Travel Report

This is my first trip over the Atlantic — I’m flying Northwest/KLM both ways, which is also a first for me. It was my first time in an Airbus 330 — I’ve almost never flown something with three sets of seats, other than on the round-trip to Washington DC, and that was 8 years ago. The flight east was uneventful: I did my best to sleep, and seem to have gotten about 4 hours. Despite the fact that it’s apparently 3AM on my body clock, I don’t feel more than a little bit sleepy… yet. I’m sure it’ll catch up with me before I want to be asleep tonight.

My phone apparently isn’t working at all here: despite there being a recognized ‘T-mobile’ network, the phone just says “Access Denied” when the phone tries to join. Hopefully I can get that cleared up in Switzerland so that I can do some GSMLoc recording. There’s also no wireless here that I can find — there is an ad-hoc network here called “Free Public Wi-Fi”, but it doesn’t seem to respond to DHCP requests, so I don’t know what’s up with that. This is leaving me woefully underconnected — something I’m horribly unused to. In the US, I can *always* hop online, even if it’s slow, with putty on my phone, or connecting via Bluetooth to the laptop. Losing that ability is a strange feeling.

As far as Schipol airport goes, there are a couple things here that surprised me:
* How big it is. The D terminal has *87 gates* — and gate D6 (the one I’m at) has A-M subgates, which makes me think that there may be significantly more than that in total. How the heck that works, I don’t know, but it just seems big to me. Not to mention that there are 4 other terminals.
* Long taxiways! I think we were taxiing for about 15 minutes at full steam: we went from where we landed, in the middle of a bunch of fields, into what felt much more like a city. I’m used to taxiways being about hte same length as runways, so this was definitely a new one to me.
* Security-at-the-gate: Apparently, security here is specific to the gate, rather than to a wing of the airport. (Or maybe it’s both — I didn’t actually walk out.) Seems like a massive repitition of resources: I’ve never felt that Security for the terminal was a poor way of doing it: it seems like no matter what, one side is clean, and the other side is dirty: increasing the dirty area and decreasing the clean area does not seem to me like it would be important. (Granted, the dirty and clean sides don’t always stay that way, vis terror attacks that have happened or other incidents where security risks have gotten through — but that’s an issue of missed screening, not one where someone actually didn’t *get* screened.)
* Smoking in the building. I don’t think I’ll ever like this, given my significant difficulty breathing in smoking areas. I like Massachusetts and its “no smoking in bars” laws, thanks.

I’m also slightly amused by the airport warnings for late passengers: “You are delaying the flight. Immediate boarding please! We will proceed to offload your luggage.” Although Jess says that my argumentative, regimented, and strict behavior is ‘German’, I think that it has definitely bled over into Amsterdam as well. I wonder if that is true of more areas of Europe?

Altogether, other than the languages, flying here isn’t much different than flying to any other big airport. Then again, I haven’t gotten to my final destination yet 🙂 More reports as more things happen — for now, signing off, from Schipol-Amsterdam airport.

2 Responses to “Travel Report”

  1. Mark Eichin Says:

    T-mobile US customers don’t have international roaming unless they ask for it (as a theft-reduction measure, I believe.) All you have to do is ask, which may be trickier now that you’re out of the country. Google does find http://www.t-mobile.com/International/RoamingOverview.aspx?tp=Inl_Tab_RoamWorldwide
    currently. (I activated it ages ago, and have used tmo in germany, and various random carriers in sweden and iceland, from the same phone… including [very expensively] data service, which is not unlimited, without any configuration changes.)

  2. Christopher Schmidt Says:

    Yeah, I figured as much: I just assumed that wouldn’t be the case, or that they would have mentioned it on Friday when I called to ask about how much international rates were. In any case, should be setup now, although it takes time for it to actually happen apparently.