I must make two appologies before I begin. Firstly for the lack of pictures. I took them, but i don't have my media card reader (i will attempt to upload them when i get home) and secondly for the fact that this is my first TR and hence all the appologies associated with that fact.
I was going to a tiny village near Bergerac called Issigeac in the South West of France, this flight is something of a commute for me. Ryanair operates a direct service from London to Bergerac (15 minutes from my ultimate destination) but the ticket costed around £130 each way not including taxes so we booked on BA from Gatwick (so much further from where I live (in the north of London) than Stansted so we were slightly annoyed) to Bordeaux (about a 2 hour drive) but the ticket was SO much cheaper we couldn't really refuse (about £65 including tax return).
DEP: London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) sched 13:55 ACT c.14:25
ARR: Bordeaux, France (BOD/LFBD) sched 16:30 ACT 16:42
Dep Gate: 62
Seat 04C, eurotraveller (tm)
ACFT: Boeing 737-400
ACFT Reg: afraid that i couldn't tell for the life of me
We took advatage of the BA online check in facility and chose the front seats in economy as it was far enough forward that the seating was still 2-3 and printed off our own boarding cards.
14th of July, we arrive at West Hampstead Thameslink Station with our bags and get on the train to Gatwick, everything went smoothly (it really is the best way of getting through London to LGW I would reccomend it over the GEX - Gatwick Express especially considering how cheap it is, £7.50.
We arrive at the South Terminal move our bags to the free transit to the NOrth Terminal where we (me and my mother at this point) had a bit of an altercation in the lift (if you get board by altercation annocdotes feel free to skip through it):
The lift arrived and a (I believe German gentleman) moved a trolly to allow us to get in. The lift doors shut and a very (red faced) englishman started to complain to the man about how he shouldn't have moved the trolly and should have done something else instead. This escalted with both the englishman and his wife yelling at this poor german man. I felt it my duty to intervene and try and calm them both down and (just about) succeeded. When we both (IE us and the german man) got off i appologised on behalf of all English people and I do believe that these people are scum. There is no point in getting stressed at complete strangers at the airport as it only makes their experience worse. Is this the opinion of A.netters?
Anyway, although the boarding pass said to go to zone F (right at one end of the terminal) we went to the fast bag drop near the first class area (I believe in Zone D) where there was no queue. We had a very friendly gentleman checking us in. He asked how our trip to the airport was and we told him about the lift incident. He seemed to take a real interest which is always a plus. I took a glance at the ridiculous queue for security (it stretched out behind the doors and looked as if it would take for ever. I asked if we might have fast track passes and he said that he would be more than happy to give us one but the Fast Track had been openened for the public to allieviate pressure on the main queue! (I feel sorry for all the premium passengers that day). after a half hour wait for security we got through into the departure lounge and went up to the cafes (as neither of us had had lunch yet) a meagre selection with attrocious food (nearly made me sick just eating it). Eventually got bored and had a look at the shops. I continued looking at the departure screens, as there are no departure announcements in LGW, and no gate was displayed (this was about 40 minutes before the Gate Close time so I thought I would ask the BA agent at the information desk. I approached to find her head down doing a crossword and clearly resenting life in general. This is how the conversation went:
Me: "For the flight to Bordeaux, do you know..."
HER (without even looking at anything except me): "Flights will be displayed when the gate is open".
I found this very rude she should at least appologise no? I wanted to know if the gate would be on Pier 6, so that i could take pictures from the new bridge. Anway 2 minutes before the time on the boarding card, the gate 62 flashed up . Went to the gate and were told that the flight was completely full so they boarded by rows (unsual for BA). Eventually we boarded, only to find that many people had disobeyed the back-front rule and the first couple of rows were already full with the rest of the aeroplane being fairly empty. This has lead to one of my pet peaves, people using the overhead lockers nowhere near their seat (espeically those in Premium classes using those in economy). I found space but my mother didn't and nearly through a fit! Anyway the plane was clearly very old but the seats remained confortable and the staff very friendly.
After the long taxi to RWY 08R, we took off without delay up to our cruise altitude of FL 350, the Captain, a very enthusiastic man with a great sense of humour, told us that we would route over the centre of France. The service started immediately with free drinks (love the old fashioned ways of doing things) and for food there was a Ham and Pickle Sandwich and rasberry jelly (the former was very nive and the latter not so nice). About 1 hour and 5 minutes we started to descend and flew round the airport to Land on RWY 05 before taxying to our gate next to an Aer Lingus A320 bound for Dublin. I was very pleased by this as there are only two air bridges at Hall B at Bordeaux and we were at One of them. Oh and we managed to see an A340 of the French Army. Didn't think much of it until we got through to the Baggage Claim. No problems and a very efficient officer at Immigration, but we did see about 200 army officers in the Baggage claim, which scared my mother no end. Oh I should probably point out that it was a sweltering 32 degrees - not hot to some people i know, but for a Londoner it was almost unbearable!, which was just about covered for by the air con, but only just. Bags came through undamaged, but very hot!
Service 9/10 - if only all crews could be as friendly as mine
Flight 8/10 - very fast, caught up much lost time
Comfort 6/10 - old plane but for its age, confortable, limited seat pitch
As this is my first TR, as is no doubt apparent, I would be very greatful for any comments, questions etc