Saturday, February 25, 2006

Doing the 'Dam

As you may have guessed from my last post, I spent the last few days in Europe...Amsterdam, to be exact. "A few days" is kind of misleading, as I spent 24 hours flying and 32 hours actually in A-Dam. Hey, it's an improvement on my trip to Cairo a few years back! (24 hours flying for 8 hours in country).

It was my first time in Amsterdam and I loved it. It's a very cool town - even if you're not into weed or prostitutes! I had fun just walking around and enjoying the laid back atmosphere, and meeting some cool people at the Flying Pig Hostel.

I caught Northwest Airlines flight 34 from Seattle. It was my first time on the A330, and it's a very nice airplane. I was planning on taking Northwest back to the states but ran into problems: KLM, which runs their gate in AMS, didn't have any jumpseat forms. I ended up jumpseating on USAirways to PHL, then taking Southwest PHL-MDW-PDX.

The A330's seatback entertainment system is cool! I built a playlist from the extensive music track collection, let it play, and set the map up for "follow the flight." Here we are 7 hours in, with three hours to go.

Sunrise over the stately homes alongside the Prinsengracht canal.

Swans swimming past a houseboat on the Prinsengracht canal.

The Royal Palace in Dam Square.

The narrow pedestrian-only street of Nieuwendijk, where the Flying Pig hostel is located among numerous small shops, cafes, "coffee shops," and "head / smart stores."

Funny, I didn't see anyone drinking coffee in here... [grin]

Somebody told me that the Dutch are avid bicyclists but I don't really believe it...

So yup. That's what you can do with jumpseat privledges, a few days off, and €70. Mind you, if you're not single, you'll need a loving wife/partner that urges you to travel somewhere on days off while they're working. Thanks, Dawn!


All the hardways said...

Welcome back! I have a few questions maybe you could answer here or perhaps in your next post.

1. On the NW A330 flight over, did you jumpseat in economy class?

2. Do you have to be in uniform when you jumpseat?

3. Are you able to disclose which airlines your airline has jumpseat agreements with? If so, could you name some of them?

Thanks! Hope you have a nice weekend! BTW, great pix!

Anonymous said...

Cool! I stayed at the flying pig in 2000 when i backpacked and eurailed across europe. A-dam is a great city. really unique...and although I dont do drugs nor was still fun to gawk at...almost like a circus sideshow.

btw..can you add me to your blog links?


Aviatrix said...

That's awesome. I forgot for a moment that I wasn't reading some longhaul captain's blog.

Sam said...

ATH - Typically anytime you jumpseat, you'll sit in any available seat in back unless they are all taken, in which case you'll sit up front, although you actually cannot occupy the actual jumpseat on international flights. If there are seats available in first or business class, you *may* get to sit there but it's entirely up to the airline, the captain, and how nice you are to the FA's.

Uniforms aren't neccessary, the correct documentation is. For obvious reasons I won't disclose to the super-duper-secret procedures.

Most U.S. Part 121 carriers have reciprocal jumpseat agreements for pilots. A few, like JetBlue, offer cabin jumpseat to FA's as well. Some offer the jumpseat to certain FAR 135 carrier's pilots, also. International jumpseating is pretty spotty; even when it's allowed on a carrier, success means finding an employee at the foreign city who understands jumpseat procedures. If you're not a broke regional FO like me, you're better off coughing up the $100-200 for a nonrev pass.

Sam said...

Hey Sean-

I think I've seen your blog before & meant to add it, but I redo the blogroll kinda infrequently. I'll add it now, thx for the link.


All the Hardways said...

Interesting stuff! For a non-rev pass, do you actually get to select your flights/times in advance along with a seating assignment? Do you have a limit to the number of non-rev passes you can purchase per year?

Wolflair said...


Just a comment. Prinsengracht is actually "Princes' canal" in dutch. I don't speak dutch, but I do speak german and, from what the languages' similarities are, one can infer that Prinsen is Prinz (prince) and gracht is canal.

Wolflair said...

I forgot to say, very very nice pics of A-dam.

Next time you make a trip like this, it might be worth it to try a getaway to Bremen, Münster and Osnabrück in Germany. Very nice places too! (and not so famous = not so crowded as A-dam could get)

Sam said...


You're correct, Prinsengracht translates to Prince's Canal, so calling it the Prinsengracht Canal is like saying Prince's Canal Canal. However, in looking at Dutch websites with English versions, it seems that they *usually* call it the Prinsengracht Canal in English, possibly to distinguish it from the street Prinsengracht. Same goes for Herengracht, Keizersgracht, etc.

vinnie said...

As a dutchie I agree with your last comment. And thanks for seeing through the red lights and to see A'dam is a great place.

Sam said...

ATH - I'm thinking I'll actually put together a post on non-rev'ing since it's something pretty unfamiliar to anyone currently outside the airline world.