April 2009


An ORDinary Kind of Day

Or not.

It’s actually been a really cool Thursday, despite an alarm clock going off at 4.


I trundled off to Tegel, got on a plane, flew for an hour, and then had a three hour layover—before I got on a big blue 747-400 to head over the North Atlantic, and in my own geeky way, it was doubly thrilling because it was in KLM Asia colors—a plane, and, technically speaking, airline, I’ve never flown before.

KLM Asia, along with several other similar branded airlines, were created to skirt laws in either China or Taiwan that forbid airlines and airplanes that had visited one from visiting the other. Sitting at 35,000 feet I don’t remember the specifics, but one could Wikipedia it, if desperate: KLM Asia.

Truly, I had no idea how this happened, but I checked in online and managed to reserve seat 9A—the plane is in “Mixed Configuration”—which means that the back half of the main deck is filled with cargo. CQ might actually remember the leg- room at this row—he sat in seat 9C, while I sat in 9B, when we flew from Johannesburg to Amsterdam a couple years ago..

Actually, I can tell you that this seat is much nicer than either 10A or 10J on a Northwest A330-300. The window is better positioned and the galley doesn’t spill light onto the seat all the time. Short of sitting in business class, I cannot imagine a better seat on this plane.

Anyhow, I always enjoy transiting Amsterdam Schiphol—really for two reasons.

First, I have come to understand with incredible clarity a key Dutch phrase—one that I repeat with great effect much to the amusement of my native-speaking friends. The phrase is said all over the airport and is a public service to the people using and working in the terminal.

Mind your step.

Secondly, I like seeing the red-tails of Northwest Airlines – particularly in the current silver livery (save for the tail on the right hand side). One can see many more wide-bodied red-tails in Amsterdam than you can see in Detroit—where you might see ten wide bodies at any one time (they run seven or eight transatlantic flights daily, and I think something like three or four transpacific flights).

However, that later joy was somewhat diminished this time—yes, the Delta tail has a red arrow on it, but its not the same—and it’s more blue, and honestly, the Delta livery on an Airbus A330 just seems strange.

I just need to get used to it, I guess.

Anyhow, since you’re reading this, you’ll be happy to know that I arrived safely in Chicago, where I will be until next Wednesday.

3 comments to An ORDinary Kind of Day

  • disenchanted

    Welcome back to the Central Time Zone. 😀

  • KLM has been flying those mixed-configuration 747s to ORD for quite a while; our friends fly ORD-AMS in 2004. Did KLM retrofit these planes with in-seat entertainment in coach class?

  • @disenchanted: Thanks! Guess who went to bed last night before 10 and first woke up at 00:45? When I woke up I immediately thought to myself that it would be surely embarrassing early.

    @jerryfaust: KLM has not yet retrofitted the plane with inseat AVOD–and honestly that feature makes no difference to me. There was some kind of announcement that I missed and when I took off my iPod headphones the guy next to me told me that they were merely rebooting the entertainment system due to some kind of technical fault. I’m always surprised to find out that anybody watches the movies. I would prefer that an airshow map was always on the main screens.