We get to Terminal 1 two hours before departure and proceed to check in. We queue for about 5 minutes with a large group of rambunctious rugby players bound for Alicante before getting to the front. We are given row 3DEF and are told to take one of our suitcases, now tagged by them as heavy (it was 29.7kilos) over to the security office for some random search, no big deal.
After that we proceed to go through passport control and through security. This is were things all slowed down.
There must have been over 100 young children going on a school trip (lucky kids, I only went to France on the ferry) and they formed a huge queue in which we were near the back of.
Finally we got to the front and there ahead of us stood a device which I think came from the set of Star Trek, for it was The Ion Scan Sentinel! Basically it’s a new detection device but what makes this thing cool is it blows a quick short blast of air all over you which makes your clothes blow up and cling to your body. Not good when fat business men go through but when lil foxes go through, dam, you don’t mind being in that queue! Anyway we didn’t get selected to go through it apparently it was still on trial, and we just passed through as usual to where we arrived in the ever changing T1 departure lounge. I have to say I like what they have done in there, gives a sense of continental Europe instead of that 1980s dank which it used to be like a few years back!
The Ion Scan Sentinel
Just as I sat down in the departures lounge what should taxi past, well it was good old ‘Lady Penelope’ of VS! I was pretty much chocked to see her in MAN and couldn’t help but think back to Oct 03 when see brought me home from SFO-LHR. Ahh I thought. Anyway I watched as she took off, like a rocket I might add and then a few moments later taxied past another rarity, an RAF Tri-Star. This trip was off to a good start!
Photo © James Rowson
Photo © T Silgrim
We were called to board on time but ended up departing 10 minutes late. I looked out of the window and saw the aircraft that would be taking us down to Gibraltar was A320 G-MONW in the new c/s, not too bad I thought. We boarded, removed the newspaper from our seats and sat down. (The Times, who reads that?? It’s The Sun you want ) We taxied out passing three BY B763’s all lined up in uniform and then past good old ‘BOAC” We went past the road works at T1 then dashed across 24R and lined up on 24L. The takeoff actually impressed me; I think the JMC flight back in 2k had put me of the lil minibuses.
Right click here
and choose 'Save Target As' to download the Manchester takeoff video
(1.52 MB Quicktime Required)
We climbed up to 35,000ft and routed down over Wales, crossing the Channel at Exeter, over Jersey, down to some French place (Elbonia?) then out to Madrid, Malaga then passing over the Med and making our approach into Gibraltar. The service on board was definitely something to write home about. There was the free bar service and the almighty hot towels, which I thought were now extinct! There was no movie shown just a collection of Brit flicks which I couldn’t be bothered to watch. Instead I listened to Heart 106, which repeated twice during the flight. Hmm bobby dazzler….
The sun set and we descended into Gibraltar. There was some pretty low cloud but it wasn’t turbulent. We came in around the back of the rock out into the Bay of Gibraltar, passing some massive looking tankers, and then made a late turn to line up with the runway. It really was some approach and what a landing! As soon as we touchdown it was speedbrakes up, full reverse and full brakes, like wahoo!!! After a few moments we came to a nearly full stop then did a 180 on the runway and backtracked to the terminal. I really loved the A320 after that ride!
Right click here
and choose 'Save Target As' to download the Gibraltar Landing video
(1.50 MB Quicktime Required)
The Return Leg
Ok so after a cool long weekend break in GIB its time to return to sunny Manchestorr. We get a taxi to the airport, in which we had to cross the runway. Its so strange having a main road go across the airfield like that!
Hers me walking across the rwy the day before.
Someone else crossing the rwy
We arrive a little early as they are still checking in the MON flight to LTN. We decide to go up to the roof terrace and have a drink (or 4). I also film the LTN flight arriving which is cool to watch. On that note heres a short video I made of spotting at Gibraltar.
Right click here
and choose 'Save Target As' to download the Gibraltar Spotting video
(1.50 MB Quicktime Required
Sp my parents go down after a while to check in but I thought id stay on the roof and soak up the last of the sun whilst watching the oh so busy movements of the airport. Excuse my sarcasm as I was quite glad I stayed put since I saw a hercky bird land as well as numerous other A320’s land and depart. Rush hour I think!
After I while we proceed threw security allowing people late for the LGW flights to go past, idiots, then take up some seats in the lounge. Quite amusingly one of the screens infront of us had a Mac os message on saying it was now safe to be shut down. I guess somebody had hit the wrong button!
After I have a few too many in the departure lounge our flight is called to board. I managed to retain my dignity and pass the gate agent and walk out to our aircraft, although the pics I took whilst on the tarmac are hardly any good.
Hers two of them:
We took our seats onboard G-MONW, yep the same aircraft that brought us out, well I wasn’t too bothered. The cabin lights dimmed, the main road was closed and the place came to a stop for our departure. We taxied to the end of runway 10, did a 180, the landing/taxi lights were switched on as well as the strobes. We looked like Blackpool lights With the park brake still on the power was pushed forward, then the brakes were released and we surged forward and it felt like we were really going for it, we passed the road I think I waved to the people in their cars then past the terminal and we were airborne with a bit of a shudder, very impressive I thought!
I would show you the Gibraltar Takeoff video but I recorded over it on my tape sowee
We climbed up to 35,000 feet, turned to the northeast and started the 2 hour trek home. We were given free newspapers, drinks and headsets, which I unfortunately snapped the plug off in mad fit to undo the tied up wires, oopsie! I got another set easy enough.
I dozed off for a while to be awoken by a f/a asking do I want a drink, I thought it best to have water. I then sum how had a bit of an argument over some ice with her. She insisted on giving me two drinks, one for my meal and one for now? Well she asked do I want ice, I said whatever its water and my drink is water. I turned away and looked out the window. She then coughed, so I looked back. ‘Do you want ice’, ‘ahh ok fine then’ I said, getting a bit peeved with her. That was drink one. Stupidly she asked did I want ice again in my second drink of water. I was like you’ve earned your name trolley dolly but gave her some flippant remark instead. She wasn’t my friend for the rest of the flight!
Heres a cabin shot with fellow user JKW777 on screen I think?
After our ‘meal’ I dozed off again to awake over the Channel Islands. We then passed over Bournemouth, and then routed into MAN over Crewe I think it was. We made for a rwy 24 arrival but when we were on final, I started thinking where the hell am I, this isn’t Manchester! (I was sitting on the left side of the plane) The runway finally came in to view, we touched down nice and smoothly with the purple engine nicely illuminated for the night time arrival. We then did a 180 turn on the Rwy and backtracked at which point I was majorley disorientained but then I saw the Avro RJ lit up in a blue’ish glow and I realised I had just landed on 24L, highly strange.
We taxied over 24R which looked to be closed for maintenance and after a bit of investigation on the net I found out on a few dates this year 24r is closed during the evening for just that!
We pulled up at the old pier on T1 right next to T3. We parked in between a new colours MON A321 and A320. The engines were switched off and then came the sound of 180 people sharpening their knives as they un-did their seatbelts. Well that’s what I think sometimes! We left via the front left door, as usual, and walked out in the cold and windy weather to the terminal.
All in all the Monarch Scheduled flights were really good and surpassed my expectations of them. They still are charter configd a/c but the service really makes up for it, well in IMHO.