Check In: I managed to get to Orlando International around 8:30am and first dropped off a friend flying American to Costa Rica. Following that, I drove up to Northwest’s counters and said good bye to my roommate who just graduated this semester. Once at the check-in counter, I had no more than a 30 second wait before I was in front of a friendly Filipino check in agent.
“So your final destination is Bombay today? Wow that is a long flight.”
“Oh I know. I have done it too many times to count, it does not get any easier with experience.”
“I know the feeling. When I fly back to Manila each year, I have the same problem. Your bags are checked all the way through to Bombay today. I am sure you will have a comfortable flight back home, Merry Christmas.”
With that I headed off to the TSA bag check and once my bags were scanned, I was on my way towards security. That took no more than five minutes and I was on a tram towards the terminal. While riding, I got a phone call from my buddy who said he was boarding his Miami bound MD-80. We wished each other a good break and I sat down in front of my glistening Boeing 757. While I may not have been very happy about the new colors when they were first introduced, I have to say it has grown on me. I am now a fan of silver and think Northwest did a good job with it.
Boarding: The announcement for First Class passengers was given at 9:20 and good old Kim was manning the booth. Those of you familiar with NW at Orlando will know who Kim is. She is one of the nicest agents I have ever met anywhere in the world on any airline.
“Nice to see you again, where ya heading today?”
“Can’t say I am surprised. Merry Christmas, have a safe trip and I’ll see ya next time your in town.”
I was greeted at the door by two female flight attendants with beaming smiles. They took one look at my elite tag and it
“Welcome aboard, nice to see you again.”
I plopped myself down in my bulkhead seat and was immediately approached by a flight attendant asking me what I would like to drink. My glass of water was brought just a minute later and placed on my armrest with a smile. The seat was the normal affair on Northwest but this was the first time I have actually seen a TV screen and audio channels in my armrest on a NW 752. I guess this provides evidence to all those nay-sayers that NW does indeed fit a number of their aircraft with entertainment.
Once boarding was complete, the door was closed and we pushed back with a manual safety demonstration. We taxied to the runway and waited for a Spirit MD-80 to land before we were on our way.
The Flight: Once we were airborne, the seatbelt sign was turned off and the flight attendant made an announcement that food shall be available for purchase in Economy. Today’s choice was a ham and cheese sandwich with Goldfish crackers and Oreo’s all for the price of $5.
Shortly thereafter a flight attendant came over and started the beverage service.
“What would you like to drink today?”
“A Sierra Mist for me please.”
“Absolutely. Would you like the can?”
“That would be perfect, thanks.”
The can was placed on my tray table along with a glass of ice, one packet of Spinzles and one packet of Mixed Nuts. I wanted to just eat the meal so I put them away to munch on later. Five minutes later another flight attendant came out with a cart.
“Would you like to have lunch today?”
“We have a choice between two items. One is a chicken club sandwich and the other one is pasta salad with shrimps.”
“I’ll have the salad please.”
The tray was gently placed on my tray table and I have to say it was a little bit on the large side. We had a bowl of salad with pepper-corn dressing, a hot bread roll with a packet of Land-O-Lakes butter and chocolate cake. The main dish consisted of thee salads. The first one was pasta, tomato and onion mix, the second was a shrimp salad while the third was chicken curry. On the whole the meal was quite good and very filling. I opted to leave the salad as I did not want to overeat so early in the day. After all I had a KL 777 coming up in a few hours. The bread was hot and the salads were fresh and full of flavor. The chocolate cake was excellent as well. Overall, a very nice meal and definitely a nice treat for a domestic flight. The tray was collected and I pulled out my laptop to type part of this trip report up. Shortly thereafter, decent started and my laptop had to go back into its case.
Arrival and Transit: We touched down and taxied towards our gate. We stopped short around the corner and the ever so common, “folks we have an aircraft currently in our gate but they should be pushing back soon.” We waited for close to ten minutes for the A319 to push back from A70.
Stepped off the aircraft into the great airport that is Detroit and headed over to the closest departure monitor to see what my connecting gate would be. Of course the gate was at the other end of the airport but I had plenty of time. So instead of walking off right away, I decided to glance over the board and see what was going where.
I slowly strolled over to the other side of the terminal without the use of the train as I had a good hour before boarding. Once I got to the gate I sat down and made a few calls.
Detroit – New York JFK
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 (N605NW)
Scheduled Departure Time: 14:01
Actual Departure Time: 14:01
Scheduled Arrival Time:15:45
Actual Arrival time: 15:31
Boarding: The boarding announced was made about 13:30 for the lightly loaded DC-9. Once I walked onboard the male flight attendant welcomed each of us onboard. There were five other people besides me in the First Class cabin and he came up to us each individually almost instantly, “I’m sorry but the flight has not been catered yet. As soon as it is, I shall come over and take your drink order unless we run out of time. I apologize again.” All I can say is, at least he came up and told us what was going on, something that was appreciated by us all. Boarding was completed and the door was closed at 13:55, the same time the catering truck was pulled back. He once again came over and said, “I apologize, we are ready to power-back, but I will get you a drink as soon as we are in the air.”
Power-back was loud and noisy, just like it always is. I quickly glanced around this machine which was delivered back in 1968. While she may have been loud, she was clean and frankly much more impressive than some of her younger counter parts at competing airlines. This was my fourth DC-9 flight in two months and I have to hand it to Northwest, they do an excellent job maintaining these birds. As much as I like the Airbus, I see no reason to be in a hurry to replace these planes as they are fantastic. We taxied for a good 15 minutes and took off almost instantly down the runway.
The Flight: The seatbelt sign pinged and the flight attendant swung into action. He came around with a cart and took our drink orders.
The “meal” for this flight would be two packets of “Kings Delicious Mixed Nuts.” After a decent amount of beverage enjoyment time, trash was collected and the decent began. We had a great view of downtown as we were turning in. “Folks, we will be on the ground momentarily but for those of you sitting on the left side of the aircraft, you should be able to see downtown and Kennedy International.” Of course I jumped at the opportunity and took my camera out for some shots.
Arrival & Transit: After a sharp turn we lined up for the runway and touched down ever so gently and then bam, those loud reverse thrusts that can be heard for miles and miles came on. As nice as these birds are, they are loud. We taxied off the runway with an American 757-200 from San Diego following us. How did I know it was from SAN? Simple, CMK10 was on it, the very person I was supposed to meet. We taxied over to Gate 3 and I was the first person off the aircraft.
I approached security which was deserted at this hour. There was no sight CMK10 so I called his cell phone.
“Where are you?”
“I just landed; I’m getting off the aircraft. Not all of us can be early like Northwest!”
So I went about trying to find a sign for the AirTrain. You think with such a modern terminal, they would have advertised where the station was. I walked all around and could not find a sign. I called CMK10 again and asked where it was and as usual, he was of no help. So I headed down to the lower level towards baggage claim and there it was, a green sign pointing up an escalator with “AirTrain” written in big black letters. I walked up and just as I set foot on the platform my phone rang,
“Where are you?” he yelled into the phone.
“Look in front of you!”
We exchanged greeting and waited for the next AirTrain to take us over to the American Airlines terminal so CMK10 could show me what was so special about his beloved Admirals Club. We entered the club and sat down in a remote part near the computers. We spent a good hour with a soda in hand just chatting and looking through pictures on my laptop. Around 17:15 we decided to head on back to T4. We took the AirTrain back over and walked around for a bit before the need for more lounging overtook us.
Eventually things were sorted out and we both were allowed in. I had a Business Class seat while he had his AA Platinum/Oneworld Sapphire membership. We found two lounge chairs facing a boarding Aer Lingus A330 where we sat down and talked a bit more. Around 17:50 the following announcement was made, “KLM flight 642 to Amsterdam is ready for boarding. Will all passengers please proceed to Gate 6 for immediate boarding.”
We both got up and walked towards security which was now swarming with KLM, Air India, Aer Lingus, and Kuwait Airways passengers. We both wished each other a good vacation and headed our separate directions. Security was a zoo with people all over the place. I will tell you one thing, it made me damn happy not to be flying Air India. It is amazing how rude and obnoxious my fellow countrymen can act in public. Pushing and shoving is going to get you nowhere in this line, yet this fact does not register with them. They were loudly screaming at each other while smashing their oversized carry on bags into people legs. This man behind me was literally putting his suitcase between my legs. After five minutes of this I snapped and said in the best Desi English I could get out. “Stop putting the damn bag between my legs will you? If you want put the bag somewhere, keep it between your f***king legs!” I clearly saw a few KL and EI passengers smile as I said that. He immediately backed off and never touched me with the bag again. At this point, I had just about had it and wanted to get out of the line as fast as possible as I would be dealing with this type of crowd again in another 20 hours.
Once security was done, I made a bee line for Gate 6. I got to the gate at 18:10 just as the “This is the final boarding call for KLM flight 642 to Amsterdam. All passengers must be past security and at the gate for immediate boarding.” Well what do you know? Boarding had not even started. One of the NW agents at the podium started screaming at us, “ignore that announcement, it is only there to get you through security. We have a delay anyway as the aircraft is still being cleaned due to late arrival.”
KLM 642/Northwest 8642
New York JFK - Amsterdam
Boeing 777-200 (PH-BQA – Albert Plesman)
Scheduled Departure Time: 18:25
Actual Departure Time: 18:42
Scheduled Arrival Time: 07:45
Actual Arrival time: 07:19
Boarding:All of us waited around the gate area until 18:15 when they started boarding passengers needing special assistance. A minute later Business Class was called and I was on my way along with a few folks. Of course you will always have three of four folks whose rows are not called yet standing right in front of the agent despite the fact that the agent specifically called Business Class. To boot, when they are turned away, what do they do? They stand right there in front of the agent blocking everyone who is trying to board. Once we got through, the agent ripped our boarding passes and wished us a pleasant flight.
I walked down the cold jetway towards the plane where there was a table set up with magazines in Dutch, German and English. Once through the door we were greeted by the Dutch flight attendant,
“Velkom an boart Ka El Em. Your sitz iz to de leftz.”
There’s the Dutch accent I love so much. It has been almost twelve months since I head that and boy did it feel good to be on the wonderful blue plane. I proceeded towards my seat and placed my lap top case in the spacious overhead bin that the 777 is known for.
I sat down and almost immediately noticed that the seat was a bit on the narrow side. The amenity kits had already been placed on our armrest and I was surprised to find that they had been re-done. While I have more than enough of those metallic tin boxes, they were a unique kind. The new ones are nothing radical, just a common blue bag. My seatmate showed up a minute later, a 19 year old girl. All I can say is I have sat next to my fair share of fat bald business men in the last couple of years to deserve this treat. Better yet, our flight attendant showed up almost instantaneously, a gorgeous brunette with a beaming smile. She offered the usual drink choice of champagne, orange juice, or water. I opted for orange juice and when I said thanks, she smiles back and said
“You are velkom.”
This was going to be a good flight!
As I had promised 744BFA that I would call him once I was on the plane, I got my cell phone out and answered all his questions. I was very quiet when doing so though, as one of my biggest pet peeves is those folks that talk loudly while on their cell phone. I mean come on; the entire cabin does not need to hear your conversation. I swear though the girl gave me some weird looks as I described the plane to him, god only knows what she thought. I put the phone down much to 744BFA’s dismay and turned it off for the last time. Menus were distributed by the brunette who handed them gently to every passenger. I noticed KLM has started printing the date once again; something I thought had been abandoned earlier this year. Either way it was a very nice touch. Empty glasses were collected and the flight attendant came around to take dinner orders.
“Vat vould you lik to eat tuday?”
“The steak please.”
Ah how I love KLM flight attendants, they are hands down the best cabin crew of any European airline, now that Swissair is no longer in existence. I started snapping a few pictures of the cabin and the girl next to me inquired,
“Is this your first flight?”
“First time on the KLM 777.” was my reply with a chuckle.
“Ah I see.” was her response.
That prompted a nice conversation and we got to know each other well over the course of the flight.
We pushed back at 18:42 and the safety demonstration was started. I could not help but laugh out loud when I saw the Flight Sim2004 Boeing 777-200 KLM uses in the video. Come on KLM, there’s no need to be that cheap! Lights were dimmed and we taxied to the runway in darkness which was perfect as that produces no window reflections. Then of course the inevitable happened.
“Ladiez und Jentlemen, dis ix your capetane speking. Ve are nummer dirteen fur tak uff.”
Is it just me or is that number a bit on the low side for JFK? Either-way the line had something like five Delta 763’s, one DL CR7, two AA 752, one Olympic 343, one Swiss 343, one BA 744, and one IB 743.
As we slowly inched our way to the runway I took the time to reflect on the new KLM World Business Class seat. How did it compare to NWA’s new WBC seat? Well, the seat is definitely narrower than NW’s. While the 777 is suppose to a wider cabin, I think KLM made a major mistake by assigning this excellent aircraft a 2-3-2 configuration. The seats were narrow and this led to the aisle being a bit on the small side. Also one of my major complaints about this seat is the lack of privacy. NWA has cocoons around each seat which provide privacy. Thankfully today I had a pretty girl next to me, but more often than not I have some old guy who snores like a freight train while drooling. Another complaint is the leg rest as it is too short, and I am only 5’8”. I will give the seat one thing, and that is it was a bit cushier than NWA’s and the blue fabric used is very appealing to eyes and well as being very soft to the touch. Overall though this was a very disappointing seat when compared to NWA’s new seat. I need to try KLM’s A330’s be absolutely sure, but from this perspective NW beats KL in the new WBC seat category.
Once we got to the runway the 777 rocketed down the runway with a force and we were above New York City within no time.
The Flight : The view from above after take off from New York is always breathtaking. Each time I see the city from above it just amazes me. The last time I had this view was in 1998 on the ill-fated Swissair MD-11 HB-IWF two weeks before
its sad demise. The seatbelt sign pinged a few minutes later after we passed 20,000 feet. KLM’s standard noise canceling headphones were passed around and an announcement was made about the AVOD system.
“Ladiez und Jentlemen, dis iz your Purser. Ve zhall be ztarting de Audio Video on Demand zyztem momentarily. Pleze give de zyztem about fifteen minutes to varm up first.”
While the system was warming up, I thought I would go through the music choice available. I am a KLM “Hitline” junkie and I always look forward to the songs on offer. Sadly cost cutting has hit this department. There was no entertainment guide nor was there a list of songs played on each channel, disappointing to say the least. I pulled the PTV out and I was impressed, a nice large screen with a clear and crisp picture. I surfed through the movies on offer and settled on “Dodgeball.” Also, hot towels were passed around at this point.
A few minutes into the movie the gorgeous brunette came around with the drink cart, I paused the movie so I could give her my full attention.
“Vat vould you lik to drink todayz?”
A glass of coke was handed to me a minute later with a bowl of mixed salted nuts, a standard on KLM for as long as I can remember.
I was totally engrossed in the movie until the flight attendant came around with the trolley again to collect the nuts and place the white table cloths down. Today’s menu was as follows:
Smoked duck and shrimps
Barbecued shrimps with mango,
and smoked duck breast served
with corn relish and grilled pineapple
With an onion and bacon crust
served with roasted red potatoes and
With leek and garlic-butter served
with potato gratin and haricots verts
Mediterranean sea bass
With lavender butter served
with couscous, asparagus and
We invite you to select your choice
of tart, cheese, or fresh fruit
from our dessert trolley
White Wines Saint-Veran 2002 Les Vinus des Personnets
Steen op Hout 2003, Mulderbosch Stellenbosch, South Africa
Red Wines Chateau Franc-Perat 2002 Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux
Bin 61 Shiraz 2002, Leasingham
Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut
Port Noval 1997 Late Bottled Vintage Port
Dessert Wine Avondale Muscat Blanc 2003 Paarl, South africa
KLM's Special Wine Malbec Reserve 2000 Norton, Argentina
I paused my PTV once again as the trolley came into the aisle. The tray was handed to me and my glass of coke was refilled. A bread basket was also placed in front of me and I grabbed my selection out of it. There were dinner rolls, brown buns, and roasted garlic buns, I opted for the last of that list. Once again KLM has opted to put the appetizer and main course on the same tray rather than serve it separately like most airlines. While a time saver, this method causes the main course to turn luke warm.
The appetizer was on the whole wonderful. The shrimps were excellent and the duck was great. The salad bowl was fresh and went down well with the Parmesan Peppercorn dressing. The main course was the normal fare on KLM. I have had this particular kind of steak a number of times since 2002 and it was once again cooked to perfection. The vegetables on the side were not overcooked, hence perfect. The bread was warm and soft and had a nice unique flavor. The trays were collected individually when everyone was done and the dessert cart rolled on down the aisle when all the trays were collected.
“Today ve hav zom cheezcake vit caramel, fruitz or cheese. Vich von vould you lik?”
“Just the cake for me please.”
The plate was handed to me with a great big smile and a “bon appetite.” The Dulche De Leeche cheesecake was amazing! KLM can always be counted upon to create a great dessert, it was just fantastic. After “licking” my plate clean I reclined my seat with an episode of “Friends.”
Chocolates were offered, lights were dimmed and a bottle of water was placed on everyone’s armrest. Once the episode of “Friends” was done, I reclined my seat further and turned on “Hitline.” I went into a trance for a while only to be woken up halfway across the Atlantic by an “Iz der a medikal doktor an board, a medikal doktor. Pleaze make yourzelf known the cabin perzonel.” I turned to look out the window and there they were, the Northern Lights. Even though I see these often, there is always something magical about it each time. I closed my eyes and after another brief power nap woke up after being jolted along with the ping of the seatbelt sign. I looked outside and we were flying through some sort of light cloud layer while being tossed around. I noticed a number of people woke up as these were not minor jolts, we were being pushed around like a yoyo.
At this point I decided to put the PTV back on and watched an episode of “That 70’s Show” while being thrown about in every direction. Eventually the turbulence subsided and I picked “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Lights were turned on and a hot towel was passed out followed by a tray of water and orange juice. The breakfast cart appeared shortly thereafter and the table linens were placed once again. A tray was handed to me with the normal breakfast pickings on it. A bread basket was placed in front of me with a variety of breakfast breads and I opted for the croissant which was warm and flaky, the way I like it. I devoured the pastry with some butter and strawberry jam that had already been placed on the tray. I also opted for a cup of coffee which was nice at this hour of the morning. The yogurt today was in a cherry/vanilla flavor which was a first for me. I got to say I enjoyed it more than the normal fruit flavored ones. The fruit plate today consisted of one slice of melon, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi, and a bunch of seedless grapes. Overall the breakfast was light and very well presented considering the time of the morning. Seconds on the bread were offered but I was stuffed so I declined.
The trays were collected and the flight attendant came around with a tray full of Delft Blue houses, this is another reason I enjoy flying KLM. The nose pitched down a short while later and the seatbelt sign came on. Descent was announced from the cockpit and the cabin crew went about preparing the cabin for arrival. They went about doing this with a smile, the same beaming smile as when we boarded in Kennedy a few hours ago. The lights were dimmed and we set up for a dark landing into Amsterdam.
Arrival & Transit: The 777 gracefully touched down on a wet runway with those big GE engines roaring into reverse. We taxied off the runway and we were in front of Gate F6 in no time. I was one of the last Business Class passengers out and on my way said bye to the crew who still could not help but smile and blush when I said “thanks for a great flight.” I walked off the jetway into a rather empty terminal and I made a bee line for the escalator to the upper level. I first walked past the big Crown Lounge but there was a line outside the door so I decided to take my chances with the second lounge further down. I entered the lounge where a friendly blonde lady greeted me behind the counter.
“I zee you are flyin to Mumbai. Your gate iz E zix. You need to be there at nine dirthy otherwise you might get into trouble.”
“I promise I will be there on time.”
I proceeded to the only empty table in the middle of the lounge. On the way I grabbed a cappuccino and sat there organizing my paperwork as my laptop case had gained some substantial weight since I started a couple hours ago in Daytona Beach. The cappuccino was excellent and has become a tradition for me when flying through Amsterdam. I relaxed and watched planes landing and taking off outside. Here are two pictures I took. I apologize for the light but the sun was just rising and I had to leave at 8:45 to do some shopping, so I was never able to get decent light for photography.
I left the lounge at 8:45 which by that time had become less crowded as all the United Kingdom flights headed off. I walked down and out towards Concourse G which had two flights boarding this morning. One was an EL AL 757 to Tel Aviv and the second was a Continental 767-200 bound for Houston. I had almost booked this 762 but had trouble getting a seat on it with a KL ticket. I went into the bookstore and completed another AMS tradition of mine, buying the latest copy of “Airliner World.” I then walked over to the shops in front of Concourse F and bought some items on my parents Christmas list. When that was completed it was 9:15 so I opted to just head to the gate.
I reached the gate at 9:20 and promptly stood in the World Business Class line. Within 30 seconds a Desi female security officer walked up to me, “Business Class?” I nodded and she took me to one of the mini podiums. The usual spiel commenced and she asked the usual questions about my checked in bags and why I was traveling to India and so forth. She took one look at my routing and gasped. “You are a lot braver than I am. This is such a round about way to get to Bombay.” We both laughed, and she put a sticker on my boarding pass. A KL ground agent was feeding the boarding passes through the machine and greeted each individual with a smile. Once that was done I proceeded through the security check and was in front of the door just as the call for World Business Class passengers to board commenced.
Amsterdam – Mumbai/Bombay
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 (N236NW)
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:25
Actual Departure Time: 10:30
Scheduled Arrival Time: 23:20
Actual Arrival time: 23:10
Boarding: I was greeted at the door by a male and a female flight attendant and pointed towards the galley through to the other side. I put my stuff away and sat down. It has been a year and a half since I sat in a classic NWA WBC seat and I immediately longed for my full flat shell. A flight attendant came around with a tray of water, champagne, and Heineken. I opted for water and placed it on my armrest. I looked out the window and saw N802NW. With a sigh I recalled that it was this exact A330 I flew in January to DTW from AMS. I decided that was enough and to enjoy the DC-10 for one last time. The cabin filled up slowly and the crew came around offering drinks to everyone multiple times. A cart was rolled around once everyone had settled in. The flight attendant handed us the usual noise canceling headphones, menu, and amenity kit. Just like KLM, NWA seems to have introduced a new amenity kit which I have to say is not all that great. I did prefer the old drawstring bag as it was easier to store and handle.
The Indian interpreter came around to take everyone’s order today. She was young and very good looking I must say. She came around and softly asked everyone what their choices for lunch were. I opted for the chicken to which she said “excellent choice sir.”
We pushed back roughly five minutes late with the standard NW safety demonstration blaring on the flat screen in front of row one. Anyone else think it is time for NW to do a switch? The video is rather old. I plugged into some nice music on “Right Here, Right Now II,” my favorite audio channel on NWA. We taxied on out and I snapped a good number of pictures from my window, nothing exotic today but some nice variety.
We lined up for take off and sped down the runway with a very loud roar. I still love the take off on DC-10’s; they really are one of a kind. No other aircraft can come close!
The Flight: We climbed through a cloudy and dull sky into bright sunshine. Hot towels were passed around and the cart rolled on down the isle. I pulled the PTV out and flicked through the channels. I eventually settled on “I Robot.”
Today our cabin was served by two male flight attendants in their mid 40’s. One of them set off down the aisle a few minutes into the movie. I opted for a Pepsi and the entire can was handed to me along with a glass full of ice. A plate followed with the canapés and mixed nuts on it. Quick view of today’s lunch menu:
Cocktail or beverage of choice
served with canapés and mixed nuts
Mixed seasonal fresh greens and garnish
Choice of dressing
Roasted Black Halibut in Saffron Sauce
lemon risotto, sautéed spinach
Indian Vegetarian Speciality
Cauliflower curry with Basmati rice
and Shimla aloo
(Marinated chicken in butter sauce with
Basmati rice and black-eyed bean curry)
Dessert A La Carte
Create your own…
Chef’s selection of cheese offered with Port wine
Ice Cream or Dessert of the Day
Premium Coffe or Tea
CHAMPAGNE PERRIER JOUET BRUT NV CHAMPAGNE
WHITE WINES 2000 STAG’S LEAP
1999 GALLO OF
DRY CREEK VALLEY
2001 ST. CLEMENT
ST. JEAN SONOMA
RED WINES 2000 ST. CLEMENT
1999 GALLO OF
2001 FETZER FIVE
CONN VALLEY NAPA
The canapés were beyond awful with the exception of the nuts which were standard fare on NWA. Today the nuts consisted of salted cashews, almonds and chestnuts. The canapés consisted of a slice of cucumber and tomato. The yellow stuff at the bottom of the plate was apple, coconut and masala mixed together, a vile concoction in my opinion. The third item was garbanzo beans mixed in some tasteless cream sauce, about as bad as the other item. The plate was collected and linens were brought around.
The cart rolled down the aisle once again and a tray was handed to us with the salad plate. I was offered a choice of ranch or vinaigrette dressing and I opted for the latter. A bread basket was also presented but I was feeling rather stuffed so I declined, but two types of bread and naan were on offer. The salad was nice and fresh and the vinaigrette dressing was nice and light. The upper right hand corner of the tray also had a small container full of an Indian drink call lassi. I took one sniff and put it back down, it’s not my kind of drink. The salad plate was collected and the chicken dish was placed on my tray with an “it is hot, be careful.”
The chicken was decent, maybe a bit on the dry side but all right. I have never really liked Indian food all that much but the Western option today was fish which I can’t stand so I opted for the lesser of two evils. How I longed for the Indonesian rice dishes that used to be served out of AMS. Once that was done the tray was collected and the dessert cart rolled on down.
Dessert today consisted of Indian sweets, vanilla bean ice cream, or fruits. I opted for the ice cream which was all right, maybe the highlight of the entire meal. Overall I was severely disappointed with the offerings today. KLM had excellent food out of Delhi, so it amazes me as to why the offerings were so horrendous out of Amsterdam as on other airlines it is the opposite. I think there was too much emphasis on vegetarian food and not enough on quality.
I lowered the window shades all the way down and a bottle of chilled water was placed on everyone’s armrest. Once the movie finished, the Indian flight attendant came around passing the embarkation cards. I filled mine out immediately as I just wanted to get it done with. Once finished I put the seat back and tuned into an episode of “Friends.” Fatigue hit me at this point and I zoned out for a while.
I Woke up somewhere over Turkey and listened to some music while looking through the in flight magazine. The sun started to set a short while later as we hit the border of Iran.
The flight attendant came around offering the “SKY BREAK BASKET” which today was filled with potato chips, apples, bananas and some Cadbury’s chocolates. I flipped through the magazine to see what movies were on offer today.
Channel 14 & 15: I, Robot
Channel 16 & 17: A Cinderella Story
Channel 18 & 19: Super Size Me
Channel 20 & 21: Currents
Channel 22 & 23: The Manchurian Candidate
Channel 24 & 25: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Channel 26: Airshow
Being there was not much choice, I watched “A Cinderella Story.” Halfway through the movie, hot towels were passed around and table cloths were laid down again for the arrival snack.
The tray was handed to me and along with a Pepsi as requested. The bowl of fruits today consisted of two slices of oranges, grapefruits, kiwi’s and a single strawberry. They were fresh and more than adequate. The calzone was stuffed with cheese and tomato sauce, but it reminded me more of dorm food than something that would be served in Business Class. The cake on the other hand was excellent, but I still have no idea what it was. It was a soft sponge cake coated with something crunchy, like toffee. There was also a small box of chocolates which I stuffed into my laptop case. Now I have to ask the question again, why the emphasis on Vegetarian? Other carriers, including KLM offer a choice between non vegetarian and vegetarian items, once again, this was a very disappointing meal.
I spent the rest of the flight watching the ending of “The Manchurian Candidate” which was still as riveting as when I saw it in the theater. Then decent started and the cabin was prepared for arrival. Half way down, the lead chief flight attendant came around and thanked each passenger individually and inquired if we were happy with the service. An unusual announcement was also made around, “We would like to warn you that photography is not allowed at Indian airports as it is deemed a security risk.” As we were touching down I got a great view of the terminal which currently was rather empty. I did catch a glimpse of the Malaysian 777 backing up, the exact flight I would be catching in three weeks.
Arrival: We taxied to the terminal and I only spotted three aircraft at that point. These were a Swiss A330-200, Alitalia 767-300, and Delta 767-300. I guess we know which alliance owns Mumbai. I ran out of the plane along with everyone else and walked at a brisk pace towards immigration which turned out to be rather empty. There was no line and I was in front of an officer literally within 10 seconds of getting to the front of the snake line. The officer took a mere minute typing and stamping my passport. This was a refreshing change from the past when the immigration officers would flip through your entire passport and type with one finger.
I then proceeded to baggage claim where it all came crashing down. Just as I entered a bunch of carts were rolled by and a sea of humanity rushed towards them,
“Arun, get two!”
“Mummy we need three!”
“Tell Daddy we need one more!”
“Prita, run and get some carts!”
I calmly walked towards them and tried to get one, but people were just pulling carts out two or three at a time. I firmly grabbed one and along with another gentleman who grabbed it from the other side. I was a bit stronger so I won the battle by pulling it towards my side. By this time there was one carousel not occupied but there was no information on where the bags would come out from. So we all stood at belt three. A NWA ground agent came over a minute later, “Northwest passengers, your bags will come off carousel one.” Wait a minute; there were a bunch of passengers around that one already. I got closer and realized the first Delta flight of the night from JFK and Frankfurt was using it. So I squeezed my way through to the front of a corner. The Delta bags were still rolling around and the NW sign was still not up. After 15 minutes a NW bag appeared and did a lonely trek around the entire belt once. At that moment a Delta ground agent came over and loudly yelled, “Delta passengers, there are no more bags from your flight. Go to the claim desk on the side.” Simultaneously half the carousel groaned and around 40 people walked to the counter. I see things have not changed since I decided to stop flying good old Delta! Eventually more bags came out but none of the “Priority” tagged ones were appearing. All the oversized huge bags labeled in hand written marker on tape written “Patel to Mumbai” and “Singh to Ahmedabad” came out first. Then slowly somewhere between the entire mess a bright yellow priority tag appeared and every WBC passengers looked at it intently. Soon enough a flood of them appeared, I grabbed both of my small (by Indian standards) size bags and proceeded through x-ray which was painless as was the inspection where some Canadianized Desi seemed lost as she forgot to fill the bottom half of the immigration card out. She blocked the entire exit with her four carts full of luggage each manned by one of her children. The guy was so pissed that he just took the paper out of my passport and told
Teva From France, joined Jan 2001, 1881 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 21785 times:
Very detailed and illustrated report.
I just have one question: on the NW flight, are you sure all the wines were available?
I remember my desapointment last year on a AMS-DTW-AMS trip.
When I seat, they give me the menu and this very long list of wines.What I didn't see was the little remark saying that only a couple of wines from that list would be on board the flight. And of course, the wines I wanted to try were not on board....
I prefer to have a short list, but everything present, rather than a long list, that can be impressive, but only 2 bottles are on board. And especially when airlines claim that their class between a real business and a F class.
I have travelled in business in a lot of airlines having the 3 classes, and they had more choice for the wine.
But maybe NW is offering again the full choice. In this case, I would be happy to give them a new chance.
Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2114 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 21772 times:
Thanks for the wonderful report! I am actually a bit surprised that KLM will do a poorer job than NW on the new WBC seats. They are supposedly identical, and Boeing 777s suppose to afford better width. What a shame with the seven abreast seating on a premium business class seat... hopefully KLM will correct this problem.
KL meals look very good, but agree... I don't know why everything has to serve at once, but I recalled KLM used to have this plastic cap on top of the main course to keep it warm while you enjoy the main course.
About NWA's amenity kits, NWA will change its amenity kits to KLM's design soon... the old red triangular bags are rather cheap-looking and many passengers hate them. But don't worry... NWA will have the same KL amenity kits soon. Also NWA will spot new domestic F meals and china soon in Feb 2005. For details, our neighbor, flyertalk.com has more reports.
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1748 posts, RR: 37
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 21745 times:
Sorry about that, seem to be having some trouble posting here. This is the end of the report continued from Part 1.
The flight was pretty good as the crew were great and the food was delectable. I did a similar flight earlier this year with a certain COde share partner and all I got was a packet of low fat pretzels in First. The aircraft was clean and most importantly First Class was empty. The 50% load factor made the flight even more enjoyable as the service was very personalized and the crew went to great lengths to make sure everyone was happy. They also had genuine smiles, something that has been missing from some domestic cabin crew these days. All in all I was more than happy and it was a nice reminder as to why NW is my preferred carrier domestically.
This flight was relatively short so not much to report. First Class was once again 50% full and the service was attentive but not much more. The DC-9 was in great shape and I have to hand it to NW on how well they maintain these planes. An average passenger would never know they are on a 30+ year old plane.
Ah, the joy of KLM! I have always loved the airline from the first time I stepped onboard one of their aircrafts three years ago. They have become my carrier of choice across the Atlantic and their cabin crew never ceases to amaze me. The KLM flight attendants always have a smile on their face and take pride in looking after their passengers. Service is a very important part of a flight for me and KLM has this art down to a tee. The food was excellent as always and the PTV was fantastic. I cannot describe how excellent it truly is. The new WBC seat on the other hand, KLM what were you thinking? 2-3-2 is a set up for failure to begin with; as no respectable airline with a premium Business Class sets it up this way. The lack of privacy was also a drawback for me. I am sorry to say, but NWA wins the seat category. KLM may be better in every other aspect; but they have quite a ways to go before they can match the competition when it comes to new generation business class seats. KLM, I hope you realize your mistake and rectify it as soon as possible. It seems such a shame to waste such a good product like this. While KL may not have that great of a seat, they still win the battle as they offer better amenities.
My last DC-10 flight was great and I can think of no better way to go. The plane was immaculate and the service was good. The PTV’s actually worked for once and the aircraft performed flawlessly. I only wish the food had been better. NWA really needs to re-think their menu options for flights to India, it was a disgrace. More non vegetarian options need to be looked at the quality certainly needs to be brought up to par with KLM. Overall though the flight was good and the crew was very nice, if not a bit aloof at times. While I think NW has improved leaps and bounds in terms of in flight service in the last few years, they still have a ways to go before they can be on the same level as KLM.
Score: Northwest 427
Check In: 10
Seat: 8 (No adjustable headrest)
Aircraft: 10 (Maintained very well)
Crew: 10 (Good by domestic standards)
Meal: 10 (Certainly more than I hoped for)
Entertainment: 0 (None as usual)
Seat: 7 (No adjustable headrest and maybe a bit tight in legroom)
Aircraft: 10 (For its age, amazing!)
Crew: 8 (Not great, but good)
Meal: 8 (Standard snack, but it was a short flight)
Entertainment: 0 (Never is any)
New York JFK Aer Lingus Lounge: 9 (A bit on the small side but still very nice)
Boarding: 10 (They made sure only the correct passengers went through)
Seat: 8 (Lack of privacy and a 2-3-2 configuration but still a very nice seat)
Aircraft: 10 (It is new, I expect nothing less)
Crew: 10 (Just amazing as always)
Meal: 9 (Quality was excellent, presentation on the other hand needs some work)
Entertainment: 11 (Unbelievable, sure not as great as EK/SQ/CX but those airlines get a higher score from me)
Amsterdam Crown Lounge: 8 (Very crowded in the morning but still a decent lounge with some great coffee)
Boarding: 10 (No faults with KL ground staff)
Seat: 9 (Lack of adjustable headrests but very spacious and cushy)
Aircraft: 10 (This plane did not look over two years old)
Crew: 9 (Good, but not the best Intl. NW crew I have had)
Meal: 6 (What happened? KL Indian catering needs a lot of improvements!)
Entertainment: 8 (At least it worked and the quality was good)
Arrival: 3 (Not NW’s fault, its normal for BOM)
YUL2010 From Canada, joined Jun 2003, 320 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 21703 times:
Mr Anosh that was excellent!
I love how you quote the Dutch FAs! It's funny how that girl asked you whether it was your first flight! I get these comments sometimes from my seat neighbors when I'm taking so many pictures. It's a very good idea that you include a score for each flight. I always forget to do that.
GSPSPOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3366 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 21634 times:
Great Report!! Wish I had the presence of mind to be able to do such a detailed trip report. I did DTW-AMS-VIE, then VIE-AMS-MEM a couple weeks ago, both on NW in WBC. Had the A330 one direction and D10 the other. Maybe I'll buy a laptop to get a head-start on during the trip like you did. Thanks!
FlyingDoctorWu From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 21622 times:
Excellent trip report...
I took the EWR-AMS-DEL trip via KLM in their classic WBC last year and agree that they are a great airline across the Atlantic. You see to be quite adept at typing a dutch accent... maybe a skill I ned to learn. It's always rare to be seated next to someone pleasant though...
I have a trip on NW coming up soon in WBC... SEA-NRT-BKK-SIN-NRT-SEA... all on the A330- my first trip in their new WBC. Looking forward to it...
Luv767s From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 271 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 21601 times:
Nice report. I'm about to post one about my expereinces to Asia on WBC on NW. The amenity kits we recieved were identical to the KLM ones but are in a dark blue(navy) bags with the same exact things inside.
You'll have a great time on the A332s. If you want a preview, read my trip report SFO-NRT-HKG.
-"...never have I been a blue calm sea, I have always been a storm"
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1748 posts, RR: 37
Reply 15, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 21121 times:
Thanks for all the comments, glad you guys enjoyed the trip report.
From my understanding, not all wines are available at the same time. I agree it is something that NWA needs to look especially when WBC is suppose to be such a "lavish" way to travel.
I have a trip on NW coming up soon in WBC... SEA-NRT-BKK-SIN-NRT-SEA... all on the A330- my first trip in their new WBC. Looking forward to it...
As I have only flown WBC on the A330's across the Atlantic though I am sure this is a very minimal difference. I enjoyed those two flights very much and I was in the bulkhead row each time, 1A and 1J respectively. I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Why is it that you travel so much? For business, or pleasure?
I know you like my KL reports, but I am afraid my return shall not be on KLM this time round. I have opted to fly Malaysian for a change. Hope you will still enjoy it though.
So which is your preference? Flying NW's A333 or KL's 777?
Not an easy question. Aircraft wise I prefer the 330, but I think I do prefer KL's product overall. The seats may need some work but their service, meals, and entertainment are flawless. Let’s say I'd rather be on a KL A330.
Checo77 From Peru, joined Oct 2004, 1345 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 20737 times:
Wow, great trip report!!!! Exelent detail-handling!!!!
Really, the meals on NWA looks awful!!!! That chicken with rice made me sick just looking at it- it looks more like a Economy meal.
Glad you enjoyed KLM, I´m a KLM fan as well.
Klm-md11 From Greece, joined Mar 2002, 471 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 20610 times:
A very enjoyable report!
However... You make it sound as if all Dutch KLM-CC talk "viz a Zjerman aktzent"... the Dutch accent is quite a bit different. No need to go on and on about it throughout your tripreport IMO... otherwise, Great!