BRU-MAN with SN Brussels (and ATC Strike!)

Profile picture for user Comet

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,940

Our short trip to Brussels had ended too soon. On the 9th March we did our beer shopping in Bier Tempel, and enjoyed a Guido beer. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/beer.jpg The reason for the trip - real beauties here such as Sloeber, Ename Blonde, Satan, Straffe Hendrik, Gouden Carolus Classic, Oud Zottegemse Bruin, Cristal. Photo taken in Brussels hotel. On the morning of 10th March, we had breakfast, and then caught the bus to Noord station, the nearest station to the hotel and our preferred Brussels change stop. I bought the depressing single tickets to Brussels airport, and we did not have to wait long for the train. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/airporttrainsign.jpg The sign for the airport train. IR is an iffy code, sometimes good and sometimes not! On the Tuesday the train from the airport had been a rubber thing. No such luck today! http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/trainapproaching.jpg A sh*tty thing comes into view. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/train.jpg A sh*tty thing stops at our platform. I hate these trains :mad: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/insidetrain.jpg The interior of the sh*tty thing. No armrests at the seats make for a very uncomfortable journey, especially the one we endured between Brussels and Dinant. The journey to the airport was not too long, and we caught a glimpse of the wonderful Atomium through the gathering mist. We were able to check in straight away for the flight, due to leave at 15:05. We were first to check in, and were given seats 10A and 10C. After check in we headed to the shops, I bought two models - Little Europe CRJ and Jaguar 737. We had spaghetti bolognese in Brussels Cafe, and also a Stella. Then we headed back through the check in area. A television crew had arrived, and we assumed that maybe they were making a documentary about the airport, something like the one we had about Heathrow, and thought nothing else about it. We went through passport control and into the departures area. Then the fun started :diablo: We looked at the information screens, and the fourth one along showed a notice saying that due to an unexpected strike by Belgocontrol, all flight activity was temporarily suspended. Yes!!! Wonderful!!! Anything to delay my return to this most hated town known officially as Scarborough! I said "thank you Belgocontrol" but I don't think my Mum was as glad as I was! The notice said to contact your airline for information, but we could not do that as we had passed through passport control and the SNBA desks were in the check in area. I guarded the bags of beer whilst my Mum went to find someone to ask. A policeman near the passport control area gave her directions to go down the stairs near the security baggage checks and into the transfer/arrivals area where she would be able to find someone. We followed his directions, but found no SNBA staff. An airport employee directed us back upstairs to the security area. We went through the check and beyond that was an SNBA desk. My Mum went to enquire, and was told that the strike would last another half an hour. So we waited. This gave me a great spotting opportunity, as nothing was moving from the gates. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/sna330.jpg My first SNBA A330 OO-??O, I think this was going to Banjul. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/dl767.jpg Delta 767. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/an124.jpg An124. We saw loads of airport buses and cars driving around, and then the first aircraft to leave the B terminal was a Turkish Airlines 737, followed by Virgin Express. Soon traffic was back to normal, even though some flights were delayed or cancelled. Ours' wasn't! http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/airportsign.jpg The sign at gate B08. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/oodjg.jpg BAe 146 OO-DJG, the very same aircraft we had flown on between BRU and BHX on 3rd November. This aircraft was operating flight SN2177 that day. At 14:45 the hated boarding call was made, signalling the end of a trip to Utopia. We were greeted upon boarding by the female purser, whilst another stewardess stood at the back (don't SNBA have stewards on these aircraft any more, we always seem to get stewardesses these days!) The greeting seemed to be the end of the pleasantries on that flight. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/viewthroughwindow.jpg View through window. The magazine was handed out, and we were pushed back at 15:10. The safety demonstration was over in the blink of an eye, I have never heard one gabbled so fast before, and the crews' names were also gabbled too fast for anyone to catch them. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/safetycard.jpg The safety card of the BAe 146. Study this photo, if you get this crew you probably won't see the demonstration, all over in absolute record time! The load factor was approximately 60%, and the flight time was expected to be one hour. We took off at 15:21 and flew over the Heysel area, having a superb view of the football stadium and the Atomium before we turned on course and flew above the cloud. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/viewthroughwindow01.jpg http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/viewthroughwindow02.jpg Flying over Brussels. Shortly into the flight, the snack was handed out. We were back to Modge - a peach lattice cake which did not taste remotely of peach and contained huge apple pips. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/snack.jpg Modge in a Box is back with a vengeance! I had orange juice to drink, and then the Neuhaus chocolates were handed out. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y36/Flambards/approachingMAN.jpg The descent into Manchester was through cloud, and I was not glad to see the place again. We had a smooth touch down, and taxied to the gate, passing an ERJ145 with a mosaic tail, the one I had seen in BHX last November and an aircraft I had wanted to photograph. On leaving the aircraft, the purser did not say "goodbye" but stood looking the other way. (I thought this was supposed to be SN not NZ?) Reminiscent of the crews we had with the national airline of New Zealand, the purser on Tuesday's flight did not say "goodbye" either. Is this the new rule at SN? I'm sorry to say that the service on the flights we had last week was far inferior to the superb service was had on our first SNBA flight in March 2004. Stewards seem to be more passenger-orientated and generally more friendly than the stewardesses, who seem more concerned with their hair and make up, even tutting if they have to bend down to collect the remains of your Modge Box. This is the first time I have encountered attitude like this on ANY Belgian carrier, I will praise the crews when they deserve it, but the ones last week most certainly do not and as such I have no qualms about saying how poor they had been. I hope the service on our flights with SNBA in September is better than it was last week. :(
Original post
Profile picture for user bmi-star

Member for

15 years 7 months

Posts: 4,255

Excellent report again, isnt this an aviation forum, and not a train forum?:D I'd love some of those beers now!
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

Posts: 9,401

Great report as ever Comet :)
Profile picture for user Comet

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,940

Thanks for the comments :D The train is included as an illustration of how awful the trains on the Brussels Airport Express can be, and also I include those to wind up the people on Luchtzak, where I am a forum moderator :diablo: The beers are great, there are some in there I've never tried, and my beloved favourite is there too (the Sloeber at the front).
Profile picture for user Future Pilot

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16 years 2 months

Posts: 3,394

Another great report Comet! :D
Profile picture for user Comet

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,940

Thanks :D And it's BHX in September, now that I know I can't have my ride on the Syrian SP. That would have been a fun report to write - LHR-MAN on Syrian.