Here comes my promised Trip Report. In this forum we can read a lot of interesting trip reports, mostly from USA and Europe, this one is from Scandinavia to Africa.
I recently made a long trip, from one small place to another. From Gothenburg in Sweden to the magic island of Zanzibar, situated some miles outside Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Three different flights took me there. First Gothenburg (GOT) to Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), second AMS to Nairobi (NBO), then NBO to Zanzibar (ZNZ) via Mombasa. I have divided the trip report into three stories, as they were made on different days. This is the firts one.
Jumped out of bed at 04:00am on Friday the 8 of September. Dark and heavy rain outside –not funny-. Arrived at the Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport at 05:30. A lot of people in the check-in area, long queues. There are many morning departures to the central of Europe, but also many charters to the Mediterranean. I walked to the KLM check-in desk and there were only about ten people before me in the three queues. Used my charm and got a window seat. Passed the security without problems, strange as my camera equipment always causes big interest of the guards.
Here is a description of Gothenburg airport, I think most of you don´t know the place.
Gothenburg is Swedens second largest city (largest is the capital; Stockholm), situated on the west coast of Sweden. The Göteborg-Landvetter Airport is located 20km east of the town. It has one runway (21/03) which is 3000m long. If you travel from Europe to Japan etc, you probably pass over Gothenburg.
Most flights go to the bigger airlines hubs in Europe. For example, we have got British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Sabena, KLM, Finnair, Crossair, Wideroe, Braathens and of course SAS. Among the charter airlines we got Britannia, Premiair, Falcon Air and Novair. Domestic flights are provided mostly by SAS and Skyways, and some smaller airlines.
The most common aircraft are Boeing 737. We also see a lot of Airbuses, all types except the 340. And different MD8X and DC-9. Fokker is represented by the F100 and F50. The smaller aircrafts are BAe 146, Jetstream 31 and Embraer etc.
But it´s possible to see some really interesting things, for example; Boeing 727 in DHL-livery (Air Contractors), Czech Airlines Tu-154, Balkan (once I saw an AN-12), Air Bosnia Yak-42, Tu-204 (flying for TNT) and Iran Air 747SP. The IR 747SP and Premiair, and Novair, Airbus 330 are the largest passenger aircrafts. But the largest aircrafts are the freighters. We see a lot of Lufthansa MD-11F and Polar Air Cargo 747. These fly to/from Europe or to/from JFK and Fairbanks.
What we don´t see is Boeing 757, 767 and 777.
Now I think you know a little more what Gothenburg-Landvetter is.
GOT – AMS
Friday 8 sept.
A/c: 737-400; PH-BDY (named ”Vasco da Gama” )
Seat: 12A (over the left wing)
A lot of people in the terminal, there are a lot of departures in the morning. Between 06:30 and 08:30 there were 30 departing flights. The terminal is being rebuilt so it was difficult getting a good view of the tarmac and planes. So I boarded as quickly as possible, Gate 19.
Pushback at 06:48. There were no planes before us so we took off directly from runway 21, wheels up 06:55. We flew directly into the clouds. Soon we passed through the clouds and met the sun. Breakfast was served. As I had seat 12A there was an Emergency Exit in front of me and therefore no seat, this means no table so I had to have the breakfast tray in my lap (but a lot of legroom… ). A warm, double, ham and cheese sandwich was served. Muffins and coffee. Tasted very good as I was hungry, 3 hours since my first breakfast !
We started descend at 07:45. There were clouds all the way to Amsterdam. I´am not sure on which runway we landed but I think it was 19R (”Zwanenburgbaan” ). When taxing I saw a Northwest DC-10 land and an EVA 747 taxing in front of us, Schiphol is really a busy place. At 08:16 we parked at gate D56.
A long walk into the central of Schiphol as D56 is at the end of one of the long ramps. I saw a lot of all kinds of KLM aircrafts, also a lot of Northwest 747 and DC-10. Saw a Macedonian 737 and a China Airlines 747, beautiful painted tail. I had 2½ hours to burn at Schiphol. I really love this place so I had some long walks and visited a lot of shops, no problems burn 2½ hours.
I went to gate E18 for my flight to Nairobi.
AMS – NBO
Friday 8 sept.
A/c: MD-11; PH-KCI (named ”Mother Theresa” )
Seat: 14K (beside the #3 engine)
At last, I would be able to fly one of my favorite aircrafts! The KLM MD-11.
The seats are comfortable, and in a dark blue color. But I think the colour is too dark, giving a rather dark impression of the cabin. The seats are configured 2+4+3. The seat beside me was empty so I, and the man in the aisle seat, had our things in that seat. The flight was approx 90% full. Pillows and blankets laid on all seats.
We were ready to depart on schedule, then the captain told us that we will be some 20 minutes late due to a lot of traffic. At 11 o´clock I saw an engineer inspecting the underside of the wing, trouble i thought…
The captain then told us ”-there were some trouble with a valve on the wing”. But 11:12 the MD-11 was pushed back.
We taxied to what I think was runway 09 (”Buitenveldertbaan” ). Before us was a LH A321-100;
D-AIRO, after us was an Austrian MD-87; OE-LMN.
When taking off, the MD-11 has a magic feeling of being big, the whole aircraft vibrateing in a pleasant way.
We took off at around 11:25 and hit the clouds at 300ft, climbed out of the Netherlands and headed to the southern of Germany passing over Munich. Over the Alps the clouds disappeared. We made a turn and rounded Venice, I could clearly see the lake ”Lago di Garda”. We got warm towels, refreshing. Beverages and snacks was served, I had white wine; ”Hardys” (Chardonnay and Semillion). KLM had, what they called ”Australian Experience”, meaning that they served Australian wine and Australian inspired food.
At 12:30 lunch was served. Chicken and rice or Pasta. Always this ”chicken and rice”, why does every airline always have to serve this? As if they would be thrown out of IATA if not served…
I had the Pasta. As a starter was a cold potato salad with curry. Tasted good. The Pasta was green (spinach) Ravioli in tomato sauce. I drank the red ”Hardys” wine (Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon). Perfect for a gourmet like me eating pasta when passing over Italy (but it should be a Chianti… ). For dessert was an applepie, I had coffee and a Brandy.
We passed west of Rome and then over Palermo and Malta at an altitude of 33000ft, speed was one moment 964km/h (0,9Mach!). Over Sicily we hit clouds that made the big bird rock as a big boat in a light storm. On the film screen was ”Gone in 60 seconds” shown. Too violent for me, so I read the KLM inflight magazine ”Holland Herald” instead.
At 14:35 we reached the Libyan coast at an altitude of 37000ft. Next film was ”Crocodile Dundee”, this is a good one. Big laughs in the cabin throughout the whole film.
At 16:00 the border Libya – Sudan was reached. The sunset was 18:00 (as always near the equator) and a small dinner was served. Pizza ! I had a beer (Heineken). Ice-cream for dessert. Immigration forms was distributed by the F/A s. During the whole flight beverages was served.
Over the area of the border Sudan – Kenya was a big thunderstorm. Lots of lightnings beside, and under the aircraft. I almost had the impression that we avoided the thunderstorm by going around it.
Touchdown on runway 06 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi 20:25. The MD-11 made a bounce on the runway and became airborne again for a second ! Fantastic, loved that. No hard landing at all.
Taxing in front of us was a Cargolux 747. We parked beside an Air India A310-300. The brakes made a loud humming sound after the landing. When I walked on the tarmac into the terminal I saw one of the pilots and engineers having a look at the main gear. Interesting…
I passed through immigration and got my suitcase. No problems, I have been here before so I could find my way. Thank you KLM for another lovely flight!
End of part one as I stayed in Nairobi for a day.