Firstly, this trip report was a bit of an afterthought and so I didn’t manage to get reg. nos. etc and I’ve written it mainly from memory. Anyway - it’s my first attempt so perhaps I’ll do better next time!
We were due to be flying BA to and from Marrakech, departing on Monday 15th August however took advantage of the promise from BA to refund the price of rebooking all passengers travelling until that Monday night. Although our flight operated as normal in the end, we thought it would be safer to rebook the outbound leg in case the strike situation had continued. Our travel agent called the Friday before having found availability on Iberia and Royal Air Maroc via Barcelona.
LHR – BCN Iberia Airlines
15/08/2005 Dep. 16.30
The first leg of the journey was to be followed by 4 hours waiting at BCN for the connection to RAK. Check in was quick and easy and we had more than plenty of time to enjoy the sights of terminal two! Once at the gate, we were promptly boarded for what appeared a very busy flight. There were a number of standby passengers and the flight departed with every seat taken. Once airborne, the pilot came on and began explaining about flight times and weather. They also began screening cartoons and advertisements on the overhead screens. The cabin crew shortly began service, which was performed in a friendly and efficient manner. My attention was particularly captivated by one very attractive male FA who possessed enviable Iberian good looks. These were further enhanced by the stylish Iberia uniform worn by him and his colleagues. I made a selection from the rather expensive onboard menu (especially given the one way ticket was over £700 each) and sat back to enjoy the rest of the flight. After good views of the Pyrenees, we began our decent over the coast and into El Prat.
BCN – RAK Royal Air Maroc
15/08/2005 Dep. 23.25
After a meal at one of the many Cafes in Barcelona airport, we headed for the departure gates which were surprisingly busy for the time of day. The flight to Marrakech was late in boarding and took yet longer before all the passengers were onboard this fairly full flight. We were about 30 mins late pushing back before heading out to the runway. Inexplicably (at least to me!) we seemed to sit at the end of the runway for about 10mins before powering up for take-off. Once we did lift of the ground there was applause from some of the other pax. The cabin crew soon began serving a light meal and drinks. The food appeared to consist of what old people refer to as luncheon meat, accompanied with a roll and a small chocolate cake. The flight time was around 150mins and once the food trays were collected the cabin crew mostly disappeared. As I was sat in the third row back I could watch the goings on in the galley. For most of the flight one of the pilots seemed to stand chatting with a couple of FA’s and a passenger, which I though was unusual for a short flight. He only seemed to go once we had begun the decent into RAK. This seemed to take forever and we were eventually about 45mins late arriving at about 00.30.
RAK – LHR BA (operated by GB Airways)
25/08/2005 Dep. 08.55
After an unforgettably wonderful holiday in one of the beautiful and welcoming countries in world it was time to return home. We arrived for the flight at Marrakech, which stops en-route in Casablanca before heading on to London. Before long we were walking across the dusty apron to the steps taking us onboard. There were about 50 pax in total and the cabin crew asked that we remained in the allocated seats to Casablanca for the balance of the plane (not sure whether this is true?). For a short while we headed skywards until after about 20mins the decent began over the dry terrain that surrounds Casablanca. Here the plane filled up for the second leg, which was to be fully booked. After take-off we were informed of the flight time and routing (160mins, over central Spain, Biscay and Jersey) and cabin service began. The crew were mostly friendly, if not showing the fatigue of the stop-over in Morocco. I was alarmed by one female FA, not because she dropped a hot meal on me (she was apologetic and fetched a towel immediately), but because she was extremely rude to another passenger. She came up to him and accused him of having lied on a questionnaire about his outbound flight that she had worked on. It transpired the man had a nut allergy and had refused the meal flying out to Morocco, but then put on the comment card that he hadn’t been given one. The FA said she was very cross that he’d lied and that she had offered him food. I thought that it was appalling that a customer should be spoken to in such a way; especially given one expects such customer feedback to be treated with some anonymity. Anyway the rest of the crew were fine and the meal adequate (hot chicken with vegetable, cheese & biscuits, trifle) making for a good flight. We were soon over the Channel Islands, where the pilot informed us that the weather might be a bit bumpy into London. In the end we were fortunate with both the weather and air traffic control, landing about 30 mins ahead of schedule.
On reflection, I would have to say the best flight was with Iberia. Despite the lack of service in terms of catering this was more than compensated for by the courtesy and professionalism of the crew. The aircraft was also clean and tidy and the flight both uneventful and punctual, as it should be. I will doubtless fly BA/GT again simply because of their size, however will actively seek to fly IB in the future, especially if all the crew are so attractive!