After an easy transfer, we were released into the A pier of BRU. A FIDS (not pictured) directed us towards the T gates - specifically, gate T72 - which is where the international departures from Pier A leave from.
Brussels airport is an awesome building - high ceilings and a cool design. I must add, though, it was very crowded.
After a decent walk, we arrived at the border (leaving the Schengen area). Unfortunately, most of the shops are in the Schengen area.
T72 is right at the end, and there weren't any seats designated specifically for the gate.
All of the flights in the T section were to SN's various destinations in Africa, with each flight going to 2 destinations. After some hunting, we found some seats near the flight to Kinshasa and Luanda.
Boarding was called at 10:25, with no organization whatsoever. Everyone just formed a massive blob - probably about 2 or 3 people across. It didn't help that the flight from T74 was boarding at the same time. Another interesting note - I wasn't sure what to expect for the demographic of a seemingly odd route, but it was 97% African. I saw no more than 10 or 15 white people get on the flight. I guess it makes sense, as SN is the only airline that operates the flight (at good cost) and provides lots of connections into Europe.
After a long wait, I realized we had just been put into a waiting area with just a TV and some seats.
Right around 11:20, this door suddenly opened. There was a literal stampede towards the door, it was actually pretty scary!
Today's airplane was OO-SFM, a 23-year-old A330-300. It started it's life with Air Inter in 1994, then was transferred to Sabena in 1997, and stayed through the name/ownership changes to SN Brussels Airlines, and finally, Brussels Airlines.
I got on the plane and to my surprise, row 15 was not only the first row of economy but also a bulkhead seat! I didn't pay for this… (travel backpack makes another appearance).
Sooo much legroom.
Another A333 was next door.
The TV swung out from underneath the armrest. It was decent size and quality but was pretty badly scratched up. As with all bulkhead seats, you can't use the TVs until after takeoff, but judging by the seats across the aisle, the system didn't even activate until after takeoff.
Boarding was pretty chaotic, but after everyone was seated, the crew came through the plane with clickers taking a headcount! Never seen this before…
We also received a hot towel, a bottle of water, and an amenity kit which contained an eyemask, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, ear plugs, and some sort of lotion. I forgot to take the pictures of the contents until about 10 minutes before landing, hence, I used the pillow instead of the tray table.
Before we pushed back, the captain announced the flying time as 5h30m.
Pushback was at 12:14, and taxi commenced at 12:17.
It was a short taxi without many views except for this A3 A320.
We were first in line for takeoff, shooting down runway 26R at 12:23 - 32 minutes behind schedule.
30 minutes after takeoff, the crew came through offering a snack mix and a drink. Just like the last SN flight, there was no Sprite, so Fanta would do (this seems to be their go-to option as a Sprite replacement). Not knowing a lot about SN, I half expected this to be the only food we got.
After eating, I checked out the IFE selection. The selection was pretty bad (about 10 movies) and a few random TV episodes, but the airshow was decent.
Around 13:45, I saw the crew readying the carts, so I went to get my tray table from inside, but it's impossible to get with the TV also out. This was really annoying.
We were offered a selection of fish or meatballs. Thinking it would be spaghetti and meatballs, I enthusiastically went for that.
The tray as delivered.
I unwrapped the main, but nope, it was literally just meatballs in some sauce accompanied by carrots, mashed potatoes, and peas. Oh well. It actually was pretty good, especially the meatballs. 8/10
My mom had the fish, which was 'almost inedibly spicy' and 'more rice than fish' in her words.
Next up was the salad. Um. Um. What is this?? There was some arugula and a lone tomato, along with what appeared to be an egg, and that red and white thing and the dressing underneath? Who knows. It was pretty disgusting and tasted like plastic. 1/5
Next up was the standard economy roll and cheese (not pictured). 4/5
Finally, there was this coconut cake muffin thing. I don't like coconut, so it's not fair for me to rate this, but my mom said it deserved 5/5. 5/5 it is.
The destruction afterward. Overall, not a bad meal, but not something I'd enjoy eating again. Total score: 18/25
I kept nodding off during the movie I was watching, but the crew came around with chocolate which definitely gets a 5/5.
After that, I fell asleep for the rest of the flight. When I woke up, we were somewhere around here.
Before landing, I'll sum up the seat and the crew.
The seat was very comfortable, and having a free bulkhead seat with the extra legroom is definitely nice. However, having the tray table and TV in the armrest (and not being able to move one without moving the other) is something I found to be very annoying. I'd venture to say I'd rather have a normal seat with a TV and tray table in the right place than the extra legroom.
The crew was friendly, but the language barrier was tough. It wasn't clear what languages they spoke, and they never really learned what language I spoke, and therefore, they kept talking to me in French (I don't know a single word).
We began our descent into Dakar and touched down on runway 18 at 15:55 (5 minutes ahead of schedule).
A lengthy taxi followed, only to find there were no jetways. KQ B738 and C2 B737 on the way.
I was off the plane at 16:10.
After reading a lot about DKR prior to this trip and learning it has been called 'the worst airport in the world', I was nervous about immigration, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Yes, it was rather disorganized, but the line moved and I was through in about 10 minutes.
The baggage claim area, however, was a different story. It was loud, people everywhere, just not a place you want to be after a 6-hour flight.
That pretty much wraps up this report. Thanks for reading and leave a comment if you feel inclined - I love reading and responding to them!
Brussels - BRU
Dakar - DKR
Brussels A/T pier - Cool building, clean, modern, but busy
Seat - Comfy but poorly designed
Food - Semi-Edible, parts were tasty
Crew - Friendly but difficult to communicate with due to language barrier
IFE - Mediocre selection on a decent screen
Dakar Airport - Chaotic
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