Departure Airport: Prague Ruzyne PRG
Destination Airport: London Heathrow LHR
Airline: British Airways BA
Aircraft Type: Boeing B757-200
Date: 21 May 2005
So, after three enjoyable nights in Prague, our trip was finally coming to an end. I’d booked a car to take us from our hotel to the airport at 16:15, but we got held up in Prague and didn’t get to the hotel until 16:30 – oops! The trip to the airport was quick and painless, and we gave our driver a 200 Koruna tip to apologise for our poor timekeeping!
We made our way into the terminal building, and straight to a desk to check in for BA857 to Heathrow. There was no queue, and the customer service agent (from CSA) ‘czeched’ (needless to say, that pun got a lot of use during our trip) us in and provided us with seats 23 E&F and 24 E&F. The terminal building is very modern and having posted some postcards outside, we headed airside. I was quite surprised that we had to pass through immigration at this stage, but not security. Having looked through the shops airside (Czech art glass, anyone?) we went to gate A6 and after 10 minutes or so, were informed that our flight would be departing 35 minutes late, namely at 19:30. Only at this stage did we pass through security before getting to the final gate area. Our aircraft for this trip, B757-200 G-CPET, eventually landed at roughly 18:50 and taxied over to the gate. A quick turnaround was attempted, so that we could get out ASAP.
A boarding call was made at around 19:25, and once our rows were called, we clambered onboard the aircraft, where we were greeted by a very cheerful male German cabin crew member (“Oh hello, smiley smiley, you’ve had a good evening, yes?” he said to me…). Once we were seated, the captain introduced himself and apologised for the delay (though no reason was given), before introducing his first officer (“…he’ll be helping me with the flying”, we were told). We were then greeted by the Cabin Services Director (how my friends were amused by that job title), who introduced the purser and gave us the usual spiel, before we were shown the BA safety video. We taxied to the runway holding point, and began our take-off roll following a couple of (surprise surprise) CSA B737s. The aircraft wasn’t particularly full, and we rotated quite soon.
We had a view of some towns as we climbed to our cruising altitude (which would be 40,000 feet today, we were told) before cloud obscured our view. As on the outbound flight, the cabin crew distributed All Day Deli boxes, containing fruit cocktail, a muffin, a pico Toberlerone (it was smaller than micro size ) and a pot of still water. Along with this, we were offered a pizza finger again, this time a choice of ham and cheese or cheese and tomato. I offered another, and the purser sent someone off to get some more from the galley, as she felt they were getting too cold. The drinks trolley came round and I opted for an orange juice (“there you are, young man…” – not been called that for a long time!).
The captain, who was very informative, addressed us again over the PA and told us we’d be heading home via Düsseldorf, Brussels, Oostende and Clacton, before flying in across London. Soon after this, my friend sitting behind me and I discovered a fun ‘peek-a-boo’ game with the moveable headrests – we really must grow up… one day!
Eventually, the captain addressed us again as we were at 19,000 feet and told us we’d have to “drone around in circles for 15-20 minutes over London” before we could get into Heathrow. I would say we circled about three times, providing us with brilliant views of the capital from above.
Finally, we were clearly getting lower, the flaps were further extended and we had the familiar thud of the undercarriage locking into place – we were on finals for runway 27L. We touched down (it felt like the left set of wheels hit terra firma first), before using one of the high-speed turn-offs, and headed towards Terminal One. Passengers with tight connections (there were a few, bearing in mind we were running nearly an hour late) were told BA staff would be waiting to escort them to their flights. We parked up on stand 242 once some equipment had been moved (typical!), before waiting for steps and buses to take us to the terminal.
Overall, I found the BA experience enjoyable. It was a nice, smooth flight and the BA crew were informative and friendly. I’d definitely fly with BA again (where fares are competitive enough for a tight-arse student!) wherever possible. Punctuality wasn’t very good, but that didn’t bother me too much – except it meant I didn’t get home in time for Eurovision – what a terrible shame!
[Edited 2005-05-22 20:41:10]
[Edited 2005-05-22 20:41:51]
[Edited 2005-05-22 20:42:42]