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Portugal with Air 2000

Noel

Noel Philips

Our honeymoon holiday flights – a year after the wedding but thats a different story!

10/05/03
EMA-FAO
Air 2000 AMM614C
Airbus A321 G-OOAI
ETD: 1605 ATD: 1620
ETA: 1850 ATA: 1855
EMA – East Midlands, UK
FAO – Faro, Portugal

Arrived at East Midlands to start our holiday three hours before flight time, at 1300. We had to wait a few minutes for check in to open, so we grabbed a drink and by the time we arrived back at check in, the flight was just opening. We had upgraded to the “Premium Economy” service, and we were surprised to find we had our own dedicated check in desk with a green carpet to make us feel special! Smile/happy/getting dizzy

We started to queue, but a really arrogant AMM check in assistant told us “This is only for PREMIUM passengers!”. We advised her that we were, she didn’t believe us until she had checked our tickets, but this was quite frustrating! I mean its hardly first class on BA! Smile/happy/getting dizzy

We checked in, and found the 30KG baggage allowance very handy as we had 20kg each, so had plenty of room for souvenirs/gifts etc! We were told we were “in seats 1C/1D so we would have a window seat and be seated together”. Bearing in mind we had paid to be sitting together, we naturally expected this.

We went upstairs to have a Burger King for lunch, and then visited Boots and the Aviation Hobby Shop to pick up a copy of Airliners.

There were no queues at check in, and we went through to the departure lounge, which was packed! There was a MYT flight to Palma, BMIBaby flights to BCN and CDG, and an Easyjet flight to Faro all leaving together, so in an instant it was restored to normal levels! The international departure lounge at EMA is fantastic, there are shops/bars along the back, and floor-ceiling windows giving a good view over the apron and runway.

It was interesting that a number of airliners were boarding while the aircraft was still being refuelled, and the check in assistant was telling passengers they should board the aircraft but not fasten their seatbelts until advised to do so. Is this after the BA777 in the USA had a fire while refuelling I wonder?

Several beers later, and our Air 2000 A321 arrived on runway 27 and taxyed in. After it was cleaned and refuelled we were called to board, and walked across the apron and up the stairs at 1L. We were dissapointed to find out that we had indeed been split up by an aisle even though we had paid our extra £80 and specifically been told we would be together. We asked a fellow passenger if he would mind swapping as we were on our honeymoon, but got an arrogant response of “I’ve paid for these seats so we’re not moving”…..now I remember why I prefer to fly scheduled wherever possible! Smile/happy/getting dizzy

We pushed back from the stand, and taxyed out to runway 27 15 minutes late. We quickly rotated, and were on our way to Faro. The music they played while boarding continued until about 20 minutes into the flight – it is SO annoying!!!

The premium seats are a big improvement on the standard seats, a MASSIVE 31 inches of legroom! (well it is for Air 2000!) Smile/happy/getting dizzy Leather seats, very comfortable!

We flew down to the south coast, over the Isle of Wight and across to the Channel Isles. A meal was served about an hour into the flight, which was curry and rice. Very small meal, not very filling and tasted disgusting!

Crossed the coast over La Coruna, Northern Spain, and then crossed the Portuguese border before heading down past Lisbon into Faro.

We arrived using no reverse thrust, and taxyed to the stand. On the ground was mainly Condor/LTU 757s, with a couple of TAP/SATA/Air Luxor aircraft sitting around. Pull on stand alongside a Monarch A300, before deplaning into the heat, and then queuing through immigration/passport control for an hour – we obviously arrived at a busy time!

24/05/03
FAO-EMA
Air 2000 AMM614D
Airbus A321 G-OOAI
ETD: 1950 ATD: 2000
ETA: 2245 ATA: 2300
EMA – East Midlands, UK
FAO – Faro, Portugal

We were late arriving at the airport as our transfer coach got stuck in a little Portuguese town for an hour while a cycle race went through!

Faro airport was absolutely packed, we queued for 20 minutes to check in before being told we were in seats 1D/1F this time – HOORAH!!!! We then queued for an hour to get through security, no idea what the hold up was but they were going very slowly!

We decided to go through to the gate area to get food to escape the crowds of the departure lounge – big mistake! Once past passport control there are no cafes etc apart from a little kiosk selling crisps and coffee! There are also no views of the apron until they open the gate for departure 20 mins before boarding!

We boarded via an airbridge this time, and were sitting together! We soon pushed back, and I got told off by a f/a for using my video camera to record the taxi – does this really pose a problem?

We were no. 2 for takeoff, but sat on the runway for a few minutes while a runway inspection was carried out! We were soon on our way, and climbed to FL350. It wasn’t long before the sun went down and we were in darkness. I watched a bit of “My Family” on the TV, and then put the radio channel on.

I had taken my shoes off, and noticed my sock was damp from the floor! I lifted the carpet up to discover a puddle of water! I asked the F/A and she said it was just condensation and was nothing to worry about! I was worried – these were brand new socks! Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Soon we were on our approach to EMA, overflying Milton Keynes, Rugby and Leicester, with the home town of Nottingham on the right wingtip as we turned onto final for runway 27.

Touched down smoothly, again with no reverse thrust, and taxyed to our stand. On the ground was an Aegean 738, Eurocypria 738 and a Helios 738.

Caught the ancient Servisair bus to the terminal, and waited for our baggage. As we left the terminal, our taxi was just turning up to take us home!