Review of Brussels Airlines flight Brussels New York in Economy

Airline Brussels Airlines
Flight SN501
Class Economy
Seat 21K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 08:20
Take-off 22 Aug 15, 10:30
Arrival at 22 Aug 15, 12:50
SN   #71 out of 79 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 231 reviews
oriolgutierrez
Published on 9th September 2015
BCN - BRU SN3696 Y / AIRBUS A319-100 - 21/08/2015: http://flight-report.com/en/report-11517.html
BRU - JFK SN501 Y / AIRBUS A330-300 - 22/08/2015: HERE
YUL - CDG AC870 Y / BOEING 777-300ER - 06/09/2015:
CDG - BCN VY8247 Y / AIRBUS A320-200 - 07/09/2014:

Preface: We decided to take a trip to the US as we wanted to visit some relatives in Connecticut and the city of Boston. We then found a nice one-week one-way Canada & New England cruise from Boston to Montreal and decided to add the cruise to the trip to CT and Boston to make the most of our trip to America.
I started looking for flight good deals from Barcelona but prices were extremely expensive and decided to look for flights out of other European cities. It turned out that Brussels was one of the cities where the cheapest flights departed from so I looked for BRU-JFK/BOS and YUL-BRU. BRU-BOS required a layover and coming from BCN, two layovers would be too much so decided to fly to New York and book a transfer to Connecticut. It all came down then to BRU-JFK and YUL-BRU, the cheapest option was to layover in Paris returning from Montreal and I looked for the same flights in a multi-flight ticket, it turned out to be as cheap as with the layover in Brussels and the CDG-BRU leg was not the day after we landed in Paris. We then would not have to go stop in Paris and Brussels on our way back to Barcelona as the CDG-YUL leg would not be used. After finding and booking the two long-haul legs (BRU-JFK YUL-CDG) I then started looking into options to get to Brussels and return from Paris. Getting to Brussels was pretty easy on Brussels Airlines as they were the cheapest option available, even cheaper than Vueling or Ryanair so it was a no-brainer for us even if flying them required us to overnight in Brussels. On our way back from Paris, we could fly Air France, EasyJet, Vueling or take the train, we decided to fly back from CDG as it was the airport from which our flight from YUL arrived, Air France was too expensive and not worth it in my opinion for a 1:30 flight and by booking with Vueling I could reduce the fare using some Avios I had.
Finally we had our routing done (BCN-BRU-JFK YUL-CDG-BCN).

We checked in online the day before and were allocated the same seats we had been allowed to choose when we booked through Expedia in row 21. My seat was going to be 21K a window seat in Brussels' 2-4-2 configuration.
On the day of departure, woke up at 8 AM as we were staying at the Sheraton Brussels Airport which is located just across the hotel, exactly 39 steps away from the airport's entrance. We checked out from the hotel and walked to the terminal.
Here is a picture of the airport.
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And a picture of the hotel's entrance.
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We then got into the terminal and saw a giant screen with today's departures. Our flight was SN501 for New York.
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It was time to go to the baggage drop-off counter, again there was no specific counter for baggage drop-off so we just queued for the regular line with 4 counters for flights going to New York and Washington.
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We then got through security which was a breeze as there weren't many people.
Once we cleared security controls, it was time for some spotting.
Ethiad Airbus A330-200 for Abu Dhabi, Brussels Airbus A330-200 for Entebbe via Kigali, Jetairfly's 787 Dreamliner for Miami or the Caribbean and three Jet Airways planes.
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Our gate was going to be T61 which following the departures screen required 13 minutes of walking to get there from the security control area. I thought it was a little bit less perhaps because I was walking a little bit fast.
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Time for more spotting Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100.
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Then we headed to the duty free area and bought some chocolate and beer.
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There was a nice McGregor store with very good deals.
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We wanted to have something for breakfast as we didn't at the hotel so we went to Java. I had a coffee and a croissant, it wasn't too expensive taking into consideration I was at an airport.
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It was time to head to gate T61.
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Another Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-300 and Avro RJ100.
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Views of a Vueling Airbus A320-200 for Barcelona along with a Qatar Boeing 787-8 for Doha and Delta's Boeing 767-300 for New York.
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Our gate T61 was very crowded. It wasn't still time to board so we took a seat in gate T63 which was empty and still very close to our departure gate.
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Our airplane today would be OO-SFW. It was an ex-LTU and ex-Air Madrid 20.7 year old Airbus A330-300 retrofitted with Brussels' new long-haul interior.
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It was then time to start boarding.
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Views of an Avro RJ100 from the finger.
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OO-SFW before boarding.
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I was finally in my window seat 21K, here is a picture OO-SFO, another Airbus A330-300.
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The PTVs were okay, not as good as the ones Norwegian had on their 787 or the ones I would experience on my return flight on AC's 77W but still okay. They were not as sensitive as the previous PTVs I had experienced but there was a wide choice of movies and music to choose from.
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The legroom was very good, much better of course than on our previous SN A319 and way better than on Norwegian's 787 I flew with last year. Very spacious and comfy cabin.
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There was a pillow and a set of headphones on all economy seats which were low-quality.
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Pushback.
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Delta Boeing 767-300 for New York Kennedy.
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Qatar 787 for Doha.
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Jetairfly 787 for Miami or the Caribbean and Air Arabia Airbus A320 probably for Casablanca.
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Taxiing to the runway I took some pics of airplanes we taxied by. Alitalia Airbus A320-200 for Rome Fiumicino, Tarom Boeing 737-700 for Bucharest, Turkish Airbus A330-300 for Istanbul and United Boeing 777-200 for Newark.

Lining up with the runway.
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Take off.
V1, rotate.
Positive climb, gear up.
Views of the Belgian countryside.

Goodbye Belgium.
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Once we were flying over the UK I started to watch Birdman even though I had already seen it.
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Views of Brussels' long-haul cabin in 2-4-2 configuration. Very comfortable, you know there was a time when planes were made for people to feel comfy when flying them not to cramp as many seats as possible. Advantages of flying on old aircraft.
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After an 45 minutes of flight, the first service started. We were given a snack which were some tasty mini-pretzels and a drink, I asked for a gin-tonic.
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Time to show you the IFE.
The current position map was good although not interactive as you couldn't zoom in the maps.

There were many languages to choose from so that you can understand better your IFE.
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Some short documentaries available too.
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There was a very nice video of Dimitri Vegas' performance at Tomorrowland, it was long but very good!
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Some music selection too.
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A few games. I didn't try any of them because I thought this IFE was not sufficiently sensitive for me to be able to play correctly.
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Some Brussels Airlines videos about their fleet, connections and frequent flyer program were also available along with Brussels' inflight magazine which was available through the IFE too.
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Cruising at 39000 ft over the Atlantic.
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After about half an hour after the first service, the second service started. We were offered beef or fish and I opted for the beef. There was also a very tasty pasta salad, some good cheese and a very good dessert. It is by far the most complete and best meal I've ever experienced flying, the beef was very tasty and the honey sauce complimented it so well. Really well-done! I had some red wine with my meal.
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We were then offered an ice cream. I politely declined as I am not a big fan of ice-creams. This is my father's ice cream.
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Views of our plane while cruising.

With about one hour and a half to arrive to New York, we were served a hot chicken sandwich which tasted more like a pizza than a sandwich. Again Brussels nailed it, it was very tasty with some barbecue sauce, I could've had a much worse piece of pizza in many places in downtown Barcelona. Excellent food!
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Here is again a picture of the legroom and the IFE box. Pretty good legroom regardless of the IFE box.
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Cruising now at 36000 feet.
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We started our descent over Connecticut.
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Slowly descending into JFK.
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Cabin crew 15 minutes for landing.
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11 minutes for landing following the IFE's information.
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Views of the area around JFK airport
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Flaps full. Landing gear down.
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Landed in JFK at exactly 12:50. Great on-time performance.
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We are truly in the US, Jetblue and American maintenance areas.
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AeroLogic Boeing 777F.
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Last view of our plane's wing.
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We parked right next to an Aeroflot Airbus A330-300 for Moscow Domodedovo.
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We had to wait in a hallway before being allowed to go into JFK's customs area as it was too crowded. I expected a long wait and my expectations were unfortunately correct. JAL Boeing 777-300ER for Tokyo Narita.
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There was a really long queue at JFK's Terminal 1, fortunately, as we had visited the US last year, we were allowed to go on a different line of past ESTAs which reduced a lot our waiting time, we still had to wait for an hour so I don't want to imagine how long I would've had to wait if I wouldn't be using a past ESTA.
After clearing customs, we collected our luggage and follow GO Airport Shuttle's instructions to call them once we had all our bags and were at the exit of the terminal. We were going to New Haven on a shared van service and they told us they'd be picking us in in about 20 minutes.
The wait was a little bit less than that which was great especially having read reviews of this shuttle service company because many people complained that they were always late. Zero complaint in our case and excellent service provided by Go Airport Shuttle too.

We were the first passengers to be picked up, we then drove to Terminal 8 to pick up another passenger and to Terminal 2 to pick up another 2 passengers.
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We got to New Haven in two hours.

Next up: YUL-CDG on Air Canada's Boeing 777-300ER.




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Verdict

Brussels Airlines

8.8/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering9.5

Brussels - BRU

7.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

New York - JFK

6.2/10
Efficiency4.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Excellent long-haul flight. Great legroom, excellent food as mentioned above, perhaps the best meals I've ever experienced onboard an airplane. The IFE was just fine, not last generation but still enjoyable and useful. I thought an older plane would provide us with a worse experience but it turned out to be the contrary, I practically didn't even notice that airplane was old as it was clean and well-preserved. 2-4-2 configuration is great, especially in comparison to nowadays' 787 (3-3-3) or even worse on 77W (3-4-3).
Brussels provides a very good product in economy class so I'd recommend them to anybody! Definitely look forward to fly on them in a close future!

Information on the route Brussels (BRU) New York (JFK)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 15 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Brussels (BRU) → New York (JFK).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Sabena with 8.3/10.

The average flight time is 8 hours and 24 minutes.

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7 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 145983 by
    KL651 TEAM 4525 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Once again I'm impressed by the service provided on SN, food of good quality and in quantity and a good confort.

    Too bad their flight time ex-CDG are bad because they definitely seem worth trying.

  • Comment 146154 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6055 Comments

    Great report! I haven't seen too many reports on Brussels Airlines' long-haul Economy product so it is nice to see this report. From what I see in this report, SN Y service seems quite good with comfortable seats and good legroom and decent catering.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 324754 by
      oriolgutierrez AUTHOR 20 Comments

      Thanks for reading my FR.
      SN's long-haul product is really good, food was great for an airplane and the seats were comfy with good legroom. I didn't expect such a good product so SN surpassed my expectations and I look forward to fly with them in the future.

  • Comment 146655 by
    SMilano 1288 Comments

    Thanks for sharing !

    Great report with SN! SN has a very good product on there long-haul flight, it's nice to see they keep going!

    3 of the A330 of SN are in the top 5 of the oldest A330 still in service in the world, it's time too look to change!^^
    OO-SFM : MSN30, 22/06/1993
    OO-SFN : MSN37, 20/10/1993
    OO-SFO : MSN45, 31/01/1994

    • Comment 325211 by
      oriolgutierrez AUTHOR 20 Comments

      Thanks for reading my FR.
      I celebrate that you liked it. SN has a really good product on long-haul flights as you said.
      Having said that and even though the plane was well-preserved, it showed signs of being quite old and SN should probably start looking into different options for their future long-haul fleet. Probably the A350 would be their best-bet.

    • Comment 325355 by
      SMilano 1288 Comments

      Yeah SN keep weel-preserved their old plane.
      They start looking recently for their future long-haul fleet with the LH Group because their are in. For the moment, 2 options :
      - Take some A330 from the LH fleet
      - A350 from the order of LH

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