As this was the final leg of a long flight from Taipei to London via Bangkok and Amsterdam (click here for the review), and as I was transferring from a non-Schengen country to another non- Schengen country, there was no need to clear immigration. Had I been going from a non-Schengen country into a Schengen country such as Germany, Spain or Finland, it would not have been so straight forward.
My China Airlines flight from Bangkok landed at 1015 local time and as I was in business class I was one of the first off the plane. My baggage had been through-checked to London so I had nothing to pick up, so all I had to do was kill a few hours until my 1325 flight.
Fortunately there are lots of shops and restaurants in Schiphol airport so I managed to find a seat in a KPN internet café where I could get a coffee and 30 minutes of wifi internet access for €6. After checking my emails I found a bench by some floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the runway and caught up on some reading until 1230.
Gate D44 opened at 1235, which was an eight-minute walk away, and when I arrived there were about 15 people ahead of me waiting in line for security. Laptops had to be taken out and shoes taken off and, once through, passengers had to wait in a cramped area until boarding started. Within ten minutes business class passengers were called, and a few minutes later, those in economy.
I was in my seat (8A) by 1300. On this B737-400 there were five rows of business class and 20 rows of economy (there is no row 13), configured 3-3 (A-B-C, D-E-F) except for row one that only has D-E-F seats because the left-hand side is occupied by a closet.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
Seats in row 12 have extra legroom as are by the emergency exit. If you like a window seat but don’t want your view obscured by the wing, avoid those in rows nine to 16. If you sit nearer the front you are more likely to get served your drink and snack first and disembark quicker. Avoid middle seats B and E.
Take-off was a little late at 1340 but by 1355 we were cruising at the refreshment service started. Passengers were given the choice between a packet of Tuc crackers or a chocolate Prince biscuit, and a small 150ml can of soft drink, or a glass of wine or beer. As I was so tired I slept most of the way, landing at Heathrow 1440 (1340 local time).
The plane was at the stand within five minutes and we were quickly disembarked. There was a bit of a queue at immigration followed by a 20-minute wait for my suitcase at baggage reclaim, which I was worried might have got lost because of the number of flights it had to be transferred to (three), but fortunately it arrived.
Apart from the three-hour wait for my connection with KLM to London, the final leg of my Taipei-London flight via Bangkok and Amsterdam was problem free. The service was efficient and punctual with the Dutch carrier.