Saturday, April 19, 2008

London Apr. 18: Amsterdam Schipol, Amsterdam (AMS) to London Heathrow International. London England (LHR)

KL1017 19APR08 Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS) to London Heathrow International, London England (LHR) 1:30p 1:50p 734 PH-BDU

Flight Time: 0:40
Seat Map

The queue to get onto the plane was quite lengthy, but eventually, I made it to the airplane door. I said hello to the flight attendants in the galley who both returned the greeting and welcomed me onboard. I did not see anywhere to place my bag in the overhead bins, but another flight attendant said I could place it in the coat closet on the left of the plane so I did so.

I actually sat in the wrong seat in error and was about to stay there at the request of the flight attendant when the guy who had the middle seat showed up and he was traveling with the guy at the window. So I took my original window seat and settled in.

This Boeing 737-400 has 27 cloth seats in a 3-3 configuration in Business Class (europe select as KLM calls it). This is the same configuration as Economy class.

The boarding process continued for only a few more minutes after I boarded as there were not many passengers behind me.

It was twenty eight minutes after the hour when the lead flight attendant announced that the cabin crew should arm the slides. I looked outside and the jetway was already pulled back. I could feel the airplane lifted as the super tug was attached below us.

Pushback was swift and the manual safety demo started in a combination of Dutch and English at 1:30p.

It was also announced that the flying time was forty minutes. SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members were especially welcomed on board. We were also told to switch off the mobile phones as our taxi started at 1:34p and the manual demo continued.

As we taxied out, I saw an Aer Lingus Airbus A320 taxiing in, a KLM Cityhopper Fokker F50 and a Portugalia Fokker F70.

The flight attendants were told to take their seats, just two minutes after the demo was completed at 1:40p. There were two airplanes ahead of us, an Arkefly Boeing 737-800 with winglets and a KLM Boeing 737-800 also with winglets.

As I looked over to my left, there was a KLM Boeing 747-400 landing on another runway.

We were all set to roll down runway 36C at 12:45p with a massive wind that almost blew straight down the runway.

I looked behind us and there was a KLM Boeing 777-200 as well as a Northwest Boeing 757-200 with winglets followed by an easyJet Airbus A319; the one that has two exit doors due to its high density configuration.

It was a fantastic takeoff; I don’t think I’ve ever taken off from this runway before and perhaps only landed on it once. You could get a good view of the tower that sits way out close to that far runway 36L/18R.

It was the first time that I realized that runway was so long.

After a 10,000’ ding, a flight attendant walked back and closed the curtains to the Business Class area. An announcement was made about landing cards in both Dutch and English and then they were handed out to citizens that do not belong to the EU, Iceland, Norway or Lichtenstein.

The meal service started at 1:58p with the presentation of a long blue box.

Once I opened it, it contained plastic utensils in a large napkin with a paper holder, two containers: one with a white chocolate dessert with green apple and raisin brandy sauce and the other with two vegetarian skewers accompanied by grilled vegetable compote and a small plastic container with butter. There was a nice business card with the KLM and SkyTeam logo on it and the words “europe select” underneath it. The card was actually a menu. There was also a marketing piece about winning tickets for the UEFA champions league finals which are being held in Moscow from April 1-30, 2008. Go to for details.

An offer for warm rolls came next and as I was not paying attention, I was about to take the tray when the flight attendant said, “not all of them” and smiled. I apologized, took only one and she said it was fine. Drink orders came next and I opted for some white wine and water.

By 2:14p, they came by to clear it all up.
The next treat was newspaper choices in Dutch and English at about 2:17p; I chose the Herald Tribune.

At 12:23p (London time), the Captain came on the PA, first in Dutch and then in English. He said, hello and gave his name. We are above the city and we have to wait in the holding pattern and we are in the last stage and will land in 20-35 minutes. Then 10-15 minutes taxi and arrive at the gate at 1:50p. The weather is 9C and east wind of 12knots and he wishes us a pleasant stay in London on behalf of his colleagues.

The Captain then came on again at 12:28p and said to prepare for landing. A flight attendant then reminded us over the PA that London was an hour behind and it was time to fold our chair tables await, put our seatbacks up, turn off the electronic devices, put those cabin bags away and prepare for landing. She also noted that the airport was a non-smoking airport and if anyone had connections to follow the signs for flight connections. Another flight attendant then walked back and opened the curtains to Economy class.

I could hear the wheel well open at 1:45p as we straightened up for the runway. The Captain then told the cabin crew to take their seats for landing. It was pretty cloudy and hazy outside, but I was able to see this huge castle and snapped a few pictures of it (later my friend told me it was Windsor Castle).

A lake close by.

A neighborhood close to the airport.

It was a beautiful landing as we touched down on runway 09L-27R, which is the one next to the Renaissance hotel.

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