Sunday, May 18, 2008

Luxembourg: Amsterdam Schipol International to Houston Intercontinental, Houston, TX (IAH)

KL661 18MAY08 Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS) to Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH) 10:10a 1:20p PH-BFI (City of Jakarta) 74M

Flight Time: 9:10
Seat Map

I boarded as soon as I got my boarding pass. On board, the flight attendant greeted me and directed me to the aisle on the right side of the aircraft. I had to wait a bit while a flight attendant talk to the purser who was standing on the steps that led up to the Business Class section in the upstairs bubble.. Once she was done, I made my way to my middle seat in the rear cabin.

This aircraft is configured in a 3-4-3 configuration with overhead monitors and also has cargo on the main deck at the back of the plane. This means that there are no lavs at the back of the plane, just a galley. I wonder what we were carrying today in there. I was on here once when there was a few horses back there as well as a red Ferarri. Oh, the configuration is also a 3-2 in the front just shy of the nose. It is kind of odd as there is no window on the right, but a wall which is the galley.

I made my way back and got settled in. The guy at the window was fast asleep already. The interesting thing about these flights is that people come from all over the world to join us in Amsterdam. I mean, I woke up at 4:15a so that I could connect, so you see that people have been up for a long time. Those from Africa started their journey late last night even. Aviation is amazing.

I chatted with the guy at the aisle seat a bit, he had flown in from Scotland and was on his way to Houston. The safety video started on the overheads. I looked forward and noticed that one of the overheads was not working; that sucks for those passengers at that location.

We had a delay with the pushback, but when it happened it was quick. I am always amazed at how fast the ground personnel do them here. It was not until 10:45a that we were under our own power.

We headed for the center runway, 36C. We had a quite a wait as there were several airplanes ahead of us: Bulgaria Air Boeing 737-500, Northwest Airlines (NW) Airbus A330, KLM (KL) Boeing 747-400 Combi, Austrian Airlines (OS) Airbus A319, SAS ARJ85 and a Northwest Boeing 757-200 with winglets.

There was a baby at the bulkhead who was not happy and kept crying the whole time. Soon, the other baby joined in. I knew that would soon end as the kids would get tired of crying after a while.

It was our time to go now at 10:59a, so we took to the runway. I looked behind and I could see a Lot Polish Airlines (LO) Embraer ERJ-175 (SP-LDB), then a Spanair Airbus A319, a KL Fokker F50 and finally a NW Airbus A330.

The Captain increased increased power to the four engines and were airborne in no time. I am always amazed at the power behind this fantastic airplane; the Boeing 747-400 Combi.

After takeoff and the seat belts signs went out, we were given headsets which came in a small plastic packet. The overhead monitor played a video about the services in each cabin. This was followed by a packet of smoked almonds and your beverage of choice.

On the overhead monitors, a SkyTeam ad played as well as new from the BBC and some football. When that was not playing, the Airshow was shown. At this point, we were over Scotland heading out towards the open Atlantic Ocean.

The guy at the window was now awake and had me look through the window at a Northwest Boeing 757-200 above us as we passed it by (slow poke...). It was an awesome sight to see. I think we caught up with that one that took off before us.

The special meal service started which always takes a little while on these flights as the palette of the travelers are so varied. We now had 8:20 to go, with an estimated arrival time of 1:15p. A serving of hot towels also started.

The Captain came on the PA and gave an update first in Dutch and then in English. He said that we would be flying just south of Greenland today and then down over Northern Canada and onto Houston. We are five minutes ahead of schedule time and will arrive at 1:15p. There is a time difference of 7 hours; and there are a few clouds at high altitude almost no clouds really and the temperature is in the mid 80s (30C) about 30 minutes before landing we will come back on and wish you a pleasant flight.

It was pretty difficult to see the overhead screens unfortunately due to the glare from the sun through the windows.

Trash pickup came at 12:01a.. next an episode of “Thirty Rock” started followed by "How I Met your Mother."

Choices of resoto with chicken or cod fish with rice came and I chose the cod. It was really good and came with some beans, a roll, a salad and a dessert.

By now the movie "National Treasure" was on the screens. It was weird though as they had initially started "Bucket List"' which is the second movie. I fell asleep as I was so tired after they came through with a drink service during the meal and an additional drink service whey they cleaned up.

I awoke later to an ice cream or chips and drinks. This was the same chips that they had in the rear galley for on board snacks.

With 1:37 to go, we were served an arrival snack of hot tomato soup and a salad plus a piece of orange cake and drinks of choice. There was also sunflower seeds and croƻtons for toppings. I thought it odd that we were still over Ohio at the time, but we were according to the map.

On the tube, there was "Just for Laughs," playing. The crew had passed through and given out Immigration documents earlier so by now everyone had filled them out. By the time the meal was done and cleaned up and a final coffee/tea service offered, there was only 38 minutes left to go.

With 0:23 to go, we started our descent. It was 12:53p and we were still over Louisiana at 30,000', just east of Beaumont, TX. We headed south some more and then made a right turn and made a beeline for the airport. With 0:20 to go, the Captain said that there were scattered clouds at the field and the local temp was 78F.

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