checked-in soon after only to be given sequence number 105! The main check-in area at PIK could do with a major refurb as I'm sure anyone who's experienced it would agree.
As well as a rectangular piece of wood with 'FR418' we had an A4 piece of paper with the flight details printed off onto it as an indication of what desks to use!
You have to wait in the departure lounge with a view of precisely nothing until your flight is called where you then go straight through and board,
so no gates to wait at as such.
FR418 19th October
Boeing 737-800 EI-CTA
Photo © Josep Duran - IBERIAN SPOTTERS
Actual: Can't remember, on-time.
Although the thunderstorm had long gone, the weather was still pretty bad so no photos to begin with,
boarded in the second batch after 1-65, queueing to get up the front stairs so 'speed walked' to the rear stairs where there was no-one(!) queueing and took a seat in 23F.
To our left was EI-DAZ which had arrived from Gothenberg about 20mins beforehand.
We pushed back and were introduced to our cabin crew, they were all foreign(Spanish I think) and their English was far from great
so most the time I was unsure of what they were trying to say to the passengers.
Pushed back and taxiied to r/w 13 for a swift take-off, no stopping, and soon enough we were blasting skywards,
but before you could complement the excellent views of the ayrshire countryside we entered the thick blanket of cloud that had been hanging over PIK all morning.
A couple of minutes later we burst through it to reveal that clear blue sky that symbolises flying!
We turned South and headed for STN, not sure what the pilot was trying to tell us but I couldn't make it out
so was unsure of our cruising altitude.
The skies seemed particularly busy on this Tuesday afternoon, never seen so much traffic, so close, on a domestic flight.
Most of it was heading North, so it was a blink and you'll miss it situation. A bmi A321 got particularly close as it passed right underneath it,
unfortunately my reactions weren't up to the job!
About 40mins or so after we left PIK, we commenced our descent into STN.
It soon became apparent that we were on an approach for r/w 23 at STN.
The weather had improved a bit now, well atleast it wasn't raining!
There seemed to be a few particularly large left and right hand turns on approach which I don't remember from previous times, a holding pattern?
Quite a firm touchdown followed at STN on r/w 23 and some major braking.
We then taxied in to the domestic pier at STN past the FLS hangers, where D-AVRA was present,
presumably routine maintainance. and past the cargo ramp(I noticed the Fedex ramp was empty) with the ever impressive control tower STN has in the background,
gives a fairly good impression of what EDI's will look like when finished.
We parked up next to an Aurigny Saab 340 with 2 or 3 EZY 737s on the left hand side.
Then you here the clicking and unbuckling of the seat belts by what seemed like all the passengers(flight was 100% full)
before the engines were off and before the seat belt sign was off.
FR407 20th October
Boeing 737-800 EI-DAX
Photo © Nick Salmon
Checked-in about 1.5 hrs before and got sequence number 30. Headed straight to security,
where there was hundreds of people piling through, luckily there was just about enough machines in use to keep the queues moving fairly quickly.
Waited at gate 81 for boarding to be called,
but of course as soon as there is the slightest sign of action from the gate agent everyone runs for the gate, only to queue to 25 mins.
Boarding commenced and I was one of the first dozen or so on the aircraft, the weather couldn't get much worse,
visibility was awful so got a bit wet walking across the tarmac. Took a seat in 10A just in front of the left engine.
This flight was also full, no more than a couple of empty seats. Pushed back slightly late
at the same time as a Jet2 B733 G-CELZ next to us. A 'boy-racer' style taxi to r/w 23 followed! Typical of FR I guess.
Again a rolling take-off occurred, the next couple of pics highlight quite nicely the lovely weather at STN that morning.
An NCA 747F! Had never seen one before. Don't be fooled, STN isn't all just EZY and FR!
We were into the cloud before we had even left the airport boundries!
Eventually broke through the cloud and we found a partner to travel up to Scotland with. The BA A319(?) was headed for EDI I think because as we cut West, it headed East. Never had such a good view of an aircraft inflight!
It helped that we were both travelling in the same direction.
Not long after I had lost sight of the BA A319 that dreaded announcement was made,
"Are there any Doctors or Nurses on board?". Never experienced that personally before so it wasn't too great to hear it, a few people came forward and huddled around the front toilet,
this went on for 10mins or so then they all went away, so I came to the conclusion it couldn't have been anything too major.
In the end the guy appeared from the toilet and took his seat again looking a bit off colour, it seemed that his breakfast had had a minor disagreement with his stomach. Either that or he was just generally feeling ill,
either way I'm just glad it wasn't as serious as some of these situations can be!
So after that episode, we soon started our descent into PIK. The weather was better but was far from great, still cloudy with some showers. Once we had broken through the cloud we got a better view of the Ayrshire countryside.
Less than an hour after we had left STN we found ourselves on final approach into r/w 31 at PIK.
A smooth touchdown followed and then out the window I caught sight of the Heavylift Shorts Belfast! So between STN and PIK I've managed to see a fair amount of rare sights. Next to it was an FR B732,
the latest one to be retired it would seem as it wasn't yet with the rest of them on the other side of the airfield?
We taxiied in and joined EI-DAZ(again) on the apron which was just departing for Gothenburg.
Got a couple of pics of EI-DAX afer we had deboarded.
Through arrivals with no problems and it was goodbye PIK, stuck in the 1960s and in need of a good refurbishment,
I'm a bit disappointed they've closed the viewing terrace.
Well, for less than £20 return I can't complain!
[Edited 2004-10-22 16:22:42]
[Edited 2004-10-22 16:25:00]
[Edited 2004-10-22 16:30:51]