Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Partly Cloudy – 64F

Bergen, Norway to Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 525 Nautical Miles

Total Voyage: 3598 Nautical Miles

Wake up call at 6:00 AM and then breakfast at the Seaside Cafe.  Relatively light crowd at the buffet for a Disembarkation Day.  We get a table and are able to enjoy a nice, semi-leisurely, breakfast.

At  8:30 AM, we go to the Rendezvous Lounge, our meeting place for the Airport Transfer.  We don’t even get a chance to sit down before we are told we can disembark.  The process is quick – passport control is a breeze – and soon we are on our bus headed for the Airport.

Back in Amsterdam (Small)

Back in Amsterdam

The ride to the airport took about 45 minutes (traffic – it took 10 minutes to make one light).  Along the way we saw some examples of wild architecture (below).  There were no buildings like this in walking range in Amsterdam during our stay.

Architecture on way to Airport (Small) Schipols International Airport (Small)

Schipols International Airport

The process at this airport is a bit different than at other places.  We checked in at a kiosk and printed our boarding passes.  We then waited in a line to check our baggage.  The line moved pretty fast.  From there, you take your carry on bags and enter the shopping area.  There is no main security checkpoint (at least for our set of gates) – each gate has its own security area.  Essentially, you report to your gate, get screened, and you are right there. 

We found our gate and had lunch before going through the security process.  At this airport, your shoes stay on but you do get a full body scan.  I got a chance to look at the monitor during one of the scans.  The software puts a cartoon face on the image and the whole image is softly blurred.  Even though I had nothing in my pockets, I still got a pat down. Even so, the screening went pretty quickly and we were in the waiting area about 90 minutes before departure time.

KLM611 – a 747-400 aircraft – is due to depart at 12:40 PM.  When we got to the gate, the plane was not there yet.  As boarding time approached, the gate agent went over to the window to see if the plane was there – it was not.  She kept coming back to see if the plane was there – pretty low tech.  The crew was there and soon the Captain – yes, the Captain, came on the PA and said that the plane was late arriving and would be here in the next few minutes.  He said it would take about 20 minutes to fuel and ready the plane but he thought he could make up the lost time in the air.

He was right.  The plane did arrive but it was towed to the gate (it must have been in a hangar and did not arrive late).

Where did the plane come from (Small)

Our 747-400 being towed to the gate

It took a bit longer than 20 minutes to ready the plane.  The fuel truck was the last to arrive.  The fueling took a long time so I suspect that this plane was pretty much at E for fuel.

KLM611 getting ready (Small)

KLM611 Being Readied for Flight

We boarded about 30 minutes late.  Passengers boarded through two extremely long jet ways so the process was relatively smooth.  I had paid a premium for two exit row seats.  When I tried to get into my seat, I couldn’t – it was too tight.  The flight attendant told me that stuff in my pockets was the problem.  I took everything out of my pockets and still no fit.  Ellen was OK in her seat.  The passenger in the window seat (a nice kid from Ireland) offered to switch with me.  The window seat was constructed differently and I had no problem getting seated.  I sat in the same seat in our incoming BA Flight so KLM will hear about this.  This would be the first time that I have been in a window seat for as long as I can remember.  It turned out to be very nice looking out of the window for the whole flight.  I could also take a lot of pictures from this seat.

We pushed about a half hour late and taxied for takeoff.

Taxiing for Takeoff (Small)

Taxiing for Takeoff

Takeoff (Small)

Take off

The plane did not climb out over Amsterdam as I was hoping.

Takeoff 1 (Small)

Climb Out

Above the Clouds (Small)

Above the Clouds

The climb out was smooth.  Shortly after we leveled off, the Captain pointed out that we were over Scotland so I took a picture.

 Ireland (Small) Ireland 1 (Small)

Scotland (two above)

We were served nice Kosher Lunches (beef with veggies).  It was the first meat we have had in about a month.  Supplied by a Dutch company, it was pretty good.  They are still working on perfecting cole slaw. The lunch also came with one piece of cold chicken.  A nice pastry was also included.  Overall, not bad.

Our route was pretty similar to past flights.  On this particular flight, our aircraft passed a little closer to Greenland than normal.  I captured the big island on my camera.

Greenland (Small)


The flight was smooth as silk – the seat belt sign never went on.  This is the way it should always be.  I used my new Noise Cancelling Earphones to listen to some music and they worked great.  Even without any music, most of the engine roar was electronically removed.

Soon we were over Newfoundland.

Newfoundland (Small) 

Over Newfoundland 

Michigan (Small)

Over Upper Michigan

I was hoping for a UFO but instead I spotted another aircraft a few miles off our left side.  He was tracking with us and emitted a brown contrail – after about 10 minutes, he went his own way (heading west).

Another aircraft (Small)

Another aircraft

The plan then crossed the far end of Lake Michigan, crossed the entire width of the Lake, and came into Illinois somewhere near Evanston.

Far Shore Lake Michigan (Small)

Over Lake Michigan far shore

The plane flew directly over O’Hare Airport on its approach.  You may not be able to see it, but I caught a plane taking off under us.  That was very cool.

Chicago and Ohare Plane Taking Off (Small)

O’Hare Airport (plane taking off)

The airport was so striking and planes don’t always fly directly over the facility so I took two more pictures

OHare (Small) OHare 2 (Small)

Over O’Hare Airport

The plane proceeded further west and made a big turn toward the airport.  The Captain told the crew to “sit down” so I knew we were on final approach.

Final Approach 1 (Small)

Final Approach

A super smooth landing completed what I would call a perfect flight.

Passport control was pretty quick (all about timing).  We waited a while for our luggage.  I called a taxi and he was there in five minutes. 

A long trip with lots of variety – from the beach days of Bournemouth to the city at the top of the world. 

No comments:

Post a Comment