Saturday, April 19, 2008

London Apr. 18: The Terminal 5 Song

While I'm here in London a friend of mine showed me this link about Terminal 5.

London Apr. 18: The BA crashed Boeing 777 in Heathrow

London Apr. 18: In London Heathrow London, England (LHR)

19APR08 London Heathrow International, London England

We exited the runway using the second to last high speed taxiway. I usually land in the other direction on this runway, so this is a rare treat.

The flight attendant thanked us for traveling with KLM and hoped that she would see us onboard soon. The taxi to the Terminal 4 was not too bad as we actually taxied to the end of the runway and crossed right at the spot where that British Airways (BA) Boeing 777 crashed a few months back. Actually, the now rudder less airplane is still just behind the blast fence and was clearly visible as we passed by.

We taxied across the end of the runway and made our way to the gate passing a British Airways Boeing 777 and a Boeing 747 on our way in. There was also a Delta Air Lines (DL) Boeing 767-300 at the far ends. We blocked in at 1:53p.

I gathered my stuff and deplaned, then headed for the Immigration Hall. You could also see that crashed Boeing 777 from the terminal.

At Immigration, I tried the iris machine and failed twice, so it kicked me out. I told the lady and she asked me what kind of passport I have. I told her and she was sending me off to another line, so I just tried again. I could hear the one guy at the front of the line asking, if I had registered in an annoyed tone. At that moment, the machine worked and I got my receipt. I looked over at him and calmly said “patience,” then walked away.

I then made my down to Customs, cleared there and headed for the Underground stop at Terminal 2. Basically, I made a left outside of Customs, make way through the usual throng of meters and greeters, then followed the signs to the Heathrow Express. Go down to the lowest level and take any train to the next stop and follow the signs to Terminal 2 which leads to the Underground. By the way, the Underground also stops at Terminal 4, so I could have turned right out of Customs, then take the escalators down one level.

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.

London Apr. 18: Leaving Amsterdam Schipol

Amsterdam Schipol International, Amsterdam Netherlands (AMS)

I checked the gate information and realized that the British Airways (BA) flight was at 12:10p, not 12:20p as I had thought. It was at gate D4 which was pretty far away actually about 10 minutes away. It was now 11:56p; you know an airport is large when your gate is 10 minutes away walking time.

I finally got to the gate at 12:09p and saw the airplane at the gate with the jetway still attached. I tried to get to the counter, but the security folks came over and asked me if I was on the flight. I said I’d like to, but if it is not possibly, it would not be an issue. They took my ticket and gave it to the agents and came back in a minute and said it was not possible. I thanked them and left.

I headed to the Transfer desk at Concourse E, which is far away and got checked in for KL1017. The agent there said that it was not looking good as the flight was overbooked and everyone who was checked in and connecting had already arrived. She wished me luck anyways and told me to try it.

Hearing that bit of good news, I decided to try and check on the bmi british midland (BD) flight at 1:45p. so off I went back to the Transfer area in the D Concourse. There was a sign there that said they were closed and to go to the gate at D22 which was really far away and close to where I had missed the British Airways flight. I went down there and there was no one at that gate as it was now about 12:30p. Aargh, I thought, this is becoming a little annoying.

I then journeyed back to the main concourse between D and E so I could use the KLM Crown Lounge. I had my credentials verified and settled in to a much need snack and refreshments. The Lounge now has WiFi as opposed to using the KPN Communications Centre’s that I think is run by the airport. I got the code and logged on and send some of the updates you got earlier. I love the Crown Lounge as they have a lot of stuff to eat and have an excellent unobstructed view of the gates and one of the main runway.

I started for the gate at 1:00p, just noticing that the estimated walk was 16 minutes. Ooh joy, I do have to hurry now. I got there at about 1:09p and as it turns out, the security guy remembered me from the other gate. We talked as he put my stuff through the x-ray machine.

Once through without beeping, I collected my stuff and went to the agent at the podium. The boarding process had already started so the area was not too crowded. Lucky for me, she already had a boarding pass for me with a window seat in Europe Select, their intra Europe Business Class cabin. I thanked her and boarded immediately.

London Apr. 18: In Amsterdam Schipol

In Amsterdam, trying to get on a flight to London; missed the 12:10p flight to Gatwick on British Airways. Trying for the 1:30p KLM flight to Heathrow...

Will add the pics to the IAH to AMS flight post soon.

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.