Hi people, this is my first post @ airliners.net. I just though i would let you know about my trip out to CMH to visit my girlfriend and her parents.
My itinery was as follows:
BD702: IAD-MAN dep17.55-arr06.05
unfortunately, my itinery didn't work out how it was booked, but i will come to that later.
I got to MAN early on the Sunday morning, as i like to check in early then spend some time watching the movements out on the tarmac, but also today because i knew the LAS and ORD flights were leaving before mine, so i expected a queue at check in.
When i arrived at about 8.15am, there were about 10people in the economy check in queue. I joined the queue and waited, it was moving fairly quickly, of course first you have to queue to answer questions by the security team and then join the actual check-in queue, which i agree with a few extra minutes to keep the skies safer.
As it happened the security guy who was working the business class line, called me over and asked me my final destination, and the usual security questions, and then put me into the economy check in queue.
When i eventually got to the front, i was met by a young guy on the otherside of the desk, who was about my age, he asked where i was heading and what i had planned, while he typed away, i asked him if it would be possible for a window seat, he said as i was one of the first here to check in for the dulles flight it wouldn't be a problem. He then said would i be interested in a seat in the "new economy," I said that would be great, and could i still get a window seat, i tried not to sound to excited, as this was my first upgrade.
After loading my cases onto the scales and taking my tickets, i headed for some breakfast, although burger king isnt the most healthy breakfast, it allowed me to sit by the windows and watch what was happening out on the airfield.
After eating my breakfast i headed for the shops to get some water, sweets and a magazine for the flight.
I then headed through passport control, for the departure lounge.Once through i sat down and checked my tickets allocation for the flights.
I had seat 12A on the BMI flight and 3D for the internal flight. unfortunately i remembered from previous posts on a.net, had said that 12a on BMI 330's didn't have its own window! Not to worry though, with bmi's great inflight entertainment, and the birds eye views of outside the aircraft, im sure i would survive.
I sat waiting for my gate allocation to come up, although i had already seen the A330's sat down around gates 25-29. The LAS flight had already departed, and left were the reg's WWBD and WWBM, WWbd, of course looking smart in the Star Alliance livery. having flown previously on BM and CTA (Switzerland)">BB, i was hoping for my first flight on BD in that awesome livery. Not that the BMI 330 livery doesn't look great, i think it is one of the best liveries around.
Eventually, the gate allocation came up, i can't actually remember the exact gate, but im pretty sure it was 29, right up to the top end of the pier at terminal 1. As i headed up their, i watched a few of the heavies from T2 head out to the runway, including a PIA747. ASi got to the gate, i was met by the view of WWBD being loaded! Excellent!
I took a couple of pics, but im not 100%sure how to include them into this report.
I sat waiting for the boarding, with about an hour to go until push back time came, as i gazed round the terminal, a male captain and female first officer came walking past and headed down the ramp to get onboard WWBD, this is the first time i will have flown with a female officer on the flight deck.
Eventually as the gate area filled up, the gate personnel came over the tannoy and started saying something, that really couldnt be heard, it was as if she was trying to say it, but not broadcast it, any way the jist of the message was boarding will commence soon. They then began boarding families, and of course the lucky people flying in business class! not me im afraid, although i had got an upgrade it wasnt the full works!
Eventually i was one of the last people on the aircraft, as they load it from the back first, and being row12 i had a longtime to wait.
When my time finally came i grabbed a complimentary bottle of water and todays paper and headed down the pier to board WWBD. I was met at the door by the very friendly and polite cabin crew who directed me to my seat. My seat mate for the flight was not in place yet, so i unpacked everything i was going to need for the flight and loaded my bag into the overhead bin.
I sat down and gazed out of the window infront and behind me, as i didn't have my own. But before too long they were in the process of closing the doors and were heading round with the complimentary flight bags containing, socks, blindfold, toothbrush etc and handing out the menu's for todays flight. The min courses were Chicken Korma with pilau rice, Pork and apple sausages with mash potato or vegetable lasagne for the non meat option, followed by cheese and biscuits and ice cream.
As we started the push back about 20mins latefor our departure, i turned to the inflight entertainment to get a view of what they could see on the flight deck, just as we started taxiing forwards, the inflight video came on and knocked off the IFE. By the time it had finished we were sat out on the taxiway by the hold point for 24R with a BAE146 sat in front of us, he taxied into position and took straight off. I thought we would pretty much position and hold after him, but we taxied upto the hold point and waited. The captain then came on for the first time, and said there were a couple of aircraft inbound and we could be about 10mins before we get airborne.
Eventually after2 aircraft landed, one of which was a fellow bmi fleet member, we taxied into position, and on the cockpit view, i could just see the bmi aircraft that had landed taxiing off the runway, no sooner had he cleared onto the parallel taxiway, then the RR's fired upto full power and we set off down the runway. about two thirds of the way down, the nose wheel was up and the main gear not far behind as we were off to Dulles. We were about 45mins late getting the wheels up. On the way out from the airport i switched to the down view from the aircraft and watched as a right turn and a steep climb took us further from the airfield.
When we got into a steady climb, the flight crew came round with the first drinks service, from which i had fresh orange, and a glass of water, i try and avoid alcohol on flights as it has knocks me out completely! Something to do with the altitude and pressure i think.
Anyway, the captain came on and apologized for the delay getting airborne, but he said we would be heading to FL390 for most of the flight, and we should be into Dulles on time, although the last 90mins of the flight could be a little turbulent as they were forecasting low pressure and heavy rain! Being an aviation enthusiast, i dont mind a good bit of turbulence along the ride. He then went on to say, that he wouldn't bother us again on the flight until we were starting our descent.
After this i plugged myself into the IFE, and played on a few games, and then watched, Team America World Police. Half way through they served lunch, i went for the chicken korma option, and wasnt dissapointed. One thing i cant fault is the food on BMI. After the meal i spent 20mins gazing out of the camera on the bottom of the plane watching ships pass beneath us in the Atlantic.
I then watched The Incredibles. They were the only two films that i wanted to watch, there were other options, but not really to my taste. So i tried to get my head down for an hour as we had been told it was going to be an uneventful flight.
I awoke to the smell of pizza, about 45mins later, it was a choice of cheese and tomato or ham and cheese, with olives. I went for the ham, and picked of the olives. After the snack, i put on the cockpit view from the camera and watched. The interactive map on the wall showed us south of NYC down the coast with about 60mins to arrival on the wall. as we made our turn inland to head for dulles. There was more and more cloud appearing infront of us, and in the distance were clouds that towered above our flight level, we were now @FL310.
About 15mins later the captain turned on the seatbelt signed and told us we had started our descent and should be on the ground in about 20mins, although he said this could change, as we are currently on approach for 1R, but the winds and runways have been changing all day, and should this happen it may be a few more minutes. The cabin crew were still in the process of collecting rubbish and checking people had immigration and customs forms.
out of the front view, there was nothing but cloud, and the plane had stared hitting some fairly heavy chops.
What happened next, i have never experienced before, but there was an almighty bang, not quite an explosion, but it was hellishly loud and shook the aircraft, and came from behind where i was sat. There were a few screams, and the cabincrew all came from the front, and headed back into economy. When they returned, a few were smiling, and reasuuring passengers that there was nothing to worry about. Then the captain came over the speakers and announced we had just been struck by lightening. His next line was the best, and i think did alot to reassure people that everything was ok, "do not worry folks, everything is fine, and lightening isn't like buses, it doesn't come in 2's and 3's!" I thought that was a cool line, if anything was wrong, he could have fooled people by that comedy one liner.
As the numbers fell of the altimeter we were still in the cloud, the base must have been about 2/3000ft. When we finally got below it, the rain was hammering it down, i could see the runway upahead, and the pilot seemed to be doing a little bit of crabbing of the plane, as the wind looked strong. As we came down to the runway, considering the weather, the plane came gently down, and as we did, water was spraying up onto the wings, i looked down to see the thrust reveresers open up on the rolls royces! As we taxied in, the captain thanked us, and apologized for the bumpy ride.
Of course when we got to the gate at dulles our plane was met by two of the buses used to take us to the terminal. When we got to the terminal, the queue for immigration was ridiculous! I assume that getting in @3pm, is one of the later flights to get in, but the queue for non us citizens was back to the door into the building. I knew that even though our flight got in on time@3pm, i was going to be pushed to make my connecting flight at 17.05, the queue slowly, moved, and it got to 4.30 and i still wasnt at the front, boarding for my flight was @16.45 over in the G terminal i think it was called, where the embraers of UAX leave from. finally at 16.40 i got to the front and did the business of answering questions and the security procedures, and then ran like hell to grab my cases, i cleared customs and dropped my cases with the transfer personnel, who were hidden behind a mountain of cases, i knew at this point, i would be lucky if i saw my cases in CMH when i got there. I ran to find the buses to the satellite terminal, luckily one was there, although the driver wasnt to keen to go anywhere in a rush! Eventually i made it to the G-terminal, and ran to gate 9, where they were calling boarding for a flight to savannah. I asked the gate attendant if my flight had left! Fortunately there were still waiting for the crew to turn up so i made the flight, which departed about 25mins late!
Unfortunately i made my flight but my luggage didn't, it didn't make the first two flights the next day either! i got it 24hours later than i got there, but at least i got it, thats the main thing. On the way out there, i had a lot of firsts: upgrade, female first officer and lightening strike!
Return Leg, me and my girlfriend were flying back together. We checked into columbus at lunchtime on the 6th and our flight was ontime upto dulles, unfortunately, we should have checked further ahead!
When we boarded our flight from Cmh to Dulles, it was an ERJ135, operated by Chautauqua airlines, i think thats how its spelt. Weh n the doors were locked and we were pushing back, the pilot came on, and told us we would be at FL23 and have a smooth flight. He then said "so that pretty good for the lady who has put those valuable paintings in the hold, unfortunately for you, this is our first days of landings!" he apologized for the joke, but he said he couldnt resist. The flight upto Dulles was uneventful, we were sat in 16D and F. When we got to Dulles we checked the departures board for BD702 to MAN, finally found it! OH Dear, it was the only flight on the board that was cancelled, due to aircraft servicing! The A330 had gone tech in MAN that morning and hadnt left MAN! so we went to the united customer services desk, and they told us to head for the BMI gates, with no staff around , where the bmi flights are boarded, we headed down to the international united customer services. There was no queue thankfully, so we spoke to an agent, who explained that they would reroute us, she just wasnt to sure where, as they had filled the ORD-MAN BD flight, and there flight to LHR was now full, and so was the ORD-LHR flight, so she typed away, and then said, sorry about the delay, but i can route you through Munich, and then across to MAN with Lufthansa? I said that would be great, especially as it is extra FF miles! At the desk next to me was a very stuck up lady who was shouting at the desk agent, for BD cancelling the flight! I was outraged! How can she take out her rage on the UA desk agent when it isnt her fault! The desk agent was very professional and turned round and said "if you don't work with me, i can't do anything for you, shouting at me only makes things worse!" The woman was still ranting and raving as we left the desk, the UA service agent that had rerouted me and my girlfriend had also been kind enough to upgrade us to economy plus on the IAD-MUC flight, and it was only leaving 10mins later than our initial flight was supposed to. We headed to the gate, to find a T7 sat there, in the new livery of UA, which looks awesome! We boarded and were sat in the last row of economy plus, which unfortunately reduced our reclining ability and we were in the middle so, no window seat. This was my first trip on a T7, and i was mightly impressed. the space inside that thing was amazing, and of course channel9! i didn't see the lady who was kicking up a stink at the service desk on our flight, or if she was, she was in economy, or out on the wing, where she deserved to be!
AS we pushed back the cabin crew did the safety demo, i then plugged into channel9 and watched the interactive map on my PTV, as we approached the runway, our captain said to ATC, we had a problem with numbers on fuel, and we were going to have to sit in the penalty box for about 15mins, to burn off some excess." He then broadcast this to the flight, and i sat and listened as various other planes got airborne infront of us, including a Swiss air heavy, who we departed straight after and followed most of the way across the pond. I slept for quite a bit of the flight, i enjoyed the food, which was roast beef, and for breakfast, was fruit and yoghurt, which was very nice. unfortunately when i woke, channel9 had been turned off, so i asked one of the cabin crew to ask the flight deck if we could have it back on, although she never came back to me for the whole flight. Our approach and landing in Munich on was uneventful, although, it was the smoothest landing i have ever had!
Munich airport is one of the nicest i have ever visited; clean, tidy, and lots of window space for the spotters! Our LH146, was sat waiting for us, it was full due to the reroutes! The sandwiches onboard were very nice, and it was a smooth ride, although the descent into a wet and gloomy MAN was a bit bumpy! An awesome holiday for me with alot of firsts for me, including my first T7 flight, im going back out to the states in august, doing a multitrip and im on another T7 ride home!
I hope United survive through this turbulent time, and BD get another 330 to put back on the IAD run.although after my immigration waiting times at IAD, i think i will try ORD to see if thats any better! I would be interested to see what a transatlantic hop is like on a 757is like, and see what the BD IFE and service is like on a narrow body.
My next trip to the states is for a month in august/sept and look like this on the following aircraft:
MAN-ORD BD A330
ORD-OAK UA A319
OAK-DEN UA 737
DEN-IAD UA 757
IAD-CMH UAX erj135
CMH-IAD UAX erj135
IAD-LHR UA 777
LHR-MAN BD A321
I will hopefully have worked out how to put photos up by then!
I hope that you guys enjoy this, sorry there arent any photos, i have some, but i wasnt sure how to get them in the report! Let me know what you think!