London (Heathrow) - Kyiv
Scheduled Dep. 14.25
Actual Dep. 15.20
Photo © Garry Lewis
Photo © Daniel Werner
Well, For those of you who already read my last trip report, exactly the same route with the same aircraft type this may be a little boring, but i figured what the hell i'd write about a trip I made just 2 or so weeks back to Ukraine for a long weekend of fun.
When planning this trip I wanted to maximise the amount of time I would spend in Kyiv without skipping too many lectures at university....so as I have no lectures of any importance on Wednesday or Friday, the monday was a holiday and my first lecture on a tuesday was at 10, so I decided to fly BA (they are the Best in my opinion on the route to Ukraine, although I haven't tried Air France yet).
I flew Aer Lingus on the 09:50 into London, the usual tea/coffee and buscuits service was offered. We had to circle for ages in London and were 35 mins late, not to worry though.
I checked in 1 piece of luggage with BA who gave me a seat in row 23 i think. I later discovered this was not an aisle seat but anyway I headed down to pick up a few things in the tax free and had my usual, a bottle of Beck's in Costa with those lovely comfy seats
It really annoys me at T1 the way the monitors just say 'wait in lounge' and only tell you the gate a few minutes before boarding. I guessed it would be gate 25 for Kyiv, In all my experiences it has been, as the aircraft comes in from somewhere, would love to know where. It must be somewhere with a high-yield because the devider for ClubEurope on the Kyiv is always set at about half way even if there is only 2 or 3 passengers sitting up there, odd.
Anyway, the flight was delayed for 30 mins, then I proceeded to gate 25 where boarding was in progress. BA to Berlin was boarding at the next gate.
I asked the gate agent if I could get an aisle seat, she obliged and dicovered nobody else was going to sit in that row I was orginally assigned to so I could have it all to myself for the 3h flight to Kyiv.
We boarded via stairs, and I helped myself to a couple of papers on boarding. I always like to have something to read on board, along with my copy of Conde Nast traveller magazine I bought inside the terminal. As it happens the edition of High Life was rather good, and the article about Paul Newman and his salad dressings was funny (believe it or not).
Apologies were made for the delay and we pushed back taxing out while the announcements were played 'for the benifit of our Ukranian speaking passengers'. They also played them in Russian. We were airbourne shortly afterwards, climbing out in a south east direction. The captain seemed confident we would make up time with the favorable winds, however he later corrected himself saying they we would stil be late and winds were not as favorable as they expected. ok, if you say so!
Beverages were served shortly afterwards, I had a bloody mary which was nice then dinner was served, a tasty chicken dish with a salad to start and a pastry thing for desert. Complimented nicely by a New Zealand Sauvignon.
The crew were not that great as usual and the purser stayed in Club Europe for the whole flight, even though there were only 3 passengers, a little odd. Anyway I dozed off as we flew East over Bremen continuing over Poland. I sort of woke up and realised we stil had about an hour till landing so I ventured down to the galley and asked for a cognac. Knocked that back and peered outside, pitch black. The flight really seemed to drag. It wasn't very busy, only 50 percent load I think.
We started our decent into Borispil International Airport shortly afterwards, the crew were told to take their seats for landing and the lights of outer Kyiv came into view between the trees. After a short taxi to the terminal I disembarked and cleared customs and immigration rather effortlessly, which is strange and our driver was waiting to take us into the city.
All in all a pretty average flight by BA standards, but nothing to complain about really.
Kyiv (Borispil) - London (Heathrow)
Actual Dep. 21.00
Photo © Philippe Bleus
Photo © Garry Lewis
I elected to take this flight as It was the last flight to Western Europe in the evening, leaving at 20.55. That way I could overnight in London at catch the really early morning flight to Dublin at 06:50.
I had a really busy day making some reports with a friend at her university in Kyiv so I had no time to go back to the apartment before going to the airport (which is quite far outside of Kyiv). So i took my small bag with me and the driver waited until we were finnished. It was already dark as we drove to Borispil. I arrived at about 7pm and went to check-in via customs. I normally don't have a problem but the woman at customs was a real pain, she kept asking me if I had any antiques and I said no, then she would ask again
Anyway, check-in was painless and the check-in agent recognised me from my last trip 4 weeks previously. I asked for an aisle seat, emergency row. That was no problem, but I was dissapointed not to see any British newspapers at checkin as usually they are there, only there was a Ukranian newspaper and Korrespondent (Ukranian equivalent of Newsweek magazine).
Oh well. The only other departures were An Aerosvit 737 to Tel Aviv and another to Ashkabad. Anyway the Ashkabad was delayed for over an hour and i'd say it was pretty full by all those people milling around at departures.
The London Heathrow flight was boarding by the time I checked-out the Duty Free. There was no que for boarding and they checked my passport and ticket and let me on. On boarding I grabbed a Daily Main (my usual) and took my seat. Before long the doors were closed at we were pushing back. The flight was deserted, couldn't have been more than 25 people on it seriously. The crew seemed really serious, all female and middle aged.
Interestingly only announcements played in English and Ukranian. Not in Russian at all. The captain informed us our flight time would be around 3h 35 due to the strong winds against us. We took off and made a steep bank to the West and climed steeply. The fasten seatbelt sign remained on for a good 12 mins. The crew were in no hurry to rush out the service. Frankly I just wanted to sleep but was hungry all the same. I had a New Zealand Sauvignon when she finally did come round. The man in the opposite row looked a bit weird, and he got into an mini-argument when he asked the f/a for another bottle of red wine and told her not to open it. He looked a mess, his clothes were filthy. anyway she refused point blank and told him she opened the wine.
Dinner was served followed by another round of drinks, more Sauvignon please!
Dinner was served on a small tray (this is not normal) and was obviously picked up in Kyiv (has always come from London before). For starter there was something strange but marginally tasty (salad/beetroot like). The main course was Meat Vereniki (Ukranian speciality), little dough balls with meat inside, in a lovely sauce. As the crew passed with the drinks I heard one of them complain 'Theres no vegitables, don't they have vegitables in the Ukraine' Silly I thought.
Our routing was unusual as well, we flew over Prague, Frankfurt and then Brussels. Usually you fly over southern Poland, North Germany, Amsterdam.
Anyway.....I was falling asleap after the trays were being collected. The other guy accross the row was now mixing red wine with coca cola. A bit of a nutter me thinks! Got myself a cognac from the galley. Fell asleap
Finally I woke up as we were above the Thames Estuary on approach for Heathrow. We landed with a tremmendous thud and had a long taxi towards the Europier. A LOT 737 landed behind us. Brownie points to BA for the quick Baggage delivery, usually it takes an age here at T1.
I took the hotelhoppa to the ibis and hit the sac early, I was up at 5am for my trip back to Dublin which was uneventfull, and even made my 10am lecture, can't be bad.
Overall another above average trip on BA, although this last leg had a number of points lacking that I normally expect, or take for granted.
Thanks for reading, look forward to any comments or questions (even corrections).