Sn26567 From Belgium, joined Aug 2004, 127 posts, RR: 4 Posted (8 years 8 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3400 times:
This report is intended to make you feel the difference between two airlines codesharing on the same destination with the same type of aircraft, the Avro ARJ-100.
The 6th trip this year to what is now my all-time favourite destination, Manchester. Booked with SN only four days in advance, the price was pretty high: EUR619.71, because of the return on BA at the full flexible economy fare Y (the outbound flight on SN being on the M fare).
The taxes were even higher than the EUR53.14 I paid in June and now totalled EUR60.71: 20.93 for BRU (unchanged), 31.78 for MAN (+3.57) and 8.00 for ATC between the 2 countries. These high taxes explain why an LCC will never choose BRU or MAN as a base...
I left home at 7:20 to go to the airport by train after a 15 min walk to Genval station. I arrived there at 8:35 (it is definitely faster by car, even with the morning traffic jams on the Brussels Ring, but safer by train). When I tried to check in at the new automated machine, none of them would accept my ticket. I thus checked in at the hand-baggage only counter, where there was no queue. A friendly agent delivered my boarding passes, not only for the outbound on SN, but also for the return flight on BA (which is a first for me: previously, the SN and BA computer systems did not deem to be interconnected).
I then hurried to the Diners Club lounge where I drank 2 coffees together with 4 speculoos (a Belgian kind of cookies), as I did not have breakfast yet.
BRU-MAN with SN
Flight: SN 2173, codeshared with BA and AA
Date: 20 September 2004
Aircraft: Avro RJ100 OO-DWK
Seat: 7F blue leather in a 2-3 configuration (window, under the wing; not really the best seat in the aircraft: view on the engines and little room for handbags because of the wing)
Departure time scheduled/actual: 09:30/09:36
Arrival time scheduled/actual: 09:50/10:02
Load factor: 85%
Boarding was from gate B91, the B pier satellite which means bussing to the plane, which was parked at Pier A. Luckily, the BGS (formerly Sabena Handling) staff had ended their strike of last week after getting better working conditions. The buses were thus OK. Unfortunately I was in the second bus, which means less room in the plane for hand baggage. The new SN policy of controlling the identity of every passenger was also in force.
Pushback started 6 minutes late. Captain Ehlen proceeded smoothly to runway 25R for take-off. Meanwhile our two friendly stewardesses (Sylvie as purser and one colleague) made the safety announcements in Dutch, French and English.
As soon as the "fasten seat belt" light went off, the stewardesses started serving the meal in C class and twenty minutes later in Y class. The distribution of the Brussels Bistro boxes went quite fast: a nicely coloured box, with orange juice from Juice Works in Manchester (UK), a roll of brown bread, English butter from Country Life (UK), molten cheese "Grosjean" (France), a chocolate muffin, semi-skimmed milk from the UK, sugar, a refreshing towel and a serviette (hardly a Brussels meal). Than they served drinks: I chose coffee, which was fine. Before landing, the two small Belgian chocolates by Neuhaus (bitter and milk) were also on the menu.
The flight itself was uneventful, as it should be, mainly under a cloudy sky. Only upon arrival near Manchester was there some sunshine. The flight lasted 1 hour and 10 minutes, and the plane touched down at Manchester at 9:56. After arrival at the gate at 10:02 it took not less than 5 minutes for the airbridge to be in place.
Two AA planes (a 757 and a 767) were parked right next to our SN Avro.
For the return trip on the same day I had booked SN 5426. I arrived at the airport at 15:15, still in time to catch SN 2178 at 15:45. However the queue at the SN desk was at least 30 people long. I wondered what had happened, and I soon learned that SN 2178 had been cancelled. What a pity: I could have flown on a decent Avro with 5 seats abreast instead of the dreadful BA 146 with the uncomfortable 6 seats! I later learned through Luchtzak that the incoming flight SN 2177 had taken off from Brussels and returned soon thereafter due to engine problems.
As I had time to spend, I wanted to go to the Diners Club lounge. Unfortunately, this was in Terminal 1, and since I was boarding in Terminal 3, I could not access it. I already complained about that in the past to both Manchester airport and Diners Club, but as expected, none of them could help...
A nice view at MAN was the 744 of PIA in new colours.
MAN-BRU with BA
Flight: BA 1620, operated by LAR Transregional (Portugal) and Transmile Air Services (Malaysia)">TH (BA CitiExpress) and codeshared with SN
Date: 20 September 2004
Aircraft: Avro ARJ-100 G-CFAE
Seat: 12A (window) blue leather in a 3-3 configuration
Departure time scheduled/actual: 17:30/17:43
Arrival time scheduled/actual: 20:00/20:01
Load factor: 100%
Due to the cancellation of the previous flight, this one was full. Boarding started at 17:15 and took a long time. Many passengers did not find room for their bulky hand baggage, which had to be checked and sent to the cargo hold. Boarding was only completed at 17:40, pushback at 17:43 and take off from 24L at 17:53.
Two stewards and one stewardess tended for the passengers. As said before, the 3-3 configuration adopted for the Avro by an increasing number of airlines (BA, LH, KL, ..., but not SN) is absolutely scandalous. This aircraft was built for a 5 abreast seating. With 6 passengers there is absolutely no shoulder room whatsoever. I have to add that the inconvenience was softened by the presence to my right of two charming ladies, to whom I was very close by necessity...
Another drawback of BA was their total absence of language skills. Announcements were only in English. For the first time on BA, they announced their codeshare with SN.
The meal consisted of a sandwich (choice between ham and eggs, and cheese) and a slice of chocolate cake, all wrapped in transparent plastic. I chose the ham and eggs, which was good. The presentation could well be improved. Due to the high passenger load, the drink service came long after the meal had been served. I sampled the red wine, a decent Bordeaux in a 17.5 cl bottle.
The route was interesting, flying over London, with a nice view of LCY airport. It was also impressive to see large planes flying to LHR well under us. At some time, the pilot order the safety belts to be fastened because of turbulences.
Landing on 25L was at 19:54 and arrival at the gate at 20:01. They had made up for the delay, but the BA schedule (one hour and 30 minutes with tail winds, instead of one hour and 20 minutes with head winds for the outbound flight on SN) gave ample time to do so.
A nice bird was parked at the terminal C satellite: a Condor 757.
My conclusion: if you have a choice, always select SN instead of BA on a same route.
FLIEGER67 From Georgia, joined Sep 2003, 4387 posts, RR: 57 Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2955 times:
interesting report about your experiences with SN/BA on the same route.
Let us wait and see whats happened to the SN/BA codeshare after the merger with BA rival´s owened VEX.
I agree with you that the 3-3 layout is incomfortable in this plane. But if my memory serves well in 2000 I did a trip VLC-BRU on a SN BAE 100 and I think it had also a 3-3 layout, have they changed it since then?
Sn26567 From Belgium, joined Aug 2004, 127 posts, RR: 4 Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2677 times:
Thanks to all for your comments. BA is not the only major airline to have changed the Avro 100 into an Avro 110; LH also changed their Avro 85 into an Avro 93. Even if they use beautiful Recaro seats, there is an uncomfortable feeling of narrowness.
But if my memory serves well in 2000 I did a trip VLC-BRU on a SN BAE 100 and I think it had also a 3-3 layout, have they changed it since then?
SN never flew VLC-BRU, and their BAe146s and Avros always had a 2-3 seating, even in Sabena times.
Krushny From Spain, joined Dec 2000, 776 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2609 times:
SN never flew VLC-BRU,
Sure they did! I did VLC-BRU-BHX in Feb'2000 on SN and BMI. The flight had an SN number, the plane sure was painted in Sabena colours, though I cannot say for sure if it was operated by SN itself or another contrary .
EddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7170 posts, RR: 45 Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2622 times:
The only time I have been on board an Avro RJ was in July when I flew LHR to BRU on Sunday at 06:50 with SN (one-way only). It was an RJ 85. I found the service to be really good and I feel very happy that I had the chance to fly the only weekly SN flight between LHR and BRU that is operated by SN using its own aircraft.
I can't believe the price you paid for your fare! I found a very cheap fare (I booked maybe one month in advance) of 35 Pounds, all taxes and charges included.
I loved the plane. The interior was very clean and well kept, the seats were comfortable and the service was fantastic. The crew members were very nice and attentive. As for the breakfast box, I think it contained the exact same things you mention in your post and I was positively surprised because I did not expect more than a pack of 2 biscuits.
I have yet to fly in a BA Avro (or any type for that matter), but I really hope I can fly SN again. I understand that their plan is to stick with European and African flights for the time being, and that U.S. and Canada will be served via codeshares. Nevertheless, I hope they start some day a non-stop service between BRU and, say, JFK. To all SN employees who are members of this forum, congratulations and hopefully I will be able to enjoy a flight with your company again.