So over the summer and part of the fall I took a lengthy trip to the UK to deal with a complicated problem that required a lot of intervention. (There's a real chance I'll be going back, but I'm hoping it's stable for now.) Long story, but . . . plenty of planes.
The first leg was DL2084 aboard a venerable MD88 - N962DL
I halfway wondered if we would take off on runway 29, the newest runway, as it's convenient to DL's gates, but they were using it for arrivals so we took off 30L. (30R was then and might still be closed for subsurface restoration and maybe widening.)
It was, as always, a fun flight. The Super 88 gave a snappy liftoff. The flight to Atlanta was uneventful, but pleasant with some decent views along the way.
Atlanta is, of course, still a great place to catch Mad Dogs. Get 'em while they're hot as sadly they won't last much longer.
The second flight was not the flight I originally booked. Missed a connection due to my own foolishness, but Delta rebooked me quickly and without any fuss at all. (Great customer service there. My thanks to the desk agents in Atlanta.) I ended up on DL32 in the care of A330-300 N801NW. Never had the chance to fly Northwest in its original guise, so it was nice to catch their iron, even if the paint was different.
The flight itself was comfortable and unremarkable. The food was actually pretty good and the crew was polite and professional. Not so much of a view. Mostly wing and water with a lot of darkness added to the mix.
Heathrow, however, was not at all the airport I expected. We're filled with tales of glamour when in reality T3, at least, is more weathered than LaGuardia and stuffier than Tan Sohn Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City. Dated. Worn. And not in any way particularly remarkable. It was not an inspiring entrance to the UK, but . . . when you're the main airport in London I suppose you don't need to be. (But fly to Frankfurt if you can. Or Paris. Or Zurich or Geneva or or or . . . )
While I was there for, oh, nearly three months, I had less time to "tourist" than you might expect, but I did get in a visit to the airliner collection squirreled away at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
Vickers Super VC10 G-ASGC at Duxford
(Feel free to click through for the rest of the taxidermied exhibits.)
But I did go home eventually. For all Heathrow's many many failings, there is no shortage of interesting aircraft. My vantage point was . . . not the best. I'm told some of the clubs do better. But I simply found a quiet check in lobby. (Another Heathrow oddity, they scan your boarding pass and basically check you onto the plane before they even let you in to the actual holding area. Decidedly unpleasant. It's rather like going through security again after you're already airside.)
G-VPOP "Mamma Mia" - VS45 to JFK
(God I love Virgin's names. One of these days . . . )
G-BYGG - BA285 to SFO
TF-ISW - FI451 to KEF
OH-LWI - AY1332 to HEL
VP-BOE "Galina Vishnevskaya" - SU2578 from Moscow-Sheremetyevo - SVO
Total respect to an airline that names their aircraft.
Couldn't make this one out, it was just too far away to capture clearly with my gear, but it's my first A340.
EC-NCM - IB3169 to Madrid
N27903 - UA26 to DEN
G-VLUX "Red Velvet" - VS137 to JFK
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that's not even all of 'em. Lots of planes at Heathrow, so who cares how crummy the concourses are.
DL19 took me back home aboard a venerable B763 N394DL with the updated cabin and the improved legroom in the "Comfort+" section. The legroom was quite nice, for the record.
Of course, I managed to bag one of the dreaded "no window-window" seats. (Should have checked SeatGuru!) Even so, I managed to shoot pictures out the window mostly behind me.
N720AN - AA135 to LAX
A6-EUM - EK2 to DXB-Dubai
You know, those things don't look quite so absurdly strange from behind . . .
Still not a 74, of course.
G-CIVP - BA289 to PHX
Oh, and here's the Aer Lingus Football plane: St. Cornelius. (Did I mention I love the whole plane naming tradition? Hey Delta, get a piece of that action.)
EI-DEI - EI164 from DUB
I arrived in Detroit without incident. To a row of remarkably similar looking birds before I was able to make my way across to a lovely little Air Tran veteran N985AT who took me home.
I won't belabor you with every last picture, but it was a good trip. And if you like takeoff and landing videos . . . here's my very amateur attempt at a flight video. Wish I could figure out how to natively post it here, but clicking the picture below will take you to it on YouTube.