I still need to write up my trip report about our road trip to New York in June, but I’m skipping ahead just a bit. Recently, I completed an avgeek bucket list item with my first flight on the Airbus A350. Though I didn’t originally plan it this way, I rode up front in the Delta One “suites” one way. And of course, I had to make the short trip about food. Like my La Première experience in April, I had limited time, so this was just a short weekend getaway.
Besides the food, this trip included a few other goodies. As the title implies, I spent much of the day in Antwerp, Belgium looking around. I then headed back to Amsterdam for a quick city tour, and a stay at the airport Hilton. I’m planning the following posts in this short series:
- Introduction: A Day in Belgium for Waffles and Beer
- Review: Delta A350 Main Cabin, Detroit to Amsterdam
- A Day Exploring Antwerp, Belgium and Amsterdam
- Review: Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
- Royal Crown Lounge Number 52, Amsterdam
- Review: Delta A350 Delta One “Suites”, Amsterdam to Detroit
- Sky Clubbing in Detroit
The Flight Plan
Ever since Delta introduced the A350, I’ve wanted to find a way to fly it. Initially, service only to Asia made a quick weekend trip difficult. Not to mention, Delta charged pretty outrageous prices in both cash and miles to book it. Later, though, Delta switched one Detroit-Amsterdam flight per day to the A350. Naturally, Delta still made saver award availability pretty much nonexistent. I eventually found one or two scattered dates available in August in coach through Flying Blue. Not ideal, but 25k miles for a one way to Europe isn’t the worst use of miles. After some misadventures transferring the points from Citi, I jumped on one open flight on August 11th.
I then had to think long and hard about how to get home, and I considered several options. A cheap one-way on Icelandair, perhaps? Maybe find my way to Frankfurt and fly Condor business class to Austin? Try to find a premium cabin redemption on another airline? A month or so later, I found my answer. SkyTeam advertised a fare sale for flights originating in Amsterdam. A round-trip flying Premium Select to the US, then coach back to Europe, cost only about $1,300.
That sounded good – but Delta One, on the A350, ran just $200 more. Done. The catch was I had to book a return to Amsterdam. Hey, an excuse for another crazy trip! Stay tuned for what’s in store with that in the fall. Anyway, my flights ended up looking like this:
- 8/11 AA 2214 Depart Dallas-Ft Worth (DFW) 07:15, Arrive Detroit (DTW) 10:57
- 8/11 DL 132 Depart DTW 16:27, Arrive Amsterdam (AMS) 05:55 (+1)
- 8/13 DL 133 Depart AMS 09:20, Arrive DTW 11:33
- 8/13 DL 6094 Depart DTW 15:45, Arrive DFW 17:44
I won’t be reviewing either of the domestic flights, as I’ve already reviewed American’s and Delta’s domestic service several times.
To get from Schiphol to Antwerp, I used the Thalys high-speed train going, and the regular intercity train returning. I’m not planning a full review of either, but will briefly touch on the experience in my “day exploring” post.
The Hotel Plan
I only needed one hotel night on this trip in Amsterdam. With an early flight Monday morning, I decided to stay at the airport, selecting the Hilton. Connected to the terminal, the hotel is a nice choice for an early morning flight. I booked a deluxe room with an airport view for €141.75, which I considered a good deal. The upgrade I received to an even better room on the top floor made it even better.
Because my flight arrived at 6 am, I had several hours to kill before check-in time. I decided to add country number 48 to my list – Belgium. It takes just an hour to reach Antwerpen Centraal from the airport on the high-speed train, giving me all morning in the city. It’s a great city to just walk around and take in the sights.
I also spent some time visiting Rubenshuis, the home and workshop of Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens.
And of course, I made time for the real purpose of my trip, a waffle and a beer.
I took the “slow” train back to Schiphol, which took about an hour and a half. After checking in, freshening up, and calls to the family, it was still only 5:00. Lying down on the bed is a guaranteed recipe for jet lag, so I headed to Amsterdam to kill a little time. The train to Amsterdam Centraal from Schiphol takes just 15 minutes. From there, I wandered around the city center for a couple of hours. The canals truly are beautiful.
And naturally, I made more time to eat. This time a grand Nutella waffle and a Dutch pancake hit the spot for dinner.
I plan to start with my two reviews of the Delta A350, then work my way to everything else. Stay tuned for the conclusion of my half-finished round trip in November. Thanks for reading!