Airbus A320 (N327NW)
Scheduled Departure Time: 13:42
Scheduled Arrival Time: 16:30
Actual Departure Time: 13:40
Actual Arrival Time: 16:15
Photo © Tony Zeljeznjak
Check In: I was running late as we had not planned for all the traffic and construction on I4. I finally made it to the counter around 12:45. As the First Class agent ripped the KLM tickets and passport out of my hand saying "Detroit or Minneapolis? Oh the 1:45 DTW! You are late! I hope I can get you on this flight!" She then printed all 3 boarding passes and tagged my bag all the way to KWI. Then curtly gave me a lecture on what time I should be here next time adding, "Anosh, you need to be here earlier next time! The minimum is two hours as you have to go through security and such. Now I hope you will learn so that next time you travel by plane you will be here earlier. Now move your rear so you can get to the gate and make your flight!"
As I was walking away, a middle aged business man behind me said "I am on the same flight to DTW. Will I make it?" She then smiled to him and said "Ofcourse you will. You have plenty of time. What seat would you like sir?"
I headed to security which took me no less than two minutes. I was at Gate 38 at 13:05, boarding had not even begun. What was with that check in agent?
Boarding: Boarding commenced at 13:20 with First and Elite being called. I noticed I had that "S" on my boarding pass so I headed over for them to search me. The usual remove your shoes and stand with arms wide open and all. Eventually everything was done and I was on the plane in 5 minutes. Sat down in my seat and was immediately asked what would I like to drink. A glass of water was brought over by a steward. Eventually the doors were closed and we pushed back at 13:40, 2 minutes ahead of schedule. The normal safety briefing and we were off the ground at 13:50.
The Flight: The plane climbed to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. During this entire time the plane was shaking pretty heavily and we were flying through the clouds for quiet some time. As anyone in Florida will know that week had some nasty weather and we were nearly an hour out when service commenced. The usual packet of "Spenzels" were given out with a glass of Pepsi. What no can? Ah... we won't discuss that again! Then it was time for the snack. The choices were Ham and bree baguette and Mandarin Orange Pasta salad. I had the pasta salad which was actually quite good for domestic food. It came with a salad with Raspberry dressing, a warm and soft bread roll, and a excellent cheesecake. The food was excellent. My glass of Pepsi was topped off 2 times during the meal. The trays were cleared and I headed to the bathroom which was of a decent size and stocked with all the amenities. We began our decent into a cold and white Detroit at 15:45.
Arrival & Transit: We had a smooth touchdown and we taxied to gate A18. I was off the plane at 16:25. I headed to the boards and looked for the KLM flight gate. A50 was on the board and I headed over to train. At this point I have to say, I am very impressed DTW! The terminal was large and airy. It is so much better than the old terminal. I took the train to the middle stop. Got off and sat at the empty LH gate. I made a few phone calls on my cell and as I was doing this a LH 340 parks at the empty gate in front of me. What a sight, I love A340's! It was 17:15 now so I headed to the NW World Club that was in the middle. It was very impressive to say the least. The only thing missing was a view of the planes. Though I suspect the other two have it as they are to the side. Oh well, next time. Drinks and everything was available with CNN blaring on every TV in every corner. "Breaking News"...something about Iraq. I chose not to watch as I would be in that part of the world in a few hours. Around 17:45 I got bored and headed out to walk round a bit and discover the terminal. The fountain in the atrium is a nice touch. I saw quite a few stressed out passengers just starring at it and smiling. Good job NW!!!
Detroit - Amsterdam
Boeing 747-206B(SUD) (PH-BUT)
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:00
Scheduled Arrival Time: 08:35
Actual Departure Time: 19:15
Actual Arrival Time: 08:45
Photo © Lee Archer
Boarding: I headed over to A50 around 18:15 and just as I got there, "We would like to ask all our World Business Class passengers traveling on the upper deck, rows 72 to 80 only, to board now." I walked over and my boarding pass was ripped and off I was onto the plane. As I entered the plane the first thing I noticed was the wall panels. They have been redone. I have never seen such wall panels on any other 747. I walked up the stairs where there was a bit of a traffic jam on the stairs as the flight attendants were asking passengers to store their bags in the back of the closet as the bags were too big. I doubled checked about mine and she said, "Ah, don't worry, that bag is the perfect size. You should not have a problem with it. If you do just bring it back here and we'll see what we can do." Ah... How good it feels to be on KLM again. I took my seat and was promptly offered a glass of champagne, orange juice or water. After that a gorgeous, I mean gorgeous flight attendant that looked just like Heidi Klum came over and gave me the amenity kit and socks. She smiled and said "Welcome onboard Mr. Tamboowala." Eventually a guy came over and sat next to me. I swear he looked exactly like Gustav Graves from 007's Die Another Day.
Photo © Andy Smulders
Eventually the door was closed and the pilot said we should be backing out around 19:05 as some last minute bags from connecting flights needed to get on. We pushed back at 19:05 but stopped after 3 feet as the DC-10 from AMS needed to park next to us. It came in parked and we pushed back completely at 19:15 with the Safety Feature playing. I put the headphones on and switched to channel 9, KLM's Hitline. Now last time I was on CO, I was very rudely told that headphones are not allowed till 10 minutes after take off. After I put them on the flight attendant came over and asked me if the channels were working correctly. I told her everything was fine. We taxied to the runway and the pilot came over the PA with his thick Dutch accent "Ladies and Gentlemen, from my view there are 7 planes in front of us. We will be off the ground shortly." As we taxied in I saw an ATA 737-800 with winglets at the old M Berry Intl. terminal. Also I saw an Aero Loyd A320 to the side of that. Anyone have any idea why it was there? We lifted off the ground at 19:40
Flight: We hit some minor bumps and soon the seatbelt sign was off. The flight attendants started their service. The gorgeous one started handing out menu's while the other one came by with a hot towel. Soon they came by and asked what we would like to drink and took our dinner order. The menu was as follows:
Hot dry smoked salmon seasoned with dill, served with roasted peppers, green asparagus, lemon and capers in a caper sauce.
Pecan Crusted Chicken
Served with mushroom risotto and carrot batons
Smoked scallops and shrimps served over parpadelle noodles in white butter sauce
Pasta rigatoni served with tomato sauce and goat's cheese
We invite you to select your choice of tart, cheese or fresh fruit from our desert trolley
A bowl of assorted nuts was given with our drink and then linen tablecloths were put down a short while later. A few minutes passed and the bowls were collect and the tray put down. Now this is where the major change is. Everything is served on a large tray, appetizer, salad, and main course. No more serving each individually. I don't know if I like it this way. In some cases the tray is too cluttered, as the portions are the same, thank god! Yet I believe the main course is no longer pipeing hot as it cools while you eat the other stuff. In any case, the salmon was great and the seafood was fantastic. The pasta was soft and cooked unlike the normal hard dried pasta you get on planes. Warm bread was offered with this and the dressing for the salad was balsamic vinaigrette. It was all right, a bit too sour in my opinion. The tray was collect and the desert cart followed with a choice of Cheese, fresh fruits or cheesecake. I opted for the cheesecake which was excellent as well. They had also spread cherry sauce around the cheesecake plate, the way restaurants do. It was a nice little touch in the presentation area.
The entertainment was also a little funky on this plane. Only channels 1 and 2 worked as well as 7 which was the air map. I watched channel two during the meal service which was the comedy channel which had the following shows. Will & Grace, Cheers, Spin City, and The Nanny. Surprise, surprise, they all had a Christmas theme. After the meal the chief purser came up from downstairs and said that the entertainment system was malfunctioning and that after this cycle was over she would put the movies on channel 1 & 2. My neighbor and I said thanks but we would be putting our TV's away to get some shut eye.
Once the nanny was over I reclined my seat all the way with the usual blanket and pillow and went into the brief naps.
This is what the seat looks like for those unfamiliar with KLM's WBC product.
Photo © Andy Smulders
I woke up after 30 minutes and a bottle of water was placed on the armrests which was very welcome. Eventually I woke up and breakfast commenced over the Irish coast.
Shortly before arrival we will be serving a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, preserves and an assortment of hot breakfast rolls.
I took a croissant which was hot and flaky. The fruits were the usual two types of melons, oranges and grapes. The yogurt was peach. Once again the food was of excellent quality.
Soon the decent started and the headphones were collected and connecting information was shown on the overhead monitors. The normal Delft Blue houses full of gin were handed out. We entered a holding pattern and the crew took their seats a short while later. Still smiling despite having worked the entire flight. They were happily chit chatting with the passengers in the exit row while they were seated for landing. Smiling and listening to the passengers as well as giving advice about Holland and travel through Europe.
Arrival & Transit: A smooth landing was performed and we were on our way to gate E9. We parked at 8:50 and I let everyone go as I had no hurry. The flight attendants were all smiling and saying thank you to each passenger for flying KLM. "Thank you for the excellent service!" was the reply from most passengers and me. All the time the gorgeous one blushing out of embarrassment.
Took my leisurely walk to the Business Class lounge located between E & F and took a seat at one of the tables with a cup of cappuccino. The lounge provided the fantastic view of the traffic outside which is always a great plus for me. After an hour there watching all the traffic outside, mostly NW I decided to head down for a walk through. These are the planes I saw.
Malaysian 777-200 to Kuala Lumpur
Photo © Wietse de Graaf
Singapore Airlines 777-200 from Chicago to Singapore
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
Kuwait Airways A340-300 from Chicago to Kuwait
Photo © Philippe Bleus
Eva Air 747-400M to Bangkok and Taipei
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
China Airlines 747-400 to Bangkok and Taipei (Anyone know why they always park at F2?)
Photo © Derek Pedley
Cathay Pacific A340-300 to Hong Kong
Photo © Miguel Snoep
Emiartes 747-400F to Dubai
Photo © J.T. Wenting
Varig 777-200 to Paris and Sao Paulo
Photo © Wietse de Graaf
and many more such as
Continental 764 to EWR and a 762 to IAH
United 772 to IAD and a 763 to ORD
Delta 763's to Atlanta and JFK
USAirways 762 to PHL
Cyprus Airways A310
Royal Jordanian 320 to AMM
Headed back to the lounge. I really am wondering if KLM will change the lounge anytime soon. I mean there is never anything to eat except the sponge cake slices and the small hot square things they always have. This is the 4th time I have been to this lounge this year alone, and it is getting cumbersome. Plus there is no real computer/internet access area. If I owned a lap top I would be set but I don't and the idea of paying .80 for every minute I use the web is not what I want to do. Many other airlines provide this service so when KLM introduces the new full flat business class seat on its 777's and 330's I hope they improve the lounge.
Boeing 767-306ER (PH-BZH)
Scheduled Departure Time: 16:00
Scheduled Arrival Time: 23:59
Actual Departure Time: 16:15
Actual Arrival Time: 23:50
Photo © Ben Pritchard
Boarding: Eventually 15:15 came round and I headed to the gate E6. Boarding had already begun and it seemed like a full flight. Quite the opposite of what I had experienced this summer with both AMS-KWI-AMS flights being 50% full. The normal look through the documents and I was in line ready to board. Once again I was greeted by a smiling flight attendant who welcomed me onboard as another one escorted me to my seat. As I sat down the amenity kit, sock kit, headphones, and a menu were all handed to me in one go. Then another flight attendant came over with the tray of drinks. I had a glass of water. Then my seatmate came by and immediately started yacking on his cell phone in French. When the door was shut he finally stopped and shut his cell phone off. The pilot informed us we would be leaving a few minutes late as we had some last minute cargo that needed to be loaded. Once that was completed we had a flying time of 5 hours and 50 minutes. I put my headphones on and tuned to the usual Channel 9, KLM's Hitline. Eventually we pushed back 15 minutes late and we were in the air in no time after a rolling take off.
Flight: As we took off I saw a very unusual sight. There was an Air France 747-400 next to the Transavia hangar. Is there anyone who can tell me why it was there? Eventually the flight attendants came round and asked what we would like to eat. This is what the menu looked like for lunch:
Filled with mascarpone and truffle on a bed of celeriac, fennel and mushroom garnished with parmesan cheese and parsley and basil oil
"Catch of the day"
Pike perch with seafood risotto
Sautéed pike perch with beurre blanc and green herbs served with seafood and celery risotto and roasted garlic spinach
Served with game sauce, cheese spatzle, Brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms with stewed pears
Smoked Chicken Hotchpotch
Smoked chicken in black pepper sauce served with parisienne potatoes and a hotchpotch of leek, onion and carrots
We invite you to select your choice of tart, cheese or fresh fruit from our desert trolley
I ordered the chicken. The usual drink trolley came round with the mixed nuts in a bowl. I had a glass of coke. After a few minutes the linen tablecloths were put down and that huge tray containing the appetizer and main course. The smoked rib eye was excellent, as was the chicken. For dessert they offered a pecan nut cake which I could not have since I can not eat pecans. I opted for the fresh fruits and they were really fresh. Chocolates were offered after that with coffee or tea.
During the meal service I was watching the movie on channel 4, Scooby-Doo. Once that was done I switched over to the comedy channel and watched Friends, The Drew Carrey Show, and Everybody Loves Raymond. A bottle of water was placed on my armrest after the meal and I put my seat back all the way for the usual nap. I sporadically woke up and saw mostly everybody was going to sleep as well. Half of the cabin was full of American businessmen, which was a surprise to me. They all were sleeping as well.
Eventually I woke up and the flight attendants were carting the snack down the isle. As per the menu:
Light Hot Snack
Shortly before arrival we will be serving a light snack with a choice of a vegetarian or non-vegetarian club sandwich and a hot snack of spicy vegetable turnover
I opted for a cup of coffee and the chicken sandwich which was actually quite good. Eventually I went to the bathroom and as it was occupied I had a chat with the flight attendant. I always seem to have a chat with the flight attendants on these flights. I guess it is just part of the KLM charm. They are always friendly and genuinely interested in their passengers. We soon began our decent at 23:15 coming in from the south after avoiding Iraq. Shortly before landing the British co pilot came on the PA, "Ladies and gentlemen we shall be landing early in Kuwait as we changed our route and managed to pick up some tail winds en-route, making up for the lost time in Amsterdam."
Arrival: We touched down at 23:50 and taxied to the gate. The airport was a bit busier than I thought it would be. That A340 from Chicago and Amsterdam was still at the gate as were 3 A320's, each belonging to Kuwait Airways, MEA, and Indian Airlines. We parked and we were off the aircraft at 23:55. I collected my visa and was at baggage claim at 0:10. Eventually people collected their bags and the only people left standing were all the passengers connecting from various flight from North America. Eventually at 0:40 the Northwest and Continental tags started appearing. Mine came out in the second batch. As I left there were still quiet a few people there waiting for their bags. My parents were waiting for me outside.
Verdict: Overall I have no complaints. I was pleased with NW's First class but was totally astonished at the check in personnel. I shall be writing to NW a letter of complaint regarding her and I shall see a response from them hopefully. KLM was fantastic in everything again. KLM really is a great airline and is certainly one of the best out there. The food has constantly been great as have the crew. The crews are always smiling and professional, nothing is too much for them. They are friendly and genuinely care about their passengers. I commend KLM's crew for being the friendly happy people they are till the end of the flight. Good job KLM!!! The lounge at AMS is my only gripe with KLM. It's not bad but it is far from being good. None the less it is a great place to spend a couple hours at AMS. After 5 flights this year with KLM, I can truly say they are a world class airline. I would recommend the airline to anyone who has a doubt about flying them.
I know the report was long. Sorry about that. Any questions anyone? Any feedback is welcome. As I will be doing the return the first week of January do any of you want me to look out for something or have any special requests?