TupolevTu154 From UK - England, joined Aug 2004, 2159 posts, RR: 30 Posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 15789 times:
I'll keep this one brief, I took this trip last January (2011) as part of a marathon of flights to gain a few aircraft missing from my log. I had some spare cash floating around and it had been a while since I flew long haul so was itching to go travelling. I wanted to fly on an MD11 and, obviously, my only choice was KLM. After some research it was clear one of their destinations was Montreal. I also wanted to fly one of KLM's Fokker 70's, but knew the only way I could get on one of those was to a regional airport in the UK. So I searched for flights on KLM's website based on LHR-YUL, YUL-BRS. As a result, my itinerary looked like this (all info is in local times, and actual aircraft reg's);
So without further ado, here's my (mostly pictures) report.
I had arrived at AMS late morning from LHR and spent most of my layover on the observation deck at Amsterdam freezing my nuts off before making my way to the gate, which turned out to have changed from what it was originally meant to be. This didn't bode well. After arriving at the new gate I waited around for around half an hour to go through security and into the "holding pen". I was one of the first through where we found our flight would be delayed for a fair while. Still no aircraft and I had visions of wasting hundreds of £'s and ending up on an equipment sub, as our aircraft had apparently gone tech. A new aircraft was being towed over and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the distinctive main undercarriage of an MD11 roll beneath the jetbridge. Soon afterwards boarding was called in row numbers. Of course the vast majority of people ignored the instructions and as I got to a gate agent I had my boarding pass snatched from me and was asked rather rudely "are you in these rows?!" as if he was expecting me to say no. I was and was let out from the bundle that had appeared at the gate.
Airline: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-11
Registration: PH-KCG Maria Callas
Scheduled departure time:1450
Actual departure time: 1537
Scheduled arrival time: 1625
Actual arrival time: 1651
Once onboard the aircraft I was amazed at how huge it seemed (or maybe it was because I'd been on nothing but A319's for months on end!). I made my way to 34J that would be my home for the next 7 hours.
Not bad legroom for a shortarse like me
My two huge windows. Interesting to note was DC10 branding on the handle of the window shade.
That unique Mad Dog wing
Pushback, and I was greeted by a horrible screeching engine noise that grated on me on the taxi all the way to 36L. I was extremely glad when takeoff power was applied and I clicked away like an excitable child.
A view down 09
The Polderbaans very own tower.
Soon after takeoff we were offered drinks. Upon hearing my two seatmates asking for wine I decided I might fancy one too. I NEVER drink wine, but as so often is the case, you fancy something you'd never drink on the ground in the air.
We had a pack of almonds too, but I found them hard to enjoy, but out of hunger and desparation I ate them anyway. (just a personal preferance rather than a reflection on the quality of KL's catering)
South western Scotland
A meal was served and I ate every last bit, it was pretty enjoyable! Afterwards we were given a pot of chocolate ice cream that went down an absolute treat.
Being brutally honest, I found myself pretty tipsy from that wine. A mix of unusual choice of drink (for me), altitude and tiredness? I couldn't quite believe how drunk I felt on one drink! How embarassing. (Those who know me, no comments about my lack of tolerance to alcohol!)
At this point I got up for a walk around and ask for seconds on the ice cream (I was still hungry!) and use the lav. I found it quite amusing that the crew were sat around on deck chairs in the aft galley (which was huge!). The crew then went out on some description of service and I stood staring at an almost full box of ice cream resisting the temptation to help myself. Once one of the crew were back I siezed the opportunity to ask to visit the flight deck after landing. I was answered with the usual; "I'm afraid it's prohibited since 9/11" which most of us know is rubbish. After a cheeky "i know you're lying" sort of look and an "aww, really?" and some polite encouragement she said "I'll go ask my purser and I'll let you know". A while later I was told I could ask on the way out and I'd be taken to the flight deck.
After some exploration of the rear galley and a wonder up and down the aisles, checking out the views from the different doors, I made my way back to my seat and attempt a doze. This never works on aircraft and I just have my eyes closed somewhere between asleep and awake. Still aware of what's going on but open my eyes to notice alot more ofthe flight has passed than I thought.
A look at the PTV's revealed that the picture quality wasn't great, and made watching a movie quite difficult.
Somewhere over the atlantic we were joined by an Air Canada 767. I wish I had my telephoto lens on for some air to air shots.
Naturally, with one more engine, a pair of wing fences and a whole lot more grace we overtook the Canadian bird pretty quickly.
The cloud started to break and we got a good look at some frozen Canadian landscapes
We were then served an afternoon snack that was a wonderfully warm, moist piece of cake. Unfortunately however it was very sickly and I had to abandon it after a few bites.
Eyes back out the window;
After studying various towns and roads descent began and we headed down towards some snow clouds that were covering the city. If the cloud wasn't there we would've got some fantastic views.
We turned onto base, then final, for approach and landing onto a snowy 06L at Dorval
At this point I was anticipating an MD11 style touchdown
Again, the terrible screeching of the engines abused my ears as we made our way to the terminal in the gorgeous sunset
First Air 737-200
Turning onto stand
Once on stand it was time to disembark, I made my way to the front and as promised was shown to the flight deck. Most of the flight crew had already left except one who showed me around. I explained that I'd come to fly on the MD11 specifically and that I was an FA back in the UK. He said exactly what everyone dreams to hear but wishes they hadn't. "Ohh you should've said earlier, you could've had a jumpseat for landing!" "Really?!" "Well, depending on what the captain thinks, yes".
With a heavy heart at what could have been, I made the most of a flight deck under almost perfect lighting conditions to get the most of both night and day.
I thanked the crew and bid them farewell and made my way inside the terminal. Another one ticked off the bucket list!
As for my opinion on the MD11? It's a priceless catch for any self respecting aviation enthusiast, and a must do before they all disappear, and I'm extremely glad I got to fly on one. From a passengers point of view, I much preferred the A330 I flew back to AMS on the next day. It was quieter, more spacious, more modern, and of course the 2-4-2 layout is preferable to 3-3-3 as in the MD11. Shame on me, I know!
Thanks for reading and apologies for the slightly out of character report. It was over a year ago so details have slipped my mind but I thought a flight on a dying breed was worth documenting on here for everybody to see. Next time I do a report I'll be sure to go back to my normal self of details, spelling/grammar checking and alot more effort!
LH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1702 posts, RR: 14 Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 15648 times:
Thanks for the report, the MD-11 is indeed an interesting aircraft that I wish to fly in the near future, well I have a few years left to catch it. A friend of mine who I envy very much got to fly it last year, and what bugs me the most is that he didn't care a rat's ass about flying on such a rare type. Oh well that just shows the opinion of 99,99999% of the population
The catering on KLM looked rather good, not much comments on the wine apart from it tasting very great. For me two bottles were needed to get me slightly tipsy, and those were chugged in a near instance. The dry cabin air does however do a great job in vaporizing those alcoholic fumes coming out of the body, so the tipsiness wears off quite quickly I'd say.
Pictures were stunning as usual, thanks again for sharing!
win1290 From Thailand, joined Jan 2012, 278 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 15617 times:
Thanks for posting your experience with MD-11! Amazing Photos! Over 5 years ago, I was once travelled in Thai Airways' MD11 on BKK-SIN, and sadly I took it for granted, now I wish I hadn't. The 3-3-3 layout on KLM's MD11 is not that bad compared to Thai Airways MD11's 2-5-2 layout . Thanks again for sharing.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4125 posts, RR: 51 Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 15567 times:
wonderful pictures from your MD11 jolly. Shame that we couldn't meet up due to work commitments that day for me, but good to hear that you enjoyed the short stay in AMS.
I love the MD11, it feels spacious indeed. Flew never on these KLM examples, but had 3 flights on MP and 1 on RG, so fare good score so far. The first KLM ones are leaving this year, so on their way out.
btw, I love the white wine KLM is serving on their flights. It's easy to drink away... Strange story how you felt on this bottle, since I know you have no problems with some alcohol haha
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
mayhem From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 161 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 14371 times:
Great report. Really sad for you that you missed the 1% chance to do a jumpseat landing! Every a.netter's dream!
Flew the KL MD11 a couple of weeks back in J, and was actually not so impressed overall (KL's J seats are pretty bad, and I only wanted to sleep), and the MD11s are quite worn. The one thing that stood out, and you could see as well was how heavily/strongly built this plane is, and how spacious it is for the crew. To me it looked like a spacious tank
Food looked good indeed.
How was the crew treating you?
MSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15 Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 14359 times:
Great trip report, thanks for sharing! Nice too see you where able to catch the MD11 in your log!
I flew the same route back in 2010 and was very pleased with the service and the MD11.
Here is my report. A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
Thanks for sharing the YUL approach pics as well! Great to see them, makes me think about my stay there in February
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
Wahh! Lots of flying over a short time - shame you didn't have longer to stay in YUL. How much did you pay?
Quoting TupolevTu154 (Thread starter): Soon after takeoff we were offered drinks. Upon hearing my two seatmates asking for wine I decided I might fancy one too. I NEVER drink wine, but as so often is the case, you fancy something you'd never drink on the ground in the air.
Alsways nice to diversify in the air, even if it does make you a little over tipsy
sultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1409 posts, RR: 31 Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 13882 times:
Very nice coverage of your flight on this unique piece of machinery. I'll probably never come across one so I must do with some reports. Some really nice pics in there, especially landing in a snowy YUL and that cockpit shot of course.
TupolevTu154 From UK - England, joined Aug 2004, 2159 posts, RR: 30 Reply 11, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 13789 times:
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 1): and what bugs me the most is that he didn't care a rat's ass about flying on such a rare type. Oh well that just shows the opinion of 99,99999% of the population
This is very often the case and it winds me up too! These people don't realise how lucky they are!
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 1): The catering on KLM looked rather good, not much comments on the wine apart from it tasting v
No comment on the wine really, I have nothing to compare it to!
Quoting win1290 (Reply 2): The 3-3-3 layout on KLM's MD11 is not that bad compared to Thai Airways MD11's 2-5-2 layout
I'd much rather have been on 2-5-2 than 3-3-3, as I think 95% of people on this forum would prefer a window seat!
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 3): Shame that we couldn't meet up due to work commitments that day for me, but good to hear that you enjoyed the short stay in AMS.
The airport is massive and I got lost a couple of times! There's always somewhere new to find. As for the viewing deck, it surpassed all my expectations and I enjoyed every minute up there. Got some great catches, including the Martinair retrojet at 10mm!
Quoting EL-AL (Reply 4): I wanted to fly the MD11 myself in my last trip to Canada on 2011, but TLV-AMS-YUL on KLM was way over $1500 (US) while Transaero was less then half price.
I find that booking a return with KLM is half the price than booking one way, strange!
Quoting mayhem (Reply 6): Flew the KL MD11 a couple of weeks back in J, and was actually not so impressed overall (KL's J seats are pretty bad, and I only wanted to sleep), and the MD11s are quite worn.
KLM's J does look in dire need of updating and modernising. Still, I would've rather been flying in one of those than my Y seat!
CaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 653 posts, RR: 21 Reply 12, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 13591 times:
thanks for this nice and interesting report with some nice pictures. Great to catch one of the mighty MD-11s as long as they are still around. I saw one on my last visit to AMS and really wanted to be on board of it.
Service with KLM seemed to be nice as expected. Especially that meals looked really good.
Quoting TupolevTu154 (Thread starter): He said exactly what everyone dreams to hear but wishes they hadn't. "Ohh you should've said earlier, you could've had a jumpseat for landing!" "Really?!" "Well, depending on what the captain thinks, yes".
Oh, that's too bad. I am sure that would have been a dream came true. But at least a visit to the flight deck after landing was granted, great cockpit shot.
Knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1538 posts, RR: 18 Reply 13, posted (1 year 9 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 13373 times:
Thanks for that, I greatly enjoyed that. The MD-11 is one of my all time favourites. I spent many happy hours on them when they still flew with Swissair and later with SWISS. Just looking at the steep angle at which you rocketed away from Amsterdam brought back many fond memories.
Ha ha - I didn't know that too many people outside of the opera would even recognize the name of Maria Callas! Is there an aircraft named Pavarotti - it would have to be a widebody.
Anyway, beautiful photos in your trip report. Although I was many times on the DC-10, I never was in the MD-11.
Is the MD-11 really faster in general than the 767? On one of my trans-Atlantic trips, I was in an LH 747-400 that zipped past both a Turkish A-330 and an unknown DC-10. But the 747 is known to be a very fast cruiser. Does the MD-11 have this capability too?
63bobster From Netherlands, joined Jan 2012, 43 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10933 times:
Thanks for the interesting trip report. A sad thought that the MD11's will be retired so soon. I somehow always found the DC10 and later the MD11 very iconic KLM aircraft. personally I enjoyed only 2 roundtrips on the 11 AMS - BON and AMS-CUR, on both occassions being upgraded to C on the outbound leg. To BON it was the old C-cabin and to CUR I had the refurbished C-cabin. The old C-seats were far more comfy. As for the Y-seats, they certainly have improved as has the cabin lay-out.
F9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4872 posts, RR: 29 Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 10483 times:
very nice trip report! I think the MD-11 is a beautiful looking bird. I got to go inside a World MD-11 many years ago, and really found it to be a nice bird. I wish MD was still around! Would have been interesting to see what the future would have brought us.
deltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1060 posts, RR: 7 Reply 23, posted (1 year 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 9420 times:
Nice report on a rare bird!
I'm lucky enough to have four logged flights on the MD-11, all on AY before they retired it.
Too bad about the missed opportunity to see the landing from the cockpit, but I guess the flight was rather nice anyway. You did get to log the MD-11 after all!