11/10/01 EZY 207 0915 Luton-Amsterdam
I arrived at Luton after a fairly bad train journey from West London and caught the shuttle bus to the airport which was waiting as I arrived.When I actually to got the airport itself I made a quick dash to the other side of the car park to get a photo of an Airtours DC-10 which was parked on the apron,after which I went into the terminal for check-in.I was curious to see if there were any significant changes to the procedure since Sept 11th as my previous flight had been as long ago as November 2000.There was no real queue for check-in and I was seen to fairly quickly,I was a little surprised to find no real change in the security procedures-obviously the media were sensationalising things as usual.
I soon headed for the departure lounge and grabbed a bite to eat while I waited for boarding which was still about 20 minutes away.It was on my way through the final security check point (x-ray machine etc) that I noticed something a bit worrying,the guy who was supposed to be monitoring hand baggage as it passed through the x-ray machine was more concerned with continuing a conversation with his colleagues than screening luggage,I noted with concern that he made no visual check as my bag passed through.This sort of thing would be worrying at any time but this was only four days since the allied attacks on Afghanistan had commenced and here we were with unchecked bags going into the cabin.
Shotly after 0850 G-EZYC arrived on stand 6 immediately in front of me and disembarked it's passengers,we commenced boarding at 0910 in three stages,boarding cards 1-30,31-90 and 91 upwards.I was one of the last to board but still managed to grab a window seat by using the rear entrance to the a/c instead of following the herd and using the front entrance.I don't know why people always have to use the first available door-it's not as if the plane is gonna go without them-I spent several years working on board trains and it's the same with them,lots of doors but most people only want to use one.Anyway,I settled into seat 23F and prepared for departure.We pushed back at 0926,about 10 minutes late and after a very bumpy taxi to the runway we got airborne at 0934.
We were in the clouds almost straight away and made a sharp bank to the left through about 180 degrees to pick up our course for AMS.After levelling out at around 20,000ft the f/a's came through with the drinks trolley and the inflight magazines.Our captain went through a few details of the flight plus weather and our eta in AMS.It was only once we were almost of the way across the North Sea that the cloud began to break up a little to allow us glimpses of passing ships followed by the Dutch coastline.I had only ever seen Holland once before and that was from a height of around 30,000ft on QF001 last year,this time I was able to see things in a little more detail!Sadly the cloud soon returned and unfortunatley by the time we saw land again the gear was down and the flaps were fully extended in preparation for landing on runway 27,and a very smooth landing it was too at 1111 local time-followed by a lengthy taxi to stand D22.I was one of the last off the flight,I had nothing to hurry for-I was only in AMS for a bit of photography around the airport.The viewdeck was still closed but I managed some photos of what for me were rare planes,although I guess AMS spotters get as bored with KLM 744's as I do at LHR with BA 744's.
11/10/01 EZY216 1835 AMS-LTN
I got back to Schiphol from the city centre quite early with the intention of getting a low numbered boarding card as I was hoping for a quick exit at Luton to catch a train at 1920.I succeeded in the first part of my quest by getting boarding card number 22,and then went through the security checks (which were far more stringent than at Luton)and then checked out some of the shops in the terminals.Schiphol is frequently recommended as one of the best in Europe and I was very impressed with what I saw,but I'm afraid Changi is still my favourite-I just love those fountains!! I made my way to gate D22 for boarding to commence but my plan for a train home at 1920 in Luton all went up in smoke when our flight was announced as not being expected to arrive at AMS untill 1900....ish,even the easyJet agents at AMS didn't know when to expect their plane! We should have been approaching the coast of Essex at 1900 (Dutch time) so I was now anticipating a delay of around an hour.I moved down to the adjacent gate where an Aer Lingus flight had just boarded so the gate area was empty,peaceful and fairly relaxing,unlike gate 22 which was full of irate passengers getting more and more steamed up as time went by.1900 came and went as did 1915,by 1925 with no sign of an easyJet plane in the area I went back to gate 22 to find the flight had gone to gate 16.At 1935 gate 16 was greeted by G-EZYC now running almost 90 minutes late.We went through the boarding gate at 1945 but didn't actually board the a/c untill 1955.My original idea of sitting towards the front soon lost it's appeal as I entered the a/c to find the first few rows on either side occupied by the miserable suits who had been moaning about just about anything to do with easyJet since the delay was first announced.Not wanting to let their bad attitudes spoil what had so far been a good day I chose to sit at the rear of the a/c and was able to retake seat 23F once again.Alphabetically I was the last passenger,I knew this as I had seen the passenger list at the check-in desk,so I also knew that we had 128 passengers in total,plus 3 f/a's and 2 in the cockpit,so the load factor was around 80% I guess.The captain informed us that the delay had been due to 'losing' some passengers at Edinburgh earlier in the day and an aircraft change at Luton,following this the f/a's did the safety demo-as usual there were plenty of people not paying any attention whatsoever,so it was nice to hear the f/a at the front make an example of one guy 'wether this is your first flight or wether you are a regular with us,we would like to draw your attention to the safety features of this Boeing 737 300 series aircraft.......Yes,this is includes the gentleman in the second row reading his paper...........Thank you sir'.I've flown lots of times,but I ALWAYS listen to/watch the safety demo,it's unfortunate that so many other people on that flight had such little sense of self worth.
After watching a Martinair DC-10 and an SAS 737 take off in front of us it was our turn and we took off at 2017-just over an hour and a half late.As before we were soon enveloped by cloud but it didn't last long,after climbing out of the cloud I could see the warm glow of suburban streetlighting shining under the clouds,and above us was nothing but starlight.The pockets of light became more distant as we flew over the North Sea again,and we began our descent only 20 minutes after take off.As on the outward flight the f/a's made a brief sortie down the aisle with the drinks trolley and a few embarkation cards aswell.We crossed the English coastline over Clacton and headed straight into Luton landing at 1959 local time.Unfortunately it was one of the worst landings I can recall,everything seemed okay as we crossed the threshold with the rate of descent easing off nicely,but we hit the runway very heavily followed by an early release of the brakes and reverse thrust-this was followed a couple of seconds later by a reapplication of the brakes (which made a nasty screeching sort of sound) which eventually slowed us down enough so that we could get off the runway.Perhaps the Captain misjudged the exit,my seat (at the rear of the a/c) was in line with the centreline of the taxiway that we had to do a 180 get onto-I found the whole experience entertaining rather than frightening although most of the passengers didn't see it that way! We stopped at stand 9 at 2002 and after a quick dash through customs I was at the train station by 2020 so I ended up only one hour late getting home in the end.
In summary both flights were very good-I had a great day,a window seat in both directions,good service,the delay on the return was a bit of a drag but I only paid £40 return so I'm not in a position to complain,and I don't have anything to complain about anyway.I suppose this is the point at which I say whether I'll fly with this airline again-yes I would,in fact I'm going to AMS again next week......but this time it's BA,firstly because it's easier to get to LHR and secondly because it's cheaper on this occasion.
Of the 60 or so flights I've made,these two were the shortest,and so far the only ones to be documented in this way.If I can I'll try and put together some info on my previous flights which were mostly long haul and mostly over 10 years ago-but they included an engine failure,two aborted take offs,bird strikes,delays,lost luggage and other nightmares.I have an LHR-AKL via SIN/SYD/CNS coming up soon and hope to have some reports here by mid December.....