Very recently I had the chance to visit my dear friend and former roommate in Singapore where he now lives with this wife. The flight from San Francisco is one of the longest commercial flights lasting more than seventeen hours from takeoff to landing. The return trip took fewer than fifteen hours. This difference in time is matched by a difference in flight path and can be explained by the affect of the jet stream.
I had a great flight into Amsterdam. Though I was originally disappointed that the jet was an old 747-400, the situation was redeemed by the fact that it was a combination passenger-jet and freighter, making this my first cargo flight. It’s pretty incredible, actually, because KLM has chosen to go ahead and offer routes that aren’t as busy (such as from Narita to Amsterdam) and makes up for the loss on tickets by hauling freight on the same flights. There were all of the comforts of a jumbo-jet with all the benefits of having fewer passengers: snappy boarding and disembarking, smooth flight, great amenities in the air.
The wings did seem a bit shaky which unnerved me a bit. Maybe it was because I’m not used to sitting that far forward in the plane, but when I looked out the window and saw the engines bouncing around and the wings flexing I had to remind myself of the safety and track-record of the 747. Also, no AC power and no Internet access meant that I was pretty limited in what I could do, so I basically watched movies the whole time while I wrote some documentation for work.
It’s always incredible to fly up north – above the Arctic Circle. Things are so dreamy up there with the glaciers, snow, and mountains. Really makes you consider just how big Earth is and how little of it we occupy or live in.
The real treat this trip, however, was the descent into Amsterdam (no, not a moral descent). There were rainstorms around the area and we had a beautiful view of them: the thunderhead clouds (they look like anvils), the walls of water falling, and the glimmer of the sun through the distant showers.
Flying can be fun. Now where was I? Oh yeah – one more flight, three trains, and one lightrail before I’m home.