Monday, April 07, 2008

London Apr. 4: London City Airport, London England (LCY) to Amsterdam Schipol, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS)

KL1554 07APR08 London City, London England (LCY) to Amsterdam Schipol, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS) 7:45a 10:15a F50 PH-KVH

Flight Time: 1:00
Seat Map

I left my bag outside the door with the gate claim tag as instructed by the gate agent and then boarded. My boarding pass was checked by one of the two waiting flight attendants on this 50 seat single aisle 2-2 configured aircraft.

I took my assigned aisle seat and got settled in, keeping my jacket on as the airplane was quite cold. A family of five boarded after I did at 7:56a. we now had 43 passengers. There was a bit of activity at the front of the aircraft as they computed the weight factor.

The Captain gave his welcome aboard at 7:59a, first in Dutch and then in English. He introduced everyone and apologized for the delay; we had a later slot time due to starting engines in 10-15 minutes he continued; our flying time would be 1:00. He then said he will do his best to make up for lost time and update us on the arrival time into Amsterdam later in the flight.

One of the flight attendants had to move two passengers to row 4 at 8:04a, just before the engines started.

The safety demo started at 8:10a, with one flight attendant reading the information and the other doing the actual demo. As we were going over water (The English Channel and the North Sea) life jacket demo was included.

By now, we were number 3 for takeoff behind a Lufthansa RJ-185

The meal cart passed by m at 8:42a, making its way from the back of the plane. Today’s breakfast consist of two sandwiches (egg and mozzarella on whole wheat) in a plastic bag along with napkins and condiments in another bag. Beverages followed; I had some hot tea with lemon and some water; as is normal in Europe, I got no ice in my water as I did not state how I wanted it.

We started getting a little chop, so the Capt. Came on the PA and said he was turning on the seat belt sign.

At 8:53a, we started our descent into Amsterdam Schipol.

At 9:01a, the pilot said that we had left our cruising altitude of 17,000’ approaching the Dutch remaining flying time left is 20 minutes and there will be a 10 minute made up 15 minutes l will dis at 10:30 5C thanks for flying KLM and hope to see you on your next flight.

At 9:04a, the flight attendants told us to prepare for landing.

London Apr. 4: At London City Airport, London England (LCY)

07APR08 London City, London England (LCY)

It was hard to determine which desk to stand as the KLM Ground Services staff was also checking in Air One and Luxair at the same counter. I think only KLM and Luxair had a flight at that time and were using 4 check-in desks. I asked the guy at the end of the queue if he was checking in for KLM and he said he did not know…So I found an agent and asked her where to check-in and she pointed me to the right behind that guy. I then started to stand on the queue, but had not realized that had I jumped it until a passenger advised me that he was also on the queue. I then apologized and stepped behind him.

As I waited, the queue got longer. I told the lady behind me that I’d be right back as I needed to talk with the ticket counter across the way. I was looking around for it and had finally sighted it after joining the check-in queue. There was a short wait as the guy in front of me had issues and he was not happy at all. He already had a boarding card for his flight and I assumed it was later than the 7:45a, so he was not in any hurry.

After about a five minute wait another agent called me forward and assisted me. After he was done, I went back to the check-in queue across the way. I got checked in at about 7:23a and made my way upstairs to the security and Immigration area.

I noticed that my gate was #5, so I hurried down there.

I checked in with the agent and he told me to wait for a moment.

As I waited, the boarding process started and everyone was boarded. Only myself and the two agents remained in the small gate area.

A guy came running down the stairs at about 7:35a looking for the Lufthansa flight that was at gate 6. The agent told him that he was at the wrong gate, but proceed to find out where his flight was located. A call came back that it had already closed so he could not make it. The guy started pleading, but to no avail, he had missed the flight.

My wait continued and one of the two agents working the flight came over and advised me that they were waiting for other passengers that were checked in and also that the flight is weight restricted.

I was able to get a seat at 7:50a. I did not mind the wait, as I got a chance to see the operations; airplanes landing ever so often as well as some fantastic takeoffs. I boarded right away.

London Jan. 4: Leaving the city

07APR08 London, England

It was 5:30a, when my alarm clock on my phone stabbed that darkness. I jumped up and turned it off immediately. Normally, I would snooze, but chose not to this morning. I had gotten about 4 hours or less sleep this time around. I got ready and left at 6:09a, nine minutes behind schedule. I was a bit delayed as I was checking e-mail and checking in for my flight from Amsterdam to Houston. While online, I noticed that another U.S. airline had ceased operations on Saturday; the less than one year old Skybus.

I walked out into the brisk cold morning air. There were lots of cars out, but not too many people. There were actually a few cars with snow on them. It was unclear if this was snow from yesterday morning’s fall or there was a fresh snowfall this morning. There was no evidence of a snowfall in the area where I was. I continued my brisk pace towards the Kings Cross St. Pancras train station. As I rounded the corner, I looked at the big clock over the St. Pancras station and it read 6:15a.

At the station, I checked the map for my routing, topped up my Oyster card with 10 GBP as I only had 1.30 GBP on it and then confirmed that the Northern Line was running then headed in that direction. The Oyster card is the best method of payment when using the London Underground. Using cash will cost you a little extra for each journey.

The train arrived in just one minute from my arriving on the platform. Inside is a good mixture of the people who make London go around. There were blue collar workers and office workers all alike. From a guy in a crisp pink shirt with cuff links (actually there was another guy in a pink shirt as well), a lady in her business suit to a laborer in a white paint stained jacket and holes in the top of his painted stained steel toe shoes. Almost everyone was reading a copy of Metro, the Transport for London newspaper. I was the only one who looked like he was going to an airport. It was funny when one laborer reached into his bag and took out a croissant from a packet and commenced to eat it. At least I thought it was. The train was silent and only had two standing passengers although all the seats were not taken.

We pulled into the Bank station at about 6:28a, I alighted and followed the signs to the DLR. It is strange, but there were no escalators or any sign of an elevator anywhere; just a series of stairs. As I got to the Docklands Light Rail (DLR), there was a train on the platform bound for Lewisham that was leaving in 1 minute. The King George V train (my train) would be the next train in 3 minutes. It showed up at 6:31a and it was 6:33a, when the DLR pulled out of the Bank station.

The crowd on this train is so different; a mix of flight attendants, airport worker, financial types and airport passengers. This is the train that passes through the London financial district and serves London City Airport (LCY).

We arrived at 6:56a and by 6:58a, I was at the check-in counter.