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A Quick Note on My Trip to Amsterdam

For years, my trips to Europe looked something like this:

1) Get on plane
2) Not sleep on plane
3) Get to hotel at 830am
4) Sleep til 1
5) Get into bed at 11pm
6) Curse myself when I was still up at 5am
7) Repeat

That was hell. But I have changed that routine and created the patent-pending Online Travel Review Anti-Jet Lag Sleep Procedure (OTRAJLSP, pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd). Here’s how it works:

1) The night before you leave for trip, tell wife that you will be getting up at 3am as part of your OTRAJLSP.
2) Tell wife don’t worry she will fall back asleep when the alarm goes off at 3am.
3) Tell wife to stop giving you that look.
4) Get up at 3am
5) Go to work and respond to questions about why it looks like you were up all night (answer: because you were up all night)
6) Get on plane, take Ambien, pass out, and arrive at 8am like a new(ish) person.

I flew SAS in business class over to Amsterdam (I’m on a work trip), with a stopover in Copenhagen, which I chose because it saved my company a couple of grand over the nonstop, a move I was questioning after speaking with several of my colleagues from other divisions who are also on this trip and who spent the full amount to fly nonstop and who thought I was completely insane for choosing a connecting flight, despite my altruism.

Longtime OTR readers know I’m not a fan of the detailed trip report so I’ll be skipping that, except for the highlights:

The SAS lounge at Newark is what you would imagine a lounge would look like if it were designed by Ikea (Flyttluunge – $58.72). The lounge was packed with strapping looking Scandinavians, every single one of whom was much better looking than I. The babies were Mini-Boden cute, and the older gentlemen looked 7 times as dignified as I will look at their age. And somehow as we Jews get older we shrink, while Danes maintain their 6’2″ frames. I’m not sure how that works.

Snacks are on offer, if you consider smoked fish a snack.

If you were wondering what the seat looks like, you can view it here. I feel weird taking photos on the plane because I think it makes me look like one of those people who takes photos on a plane. That’s fine, and I’ve certainly benefited from those photos, but to each his own. It’s an angled lie-flat seat which – and I’m not the first person to say this – is actually less comfortable than the non-lie-flat business class seats that used to be the norm (ie, the older-style Continental BusinessElite seats). My feet hung over the edge of the footrest, causing my foot to fall asleep. I repeatedly slid down the seat, leaving my legs from knee-to-foot to be hanging over the legrest while my head was pitched upwards at an angle used by chiropractors when cracking a patient’s neck.

The SAS seats are pretty dinged up at this point and service is perfectly serviceable. Crew come through the cabin to hand out menus while wearing chef outfits (bandanas tied around neck, etc), which made me laugh, possibly because it was kinda funny, and possibly because I was in a goofy Ambien haze.

Speaking of which, I know from reading trip reports that people love the theater of business & first class meal service. On Eastbound Transatlantic flights, however, I wish they would just throw the meal at us and let us sleep. I don’t need a drink service and 4 courses, leaving me with 3 hours of sleep. I would like a pile of food tossed in my general direction, and I would like the cabin lights dim, and I would like to pass out and drool on myself (in that order, preferably).

I mis-judged how long the meal service would take, and took the Ambien too early. The primary effect of this misstep was that I fell asleep during the appetizer, apparently. I looked through the menu they handed out and mentally noted my choice. I remember getting an appetizer. I do not remember eating it. I am nearly 100% certain I was not asked for my choice of main, nor was one given to me. However, when they announced our initial descent into Copenhagen, there was no sign of my meal tray, leading me to believe they removed it while I was sleeping (or I ate it. I have no idea.)

I disembarked in Copenhagen, headed to the lounge, was told the showers were full, ate a piece of toast with jam and that cheese they have in every European buffet (and that my wife and I refer to as “cheese” with the quotemarks), passed on the ham and peppers in the breakfast buffet, and headed to my gate for my connection. An hour and a little bit later I was in Amsterdam.

Next up, Oman on Friday…

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  1. pretty sure it’s actually Flyttlüünge – $58.72

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