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Southampton-Manchester, Manchester-Barcelona, Barcelona-Florence

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  • Southampton-Manchester, Manchester-Barcelona, Barcelona-Florence

    Here's part 2, enjoy!

    Airline: Flybe
    Route: Southampton, UK to Manchester, UK
    Scheduled Departure: 06:50
    Actual Departure: 06:52
    Scheduled Arrival: 07:55
    Actual Arrival: 07:38
    Flight Duration: 1 hour 05 minutes
    Aircraft Type/Reg: Bombardier Dash-8-400 (G-JECY)
    Seat: 1A
    Class: Economy

    Having checked in online the night before, I selected seat 1A to allow me a quick exit when we arrived in Manchester.
    I arrived at Southampton at around 6am, dropping my bag off at the desk. The security was rather busy, with only 2 lanes, it was bound to be. It seemed everybody was travelling on the flight to Manchester too.
    Once through security, I headed straight to Gate 2, where the flight was boarding. A bright purple plane looked extra shiny in the darkness of the night.
    I was greeted onboard by the same purser that was on my flight from Amsterdam yesterday, and I took my seat in 1A. The aircraft was pretty full, a busy flight this morning.
    Boarding was over pretty quickly, and not long after I had sat down, we were pushing back and starting our engines. The cabin crew performed a safety demonstration, and then it was a very short taxi to the runway.
    We departed in a southerly direction, making a quick right turn to face us north as we climbed into the clouds. The seatbelt sign was switched off pretty soon after, and the crew commenced their inflight service. I got a coffee, which cost 2.50, quite expensive I thought.
    I wasn't given much time to drink, as before we knew it, we had started our descent into Manchester, and the crew were rushing around trying to clear the trash away. Feeling quite sorry for myself having a burnt mouth, I watched nothing but Grey go past the window as we made our approach through the thick clouds at Manchester. The aircraft bouncing left right up down going crazy as we made a very turbulent approach, and finally, we left the cloud and landed in a ridiculously rainy Manchester. The landing itself was actually very smooth, and we had arrived well ahead of schedule.
    A very short taxi from the runway to Terminal 3, where we were quickly kicked off to make way for the returning pax.
    We walked from the aircraft through the torrential rain, to the terminal, where we walked straight into the baggage claim hall.
    We waited around 10 mins, before the bags arrived and then I made my way out through the exit to the arrivals hall, where I was met and taken into Manchester.
    I hate to break it to you, but despite having successful soccer (football ) teams, Manchester doesn't seem like a particularly pleasant place
    Anyway, after a very brief and seemingly pointless meeting, I was taken back to the airport, where I checked into the Radisson Blu Manchester Airport, which is actually a very nice hotel. I was in a Business Class room which meant I had access to the Business Class lounge on the top floor, where there is free food and soft/alcoholic drinks, pretty cool! It has a great view of the apron too from up there.
    I checked in online for my flight the next day, having to pay 10 just to get a seat!
    And settled in for the night as it was another early start!

    Airline: Monarch Airlines
    Route: Manchester, UK to Barcelona, Spain
    Scheduled Departure: 08:00
    Actual Departure: 08:13
    Scheduled Arrival: 11:20
    Actual Arrival: 10:56
    Flight Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
    Aircraft Type/Reg: Airbus A320-200 (G-ZBAT)
    Seat: 30A
    Class: Economy

    I checked in online the night before, paying 10 to select a seat. According to the OLCI system a lot of seats were blocked or occupied so I took the only reasonable window seat, which was in the last row.
    This was my first flight with Monarch, so I was excited to see what was in store, as far as I had heard, it was a UK Lowcost vacation airline.
    The flight departed from Terminal 2, which was a 30 second walk from the Radisson Blu hotel. I dropped my bag off at the bag drop at around 0630, and proceeded through security. The check-in area and security were ram packed with people, flying off to exotic destinations around Europe and Africa, 99% of them travelling Monarch too.
    Security was rather awkward, it took around 30 minutes to get through and people kept getting stopped and had to get re-searched by the security team which took time and held up the queue. Once through security, the departure lounge seemed pretty full, walking through the duty free with thousands of people spraying tester aftershaves on themselves I didn't know if I was going to choke or burst into tears.
    Boarding was called at around 7:30, there were Priority boarders, then the remainder. I of course was part of the remainder, a mass of people trying to tackle the one poor gate agent to get on the aircraft first.
    Maybe I stood out, because a Swissport agent pulled me out of the line and asked me to start a new queue, and I was able to jump a significant potion of the queue. We boarded via jetway and I was greeted onboard by a disinterested purser who was checking boarding passes. Many people has folded up or put away their boarding passes so this too held up the boarding process. As I walked through the cabin, another flight attendant standing at the emergency exit, mumbled something to me and smiled, she had an accent which I had never ever heard in my life and I didn't understand anything that she had said, so I just said hi and continued to the back of the aircraft. Still confused about what had just happened, I reached the back row, where another flight attendant, said something to me in this alien accent. The look on my face must have said it all, as she repeated herself, and I was still unable to understand what she was saying. I felt like such an ass, I knew how rude I was making myself out to be, but I really genuinely didn't understand what was being said to me, the accent was completely alien to me. Even after she repeated herself, I didn't get it, so I just again said hello, and then sat in my seat, feeling like a complete ass.
    To be perfectly honest, the seat was comfortable and the legroom was adequate for 2 hour flight. I flicked through Monarch's in-flight magazine "Passport", which actually made for an interesting read. As boarding nearly completed, one of the crew made a PA, and of course, it was one of the crew who had spoken to me earlier. I managed to make out the words Thank you and seatbelt and that was about it. I was interested in the accent and wanted to ask but I didn't want to seem like a creep.
    Lucky for me, nobody was sat in 30B, although somebody sat in the aisle seat, 30C.
    Not long after, the doors were closed, and we pushed back. A safety demonstration conducted by the crew, luckily by the purser who had an accent I could understand. I know I sound really ignorant here, but honestly you need to hear the accent, its insane it's just crazy
    I got into conversation with the guy in 30C, who was going on holiday with his family, a little into the conversation, I dropped the big question, where on earth is the accent of the 2 flight attendants at the back from? - Liverpool, mate, the accent is "Scouse". Copy that.
    A final safety check from the crew, and they took their seats just as we blasted off from the runway, heading southwest.
    Shortly after departure, while climbing through the rain and thick foggy clouds, the crew were released, and made a PA stating they would soon be beginning the inflight service. Monarch too, offers an extensive B-O-B service, almost triple the selection that i've ever seen on any US flight.
    Great news for me, they started service from the rear.
    I got a Bacon Panini and a Coffee, which came to 7. The flight attendant said I could get "Crisps"(Chips for those stateside who are unaware) for just an extra 50p, which I took. 7.50, not really cheap but not exactly expensive for breakfast, and the Coffee was nice and strong, and the Bacon panini was cooked to perfection.
    The remainder of the flight really went without any problems. We cruised over France at 37,000 feet with clear skies and great views. Monarch don't offer any IFE of any kind so it is up to you to bring your own. As I read though, Monarch is a vacation airline, so no-frills were expected. Around 45 mins before our arrival into BCN, the cabin crew returned with a final B-O-B service. I asked for a coke, and was given a Pepsi in exchange for 1.80. A Pepsi. She may aswell have popped a full sick bag over my head and stolen my wallet.
    Only kidding, but still, get it together Monarch, get Coke. The Ice & a Slice made it semi-acceptable.
    As the trolley moved off, we hit some slight turbulence, and the flight attendant spilt a cup full of coffee stirrers, aswell as a whole load of napkins over the guy in 29C which made me happy again.
    A quick run through the cabin with the duty free trolley and the cabin was secured for arrival. We flew out over the sea, and made a right turn to line up with the runway.
    We hit the runway pretty hard, and bounced a few times before finally coming down, and applying full brakes. We turned from the runway and we welcomed to Barcelona. We taxied for around 15 minutes before reaching our gate. De-boarding took a while, but after waiting around 10 mins I exited the aircraft through door 1L.
    I proceeded through customs, into baggage claim, and out into the arrivals hall, all within around 20 minutes, very efficient.
    I was taken into Barcelona to waste 2 hours of my life before taken to Renaissance Barcelona for the night.
    At first I had questioned why I was booked on Monarch instead of a national carrier, but I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. They would easily be able to compete against the likes of Allegiant, Spirit, Southwest and even carriers like American and Alaskan. Not that I'm biased.
    I checked in online for my next flight and lucky for me, my flight tomorrow was in the evening so I had a sleep in the next morning.

    Airline: Vueling
    Route: Barcelona, Spain to Florence, Italy
    Scheduled Departure: 17:30
    Actual Departure: 17:54
    Scheduled Arrival: 19:10
    Actual Arrival: 19:51
    Flight Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
    Aircraft Type/Reg: Airbus A319-100 (EC-JVE)
    Seat: 6F
    Class: Economy

    I arrived at the airport at around 4pm, and dropped my bag off at the bag drop. Security seemed empty and I was through relatively quickly. I proceeded to the gate where the aircraft was already waiting for us. Boarding started at 17:00. The flight was pretty empty and boarding was completely quickly. Vueling play quite annoying charts songs during boarding, so as a grumpy flight attendant pointed me to my seat, I sat down trying not to cut myself as the kid himself Justin Bieber sung something emotional over the speakers.
    We were late pushing back due to late arriving passengers but as the safety demo finished, we were immediately on the runway and airborne in no time. As darkness fell, there was no longer anything to see outside so I started to drift off.
    The crew commenced the B-O-B service around 45 minutes after departure. I didn't purchase anything. There isn't much to write about this flight, it was uneventful and pretty boring. We flew over Southern France, down over the coast of Italy and started our descent, making a left turn near Turin. We flew over a spectacular mountain range, and made a left turn, through the clouds to line up with the runway.
    The landing was pretty rough, we hit the ground hard and hit the brakes on the short runway, and I flew forward in my seat. We made a U-Turn at the end of the runway, and taxied to a remote stand. De-boarding was quick, using both front and rear doors and we boarded buses which took us to the terminal. I was out within a few minutes with my bag and headed to my hotel in the wonderful city that is Florence.
    I got my head down, as the meeting the next morning was quite early.
    No sightseeing for me, maybe next time.

    Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed, I know its brief but without pictures its pretty hard to fill it up!

    My next report will detail my flights to London from Florence, then from London to Houston and finally my flight back home to Daytona Beach.

  • #2
    What was the purpose of this trip?


    • #3
      Business. I stated that in part 1
      Originally posted by United.AirlinesLover View Post
      Hey guys, it's been a while since I wrote my last TR, so I thought while I had some time to kill I would write up about my recent business trip around Europe.