I had the opportunity to fly this established carrier back in July 2001, only a few months before it ceased operations on 07 Nov. 2001. After its demise, SABENA was renamed SN Brussels Airlines in Feb. 2002 and later changed to its present name Brussels Airlines in March 2007 after it merged with Virgin Express.
As an aviation enthusiast, I was extremely excited at the idea of flying a new carrier, even more so in a premium cabin in one of Europe's oldest carriers. This trip took place a long time ago, so some of the details might be sketchy and I must apologize for the quality of the pics.
I took a trip on UA to connect to JFK and once there I checked in at the SN counter which was shared with SR and OS as part of the Qualifyer Group. I was given an invitation to EL AL King David lounge which was basic with some sandwiches and cookies or fruits.
Boarding was efficient and upon entering there were 2 FA's greeting passengers. The cabin felt spacious with the reclining seats that almost lied horizontally. Pre-dept. drinks were offered in glasses and later on amenity kits, printed menus and hot towels were distributed. I loved the fabric of the seats with the flying bird that to me is so representative of Belgium and makes reference to Magritte and Surrealism.
Amenity kit. I took these pics recently and the hand cream was discarded. It was from a generic brand that I have never heard of.
Cabin with a very nice purser.
The meal service started with drinks served with tapas.
The appetizer sounded great on the menu, but actually I found that the dill and sweet mustard sauce were overpowering, so I just took a few bites. The cheese course and dessert were served on the tray at the same time.
I decided to go for something light so I chose the vegetarian dish with was tasty.
After the meal service I watched some movies and tried in vain to sleep. I don't recall any snacks being placed in the galley after dinner.
Soon it was breakfast time and I just had fruit with a warm croissant. Later on I saw a FA distributing yogurt in individual dishes. I thought that a continental breakfast in J was a bit light and a hot dish should have been offered.
British Airways Concorde Room
New York - JFK
Brussels - BRU
I was glad that I had a chance to experience SABENA before it ceased operations. It's always sad to see an old carrier go and with it a part of aviation history.
Back then lie flat seats with all aisle access were rare so my seat was good for its time.
The purser was excellent with a great attitude and smile that made passengers feel like guests.
Food was OK, not exceptional.
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