Hello everyone and welcome to my fourth trip report!
The following story is about a daytrip I took which brought me from Brussels (BRU) to London Heathrow (LHR) on British Airways (BA), continuing to Dublin (DUB) on Aer Lingus (EI) and back to Brussels, also on Aer Lingus. The flights were booked some 3 months in advance ensuring me of the cheapest fares available; total trip cost was approximately € 150 so good value. This trip did not involve any special airlines nor aircraft but the main goal was to transit via LHR (I find it to be a fascinating airport) and see what that's like. Transfer time at LHR was about 3 hours and in the end I had not that much time left... You want to know how come, then please read on.
I left my house at around 8 am and arrived at BRU at around 9 am. The 30 min drive now took about an hour due to the morning rush hour traffic. But no problem for me as I had plenty of time, also because I did OLCI for all 3 flights the day before. The first flight of the day, BRU-LHR was leaving from terminal B (non Schengen terminal). It has been a while since I have been there.
FIDS at BRU terminal
Brussels Airlines check-in desks
So I went straight to terminal B, passport control was a breeze; security took somewhat longer but in the end I was through in about 30 mins, which is not bad at this hour of the day (with a lot of intercontinental flights leaving at this time from terminal B).
Just after security in terminal B, lots of people around
Since I had enough time I walked around and took some pictures.
CO B764 to Newark, about to leave
AC B763 to Montreal Dorval/Toronto (AC recently started this service, dont know how it's performing)
Etihad A332 to Abu Dhabi
Delta B763, United B763 and Jet Airways A332
MEA A320 to Beyrut
TAROM A318 to Bucharest
3 Jet's on the other side as well (BRU is a hub for Jet Airways with destinations Newark, John F Kennedy, Toronto, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi)
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Lineup for runway 25R
By then it was about time to head for the gate. We went downstairs to gate B95, a bus gate.
From the gate area I spotted this United B763 being serviced for departure to Washington/Las Vegas
Flight: BA 401
Load: About 25%
Scheduled: 10h50-11h05 (on time)
While waiting in the bus, this Jetairfly B763 drove past, arriving from a destination in the Carribean (sorry for the window glare)
Driving to our aircraft, passing by the Air Canada B763
In the distance, a Hainan Airlines A332 going to Shanghai later that day
Our ride: G-EUUA
No doubt about the Alliance it belongs to
I was greeted by a friendly all male crew and took my seat at the back, window last row of course. Good legroom for a short flight.
Cabin view just before departing
After the safety demo on screen and a welcome from the captain, we drove off to the active runway; flight time would be 50 mins.
Delta boarding for Atlanta
An Air Atlanta B742 also heading for the active runway
Take-off today from 25R at BRU
We are next in line!
Great view of the Brussels Ring highway
I was hoping to spot this: the 'Atomium' and the 'Koning Boudewijnstadion' stadium with the stage of U2's 360° tour 'the Claw' in it (I attended U2's concert in this stadium the night before)
The crew came round with complimentary tea and coffee and a sandwich. The flight was calm but we flew in clouds all the time so no outside pictures.
And of course entering a holding pattern
Breaking out of the clouds, poor visibility alas...
Don't know which stadium this is
Arrival was on 27L, with a quick taxi to terminal 5. Luckily we docked at a finger gate, because it was heavily raining outside.
Some company traffic and views from terminal 5.
Now I had almost 3 hours of transit time. The next flight was to depart from terminal 1, so quite a distance to go. I followed the transit signs and took the T5-T1 transfer bus. It was a scenic 10 mins ride, too bad the weather wasn't cooperating.
After arrival in T1 I had to get through border control which was painfully slow: it took me almost 30 mins. Then around the corner, another control: a biometric scan. What a strange procedure, you hand your boarding pass, are asked to stand on the 'X', and a photo is taken from you. Time taken: another 15 mins. Around the next corner: a security check, time = 30 mins. By now, almost half of my transit time was taken by controls here and controls there. Staff was friendly and correct but I began to doubt the overall efficiency of it all.
And there I was, in the departure area of T1. A look at the FIDS revealed the gate for my flight: 103, another 25 mins walk! So without any further due, I headed there. These gates are located in a sort of tube and are separated from each other with sliding doors. I was somewhat confused but the friendly gate agent ensured me I was at the right place. Our aircraft had just arrived from DUB and boarding started 20 mins later.
Flight: EI 165
Scheduled: 14h15-15h25 (on time)
We were welcomed by a friendly Irish crew and I took my seat in the back, window last row. Good legroom and an all economy cabin here.
Neighbour at the gate
Which one do you prefer?
Logo on the seat in front, no IFE on Aer Lingus
Everyone settling in
Some views out the window last row
A BA B752!
On the way to 27R for take-off
Air New Zealand B744 on tow to it's gate
Queuiing for take-off, with this Delta B763 before us
And here we go
Some views after take-off from LHR
Cruising above the clouded skies
Weather clearing on approach into DUB
Approach for runway 34 over the sea
The new T2, in as of Nov 2010
An all green airport: grass and aircraft
Also here an Etihad A332 at the gate
Touchdown was a few minutes behind schedule in a lightly cloudy DUB. After a short taxi we docked in next to a FlyBE Embraer.
DUB has nearly no finger gates, so it was a Ryanair style short walk to the terminal building. Following the transfer signs, through a swift security check back at the ‘north terminal’ where our A321 to BRU was waiting already. I found it a bit strange that this aircraft was at the terminal while it was still nearly 1h15 mins to departure. But it was also good, since we would then have most likely an on time departure!
Some other Aer Lingus’
‘St Kilda’, our machine to BRU
Ryanair B738 ‘Bye bye Latehansa’
Flight: EI 638
Scheduled: 17h50-20h25 (on time)
Boarding was called on time and we walked out to our aircraft in between 2 heavy rain showers.
The boarding process was to my surprise quite chaotic (as opposed to the boarding process in LHR): both the front and rear doors were available for passengers to board. As we had seats in the back rows, we naturally boarded via the rear stairs. Only to find quite some people who also had seats in the back and boarded through the front stairs with some pushing ans shoving and people getting in each other’s way as a result. The cabin crew made some annoucements regarding this situation slowing the whole boarding down, but the harm had been done. I think the gate agent should have enforced the boarding by seat number.
As soon as everybody had their seats, we were welcomed by the captain and pushed back to leave for the runway. Since we were fully loaded, we had quite a long take-off roll.
Cabin view during take-off
Some nice cloud formations on the way
By then it became dark quickly so I did not take anymore pictures.
We arrived on time in BRU and I was in the car in no time.
Thanks for reading,
[Edited 2010-09-27 03:55:06]