I had 4 days off and really wanted to get out of London and do something. I wanted a good catch up with a fellow nutter as well so we started to look at things to do. Do we go to Europe, where do we go, what do we do etc. After much deliberation, we gave up on Europe and decided to get a hotel in Manchester for a night, and then go to his place the next night.
I woke up bright and early on the Friday Morning, which was hard to do considering I was up till about 2am, made sure I had everything I needed for the weekend, and started the trip to Gatwick. This involved the H26 to Feltham, and then the Train to Clapham Junction, and from there the train to Gatwick. I got to the station after an easy journey at around 0830 and proceeded up to the transit shuttle to head over to the North Terminal where British Airways Gatwick is based.
After having a quick look around (Always nice to see how the other airport works) and loving what they do with the screens behind the desk showing off the BA
product and staff, I went to one of the self service Kiosks opposite the ticket desk and followed the instructions to get my Boarding Pass. THANKFULLY it gave me one of the hard boarding passes and not one of the flimsy ones you get at Heathrow.
I went to go check in my bag (I was transporting Gin up north) and went to join the kind of long queue, but I was stopped by a very smart Customer Service Agent who pointed me to the other side of the check in zone where I walked right up to a desk. After a quick chat about the imminent move of BA
check in to a new addition to the Terminal, I was handed back my boarding pass with the baggage label attached and wished a pleasant weekend. I prepared for security, and went through with out any real problems. I was now airside, so went straight to the nearest window to see outside.
Im not used to seeing so many low cost and charter airlines
All Easyjet, and FlyBE, and Monarch etc. Nice to see the regulars such as VS DL EK
, and to see fellow Oneworld airline MA
who I don't see much of. Decided to take a few pictures.
Just after push Back
777s, a BA
737 and the MA
Easyjet Airbus. Nice Reg, love seeing my initials on something (DH if you cant see it)
After a chat to my dad on the phone, I made my way to gate 55 where the majority of the Domestic flights go from.
Nice quiet area, and I realised here that when I was in the main departure area I heard no tannoy announcements of the same kind you do at LHR
every 5 seconds it seems. No "Keep your bags with you" that kind of thing, I kind of liked it.
The plane finally arrived at 1020 for a 1050 departure, but the gate area was kept informed, and the good view meant we saw the plane arrive and get sorted out quickly.
My first flight of the year
I joined the queue at the boarding gate when the were ready for us, and made my way to the agent to get my boarding pass swiped "Good Morning LHR380, i believe we have a friend in common" I started to laugh. My housemate is Ex LGW
ground staff, and had text a few friends to let them know I was coming though (And not to board me knowing her
I walked down the jetty and made my way to the aircraft.
The Date : 04 March 2011
The Place : Gatwick Airport North Terminal
The Airline : British Airways
The Plane : Boeing 737-436
The Registration: G-DOCW. Built in 1992
The Time : About 1100
Seat : 12F
I was greeted by the Cabin Manager and one of the other flight attendant's as I walked on board (After doing my ritual of touching the Oneworld Logo by the door) I made my way down to my seat which I picked out as 12F for this flight. It is the second set of exit rows over the main wing.
Took my seat, and of course took some photos outside, and the all important leg room shot
At the Gate
The all important Legroom shot.
The cabin crew got sorted with there preflight checks, and the lovely Emma came to each exit row and its customers to make them aware of the exit seats, and the safety card. Was said in a very good way and she left with a smile wishing us all a good flight, a very nice touch.
The plane was showing its age of course, being nearly 18 years old, but was in fine condition (Other then the overhead locker at 14C, it would not close so a bit of sticky tape was used.) I must add that most of the people on the plane had a middle seat free so it was not a very busy service.
We taxied out a little late, and made our way to 08R, the crew did a manual demonstration, and after this i kept my head to the window and saw a couple of interesting things. I saw a Tor Air Airbus, never heard of them before, I spotted a lone MD80 I think parked in a corner,, I think it had ITA in it. I also spotted a Openskies 757 parked up with the other BA
757s, I wonder what that was doing there?
Anyway, we pulled up onto the runway, and with a bit of thrust we made our way in the nice clear London morning air.
Service seemed to take a little while to start, but when it did it went quickly, with me getting my staple Domestic flight drink, a vodka & Sprite
I was served by a nice young chap who looked a little like a good friend of mine. When I mentioned this to another friend later on, it turned out he knew him just from that description, and told me to head over to youtube as quickly as possible and watch this video
Scroll to 1:08. He served me my drink on board
Flight was good, I managed to take a few pics out of the window, but the closer north we got, the more cloudy it got until it was total cloud cover.
We had to hold for a little bit as MAN
was going thru a busy period, and I think it only lasted about 10 minutes before we started to descend into the white stuff. A little choppy on approach, but a smooth touchdown was had on 05L at my home from home, Manchester. Here teh guy I mentioned above did the welcome PA, but confused a lot of us, and himself when instead of saying the actual time, he gave one 2 hours later. I saw a lot of heads looked around and down at their watches, he then apologised and everyone started laughing at it. We soon pulled up on gate 143, and marched to reclaim to get my bad and catch up with my mate for a fun weekend in the city.
Room at the Hilton
Daylight view over the city
Picture of the hotel as we head back from seeing "Paul" at the cinema. Fab film btw..
First 2 shots are at the rain bar, a really decent pub with a good outside terrace, and then you have me and my cosmo in Cloud 23, the cocktail bar.
Nightview over the city.
Soon it was time for bed, and after a nice evening of drinks and good food, we were both shattered. It did not help then, that at 0600 the air con decided to fail and emit a high pitched tone!!!! Hungover and tired makes Dan not happy. They switched the system off, and just as i was about to get back to sleep they called to make sure everything was ok. I gave up sleep from that point.
Later in the day we checked out, and made our way to Euxton for the night, and again had a pretty good time. However it was not to last as I had to start making my way back south. We hopped on the train to Preston, and changed onto the Airport service which was PACKED as the Virgin trains were only running to Preston due to works. It filtered out by the time we got to the central train station in Manchester, and was dead by the time we hit the airport. Walked over to T3
and got myself a very good seat on today's flight to LHR
. I went to the SSK in front of the BA
check in desks, and had a look to see what was on offer for todays flight. FANTASTIC
One of the best seats on the plane was available, and it was going to be mine. 22F Its a set of 3 seats, but the F seat has no seat in front.
I said good bye to my mate, and went and handed my bag over to the agent who tagged it straight away, and off I went to security.
I do like the set up in T3
, swiping to get into the security area, and the general feel of security compared to that at LHR
or even LGW
. Within minutes I was airside and went to have a look outside.
Was a really nice day weather wise!
Soon it was time to board, and sure enough there was my plane on stand.
The Date : 06 March 2011
The Place : Manchester International Airport, Terminal 3
The Airline : British Airways
The Plane :AIRBUS A321-231
The Registration: G-EUXI. Built in 2005
The Time : 1530
Seat : 22F
Boarding was quick, even though the flight was busy (It was not busy when I checked in, but a BD
shuttle was tech and had a bad delay and they moved a load of people onto my service)
After getting my boarding pass swiped at the gate (I was the 3rd on board) I walked down the jetty, touched the Oneworld logo as always, and was greeted by the cabin crew at the front and pointed in the direction of my seat. I smiled at each cabin crew member who were positioned at doors 2 and 3, and made my way to my seat. Bag and coat went in the overhead right away, and I took my seat.
Good legroom me thinks
A dirty AF
321 parked next door. She left first.
Boarding was soon completed, and we actually left the gate 4 minutes early. A short taxi onto the active for today which was 23R and we were in the air on this amazing day for flying.
It was a stunning view, and I head my head at the window every minute, except when the drink came
I love this snack, goes well with my vodka
A quick cabin shot
We made good time (as always on the shuttle) and made a straight in approach to 09L. Smooth touchdown and strong breaking (They need a bit of oil though, hell of a noise)
We were meant to be parking up on stand 3, but seemed to stop short of that. The PA came on and we were told there was a plane on the stand with a slight delay, so they were going to move us, but they had to get everything ready. About 10 minutes later we arrived on stand 6, and 5 minutes after that the door opened and we were let off. As I walked up the jetty I noticed my best mate there waiting for me. Always nice to be greeted by someone senior in uniform. I felt important haha.
After a quick chat, I made my way down to reclaim and my bag was there, and within 30 minutes of landing (still early even after the delay in getting on stand) I was home.
I loved my first flights of the year, and the weekend was much needed for both of us.
Cant wait for more to come.
Thank you for reading, and hope you enjoyed the pictures.