Flight Review: Easyjet 832 Belfast to Gatwick

We went for a trip to London in April 2015. On the way, we went Easyjet.
Here is a review of the unique, orange airline.

Booking
We booked it for £200 total a bit before, and spent a bit extra for selected seats. We did not take much — just backpacks, so no need to pay for bags.

Check in
Check in was online – fast and efficient. We had our boarding passes in no time.

Departure
We left home at 6AM after some breakfast. We drove down to Aldergrove, and parked there for the week.
We had no baggage, so we were through to the gate area in ten minutes. At about 7:30, we headed down to the gate for departure.
Belfast Aldergrove is a nice, small airport — very clean and tidy. We arrived at the gate, and were soon walking out to the A320E parked at stand 14. Boarding was through the for’ard and aft airstairs — very efficient. My first impression of the cabin was that it was… orange. Seriously. Even the toilets. But it was a nice orange. The seats did not recline; however they were perfectly comfortable for the hour long flight and good value!

Flight
We were soon ready to go. We had an uneventful quick flight to Gatwick, where we landed safely.

Gatwick Express
We booked the Gatwick Express from Gatwick to Victoria. The 45 minute ride was pleasant; we all found a seat beside eachother and had a nice trip down to Victoria.

We had a delightful week there — booked a hotel with Miles and More miles in the London City Airport area, then paid for two nights in a Holiday Inn elsewhere.

Bottom line
Easyjet is by no means a luxurious carrier; however, it delivers good value with efficiency, punctuality, and friendliness. Do not expect any extras and you will be pleased beyond measure.

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Flight Review: Lufthansa 978 Frankfurt to Dublin EuroBusiness

Lufthansa 535 Caracas to Frankfurt

Route: CCS-FRA
FLIGHT NUMBER: DLH978
Date: January 29th, 2015
Cabin: Lufthansa Business Class (Euro)
Seat: 3A
Aircraft: A321E

Lounge:
Visited the B Terminal Business Lounge. Very, very nice. Wish we could hae spent more time, but our inbound flight was delayed. As it happened, we had 10 minutes to grab a hot chocolate, some yoghurt, and a danish. Very comfortable lounge.

Boarding:
Our flight had 3 gates — boarding pass, the screen in the lounge, and the screen at the gate we saw in the lounge!
Eventually we got to B33, where it was worse than Times Square on New Years Eve — 180 people crammed into that space in a fan shape. In the mad scramble, we eventually exited the terminal and boarded the bus. As the norm at Frankfurt, we had to take a bus to I believe it was C8? Turned out best for us in the end, as there is no way we could have made C8 in time from B26 without a bus.
The bus was packed full, but not as bad as Venezuelan buses.
It took only a couple of minutes until we were parked beside the A321…

Of course, we used the airstairs to get in. At least it was not raining. 

As usual in Europe, the business section was economy with the middle seat blocked. The seats were comfortable enough. I have no pictures at all; at that stage I was dead on my feet.

Flight
We were offered breakfast which we declined. There was a very slight chop. I fell asleep almost immediatrly, but woke over Kent. I fell off again over London and woke up as we were emerging from the clouds….

I immediately knew by the green fields: this is the Emerald Isle!
Welcome to Dublin 🙂

We arrived, got through immigration, collected our cases, and then met our family at the other end. Hello!

And then we drove two hours to the North of Ireland 🙂

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And had a lovely time there too.
Mars Bar Sandwiches… Roast Beef dinners… Fish and Chips…. ulster fries… ohhhhhh, back in a moment…

See you tomorrow with a brief review of Easyjet!
Till later

Flight Review: Lufthansa 535 Caracas to Frankfurt

Route: CCS-FRA
FLIGHT NUMBER: DLH535
Date: January 28th, 2015
Cabin: Lufthansa Business Class (New)
Seat: 11A
Aircraft: A330-343, D-AIKK

Here is the first of a mini-series of trip reports of a visit to the UK in 2015.
Booking:
Booked it the week prior for, er, £160 each. Crazy exchange rates.

Checkin:
Proceeded to check in. Short queue — just one family ahead. Friendly attendant had us checked in no time. We got lounge inviatations for the Admirals Club and Premier Lounge.

Lounge(s):

Admirals Club
The Admirals club is located at the far western end of the airport, next to the American Airlines gate (25?). The receptionist welcomed us in, and we were soon seated in a nice private corner.
I took no photos of the lounge; however, I did get one of the AA 757 pulling in:

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757 at Maiquetia from Miami

They had excellent, albeit salty chicken noodle soup — not so good as other Admiral Clubs, but decent enough for Venezuela, compared to the box of deviled ham samdwiches in the crowded Premier Club. Also had decent snacks and drinks. Clear views of apron and runway. Fairly fast WiFi — for Venezuela. Reccomended over Premier Lounge. Not very crowded, quite a premier atmosphere in that one feels comfortable taking out a camera for example without fear of being robbed.

Premier Lounge
Not too bad, compared to other reviews I have read of some abysmal lounges in say Cario. However, it pales considerably compared to the Admirals Club at the other end. You may access it with Priority Pass — however, it is very crowded during the European deparures period. The snacks are fine, some nice pumpkin cake, and a box of devilled ham sandwiches. Seriously. Would not reccomend taking out expensive electronics due to crowding, thus no photos. Very nice fresh juice and toilets.

Boarding
Boarding was at gate 13 as usual for UA and LH. Fairly efficient. Slightly delayed.

Aircraft
This was one of the first routes flown with the new business hard product on this airframe, thus it was fairly fresh. I particularly enjoyed the large toilet behind 2R, with a window!

I was feeling a bit nervous, as I usually do on the first flight of the day — just nerves and excitement. Goes away after a couple of minutes. Thus, I have no cabin photos except for this one.

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Sorry for the quality! The latter was over Cornwall as the sun was rising.

Departure
We pushed back a few minutes late, and made our short taxi to runway 10 in a couple of minutes. We waited for a takeoff and landing, and then rocketed off into the atmosphere. By then the sun was setting.

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Climbout was uneventful until just about an hour after departure, when some light chop began, which continued for the duration of the flight. It worsened considerably off the east coast of America for a couple of hours; however, it never grew into turbulence. I managed a couple of hours sleep.

Food
Not too bad compared with United. However, I mantain that Lufhansa economy and kids food is a lot better than the default business food. They try too hard to be fancy. By the time we finished the main course, the moderate chop had begun, and dessert was suspended. My main course choice was beef; I think the starter was chicken and lettuce?

IFE
Fairly good. Watched a movie of a 72 hour (I think) MD-11 Lufthansa Cargo journey until after dinner by which time I slept brokenly for a good 4 hours.
After that I read a couple of books and watched the IFE.

Arrival
The sun rose over Cornwall. About 2 hours before landing, breakfast began. I went with a drink and a danish ‘express breakfast’ — not being up to an omelette at that point.

Descent began over the Netherlands. We came in from the northwest, and then began our turn over the snow covered fields for an approach to 25C. It was a pretty gusty approach; however, the landing was nice and smooth, yet firm.

Taxi, Parking, and Deboarding
We taxied to gate B24 IIRC, and saw some varied traffic.

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We arrived, and were soon offthe aircraft, dashing for our next flight with a stopover for a quick refresher at the lounge — just 45 minutes to spare! Thankfully we were in the right concourse…

Bottom Line:
Lufthansa Business is perfectly fine for this 10 hour flight. Service was fairly good, despite flight attendants lack of charm, shall we say. They just didn’t really want to be there, and I can’t blame them. Venezuela isn’t the safest of places; it was a full cabin; it was a redeye. One aspect I found lacking was the food. It just tried too hard to be fancy… octopus anyone?
The seat was just right; although I found the old product which I flew in May more comfortable for lounging. Footspace was a little limited in this product. Amenity kit was excellent; headphones were lovely – noise cancelling too.

In a nutshell, Lufthansa is a very nice airline, which could use some work on its cusine, but has a very nice hard product.

Next Post: Lufthansa 978 – FRA-DUB, EuroBusiness

American 206 — ”horrifying” flight?

I heard about American 206 today —

  Plane passengers and a flight attendants were rushed to the hospital after an American Airlines flight experienced severe turbulence in flight that led to injuries.
The seat belt light was fortunately on when American Airlines flight 206 from Miami to Milan hit a pocket of extremely rocky turbulence.
The flight had to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland, Canada Sunday night around 9:45pm.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3415060/Turbulence-diverts-Milan-bound-U-S-flight-Canada.html#ixzz3yHaRonVj
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Not too bad, DM, after some ‘terror in the sky‘ articles which I have read on the DM site.

The fasten seatbelts sign was on — get them seatbelts on!

Don’t be frightened. Turbulence has never crashed a plane. Despite what you have heard online, you are not banking at 30 degrees, dropping 3000 feet in 2 seconds, or entering a spiral dive at any time.

“It rolled on its side. Everything went flying. It was pretty intense” Karen Case

I assure you, ma’am, it did not roll on its side. I understand how harrowing it would be, but I can assure you that you did not exceed 15 degrees of bank at any time.

Non Expert Analysis
J Redpath
Okay, this was most likely the remnants of the blizard.
It was fairly strong by the looks of the video, but it most definitely did not plunge.
Looking at FlightAware tracking logs, there are no plunges at all — just an ordinary descent into Newfoundland!

American 206 was a 767 operating MIA-MLN on the 24th of January, 2016 departing around 1500 EST.

Looking at some weather charts, there is still some turbulence over the North Atlantic.
High winds around 40N40W: see this picture:
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Here are the eastbound NATS – complete with weather.
Apparently the 767 was at a maximum altitude of FL330 — lowest 270. By the time Flight 206 contacted Gander Center, it was at 330 — its filed altitude, probably. I was unable to get historic charts, but by the looks of the current one, Flight 206 hit the northmost jetstream marked yellow, and thus encountered fairly high turbulence.

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Finally, here is the NAVCANADA NA turbulence forecast:
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So by the looks of it, apart from the injuries, this was a non-event. Flight 206 could have continued to Milan without any trouble.

To any bashing the pilot for not changing the route or altitude:
The North Atlantic Tracks have a fair amount of traffic, and it is not as simple as asking for another altitude. With separations tight, it would be difficult to climb or descend the aircraft to another flight level without breaking the ten minute separation. With other tracks left and right, it is not as simple as turning aside a bit. In this event, I feel the injuries were simply caused by passengers disobeying the seatbelt sign, and flight attendants not being strapped in. Turbulence can be unexpected, and not on any weather charts. I experienced this firsthand on Lufthansa 535 back in January 2015. The pilot perhaps had no time to warn the flight attendants to be seated.

This post is simply the opinions of J Redpath, who is not a professional or pricate pilot. This is not a formal, final investigation into the incident.