1st May 2004
A319-131 G-EUPL Seat 1F
Departure Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1145/1155
Arrival Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1240/1245
Photo © Peter Meid
I checked in online the night before my flight and assigned myself seat 1F. I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 1 on Saturday morning and put my Executive Club card into the self-service check-in machine to print out my boarding pass. I was also able to choose a seat and print out a boarding pass for my return flight on Sunday. There was no queue for security screening so I went straight through and picked up an orange juice from Costa. I watched the landings on 09L for a while and then I waited in the BA domestic departure lounge at gate 5. Boarding started through gate 5D at 1125. There was no priority boarding or calling of rows - everyone could board straight away. I boarded the aircraft and didn’t have far to walk to get to my seat 1F! British Airways have an all-economy cabin on UK domestic flights so I used to opportunity to sit at the very front of the aircraft on a cheap ticket!
Other passengers continued to board and the aircraft filled right up to capacity. There were comfortable dark blue leather seats throughout the aircraft. One kid got on and started shouting “Mum! Look! Leather seats in Economy!!!”
Because there was no seat in front of me the table was located in the armrest, so the top could be lifted up to fold out the table. We pushed back a couple of minutes late and waited quite a while to take off – there was a long queue of 12 aircraft in front of us to depart on 09R. One thing that I noticed about the A319 and all the other IAE powered A320 family aircraft I’ve been on is that the engines are very quiet during taxi. Eventually we lined up and started the takeoff roll without stopping. The takeoff and climb were quiet and smooth – very comfortable but not too exciting for an aviation enthusiast!
The TV screen dropped down displaying a flight map and information about the progress of the flight. The maximum altitude we reached was 18,000ft. The cabin crew came round with “All Day Deli” packs and then the bar service. I had a slice of Apple Crumble Cake to eat and a Stella Artios to drink. The cake wasn’t too bad and a can of Stella is always good.
The crew were friendly and did well to get everyone their food and drink on such as short flight. After a short cruise the seatbelt sign came back on and we descended into Manchester. The weather in London was horrible and grey, but there were clear blue skies in Manchester! We landed and slowed down without the use of reverse thrust. I don’t usually like to jump out of my seat as soon as we get on stand and have to queue in the aisle for ages, but one of the advantages of sitting in row 1 is being able to get up and walk straight out the door.
I had a good day out in the sun at MAN with forum members MYT332, Airplanepics and MikeC. I saw ‘my’ Concorde G-BOAC for the first time since October. Of course it’s sad seeing her on display in the aviation viewing park knowing that I’ve been inside her looking down at the earth from 57,000ft, but she did look fantastic in the sun!
A pic of me standing underneath her, courtesy of MYT332.
I had a fun night out clubbing with MYT. He might claim that I lost his jacket, but don’t believe a word of it!
British Airways BA1393 MAN-LHR
2nd May 2004
Boeing 757-236 G-CPER Seat 31A
Departure Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1210/1205
Arrival Time (Scheduled/Actual): 1315/1310
Photo © Lolo
I had checked in for the flight at LHR on Saturday so I didn’t arrive at the airport until 1130. I said goodbye to MYT and went through security. Looking through the departure lounge windows I could see G-CPER waiting on the stand. I was looking forward to flying on the 757 because I’d heard that their takeoff and climb performance was very impressive.
Boarding started through gate 143 at 1145. Stepping on board the aircraft there were noticeable differences to the A319. The cabin was separated into three sections by bulkheads with the first two sections having leather seats and the rear section having cloth seats. There were TV monitors mounted above the aisle rather then the flip-down ones above the seats on the A319. I made my way down the aircraft to my seat 31A. We pushed back a few minutes early and the safety demonstration was performed manually, unlike the video that was played on the A319.
We reached the runway and lined up. I was looking forward to the takeoff and I was not disappointed! The Rolls Royce RB211 engines spooled up and we got moving quickly. I thought that was it, but after a few seconds the engine’s whining sound turned into a roar and I got a right kick up the backside! I was shoved right back into my seat as we thundered down the runway and got rotated after about 15-20 seconds!
The climb rate was very impressive, as captured by MYT on his phone camera.
The All Day Deli service started. I was given a pack with a ham, cheese and pickle sandwich, Kit Kat chocolate biscuit and a cup of water. The sandwich was very tasty and filling. The bar trolley came round and I asked the crew member for a G&T. She gave me the drink, and then winked and said “it’s happy hour so have a couple for tonight on me” and gave me another 2 small bottles of gin! Little touches like that are the things that make you want to keep flying BA.
With the steep rate of climb we reached an altitude of 24,000ft. The Captain announced that he had anticipated a 36 minute flight time and an early arrival at Heathrow, but ATC were going to put us in the Bovingdon VOR Hold for 20 minutes which would mean an on-schedule arrival. We entered the stack and I got a really nice view out the window. Two BA 747-436 and a 777-236 looked like they were flying in formation together, though of course they had the usual separation between them. One of those moments I wished I had a camera!
We left the stack and started the approach to Heathrow’s runway 27L. I got a nice view of LCY and the Thames Barrier. During final approach it got quite bumpy so there were a few “oooh!”s and “ahhh!”s coming from around the cabin. I enjoyed the interesting ride though.
We floated above the runway for a moment before touching down smoothly and again slowed without reverse thrust. We waited a couple of minutes for our stand to become free. I stayed in my seat until most people had got off. Leaving the aircraft the captain was stood by the door personally thanking every passenger which I thought was a nice gesture.
British Airways impressed me on these flights and I think they have an excellent domestic product. My next trip on them will be on a 737 LGW-MAN-LGW for the airnet meet in July.
Any comments or questions are welcome.