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MSY-ORD-DUB-LHR-ORD-MSY In 32 Hours (56 Pics)  
User currently offlineMSYtristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 8070 times:

Obviously, someone has to be a tad insane to attempt the following trip. It sure isn't for everyone. But man, was it ever fun!

I am doing this trip report in a different way. I am splitting things up into sections. If you are just looking at this report to take a gander at the 56 pictures, just scroll down to section 3. But if you do read the first two sections, you might be entertained.

Part 1: The Basics

My trip from New Orleans to Chicago to Dublin to London to Chicago to New Orleans took 32 hours to complete. 20 of those hours were spent inside airplanes, and the remaining 12 inside airports. All flights were on American Airlines except for DUB-LHR, which was on British Midland. Before we get started, here is a brief rundown of the flights I took...

18 April 06

AA360, MSY-ORD, MD-83
seat: 28F
duration: 2h02 min flight time
service: pretzels and beverages for coach pax
load: mostly full, about six open seats in coach, about two open in first

AA92, ORD-DUB, 767-300ER
seat: 25J
Duration: 7h02min flight time
service: dinner, continental breakfast, beverages
load: business class only had four pax in it, coach was nearly full, maybe five open seats at the most

19 April 06

BD124, DUB-LHR, A321
seat: 6F
duration: 50 minutes flight time
service: buy-on-board food, drinks, and souvenirs
load: basically full, although the two seats next to me were empty

AA92, LHR-ORD, B777-200
seat: 35J
duration: 8h04min flight time
service: dinner, snack, beverages
load: maybe 1/3 full...I did not see first, business was about half full, and coach was more than half empty

AA1124, ORD-MSY, MD-83
seat: 8F
duration: 1h55min flight time
service: pretzels and beverages
load: only about six open seats, all in coach...first was full

Part 1: The Airlines

1) American Airlines

American did a nice job for the most part. All of their planes were very comfortable. I really appreciated those cushioned head rests for the long oceanic segments. The flight attendants were very friendly, although the service was not stellar on the Atlantic segments. On both the ORD-DUB and the LHR-ORD flights, I did not see one single f/a for most of the flight after the first meal service. The service on both flights went something like this:

:45 after departure = first beverage service
1:00 after departure = first meal service
1:15 after departure = second beverage service
1:30 after departure = coffee was served
2:00 after departure = duty free orders were taken
the next 4 to 4.5 hours = did not see one flight attendant, no water service, nothing
one hour before landing = pre-arrival snack served with beverages

Now I am not one to constantly argue and complain about a lack of service, but it would have been nice to see them come around offering water, say once every hour or even two hours, instead of sitting down reading or playing cards or doing whatever it is they were doing. But like I said, they were very friendly, so I can't complain too much. But I have to give UA the nod when it comes to economy Transatlantic in flight service. Just a little more bang for your buck.

The meals themselves were ok for the most part (you'll get to see some of them below) but I thought the catering out of Heathrow was better than the catering out of Chicago in terms of quantity. Coach passengers were offered a choice of chicken or beef on both flights (accompanied by the usual assortment of salad, somewhat stale roll, water and a dessert), and I stuck with the beef, so that I could compare the quality of the two meals. I guess both were about the same. The continental breakfast served prior to landing in DUB was very good (no pic of that one, sorry), and consisted of a warm croissant and some yogurt, and the pre-arrival snack into ORD from LHR (cheese pizza, grapes, and a cookie) was tasty and filling.

In flight entertainment did the job. I really did not mind the lack of PTV's on the 763ER since two good movies were shown (Elizabethtown and Hitch) and I had a great view of the screen (seat 25J) The PTV's on the 772 were good, but I thought the selection was kind of lacking for the "international flagship service" as they were so proud to announce in Heathrow. On the 777 I spent most of my time watching the in flight map and staring out the window as crossed the Atlantic at 40,000 feet through a cloudless sky.

As for comparing the aircraft in the American configuration, the 777 is the better aircraft in my opinion, but that does not mean that there was anything wrong with the 763. It was my first long haul 763 flight, and I was impressed. Sure it was showing some signs of wear and tear, but it was quiet and comfortable. A true pleasure to fly on. I wouldn't hesitate to take a 67 across the pond again. The T7 has all the bells and whistles and is just a huge, marvelous piece of engineering genius. The 67 is for the hard core aviation nut who realizes that PTV's don't make or break a flight. Well, not for me anyway.  Smile

The two domestic segments on the M80's were smooth as silk and pretty comfortable. I had seat 28F up to ORD and then 8F back to MSY. The MSY-ORD leg was on a newer MD-83, and the return flight was on an older ex-TWA MD-83, complete with the old TWA shaped seats and TWA beverage/food carts. I really like the Mad Dogs. I've never had a bad flight on one.

2) BMI

What a great little airline! Check in for BD124 at DUB was a breeze. The ticket agent was gorgeous, and she said "I hope you have a most excellent flight Mr. Oliveri!". I also need to comment on the efficient (to say the least!) boarding process. Our A321 had at least 170 passengers on it. Our flight was scheduled to depart for 11:20am, and boarding did not start until 11:00am. I was saying to myself "they'll never get this thing out of here at 11:20." Boy was I wrong. Maybe it's the better flying sense of the European folks or something, because everyone got on and into their seats in 12 minutes. 12 minutes for 170+ passengers. Try that Southwest! They boarded 17 rows at a time, starting with 17 through 34. And it worked. Unbelieveable.

The plane itself was spotless and comfortable. It was my first flight on a 321 and I couldn't have picked a better airline to fly on one as far as i'm concerned. The in flight staff were professional and very courteous. And boy did they look great in those blue uniforms and hats. Very stylish!

Honestly I didn't know much about BMI going into the flight so when I saw they offered a full menu of buy-on-board items plus souvenirs and other assorted novelties on a fifty minute flight, I was truly impressed. I ended up buying a pre-packaged cheese sandwich, pringles, and a big bottle of water. It cost about 9 Euros for all of it, but the quality of the sandwich was excellent. I saved the water bottle as a souvenir.

Overall I had a great experience on BMI. Friendly staff, clean, comfortable aircraft, and a wide assortment of things for sale, even on a flight as short as DUB-LHR. Once again, American carriers can surely learn a thing or two about in flight service from airlines like BMI. Even though BMI charged for food as do most U.S carriers these days, BMI did it with style. I can’t say the same when talking about most American carriers. So sad.

Part 2: Airports

Changing planes at ORD was a breeze connecting from MSY to DUB. On the way back, not so much. After I cleared customs and immigration (follwing the long trek from gate M4) I had to make my way to the train that took me back to AA's domestic terminal. That was about a five minute ride. Then finally back through a security line (I used the one next to the DL counter...the main AA security line would have taken a half an hour easily) and on my way to gate H13. It only took me 37 minutes to get from my 777 to my MD-80, but four things worked in my favor: 1) The 777 was less than half full so it didn't take me very long to deplane. 2) I was walking as fast as I could the entire way. 3) I was not checking bags, so I avoided the long bag recheck line past customs, and 4) the line at immigration was not too long, maybe only 20 people deep when I got there. I probably would not schedule an international to domestic connection at ORD again if it was under say 1h45m just to be safe. I hate rushing through airports. This time it worked out...next time, maybe not.

DUB was a nice, easy-to-navigate airport. The immigration staff was pleasant, as were all the people I met there. I loved the huge train station-style arrivals/departure screen in the main lobby. Security was a breeze to say the least. I loved the wide assortment of duty free stores. Also, I got some great views of the ramp from the gate area. It was just a clean, attractive facility overall. Great job, DUB!

What can I say about LHR? It was a monster! I had been there once previously on a BA-to-BA connection back in 1999, so I did not have very far to walk. This time, I was in for a treat. I had to go from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. After watching the pre arrival video on the BMI flight, it looked like it would be an adventure. Indeed it was, although like in ORD, I made it to my next flight with no problems. It took me exactly 40 minutes to get from my BD 321 to my AA 777, and that included about eight minutes waiting on the terminal bus. I don't think I ever walked so far in my life as I did at Heathrow, and boy it was worth every second. Awesome airport.

Part 3: Pictures (apologies in advance for some of the blurry shots...some of the windows were dirty and/or scratched)

1) Taxiing out to runway 19

2) Climbout over the Mississippi River

3) Making a sharp turn over the river

4) Aerial shot of MSY

5) Getting ready to cross Lake Pontchartrain

6) Super 80 coach class

7) At flight level 340

8) descending into ORD...

9) Smooth touchdown

10) Note the Sears Tower underneath the tail...a lucky shot...

11) This 763 was going to CDG

12) Cabin shot of my plane to DUB during boarding

13) Beautiful wing, beautiful sky

14) getting ready to depart...

15) and we're off!

16) just a few minutes after takeoff...not much daylight left...

17) mmm, dinner in coach

18) nothing beats a sunrise over the Atlantic

19) about two hours from landing

20) eventually the sun came out...

21)...only to dissapear as we approached a dreary DUB

22) touchdown in DUB!

23) came to a stop after 7 hours and 2 minutes in the air

24) on board my BMI A321 bound for LHR

25) LH 321 with "football nose" seen on pushback...

26) ...as well as a few Shamrocks

27) gorgeous Irish countryside

28) getting ready to cross the Irish Sea

29) the best cheese sandwich I've ever had

30) cabin shot (not a very good one)

31) the clouds opened up and afforded me some amazing shots of downtown London on final into Heathrow

32) more London...

33) more London...

34) and a little more London...

35) short finals into Heathrow

36) BD124 arriving Terminal 1

37) just boarded my AA 777 bound for ORD as AA47

38) beautiful 747-400 of Air India seen as we were ready for takeoff

39) a flock of BA jumbos

40) cruising up to FL400

41) maybe 1/3 full coach section

42) dinner time!

43) in flight map (very useful)

44) approaching the huge ice fields off the coast of extreme northeast Canada

45) simply stunning...this view lasted for hours...

46) more ice...

47) and even more ice...there had to be a few polar bears down there...

48) bonjour Canada!

49) kind of chilly outside don't you think?

50) note the ice crystals on the window as we cruised over Lake Huron

51) pre-arrival snack

52) final approach into ORD

53) short final, full flaps

54) touchdown!

55) gorgeous sunset over America's heartland seen from my ORD-MSY MD-80

56) nice scene to end an incredible adventure

Well that's it, I hope you guys enjoyed this trip report, any feedback would be welcomed and appreciated!

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTmarch291 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 147 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 8026 times:

Nice trip report, great pics. I personally would have went and seen Dublin and London. I always like to see cities I fly to, lol.

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2131 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8011 times:
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Wow, what a trip! Nice pics of all the various flights. How was BMI? I have heard mixed things about them. American Airlines coach doesn't look too bad across the ocean.

I love to fly!
User currently offlineNateDAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 7968 times:

The dinner on LHR-ORD looks pretty good. I hope my upcoming DFW-NRT flight has a similar meal.

Nice shots leaving NOLA. When I lived there, I loved flying to Houston because of the great views of the Mississippi and Galveston Bay on approach.

Set Love Free
User currently offlineFlyingchoirboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 285 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 7964 times:
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what a trip, dude! i am so jealous. although i have been to ORD, DUB, and LHR, I have never been two all 3 in less than 2 days! i applaud your stamina....and, of course, your pics  yes 


User currently offlineOldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 7895 times:

Great report. Wonderful pics of Ireland and London. Two questions if I may How much did this cost? an d how long were you in the airports? third question were u given hard time by any security for such a short layover time?

too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently offlineMSYtristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7717 times:

Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 5):
How much did this cost? an d how long were you in the airports? third question were u given hard time by any security for such a short layover time?

It cost about $800 + tax. I had about three hours in DUB, about 2 in LHR, and about 1.5 in ORD. No one in immigration/customs gave me a hard time at all, in fact, it was a breeze. They just stamped my passport and wished me a good trip. And back at ORD, they didn't ask any questions at all, just "next in line...(stamp)...have a good day."

Quoting Tmarch291 (Reply 1):
How was BMI?

I liked BMI a lot. No real complaints. Boarding was efficient, aircraft was clean and comfortable, flight crews were attentive, and the flight was on time.

User currently offlinePanaman From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 439 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days ago) and read 7716 times:

Looks like you had fun steve............ BTW I'm back in Columbus for a bit

Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
User currently offlineMSYtristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days ago) and read 7684 times:

Quoting Panaman (Reply 7):
Looks like you had fun steve............ BTW I'm back in Columbus for a bit

Hope you enjoy your stay back at CMH. Must feel good to be home for a bit.  Smile

User currently offlineShamrock350 From Ireland, joined Mar 2005, 6581 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 5 days ago) and read 7679 times:

Nice report! I could just make out the new Wembley Stadium Arch in that picture of when you were on short finals in LHR. It was nice to hear how the bmi DUB-LHR route was seeing as I always fly Aer Lingus and have not been on bmi in a while.

User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6543 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 7525 times:

Nice report. I flew ORD-DUB-ORD on AA 763 in December/January, and enjoyed it, particularly the outbound portion (better crew than the inbound one...but the inbound had better movies/TV shows on!). I always like seeing trip reports about trips I actually went on prior. However, you could definitely tell the different seasons - when I left ORD for DUB, it was pitch black out in winter, but as your pictures show, it was still nice and light (well...ligther) this time of year!

User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7300 times:

From Chicago to Dublin they only give Apple cookies for desert? I noticed from London it looks very good though.

User currently offlineMSYtristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7258 times:

Quoting Semsem (Reply 11):
From Chicago to Dublin they only give Apple cookies for desert? I noticed from London it looks very good though

Yes, the packaged cookies kind of surprised me, but they were better than the piece of mystery cake that was served on the LHR-ORD flight...I have absolutely no idea what kind of cake that was...it was a weird mix of lots of different flavors.

User currently offlineTifoso From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 440 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7217 times:

Nice pics MSYtristar.

Was this a mileage run?

User currently offlineJetBlueAUS From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1145 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7202 times:

Great report!


Would you recommend or fly AA again for Transcon/pacific flights? And, has New Orleans and MSY made a better recovery since November 2005 (the last time I was in New Orleans, LA)?

Not all of us can be heroes, some of us can only stand on the sidewalk and clap as they go by.
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 31
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 7183 times:

Thanks for taking the aerial picture of my house for me, Steve!!!!!
(picture #5, two streets from the levee closest to your airplane, and about an inch or so from the lake).

Quoting JetBlueAUS (Reply 14):
has New Orleans and MSY made a better recovery since November 2005 (the last time I was in New Orleans, LA)?

We've added quite a number of flights since November (I have the numbers at work), and Southwest gives us back LAS, PHX, MDW, BWI, and BNA in the next couple of months. We're somewhere up over 50-60% of pre-Katrina flight levels, the parking garage is bringing in more revenue than it did pre-Katrina.

Tom at MSY

"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineDoor5Right From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 710 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6881 times:

Nice report Mr. MSYtristar. Delighted you had such an enjoyable trip and you were certainly on the right side of the plane for the run into LHR - excellent pics. If you think Bmi is good you should have flown with them two years ago when they were a superb full service airline. But I have to agree the crew look very smart.

What a wonderful, mad trip to make. I am sure you will never forget it!

My soul is in the sky...
User currently offlineAT502B From South Africa, joined Dec 2004, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 month 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6868 times:

Yeah great trip report, excellent pics of downtown London.
Looking forward to your next adventure!

I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning.
User currently offlineBa757gla From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 760 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 month 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6863 times:

i notice that the routing LHR-ORD went over GLA is that normal bit high routing. fantastic report!!

User currently offlineMke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2558 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 month 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6861 times:

Great report and amazing pics to go along with it! That food you got served is making me hungry just by looking at it....... Silly

Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlineJsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2428 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (10 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6570 times:

Great report! As I've told you before, I've do trips like this all the time. I just got back yesterday from a three-day trip to Amsterdam, flying via LHR on American and bmi. I share a lot of your observations:

Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter):
Now I am not one to constantly argue and complain about a lack of service, but it would have been nice to see them come around offering water, say once every hour or even two hours, instead of sitting down reading or playing cards or doing whatever it is they were doing.

I agree wholeheartedly. Many of the transatlantic FAs on American are actually very friendly and professional, but they never give you an opportunity to see that for yourself. On my flight yesterday, I was sitting in an exit row facing a flight attendant on takeoff, and got to chatting with her. She was extremely courteous, and stopped by several times to offer me drinks. It was great, but also disheartening to see that the rest of the passengers weren't afforded a similar service (on many foreign carriers, they would be.)

Quoting MSYtristar (Thread starter):
Overall I had a great experience on BMI.

I agree again. Their corporate strategy leaves a lot to be desired, but their crews are some of the friendliest I've come across. I flew the A320 with bmi yesterday, and it was amazing how much more service they were able to offer with a fourth FA onboard (most US airlines only put three onboard, the FAA-mandated minimum.) They were able to feed and water the entire cabin - for a price, of course - in just 25 minutes on the AMS-LHR leg.

Interestingly, yesterday I ate the exact same meal on my American 777 flight that you did. I was really disappointed in the weird coleslaw-like salad... they used to offer a mixed-green salad that was better. I also noticed that the bag of raisins has been cut from the meager eastbound transatlantic "breakfast", which now leaves just a croissant and yogurt.

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself... short trips are bewildering but a lot of fun!

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