Here's an account of my latest trip which was routed as follows:
Monday 26th February 2001
Left GIB for LGW on GB Airways (BA franchisee) 737-300 which was in immaculate condition. Flight was smooth and the cabin crew were very pleasant. Such a pity that this service is always let down by the awful dog food one is served in Euro Traveller (Economy). Spent the night at the excellent Le Meridien hotel at LGW's North Terminal.
Tuesday 27th February 2001
Left LGW for JFK on BA in the World Traveller cabin. I was on a 767-300 in BA's classic livery. The cabin had the new World Traveller seats that are fairly comfortable even though the leg room should be better on BA. The aircraft was still having its PTVs installed so I had to make do with those terrible television sets that are mounted above the main aisles which always show a reflection and in my particular seat was hard to see. This was my first time on a 767 and I must admit I was impressed with its smooth flying albeit a little noisy in the cabin. The staff were very good and the food was as excellent as it always is on BA longhaul. The approach to JFK was very picturesque but the BA terminal there is very grotty.
Sunday 4th March 2001
Just in time to miss "the storm", that was supposed to be terrible, I arrived early at the American Airlines Terminal 9 at JFK to check in to my flight to Miami which was scheduled to leave at 1817. The AA check in staff were very helpful and put me on standby to go on the 1500 flight. I did not get on this but was transfered to a flight that was supposed to have left at 1115!! but was delayed until 1700. The gate area was a mess with all the unhappy passengers from the delayed service and those like me who were on standby. I eventually got on the flight only to have to go back to the gate a few minutes later becase I had been handed the wrong boarding pass. I was not impressed with the AA gate staff who were rude and seemed not to remain calm at any time. The cabin crew aboard our flight were also awful. Most of them looked as if they'd just got up! Why do American cabin crew always look so rough compared to their European counterparts? The only good thing at this stage was that I was in an A300-600. What a wonderful aircraft this is. Having flown on a 767 I now had the chance to compare the two and I must admit I would prefer to fly on an A300 anyday. So much wider and quieter. AA has now got loads of legroom in Economy (BA take note!!) and the snack that was hurled at us was excellent. The aircraft cabin was a little tired and there were no PTVs but large TVs however I was too busy enjoying the delights of this aircraft even though the flight was very turbulent. Unfortunately when I arived at Miami at 2000 my luggage did not appear. The AA luggage reclaim area at Miami is mayhem. I was also surprised at the lack of security at US airports such as this one when anyone can walk in off the street and take a bag off a belt. I waited four hrs at Miami for my bags that arrived at 0000. I must add that the AA Baggage Service staff at Miami are not human. They treated everyone like sh**t including me. Luckily my business partner is a BA Gold card holder and we had access to all the business lounges on this trip. We complained strongly to the AA staff at the Ambassador's Lounge where they were very helpful. By the way the AA lounge in JFK is superb.
Friday 9th March 2001
Arrived early at the BA check-in at Miami for my 1700 departure for LGW. We were offered $300 each to leave the following day as the flight was so overbooked. Why do the airlines continue to do this? We declined the offer and therefore could not even qualify for an upgrade as all three classes were full. Went through to the BA Terraces lounge at Miami which is small but has a wondeful view of the ramp and I was in heaven. Took good pictures from here. Our 747-400 arrived on time and it was in BA's classic livery but with engine cowlings of the new livery. Boarding was smooth and we pushed back bang on time. The flight was going well but after four hours there was a commotion in the cabin as two passengers were taken ill and doctors were called for. In the event we had to divert to St Johns in Newfoundland, Canada so that the passengers could be taken to hospital. St Johns looked beautiful in the snow and the flight crew did a marvellous job of landing the 747 at maximum landing weight on a fairly small runway for the type. After 2hrs 45mins of refuelling and deicing we took off for LGW again. The ground crews at St Johns did a great job coping with an aircraft that they don't often see. Arrived late at LGW and missed my connection to GIB after quite a trip!! My flight back to GIB a day late on a GB Airways 737-300 was smooth and uneventful and I was glad to be home after a long journey. By the way I love NY and Miami...great cities.