I left home at 7:25 and parked my car at the airport at 7:55. Traffic had been unusually light on the motorways. I checked in at the BA counter, where there was no queue. A friendly agent delivered my boarding passes, not only for the outbound flight on BA, but also for the return flight on SN (glad to see that the SN and BA computer systems are now interconnected).
I went through passport control of Pier B (the Brits are still not Europeans) where there was a long queue, and then hurried to the first floor restaurant to have breakfast, while spotting a magnificent CSA B737-500 OK-DGL featuring the Aero A-14 "Brandenburg" livery, just underneath me.
Photo © Johan Menten
during a previous visit at Brussels
The metal detector and security queue was even longer than the passport control - some guys there seemed really bored doing slowly their job -, but as I was early, no problem for me to wait.
BRU-MAN with BA
Flight: BA 1617, operated by TH, codeshared with SN5421
Aircraft: BAe 146-200 G-MANS
Seat: 8A blue leather in a 2-3 configuration (window, under the wing; not really the best seat in the aircraft: view on the engines and little room for hand baggage because of the wing)(it was a nice surprise to see a BA Avro with a 2-3 seating: usually they are 3-3. This was probably due to the fact that the aeroplane was a former Manx Airlines)
Departure time scheduled/actual: 09:50/09:53
Arrival time scheduled/actual: 10:15/10:17
Load factor: 45% in Y - 3 pax in C class
Photo © TFSPhoto
slowing down at Manchester
Boarding was from gate B8. Pushback started 3 minutes late. The captain proceeded smoothly to runway 25R. We were third in line, meaning a 3 minutes waiting time before take-off. Meanwhile our three friendly stewardesses made the safety announcements in English only. No mention whatsoever of the codeshare with SN...
As soon as the "fasten seat belt" light went off, one stewardess started serving the meal in C class and the two other ones in Y class (with SN they would all be in C class first and start service in Y class only when the C passengers would be served). The distribution of the meal went quite fast: a choice between a egg/mayonnaise/tomato croissant or a cheese croissant. Than they served drinks, only after I had already finished eating: I chose orange juice (from concentrate, not rally the best) and coffee, which was fine.
The flight itself was uneventful, as it should be, starting with a brilliant sunshine over Ghent and Bruges and the Belgian coast at Ostend, and than covered with rain upon arrival. The flight lasted 1 hour and 10 minutes, and the plane touched down on 24R at Manchester at 10:12. We had to wait a few seconds to let a PIA 777 go for take-off before proceeding to the gate at 10:17.
Positive: 2-3 seating on Avro - breakfast served immediately
Negative: announcements only in English - drinks served well after breakfast - no mention of SN codeshare
For the return trip on the same day I had booked SN 5426. I arrived at the airport at 14:15, well in time to catch SN 2178 at 16:05. I spent some time drinking a good pint of lager in the comfortable lounge of terminal 3 airside.
MAN-BRU with BA
Flight: SN 2178, codeshared with BA
Aircraft: Avro ARJ-100 OO-DWD
Seat: 7F (window) blue leather in a 2-3 configuration. The worst seat on the SN Avro 100: this "window" seat (like 7A) has no window!
Departure time scheduled/actual: 16:05/16:13
Arrival time scheduled/actual: 18:25/18:33
Load factor: 80% in Y - 3 passengers in C class
Photo © Botterman Bram
the superb picture made by Bottie showing the plane on final approach to 25R
Pushback was somewhat late at 16:13 and take off from 24L at 16:27.
Two stewardesses (Claudia - not Schiffer - as the purser and a colleague) tended for the passengers. The nice Brussels Bistro snack consisted of a few raw vegetables with a dip sauce and pretzels, and a box of Dutch water. I had a small bottle of a decent red wine (Côtes du Roussillon 2003) with the snack. And, as usual on SN, the final touch consisted of two nice little Neuhaus chocolates (bitter and milk).
Landing on 25L was also somewhat late, but the flight was rather good if it were not for the 'blind' window seat.
Positive: 2-3 seating on the Avro - announcements in English, French and Dutch, with mention of BA codeshare - drinks served together with snack - Neuhaus Belgian chocolates
Negative: only 2 flight attendants, meaning that Y passengers are served only after C passengers have got their superb meal - "window" seats 7A and 7F without a window.
Altogether, a slight preference for SN, mainly due to the fact that on a BA Avro or BAe you never know beforehand whether you will get a reasonable 2-3 seating or an unacceptable 3-3 seating.