PanAmerican From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 384 posts, RR: 5 Posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4085 times:
I'm new at A.net and I thought to begin with I'd write my first trip report about a flight that I took on December 31, 2001 from Boston Logan to Amsterdam on Northwest. I was about to celebrate the New Year on a DC-10, just what an aviation nut like me needs...Be prepared, this is long. I hope not too long. Enjoy!
On 12/31/01 I drove all the way from Vermont down to Boston which took me a good three hours as traffic was dense on this New Years Eve. After leaving my rental car at the Budget parking lot I headed straight to the Shuttle that took me to Logan Airport Terminal E from which all international traffic departs. It was only 4 pm and my flight was scheduled for 6:45 pm so there was way enough time left to spend. As I suspected, the Terminal was pretty empty as some carriers like LH and BA do not fly transatlatic on 12/31 and I was at the check-in in no time.
I asked for a window seat and was absolutely dumbfounded when told that there were none left! I thought that I'd have have the aircraft for myself as most people probably prefer to celebrate on the ground, but well, it seemed like there were more than enough people going. So the agent offered me a whole middle section on the 2-5-2 configured DC-10 which I gladly excepted.
As this was only a few months after 9/11 I expected security to be tight, however it wasn't really much different from the usual procedure except they were searching a few more people and there was Military Police armed with machine guns walking around the terminal.
Since I still had two hours to kill I wandered around the stores in Logan to have a look at the stuff they sell there. Nothing really great.
After that I settled down near gate 3B where N238NW was already shining in the darkness.
I started reading my book when I realized some strange looking person sitting near me. It was rather the book that he read which struck me: "The Holy Palestinian War Agains Israel" or something. I can't remember the exact title.
This being post-9/11 I guess everybody, including me, was a little paranoid of any new attacks.
After watching the guy, an Arab that seemed very tense, for a little bit, I didn't hesitate to go and alert the MPs about him. When I came back with them the guy was gone... We looked for him in that area of the Terminal but couldn't find him. Well, then came the announcement to board and the MPs said if I see the guy on the plane I should alert tell the cabin crew.
That was it and I fortunately did not see him anymore...
On the jetway people were divided into two lines:
1. Americans/other westerners
2.all others who had to take off their shoes and were searched again.
I was on the plane in a breeze and slipped in my seat 19C in the front section of coach. After boarding was completed I really had the entire middle section to myself, at least that was what I presumed. THe flight was 70% full! I was really surprised but it seemed to be one of the very few transatlantic flights out of Boston that night.
We were greeted in a very friendly way for this "New Year's Party Flight" and pushed back on time. The crew was almost all male in coach which I regretted, but usually NW doesn't have any good lloking young female FAs anyway.
After a powerful takeoff with that great sound of the DC-10 that I love so much we headed into the night towards AMS.
A few minutes into the flight, after the seatbelt sign switched off, I took a little walk to the rear galley, just to check if that guy from the terminal really wasn't on board, lol. He wasn't.
Service commenced soon after and I had the usual "transatlantic chicken with pasta" that you get offered so often... Well, it was good.
I had to line up for the lav after dinner and didn't get back to my seat until about 15 minutes later. I was then looking forward fo a good nights sleep in my row.
However, by that time a middle aged lady had already streched out comfortably on three of my 5 middle seats. I couldn't believe it and I was so upset. She was already asleep otherwise I would have most likely freaked out. I couldn't have cared less if she'd asked but to use my absense and block the seats was absolutely impudent. Well, I tried to relocate to another empty row and ask the steward to help me but of course there was none so I had to make due with the two seats I had left.
I didn't want to watch any movies and tried to sleep. As NWs coach seats aren't exactly comfortable for a 6' guy like me, I had a hard time falling asleep.
Shortly before 12 midnight Boston local time, means we were somewhere near Greenland, an announcement was made and the people on the plane came back to life when the coundown began!
"Three, two, one: Happy New Year!" and the champagne was flowing in WBC as well as in Coach complimentary. A group of people in front of me started singing Auld Lang Syne but fortunately there was no fireworks ;-:
I had my drink and was so tired that I only gave that woman next to me, who was still lying down and wouldn't get up, an angry look and then I went back to sleep.
It wasn't exactly a spectacular celebration but I liked it. A very quiet New Year was just what I wanted.
The rest of the flight was uneventful, a breakfast was served somewhere over the UK and eventually the woman who was actually seated in 18 K finally went back to her seat next to her husband.
We landed on time in Amsterdam and taxied to the gate where the usual NW lineup in the morning was taking place.
I was very satisied with this flight. I'd take a Northwest DC-10 any day over a 763 or any other typical plane that you get on transatlantic routes these days. It was safe, punctual and the crew was friendly. A truely great flight, as mostly with NW!
PanAmerican From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3923 times:
Thanx. I'd write about the other leg of that trip, however I don't remember it well enough to present any details. After all, there weren't any other New Year celebrations taking place Unfortunately you don't get those every week...
I'll write about other trips later.
PanAmerican From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3851 times:
Yeah, you're right. That was a little paranoid... Afterwards I thought about what would have happened to the guy if they had been able to question him? But then again, if someone does not have any cruel intentions, he should not be reading a book like that before a flight...at least in my opinion.
That wasn't really a clever move of him.
In fact there were many more Arabs and Iranians on this flight and I don't go by that, just by weird behaviour and strange looks.
Would I alert the security forces again these days if I see someone strange in an airport or on a plane? You bet I would!
However, it's true: you do not identify a terrorist if he does not want to be identified.
Cambrian From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 619 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3841 times:
Interesting though that you were worried about that Arab guy. Can I assume that you were also looking for young, white men- because that it exactly the profile of the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy Mc. Veigh.
Also spare a thought for passengers travelling on Iran Air, Syrianair, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian etc. They are probably reporting their suspicions about American-looking passengers to cabin crew...