After a one night break in Hamburg it was back to the airport to check in for my return flight LH9974 to London-City. The queues were very lengthy and snaked back towards the entrance of the terminal building this very busy Sunday evening. The Lufthansa Economy Class desks were being monopolised by a party of Brazillian school children, being checked in individualy.
I started queing at 1640 for the 1745 departure and finally got checked in at 1715!!.
Once checked in, a quick dash through security towards Gate A12 via the bar to say some goodbyes and grab a beer.
We were taken a lengthy coach ride around the airport perimiter past a large collection of F50s, CRJs and Dash 8s before arriving at the same Dash 8 that had flow me out the previous morning D-BHAM. The aircraft was mainly boarded at that point, and someone had put themslves in my allocated exit seat at 11A, they asked if they could stay and I said "well actually I'm a bit leggy - so I'd actually like my seat please", but they moved after apologising and without any problems.
I was greeted by one of the same cabin attendants as the previous day, although today she was responsible for working at the front and being responsible for the 1L door, as well as making the announcements, again in both German and English.
The skies were darkening and it was starting to rain as the doors closed and the engines started up and began rumbling. I noticed that the seats had headrest covers on today - Saturday must be headrest laundry day!, and that the engine cowlings looked cleaner - Saturday must be aircraft wash day too!
The flight was virtually full, but again it didn't feel too claustrophobic, but definately not as comfortable as the day before, the seat next to me was occupied.
However no problems with the legroom.
We soon found ourselves lined up on Runway 05 almost immediately and after a few mumbled words from the Captain about awaiting clearance we were on our way.
The skies were once again gloomy as we climbed and circled in our after departure turn. The climb was to 20,000 feet and was quite choppy at times, this necessitated a suspension in the cabin service for about 5-10 minutes as we bucked our way up through the clouds which we broke through some 15-20 minutes after take off - it all looked very beautiful but I knew that some of those stacks of clouds had within them great power, and I was glad we were heading away from them. One particular sudden drop had people gasping and becoming a little uneasy.
The cabin service was a light snack again similar to the morning before however the chesse had herbs with peppers and was more interesting and flavoursome, there was also the drinking yoghurt and a chocolate wafer bar.
Complimentary drinks and tea/coffee were again served.
We passed over into the Netherlands by which time the weather had improved a lot and flying at 20,000 feet one could see the giant wind turbines on a headland just North of Amsterdam, then right over the top of Amsterdam city centre, a fine aerial view of the network of canals, and then just to the west of Schipol Airport giving a clear view of all the light blue roofs adorning the KLM aircraft parked. We then headed out over the North Sea towards the Essex coast close to Clacton where we started to descend over the outlying marshland and small islands before disappearing into the murk over Foulness Island.
We broke through the clouds probably about seven miles East of Runway 28 (why can I never get to land on runway 10 here and get a fine view of Canary Wharf etc?
A fine view of the Thamesmead housing estate and it's lakes followed by the maximum security jail at Belmarsh where the wheels popped down just before our final steep descent onto Runway 28 where max reverse and braking were applied after 1h 43m in flight, arriving right on schedule.
Anyone who hasn't sampled this airport - put it at the top of your lists of "must do's", not only because of the fun of the approach in a turboprop, but also as you can be home 4 miles away within 30 minutes of landing!