Sunday 3rd August 2003
Flight No: BA203
Equipment: Boeing 767-336/ER
Photo © T Silgrim
Photo © Art Brett - AirTeamImages
Gate: 4a (I think it was this one, Terminal 4)
Scheduled Departure Time: 12.35
Actual Departure Time: 12.40
Scheduled Arrival Time: 15.50
Actual Arrival Time: 16.10
This year, I decided to go with BA for two reasons. The first is that I wanted to see what their service was like trans-atlantic, as I had never been with BA across the pond before. Secondly, they were cheaper this year than NW.
That morning I had to leave my house at 8.30am for the 1 hour drive to LHR. We drove around the M25 and a little bit on the M4. We arrived at LHR's Terminal 4 at about 9.45. It was a good thing we got there early, because there was a very big queue at the World Traveller check in desks. But as usual, the BA staff were doing all they could to check passengers in quickly and efficientely. A Securicor guard came up to me and asked me where I was travelling to. I said 'Detroit' and she asked me to go with her. I didn't know what I did wrong but as it turned out, if you are travelling to the US, if you are asked for your luggage to be hand checked, you have to have it done. So the lady took me to a man who checked through my suitcase and after that I went through security and went to the gate. I suppose it is a good thing that they are doing that!! At the gate there was a lot of waiting around, due to the fact that I got there pretty early.
I went around the shops for a bit, had a McDonalds, bought some headphones from Dixons and then an announcement came over the tanoy that our flight has started boarding. So I joined the queue at the gate, proceeded down the jetty, went down some steps and got onto a coach. We had to go to a remote stand. There was a little wait next to the aircraft to get onto the aircraft. But it was summer time and the weather was great, so I didn't mind that. I sat down into a comfy 32F. By this time it was 11.55 and we still had another 20 minutes before the gate closed. We were near the runway so I concentrated on the runway for the most of that waiting period. The load factor for this flight was 100%. At 12.15, the doors closed, the engines started and we were pushed back. We had the standard safety announcement and we taxied to 27L. We had to wait about 15 mintues before taking off though. There was a very long queue of aircraft waiting to take off. Unfortunately, the runway was on the left, but I was on the right so I couldn't watch the planes take off. At 12.40, we took off. Just like the DC-10, this baby had some power in it!! I could really feel the G's!! We lifted off, went through the fluffy clouds and ascended to FL370.
An hour into the flight we were served food. It was a choice of chicken or beef. I chose chicken, which was a chicken curry with rice. Tasted excellent! That came with a brownie. On a lot of flight's ive been on, you get a brownie. But I like them so thats a bonus! After the food came the IFE.The first film was Agent Cody Banks. I watched the first 20 minutes but lost concentration, because of the position of the TV. I had to look straight up and look left to see the TV. After that came the duty free. I bought a deck of cards. It has pictures of a number of aircraft which BA have used over the past 50 years or so.
The cabin crew on this flight were very polite and very human. When I say very human, I mean that you could have quite a lengthly chat with them if you wanted to. I have a conversation with one of them about becoming a pilot and he was saying about joining the RAF and so on.
Here is a picture over the east coast of Canada:
Apart from the IFE, not much else happened in this flight. When started descended when we were 30 minutes away from DTW and the captain announced where we were exactly. The clouds coming into DTW were pretty amazing. They were all very tall and we circled around a number of the clouds at about 250 knots. The approach was very clear and very smooth. I could really feel the reverse thrust too!!
We taxied to the very, very small Berry terminal, which was quite old too. I got off the plane and got the courage together to go through immigration. By this I mean I was hoping it wouldnt be the same as last year where they asked me questions like 'do you parents know your'e here?' and so on. This lady this time was asking stuff like 'when do you go back to school?' and she wanted to know all about my friends.
The baggage was 5 minute wait, mine was one of the last one's to come out. An enjoyable flight, comfortable and relaxing, as always with BA!!
In-Flight Service: 10/10 (really happy with the service)
Collection Of Baggage: 9/10
Flight In General: 9/10
Monday 18th August 2003
Flight No: BA202
Equipment: Boeing 767-336/ER
Photo © MIKE MOORES
Photo © STUART PRINCE
Gate: 1 (Berry Terminal)
Scheduled Departure Time: 18.05
Actual Departure Time: 18.20
Scheduled Arrival Time: 6.40
Actual Arrival Time: 6.44
We left my friend's house at 10am to go to Detroit. We got to DTW's Berry terminal at 4pm for the 18.05 flight to LHR. I entered into the very small terminal to find 4 BA check-in desks. This was the only flight in the whole terminal. I waited only about 4 or 5 minutes to check in, went up to the escalator and went through security. The guards were miserable and grumpy!! So I got through, went to the gate, which was a 10 seconds walk from security, and waited. There was a small shop with sweets and sourveniers. I bought some chewing gum and spent the rest of the time looking at the runway. There was a big window, next to the gate and the vew was the runway that we were about to take off from. It didn't seem to busy today.
Boarding started at 5pm. I got onto the plane and took my seat. once again, very comfy. The load factor for the flight was 100%, so boarding took quite a while. This route is obviously porfitable for BA, as in October, they have upgraded the route to a 777. The safety announcements were announced and we took a very short taxi to the runway. The taxi only took 30 seconds because the terminal was right next to the runway. We took off straight away, a few of the overhead compartments came open as full throttle was applied, but there was nothing that anybody could have done about it at this point. We climed to FL360 and the FA's brought the food around. The food wasn't so grea this time. it was a weird salad thign was a chinese dressing. Not as good as the outward leg
Now I know this sounds soppy, but I was writing to one of my friend's in Michigan saying thank you for havig me and so forth and the FA must have read the letter over my shoulder. It was quite funny really because the FA smiled at me as she walked up the aircraft with the trolley. She then came back to me later on the flight andsaid something like 'so have you got a picture of her?'. So I showed the FA a picture of the person I was writing to (who was a girl) and she just smiled. I was travelling with someone else, and they told me that when I fell asleep, the FA went up to them and said 'i think he's in love' or something like that. I found the whole thing very funny!!
Finding Nemo was put on the IFE, but I didn't watch it, I just tried to sleep. The only thing I don't like about night flights is that I always feel so dirty afterwards!! Here is a picture of the sunrise as seen from the plane:
Photo © Ben Green
The flight went on, and about 45 minutes away from LHR, we started our descent. There were a nice clouds formation below us:
Photo © Ben Green
The clouds turned red and the sun rose furthur:
We had to circle around London for quite a long time. The pilot re-assured us that even though the aircraft flying around us looked close, they were at least 1000ft apart. I could see what he meant!! When we did finally line up to 27L, the aircraft got caught in the wake of another aircraft 4 miles ahead!!! An FA was explaining about a charity that BA supports then all of a sudden she stopped. We dropped vertically sharply and it was VERY scary! I mean, I like turbulence, but this was just scary!!!! The captain came onto the radio afterwards and told us what happened. "Ladies and gentlemen I do apolgise for that, we got caught in the wake of another aircraft which is 4 miles ahead of us".
There was not a cloud in the sky and it was very light. We touched down onto British soil and taxied to the gate. I said my goodbye to the crew, and said goodbye to the FA that I had spoken to earlier in the flight. I remember her saying something like 'don't worry, you'll become an old crow like me one day'. She ony looked about 25 years old. I still found the whole situation funny. We got off the plane, and the terminal was SWARMING WITH PEOPLE!!! The person I was travelling with has an American father and thus an American passport. The queue for non-eu citizens was about an hour to 2 hours long!! I went through to get our baggage, and I might aswell have waited with him. I waited for an hour and a half for our luggage!! Aparentely there was a 'technical problem'. When the baggage finally did come, so did my friend, they both came at the same time! This was the only dispointment for the flight. When we did get our baggage, we discovered that both of them had been opened and checked in Detroit! There was a leaflet in it, explaining why they did it. It seemed like it was just a random check.
In-Flight Service: 10/10 (Excellent service and another friendly cabin crew)
Collecion of Baggage: 3/10
Flight In General: 8/10
I would definitey choose BA over NW for this route again!
[Edited 2004-04-12 01:15:45]
[Edited 2004-04-12 01:17:32]