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PHX-SJU-ANU+Volcano Destroyed Airport W/pics  
User currently offlineWA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 13298 times:

Greetings All:

My GF and I took a much anticipated trip to the beautiful island of Antigua in the British West Indies. Our travel plans involved flying on US and AA, connections in PHL and SJU on the outbound and SJU and DFW on the return. Highlights of the trip were an unexpected first class upgrade on the US leg from PHL to SJU and an amazing helicopter ride around the active Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat, which included flying over the abandoned W.H. Bramble International airport (MNI).

October 13, 2006
US 250 PHX-PHL, still operated by HP
A320, Seat 8F
Dep: 8:54am
Arr: 4:40pm
LF: 100%

US 1186
A319, Seat 3D
Dep: 5:50pm (about 20 minutes late)
Arr: 9:46pm (about 15 minutes late)
LF: Was in F, so who cares?

We took off from runway 7L which is the usual departure runway at PHX in the morning. After ordering two pay for meals, we watched The Breakup. The croissant sandwich was so-so and the fruit and cheese platter, with sour apple wedges and dried out cheese, was lousy, but was at least something to get us by until a cheese steak in PHL. After circling for a few minutes, we landed from the east on runway 27R and made our way into concourse B. Our flight to SJU was in the same concourse, so we decided to find a place to eat and drink for the next hour and a half. PHL is an older crowded airport, hemmed in on all sides by manmade and natural features. While they’ve made efforts to make the terminal better for passengers, the narrow concourses were crowded on a busy Friday afternoon. After passing several crowded bars and eateries, we found a fast food place in Concourse C, split a cheese steak and fries, and made our way back to B to find a place to sit down and have a drink. The Samuel Adams pub and other bars were standing room only, so with some time to kill, and facing another 4 hours on a plane, we walked to concourse A to see if things were better. They weren’t, but we squeezed into a little place and had a beverage. Back in B, we saw that the aircraft for our flight was not yet at the gate, meaning we’d be boarding late. So, we ducked into an Italian place called Cibo for a glass of wine. The jet way for our gate was outside the window, so we could see the plane arrive. Had we known what would happen next, we would have skipped the drinks. We approached the gate and watched the last of the pax get off the arriving aircraft. An agent announced the names of a handful of departing pax to approach the gate for seat reassignment due to change of aircraft. I joked with my GF that maybe we’d get an upgrade. The agent took our existing boarding passes, informed us our new ones were being printed, and then nonchalantly handed them to us. I looked down. Seats 3C and D in the forward cabin of the A319. We stepped away to privately rejoice and not make a big deal out of it , since we didn’t know why we’d been upgraded. The agent then called for pre-boarding, and since there weren’t any, we were first to board. First class on US to San Juan, Puerto Rice (SJU) is a domestic flight and basically, free drinks and some food. However, we enjoyed a pre departure drink, a decent spinach/chicken/pasta salad meal, a few more beverages of our choice and a viewing of The Lake House. The best part of F on this flight was the seating comfort and first on, first off benefit. We later figured out that the since the aircraft was downgraded from an A320 to A319, they probably moved some Dividend Miles members to F and gave our seats in coach to others. I still wondered though, because we don’t have any kind of elite status and there are only 12 F seats on the A319.


View Large View Medium
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Photo © David Marshall
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Bill Shull



We landed in SJU on runway 8 since 10 was being resurfaced. We returned the next morning for our international flight on AA to Antigua (ANU). AA dominates at SJU with B757 and A300 flights to cities on the US mainland and many ATR flights to other Caribbean islands. Our flight was a 757, but the route is also served by ATRs. The flight was short with no in-flight service as the FAs didn’t leave their jump seats.

October 14, 2006
AA 891 SJU-ANU
B752, Seat 14A
Dep: 12:50pm
Arr: 1:55pm
LF: 75%

The flight began boarding about 40 minutes prior to departure, and although we were boarding group 6, were sitting in our seats with about 20 minutes before pull back. We left about 5 minutes early and took off on runway 8. Island viewing from my port window seat was obscured by clouds most of the time, but I was still able to spot the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and Nevis. Due to an aircraft ahead of us, the pilot did a clockwise turn off shore from the port city of St. John’s and we landed at V.C. Bird International (ANU) on the 7 of the single runway (7/25). We landed not long after a VS 744 from LGW, an AC 319 from YYZ, and just before a DL 738 from ATL and a CO 737 from EWR. A BA 777 from Heathrow also landed soon after and dropped off pax before heading on to Tobago (TAB). BA also serves St. Lucia (UVF) and Grenada (GND) on other days of the week via ANU. With all the traffic coming in such a short time, immigration and customs took over an hour.

Here’s my GF with our plane at ANU and a shot of VS showing aft disembark from our plane.

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua003.jpg


http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua004.jpg

Antigua is a beautiful island nation in the British West Indies. We stayed at Cocobay on the east side of the island. Our resort was all inclusive with great food and unlimited drinks. Ninety five percent of the guests were from the UK and we enjoyed chatting with them at the bar, on the beach and during afternoon tea. BA, VS, BD and BW all offer nonstop flights from the UK as well as charter carriers. Here’s a view from our hotel bar.
http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua107.jpg
A few days prior to leaving the island of Antigua, we took an amazing trip with www.caribbeanhelicopters.com to view the Soufriere Hills volcano that has been erupting on Montserrat for over 10 years. Much of the island’s residents left for the UK or nearby islands following devastating pyroclastic eruptions (explosive ash and gas) and subsequent lahars (mudflows) that destroyed Plymouth and other towns as well as the former airport. However, residents now live outside the exclusion zone and the island is making a comeback. The new Gerald’s Airport (MNI) is relocated, and with a short (approximately 600 meter) runway, is limited to DH-6s for now. The abandoned, former WH Bramble Airport could handle DH-8s with an approximate 1037 meter (3,402 feet) runway.

Here are shots of the abandoned airport and terminal along with a shot of the volcano that made it so. The site of an erupting volcano as well as the destruction on all sides was jaw dropping. There are no plans to restore the old airport or any areas in the exclusion zone. The eruptions are predicted to continue for years with subseqent monitoring and exclusion zone restrictions indefinitely. The volcano website has more detail. http://www.mvo.ms/

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua085.jpg
http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua061.jpg


October 21, 2006
AA 792 ANU-SJU
B752
Seat 25E
Dep: 3:00pm
Arr: 4:15pm
LF: 75%

Upon our departure from ANU, I was able to get blurry, rainy shots of flights I’d seen a week before; AC 960 from YYZ, VS 33 from LGW and BA 2157 taxing for a runway 25 departure to TAB. Also, a shot of SJU from the air with a resurfaced, but not yet finished Runway 10.
http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua112.jpg


http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua114.jpg

October 22, 2006
AA 1549 SJU-DFW
B752
Seat 16A
Dep: 9:40am
Arr: 1:40pm
LF: Not full, but close

AA 1619 DFW-PHX
B752
Seat 13A
Dep: 4:10
Arr: 4:40pm
LF: quit paying attention

We took off from SJU and started our trip home. I didn’t realize the flight from San Juan to Dallas was over 4 ½ hours, but was able to pass the time and soon we were landing at DFW and taxied to Terminal D. We took the monorail over to the inferior terminal C and did an obligatory visit to the TGI Friday’s and watched some NFL before catching our flight home to PHX.

Thanks for reading my trip report,

WA727


Don't just stand there, go get some glue!
22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKingAirMan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 13291 times:

WONDERFUL PICTURES! Sounds like a really great trip! good to hear!

User currently offlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2706 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 13106 times:

very nice airport.
Antigua airport remins me of Ovda Airport where you go on foot to the a/c!!!



אמא, אני מתגעגע לך
User currently offlineSketty222 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1778 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 12956 times:

Nice trip report.
I love Antigua and am planning on going back very soon. I think this time I will have to do the helicopter trip to Montserrat

Lee



There's flying and then there's flying
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 12747 times:

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing and the info on the hotel. Would like to also visit Barbuda which is nearby.

User currently offlineBuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 881 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 12734 times:

great pictures... good trip report...

User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2248 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 12706 times:

Terrific trip report!

I really liked your aerial shot of SJU. Do you have any more shots of SJU, or the city of San Juan, that you could post?



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlineWA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 12608 times:

Sorry, just the one aerial of SJU as we flew in from Antigua.


Don't just stand there, go get some glue!
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12283 times:

Enjoyed the report, just judging by the pool, looks like a nice place to stay. Noticed you had to overnight enroute, quite frankly flying from PHX to the Caribbean can be quite a long trip.

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1956 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 12117 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures! I remember when I went to Bermuda in '95 we had to de-plane off on stairs. I always enjoy doing that! Nice picture of the VS 747.

767747

[Edited 2006-12-15 17:47:01]

User currently offlineCorsair1107 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 12052 times:

Awesome report. I love shots of neat aircraft in tropical climes. Awesome volcano shots too, must've been neat to see such an amazing natural wonder in action.


Flown on: DHC-6/8, F100, B1900C, 717, 727, 737, 757, 767, 777, 319, 320, C152/172, E135/145, DC-9, MD-83/88 CL600
User currently offlineCastleIsland From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 12013 times:

Quoting WA727 (Thread starter):
Here’s a view from our hotel bar

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r89/sam85018/Antigua/Antigua107.jpg

Nice view. Antigua looks nice too.


User currently offlineBA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2179 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 11992 times:

Nice report.

I've been to ANU 3 times on FCA, BAW and VIR so you could say I'm a regular! Nice shots from Monserrat, I went on the heli tour too with my family and it was quite something (well it was my first heli ride too, something special!)

Henry


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8564 posts, RR: 54
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 11764 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report & photo's, love the view from the bar, fantastic!

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineWA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 11445 times:

Quoting WA727 (Thread starter):
A BA 777 from Heathrow also landed soon after and dropped off pax before heading on to Tobago (TAB).

Nobody noticed my error, but BA 2157 originates at LGW, not LHR.



Don't just stand there, go get some glue!
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 11386 times:

Great report, pics too.

Cheers,


Lee  Smile



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineJamesJimlb From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1023 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 11365 times:

great trip report. some day you should go to tortolla british virgin islands. it is really beutiful!


The sky is no longer the limit, but the mere minimum
User currently offlineTrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3244 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 11180 times:

A great trip report. I loved those pictures too WA727. I have been to Antigua twice (1981 and 1999) - it is certainly a beach-lover's paradise with 365 beaches around its coast. It is also very beautiful if somewhat drier than many of the other Lesser Antilles. I have never been to Montserrat but it is visible from Shirley Heights and on the last time I was there the volcanic activity was very much in evidence, a jet of hot ash still discharging. Guadeloupe was also visible to the South.

I am glad that you and your girlfriend enjoyed your visit to the Caribbean.

TrinToCan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlineWa727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11140 times:

Quoting JamesJimlb (Reply 16):
am glad that you and your girlfriend enjoyed your visit to the Caribbean.

TrinToCan.

Thank you TrinToCan and all who've replied to my trip report. Antigua is a great place to visit and we plan on going back. I really want to visit St. Maarten and spend some time at that beach bar at the end of the runway!



Don't just stand there, go get some glue!
User currently offlineAT502B From South Africa, joined Dec 2004, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11102 times:

My wife and I were in Antigua 2 years ago and stayed at Cocobay. We loved the small resort, the people and the island. Definately looking forward to going back.


I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning.
User currently offlineN174UA From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 10987 times:

Quoting WA727 (Thread starter):
While they’ve made efforts to make the terminal better for passengers, the narrow concourses were crowded on a busy Friday afternoon. After passing several crowded bars and eateries, we found a fast food place in Concourse C, split a cheese steak and fries, and made our way back to B to find a place to sit down and have a drink. The Samuel Adams pub and other bars were standing room only

PHL's international terminal is really, really nice...passed through on my way to/from FCO. The C concourse is left to be desired...reminds me of the days before UA moved into T1/T2 at ORD.

I had lunch at the Sam Adams bar after I got in from FCO. I had this nasty Pilsener made by some brewery in PA at another bar at PHL, worst beer I've ever had.

Quoting WA727 (Thread starter):
following devastating pyroclastic eruptions (explosive ash and gas) and subsequent lahars (mudflows)

Wow...looks amazing! Reminds me of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic monument, I place I love to keep going back to again and again. Visit it if you're ever up in the PDX/SEA area. About a 3 hour drive from either city.


User currently offlineCOIAH756CA From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 506 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 10733 times:

Great TR! Great details. Good to see more PHX residents here on A.net.

That Kodak brought out some great shots also.



Long live Denver-STAPLETON. RIP the old and best KDEN
User currently offlineWA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 10707 times:

Quoting COIAH756CA (Reply 21):
That Kodak brought out some great shots also.

A simple Kodak Easyshare C643 to be specific. The bright sunshine and water reflection in the Caribbean is a challenge when using a basic camera, but the colors came through most of the time.

And, I must correct another mistake in my original post. Cocobay Resort is on the west side of Antigua, not the east.

Quoting N174UA (Reply 20):
Reminds me of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic monument, I place I love to keep going back to again and again. Visit it if you're ever up in the PDX/SEA area. About a 3 hour drive from either city.

I visited Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic monument two years ago and found it fascinating, even in the spring when part of the volcano was shrouded in fog.



Don't just stand there, go get some glue!
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