Having missed much of the Asian scheduled stuff on Wednesday, I was particularly keen to get as many of the arrivals early the next morning as I could. What I’d not bargained on was that a) it wouldn’t be light until after 0700 and b) the sky was completely overcast.
After leaving the hotel we immediately restocked on drinks and snacks and, realising there was absolutely no point sitting on the approach straight away, elected to get some breakfast.
It was getting on for 0800 when we once again got to Spot 4. Hind and Sammy were suitably unimpressed with the light, as was I, but I’d gone to Amsterdam to take pictures, so that’s what I was going to do regardless.
The reality was that it was unbelievably cold. Even with gloves and five layers on, I couldn’t stand it for much more than an hour. It actually hurt and had there been more moisture in the air, I’ve no doubt there would have been a quite significant snowfall rather than the odd fleck here and there that we actually did get.
The pictures were thoroughly uninspiring but the experience did provide the opportunity for another new carrier to pass in front of my lens, this time in the shape of TACV Cabo Verde Airlines 737-800 D4-CBX.
Having not seen anything take-off from Runway 36C and only a handful of aircraft from 09, we decided it would be a good idea to see if 36L was open once again. As we drove around past Spot 13, it was obvious that it was, as a lengthy line of traffic wended its way out to Schipol’s remotest of runways.
For once, the overcast conditions worked in our favour and meant we didn’t need to wait for the non-existent sun to move around. Among the highlights were a heap of 747 freighters, most notably examples from Air China Cargo, TNT, Air France Cargo, KLM Cargo and an Armenian-registered 747-200F in partial Saudi Arabian Cargo colours. If only the sun had shone!
We’d known (again thanks to Scramble) that a Russian Air Force Il-76 had been due in that afternoon, but the weather being such as it was, we decided not to even attempt to shoot it.
With the time having gone past 1800 and what little light there was fading all the time, we returned the hire car (having used €13 of diesel in two days) and were transported to the terminal where the first thing we learnt was that our flight was running almost two hours late!
We dropped the bag off, picked up a few bits of duty free and ate. If you’re flying with easyJet from Amsterdam, you can’t actually go to the gate until 40 minutes before your flight, so we found a table and sat playing silly word games for an hour. We’d all had enough and just wanted to get home.
When we finally were allowed down to the gate, we still had to clear security and, based on what we saw, Schiphol is now exclusively using the full body scanners for adults. Given that every single person who came through before and after us still needed to be patted down, I’m not entirely sure how successful this technology is going to prove to be.
The aircraft still hadn’t arrived when we got to the gate, but when it did, it was turned around in typical easyJet fashion. It was now our turn to experience that hugely lengthy taxi to Runway 36L for ourselves!
Once airborne, it was a mere 45 minutes to Luton, with us touching down on Runway 08 at 2315. Having taxied back to stand, it then took a further 20 minutes for the ground handlers to provide us with any steps, and the queue in passport control was substantial. It had taken us so long to get from the stand to the baggage hall that our flight’s details had already been taken off the information board advising where our luggage could be found. Why is it the return journey that’s always the bad one?!
Sammy and I finally got in at 0115. In some ways it had been a successful excursion. In others it had been rather frustrating.
I guess I’ll just have to go back again!