Our Cypriot spring holiday has finally come to the end. Here you will find the fourth and the last part of the trip report. The finishing touch, I must say, tasted a bit different than I expected. Why? Would you think. I will go back to this subject later on.
If you are interested in my previous reports. Just click on the following links:
When we got on the public area after our arrival from Paphos, I suggested to my partner that we would better collect our onward boarding passes so that we could go straight to the gate the following day.
We took the escalator. When we were upstairs, I was amazed by, what I call, a massive BA check in area. I have seen the impressions of this area thanks to my fellow A.netters, but still I found myself gaping at it. There were plenty check in kiosks to choose from. We took the nearest one to the escalator.
The process was painless. Within minutes we got our boarding passes printed.
At that stage, we were prepared for our flight tomorrow.
Even I just stayed one night at Sofitel Gatwick, I liked it. Firstly, it is conveniently located in LGW. Secondly, the hotel staff is wonderful.
This lady of the reception desk, Nitha, was very efficient in checking us in. She called up the details of our reservation within seconds. Noticing that we had booked the room only, she inquired whether we would wish to have breakfast as well. We declined the offer as we had an early flight to AMS.
Nitha then activated our room cards. There were two of it! I think because of the two of us. When she handed over the cards, I asked her about the check out procedure. She told me that there was a box near the reception desk in which we could drop our cards on departure. At the end, she wished us a pleasant stay.
After figuring out how to activate the elevator with our card, we finally reached our room. It was not the biggest one, but certainly sufficient for an overnight stay.
We did not want to risk any delay. So we put on every possible way of wake up call. By the phone, on the television and my mobile phone. At the end, there was no need to do that as we both woke up much earlier.
After having a refreshing shower, we gathered our belongings and left.
The check in area
The escalator to the check in area
When we were upstairs, the check in area looked fairly empty.
Appearances are deceptive. It was busy at the security. After the ticket control, the passengers were divided in several rows. We prepared ourselves to go through. You know, like emptying your pockets, and having your shoes , jackets and belts off. For this reason, I did not wear my belt. It did eventually not take long before we got screened.
My partner got seated to put his shoes on. At that moment, I saw behind the glass wall something I had not seen before… the shoes screening!
I said to my partner, “Do not bother putting on the shoes right now. There is a next screening procedure!”
The screening was not that painful. I found it quite funny actually. I think that they have all the security measurements just to protect us as passengers. I thought the security at English airports was horrible. But eventually if you just follow the rules, you will not get any trouble.
We were dressed again and proceeded to the lounge.
A quick look at the FIDS
The BA lounge agents on duty screened our boarding passes and waived us through.
“Please go on board at half past six. Enjoy our stay.”
The lounge was quiet at that hour. We got seated on the same place as the last time we flew to Paphos.
The lounge view
Since I covered the lounge on my last report, I did not take any picture further inside. But the view of the tarmac was just lovely. You see that the flight activities come into life.
There was a cute little girl seating nearby. She was travelling with her mother. As I was taking the pictures above, I heard her asking, “Mom, what is he doing?”
“I think he is taking pictures,” her mom said.
As I finished, I turned to this girl and asked whether she would like to have a look. She said she loved to. So I did show her the pictures. Her mother thanked me for that.
Close to half past six, we made our way to the gate.
Our last itinerary:
Date: 6 May 2009
ETD/ATD: 07.00 / 07.00
ETA/ATA: 09.20 / 10.15
Flight number: BA 8111
Delivered: 16 March 1993
Photo © Nathan Zalcman - AirTeamImages
As it turned out, our flight got assigned gate 45E. It was a bus gate!
Entrance to the common 45 gates
The flight was fully booked. I noticed many transferring passengers through their talking. It seems that more people nowadays travel through LGW instead of LHR.
The boarding was announced and we made our way to the bus. I got very excited as I would get an opportunity to capture some scenery on the tarmac.
The boarding scene
The bus ride
Our Boeing was parked at the very end of the LGW platform. The journey took couple minutes, but I enjoyed the ride very much.
The lovely BA Boeings
Just after pushback
A stop sign
An Easyjet A321. I have seen this bird many times flying over in Paphos
It is all about Airbus
We finally reached our Boeing. As we stepped out, I got more excited.
Queue at the stair. Take your time. I am enjoying myself.
The view on the left
The view on the right
We were greeted by two cheerful female flight attendants. It kept on striking me how the BA cabin staff seemed enjoying their job.
Our seats are located one row before the cabin divider
Here we are! Seats 5A and 5C!
Boarding in progress
Two business jets next to us
In flight safety card
The view of our neighbor on the right side
We have been on the first bus. The second bus followed shortly. The rest of the passengers were finally embarking. Soon enough, the flight attendants closed the door and prepared us for the flight.
Pushback was completed
We went on our way to the active runway. It was getting busy that morning. We were fourth in line.
This Monarch B757 was the first to take off
Then this Easyjet Airbus
And another one
Finally it was our turn. We did not have to go to the very end of the runway. As soon as we turned, the engines spooled up and a powerful takeoff followed.
They got a better weather in UK. I could snap some views of London.
The galley curtain was closed. The flight attendants were preparing the breakfast.
[i]The Club Europe cabin view
The breakfast was served. This time, I got a real English breakfast for the first time in this short flight!
As the trays were cleared up, we were descending. It was heavily cloudy in Holland.
The Dutch coastline through the heavy clouds
It became that we were led to the Polderbaan, the furthest runway of Schiphol. I did not mind though.
Passing over the highway
Welcome in Schiphol
Vacating the runway
Turning to the middle taxiway
We came to a stop. This stop took eventually ten minutes. I thought that it was due to the congestion. I saw one Dash 8 passing by, but that was it on this side of the airport.
Hey, there is a farm not too far away!
The taxiway experience
Then we realized that this was the strange twist we got after our holiday. We started moving again to the adjacent taxiway on the right and stopped again.
It was after fifteen minutes when the captain announced that we were experiencing some problems with the hydraulic system. This prevented the airplane on turning left.
“We have to resolve it with our ground staffs,” he said. “We are thinking of two options. First one, calling in a pushback truck to tow our aircraft to the gate. Second one, getting busses to collect us at the taxiway if the first option would not work. I will come back to you on that.”
Afterwards, my partner told me that he felt strange things with our aircraft. He said that our aircraft frequently had to apply the brakes after couple minutes when taxiing.
It has been almost half an hour that we were standing here. But nothing happened
The passengers started activating their mobile phones. Some of them stood up and went to the toilet. The flight attendants did not forbid them for doing it considering the situation. My partner and I needed to use the toilet as well.
As the waiting time went ahead, the flight attendants started doing the water and juice run which most of the passengers could appreciate.
We have got apple juice and orange juice
The view backwards
At a moment I caught some movements on my eyes. It was the towing truck together with the ground staffs in the other car!
They had to examine the safety first before letting the truck get connected to our aircraft.
Finally, we were moving again
Crossing the highway
It was an active runway half an hour ago!
The terminal in sight
The flight movements were diverted to this runway
The Blue lines
US Airways A330 was vacating the runway
The KLM’s workhorse taking off
Followed by its successor
The mighty Triple Seven ready for take off
Sister said hello
We were almost there
Martinair retro jet
Our spot was next to this Airzena B737-700
We were safely arrived
Our Boeing docked to the gate. We gathered our belongings and were finally released more than hour behind schedule.
Some passengers could not resist looking back from the aerobridge
It was half past ten in the meantime. My partner had only time off in the morning. He had to get back to work in the afternoon. We were hoping that our luggage would be delivered soon.
The baggage reclaim information behind the passport control
As we reached the assigned baggage belt, we were just wondering whether the priority tag would work well this time.
The baggage status
The luggage’s of our flight were offloaded on the same belt as the flight from LHR. So, all of them got mixed up.
After more than half an hour wait, everyone has collected their luggage except for one. Us! We were pretty annoyed at that stage. We were looking for the handling agent to inquire the status of our luggage.
The handling company of BA at Schiphol is Servisair. Our assigned baggage belt was located near their office. One Servisair guy was standing outside so I spoke to him.
The guy went back to the office and checked some details on his computer. He printed something out and returned.
“Are you Mr. Akhmad?” he asked.
“Yes, I am.” I replied.
“It seems that your luggage has been put on the next flight.” the guy continued.
“Oh, great! ”
“The next flight will be arriving in the next half an hour. So if you wish to wait…”
“No, unfortunately we cannot. My partner has only the morning off and needs to get back to the work this afternoon.”
“Please follow me. We will make an official report of it.”
Despite the inconvenience, the Servisair guy was helpful. He asked me to describe our luggage in detail and made the official report.
“So, here is your report. We will contact you after your luggage has been tracked down to make a delivery appointment.”
After receiving the report, I thanked the guy for his help so far and we left.
The outside terminal
While waiting for the shuttle bus to the long term parking area, I took some last pictures.
Apart of some inconveniences I like BA very much. Starting from their website which is easy to navigate. Their lounges are truly satisfactory. The airplanes are well maintained. Their on board service has been consistently good. And last but not least, BA has got amazing staffs.
I hope that you enjoy reading my trip reports. Please feel free to leave some comments and suggestions.