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W-E In Washington (2): DCA-MIA-AMS-BRU AA/KL MD-11  
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Posted (2 years 8 months 5 days ago) and read 9984 times:

Please read part I here: W-E In Washington (1): AF Train + A380 BRU-CDG-IAD (by BrusselsSouth Jan 29 2012 in Trip Reports)

National Air & Space Museum / Part II: National Mall facility

Since I have very much enjoyed my visit of the National Air & Space Museum at Dulles yesterday, visiting the other part of that museum on the National Mall comes as a no brainer. Among the highlights are the Apollo 11 Command Module, the Bell X-1, Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis or an X-15 to name just a few. The museum also features an extensive space section with lots of interesting artifacts that include rocks and dust from the moon surface. My photos can't render the amazingness of such a museum, anyway here's a small selection to give you an idea. A visit is strongly recommended!


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North American X-15.


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Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis.


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The Wright Brothers' Flyer.


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The Bell X-1 was the first manned aircraft to break the sound barrier in 1947.


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Boeing 747 nose.


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Douglas DC-7 flight deck.


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I have a quick lunch at the museum's food court before I finish my visit of the National Mall. I make a small detour to pass in front of the FAA's headquarters on Independence Avenue:


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Georgetown

I have planned to spend a good part of Saturday afternoon in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown. To reach it I take the Metro to Rosslyn. I have been positively impressed by Washington's Metro system, in particular by its clean, safe and beautiful stations. All the stations I visited have this brilliant architecture:


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Unlike downtown Washington, Rosslyn, on the other bank of the Potomac River, has a bit of a skyline:


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While I cross the Francis Scott Key Bridge (shown above) to enter Georgetown, I have a look at the infamous (for the early 1970's scandal) Watergate building complex, on the Potomac banks.


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Georgetown is famous for its university:


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Georgetown University - White-Gravenor Hall.


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Georgetown University - Healy Hall.

And for its typical quiet streets featuring beautiful and often colored houses:


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JFK lived in this house for a couple of years before moving to the White House in 1961 (see this):


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Georgetown also has a couple of busy commercial streets with lots of upscale shops. Finally, the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal flows through Georgetown. As I walk along its banks, the weather becomes so dull that I decide not to bother with color photos:


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As the sun is about to set (behind the clouds), I make another walk in the vibrant Dupont Circle district:


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A Sunday in DC

For my last day in Washington, I have planned some more visits and walking till my feet say stop:


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Franklin School (on Franklin Square) was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996.


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Calvary Baptist Church, with the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the background.


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The modest DC Chinatown.


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FBI headquarters.


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U.S. Capitol at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue.


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Ford's Theatre is the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.


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The balcony on the right is where Lincoln was seated when he was assassinated.


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Old Post Office.


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Internal Revenue Service building.


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National Archives is another must visit, with the original U.S. constitution and declaration of independence exhibited, among others.


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As it is located right on the Metro line to Reagan National Airport, I pay a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery:


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JFK's grave.


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A last look at DC from the cemetery.

From 32 to 77 Farenheit in 2 hours

Flight details:

+ AA1985
+ DCA-MIA
+ Scheduled: 15:20 - 18:10
+ Actual: 15:20 - 17:35
+ Aircraft: Boeing 737-823 N856NN CN31107 LN3427 first flight 27-SEP-2010

After a last quick Metro ride from the Arlington Cemetery, I arrive at the Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) well in advance for my flight to MIA, where I'm due to board my first MD-11 ever. DCA, well at least the terminals B and C part, has its own interesting design (by architect César Pelli), featuring eye-catching yellow metallic vaulting.


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In short, the current DCA comprises three terminals, with the separate, historic (1941) terminal A undergoing renovation, and the more recent (1997) B and C complex from where my flight is going to depart. I make a quick walk along the public area windows to confirm what Mr B had already told me: non ticketed visitors can get really close to the action here:


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I go up to a mezzanine level where ticketing and check-in takes place, using one of AA's self check-in machines to grab one of the last remaining window seats, on the port side. This level is not exactly large but the whole terminal has a pleasant cosy feel.

With my backpack loaded beyond limits with all of Mr B's presents, I make my way through security without hassle, even encountering friendly TSA staff. Unlike on my most recent trips within Europe, removing my shoes is required but this is not a problem at all.

The concourse after security is quite crowded, I take a table at a restaurant and order lunch to observe the action while eating. Interestingly, the "Beer of the Month" is supposedly a "Belgian White" beer. As a Belgian myself, I've never hear of this brand ("Shock Top") which is actually brewed in the U.S.


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I opt for a large coke instead. After being filled by a large bacon cheeseburger, I walk to the end of the concourse to find a seat where I can watch the traffic from. I manage to get a good view of runway 01/19, and even if DCA isn't exatly your place of choice with respect to the variety of airlines, I still enjoy watching the 01 departures and arrivals, as well as the occasional traffic using runway 33. At some point, I witness a US Airways Express Embraer 170 in Star Alliance livery, which is the exact registration I had flown between PHL and YUL in 2009. Nice to see her again:


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Tail of a US A319 in Pittsburgh Steelers livery (N733UW).


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US Airways PSA retro livery on N742PS.

One hour before scheduled departure, I catch sight of my ride to MIA landing on 01:


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Here's her schedule for the day:

- AA464 PLS - MIA / 08:55 - 10:28
- AA1268 MIA - DCA / 12:05 - 14:13
- AA1985 DCA - MIA / 15:20 - 17:22
- AA1985 MIA - TPA / 19:05 - 19:39
- AA438 TPA - MIA / 20:55 - 21:35

While I move to gate 32 to wait for boarding, I receive an e-mail from Delta Airlines regarding my upcoming MIA-AMS-BRU journey, asking me to check the details of my booking.


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I immediately notice that the booking reference is different from the one I received after my original booking, and that the schedule of the AMS-BRU segment has been pushed back a couple of hours. I don't give it much attention since I checked in online in the morning and all looked alright then. All I'll have to do is to print the boarding passes at a self check-in machine at MIA.

After boarding for AA539 to DFW (an MD-82) is complete at the adjacent gate, boarding is called for my flight to MIA. As I belong to boarding group 3 (the check-in machine had tried to sell me the right to "upgrade" to a higher group), the plane is already quite full, in both First and Economy, when I step in. I sit on 8A and start to believe that I could have the whole row for myself, when a couple with a toddler takes 8B and C just before doors are closed. The mother immediately apologizes to me (in advance) for the inconvenience that her baby might cause. Being the father of a 1 year old baby girl myself, I reassure her that this is not something that's going to annoy me and I let the baby turn my copy of the inflight magazine into a mess.


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Here are two pictures that I took from the plane to illustrate the proximity of downtown Washington to DCA:


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This is the occasion for some chatter, mostly about kids, during which I learn that they are connecting at MIA to Grand Cayman, which is as exotic as it gets to my Belgian ears. Judging by their reaction, me connecting to Europe must be even more exotic from their point of view. After a short taxi (there is no such thing as a long taxi, distance wise, at DCA), we take off from runway 01. The view on the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery on departure is stunning:


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This would be my last view of the ground before Florida, as the sky is overcast all the way in between.


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Slightly less than one hour into the flight we encounter some light turbulence, enough to prompt the captain to request and obtain a descent from FL380 to FL340, but no big deal in the grand scheme of things. The flight is pretty standard but pleasant, all food or drinks are for sale, the seat is reasonably comfortable and, from what I can see, the load factor must be quite close to 100%.

When the skies clear again, all I see from my side is water and more water.


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Interestingly, I spot a couple of sandbanks here and there, then a bit later a large piece of land in the distance:


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It's only when I'm back home in Belgium that I realize that I've actually captured part of Grand Bahama island, with West End airport visible on the tip of the island (1), and Freeport (city and airport) in the distance (2).

Soon after, we make execute a 90 degrees right turn toward the Florida coast, which offers excellent views of Miami Beach and downtown Miami:


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Opa-Locka Airport (OPF/KOPF):


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Continuing to the West, we cross into the Everglades which is an impressive sight, also for most of my fellow passengers.


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A large left turn has us aligned with MIA's runway 12, the remainder of the approach being a nice sightseeing tour of the seemingly decent neighborhoods near Doral.


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We make a smooth landing on runway 12 and taxi to our gate (D46)...


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Two Air Seychelles 767's parked in a maintenance/storage area, along with two VX A320's.

... where we park next to an American B767 preparing to depart as AA933 to Guayaquil, Ecuador.


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FlightAware map of our flight:


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Waiting in MIA

I say goodbye to the couple with the baby and we wish each other a safe connecting flight before I enter the terminal and approach a flight information display to check the status of my flight to AMS. Surprise, next to the original departure time of 9:20pm, a yellow warning says "now 11.45pm"... Now I understand the reason for the rescheduled AMS-BRU flight, well, at least the rebooking went smoothly. I board the automatic "skytrain" for a short ride from "Station 3" to "Station 2", where I start the long walk to Concourse H, basically visiting each division of the terminal (North, Central and South terminal). H is home to AF, KL and DL, among others. I try my luck at a KL self check-in kiosk, just to find out that none of the proposed identification methods (booking ref, ticket number, name, passport scan) can retrieve my booking, so I queue for the good old manual check-in counter instead.


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The agent has no problem whatsoever to find my booking and she checks me in. She then directs me to another counter where I'm supposed to receive a meal voucher as a compensation for the delay. It turns out that, of all pre-printed vouchers, mine is the only one missing, to the agent's own surprise. After a few minutes of talking with some of his colleagues, he doesn't manage to find a good reason for this. That's where I politely say "Couldn't you just print another one?". The agent looks at me and says: "in theory I could, but..." (the end of the sentence I'll never know).

Nobody has to believe me, even though this is the plain truth: it took no less than 20 minutes and 3 people to finally have the damn thing printed.


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No big deal as I have plenty of time in front of me, but still impressive. The agent is very polite and apologizes for the time it took, though. I notice that all agents address each other in Spanish, which is interesting to hear. I knew about the widespread use of Spanish in the MIA area, but somehow I hadn't realized the extent of it (not that I mind). As Mr B would later comment, this results in some Americans to joke that MIA is an "international" destination...


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Speaking of Mr B, I receive an e-mail from him to inform me that the KL MD-11 has left AMS 3 hours late, and is not expected to land in MIA before 10:22pm. As kind as he is, he also sends me the schedule of the alternate AMS-BRU departures, just in case. Finally, he suggests that I could take advantage of the delay to leave the airport but I opt against it. Instead, I pass security to enter the H concourse, again without hassle but after a bit of waiting in queue.

To kill time, I settle in the "Budweiser Brew House" where I treat myself to a large plate of nachos with chicken, washed down with a glass of Budweiser, a meal supposed to symbolize the Latin American/North American mix that Miami is... I kill time telling Mr B about my day then head to the very tip of concourse H, where plenty of seats, large windows and almost no one in sight make for a comfortable place to pass time.


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I make use of the (paying) wifi to surf the web (including A.net...) and exchange e-mails with Mr B, looking out of the window from time to time to watch traffic. Here's what I see:

- Delta 757
- LAN 767 x3
- Bahamasair 737-200
- Swiss A340
- TAM A330
- TAP Portugal A330
- US Airways 737 x2
- Air France A320 (yes, A320, from the AF Caribbean mini-hub)

I even manage to get a few periods of light sleep (a fellow passenger waiting for the same flight is laying on the floor in deep sleep). The whole concourse feels very quiet, with most shops and bars having closed and basically only the AMS bound passengers around. At approximately 10:15pm I witness the arrival of our MD-11 from AMS, and let me tell you, the delay certainly doesn't make her less graceful. Shortly after a decent load of passengers walk out of the gate toward immigration, letting the cleaning and catering staff turn the bird around for her return to her home base. As the announced boarding time of 11pm is near, I go to the gate to assess the imminence of boarding but it seems that nothing will be happening soon, so I take a seat near a TV to wait for another half hour. Finally, boarding is called. A seemingly Dutch agent (he looks and speak Dutch) that was supervising the check-in process earlier in the afternoon is at the gate to organize boarding. He's the one making P/A's to indicate the rows being boarded and, while being polite, insists a lot for the process to be as fast as possible, asking passengers not to stand in the aisles and take their seats as quick as possible.

My first MD-11 flight

Flight details:

+ KL628
+ MIA-AMS
+ Scheduled: 21:50 - 12:25
+ Actual: 23:50 - 14:15
+ Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-11 PH-KCD CN48558 LN573 delivered 16-SEP-1994, named Florence Nightingale

Even though I'm tired, I still feel the excitement of boarding my first MD-11 ever, especially as I notice the "MD-11" logo near the door. The cabin interior is clean and spacious but looks a bit outdated (overhead panels, small IFE screens, ...). I take my Premium Economy seat (11A) on the port side and immediately thank myself for the small upgrade, as the more generous seat recline and significantly greater legroom add a lot to my comfort. The load factor appears to be quite high and I don't spot any vacant seats in Y+.


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Flight attendants are extremely friendly and try to apologize for the delay by adding fun in their announcements. Here are a few extracts:

- "Ladies and gentlemen, we're so sorry for the delay, but don't worry, we'll give you such a good service that you'll soon forget about it".
- "Our smiles will be even larger than usual as a mean to apologize for the delay".
- "As the IFE is out of order, you don't want to wait until it has been rebooted to see the safety demo, neither do we, so especially for you dear passengers, we'll make a manual demo, you'll see how funny it is".

And sure enough, the manual demo, done in an excellent mood, is full of fun. After this nice welcome, the captain comes on the P/A to apologize for the delay and explains it with an obscure "customs control that took longer than expected at AMS". He goes on giving some details about our route and the weather while we taxi to runway 08R for take-off. The three CF6-80C2 engines create quite some noise in the cabin, but my mind is focused on the amazing night view of Miami and all its lights as we gain altitude. I notice that the windows feel larger than those of comparable aircraft.


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Soon after departure, the cabin crew hands out hot towels followed by a round of drinks. As I watch the eastern Florida coast all lit up in the distance, I slowly fall asleep. Not for long, but enough to miss the evening meal service. The irony is that I wouldn't find much sleep during the night (as usual for me). From what I see, the IFE system has finally been rebooted sucessfully.


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The flight attendants make us all close down the window blinds in anticipation of sunrise, as to not bother passengers who can actually sleep (the majority, as far as I can see). I kill time by watching "Midnight in Paris", which finishes just as breakfast is going to be served. A hot towel is most welcome, as is the very tasty breakfast (I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was some kind of omelet with slices of sausage, multiple rounds of nice bread served from a tray, fresh fruit salad, orange juice, yoghurt and coffee). As most passengers have opened the window blinds, I do the same and notice that we are now over Europe (Ireland to be exact).


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Soon after we cross England and reach the North Sea above Skegness, UK:


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More and more wind turbines are being installed in the middle of North Sea:


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Finally, we reach continental Europe just south of Ijmuiden in the Netherlands:


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The captain makes an interesting pre-arrival P/A, mentioning that we are going to land from the East, which will provide an opportunity to spot the famous Amsterdam Arena, home to the Ajax Amsterdam football (soccer) team:


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After a couple of minor bumps, we touch down on runway 27 in AMS, a little less than 2 hours behind schedule.


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I don't get many opportunities to shoot decent pictures of our MD-11, here's all I manage to catch:


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AMS is SkyTeam territory:


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FlightAware map of our flight:


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Back to Belgium

I go through passport control then security, where some of Mr B's presents in my bag cause a bit of confusion to the security officer. I end up having to empty my bag in front of him and give a brief explanation, before my bag is scanned again and I'm allowed through (after having had to repack all my stuff). Whatever people may think about it, the TSA let me pass without hassle in both DCA and MIA, while the AMS officer felt like he had to search all my belongings.

I convince myself that this is no big deal and I make the long walk to the B gates (sorry for the picture quality):


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As I have plenty of time before my flight to Brussels, I seat myself at a table near a window in a restaurant, order some good food, get the camera off my bag and simply enjoy the view:


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KLM retro livery on PH-BXA.


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Quite an unusual sight for me.


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N183DN departing as DL265 to MSP.

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After this nice meal, I make my way to gate B32 where my flight will soon depart from. This gate kind of overlooks the regional jets apron, which in AMS means "the Fokker apron":


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I realize that the rebooking means that my flight to Brussels will be operated by an Embraer 190 instead of the original Fokker 70. Fortunately, as I have flown a KLM F70 in December, this doesn't really bother me. On the contrary, it will be a good opportunity to fly the KLM CityHopper ERJ-190, a type/airline combination absent from my log. Here she is, waiting in a glorious sunset:


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The 5 daily AMS-BRU services (all by KLM CityHopper) are almost exclusively used by passengers connecting from another SkyTeam flight, O&D being marginal at best (O&D pax will rather take the train). Boarding is called on time and the captain even thanks us for being all at the gate on time:


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The load for this flight is decent, although some seats remain vacant. As all Embraers from the E-Jet family, PH-EZS is very comfortable:


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We taxi to runway 24, wave AMS goodbye and make a powerful take-off toward the colorful skies:


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Service on this short (25 minutes) hop to Brussels consists in a small bag of biscuits and a cup of orange juice.

Now should you ever forget about the reason why you love flying, then maybe this last shot, taken somewhere over northern Belgium, might be a good reminder...


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Regards
BrusselsSouth

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineplateman From United States of America, joined May 2007, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 9487 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):

In regards to Metro, if only you knew. Us locals hate it .. the service is unpredictable and unreliable at best. Headways are really long during the day, communication lacks. There are multiple blogs and twitter accounts to how much it stinks.

It's so bad in fact, that I literally drive everywhere, despite living one block from a Metro station,



"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1729 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 9465 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Beste François,

After just having read part 1 I say: 'Thanks again for this excellent sequel'. Loved the pics of the Washington area as well as all the other pics of course   That KLM MD-11 sure is something special. I'm glad you were able to log this thing of beauty.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Interestingly, the "Beer of the Month" is supposedly a "Belgian White" beer.

When you look closely it says 'Belgian style' so it's not really Belgian I guess  

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
The view on the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery on departure is stunning:

Wow, stunning ideed. Makes me wonder what an easy target it must've been for the 9/11 terrorists...

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Nobody has to believe me, even though this is the plain truth: it took no less than 20 minutes and 3 people to finally have the damn thing printed.

I believe you but it's not to be understood.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
- "Ladies and gentlemen, we're so sorry for the delay, but don't worry, we'll give you such a good service that you'll soon forget about it".
- "Our smiles will be even larger than usual as a mean to apologize for the delay".
- "As the IFE is out of order, you don't want to wait until it has been rebooted to see the safety demo, neither do we, so especially for you dear passengers, we'll make a manual demo, you'll see how funny it is".

That made me lol! And an excellent way of saying sorry IMO.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Whatever people may think about it, the TSA let me pass without hassle in both DCA and MIA, while the AMS officer felt like he had to search all my belongings.

I thought it would've been more like the other way round?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Now should you ever forget about the reason why you love flying, then maybe this last shot, taken somewhere over northern Belgium, might be a good reminder...

In that aspect: a truly descriptive pic!

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 9409 times:

Quoting sultanils (Reply 2):

When you look closely it says 'Belgian style' so it's not really Belgian I guess

That's what I figured out after looking up the stuff on Google.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 2):
Makes me wonder what an easy target it must've been for the 9/11 terrorists...

It's so close to DCA that you'd need to hijack the plane immediately after leaving the gate to have a chance at hitting it. Interestingly, as the airspace above downtown Washington is prohibited, planes taking off from 01 execute an immediate left turn as to avoid it.

Quoting plateman (Reply 1):
In regards to Metro, if only you knew. Us locals hate it .. the service is unpredictable and unreliable at best. Headways are really long during the day, communication lacks. There are multiple blogs and twitter accounts to how much it stinks.

Interesting to know. I noticed that the intervals between trains were quite long, but I assumed the week-end schedule to be the reason for this. While the DC network is less extensive, is certainly felt safer and cleaner than in Chicago or NYC (the only two other rail transit systems I've ever tried in the U.S.). I also liked the stations architecture. Then again, by having lived there, you certainly know better than I do.


Thanks for your comments.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineCV990A From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 1424 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 8956 times:

Thanks for a great pair of reports! It looks like you made it here for our only snow of the season...

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
I have been positively impressed by Washington's Metro system, in particular by its clean, safe and beautiful stations.

Thanks for the laugh- you got very lucky with the Metro, as:

Quoting plateman (Reply 1):
Us locals hate it .. the service is unpredictable and unreliable at best.

That and they keep raising the fares without any corresponding improvement in service. A shame, as the system has so much potential to be truly great.



Kittens Give Morbo Gas
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 8852 times:

Hi

great return report as well! Sorry to hear about your delay on KLM. The way the crew handeled reminds me about many KLM flights that i've tooken in the past.
I had the chance to fly the MD11 once as well, between Amsterdam and Montreal in 2010. You can find the report here.
A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports)

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5100 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 8759 times:

Perfect report. I have lived in DC and it remains one of my favorite cities in the world. Thanks again for taking us with you.

Saludos,
A.

PS: Pics of food next time please for people with one-track-mind like myself.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 990 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days ago) and read 7958 times:

Again, a great read, with lots of memories from my own trip to Washington. It seems we visited most of the same sights. Georgetown sure looks great in winter too.

By coinsedence, although I was headed to the East Coast I flew into MIA, the experience the MD-11 too!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
A visit is strongly recommended!

It is!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Finally, the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal flows through Georgetown. As I walk along its banks, the weather becomes so dull that I decide not to bother with color photos:

Wow. Altough it sure looked good in the summer as well, with lots of green and a clear blue sky.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
I go up to a mezzanine level where ticketing and check-in takes place, using one of AA's self check-in machines to grab one of the last remaining window seats, on the port side. This level is not exactly large but the whole terminal has a pleasant cosy feel.

AA offers free seat selection in advance, so you could have picked a window seat before!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Soon after, we make execute a 90 degrees right turn toward the Florida coast, which offers excellent views of Miami Beach and downtown Miami:

Great view! I was seated on the other side of the plane on my flight to MIA, so unfortunately no great views of MIA, but a nice view of the Florida coastline instead.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Two Air Seychelles 767's parked in a maintenance/storage area, along with two VX A320's.

VX? I would assume they are there for maintance as they do not fly to MIA?

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
- "Ladies and gentlemen, we're so sorry for the delay, but don't worry, we'll give you such a good service that you'll soon forget about it".
- "Our smiles will be even larger than usual as a mean to apologize for the delay".
- "As the IFE is out of order, you don't want to wait until it has been rebooted to see the safety demo, neither do we, so especially for you dear passengers, we'll make a manual demo, you'll see how funny it is".

That's what I like about flying KLM, they always seem to put a smile on your face. When I entered a 773 trough the front door when I was seated somwhere way in the back, the purser told me to go "to your right, take the elevator 6 floors up, and you'll find your seat on your left".

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
(I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was some kind of omelet with slices of sausage, multiple rounds of nice bread served from a tray, fresh fruit salad, orange juice, yoghurt and coffee).

They serve a hot breakfast on MIA-AMS? Great! A lot of North American destinations only get a small sandwich, a bit of yoghurt and prepackeged OJ for breakfast.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
After a couple of minor bumps, we touch down on runway 27 in AMS, a little less than 2 hours behind schedule.

I love landing on runway 27, especially coming in from the North Sea. The view of Amsterdam can be quite spectacular, especially if you are seated on the right.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Now should you ever forget about the reason why you love flying, then maybe this last shot, taken somewhere over northern Belgium, might be a good reminder...

Wow!


User currently offlineCharles79 From Puerto Rico, joined Mar 2007, 1331 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 7555 times:

Allow me to add my voice and thank you for one enjoyable report(s). Living here in DC (and using AF almost exclusively between IAD and Europe for the last 3 years) it definitely hit a spot.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Unlike downtown Washington, Rosslyn, on the other bank of the Potomac River, has a bit of a skyline:

There's a reason for this: the Heights of Buildings Act passed by Congress in 1899; in order to preserve the "European" flavour of the city and to ensure that no structures would tower over the monuments in downtown (such as the Washington Monument and the Capitol), the height of any new constructions was limited to 110ft/34m. In 1910 the act was amended to allow buildings to reach a height that is up to 20 ft/6.1m taller than their adjacent street, thus still artificially keeping the height limited. Without this limitation I'm certain that DC would have had quite a few highrises by now.

Quoting plateman (Reply 1):
In regards to Metro, if only you knew. Us locals hate it .. the service is unpredictable and unreliable at best. Headways are really long during the day, communication lacks. There are multiple blogs and twitter accounts to how much it stinks.

It's so bad in fact, that I literally drive everywhere, despite living one block from a Metro station,
Quoting CV990A (Reply 4):
That and they keep raising the fares without any corresponding improvement in service. A shame, as the system has so much potential to be truly great.

Oh yes, Metro is always in for a bashing (and rightfully so) whenever it is mentioned. I always try and remind myself that it could be worse...before moving to DC I lived in Los Angeles for 4 years and there I really had no alternative but to drive everywhere. At least here in DC we do have Metro...

...that said, I barely touch it! I live in Capitol Hill and work downtown and as long as the weather is nice I walk to/from work and avoid Metro altogether!


User currently offlineswedenflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7437 times:

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
My photos can't render the amazingness of such a museum, anyway here's a small selection to give you an idea. A visit

I do love that museum!

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
DCA, well at least the terminals B and C part, has its own interesting design (by architect César Pelli), featuring eye-catching yellow metallic vaulting.

I fly DCA-ATL a bunch, and whenever I get there, I'm sick of just seeing DL, AA, UA, and a bunch of RJs. Not a spotter's delight. The US jet with the PSA throwback is cool, though, but that's as exotic as it gets.



FlyingFinn76, abrelosojos
User currently offlinebuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 881 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 7187 times:

Excellent series of reports. I absolutely love Washington DC. Hands down one of my favorite cities in the US along with San Francisco. Your pictures were beautiful and the report was just as well written. I really enjoyed both parts.
Thanks a ton for writing this report & sharing it with us...
cheers  


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 7076 times:

Hi Francois,

Everything I said about the first part also applies to this second one. What a fab report, really like it a lot. Love those shots from D.C - they only fortify my decision to go there in June!

Great that you managed to log your first flight with an MD-11, a shame about the delay but it looks like it was actually handled quite well after they finally managed to print you your food voucher...


User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 7035 times:

Thank you all for the nice comments, really much appreciated!

Quoting CV990A (Reply 4):
Thanks for the laugh- you got very lucky with the Metro

Wow, Washingtonians certainly like to bash the system.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
I had the chance to fly the MD11 once as well, between Amsterdam and Montreal in 2010. You can find the report here.

Will definitely read it.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 6):
Perfect report.

Coming from you, the writer of fabulous reports, this is a much appreciated compliment!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 6):
Pics of food next time please

Wilco.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 7):
I was seated on the other side of the plane on my flight to MIA, so unfortunately no great views of MIA, but a nice view of the Florida coastline instead.

That was exactly my original plan.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 7):
They serve a hot breakfast on MIA-AMS? Great!

Hot, and tasty if I may add.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 8):
There's a reason for this: the Heights of Buildings Act passed by Congress in 1899; in order to preserve the "European" flavour of the city and to ensure that no structures would tower over the monuments in downtown (such as the Washington Monument and the Capitol), the height of any new constructions was limited to 110ft/34m. In 1910 the act was amended to allow buildings to reach a height that is up to 20 ft/6.1m taller than their adjacent street, thus still artificially keeping the height limited.

While I was aware of this limitation, thank you for your explanation.

Quoting swedenflyer (Reply 9):
Not a spotter's delight

Agreed, but I think the airport has its specific "charm". Also, the view of the Capitol and Monument from the terminal makes it special.

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6577 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 6994 times:

Hi Francois !

Thanks for another excellent report with fantastic pictures, especially of Washington DC.

DCA is a great airport with great places for spotting including indoors when the weather is too cold outside.

Too bad your KLM flight got delayed but it seems that they handled it well. Glad you finally got to fly on a MD-11.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineokapi From France, joined Jun 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 8 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 6882 times:

Bonjour François. What a pleasant report. Washington DC is a stunning city full of history as one would expect. Overall, I guess it's mission accomplished. A great trip with interesting planes to fly on. KLM remains a "cool" airline. I've never been on board a noisy MD11 myself but it seems to be a must for enthusiasts.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Thread starter):
Now should you ever forget about the reason why you love flying, then maybe this last shot, taken somewhere over northern Belgium, might be a good reminder...

I absolutely agree with you.
I wish you the best for this year to come and a prompt return to the skies.

Take care.
OKP


User currently offlinexaapb From Mexico, joined Jan 2005, 439 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (2 years 8 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6556 times:

Same as part 1 great trip reports and great pictures!! I really enjoyed reading both trip reports!
Thanks for shareing them!
Greetings!!



Jorge Meneses
User currently offlinestratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1653 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (2 years 8 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6474 times:

Awesome pics and trip report. I loved your pics of the smithsonian...When I worked for NWA I flew in the upper deck of 6601 from HNL to MSP in 1992 and it was in the old colors not the new colors i.e bowling shoe colors that is in the museum. Nice to have the MD-11 pics too I wish I had the chance to fly in the MD-11 as a passenger but they are going away quick.


NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8549 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5978 times:
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Great pictures and good text, thanks for sharing.

DCA looks great, really must find an excuse to fly from/to there.

MIA holds a special place for me, had my first solo spotting trip there so it's always a pleasure to see reports involving MIA.

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3007 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5865 times:

Hi BrusselsSouth,

great report, thanks!

I visited Washington some years ago, and I too was impressed with the Smithsonian, one of the best museums anywhere I would say - though I only visited the downtown version.

DCA looks, well, quaint - not something you think of for a US airport! Good that your flight was ok, I can imagine it being unbearable if there are delays and the place is packed.

Finally, the MD11 - fantastic   I've been on it once, many years ago before I realised its significance, but am unlikely to repeat it now.

Thanks again

signol



Flights booked: none :(
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