Sabena 690
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BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 3:51 am

BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU on Alitalia

First part:

Thursday the 11th of July


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Photo © Peter Unmuth - Vienna Aviation Photography


Airbus A321-113 I-BIXZ
Flight number: AZ159
From Brussels International Airport to Rome Fiumicino Airport
Economy Class, seat 11A
Expected departure time: 12.10h


After weeks of bad weather, the day started with a nice blue sky and without winds!!! And this on the day we left for the nice Sicilian sun!

Because the 11th of July is a feast-day in Belgium, we didn't expect much traffic on the way to the airport.
But because we wanted to play for sure, we left at 08.30h, for a car-trip of 40 minuts to the airport.

Once there, we had some time over for spotting. We drove to the 'Brucargo-spot' near runway 25R. On the Brucargo gate, some nice aircrafts were parked. We saw a B742F of Hydro Air Cargo, a B744F of Korean Air, a B742F of Saudi Arabian Airlines and a DC8 of MK Airlines. 10 minuts later, a second Saudi Arabian Airlines arrived, but this time it was an MD11.

Via the DHL and Abelag buildings (were we saw lot's of DHL B727's, B757's and A300's, + an MD11 of Gemini Air Cargo), we arrived on 'Air Parking' were we parked our car.

5 minuts later, a bus brought us to the airport, were we had an appointment with the group with who we should travel the whole week in Sicilia, and of course with our guide.

Because a big traffic jam due to an accident, our guide arrived 45 minuts to late, which gave us the possibility to spot from the airport cafetaria 'WingTips'. On the B-pier, a Lockheed Tristar of Hewa Bora, an A330-200 of VG Airlines, a B737 of British Airways, a B767-300 of United Airlines and an A330-300 of SN Brussels Airlines (Birdy Airlines) were parked.

45 minuts later, our guide arrived. After a first welcome, we had to check in soon. Check in was a bit chaotic, only 4 counters were opened for 2 AZ flights (one to Milan MXP and one to Rome FCO). So after long waiting, we got our ticket.I was seated in seat 11A, excellent for photography.

Boarding time was 11.50h, and at 11.45h, we were still near the check in counters, so we almost had to run to the gate. After a walk of about 10 minuts, we arrived in the brand-new pier A. Gate was A55. Already a long queu of people was ready to board the plane.

On the other side of Pier A, a TAP A319 CS-TTE was parked. This aircraft would bring a friend of me, Ivan Coninx (his forum name here is Apuneger) to Lisbon. Unfortunately, due to our delay in the check in terminal, I couldn’t talk with him anymore, because he had already boarded.

With a delay of 20 minuts, an announcment was made that the passengers of AZ flight 159 could board.

Before we boarded the aircraft, newspapers were served. There was a big choice in Italian, Belgian, and if I am not wrong even English newspapers.

Once in the aircraft, everything had to go very fast due to the delay. The cockpit door was open and the pilot welcomed us. I gave a small letter to the stewardess to ask for a flight deck visit.

What amazed me was the space in the cabin of this A321! I heard already of several people that AZ offered a great legspace, and this was proved now.

At 12.30h, we were pushed back, 20 minuts after the scheduled departure time. During taxiing, we could see 1 A320 and 1 A321 of IB being pushed back. The A320 was in front of us, together with an A330-200 of VG Airlines. On the gates of Pier A, lot’s of Avro’s of SNBA and B737’s of VEX were parked.

During taxiing, we had a nice view on the departures in front of us. My father filmed the take off rol of the VG A330 and the IB A320 before us. After us, an A320 of Thomas Cook was taxiing.

Definitely, at 12.34h, we made a rolling take off. With a fully loaden A321, the Airbus was still very powerful (in comparision with the MD80).

During boarding, I took a newspaper. Not to read in it, but to put it on my camera. The stewardess was seated one seat in front of me, so I had to be very careful, since taking pictures and film is prohibited in an aircraft.

15 minuts after departure, the flight attendants started serving meals. This was what we got:

x two empty sandwiches
x a tray with some salad, two small pieces of cheese and some roots
x a sandwich with cheese
x some meat (ham)
x fruit salad

20 minuts after we got our meal, they started serving drinks. I ordered a coke.

Flight Attendants were very friendly and helpful. But after one hour of flying, the flight attendant on which I gave my flight-deck visit and jumpseat request, told me that the Captain did not want visitors in the cockpit. Most funny thing was that almost during the whole flight, the cockpit door was OPEN!! Which is also against the rules.

On the screens in the cabin, we got to see hidden-camera and Tom and Jerry.

After a very nice flight of around 2h05mins, we landed at Rome FCO airport, 10 minuts behind schedule.

There we had to run, because we only had 45 minuts for our connection to CTA, minus 10 minuts delay, minus 5 minuts of taxiing, so only 30 minuts were left.

We rushed to the gate, and there we saw that we were put on a later flight. Instead of the one of 15.00h, we were put on the one of 16.00h. So some time for spotting was left.

We saw a mix of Alitalia MD80’s, A321’s, MD11’s, Air One B737’s, and a Thai B744 with the ‘The King’s 72th Celebration logo’.

Good on time, boarding started on gate A19. A bus brought us to our next plane:


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Photo © Arthur Yu



Mc Donnel Douglas MD82 I-DACP
Flight number: AZ1749
From Rome Fiumicino Airport to Catania Fontanarossa Airport
Economy Class, seat 4A
Expected departure time: 16.00h


After a rather long bus trip, we were brought to our MD82 in an all economy class configuration.

During our bus trip, we saw the Thai B744 again depart, together with an A300 of Kuwait Airways.

During boarding, I gave again a letter to the flight-attendant, with the request for a flight-deck visit/jumpseat flight. She promised that she would try to convince the pilot.

After everyone boarded the plane, we left FCO with a delay of 10 minuts for a flight of 1h10mins to CTA.

Only a drink and some cookies were served on this domestic flight.

Cabin crew was again very friendly and helpful, on this full flight.

After 30 minuts, the flight attendant came with the great news that the pilot invited me for a cockpit visit, but that a jumpseat flight was excluded. But I know why: another one was already jumpseating. It seemed to be an important person. He asked me from were I was. I said that I was from Belgium, and he said he made a film in Belgium in 1960. He was a well-known filmproducer he said. Funny was that I asked some people if they knew who he was (this was possible because the cockpit door was open for the rest of the flight), and no-one recognised him.

After a nice flight above the sea, we made a wonderful approach above this beautiful island. After some heavy turns and a very rocking approach, we made a very very hard landing on Catania airport.

After we vacated the runway, we had a nice overview of the airport. Lot’s of AZ’s were parked. Also a B737 of Air One.

Just after us, a Fokker 100 of Alpi Eagles landed from Venice with a special colourscheme, nice to see this plane here.

So after 5 hours, and two great AZ experiences, we left the airport. This was the beginning of a big Sicilian round-trip, which would end exactly 7 days later.

This was the first part of my trip report. I know, it is long, but I hope you enjoyed reading it  Smile

I will post, if you are interested in it, the second part of my trip report too.

If you want to know something, feel free to ask!!

Friendly regards,
Frederic


 
Sabena332
Posts: 14938
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 4:39 am

Hi Frederic,

that is an excellent trip report, I enjoyed reading very much because it is very detailed. Too bad that you were not allowed to visit the cockpit on the first flight but good to read that your second try was more successful.

I am looking forward to read your next report!

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
MD-11er
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 4:54 am

Nice trip report.

How come the trip to FCO from BRU was so long?
2 hours looks long to me.

Nice you could visit the cockpit. Next time book a SNBA flight to Africa I will do my best to get you a Jumpseat, with the camera in your hand to film everything.

Your friend

 Wink/being sarcastic
 
Sabena 690
Topic Author
Posts: 6065
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 4:59 am

Thanks Patrick and MD-11er!!

Nice to see that you enjoyed reading it  Smile

How come the trip to FCO from BRU was so long?
2 hours looks long to me.


I don't know, the scheduled flight time is 2h05min, the one of VEX even 2h20min.

Next time book a SNBA flight to Africa I will do my best to get you a Jumpseat, with the camera in your hand to film everything.

Thanks!! Big grin

But it will take a while untill I will have the money for a trip to Africa  Sad

BTW: I did not forget your safeties!! Big grin

Regards,
Frederic






 
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apuneger
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 5:25 am

Hi Frederic,

nice trip report. Seems you had a nice day. It sure must have been pretty annoying, arriving at the airport around 9AM for a flight with a STD of 12AM, and still having to run to the gate...Too bad we didn't get to see each other.

Yeah, I also find it strange that the flight to FCO took you so long. I remember that 7 years ago, I flew SN from BRU to Naples (can't remember the IATA code, sorry) and made a stop in FCO. But, that only took us like 1h15 or so, not more. Pretty strange...maybe some speed delays or heavy headwinds or so, I don't know...But hey, what the heck...

Of course I'm interested to read your second part. So, if you have some spare time left, just write it down I'd say.

Oh yeah, if anybody's interested to see a trip report on a TAP A319 BRU-LIS and LIS-BRU, let me know. I'll try to remember some stuff and write it down (just to give you an idea: excellent service!).

Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
 
Sabena 690
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 5:31 am

Thanks Ivan!!

Well, Rome is not that nearbye. The fastest way to go to FCO is with AZ, even faster than with VEX.

And I am really interested in a trip report of your TAP experience!!

Regards,
Frederic
 
Sabena332
Posts: 14938
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 5:32 am

Oh yeah, if anybody's interested to see a trip report on a TAP A319 BRU-LIS and LIS-BRU...

I am very interested!

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
mb339
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2001 8:37 pm

RE: Sabena 690

Wed Jul 24, 2002 8:32 pm

Do you remember the name of the A321's captain?
BTW: Do you like the AZ A321? Beautiful cockpit, isn't it?

Ciao

mb339
 
ly334
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2002 5:34 pm

RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Wed Jul 24, 2002 9:07 pm

Great report Frederic,

2 years ago I flew BRU-FCO-OLB (Olbia, Sardegnia).
The leg BRUFCO was made with VEX that was operating a Sabena flight, and it was just a horrible flight. Drinks were to be paid except water and orange juice, so I asked the f/a if even that I was booked through SN and ticketed through SN if I also have to pay?
On SN I would never pay for a drink...
I then paid for a coffe something like +/- 100BEf(2.50 EURO).

RE: AZ A321 interiors, I flew twice with them, it is completely green inside the a/c and it is really relaxing and with a lot of legroom.


regards,

ly334
All my toughts are in aviation!!!
 
Sabena 690
Topic Author
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Jul 25, 2002 5:38 pm

Hey guys,

@Mb339:

Do you remember the name of the A321's captain?

No, sorry. I was not in the cockpit of the A321.

Do you like the AZ A321? Beautiful cockpit, isn't it?

I like it a lot!! The A321 is already a great aircraft, and with the beautiful AZ colours, it looks even more nice. Aircraft is also very comfortable (good seats, lot's of legroom,...)

@Ly334:

AZ A321 interiors, I flew twice with them, it is completely green inside the a/c and it is really relaxing and with a lot of legroom.

I agree for the full 100% Ly334!!

Regards,
Frederic













 
9V-SVA
Posts: 1747
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Jul 25, 2002 6:31 pm

I flew FCO-CTA and back on Alitalia as well, except it was on A321 I-BIXT there and MD-80 I-DAVL on the way back.

I did these flights on 31 May and 4 June. Look for my trip report.

9V-SVA
9V-SVA | B772ER
 
Sabena 690
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Jul 25, 2002 7:27 pm

Hey 9V-SVA,

I remember your trip report. Nice to read it if you do the same flight with the same company some weeks later  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Thanks!
Frederic
 
Alitalia744
Posts: 3777
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Mon Jul 29, 2002 3:24 am

Great trip report!

Glad you were able to experience the reasons why I love Alitalia!

Sorry you couldn't visit the cockpit of the A321. One of my all-time fav. flights was when I Was allowed to be in the cockpit of an AZ 747 on approach to FCO....

-G
Some see lines, others see between the lines.
 
Turbotrent
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:25 pm

Hey Frederic,

What a really nice trip report!! I really enjoyed reading it. I'm happy for you that you could visit the cockpit on the MD82. I'm jealous  Big grin

I'm looking forward to read 'part 2' of your trip report  Big thumbs up

Greetings,

Tom
Man's flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge.
 
Turbotrent
Posts: 146
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:28 pm

Oh yeah, one more thing. Ivan, let your trip report come! I'm looking forward to read it  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Regards,

Tom
Man's flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge.
 
airblue
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Aug 01, 2002 5:40 pm

Great report Smile

In the last time it seems Alitalia made a big improvement in its onboard service.
 
Guest

RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Aug 01, 2002 6:07 pm

Hi!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

I too took a similar routing to yours, but in April, and from LHR.

We flew the same a/c on the same sectors, except we flew to CTA on an A321 'Piazza Maggiore-Bologna'.

I'm a bit surprised to read that taking photos wasn't allowed; is this an Alitalia policy? I only ask because we were flying to CTA on our way to the Isole Eolie (Eolian Islands) as a volcanology expedition.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but just before you begin to descend over the coast of Sicily, you fly over Stromboli (an active volcano) and a few of the other islands too (Lipari, Vulcano); at this point, we all took our cameras out and started taking lots of photos...the crew did not seem to care.

Anyway, I enjoyed the trip tremendously, although if I were honest, I would have to say that I don't share your enthusiasm for Alitalia service; in my opinion, it is ok, but nothing more....I find BA much, much better. Of course, it would help if the check-in staff at CTA could perhaps remove their fingers from their noses and work for a change!  Big grin

Anyway, hope you enjoyed Sicily...I only transited it briefly on my way to Milazzo to catch the aliscafi.

Regards
 
9V-SVA
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Fri Aug 02, 2002 7:14 pm

Wow, we now have three people who have flown this route! Alitalia service is a far cry form what I heard of. They were above my expectations for a domestic.

9V-SVA
9V-SVA | B772ER
 
Sabena 690
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Sat Aug 03, 2002 4:57 am

Hey guys,

In the meantime, I already got a little bit of time to upload some shots. Here are they:

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Photo © Frederic Backaert



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Photo © Frederic Backaert


And of course the one with my sister on it:

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Photo © Frederic Backaert



@Alitalia744,
Thanks for the comments! And sad of the cockpit visit, yes  Sad

@Turbotrent,
Thanks for the comments too! But I am afraid I will have no time left for the second part  Sad Maybe next week.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Ivan, let your trip report come! I'm looking forward to read it

Check this link out Big grin:
http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/23524/

@Airblue:
In the last time it seems Alitalia made a big improvement in its onboard service.

Yeah, I was satisfied too! Especially for the FCO-BRU leg (all what you want, even ice cream, and this for a flight of two hours).

@capt. Picard:
I too took a similar routing to yours, but in April, and from LHR.

Didn't you write a trip report too? I thought I remember me something like that...

I'm a bit surprised to read that taking photos wasn't allowed; is this an Alitalia policy? I only ask because we were flying to CTA on our way to the Isole Eolie (Eolian Islands) as a volcanology expedition.

Yes, I find it strange too. BTW: I saw that Volcano. I talked with the pilots about it. He explained me everything about the islands around Sicilia,...

Of course, it would help if the check-in staff at CTA could perhaps remove their fingers from their noses and work for a change!

Yeah, they didn't work that fast  Big grin

Anyway, hope you enjoyed Sicily...

I enjoyed it a lot!! It is a very nice island  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

@9V-SVA:
Alitalia service is a far cry form what I heard of. They were above my expectations for a domestic.

The same happened with Sabena. Bad imago, but in the last 5 years, they had a great great catering with a great service. Like SN improved a lot, AZ is also improving. So for my part, the bad comments about horrible AZ flights will be past soon (I think).

Best regards,
Frederic
 
lima
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Sat Aug 03, 2002 8:12 am

Hey Sabena,

Great report! I flew the same route from BRU to FCO but to connect there to Buenos Aires last April. It is very interesting to read on your report plus two or three others that I had the same positive impression of Alitalia. The ground staff in Rome and Buenos Aires were very friendly.

Having experienced the long haul MD11, I found the service very good. Unlike the green used on MD80, the MD11 has grey colour seats in both Magnifica and economy. Beautiful aircraft.

Best regards,
Lima
 
Sabena 690
Topic Author
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Mb339

Thu Aug 15, 2002 6:19 pm

Hey Mb339,

Can you send me a mail to Sabena_690@hotmail.com please?

Thanks,
Frederic
 
mb339
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2001 8:37 pm

RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Aug 15, 2002 7:10 pm

@Sabena 690

Why? If you want my e-mail I can give it to you now

tecmasnc@libero.it
 
9v-svc
Posts: 1703
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Aug 15, 2002 10:22 pm

Great Report dude .

Alitalia is not a bad airline , i flew them once from London to Rome on their MD-80s and i find their service not too bad . It was first ride on MD-80 and her engines are very powerful .

Hope to see your next report

Cheers
Charles
Airliners is the wings of my life.
 
mb339
Posts: 235
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RE: BRU-FCO-CTA-FCO-BRU On AZ

Thu Aug 15, 2002 11:22 pm

@9V-SVC

If you want to feel a very very great take-off accelleration, try to fly with AZ A320.

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