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London Gatwick (North) to Amsterdam Schiphol, dep Friday 06.20 arr 08.40
B737-400, seat 12D
I arrived at Gatwick South at 5am on the 4.30am Gatwick Express service from Victoria. My gate was due to close at 5.45am and I still had to get from South to North on the monorail. However, as it turned out I had plenty of time as the monorail runs every 5 minutes (approx.). I’d also checked-in online the night before, and printed out my boarding pass with hand luggage only.
Gatwick North is (in my opinion) a much nicer facility compared to South. There seem to be more shops, and the facilities are more modern. I had about ten minutes before my gate was announced, so I sat and caught up with a little work on my laptop.
At 05.40 my gate (62) was called. It’s quite a walk from the main terminal concourse, so it’s advisable not to hang around too long. The gate wasn’t at all crowded, and boarding was on time and seemed to be completed pretty quickly.
I’d chosen seat 12D, a window seat on the second over-wing emergency exit row (the other being row 11). The plane seemed to be half full, the middle seat (3-3 configuration) was empty, as was the one behind me which meant I could recline without feeling bad about encroaching on anyone’s space. The seat itself was upholstered in blue leather that, while comfortable, had seen better days.
The captain announced that because of fog at Schiphol, our arrival time had been put back. He estimated a take-off time of 06.50, half an hour behind schedule, and so shut down the engines to allow people to use their phones in case they needed to let anyone know (considerate, I thought). We took off a little ahead of his estimate, at 06.45, with an ETA of 08.45, not all that later than scheduled.
Because of my early start, I was soon asleep. When I woke, I found a small ham and cheese roll on my arm rest, a welcomed surprise as I’d missed my breakfast. This was tasty, and although small it was only a short flight. I’d expected no more than a bag of crisps or nuts.
I haven’t been all that impressed with the attitude of BA cabin crew in the past, but on this flight it was much improved. Crew smiled, were friendly and attentive, which does make all the difference to the experience.
We arrived at 08.45, as predicted, but this was followed by a seemingly endless taxi to the terminal. I say endless, it was probably about ten minutes. Once at the gate, there was a short delay before doors were opened at we were let off.
There was a long queue at the two immigration desks, and once through quite a long walk to the arrivals hall from where I caught a train to my final destination.