Yesterday I flew with KLM Cityhopper from Basel to Amsterdam. I spent the day in Amsterdam walking around the city and enjoying (more) good food. And by the evening even the sun had attempted, if not succeeded, to make an appearance.
This morning I awake from peaceful slumber to the sound of heavy raindrops gently falling against the windowpane to meet their inevitable doom. The wind has picked up too by the sound of it.
Airline: British Airways
Aircraft: A 320
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1C, aisle
To: London Heathrow’s Terminal 5
Date: 27 December 2013
Getting to the Airport
I check out of my room at the Conservatorium just before noon. The weather today is a complete contrast to yesterday and really quite beastly. By noon the wind is gusting and the rain is not only coming down vertically but also moving sideways to ensure that you get completely drenched within five minutes of stepping outdoors.
The tramlines two and five run from the stop right outside the hotel to the Central Station and take about 15 minutes to make the journey. From the main station I catch the 12:28 train to Schiphol, which takes 17 minutes to make the journey.
I checked in online using the BA app yesterday evening. However, due to the fact that my onward connection from Heathrow is not operated by BA, I am only able to obtain the boarding pass for the first leg to London. Therefore, my first stop once I arrive in Schiphol is the British Airways check-in counters. The friendly check-in agent prints the boarding pass for my onward connection, gives me instructions on how to find the lounge and wishes me a pleasant journey before sending me on my way.
The British Airways Lounge
British Airways have their own lounge here in Amsterdam, lounge number 40. It’s quite a nice facility with a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and typically English finger food – triangle sandwiches, crisps and the likes. The lounge is not too crowded. There is, however, one guy sitting in the corner munching crisps with his mouth open. I think I’ve seen cows ruminating with better manners. They certainly were less noisy…
About thirty minutes before departure I leave the lounge and head for gate D26, from where my flight will be leaving today. The security check is quickly done and I arrive at the gate just as the first boarding call is made for Business Class passengers and status holders. Apparently the flight is rather full today, with one operational upgrade to the Business Class cabin.
There are three rows of Business Class on today’s flight, with one middle-aged cabin crew working the Business Class cabin. Once boarding is completed, every passenger is offered a scented hot towel. And shortly after they’ve been removed again, we’re already over the piano keys and lined up for departure.
Once we’re airborne and the fasten seatbelt sign it turned off, the cabin crew spring into action. With a total of 12 passengers in the Business Class cabin and a flight time of only 50 minutes, I’m rather curious to see what the service will be like. But obviously we’re dealing with a pro here. With a happy smile on her face and a friendly comment for every one of the passengers, the flight attendant provides and elegant and unhurried service. On offer today we have:
- a selection of plain scones or sultana scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam
- finger sandwiches (ham and celery, salmon and capers, cheese and chutney)
- a slice of an excellent and very tasty chocolate and orange cake
Eventually, and without rushing, the trays are removed and shortly thereafter we begin our descent into Heathrow. Quite evidently the crew are quite surprised to inform us that there will be no delays or holding patterns, which ultimately means an arrival some 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
I’m the first off the plane. Inside the terminal I follow the signs to flight connections from Terminal 3, which is where my next flight will be departing from.