A wonderful trip...

Old Jan 14, 10, 1:04 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs up A wonderful trip...

I just thought I'd report something wonderful to the BA board...

Precisely a week ago, Thursday 7th Jan, on BA460 LHR to MAD I was delayed by a shocking 358 minutes Our departure was due at 1430hrs, we actually left LHR at 2025hrs.

All passengers were boarded, luggage and fuel loaded on time, and we were set to go... except that we had "visible frosting" on the wings. We were stuck on the tarmac, just outside T3.

"We must de-ice" informed the captain.

He said it wouldn't take long, but that he'd keep us informed with the progress of obtaining the use of a de-icer from T5. But a 1 hour delay turned into a 2 hour delay that turned into a 3 hour delay... that eventually turned into over a 6-hour delay!

What's so wonderful about this, you're wondering?

Well, the captain personally walked through the cabin twice and spoke to every single passenger individually about the reasons for our delay. He apologised, yes, but he engaged us in conversation. He asked how we were; whether we were connecting in Madrid or what we were doing; what he or his crew could do to make us more comfortable. He spoke of the "shambles" that the de-icing operation was, but accepted that it was an unusual weather-related and BA-related problem, and as a BA person he was going to shoulder the blame. He was honest and frank and sincere and... he listened. He didn't just ask us how we were, he listened to us. All of us! And, in my opinion, that made him a real man.

But that wasn't the best bit.

As an excitable [also young and good looking!] aeroplane and BA enthusiast, when he approached me I asked of him some technical questions about his aircraft. Obviously showing some interest (and a little knowledge), 5 minutes into our conversation he whispered into my ear...

"Sir, please again accept my apologies for the delay to your service, but I think I may have something to make up for it. If you'll allow me to continue speaking to the remaining passengers, I'll allow you to visit my colleague on the flight deck and sit in MY chair. The co-pilot will be able to answer all of your technical questions - and show you the instruments! And when I've finished here in the cabin I'll join both of you."

My goodness. I could have kissed him! I was SOOOO excited !! I hadn't been on a flight deck since I was a kid, pre-2001.

So, a member of a superbly skilled crew escorted me to the door and knocked. I was shown in and sat in 'his' chair. At first I was too astonished to speak. I didn't think this sort of thing was allowed anymore, but I was told that restrictions are during-flight, and that I was very welcome on this occasion.

I was on the flight deck for ages. I was even asked if I'd like a drink by a member of the crew!! The captain joined us and we sat there for even longer talking about all the buttons and knobs and computers and stuff...

I was so grateful and so happy that the 6hr 25min delay stuck on an aircraft on the tarmac at LHR felt like minutes. The crew, to their credit, were wonderful too. It was going to be a long night for them (they had to make the return journey), and diligently supplied us with endless amounts of liquid, laughter and entertainment. I even asked 'naughty' questions like: can I see my entry on the manifest?, what do those numbers mean?, what hotels do you normally stay in? etc etc.

Of course, I've just well done'ed on ba's website. But what an experience. Thank you to all the crew on BA460 last Thursday!
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Old Jan 14, 10, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by jaslocombe View Post
So, a member of a superbly skilled crew escorted me to the door and knocked. I was shown in and sat in 'his' chair. At first I was too astonished to speak. I didn't think this sort of thing was allowed anymore, but I was told that restrictions are during-flight, and that I was very welcome on this occasion.
Sounds like a wonderful crew! It's worth noting that you can ask to visit the flight deck on the ground - a lot of the time the flight crew are quite obliging (especially on domestics).
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Old Jan 14, 10, 2:01 pm
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Pah... if you saw my eyes light up as they did... you might have mistaken me for a child!!
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Old Jan 14, 10, 3:24 pm
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That's amazing...you're so lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I might try this one day - if I'm feeling brave enough
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Old Jan 14, 10, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by imt24 View Post
I might try this one day - if I'm feeling brave enough
Be cheeky and ask if the crew seem friendly and they are not busy.
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Old Jan 14, 10, 3:46 pm
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Fantastic, weldone to the crew

I remember going up to the flight deck on a 747 in 2000, my first trans-atlantic flight (family holiday to Disney ), it was great fun

Same with seeing the bridge on cruise ships, too. Now that I'm older I have friends who work on the, and also superyachts and the like though I've not managed to get onto one of them yet
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Old Jan 14, 10, 3:52 pm
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Thank you for this report. I'm so jealous I never had the guts to ask to see the flight deck after/before a flight. I think I must invite my 7 year old nephew on my next trip so I can blame him

A long delay I must say, but crew and you did the best thing of it. There's really no reason to be grumpy and life is easier when you relax, as you did. Sounds like a wonderful crew but then again I expect nothing else from a BA crew

Thinking of it, it was very long ago I met a bad crew member on any airline. A redheaded silly little male steward on a domestic SK flight maybe 3-4 years ago. I have more problem with dykwia pax, they can really test my temper
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Old Jan 14, 10, 4:21 pm
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

Well if it's any help my Mrs is a nervous flyer and while we were waiting to deplane (from row 1) I just caught the captain's eye and asked if he does tours, explaining the Mrs was nervous and likes to see how things work. The two guys were more than happy to invite us in and we spent a good 10/15 minutes chatting.

They said they have lots of time to kill until the next domestic MAN flight and it can be boring waiting between flights - cabin crew were still there when we left (hope we weren't holding them up!).
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Old Jan 14, 10, 4:36 pm
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Little Fruitcake has been invited to the flight deck a few times (usually because he has a SkyFlyer book for the flight crew to sign). Mrs Fruitcake and I have joined him too. I think the crew are great when they do this.

I was surprised in the 747 cockpit to see the chimney going out through the top of the plane. Not quite sure what it's for or if other planes have one.

The crew are always really apologetic they can't do this inflight anymore. From their point of view, meeting an enthusiastic passenger perhaps relieves a bit of boredom once they are locked away for the flight duration? And I agree with the OP; they take responsibility if things go wrong. Good on them on all counts.
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