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Topic: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2012-12-09 11:20:02 and read 11940 times.

INTRODUCTION

Hello, and welcome to my latest trip report. On Sunday, 2 December 2012 I returned home to Basel from a business trip to Bangkok on Cathay Pacific. Two days later, on Tuesday, 4 December 2012 and I’m off again. First with KLM from Basel via Amsterdam to Montreal for one night, and then from there again with KLM via Amsterdam to Southampton for another meeting. From Southampton I will catch a train up to London, where I will spend the weekend soaking up the atmosphere in the madness of the run up to Christmas before returning home to Basel. This report covers the first two legs from Basel via Amsterdam to Montreal.

Here’s the link to the photos for this report.

Date: 4 December 2012
From: Basel
To: Amsterdam
Aircraft: Embraer 190
Airline: KLM Cityhopper
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1A

CHECK-IN


This report begins at the Air France check-in counters on the French side of the terminal. Although the KLM flight is normally parked at the Swiss side of the facility, the fact that Air France does all the handling means that passengers have to check-in for the flight on the French side and then cross over into the Swiss part of the terminal once they are airside.

The good news is that Business Class passengers now receive a voucher for a free drink at the bar to compensate for the lack of a lounge facility. This is, however, not entirely true. There is of course the former Swiss lounge, which is now the Swissport Skyview lounge, but apparently Air France KLM chose not to contract this lounge.

In any case, I make the mistake of ordering what is alleged to be a cappuccino and it is an abomination. So I sit by the gate reading my Kindle, waiting for the flight to be called.

BOARDING

Boarding for the flight starts on time. As I am seated on 1A, I wait for all the other passengers to board first so as not to get in the way. When eventually I make my way to the aircraft, I am given a warm welcome by a friendly young Dutch female flight attendant. By the looks of it the flight is only about 70 per cent full and in Business Class there is only one other passenger seated right behind me on 2A.

THE CABIN

I like the Embraer, although I must also say that the seats are a tad too low and as a result, tend to give me a back ache after a while. They’re okay for a short one hour hop to Amsterdam, but I wouldn’t be so sure about longer segments.

DEPARTURE

We depart towards the southeast from runway 15. With the light load we don’t even need to taxi all the way to the end of the runway. So we line up on the runway about halfway down.

SERVICE

Service begins once the seatbelt sign comes off. There are two young females working the cabin on this flight. Both of them are friendly enough and very relaxed, which makes for a pleasant atmosphere on board.

THE MEAL

The meal consists of a salad with olives and a Thousand Islands dressing. There is a choice of two different sandwiches available: multi-grain roll with Mozzarella and tomato or maize and pumpkin seed roll with sliced chicken breast. I go with the Mozzarella sandwich.

For dessert there is an orange praline thing, and it is very good too.

To drink with the meal I have a Diet Coke.

After the meal I have a mug of coffee with those tasty KLM biscuits filled with caramel.

ARRIVAL

Our Arrival in Amsterdam is quite unusual, for me at least. We land on runway 36C, which is a first for me, even though I travel through Amsterdam quite often. The weather in Amsterdam is even worse than what I left behind in Basel!

TRANSFER IN AMSTERDAM

Once I enter the terminal I head straight for immigrations to reach the E gates from where my flight will be leaving. The guy at the counter has obviously never seen a Maltese passport before in his life, so the whole process eventually takes about 30 minutes to complete while he checks and rechecks. But never mind, I prefer my officials to be conscientious and not slack. Besides, Amsterdam is looking all festive and I have a chance to look around while they check my passport.

Once I’m through I can’t be bothered to head for the lounge, there isn’t that much time left anyway. So instead I get myself a pancake from the self-service restaurant at the beginning of the Holland Boulevard and wait until the security screening for my flight opens.


Date: 4 December 2012
From: Amsterdam
To: Montreal
Aircraft: MD-11
Airline: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1A


My flight is scheduled to leave at 15h00. So at around 14h20 I make my way to the gate to see if security is already open. As I reach the gate and spot the bird taking me across the pond today, I am overcome by her stunning beauty and embark on a photo shooting frenzy. The queue for security will take a while to clear anyway!

BOARDING

Eventually I join the line for security as the flight is called for boarding. There is even a separate lane for Skypriority passengers. Boarding for the flight is called just as a go through the scanner. So I collect all my belonging, take a few more picture of my elegant ride across the pond and head on board.

The load is very light on this flight. There are only nine passengers in Business Class with only four in the forward Business Class cabin, giving the flight a very cosy atmosphere.

THE CABIN

The cabin on this bird is well maintained and looks nice, all decked out in KLM blue. As on my previous flights with the MD-11, I am absolutely smitten by the amount of leg space there is on row one. You actually have to stand up from your seat to reach the pocket mounted on the bulkhead!

SERVICE

The crew on this flight are friendly and obviously in a very good mood. Perhaps it has something to do with the light load today. As soon as I am seated, one of the flight attendants takes my coat and jacket, while her colleagues bring me the vanity kit, earphones and a glass of still water. The amenity kit has changed since my last flight in July.

DEPARTURE

Take-off is from the notorious Polderbahn, which means a very long taxi from our gate. The MD-11 is obviously out to impress today and we are treated to an amazing take-off, such as you usually don’t get on a bird of this size.

THE MEAL

As soon as we get airborne and the fasten seatsbelt sign comes off, the service begins. Incidentally, there are now refreshing towels on this service, which is quite a contrast to my flights with Cathay Pacific the previous week.

We begin with a large bowl of mixed nuts and a glass of Ginger Ale on ice. One of the flight attendants comes by and asks me what I’ll be having for the main course. I’m having the chicken.

After that the table is set with crisp white linen, and the meal tray arrives. It contains a small salad and the first course: smoked salmon with Hollandaise mousse, capers and shallots, served with cucumber soup and sour dough bread. The first course is excellent and quite unusual. The final preparation of the dish is actually done at your seat, which is a nice touch. To drink with that I have still water. There is also a basket with warm bread.

For the main course I have the winter casserole with Volwaard chicken, accompanied by new potatoes, pearl onions, cabbage, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. And for dessert I have the cheese plate with Beemster Lite and St. Aubin cheese, together with a fruit kebab.

To conclude the meal, the crew pass through the cabin with a box of chocolate pralines with the coffee. I’m undecided about which one to choose, so flight attendant encourages me to take more than one and eventually chooses three for me.

I spend the rest of the flight reading, dozing and watching the beautiful colours outside until it’s time for the next service.

About an hour out of Montreal the second service begins. The meal consists of a dish of Vitello Tonnato with asparagus, pine nuts and roasted bell peppers. With that there is a croquette roll of deep-friend beef ragout in a bread roll. I try this but decide not to finish it… And for dessert there is a Dutch waffle mousse with caramel sauce, which is very tasty.

After that we are given the landing cards for Canada to complete. The flight concludes with the distribution of the famous Bols houses.

ARRIVAL
Our approach into Montreal at dusk is quite beautiful. We cross the mighty St. Lawrence and are treated to a lovely view of the city of Montreal. We fly past the old Olympic park, which is clearly visible.

Immigration does not take long to complete and just a few minutes after I reach the luggage belt, my suitcase arrives. I grab a taxi and make my way into town.

CONCLUSION

On these two flights KLM gave yet another solid performance. The quality of the food on both flights was very good and the crew displayed a lot of enthusiasm for their job and were very friendly in the way the dealt with their passengers. Because I only spent one night in Montreal I ended up flying back with the same crew. Not only was I very surprised that they all recognised me again, they evidently went out of their way on the return leg to make me feel at home. I was really treated like an old friend, and I thought that was rather nice.

The service on KLM may not exactly be as elegant as that on other airlines, but it is certainly very personable and welcoming and I like that. As for the hardware, I’m happy I managed to get another two flights on the MD-11. The last time I flew to Montreal with KLM I suspected it might be my last opportunity to catch this attractive looking bird. But it seems as though I got a second chance. My next trip to Montreal will be in the spring. By the looks of it, with a bit of luck, that trip might also feature the MD-11. I certainly hope so! Having said that, it really is high time KLM rolled out that new Business Class seat.

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: Carfield
Posted 2012-12-09 17:06:50 and read 10806 times.

Thanks for another great report!

The MD-11 is such a beautiful bird and KLM seems to keep them in relatively good shapes.

I am still not sure if I like the new KLM European business class meal services, but at least they look pretty filling. I just don't think plasticware should be used in any premium cabin meals especially a long haul flight.

Carfield

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2012-12-10 08:43:14 and read 9452 times.

Hi Carfield

Thanks, I'm glad you like the report. As for the MD-11, I couldn't agree more, she really is gorgeous. I also think the KLM livery suits her well.

As for the new KLM European Business Class meal, I can see your point and I'm not much of a fan of plastic cutlery either. All things considered though, I think KLM has solved the problem rather nicely with the intricate pattern and different colours it uses on its cutlery.

Cheers,
William

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: MH017
Posted 2012-12-10 12:51:52 and read 9068 times.

Glad to read you've enjoyed both the KLC and KLM flights !

The MD-11 is still scheduled for Montreal flights for the Summer 2013 season, as well as partly of this season on Toronto as well, so, indeed, there will be another chance for you to experience the beautiful MD-11  

With a light load, she's indeed a great performer with a steep departure/climb...

No new Business-Class seats for her anymore though.

MH017/Pieter...

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2012-12-13 10:29:39 and read 7809 times.

Hi Pieter

Actually I don't think I've ever had a flight with KLM I didn't enjoy, even when it wasn't on the MD-11. I'm glad to hear KLM will keep the MD-11 on the YUL route for a while longer, so I have one more chance. But I suspect that will then really be the last one.

Thanks for posting.

Cheers,
William

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: sultanils
Posted 2012-12-20 00:26:21 and read 6548 times.

Hello William,

Another nice trip on Dutch wings! I think by now the MD-11 must be you most flown aircraft    And 1 night in Montreal, seriously how do you cope with the jetlag? You don't have any time to adjust. Well, I'll b having the same problem in a few weeks as I'm heading to Tokyo with my time there only being 4 hours. Long story, but you'll read about it, eventually  

On a side note, any reason why you chose to post a link to the pics iso including them here? It makes the report much more comprehensive and easier to read when they are included here.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
although I must also say that the seats are a tad too low and as a result, tend to give me a back ache after a while.

You mean the seats are too low or the windows are too low. With the latter I can understand that your neck starts to hurt after a while. I tend to have the same problem on ie a F50.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
so the whole process eventually takes about 30 minutes to complete while he checks and rechecks.

Is this really AMS we're talking about?

Sultanils

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2012-12-20 11:29:02 and read 6186 times.

Hi Nils

Good to hear from you, and thanks for posting!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
I think by now the MD-11 must be you most flown aircraft

Alas, that honour goes to the RJ100. Not quite so spectacular, I know!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
And 1 night in Montreal, seriously how do you cope with the jetlag? You don't have any time to adjust.

Well you see, that is the trick. If you only stay in a place for a short time only you don't get used to the time zone. As a result you have no need to readjust when you get back home. Works for me at least.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Tokyo with my time there only being 4 hours.

Do you mean you're going all the way to Tokyo and coming back four hours later????

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
On a side note, any reason why you chose to post a link to the pics iso including them here? It makes the report much more comprehensive and easier to read when they are included here.

I just find it easier that way because I can upload pictures and text at my convenience and publish when I'm ready.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
You mean the seats are too low or the windows are too low. With the latter I can understand that your neck starts to hurt after a while. I tend to have the same problem on ie a F50.

The seats are too low above the ground.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Is this really AMS we're talking about?

That's what I was thinking too. So much for the unified Europe...

Anyway, I wish you and your family a happy holiday and look forward to more reports from you next year!

Best wishes,
William

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: sultanils
Posted 2012-12-20 23:30:45 and read 5944 times.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 6):
Do you mean you're going all the way to Tokyo and coming back four hours later????

You read it just right   

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 6):
Anyway, I wish you and your family a happy holiday and look forward to more reports from you next year!

Thank you and the same goes for you!

Sultanils

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: infodesk
Posted 2012-12-21 07:32:00 and read 5781 times.

Hi William,

You are busy travelling at the moment! I particularly enjoyed this report having recently done a trip with KLM, not quite as exotic as yours though with the beautiful MD-11.

I’ve always found the KL crews to be fun & friendly and the meals you were served look great, even the snack on the BSL-AMS hop.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
The good news is that Business Class passengers now receive a voucher for a free drink at the bar to compensate for the lack of a lounge facility. This is, however, not entirely true. There is of course the former Swiss lounge, which is now the Swissport Skyview lounge, but apparently Air France KLM chose not to contract this lounge.

I think it’s quite bad there’s no lounge facility at Basel for KL/AF. I wonder if this voucher deal extends to gold members flying economy?

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Because I only spent one night in Montreal I ended up flying back with the same crew. Not only was I very surprised that they all recognised me again, they evidently went out of their way on the return leg to make me feel at home. I was really treated like an old friend, and I thought that was rather nice.

How nice of them, that must have been a super flight!

Happy flying
Infodesk   

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: infodesk
Posted 2012-12-21 07:32:48 and read 5779 times.

Hi William,

You are busy travelling at the moment! I particularly enjoyed this report having recently done a trip with KLM, not quite as exotic as yours though with the beautiful MD-11.

I’ve always found the KL crews to be fun & friendly and the meals you were served look great, even the snack on the BSL-AMS hop.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
The good news is that Business Class passengers now receive a voucher for a free drink at the bar to compensate for the lack of a lounge facility. This is, however, not entirely true. There is of course the former Swiss lounge, which is now the Swissport Skyview lounge, but apparently Air France KLM chose not to contract this lounge.

I think it’s quite bad there’s no lounge facility at Basel for KL/AF. I wonder if this voucher deal extends to gold members flying economy?

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Because I only spent one night in Montreal I ended up flying back with the same crew. Not only was I very surprised that they all recognised me again, they evidently went out of their way on the return leg to make me feel at home. I was really treated like an old friend, and I thought that was rather nice.

How nice of them, that must have been a super flight!

Happy flying
Infodesk   

PS. I'll be spending Christmas in a hopefully sunny place drinking a glass of Kinnie  

Topic: RE: So My Sweet, We Meet Again: KLM MD-11 To Montreal
Username: knightsofmalta
Posted 2012-12-21 23:29:18 and read 5514 times.

Hi Hannah

Quoting infodesk (Reply 9):
You are busy travelling at the moment!

You can say that again! But I don't mind, especially if it mean an encounter with the MD-11!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 9):
I’ve always found the KL crews to be fun & friendly and the meals you were served look great, even the snack on the BSL-AMS hop.

I completely agree! The KLM crews are always friendly and yet they are very professional in their work.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 9):
I think it’s quite bad there’s no lounge facility at Basel for KL/AF. I wonder if this voucher deal extends to gold members flying economy?

The whole thing is not ideal. Even if you're flying in Business Class, if you've done OLCI you would not receive a voucher unless you go ask for one at the check-in counter, which is a bit senseless because you do OLCI specifically to avoid having to go to the counter.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 9):
How nice of them, that must have been a super flight!

They really were sweet. It was quite obvious from the moment they recognised me that the ladies were on a mission to do some serious pampering!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 9):
PS. I'll be spending Christmas in a hopefully sunny place drinking a glass of Kinnie

I was there last week and it was about 20 degrees during the day. I'm sure you'll find a sunny spot somewhere! In any case, I hope you have a good time in Malta. Will a report be forthcoming?

I wish you and your husband a very merry Christmas Hannah, and a good 2013! I've already made a new year's resolution to come to visit you at the infodesk!

Cheers,
William


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