Sadly I have yet to master PhotoBucket,so here is the link to my album....hopefully!
Leg 1 – Cork – Amsterdam
Flight Number: EI840 “Sold as KL3170”
ETD 06:20 – Actaul 06:21
ETA 09:20 – Actual 09:00
a/c Type: A320-200
a/c Reg: EI-DVF “St. XXXX”
Seat: 13 A (13B, 13C, 13D)
Photo © Vianney
Photo © Alexandru Magurean
At the airport
The first leg of this trip began at 0400 when my alarm clock woke me up. We arrived at Cork Airport at about 0520. We proceeded directly to desks 26 &27, but finding them still empty, we used the “fast-pass” kiosks where we were able to check-in for the ORK-AMS leg, and secure my preferred seats in Row 13. The kiosk also sowed our onward journey from AMS (KL 604, to SFO) but it did not pint the boarding cards. It was not until 0530 that anyone showed up at Check-in, and some of the girls then needed a toilet break! By 0545 our bags had been tagged all the way to SFO, but our onwards boarding cards could not be printed at the desk either. Boarding would be at Gate 4 at 0600.
At this time, everyone was feeling a little hungry, so we proceeded upstairs to the food court, which is modelled on Corks English Market, in the city centre. The breakfast, while not cheap, is good. (Although not as good as Nash 19, IMHO). At about 0600 we proceeded through security and the duty free shop, and arrived at Gate 4 just as boarding had commenced.
Seats, Food & Service
Soon we had settled at Row 13 and made ourselves comfortable. The crew this morning consisted of 4 ladies, all of which were very experienced. They were also very friendly and smiley. No complaints there!The load this morning was about 65%. Most passengers seemed to be connecting onwards, or visiting AMS. There were no business passengers on this flight, not too surprising really. Glancing at the cabin, I noticed a few changes over the older A320s in the EI fleet. –DVF has the touch screen FA panel, and also the leather seat covers seem to be of a softer, less shiny leather. Of course the aircraft was in immaculate condition having only been delivered a few weeks back.
The weather at ORK was getting progressively foggier, and the captain addressed us just before push back telling us he was trying to get out of ORK before conditions became any worse, there was also some early morning fog at AMS, but that should not be a problem. Take off was on Runway 37, and we broke through the fog at little more than 1000 feet.
The on-board service was the typical Aer Lingus BOB “Sky Café”. The breakfasts seemed to be the most popular item, but a lot of passengers did have tea/coffee. No complaints there. A Sky Shopping service was also offered, although this was not as poplar. Once all the cabin service was completed the Captain addressed us again, our routing had taken us over the Irish Sea, north of Heathrow, and over St. Georges Channel. Landing at AMS would be at 0900, in about 20 minutes. Soon the cabin lights were dimmed and we touched down on AMS’ infamous “polderbaahn:”. The landing was the smoothest I have ever experienced, well done captain!
Landing & Disembarking
The taxi to the gate in the D block of gates took about 15 minutes, soon the forward door was opened and we were free to disembark. Having said goodbye to the crew at the door we searched for the transfer desk.
Leg 2 Amsterdam – San Francisco
Flight Number: KL064
ETD 10:30 – Actual 10:30
ETA 09:20 – Actual 09:00
a/c Type: B747-400
a/c Reg: PH-BxL “Lima”
Seat: 44K (44H, 44I, 44J)
Photo © Miguel Claudio
Photo © Tengku Azahan
At the Airport
At the transfer desk, an A321 from DUB had arrived just ahead of us, so there was quite a queue between the two loads of passengers. Eventually we made it to the desk, were a friendly KLM agent took our passports. It soon became clear why our boarding cards had not been printed at ORK. US Immigration requires that the 1st address in the USA be in the system. This took about 10 minutes. All four of us were assigned seats in Row 44.
AMS is a very nice airport to transfer through, with wide hallways and lots of shopping area. Security is unusual, being carried out at the gate, just prior to boarding. The security queue was long, but moved quickly, taking about 30 minutes. However once through security, the wait to board the aircraft was brief. The boarding process was orderly and swift. KLM boards its 747s using two doors, one at Door 2L and the other at Door 4L, and the airbridge channels are colour-coded, which makes boarding pretty straightforward.
We were assigned seats in Row 44 of the 747-400 which appeared from the seat map on the agents’ screen to be bulkhead screens. Unfortunately this was not the case, as the bulkhead was actually behind us, slightly limiting recline. However legroom was good, and the seats were comfortable. The seats also have an adjustable headrest with ‘wings’. Overall I found the seats to be very comfortable and spacious.
The service on this flight was plentiful and of a good standard, Most items were of the branded variety, with “Dolmio” pasta being served.
- 1st Round of drinks from the trolley, served with roasted nuts.
- Pasta/Fish meal also served with another drink., followed by tea/coffee
- Ice Cream/Chips also served with a drink.
- 2nd Drinks round
- Snack Service (salad, desert & soup), again served with choice of drinks.
The KLM in-flight magazine was in each seat pocket, as was an entertainment guide. However this system was underwhelming, with a poor selection of movies available to watch on the overhead screens. I looked out the window or read and listened to my iPod, although all of us slept for a few hours as well.
We arrived early into SFO, just before a few other aircraft, which made immigration lines very quick, and the official was even friendly. It was quite shocking! Of course we needed to have our fingerprints scanned, etc. But within 5 minutes we were collecting the first two bags from the carosuel. We were out of the airport in less than 20 mnutes, and on our way to the hotel.
I did not expect great things from KLM, but I was pleasantly surprised. The crews were friendly and helpful, and the timekeeping was excellent. Given the very reasonable fares KLM charge, and the convenience of leaving from ones local airport, having baggage checked through to the final destination, I have no cause for complaint.
Part 2 (NW SFO-HNL-MSP-EWR) will come soon.
Thanks for reading,
[Edited 2007-06-21 05:12:52]