PIA B747-240 BM
Reg : AP-BAT
Photo © Craig Hendley
Before, I begin my trip report, I would like to inform all readers, that, whatever has been compiled in this trip report is nothing but the truth. So be warned, if you appear to be, a bit on the harsh side !
Arrived at Manchester International Airport at 7.30 am, with my dad, who dropped me off. After loading my luggage on the trolley, we walked into terminal 2, which looked rather occupied, for the time.
I noticed the PIA check-in-desk which read PK 718 to Islamabad-Karachi. There were only a few passengers infront of me in the line and after a few minutes, I checked in my luggage. It came to 47kg, although they only allow 40kg max. I asked the check-in assistant whether I could have a window seat in the upper deck, but he replied, by saying that Business Class was situated upstairs, with full passengers.
He handed over the boarding card, which read seat no: 52 A, boarding time 8.30 am.
This particular flight was arriving from New York-JFK and yet had to arrive into MAN. Before making its onward journey to Pakistan.
By now it was 8.00 am, and thought I'd make my way to passport control. I said my final good bye's to my dad and made my way to passport control.
Entered into the departure lounge, where it was bustling with activity. Being, the morning time, many transatlantic and far eastern flights, depart at this time. There I could see SQ 747, DL 777, BY 767, AF A320. Walked into Boots, for a final browse and then made my way to the gate.
To my surprise, the 747, was at the gate, with its side cargo door fully open. From, where I was stood, it appeared to be a car, which they had just loaded, into the plane. That too a black Merc ! I overheard the handling agent, who was talking about a McClaren which, was loaded last week.
There was an engineer on the ground, who appeared to be carrying four fuel filter type objects. He stepped onto a step ladder and placed one of the filter objects into the engine.
By now it was nearing towards, 8.30 am. The New York passengers had been offloaded and given transit tags. I could see a whole group of them hurdling towards us, in the departure lounge. By now, there was a good 200 passengers waiting at the gate.
People were becoming, very impatient and fussy. After a few minutes wait, the pilot, gave the thumbs up, for boarding. I dived down the airbridge, to the entrance of the plane, to be greeted by a grumpy air hostess. She didn't even assist me in my seat. I walked towards the bottom of the cabin and found that seats ended at row 48 !
I looked at my boarding card and thought to myself, excuse me, but where is seat 52 A. I saw an air hostess, who had her back towards me. I said "excuse me, I need help in finding my seat". She turned around and gave me this "who are you asking, kind of look". She said, 52 A is upstairs, in the upper deck. I ploughed my way through the passengers who were boarding and walked up the stairs, to find another economy class cabin. No, this was no business class !
Seat 52 A. Surprisingly, not occupied. It was the last window seat at the end of the upper deck. (P.s. look at the pic above and you will see where)
There were no passengers on the other two seats beside me. Until a guy with his wife and kid showed up. They asked the air hostess to, transfer me, downstairs, so that they could sit together. The air hostess, came upto me and said " excuse me, would you kindly give your seat to this gentleman". I paid no attention and just replied with a big NO !.
She turned away and managed to accomodate them together in the lower cabin. She offered orange juice, which was nice. By now, all passengers had boarded, cargo loaded and re-fuelling nearly complete.
It was nearing towards departure time and I didn't think we were going to make it, for our 10.30 am slot. Announcement was made by the captain, that traffic was very busy (airspace). We were going to be departing at around 11 am.
I had a look through PIA's inflight magazine "HUMSAFAR", which didn't really interest me at all. Due to its stale content.
We finally moved at around 11.05 am, push backed and the captain powered all four engines, before moving forward to taxi towards the 2nd runway. Safety procdeures were played on this pathetic projector, which made no sense. Taxied past the viewing park and saw all those avid photographers and enthusiasts.
Carried on past the first runway, until reaching, the start to, the second runway. The pilot, pulled all four engines to full power and off we were, like this big mean machine. We didn't actaully lift off the ground until we reached towards the bottom of the runway. Suppose, due to heavy load. It needed the full stretch of runway to take off. The pilot mentioned we were going to be cruising at the alt of 10,xxx metres. The take off seemed very steep and powerful.
There was this really unusal sound appearing from the engines, which frightened me. So did the passengers, who looked puzzled with the sounds.
Air hostess served, light lunch. Which contained an omelette, bun and a salad. Very mi-nute and basic indeed !
One thing I noticed which was very regular, was the fact that many of PIA's planes are old and grumpy. They are falling to bits both inside and outside. PIA maintenance have no choice, but to stick thick tape on overhead bins, to keep them together.
Food was just appaling. At the end of the day, I'd paid to get from A to B. Food doesn't really bother me, while flying. But, tasting PIA's offerings just didn't tantalise my taste buds at all. There was this weird smell of plastic, which filled the cabin. After, looking at my tray, I just turned away. World War 2 style cutlery and hospital food....tops it up.
Inflight entertainment- the less said the better. The air hostess, gave out these pathetic headphones, which were designed to be used on their 747-300. No wonder the jack, wouldn't fit into the socket ! To top it all, the picture quality, on the projector blind, was like pirated quality.
Inflight music was brilliant, I have to admit. Especially the PIA Instrumental music.
Cont.....Part 2 coming soon !!!