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Trip Reports Forum | Jollies time again
The flights were absolutely fine. LS operated on time and I even remembered a few of the cabin crew from the year before when they were on the 757 to Egypt. One in particular seemed to have moved to the 737s and been promoted or something. Anyway the hotel was grim and having had a stinker of a holiday I didn't bother doing a report as I wanted to forget the bloody thing altogether.
G-CELU did surprise me on the way home as despite being one of the older 733s at Jet2 it's sparkling inside. New wall panels and seats, plus that webbing stuff to stop bags falling out of the overheads. As usual the 733s do land a little on the firm side, but not as bad as 757s which always seem to feel more like they have been shot down than landing smoothly.
So anyway I decided this year to go back and book the lot with jet2holidays like I did in 2009. This time I be off to Malaga on the 737-800. The seat plans look right for them and the flight normally gets either GDFC or GDFD unless the A320 of Strategic is subbed in. Doesn't bother me; if the A320 turns up it'll be a ride on something different.
More to follow in a few weeks when I get home/deported/repatriated in an urn.
Seasoned Roy watchers will know that this is the start of my program of working up towards going on holiday as I'm totally neurotic about it. Funnily enough I can fly happily enough. It's making sure all the stuff is packed for a week, getting permission letters to carry my diabetes medication from the doctor and then braving the airport (I hate airports and the whole check-in and security palarver) that bothers me.
I would die of shame and stress on the spot if I got refused boarding so check everything obsessively over and over again to the point of nervous breakdowns. All this divaesque carrying-on for a poxy lowcost flight to Malaga.
Last time I got shoved into the electric willy watching scanner machine as I forgot to take my wallet out of my pocket, so someone got to see my gentleman's sausage at T1 security and may have stopped laughing by now. This time I am going to make sure I wear the absolute minimum of stuff with any metal in it like a belt (a total ballache to struggle with in a busy security hall).
Really hope that all goes well for you, and that you get away ok blah, blah..
Safe trip big fella, look forward to the report.
Off to spend another day pissed up in the sun, and do not believe the story about me in the Disco Bunny outfit should you hear of it elsewhere. Designer underpants my arse...
MAN-AGP (Manchester to Malaga) LS809
Runway used 23R
G-GDFC Boeing 737-800WL Jet2.com
So holiday time again. This time a week in Torremolinos as I've never been there before. Shipped up to T1 Ground Level check-in at about 12.00 for a 14.05 departure and dropped the bags off as I'd checked in online and printed off boarding cards for both legs of the journey. From there up to security which was running efficiently again and we were through to the departure lounge.
The boards didn't give a gate until quite late, eventually showing Gate 9. Arse. It was pissing down and I REALLY didn't fancy walking out to the back stairs as we were in Row 33. Eventually the flight showed "go to gate" and just as that happened, G-GDFC pulled onto the stand. This was Jet2's first 737-800 and the one which recently blew an engine at Ibiza, not that you could tell.
LS do fast turns and almost as soon as the inbound punters and bags were off the flight was boarding, thankfully in a break from the rain. At the same time a delayed A380 was parking on Gate 12 so got a good view of that from the walk out to the rear stairs. The interior of the 738W had been refreshed prior to entering service with LS, again the Tipp-Ex treatment on white surfaces and their new slimline leather seats. The PSU panels do give the game away a bit as they are a faded murky cream colour.
Straight away came that unmistakeable aroma of inflight catering as the meals go into the rear galley ovens for those who booked them (I didn't. been there...). The flight loaded quickly but was still about 10 minutes down as the pushback and pull to the release point started. From there we went down past T3 behind a Brussels Airlines Avro to the hold point at Juliet 1.
Somehow I had a feeling that compared to the LS 733 it might be a bit more sedate taking off as it's a similar engine but a bigger, heavier aircraft. Especially one of the first off the Next generation production line. Nope; not quite a 757 but you certainly feel the power as it surges down the runway. Sitting near the back we got the full roar of the CFM56-7B and watched the wings start to pick up the load by flexing upwards and then away we went.
The departure was a NOKIN 1R track. Turn over Knutsford for noise abatement, then out towards the borders and into the clouds. Some turbulence this time as it was a bit of a wet and windy day but the 738 seemed to handle it without any dramas.
The first land visible from under the clouds was the Northern France coastline as we headed down to the Bay of Biscay. Across that to Blbao and then straight across Spain to approach Malaga from the east. This takes you in over some hilly terrain with many villas dotted amongst what looks like olive and grape farms, with the pilot using the speed brakes on several occasions to slow the descent. These seem a bit noisier than on the 733.
Then the landing. Boeings always land firmly in my experience, and this was no different. Up came the spoilers, and reverse was selected on the motors. There was a definite weaving motion from left to right and back as the speed came off and the nose steering eventually took over from the rudder. We came off smartly and quickly taxiied to a stand (think it was D43) where a single jetbridge was attached and Jet2 uniformed baggage handlers started unloading. From there into Malaga's arrivals area at T3 and the baggage belt after being waved through the passport check queue.
Part two to follow, and why I wasn't thrilled to be on my way home after a fantastic week on the Costa Del Sol.
So my week at Torremolinos came to an end. I fell in love with the Costa Del Sol, and the laid-back life of the place where young, old, gay,straight,Dutch, British, whatever were totally integrated and relaxed with each other. It's the way everywhere should be.
We had a bit of a problem on the way to AGP as the coach collecting us was hideously delayed and we ended up getting a taxi to the airport. No biggie as we were only a few miles from the airport and could watch the Malaga departures from our hotel balcony. Flights tend to leave heading out over the sea, and one late afternoon an Aer Lingus A330-300 seemed to be struggling to cope with the hot conditions. The CF6 powered A330 is apparently notorious for having thrust issues in high temperatures, and this one was roaring away whilst climbing like its A340 bretheren.
Jet2 checks-in at a dedicated and decorated set of desks at terminal Two. This is an older-style building which for some reason reminded me of Berlin's Templehof but on a smaller scale. From there (no waiting again, good old LS) passengers have to walk the full length of T2 and the attached terminal 3 to the far end and security. It's a bloody long way and certainly unhelpful when you are short of time. Malaga security is a bit more relaxed than Manchester but still as efficient, and from there to the hunt for the gate.
The Manchester flight was leaving from D43 again, and eventually this showed on the board. Once again G-GDFC arrived which was a bit disappointing as I'd hoped for the other 738W in the Jet2holidays scheme to be on the flight just to see what that one was like. As this flight started boarding G-GDFE in the white livery turned up as well to operate back out to Newcastle, taking some friends with them that we had made at the hotel. There is a border passport check as you enter Pier D which is just a wave of your EU passport which gets quickly scanned and up you go to the gate.
This time we were in Row 35, right at the back. Boarding started at 6.10pm, and was done in sections so we were one of the first down the bridge and seated ready for departure which was accomplished quickly thanks to a brisk cabin crew who announced that we were pushing for an on-time departure to make a 6.30 slot. On pushback we waited whilst a BA 734 arrived and then headed for the runway.
The pilots introduced themselves, explaining our routing which was the reverse of the trip down crossing into the UK somewhere near Exeter. On reaching the line-up point they pushed the throttles and off we went into the hot Spanish afternoon air. This time the takeoff run was a little longer as the day at AGP had been another 40 degree one, and we departed over the sea into a straight-out track and more leisurely climb than at Manchester. The view from the (slightly scuffed) window was stunning.
From there, a left turn and across Spain towards the Bay of Biscay again. The LS crew did their routine three cabin passes, consisting of refreshments and food then a tax-free sales and a second refreshments service. Jet2's cabin crews are consistently good and seem to do a lot of smiling!
The pilots explained that we would cross into the UK over Devon, then head up over Wales towards Wallasey. By now the sun had set and as we descended to take up the MIRSI STARS approach the lights of Warrington and Manchester glowed beneath us. A right turn indicated we wouldn't be stuck in the hold and off we headed towards the east of Stockport to join the ILS for 23R at MAN.
Cloud cover over the east of the county met us and the descent was a little bumpy. Over Stockport we broke through and the pilots used increasing flaps and speed brakes to slow the descent. Another firm landing on 23R followed; somewhere between an A320 and a typical 757 one in the way the 738 floats then drops onto its wheels. This was a bit of a floater and we ended up going full length on 23R with plenty of reversers and brakes coming in.
So from there and a taxi round to gate 9 again. One thing I do remember of G-GDFC is that despite the coloured bulkheads, new seats and branding there was still a sticker in the bog announcing that smoking in there constituted an offence under Dutch law! One tiny reminder of the plane's previous life at Transavia. On reaching the stand, we had to wait and wait and wait...eventually the pilot came on and apologised for the lack of stairs and how Menzies seemed unable to ensure that they were waiting for an on-time arrival with steps. Only one set turned up and naturally were attached to the L1 door, ensuring a huge wait as we were in the last row down the back end.....
From there to arrivals. Piss poor performance at the UK Borders yet again. Despite only being 8.30 in the evening the E-Gates were shut, and a Customer Services dragon who needed to stop dodging salads and looked like her makeup was done with a catapult was whipping several flights (including a MON A300 from Paphos) into a huge queue stretching back to Pier B. After over half an hour of shuffling and watching this retired stormtrooper bollocking people for not moving fast enough or daring to pull a camera out we eventually got past the passport control point and down to the (broken down) belt for another wait whilst this was beaten back into life by airport staff. And out into the cold Manchester evening.
I mentioned I won't be using MAN again for my holiday. Nope; after that arrivals farce which was incredibly annoying (and I might add not a Manchester issue as the gates are manned by UK Border Agency staff of which there are simply not enough) next time I think I'll try Blackpool and their Malaga flights which don't seem any dearer. MAN has a great departure experience but arriving passengers at T1 don't seem to be looked after nearly as well. Maybe that's because the chance to sell them things has passed. Why is it so bloody hard to get back into my own country? The E-Gates could have cut the wait back substantially but were sat unused with their welcome displays blinking away, so there didn't seem to be any fault with them. The Spanish staff at AGP were much more efficient processing arrivals from inside the EU.
It's such a fail from my local airport. Come on UKBA and MAG, get it sorted. Just because evening arrival punters tend to be holidaymakers doesn't mean T1 Arrivals should be such a drag and horrendous time shuffling along in that snaking queue.
Me and Mrs J are using T1 in 6wks, EK18 to the Maldives for a fortnight for my 40th. On reading the last couple of para's of your report I'm now not so filled with excitement about returning back to the UK (something that I usually get quite giddy about?!?!) - as we're back on the early evening 7's flight. Hopefully UKBA and MAG will have read your report by then and sorted this farce out! But I won't hold my breath!!
Great report once again Roy, cheers.
The resort is also mega handy for Malaga and the airport. There's a fast, cheap and frequent train to and from the city and airport for independent travellers.
if you are on the EK17/18/19 it shouldn't be too bad. It seems to be evenings that the bottlenecks are at their worst when there are insufficient staff to man the E-Gates and border posts. Throw in a few widebodies like the MON A300 and it jams up there. Last year we arrived from Alicante at about 9pm and the E-Gates were open and the queues were cut right back as these were putting people through efficiently.
I know this is supposed to be more about trip reports on flights
Why, nothing wrong in my book about giving a bit more detail about the place you've been to, think it adds to the the whole piece as others might be thinking about visiting there, particularly those with family.
That's what you'll be getting with mine anyway, tough - haha!
Why, nothing wrong in my book about giving a bit more detail about the place you've been to,
One thing I absolutely loved about Torremolinos was pure spotter heaven. Sit at a beach bar in the hot afternoon sun in the Bajondillo district and watch the departures from AGP head out over the sunlit Med.
It's close enough not to be too noisy but close enough to clearly see what the liveries are. Lots of Air Berlin, Ryanair and plenty of more exotic stuff too for the Marbella crowd. Most days a Canadair waterbomber would put in an appearance too, tackling fires in the mountains then coming back to refuel.
Plenty of helicopter action as well for those who like them. Choppers would leave AGP then follow VFR routes up the coast to Marbella and other resorts. The EI heavies turned up at weekend, and our own Jet2 seem to have quite an operation down there as do EZY and Ryanair. Plenty of upscale shopping in the airport too.
Be back on-line in a couple of weeks. Have a good Guy Fawlks night everyone!
Catch you all later
I've hit the big 4-0 this morning and Mrs J is taking me off to the Maldives on EK18 later on. I'll try and get some graphs in-flight, at Dubai, on finals in to the islands, the sea plane taxi etc...
Be back on-line in a couple of weeks. Have a good Guy Fawlks night everyone!
Catch you all later
Have a great time!
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