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Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2000 12:16 pm

New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Sat Mar 09, 2002 2:27 am

New York ? London ? Berlin on British Airways

Having flown several times with British Airways in the past, this trip didn?t hold too many surprises. So here it goes:

FEB 28th
BA 116
Boeing 747-400
G-BNLF (New Union Flag [Chatham Historic Dockyard] color scheme).
Seat 51 H

This is the 11 pm departure, the last of the day, and is my preferred flight as the rush from the 6, 7 and 8pm flights, which pretty much check in together, has dissipated by then.
Everything about this flight worked like clockwork. Departure on Runway 31 L (a surprisingly short take-off roll for such a long and heavy flight) was on time, as was landing on Runway 9L some 6 hours later. The meal service was both plentiful and tasty: the main course involved a choice of roasted chicken or some beef , and was supplemented with a salad and a dessert pudding. Prior to landing, a continental breakfast of yogurt, breads, and juice was served. The only difference I noticed from previous flights was that there was no menu- perhaps a cost cutting measure since 9-11? After landing at terminal 4, I made a quick trek to Terminal 1 for my flight to Berlin Tegel.

BA 984
Boeing 757-200
G-BMRB (Union Flag Scheme)
Seat 15 A

Many inter-European flights on BA are now simply designated with an "EQV" (equipment variable) on the web, so I wasn?t sure what aircraft I would be on. To my delight, it was a Boeing 757, as I had never flown on one of these. From outside the aircraft looked immaculate, but upon entry, I was surprised to see how worn the cabin looked. Panels were graying with dirt, and the overall ambience was grungy and dull.
I also have a question: why do BA?s B 757s (and 767s I think) have these black rings on their noses??? Other BA aircraft do not have them, and the B 757s of other airlines do not have them either, so clearly it can not be out of necessity. They look so ugly. Anyone ????

Take off was again on time, this time on Runway 9R. Here is where I was most impressed. The 757 accelerated like a bullet! It took us virtually seconds to get airborne, and once we lifted off, the climb was very quick. Wow! The flight itself was uneventful. There were no video monitors at all on board, and therefore no entertainment. The meal service included the "all day Deli" bags from BA, which were surprisingly very tasty indeed. We landed into Berlin from the East (Runway 26R), so we got a fascinating view of both formerly-East and ?West Berlin prior to touchdown.

Given that it serves Germany?s biggest city, Tegel airport was a joke. At 3 pm, the only aircraft visible were another British Airways 757, two Deutsche BA 737-300(?)s, a Lufthansa Boeing 737 and two Canadair Regional Jets. Just as surprising was that as you exit the aircraft, there is no international arrivals or customs halls. There is just a man in a booth at the end of the jet-way checking passports. Very provincial!
As an aside, BA lost my umbrella (which they had insisted I check-in), but then found it later and had it sent to my home.

BA 993
Airbus A 319
G EUPJ (Union Flag Scheme)
Seat 14 A

After a truly wonderful time in Berlin (the city itself is visually a little drab, but steeped in culture, and the people are among the friendliest I have encountered anywhere), I made my way back to the airport, again not knowing which aircraft I would be on. This time it was an Airbus 319 awaiting us. Incidentally, I have flown on three flights on a BA A319, and each time it has been the identical aircraft (EUPJ). Coincidence?

Take-off from Runway 26L was on time. The "all day deli" bag was handed out, and was this t time even tastier than its earlier counterpart. An absolute text-book perfect landing followed 1 h 30 min later on Runway 27. You could barely feel the touchdown or the braking, and no thrust reversers were employed.

March 7th
London LHR to New York JFK
BA 179
G BNLZ (Trees and Animals Color Scheme)
Seat 51 H

This is my favorite LHR-JFK flight as it is the least crowded. Yet on this day it was completely full in every class. On well, no empty seat next to me L
Apparently BA traffic across the Atlantic is improving as they have restored the flight they had cut after 9-11, and have upgraded all their JFK flights back to a 747-400.

I got to the airport on time, and checked in. The gate assigned was 11, but when we went through the door, we had to climb ldown and board a bus that took us to our aircraft. That was exciting, and we got to travel right past several BA 747s, a Qantas 747, and a Sri Lankan A 340. However when we reached our aircraft, it was not at some remote area but at Gate 20, docked to the jetway. So I don?t understand if the aircraft was already at a gate, why we were ferried to it from another gate instead of boarding it directly.

The aircraft was G-BNLZ, and let me say that this aircraft alone makes the case for getting rid of the World Image Tails. While some of the tail designs are tolerable (And one or two actually nice), most are not. And the bad ones look even worse on a 747 because the tail is so huge.

Because of the unusual boarding procedure, it took a while to get passengers on board.
At 1945, the scheduled departure time, the aircraft started pulling back from the stand, even though several passengers were still in the aisles and some had not yet placed their luggage into the bins. Perhaps the captain was afraid he would miss his take-off slot? I can imagine the fuss American carriers would have made about this.

Once air-borne, the flight was comfortable. The crew were friendly, and the food plentiful. The main meal comprised either braised beef or grilled fish (I had the latter; tasty enough), and a second "snack" included several different sandwich slices that were fun and filling.

Landing at JFK on Runway 22L, while on time, was like a roller-coaster ride, with the plane sliding from side to side until we came to a complete stop on the runway.

Overall I was very impressed with BA. In particular, the flight crew were friendly on every flight, the food quality was above average, and the in-flight entertainment was enjoyable.
I would recommend them without major reservations.

Hope you enjoyed this report. If anyone has any comments, suggestions, or answers as to my question about the 757 black ring, please write back!
Posts: 1192
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2001 11:03 pm

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Sat Mar 09, 2002 8:23 am

Nice report. Always enjoy a good BA report.
OK trying to answer some of your questions... The BA 757's with the black nose rings are the old origianl delivery 757's with RR211 engines. I have not seen any 767s in BA's fleet with htis yet.
I think some of the world tails are pretty nice. Such as: Delftblue Daybreak, Whale Rider, Column, and Rendevous. Mopst of the rest are well pants. Glad to hear BA's loads are back up on the JFK route. The reason your takoff was quite quick was that for as 747-400 a 6 hour flight is not really very long for it. It would only have a few of its fuel tanks filled. I will be flying with BA on the 29th to Hong Kong from London thats a 12 hour flight and even that is not the longest flight for a 747-400. I think South African Airways operate a 16 hour flight which is really getting near the max range for the 747-400 seriues. Now compare that to your 6 hour flight, still seem like a really long flight?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Hope you have many more enjoyable BA flights to come. I will be writting a trip reports about my upcomming BA flights soon.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Dan Valentine - Bad Ass MOFO Photographer
Posts: 1532
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2000 6:30 am

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Sat Mar 09, 2002 8:55 am

Salam Atti.....good to hear from you.Nice report.....seems like you do your share of travelling...thats good.I do run into your trip reports...i wonder if you had the chance to catch mine over the last 4-5 months...i'm to going to KHI again on the 27th just for a week,i'll write about that..take care and hope to hear from you soon...
Posts: 4626
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2000 2:45 am

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Sun Mar 10, 2002 12:38 am

>>>the people are among the friendliest I have encountered anywhere

wow, there are actually only three friendly people in Berlin, and you met all of them? You´re lucky!

Daniel Smile
Topic Author
Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Sun Mar 10, 2002 2:14 am

Hey Dan

Glad you enjoyed the report. I think all the 757s had the ring. And at least some 767s definitely had them too.
But what I want to know is why?

Also, has anyone noticed, the Economy class seats on the European flights (Eurotraveller) seem to have more room than those on the intercontinental flights (World Traveller).
Posts: 1192
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2001 11:03 pm

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Sun Mar 10, 2002 4:19 am

Yeah not to sure about the reason for the rings just on what planes they are on.
World traveller is only 29" seat pitch which i think is a little tight, but the service, seat comfort PTV's etc make up for it. I think the Euro Traveller class is 30 or 31" pitch.
I'll be off on BA on the 29th, and really looknig foreward.
 Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Dan Valentine - Bad Ass MOFO Photographer
Stretch 8
Posts: 2468
Joined: Fri May 28, 1999 4:00 am

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Wed Mar 13, 2002 4:21 am

Thanks for the report. Since you have made the BA trip from JFK to LHR several times, I am curious if you have made the daytime (morning) journey over to London?
Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!
Posts: 1368
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 1999 6:10 pm

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Wed Mar 13, 2002 11:54 am

World Traveller is currently 31". Its supposed to be bumped up to 32" on a/c with the "new" World Traveller (just slimmer seatbacks).
Topic Author
Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: New York-London-Berlin-New York On BA

Thu Mar 14, 2002 2:42 am

stretch 8

Yes I have flown the morning departure to London, on both BA and Virgin, and I don't like it:

1) an 8 am departure means you have to wake up by 4am. Getting to Kennedy at that time is not easy, esp by public transport

2) you can't really sleep on the flight

3) you lose the entire day flying, and then arrive at night.

I much prefer taking the late night departure out of Kennedy, flying through the night, and arriving 10/11am the next morning in London. That way I have not wasted a day in the air.

For all of the above reasons, I would prefer not to fly on the morning flight. However, a lot of times, the cheapest fares are offered the morning departure, so you may not have a choice.

And if you are a food fan, the meal service tends to be more substantial on the day flights as there is more "wake" time.

Enjoy your trip!

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