Here is my trip report from my recent holiday in Florida, USA flying from Glasgow, Scotland to Sanford, Florida.
TCX72K GLA-SFB - G-OJMB
The evening before we were leaving l checked to see how this aircraft was progressing as l knew it went from Newcastle to Sanford on Thursday's so made sure it was on time and it was which was good, so we arrived at Glasgow Airport at 0900 hrs and checked in at T2 which is basically a few portacabins put together to help the overspill of check in desks in the main terminal, this was slow and labourious as they were doing random checks on peoples bags and the couple in front of us had problems with there passports, no real problem for me as we reserved seats 10G,H and J on the way out and back through Thomas Cook's Your Seat Your Choice thing which is basically a lot of crap, l suggest if you use Thomas Cook check in early to make sure you get a decent seat.
swe pushed back at 1325, our scheduled departure time was 1300 so we were a little behind, was quite impressed by the PTV's as l had only ever seent this on the United 777 l flew on from London to Washington, and were airborne at 1337 of runway 23 at Glasgow departing west heading for the Mull of Kintyre's Machrihanish Airport where we would coast out for the trip to Sanford, l had a look at the flight plan before we left as l have access to this at work which showed Macrihanish as the first point on the flight plan after departure with an en-route time of 8 hours 40 minutes cruising at 39,000 ft for the crossing.
The crossing over the atlantic was very uneventful, didnt see any other planes around, and we coasted in over Gander, Canada then down the eastern seaboard over Bangor, Long Island, Georgia then Florida. The approach into Sanford was very nice and smooth, there were some very heavy showers to the south of Sanford which made the flight nice and smooth with not a lot of turbulence as l was used to with flying in florida from when l did my private pilots license in Kissimmee, FL, landing on runway 9L again was a nice one at 2207 UK time, 1707 local time in Florida, 8 hours 30 minutes.
After disembarking the aircraft l expected a long cue at Immigration but there wasnt just our flight and the First Choice 767 FCA076 G-OOAN which left Glasgow 30 minutes before we did which incidentally the rest of my family were on!!, but all in all a reasonably quick get away from Sanford which was good.
Holiday was great so part 2!!
TCX72L SFB-GLA - G-OJMC
We arrived at the airport at 1430 hours but our departure time wasnt until 2000 hours this was so the rest of our family could check in for the First Choice flight FCA077 which they managed to do ok from Terminal A but we had to go up to Terminal B to check in for the Thomas Cook flight which wasnt actually opened until 1530 hours but again no big deal as we had plenty of time on our hands.
Through security and passport control l decided it was time to go to the Guest House which l had booked the day before which gave us somewhere quiet to relax before the long flight home which costs $19 per person and is well worth the money to anyone going out there, l maaged to catch the second half of the Italy v Sweden match which was good, the Guest House gets you 2 free alcoholic drinks, unlimited free soft drinks, free snacks, kids play room, DVD cinema room, free DSL internet access, large sofas to relax in.
While relaxing we noticed on the flight screens that the FCA076 flight from Glasgow had developed a 2 hour delay inbound to Sanford, strange l thought as my friend who works close by me at Glasgow Airport dispatched the aicraft from Glasgow bang on time and texted me to tell me this was on time so l knew it couldnt have taken a longer route and also by the fact it was only 2 hours l felt sure it must have been either someone taken ill or they had to kick someone off the flight as if it had been technical l am sure the delay would have been longer so that engineers could look at the plane, so with my family becoming anxious about the delay l tried to find out where the plane was so using my free internet access l tried a google search on flight trackers and after the 5th tracker l entered FCA076 and it said it landed at Norfolk, VA USA from Glasgow, so now l new where it went l texted my friend to tell him of this and he texted me back to say he done some detective work and found out a passenger had a stroke on the plane (who l hope is ok by the way) and that was why it went into Norfolk, VA.
So on to our flight l was using my free alcoholic drinks in the Guest House discussing with the Bar Tender how sad it was that terrorists in Saudi Arabia had murdered the Lockheed Martin worker Paul Johnson Jr as it was on the Breaking News on FOX News then a message pops up over the tannoy would passenger Thomson travelling to Glasgow on TCX72L please make his way to departures as the aircraft is ready to go so l hot footed it straight up to the gate to find everyone onboard my family included! and they wanted to get away early as they had everyone which was good.
So same seats again 10G,H and J and this time we are on G-OJMC so Thomas Cook only have 2 Airbus 330's and l have now flown on both which is nice, we pushed at 1950 and were airborne at 2000 exactly from runway 9L again, 5 minutes ahead of us was the other TCX A330 G-OJMB flying from SFB to LGW, hurtling down the runway l watched as the delayed FCA flight had just turned the strobe lights on as they were scheduled to depart at 1800 hours a much shorter turnaround time for the aircraft compare to Thomas Cook's 4 hours which l believe is incase they have a delay it is easier to make it up with larger turnaround time which l guess makes sense when you see how many flights these aircraft do each week.
Flying up over the Eastern seabord we saw the most spectacular thunderstorms at dusk from North Carolina l was transfixed as l had never seen anything like this. Our route took us west of our inbound route which l think may have been partially to do with the Storms out to the East Coast. Once again we coasted out over Gander, Canada and had a uneventful crossing and found it getting very light again so soon after just getting dark as we were heading for sunrise through the time changes, we made a nice approach into Glasgow over Mull of Kintyre again then Arran after that turning slightly north over the Clyde then making a visual approach to Glasgow's runway 23 for a nice again smooth landing at 0900 hrs local so our flight time was 8 hours on the way back.
In summary Thomas Cook are a good airline to fly with and the A330 is a nice piece of kit, one gripe l have is that Sanford is a good airport l used it when l was learning to fly but it would be nice if you could fly into Orlando International instead of Sanford, l know Thomas Cook Germany do it so l dont see why Thomas Cook UK dont do it!
Sorry if l have just rambled on at you but l hope you enjoyed my report!!