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Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2000 11:26 am
by ake0404ar
March 1990 ......again we had Easter Holidays in Germany where I am originally from (currently live in BOS ) and every year around this time, my dad ( used to be the cargo manager for AR @ FRA / retired now ) took me on a trip. This year we wanted to visit San Juan Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
I was all exited as always when we were going on a long trip but this time especially as the first leg would be AR 747-200 (back in the years AR still came to FRA before IB bought them, unfortunate so, as ever since the airline has been going downhill......) and I know if we fly them I could fly on the flight deck all the way.

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Photo © Tony Rogers

Tickets used: ID90 all Aerolineas Argentinas as they had an interline agreement with IB.
So the day came and we went to the airport. As my dad knew all the ladies at the check there was no question where we gonna sit, up front of course..........
I was so happy and it got even better, as soon as we boarded the plane ( my favorite at that time the 747-200 ) we were greeted by the friendly f/a and were seated, I don't remember the row but as I said it was up front and I had a window seat. The leather seats were very comfortable and big as well, at least for me, as I was 18 at that time...........While I was making myself comfortable my dad was chatting with the in-flight supervisor, he knew most of the cabin crew anyway and the best part he knew the captain and therefore I was one of the luckiest person alive when my dad came back and told me that I am all set and escorted me to the flight deck.......It was always very thrilling to walk up the stairs and then he left me in the hands of the flight crew. I was seated behind the captain and had a perfect view and he even gave me headphone so I could listen to ATC as well..............Ready to push, it must have been around 08.00 PM or so and we did taxi to Rwy18.
The Sun was already in it's last stages what a beautiful picture .........full thrust and we took off, the 747 was not very heavy, we only had about 100 pax onboard, so it took us not very long to be airborne...........1hr in flight the f/a came by and asked me if I wanted to eat something and I accepted...........Time flies when you are having fun......and I had fun, the 2hrs and a couple of minutes passed very quickly and we arrived in MAD.
I like night landings............................After a big thanks to the crew we deplaned, for the crew it was just the beginning of a long evening / night as they continued to BUE.
And for us, yes we had to catch a plane to SJU............
As I indicated in the beginning we were travelling on ID90's means standby and the flight did not look to good, if you are a positive thinker like me. I also could say the flight was minus 100 in eco, which is not good at all.........anyway we were already listed on the standby list, it must have been around 11.00 PM and the flight was supposed to leave around 2.00 am, last flight out for this day, so we already looked for a place to sleep.........
The waiting time was sooooooooo boring as there was nothing much to do.............our plane was already sitting at the gate, it was a DC-10-30 .........I really liked this plane and I still do.

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Photo © Dayot Jean-Charles

Time was really dragging and the worst thing we did not even know if we could get onboard or if we had to stay overnight in MAD.

Finally the gate agent announced the boarding process, first and business class passengers first and then the rest, the flight was already completly boarded, then they called the PAD………there were a couple of them besides us and the flight was packed anyway, so our chances were less than 10% I would say……after a little while the passengers were onboard as well, lucky them, in the meantime my dad did talk to one of the gate agents about jump seat cockpit or wherever, he finally went down the jet-way with one of the gate agents, the boarding door was about the be closed and talked to the captain and he allowed us to fly on the jump seat, they did not have enough meals onboard so there would have been a chance that we had to stay without food for the flight but we did not care at all, our main objective was to get onboard and fly to SJU.

I was sitting next to a pretty f/a and it was a real odd feeling to take off sitting with your back to all the other passengers. Once airborne it was not really the most comfortable flight I have been on but a memorable anyhow…………
After all pax had their dinner we also got our share and the rest of the flight was not really eventful.
We landed in SJU, said good bye to the crew and went to the baggage belt to pick up our luggage……

We were not that lucky, as the ground crew in MAD did not think we would get on that flight therefore left our bags behind. IB was really nice and gave us a real big amenity kit (better equipped than the normal ones u get on the plane).
Totally exhausted we went to our hotel and fell asleep……….the next day beautiful beach weather we went to the airport and picked up our bags.
2 days in SJU passed really fast and it was we headed back to the airport in order to catch a flight to SDQ.
Our travel choice AA also on an ID90 and guess what the plane was packed as well, same procedure as last time, we got on the bags did not…………..once arrived in SDQ we waited 2 full days for our bags to follow us……….terrible service by AA, but it could happen at any airline I guess.
2 weeks of relaxing time at a nice resort in the Dominican Republic were ahead of us. Was a real nice place and not as crowded as it is right now, I hate mass tourism !!!!!!!!!! in 1990 tourism was in the very early stages......

After 2 weeks I was ready to go home again, we spend 2 more days in the capitol Santo Domingo and then we started our return trip to FRA.
SDQ – SJU on an ATR 42………..I hate these planes……..and the trip got even worse once we got into a thunderstorm and the roller coaster ride began, up and down left and right, it was no fun…..I hated it, but we landed safely in SJU.

The return trip to MAD was not very eventful also a night flight but this time with real seat, the next morning we arrived in MAD and we had the same dilemma again, all flights to FRA were booked solid.

After checking IB, LH and some others (6 hrs passed) I saw a flight to FRA listed under the airline code VA and initially I thought that would be Varig but Varig is RG and I asked my dad and he told me it was Viasa.

That flight had an intermediate stop from CCS and was bounded to FRA. We checked, they had seats and that was my first flight on VIASA ( DC-10-30 ) a short one but I loved it, pretty f/a, good service and a wide body aircraft!

After 2 hrs and a little bit we landed in FRA.

What I learned from this trip:

It is a lot of fun to work for an airline and sometimes you have to have a lot of patience if you fly on an ID90.