Sunday 13th June 2004
Left home at about 12pm for Melbourne Airport for my 15:00 flight to KUL on MH. I was excited as I havent flown MH for over 10 years so was looking forward to seeing the difference in service.
Arrived at MEL at about 12:30 and went straight to check in. Desks were open and literally no one in the queue!! Checked straight in an requested a window seat behind the wing and was given 32A.
Said goodbye to family at about 1:30pm and walked around the international terminal for half an hour, had a drink and did some spotting. From the terminal saw my aircraft parked at Gate 6 - Malaysia Airlines 777-2H6ER registration 9M-MRF and being loaded for the flight to KUL. Other aircraft I saw included Qantas 744 to LHR via SIN, British Airways 744 to LHR via SIN, Thai Airways MD11 to BKK, and Cathay Pacific A333 to HKG. Other than that a few domestic aircraft belonging to QF, JQ and DJ were also around.
Went through customs at about 14:00 which was painless and went to the gate and waited, stayed on the phone to a friend until my credit ran out and then boarded at the last boarding call.
To my surprise the aircraft was only 60 percent full, which I was glad about. Went to my seat and found that the one next to me was vacant.....what a bonus considering that the MH 772 is 2-5-2 in Y class!!!
Sunday 13th June 2004
15:00 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 4212
MEL - KUL (operated by Malaysia Airlines)
Boeing 777-2H6ER 9M-MRF
Photo © Gary Watt - AirTeamImages
Photo © Alexander Jonsson
Pushback was on time, we left the terminal at about 14:50 and proceeded directly to runway 34L for departure.
Just as the tow was disconnecting from the aircraft a very late CX104 to Hong Kong taxied past us heading to the same runway.
We followed the CX A330 to the threshold and waited for it to depart. After 5 minutes or so the Captain began to line up and hit the gas before we had straightened up. We thundered down the runway and after a relatively short takeoff roll of 60 seconds the 772 shot into the sky and banked sharply to the left and soared above the clouds.
After about 20 minutes the seatbelt sign was switched off and passengers began to move around the cabin; menus were handed out shortly after.
Wasnt hungry but tried to eat the Chicken and Rice in sweet chilli sauce before checking out MH's entertainment system, Select. To be honest, found it nothing special, no AVOD and quite old movies.
For the most of the trip had the TV on flight path with the radio playing as well and watched the progress of our flight. We flew over North West Victoria, the North Eastern tip of South Australia, over Ayers Rock (Uluru) in the Northern Territory then left the mainland of Australia just East of Broome in Western Australia. After leaving Australia we flew over Denpasar, Bali then over Singaraja in Java and west of Singapore onto Kuala Lumpur International.
Landing was uneventful with the big bird touching down at the scheduled time of 21:00, we taxied for a long time to the terminal and disembarked.
Had a three and a half hour wait to connect to my next flight onto Amsterdam, so I walked around KUL and looked at the shops for a bit. This was the first time I have been to the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang, and to be perfectly honest, didn't think much of it at all - I much prefer Singapore Changi International. The airport was like a ghost town - it was absoulutely massive but hardly any people; there were more Flight Attendants visible than passengers. Did a bit of spotting at KUL but was dissapointed that there was no observation deck or outside areas to view aircraft. Whislt there noted a few aircraft I do not normally see in Melbourne, namely China Airlines A300-600, Japan Airlines 777-200, Malaysia Airlines A330-300, Yemenia A320-200.
Went to my gate C24 and waited for the aircraft to arrive, whilst waiting noted the MH016 flight to Amsterdam parked opposite at C22 I think, which departed 30 minutes before us. Finally the aircraft arrived, and it was about 30 minutes late, having come from Manila. Didn't know but my flight was the continuation of KL808 from Manila to Amsterdam via KUL.
Watched the aircraft turn and park at the gate and noticed that it was PH-BFB, City of Bangkok, one of KL's 747-406M Combi's. Was excited - my first trip on a 744 combi configured aircraft!!!
Was surprised to see that only 10 or so passengers disembarked the aircraft - then realised that the final destination was AMS, not KUL so most passengers were either travelling through to AMS or boarding at KUL.
Went through security into the gate lounge and finally the call for boarding was announced....
Monday 14th June 2004
00:25 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight KL808
KUL - AMS
Boeing 747-406M PH-BFB City of Bangkok
Photo © Wietse de Graaf - AirTeamImages
Photo © Steven Filipowicz
Boarded the aircaraft, not before picking up a complimentary copy of the Algemeen Dagblad, one of the national newspapers of Holland (to catch up on local goss), and being directed to my seat by a rather young and rather cute male flight attendent (who I later found out would be working in my cabin!!). Was seated in seat 24A which was in front of the wing with a great view of those huge GE engines!! Only unfortunate thing was that I was seated next to a couple who were already asleep and originated in Manila. Woke them up when getting into my seat - sorry!!
Pushback was rather fast as we were running late, there was literally no traffic on the aprons at KUL so we proceeded straight to the runway. There was one aircraft taking off as we taxied - a Lauda 777 thundering down the runway to SYD (OS flights to MEL operate via SIN now).
The pilot gunned the engines and we rocketed down the runway to AMS. The takeoff roll was quite long, maybe being a combi we were heavily loaded with freight as well...
We took off into the darkness and headed Northwest off the coast of Malaysia and Thailand. Dinner was served in a cute little KLM meal box, the meal consisting of Chicken with Rice, salad, a roll and fresh fruit.
Watched the first movie shown on the main screen as KL have no PTV in Y class, then drifted off to sleep and had the best sleep ever on an aircraft - 9 hours long!!
I found the KLM seats to be more comfortable than MH so the lack of PTV made up for this. Cabin Ambience was great with everything in soft blues and whites, which was relaxing compared to MH who have different coloured seats in every row.
After some quality shut eye woke to total darkness in the cabin and looked at the monitor to see that we were just flying over Istanbul and were only 4 hours or so from AMS. Looked out the window until the sun came up and watched a bit of TV before breakfast was served. Flight routing took us over Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany over Frankfurt. A hot breakfast of Egg, Sausage, Fried Tomatos, Mushrooms and fresh fruit was served which was really nice to be honest. The meals were cleared and soon we were commencing our descent into Amsterdam.
Were told my the captain that we would be approaching AMS from the north and using their new runway 06 for landing.
Landing was completely smooth with no turbulence and we touched down 20 minutes ahead of schedule and began the long taxi to the terminal. As we taxied to the terminal the familiar sight of Schiphol became apparent - with KL and NW aircraft everywhere!!! Followed a KL 763 to the terminal and parked at gate 25, right next to KL MD11 'Marie Curie' and the same MH 744 that left before us in KUL!!!!
Saw a few other aircraft parked at their gates as well, namely KL 767-300, KL 747-400, 737-800/900, Transavia 737-800s and Northwest DC10s and A330s in new liveries.
Disembarked and proceeded to customs and baggage collection and to my surprise my bag was on the belt when I arrived there!! Left customs and met my family who I have not seen for 6 months and preceeded to my second home, Rotterdam.
Overall, I had a very good experience on KL, it was the first time that I had flown longhaul with them, and woukd definatley do so again. What they lack in entertainment, they make up for in comfort and service levels. I thought that they were 100 percent better than MH and honestly do not know why people rant and rave about them (although their award for best cabin staff is weel deserved - they were great!)
All flights were on time, aircraft in good condition and airfares of a reasonable price.
Cant wait to fly KL again in 3 weeks when I go home to Australia!!
Well done KL in providing a professional and flawless product! (in my experience!