What great fun to be at the factory and see the planes from so many carriers all in one place. And there were plenty to be seen. Check out some of these beauties:
This is the plane we were touring in all day:
Not all the planes on the ground were Airbus, but they were still cool:
Some of the bigger birds on display:
Of course, the main focus of the visit to Toulouse was plane spotting of a different kind. We were there to tour the A380 final assembly line. We did, and it was amazing. More stories, video and photos from that soon.
When showing up to a party is is a good idea to make a grand first impression, right? So what about buzzing the field at Toulouse? I like it.
Our arrival at the Airbus facility was a spectacular event, highlighted by the expert fly-by executed by the first officer on our Condor air 757-300. Sitting in the middle of the plane, I knew that we were low to the field and I knew pretty early on that we were long on the approach. But just now, flying back to Los Angeles, I have had a chance to view a video taken from the cockpit and know just how close we were.
The voice of the computer counts down the approach. Fifty. Forty. Thirty. Twenty!
That’s right…Twenty. Feet, I think. That’s pretty ridiculous. And we cruised pretty much the length of the runway at that altitude.
And then the shouts from back in the cabin – sheer excitement as we cruise on down the field so close, yet so very far away from touching down. Finally, at the end of the runway, an ominous “six hundred remaining” is heard as the end of the runway is clearly visible and we’re very clearly still not on the ground. And then the thrust of the engines and only clouds and sky visible through the cockpit window as we climbed out and around for our actual landing.
Yeah, we made one hell of a first impression!
The second movie here is of the actual landing. Mostly the same except that we actually bothered to stop that time around. Still plenty of excitement from the cabin.
I’ve never seen so many people quite so happy to be boarding a plane at 5:15 in the morning. And yet there we all were. Nearly 200 mostly awake and in a remote gate area of Frankfurt International Airport, ready to climb on board the first of three flights in our chartered Condor Boeing 757-300.
Plenty of sleepy eyes in the gate area but once boarding started most folks perked up in a hurry.
Maybe it was that we were giving out lies in conjunction with the first flight’s theme – a Continental Airlines flight from Hawai’i to Los Angeles in the 70s. Or maybe it was because the excitement all finally just bubbled over. Who really cares why…folks were downright giddy and it showed in their faces and behavior.
And the party never stopped. It would be days before things calmed down. But it is still before 6am on a Thursday morning in this story and we haven’t even taken off for our first stop, Oslo and a breakfast party with SAS.
Just a couple photos here of the gorgeous Condor 757-300 that we chartered for the day. Good times!
And I’m exhausted. Seriously.
Sure, I’ve never actually had to do it before so remembering things like the stirrer sticks for the coffee service or making sure I actually served everyone who asked for a drink – sorry again, guys – were things that I really think that I’d do better with a bit of practice. Still, it was a bit of a humbling experience realizing that it was actually a bit of a challenge to sling a few drinks out to the 50 passengers I was responsible for. And the real flight attendants were working at least 50% of the cabin, plus doing the actual meal service.
I’m sure I’ll being seeing pictures galore in the coming days and weeks of me working as a flight attendant and drinking on the job. After all, I had well more than my fare share of Sect on the fight, and a bit of vodka, too. So it wasn’t really a truly honest effort as to what it would take to serve the cabin. But it was close, and it was definitely more work than I expected.
But it was also a TON of fun. I was walking the aisle clearing glasses from the business class cabin while we were on the active taxi-way. I was trying to figure out which pedal locked the cart and which released it. I was walking the aisle closing the overhead bins and turning off the call button lights. It really was a ton of fun.
Oh, we did do the safety demo work, too. That was fun. It was harder in that I didn’t have a demo seatbelt to use – I just took the belt off of the seat I was standing next to at the time – and the announcements were done in German, which made it even more challenging. Still, we all managed to do the demos and arrive safely so no real harm there.
We were also fortunate to have with us some coffee brought along specially by a member of the tour. Vince Mills runs Kena coffee in Hawaii and produced a special Star Mega Do reserve blend for our flights. As I understand it the coffee was delicious. So, again, sorry to the few guys who I never made it back to with the cups of coffee. My bad. If you’re interested, check our Kena Coffee. I’m pretty sure he’s got plenty to share with the community.
Willi, the Condor Boeing 757-300 chartered for the Mega DO, is enjoying the snow in Oslo.
Pictures courtesy of perlman and nickpiggot via Twitpic.