DL = Delta Air Lines
SN = SABENA Belgian World Airways
BOS = Boston Logan International Airport
BRU = Brussels National Airport (aka Zaventem)
BHX = Birmingham (England) International Airport
DUB = Dublin (Ireland) - mentioned only in passing
NRT = Tokyo Narita International Airport (mentioned only in passing!)
GA = My Delta Guardian Angel (not an airline :-)
Jul 8 DL 2700(SN) dep BOS 1945 arr BRU 0825 A340 8H&K Jul 9 SN 711 dep BRU 0920 arr BHX 0930 ARJ (not assigned) Jul 16 SN 712 dep BHX 1045 arr BRU 1255 ARJ (not assigned) Jul 16 DL 2701(SN) dep BRU 1510 arr BOS 1700 A330 5A&B
Transatlantic segments were booked in business class, while cross-channel hops were booked in coach. The only difference between coach & business class on most intra-Europe flights is the quality and quantity of the meal (and you'd get to pre-select your seat - woo hoo. I was an hour flight. I could probably sit in the lav that long in a pinch).
I started corresponding with a Guardian Angel at Delta (hereby referred to as "GA"). GA managed to secure the business class seats on the preferred dates after some grueling time on the waiting list. I went on the waiting list in February and it didn't clear until the very beginning of April. Talk about nail-biting... We paid for "M" class economy and used Delta Systemwide upgrades (formerly termed "TZ" under the old Frequent Flyer scheme) to upgrade to business class. There was some quibbling over whether we should wait to see if DL would code-share on the cross-channel route, but in the end we decided not to wait and just to ticket.
So we picked a day and went down to the Boston City Ticket Office, on Federal Street. I love this place, and not just because it's close to the T (Red Line - South Station). The staff are always friendly, never try to hurry you out the door, and are willing to chat about things that most people think are irrelevant. In this particular case, the CTO agent chatted with us about an International Lounge at Boston. He said that when Air France moves to Boston "soon", they're hoping to open an International First/Business Class lounge at Logan (he did hint that if we went to the ticket desk on the day of travel and mention it that the ticket agent might give us a Crown Room pass for the day).
While I love ticketing at the CTO, the whole process takes a long time. First, dig up the reservations. Then he gave it to us verbally to make sure it was the right one (and make sure we had no changes!). Then we had to sign over our upgrades, and he wanted to see some ID. As always, we gave our passports, and he took the opportunity to enter our passport information into the computer ("to save you a few minutes at the airport"). Then the tickets were printed out, he checked them *again*, and went over the itinerary one last time. Elapsed time: about 20-25 minutes. But that's counting the chatting about Delta's international partners (he said that he sees LOTS of people redeeming SkyMiles for travel on the Aer Lingus BOS-DUB flights. He [as do we!] hope that DL & EI will start code-sharing on the BOS-DUB flights very soon).
We bought a new laptop before we left for England, and I wanted to find out if SABENA had EmPower or a similar laptop computer power system. So I called up SABENA to find out. Boy I wanted on hold FOREVER - must have been at least 15 minutes. When I said "in-seat computer power", the reservations agent thought I meant a powered seat! Once I finally explained it to her she just said "no, no we don't". Heh. Guess we have to make sure we take an extra battery. :-)
In the days leading up to the trip, we went on our "Jet Lag Diet" (I've mentioned this before in rec.travel.air, although not recently. It's based on research done at Argonne National Labs. You alternate days of "heavy eating" - protein for breakfast & lunch, carbos for dinner, with days of "light eating" - VERY light, a small can of pears for breakfast, banana for lunch, etc). We've used this "Jet Lag Diet" along with schedule shifting to good use. The idea is for us not to be completely shattered (or "knackered" in Brit-speak :-) when we land.
On July 6, two days before departure date, I got email from my DL GA. He told me that SABENA had substituted a 747-300 for the A340 originally scheduled for that route. Because he's my Guardian Angel, he had made sure to get us seats assigned - 3H&K. I dropped him a line wondering if we could get seats on the upper deck (my husband wanted it for the better sky visibility with his GPS :-). GA said he had no luck finding upper deck seats (as of the day before departure). Funnily enough, the DL Int'l Reservations Desk had *no mention* of a plane change! They still said the plane was A340 even though seats 3H&K don't exist on A340!
I got email from GA the morning of the flight saying that he'd managed to secure the seats we REALLY wanted - 74H&K. Upper deck, exit row, right hand side. I sent him back profuse thanks, and then proceeded to have a VERY busy day at work. That's always the way, though.
Hubby & I left work at 3:30 and walked towards each other to meet (since we no longer work at the same place!), then walked home. We showered, changed, and did last minute packing, and called for a cab at 4:25. The cab didn't arrive until 4:45 and then it wasn't a cab, it was a livery car! Apparently there was a shortage of cabs in Cambridge so they sent us a nice car instead. I don't know why there was a shortage. It wasn't commencement weekend. OK, it was raining - BARELY. Oh well, no point overanalyzing!
We arrived at Logan just after 5pm and went to the SN check in desk for Business Class. It was very perfunctory as we'd given our passport information at the CTO when we bought the tickets initially. The only "surprise" were our seat assignments from BRU to BHX (SN does not pre-assign seats in coach on European flights so we didn't know what our seats would be until departure date). We were also asked "do you know where the lounge is?". Crown room access! It's quite nice - just as nice as the Int'l Business Class lounge at Kennedy (and not as full) with a TERRIFIC view of the ramp. We viewed the SN 747-300 coming in (and Olympic 747 coming in and Lufthansa 747 going out). Later on we grabbed a snack (although they won't permit you to bring food into a Crown Room. This just seems insane and I'd love to know if there's a reason for such a silly policy). We had a free drink (water, ooo. Stronger stuff was available. No thanks :-).
Departure was set for 1945 and boarding for 1900, much earlier than I would have thought, but then again, it's been ages since I've been on a 747! Last time was Virgin in 1996! Departure gate was C36 (right hand side of the hammerhead on DL's main pier). While waiting we nibbled on the only food in DL's crown room, "snack mix" with cheese nips, pretzels, and peanuts in it. The snack mix was just "OK".
The plane was late arriving at Terminal C from Terminal E so we did not board until 1940 (or almost scheduled departure time of 1945). There were LOTS of people waiting for the flight, all pushing forward when the boarding call was made. "I'm in business class!!" said one man, only to be told "so are we" by another woman. The first guy was very pushy. I did get some satisfaction later from seeing the first guy have to stow his carryon luggage elsewhere (he was in business class on the upper deck where there is not much storage). He had one of those "rollaboard" cases but it was hard sided! Yikes!
Funnily enough I think we were the only people on the upper deck who used the "outboard" luggage stowage. Lots of other people used it to put things ON (papers, glasses of water, etc). We tossed our jackets and sweatshirts and the things we wanted immediately accessible during the flight into the outboard storage area. We had no underseat storage because we were in an exit row. That's OK, though, we had enough leg room for a person who was eight feet tall!
The SABENA business class seats are very nice, a little more lumbar support than Delta's business class seats, although the DL flight I took in business class last year on a Tristar had leather seats and the SN ones on this 747-300 were cloth. The neckrests were movable (I'm not sure if it was by design or not!). The paper seat covers over the head area were "Sobelair" and not SABENA. I wonder if that confused some Americans (Sobelair is a charter airline closely affiliated with SABENA).
We didn't actually push back until about 2035 and I was *very* nervous. We had a tight (55 minute) connection at Brussels and I did not want to miss it. Luckily for us, we're flying in an "environmentally unconscious" plane (in the 747-300) which can cruise quite a bit faster than the A340-300 that was supposed to be on this route.
SABENA's longhaul Airbus fleet has in-seat video in Business Class. Not so in this 747-300. We had the option of taking a video watchman but I passed. The main cabin movie was "Man In The Iron Mask". I didn't sample the music selections either (the beauty of the Internet, I'd checked out both the movie and music selections from home several weeks before :-).
While waiting for pushback the efficient and competent cabin crew did the pre-flight stuff. They passed out menus, headsets, and an "amenity kit" (which ended up being a floppy disk box with socks in it! No toothbrush or mouthwash or eye shades). Then they came around with Champagne or Orange Juice (hubby had OJ, I passed, but later went back to the galley to ask for water). Then the crew came around with small cups of snack mix: crackers in the shape of hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades, along with pretzels. The snack cup was YUMMY - much better than the one in the Crown Room, IMHO!
There are 36 seats upstairs on SN 747-300 and three cabin crew to service the area. When the plane was actually ready for takeoff, the cabin crew came and sat in their jumpseats (we had one FA directly in front of us, another in front of seats 74A&B). Honestly, the cabin crew did NOT stay in their seats long. The takeoff roll commenced while the crew was buckling up and one of the FA's unbuckled about 15 seconds after our wheels left the ground. The other waited about another minute after that! Not quite like US crews which tend to wait until 10,000 feet!
Menu "featuring local classic":
Terrine crab and shrimps
Grilled chicken breast with oranges
Beef tenderloin with truffle sauce, tomato with green peas, spinach and carrots (my husband had this)
Duckbreast with bigarade sauce, oranges, green beans
Local dish: Fillet of Florida pomfret with saffron, broccoli and carrits (sic), white rice
"Light Option" Fillet of salmon with tomatilla sauce, green asparagus and carrots
From the cheese board
Pepper Brie cheese - Montrachet goat cheese - Port Salut
Fruit jelly roll
Fresh seasonal fruits
I managed to get some shut eye while my husband ate (I saw his beef arrive, but never saw anything after that. I woke up a bit later and he said that it had all been "good", and then I went back to sleep). I opted completely out of dinner (I did snarf a bread roll from the offered basket).
Scheduled landing at Brussels was 08:25, estimated actual was 08:47. The cabin crew turned the lights on about 07:00 Brussels time to serve breakfast. Breakfast was yoghurt in a small container, and warm croissants or rolls with butter and jam. I also had milk and orange juice to drink. The menu said "light breakfast" and they weren't kidding! On a similar route last year (JFK-MAN), DL served a hot breakfast in Business Class (well, if you consider "quiche" hot, but it was certainly more substantial! I went down to Economy after Breakfast and their meal had been even skimpier!
We asked one of the FAs if we could see the cockpit and she asked permission and the cockpit crew said YES! So off we went (voom!). WOW is the 747-300 cockpit analog. That's about the only kind thing I can say about it. The cockpit is quite spacious. The crew was not doing anything when we were there except waiting for their breakfasts to arrive. They had a stunning view of lovely rippling clouds.
We had bought a Nikon Coolpix 900 camera before the trip, and we were snapping pictures at Logan and while on board. One of the FA's came by to see what we were up to and we gave him a slide show of what we'd taken so far. He was impressed and asked us if we'd like to take pictures from the cockpit! We were almost as much celebrities with this camera as we were on the DL JFK-MAN flight with our GPS. Speaking of GPS, we opted not to use it in flight (we could have asked permission), but planned to use it on the return.
Although we were due to arrive in Brussels at 0847 (later than our scheduled 0825). I was not too concerned about connection, since all non-Schengen flights are supposedly all on the same concourse (B concourse), at least according to the Brussels Airport map we'd seen.
We landed at Zaventem (Brussels National Airport) about 0840 and taxied to Concourse B. The flight attendant who we had been giving the slide show (with our digital camera) to was blocking the exit from coach to let off all Business Class (upstairs & downstairs) passengers first. We were off and hoofing down the corridor pretty quickly. Turns out the gate we'd docked at on Concourse B was about halfway down. At the top of Concourse B is the shopping area. We didn't stop, since we'd already seen that our next flight (SN 711) to Birmingham was leaving from Concourse A. We'd never been to Concourse A at Zaventem before so we didn't want to dawdle. In the shopping area was a sign that said "Concourse A, 15 minute walk". Heh! I think it took us about seven minutes, but we're fast!
We walked up to gate A1 at 0855. Boarding commenced at 0900. Concourse A is a remote concourse that just has gates which puts passengers on buses to planes. The boarding area was quite full! I was concerned that the BRU-BHX flights might not be well patronized, since it's a new service (only been going since April). They put all of us onto one bus, and people were standing. My husband and I were the only ones not dressed in business suits! We were bussed across the tarmac (past the plane we'd just come off of) to the BAe Avrojet (Avro 85). We queued up to get on the plane, English style.
Business Class was rows 1-9, and Coach after that (there were about 17 rows on the plane). Seating was traditional BAe 2-3. Two flight attendants for the plane. The safety demonostration was given in English while the rest of the the announcements ("one hour flight", "about to take off", etc) were in English, French, Flemish, and German! Departure was scheduled 0920 but we didn't push back (well, there is no push back on a hard stand, just a taxi forward :-) at 0935.
Business Class had a hot breakfast (some kind of eggs), while coach had croissants and a roll. No cold drinks available, just tea & coffee. Service was quick & perfunctory. Toward the end of the flight the flight attendants gave out landing cards for non-EU citizens. I counted a grand total of four given out (including one for my foreigner husband).
We landed BHX about 0940, a few minutes late, and I was through immigration in about ten seconds. My husband took a little longer - two minutes. Much faster than his trips through MAN and LHR! It was the usual "oh, is your wife British then?". Once they hear that I am they expedite him! "Membership has its privileges..."? :-). The immigration area at Birmingham was quite small, only three desks were staffed: one for EU, and two for non-EU. There were one or two other desks which weren't open.
Our bags were off the belt very quickly, about three minutes after we'd cleared immigration. We had checked two suitcases, one full of wedding presents and dressy clothes. My Mum was waiting for us on the far side of customs, and my Dad was just around the corner. We arranged for the hire car and were clear of BHX by 1010. Half an hour from landing to driving away, going through customs and immigration too!
Return flight was 1045, but we had to get my parents to the airport for 0730 (they had a CO flight at 0930) so we just packed up and went along early. There wasn't even a Servisair person at the check-in desk until 0845, well after my parents had cleared through to the Departures lounge! BHX is undergoing some renovations and the new parts of the Main Terminal are quite nice. Some complaints: the smoking areas seemed to be in the middle of everything! On the way to & from the lift (we were dragging our suitcases on a cart and thus were using the elevator), as well as just past the duty free shops on the way to the gates in the Departures Lounge.
My Mum and I took a walk around the main terminal before she and my Dad cleared through to Departures. There were lots of eating places (we'd already had a continental breakfast at our B&B) and a few shops (Sock Shop, WH Smiths, Boots, Aran Sweater, and a sports shop). Not much compared to Heathrow, but certainly more than Manchester!
Check-in was amusing. We had stood around trying to figure out where the SN check in desk would be (typical of many European airports, an agent represents many airlines and has their own desk, but only puts up the airline's name for the appointed check-in times). The Information Desk had said check in desk 44, it ended up being 47 or so. I was close! I was first in line (my husband had been off asking at the Info desk again). The check in agent was a bit stumped at our American style tickets. He ripped off our itinerary page and was going to use that for our ticket! We pointed out his error, and he gave us back the itinerary and took the BHX-BRU ticket instead, while giving us boarding passes for both BHX-BRU and BRU-BOS. He did not take our BRU-BOS ticket (or even stuff it in the BRU-BOS boarding pass - which in Europe is a "jacket" style rather than just a piece of card).
After we finally checked in we visited our favourite place at BHX - the observation deck! There is a 50p admissions fee, but you can get in for free with a day-of boarding pass (which we did, of course!). We had actually stopped by at about 0800 but the bookshop was not open so we decided to come back after check-in. It was definitely open at 0900 (thank goodness). We bought two books - "Flights of Terror" by David Gero and Air Disasters (2nd Edition) by Stanley Stewart. We then cruised up and down the observation area. My parents' Continental DC-10 was still in (I think that 0930 is an obscenely early time to depart to the US, but that's just me!). They pushed back not long after, but by that time we were long gone.
We went back down to the main terminal (through the smoke gauntlet) and to the queue for the departure lounge. There were lots of shops in the departures area - duty free, another WH Smiths, some other stuff I didn't care about. What was missing on the departures side was good food! Burger King (GBP 3 for a Whopper? And GBP 1.30 for french fries!), some coffee place with sandwiches (not much I wanted), and a "bar" type place which was still serving breakfast. It was 0930 and I'd been up three and a half hours. I didn't want breakfast, I wanted lunch! I settled for getting a Ribena drinkbox and had some crisps which we'd brought along. I had wanted to save the crisps for BRU because I was hoping not to have to change money in Brussels. We flew through Brussels in 1994 and changed some money and had Belgian Francs kicking around for ages (until I sent my parents on a flight via Brussels a couple of years later, then I fobbed the BFrs off on them).
My husband went off searching for the VAT Refund desk (we'd bought some CDs at Virgin Megastore and spent about GBP50, so getting a VAT refund was worth the hassle). While he was gone, they called our flight (typical!). I gathered up all of the things and waited for him at the top of the concourse that our flight was leaving from. He soon arrived and we went down to our gate.
SABENA titled, DAT (Delta Air Transport, the Belgian company, no relation to Delta Air Lines) operated Avrojet 85, OO-DJK. Two flight attendants. Quick boarding - just 30-35 pax or so, probably 12 of which were in business class, the rest in "the back" (row 11 onwards). We pushed back early (I suspect everybody was on board!) and took off about 10 minutes early.
Food was "snack". For those of you who consider "Snack" to be SkyDeli, you've not seen this kind of snack! Turkey sandwich (with lettuce) on a tiny roll, hot-dog shaped, probably about 3" long. And three tiny Belgian chocolates (about the size & thickness of a quarter, although square in shape) - one milk, one dark, one extra-dark. I kindly traded my husband my extra dark (which he loves) for my milk (which I prefer). We had water to drink. The flight attendants obviously knew who they were catering to and came around offering tea first and then coffee (after the cold drinks service). I suspect the order would be different in alot of other countries!
During the flight we had a lady and her young (~3 y/o) daughter behind us. The girl was just fascinated by flying. Her Mum kept her well occupied, however. The lady actually said "I hope she didn't cause you any trouble" at the end of the flight (!). We told her certainly not, she was very well behaved!
Approach into BRU was quite bumpy. Brussels was dingy and overcast again. I'm not sure we've ever landed at Zaventem in nice weather. We we taxied to a hardstand and were bussed to the Terminal. Luckily for us, it was not Terminal A (with the aforementioned "15 minute" schlep), but just the base of "Sapphire" Concourse. We had to go up two escalators and then were in the shopping area. We cleared through security and went to the SABENA business class lounge.
The lounge is quite nice with a view of the ramp. We elected to take a quiet back corner, however (it had an A/C outlet!), partly so I could sit and write my trip report. We figured on moving up to the window a little later after I'd done my writing. Amenities in the lounge included free drinks (including booze and espressos) and snack mix (crackers & pretzels. Another nut-free mix! I could really come to like Belgium!). I chomped on crackers while my husband went and looked at the shops (which he termed as "lame") and I laptop-ped.
We had landed about 1240 and were at the lounge by 1300. Come 1345 the lounge was really starting to fill up and our "quiet area" was decidedly less quiet! Departure was scheduled for 1510 so we planned on going down to the gate (not that we knew what gate it was!) at about 1420. Scheduled plane was A330 but we did not see A330 when we pulled in from BHX.
After my husband returned from the shops, I went down to the Terminal level to see if I could see our plane. I had seen A330 near us from the Lounge level and I wanted to know if that plane was the one we would be using. Turned out we weren't on A330, it was A340. Our flight was scheduled to leave at gate B40. That is the extreme end of B concourse at Zaventem. I walked down there to see how far it was (a LONG way!), then returned for my husband and we walked down there at a relatively leisurely pace (for us!).
Boarding was called at 1430, and just "general boarding", not by row number! There were two kiosks, one for business class passengers, one for economy class. The Economy class queue was quite long! We showed our passports (and my green card!) and got on board relatively quickly. We settled into 5A&C on the A340-300, ship OO-SCZ.
The business class pitch on the A340-300 didn't seem very generous until my husband reminded me what I was comparing it to (our last flight - exit row, upstairs, 747-300!). The seats were the new SABENA style with in-seat entertainment (video screens, including one channel devoted to a map showing our position). They had adjustable lumbar support (which I never got the hang of), leg rests (not long enough and a bit too un-cushioned), and recline (didn't seem as far as the 747-300). The overhead light was nice & bright, but there were no in-seat air vents! Boo hiss! It made for a stuffy cabin later on.
We were offered pre-takeoff drinks (hubby and I both had Orange Juice). Pushback was ontime and we taxied to the runway. During takeoff we noted a L1011-1 (that we had seen from the terminal but could not make out the colours). Turns out it was Virgin Express (!!!). For the charter business, I presume!
After takeoff the staff (4 FA's in business class, including the 1 Delta FA assigned to the flight) came around with more drinks (I had water, water and more water!), and a snack cup. I was hoping for more of the yummy cracker mix but it was just nuts. Boo hiss again! They also passed out a more generous amenity kit than the outbound flight (a padded nylon bag with eyeshade, socks, toothbrush & toothpaste, earplugs, aromatherapy moisturizer, etc.
Lunch was served before too long. The lunch menu (sans drink choices. I won't detail the wine, etc, since I don't drink. If you're that interested I do have the wine choices listed on the paper menu so drop me a line and I'll send it to you via email) was titled "recalling Greek holiday mementos" and was comprised of:
Smoked eel Bavarian style (my husband had this)
Feta Cheese Salad (I had this)
lettuce salad (not listed on the menu but present on the tray!)
fresh rolls (passed by the cabin attendants, and they were warm!)
Breast of Guinea Fowl with cherries and duchess potatoes
Catch from the Egean (their spelling) sea with tomatoes, zucchini, and gnocchi (my husband had this)
Lamb skewer with vegetable stew and Greek pasta (I had this)
"Light Option" of Grilled fillet of beef with young vegetables
From the cheese board (neither hubby nor I had this):
Abbey Val Dieu cheese - Saint Nectaire cheese - Pallardin cheese
Strawberry Bavarian Cream - Ivoire cake - Profiteroles (we both had this)
Fresh Fruit - Pineapple, Orange, Strawberry
Belgian chocolates (Godiva)
The A340 has the in-seat video and there were six movie choices available (in English or French, on 12 channels) plus a thirteenth channel with the aforementioned position map. Movie choices were "The Man Who Knew Too little", "The Newton Boys", "The Man In The Iron Mask", "Shooting Fish", "The Boxer", and "Twilight".
During the flight I took walks around the plane. The economy cabin was completely full (in fact when we were at the counter checking in at BRU we observed the gate staff upgrading an entire family to business class because of overbooking situation in economy). The bathrooms on the A340 are of the vacuum variety (no blue water hovering around). The environmental computer was in full view and I was VERY tempted to muck with it. Ugh. FRESH AIR! I knew I was not going to get fresh air in Boston, however, at least not COOL air (weather was supposed to be 89F on Thursday). Interestingly enough, the bathrooms were cooler than the cabin! Probably because they actually had fresh air in them!
There was a steady stream of kids into & out of the cockpit, escorted by various cabin attendants - most of the time! At one point I was standing by the behind-the-cockpit lav when a child ran up and straight into the cockpit! I knew there was only one person in the cockpit as I'd seen the first officer emerge and go into the lav! The flight attendant quickly ran in after the child. I also got to see the crew rest bunk behind the cockpit (two bunks), but I never saw the bunks actually in use (no sleeping captains on this flight!). Not surprising - I wouldn't consider BRU-BOS to be a "long haul" flight (ala BRU-NRT).
All complaints about temperature and seat comfort aside, I did manage to snatch a nap (probably 90 minutes in all). I woke up even hotter than before and got more water (but failed to ask for ice. I'm just American enough to forget to ask for ice all the time).
1530 and snack time. Meal was listed as "hot snack". Small amount of roasted chicken with some kind of sauce, an egg roll, stuffed cabbage, bread roll, and fruit (melon, grapes, papaya), plus Belgian chocolates. All in all I think I would have rather had a hearty hot breakfast on arrival at BRU (like quiche or omelette) and a cool snack on approach to BOS (sandwiches & some cake). Perhaps it's just my sweet tooth talking? The food was very good - don't let my sweet tooth disillusion you! More water with snack, in the tiny glass they gave me. I had three refills.
While eating our snack we watched the Boston arrivals video. What a load of baloney! ("the cultural heart of the country" - yeah whatever pal!). We also filled out the requisite customs form (with the European style date, which screwed up my husband!).
We landed at 1650, gate at 1656. Then there was trouble with the jetway so we didn't actually disembark until 1705. We were through customs and immigration (not in that order!) and were on the curb waiting for a cab at 1715. We don't usually do *domestic* arrivals that quickly, never mind international!
I must say that the SABENA of 1998 is a totally different company than in 1994. Admittedly, our 1994 experience with them was in economy, but the flight attendants attitudes seems to have changed for the better (less surliness). My only quibble was with the small meals on each of the long legs. Given SABENA's flights into Birmingham International (BHX) I cannot see flying DL mainline into Gatwick or Manchester again. Gatwick is a haul, and while Manchester is less so, it means connecting through the (much reviled) Kennedy. Zaventem is a much nicer airport, even if we did have to walk forever to get to gate B40!
As for the ever-important frequent flyer miles, it will be interesting to see how long it takes SN to credit our BRU-BHX-BRU flights (as of 9pm on 16 July, only the "long legs", on DL tickets, had been credited). This and all other trip reports are available on the web, http://www.ckdhr.com/hrose/rec.travel.air.html Note that this trip report may take a few days to appear as it will be "graphically enhanced" using photographs taken on our trip.
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