Well I decided it was time for another trip away and I wanted to fly direct from Newcastle if possible, as I didnt fancy my chances going through LHR especially with the tree huggers having their little protest.I would be travelling on non-rev tickets and I really wanted to fly on an aircraft that i'd never been on before and I couldn't decide between AMS, CDG or BRU. All 3 routes had aircraft I'd never been on, the Fokker 100, CRJ and an ARJ (RJ100) respectively. I checked timetables and loads and decided on AMS and would travel out on a 737 and back on the Fokker 100(hopefully).
I normally just use my Canon Ixus 55 camera but this time decided I would borrow my Dads Canon Eos 400D just to see
what all the crack was about. Friday arrived and it was time for me to head out to AMS.
It was nearly time for my trip with KLM so I went to bed about midnight setting my alarm for 0415. The flight left at 0605 so that should give me plenty time to have a shower and get the car aprked before checking in.
My alarm went off and I dipped myself in the luke warm shower before pulling on my jeans and a t-shirt. The journey to the airport took about 10mins as the roads were empty and I was at the check-in desk by 0455. A KLM ground staff member asked if I had checked in online and I advised that I was on standby. She looked at BA issued ticket and told me that I was in the wrong queue and I needed to go and speak to the BA check-in desk. I made her aware that even though it was issued on BA it was for KLM flights and was issued as OPEN status meaning I could list for any flight. She told me I needed to go and stand in line for BA and even though it was way to early for an argument I stated that I was already in the right queue. She looked at me and just kind of walked away. There were only four people in front of me and they were checking in as one group so I was only in the line for 3 or 4 minutes.
I handed my ticket, passport and staff pass to the check-in lady and she asked me a few questions i.e how many bags are you checking in etc etc.
I advised that there was just me and my hand bag, let me re-phrase that, my hand luggage and the young lady started to make a phonecall. By the tone of her voice and the conversation she was having I think she was speaking to the dispatcher. My mate is a dispatcher for Swissport at NCL and he warned me that KLM normally only seated staff in economy on the 0605 flight and that it was very full most mornings, with commercial passengers being put on standby.
Luckily this morning the nice young lady checking me gave me a smile added with a " Im glad to say we have allocated you a seat on the flight and you will be travelling in Business class"
She handed me the boarding card, advised me to make my way through security and that the flight will be leaving form gate 14. Looking at the boarding card, I had been allocated seat 02A which is the fornt row on the 737-300 I would be travelling on.
Security was a breeze and once through I went straight to the Travelex desk to get myself some Euro's. The airport was quite busy this morning and once I had stopped at WH Smith I headed to the window to get a shot of the plane I would be travelling on.
A few shots of the apron at NCL
UAE 737 in the background
Flight: KL952 NCL-AMS
Actual departure: 0617
Actual arrival: 0827
I made my way over to have a look at the screen showimg the stages of the departing flights. Just as I showed up the status of my flight changed to go to gate.......
So off I went down the stairs towards gate 14. Looking at the people in the gate the flight was going to be quite busy. After about 10 minutes the gate agent announced that boarding was to commence but there was no pre boarding was Europe Select passengers which was strange.
Queuing for about 10 minutes I eventually made my way onto the tarmac and saw my plane to AMS, ' Anthony van Diemen'.
A nice engine view
I took my seat, 2A with seats B and C already taken by 2 people travelling together. The Captain announced our flying time would be 1 hour, that we would be cruising at 30,000 ft and that we would be delayed 5-10 minutes due to the baggage handlers still onloading bags. During the delay the Purser approached me and asked if I would like to take a seat in row 1(seats DEF) which was empty. She had already asked a guy in the row behind me and he had taken the window seat so I politely declined the offer. This didnt please the lady sitting in seat 2C as I heard her comment of " why would nayone need a window seatfor a 50minute flight". I kept my comments to myself as I couldnt be arsed with any arguments.
We eventually began our push back and the engines were started. The crew started their safety demonstration and once that was finished they handed out newspapers to the Europe Select passengers. I opted for the Daily Mail which was the best of a bad bunch to be honest.
NCL's New ATC Tower
We roled straight onto the runway and stopped before the power was applied with his hurtling down the runway.
I love sitting in front of the engines on take-off as, it may just be me but you feel as if your being pushed into the sky rather than pulled when you sit behind them.
After about 10 minutes the seat belt signs went off and I carried on looking out of the window to see if I could spot any landmarks but with the sun in my eyes and the window being a bit scratched it was quite hard.
The meal service started after 20 minutes and I was offered tea, coffee or juice with my meal. I opted for OJ and started tucking into my meal. However I soon stopped as it was a bit of weird concoction. Now I know that Europeans eat different things to us Brits for breakfast but what was in front of me was some sort of quiche with cream of farmers ham. WTF is cream of farmers ham???? Anyway, the second portion of breakfast was rice pudding with pieces of fruit which was actually kind of nice.
Breakfast finishes and we were already crossing the North sea so I decided I would try and get a few shots of the clouds and the Sea.
You can see the scratches on the window
I really didnt realise how many Oil and Gas platforms there were in the North sea but we must have flown over at least 50 of them enroute.
We started an Easterly turn so that the Sun wasn't in my eyes( The Cpt didnt do it for me personally though )
and I could see the clouds making nice shadows on the water
View of the bulkhead from seat 2A
The guy sitting next to making himself at home
It wasnt long before the FO came on the tannoy to announce that we wer going to have to hold as AMS was busy this morning. I normally fly to LGW or LHR so this was the norm for me. It was about 10 minutes later that we came out of the holding pattern and started to head towards AMS.
Wind Farm off the coast of Holland
We crossed the coast and were well on our way to the airport
Anyone know which town this is?
We made a few changes in direction and ended up lining up to land on the Polderbaan. Crossing lots of canals and fields with windmills and the like this was a nice view of the country I have visited a couple of times before.
Landing in AMS
The touchdown was smooth, not the best Ive experienced but certainly not the worst and as we turned off the runway the Captain announced that it would be a 15minute taxi to the gate. Have I arrived in LHR???
We passed some remote parking areas and crossed a runway which gave us some views of mostly KL and NWA aircraft.
Look at all the little Fockers
We taxiied to gate D64 ( IIRC) and we departed aircraft within a couple of minutes. The walk to immigration took about 10minutes but once there I was straight through and ready to find the viewing area.
AMS has a viewing area situated between terminals 1 and 2 and is quite easy to find. After I had headed outside for a smoke I entered the terminal and made my way to the departures floor where I took the escalators up 2 floors to find the viewing area. There werent many people out here at this time of the morning but I was quite pleased to have such a close up view of aircraft such as 747's, A330's ,777's and MD11's.
I had emailed the guy who runs the schiphol spotters website and he had given me directions on how to get to the Kaagbaan and to the famous McDonalds viewing area at AMS. I decided that I was happy at the viewing platform and started snapping away with my borrowed Canon 400D
You wouldnt see this at LHR, a full baggage container
Can anyone shed any light on who this airline is?
The viewing area is quite busy
Sporty version of the 737
KL777 lining up for take-off
I decided it was time to head into Amsterdam for some lunch and a spot of site seeing. I headed to Schiphol Plaza and went straight to the railway ticket desk. 6.70 euros lighter and I was on my way. About 15 minutes later I was at Centraal station and it didnt take long to get to the Damrak. I headed for an Irish bar I had visited before, Dirty Nelly's and got some lunch. Afer lunch i did a spot of sight-seeing which is recommended for anyone visiting Amsterdam as there are certainly some sights to see, both good and bad
Look at all of the bikes
It was time to head back to the airport and it took about 15 minutes to walk back to the station and the train turned up 5 minutes later. Sitting on the train surrounded by 3 young Japanese ladies I enjoyed the view out of the window whilst they could have been caling me all the names under the sun. At least I couldnt understand
I arrived at AMS and headed to the check-in area on level 2 and went to the self-service check-in machine. This was new experience for me whilst using non-rev tickets. In fact I thought it was great because I checked in like a normal passenger with hardly any waiting around, printed off my boarding card and headed off to departures. My boarding card stated " seat allocated at the gate". Now if you havnt visited AMS before, they have only an immigration desk before you actually get into the departures area and you dont pass through security until you get to the gate, well at least this is the case today.
I made my way to gate D19 (IIRC) and headed down the stairs towards the security area. There was a bit of a queue which held a few irate passengers who had obviuosly been standing there a while. Only one of the three x ray machines were open and one of the security guys decided that it was time to open another. As soon as the guy opened it some suited and booted business type dived about 15yards across the security line just so he could be first through. Knob!
Down at D19 there are seperate gates within one gate ie D19a, D19b, D19c and you probably get the drift now
The NCL flight was leaving from D19a and there were already a multitude of people waiting here.
Flight: KL963 AMS-NCL
Actual departure: 1540
Actual arrival: 1547
PH-OFF Fokker 100
I made my way over to the desk where a lovely KLM agent took my boarding pass, realised that I was on standby and explained that the flight was very busy but he would ask the crew if I could have a jumpseat .
I went and took a seat and people watched whilst I waited to see what my fate was. A tannoy was announced that they were looking for 12 volunteers to stand down from the flight to NCL and they would be offered 50 euros plus a guaranteed seat on the next flight which was at 1740.
This wasnt looking good for me and once the line for boarding had ended I went back to the desk under the impression that I would be going standby on the 1740 flight. I asked the KLM agent what I needed to do to list oin the 1740 flight and she advised that she was awaiting an answer from the flight crew as to whether I could take this flight on a jumpseat. A few seconds later and I was handed my boarding card with JUMP written where the seat number should be.
I was the last one on the bus to get to the aircraft and we pulled away as soon as I was seated. I like getting busses to the aircraft as you get to pass close to all of the aircraft on the tarmac.
We pulled up next to our little Fokker and climbed up the steps and the Purser asked me just stand at the front. Her name was Kim and she was from Newcastle. I started a bit of conversation and thanked her for accepting me on the flight.
She started counting the number of meals onboard and realised that she didnt have enough for all of the people in Europe Select. She radioed to the catering guy and got him to bring some extra meals including one for me
I took my seat on the jumpseat which was facing the cabin, getting a few funny looks in the process from the Europe Select passengers.
The disappointing thing about this jumpseat is that the window on the Fokker 100 is quite high so you cant actually see out of it when sitting down.
We taxiied towards the runway and kept on rolling until we were lined up and on our way to NCL. Take-off was a bit strange facing backwards although having done this before in Club World this felt a little bit different.
Once the seat belt sign went off I took the cabin seat in row 13ish where one member of the crew
Needs to sit during take-off and landing.
The flight was pretty normal and after the meal service I decided to make my way to the back of the aircraft for a cabin shot.
The FO came onto advise that we would be arriving in NCL in around 15 minutes and the weather there was calm and sunny. I made my way back to the front of the aircraft to take my jumpseat for landing. Kim strapped me in and I could feel us descending towards NCL. I don’t know how old these Fokkers are but this plane made some racket when we touched down. Taxi to the gate didn’t take long and once we were stopped and engines closed down I wished Kim and her crew a good weekend and made my way towards Passport control.
All in all I really enjoyed my day especially as I got to fly on an aircraft type Id never flown before. Spotting in AMS was also good as I havnt spotted anywhere else but NCL before.
Cyprus Airways, of course. I remember their A310s at NCL when I was about 11 - they were one of the few widebodies to come into NCL at the time.
Quoting Sketty222 (Reply 1): I don’t know how old these Fokkers are but this plane made some racket when we touched down.
I used to fly the BD F100s on the MME-LHR route a lot and used to find them extremely quiet. That was when BD had Diamond Euroclass at the front of course. When I finally flew at the back of a F100 I realised the difference in the noise was quite significant. Really though, it is only the last few rows where you notice the difference - otherwise it is a very quiet aircraft.
I like your style of writing too - the same things that got on your nerves get on mine too - the thick girl from Swissport who wanted to send you to BA, the ignorant woman in 2C who basically wanted you to move, the git who jumped to the front of the security queue in AMS. I was on a BA flight from NCL to LHR the other week and there was almost a fight before disembarking in LHR. One family thought it was necessary to recline their seats all the way back during the snack service and the tension boiled from there between the guy sitting next to me and the arsehole in front of him who argued that it was not a problem. If the arsehole in front didn't have hid young son with him he would have got a good smacking from the guy next to me who was understandably angry. And what would I have done as a sensible airline staff member on a ZED ticket? Stopped the fight?? No way - the guy in front was so arrogant and ignorant showing off in front of his father and son that I'd have taken pleasure in watching him getting a kicking.
It's been over 13 years since NCL was my home airport, so I was interested to see the striking new Control Tower- where exactly is it? From your pictures it looks to be on the southern side of the runway.
Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 3): I like your style of writing too - the same things that got on your nerves get on mine too - the thick girl from Swissport who wanted to send you to BA, the ignorant woman in 2C who basically wanted you to move, the git who jumped to the front of the security queue in AMS. I was on a BA flight from NCL to LHR the other week and there was almost a fight before disembarking in LHR. One family thought it was necessary to recline their seats all the way back during the snack service and the tension boiled from there between the guy sitting next to me and the arsehole in front of him who argued that it was not a problem. If the arsehole in front didn't have hid young son with him he would have got a good smacking from the guy next to me who was understandably angry. And what would I have done as a sensible airline staff member on a ZED ticket? Stopped the fight?? No way - the guy in front was so arrogant and ignorant showing off in front of his father and son that I'd have taken pleasure in watching him getting a kicking.
Firstly, thanks for the feedback, secondly Im glad you have the same thoughts as me because from your little tale I would be thinking the same as you.
Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 3): One of the elusive -100 series A320s if you look carefully. I still want to catch a ride on one of these before it is too late since BA are already retiring them.
Quoting Co777er (Reply 4): Not to be critical but a 777 doesn't have a winglett: I belive this is a A332
Ok, you got me there, got muddled when adding the tags, Doh!
Quoting Rogbi200 (Reply 7): It's been over 13 years since NCL was my home airport, so I was interested to see the striking new Control Tower- where exactly is it? From your pictures it looks to be on the southern side of the runway.
The new tower is on the North side of the runway, quite close to the fire station and the remote parking.