We arrived at AMS early in the morning, dropped of the car and went to put ourselves on the standby list for NW39 to DTW.
The KL lady at the check in informed us that there were already 25 people on the standby list, apparently the maximum, but she'd call the gate-agent for permission to put us on. We we're in luck, we were no 26 and 27 on the standby list. Not really promising at first...
The plane was scheduled at 0700LT if I recall correctly. We were waiting at the gate and the gate agent called our names to report to the podium. We were in luck, lots of no-shows and were handed a boarding pass. Boarding our plane, the N811NW A333 I found myself seated next to a lady from Nashville, who was more than happy to change places with my dad so we were seated next to each other, at a window seat just behind the wing. We had a nice flight but very grumpy FA's which I'm used to flying NW over the Atlantic.
We arrived in DTW and a kind NW lady forwarded us to the next potential flight.
However, I had SSSS on my boarding pass, which means bad news, or additional screening if you wish. After an extensive search for potential explosives we went on to our next flight, NW from DTW to DEN, on which our suitcases would be. Unfortunately only 1 spare seat. But the kind NW lady told us that we could travel via MEM on a next flight, which was to depart in 10 minutes, at the very OTHER end of the long DTW terminal. After a run to the other end, we arrived at the gate. Again very very kind and helpful NW crew, and we were put on a wonderful, wonderful DC-9-51.N766NC We even had exit seats!
Now I had quite a few flights, and I don't know whether I was fatigued, or it was the thrill of flying a DC-9 (I only flew more modern planes until then) But it was by far the most relaxing flight I had to date.
Arriving in MEM later, we proceeded onward to the gate of the flight to DEN. We were handed a boarding pass but still had more then an hour, so went for Smoked Turkey and Cole Slaw sandwiches (Hey, I'm not in MEM every day!) After that we went to board an A319, N357NB. We had a great cabin crew, which were even having a Quiz and you could win a bottle of wine, but I was too tired.
Arrival in DEN, now while we were having Turkey Sandwich in MEM, our suitcases were flying on the direct flight from DTW to DEN. So a bit nervous we entered a NW baggage claim office to see our suitcases there, big relief. After that we rented a car and drove to Boulder CO.
A few days later after spending a wonderful time in the Midwest, lot of kind folks there, we dropped off the car at Billings Logan International. BIL. Small airport, but what activity! Highlights were a Fedex 727 and UPS A310 (keep in mind that I don't see 727's in AMS).
We walked to the QX counter and the lady gave us our boarding passes (Again we flew standby) On through security and to the gate, where after a short while a Dash-8-Q400, the N409QX touched down, and picked us up.
We were welcomed by the purser, a man in his late 40's I suppose, wearing shorts and T-shirt. The other FA was a guy in his 20's. The Purser, Duncan as he introduced himself told us we were on a flight to MIA (haha) Funny thing was, instead of Cabin Crew seats for take-off, it was 'Duncan and Josh, seats for Take-Off'
We had a very smooth flight into the Montana night on to SEA, where we would spent another 2 days. In Seattle, we went to LKE/W55, or the Lake Union Kenmore Air Harbor if you wish. We booked a flight in a very pretty DHC-2 the N6782L, for a wonderful sightseeing (or for me beaver studying) flight. My first water landing and take-off! Luckily I could get the seat next to the captain, and spend most of the time making pictures of the AC instruments hehe. Of course we went to the Boeing plant as well, and to the Museum of flight, to touch the City of Everett! (The Plane that is) Wonderfull place, Seattle.
All good things come to an end, so was this little trip. Back at SEA we could travel on the first flight back to AMS, again standby, and helped by very kind NW ground crew. We proceeded to the gate, where we were the lucky ones for another additional screening! After looking through our hand luggage we were oke to board the N581NW, a A332. Smooth flight to arrive early in AMS, where our 2 suitcases were the first to appear at the baggage claim. Customs are no problem here, and a personal record of 15 minutes, of leaving the plane at the E-gate, until walking outside Schiphol Plaza, in the cold Dutch morning.
We had a great trip with lots of great flights, Airbus is fine but nothing beats a golden oldie like a DC9 or a Beaver! We were very lucky to be on all the flights, seeing we had quite a few, and all on standby basis! I experienced great kindness in the American people I encountered (except NW Transatlantic, no offense) and we returned to DEN last summer with my mom and sis because we liked it so good. But that's another trip report (which might come)
Thanks for reading!
[Edited 2008-08-31 12:48:34]
[Edited 2008-08-31 13:10:12]