9 April 2005
departure Time: 9:00AM
Arrival Time: 9:15AM
Photo © DAI - Dutch Aviation Images
Photo © Sascha Kamrau
My four days in Amsterdam had come to an end. It was sad to leave this wonderful city and there was still a lot stuff that I wanted to see that I didn't. The day started by getting up at 5Am and then going to Amsterdam central Station to take a train to Schipol at 6AM. The train ride was around 15 minutes long.
I arrived at terminal 3 around 645AM. The terminal didn't look that busy, but I was glad to see that the EasyJet counters were open. I made my way to the U2 counters and was giving priority boarding number 002. Since my flight was going to leave in two hours I decided to explore the airport.
I went back to the gate an hour before my flight was about to leave. Thirty minutes before boarding all the passengers at the gate were asked to more outside the gate because we were going to go through security again. When the gate agent made the boarding call for people holding numbers 1-30 everyone in the gate gets up and approaches her. I think people dont know how to count. I had to shove my way up there, and I did get a window seat on the right side of the airplane next to the engine. Every seat on the this flight was full. The flight attendants were in a cheerful mood this morning because they were telling jokes. The safety pre recording was first played in Dutch and then followed the safety demonstration by the flight attendants in English. We took off from the runway that is farthest from the terminal because it took forever to get to it.
The flight was uneventful. We arrived at LGW on time and passport control was a breeze. But the arrivals hall to pick up luggage was a total chaos! All I have to say what a dump. It reminded me of the old MDW baggage claim area. There were so many people there I couldn't get to the carousel were my luggage was at.
13 April 2005
Departure Time: 1:15PM
Arrival Time: 4:35PM
Once again another four wonderful days had come to end in London. Another city that I will come back and visit sometime in the future. I arrived at LGW at 1030AM the South Terminal was busy with people, especially the U2 counters. They looked like a total mess but actually people were in line at every U2 counter. I had to wait 40 minutes until a counter open for Valencia. I was assigned priority boarding number 061. Not so lucky this time.
Boarding was uneventful. The flight was around 60 percent full. The safety prerecording was played in Spanish followed by the safety demonstration given by the flight attendants in English. When the cart of free duty shopping came around I decided to buy the U2 737-700 airplane model. It cost 12 Euros. The rest of the flight was uneventful. The approach to VLC was a little bumpy. We deplaned through stairs. It was nice to feel the warm air and sun hit my face. There wasn't much activity going on at VLC. There was an AZ A319, an Air Berlin 737 and two Air Nostrum CRJs.
I spent two days in VLC and then made my way Northeast to BCN on train where I spent three days.
18 April 2005
Departure Time: 10:55PM
Arival Time: 12:10AM
I arrived at BCN three hours before my flight was due to depart. Once the ticket counters opened I checked in. This time I was given boarding number 007. Barcelona's Airport is a busy airport at night a lot of flights arriving and departing. The airplane was 15 minutes late because it was held up somewhere in a taxiway waiting for a gate to open. The gate that it was suppose to use had a company 737 going to STN. Our gate was changed and only had to walk a few feet. Boarding was done quickly. The pilot made time in the air and we arrived at LGW five minutes late. This time the arrivals hall was empty with another flight that arrived 20 minutes earlier from Faro.
All the flights to from Spain to London had four flight attendants.
19 April 2005
Departure Time: 1:50PM
Arrival Time: 5:00PM
Aircraft: DC 10
Photo © David James Clelford
Photo © Paul Dopson - AirTeamImages
My travels through Europe came to an end once I stepped inside LGW's South Terminal. The NW ticket counters were easy to find as I had spotted them a week before when I was looking for the U2 counters. When I was in line to check in, a lady holding a palm pilot entered my passport number and info. Don't know if she was working for NW. The ticket counters were being worked by NW and KLM staff.
After check in was done I went through security and then went to do some shopping. I bought myself a bottle of scotch and like $10 of candy bars. Once I was done shopping I made my way to gate 37. As I approached the gate I saw NW's DC 10 in the old colors parked next to Zoom's 767, which had just arrived. Boarding started an hour before departure time. I was excited to get on board the DC 10 is it was going to be my first time on this aircraft and probably the last time I get to fly on this incredible airplane. When I stepped inside the aircraft a wall of heat hit me in the face. As I made my way to my seat people were fanning themselves with the magazines. I was assigned seat 26F. Twenty minutes later the captain came on the pa and apologized for it being warm inside the cabin. He said the APU wasn't working and engineers were working on it, and once the engines were started cool air was going to be pumped into the aircraft.
The flight was around 80 percent full. Once the doors were closed the safety video was played on the big screen. Five minutes later the airplane started to roll down the runway taking off to the East leaving wet and cloudy London behind. When we were rolling down the runway I noticed the overhead bins were shakin and were the screen was as well. Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, flight attendants started giving out headphones to all passengers. An hour into the flight, the flight attendants started the inflight service. First we got a beverage and pretzels. Forty minutes later the meal service was started. We had a choice of either chicken or pasta. I chose the chicken which was pretty good as was the dessert. The salad wasn't that good, it was mostly purple onions.
When the meal sevice was done I decided to move to the middle seat 26E since there two empty seats in the middle section. The IFE for this flight on the screen at first was various stuff, some funny candid camera stuff and then some Discovery channel thing. The movies that were shown on this flight were Lemony Snicket's A Tale of Unfortunate Events and Oceans Twelve. We also had a choice of 10 channels of music, which none of them appealed to me.
The flight attendants only did two rounds of water on this flight. Three hours away from DTW the captain came and asked if there was a doctor on board to identify themselves to a flight attendant. Luckily there was a doctor seating on my row, seat 26A. The situation was 8 rows in front of me. The doctor spent like 20 minutes checking the person out. After the doctor was done checking the person he disappear to the front of the cabin coming back 10 minutes later. We didn't make an emergency landing and our aircraft continued on to DTW. But when I first heard the message from the captain I said to myself, we are going to probably land some where in Canada.
An hour and a half from our destination a warm snack was served. It consisted of this pizza puff looking thing and ice cream. The pizza thing was tasteless but the ice cream was good. Our descent into DTW was bumpy and the landing a little rough. The pilots had to apply the brakes in order to slow the airplane down. Once on the ground the flight attendants came on the PA and announced that everyone needed to remain seated once the airplane was at the gate because an emergency crew was going to come on board.
I was able to deplane the aircraft 10 minutes later. When I came in two the terminal I saw the person with the medical emergency, it was a guy in his 30s. He was sitting in a wheel chair and the paramedics were asking him questions. And of course there were four customs officers there too. We arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
On this flight we had six flight attendants a Minneapolis base crew.
Departure Time: 7:00PM
Arrival Time: 7:12PM
Aircraft: A319 N363NB
Photo © Omar Sherbini
Photo © Gary Chambers
This would be my last flight of my Europe trip that would take me home to Chicago and fourth A319 flight in two weeks. My flight would go out of gate A7. Boarding started 30 minutes before departure. Once inside the aircraft I took my seat 11A. For this flight we had three flight attendants. They didnt seem interested in doing the safety briefing. The captain announced we would have a bumpy take off due to the winds. It wasn't bad once we were up in the air. The inflight service was done when the seatbelt sign was turned off. I had water with the pretzels that were given.
As we were descending into Chicago I was able to spot a company DC 9 heading towards DTW and an AA 757 going to ORD. The pilots performed a smooth landing on runway 22 L Five minutes later I was walking to the baggage claim and ready to go home to get some sleep.
[Edited 2005-04-22 18:11:08]