FCA413C/D MAN-ZTH-MAN

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FCA413C MAN-ZTH 0700-1235 G-OOOG This holiday was a late booking booked just two weeks before staying in Kalamaki in Zakynthos. I was looking forward to this holiday even more than usual due to fact that Kalamaki is on the approach to ZTH airport. Woke up about 03:15 picked up about 03:50 to be taken to MAN airport which is about an hours drive away from my house. Arrived at MAN at 05:00, where we were greeted by lots and lots of massive queues. Luckily our flight wasnt one of these, and we only had about a 5 minute wait before check in which was done by a very unfriendly servisair agent, thought then again, I dont think I would feel like been to friendly at that time in a morning. Proceeded through to the departure lounge in T2, where I had a look around to try and find my flight. Among the other FCA a/c, G-OOOB was on the ground in the tapestry colours, and I was convinced this was to be my ride because I never get new coloured a/c. On the ground at MAN that morning were- G-CDUP,OBYD,OOAW,CPEU,BYDA,OOOB,OOOY,BRIF,OBYE,JMAB,MONE,OOAL,OBYH,XLAF,STRH,DHJH,VSSS,CPEP,BYAF,OOOZ,OBYJ,WWBD,MDBD,MONS,JMAA,WJAN,FJEA,BRYV,OOOG,EOMA PH-BTG,TF-ARE,9M-MPD,F-GFKI,A7-ACD,OH-LBX,AP-BGK,TF-ARG,C-GTSD,OH-LBR. I was really looking forward to spotting at MAN because just the day before I had got my 1st pair of really good binoculours, and they were really impressive, enabling me to easily be able to see a/c parked on the otherside of T1. At about 06:15, the call was made for passengers travelling on FCA413C to proceed to their gate. I think our gate was 201, it was the one right at the very end of T2, where it is oppostite T1. As we were at completely the otherside of T2, this involved about a 10 minute walk. On the way, we passed by G-OOOB, which delighted me, because I thought I had to get a new coloured a/c, as far as I was aware at the time, G-OOOB was the only tapestry a/c based at MAN. We sat down at the gate, where I had a great view of T1 and all the arrivals into T2, with G-STRH been prepared to a flight to Ibiza next to us. I thought great, our a/c will be parked round the corner, a new c/s great stuff. But then I saw G-OOOG taxiing and heading straight for out gate. I couldnt believe it, im sure they brought it especially to annoy me. It arrived at the gate at 06:30 and at this time, I knew we had no chance of been on time. At about 07:30 we were called for boarding, which was to my delight, not done by an airbridge, but walking out to the a/c and up the stairs. I took lots of photos, and made my way on and was greeted warmly by our FCA crew. I took my seat in 39A, I was fairly impressed by the legroom and the 'leatherette seats' were very comfortable. The captain came on to apoligise for the delay, which was caused by a slot delay on the flight to Ibiza the previous evening, and to say that our flight time would be about 2hr 54mins. We made our way out to taxi for 24L, where a safety video was shown, and we had to wait for a US 330 to land before been able to taxi onto the runway. We held for a couple of minutes, and then full power was applied, the 757 performance just as impressive as I had always remembered. The crew then announced the details of 'Star Class' and that the meal for those that ordered one would be a hot breakfast. (We hadnt bothered, I only saw very few meals been served). They then came round selling headsets for the movie which was 'Shrek 2'. On G-OOOG, the tvs are mounted in the aisles and are the old fashioned style, but I had no problems seeing them, they showed a trailer of the movie trying to get you to buy the headsets (Luckily I still had some MyTravel headsets.) I chose not to watch the movie and instead to check out what was on the radio, some good channels a pop channel, dance channel and a rock channed did me fine. The crew on this flight were very friendly and very hard working, though the bar service was very late into the flight, as before that they had served meals and tried to sell the scratchcards. Everything normal airline prices, 70p for a can of coke, £1.50 for tea. I sat and looked out of the window and read the inflight magazine which was very good, with good info on the FCA fleet, though I was very disappointed to find no models for sale. We started our descent into ZTH about 25 minutes before lading over the west side of CFU, the ZTH approach is very pleasent, passing over the airport, (Which I got a great shot of from the air!), and then going out to sea, where you pass over the coast of Kalamaki and down into ZTH, the landing into ZTH was hard, and a bit shaky! with plenty of reverse thrust. On the ground were, TF-ELN (HH 734), G-OOAH (FCA 321), G-BXKA (TCX 320) and a MyTravel A320 holding at the runway. Now the worst part..... Zakynthos airport. Believe me, it IS as bad as everyone says. We had to wait 2 and a half hours for our bags, flights that had landed hours ago were in front of our flight on the ONE! carousel. I looked through into the departure lounge.... I was not looking forward to the trip home! We waited that long that the coach had left us and we had to get a taxi (All of 5 minutes.) Now the best part.... Spotting from my balcony and Kalamaki beach all week...FANTASTIC! The planes cominghead on your beach were superb, and we had some fairly interesting visitors over your , unfortunately missed alot of registrations. We had all the ones you would expect (LTUs,Hapag LLoyd,Transavia,Excel,Monarch,Britannia,First Choice etc etc), and then some interesting ones including- Jetair 738 - OO-TUI, Air Slovakia 732 - OM-RAN, SkyEurope 735 - OM-SEE, my personal fave - Adria Airways - S5-AAH CRJ100, JetX MD80 TF-DXB among many many more. The british ones I managed to get - G-PIDS (Which seems to follow me, saw it twice in the week),G-XLAF,BYAU,OOOX,BYAR,BYAE,BYAY,XLAG,ZS-SJG (XLA 738),G-SMTJ,KKAZ,CPRH,OOBA, C-GTBB (FCA 757). A fantastic week ended all too quickly and it was time for the trip home which I post in a separate post. Hope you enjoyed the 1st part, and that I havent sent you all to sleep!
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15 years 8 months

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Very good report Tom. I to departed from Gate 201 back in April when I went to Cyprus.
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15 years 7 months

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Excellent report, airport as expected then. ;) When I went to ZTH G-PIDS was the aircraft I flew on the outbound flight. :cool:
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Thanks for the comments guys, I promise the second part will be coming soon when I get round to it. :)

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first choice models can be bought using the order form on a previous post i made.
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Sounds like a long day getting there! What with a delay and and then a stupidly long wait for your baggage. Great report though, you'll have to tell us what hotel you stayed at so we can look out for deals in the future. :D
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I took lots of photos
Can we expect to see these photos? :D
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Now the worst part..... Zakynthos airport. Believe me, it IS as bad as everyone says. We had to wait 2 and a half hours for our bags, flights that had landed hours ago were in front of our flight on the ONE! carousel.
God and i thought yesterday was bad for time waiting to reclaim baggage were i work :eek: Great report :)

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15 years 4 months

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interesting report. sounds as if it would have been easier to unload the aircraft yourself!
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Thanks guys for all the comments, I promise I will post the return report later. T5 - I stayed at the Amarylis Aparthotel with First Choice, a fantastic place by the way. Though just about every hotel in Kalamaki does get great views of the planes, especially - Caretta Beach, Louros Beach, Kalamaki Beach, Marelen and Macedonia, but they are lots more that also get them. RIP - Photos will be here in about a week, so stay tuned.
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15 years 7 months

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great report, by the way i flew on G-CPEU from LGW to TFS this easter, great plane and very comfortable.
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Finally got around to doing the return report guys :D FCA413D ZTH-MAN 13:35 - 15:00 G-CPEU Well after a fantastic week in Zante (The highlights been obviously the planes, and the best thing of all, new born turtles running down the sand making their way out to see - what a fantastic thing to have seen), it was time to return to ZTH airport for the flight home. We were picked up from our apartments about 3 hours before transfer for the very short transfer (About 10 minutes, but only that long because we stopped off at another hotel), very friendly First Choice reps on the bus, cracking jokes (Was highly impressed by every part of First Choice). Then we got to the airport.... As expected, had to queue outside, alongside lots of other flights (Sunday been the busiest day of the week), glad they have recently put canopies up so you are in the shade. To be fair, we only queued for about 30 minutes, they let about 30 people into the check in area each time for each flight. Because of this, check in was very quick, with the added bonus of the reps taking your tickets and passports to the check in addendent while they were still dealing with the pax in front, which meant you got your boarding passes immediately. After this, we proceeded through passport control, a surprisingly short queue, and through to the hell hole that is Zakynthos Airport departure lounge. Im sure at the most, this airport has around 40 seats, not good when you have like us about 5 flights going at that time. We found a space on the floor and sat down for a bit, and then went to the duty free shop (Has to be built upstairs because their is so little room on the ground floor!). As I have heard from other people, ZTH airport cafe a complete and utter rip off. I didnt buy anything from there but saw the prices... 3 euros for a Mars Bar (About £2.20) and 6 euros for an orange juice (Around £4.50). At about 12:30, I was starting to get a bit worried that our flight might have a delay, and that is the place you dont want a delay. Then around 12:45, I saw a FCA a/c approaching but that was the EMA bound 321. About 12:55, our 757 touched down (G-CPEU), and I was very relieved to see it and delighted that it was in the new colours. About 13:20, we were called for boarding, and at this time we were never going to be able to board on time. We went through 'Gate 2' (ZTH only has two gates!), and got on a bus to take us the incredibly short distance to CPEU. I stood at the bottom of a/c for ages, getting pictures, as were were the last people off of the 1st bus to board, and I wasnt bothered by anyone. I then made my way up the steps and settled into 38F. This a/c seemed much nicer than OOOG (Should be, its 10 years newer!), and had flat screen TVS (Mounted in the aisles), and their was no chewing gum on the carpet like their was on the part of OOOG I was sitting in. The crew told people to hurry to their seats as we had a slot time to meet and we pushed back around 30 minutes late. On the ground at ZTH that afternoon were - G-DHRG,OOAP,BXKD,BXKA,JMAA,XLAA, TF-ELN and ELD We held at the runway for a few minutes with The Jackson 5 - Dont blame it on the boogie :D blasting out over the PA. Then the typical powerful 757 take off commence along ZTHs very bumpy runway, and we took off over the resort of Kalamaki and turned over Laganas, looking down at people staring at us and thinking that time yesterday we had been doing the same :( The crew on this flight were also very friendly, and 1st commenced a bar service, then the meals (Again very few served) and then handed out the usual First Choice holiday questionairre. The crew did a competition where you had to guess the distance from ZTH to MAN in nautical miles. I wrote down 1500 and the answer was 1390 something I think. You only won a free drink anyway, I know because the winners were sat behind me. The movie this time was 'The Day After Tomorrow'. During the flight, the captain came on a few times once telling us about the beautiful view of Venice that we could see. (A great captain). I purchased a First Choice Airways pen off of the duty free later in the flight. We started our descent just over Luton airport - again, captain told us that - and on the TVS came my fave thing when flying.... The moving map and the details of how long we had left. Also coming on the TVs were silly questions like what are the names of David and Victoria Beckhams kids and did you know the Pilot seat in an Airbus was designed by Porsche. We descended over Manchester and landed smoothly onto runway 24R, where I could see all the spotters at the viewing park (Hoping for a pic of my flight to appear on the net soon). On the ground at MAN were - G-MCEA,JALC,MAJS.MONE,SMAN,OJEG,MONW,OOAS,BYAE LZ-HMI,TF-ABP,AP-BFW. We then disembarked through an airbridge ( :( ) where the next crew were waiting to board the a/c. A short wait for our bags and we were off. Overall very positive impressions of First Choice. This flight made me realise just how far Britannia have fallen behind in the charter market in recent years. Just small things such as - Eager friendly crew, Moving Map, The fact that unlike Britannia, they dont say 'Buy all your drinks now as this will be the only bar service', on FCA they say contact them anytime for drinks, and things such as the competition on the way back. Overall, I have flown 5 charter airlines in the last year and would put them in this order- Very good - First Choice, Thomas Cook Average - Britannia Below Average - MyTravel. Hope you all enjoyed the report and that I didnt send you to sleep :)

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15 years 8 months

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Great report. They seem to have improved since my horror flight back in 2000 when they were Air 2000.
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you definatly didnt send us to sleep it was a fab report!

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Great report!
Great report. They seem to have improved since my horror flight back in 2000 when they were Air 2000.
The Air 2000 of old (red and gold cheatlines) were fantastic.
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Thanks the comments once again guys. Got the photos today, pretty pleased with them, will be on the main forum later, although they will be scans so they wont be great quality.
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Thanks the comments once again guys. Got the photos today, pretty pleased with them, will be on the main forum later, although they will be scans so they wont be great quality.
Can't wait. :)

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19 years 9 months

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Excellent Reports Tom; sounds like you had a great holiday and two cracking flights. :)
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Thanks Pembo, indeed I had did have a cracking holiday and two cracking flights, we are looking into going back to the same place next year :).
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Cheers Chris :)

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Well Done Tom! I enjoyed reading it