Date:25th Aug 2004
Aircraft: A320 F-OKRM
Flight MNJ1109 BEY-BJV
The flight was scheduled to depart at 9am,so I had to be at the airport two hours prior to the departure.I arrived to the airport at 7am,and the departures hall was incredibly crowded!It was until I had a look at the schedule screen that I could tell why it was so crowded;flights to North Africa,Europe and the Gulf were all departing together.
I went through the first security screening then proceeded to MenaJet’s check-in counter,but since it was a charter flight,MEA offered a check-in counter,and the tags as well as the boarding passes were done by MEA.After checking-in,I went through passport control which was very smooth,it took about 10mins,incredibly fast with a large number of travellers going through.After clearing the passport control I rushed to see the action on the tarmac,and it was rather interesting.A Royal Jordanian A310,a Qatar Airways A320,a Cyprus Airways A320 along with 3 MEA A321s were sitting at the gates waiting to depart.I then had a look at the goodies sold in Beirut’s DutyFree,everything ranging from electronics to food.About an hour to go before the flight departs,I went through the last security check and entered the Eastern Terminal which was rather crowded as the 3 MEA A321s and both QR and CY were departing from the Eastern Terminal.
Here's the aircraft I will be flying:
At 8.30 the gate was open and we were ready for boarding.Once onboard,I asked the F/A if I could enter the cockpit before we depart,with a hidden intention of jumpseating for takeoff!However,she asked me to take my seat while she asked the Captain.Moments later she showed up and told me that the Captain is busy preparing for takeoff & that I will be allowed to enter after that.I was assigned seat 7A,and here's what I had outside the window while on the ground,an MEA A321(F-ORMH,also my very first cockpit experience in that particular plane!) bound for Kuwait.
Pushback complete,and soon we were lined up on rwy21.The plane rocketed down the runway while I was videotaping the action and missed the chance of taking photos,and we went airborne!A right turn just after liftoff and we are cruising over the Mediterranean en route to Turkey.About 10mins in flight,the coast of Cyprus became visible to us
Meanwhile,club sandwiches and orange juice were being served.
The F/A then came to me and said that I can enter the cockpit now!I was excited to enter the cockpit,especially that it was daytime,as my first time in a cockpit was at night.It was an incredible view as we cruised over Cyprus,it really is the best office around!While the F/O contacted Nicosia center,I remained silent and enjoyed the view and of course checked our altitude and speed;as for the captain,he was drinking his coffee and minding his own business.I then had a little chat with the F/O and asked him about MenaJet's future plans,in case they are not granted permission to fly scheduled flights out of BEY,but he seemed not to have an adequate answer,so he kept saying "they should,they must".I finally asked him if I can jumpseat for landing,and he kindly answered "you're welcome".I went back to the cabin with a big grin on my face,as other people had a peek at the cockpit and the action taking place.Meanwhile I took another shot:
As we started our descent,the F/A asked me to enter the cockpit for my jumpseat ride.Unfortunately I did not take any photos while in the cockpit as I was videotaping the whole action.By the time I entered the cockpit,we were at FL140 and the view became more pleasant with all the surrounding mountains.We kept descending until we reached 6000ft,we then held this altitude for over 2mins to avoid the mountain ranges around.Here are some shots that my friend took from the back:
At 3000ft the landing gear was lowered,I found that a bit strange at such altitude,and the runway was already in sight.
The runway looked black as we approached it,it's surprising that they don't de-rubberize it! 500ft to go,everything looked perfect as we float down the runway and hit the tarmac very smoothly when the Captain applied the thrust reversers and slammed the brakes.The tower informed us to park at stand 8 which was all the way back at the tip of the runway we had just landed on,so it was a 180 turn to head to the stand.
I finally thanked the crew for giving me the chance to jumpseat as they wished me happy holidays and I was out.
Hope you enjoyed reading this report,I'll be writing another one about the flight back,so let me know about any missing details or something you'd like to know about.Regards.