This is my first trip report, so all of you will have to bare with me a little. I did not get all the runway info, exact lift off and landing times, or some of the other stuff that some of you add to your posts. I just hope to give a good report on my experiences. Thanks for the interest and I hope you enjoy the post.
Delta Flight 129 (ATL-DUB-SNN) on 08 November 2001
Departed ATL at 1945
Arrived in Dublin at 1020 and departed again at 0950. Arrived in Shannon at 1040 on 09 November 2001.
Aircraft: B767-332ER, #183, N183DN (new paint)
My girlfriend and I left from the Vinings area of Atlanta (a northern suburb) and headed for the airport around 1620. The President was coming into town that day and we wanted to make sure we were not stuck in traffic while our flight to Ireland took off. We ended up having a fairly smooth drive by Atlanta standards. We were only nearly killed twice and I only had to honk at someone once (this is only partly a joke!!!). I dropped my girlfriend at the South terminal and I went to park the car. Apparently, Air Force One had landed about 20 minutes before we arrived and I could see it’s tail parked in front of the Cargo ramp. When I got back after parking, we went to the line for International Check-in the south terminal. There was not a huge line and we were through in about 15 minutes. The agent working the counter was fairly nice and joked with us a bit while he ran our paperwork.
We then proceeded to security and went through the normal routine. I had to do my normal strip down and get rid of my glasses, wallet and such. I still ended up getting wanded. I wonder when someone will make a good plastic belt buckle? Anyone know of one? The National Guard guys at security seemed to paying good, close attention to what was going on. More so than I had noticed on previous trips. I’m not sure if this was due to the “Boss” being in town or they were just getting into the swing of airport security work.
We then had about 1 and ¾ hours to blow before departure. We took the train to the E concourse and went up to the north spine so I could show my girlfriend Air Force One. It was getting dark and you could see AF1 all lit up across the runways. It is really remarkable how impressive that aircraft is. I realize it is only a 747, similar in appearance to many, but it does have a presence. We then proceeded to the gate and waited for boarding.
We were lucky enough to be flying BusinessElite, so we were called for boarding early. We had seats 7A and B. These were located in the back of the forward Elite cabin, right next to the galley. I let my girlfriend sit next to the window since it was her first trip to Europe. We were offered drinks and I chose the orange juice and I think she had a glass of champagne. The flight attendants were courteous, but business like as they got everyone loaded.
We pushed back and taxied to the southern departure runway (I think 27R). We took off and turned south and came back around the city. It was a clear night with minimal haze, so the view was fantastic. The airport was nicely lit and downtown glowed. We headed north along the coast staying near the shore line most of the way. We could see many of the eastern seaboard cities as we passed.
We spent the first hour or so looking out the window and playing with our in-seat entertainment systems. I had seen the movies being shown on a flight from Seattle the weekend before so I stuck to the games. Tetris worked for me while my girlfriend preferred the Twin’s Café matching game. We then checked out or in-flight comfort pack. We got leather CD cases filled with Rembrandt mouth wash, Essential Elements aromatherapy stuff, and eye cover and socks.
After an hour’s worth of cruising they started the meal service. We had a lobster appetizer, a nice salad with roll and we both chose the rigatoni pasta with turkey sausage for the main course. The rigatoni and salad were a little “fancy” for my tastes. I like to be able to identify the pits in most of my foods and there were some things in there that I as not sure of. They then finished off with ice cream sundaes with chocolate, red cherry and caramel sauces, nuts and whipped cream. Good stuff. The service was good and the attendants were polite. They kept trying to ply us with wine but we both called a halt to that after two glasses. My favorite in flight drink is apple juice with no ice, and I stuck with that for the rest of the flight.
After dinner I got out my eye shade, blanket and pillow, set the monitor to the air show so I could see where I was if I woke, and reclined back to get some sleep. Boy, I wish DAL had seats that went flat. I am one of those people who have a hard time sleeping unless it is dark and flat. Anyway, I slept fairly well for most of the trip and was only woken by some good turbulence off the coast of Greenland and the breakfast service. I tried to sleep through breakfast and was doing ok until I caught the smell of the food and trays in the ovens next to me. There is something nasty about that hot plastic / metal / egg smell you get out of airline breakfasts that kind of makes me queasy.
We finally got up when we started our descent into Dublin. We descended through a thick cloud layer and broke out over the green Irish countryside. I think we came in from the north and flew over Lambay Is. One of the flight attendants asked if she could slip in front of our seat to snap some pictures. She was retiring soon and wanted them to help her remember the views. She said she had taken them for granted so many times, but she wanted be able to pull out the pictures in 30 years and have a clear reminder of what it was like. It was really beautiful.
We landed in Dublin and had to stay aboard the aircraft. The aircraft was cleaned, security came aboard to check our passports and a DAL agent came aboard to take our DUB-SNN boarding cards. We were parked next to an Aer Lingus A330, EI-JFK, and I popped of a couple of digital pics of it. I have not looked at the pics yet. If they turn out nice I may post them. We then boarded the passengers from Dublin and headed for Shannon. The flight was only a half an hour and we arrived in Shannon around 1040. There was no service on this leg and we just enjoyed the view.
We then landed in Shannon, said our good byes to the crew and went through customs. We had no problem there, collected our bags and picked up our Fiat Punto and proceeded to tour the country.
Here is a brief list of the sights we saw:
Bunratty Castle, downtown Limerick, King John’s Castle, Adarre, Blarney castle (this is where my girlfriend became my fiancé
and yes we did kiss the stone, Cork, Macroon, The Ring of Kerry (a road around a peninsula that would make World Rally drivers pay attention), the Cliffs of Moher, and Ennis.
The weather was great. I would recommend this time of year because it is the off season and things are cheep and there are way fewer tourists. Amazing trip!
Delta Flight 129 (SNN-ATL) on 13 November 2001
Departed SNN at 1215.
Arrived in Atlanta at 1550.
Aircraft: B767-332ER, #199, N199DN (1997 paint)
As all good things must come to an end we headed home. We were in a pub near the airport when we heard about the American Airlines crash in NY. It was a sad way to end a fun trip. We obviously feel for the people onboard, on the ground, and those who were affected by this accident. Our thoughts go out to them.
It was interesting to see the European media coverage of the accident and America’s reaction. A round up of European newspaper headlines seemed to indicate that they think we are on the verge of a nervous break down. I don’t think that is the case, but that is juts my opinion.
Anyway, we arrived back at the airport and returned our trusty Punto without a dent or ding. Fairly amazing, considering it was being driven by two Americans on the narrow roads of Ireland. We went to the DAL counter and were carefully questioned by the gentleman at the head of the check in line. He also searched our carry on bag. We had no problems and checked in. We went upstairs and filled out our customs forms, exchanged our currency, and went through security. Our carry on was searched again. We then checked out the duty free and used up the rest of our Irish change.
We then went through the US immigration line and proceeded to the gate. A Continental flight was boarding next to us and looked to be fairly full. I took some pics of the Aer Lingus aircraft parked next to us and generally tried to stand before the flight. I noticed when we arrived at the airport that there was an AN-124 parked at one of the hangers. I was not able to see it from the terminal but I did get a picture or two when we taxied by.
We were once again flying BusinessElite and had seats 5F and G. My fiancé let me have the window for the return trip. Once the plane was loaded we bushed back and began to taxi. We saw some interesting sights during our trek to the runway. We passed an arriving Italian government Falcon Jet, the AN-124, a few Aer Lingus aircraft undergoing transit checks and I swear I saw a Braniff 727 parked in the weeds. Does anyone know if there is one at SNN? As a side note, they are building a little park in front of the airport with a 707 vertical stab as a sort of monolith. It looks like it will be fairly cool when it is done.
We departed out to the west and it was perfectly clear of the first 45 minutes or so. I took several shots of the farms and shore below us before we headed out to sea. We settled in and enjoyed the flight. We both intended to stay up for the duration so we got comfortable and caught a movie. I watched “Evolution” (funny, I would recommend it) and my fiancé went for “The Score” (also good, but I had watched it on my Seattle – ATL flight the week before). The travel kit on this leg was presented in a round tin and had basically the same sort of stuff as the one going to Shannon. We had a shrimp appetizer, salad, peppercorn fillet with au gratin potatoes and a sundae for lunch. It was all very good. The peppercorn did not overpower the fillet. I have had some steaks on DAL that only taste like the sauce and the meat is lost all together. When serving us, the male steward apologized for the plastic knives. He called them “…a sad reminder”.
I spent the rest of the flight watching movies, playing Tetris, reading my F1 magazine, and looking out the window. Clouds covered most of the central Atlantic. We traveled further south than I had thought we would and made a couple of odd course corrections. We were not able to see Iceland or Greenland and I never saw a ship in the cloud breaks over deep water. The crew kept us going with apple juice and water and we were fairly comfortable.
We made land fall over Newfoundland. After we crossed the US boarder they started a light lunch service. We had a fruit cup, small turkey sandwich, and a couple of rolls. My fiancé also had tea. At the end of lunch they came around with warm chocolate chip cookies. That was really nice. There is nothing like a warm cookie to put one at ease. Best of all, after they came around once with the cookie they came around again! The lady serving the cookies was laughing with us and trying to get us to take more. I think my fiancé had 3, but she is a bit of a chocolate addict.
I spent the time after lunch listening to the Matchbox 20 VH1 Storytellers (it was the best thing playing) and watching the world go by. I saw the Blue Ridge Mountains, a couple of nuclear power plants, and the rest of the American countryside passing below. There were several times that I caught views of passing flights and contrails off in the distance. I saw one contrail fairly close by and it looked almost black. I think it was an optical illusion (please no Art Bell Chem Trails jokes). I could defiantly notice a smog layer once we got over North America.
We flew over Atlanta on downwind and I was able to seem my apartment complex. I got some good pictures (I hope) of the city and the surrounding suburbs. We turned a sharp base and final and had a smooth landing on runway 8R (I think). At the end of the flight we gathered our stuff and went to international baggage claim. We were definitely back in the US. We got our bags, went through customs and headed for security. A dizzy blonde (I’m not being derogatory, that is a scientific definition of her mental state) got in line for security in front of us and had a metal baggage trolley that they would not let her take through. Apparently, she did not see the sign that said, “No trolleys beyond this point” that was standing about three feet from us. She looked confused and the security guy told her to place her stuff on the belt or take it back to the Delta baggage conveyer and she could pick it up in the main terminal. She chose to run it all through security there. So we waited some more. My bet is she is still trying to figure out how to get her 5 odd shaped boxes form the E concourse to the main terminal.
We then hopped the train to the main terminal, grabbed our car and headed home. We were only nearly killed three times on the freeway. That just made us long for the narrow Irish roads with the oncoming tour busses that much more. We made it home and ordered a pizza for dinner. Our trip was over.
So that is it. The flights were nice, the aircraft were clean when we got on and we arrived on time at each destination. The flight crews were professional, courteous and seemed to be enjoying their work. You can’t ask for much more.
If you have any questions I will be happy to respond. Thanks for your attention and I hope I did not put you to sleep.
Best wishes and smooth flying,