BA AUGUST 2005 LGW-NCE (NEW)

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Another trip for me, again with BA to Nice from London Gatwick. See me other review for that. This one will not go into extreme detail but here's the outline. Enjoy Monday 1st August 2005 Gatwick North Terminal - Nice SCHED Dep: 0700 ACT Dep: 0740 SCHED Arr: 0955 ACT Arr: 1010 Boeing 737-300 G-LGTF :D Woke up early as usual around 3am and drove the hour drive to BCP off airport parking at LGW. We took coach on this misty morning to North Terminal which was packed with people, mainly First Choice Airways passengers, but also many BA passengers. Among the destinations for FCA was Corfu, Dalaman and Bodrum. We had already checked - in online the day before and selected out seats, and i found this option very impressive - much better than queueing up at the normal check-in where a huge queue was in place at 5am with only 2 check in agents working - absolutely crazy. Anyway, Fast Bag Drop isn't quite what it says. It still takes a while but eventually another staff member came out and put our labels on. After a long security wait, which i suppose is OK, we went into Departures and found a seat. I felt sorry for Astraeus passengers travelling to Zakynthos which was delayed since the previous afternoon! I think they must have been having problems of some sort because a couple of their other flights were late also. Anyway, I went and looked out the window by Dixons & Boots and saw what was in. Unfortunately, it was a little bit misty, but the Phuket air 747 was still there (hasn't moved for ages - was there at start of June) plus the usual assortment of BA 737. Then, somethign mildly exciting happened. A rush of blue flashing lights charged down towards the end of 08R and a couple of minutes a later, they chased after a Monarch airbus and it halted after vacating the runway. Must have had a problem of some sort, but it was nice to actually see an emergency happen. I failed to see the conclusion of the matter, as we were called at around 6.20 to go to gate 45. I was highly disappointed as i always seem to get this gate nowadays at gatwick, and just my luck that i get it. Anyway, we went to door E and waited along the corridor for about 15 minutes, waiting for a slow member of staff to arrive. We were then let into the seating area and after a long wait, invited to board the coach. Also at Gate 45 was FCA756 to Bodrum, from door D as endless numbers of announcements were made for it. Finally at 7.00 we departed by the coach, and I thought we were off to a distant remote stand. But no, we went to stand 554! (for those who don't know this is one of the nearest stands to the departure area). This is when the flight went very wrong. Upon disembarking the coach, there seemed to be two sets of steps attached to -TF, but we were told only to use the front. Then, halfway through boarding, a flight attendant rushed down the back steps and said get on from the back also. What a mistake, as we had people boarding from the rear who were seated at the front, and people boarding at the front who were sat at the rear. Chaos ensued as gridlocked gripped the cabin. I was sat in 12F (2 rows behing overwings) which was in centre of cabin and it took me about 5-10 mins. to reach it. Ridiculously awful organisation. We continued to sit there for around another 20 minutes whilst everyone finally boarded the full plane, before the captain introduced himself. He apologised for the short delay but said we would be off straight away. We did just that, pushing back and starting up and taxiing to 08R. We took the taxiway through the cargo area, and I took some pictures seen below. After holding for a Flyjet 757 to pass we wizzed up Juliet to the end and waited for the 757 to go, an arrival to land and then the crew were told to sit down and we lined up. Power increased and we rolled quickly down and took to the air as condensation rolled over the wing which was good to see. Bit turbulent on way up but nothing too serious. Climbed up to 33000 and seemed to come close to numerous aircraft on approach, but i'm sure they know what they're doing! Meal was poor. They seemed to have reduced what they offer now, so we got a tacky Ham & Cheese panini, fromage frais and a fruit cocktail. The 4 cabin crew worked hard to get everything completed on time, and very quickly we were over Lyon and starting the decent shortly. Nice and smooth all the way down and flew normal arrival to runway 04L, taking pretty much all the runway to stop (thought we might do an Air France A340 there!). Taxied back and parked up next to Jet 2.com 737 and disembarked. Friday 5th August 2005 Nice - Gatwick North Terminal SCHED Dep: 2235 ACT Dep: 2255 SCHED Arr: 2330 ACT Arr: 2240 Boeing 737-300 G-LGTF A very long day considering we had to check out of hotel at 3 o clock, but soon passed and we were on our way to airport. We managed to get a taxi just about, as U2 were playing in Nice that night and they were all very busy. We tried the self service checkin and was impressed very much so with it. I wasn't very impressed at all though with the check in again at nice - very unorganised. Departure area was quite busy, with Transavia (Amsterdam), Virgin Express (Brussels) and Sterling (Stockholm) flights going. UK flights all go from a seperate area though, area B, and we went through here as it was quiter as we were the last departure from this area. At around 2205, i saw a BA 737 arrive and I knew this was ours. It was pretty much running on time. We boarded at gate B41 at around 2225 (properly this time using row numbers) and the crew were obviously in a hurry. Then the captain came on and announced that we had a 2 hour delay on the ground at Nice due to ATC, but the 'magicians at Gatwick' managed to get us away immediately but using a longer route, taking 10 minutes longer than scheduled. So we pushed back, taxied out fast and took off 04R. Did the usual right turn to avoid city and came back over airport. I was sat on the same row (same plane infact) except on the other side. Our meal today was that awful pizza they now offer plus a 'Mixed Bean Salad' (yuck) and Raspberry Cheesecake (nice). Another sign of their desire to rush was that they came around and collected the rubbish in plastic duty free shopping bags, which reminded me of an easyJet thing. The light on the end of the wing illuminated it throughout the flight, and very quickly we were 80 miles south of Paris, and French ATC had apparantly been very helpful and cleared us accross france, reducing the flight time to 1 hour 30 minutes. We did a very fast decent using speedbrakes i think, and positioned for a 26L arrival. Extremely smooth landing and vacated quickly to allow more flights to arrive. Were then told by F/O we were parking tonight at Pier 6 (yes!). Pier 6 is very impressive, although very quiet when landing at our time. A Monarch 757 taxied past, as other BA aircraft arrived up and parked up, including still some of the old world tails. Big queue caught passport control unaware but soon through and on way home. Overall ratings Punctuality 4/10 :mad: Meals 4/10 :mad: Service 6/10 :( Comfort 8/10 :) OVERALL 55% :( Not very impressive really. Would have doubts if easyJet are similar price again. Hope you liked it Tom
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Pictures - more to come
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more pictures
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yet more....
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Nice report there tom. Some nice pics in that lot also
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Interesting read Tom. I saw that Phuket B747 in Gatwick when I was there in July.
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Excellent report. :)
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Thanks all for nice comments That Phuket Air 747 must be grounded or something, cos like i said in my report it was there at the end of may/early june. I know they had problems with leaky fuel etc.. but i'm surprised it hasn't been moved since then.