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A Birthday Weekend To Remember (2002)

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  • A Birthday Weekend To Remember (2002)

    This trip report will follow me on a birthday weekend to remember, completing 4 flights in 3 days and visiting 4 different airports. The weekend started on Friday 5th July 2002 and ended on Sunday 7th July 2002.The Airports that will be visited are as follows:-

    MAN - Manchester International Airport
    LHR - London Heathrow
    STN - Stansted Airport
    CRL - Charleroi Airport, Belgium

    This is also my first trip report so I hope you all enjoy it and I hope there will be many more to come!


    DATE - 05/07/02
    AIRLINE - BMI British Midland
    AIRCRAFT TYPE - 737-500
    ARRIVAL TIME - 2100

    After a day spent at MAN from 0730 I was getting alittle fed up with carrying my hold luggage around so I decided to check in as early as possible. I checked myself in for flight BD595 at 1625 and was very releved that all I had to carry now was my hand luggage. The check-in staff were very polite and made things easy and within 2 minutes I was checked in for my flight and was assigned seat 9A, I requested a seat by the window and on the wing . I had a few hours to spare before I went through to the gate area (I was to depart from gate 1 so I decided to spend some time in the cafe in Terminal 1 watching over the apron and runway movements. A few examples of what I saw are - BA ATP G-MANP, BMI EMB-145 G-RKXD, BMI EMB-135 G-RJXK, LH CRJ100 D-ACLY and a UK F100 G-UKFM.


    I passed through to the gate area at 1800 and made my way to the seating area at gate 18. While I waited for my flight another BMI flight to LHR (BD593) was delayed by 10 minutes and witnessed the pilots, who were sitting in the gate seating area, get some stick about it. Comments like "Make a 10 minute turn around" and so on were mentioned to them. Aircraft I saw while waiting to board were - BMI 735 G-BVZG, BA 734 G-DOCU and BA 734 G-BUHK.

    At 1945 we started boarding our aircraft which was G-BVKB, a 737-500. I got to my seat and settled in, with the added bonus of LOTS of leg room due to me sitting in seat 9A which is on the left hand side overwing emergency exit. I have to say that I must have had an even more comfortable flight than those up front in Business class. Although I wouldnt mind being up front in the jump seat!


    It seemed like 20 minutes had passed, from departure from MAN and having my free glass of water and pretzels (What a luxury!), and we were over London, but the captain gave us the news that we would have to circle over London for 20 minutes before we could decend into LHR. We circled LHR 5 times and then began our decent. I took one last look at the nice blue skys and then we entered horrible grey clouds, and what a suprise, it was raining at LHR. The lyrics "Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you" sprung to mind immediately.

    The approach and decent was alittle bumpy due to the weather conditions but the landing was spot on. We landed on 27L at LHR and taxied to Terminal 1. Unfortunate for me we had parked up at a remote stand, which yes, meant I was going to get wet again!

    Finally by 2130 I had got out of arrivals with my luggage and met up with Dan (BA747-436) and we made our way through the London traffic until tomorrow...


    DATE - 06/07/02
    AIRLINE - Ryanair
    AIRCRAFT TYPE - 737-230
    ARRIVAL TIME - 0840 (CET)

    After a morning of mistakes like getting up late and forgetting to turn off at the motorway junction for STN and only just finding a junction to turn back at 25 miles after the junction to STN, me and Dan finally got to STN and was all ready for our trip.

    We went streight to our check-in desk and chceked ourselves in at around 0540 (GMT). After checking in we headed streight for our gate, we were to depart from gate 41. With a while left until our flight was to board we decided to take a few pictures through the terminal and we saw countless FR 732's and 738's along with, what I think, is going to be Air 2000's first A320 painted in the new livery. Also in sight were some Buzz and GO aircraft, along with something that suprised us both, a Martinair MD-11!

    We began boarding at 0630 and were at the front of the que. We boarded our aircraft, a 737-230 EI-CNZ, and were welcomed aboard by some very nice stewardesses. Seen as you were not assigned seats and we were the first on board we had a wide choice of seats to choose from. We chose to sit at 1A and 1B. We were pushed back at 0650 and the first thing i noticed is that the 737-200 was quieter than I expected, although the interior was just what I expected, old, tatty and visibly heavily used.

    We began our take off roll at 0700, and yet again the engines didnt sound as loud as I expected. We shot into the sky and started a steep climb to around 23,000ft. Prior to take off when the safety breifing was performed I noticed Ryanairs was quite fast compared to other airlines, almost rushed. Yet when it came round to letting us know about the drinks and food trolley and gofts trolley they took their time and tried to get it into our heads that we MUST buy something.


    The flight was short but sweet , starting our decent minutes after reaching our cruising altitude. The decent into CRL was alittle bumpy but no big deal, cloud was also low and when we popped out of the cloud we were almost over the threshold. The landing was pretty smooth also not what i expected for Ryanair. We landed at 0845 (CET) and taxied to the terminal pretty fast. We cleared passport control and headed out of the airport for a fun packed day in Belgium. The CRL terminal is like it was specifically built for Ryanair, with Blue and Yellow interior. It doesnt suprise me when Ryanair are almost the only operator into and out of CRL.


    DATE - 07/07/02
    AIRLINE - Ryanair
    AIRCRAFT TYPE - 737-800
    ARRIVAL TIME - 0700 (GMT)

    Me and Dan arrived at CRL after a good nights sleep at 0510 (CET). We went streight to check-in and only had a short wait untin the check-in desks were opened. It was another stress free check-in although I noticed we wasnt asked any security questions which was quite odd. We then went to wait for the gate area to open which was around 0600. Once into the gate area there were 3 Ryanair 737-800's parked up, EI-CSB, EI-CSF and EI-CSC. I took the chance to grav some duty free (Belgian Chocolates) and when I had walked out of the shop boarding had commenced.


    The Aircraft me and Dan was on was a 737-800, EI-CSF. I quickly shot off some pictures while walking to the stairs to get onto the aircraft. We got sat down in seats 21E and 21F. Yet again the safety breifing was as quick as possible and pushback commenced. As we taxied along to the runway we noticed a Private 727 (American Registered), a Dassult Falcon 200 (Belgian Registered) and 2 Mig Helicopters (Russian Registered).


    Take off commenced at 0700 and rotation cale alittle late as the flight was full. We cruised at 23,000ft and had a pretty uneventful 40 minutes flight. The decent into STN was pretty interesting and gave us quite a few photo opportunities with condensation trails coming off of the flaps. Full flaps was selected for landing and the landing was smooth. One very noticable thing with Ryanair is that when taxying they go pretty fast compared to most airlines considering we landed early at 0640 (GMT).


    We pulled into gate 62R at STN and went to collect our baggage and pass security. Overall Ryanair was not what I expected in a good way and I would love to fly them again in the near future.

    Me and Dan left STN and headed off for a day at LHR before my flight back to MAN...

    DATE - 07/07/02
    AIRLINE - BMI British Midland
    AIRCRAFT TYPE - 737-300
    ARRIVAL TIME - 1910

    After a great day at LHR with Dan taking pictures it was unfortunately time to go . I made my way to Terminal 1 and checked in with my seating preferance to be behing the wing at a window. I was then checked in on seat 15A. As soon as I had checked in I made my final goodbyes with Dan thanking him for one of my best birthday weekends I had ever expirienced and then I headed off through security.


    At around 1730 our flight was announced for boarding at gate 6. People who needed help, children and BMI Diamond members boarded first before everyone, then everyone else followed 5 minutes later with me being at the front of the que too . I got sat in my seat and relaxed for a moment after a mad 3 days.

    Pushback commenced at 1810 and we hastily taxied to 27R for departure. We finally took off from 27R at 1820 and quickly climbed and turned on a heading for MAN.


    Once we had reached 23,000ft the drinks trolley was brought round where I had a free coffee and biscuits, while being served we began our decent into MAN and was told we were to land on the south westerly runway (24R). It wasnt long before we had popped out of the clouds and MAN was visible. After we had turned in love with 24R it was a smooth decent all the way including a very nice smooth and long landing. We landed at 1850 and taxied into gate 18 to dissembark where my journey began. I then collected my baggage and headed off to the train station for the train home.


    Overall with my expirience with BMI I would fly on them again any day. I would also reccomend them to anyone, Definately a Birthday to remember! BMI and Ryanaiar keep up the good work!

    Yours Sincerely,
    Jason Nicholls
    E-Mail - [email protected]

    P.S: I dedicate this trip report to Dan Valentine who made all this possible, thanks for making my birthday unforgettable! This was my 17th birthday and now im starting to think what I can do for my 18th! Both BMI 737's I flew on have now gone on to fly with BMI Baby.

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