Saturday, April 19, 2008

London Apr. 18: Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Amsterdam Schipol International. Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS)

CO46 18APR08 Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) to Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS) 7:10a 11:50a +1 day 764 N78060

Flight Time: 9:10
Seat Map

As I boarded, I was greeted by a flight attendant who told me to go to the second aisle of this twin aisle aircraft. The configuration on this bird is a 2-3-2 with 200 cloth seats in the Economy class and 35 cloth seats in BusinessFirst in a 2-1-2 configuration.

I made my way through the galley past the lavs and then into my cabin. I was trying to see who my seat mate would be and I saw him sitting in the middle of the three seats. He was not too happy when I told him I had the aisle as that meant that he would not have a row to himself at all.

At 7:02p a welcome onboard was made and the flight attendant announced that the flying time was 9:10 today. She also said that computers were to be turned off at this time and stored. Actually, anything that had a power switch should be turned off.

It was 7:08p when the pushback and safety video started first in English and then in Dutch four minutes later. We started our move forward and headed for the runway. I actually fell asleep on our way out to the runway.

At 7:24p, the Captain told the flight attendants to take their seats, which usually indicates that we are about two minutes or so behind our take off time. We then made a left turn and were ready for takeoff on runway 35L-15R. We paused for a moment and two minutes later, the two GE CF6-80C2B engine kicked into high gear and we started down the runway.

As we became airborne from the 94’ altitude airport, we were doing about 335kph, wow! After takeoff, it felt like we were hanging aloft at about 4,500’ feet for a few minutes after which, we started climbing.

A7 7:32p, there were two dings signifying the passing of 10,000’; it was time to plug in, so I did. I had to use an Xtend adapter that is a travel companion on all my flights for just this situation. The flight attendant came on the PA with a welcome message and advising that there should be no smoking on board and that there is a fine if you are caught doing so. Also, following our dinner service there will be Duty Free shopping. Approximately 1.5 hrs before landing, there will be an additional meal and beverage service; she asked that customers at the windows lower their shades before going to sleep as it will allow us to sleep for a little longer; of course as soon as she said that a few people closed their window shades.

Wine, beer and mixed drinks would be available in Economy class at a price of 5 USD or 4 EUR. She also welcomed on aboard OnePass members who would be gaining valuable miles for their flight; if you are not a member, she continued, you can go to to register. In closing, she said to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight to Amsterdam today and welcome aboard.

As the flight progressed, there was a video showing how to use the entertainment system, first in English and then in Dutch. At that same moment, the flight attendants came through with a beverage and pretzel service. It was now 7:54p.

On the entertainment tap tonight are:

  1. Continental Presents House
  2. P.S. I Love You/Premier Destinations
  3. Continental Family Channel 1: Kangaroo Jack/Taz-Mania, A Salute to Mel Blanc
  4. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep/Fooled by Nature
  5. The Great Debaters/Invention Nation
  6. Continental Presents CSI
  7. Comedy Programming: The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Drew Carey Show, Mr. Bean: The Animated Series, The King of Queens, Frasier, Everybody Hates Chris
  8. The Entertainment Channel
  9. Airshow

In addition to these ten channels, there are also the following games to choose from:

  1. Chess
  2. Poker
  3. Solitaire
  4. Invasion
  5. Elephant Memory
  6. Bzzz
  7. Blackjack
  8. Cave Crunch
  9. Caveman Hang Man

Not to mention the 20 music channels:

  1. Opera
  2. Rewind
  3. Ambient Groove
  4. Latin Fiesta
  5. The Classics
  6. Continental Lounge
  7. The Hit Factory
  8. Jazz Beat
  9. Continental Talk
  10. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  11. Country Roads
  12. Live Broadway
  13. Club Continental
  14. R&B Groove
  15. World Music
  16. Kid’s Korner
  17. Hindi Music
  18. Japanese Favorites
  19. Chinese Pop
  20. Shalom

These are the same movies that are shown on a Boeing 777 without Audio/Video and Demand in Economy class. The music and games are also the same on both aircraft.

The use of electronic devices is now permitted and all the movies are now available said the lead flight attendant at 7:58p. I decided to watch “The Great Debaters” with Denzel Washington, unfortunately, the tracking was bad on the tape :-(.

The flight attendant came by and cleared the trash. As he did so, he mistakenly splashed my arm with some water from the cup :-(.

Dinner arrived at 8:26p with a choice of chicken or beef; I opted for the chicken which came with pasta, corn, red pepper, a salad with Ranch dressing, a roll and a brownie. It was all cleared up at 8:50p.

At 9:33p, we crossed the border of the U.S. and Canada just north of Cleveland, OH and west of Erie, PA. it was now 7:01 to go; the local time was 4:34a and we should arrive at 11:35a.

Duty free came through at 9:50p along with an announcement that if you spent more than $150 you would get an alarm clock. In addition, it was requested to close (if you don’t mind) the window shade since we will be flying into the sunlight and it will allow us to sleep a little longer.

I fell asleep after the movie finished with its tear jerker ending.

It was 3:14a when breakfast (warm croissant, fruits [grapes, cantaloupe], jam) arrived. At this time, we were approaching Ireland heading for Galway. We had 1:24 to go at 37,000’ and would arrive at 11:38a. I asked for lemon, but they were out of lemon L.

At exactly, the flight attendant came on that PA and talked about showing an arrival video and said that if we had any questions we could ask. The arrival video then played on the individual screens. There is no documentation required for arrival into Amsterdam as you are processed for entry on arrival.

After clearing up the thrash, the flight attendants had another beverage service. As I was full, I declined anything additional. The arrival video was now playing in Dutch.

We had started our descent at about 11:09a and the lead flight attendant asked that if you are in BusinessFirst you should turn in your headsets and in Economy class you may keep them for a future flight (they cost 1 USD on non-international flights). Also, in a few minutes it would be time to power down the computers.

From the flight deck at 120 miles out from the field: we will be landing in 24 minutes at 11:38a and shortly thereafter, we will be at the gate for an ontime arrival. The winds were out of the east at 15 mph and the local temperature is 46F/8C and it is overcast; it’s our pleasure to have you on tonight’s flight and we wish you well in your travels.

It looks like it will be a runner for me to catch that 12:10p British Airways (BA) flight to London-Gatwick (LGW) otherwise, I will have to settle for the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) Boeing 737 service at 1:30p to London-Heathrow (LHR).

We landed with a bump and hitting the brakes quite a bit. We made it to the gate at 11:50a, our scheduled arrival time.

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