Rome Fiumicino – Brussels, SN Brussels Airlines, Monday 11 July 2005
Welcome to Part 2 of my Alitalia and SN Brussels Airlines experience to Italy!
For those who have missed the first part: feel free to read it here
Rome Fiumicino, Monday 11 July, 2005
After a rush to security, I was delighted when I saw that the one-and-only security counter for transfer passengers to the B-Gates was empty (last year, I was stuck in a huge queue over here). Going through security literally took only a few seconds, and I was on my way to my first SN Brussels Airlines flight of 2005. I checked the flight information screens, and gate B1 was assigned for Estail 3182. So I proceeded to gate B1, where everybody was just being moved to another gate, namely B6
. At this point, I knew that our flight was going to be delayed, as a gate change 20 minutes before departure indicated that the aircraft had only arrived by now (we would have known it earlier otherwise).
I used the opportunity to explore the terminal a little. Among the interesting aircraft were a Qatar Airways AB6, Emirates B773, Aerolineas Argentinas B744, and I saw an Air China B744 arriving in the distance. Photography is not recommended as you will most certainly get troubles with the Police, and the windows are dirty anyway (which makes photography registration spotting a pain).
Although we should have left 20 minutes ago by now, no delay announcement had been made yet. The flight was still shown as being on time on the information screens as well.
SN Brussels Airlines
Flight number: SN3182/AZ7064
Aircraft: Avro RJ100 OO-DWH
Scheduled block time: 17:50-20:10
Actual block time: 18:46-20:56
Flight time: 02h 09m 41s
A boarding announcement was made at 18:20, which resulted in a rush to the two ladies checking the boarding passes and passports. No queue or any order whatsoever, our gate had changed into a mess consisting of wild animals trying their utmost to get on board as soon as possible, even by pushing other people away. Most passengers on this flight were tourists I think, judging from their clothes for example.
Two very friendly female flight attendants welcomed us on board, with a friendly “Good evening Sir”, and by offering us a choice of newspapers (please SN, also add De Standaard or De Tijd to your choice of newspapers instead of only a tabloid like Het Laatste Nieuws!) and the inflight magazine ‘Connect’. Also available for free is Newsweek.
The cabin filling up with passengers on this full flight:
A funny coincidence: the Alitalia A321 on which I had arrived about an hour before, was parked on our left side! X-Ray Golf pushed back shortly afterwards, and I took the following picture of her:
(my apologies for the dirt on all pictures, caused by a very dirty window)
One of the female flight attendants wished all SN Brussels Airlines and Alitalia passengers welcome on board during her welcome announcement. She announced the name of the Captain (Joeri Van Leeuw??), the flight time, and wished us a nice flight.
Two remarkable things about all the announcements during the flight:
1) all announcements were in four languages: Italian, French, Dutch and English. No tapes or whatsoever, everything was fluently announced by the flight attendants);
2) when an announcement is made, the flight attendant making the announcement will always look at the passengers. They stand near the first row, and make eye-contact with the passengers. So you really feel being spoken to. This is one of the several little things which sets SN apart from lot’s of other airlines in my opinion.
Also important was the next announcement: an explanation of the delay. Instead of the usual ATC-excuse, they explained what really happened: due to two missing passengers on the BRU
flight, a lot of luggage had to be offloaded before they had found the luggage of those two people. This was the cause of the 30 minutes delay on arrival.
Pushback was only a few minutes away, and one of the flight attendants walked through the cabin with an Italian newspaper to check whether any of us wanted one. Again a nice touch!
We were off blocks at 18:46, and started taxiing to the runway shortly afterwards:
We lined up on Runway 25 after the take off of I-JETA, a B732 of Air One, and started our take off at 18:58.
Rolling at RWY 25:
Rotating, with interesting aircraft like a BV B763, MK
B772 etc. visible in the background:
And climbing out above the Tyrrhenian Sea, almost immediately after take off:
We were 20 minutes into the flight, when the cabin crew started the meal service in Economy Class. Instead of the Alitalia-style (i.e. throwing some dry cake or sandwiches at the passengers), the SN crew really delivered an exceptional service to the passengers. “Please Sir, enjoy your meal”; “Alstublieft, smakelijk eten”… Those little touches make a big difference in my opinion.
The service concept in Economy Class on SNBA flights is called ‘Brussels Bistro’. You get a hot meal on flights lasting longer than 2 hours, and a cold option on shorter flights.
My hot meal consisted of pasta with chicken in a vegetable sausage, Balkan salat, crackers and a Milky Way. The taste was excellent!
Drinks were served shortly after I received my meal, and I went for the red wine, a Côtes Du Roussillon. Have a look at the plastic cup, “Drinks are on the crew” is written on it – nice touch!
Throughout the meal service, I heard quite some positive feedback from passengers who had enjoyed the meal! I always like to check the reactions of the other passengers on SN flights, as positive/negative feedback is the only way to improve your product and to make necessary changes.
About 20 minutes later, the crew had collected all rubbish, and they came around for a second drink service. I know that SN serves several alcoholic beverages in C-class, but not in Y. An example is Baileys, so I asked the male flight attendant for a Baileys. “Sorry Sir, but we do not have Baileys on board, only red and white wine”. Wrong!
He was very friendly, and correct as well: if you give a Baileys to one person, you have to offer it to the other passengers as well. Sorry to the flight attendant, it was only a little test to see your reaction
A third drink service (mainly for people wanting coffee or tea) followed about 15 minutes later, and I ordered a coffee, which was a great way to finish the nice meal. After I had finished my coffee, I relaxed a little bit to further enjoy the last 45 minutes of the flight, and 15 minutes later, the Captain announced that we were about to descend. He also gave us some information about the weather in Brussels, and finished with ‘bye bye’.
The weather was quite bad, when the Captain announced our descend:
Starting our descend, together with a left turn:
At this point, the flight attendants approached the passengers with connections (again a nice touch!). Not the passengers had to take the initiative to get more information about their connection, but the cabin crew did: good service! There were a few people on board with a very tight connection to Bristol for example.
So we had started our descend already, when the cabin crew came around with Neuhaus chocolates. A nice way to end your flight!
We were in our final approach right now for Runway 02:
You can see the new “Bocht van Nossegem” on this picture, allowing a fast train connection between Leuven and Brussels Airport from December 2005 onwards:
And… touch down!
The crew thanked us (in 4 languages) for flying SN, and wished us a very nice evening.
While disembarking, I heard several people thanking the crew for the nice flight. I did the same, and told them that I was going to write a report about the flight. I referred them to luchtzak.be and airliners.net, so I hope that they will see this report! I will also contact SN Brussels Airlines Customer Service, as a good crew deserves good points!
I hope that you enjoyed this trip report as much as I enjoyed this flight! All feedback is welcome as usual…