Thursday, October 4, 2007

Flight of the Red Devil

As some of you know, AirAsia has a Airbus A320 painted in the livery of Manchester United. I'm not a fan of the club but the Red Devil Airbus as it's fondly known as is one of the most striking planes in the world. Last year when we flew into Manchester airport every staff on the tarmac was pulling out cameras and snapping away. This was especially ego boosting as there were no announcements but the word had spread through the airport staff network.

So a recap, we flew in the Red Devil from Kuala Lumpur to Manchester. We took off at about 8pm on the 30th of September. This was a promotional trip where AirAsia flew the MyTeam reality show football team to Manchester to play a friendly match against the Ron Atkinson Academy.The A320 is a short haul aircraft so we had to stop off to re-fuel in Karachi Pakistan and Lanarka in Cypress. The flight was much longer to the UK and back because of this and tookabout 22 hours.

As this was a charter flight the re-fuelling stops were always eventful. Wrong fuel companies turning up, delays of various reasons with the respective airport authorities especially in Pakistan. All this compunded to the fact that we couldn't leave the plane, restricted to the stairs that the engineers and airport authorities used to get in and out of the plane.

The flight was filled with MyTeam football squad and production crew, Hotlink contest winners, some kids from the Scomi underpriveledged kids program and of course the AirAsia staff and incentive trip winners. All in all about 115 people.

Since it was a charter it was more relaxed. We had folks walking up and down the aisles, playing cards, but essentially just sleeping the hours away.

L-R - Kugan, Ethan and Rudy. Stella is in the background trying to look mental.

Eitisha aka Baby Spice

MyTeam coaches, Shebby Singh and Bojan.

Touchdown Manchester Airport about 9am on the 1st of October. As expected the chili red AirAsia uniforms were a stark contrast to the grey English landscape.

AirAsia Photocall with Tevez, Nani, Anderson, Eagles and Pique on the 4th of October 2007

The MU young guns turn up for some promotional photo session inside the plane.

The Red Devil parked at the Manchester Airport viewing bay.

A sign of more flights to come?

Flight back - Lanarka Airport, Cypress. The landing strip is next to the beach with the incredible Mediterrainean Sea and the soft cold wind.

Simple pleasures - getting a beautiful woman to make you pipping hot Milo and then striding out to the stairs to enjoy the chilly cool Cypress wind.

Got to ride in the cockpit for a bit. Most excellent when you have the glowing controls in front and the star spotted sky outside the heated windows. Felt like saying "Chewie, punch it!"

Dubai. This is not the best shot though. As we approached Dubai it seemed the whole horizon was glowing with the lights from the incredible city.

Final refueling at Karachi, Pakistan.

FO Kelvin and the dude sent to make sure we didn't sneak off the plane. He actually turned out to be quite shy hence the relieved smile on Kelvin's mug.

Tensions grew high over the long hours...

but they made up later. Women, so secure in their sexuality. You wont see two guys doing this ...

Back Home! Weary asses get hauled off the Red Devil at about 12.30pm on the 6th of October.

It was a tiring trip but it seemed everyone somewhat made do with the trying scheduled. I don't have pictures of the Red Devil when it flew some kids from the Manchester United Foundation on a joyride around Manchester but it was of course a head turner wherever we went. We'd get awe from airport personel, the dudes in Naval uniforms who turned up in the night in Karachi and just about every stop we made in the 3 countries we landed. It was a long week with almost 2 days spent in the plane. I'm heading out now for some badly needed chow kue teow.


Anonymous said...

Do you have anymore of them photos with the manchester united players at the photocall? If you do will you post them or the link where you got them please!

Chindiana said...

Hey ANON, all bad shots like the ones I posted. Will see if others have and will post the link. Bad light as the sun was against us.

Nex said...

Seems like a great trip all in all. I'd like to see more pics of the 'catfight' please :P

BTW did you manage to get away from the entourage and do a little exploring in the surrounding countryside by yourself?

Chindiana said...

No man Nex, no chance :(

Anonymous said...

Ok Thanks!

Chindiana said...

ANON - sorry no luck. non of AA staff were allowed on plane and the ones who were on board were working so no pics.

I know MUTV filmed it so you might get to watch it on Astro (m'sia).

Sorry dude.