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Weekend Transatlantic Trip (2): US A321 & B762 +Pix  
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 12544 times:

Just for fun: Weekend return trip MUC-PHL-DCA-PHL-MUC - part 2

Two weeks after posting part 1 of my report I have finally found some time to finish part 2. For all those who cannot remember part 1, here's a link:

Transatlantic For A Weekend (1): MUC-DCA On US +Pix (by PlaneHunter Mar 13 2006 in Trip Reports)

On the second (and last) day of my short trip to Washington I got up early, "enjoyed" a rather tasteless coffee made with my room's coffee maker  irked  and went for a walk. Here's my hotel, the Radisson National Airport:



Breakfast was not included, so I was hoping to find a fast food restaurant or anything else. In short distance from the hotel I found a 7-Eleven store, got a tasty hot dog and some candy stuff which you can't find in Germany...  Wink

Spotting at DCA & IAD
Later in the morning I checked out and waited for my friend and fellow a.net member The777Man. After he picked me up we first went to a parking lot directly under the approach path of Washington National Airport. That's a really nice place, many people around watching planes as well, and no police asking uncomfortable questions.  thumbsup 

US Airways B737-400 on short finals:



Departing aircraft could be seen as well:



After some two hours we left the place and drove to Dulles Airport where we spent about an hour on top of a parking structure. Again, no police or any other security guys. Indy Air was still operating back in November, but the highlight was KLM's freshly delivered A332 PH-AOC. Here's a shot with a part of the terminal buildings in the background:



Time was just flying by and we had to leave so that I could check in at least two hours in advance. Back at DCA I said good bye to Lars and went straight to the US counters.


Sunday, 27. November 2005
Washington National (DCA) - Philadelphia (PHL)
US Airways US 246
17.25-18.24 (17.40-18.30)
Flying time: 00:36 (hrs)

Airbus A321-211
N170US (c/n 1462), first delivered 05/2001
Economy, seat 31A



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Photo © Trent R Sellers
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Photo © Mark Kopczak




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Photo © Art Brett - Photovation Images




Short hop, volume II
Arriving at the mostly empty counters, I was asked by a ground assistant where I would be going. "Munich", I said and the man immediately started telling about his military service in Germany, emphasizing how often he had visited Bavaria. Some ten minutes later I showed my reservation to a friendly lady at the counter and within minutes I had my boarding passes.

Passing security was not a big deal this time and I took a seat at the glass front of US's gate area. The sun was already about to disappear but I still got some more registrations, and again nobody seemed to care about my binoculars. Though I admit, I was discrete with writing down the numbers.

US flight 246 from Charlotte arrived some minutes late and it turned out to be operated by N170US. Here's a shot through the window:



Only few people hung around at the gate shortly prior to boarding and my impression was confirmed later, the A321 was truly over-sized for that Sunday evening load of some 50-60 passengers. Though, First Class seemed to be full. I went down to row 31 and almost the whole section remained empty. Perfect conditions to take pictures.

Seat pitch on the A321 appeared to be slightly better than on the B733, but still not a real pleasure:



The cabin appeared to be in good shape, video screens overhead:



And finally a shot of DCA's modern terminal building:



N170US was pushed back at 17.40 and took to the skies eleven minutes later. The maximum cruise altitude was stated to be only 11,000 feet. We flew just above the clouds, quite a shaky, turbulent ride which I definitely enjoyed. Of course no drink was served on that 36-minutes hop and at 18.27 we touched down at PHL.


Sunday, 27. November 2005
Philadelphia (PHL) - München (MUC)
US Airways US 014
20.15-10.25 (20.12-10.45)
Flying time: 08:08 (hrs)

Boeing 767-201ER
N650US (c/n 217), first delivered 05/1988 (to Piedmont Als)
Economy, seat 28A



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Photo © Carlos Aleman - SJU Aviation Photography
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Photo © Joseph K Wagner




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Photo © Oliver Brunke
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Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner - WorldAirImages




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Photo © Mark Durbin
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Photo © Peachair



New colors!
After disembarking I immediately walked over to the international concourse - no registration hunting possible in the darkness! I found out that the gate for MUC was at the front end of the concourse, so I checked all the others on the way in order to see which aircraft I wouldn't get for sure. There was a small chance to catch N656US, not only the first B762 in new colors, but also the one which had had an engine failure at AMS one week ago. However, my hope was suddenly destroyed when I passed the first gate - N656US was being prepared to fly to Amsterdam.  embarrassed 

While I continued my walk I saw two other B762s, but not the one I had on the MUC-PHL service, and I feared I would probably end up with the same plane (N648US) again. My gate turned out to be the most unfavorable one because almost nothing was visible. I was only able to identify a part of a wing, but nothing else thanks to the shape of the building, the position of the jetways and ground equipment and the extreme light-reflecting on the windows.

So I had a hamburger at McDonald's first and decided to start a second attempt later. Meanwhile the ground equipment had been removed and I could identify an engine. But surprisingly that engine didn't look grey, but seemed to be dark, blue somehow. What?  eyebrow  Until that point of time I had thought only one B762 (N656US) would carry the new colors - and it seemed I had been wrong. I went into the gate area for the FRA flight and discovered a small corner from where I could have a better view.
And indeed, the plane - N650US - was painted in new colors.  thumbsup  I'm not sure when it was painted, but the first picture was taken on the day of my departure, 27th November at San Juan (see the left picture in the first row above), - so chances are not bad that evening's service to MUC was the plane's first long-haul flight in new colors.

Boarding & T/O
Boarding was started on time and only few passengers lined up. When I entered the Eco cabin, one male F/A from the other day's flight waved to me, one female F/A said "Welcome back, how was your short trip?"
I took my seat in the last row and only some minutes later the male F/A came by, telling me "you can stretch out, we have a very light load today!" My estimate is a load of some 40-50%.

We were pushed back at 20.12 and some minutes later found ourselves at the runway, with two other B762 just behind. Take-off was powerful and quite short, followed by a steep climb. A half-loaded B762 is a true pleasure!  thumbsup 

Amenity kit & headsets
Later, a female F/A who I hadn't seen before passed my row and asked: "Are you X's friend?" ("X" = an F/A which I had met the day before, see my first report) I said "Yes" - and got an Envoy Class amenity kit again. Another F/A - never seen before either - sold headsets just moments later and gave me a package for free. So "X" had indeed told the new crew about me, as he had promised.  Smile

Dinner
Dinner was served soon and the choice was between pasta and a meat option (can't remember what exactly). I decided to take the lighter meal and went for pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, served with dark bread, carrot sticks & ranch dressing, cheddar cheese, cream crackers and a mini moon-pie. It was quite tasty and definitely enough for a night flight. Again, the side dishes were served in a meal box:



Though the cabin was in better condition than N648US's the IFE options were the same. As I was tired anyway I tried to get some sleep. In contrast to all my long-haul flights before, I remained asleep for at least four hours. Having two seats for my own was an advantage for sure. When I woke up we had only some two and a half hours left, sunrise just ahead:



I went for a short walk and grabbed some glasses of tasty Florida orange juice which the crew had placed in the galley area. Besides, bags with pretzels were also available. The F/A who had waved to me earlier came by and we talked a bit about my trip.

The maximum cruise altitude was 38,000 feet, btw. Clouds meet sun:



Breakfast
Some one and a half hours prior to arrival a small breakfast was served. It consisted of a buttermilk bar, orange juice and coffee or tea, but I wasn't really hungry anyway.



The remaining flight was uneventful and we dived into foggy skies over Germany:



Approach was started early and it seemed we would arrive on time, but then we had to circle around MUC for a while, I guess some 15 minutes.



Finally, we were cleared for landing, all the snow coming closer...  embarrassed 



We touched down at 10.38 and could taxi to our gate without interruption. When I was about to leave the female F/A from the flight two days ago asked me: "So are you flying back with us today again?" I said: "No, I'll wait a bit!"  Wink

Well visible in daylight: N650US in new colors:



Since I had only traveled with hand luggage I could immediately leave the terminal and head for the parking service shuttle bus. This time it was another driver, but he asked: "You're the one who flew out only two days ago, right?" As we had to wait for another PHL passenger we could talk for a while and I explained my hobby to him. "Isn't that expensive?", he asked. Well, he was quite surprised then to hear about the 339 Euro-fare I had paid...


Conclusion
The trip was a total success, I finally got the B767-200ER as well as the A321-200 and 107 new registrations. Thanks to the special treatment on both long-haul sectors I can't complain about the service. Regular food and drink service was absolutely ok, staff were friendly, both in the air and on the ground. Of course, the B762's interiors need to be refurbished and the IFE needs an update. PHL is not the most beautiful gateway for a plane change, but clearly arranged and functional. I would definitely fly US Airways again, no doubt about that.  checkmark 

As usual, any kind of feedback is welcome!


Best Regards,
PlaneHunter


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5900 posts, RR: 40
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 12415 times:

again a great report! and as mentioned before it is always a pleasure to see pictures of my loved home-airport and city Munich.

thank you
Avianca



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 12309 times:

It's always nice to read an unemotional, factual report.

PHL was not designed as a major International gateway and it's evolution into that has been unfortunately done in a hodge podge way, adding on bridges and expanding existing terminals into what is now a difficult airport to transit. It needs to be completely rebuilt if PHL is to grow further - and that is the current plan. The International Terminal (A) however, is quite nice - too bad you didn't take any photos of it.


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6403 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 12106 times:

Hi PlaneHunter!

Great report! It was great to see you when you were here.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinePositiveETCO2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 12106 times:

Thanks for sharing your trip reports. I enjoyed them both very much. Keep them coming, please.

 bigthumbsup 


User currently offlineAdamTStarFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 64 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 12024 times:

Hey planehunter,
Really enjoyed your report! 339 Euros return is ridiculously cheap!!!
I flew into Munich last year, it's such a clean and friendly airport. Im off to PHL later this week with US on one of their A333's so hopefully the IFE selection will be slightly better than yours, although i don't think my flight will be as empty as yours. In your report you said that yours was one of the last flights into PHL from the transatlantic destinations @16.10 in your first report. What time does the 'chaos' start in the immigration halls? My flight gets in @14.00, and i have a connecting flight at 17.00. I was just wondering if it will take me more than 2hours to get through immigration as i was hoping to get a chat with the flight crew up front when we get to PHL.

Best wishes.

Adam


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11782 times:

Thanks for all comments!

Quoting AdamTStarFlyer (Reply 5):
Im off to PHL later this week with US on one of their A333's so hopefully the IFE selection will be slightly better than yours

You'll get a PTV on the A333. Though, the system doesn't offer a moving map channel.

Quoting AdamTStarFlyer (Reply 5):
What time does the 'chaos' start in the immigration halls? My flight gets in @14.00, and i have a connecting flight at 17.00.

The MAN flight among the first ones to arrive from Europe, so don't worry. And even if you are late, you'll have enough time to catch your connection. So don't hesitiate to talk to the flight crew!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11768 times:

Damn... reading this makes me want to book some type of weekend-spotting-trip for myself again, it's just been too long without time off for me now...

Great report - and good to read that DCA still seems to offer good spotting; I was there in 2002 and it was great!

So - where's your next flight going to?  Wink

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 11672 times:

Thanks a lot for posting part #2, I was already waiting for it! Again, a great report, I enjoyed reading and watching!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
In short distance from the hotel I found a 7-Eleven store, got a tasty hot dog and some candy stuff which you can't find in Germany...

That's kickin' ass, eh? I really love stuff like hot-dogs, burritos or burgers for breakfast. I always gain weight when I am in the USA because I really like fast food. Breakfast at IHOP, lunch at In 'N Out, dinner at Carl's Jr. and midnight snack at Wendy's would be on my agenda every day when I would live in the States. Big grin

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
And indeed, the plane - N650US - was painted in new colors.

Lucky guy!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Some one and a half hours prior to arrival a small breakfast was served. It consisted of a buttermilk bar, orange juice and coffee or tea

This is utterly ridiculous, the food on the westbound flight was definitely better!

Again, sounds like a good price/performance ratio to me since you got this killer fare!

Do you have an US Airways milage account or do they credit the miles to your Shithansa Miles&Less account? And how many miles did you actually get since you paid such a low fare?

Quoting Leskova (Reply 7):
So - where's your next flight going to?

Yes, what's your next destination and flights?

Patrick


User currently offlineDSMflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 402 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 11632 times:

Excellent reports! I somehow missed the first part a couple weeks ago so I read it prior to this one. Good pictures, good information, just an all-around great report. Thanks for sharing it.

User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4504 posts, RR: 54
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 11474 times:

PH - nice report, glad to hear that you had a good trip and managed to snag the 762. That breakfast on the eastbound was really awful! Why can't they give a sandwich or something at least. Though other than that it sounded like the crew was pretty good.

So let's hear what your next trip is!

Cheers,

Michel/Airxliban



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineDoor5Right From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 707 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 11084 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
a small breakfast

Nice reports, Mr PlaneHunter, but what a breakfast!



My soul is in the sky...
User currently offlineAvianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5900 posts, RR: 40
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 10958 times:

Quoting Door5Right (Reply 11):
Nice reports, Mr PlaneHunter, but what a breakfast!

yes good old times are over when you get also on the shorter trans-atlantic flights a hot breakfast.... Sad



Colombia es el Mundo Y el Mundo es Colombia
User currently offlineTifoso From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 440 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 10877 times:

Very nice trip report. Seems like you made quite a few friends during those two weeks, eh?  Wink

As has been pointed out several times already, the "breakfast" was ridiculous.  thumbsdown 


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 10619 times:

Thanks again for all your kind comments!  Smile

Quoting Leskova (Reply 7):
So - where's your next flight going to?



Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 10):
So let's hear what your next trip is!

I have booked several intra-European trips for the months ahead (AB, DE, SN) and a trip to Australia in September (EK, QF + ???). I'm also planning a one-week trip in July, destination not determined yet.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 8):
This is utterly ridiculous, the food on the westbound flight was definitely better!

Well, I agree.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 8):
And how many miles did you actually get since you paid such a low fare?

I got a total of 5120 miles for that trip on my M&M account. Still better than nothing - you don't get any more miles for the lowest AF/KL fares.

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 10):
That breakfast on the eastbound was really awful! Why can't they give a sandwich or something at least.

True - but I didn't mind so much because I still felt full.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 10488 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 14):
I got a total of 5120 miles for that trip on my M&M account. Still better than nothing

I agree, that is indeed not bad considering the low fare you paid.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 14):
you don't get any more miles for the lowest AF/KL fares.

True, FlyingPoo FlyingBlue has almost become as bad as Miles&Less.

Patrick


User currently offlineUsair320 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 991 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (7 years 7 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 9383 times:

Great report. I love those buttermilk bars US serves on there Trans atlantics. Next time try to get a flight with an A330 out of FRA as the cabins are less worn and not to mention AVOD. But I do like the 762. Sounds like you had a great crew. I love uS's Transatlantic crews especially the bunch on the FCO run.

User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 17, posted (7 years 7 months 4 hours ago) and read 8892 times:

Quoting Usair320 (Reply 16):
I love those buttermilk bars US serves on there Trans atlantics.

They're indeed tasty!

Quoting Usair320 (Reply 16):
Next time try to get a flight with an A330 out of FRA as the cabins are less worn and not to mention AVOD.

It would have been interesting to return via FRA, but the cheap fare didn't allow that option. Anyway, the "B762 experience" was part of my mission.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineUsair320 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 991 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8674 times:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 17):
It would have been interesting to return via FRA, but the cheap fare didn't allow that option. Anyway, the "B762 experience" was part of my mission.

Yea the 762 is nice I flew one on PHL-SNN-PHL ironicly on N605US. but in 2003 so it was in O/C.


User currently offlineHoncircle From Austria, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 62 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 8529 times:

Good trip report, but weren´t you tired. Didn´t you have any Jetlag in Y. If you were flown F or C ok maybe you didn´t have any jetlag but in Y for so a short time. Did you sleep immedietly after ariving?

Regards maximilian


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6643 posts, RR: 78
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 8364 times:

Quoting Honcircle (Reply 19):
Good trip report, but weren´t you tired. Didn´t you have any Jetlag in Y. If you were flown F or C ok maybe you didn´t have any jetlag but in Y for so a short time. Did you sleep immedietly after ariving?

Hi Maximilian,

I didn't face any problems with jetlag, got some sleep at my Washington hotel and slept some hours on the return flight.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
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