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RobbieHe

Dilemma -- 747-200 or not?

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My wife and I are flying into Manchester International (UK), airport by way of Orlando in June. There are several options on how to get there, but if we choose Virgin Atlantic Airways, we get to make the initial hop on a 747-200. The only problem is that we arrive at 0725 at terminal 2 and then have to make it past customs, to terminal 3, and through security within 30 minutes. I say 30 minutes because you have to check in 30 minutes before the flight leaves to Norwich, also in the UK.I have flown on 707s, DC-8s, L-1011s, and DC-10s across the pond but never a 747. If I chose another airline that enables me to have plenty of time between flights, I will have to fly on a 767-300, which would be quite boring from an aviation enthusiast's point of view. I have flown on several 767-300s domestically, but would really like to fly on a 747, and especially the classic 747-200 since I am a big RFP 747-200 fan.Going back to the dilemma, we would have to assume the the flight would make it there on time, we fly into terminal 2, have to go through customs (If the lines are long, we are screwed) and then make the trek to terminal 3 which is way on the other side of the airport (terminal 1 is between terminal 2 and 3, why I don't know?), and then have to make it through security within 30 minutes or miss the flight and then have to wait and potentially spend the night there until we can get another flight to Norwich (and there are very few from Manchester).Do I go ahead and make the safe bet and take a 767-300 across the pond, or go for the gusto and enjoyment and most probably the one and only chance to ride on a 747-200? If we miss the next flight, it would be expensive to have to wait and my wife would be livid. What would you guys do? I have been to the Manchester International web site, and there is very little info that is helpful. The Virgin site is not helpful either.Thanks,RH

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See if you can check through to your final destination from Orlando. Ask the airlines, if it is possible you have no trouble.If NOT, an hour isn't enough as you'll have to collect your bags (think half an hour wait), get to the other terminal (20 minutes), check in (20-30 minutes waiting), and walk to the gate (5-10 minutes at least).If you CAN check through, it's still getting to be a bit tight but you should make it if you have no major delays.

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I've flown transpacific and transatlantic on the 742, DC-10, DC-8-63, and 767-300.Of all the flights, I'd rate the 767-300 the highest. Why? Enthusiastic as I am about aviation, flight comfort during a long trip is very important. The 767-300, with 2x3x2 seating in coach, is simply more comfortable and quieter since there's fewer passengers. I imagine the Airbus A330/A340 with 2x4x2 in coach is also pretty nice.If you're flying first or business class, then I'd go for the 742. I've flown business class from Narita to Guam and it was a delight in a NWA 742.BTW, the DC-8-63 I flew from JFK to Munich in '77 was the most interesting transatlantic hop. To slow in flight, the pilot used reversers on two of the engines and since we were over a solid deck, the sensation was as if we were coming to a dead stop. -John

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Not a chance in my view. Scheduling is way too tight.I would doubt you could check bags through to Norwich (god awful place)as there would be no customs clearing facilities.Why don't you fly Virgin to Manchester and hire a car for the trip to Norwich? Nowhere is far from anywhere on the little blob of land they call the UK.Andy b

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Having flown both the 763 and 742 transatlantic I must say the comfort level on the 742 is higher.Slightly noisier in most of the aircraft but more legroom (this for aircraft from the same airline, different airlines have different cabin interiors of course).Whether the passengers themselves are quieter depends largely on the number of small children and (this is not intended to sound like I'm looking down on anyone, it's a fact) the number of low-income passengers.Small children are hard to keep quiet (most parents these days will not give them sedatives or berate them (for the slightly larger ones) for screaming and kicking all over the cabin) and low income people aren't experienced flyers (not having the money) and tend to talk loudly, then not understand if you (or an FA) ask them to be a little quiet (even at night) and some may even get violent.This is worse the cheaper the airline for the simple fact that on regular carriers the prices are higher and people with lower incomes tend to choose the cheapest rather than choose an airline based on factors like service and passenger comfort.

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Or take a train.uh, forget that, this is the UK we're talking about ;)

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An interesting dilema. I've made several airline choices just to fly on particular aircraft. In April 1990 I chose Tarom to fly London - Bucharest just to fly on a B707 and then a ROMBAC1-11 home, LOT many times in the early 90's, LON-WAW-LON to get to fly on Tu-154Ms and once a Tu-134, and Balkan in 2000 to fly on an AN-24RV from Varna to Sofia. 'er indoors was not to chuffed about that one - those AN-24s certainly put the 'n' in noisy :-)Well, that wasn't a lot of help to you was it :-)Gavin

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Thanks guys for the information! I probably will book either Martinair at of Orlando into Amsterdam and then onto Norwich by way of KLM. I have done that sort of thing before by way of NorthWest (DC-10) into AMS and then an ATR-72 into Norwich. Martinair flies a 767-300.If I had my choice and were going alone, however, I would risk the 747-200 Virgin Atlantic out of Orlando just for the pure fact that I love large jets (as most of you do) and would really like the enjoyment of riding on one -- even if surrounded by screaming kids. I always choose to sit behind the wind to watch flap settings and all of that. You guys know where I am coming from. Anyway, an hour between flights is not long enough to try and drag my wife through Manchester International and then having the risk of missing the flight into Norwich. The other option would be to spend an extra 100.00and take a KLM 767-300 out of ATL to AMS. Being that ATL is not Orlando, there is the greater likihood that there will be fewer screaming kids onboard.any other advice?ThanksRH

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Spend the extra money.Martinair has a charter interior in their aircraft, KLM has line interior with 10% or more lower seating capacity (and correspondingly better legroom).As to ATL, you could also consider Delta from Amsterdam. Either a 767 or 777, they are likely cheaper than KLM (though checking in for AMS-ATL from England might be worth the extra money to fly KLM for all of the route).

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Would the wife fly herself and you could take the chance?You never know.JimCYWG

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G'day RH,Last year my wife and I flew from Sydney to Penang. We did the Sydney to Kuala Lumpur with MAS (747) and then transferred to an internal flight from KL to Penang (737). On arrival at KL we didn't go through customs, our bags were transferred direct to the 737. We caught the monorail from the international terminal to the domestic terminal. On arrival at Penang we then went through customs. The process was simple and dead easy for the passenger. If developing countries can get their act together I find it almost incomprehensible that such a system is not available to you in the UK. I'd definitely be contacting the airlines involved and see what they say.As to the type of aircraft, screaming kids, noise and legroom, it is all immaterial to me. A couple of Baccardi's and Coke and it's all just a blurr :-lol Number 1 on my priority is what are my chances of arriving safely at my destination. :-)Cheers,Roger

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"Spend the extra money. Martinair has a charter interior in their aircraft"And the charter version of the 767 really crams them in there, using 3x3x3 seating.A great site to visit, btw, is www.seatguru.comThere one can get an idea of the layout of many pax cabins vs. the different airlines/equipment.

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10% more can mean less legroom. I understand. Delta is way high at this time in terms of price.RH

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That's because MAS and KLM are both in Wings (now both in (grrrr) Skyteam along with KLMs lord and master, Air Farce).

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