TK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4980 posts, RR: 11 Posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 18830 times:
This was once in a lifetime kinda trip with my brother for a long overdue bonding vacation. The destination was his idea because he is really into wildlife. After a month long planning I left JFK on Jan 10th, the same day he left IST, to meet in JNB. It was a beautiful evening at JFK Terminal 4 with the sun almost setting:
My plane was just arriving when I entered the terminal. By the time I got to the gate it was there. My first time at terminal 4 and I found to be very spacious and European like. My check in at the KLM counter was about two minutes. They had some e-ticket kiosks and nice NorthWest employee helped me, she just scanned my passport, and within a minute she printed a tag for my one piece of luggage and put in my miles for the trip to my account and off I went into the terminal.
The plane left the gate right on time, and at 6:45pm we took off at a speed of 190mph. The flight is full, but I loved the engines on this plane, the whole plane shakes when they come on and after lift off, about 1-2 min. into flight the captain eases off the power and it is all quiet and we continue to climb effortlessly. Also I really like the Dutch pilots giving information and their superb English. My first time with the IFE and it takes a bit to figure out the buttons but eventually really enjoyed it, tons of movies to watch from start and stop and SA)">FF or RW whenever, music, games, trivia games with other passengers, ability to SMS and email, documentaries and all. I was really amazed with the choices. The FA's were efficient, and that's it.
The first meal is an uninspired pasta, salad, brown dessert:
The first hour of the flight is bumpy but when we start crossing the Atlantic it is smooth sailing all the way. Strong tail winds make this a 6 hour 7 min. trip, I love it. We land at AMS 6:57am local time at 200kmph. Transfer at Schipol is a breeze, just a short walk from F4 to SA)">F9 gate. I have been to AMS before and I really like it especially the "comfort seats" on the second floor. Early in the morning the airport is actually chilly, and smells like cigarettes.
Our 747-400 "City of Lima" PH-BFL CN 25356
is already at the gate waiting for us:
Another full flight leaves the gate 3 min. late and at 10:20am takes off at a speed of 300kmph. I am sitting at 30-D and the seats seem to be a bit smaller than the 777, and the age of this 747 (15 years old) shows in places.
Our first meal is chicken, and a tasty smoked salmon on a bed of cucumber salad: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e329/bonbonturc/ams-jnblunch.jpg
Our second meal was some microwave bread, salad, orange slices and pudding. At this point I knew that I had enough plane food for one day.
It is still fun to be on a 747-400, the queen of the skies, the way it flies is I think magestic. You know you are on a big plane and it feels like that. All those exit row windows becomes a public space in this 10 hour flight, mostly for some lite yoga. But amongs all that I get a glimps of my first African desert sighting somewhere over Chad and I forget about the food and cramped seating and all, it is very inspring:
We land 9:25pm at 290kmph through some thunderstorms which is I think common for this time of the year, but still very smooth. And I haven't heard this much applause for the longest time upon landing.
As expected JNB arrivals is a mess and there were only two officers at immigration for all the foreigners, and a single one for the SA citizens. Good thing there was only us landing at the time.
I also had a flight JNB-CPT but nothing to report about; both ways it was full even though there are many flights between the two by SAA and some LCC's. I have to say on SAA's 319 and 738's the legroom was great, and to my surprise they served alcohol free of charge, being a domestic flight.
But I include some bonus pictures from the trip. I found SA to be a wonderful destination, and now it is on the top of my list.
Afconcorde1 From France, joined Jan 2006, 139 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 18356 times:
Quoting TK787 (Thread starter): Above is the KLM 777-200ER at gate A6
PH-BQC CHICHEN-ITZA CN29397
merely two years old and waiting for me.
This the flight 642 JFK-AMS leaving at 6:25pm
Besides Concorde, this is my favorite plane of all time. If it wasn't for the fact that I had to transfer at AMS for CDG and had more available window seats, I would be taking this flight/plane over to Europe. Sometimes I go down to JFK just to watch this plane take off.
CV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 18086 times:
Nice trip report! It reminded me the one I did last April 2005 from AMS to KIX! I had the same type of airplanes like you did, 777 from AMS to KIX, and return a 744 ( the very first one, PH-BFA...an old 744....if we can say that about a 744 of course! ). I had a great time flying the 777 and I was glad I got it from AMS to KIX because I had a good part of my trip at night, so I could watch some movies....great IFE on the KL 777 right? On the way back it was the 744, no IFE but because the flight was during the day I had a great fun seeing Siberia and a lot of white scenery! I also think KL 744's look a bit "old"...I wish KL would upgrade them with IFE, then we wouldn't see if it's old or not... we'll be focusing on the small screen in front of us!!!
Checo77 From Peru, joined Oct 2004, 1345 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 17860 times:
Great trip report!!! The meals look good! I had the opportunity to fly PH-BQI AMS-JFK and the flight was great. The IFE is wonderfull!!! So many movies. I think this is a coincidence or something, but I photographed "City of Lima" 7/28/2005 (the day I was flying AMS-JFK). That time it was bound for KIX. It is nice to see "Lima" on the same gate and even the photographs are very similar. Take a look at my pic:
TK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4980 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 17842 times:
Your picture is so much nicer than mine, because it was taken in summer and more daylight. As you can see I took mine very early in the morning on an overcast day with the sodium vapor lights still on, which makes an orangish glow on the plane, and you still can see the reflections on the window from inside the terminal even though I had the lens up against the glass.
And a big apology to all, about the pictures not being there, I realized it and tried to fix it but 1/2 hour wasn't enough.
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5156 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (10 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 17012 times:
Quoting TK787 (Thread starter): By the time I got to the gate it was there. My first time at terminal 4 and I found to be very spacious and European like.
= Aah ... how T4 has changed @ JFK. Do people remember the days pre- renovation? I miss the chaotic lines. Guess now its LAX. /*/
/*/ = when I say I miss the chaotic lines, I refer to the times when I was not actually flying ... but when I dropped off/picked up friends. Its always amazing to me to see the range of emotions of people and families from all around the world. Call me a sap ... but just makes me realize this rich diversity of our world.
Cgnnrw From Germany, joined May 2005, 1203 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (10 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 16062 times:
I just came across your report and reading it brought back memories of my trip AMS-JNB last January.
I was on a KL747-Combi and it too was showing its age but I agree the 747 is still a special experience. I also flew JNB-CPT on a SAA737-800. I agree the service on the flight was great, much better than more US carriers.
Jafa From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 782 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (10 years 3 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 15594 times:
Quoting TK787 (Thread starter): Our second meal was some microwave bread, salad, orange slices and pudding. At this point I knew that I had enough plane food for one day.
I liked your trip report. So pardon me for nitpicking, airplanes don't hav microwaves, despite what you see in the movies and television. Everything is cooked or warmed in a convection oven (blows hot air). There are plastic bag type materials that can be used in a convection ovens at all but its highest temperature.