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Thanks Everyone for the information – all booked now so no going back lol. Domestic flights are with Air Swift to El Nido airstrip / airport from T4, scheduled in plenty of time for the transfers looking forward to our first visit. Not experienced CX since 1990 LGW-BAH B742 and El Nido airstrip from Google earth reminds me of San petro in Belize in 197711 Feb 2018
I can chuckle but to be honest I have found over the last 10 to 15 years or more, some new joiners to the industry do not seem to have the passion and interest in aviation that some of us oldies have or had. Don’t get me wrong I think most aviation professionals have more than an idea what is going on in fact are total aviation anoraks.
Dear readers just let me relate a couple of amusing tales, whilst working in the late 80s at LGW for a wonderful airline, a good friend married and her husband, at that time a junior F/O for a 3rd level airline who had little interest in aviation at all. He paid for his training whilst working as an electrician, which is very commendable. When asked why become a pilot, the answer was you get loads of time off, pay is good, retire early and get to see all the ‘totty’ (sorry ladies his words not mine) you want, oh and a good pension. This man went onto progress to become a Captain on Long-haul and from his own admission he said he progressed probably because he was a Mason!!!. He has only just retired from what he said was the most boring inconvenient job ever at 55. How many youngsters would give their eye teeth for his opportunities.
For my part I was training newly qualifies ATCOs a few years back before they started on the job training, as part of this we would provide them with an airways / route maps of the UK and Europe with country borders but without the airports added and ask them to come up with a route between city pairs. The amount of times Norwich has been pointed out in Northern France was frightening, similarly when quizzed about what altitudes different aircraft would cruise at, the amount of blank stares you would get was comical. Some had no idea of basic geography, aircraft type differences or aviation interest, but they passed the examinations and aptitude tests and went onto qualify. I asked one why join ATC and was told “didn’t know what to do after my Marine biology degree but a mate told me his dad was in ATC and they get a great salary, loads of time off, fantastic pension and retire early”. Seems to be a common theme here – sorry I have wittered on again.in reply to: A pilots reply…..!8 Feb 2018
I’m travelling on the BA bus tomorrow morning DXB – LHR, 2 weeks ago I was offered an upgrade for 3500AED (700 GBP) from CW to F. Did not partake. 3 days ago I checked online as my booking said upgrade this booking, so I checked and this time it had gone up to 6900AED (1300 GBP ish) that was a total no no even though my CW was really cheap. Checked in online today and was offered upgrade again but this time for 2200AED (400GBP ish) so I took it as this will take me into Gold again for next year, which should be my swansong on this route. The upgrade worked very smoothly.in reply to: BA – Offering Upgrade… or not!?19 Dec 2017
Boarding from Dubai the other morning, B772, all was going or seemed to be going well. Clear announcements on boarding procedures, dragons at the boarding doors preparing to manage premium versus other passengers and Group boarding and then the usual mayhem of pre-boarding ‘families with infants’ and others who need a little more time. This apparently seemed to be half the aircraft, passengers needing more time and the elderly sprang to life from wheelchairs and positively ran down the Airbridge accompanied by helpers and huge amounts of hand baggage, families who had mustered belligerent teenagers joined the scrum so when CW boarded the there was not a baggage bin to be had in close proximity to the seat (Row 10 Aisle). Said family of two parentals, 2 dorky teenagers and a screaming brat had taken up 5 bins, when crew were engaged about this the reply was that more tolerance is needed of other pax needs as they are a family and you are travelling alone (only one small cabin bag with me). During the flight screaming brat had the nappy changed 3 times at the seat as mother was claustrophobic and a nervous traveler and did not like using the confined toilets, the fourth nappy change was done during the final snack service in the toilet with the door open. Apart from hygiene issues this really was not on and again another engagement with the CSD was made only to be told you might be a Gold member but they are a family and they have needs….. Strange that mother was only nervous when crew were in the vicinity.
Needless to say no ‘Gold’ welcome, had to ask for boarding drink only to be told Champagne is not allowed in Dubai???? the other aisle must not have been in Dubai as they had champers and ran out of my meal choice so they said and was seated in 10C.
I don’t champion or knock BA, to me they are a bus service and cheaper that the others as I self finance my travel but this was the worst I have experienced, when will they sort out consistency in boarding, defining what are infants and children, and controlling hand baggage amounts.
Rant Over.in reply to: BA boarding by group number?5 Dec 2017
For me and this is purely selfish a LHR or LGW service to DWC (Al Maktoum International). An earlier daytime service say departing 0800L UK arriving in DWC early evening on a 788 would surely be a welcome addition to both visitors and expats living here. Many UK holiday makers seem to prefer the hotels in the marina/ south Dubai and the Jebel Ali resort is like Little Britain at times all these are 15-20 taxi rides. Abu Dhabi is only 45 mins away. The residential areas in the south of Dubai are favored by British expats which are much closer than DXB. DWC has expanded enormously over the last year and although it is a coaching operation DNATA have this running well, the terminal is a breeze both inbound and outbound and there are adequate lounges for premium passengers. There is a marked increase in passenger services this winter and is noticeable although predominantly European and CIS charter services.
I am sure this would compliment the BA DXB operation.
As I say this is purely selfish, to maximize my time in then UK, I normally take the BA lunchtime service ex LHR which gets to DXB at the busiest time, with the resultant baggage delivery delays (not BA fault) and taxi queues, meaning I get home about 1am to be in work at 6.30am.29 Nov 2017
In the mid to late 80s I worked for Euroair Transport who operated the BAE (HS)748 service LHR-CAX-DND and return. Although I was the Operations Superintendent for the airline, a few ground staff like me were checked out as cabin crew to give the airline flexibility. The main thrust of the airline was ad-hoc pax and freight services on Viscounts, HS748, E110 and latterly Heralds. However a venture was made into the world of scheduled services. The trouble with the airline is that it had no real direction, it was a case of ‘hey there is a quick buck lets go after it’ which seemed the ethos of most 3rd level carriers in the UK at the time. With work we could have become another Eastern Airlines or Business AIR but the owners Alexandra Towing had no interest in expansion. So when Air Eccosse pulled of the route with the Shorts 360, Euroair found there was a lucrative subsidy to operate the service. Enter the HS748 Mk1A, recently obtained from Venture airways, this aircraft was originally fitted with a larger galley / ovens and fitted in 30 ‘C’ seats 2×1 configuration, Euroair refitted it with 44 2×2 seats. A second HS748 was acquired this time a series 2B. The master plan, now forgive me if I loose you here was to operate 2 x return trips a MON-FRI DND-CAX-LHR-CAX-DND followed by a night mail freighter service.
Aircraft 1 would operate DND-CAX-DND x 2 during the day- on arrival at DND in the evening the aircraft would ferry to GLA to have the seats stripped out and trucked to EDI, the aircraft would continue GLA -LTN. – I hope you are all still with me. Aircraft 2 would operate a night mail service LTN-EMA-EDI, ending up in EDI in the early hours, seats would be fitted and aircraft cleaned and positioned to DND at opening ready for the morning southbound service, meanwhile aircraft 1 had operated GLA southbound mail ending up in LTN to then repeat the northbound schedule the next night. Now when it worked it was a dream but ohhh but when it went wrong it was an unmitigated disaster, leading to cancellations, seats in the wrong place, Heralds substituting for the HS748 and one day the truck company forgetting the aircraft carpets. We did get praise for the catering which was locally produced in DND and the service on board was aimed a little higher than standard Y. But as crew we were embarrassed with the aircraft at times, and the high utilization soon meant the aircraft were shabby. Sadly the Viscounts were sold to BAF, the scheduled service subsidy finished so the management decided no subsidy no service, very soon the business model changed to leasing the HS 748, E110 and Heralds rather than operating and Euroair was closed down to become BAC leasing. The staff dispersed and I joined a great carrier with Lions on the tail, sadly a few years later we closed and I came back into the safe world of ATC. To me it was an opportunity lost, our loads were good, a lot of passengers were connecting to long haul and we were appreciated. Many customers from DND used the connection but very few boarded / deplaned at CAX preferring the BA 757 service to NCL. The only real regular we had was the local Carlisle MP who maintained that it was his god given right to sit in the last row as there was more legroom – not the case all seats were equally spaced. And if he did not get row 11 he was like a bear with a sore head.
A couple of light hearted anecdotes as I remember, Taxying in at CAX was like going over a farm track, by far the roughest taxiway I have ever experienced and that includes West Africa, and a long taxy – much longer than our longest turnaround at CAX (scheduled for 5 minutes) with one engine running. Second the old dear who deplaned from the aircraft in DND – sweet old thing, she was regular as son paid for a monthly trip down south, one day her small carrier bag broke and out fell all the rotable dishes from the meal service. These were quite an expense for the airline, asked why did she have them the reply was I save all the dishes from my trip as they are great for my cactus collection, dumfounded I let her continue with her ill gotten gains.
So dear readers – my memories of the DND-CAX-LHR route in the 80’s – sorry if I have bored you witless.in reply to: Carlisle to finally regain its London air link ?28 Nov 2017
Three years ago i changed from using QR between DXB and LHR to BA, due mainly to the fact I work here and self finance my trips home to the UK (normally 6 to 8 per year). Being ex airline in the 1980s at LGW and still in the aviation industry i have been spoilt over the years so Y is not an option as long as i can justify it lol. QR like EK are horrendously expensive originating in the Gulf and coupled with consistent missed baggage connections, and detiorating / clinical service both on the ground and in the air, i was quite surprised by BA when i changed from QR. EK are not on my radar after a spectacularly awefull experience in 2008, which the war office and i vowed never to use again and we have not. Luckily i manage to get the upper deck mostly on the 744 along with the odd invol F upgrade, to me get a good worldwide crew up top and the flight is pleasant and passes the time, the crew are relaxed and chat, that doesn’t happen on QR as there is a reporting culture that forbids or scares crew from really engaging in a relaxed way with the customer. I agree more needs to be done, and i think things are getting better, if only the bean counters would let the staff do what they do best, listen to the customer and have a culture that aspires to the likes of SQ / QF instead of RYR and EZY. Pity we cant bring back Lord King, who whilst a bit gruff really instilled an esprit de corps in the airline.in reply to: My recent flights on BA20 Sep 2017
I managed 3 trips on the ‘rocket’ as we in ATC called it.
I took my mother for her birthday treat to IAD way back in 1987 on a staff ticket when I worked for an airline. I think it was 105GBP each return. At the age of 65 she was totally non plussed by the service, experience, or the fact we arrived before we took off. Now the BA B747-200 experience in F on the way back she totally enjoyed. Post flight though when we got her home she could not stop talking about the Concorde and the crew.
Later in life I had the dubious task of attending a conference stateside, the travel office where I worked called 2 days before and said BA had offered me the BA1 with a connection instead of the regular DC10 service from LGW. Did I refuse – no way, even though LGW was my local airport.
Finally in 1999 I surprised the better half by arranging one of the flights of fantasy Santa specials to Lapland as a birthday treat, amazing experience, 100 adults – no kids, supersonic up the North sea, mad day in the snow and return supersonic down the west coast of Ireland and in via the standard route to LHR.
As an aside in 1995 just before my mother passed I was working on the continent and took my parents there for a break – out by P&O ferry in Club Class and back through the tunnel – again mother non plussed – she preferred the ferry as a nice man brought afternoon tea, on the return she was disappointed she did not see fish – her idea of the tunnel was a glass tube on the sea bed, luckily in the le Shuttle carriage there was a drawing showing how deep the tunnel was under the sea.in reply to: BA 1 Nostalgia14 Aug 2017
This does make me chuckle.
In the heady days of the 80s when working in aviation was fun, ‘liberating’ untouched food from the galley at the end of the day or a terminating sector by the red caps and engineers was accepted as the norm. Dry stores, alcohol, soft dinks were not touched as they were reusable, however anything that was going to be ‘thrown’ was fair game. I have often stood amazed at the speed at which a seasoned red cap could clear the galley of unused hot meals / crew sandwiches / crew meals / tea bags / milk etc. I often asked why, and most explained they were so busy they did not have time to visit the staff canteen for a break, and the cost was always too high.
As a steward (yep steward, not politically correct CA of FA) terminating at a UK outstation for the minimum rest turnaround we would ensure that any unused hot meals or food was left for the night shift ground crew. We of course would have our own supplies to take to the hotel as our rest time was short and the allowances did not cover hotel food prices.
It was accepted as the ‘norm’, of course those were the days when there was no onboard computerisation, security checks at the airport were minimal and consisted of showing your airside pass, so taking food to the hotel / office was relatively easy. And of course in those days airlines were generally run by airline people who may have ascended through the ranks and had done this sort of thing in the past. It was also standard practice that generous hot meal ‘buffers’ were carried and rarely used.
I remember a friend of mine who was a turn around despatcher at LGW and could relate to which airline had the best pickings of left over untouched food. (hot breakfasts and crew sandwich trays from Air Europe, hot meals from DAN AIR, American goodies from People Express, the list is endless).
I wonder if Air India are being too draconian unless there is reason to believe that certain items are being pilfered for selling on.14 Aug 2017
I had the strange experience, I booked a CW DXB/LHR/DXB for some welcome R&R back in Blighty. One week before travel I had to change my departure from DXB early by one week due to the other half having to go into hospital in the UK. It was pretty serious so I had to travel. Strange thing was on both legs I had originally booked, the seats were 62A (my favourite on the upper deck), as the change for the DXB-LHR leg was onto a 777 I was able to get 11F, but for some reason the system reallocated my seat for the unchanged return LHR-DXB leg down to the main deck on the 744 seat 10A. As soon as I noticed I went into my booking and saw 62A had gone already and this was within 10 minutes of the change but 64K was free – pheww. Why when the return leg was not changed was my seat reallocated?in reply to: Automatic seat allocation – what are BA doing?3 Aug 2017
I had the same experience, I booked a CW DXB/LHR/DXB for some welcome R&R back in Blighty. One week before travel I had to change my departure from DXB by one week due to the other half having to go into hospital in the UK. It was pretty serious so I had to travel. On the web site the cost of the change was 6750AED (1350GBP) when I had only paid 8350AED (1670 GBP) for the whole trip. I appreciated my original ticket was very restricted but come on 6750AED for a change. Of course out here all local lines were closed and redirected to a call center in the ‘former jewel in the crown’, they of course were completely unfazed by the urgency to change and quoted the same price, so I took a chance and called the gold line in the UK and I was charged 400AED for the change. Strange thing was on both legs I had originally booked the seats were 62A (my favourite on the upper deck), as the change was onto a 777 this was a seat change, but for some reason the system reallocated my seat for the unchanged return leg down to the main deck seat 10A. As soon as I noticed I went into my booking and saw 62A had gone but 64K was free – pheww.in reply to: BA, unbelievable cost of time change!3 Aug 2017
(Ed note: In aviation, a flight information region (FIR) is a specified region of airspace in which a flight information service and an alerting service (ALRS) are provided.)
An FIR is not necessarily Sovereign Airspace, it can depend on local agreements and delegated airspace which is very common on the London FIR / Paris FIR borders where Sovereign UK airspace is controlled by the French and visa versa.
QR is able to depart and arrive traffic to the East into the Tehran FIR below Flight level 250 on a single route as this is Qatari airspace normally controlled by the Bahrain ACC.
Flightradar24 is showing traffic on this track.6 Jun 2017