May 14, 2002: BA #224 from IAD to LHR
This is the new BA "morning" flight from Dulles to Heathrow. Thanks to a friend with connections, I was upgraded from WT to WT+ for the 777 flight. The bird, a 772 with GE90s, had "The Netherlands" world tail (I wrote down the reg number but lost it). We loaded up (only about 50% full; only three others in WT+) and took off from RW 30. I was intrigued by the female captain ("Wendy" something). How many female 777s captains does BA have? We took a southernly route, crossing over the Atlantic over Atlantic City. The jetstream provided a 186 km tail wind (and bumps) for most of the crossing. Food: a basic chicken dish. Later tea service featured a prosciutto and cheese torpedo sandwich, washed down with a Grolsch beer. We approached and landed at Heathrow on the north e/w runway after twenty minutes of circling. Captain Wendy thanked us for flying BA. She did a good job!
May 15, BA# 884 from LHR to ZAG
I spent the night at the T4 Hilton. It seems that the only sport discussed in the UK these days is the upcoming World Cup. It's all about David Beckham, his bad foot, and his Spice Girl wife. That's all the T.V. and tabloids talk about! Anyway, I took the Heathrow Express from the T4 stand over to T1. I checked in and got my window seat assignment. The bird (a nice 734, with the "Chelsea Rose" world tail), was parked at the end of the earth, gate 30). BA only serves Zagreb three times a week from LHR, but the flight was not full. I liked the fancy-pants navy leather seats. We took off and headed over Belgium and the Alps. It was clear below and I had a great view of the mountains. Lunch was another torpedo sandwich. Also, on this flight (and all BA international flights, I have noticed), they really hawk the duty-free crap. Enough already!
May 15, OU #661 from ZAG to Dubrovnik
Upon arrival at Zagreb, I collected my suitcase and checked in at Croatia Airlines. I had about an hour to kill, so I had a second lunch at a cafe in the terminal. Zagreb is certainly not a busy airport (I have seen U.S. GA non-towered airports that have much more traffic). It is fun to see the old MIGs parked at one end of the field. I also got a kick over the ancient looking Russian prop that was practising touch and goes, complete with black smoke contrails streaming behind. As for the flight, a nice new A319. Croatia Airlines does a good job, but they need more airplanes. The short flight to Dubrovnik was nearly full, and I had another window seat. Yet another torpedo sandwich to eat. Thankfully, the winds were calm at DUB, and we made a direct approach and landed to the south.
May 19, OU #662 from DUB to ZAG
This was a A320. The flight was full for the 6:50 a.m. departure on Pentecost Sunday. I knew I had about seven hours to kill at the Zagreb airport before my BA flight back to LHR. I therefore asked the OU check-in person if she would kindly check my suitcase all the way to IAD. She flatly refused, with all the charm of a Russian customs agent. I decided not to complain. But it meant that I would have to keep my large bag with me in Zagreb, until the BA desk opened at 1:15 p.m. This meant that I could not take the OU bus into town and visit the beautiful Baroque capital and St. Mark's church. Another trip. The flight was uneventful, smooth and quick. It was another clear and beautiful day, and we took off to the north; right over the magnificent walled city. The Adriatic coastline of Croatia is the best kept secret in all of Europe!
May 19, BA #885 from ZAG to LHR
I waited around the airport and finally checked in with BA. I was concerned about my return over water flight being packed, and asked for an aisle seat in WT. "Ne" I was told by the agent. The BA 734 arrived (with the Celtic world tail), and we boarded via bus to jet stairs. The advantage of flying into some of these smaller central European airports is that there are no jetways; you get to board from the front and rear and get a great close up of the bird, as well. The flight was uneventful; smooth but little to see below with cloud cover over most of Europe. It cleared up near Calais and we had a great view of the Dover cliffs. To my surprise, we did not circle Heathrow and landed quickly. On the taxi into to T1, I noted a BA 757 with the registration "G-BUSH." How about a stars and strips world tail for that bird!
May 19, BA #225 from LHR to IAD
I took the BA transfer bus from T1 to T4. BA seems to have connections down to an art form. Very well organised. At this time of the evening (around 5:30 p.m.), the only BA T4 flights still to depart are a handfull of flights to the states, and the long-haul 744s to places like Cape Town and Hong Kong. At the T4 BA service desk, I again asked for a aisle row seat, but to no avail. I wandered to Gate 11 after two quick pints of John Smith's bitter. I thought about trying out the public access airport lounge adjacent to gate 11 (I can't recall the name), but decided that 18 pounds was too rich for my blood. The bird, another 772 with GE90s, was a "City of Docklands" with the Union Jack tail. A gorgeous machine. But the flight was completely full. My seat 33A was allright. But in front of me was a middle-aged family group from Bowie, Maryland. They would not shut up until the meal was served. The lady in front of me reclined her seat until her head was in my lap and fell asleep snoring! BTW, it's a tight squeeze in a regular WT seat. BA should install catheters so that you cane relive yourself without making the two people next to you climb out of their seats. The dinner was a tasty fish dish, which I washed with two bottles of Chadonney. The FAs offered water/juice a couple of times before the tea service. The tea service was egg and seafood finger sandwiches with a raspberry tart.
We flew a northernly route, over Belfast and Derry, and came in over northern Quebec. I watched the flight tracker. I love how the program notes places/towns I have never heard of as points of reference! We flew a southernly route over Montreal, and came into Dulles for a landing to the north on RW 1R.
All in all, a good trip. Ou needs more planes so as to increase their service to match the flights to and from the states. I know they partner with Lufthansa, but they should also partner with BA or VS for service from the U.S. via the U.K. BA did a good job. But no more regular WT for me. I am of the age and experience where a six hour flight demands more room and service. I'll pay the difference gladly! Thanks for reading!
Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!