Boeing 767-300/ER (N662UA)
Friday May 9, 2003
Estimated Time of Departure: 9:20 PM
Estimated Time of Arrival: 9:35 AM
Actual Time of Departure: 9:30 PM
Actual Time of Arrival: 9:23 AM
NOTE TO A.NET CREW READING THIS POST: I have talked to an a.net crewmember about linking photos to jetphotos.net, as I don't want to have my TR deleted becasue it contains a few links to jp.net. Here is his response to my question regarding the usage of jp.net links in a post (after discussing this question with other moderators). "Links to pictures from outside Airliners.net are allowed under the following conditions:
- They are no available in the Airliners.net database.
- It isn't an advertisement for the website or the photo.
- As long as 1000s of picture are not
use -> Ok in limited numbers."
Ok, now the report.
This was one of the best trips I have ever taken. United was offering a $99 roundtrip JFK-LHR-JFK deal, and my dad actually wanted to go (usually just mentions good fares, doesn't usually actually buy them). We made the reservations on the seventh, and before I knew it, I was on my way to London! This was definitely a rare occurance for me, as I usually fly 1-2 times a year (it will be a total of 3 for this year). We left in the late afternoon for JFK. Good thing, because there was plenty of traffic (more time for watching planes approaching LGA ). After about 2 hours and 15 minutes, we were at terminal 7. I was expecting a gray, boring terminal. Nope. This was a very modern and well lit terminal, and it had plenty of windows! This was the first time that I have been to a major airport where nobody was checking in, except for one couple (this included the BA and UA desks). So we checked in and moved up to Economy Plus (row 22) from boring Economy (row 29 i believe). That got me excited.
We then proceeded to security, with about 10 people ahead of us in line. We stood in line for about two minutes, and passed through into the terminal area hassle-free. I went up the escalator, and walked straight for a little bit, and was greeted by none other than the BA Concorde. That got me even more excited than the upgrade. I got lots of pics of it, even though it was taken through two panes of glass at different angles to each other, about 6 feet apart. I didn't care. I just wanted photos to remember the concorde by. Little did I know that I would have a better opprotunity later. I then strolled through this not-too-big terminal, searching for good spotting locations. I saw the Icelandair gate, with the flight to Reykjavik waiting at the gate for a later departure. I then got my dinner at McDonalds, and headed over to an area that should be in all terminals. The BA complimentary laptop internet/powerport station, with stools lined up at a chrome counter, with a huge panoramic view of 31R. I was in heaven. I could eat my dinner, charge my other camera battery, and take photos of planes all at the same time. O yeah...
After watching many planes (mostly AA and B6) land on 31R, I noticed movement on the right. I looked to see a most welcome sight (didn't mean for that to rhyme). The BA Concorde was pushing back. I hurried to a better window for photography, and started to snap away. I looked at it, and the front right door was still open. I was a little confused about this, but it turned out that it was just switching gates. Another guy noticed my excitement and took out his camera (a point and shoot) and started to take some pics, too. While at this counter, I also saw (probably forgetting some here) an Asiana 744, a Qantas 744, many B6 A320's (including one with the new c/s), a few AA 757's, an AA A300, and the LH Star Alliance 744. The light was getting low, making all shots (I was shooting moving objects) crappier by the second. I was expecting the LH 744 to turn off the runway and taxi by me, but it turned the other way. Ugh. I at least got a blurry picture of its tail.
Some other shots I got from the BA viewing area:
As it got dark, photography was not really an option anymore. I went to Hudson News to get a Popular Science magazine to read while waiting for my flight. When our flight began boarding, we walked down the jetway, enroute to my first United flight that I can remember (flew UAL when I was about 2 years old). However, we were stopped (only feet from the door)before boarding. They were making last minute preparations for our flight, which only took a few minutes. I then found my way to seat 22G (a window, of course ), with my own PTV (unlike the AA 763's).
As we prepared for pushback, I noticed that the flight was not too full (I was expecting a full flight). The flight was probably 70% full, although that estimate might be high. We pushed back only a few minutes behind schedule, and after pushback, I got to gaze at the BA Concorde gleaming under the floodlights. After we had pushed back, the captain informed the passengers about the ATC broadcast on channel 9 of the audio selection. Yet what he said after this, terrified me. He informed us that since the Mets were playing, he would be broadcasting the Mets game live until we lost the signal of the radio station. NOOOOOO! I had been waiting a whole two days (we made our reservations Wednesday) to listen to this, and it would (of all things) be substituted by a METS GAME!?!? (it could have at least been a Yankee game ). Fortunately, the baseball game was never broadcast, so I got to listen to the ATC for the whole flight.
Here's a photo I took of the JFK ATC tower while taxiing.
We taxied uneventfully to runway 31L for departure. It was cool to hear, "United nine zero four heavy, cleared for takeoff runway three one left", and then immediately afterwards, we taxied onto the runway and up into the sky above NYC. I saw Coney Island shortly after departure, and we headed northeastbound over Long Island (looks pretty small from the air at night), Connecticut, and Massachusetts. We flew over Boston on our way out over the Atlantic, and at about that time, I got a pasta dinner which was pretty good (didn't eat too much because I had already eaten at the airport).
I stayed awake for a while, browsing the channels on my PTV, but around Greenland, I fell asleep for about 3.5 hours until I woke up right as the sun was starting to rise over the Atlantic Ocean.
Photo © Msh744
Flight attendants gave everybody a boxed breakfast. It consisted (this is the stuff I remember) of a croissant, jam and butter, and... well, that's all i remember... I stayed awake for the rest of the flight, watching the sunrise over the front of the wing. As we started to descend over Ireland (approximately), it hit me that we were not descnding into overcast skies. WOW! Could it be?!? A nice day in England in Spring? Nooooo. But it was! Hell had frozen over! (Ok, enough bashing England's weather). It was cool to see the English landscape from up high, as so represented in this pic.
Photo © Msh744
As we approached the London area, I noticed that we started to make a bunch of tight turns, which could only mean two things. 1. we were dumping fuel (uh oh...) or 2. holding pattern. Thankfully, it was option 2. The last time I had been in a holding pattern was when I was about 6 years old, and it was at HPN i think (only like one other jet with us). But the first real clue I got was when I watched a 767 and a 777 fly by going the opposite direction, separated vertically by 2000 feet probably.
After that, I saw tons of planes flying all around us. We flew around for about 10-15 minutes waiting for a slot to land on this busy Saturday morning. Here are some other shots from the holding pattern.
We flew by downtown London on our approach to runway 27R.
We taxied to a hardstand to deplane because there were no available jetway gates (occupied by all of these UA 777's)
It was pretty cool getting to deplane by airstairs at such a big airport. Here's a pic I took from an empty business class seat while waiting to deplane. I know, the horizon is really crooked...
We rode in a bmi bus under 747's, 777's and the like, and that was really cool to experience. I saw the Thai Royal Barge 744 while on the bus, which was quite a sight. We arrived in the terminal and went to customs, which went very smoothly. I've always wondered how the LHR customs agents can be so friendly for passenger after passenger. This was my second time arriving at LHR, and this was the second friendly customs agent I've had. Pretty nice touch. We then progressed on the miles of moving walkways to the Underground station, and into downtown London.
I hope you enjoyed reading this report. Comments are appreciated.
I hope to have a part 2 out soon.
[Edited 2003-10-13 06:36:18]