I flew from Brussels to Dallas two weeks ago on American Airlines through Chicago. From Brussels to Chicago, the aircraft was a B767-300 totally reconfigured with the new seats in all three classes of service. Great interiors!!! That was flight 89, the only AA flight there is in Brussels on a whole day. I travelled with my mother all the way to Dallas, she already had a seat assignment in Business Class. After buying some chocolate at a duty free store, we went to the gate where the American 767-300 was waiting for us. I was normally supposed to be in Economy but I got upgraded upon checking in, we ended up sitting in 7H and 7J, the first row in the Business Class cabin on the 767. I took the window and she took the aisle.
Weather in Brussels was fairly hot and partly cloudy. We left on time, taxied past a Virgin 737 before lining up on RWY 25R. Shortly after lining up, we were cleared for take off. The big silver bird got off the ground with its two powerful GE-CF6 jet engines, each rated at 60000lbs of thrust...tremendous power! Our initial cruising altitude was FL310 (31000ft), not 390, not even 350 because the aircraft was quite heavy with all the fuel required, the load factor was 75-80%. Reaching level flight in England, we continued towards Scotland, proceeded to Ireland before commencing the transatlantic crossing. Lunch was served, I had lamb, I don't remember what she had. The main course consisted of five different choices! I had an ice cream for desert followed by an Amaretto. After lunch, over the mostly cloudy North Atlantic area, I watch a little bit of TV, get some audio entertainment before getting some sleep. Two or three hours later, I wake up. We were about to cross Canada, it was getting clear outside. While continuing our cruise in the Canadian airspace, the flight attendants come through the aisle to serve the second meal. It was either salmon or chicken, I didn't eat, all I took was a Diet Coke can. It's important to drink regularly on a flight, especially on a long haul flight.
The approach into Chicago was, as always, spectacular. I had great view of the State of Michican and Lake Michican. We started our descent just west of Detroit, turned right towards O'Hare. The captain announced, just before crossing Lake Michigan that landing was 25min away. We overflew the airport and turned on final approach RWY 04R. I had a nice view of the city, the weather was sunny. After touchdown, we taxied towards Terminal 5 past a United 777, El Al 767 and a few other international airliners. We came in just next to an other American 767.
After clearing the immigration quickly, we pick our luggages and recheck them on flight 2351 to Dallas Fort Worth. We go to Terminal 3 where we boarded our flight to Dallas, an MD-80 reconfigured with the new seats. My mother was in First Class and I was in Coach, I had the seat 8F. Coach passengers were given a Bistro Bag at the gate, the Bistro Bag consisted of a turkey sandwith and an apple, not bad. I had again a Diet Coke. The flight was smooth. After departing O'Hare, we proceeded southbound towards Saint Louis, then Arkansas before descending into Dallas Forth Worth. I had a gorgious sunset, I insisted to have a window on that side because of the sunset. I knew there was going a beautiful scenary outside at the end of the day. When approaching Dallas, it was almost night, I could barely see the last traces of the sun way out towards the west. We landed in Dallas a little bit ahead of schedule. My father, who flew from Sao Paulo the night before, joined us at the airport.
The return portion of the trip didn't happen as expected but it went pretty well. I flew back with both of my parents. We were normally schedule to fly through Chicago on an MD-80 connecting on a 767 to Brussels. Scheduled departure time was 330PM but there were thunderstorms the whole day in the Chicago area so all the flights to O'Hare were canceled or delayed for a few hours! Don't you remember the big storm at O'Hare ten days ago? There was a Sabena flight direct to Brussels, an Airbus A330 scheduled to leave at 400PM, but we coudn't get on it because we had already checked our luggages. We were scheduled on a later flight to Chicago. I asked one of the gate agents at DFW, an attractive red/brown hair woman, about flight 88 to Brussels. She told me that it was going to be dalayed as well for three or four hours because all operations at O'Hare were closed. But still we could not have made it because no flight to Chicago would leave before 800PM and we would have had to stay at O'Hare for 24 hours. Fortunately we were reissued new boarding passes, we were transfered on flight 48 leaving at 540PM to Paris Charles De Gaulle, connecting on a Sabena flight to Brussels. My parents were in Business Class and I was in coach, I had the seat 38J. The aircraft was a 767-300 (parked next to an American 777) but it still had the old configuration, only the Business Class cabin had been reconfigured. First and Economy were not! But never mind, I had a nice flight. We left DFW, almost on time. The weather in Dallas was sunny but there was a lot of traffic, lots of American MD-80's and 757's. A Northwest DC-9 was cleared for take-off just before us, we got our take off clearance at 630PM. We took off out of RWY 17L. After a couple of left turns, we proceed NorthEastbound towards our assigned cruising altitude of 33000ft. The load factor was at least 70%. I recognized the Marriott Hoted where I stayed for the five days that I was there, I also recognied a Shopping Mall where I went! I had a nice view of Dallas. The sun was setting behind, it was quickly getting dark one hour after take off. I spotted an American MD-80 going in opposite direction. Dinner was served, I had a nice red wine, steak with beans and potatoes followed by an Amaretto on the rocks. Time to get some sleep. Three hours later, I woke up. The sun was rising. Paris was three hours away. Breakfast was served, I had as usual orange juice, a hot muffin and a yoghurt, followed by a nice hot black coffee. After collecting the last items, the captain annonced that we had started our descend towards Paris. We overflew England before, we crossed the Channel while descending and we headed straight to CDG. Weather in Northern France was mostly cloudy but as we were getting low, I could see the beautiful landscapes of France. We followed an Air France 747-400 before landing on RWY 26L. After a nice landing, we taxied to Terminal 2A where another American 767 was departing. I saw a Continental 777, a TWA 767 in the old colours, a US Airways A330, a Delta 767, a Delta 777 in the new colours and of course a whole bunch of Air France 747's, 777's and A340's. Of course, I didn't see any Concorde.
After clearing the European immigration, we walked to Terminal 2D where we rechecked with Sabena. We had a two hour layover, my aunt who lives close to Paris came to greet us. We had coffee together since we had time to relax. At noon time, we boarded on the final flight of our trip, a sparkling new Sabena A320 bound for Brussels. I love that aircraft. After a long taxi to RWY 27R (just above the highway), we waited short of the runway for a few minutes. I had the seat 13F, a window seat just over the wing. Although it's a French built plane, the instructions are written in English, on the wing it says in black: "Do not walk outside this area". I saw an SAS MD-80 and a British Midland 737 landing, after which we were cleard for take off. The flight was 35min from take off to touchdown, we turned right, climed to FL160 and we received a sandwich and a drink. After a short cruise, we already start descending towards Brussels. Weather was still cloudy. We landed on RWY 25L. We taxied to the domestic terminal so we didn't have to clear customs, but we lost our luggages...they ended up in Chicago! The next day, the airport luggage service called us, our luggages were there. That was another great trip.