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Some of Skyteam's exclusives part III

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  • Some of Skyteam's exclusives part III

    Some of Skyteam’s exclusive’s part II
    Part I: Brussels-Paris-Washington
    Part II: Washington-Atlanta
    Part III: Atlanta-Houston-Amsterdam-Brussels


    Part I: showthread.php?t=47898
    Part II: showthread.php?t=48258

    06/04/2009: AF 7184 Brussels Midi- Paris CDG Train TGV
    06/04/2009: AF 0026 Paris CDG- Washington IAD Air France Boeing 777-300ER
    07/04/2009: DL 1637 Washington IAD- Atlanta Delta Air Lines MD-88
    14/04/2009: DL 1405 Atlanta- Houston IAH Delta Air Lines MD-88
    14/04/2009: KL 0664 Houston IAH-Amsterdam Privatair Boeing 737-700
    15/04/2009: KL 1729 Amsterdam-Brussels KLM Cittyhopper Fokker 70



    Background:
    Having around 200 000 miles on my flying Blue account. It was time to spend some miles. For the once in a liftetime I could permit this I started searching for F availibility. Wich as being with Skyteam, only leaves me on Air France to JFK,IAH or IAD. I chose to go to Washington since their afternoon flight departs at 440pm. On the return I wanted to try out the BBJ service from KLM on the route from IAH to Amsterdam. As space being wide open it was very easy to book. I was trying to fit the domestic legs in as a reward ticket. Eventually I could use CO from DCA-CLE-GSP-IAH. Unafortunaly Flying Blue would not let me book this. So I paid a ticket with Delta. Routing IAD-ATL-IAH. Making me leave the next morning after my arrival in Washington. And on the return giving me a four hour layover in Texas. More misery came when KLM cancelled it’s Privatair flight KL663/664 into Houston. I was automaticly rebooked on the earlier 1530 747 flight. Which was not good since my Delta flight arrived from Atlanta at that time. I rearranged my itinerary so that I had the same flights the next day.

    Pre-departure:
    After a nice and warm 10 days in South Carolina and one tornado warning. It was time to start back a long trip home. I woke up at around 5 and started packing my bag and ate. At 9h30 we left towards the Atlanta airport.






    @ the Airport
    I arrived at about 1145 for my 1420 flight. My first flight was to Houston was in Y, but the continuing flights to Amsterdam and Brussels (on a seperate pnr) was in J. So I used the Bussines Elite check in. The lady on the other side of the desk’s shift was about to end and didn’t feel like dealing with a complicate booking like this. First she only printed my bp and lugage tag to Houston (while giving and explaining my situation). Then she was about to only print my bag to Amsterdam. Before that I could stop her and she was not amused that I had ‘another’ flight to Brussels after that. So I had my boarding pass for the ATL-IAH segment and my suitcase checked all the way to Brussels. After that I proceeded thru security and walked around in the T-councourse spotting my first 767 with winglets N1611B. Then I went straight to the E-concourse where i ate at McDonnalds. By 1300 some of the heavies had arrived in Atlanta. Which one was N394DL (see trip report the New Delta part II) operating Delta’s 24 to Düsseldorf. Also, Koreanairs HL7485 to Seoul was ready to depart at gate E28. I started walking troughout the terminal. Waiting on the first A330’s from Delta to arrive from London Gatwick or Minneapolis. However, timing did not permit me to do that and quickly had to go to the gate B27 for my flight to Houston. On my way I quickly bought me one of those good cookies. The plane that was due to bring me to Houston was N911DE which I tought it was a shuttle plane. But however, it was reconfigured to a normal configuration. Boarding started at 1400.






    The flight:
    Tuesday,April 14 2009
    Atlanta (ATL/KATL)-Houston Intercontinental (IAH/KIAH)
    Delta Air Lines 1405 (Continental Airlines )
    Mc Donnel Douglas 88 N911DE Economy 26E
    14h20-14h35 (Gate B27; wheels up on runway 26L at 14h47)
    15h33-15h31 (Gate A15; wheels down on runway 27 at 15h2
    Cruising Altitude: FL 320
    Load factor: 100% in Y
    Est Flying time: 1hour 39 minutes
    Routing: Jackets 5 departure-MEI-AEX-TEXMEXI-KIAH



    Boarding the plane I found my way to seat 26E. after storing my bags an older gentelman walked up to me and pointed out in a mean way that he had 26D and I had to get out of his way. Settled in my seat we where almost ready to go. Until we had a small technical problem with the cargo door. But after a few minutes we where on our way. Having runway 26L assigned to us we past all concourses in Atlanta. The E-concourse was much busier this time. With tons of Delta jets, Northwest, KLM and an Air France A340. Then we passed the Delta hanger. At 1447 Delta 1405 lifted off towards Houston.





    After liftoff we turned southward towards Alabama. The flight itself was pretty uneventfull. Soon we got the beverage service with the usual choice of peanuts of cookies.






    Decent in Houston started at 1510. On decent I watched the Texas and Louisisana countryside which I liked watching. Touchdown was at 1528 and we where at our stand by 1530. In the distance I could see the D-terminal with an Air France 777 to Paris and the earlier KLM 747 to Amsterdam.









    First of all I went spotting in the A-terminal which consisted of Delta and Northwest. Since Northwest handels KLM in Houston I went to a NWA desk to ask if they could print my boarding pass to Amsterdam and Brussels. Which they couldn’t so off to the bus to the D/E terminal. On my way I passed some Continental connection turboprops. The bus stopped once at the Expressjet Gates in Terminal B.





    As most heavies leave between 1530 and 1600 there was not so much heavy trafic. In the E-councourse. I noted Continental’s 777 N77012 flying to London, This plane had already taken me from Brussels to Newark in 2007. Then I went to the D-concourse. At that time KLM and Airfrance had already left. Only Lufthansa’s flight to Frankfurt was still there. But then I noticed a suprise. Singapore Airlines, flying to Moscow Domedevo and continuing on to Singapore. By now it was 1700 and the KLM Crown lounge opened and I recieved my boarding pass for Amsterdam and on to Brussels. And the confirmation that my bag was transferred from Delta to KLM. I tought the KLM Crown lounge was quite nice for the amount of flights it handels a day. I grabbed me a bite to eat and made some phone calls. As 1800 passed I noticed the first officer walking in the lounge. Then I decided to walk in the terminal. At that time KL 663 from Amsterdam had arrived. HB-JJA, the plane who mostly flies that route. In the terminal I noticed a Qatar 777 to DOH and a Emirates 777 to Dubai. I was already aware of the EK flight but I didn’t knew about QR and SQ being in Houston.
















    By 1830. I wandered to gate D10 where the BBJ was being turned around. I started finding out some funny facts. Aswell the check-in area as the Gate was absolutely empty. Only the crew was occupying a few seats. As Privatair is a Swiss carrier flying for a Dutch carrier (KLM) I was wandering where the crew originated from. Passing by them I noticed they where Belgain and quickly exchanged ‘ne goeienavond’ to the crew. Shortly therafter the crew boarded. I hung around until about 1900. where the general boarding announcement came for an empty gate area. At that point everyone came out of the lounge to the plane.







    The flight:
    Tuesday 14 April 2009
    Houston Intercontinental (IAH/KIAH) – Amsterdam (AMS/EHAM)
    KLM Royal Dutch Airlines/ Privatair 664 (Northwest 3836)
    Boeing 737-7AK HB-JJA. “Juliette” World Business Class 7A
    19h25-19h07 (Gate D10; wheels up on runway 15L at 19h32)
    12h25-12h13 (Gate E02; wheels down on runway 06 at 12h07)
    Est flying time: 9hrs35mins.
    Cruising Altitude: FL 370
    Load factor: 20% in J
    Routing: IAH-LCH-BTR-MEI-ATL-IAD-BOS-YHZ-YQY-YYT-5050N-5340N-5430N-5320N-MCT-LHR-LAM50-SUGOL-CH-ILS06



    Tonight only 11 of the 44 seats were to be taken. With most pax sitting in the front and 2 of us in the back the load seemed very light. And indeed it was, walking thru the jetway I wanted to make a pic. This made me last to board the seat behind de exit. I was immidiatly greeted by a German FA who I started a converstation with. In matter of minutes the captain came on announcing that we were ready to go. Announcing a flight time of 9 hours and 35 minutes to Amsterdam. This was slighty slower that on a widebody. Last year I flew the same route on Continental making the flight only 8 hours and 55 minutes. Soon after that we pushed back a full 30 minutes prior to schedule. After a quit lenghty taxi we finally made it to runway 15L and lifted up at about 19h30.


















    Soon after takeoff our menu cards where distributed on our flight.
    14 April 2009 KL 664 Houston-Amsterdam
    Appetiser:
    Chicken and butterfly schrimp
    With coleslaw and seaweed salaed

    Main Courses

    Braised hoisin short rib
    Served with bok-choy and wasabi mashed patatoes


    Chicken stuffed with mushrooms
    Presented with morel sauce and root vegetables

    Seared turbot
    Offered with lobster sauce, basmasti rice broccoli and carrots.

    Dessert
    We invite you te select your choice of a sweet dish, cheese or fresh fruit from our dessert trolley


    For your comfort
    Bottles of mineral water will be distributed after your meal.

    Refreshments
    At any time during the flight an assortment of refreshments is availible upon your request?

    Breakfast a la carte
    Please fill out your breakfast choices on your breakfast card.

    Southwestern omlette with black beans
    Served with cheddar and bacon


    Gingerbread with pancaces
    Enchanced by lemon sauce



    Entertainment was given on a DigePlayer, The same of the sort that is given on flights to and from the Middle East. I found in hard to navigate with since the buttons did not always work. I chose the Music channel KLM pop. Wich had al the populars from the nineties. The moving map was shown continiously on the overhead monitors throughout the cabin. Actually quite funny since most of the route I have travelled we were backtracking. All the way until Georgia. Enroute meal service was hand delivered. And all courses being complete by 2215 Atlanta Time (2115 in Houston, 415 in Amsterdam).










    Now I started to inspect the seat. Wich only had 3 positions, Straigt, Craddeld and Lie-flat. The Lie flat was not that comfortable, making me pull myself back up from time to time. But I did manage to get some sleep. By the time I woke up it was about 845 in Amsterdam and 145 in Houston. Just in time to see the sunrise. The following hours I continued to listen to Music. At 1015 my breakfast was served I was quite suprised by the huge portion





    Since I only have eaten about 4,5 earlier, I was still very full from dinner. Wich i unafortnualy only finished half the portion given. After Breakfast was cleared 30 minutes later. I got to keep the jelly and the honey. After that I walked thru the cabin to make some pictures of the cabin. Thereafter I started to talk with some of the F/A’s. Who told me some intresting facts about the operation. (Like only 2 pilots flying longhaul flights, somtimes up to 12 hours). Soon I got the famous Bols houses. Once those where delivered I started to clean up and prepared for the decent into Amsterdam.








    During approach into Amsterdam the captain came on to make the last weather announcements. Then we started to line up for runway 6. Making a nice smooth landing at 12h06. About 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Making our way straigt to Gate E2. We sure felt small in that BBJ between all those A330’s 747’s and MD-11’s. Docking in was at 12h13. Ifcourse with only 12 passengers onboard the cabin was emptied a few minutes later. When passing thru the front I asked if I could make some pictures of the flight deck. Which I was allowed to. By 1220 I was off in the Amsterdam terminal.










    Airlines: XT,KL,SN,ACA,DL,AF,TV,SN,OS,LX,WA,NW,FI,US,AW,CO,OH,OO,9W,AA,AE,FL,B6

    Aircraft:AT4,B763,B734,A321,B743,FRJ,B763ER,B772,A343,B733,F70,MD80,AR8,A319,CRJ,F50,D10,D95,A333,B752,B762,ERD,B764,CR9,B77W,AB6,ATR,B717,E190

    Airports: ANR,AMS,ATL,BRU,ATH,JFK,LGA,GSP,CDG,FCO,EWR,FAO,VIE,ZRH,MEM,DTW,KEF,PHL,CLT,IAH,MIA,JAX

  • #2
    Still having about an hour and a half before my connection to Brussels I strolled around the E-Concourse. Here I spotted my first A330 in the new Delta Colors. Ifcourse I noticed several KLM widebodies like the 744 and the MD11. The KLM MD-11 is still on my to fly-list. By 13h15 I noticed HB-JJA push off and lift off, however not to back to Houston, As KL 663 did not operate that day. After that I went thru immergration and security. Before using the Crown Lounge on the shengen side. At 13h45 I started my walk to gate B29 downstairs where boarding was suppose to begin at 14h05 to Brussels. At this time I was starting to get very tired from the long trip already. Sat in the gate area until 14h30 where we could board our bus to the gate. Once the bus was filled we waited for 5 more minutes. Then the gate agent came to make the news that you do not like to hear when you have been travelling for 23 hours. Technical problem and delayed until further notice. So we were leased back into the terminal. While waiting I noticed the manifest. All Europe Select passengers were sitting in row 3. leaving row 1 and 2 empty. Nice info to know. At 15h10 reboarding started for KLM 1729









    The flight:
    Wednesday 15 April 2009
    Amesterdam (AMS/EHAM)-Brussels (BRU/EBBR)
    KLM Cittyhopper 1729 (Northwest Airlines 8239)
    Fokker 70 PH-KZW. Europe Select 3A (later 2A)
    14h55-15h45 (Gate B65; wheels up on runway 36L at 16h01)
    15h50-16h35 (Gate A60; wheels down on runway 25R at 16h31)
    Cruising Altitude: FL 150.
    Load factor: 50% in C+Y
    Est Flying time. 20 mins
    Routing: Rway 36 L-EH084-EH036-LENKO-WOODY-ANWERP-BRUNO-EBBR


    Boarding the plane I was greeted by 2 young flight attendents. Once everyone boarded we were still waiting to go. Suddenly the captain takes the microphone in the cabin to explain what was going on. Appearently the original aircraft had a flat tire and while inspecting the plane, there was a few more glitches found. So they soon reprepped PH-KZW. But now we still were waiting for our sequence to depart. And then we will be having to taxi to the polderbaan. Before we can finally start our 20 minute hop to Brussels. After making the announcement I talked for a while with the flight crew. The captain was British and explained alot about the aircraft. Finally at 15h45 we were cleared to start our taxi to the Polderbaan and at 16h01 we lifted off after a a 744 from KLM.






    Soon as we lifted off from the ground the announcment and service began. Which consisted of pretzels and a container of juice. I spended most of the time looking out the window and before we knew it decent started. While decending I noticed the interior was different than the other F70’s.







    Touchdown was on 25R instead of 25L. Seems like KL Cittyhopper does it alot for it’s flights. Everytime when i land from AMS this happens. A few minutes later we reached gate A60. while deboarding I quickly made a few pics.of the cockpit.


    Then I started my long walk to bagage claim. Where my suitcase was already wating for me. Then I was ready to take the train back home. Making me arrive at around 2000 home. Exhausted after a 28 hour trip.





    Overall verdict
    Air France (see Part I):
    I was pleasently suprised, especially the treatment I got in CDG, which was a once in a lifetime excperience. On board it was very exclusive as well. However they still have a way to go (based on trip reports and pictures from others) to get up to First Class standards. I wish AF the best luck to succeed. That said, does not say that I as a usual Y-class flier found it a very enjoyable and exclusive feeling.

    KLM/Privatair/KLM Cittyhopper (see Part III)
    The KLM/Privatair excperience was also very exclusive from it’s part. With a load of 10 passengers it does actually feel like a private jet. My only complaint were the seats wich only had 3 positions you could choose from. KLM Cittyhopper did despite the delay a very good job aswell on it’s segment

    Delta: (see part II and III)
    Delta did suprise me with the first bag check on it’s flights from IAD to ATL. But despite that I enjoyed my flights with them. Had friendly crews on both sets. However check in agents at their home base int Atlanta were rude IMO. Wich was not the first time that i encountered that in Atlanta.

    As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in ATL, IAH, AMS and BRU

    ATL:
    N945DL
    N911DE
    N394DL
    HL7495
    N193DN
    N199DN
    N1611B
    N1501P
    N1603
    N651DL
    N6740P
    N722EV
    N926AT
    N761MD
    N652RW
    N820AS
    N878AS
    N720EV
    N154DL
    N176DN
    N909DE
    N752AT
    N183DN
    N845MH
    N827MH
    N619DL
    N702TW
    N194DN
    N706DN

    IAH:
    N911DE
    N314CE
    N809SK
    HB-JJA
    G-RAES
    9V-SWV
    A6-EMD
    N57089
    N15954
    N78009
    N27190
    N14204
    N825SK
    N336NW
    N23708

    AMS:
    HB-JJA
    PH-KZI
    I-BIKG
    PH-BDS
    PH-HZO
    PH-BXG
    PH-BGA
    PH-BQI
    PH-BQZ
    PH-AOF
    N805NW
    N806NW
    PH-KCH
    PH-BFO
    PH-KZO
    PH-BFP
    PH-KZN
    PH-KZW
    PH-KZE

    BRU:
    PH-KZW
    OO-DJV
    OO-DJN

    My Total travel time was about 28hours and 30 mins.

    Thank you for viewing.

    Next trip.
    BRU-EWR-PBI-EWR-BRU on Continental.
    Airlines: XT,KL,SN,ACA,DL,AF,TV,SN,OS,LX,WA,NW,FI,US,AW,CO,OH,OO,9W,AA,AE,FL,B6

    Aircraft:AT4,B763,B734,A321,B743,FRJ,B763ER,B772,A343,B733,F70,MD80,AR8,A319,CRJ,F50,D10,D95,A333,B752,B762,ERD,B764,CR9,B77W,AB6,ATR,B717,E190

    Airports: ANR,AMS,ATL,BRU,ATH,JFK,LGA,GSP,CDG,FCO,EWR,FAO,VIE,ZRH,MEM,DTW,KEF,PHL,CLT,IAH,MIA,JAX

    Comment


    • #3
      Excellent flight review and great pictures to go along with it. Looks like you had a pretty rude awakening in ATL with the rude gate agent and the mean passenger who asked you to move out of his way, though I'm confused why you would need to move if you had the window seat. Looks like the Privatair flight was a good experience.

      Regards,

      Rohan

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks Rohan,

        It indeed was a awakening. For the plane pax, I was still stowing everything away in the overhead bin when he appeared.
        Airlines: XT,KL,SN,ACA,DL,AF,TV,SN,OS,LX,WA,NW,FI,US,AW,CO,OH,OO,9W,AA,AE,FL,B6

        Aircraft:AT4,B763,B734,A321,B743,FRJ,B763ER,B772,A343,B733,F70,MD80,AR8,A319,CRJ,F50,D10,D95,A333,B752,B762,ERD,B764,CR9,B77W,AB6,ATR,B717,E190

        Airports: ANR,AMS,ATL,BRU,ATH,JFK,LGA,GSP,CDG,FCO,EWR,FAO,VIE,ZRH,MEM,DTW,KEF,PHL,CLT,IAH,MIA,JAX

        Comment

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