British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:15 pm

Business took me to London for two days. I booked an e-ticket on BA's website, after attempts to book with KL and BD failed. KL's website crashed twice, after that I didn't try again. BD's website told me that I needed a credit card with an English billing address instead of a Dutch billing address, and told me that I needed to buy a paper ticket by phone. No way  Smile So I ended up flying BA for the first time in five years. It was a great experience!

Date: 12/11/2002
Carrier: British Airways
From: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
To: London Heathrow (LHR)
Flight Number: BA431
Departure gate: D8
Aircraft Type: Airbus A319
Seat: 7F
Scheduled/Actual time departure: 11:55/11:55
Scheduled/Actual time arrival: 12:15/12:13

I arrived at Schiphol at 09:45 because I wanted to secure a window seat and do some spotting. I first went to BA's ticket office to pick up a receipt for my e-ticket and then walked to the check-in machines. I always prefer using self check-in, because the machines show the complete seating chart and let you pick the best available seat  Smile I selected 7F and pressed "Print". The machine started printing... but no boarding card came out. I walked to the counter and informed them about my problem. One of the BA employees walked with me to the machine, opened it with a key, and handed me my boarding card that had been stuck somewhere inside. So far so good!

I passed passport control and security and had a late breakfast in one of the restaurants. It always amazed me how much money they charge for such lousy food! After that, I walked to the gate, D8. It was an hour before departure but I was the first passenger to arrive. The aircraft hadn't arrived yet. There were four (!) BA employees behind the desk, talking about their new mobile phones and showing them to each other. At one point, they were even calling each other to demonstrate ring tones. Duh! At 11:15, the Airbus 319 pulled up to the gate. After a very quick turnaround, boarding started five minutes late at 11:30. The plane was very empty, only 35 passengers were joining me on the flight to LHR.

I was impressed by the interior. The plane looked brand new, the seats were all leather and very clean. There were overhead monitors on which the safety video was shown, and during the flight the flight information systems was shown. KL does not have monitors on European flights, except when you are lucky and get the 767 - for example on the 8:25 departure to LHR.

We pushed back from the gate on schedule at 11:55. The captain welcomed everybody on board and informed us of the 44 minute flight time. Since we were going to be first in line for departure, he estimated arrival at LHR at 11:45 - 30 minutes early. (There is a one hour time change between AMS and LHR). We took off from runway 24 at noon, passed Hoofddorp, Nieuw Vennep, Leiden and then passed the Dutch coastline. The cabin crew started serving lunch. In businessclass, a salad was served. In cattle, we got the famous 'All Day Deli' bag which contained a chicken sandwich. I order orange juice to go with it. The sandwich tasted like it had been lying around 'All Day', but hey... when you are used to KL's peanuts, you shouldn't complain when you get a real meal!

At 11:30 the captain informed us that he had some 'bad news'. Traffic into London had been slowed down because of heavy rainfall, and we were being directed to a holding pattern. Instead of arriving 30 minutes early at 11:45, he now told us we would arrive on schedule at 12:15. We circled for about 30 minutes, somewhere to the northeast of downtown London. After 4 circles, the seatbelt sign came on - and the captain announced that we were about to land. We landed at 12:10. At 12:15 the aircraft was parked in a remote location. We deplaned by stairs and busses dropped us of at Terminal 4.

Date: 13/11/2002
Carrier: British Airways
From: London Heathrow (LHR)
To: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Flight Number: BA438
Departure gate: 4
Aircraft Type: Airbus A319
Seat: 10A
Scheduled/Actual time departure: 13:30/13:24
Scheduled/Actual time arrival: 15:40/15:33

This is going to be a short report, since the return flight was exactly the same as the flight I took to LHR. I arrived at LHR at 11:30, checked in at the machine and selected seat 10A. The line for security was very long, it took me nearly 30 minutes to pass into the departures lounge. Boarding started on time at 13:00. We were bussed to the aircraft. The plane pushed back early, at 13:24. It lasted nearly 20 minutes before it was our turn for take off, and we departed to the west. The 'All Day Deli' bag contained a cheese sandwich, and this time I chose apple juice  Smile Landing at AMS was at 15:27, after a short 41 minute flight. At 15:33 the aircraft was parked at the gate, 7 minutes before schedule.

Conclusion: BA is a great airline, their service is excellent, the aircraft look very new, clean and the seats are comfortable. There was plenty of legroom. Being served a meal on such a short flight is more then other airlines on this route can say. KL serves only peanuts, even on the early morning flights... And I really enjoyed the monitors with the flight tracking system!
Sabena 690
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RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Thu Nov 14, 2002 8:52 pm

Very good report, and very well detailed!!

A question about the BD booking problem: do they request an English billing adress?

So this means that, as a Dutchmen, or as a Belgian, that you can not book a BD ticket via their website?

Posts: 710
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2000 1:55 am

RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Thu Nov 14, 2002 10:10 pm

As for meals on short flights....SIA and MAS only serve juice on the SIN-KUl run whiich is roughly the same duration as LHR-AMS.
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RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Fri Nov 15, 2002 12:27 pm

I'm glad you enjoyed your BA flights.

Having flown 4 european/domestic round trips in the last couple of months I can only say they are great.Planes are clean,leave on-time,crew are great and the All Day Deli sanwiches/rolls have been superb for a short flight.


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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2001 2:48 am

RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Sat Nov 16, 2002 5:36 am

Great trip report!!

Looks similar to the BA London trips I've made to London.....I think BA's short-haul service is excellent! glad to see you enjoyed your flights......
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RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Sat Nov 16, 2002 7:21 am

I did SIN-KUL on SQ not long ago and to be honest a drinks service is more than enough, the total flight time was only 30 minutes. Although on a 30 minute Heathrow to Manchester trip BA gave drinks and a breakfast roll!! Not that we had time to drink the hot drinks once they were served but at least they made the effort!

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RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Sun Nov 17, 2002 8:40 am

I also like BA for their short haul flights. The F/A's have to work VERY hard on the AMS-LHR and AMS-LGW flights. They really do a good job.

But don't you hate those busses in LGW and LHR? It's not worthy for such big airports and it always seem to rain when I get there :-(
Never be afraid of what you like. (Miles Davis)
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Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Sun Nov 17, 2002 1:10 pm

BA have really got it together. This report describes my last BA flight, first for ages. It was to Munich and both flights were on time and very pleasant. The brand new space age A319 flew like it was on rails, absolutely gorgeous. And the 737-400 on the way back was like an old friend. I'm definitely returning to BA after a long absence.
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RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Fri Nov 22, 2002 8:11 am

They truly are excellent. I am getting to be pretty regular on the MAN-BHD route and even though they barely have time, we get a full "all-day-deli" sevice (cooked breakfast on early morning flights!). LAst week coming into MAN they finally get to my seat at the back to give me some tea - she gave me a bottle of wine as well to apologise for being so late with it - very impressive.
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RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Sat Nov 30, 2002 6:49 am

Great report! I've only flown BA once when travelling to Europe, Gatwick - Flumicino, for some reason I like them better on International rather than Domestic flights.

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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2001 11:40 pm

RE: British Airways: AMS-LHR-AMS

Sat Nov 30, 2002 5:50 pm

BAW431 GEUPB A319 EHAM 1209 T31 27L

BAW438 GEUPB A319 EHAM 1344 T31 27R

U got the same plane both ways  Big thumbs up


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