My Story

lunes, enero 05, 2009

A quick review on my last flights

On the 21st December, I flew home for the Christmas holidays; I had already spent last year's holidays in Germany, and this year it was time to enjoy this time of the year at home. Anyways, this post is to report on my journey from Stuttgart to Guayaquil.

As in the last few trips from Germany to Ecuador, I flew again with KLM / Skyteam, only this time instead of flying Stuttgart-Amsterdam-Bonaire-Guayaquil, I took the route Stuttgart-Amsterdam-Panama-Guayaquil, and it wasn't such a good idea. In order to be on time for the flight from Amsterdam to Panama, or maybe also because of availability issues, I had to take the first flight from Stuttgart to Amsterdam, which left 06:20 (in the morning, of course). For me, this meant spending the night in the airport in Stuttgart. Still, the wait wasn't that bad: I watched Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy (again) in my laptop and reviewed some stuff for the uni.

The (old) Fokker 100 to Amsterdam left on time; this aircraft reminded me of the times I got to travel by airplane in Ecuador while I was still a child. Those Fokkers could use some refurbishing, but I was also glad to read in the in flight magazine "Holland Herald", that they will be (hopefully soon) replaced with new Embraer E190 jets.

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is indeed one of the nicest airports I've ever been to; this time I even got one of those comfy big chairs where I got some sleep. After about 4,5 hours wait, the flight from Amsterdam to Panama left on time.

The 11,5 hours the flight from Amsterdam to Panama took were quite bearable now that KLM's MD11 have what they call "Interactive Entertainment System" with personal screens. I was happy to catch up with a relative old movie (The Last Samurai) and also watch a new one (Pineapple Express). The meals were just Ok (and my standards for aircraft meals are quite low); they used to be a bit better, but ever since the whole economic crisis, as every other company, KLM has taken measures to reduce costs.

Panama's Tocumen International Airport doesn't look as nice as the airport in Guayaquil, but it also has free wireless Internet which makes it good enough for what should have been a short wait (2h30min). The flight from Panama to Guayaquil was operated by Copa Airlines, and I really hope I don't need to take any flight from Copa anytime soon. Within the last 10 minutes prior to boarding they decided to change gates, then, after everyone had moved to the new gate, they let us wait another 20 minutes or so, just to change gates again. We were then taken to our not so new Boeing 737-700 in non-airport-standard buses (instead of "apron buses" they were more like urban minibuses, that is without easy access low floors nor wide doors). We had to wait another 30 minutes or so inside the Aircraft before take-off, and the meal on board wasn't good at all. And of course, we arrived late to Guayaquil.

The journey was, on the whole, just "good"; I was happy with the new personal screens in the transatlantic flight, and the KLM crew on that flight was really friendly too, but all what happened after arriving to Panama took off the points this flight experience needed to be 10/10. Specially because arriving late meant going through ecuadorian immigration at the same time as two or more other flights.

By the way, I wonder if anyone has noticed that the "bling" tone that signals the next available immigration officer is the same one as the one for a contact going online on MSN Messenger... or at least very similar.

On the next post I'll probably write about the movies I watched on the flight back to Germany.

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