lysflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 8:15 am

Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:46 pm

Good day to all folks!

Welcome to this another trip report for the LYSflyer (or should I be called MRSflyer from now?) covering a short city break to The Big Apple or New York City, NY, USA as it is named in the books.

BACKGROUND :
Well, my wife and I decided to take advantage of the quite interesting fares to indulge ourselves a city break to this famous city. As I try to stick on the Star Alliance carriers, options were aplenty while not very varied (MRS to MUC/FRA/BRU/LIS or IST). I found an interesting routing MRS-BRU-EWR and return on Brussels Airlines and United and booked this itinerary on misterfly website which is very convenient despite I couldn't enter our M&M card numbers.I received the email confirmation few minutes later containing both a SN and UA booking reference so I can preselect our seats in advance (call me geek) and as soon as the hotel was booked, all was set for an awesome weekend in The Big Apple!

Here is the routing for this trip report :
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Courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper

The flight to Brussels departing at 6.45am, it meant that we had to wake-up at an insane hour in order to arrive at MRS before the closure of the check-in. As I work quite far away from Avignon, I decided to spend the night before at the Ibis Marseille Airport hotel so I could be picked-up by my wife at the train station ensuring us a restful night before our journey across the Atlantic. There is not much to tell about this hotel, the only drawback is that my Accorhotel Silver status wasn't recognized during check-in. Anyway, it wasn't a big deal and the hotel is conveniently located for an early flight from MRS.

So, after a rather short night, it was time to park the car and the P1 parking lot which is right next to the Terminal 1 Hall A where SN flights are departing.

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This way to the Terminal building
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Sure, this is the right way to go
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Walkway with nice reproduction of typical paintings from Provence leading to the check-in hall
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Finally inside a rather deserted Hall A
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Check-in was already done 24hrs before departure on the Brussels Airlines app but we still had to drop-off our luggages. The check-in counters were deserted and dropping-off our luggages was quickly done by a disinterested check-in agent
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After dropping-off luggages it was time to head upstairs to the security screening. The terminal still looked pretty deserted as our flight was one of the first of the day
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Security screening was done quickly and we still had to go through border passport control
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Marseille airside is quite airy and bright. Sorry for the blurriness of my pics, I didn't realize this until I saw them on my laptop screen...Sorry for that...
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Boarding gate with the LH flight bound to MUC boarding on the right-hand side
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Our belgian sleeping beauty still resting after a frozing night

09.02.2018
Flight # : SN3604
Departure airport : Marseille Provence (MRS/LFML)
Arrival airport : Brussels Airport (BRU/EBBR)
ETD : 0645
ATD : 0645
ETA : 0830
ATA : 0845
Scheduled flight time : 01:45
Actual flight time : 02:00
Aircraft type : Airbus A319-100
Reg # : OO-SSO
Seat : 08F


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Today's actual flightpath

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Boarding was called and soon all the passengers started a short line at the gate. Everything was quite quick and the load factor didn't seem to be very high though...
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The best view over a frozen wing
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A quick reminder in case you have forgotten where you are going to fly
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The cabin is not very fancy while doing the job and the seats looks quite similar to the seats you can find on other Lufthansa group airlines...make sense, SN is part of it!
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Seatback pocket
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Reading material provided by SN and starring Marseille
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Good legroom...okay I'm rather short (1.67m)
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Nice view over the frozen wing
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Unusual sight in Marseille...deicing in progress for the Air France A320 bound to Paris
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And for us too! Note that there isn't any deicing stand and it is done directly after pushback on the apron
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Unfortunately, the window was full of deicing fluid for a good part of the flight meaning that I couldn't take any valuable photo during take-off
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Nice views over the Mont Ventoux surrounded by dense low altitude clouds
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The more we flew the more cloudier weather was
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SN is a hybrid airline meaning that service is LCC-style but you're still able to collect miles and such like Eurowings does. The fares are fair and the quality is here but I deeply regret that LCC-style trend that hits the airline industry...however, this is what I've ordered this morning : the muffin was delicious and big enough
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Cruising over cloudy France with a traffic crossing our way
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Starting the approach
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Nice sunrise light after breaching the cloud layer
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Snowy belgian landscape
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Beautiful winter morning over Belgium
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Downwinding BRU
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Wow! Such a bright Red Devils A320 inbound from MAN crossing our way
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Final approach
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BRU is a dual military/civilian airport hosting the Air Transport component of the Belgian Air Force
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Passing the Cargo apron of BRU
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Vacating the runway
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Ryanair has invaded main airport and BRU in particular
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It seems that we are going to be parked right next to the biggest competitor of SN
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Disembarking using stairs meaning a bus ride?
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Well no...it seems that SN at its homebase has not a better treatment than FR...Baaad point for both SN and BRU...
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This way to the exit...
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Where is the building?
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Yep...SN passengers are not better treated than FR ones...
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Finally we have the terminal in sight
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It looks like this area is still under construction
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Finally we reached the terminal building after a quite long trek in the cold
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Transfer is clearly indicated and the way to reach B non-schengen gates is to go upstairs
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We found ourselves in the midst of a shopping mall...sorry...food/shop court of the Terminal A
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Cool looking and iconic Tintin rocket
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More upstairs to transfer to the B gates
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Nice view over the apron in the escalator leading to the B gates
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Passport check was like a breeze thanks to the automatic gates. It's interesting to note that we didn't go through another security screening which makes the transfer hassle-free and very quick. Anyway, like the vast majority of european airports, we had to endure the duty free before actually reaching the gates
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Cool Smurf plane hanged over the food court
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First view over this sharp looking B764 that will fly us to the US
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Thank you and I hope I will
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The gate next to my flight's gate offered a nice view over this nice looking widebody

My wife had a dreadful SSSS mark on her boarding pass so she had to go through a complementary security screening which was quite fast and done in a very courteous manner by belgian security personnel.

09.02.2018
Flight # : UA998
Departure airport : Brussels Airport (BRU/EBBR)
Arrival airport : Newark Liberty International (EWR/KEWR)
ETD : 1000
ATD : 1000
ETA : 1300
ATA : 1300
Scheduled flight time : 09:00
Actual flight time : 09:00
Aircraft type : Boeing 767-400ER
Reg # : N77066
Seat : 38L


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Downstairs is the way to go!
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Rather bland jet bridge in BRU
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I love that feeling before boarding. Passengers were greeted by a nice male FA in the galley that was in the middle of the preparation for some snacks for C class passengers. I have found this odd to mix passengers and food in this way
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The cabin looked nice, clean and modern with a cheap pillow and a blanket at each seat
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Cargo is still being loaded with some belgian and irish neighbors
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Nice legroom and the seat is quite comfortable while not being the most comfortable I ever sat on
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Not an inspiring reading material. The inflight magazine was not the most interesting one though
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The IFE was already available. Supporting the US winter olympic team and available in many different languages, it has a good selection of entertaining material. Note that power plugs are available between the seats, the IFE screen has a USB port that is useful to load your smartphone and the earphones port is a regular 1-pin socket so you can use easily your own earphones! Good point for UA!
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Pushback right on time
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A UA B772 and a TG A359 resting on the ramp for their next long-haul flights
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An ET B788 waiting for its next flight to ADD via VIE
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A blurry UX E190 arriving from MAD
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I find this control tower quite impressive

Remember that BRU is also a military airport operated by the Belgian Air Force...
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Look what is incoming! A great looking Luftwaffe A400M that is about to land!
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Our turn to enter the active runway
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Going to the active
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Roaring the runway towards EWR
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On the right, you can spot a white A330 that has landed few minutes ago probably operating a military charter flight on behalf the Belgian ministry of Defence
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Rotating. Does anyone know to whom this A340 belongs to?
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Ascending over Brussels suburbs
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Flying westwards and gaining altitude
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I like the raked wingtips
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Crossing an overcasted Channel
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Soon a small snack was offered. Pretty tasty but we were offered only by the glass rather than a full can :(
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Overflying the UK
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Sky became clearer while over Scotland
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Beautiful snowy landscapes
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Sky is clear over Edinburgh
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Edinburgh Airport (EDI/EGPH)
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The snowy covered Highlands are so beautiful
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Lunch was served soon after. It was very filling and tasty with another round of drinks
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Meanwhile the natural IFE is so amazing and we reach the North Atlantic
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Paying a visit to the not so clean lavatories
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Dessert was served with this tasty strawberry ice cream and a tiny bottle of water that helps passengers to stay hydrated during the flight
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We crossed an overcasted Iceland
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Overflying so huge icebergs! Quite impressive!
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Can anyone tell me what's that brownish layer on the sea? It doesn't look like the arctic sea ice instead it looks more foamy
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The first time I overfly Greenland and it's very impressive to say the least! It looks the pure and fragile. It made feel humble in front of the beauty of the nature
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Some glacier diving in the Atlantic ocean
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No, it's not a sea of clouds but it looks like central Greenland is covered by a thick layer of snow
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Crossing a flightpath of this beautiful AC B788...sad to see that livery going...
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The cabin inflight. It's nice that we weren't told to close the window shades!
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The Baffin Sea (Am I right?)
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Reaching Canadian soil
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Strange looking René-Levasseur Island
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A very tasty sandwich was served around 1.30hrs before arrival. However the drink service took ages to be served
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First view over the St Laurent River
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Quebec City in sight
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Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB/CYQB)
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A nice flight is about to end
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We had to go through a thick layer of clouds
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Heavily urbanized suburbs
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This is NJ
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Newark skyline
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Almost landed
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Seconds before touching down
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Full brakes on
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Vacating the active
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Crossing the parallel runway
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Guess who's the biggest player in EWR?
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Hey B6! Are you lost? Your home is more JFK than EWR ;)
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Manhattan skyline...impressive
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The answer of my previous question : United is the biggest player in EWR! I know it was an easy one!
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Disembarking was quite fast
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Blind jetbridge in EWR
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We had to do a quite long walk to reach the immigration. Anyway, it was pleasant after being seat for almost 9hrs
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Last obstructed view over N77066 with a tiny brother UA B763 parked next to her
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This way to immigration
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Nice touch from UA. It was a pleasure to fly with you
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The baggage claim area. It could have been nicer but all I wanted is to pick my luggage and delivering was quite fast
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We booked the Airport bus to reach New York City. It wasn't clear indicated and the ride was not pleasant at all...

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We stayed at the Andaz Wall Street hotel which was very comfortable and the room...huuuge! However, be aware that having an hotel in the financial district means a loooong journey by subway to reach the most touristically interesting places. Anyway, we had everything we needed right around the corner (restaurant, subway/bus station, grocery,...)

Now, let's have a look at our time in the Big Apple
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New York Stock Exchange
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Inside the Trinity Church
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Impressive One World Trade Center
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The 9/11 memorial with the Oculus in the background...it strangely looks like the Lyon St Exupery train station : Lyon St Exupéry TGV
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Visiting the One World Trade Center is truly a great experience. I highly recommend it!
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The iconic Statue of Liberty
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Cool and interesting show
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Downtown Manhattan
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Seeing uptown
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The One World Trade Center is directly linked to the PATH and the mall that is inside the Oculus
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Feeling hungry, we ate at Luke's Lobster...amazingly delicious despite the tiny portion and the lobster could have been a bit warmer...anyway, it was truly delicious
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Guess where are we going?
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The Statue of Liberty for sure
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Jersey City skyline on the left. Manhattan's financial district skyline on the right. Ellis Island on the foreground
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The world most famous flame!
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The ferry to the Statue of Liberty allows you to visit Ellis Island too
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NYC subway...I have to say it is not a user-friendly subway network which looks like a total mess! Hopefully, I used a well updated Google Maps app in order to reach where we wanted to go
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Do you want to travel with style? Then start your journey at The Grand Central Station
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The Chrysler is truly majestuous
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A crowded Times Square...truly impressively impressive
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Up to the top of the Empire State Building
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The weather was terrible but I enjoyed the view with that special feeling
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We indulge ourselves a Broadway show : The Lion King which was very entertaining! We had a great time there
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The day after we visited the Guggenheim museum. It is a masterpiece of architecture with good pieces of art
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Provence is unforgettable
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Yes, we are in the USA

After visiting the Guggenheim, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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About to enter a Pyramid?
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Truly impressive
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The MET is so big!
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Provence is chasing us!
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Nice but too crowded Michaelangelo temporary exhibition
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David Hockney temporary exhibition...my wife's favorite artist
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Reaching the middle eastern and arabic section of the MET. The Mount of Olives
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All that impressive art...and the rain, left us quite hungry so we decided to head to the Katz Delicatessen for a huuuuuge pastrami sandwich
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The Brooklin bridge and the Brooklin skyline at the early morning
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The planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
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Very impressive
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Beautiful gem
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Sealife
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Macy's

Way too soon it was time to go back home. Instead of using the dreaded Airport Express bus I decided to hail a Uber which was way more convenient that the bus

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On the highway to EWR
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EWR curbside
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The entrance of EWR Terminal C
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This floor is dedicated to F & C passengers...the crowd has to check-in downstairs
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FIDS
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Baggage drop-off was not crowded at all! The all process was swift and easy...
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...despite we had to do quite everything by ourselves under the supervision of a UA staff at the counter
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Going back upstairs to the security screening which was done quite quickly. I have read horror stories about the TSA screenings but I have no complaints about this!
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Well...in case you don't know EWR is th United fortress hub..
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Clear connector between 2 concourses
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Work is ongoing on the UA lounge
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Gate C120 is the way to go this time. I like having the FIDS in the alphabetical order
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Large and airy place
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Today's gate at the very beginning of the concourse
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With our long and sleek B764 getting ready for its next flight across the Pond
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I decided to visit the rest of the Terminal C with my plane on the background and this B772 about to depart towards MUC in the foreground
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Nice views over the Manhattan skyline
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This gorgeous Queen of the Skies arriving from FRA...such a beautiful LH B748

12.02.2018
Flight # : UA999
Departure airport : Newark Liberty International (EWR/KEWR)
Arrival airport : Brussels Airport (BRU/EBBR)
ETD : 1840
ATD : 1845
ETA : 0805+1
ATA : 0725+1
Scheduled flight time : 07:25
Actual flight time : 6:40
Aircraft type : Boeing 767-400ER
Reg # : N68061
Seat : 38L


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Today's flightpath (well some segments are missing..due to lack of ADS-B coverage)
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Boarding was called but I could barely hear the annoucement. Anyway, boarding by zone was done in a very effective way.
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Another blind jetbridge
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It wasn't easy to take a good picture of the plane but I still took one!
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The same fresh-looking cabin
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Still the same legroom. Enough for such longhaul flight
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Proudly supporting the US winter olympics team
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The same reading material. This time Wifi was advertised and I could detect a network but I was not able to actually connect on this network...
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Feeding the belly of our beast was still ongoing
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UA IFE has some Star Wars movies loaded...big big plus for UA!
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Pushback few minutes late but not a big deal
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Nice safety video with a nice touch that it is subtitled in the language of the destination (in this case : flemish and french)
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Taxiing
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The FedEx cargo ramp
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The huge line up of planes about to land
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Stunning views over New York City at night
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Can you sport New York La Guardia Airport (LGA/KLGA)?
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I guess it's New Haven with Long Island in the background
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Boston in sight
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Ginger Ale with some pretzels before lunch
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Lunch was served shortly after. Tasty and filling (sorry I forgot to take a photo unpacked
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With a tasty dessert and the small bottle of water to stay hydrated
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Thanks to strong tailwinds, the flight was fast! Around an hour before landing, breakfast was served. Not very filling but honest
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Over the UK
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The Channel
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Overflying Dunkerque
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Lille in the background
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Getting closer to Brussels
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Lined up to the runway
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Landed on the Old Continent
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Taxiing towards the terminal. A deicing spot is settled for departing planes
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SN homebase
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Parked right next a EY A332 in old colors bound from AUH
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Another blind jetbridge
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We found ourselves in the B concourse
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Where is everyone?
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This way to go...it doesn't look inviting
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Immigration was quick and easy in a manned both and no further security screening to reach the A concourse. Nice view over the Apron
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Mandatory and painful duty free...
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I love that display
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Except for the FIDS, it doesn't look like an airport AT ALL
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It may be not an architectural masterpiece but it's a terminal easy to use
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Those russian tiny jets are so good looking. This SN SSJ is landing from NTE (if I remember correctly)
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The plane that will operate my upcoming flight arriving from GVA
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Our gate getting readied
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It was not easy to take a photo of our today's ride
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Boarding was called in very orderly way (curious for a France-bound flight ^^)

13.02.2018
Flight # : SN3597
Departure airport : Brussels Airport (BRU/EBBR)
Arrival airport : Marseille Provence (MRS/LFML)
ETD : 1025
ATD : 1030
ETA : 1205
ATA : 1205
Scheduled flight time : 01:40
Actual flight time : 01:35
Aircraft type : Airbus A319-100
Reg # : OO-SSQ
Seat : 16F


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Today's flightpath
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Nice jetbridge
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How I love boarding a plane
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Standard seat view
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Neighbored by a UX E190 getting prepared to fly back to MAD
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Brussels Airlines reading material
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Legroom shot
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Healthy load today
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Sun facing T Gates with a bunch of SN A33x getting prepared to their flights to Africa
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Reaching the active
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Accelerating down the runway
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Rocketting the skies
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Overlooking Brussels
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Flaps retracted and gaining speed
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The landscapes becomes snowy when reaching the Ardennes
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Service low-cost style...a napkin! The bottled water comes from UA
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Nancy
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Clean lavatories
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Besancon
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Snow is also there in the Jura mountains
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A nuclear plant..this is France! And it means that where are close to Lyon
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Lyon at the distance
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Top of Descent near Valence
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Crossing Avignon
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Salon de Provence and Salon AB (LFMY)
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The Etang de Berre and Istres in the background
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Nice view over the Blue Coast
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Airbrakes in action
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The approach on MRS is so scenic
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Final approach
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Airbus Helicopter FAL
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Seconds before landing
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Full brakes and quickly decelerating
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Vacating the runway
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Taxiing towards the terminal
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Parked right next to a IB CRK bound to MAD
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Upstairs is the way to go
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Thank you for the ride OO-SSQ.I started to feel tired. On the right, you can see a bit of a ZI A32x probably going to a destination in Algeria
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Bright and clean
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A cute AT E190 going to RBA (If I remember well)
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After going upstairs you go downstairs..clever isn't it?
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To the immigration that was done by an impolite policewoman more interested by chatting with her colleague than actually doing her job...unfortunately, they are in the process of installing new PARAFE checkpoints so immigration had to be done manually...
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Baggages were delivered quite quickly on the carrousel
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I could spot our ride one last time
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Exiting the baggage claim area just to find ourselves in the terminal.

We picked up our car in the parking and 40 minutes later we were at home, tired...

CONCLUSION :
MRS : Convenient and very easy-to-use airport. Their website is good enough and you can buy interesting services on it. I enjoy having MRS has my hometown airport
BRU : Pure example of what should be a hub airport. Easy to navigate, efficient transfers, good ammenities. The only disappointment I have against BRU is the remote stand on the arrival of the flight from MRS where we had to miserabily walk in the cold
EWR : Good airport with short waiting times for check-in and security screening. Good food court and shopping area. I am pleasantly surprised.
New York City : Another enjoyable time in this wonderful town


Thank you so much for reading. Feel free to comment...it's encouraged!!!


See you next time for another trip report of the LYSflyer

Links to my previous TR :
Swiss Economy LYS-ZRH-EWR
Aegean Airlines A3633/A3632-LYS-ATH-LYS-Inaugural
Brussels Airlines SN3588 - LYS-BRU - Economy
Adria Airways JP395 - BRU-LJU - Economy
Adria Airways JP376 - LJU-BRU - Economy
Brussels Airlines SN3591 - BRU-LYS - Economy
TAP By Portugalia Economy LYS-LIS
Air France Economy MRS-ORY
Turkish Airlines MRS-IST Economy
Ryanair MRS-TUF Low-cost
Ethiopian Airlines NIM-ADD-CDG Business
Eurowings MRS-DUS Low-cost
Swiss LYS-ZRH-FCO Business
Alitalia FCO-PMO Economy
Air France MRS-AMS Economy
 
User avatar
bwest
Posts: 1132
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:54 am

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:21 am

Nice trip report! It's strange you were put at the FR stands when arriving from MRS. It's rare for that to happen with SN. In the morning it can get quite busy though with no available contact gates.There are plans to prolong terminal A, (starting from the part you mentioned that looked under construction) but no timeline has been set.
I love my Airport Job! :)
 
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ACCS300
Posts: 326
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:05 pm

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:15 pm

Great report!! Is that area under construction the part of the connection to Pier A that was bombed? I've not yet seen photos of that area since I passed through in 2015.
 
User avatar
LTU932
Posts: 13544
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 am

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:44 pm

Thank you for bringing back some memories of my trip to HAM-SJO-HAM via EWR from 2015/16 (specifically the pictures of your walk to the CBP checkpoint in Terminal C). That walkway is superlong, but clearing customs and immigration was a breeze both ways. And while I wasn't really a fan of Terminal C, I do have a bit of a softspot for EWR as it's the very first NYC area airport I've visited. And of course, the service by UA was great.

I was only bummed that I wasn't able to see the Statue of Liberty during final approach as I hoped, but maybe one day I can return to do a tour of NYC and see her then, it's certainly a dream of mine. Before my EWR-SJO leg of my trip, I even had a chance to see to the NYC skyline (thinking about the missing Twin Towers) from my departure hall and even talk to someone about the city and about how she experienced 9/11 in person.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
debonair
Posts: 3214
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:12 pm

The A340 must have been 9H-BIG of airX: https://www.airx.aero/

Former AOM/AirLib and SriLankan, now executive jet with 100BuisnessClass seats.
 
lysflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 8:15 am

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:46 am

@bwest : thank you. I agree with you and it was rather disappointing. They could, at least, send a bus to pick up SN passengers.

@ACCS300 : thank you but I have no idea if that is the part that was bombed...sorry for that!

@LTU932 : I am glad that you have enjoyed reading my trip report. Travelling is always a moment that gives plenty of feelings. I hope you'll be able to visit NYC as it is a wonderful experience! SJO and Costa Rica must be a great place to visit though ;)

@debonair : Thank you for the information!


Regards to all
 
User avatar
LTU932
Posts: 13544
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 am

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:27 pm

lysflyer wrote:
SJO and Costa Rica must be a great place to visit though
AF just expanded SJO service from season to yearround (twice weekly until this winter). Just FYI. :wink2:
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1815
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:19 pm

At least United made an effort to improve their long haul meals unlike American that are miserable. However the best part on American is that you get a piece of cheese.
 
L0VE2FLY
Posts: 955
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:54 pm

Re: Brussels Airlines & United MRS-BRU-EWR Economy

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:19 pm

Nice TR lysflyer, I especially enjoyed the beautiful aerial views.


lysflyer wrote:
I received the email confirmation few minutes later containing both a SN and UA booking reference so I can preselect our seats in advance (call me geek)


I won't! Aren't we all geeks in the eyes of most people? :smile: I changed my travel dates twice just to get my favorite window seat, looking out the window is my only entertainment on a scenic flight, who cares about a movie when you can look down at the beauty of planet earth from FL400?!


lysflyer wrote:
The cabin inflight. It's nice that we weren't told to close the window shades!


You got lucky! Unfortunately these good old beauties will be replaced by the 787 in the future and you won't be asked to close the shades, all windows will be dimmed with a push of a button! :mad: I can't imagine being on a 787 on a scenic flight, I'll certainly go out of my way to avoid it.

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