Posted in Aviation, North America Trip, The Caribbean, Trip Report, Vacation

#1826 – September 2016 Sabbatical Trip: The Caribbean (Part V: Back to the Netherlands)

ENGLISH

Posts in the September 2016 Sabbatical Trip: The Caribbean series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to Sint Maarten
3. Part II: Sint Maarten
4. Part III: The Maho Beach
5. Part IV: Saint Martin
6. Part V: Back to the Netherlands

***

As I said in the Introduction, I enjoyed my time in Sint Maarten so much and was a little bit sad that one week went by really fast just like that, haha😆 . It was already time to go back home to the Netherlands.

Princess Juliana International Airport
Princess Juliana International Airport. One week went by so fast.

We were also flying KLM to go back to the Netherlands. Of course, we needed to maximize our time flying the 747s, right? Haha😆 . While KLM’s flight from Amsterdam was non-stop, the returning flight to Amsterdam was not. KL 785 was a triangular flight and so from Sint Maarten we had to make one stop in Curaçao. Well, I was not complaining at all obviously, as this meant I had more time flying 😊.

Flight map of today. Created with gcmap.com
Flight map of today. Created with gcmap.com

KL 785 (Sint Maarten – Curaçao)

KL Logo
Flight: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL 785
Equipment: Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN named “City of Nairobi”
ATD: 12:06 AST (Runway 10 of SXM)
ATA: 13:17 AST (Runway 11 of CUR)

After returning our rental car, we were taken by a shuttle to the airport. We were a little bit too early this morning so the check-in counter had not yet been open. Long story short, we checked-in, upon which all our luggages werre given the priority tags and the check-in lady issued three lounge invitation cards (instead of two, yeay!) for us. We passed the security check, cleared immigration, and then waited at the lounge.

A KLM's Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN
A KLM’s Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN

Anyway, at about 10:45, our ride landed at runway 10. Today, the flight was going to be operated with KLM’s Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN named “City of Nairobi”. The transit passengers from Amsterdam to Curaçao were asked to remain in the plane and I doubt they did any (significant) cleaning on the seats that were occupied by the Sint-Maarten-bound passengers. Anyway, after boarding at 11:30, I settled on my 22K seat. Luckily the seat still looked clean and seat 22J was empty! Yeay!😀

At about 11:50, the pushback began and so the flight departed. We taxied on the runway towards the end of runway 10 for take-off. And when we made the final 180° turn, I could see Maho Beach was full of jet-blast chasers! Haha😆 .

Jet blast chasers
Jet blast chasers

At 12:06, we took off from runway 10 of SXM. We were taking off towards the east and, as I said in Part III post, there was a small mountain range in this direction. So quickly after take-off, the plane had to make a right turn to avoid the mountain. Consequently, the take-off was super cool!!😀 Here is the departure and take-off video:

So, see you, Sint Maarten!

See you, Sint Maarten!
See you, Sint Maarten!

Sint Maarten – Curaçao was just a short segment. The AVOD was, however, fully functional😀 . There was a snack service provided in this short-haul flight; and the standard was pretty much like other KLM’s intra-European flights: a sandwich and a selection of drinks. There were two options for the sandwich, though: chicken or cheese. I chose the chicken one, which was quite good.

Complimentary snack
Complimentary snack

The flight to Curaçao was smooth all the way. About one hour after departure, we started the decent and at 13:17, we landed at runway 11 of Curaçao International Airport, here is the landing video:

Transitting in Curaçao

The crew change took place in Curaçao, so all passengers were asked to disembarked the plane as the plane was going to get cleaned as well. So here I was, technically (though not officially) in Curaçao, the closest I have ever been to South America! Haha😆 .

The small lounge at Curaçao International Airport
The small lounge at Curaçao International Airport

We went to the lounge at the airport, and the receptionist was strict that I could only guest one other passenger. So we decided that my dad would stay at the lounge while my mom would window-shop. It was not a long transfer anyway. The lounge at Curaçao International Airport, though, was small yet very busy at the time. We did not find any two adjacent seats that were unoccupied, haha😆 .

KL 785 (Curaçao – Amsterdam)

KL Logo
Flight: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL 785
Equipment: Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN named “City of Nairobi”
ATD: 15:40 AST (Runway 11 of CUR)
ATA: 06:10 CET (Runway 18R of AMS)

There was a small problem while boarding where Sky Priority passengers (including me😛 ) had been allowed to enter the air bridge. But there, we were made to wait as it turned out that there was a small technical problem with the plane’s door and they were busy repairing it. So we were asked to go back to the lounge. Luckily it did not take too long and in less than ten minutes, the boarding was reopened.

Long story short, I got back to my 22K seat and settled there. Unfortunately the two seats next to me were taken. Anyway, at about 15:20 the flight departed and we took off from runway 11 of Curaçao International Airport.

Taking-off from runway 11
Taking-off from runway 11

Just after take-off, a small snack service (a bag of peanuts) and a selection of drinks were provided. Anyway, as visible in the map above, the route from Curaçao to Amsterdam actually passed Sint Maarten. So about one hour into the flight, I was able to see the island from above! It was beautiful!!😀

Hello again, Sint Maarten!
Hello again, Sint Maarten!

Just before sunset, the dinner service was provided. The options were beef meatballs or penne pasta. Obviously I chose the beef meatballs, which turned out to be good!

Dinner service on board flight KL 785 to Amsterdam (beef meatball)
Dinner service on board flight KL 785 to Amsterdam (beef meatball)

Just after dinner, we were already in the area where the sun had started to set. I looked out the window, and I got this magnificent view:

A glorious golden window view somewhere above the Atlantic!
A glorious golden window view somewhere above the Atlantic!

Very beautiful, isn’t it? The wing and engines of the Queen of the Skies, flying above the golden cloud! 😍

As we were flying eastward, we would have a very short night time. So I would actually prefer to sleep if I could and, I think, ideally they should try to maximize the sleeping time of the passengers. However, one negative aspect about this flight was that the cabin light was not dimmed for quite a long-ish period of time. They eventually did but it was already just four hours before landing. Maybe in a way it was my mistake too that I did not prepare myself with an eyepad, though.

The not-dimmed cabin
The not-dimmed cabin

As I could not sleep, I decided to just be on warrior-mode (which contributed to the jetlag😆 ) and watched Pitch Perfect, The Big Short, and an episode of How I Met Your Mother at the AVOD screen. As I mentioned in the Part I post, the KLM’s AVOD system in their Boeing 747s was actually good!

Snacks in the galley :D
Snacks in the galley😀

About 1.5 hours before landing, the breakfast service was distributed. There was no option for breakfast, but it was nonetheless okay: a serving of omelette with cuts of fruits and yoghurt; and a selection of drinks, of course.

Breakfast service on board flight KL 785 to Amsterdam
Breakfast service on board flight KL 785 to Amsterdam

Overall, the flight was smooth so we were approaching Schiphol ahead of schedule. At 06:10 Dutch time, we landed at Polderbaan. Again, this time I did not really complain for landing there as this meant I could enjoy riding the Boeing 747 a little bit longer!😉 Then we got off the plane, cleared immigration and the custom checkS, and decided to combat the jetlag by going to Amsterdam. And here, the Caribbean part of my September 2016 Sabbatical Trip officially ended.

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri September 2016 Sabbatical Trip: The Caribbean:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to Sint Maarten
3. Part II: Sint Maarten
4. Part III: The Maho Beach
5. Part IV: Saint Martin
6. Part V: Back to the Netherlands

***

Seperti yang aku bilang di Pendahuluan, aku sungguh menikmati waktuku di Sint Maarten dan sedikit sedih juga satu minggu di sana kok berlalu begitu cepat ya, haha😆 . Sekarang sudah saatnya untuk pulang ke Belanda.

Princess Juliana International Airport
Princess Juliana International Airport. Seminggu berlalu begitu cepat

Kami kembali ke Belanda juga dengan KLM. Tentu saja, untuk memaksimalkan waktu kami terbang dengan Boeing 747 doong, haha😆 . Jika penerbangannya KLM dari Amsterdam itu non-stop, penerbangan kembalinya ke Amsterdam tidak. KL 785 adalah penerbangan rute segitiga sehingga dari Sint Maarten kami harus berhenti satu kali di Curaçao. Yah, aku sih tidak komplain lah ya, karena ini artinya kan terbangnya lebih lama 😊.

Flight map of today. Created with gcmap.com
Peta rute penerbangan hari ini. Dibuat dengan gcmap.com

KL 785 (Sint Maarten – Curaçao)

KL Logo
Penerbangan: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL 785
Pesawat: Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN bernama “City of Nairobi”
ATD: 12:06 AST (Runway 10 of SXM)
ATA: 13:17 AST (Runway 11 of CUR)

Setelah mengembalikan mobil sewaan kami, kami diantar dengan mobil shuttle ke bandara. Kami agak terlalu awal pagi itu sehingga konter check-in-nya belum buka. Singkat cerita, kami check-in, yang mana ketika itu semua bagasi kami dilabeli prioritas dan petugas check-in-nya mengeluarkan tiga kartu undangan masuk ke lounge (bukannya dua, hore!) untuk kami. Kami melewati pemeriksaan sekuriti, imigrasi, dan menunggu di lounge-nya.

A KLM's Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN
Sebuah Boeing 747-400nya KLM dengan registrasi PH-BFN

Anyway, sekitar jam 10:45, tumpangan kami mendarat di landasan pacu 10. Hari ini, penerbangannya dioperasikan dengan Boeing 747-400nya KLM dengan registrasi PH-BFN yang dinamai “City of Nairobi”. Penumpang transit dari Amsterdam tujuan Curaçao diminta untuk menunggu di pesawat dan aku kira kursi-kursi kosong yang ditinggalkan penumpang tujuan Sint Maarten tidak dibersihkan (secara signifikan). Setelah boarding yang dibuka jam 11:30, aku duduk di kursi 22K. Untungnya kursinya masih bersih dan kursi 22J kosong! Hore!😀

Sekitar jam 11:50, pesawat didorong mundur dan penerbangannya berangkat. Kami taxiing di landasan pacunya menuju ujung landasan pacu 10 untuk lepas landas. Ketika kami berputar-balik di ujung landasan pacu itu, aku bisa lihat Pantai Maho sudah dipenuhi oleh para pengejar jet blast! Haha😆 .

Jet blast chasers
Para pengejar jet blast di Pantai Maho

Jam 12:06, pesawat lepas landas dari landasan pacu 10. Arah lepas landas adalah ke arah timur dan, seperti yang kusebutkan di Bagian III, ada pegunungan kecil di arah ini. Jadilah ketika lepas landas pesawatnya juga harus segera berbelok ke arah kanan untuk menghindari pegunungan ini. Akibatnya, lepas landasnya kereeeen bangeet!!😀 Berikut ini video keberangkatan dan lepas-landasnya:

Sampai ketemu lagi, Sint Maarten!

See you, Sint Maarten!
Sampai ketemu, Sint Maarten!

Sint Maarten – Curaçao adalah penerbangan jarak dekat. Toh walau begitu, AVODnya masih dinyalakan kok😀 . Ada layanan snack di penerbangan ini; dan standarnya kurang lebih sama lah seperti layanan intra-Eropanya KLM: sandwich dan minuman. Ada dua pilihan sih untuk sandwich-nya: isi ayam atau isi keju. Aku memilih yang berisi ayam dan rasanya enak juga.

Complimentary snack
Layanan snack

Penerbangan ke Curaçao berlangsung mulus di sepanjang jalan. Sekitar satu jam setelah keberangkatan, pesawat mulai turun dan jam 1:17 siang, pesawat mendarat di landasan pacu 11 Bandara Internasional Curaçao, berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Transit di Curaçao

Pergantian kru pesawat dilakukan di Curaçao, jadilah semua penumpang dipersilakan turun karena pesawatnya juga sekalian mau dibersihkan. Jadi, di sini lah aku, secara teknis (walaupun tidak secara resmi) berada di Curaçao, ini adalah posisiku yang paling dekat ke Amerika Selatan selama ini loh! Haha😆 .

The small lounge at Curaçao International Airport
Lounge kecil di Bandara Internasional Curaçao

Kami kemudian berjalan ke lounge di bandaranya, dan resepsionisnya cukup ketat dengan peraturan sehingga aku hanya boleh membawa satu orang tamu saja. Ya sudah jadilah kami memutuskan bahwa papaku akan menunggu di lounge sementara mamaku melihat-lihat toko-toko di luar. Toh transitnya juga sebentar saja sih. Lounge-nya sendiri berukuran kecil dan ramai sekali waktu itu. Sampai-sampai kami tidak menemukan kursi berdekatan yang kosong, haha :lol: .

KL 785 (Curaçao – Amsterdam)

KL Logo
Penerbangan: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL 785
Pesawat: Boeing 747-400 reg PH-BFN bernama “City of Nairobi”
ATD: 15:40 AST (Runway 11 of CUR)
ATA: 06:10 CET (Runway 18R of AMS)

Ada sedikit masalah kecil ketika boarding dimana penumpang Sky Priority (termasuk aku😛 ) sudah diizinkan masuk ke gabarata. Tetapi di sana, kami diminta menunggu karena ternyata ada sedikit masalah teknis kecil dengan pintu pesawatnya sehingga mereka sedang sibuk memperbaikinya. Jadilah kami diminta untuk kembali ke lounge. Untungnya, perbaikan tidak memakan waktu lama dan kurang dari sepuluh menit kemudian, boarding kembali dibuka.

Singkat cerita, aku kembali di kursi 22K-ku dan duduk pewe di sana. Sayangnya, dua kursi di sebelahku terisi nih. Sekitar jam 3:20 sore, penerbangan berangkat dan tak lama kemudian lepas landas dari landasan pacu 11 Bandara Internasional Curaçao.

Taking-off from runway 11
Lepas landas dari landasan pacu 11

Tak lama setelah lepas-landas, layanan snack kecil (sebungkus kacang-kacangan) dan minuman dibagikan. Ngomong-ngomong, seperti yang nampak di peta di atas, rute Curaçao ke Amsterdam sebenarnya melewati Sint Maarten. Jadilah kira-kira satu jam setelah berangkat, aku bisa melihat Sint Maarten dari atas! Keren banget deh!!😀

Hello again, Sint Maarten!
Halo lagi, Sint Maarten!

Sebelum matahari terbenam, layanan makan malam dibagikan. Pilihannya adalah bakso daging sapi atau pasta penne. Jelas aku memilih bakso daging sapinya, yang mana ternyata enak!

Dinner service on board flight KL 785 to Amsterdam (beef meatball)
Layanan makan malam di penerbangan KL 785 ke Amsterdam (bakso daging sapi)

Setelah makan malam, kami sudah berada di area dimana matahari mulai terbenam. Ketika aku menengok ke luar jendela, aku mendapatkan pemandangan luar biasa ini:

A glorious golden window view somewhere above the Atlantic!
Pemandangan jendela keemasan yang keren banget, di suatu tempat di atas Samudra Atlantik!

Indah banget kaan? Sayap dan mesinnya Queen of the Skies, terbang di atas awan-awan yang berwarna keemasan! 😍

Karena kami terbang ke arah timur, kami akan mengalami malam yang amat singkat. Jadi sebenarnya kalau bisa sih aku maunya tidur dan, aku rasa, idealnya seharusnya mereka juga berusaha untuk memaksimalkan waktu tidur penumpang. Namun, satu aspek negatif penerbangan ini adalah lampu kabinnya tidak dimatikan dalam periode yang cukup lama. Akhirnya dimatikan semua sih memang, tetapi itu dilakukan kira-kira empat jam sebelum mendarat. Mungkin salahku juga sih ya tidak membawa penutup mata.

The not-dimmed cabin
Kabin yang belum digelapkan

Karena aku tidak bisa tidur, ya sudah sekalian aja aku memutuskan untuk tidak tidur sama sekali (yang berkontribusi terhadap jetlag-ku, haha😆 ) dan menonton Pitch Perfect, The Big Short, dan satu episodenya How I Met Your Mother melalui layar AVOD. Sudah kusebutkan di Bagian I bahwa AVODnya KLM di pesawat Boeing 747-400 ternyata bagus!

Snacks in the galley :D
Snack yang bebas tersedia di galley 😀

Sekitar 1,5 jam sebelum mendarat, layanan sarapan dibagikan. Tidak ada pilihan untuk sarapan, tetapi rasanya toh oke-oke saja kok: seporsi omelet dengan potongan buat dan yoghurt; dan beberapa pilihan minuman, tentu saja.

Breakfast service on board flight KL 785 to Amsterdam
Layanan sarapan di penerbangan KL 785 ke Amsterdam

Secara umum, penerbangan ini amat lancar sehingga kami sudah dekat dengan Schiphol lebih cepat daripada jadwal. Jam 6:10 pagi waktu Belanda, kami mendarat di Polderbaan. Lagi, kali ini aku sih tidak komplain karena mendarat disana karena ini artinya aku jadi bisa menikmati duduk-duduk di dalam Boeing 747 lebih lama kan!😉 Lalu, kami turun dari pesawat, melewati pemeriksaan imigrasi dan beberapa pemeriksaan bea cukai, dan kemudian memutuskan untuk melawan jetlag dengan pergi ke Amsterdam. Dan di sini, bagian Karibia dari bulan sabatikal September 2016ku berakhir.

14 thoughts on “#1826 – September 2016 Sabbatical Trip: The Caribbean (Part V: Back to the Netherlands)

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