30th July 2004
So it’s 5:30am and my alarm wakes me up. I lie there for a moment in a daze listening to Lola’s Theme then it suddenly clicks, “Sh*t, im going to Boston today!” I jump up out of bed, head rush, fall about my room then head off to the shower.
In just over 45 minutes myself and the rest of my family, so that’s the parents and lil Dildo err Dylan (foster brother), are showered, fed and we’re ready to leave for the airport. After a brief struggle between us and a German, that’s our car I mean, we fit all our luggage into the boot, Americans look under Trunk and we set off for Manchester Airport.
We arrive at BCP Premier Car Park in the persisting rain and hurriedly get everything out of the car, hand over our keys then get on the courtesy bus to T3
After a brief drive to the terminal, on which I see our plane is already on stand, we arrive at departures and go inside to check in. We go up to the top floor which is departures and head over to the American Airlines desks which are now open and checking in their flights 55 and 95 to Chicago and Boston respectively.
When we finally reach the front of the first queue we are handed over some Green Cards and asked the most absurd questions like, “When did you purchase your luggage?” and “Where did you pack your cases?” I didn’t see much relevance to this line of questioning; I mean our answers where, “I don’t know, 6 months ago and at Home?” Maybe they were looking for answers like, “I bought them off Sheikh Abu Hamza yesterday and packed them at the market”? Anyway…..
We pass through security; my dad got searched as he always does, then we continued onto the departures lounge.
Looking at the time we had just over 2 hours to go before boarding and with nothing much else to do we decided to go sit down at the gate in front of our aircraft.
The terminal seemed pretty deserted where we were and we had about 100+ seats to ourselves which was nice. I sat watching the inbound Trans-Atlantic flights land for a while. I was kind of mesmerised as these huge giants swooped out of the low cloud base and kissed 24R while seeming to not make a sound.
After a while my dad returned, not like I noticed he had gone in the first place! He returned with offerings of alcohol and food. I wasn’t too keen on drinking at such an early hour but in true Gkirk style I did it, I was on holiday after all!
We started boarding right on time. AA
boards using groups as many of you know and since we were seated on row 35 near the back, we were part of group B which was first to be called for boarding. We handed over Dylan’s pram to the gate agent (who didn’t work for Aviance, so was very nice and I liked) and we were handed a receipt back.
The label that was attached to the pram.
We walked down the air bridge and onto our long pencil and took our seats near the back on row 35. After a while we got a very British sounding ‘welcome on board’ from the MAN
ground crew followed by a notice for all people not going to Boston to get off the aircraft.
We pushed and started all the while with the wings hanging down just a little bit more than usual. If we didn’t already, then we really should have had our call sign as American 95 Heavy as were just that
We pushed back at just after 12:10 at which time the airport had switched to single runway operations just 10 minutes prior. With Terminal 3’s proximity to runway 24R, we only had a very short taxi although there was a queue of 3 or 4 ahead. One of these aircraft was MYT A321 G-NIKO whom I flew back from TFS
back in Sept 2001. I smiled as she went thundering past on another mission to the Med. The captain then gave a brief message as we were holding, a new one to me, then gave the seats for takeoff instruction.
Soon enough we lined up on the runway and we were left in anticipation while we waited for our clearance for takeoff. The airport pub was visible just behind and to my right and I knew we must have looked pretty good to the punters in the garden, best 757 around eh, sorry TCX!
View from the pub garden, ok so our plane that day was a lil bit smaller!
With a large grumble then a lot of shaking, 87,000lbs of thrust sent us hurtling down the runway. I’ve never experienced such a loud takeoff on a 757 before and it sounded like the thing had been fitted with re-heat! We got airborne just past the Aviation Viewing Park then climbed out nice and steadily.
At this point I’d like the say thanks to the man Dazultra who braved the crappy weather we were having that day to take a few shots of our takeoff. Hats off to ya here, cheers! (Unfortunately due to the crap weather conditions he didn’t bother trying to upload many to a.net)
This is the photo Daz sent to me, cant believe I’m in there!
We continued our climb into the now blue skies and by the time we had reached the coast it was so clear that I could actually see Blackpool Tower which I thought was pretty cool. We headed out over Ronaldsway then onto Belfast, over Ireland then out into the Atlantic, yep in a 757.
The Isle of Man
We finally reached our cruising altitude somewhere over western Ireland which was an almighty 28,000ft! Kind of pathetic really but it did the job. The first in-flight movie being shown was Starsky and Hutch which I watched since I hadn’t seen it yet.
Just before the movie we were served the first bar service on which only soft drinks were complimentary. I decided to go for something a little stronger although not knowing too much about American laws on alcohol I was a little weary on asking for a Heineken. However they didn’t have any problem what so ever serving me (yea im 18). Maybe it was something to do with the fact we were in International Airspace, or maybe I just looked 21. The drink was served with complimentary pretzels which I hate with a passion but it was AA
The drinks service finished and the purser gave out a request for everyone to shut their window blinds as it would enable everyone to see the over head TV
’s better. Most people complied although at this point I had definitely been given the impression we were at a movie theatre not on a Trans Atlantic flight. The message so far had been, don’t get up / congregate in the aisles, only 3 people are allowed to queue for the loo. Then it was sit down, enjoy your drink and watch the movie
All we were really missing was the popcorn and this.
Our meal was served just after the movie. I had a choice of surprisingly Chicken or Beef and I opted for the later. Relatively speaking it wasn’t that bad, 500mph, 5.3 miles high over the Atlantic I was hardly going to complain if the beef was stringy, get real. However it was fine and it certainly filled the void in my stomach. I had a small bottle of red wine to accompany my meal which made it even more enjoyable.
After the meal service and about 3 1/2 hours of the flight, two year old Dylan fell asleep so we covered him up with a red AA
blanket and reclined his seat. He was being really well behaved and hadn’t cried at all and this was his first flight too.. The second bar service was now brought out and I again had another Heineken. Well it was that or Miller or Bud light which isn’t really beer is it. Its just pi…… well, we all know what it is!
I then sat back with most people around me now asleep. The second movie was being shown and I can’t actually remember what it was but it was some sort of western thing and it looked crappier than Ryanair. I sneakily lifted my window blind to see where we where, at this point I was really missing my moving map display.
Apparently we were south of Greenland as I could see icebergs and in the distance some whitish looking rocky land. I decided to take a few shots of this as it looked kind of nice. I was getting pretty good views since we were lower than average.
Just after I put my camera away I went back to sipping on my beer looking out the window when all of a sudden I had to do this double take like some comedy act on TV
. When I looked there was a rather humungous A340 looming behind us offset to the right ever so slightly and about 1500 feet above us? My heart started beating pretty dam fast and I rushed to get my camera back out. I took few photos as quick as I could but I figured id be best with my camcorder as it has the greater zoom. I wasn’t too sure if it was Swiss or Austrian at first but it definitely had a red tail. However after a bit of skill I’ve figured out it was an A342 of Austrian heading to JFK
under flight number 087, well I think. Please tell me if you think otherwise, I don’t mind.
Well after things settled back down or should I say I settled back down I decided id try get some sleep. I managed about 30 minutes when I was woken up by the RB
-211’s as we climbed up to 30,000ft. I guess at this point we must have burned off enough fuel to make it that high.
Well the second film soon finished and with just over an hour and a half to go the second meal service was served. This was a rather lousy looking deep pan pizza and a dish full of grapes. I decided to pass on this since I can’t eat cheese but even so, I doubt I would have eaten that. Dylan seemed to like it though.
Here’s photo of him with 3 dishes full of grapes, apple juice and 2 pizzas.
With the IFE now showing some CBS programme in Spanish of all things I got up for just the second time of the flight and used the facilities. I looked around to do some Khoa style testing but alas there was nothing much in there. I returned to my seat a bit let down.
The descent soon came around and I was pretty much looking forward to getting off. Saying that though, it was in no way connected to the fact it was a B757 I was on. I found the seats to be comfortable and the leg room to be more than ample. The service was good although I did find some of the older cabin crew a little grouchy. A few minor problems I found with the flight would be the inactive air phones which are installed in all centre seats, apparently not working since March 2002. The other thing was that I couldn’t quite see the TV
’s too well as the over head bins took up half the screen. I constantly found myself encroaching onto the space of the seat next to me. Luckily it was only Dylan or my Parents.
We made a nice slow descent tracking about 5 miles of the coast at all times. Visibility decreased as we got lower but we still had nice views of the ocean below. The speed brake was raised closer to landing then the flaps started to get lowered. The now light weight B757 had its old kick back as we made for the approach to runway 09 at Logan Intl. The gear was finally lowered and we made our way in passing Winthrop beach on the way. In front of us on the approach was a US Airways A319 and behind us was a company MD
We finally made land at 13:49 and this was in fact the runway. We touched down smoothly then unlike BA
, we used reverse thrust which is the best way to slow down isn’t it??
We taxied off at the high speed exit then slowly made our way to Terminal E, gate E7, crossing runways 4 left and right as we went. The purser then read out all possible flight connections you could be making and included the gate number you would be connecting from. Luckily this was our final stop and I was looking forward to the weekend I was going to be spending in Boston.
At the gate we had a slight wait while everyone got off the aircraft but since the f/a’s had taken a shine to Dylan they took the opportunity to knick a few cans for us that were going spare, rather nice of the f/a’s I thought. Perks of having a baby with you eh. We had a short wait when we finally got off the plane and this was waiting for Dylan’s pram to be brought to the air bridge. We then made our way to immigration and off into the now DNC ridden city.
Right click here and ‘Save Target As’ to download the flight video
We returned via LHR
so I’ll write that report when I can
[Edited 2004-08-16 23:21:17]
One Life, Live it.