MONDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2007
PORT OF SPAIN (POS) – SCARBOROUGH (TAB)
FLIGHT BW 1520
BOMBARDIER DASH 8 Q300 9Y-WIZ (C/N 557)
Photo © Nigel Steele
167th flight overall
11th flight of 2007
20th flight on Bombardier Dash 8, 7th flight on this plane
3rd flight on BW
Once again I was on my way to Tobago, this time with my mother as we went to attend my great aunt’s funeral. My father dropped us off at POS at 0745HR. The check-in was very swift and soon we were set. My mom, who is Tobagonian and goes regularly, only had hand luggage but I took one of my suitcases as I planned to stay a bit longer in the island on the next day.
The Tobago departure lounge was, as always, quite crowded. The flight was called for departure at 0835HR and by 0842HR we had boarded the Dash 8 Q300. I had seat 9A, by the port window while my mother was next to me in 9B. As is also usual for the domestic flights, the plane was fully loaded.
The plane taxied quickly to runway 10 and set upon it for take-off, becoming airborne at 0900HR. The plane took quite a different route to TAB compared to my previous flight on this trip; it headed to the North East towards the large town of Arima then headed North over the Northern Range until it passed over the North Coast just East of the village of Blanchisseuse. From there it headed over the sea until it lined up with TAB runway 09, towards which it descended and ultimately landed at 0917HR. On landing a BW 737-800, 9Y-TAB (rather appropriately, one might say) was at the terminal and was just being pushed back for its return to POS. BW uses the jets on selected rotations to TAB to offer additional capacity. By the time the Dash 8 had taxied back to the terminal the 737 was making its way towards the runway. It soon took off on the short trip across the sea.
We then made our way to the small baggage collection hall – merely a counter onto which the cases are deposited directly from the carts – where I collected my suitcase and hence we went out to get a taxi to my grandmother’s house in Scarborough. It was initially a sunny day in Tobago but the rains would come later.
TUESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2007
SCARBOROUGH (TAB) – PORT OF SPAIN (POS)
FLIGHT BW 1541
BOMBARDIER DASH 8 Q300 9Y-WIL (C/N 489)
Photo © Nigel Steele
168th flight overall
12th flight of 2007
21st flight on Bombardier Dash 8, 1st flight on this plane
4th flight on BW
While my mother, who had to return to work, left Tobago early on this morning to return to POS I was able to stay a bit later and go to the beach again. As always I went to Store Bay, which is five (5) minutes’ walk from TAB and offers a view of the aircraft movements, especially short finals – but during the morning the traffic merely comprised BW Dash 8s doing domestic turns (the international flights are all in the afternoon).
My flight back to POS was in the afternoon so I went back to my grandmother and changed prior to getting the taxi back to the airport for departure. I checked in at 1335HR, having arrived five (5) minutes earlier – and was offered an earlier flight, BW 1541 departing at 1350HR! This was lucky – for once I was able to get an earlier flight (though this was totally unexpected) and offered a marked contrast to my experience with my earlier trip to TAB. With just a few minutes until boarding I could not stock up on Tobago candy treats this time and so I rushed though the security check-point and into the Domestic Departures Lounge, Gate 1. This gate is on the ground floor of the terminal. Now there are no signs forbidding photography here but there is also no view really permitting one to do so – and in any case the average domestic passenger would be unlikely to do so.
What I did not expect though was a prolonged delay to the flight. At 1355HR an announcement over the PA system came stating that the flight was delayed, although no new departure time was forthcoming. The time drifted slowly along for the many passengers crowded in the small waiting area. Unfortunately there was nothing to do – I could not go to the candy vendors without having to go through the security checks again and I felt that was a bit too much fuss. There was absolutely nothing inside the waiting area – again, not even a notice board!
The time dragged on and on until 1416HR when the reassuring sound of turboprop engines became audible and 9Y-WIL landed. It soon parked at the terminal and the inbound passengers disembarked. The turnaround was very swift and within minutes the departure of BW 1541 to POS was announced. I thus boarded at 1430HR and took seat 10D, a starboard window seat. The plane was soon filled and departure procedures began with the safety briefing. The plane then taxied out to the end of Runway 09 and powered up for take-off, eventually becoming airborne at 1440HR. As is the usual TAB – POS route, the plane headed East for a couple of minutes before turning to the South West for POS. It got to a maximum height of 7000 feet or 2100 metres – not very high but certainly higher than any mountains in Trinidad!
The flight continued over the sea and shortly afterwards over Trinidad’s Northern Range at around Blanchisseuse. From there it passed the towns of Arima and Tunapuna before turning for the POS runway, passing the Caroni plain in doing so. The flight landed at 1455HR on runway 10 – exactly fifteen (15) minutes after take-off and a lot faster than the twenty-five (25) minute estimate given by the Captain on departure. In the event I thus arrived at POS at the same time that I would have had I been on my original flight, BW 1543.
I disembarked quickly, got my suitcase and went to the front of the terminal where I had just a short wait until my mother arrived. This ended my second “trip within a trip” but the domestic services remain a very tangled area of operation for BW.
Thank you for reading,