Mission Triple 7. LGW
Good morrow dear readers, and welcome to my latest installation of my airliners.net trip reports.
The background for this trip is pretty straightforward – I wanted to fly on the Boeing 777; my favourite aircraft. I started looking at fares not long after I got back from Paris in January and had my sights set on the GA89 service to Jakarta via Amsterdam. This however, would be hard as my job was cutting down my hours severely, down to just 4 hours a week. This was getting me nowhere and with me getting a car (Fiat Punto; beast of a car) I was pretty much out of disposable income.
But luck was on my side, as I happened to come across a vacancy at a theme park nearby (a proper one, not a ferris wheel and some bumper cars) and I applied. I managed to get the job and I was given a relatively high responsibility job with a nice wage to go along side. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have the world’s unhappiest face but I now operate rides at a theme park – 23 rides to be exact.
With good pay came good money – I very quickly booked up a LGW
and an AMS
. A first for both on shorthaul. I also very quickly booked the Southern Trains slowmobile service to Gatwick via Horsham for a whopping £5.
The big day quickly came and I flopped out of bed like a dead whale at the ghastly time of 7am. I whacked some sausages in the pan and enjoyed a proper breakfast, before Dad took me down to Southampton Central Station for the 20 minute drive, looking a bit foggy out there;
I walked straight onto the platform where the train was waiting for me patiently (as if trains have feelings) and I sat down in the front coach;
After 2 hours of listening to other peoples conversations (the guy behind me thought that Paris was ‘the butthole of Europe’) I disembarked the train gracefully (you weren’t there, so I can say it was gracefully) and headed to the North terminal.
The lady at the check-in desk told me there was an hour delay so that already shrunk down my time in Amsterdam to just 4 and a half hours.
My boarding pass;
I headed airside and got prodded by a fat bloke claiming to be part of security.
As I’m sure you’re aware, students live on McDonalds, so as you can imagine, I nearly fell over with shock when I learnt that North Terminal doesn’t have one. I ended up going for a Swedish lunch… well… Meatball wrap.
Gate was announced of (I have no idea) and I headed over there and was quickly let into the pen.
Soon I spotted this big dawg rolling in;
What a beauty!
Next to me were a couple of hippy dippy types on a trip of a lifetime type dealio through the usual student gap year routing of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Australia etc (totally rad man) and the conversation they were having was pretty interesting. Turns out one of them had researched the aircraft en-detail and had some fairly generic but correct comments about the aircraft, I of course chipped in when they wondered if the aircraft had Wifi, I think it did anyway… that knobbly bit on top, right?
What a beast;
Eye-spy a new livery (it had only been announced very recently at the time);
After a couple of people had taken some photos of the beast (inner avgeek) priority boarding was announced. The agent made a huge point of scanning the load (a whole twelve of us) waiting for a premium passenger to arise. Eventually she pointed at a man and said “You may board”. I guess she was waiting for him to respond… Anyway – the following 11 of us boarded and I made my way to my preassigned seat of I-have-no-idea. It may have been something like 35K? I don’t record these things. Annoyingly the entire passenger load had been placed in the surrounding three rows and weren’t allowed to move until after takeoff citing weight and balance and all that.
Trying to look normal whilst taking a picture of the seats beside me, I like the colours but I don’t think they work too well if you get what I mean;
Pulled it off second try;
-GIF is my chariot it seems;
I seem to remember it being 11 months old at the time of flying, the youngest bird I’ve ever flown on, hence the lack of smoking signs;
An extremely long announcement in a foreign language (I’m really sorry – I’ve forgotten the Indonesian tongue, I have a name in mind but I’d sound stupid if I got it wrong) was read out to the 100% English passenger load, before an abrupt “40 minute delay” was garbled out. Ah well… may as well take in the surroundings.
Some interesting birds;
Finally, that ever so satisfying initial jerk from the tug was felt, and we started rolling back.
The start-up was ever so nice and clattered all my teeth out (my sadistic dentist would’ve enjoyed the view). Eventually the flaps whirred down and we trudged forward. Unfortunately we were lightly loaded enough to be able to roll forward on idle power, meaning no satisfying grunts to get us going.
Non-stop taxi followed by an underwhelming take-off roll (I video these things and can’t be bothered to upload them to youtube… so tough shit)
The first post-takeoff photo;
It was a smooth climbout and the FA
’s quickly swung into action with crates of food and drink. No choices today;
I thought the sizes were a bit different to what I was expecting;
It was a pretty good turnout for such a short flight, the cake especially was fantastic.
A few in flight-snaps;
I took a quick nosey at the IFE. The touchscreen was a little unresponsive, but the resolution was more than acceptable and the film selection pretty good too;
Rather awful headphones and a fat hand;
Expectedly we descended..;
There are actually 2 planes in this picture – a bit of trouble will be had finding them though.
Flaps were extended, gear went down and we made an autoland into the very dreary Amsterdam on some runway undoubtedly named and ending in ‘baaaan’
36C was the runway looking at the signage;
Over the bridge, you know;
Some distant aircraft shaped object;
Parked up next to the cheapos (this flight actually cost less than EasyJet were charging but you get the point)
Upon dis-embarking I asked (very politely I may add) if I could have a peek inside the flight-deck. The purser gave me a look as if I’d punched her sainted mother. “No!” she gushed “We don’t do that anymore, not after the incident” she referred to mysteriously, although I knew full well what she meant, and couldn’t quite understand why she wouldn’t let me in for a peek. However, upon exiting the airport, I notice both pilots smoking so it was clear they’d been waiting by the door like impatient (air)bus passengers and sprinted out to have a good ol’ drag on the ciggies.
I’m afraid I have absolutely no photos of what I did in Amsterdam, but I can reliably inform you I ate for the most part, seeing as I now had no time to leave the airport thanks to the delay (just over 2 hours in the end). Although thanks to Suryo and Robin for their help in what I was planning on doing.
I checked in using the machine and headed airside to watch my aircraft taxi in;
Upon closer inspection – I noticed the Capitano and First Officer were sitting in the wrong seat, turns out the First Officer was a brand spanking new Captain undergoing Line Operating Experience in the left seat.
On time boarding was followed by a nice greeting at the door, before settling into my seat of 18A.
Et la legroom;
The crew were in the older category and extremely personable – I believe the real plus point of BA
is their crew standard.
Push back was a few minutes early;
And we pushed in line for the stupidly long taxi to the Polllddeeeerbaaaaan.
Takeoff was pretty powerful and we were almost immediately swallowed by some low-hanging cloud. The following photos were taken with my camera in a makeshift darkroom made of my sweatshirt;
Unfortunately I introduced myself to the bloke in the aisle seat (90% load btw, with a few middle seats empty). He was an astronomer and built those giant camera’s that take amazing photos of the universe (he kept on referring to them as his holiday snaps) and I spent the remainder of the flight talking to him. He knew a fair whack about flying (Gold holder with United I believe) and had a PhD in Physics and a PhD in Astro-physics so he was less than impressed when I reliably informed him that planes flew by magic. He also told me about his get-rid-of-jet-lag-quick scheme which was useless because he only used it in Australia and worked through the night halfway up a mountain, so he basically just stuck to GMT.
Service consisted of a choice of soft-drink and a mini packet of crisps, which was enough for me.
Landing was on 09L and the pilots stood on the brakes. They made a horrific, cabin and eardrum piercing shriek and the whole cabin vibrated and tilted forward at an alarming angle, I’m fairly certain we were doing a nose-wheel wheelie, a feat I caught on tape (only 12 seconds long so, pretty much the entire landing roll as I begin just after touchdown);
I was granted access into the flight deck this time and the acting Captain sheepishly admitted he’d also fancied taking that flight as he’d just come off the 777;
Off the plane, onto a bus;
And at that, I shall bring my report to a close. In conclusion I flew on planes and enjoyed it, so that’s that.
Thanks very much for enduring this and I hope you can find my other reports (can’t be bothered to find them and link them)
I’ve booked a flight to MCO
and back on the BA
777 with a friend (finally found one) and that report should be up by June 2016 as I’ve booked it about 19 years in advance. Apart from that I’ve nothing booked, although I’m sure I’ll squeeze a quick daytrip in at somepoint.