I flew from Amsterdam to Zurich this morning. It was an interesting trip in several ways.
First, SwissAir told me I couldn't bring on one of my two carry-on bags because it was too heavy--9.2 kilos instead of the limit of 8.0 kilos per bag ("Due to security," said the gate agent. I'm like, "Huh?"). So I checked it--in other words, the total weight of my luggage on the plane didn't go down. Yet I'd carried that same bag as carry-on on the flight from Boston to Amsterdam. I suppose it could be related to the airplane, since they probably don't want to overload the overhead bins--this one was an Airbus 320, and the flight from Boston was a larger airplane--but it may just have been an airline peculiarity. It will be interesting to see if British Airways and British Midlands say the same thing in the next several days.
Second, the noise on the plane was incredible--to the point where it was hard to hear the safety announcements--because a bunch of passengers at the back of the plane didn't stop talking the entire flight. They were all businessmen--with a few businesswomen sprinkled in--who got on the plane in groups of two or three, and spent the entire time socializing. It was very similar to what you see on commuter rail trains, where groups of people sit together every day and talk about a variety of topics for the entire trip. And once the plane landed, they continued to stand and talk, even after everyone in front of them had left the plane. Certainly not the behavior I'm used to seeing in the States, where businesspeople, even if they're together, stop talking to each other after awhile, whip out their laptops, and read e-mails or work on a document. They also sit at the front so they can get off quickly.