Youri and I decided to try to grab a DC-10 flight while they were still around. Northwest flies them on 3 transatlantic routes now... Memphis-Amsterdam, Minneapolis-Amsterdam, and Minneapolis-London. At the end of the October all Atlantic flying will cease, leaving Minneapolis-Honolulu which is damn near impossible to non-rev on. So we tried our luck with Memphis-Amsterdam. We needed a way to get to Memphis... so we met in Newark... I flew Winnipeg-Toronto-Newark on Air Canada, he flew Montreal-Newark on Air Canada Jazz. From there, we picked up Northwest and flew to Memphis, then to Amsterdam. It would be a short 5 hour layover in Amsterdam before we headed back to North America. Youri wanted to catch his first flight on an MD-11, so he flew KLM back to Montreal, but I had already flown the M11 several times, and thus decided to catch a KLM A330 to Vancouver.

I decided to take the 17:05 flight Winnipeg-Toronto that day, but the 15:15 flight upsized from an EMB-190 to an A319, so it opened up more seats... giving me a better chance of making it on the flight. So, after work, I boarded TCAL C-FZUH for the second time in my non-rev career, and we were underway for Toronto. We departed of RWY 36, and had a routine flight to Toronto. Right after rotation there was this really strange howling noise coming from the engine that sounded very uncharacteristic of the A319. I've flown the Airbus probably 100 times, and have never heard such a strange noise. It didn't sound good, and I was not the only one to notice it. It went away after about 3 minutes... after we had gained speed. I bought a sandwich from the buy-on-board because I was damn hungry. I also played flightsim on the laptop, but that was pretty much it. Arrival into Toronto longer than normal. We had to enter a holding pattern because of a disabled aircraft on the arrival runway. We eventually landed on RWY 23 at Pearson behind schedule. On the arrival video you will notice the strange howling noise coming from the engine... it was really loud. I overnighted at my bro's in Toronto, and left for Newark the next morning.


I arrived at the airport early, so I took a few rides on the new piece of shit monorail the GTAA built connecting Terminal 1 with Terminal 3, and remote parking. After a few nauseating rides on it, I went to Terminal 2, cleared customs, and got ready for AC766 to Newark. We boarded fairly late, but were still able to push close to ontime... and departed off RWY 24R shortly thereafter. We had to enter a hold 80 miles northwest of Newark because of traffic congestion in the Newark area. While in the hold, I took a video of a Starlifter or C5 Galaxy on its descent into somewhere in upstate New York. We eventually landed on RWY 22L at Newark, and taxied to the A-gates.

Connection possibilities to get to Memphis were either Continental Express on an EMB-145 or Northwest on a DC-9. Northwest had way more open seats, so we decided to take that option, after a few monorail rides at Newark Airport.


When Northwest onloaded us at the gate Youri got a First Class seat, and I was given Economy. I asked if they had 2 First Class seats, but she said, nope only 1. I think it was just a courtesy upgrade, I don't think Northwest usually upgrades non-revs of 'other airlines'. So I went in the back and took seat 22A or something, cause 9D was originally assigned, but I wanted a window. We pushed ontime, and taxied for about 35 minutes to RWY 22R. You could tell this DC-9 didn't have GPS or any other form of 'advanced navigation like RNAV' because we probably make about 100 turns throughout the entire flight... flying VOR to VOR, or on vectors for traffic. I purchased a snack box cause I was getting hungry. It had a lot of snacks in it... almost too much... mainly junk food. We landed to the south in Memphis. The FedEx facilities seemed fairly empty... you can see the arrival video to see for yourself. We taxied to the gate... and only had a few feet to walk to our next departure gate for NW58 to Amsterdam.


We were happy to see that our DC-10 was in old colours. I think it makes the flight more nostalgic or something... if you are flying a plane in "old colours" especially when they are getting ready for retirement. We approached the podium to get checked in because we thought Newark didn't through check us. But apparently they had, and we were given seats in World Business Class!! Rock on. The gate agent apologized that the seats weren't together, but 4A and 5A worked well, cause then we'd both have windows. We were also advised that we would be fed Economy Class meals. I was surprised because back in the days when I worked for United, if there were no premium meals you would not be seating in a premium cabin. So, good for NWA. I guess Economy was completely full... that's why we got the C-class seats.

We departed to the south at Memphis, just after sunset, and turned around to the northeast heading towards Cleveland/Rochester before crossing into Canadian airspace. The guy sitting next to me overheard Youri and I talking about the new Air Canada interiors, so he asked us if we were airline staff. I said, yes, we're with Air Canada, and he said he was with Airbus, meeting FedEx in Memphis. We talked for about 30-45 minutes about Airbus stuff, Boeing stuff, and airlines in general... most of the stuff I shall not share out of respect to him. But it was interesting to talk to him. He seemed very knowledgable about the entire airline industry, and very mindful of the offerings provided by the competition (Boeing).

I had about 4 hours of sleep, and awoke to another Economy Class meal. Arrival into Amsterdam was routine. There was a fair amount of condesation on the window, so my arrival videos turned out shitty, Youri's somewhat better.

We spent about an hour walking around the terminal after arrival, then cleared "customs", went to the deck for a while, then went back downstairs to catch our flights back to Canada.



Youri's Montreal flight left 5 minutes before mine... so I stayed around his gate until he got a seat assignment (middle seat in Economy) on PH-KCG. After he was onloaded, I went to the D-Concourse to catch my flight. At Amsterdam, you go through security at the gate, rather than at a central security checkpoint like at most airports. After clearing security at the gate, I approached the desk, and the woman onloaded me into World Business Class again. Holy mother of god was I lucky on this trip. 3J was assigned, and I thought, crap, no window, as K is usually the window on widebodies. However, I got onboard and was pleasantly surprised to see that 3J was the last window in the forward WBC Cabin.

The flight to Vancouver was awesome. Great flight attendants, great food, good seat, and great PTVs. We pushed early... I noticed Youri's flight had not yet pushed back. We departed after a quick taxi, and turned towards the north to head over Iceland, Greenland, Baffin Island, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. We had a female captain, and she made an odd announcement "don't be worried if you see one of us pilots walking around the aircraft... there are 3 of us on this flight, and 2 of us are in the cockpit at all times". Never heard that before over the P/A system.

The inflight entertainment on KLM was fantastic. There were hundreds of audio selections. I didn't watch any TV, but instead listened to music. The only problem I had with the PTV was that when you selected the moving map channel, you couldn't select your own audio channel to listen to whatever music you wanted to. The moving map channel had it's own audio channel, and the audio was shit. Everything else was awesome.

I slept for about 4 hours. The seat was spacious, and I found it fairly comfortable. It was totally flat, so it was on a slight angle. It wasn't as comfortable as it could be, but it was still much better than Economy Class.

We arrived into Vancouver ahead of schedule, on RWY 26R. Other traffic at the International Terminal included Lufthansa's A346 leaving for Frankfurt, and a MyTravel A332.

I cleared customs in 30 seconds with my automated CanPass card, and had 2 hours to connect to my Air Canada flight to Winnipeg.


I checked in at the kiosk, and was assigned seat 30A right away. I was lucky the equipment upgraded from an A319 to A320 because there were 26 employees travelling on the flight. None must have made it on the earlier flight that departed about 4 hours before 298.

The aircraft had the new interior which was nice, but I played flightsim on the laptop. I flew a United 747-400 from Singapore to Tokyo to Honolulu then to San Francisco... and had to stow the laptop after arriving into San Francisco. We landed on RWY 36 at Winnipeg. There was snow on the ground. Yup, summer is over in Winnipeg.


Overall, a wicked trip. The DC-10 flight was the primary reason we went, and getting World Business made it so much better. I was glad to fly another new airline, KLM, and was even happier to get World Business on the way back too, because Economy was full.

Those DC-10s do need to get replaced. The interiors are old and waaaay outdated. We talked to the flight crew on arrival into Amsterdam. They were kind enough to let us take photos of the cockpit, and inflight let us take photos of the cabin too. I asked the crew what they were being trained on next. Captain was going to 747-400, F/O going to A330, and F/E going to 747-200 F/E in Anchorage.

But yeah, an awesome trip. Thanks NWA/KLM.

Photos are copyrighted by Contrails © 1990-2008.