OTR Trip Report to Amsterdam

I know that there are a bunch of people out there who love to read highly detailed trip reports.  God Bless Lucky over at One Mile at a Time – he’s got huge readership, he’s an incredibly bright guy, and if you’re interested in 32 photos of the Diet Coke he drank on his last flight, he’s your man (I mean that in the best way possible) :)

But I flew over to Amsterdam on KLM last night, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts:

– A couple of days before the flight I wanted to call the airline to change a seat.  I had booked a flight through my work travel agent.  It listed the outbound as a Northwest flight, operated by KLM.  The return was listed as a Northwest flight, KLM codeshare, operated by Delta.  I had no idea who to call.  And when I did call Delta, they laughed and said I had to call Northwest, who denied any knowledge of the flight and told me to call KLM, who told me to call Delta.  Good times over at the merger.

– Flew on a KLM 747 Mixed use plane (I’d never seen one before – with the rear of the aircraft used for cargo).  The plane was delivered in 1989, and has not, as far as I could see, been updated since then.  It’s almost funny to be on a transcon flight without seatback TV, except that it’s not funny if you’re the guy on it.

– My iPhone doesn’t work in JFK Terminal 4.  Keep up the great work AT&T.

– I got on the plane, which was full, and was able to put my luggage in the overhead AND put a laptop bag on top of that piece of luggage.  It was the largest overhead bin I’ve ever seen.  It almost makes up for the lack of entertainment and electric plugs.

– I can complain all I want about the lack of amenities on this flight, but here’s the reality:

9:40pm: I boarded.
9:42pm:  I stowed my crap and, Thank God, found my Ambien.
9:43pm: I choked down an Ambien without water.
9:44pm: I read a bit of the New Yorker
9:53pm: Whoo, I’m feeling a bit drowzy
9:56pm: Snore
10:10pm: (apparently we lifted off)
1:36am: Guy next to me is touching me and my first reaction is to snuggle, since I assume it is my wife, but it is not, so I back off and try to get that thought out of my head.
10:28am: I wake up upon landing in Amsterdam.  There may have been some sort of meal or beverage service, but I am not aware of it.  Ambien trumps in-flight service.
12:07pm:  I am in the Marriott Amsterdam, apparently, and I know I took a cab here, but I have no actual recollection of that process.  Thanks Ambien amnesia!

So there ya go.  The reality of travel for me is that I’d much, much, much rather sleep than take advantage of any inflight service on trips to Europe.  And, despite my 20 year old plane with no service whatsoever, I was successful.

Later this week: The riveting story of my sub-2 hour flight over to Budapest.


  1. The 12.5mg Ambien is too much!! I told you so! That’s what happened to me on my last trip to Stockholm!