

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:16:10]

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8871 times:

Thursday 17th July 2003: FR816 DUB-EDI with an FR B737-230Adv EI-CNT

(Written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

After a long wait and several very tasty pizza slices, it was time to check in for our flight back to DUB. I wasn’t really looking forward to this Ryanair flight, but the fact we were going to fly on a B732, gave a pleasant feeling.

The lady at check in was a bit friendlier than on the previous Ryanair check-in. We got our ‘boarding passes’ (a stupid piece of paper), and again there was some confusion about the weight limit. She knew it was 7kg, but she also counted the camera bag we had. My handluggage was ok (I had taken some clothes out of it, and was wearing them, to save some weight). She asked how many pieces of handluggage I had, but I misunderstood it for ‘we had’. So I said three. She looked confusing, and asked again: ‘how many pieces do YOU have’. ‘Only one’. Luckily, my camera bag was hanging behind me, she probably didn’t notice it. So mine was ok, Tom whose handluggage was actually lighter than mine, had to check it in, due to his camera bag. Also Ivan had to check his bags in.

We proceeded to the security control, which went again very quick. While going to our gate, Tom found an Aer Lingus boarding pass. We decided to look for an Aer Lingus employee, to give the boarding pass to them. The man from the boarding pass his flight was leaving within 45 minutes, DUB-MAN.

About a half an hour before take off, the Vodafone B732 of FR taxied to ‘our’ stand. I was very happy because, if this aircraft was going to fly us to EDI, I would fly for the first time on an aircraft wearing special colours. We had 50% chance, since actually two aircrafts were parked close besides eachother at our stand. Which one did we enter? The Vodafone one of course!

Flight nr: FR816
Registration: EI-CNT ‘Vodafone c/s’
STA/STD: 15h-16h

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Photo © Ben Pritchard
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Photo © Nik Deblauwe

This time we all three took a window seat after the wing. Boarding went quickly, of course nobody again to welcome us onboard.

Push back was spot on time, and we started our taxi just after another B732 of FR.
A B732 of FR landed, and than it was our turn for take off. A lot of noise in the back at full power! We rotated, flew immediately through the clouds, and after a few minutes, we saw blue sky again (I think that, if you live in Ireland, you almost forget on certain days how a blue sky looks like). We were on cruising altitude (FL240) very fast, and the service started. I counted one friendly flight attendant, the others were horrible. Yawning all the time (without putting their hand in front of their mouth), even when passengers were giving their order to them, they were yawning at the passengers. What a professionalism! Of course a lot of announcements about the Ryanair duty free items, visa card, etc etc. And the pilot informed us several times about the progress of the flight.

No picture of the overpriced meals, so I took a picture of the mealtray  Big grin:

Soon we were descending into EDI. It was interesting to spot the wing during our approach (flaps setting etc). This bird was clearly ex-LH, since 50% of everything written in the cabin (for example ‘No smoking’) was written in German.

We touched down on the wet runway in EDI, and it was spectacular to see the ‘flap’ behind the engine. Wet water spatted out of the flap during trust reverse. We had to be at the gate at 16h, touch down was at 15.59h. This was announced as a landing ‘far ahead of schedule’ one time by the flight attendant, and one time by the pilot. Somebody without a watch maybe believes this, but do they think we are stupid? Not that I bother, but we were at the gate 4 minutes late, not really a landing ‘far ahead of schedule’ I think.

We went of the plane, said goodbye to maybe the last B732 we were on?, and proceeded to the luggage hall, where we picked our bags up, 10 minuts after arrival.

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:22:32]

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8876 times:

Thursday July 17th 2003: BA1463 EDI-LHR with BA Boeing 757-236 G-CPEL

(Written by Ivan – Apuneger)

After flying from SNN to DUB on a EI A330 and from DUB to EDI on a FR 737-200 (Vodafone logo jet), the last flight of that day would take us from EDI to LHR. STD was 19h15.

We arrived at the airport at 17h30, to check in. Although most BA staff of the previous days, had let me take all my luggage as hand luggage, the woman on check in desk 42 told me that I had to check in my biggest piece due to a serious overweight, so I didn’t bother and checked it in. Since our aircraft on the flight LHR-BRU would be a bigger aircraft (B767-336ER), she allowed me however to take that piece as hand luggage on board of that specific flight. Anyway, I got seat 28A for the flight EDI-LHR.

After we were checked by customs and security staff at EDI, we headed for the departures gates. Unfortunately, since EDI was quite foggy, our flight already had a delay of 1 hour. So we decided to get a drink and just sit and wait.

At 19h40, our aircraft finally arrived at gate 11. We were a bit saddened to see that we would fly on the very same aircraft that flew us from LHR to EDI a couple of days ago, but nevertheless we were also happy just to see our aircraft had finally arrived.

Flight nr: BA1463
Registration: G-CPEL ‘Animals and trees’
STA/STD: 19h15-20h15

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Photo © Peter Pontoppidan

After all necessary servicing, we finally boarded the aircraft at 20h05. At the jetway entry, we were free to pick any newspaper we wanted (Financial Times, The Herald,…). The overall condition of the cabin was really nice. The aircraft was quite clean, I must say. Available inflight magazines were High Life July 2003, Shopping The World July/Aug 2003 and Business July/Aug 2003. Next to this, I also noticed a ‘Change For Good’ brochure, a safety card of course, and 2 barf bags. By the way, I was seated in seat 28A. Since no one was sitting in seat 28B nor 28C, I had a huge amount of space available.

At 20h13, our female Captain introduced herself and gave us some information about the flight and the reasons for the delay. Due to the poor weather, we couldn’t pushback for another 20 minutes or so, so all we could do is just relax, enjoy the view, and read a bit.

At 20h30, connecting passengers for SYD, BKK,… were announced that BA would try to do everything they can to help those passengers get to their connections in time.

At 20h40, our aircraft was finally granted permission for pushback. During the pushback and taxi to the runway, the passengers received the necessanry safety instructions, and the lights were dimmed, to help adapt our eyes to the exterior light conditions. 20 minutes later, our aircraft was rolling and we took off. After takeoff, we almost immediately went into the dense clouds.

At 21h10, dinner was served. Instead of the expected ‘All Day Deli’, we got a nice little dish with cold vegetables and some cold meat. We also received a little sandwich, a creamy dessert and a china cup for coffee or another drink. Ten minutes later, we got our first drinks. I got a Coca Cola with Ice.

(Pictures from Frederic, so no Coca but tea): note that the tea is in a glass cup:

Picture of the white wine from Frederic, a very good Chardonnay:

Picture of the meal:

At 21h45, we reached our Top Of Descent, so we started our descent into London. However, due to ATC procedures, the Captain announced that we would have to wait another 15-20 minutes before starting our final approach into LHR. So, we did a couple of holding patterns above London before we were given permission at 21h54 to start our final approach into LHR.

After one of the nicest approaches I’ve ever witnessed, we landed at LHR’s RWY 27L at 22h10. We taxied to T1 and 5 mintes later, the engines were shit down. After I walked out of the aircraft, I immediately noticed some BA staff waiting for their connecting passengers. Quite a service indeed.

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:25:00]

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8871 times:

Saturday 19th July 2003: BA392 LHR-BRU with BA A319-131 G-EUPJ

(Written by Frederic – Sabena 690)

Last, and altogether the most spectacular part of our trip.

After spotting the last Engineer Test Concorde flight (G-BOAE), and some nice heavies on take off (we were standing near the fence with 27R/09L in front of us, and the Visitors Centre behind), we went to the bus stop in front of the Renaissance Hotel to catch a bus to T1 (it was 4.50pm at that time). We had plenty of time to catch our flight of 7.35pm, so we didn’t have to hurry.

Around 5.15pm, we arrived at the entrance of T1, and it was a mess. People were standing in queues just everywhere. We decided to leave the check in area as soon as possible (we were checked in the day before), and were thru security in only 10 minutes.

Soon we were in the middle area of T1, and also over there, it was a mess. There were people just everywhere, at this time I was asking myself whether this was still normal or not. I had a look at the screens, and besides the fact that they were not updated, nothing about delays/… was shown.

Ivan and Tom wanted to buy some presents for their girlfriend, so we went from shop to shop (which was nice because in the shops it was less crowded). After Ivan bought a bear in one of the shops, the guy behind the pay-desk asked us if also our flight was delayed. We had a reaction like ‘why should our flight have to be delayed’? “How, don’t you know it?” “What do we have to know?” “The Ground Staff is on strike, have a look at the screens”. So we went to the screens (he followed us, he also wanted to know what was happening), and we saw the same screens of 45 minutes before, still not updated. In the meantime, there were so many people that we jumped on 3 free seats in the middle area, to make it a bit more comfortable.

After about 15 minutes, I went back to the screens, and although our flight wasn’t listed yet, all BA flights were delayed. So I called my parents (who were already in BRU at that time to pick me up), that the flight would be late due to a strike.

Time was passing, and while I went to the toilets, I passed the BA Customer Service desk, with a lot of angry frustrated people in front of it, while nobody was behind the desk. I asked somebody why the desk was deserted (in that time, no announcements were made yet, and I though that, because the guy of the shop said ‘ground handling’, that only the luggage handlers were on strike). He said that everyone of BA was on strike, and on that time, I started fearing that we would not leave LHR anymore. It was actually amazing to see how furious some people can become. They were taking every single paper/map/… on/under the desk to check if there was flight information on it. The whole desk was a mess. People were using the BA telephone to call their relatives about what was happening.

When I was back from the toilet, I checked the screens again, and unfortunately, they were updated again. This time, everything was cancelled. So I called home again to say that our flight had been cancelled, and we would have to sleep somewhere on a seat/on the ground during the night, while waiting for the next available flight.

The poor lady behind the BMI desk almost run away at that time, because a whole group of furious pax almost attacked her to ask whether BD accepted BA tickets or not (of course they didn’t).
15 minuts after the news that all BA flights from T1 had been cancelled for the remaining of the evening, a message played every 10 minuts on the speakers ‘that BA ground staff had gone on strike, that nobody was available anymore in T1, and passengers were asked to call BA reservations, and last but not least, everyone had to leave the terminal’. ‘BA apologizes for the possible inconvenience this strike may cause to you’.

At that time, I also started to become angry. So our flights were cancelled, and we had to leave the terminal. To where? Sleep on the streets? We didn’t have the money for an additional hotel night (we actually have to book two rooms because we are with three, all hotels only offer double rooms). That’s why we decided to stay until the very last moment.

While Ivan was keeping an eye on our bags, me and Tom both took a telephone in the terminal (we first tried to dial the nr with our mobile phone, but got an error voice). Tom got a connection, and was put in hold. At that time, I took over his phone and waited 50 minutes before a computer voice said that it was almost my turn. I got a tired sounding lady on the phone after about 50-55 minutes (who knows what aggressive language she had to hear already from angry people during the evening, several seem to forget that you will get much further if you stay polite, than if you start shouting and accusing people). The first flight of the morning was sold out, so she put us on the 8.55am flight. She hang up very quick, I even didn’t get info if we had to check in again etc etc. So I decided at midnight to call again. I got a friendly lady on the phone after 30 minuts queuing who told me that BA was not going to pay for a hotel room, that all additional costs were for the passengers, and that we had to leave the terminal and check in again (lucky we didn’t, afterwards seen).

Security had, after a lot of complaints, decided to keep the middle part of T1 open (luckily this was decided after most people had left the Terminal, so we had place enough to sit down). I played together with Tom 3 kicker football games (he won with 2-1, grrrr  Big grin) to pass the time, and after our ‘plays’, we went back to Ivan. I used my handluggage bag as pillow (a bit hard but better than nothing  Big grin), but didn’t really sleep because I was scared that, while I was asleep, someone was going to steal my camera bag with my camera + money/identity card/papers/… I think that, all in all, I slept about 1h.

In the evening, we had the pleasure to hear a choir from Canada singing, consisting of generally cute young girls. They landed with BA out of (I think) YVR, and their connection flight to BCN was cancelled. Their appearance was at 9am the next morning in BCN, so they would obviously miss the thing for which they came all the way from Vancouver, so this was a pity.

Tom and Ivan sleeping:

At 3am, I ‘woke up’, and since I was too lazy to stand up at that time, I had a look with my binoculars on the screens. I got a horrified feeling when I saw that again everything was cancelled until 7.30, also the first flight to BRU (we met some Belgians flying to BRU on the first flight, they will have been angry when they saw this). I went to a coffee shop which was already open, and asked the biggest coffee available to stay awake (because I knew that tiring hours were coming, after an already very tiring week with lot’s of delayed flights and short nights). The guy behind the bar showed me a paper on which was written that all BA flights until 10 am were cancelled, so I had bad news for Ivan and Tom (who just woke up when I returned with my coffee). I went to a telephone, queued for 15 minutes, and got a lady on the telephone who told me the same as the two other times I called before: ‘I know nothing more than you’. She advised us to go to check in, and queue over there.

So at 3.45am, we left our seats, and went from where we came: T1 check in. We asked someone of security if we could go back (T1 was 15 meters in front of us), and we didn’t get permission, also after we explained the situation, and told him that we HAD to go back from the lady on the telephone. Instead of letting us pass, we had to make a whole tour via the Flight Connections centre, passport control etc etc to entry T1. A few minuts later, we realized that this was also our luck. So we proceeded to the passport control where we met a guy who told us that it was much better to queue at the Flight Connections Center (where only about 50 people where in front of us at that time). This was what we did, and after 1h30 minutes, it was 6am, time for the first check in staff to arrive. But… nobody arrived. 6h30: one lady arrived (on which in the meantime the +/- 150-200 pax jumped so she was away soon). Anyway, I could talk to her, and she told me that check in staff was going to arrive soon, and that she had no information about the flights.

7am: two people arrived for check in (actually I have to call it check thru, since it is for connecting pax only, but we were advised by security staff to queue over there since we had already checked in for the flight the day before, and because we already got a new reservation number for the flight of 8.55). The Queue moved terribly slow, and we passed our time while chatting with a friendly Scandinavian girl of about 22 that came from America (she was an American exchange student flying back to her family in Denmark I believe). She told us about life in America etc etc, a very interesting chat in general. In the meantime, two additional check in people arrived. Note that this does not mean that 4 people were working, only 2 were working at a time while the other two were laughing/drinking coffee/… so you can imagine how furious some of the already hundreds of people in the area became when they saw this. You have to know that in the meantime, a lot of BA B772’s/B744’s had landed with a lot of connecting pax who had to wait in that area, so it was full and becoming very hot inside.

2 pictures of the crowd:

At 8.30, only 25 minutes before our STA, it was our turn. At that time, we only wanted a seat, we didn’t bother anymore to ask for window seats etc, we were so tired we just wanted to be at the goddamn plane and fly to BRU. I asked her if it was 100% sure that the flight would operate, because otherwise, we would refuse the tickets and demand to be booked on a non-BA flight. But she told us that the flight was going to operate, so we accepted the tickets.

We passed the Scandinavian girl, asked about her status (she was put on standby on LH via FRA). Afterwards we ran to our Gate (only 15 minutes before STD), and once we almost arrived, a guy of security stopped us, and asked what we were doing (duh, what do you do at a gate if you want to catch a flight). He told us that our Gate (21) was empty, that nothing was going to leave over there, and that we HAD to turn back. Tired as we were we replied that this was our gate, and that our aircraft was going to leave soon. But he replied in a harsh way that WE HAD TO TURN BACK NOW. So we did what he asked, and stopped about 30 meters further before a screen on which our flight was listed. Strange was that there was no gate information available yet. So we decided to sit down in front of the screen, and wait till more info was available. But who came there… the same guy of security saying us that “no flight was going to leave over here, that we HAD to go to the middle section of T1 NOW”. We did what he asked, and didn’t want to start a discussion with him.

Finally, at 9am, our gate appeared on the screen (I really started to become anxious because more and more flights were cancelled), and guess which gate… of course nr21, where we were sent away. Later in Belgium, we heard on the news that this flight was almost cancelled, and they decided to fly at the very last minute. This was the only flight of the day to BRU (of course a load factor of 100%), and one of the few BA flights that left in the morning, so we were extremely lucky (thank god that the first flight of the morning was fully booked when we got contact with BA reservations).

We passed the security guy (I had an angry look at him), entered the gate, and 5 minuts later, some people with disinterested faces scratched our boarding passes, and let us enter the plane. In front of us was waiting G-EUPJ.

Flight nr: BA392
Aircraft type: A319
Registration: G-EUPJ
STA/STD: 8u55-10u15

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Photo © Aeroview Zurich/Worldwide

We entered the plane, and as usual, I said hello to the flightcrew (‘Good morning’ in this case). They only looked at my boarding pass, said nothing, and let me enter the plane. Since this is something I really dislike (good + friendly crews always say hello back), I was already fearing for the worst.

As usual, I first put my safety card in my bag (I keep from every flight my ticket, my boarding pass on which the registration of the aircraft is written behind and a safetycard. I put all three in a small plastic afterwards; nice for the collection!). I got a middle seat assigned, but sat down on the window seat (it is just so interesting to follow the movements at LHR).

Boarding wasn’t done very fast (since we only got our gate at the last minute, several people had to come from different areas in T1 to the gate). The guy, who had to sit down at the window seat, arrived. I explained him that I was an aviation enthusiastic, and asked him kindly if he would mind if I take his windowseat. He said he liked flying, but he didn’t bother that I took his window seat. So I gladly thanked him, and enjoyed the movements of catering trucks, ground handling etc around the aircraft. I started chatting with him, and he told he just came from Denver, on the B763 of BA. He said that on the outbound, 4 seats were empty, and on his inbound flight, all seats were taken. BA was, servicewise, one of his favourite airlines.

At 9.20am, we were pushing back, and surprisingly, we got again a kerosene smell in the cabin during engine startup (just like on the 2 A332 flights). Is this something common for Airbus? After a quick taxi to 27L (about 5 planes were in front of us, being N784UA, EI-CPE, G-MIDF, G-MIDP and F-GTAL), we took off at 9.34 local.

Once airborn, the cabin service started. This time not the generally friendly and warm service like on the previous 5 BA flights, but a horrible crew. The All Day Deli’s (which were again very tasty) were almost thrown at the passengers. No ‘please’, nothing. A face like ‘why do I have to serve you, bastard’ was used. The flight attendants seemed totally annoyed and irritated that they had to work. During drink service, they did not ask ‘what would you like to drink sir’ – no, they lifted the kin a bit (we had to know that this means ‘what do you want’) which is totally unacceptable. Maybe this is common on Ryanair flights, but unacceptable for full service airlines. I ordered tea, which was tasty as usual. In the All Day Deli bag, a small orange juice was included.

Meal picture:

While we entered Belgian airspace (it’s always nice when you can follow your flightpath via the drop down screens), they started to clean the rubbish. I hadn’t seen that a male flight attendant was cleaning from behind the aircraft to the front, and since I was half-sleeping, half-awake, I hadn’t noticed him. Suddenly a loud cough. I had a look, and saw him with an annoyed and angry face looking at me. He pointed his finger at my rubbish, and gave a sign that I had to give it to him NOW. So I gave him my rubbish (which I nicely put together in one bag to make things easier), and he stayed looking irritated at me. Now (he still hadn’t spoken one word), he pointed his finger at my tray, which I had to put in the seat in front of me NOW (descent wasn’t started yet and fasten seat belt sign was still off, so I saw no reason from were the hurry). To avoid discussions, I put the tray in front of me, and tried to enjoy the final 25 minuts of my first ever A319 flight.

Soon, we reached BRU. The usual approach for flights coming from the UK is fly parallel with runway 25/07, pass the airport, make a right 180° turn, and land.

At 11h25, we touched down in BRU, taxied to the stand, and our trip, to which I looked forward so long, had come to an end.

At the door, we were greeted, not by someone of the cabin crew, but by the captain (maybe he knew what sort of crew he was travelling with). I said ‘Goodbye’, and we left the plane. I really heard a lot of complaints while queuing in the galley to get off the plane, as well from people complaining about this flight, as from people complaining about the fact that they were stranded in the first place, and that we all were treated like cattle on this flight).

There was quite a long queue for passport control, but it advanced quickly. We went to the arrivals hall where Tom met his parents + girlfriend Laura. I said goodbye to my 2 travel partners; Ivan went to the departures area to meet his parents + girlfriend Claire, and I went to the cafetaria to double check the registration (it was difficult to read it off while boarding). Afterwards I hurried to the train station in the airport, I only had 10 minuts left to catch my train. From the train, I enjoyed spotting some take offs, and after a boring ride of 1h30min, I arrived at home.

I hope you enjoyed reading all the reports. Comments/suggestions/criticism/whatever is of course welcome as usual.

Thanks again for reading and best regards,

[Edited 2003-08-24 19:26:59]

User currently offlineSunCEO From Ireland, joined Oct 2001, 359 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 8853 times:


Well done on the reports! Some really great detail here, some of the all day deli sandwiches looked very nice  Wink/being sarcastic


User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 8848 times:

Great trip report! I REALLY enjoyed it, thanks so much for the photos and everything!  Big thumbs up

A few notes:

Too bad you were caught up in the strike mess, and I still think the entire strike was the height of irresponsibility on the part of BA check-in staff. Sad to say, but when things go wrong with BA (as they have on two occasions when I was flying from Argentina to the UK), they go very badly wrong.

I would NOT have wanted to have been there during that mess!

Glad that your other flights went well. I find the standard of service with BA (and Ryanair actually) can vary, but is usually fine to very good. I am not all together surprised that your Ryanair experience wasn't up to what you expected - it sound like you really appreciate the extra 'frills' from the full-service airlines - in which case my advice is simply to avoid most of the British and Irish LCCs, because it is strictly A-B in safety and rarely anyting more, as you now know!  Big grin

Once again, thanks for taking the time to write this out, and hope to read more trip reports in the future!


p.s. the BA crews are indeed very informative! Next time, for variety, try to fly BMI - I found them to be comparable to BA in many ways.

User currently offlineShamrock_747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 8712 times:

Great report, Frederic/Ivan. Very informative and detailed about the flights of your UK Trip, and an interesting account of being caught up in the BA strike action.


User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3036 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 8698 times:

Hi guys,

thanks for the comments. So, to all the guys who we met on July 12th/13th at LHR, at least now you know where we flew to afterwards huh  Wink/being sarcastic

Anyway, I didn't know that Frederic took a pic of me and Tom while asleep. Quite funny actually. I must say this was the biggest hotel room I've ever had, but with the crappiest bed ever  Wink/being sarcastic

Anyway, more aircraft pics from that week will be uploaded the following weeks/months...


Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineJMChladek From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 331 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 8684 times:

Wow, that was an experience. Wish I had the funds to do a trip like that. Hopefully BAs act will be together when I take my trip across the pond this November as I really do not want to get caught up in a mess like that at all. When I booked my tickets, I hadn't heard about the work stoppage (tickets purchased on the night after in fact). But afterwards, it did seem to explain how I got such a good deal as BA was probably trying to make up for some serious lost revenue at that point.

Still, I think I made the right choice here as it sounds like BA is a class act when things go right. I just hope they don't go wrong is all.  Smile

User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8743 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8655 times:
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Well,excellent report,nice photo's - loved the FR meal trays!

You have described FR just as i've heard,though the cabin's must have been cleaner than usual.i'm sure you would have picked up on that.I refuse to fly FR,i'll fly another 732 again,most likely in South America though!

BA,well,aside from the terrible walk out by ground staff the rest of the flights seemed ok,except the 319 flight to BRU.I think it shows ever once in a while a 'bad' crew pop's up,shame,but they can't all be the best I suppose.

Regarding the fuel smell in the cabin,i've had 51 Airbus flights(all series/models) and I cannot recall this problem,I sure look forward to my next flight to see if it occurs.

Thanks again,great trip and photos.



User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8656 times:

Thanks a lot for the positive feedback!

@SunCEO: they didn't only look very nice, they also tasted very nice  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

it sound like you really appreciate the extra 'frills' from the full-service airlines

I will gladly fly low cost when the difference in ticket price is too big, but you have to know that we payed an average of about 43-44 Euro for each segment which is very cheap I think. So in this case, I really saw no reason to fly low cost (except the 2 FR flights than, to fly the B732).

Next time, for variety, try to fly BMI - I found them to be comparable to BA in many ways.

Thanks for the advice, will surely do that. BA and BD ticket prices were about the same, except that in this case, we could fly 2x B763, 2x B752 and 2x DHC8, those are aircrafts on which I don't have the possibility a lot to fly on, so my choice went to BA instead of the A320/A321/ER4 of BMI on which I will have the opportunity a lot in the future to fly on. BA B752 is almost gone, B763 will go, so this got our choice. Also the BA B734 is on my wishlist, but this will stay wishful thinking I'm afraid...

@Shamrock_747: thanks for the comments, and once again a big thanks to you for leading us around  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Wish I had the funds to do a trip like that.

I payed it with a part of the revenue of my summer job of a year ago. For the 10 flights, we paid about €430 (!). Hotels: we could divide the room price into three. So for a one week full spotting trip, the cost wasn't that high!

it sounds like BA is a class act when things go right.

I can only second that, BA was excellent on 4 of the 6 flights!


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8652 times:

Hi Mark, thanks a lot!

the cabin's must have been cleaner than usual.

I didn't find the cabins dirty, they were quite clean indeed. But than again, almost nobody purchased food, so how can they become dirty  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

The only thing I disliked, was the gum I found on the seats/floor, and the state of the safetycards, never saw so dirty old safetycards.

think it shows ever once in a while a 'bad' crew pop's up,shame,but they can't all be the best I suppose.

That's very true, EVERY airline has bad crews. I will surely fly BA again, even with the BA strike and the bad crew on 1 flight.

About the kerosine smell, I'm also wondering! I've had 4 Airbus flights until now:

1) I-BIXZ: AZ A321: no fuel smell, but I was seated in the first or second row of the Y-class cabin (quite a lot of rows in front of the wing). Maybe that's why I didn't smell it?

2 + 3: EI A332 EI-DAA: two times seated after the wing, 2x kerosine smell

4): BA A319 G-EUPJ: seated quite far after the wing, and again the kerosine smell. Maybe it depends where you are seated?


User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8743 posts, RR: 53
Reply 19, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8653 times:
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Hi Frederic,

Regarding the fuel smell/seating location.

I don't think it makes a difference,looking at my flight log i've sat all over the place from row 1 to the last row,plenty over the wing on US 333's.

I'm not sure,perhaps it's do do with the weather outside?



User currently offlineJumbolino From Germany, joined Mar 2001, 490 posts, RR: 16
Reply 20, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8650 times:

Hello 3 guys,

what an affort to write this huge, huge report, but I was very pleased to read it - and to take pic´s of the meals - nice idea.

summary - great, enjoyable report !


Kind Regards, Jutta.
User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8633 times:

Hi. Sorry to be intruding again, but I would like to add a comment regarding the smell of kerosene aboard.

I have also noticed this. What's more, it was on a recent BA flight from CAI - and it was on a B744. So not just Airbus it seems!  Big grin

I talked about this with my friends aboard the flight (we had gone on a post-graduation celebratory tour of Egypt). One of them reckoned it might have something to do with the fact that the AC system (air-conditioning) bleeds (?) air from the engines, and during the start sequence, some smell of fuel vapour might be normal?

Don't know, I am the opposite of a scientist/technician, so maybe it's something else, but I definitely had the same experience on this 747.


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8606 times:

Thanks Jutta!

@DoorsToManual: I have nu clue what the reason is. Apparently it's also on Boeing, so it has nothing to do with the constructor, so the only good option left will be the airconditioning I guess?

I remember simillar problems in the BAe146, where passengers suffered from kerosine damps. This problem was removed on next generation Avro's. I asked this question because I was surprised to smell the same on 3 flights in modern aicrafts.


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 8519 times:

Hi guys,

what an awesome trip report  Wow!, maybe the most detailed I ever saw here on the forum! I love the pictures of the meals, especially the FR meal pics  Big thumbs up.

The weekend in Heathrow was very good, it was a pleasure to meet all of you there but it sounds like you guys had fun on the whole trip (ok, maybe not on the last day at LHR).

Thanks for the great report, I can imagine that it was a lot of work!


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (12 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 8483 times:

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the nice comments!  Big thumbs up

The whole trip was fun indeed...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


25 Capital146 : A great report! I was particularly interested in your comments on Ryanair. I flew the "Vodafone" aircraft just two days before you on 15th July on LBA
26 Patroni : Hello! Thanks for this really interesting trip report. I share the impressions which you had with the friendly cabin staff of BA and the "less motivat
27 Post contains images Leezyjet : Very good and interesting reports, just one thing however..... You said that you take the safety card from ALL your flights. Are you aware that it is
28 Post contains images JMChladek : Wow, only 430 Euros for 10 flights!?!?!?! I'm living in the wrong country then. Ahh well, I know what it means to save ones funds for flights. Even th
29 Post contains links DoorsToManual : I have always found the Ryanair check-in staff and FA's friendly. Don't know if it is me who has been lucky or you who has had bad fortune http://www.
30 Post contains images BrusselsSouth : Wonderful report ! Spotting trip = great holiday idea... (I wish my gfriend would accept trips like this ). Not as expensive as I would have thought..
31 Post contains images BA777 : Very nice report, well done! Glad you liked my pic of EUPJ Did BA offer you any compensation for the strike in any way? Henry
32 Godbless : Awsome trip report! Really enjoyable to read about your great tour. I'm still not over thinking that British uses their 767 on soooo short flights...
33 Post contains images Sabena 690 : Hi all, Thanks for the positive feedback @Capital146: EI has some great fares to the US currently. finding NYC for €250 + tax for example is not an
34 Post contains images Apuneger : Hi guys, me again, - about my handluggage: I think the empty trolley already weighted approx 4kg - seems like I really made some typing errors. Howeve
35 Post contains images Sabena 690 : LOL Ivan! This (from my side) is also wrong of course: Around November 2003, me, Ivan (Apuneger) and Tom (Turbotrent), decided to go spotting abroad.
36 Contact Air : Hello together, finally also from me congratulations to these great trip reports to a great trip (maybe except the last part with the strike - this wa
37 Sabena 690 : Thanks Christophe! Regards Frederic
38 Apuneger : Christoph, Yeah, it sure was a nice trip, definitely one to remember... Ivan
39 Post contains images Leezyjet : "Personally I find this exaggerated. Of course, picking a lifejacket is stupid, because this can REALLY bring the life of other passengers in danger.
40 Post contains images Sabena 690 : Hi Leezyjet, Well: safetycards are refilled normally after every flight. And when the safetycards are not refilled, and somebody needs one, the f/a's
41 Post contains images Ndebele : Thanks for these detailed reports, and I apologize for my late reply, but actually reading (not only having a look at) these 10 reports took a little
42 Post contains images Sabena 690 : Thanks for the very kind comments, Alex! It was indeed a pleasure to meet all of you About the meal: BA normally serves the All Day Deli sandwiches (a
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