Love a pilot that doesn't mess about when lining up for a take-off run - out of the 180 turn and straight onto the power, awesome. That windsock was plumb level horizontal! Windy indeed. Looks like they've got a bumpy old strip at Blackers too (or had you had one too many cheeky vimto's in departures!)
#3 - by sjmk on Tue July 2, 2013 at 22:10 GMT
Thanks whitehatter good view of blackly,i noticed the the wind sock also.
#4 - by whitehatter on Wed July 3, 2013 at 18:45 GMT
dealt with in the write-up. Complete with a few pics and another video or two. I'm hoping to have it finished in the next day or so.
The video isn't great because I was hand-holding a little Pentax WG-10 camera I've been given and was actually impressed with what something the size of a Mars bar can do. I tried another approach a week later and got a slightly better performance.
#5 - by whitehatter on Thu July 4, 2013 at 01:22 GMT
OK, to go with that video here's part one
I really have got the hump with the queues at Manchester. Two border agency people normally, processing hundreds of people arriving on flights that arrive late into T1. So this time I decided a change was called for.
Jet2holidays also do services to Blackpool. It's a tiny airport really, two flights at the same time would pack the departure lounge. You are also required to pay the ADF fee of a tenner a passenger for outbound punters, but in exchange for that you get up to 15 days free parking. bargain says I.
So we showed up at about 1pm for a 3.55 departure to Malaga. Check-in was manned but the staff were unable to take bags until it opened at 1.55. An LS supervisor quickly saw to the arriving passengers by opening the flight early and letting us proceed from a totally painless bag drop (with a friendly LS desk person manning it) to security.
Blackpool is sort of in flux at the moment. Money from that ADF is being spent to improve taxiways and also the departure area, and security has been moved to adjacent to the check-in counters. On this day they were being a bit proactive and doing swabbing for drugs as well as regular checks on random passengers. Within a minute or two we were through and into the new Duty Free area which is very MAN-like as everyone now has to walk through it to the main lounge. BLK's duty free is only small but well-stocked and has nice staff on the checkout.
After a sandwich and a drink in the recently renovated cafe-bar section, we wathced as an RAF Merlin left. There was also a Typhoon parked up, and unfortunately the Red Arrows did not show up due to wind issues.
At about 3pm wingleted 737-36N G-GDFL arrived from Faro and parked almost in front of the glass window of the lounge. Twenty minutes later the aircraft was cleaned, restocked and fueled, and boarding commenced. This was again quick and efficient, centre rows being called first then the low and high numbers using airstairs at the front and rear. Jet2 seem to self-handle here, or at least the contractor does it with LS branding on everything from the steps to the tug.
We then pushed back almost on time. I did notice the suspension of GDFL seemed a bit soft as it definitely swayed a bit during boarding and taxi out to the A3 hold. From there we backtracked down to the Runway 28 end, and the pilot commenced a rolling takeoff into a sturdy breeze along BLK's slightly bumpy runway that also shows plenty of evidence of the Hot Pour teams patching up old concrete! That video is above.
departure was swift, climbing fast after a right turn towards Liverpool and then directly down via Exeter, the Brest peninsula, Santander, Madrid and then a slow and steady descent into Malaga itself.
Worth noting is the lack of internal LS branding on GDFL, so this might be going on lease elsewhere this winter. There is a 738W due at Blackpool from travel service apparently.
Landing at AGP was fun. In fact it was the roughest landing I've ever experienced! Maybe due to that soft suspension, but it was more like a controlled crash than anything as the pilot put it down like a sack of bricks then hit the reversers and brakes hard. We came off the old runway about half way along, having approached from the north west, and then to gate C34 (yet again) where we left using an air bridge. Again LS has most of the staff in their red uniform at Malaga. From there to the border and a wave of the passport, then a long walk to the baggage belt which was in the hall at the very far end from where we had arrived.
More to follow.
#6 - by whitehatter on Thu July 4, 2013 at 13:56 GMT
AGP-BLK LS762/EXS762Q G-GDFL (again)
So after a week of relaxation, falling over pissed and general hilarity it was time to go home.
Jet2holidays is becoming massive. Their subcontractor in the Costa del Sol, NT Incoming, now run about in Jet2holidays liveried coaches and they are now one of the top four holiday companies in the UK. Having taken the holidays division in-house they now contract directly with hotels and run a tight ship out of Leeds Bradford and the headquarters building.
So anyway, at 6pm we were collected by a coach and at 6.20 arrived at Malaga Airport. jet2 now use Terminal 3, and have the last 3 or 4 desks on an immense rank of newish stations in their red colours and using uniformed staff (the red polo shirts everyone seems to wear outside the aircraft). Check-in was fast again, despite two flights being due out at the same time they can move customers through briskly including wheelchair users. From there to security and the usual checks, before heading down through Duty Free towards Pier C where we were informed LS762 would be departing.
Malaga is a funny old airport. Terminals 1,2 and 3 all connect in a line, T3 being the newest and brightest, although some airlines like Ryanair can end up using more than one of them. Piers have the border controls at the entrance, and separate catering and duty free on the piers themselves.
I had been following the incoming flight down and knew from the morning Faro flight G-GDFL was on the route again today. Thanks Flightradar24 and Vodafone Espana! This arrived, again at C34. Gates at AGP are unusual in that the passengers see one gate number format and pilots see another. C34 is actually Stand 24, but C34 indicates a stand on pier C so passengers know where to go.
Boarding started early as passengers were called down (high numbers first) almost the moment the last of the incoming lot were off. I again headed for seat 25F which I had travelled in on the way out.
Jet2 uniformed ground crew were busy loading up downstairs, with a number of wheelchair users on this flight. AGP is quite disabled-friendly and BLK certainly is, which might well account for less mobile travellers liking this route.
After about 10 minutes buttoned up, we pushed back and followed a Ryanair down to the end of the old runway for a south-westerly takeoff. The new runway sits idle almost all of the time. Last year it was used for two weeks in peak season and that was it, which makes Manchester's second runway look positively hammered in comparison.
The flight, being an evening one, was spectacular for sunset views. unfortunately on the other side. Following the same routing back with the exception of a shortcut starting abeam Chester direct to Preston we descended into Blackpool runway 28. A night approach to BLK is a bit spectacular from the west, but even from the east it's colourful with the Tower all lit up in pink neon and the glow from the Promenade. This time the landing was firmer but definitely not as violent, and we came to a steady taxi speed about two thirds of the way down. Taxiing in at 10.50pm was brief as no backtracking is needed, and the steps were quickly attached to both ends. The freezing gust of wind that blew through the cabin was not welcome.
Blackpool has two Border Agency people on duty. These were processing people almost as they walked off the plane, and out into the belt area where bags appeared quickly. By 11.10 we were outside and heading for the car. No queueing for anything at all, not even the car park ticket validator. We got back to Manchester bang on midnight.
G-GDFL isn't a bad little beast. The toilets don't stink, it's got no wonky lighting and a Jet2 interior refit. It also looks good with winglets despite being a -300 series, relatively rare in Europe.
Blackpool Airport. It cost me nothing more or less to fly from there when I booked, and Jet2 have made a serious go of their operation there. If you have any kind of a disability it's exceptionally good, and if you dislike big, crowded airports then it's definitely worth using. Just for the convenience, efficiency and rather good view from the departure lounge I'd use it again.
#7 - by whitehatter on Thu July 4, 2013 at 14:01 GMT
and before anybody asks, that is NOT Billy Connoly.
#8 - by Sam-at-MAN on Thu July 4, 2013 at 21:53 GMT
Quoting whitehatter, from a previous post
that is NOT Billy Connoly.
Nice trip report Roy, nice to see something from a smaller regional airport. I do believe Jet2 self handle at BLK, and also at MAN now (above wing and dispatch, ramp is still Menzies). Credit to them for doing so, not many airlines left like that anymore!
Interesting vid departing BLK! I've flown from many airports, little and large, but haven't seen many runways as bumpy as that! One exception is Svalbard where I was a few months ago, but considering it's the most northerly and one of the remotest airports in the world I'll let them off..
If anyones interested, similarly bumpy runway at Ho Chi Minh City last year!
#9 - by sjmk on Fri July 5, 2013 at 10:28 GMT
Cheers whitehatter sounds like Jet2 really making efforts to please,that free parking is well worth it.
#10 - by whitehatter on Fri July 5, 2013 at 12:09 GMT
They have always been good to fly with, and their holiday business is based on the airline's flights with a hotel and transfers. Nothing else. No happy clappy reps, power selling of excursions, nothing like that at all. You get given a welcome letter with important phone numbers on it for 24 hour local assistance and other stuff then just left alone to enjoy your holiday and I for one approve wholeheartedly of that model.
Here's another little segment, taxiing out at Blackpool with the terminal building and a Typhoon parked by the fence
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