Here’s my turn to report the flights of the Manchester’s FR Meet Up, or actually THE flight, as I won’t report the CDG-MAN leg.
That’s because of the inconvenient code share between AF and BE, which makes it impossible to check in online when you hold a BE ticket but fly on an AF operated flight. As a result, I lost 40 minutes to check in at a teller (as check in kiosks wouldn’t accept my PNR either) just to find out only middle seats were left… Then it was a bit of a run, I barely had time to drink a (or maybe a few) glasses of champagne at the lounge, and I forgot to take any pictures until we were about to take off.
As you all know, the Saturday afternoon was spent touring a bit in Manchester. I found the architecture pretty uninteresting and the streets to be quite dirty, actually more so than in Paris. Maybe we weren’t in the nicer part of the city though. We were also treated to “the performance” of drunken soccer fans, yelling at each other in the middle of the streets, as well as a flash mob performed by a couple a fat teenage girls, who had had the bad idea to dress themselves with glittery clothes (Mmmhh mmmhh you girls ain’t got no decency…)
Anyway fast forward to Sunday morning where we all went to the famous visitor park located near one of MAN’s runways.
When you get there, you're greeted by this nice BEA Trident, this was the first time I saw one
Shortly after we arrived, EK’s daily A380 landed and taxied right past us Come over here big daddy, and give it to mama!!
Then many different planes landed, although the majority of them were Monarch, EZY or Ryanair. I didn’t mind all the Monarch planes as they’re not common at French airports. Here’s a selection of the spotting I did.
UA 757 heading off to the US
A Privilege Style 757
A rare Lybian A320
A Monarch A321 with new livery
And a 757 with the old one
DL A330 to ATL
A Thomas Cook 767
My first glimpse of a Virgin Little Red A320
Big daddy taking off again
Around 3 hours before take off we took the bus back to the airport, where things started to get downhill as far as the organization. First when you get in, there’s no screen indicating all the departing flights, therefore, you don’t know which desks to go to for check in. We eventually found them. The hall they were in was small, as there wasn’t anybody it was ok, but I imagine it gets packed quickly. I was checked in by a cold agent, who was obviously pissed off that I asked her for a window seat instead of the aisle one that was first given out to me.
Then we all went to security. There after putting belt, liquids, watch and my bag on a tray with my suitcase directly behind it on the band, I got yelled at, by some white trash guy. He looked at me yelling “TRAY, TRAY” Well, I know what a tray is for, and as I had put all my smaller items in one, I didn’t understand why he was yelling. The he pointed to my luggage and yelled “TRAY!” another time. What’s the f*cking point of putting a hand luggage on a tray?
I really was close to tell that son of a b*tch that maybe if he had made a proper sentance (provided he was capable of it), I would have understood what he wanted, but didn’t do it as I wasn’t in the mood for a manual search.
Anyway, pretty angry I walked away, and realized it was more than time to start taking pictures for the FR. Finally, we found a screen with all the departing flights, though in our case was useless as gates were indicated 45 min before departure.
I don’t understand how they can’t know earlier which gate will be used. The only explanation I have is that this way, people will hang around more in the restaurants and duty free shops instead of going straight to their gates.
I then tried to get into the lounge as I’m SkyTeam Elite Plus, but that wasn’t possible with a FlyBe ticket. I knew it, but thought it was worth trying.
So we all headed to a quiet part of the terminal, next to the gate of the AMS bound flight, that a few FR members took.
Here’s their 737 pushing back, with a EI passing by.
As I took this picture I really regretted not flying KLM…
A couple of interesting planes passed in front of us.
A Sun of Scandinavia for BA Dornier 328 Jet (I wish I could try this plane, but all the airlines operating have really high fares)
BMI Regional E135
At the time where our gate was supposed to be announced I went to the screen only to find out our flight was delayed by 15 min and the gate was still unknown. Grrrrrr! This was getting annoying!
Finally the gate was displayed and it was on the opposite side of the terminal, so we were in for a walk.
When we got to the gate at 5pm, our E175 (G-FBJA) had just arrived.
The agents made an announcement that boarding would start when all passengers from the previous flight had gotten off the aircraft.
Then they started talking to each other, and when an automatic recording announced final call for our flight they just sent away pretty arshly all the passengers that came forward. (Especially one young girl who was worried about here connecting flight in CDG).
5 minutes before our scheduled departure time, boarding began.
The fuselage nicely lit up by the setting sun.
We were welcomed onboard by a friendly Purser, who totally looked like a Botox Witch! Picture Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas in thirty years and a lot of pastic surgery.
Though I have to say the uniform they wore looked pretty good, a very dark blue blouse with a red skirt.
Both the FAs and the flightdeck apologized for the delay, due to the late arrival of the aircraft from Belfast etc etc.
Beside us, Flyingjapans’ A319 to LHR was pushing back
At 5:50pm or so we pushed back too. We taxied to the farthest runway, letting an EZY plane landing first.
And off we went!
A giant satellite dish
The English countryside
Overview of MAN
The pilot was on the horn providing us with detailed information on our route and the expected arrival time, depending on the runway allocated to us by CDG, as a landing on the north runway would mean an -at least- 20 minutes taxiing time.
Before it got too dark, a winglet shot
The FAs started their BoB service, most of the passengers seemed to have the voucher for a drink you get from AF when you book a ticket with them, but fly with BE that doesn’t offer a free snack.
When they got my row, I just asked for the DashQ400 plane model but they were out, so I asked if they had the E195 model, but they were out too. The FA was apologetic about it. Well at least that would save me from an argument with my partner later in the evening, because I had bought ANOTHER plane model.
Outside it was almost completely dark, but it was still possible to see the Channel.
After a 50 minutes, we started our descent, and until the last moment I didn’t know on which runway we were landing on.
To our relief it was on the south one, which is close to terminal 2E where we were to park. Duck Face Purser made a nice landing announcement, apologizing again for the delay.
On the way tour stand, those heavies getting ready for their long flights were visible.
We stopped next to this A319, F-GRHL which I took on a CDG-STR a couple of years ago.
We didn’t disembark via a jetbridge but with regular stairs, on the bright side that allowed for nice pictures
As we had docked at Satellite L of T2E we had a long walk and a ride on the automated train to get to exit. It felt we were coming back from a far away destination, as this satellite is mostly used for long haul flights.
Manchester - MAN
Paris - CDG
Except for the delay part, I found this airline pretty good with clean and conforatble planes and friendly FAs. I was a bit disappointed with the BoB as they didn't have many things besides food and beverages, but then why offer a duty free catalog if you don't have much room to store the items on the plane? Regarding the delay, it shouldn't have happened given the generous 1 hour turnaround time FlyBe has.
MAN airport itself pretty much sucked, the floorplan is badly arranged, no information screen in the departure halls, rude staff... And this policy of not displaying the gate until 40 minutes before departure really annoyed me.
CDG was OK, the terminal was mostly deserted at this late hour and there was almost no waiting at the immigration.
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