The routes I flew on were:
AMS-JFK on DL
LGA-DCA on US
DCA-JFK on AA
JFK-AMS on DL
I went to New York with 2 friends to see the city last february. We decided to visit Washington DC. For the NASM, all the city's monuments, and of course Ronald Reagan National.
I've been to the US before with KL and NW, and decided to fly DL as I never flew them before. Flight DL81 would depart for JFK at 0915 AMS Time. Scheduled plane would be a 757-200. First time I would fly narrow body across the pond. Me and my friends all chose a seat via the online booking system.
Checking in at AMS the check-in guy wanted to move us together because we had seperate seats. He looked a little surprised when we told him that's what we wanted! We went trough the customs into the departure hall. An hour or so later we headed for our gate where the plane had yet to arrive. It was a nice morning with blue skies. A few minutes later I spotted a 757 heading our way. It was the N713TW. I was hoping for a TW reg
Photo © Michael Frische
We started boarding shortly after that and I made my way to seat 42F. The plane was equipped with a AVOD system. The seats were leather and comfortable, legroom was fine.
I noticed that half of the cabin crew, and one extra cockpit crew member were Dutch! And a lot of the Passenger announcements were in Dutch as well. Kinda disappointing as I wanted to fly an American airline, if I want Dutch I'll fly KLM..
We were pushed back and headed for RWY 36L
"The Satellite" control tower for 36L
After takeoff we climbed to cruise alt. We weren't going to see Ice/Greenland, so It would be a boring flight with a lot of blue ocean. I went to watch Eagle Eye on the PTV. What a terrible movie that was. After a while we got our first meal. It was Chicken with Risotto. It was reasonably good.
I could see the stabilizers from my seat.
After some hours I spotted a lot of ice and Canada was nearby. There were quite a few clouds and I didn't see a lot until we reached the US border. I spotted this snowy field over Maine IIRC, look at how perfectly 90 degrees that corner is!
We got another meal which consisted of a small pizza. There were two flavors but they handed them out randomly. And I ended up with a quattro fromage, and I hate cheese.. Also there was a punselie cookie
We descended into JFK over Long Island. Clear skies made for some nice views out of the window. I believe this is Republic field. On the moving map on my PTV they displayed airports with names which was pretty cool!
We landed at one of JFK's parallel runways. It was the most powerful deceleration I have ever had! If I wasn't wearing seatbelts I would have hit the seat in front of me!
After landing we went trough a long line at immigrations, and took a taxi to our hotel in Manhattan. The two days we spent in NYC visiting all the major tourist attractions. Weather was amazing! Cold, but almost no winds, clear skies and sunshine! Just as I like it. We went to the Manhattan heliport to spot some helicopters.
Next day we would be spending in Washington DC. Of course we planned our trip around the flights we wanted, not the other way. We ended up taking US from LGA to DCA. As I hadn't been to either of the airports, or flew US, this was the best choice. The flight would depart LGA at 0600 hours. We had to get up real early. Getting a taxi to LGA was no problem. Everything was just opening at LGA and it was not busy at all. We checked in at a US Shuttle counter and proceeded to the gate where we met a girl from Long Island and talked about school travel and politics.
Photo © Matthew C. Lyons
We got aboard the N767UW and were handed out some donut/muffin style snack, which was good! I forgot the name. The seats were by far the best I had ever had on my flights!
It was still dark so no take-off video. We took off at LGA and turned south. A little later they started to serve drinks. I always like it if I get an entire can
We flew over the Natl mall which was nice, then had the river approach into DCA.
Landing vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYIdI5__8ew&feature=channel_page
I was a little afraid I'd miss the AC registration as I hadn't seen it on departure, luckily we could disembark via a rear stairs
We entered DCA airport and walked to the main terminal. I absolutely LOVED it!
We took a cab to the Lincoln memorial as I planned to walk all the to the capitol via all the monuments. We arrived at about 0730 at the memorial and there were like 10 people at the entire Natl mall! We were the only people in the Lincoln Memorial! We walked to the Washington Monument via the Vietnam and WOII memorial. We waited in line for tickets to the monument and got some for 1600PM. Lots of time to kill seeing it was 0800 or so. Weather was dry but the winds were freezing! I spotted a convoy of 4 police bikes, 2 police cars, 2 armored Cadillacs and 4 unmarked black Chevy's racing down Pennsylvania avenue!
Me in front of the capitol
After we spotted all the monuments we went to the NASM
I made way too many pictures here to share. When we arrived it was just getting busy, when we left the entire mall was crowded. We went to a Starbucks to get some coffee and after that we walked to the natl monument.
DCA seen from the monument.
After that we had basically seen everything and walked down to the nearest road and got into a taxi back to DCA. 10 minutes later we walked into the terminal, walked to the nearest AA check in machine, entered the reservation number and printed our boarding passes. 20 minutes since we left the monument we walked trough the TSA security! We still had to wait some hours and it was pretty busy. There were multiple groups of some Educational Trip and we were laughing at the attempts of the leaders to keep them together. They all had oversized luggage which they wanted to carry on board but the gate agent refused them and all the bags had to be loaded :P
Later we were informed that AA4756 was delayed by an hour. The aircraft finally pulled up at around 2100.
Photo © Nino Buda
As I never flew AA or any Embraer this flight was the most logical choice and was worth waiting a few hours extra! I always wanted to sit in the back with engine view, and so I asked the guy in seat 16A if he would change seats, he asked me whether I was serious when I told him the engine-view story! I got seated in the back and found out that my gasper was stuck at maximum power and I could not switch it off! Reading light was also INOP. The seat was pretty good but no recline. I could hear the bags being loaded in the cargo hold. After that we were pushed back and the engines were started. No explanation or apology for the delay from the flight deck. There was one very kind flight attendant on board.
There was a beverage service during the flight
The flight was pretty noisy in the back but that what you get if you choose to sit in front of the engine! The service was pretty good. After landing I spotted the EK A380! First time A380 for me!
After a long taxi we docked at an AA terminal and made our (very long) way to the taxis. What a nice terminal this was! We got a taxi and headed back to the hotel.
We had another 2 days to spent in the city and visited some more attractions including the USS Intrepid. I really liked that museum!
Ive seen a handful of blackbirds, but they still impress me!
The next day it was time to head back. Flight was at 1730 so we had some time before we had to check out at the hotel and went for some Scrambled eggs and bacon at a local diner. We got a taxi to JFK terminal 3 and checked in for DL80. I spent the following hours walking trough the terminal which was pretty big, and making pictures. Then this one showed up again!
Our ride back, just arrived from LAX
Photo © Stewart Andrew
We boarded and I headed for seat 27A. It was getting dark already.
This plane had the same layout as the N713TW and so the seats and legroom were allright. Again half of the cabin crew spoke Dutch! We were pushed back maybe 10 meters, then stood there for a full 20 minutes! The captain told us that we were not allowed to land at AMS prior to 0600 AM. While in the distance I could see a KLM 777 taking off... They are allowed to land but have to pay extra for it. They finally started E2 and taxiied to the active on one engine, exactly 1 hour after door close they started E1 and lined up on the runway!
It was already real dark when we took off so no video. It was a boring flight with nothing to see and I tried to sleep but failed. When it became light again somewhere over England we got our meal. It was some sort of macaroni but I forgot the name. Also I forgot to take a picture. With it came a chocolate brownie which weighed about 3 kilograms, it was great! The coffee was okay. We started descending into AMS
Sunset above the North Sea
And we were back home!
I had a great trip. Weather was great except for one morning. The Airports were real nice, especially DCA.
I liked the service on US Shuttle, nice seats, crew and service.
AA was oke, nice crew and aircraft.
DL was alright but nothing special. Seats and IFE were good though. I did not mind the plane being narrow body. I did not like the excuse "not being allowed to land at AMS" for the delay, they offer the flight, but apparently don't want to pay the extra fee's!
Next time to the USA I'll take CO or UA
Thanks for reading!
[Edited 2009-03-13 07:19:20]