My first trip report... I hope you guys like it!
Date: August 18th, 2002
Flight number: DL 039
Scheduled departure time: 10:20
Push back: 10:30
Take off: 10:50
Scheduled arrival time: 13:50
Actual arrival time: 13:20
Flight time: 8 hours and 40 minutes
Delta opperates two flights out of Amsterdam Schiphol each day, DL 039 to Atlanta and DL 081 to JFK. I arrived at the check in counter at 8:30, and discovered that since both flights depart in the morning, the lines were very long. Fortunately, there was no line for Business Elite! Before you reach the check in counter, there is an extra security check. All luggage (both carry on luggage and check in luggage) had to go through a huge x-ray machine. A sticker was placed on each item to indicate it had been screened. The whole procedure went very fast.
The lady at the check in counter was very friendly. She was American and told me that she was living abroad because she married a Dutch guy. I asked her for seat 1G and that was no problem. I always want to sit at a window, and flying to the US, I prefer the right side of the plane, since the sun is on the left. She asked me if I wanted to go to the Business Elite clubroom, but I decided to do some shopping. I passed customs and the regular security checkpoint (x-ray machine, metal detector) very fast, there was no line at all.
At 09:30 I arrived at the gate. Although it was still 50 minutes before departure, boarding had already started! At the gate, there is a third security check. First, all passengers are interviewed by Dutch military police. The take a good look at your ticket and ask questions like:
- what is the purpose of your trip?
- when did you buy your ticket?
- what is the relationship between you and your travel companions?
- how long do you know eachother?
- when and where did you pack your luggage?
- where has it been since you packed it?
- who owns everything that is in your luggage?
- are you carrying electronic devices?
- when did you buy these electronic devices? have you recently lended them to somebody else?
- did anybody give you anything to carry on the plane?
After that, believe it or not, the carry on luggage has to go through an x-ray machine again (for the third time!) and you have to walk through a metal detector (for the second time). Fortunately, there are *no* random screenings at the gate, like you have in the US since September 11th.
I boarded the plane, placed my carry-on in the overhead compartment and sat down in this huge, comfortable, blue leather Business Elite seat. Wow! There was a blanket, a pillow, a bottle of water, a headset and an amenity kit already waiting for me. A stewardess came to me, and said "Good morning Mr. De Kort, would you like some Champage, orange juice or mimosa?" Mmmm... they know your name Anyway, obviously, I chose the Champagne. It was good!
Another stewardess came to me. "Good morning Mr. De Kort, my name is xxx (I forgot) and I am the pursor on this flight. If there is anything I can do to make you more comfortable, just ask for me!". She also presented me with a menu and said she would be right back to hear my selection.
I didn't keep the menu, but the lunch consisted of five courses:
- a shrimp cocktail
- a salad
- a choice of beef, salmon, pasta (with our without chicken) or a tomato soup
- fruit, cheese and crackers
- ice cream
A second meal would be served prior to landing:
- fresh fruits
- choice of chicken sandwich or a pasta salad
- chocolate chip cookies
Delta's Vinum program is excellent, I have never seen such a wide variety of great wines in an airplane.
The pursor can by again and I told her I had selected the beef. She wrote that down on piece of paper and refilled my Champage glass as well
The boarding door closed 10 minutes early at 10:10. The captain made his announcement, telling us that air traffic control had delayed our pushback until 10:30. He said that we would arrive 30 minutes early in Atlanta, at 10:20, due to a very short flighttime of 8 hours and 40 minutes. Our route would take us over the Northsea up to Scotland, south of Iceland, over the southern part of Greenland, into New Foundland, the eastcoast of Canada, Boston, New York, Washington to Atlanta.
We left Schiphol at 10:50 on runway 240. We flew past the towns of Hoofddorp and New Vennep, turned right and were above the Northsea just five minutes after departure.
The flight itself was very enjoyable. Pre-lunch drinks were served after take off, accompanied by cashew nuts. Hot towels were handed out, followed by more drinks and lunch. The food was really great. I have never had a better steak or a better wine selection on board an airplane before. I drank a white New Zealand Chardonay with the shrimp cocktail and the salad, and a French Cabernet with the steak. There was an excellent desertwine, and an excellent Port to accompany the cheese and crackers. And ice cream for desert... Jummie!
I watched 3 movies on my personal television screen: SpiderMan, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Showtime. There were 10 movies to choose from! The flight tracking system was also available.
After lunch, the duty free articles were sold. When we were halfway, the customs and immigration forms for entry into the US were handed out. During the flight, every 30 minutes a stewardess would come by to offer drinks. The pilot urged everybody to look out a window when we crossed over Greenland, and he would do this again later on, when we crossed over New York.
As for the second meal, I chose the sandwich. But the chocolate chip coockies were the best. As soon as I had finished one, they would give me another... Don't fly Delta when you are on a diet!
It was a busy flight, but the crew did a great job. They gave everybody a lot of personal attention, and kept using our names during the whole flight. The Business Elite section was 100% full, coach was 90% filled up.
Right before landing the pursor came by once more, gave me a handshake and said "Mr. De Kort, it was a pleasure having you on board, thank you for flying Delta and I hope to see you again soon!". Wow... she did this with all 40-something Business Elite passengers.
We landed towards the west at 13:20 local time and were at the gate just three minutes later. The pilot, the relief pilot and the FO were at the door to say goodbye to the passengers, and a couple of children were given a tour of the cockpit. I deplaned and went to Immigration. The line was very, very long, but who cares after such a great flight!!! See you soon, Delta!