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Trip Report Trip Report: Prague March 30

I have just returned from a business trip March 30 from Prague. I flew from Chicago to Amsterdam on KLM and from Amsterdam to Prague on KLM City Hopper. The trip to Amsterdam was on a 747. I was disappointed that I was not able to assign a seat online. Not even 24 hours ahead of flight. I get to airport early to get aisle seat. The lady at the counter looks and finally says “How about 44D? It is toward the back.” I say “OK!” I had looked at the layout of the plane on the internet and it showed 69 rows of seats. Well! When I get on plane, the plane has only 44 rows setup for the middle section where I set. I am setting in the last row on the plane. I was not able to get boarding pass for the Amsterdam to Prague portion also. I will need to use transfer desk at Amsterdam.

I did not see any empty seats on the plane. I do not really care for KLM food. The main meal was chicken or pasta. The chicken and rice was not bad. I wish that they would tell you what the side dishes were. They had the usual salad with beans which I never eat and they had some kind of runny white stuff that I did not touch.

When we get to Amsterdam, we land at the F concourse and have a connecting flight in the D concourse. It is a little confusing on what to do when you get off the plane. If you do not have to pick up your bag stay upstairs and follow signage for other concourse. I look at screen and find out what gate to go to. I follow the arrows to the D concourse where you have to go thru Passport Control and Security. There is a special line here where those that don’t have much time to catch their connecting flight. I did not see anyone going thru this line.

I go thru security. Alright! No more security or passport control checks until I come back. I still need to go to the transfer desk to get a boarding pass. Be prepared to use a self serve transfer machine. I used my passport to get my boarding pass. My gate is downstairs. We are bused out to our plane. It is a KLM connection. I used to fly Czech Airlines on these flights but the last 2 times has been KLM. We are delayed for about 20 minutes. The plane beside us is leaking fuel from the wing and the fire department was there. I like Czech Airlines better. We have a sandwich as a snack. When we land at Prague we are bused to Terminal 2. We follow sign to pick up baggage. No more passport control. The bag was there.

I grab my bag and go outside the baggage area looking for someone holding a sign with my name on it. There is no sign. There has been a mix up. No one is waiting for me. I take the Cedaz van to the city center for 120 Koruna or about $6. I was scheduled to stay at an apartment but because of the mix up I stay at the Old Prague Hotel on Skorepka for 2 days. This was the Hotel Expres. It is located in Old Town.

This is a nice clean hotel inside. The rooms are nice. They have an elevator that goes up 3 ½ floors. They have a 4th floor which you need to walk up some stairs to get to. The 4th floor rooms that I looked at had a detached bathroom. There was only 1 person at reception after hours and if you have problems in your room the receptionist can not leave the reception area to fix problem. There is a continental breakfast included. The only thing that I found eatable was the corn flakes which was enough for me. While I was at the reception a man and woman come running in from the street. They were guest at the hotel. The lady said that someone had stolen her husbands passport and wanted to know where the nearest police station was. This is not a good neighborhood.

On 3rd day I move to an apartment in Mala Strana. This was on same street as the Hotel Mala Strana and Hotel Atos. It was a very nice apartment. This is the first time that I have stayed in Mala Strana. It is a very nice quiet area. It was near a tram stop. These old buildings have large rooms and high ceilings. To get to my apartment on the 2nd floor I take elevator up to 3 which is 2 ½ floors and walk down a flight of stairs.

The apartment and hotel business went thru hard times this year. Most of these apartments have 2 or 3 bedrooms. They needed groups of people traveling together and they did not get these groups. Some have gone out of business and some will not renew their leases. They say that the tourist business is down but it is hard to believe. There were a lot of tourist in Prague. There was wall to wall people at the clock. There were a lot of Italian tourist in Prague. They had the Easter markets set up. They had a lot of hand painted eggs. The weather was not very nice. It rain some about every day. There was a thunder storm one night and it was snowing the next morning. They are still working on Charles Bridge. They are also still working on the main railway station. They still have a lot of work to make this place look better. One thing that I noticed is that they have removed the old arrival/departure board and now have an electronic board up.

I had a flight coming back that was from Prague to Amsterdam to Chicago but a week before I left they changed it to Prague to Amsterdam to Detroit to Chicago. I was not really pleased with that. The flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was on a Northwest A330 Airbus. I had never flown on the A330 or Northwest on an International Flight. The flight from Prague to Amsterdam went ok. Security check at Prague only. When I get to Amsterdam I go thru passport control only at my concourse. I do not see a lane for those that do not have much time to catch a connecting flight. You could go thru the European Union lane if you needed to. When I get to my gate I go thru a security check. They were asking questions like U.S. used to. Like did anybody ask you to bring back package. There were around 12 questions that they ask.

When I get on plane, I see that the A330 has a small screen on back of the seat in front of me. I had never used one of these. I thought that I might have to ask one of the kids to help me operate the controls to this. I finally figure it out. It was pretty nice. The main meal was again chicken or pasta. The Northwest chicken was a lot better than the KLM chicken. The Northwest meals were a lot better than the KLM meals. I was very satisfied with the Northwest food. I never could get comfortable in the A330 seat. The 747 seat was better. I had an aisle seat. The Northwest food cart had an attachment on the side of it. If you were not careful it would take your ear off.

I was nervous about the Detroit connection. I only had 1 ½ hour connection time. I got thru passport control pretty fast. I come to baggage conveyor belt that says Amsterdam. The baggage starts coming out. I wait until they turn the belt off. No bag. As I am leaving I happen to look at the next conveyor belt. Surprise! There were two conveyor belts set up for Amsterdam. There is my bag. I grab my bag but have to wait in a long line at Customs. After Customs there is an area where you give your bag to someone that check it on to Chicago. I check screen and find my gate. Detroit was not a bad airport. It went pretty fast except for the baggage pickup. I had plenty of time to catch my connecting flight.

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