Dec 27,2006
Bangkok - Dhaka
BG085 A310-324(ET) S2-ADK, 152 POB

Trip Purpose: To fly the DC-10 on Biman, one of the last remain carriers still operating DC10s.

My interest of flying Biman DC10 stemmed from capturing a breath taking rotation of S2-ACP "City of Dhaka" back in June 06 at Manchester. The DC10 was a highlight of my trip to Manchester and weather cleared in time to allow the DC10 shine in front of many cameras like no other plane does! It was such a lovely sight to see the DC10 speed up, rotate and climb away with black smoke trails behind......

I made several enquiries by phone calls to Biman's Singapore and Bangkok office from home. After some schedule plannings and comparisions, I chose to fly from Bangkok to Rome via Dhaka and with a technical stop at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Check in at new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport was easy in the late afternoon at Row W, the last row of the large single terminal building structure. The flight shows 30 mins delay with departure time at 1750, compare to schedule at 1720. I heard many horror stories about Biman's lateness up to a week so I am well prepared.

Boarding started at 1730, after entering the plane the chief purser Ms Sonali took me to my Maslin Executive Class seat 3L, a window seat on the right. After seating down for 10 minutes and stowed my bags away, an announcement came asking all passenger to deplane without reasons! No one was taking it seriously and passengers continue to sit at their seats. A few following announcements was made later to ask all passengers to return to departure lounge because of fog in Dhaka was so heavy that the plane would not be able to land until the situation gets better!

And it took a further 30 mins for all passenger to agree to leave the plane, an entertaining and interesting small riot was demonstrated by the Indian passengers who were connecting to Delhi and Kolkata. It wasn't an easy job to persuade all passenger to leave as cabin crew literally push the crowd to leave.

After 30-40 mins of uncertainty whether we can takeoff on the same day, passengers were called to re-board the plane again. I was very glad that to be able to make it so I can meet my connection at Dhaka onwards to Rome on the DC-10. We took off at Bangkok at 1930, 2 hours behind schedule and flight time to Dhaka is 2hr 15 minutes at Flight Level 360. There were only 2 passengers in Business Class, USA Ambassador to Bangladesh and myself. Later some freeloaders attempted to seat in Business class.

Maslin Executive Class, nice soft seat with leg rest support, seat pitch is about 42".
A310 front cabin view.
A nice quick snack was served for the 2hr 15mins journey. Alcohol is available on request on Biman.

Captain invited me to join them in cockpit when we overfly Myamner.

Medium size cockpit of A310.

Landing in Dhaka Zia Int'l was smooth, a VOR DME Runway 14 approach was made. The fog have lifted considerably with 3 miles visibility showing. We taxied into gate 4.

Transit at Dhaka

Since the Bangkok flight was 2 hours late, this cut short my transit time at Dhaka to about 4 hours. After deplane, I went to the transfer desk immediately to obtain the next sector's boardng pass but was given a Biman token and asked to check 1 hour before departure time. The staff also issued me a Maslin Executive Lounge pass but when I arrived there, the door was unlocked but no staff was in there and light were turned off. Instead the shabby Biman lounge, the manager at the Sheraton Hotel Airport lounge managed to accept me there to enjoy better amenties and service. SQ, MH, EK, KU also use this lounge in Dhaka.

I was later invited to join the delayed Hajj Saudi flight pilgrims to dine together in the dining hall at the airport. Quite an interesting experience.

Dhaka Airport Airside area
Stairways to lounges at Dhaka.
Sheraton Hotel Airport Lounge

Delayed Hajj pilgrims dining.

Flight departure information screen.

BG057 Dhaka to Rome via Jeddah
S2-ACR DC-10-30 "The New Era" 117 POB

Security check was carried out loosely but before boarding a screening was conducted, I was stopped and have to explain my reason of travelling one way from Dhaka to Rome. After the agent received my affirmed response, I was allowed to board.

First impression when I walk in from Door 1L to the cabin is, how wide but how old it is!!! Clock is turning 30 years back!

Therof e were 7 passengers in Business and 110 in Economy, the capacity is 30/244 so it is a light load tonight. The flight push back only 15minutes late and we climbed out of Dhaka 10 minutes later heading Westwards flying the journey in complete darkness.

What a colourful cabin! Love the difference!
Narrower seat pitch on the DC10, but very wide seat and you can even take the seat divider console off!
Supper service, Bangla Prawns with Rice and Vegetabtles. The bread roll on Biman are great!

Economy class cabin , 2-5-2 typical seating.
3 man cockpit. FL340.
A snack was served prior to arrival into Jeddah.

I felt asleep most of the time on this flight but the captain kindly invited me to the cockpit when we were flying in Saudi airspace. We landed early in Jeddah in dark, the DC10 made some lovely sound during the approach. Landing is made on Rwy 34C at Jeddah.

Transit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We parked at remote, the captain told me only Hajj flights have the gate and all other planes have to use stairs and bus to dock.
No one was allowed to get off the flight until the Saudi security get onboard and secured the aircraft. Saudi Arabia is infamous of being the most difficult country to visit on Earth other than Business/Hajj reasons.

Transit passengers like myself were NOT allowed to get off and have to remain onboard while the cleaners service the DC-10. I walked around inside the plane and stand near to door 2L to catch a glimpse of the land of Saudi Arabia in sunrise.

A new team of Biman crew came onboard and I said farewell to the captain and engineer. The flight closed door just before 7am and ready to departs again.

Jeddah Airport at sunrise. There were so many Saudia 747 and 777 made me lost count.
Views after depart from Jeddah Airport.

BG057 Jeddah to Rome Fiumicino (FCO)
S2-ACR DC-10-30

We departed from Jeddah at 7am in the morning local time. Little did I know Jeddah to Rome is one of the most interesting route that only Biman and Saudia flies. I found out that later from seating in the cockpit.

Photo taken from the left jumpseat behind captain.
Overflying Sharm el Sheikh
Cockpit cruising with natural light.

After leaving Saudi Arabia airspace, we entered Egypt airspace and flown over the Red Sea, and then track direct above Sharm El Sheikh, and continue over Sinai to Cairo and then Alexandria. Unfortunatly there were high clouds hintered the view over Cairo. The captain told me in November when he flew this route, he could see the whole Cairo and Pyramids in very clear weather!!!!!!!! This make the flight JED-FCO one of the most interesting sightseeing flight route. After Alexandria we entered the Mediterranean Sea and across it to Crete, Greece and onward to South Italy.

Fantastic Potara breakfast ! Curry potato pancake!
Good looking F/SS Lubna posting for pictures.
The hot boy and girl on Biman.

View behind captain seat.
F/O is landing the plane to Rome Fiumicino, the sea on the right.

Final approach Runway 16R of Rome Fiumicino.
Vacating the runway.
One last look of the classic cabin.

After a delicious breakfast, I head back to the cockpit to be with the crew for preparation to land at Rome Fiumicino. We're landing ontime at 930am on Runway 16R, descending from FL340 to 280, 220, 140, 80, 60..... landing.

This flight continue to Manchester with a change of crew but it is time to say goodbye to the DC10. Immigration in Rome is a breeze with no question being asked and a nice smile, "welcome to Italy". My luggage also arrived without incident at Rome and only 15 minutes after landing , I was outside on the streets met by my Italian friend Aldo.

To be able to fly the Biman DC10 makes a good strong finish of the year 2006 for me. I have been long wanted to fly them and it was easily the best of my 2006 flights. I would like to thank sincerely to the captains and crews on Biman. The extraordinary memory on this flight will last for a long time. In my view, a DC10 classic is far better than 100 routine flights on modern airplanes. I made it my way back to Sydney via Dubai and Kuala Lumpur with Emirates and Austrian Airlines without incidents. I look forward to more interesting journeys in 2007 and beyond. Thanks for reading my trip reports.