SR 103
Topic Author
Posts: 1618
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:19 am

Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:44 pm

In late September I started checking out possible ways to re-deem some miles for a Christmas break in Mumbai. Much to my dismay, there were no seats available in Business Class for my preferred dates on either Northwest or Air France. I started looking for alternatives in the shape of other Indian cities, Dubai and even Bangkok. Soon the choice was narrowed down to two options. I could either fly Air France from Washington Dulles to Chennai or KLM from Atlanta to Hyderabad. In my opinion, there was not even a choice, KLM it was!

KLM 622
Atlanta – Amsterdam
Airbus A330-203 (PH-AOH) (Temporary - City of Muscat) (Senaatintori - Helsinki)
Seat: 2A
Scheduled Departure Time: 17:20
Actual Departure Time: 17:12
Scheduled Arrival Time: 07:40
Actual Arrival Time: 7:22

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Photo © Co van den Heuvel
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Photo © Joop Stroes - Dutch Aviation Photography


Check In: After flying up from Florida, I took a leisurely stroll from the crowded Delta baggage claim area to the KLM check in desks. I approached the counters around 12:45 and stood in line while the single agent helped out a family traveling to Africa. This process turned out to be lengthy as there were six people in the family and they were checking in eight bags along with two boxes. At 1pm, another agent came by and gestured towards me saying “Business Class?” After the standard paperwork was exchanged, the agent apologized for the wait and asked if 2A was my desired seat all the way through to Hyderabad adding:

“As a business class passenger, you have access to the Delta Business lounge located in Terminal E. Your gate number will be E26 and boarding begins at 4:20, have a good trip.”
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Boarding pass in hand, I headed to security which was not busy at this time. After clearing, I decided my first stop would be the Continentals President’s Club in Terminal D. I hopped on the train and proceeded towards a terminal that I rarely get to see when I fly through Atlanta.
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I was greeted by the agent though she seemed a bit confused as to why I was in the lounge. Nonetheless, she ushered me in with a “have a great day.” The lounge offerings were very basic with few packs of chips and drinks. Though poorly appointed, the lounge was quite busy with a large number of passengers enjoying it. Thanks to the free wi-fi, I checked my e-mail while sipping a cup of hot tea from the self service bar. 30 minutes later, I decided to head to Terminal E.
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After another quick train ride I headed up the long escalator towards the main hall of Terminal E. The BusinessElite lounge is located near E14 which was past the rather crowded food court.
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Delta BusinessElite Lounge:I presented my boarding pass to a friendly Delta agent who reminded me that boarding would begin at 4:20. I found myself a quiet corner with a view and began the relaxation process.
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Around 3pm, the smell of food entered my nostrils so I decided to go explore. To my surprise, Delta had laid out a buffet for us mere mortals to enjoy! Among the offerings were a number of canapés, chicken stuffed with broccoli, and beef satay.
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The food was a welcome addition and I won’t lie, Delta scored a few extra points with this little touch. Next I swung by the bar which had a few dessert cups laid out.
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While it was merely simple cake and Jello, the thought was very much appreciated and definitely satisfied my sweet tooth. 4:15 came too soon and I decided to head out to the gate where I caught a glimpse of PH-AOH. The two toned blue Airbus A330 was breathtaking, truly one of the best looking aircrafts anywhere in the world.
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On closer inspection I noticed the aircraft had a temporary sticker reading “City of Muscat” placed on the nose instead of the normal “Senaatintori Helsinki.” This must have been the aircraft that did the inaugural Amsterdam-Kuwait-Muscat flight not too long ago.
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Boarding: At exactly 4:20pm, boarding began with passengers needing assistance and traveling with small children. A mere two minutes later it was time for us business class passengers to board. The friendly Northwest agent scanned my boarding pass and handed it back to me with a “have a great flight.”

At the door I was greeted by a smiling flight attendant in the light blue uniform that I have become so accustomed to over the years. I stowed my bags in the over head bin and sat down.

The seat was exactly the way I remembered it with once exception, KLM no longer provides the standard rectangular pillow, but rather a cylindrical beanie bag style pillow. The cabin filled up completely in the next two minutes and a young blonde flight attendant came around with a tray of water, orange juice, and champagne.
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A short while later, the same flight attendant came around to each passenger individually and handed us a menu, amenity kit and a pair of headphones.
“The breakfast card is in the menu; please fill it out so we can collect it after dinner, thank you.”
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Boarding was completed around 5:00 and the cabin door was closed while a welcome onboard speech was delivered by the Dutch captain who informed us that our flying time would be just shy of eight hours. Pushback commenced a few minutes before a quarter past the hour. We taxied past a plethora of Delta Boeing 767s in various liveries before queuing up for take off. At exactly 5:35, our GE engines roared to life and the A330 began its graceful take off roll down runway 16L.
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The Flight: With the sky turning orange from the sunset, our A330 leveled off at 36,000 feet heading towards the Northeast. First a steaming hot towel was handed out by a brunette flight attendant followed by a very unique two minute video that I have never seen before. The brunette flight attendant that had just handed me the towel was on our TV screens introducing herself as the purser of this flight. The video went on to show us all the features KLM would be offering on the flight today and then ended with the purser wishing us a pleasant flight and to contact one of the crew members if we had any questions or concerns. I thought this was a nice little touch and provided a face for all the passengers to see as to who was in charge on this flight. The purser appeared by my side a short while later,
“Mr. Tamboowala, have you made a choice for dinner yet?”
“I have, the steak please.”
“Yes Mr. Tamboowala.”

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I pulled out my large PTV and looked through the huge variety of movies that were on offer this month. My choice was pretty easy when I saw “300,” a movie a number of my friends could not stop raving about.
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A cart was rolled down the aisle a few minutes later by the purser and bowl of nuts was placed on my armrest with a
“Would you like something to drink Mr. Tamboowala?”
“Could I have some of the Spanish red wine please?”
“Absolutely, how about some water with that?”
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The salted mixed nuts were the standard fare that I have been having on KLM for years. The meal took quite some time to come out, though the crew did come by with the drink cart once more before dinner to top off everyone’s glasses. As we passed Washington DC, table cloths were laid out and a tray was placed in front of us. A bread basket was then offered along with a refill of my wine glass.
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Smoked salmon is one of my all time favorite appetizers so I was very pleased with this starter. The lemon went superbly with the salmon; I just wished there had been more than one slice. The salad featured a couple different green leaves with my favorite dressing, balsamic vinaigrette. The bread was warm and went down perfectly fine with the Land-O-Lakes butter. However, as I said in my 2003 Northwest A330 report, put the butter in a dish!
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Our empty plates were collected and the main courses were handed to us shortly thereafter along with another warm bread basket. Over the years, I have tried numerous steak dishes on KLM, and they have all been overcooked with some sort of crusty topping. This was no exception, while the steak was not chewy or leathery, the center was not red or even pink which made it overdone. Air France seems to do very well in this area and keeps their steaks on the pink side. Nonetheless, the garlic mushroom toping was very nice and added flavor to the steak. The potatoes were soft and nice while the carrots and parsnips were slightly undercooked. My mostly eaten plate was collected by the purser who just could not stop smiling as she attended to us.
Once everyone had finished their main courses, another cart was rolled down the aisle by the brunette purser.
“Mr. Tamboowala, would you like some dessert? We have some pie, fruits and cheese.”
“What kind of pie is it?”
“It’s some kind of apple pie. Whatever it is, it looks good!”
“Haha, then I will go with your suggestion.”
“Excellent, would you like anything to drink?”
“Yes, could I get a glass of the port along with a cup of tea please?”
“Certainly Mr. Tamboowala. Have you by chance filled in your breakfast menu option?”
“I have, its right there in my seat pocket sticking out of my menu.”
“Oh excellent, let me get that Mr. Tamboowala. Thank you.”
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The pie was excellent and reminded me of something I used to eat a lot of when I lived in Germany called “apfelkuchen.” The port wine was excellent and the hot cup of tea was the perfect ending to the meal. The lights were dimmed in the cabin as I finished watching “300.” The movie finally finished somewhere over Nova Scotia, so I put my seat in the “cradle” position rather than the flat position. I guess all those glasses of wine with dinner worked as I was out like a light.

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Somewhere close to Ireland my eyes opened and within a minute I found the young blonde flight attendant next to me with a hot towel followed by the brunette purser. She was holding a tray of orange juice, water, Yakult, and Actimel for me to pick from. I slowly sipped my pulpy orange juice as I turned on my PTV and selected another movie, this time “No Reservations.”

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About ten minutes into the movie, the cabin lights were turned on and the ubiquitous white table cloth appeared in front of me with the purser. Everything I had requested was on the tray table and in hindsight I probably ordered too much as I was still rather stuffed from dinner. I was also offered a bread basket with a few rolls, I selected a single croissant which was nice and warm. The fruit bowl was pleasantly fresh while the smoked salmon was just as good as it was during dinner. The main course however was excellent; sadly I could not muster enough space in my stomach to finish more than half of the bake. The bacon and pork sausage filling was excellent! The apple compote had a unique taste to it which was not to my liking so I left it alone. Overall, it was a very filling breakfast and I now know to skip the yogurt and smoked salmon.

The brunette purser walked by my seat and saw I was having a hard time finishing up my breakfast.
“Mr. Tamboowala, is everything all right?”
“Oh yes, I am still full from dinner though.”
“Ah yes, would you like more time or should I go ahead and pick up the tray?”
“I’ll attempt to work on it a bit more.”
“No problem, take your time. I’ll bring you some more tea.”

In the end, my cup of tea was refilled three times by the time the tray was collected. To say this set of crew were attentive would be an understatement! This is one of the reasons I believe in KLM, they have some of the best cabin crew anywhere in the world. While they may not be up to challenge of most Far Eastern carriers, they certainly outshine any US or European competitor. I quickly went to the lavatory to brush my teeth which had a nice set of various toiletries placed in there.
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Once back in my seat, I finished up the movie and the crew came around again with a tray of Delft Blue houses. This is a tradition that sets KLM apart from many other airlines; they still offer a gift to their business class passengers as a thank you for flying with them. This is something that has been long forgotten by even the Singapore and Cathay’s of the world. Thanks to all my KLM flying, my mom has a shelf full of these little gems in the house. Due to the issue of carrying liquids in hand bags, KLM now provides a sealable plastic bag for these miniature houses. It’s the small touches such as this that make me respect KLM and one of the reasons I keep coming back to the airline.
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After passing north of London, the aircraft nose dipped slightly which meant we had initiated our decent into Amsterdam. The captain announced our arrival information a short time later and the cabin crew prepared the cabin for arrival.
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Arrival: With the low clouds around Amsterdam this morning, there was not much of a view till a few seconds before touchdown. The Airbus A330 gently kissed the concrete around 7:15am local time, almost 30 minutes early. I was happy to see for once that we did not land on Polderbaan which meant a very quick taxi to our gate, D3.
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At the gate, business class passengers were allowed to disembark first. As I walked past the brunette purser I commented about how great the flight was to which she replied,
“It is always my pleasure Mr. Tamboowala. Have a great connecting flight to India.”

With that and a smile I entered the cold jetway and walked into one of my all time favorite airports. I quickly glanced back at the gate to see where this beautiful A330 was heading. I could help but laugh when I saw
“10:30 to Muscat via Kuwait.”
To think of all the time I spent waiting at this airport in the past for my 4pm flights to Kuwait, KLM finally changed the flight to a reasonable time.

KLM Crown Lounge:I leisurely walked all the way up to the Crown Lounge that was located closest to Terminal F. I was greeted by a very nice and cheery young agent who welcomed me into the lounge and informed me boarding would begin at 11:25. I sat down at one of the tables with one of my favorite Douwe Egberts cappuccinos. As the sun was still rising the apron was rather dark and did not provide much of a view.
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Around 8:20, my old roommate (744BFA) who now lives in Atlanta appeared at the counter and I proceeded to bring him into the lounge as a companion with my Gold status. We sat down and had a few drinks before leaving at 9am so he could get some last minute shopping done before his flight. The lounge was bursting at the seams at this point in time. There were almost no seats left with barely any standing room, let alone walking room. KLM really needs to create a bigger lounge, while it may only happen at certain times of the day, its ridiculous to think they can not try and fix the problem. My suggestion would be to send all non KL and NW passengers to possibly another partner lounge during peak hours.

After a quick shopping spree, both of us walked towards Terminal G for his 10:30 Delta flight to Atlanta. We chatted a bit more outside G6 until the security line eased up for his flight, we said our goodbyes and I headed back to the lounge for some quiet relaxation before my flight.
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At this point in time the lounge was much less crowded. I grabbed a small glass of bitter lemon and took a look at what was on offer to eat. They were in the process of switching from the breakfast cold cuts and cereal to some more substantial lunch items like pasta and soup. I chose to stick with just the bitter lemon and enjoy the view of various aircraft out the window.
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I swear, if it were not for the single KLM tail protruding among all the red tails, I would seriously question whether I was in Amsterdam or Detroit. It was nice to finally see a NW 757 in Europe; I am delighted to see NW expanding services with the narrow-body twin.
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Part 2 Continued Below

[Edited 2007-12-22 08:47:39]
 
SR 103
Topic Author
Posts: 1618
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:19 am

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:49 pm

Part 2


KLM 873
Amsterdam – Hyderabad
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (PH-KCA) (Amy Johnson)
Seat: 2A
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:25
Actual Departure Time: 12:30
Scheduled Arrival Time: 01:45
Actual Arrival Time: 1:48

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Photo © Royal S King
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Photo © Eric Fortin - AirTeamImages


Boarding: At 11:20 I headed on out towards E6 which was a five minute walk according to the board in the lounge. As I walked towards Terminal E, I saw three MD-11’s parked in a row, something I never thought I would see again considering the rarity of the aircraft. The tri-hollers were heading to three different cities across the world, Curacao, Accra and Hyderabad.
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I was stopped in my tracks right in front of E6 due to the swarm of people all over the place. Despite the fact that it was 11:30, they had not even opened the gate yet! Keep in mind, security is done at the gate here in Amsterdam, which can take up quite some time. Thankfully there was a separate line for Elite and Business Class passengers which was very much welcome in this large sea of humanity. Just as the gate agents announced the beginning of boarding at 11:40, a few Indians came running past pushing and shoving their way to the counter screaming at the top of their lungs “HELP, HELP!”

Long story short, one of the NW Detroit flights was over three hours late and everyone connecting to the Mumbai flight missed it. The poor gate agent seemed to be doing her best to cope with the extra load of last minute passengers. Despite the dedicated line for us elites, it still took me another 15 minutes to get through security.

Boarding commenced shortly thereafter around 11:50 with families traveling with children followed by Business Class, however no one was checking our boarding passes to see if we were really business class or not. I was greeted at the door by two female flight attendants who pointed me left towards the secluded front cabin of this classic beast.

I stowed my bags and settled down into my classic World Business Class seat. The MD-11 looked rather drab from the inside; you could clearly tell it was getting on in age. Now don’t get me wrong, the cabin was clean and well maintained, but the MD-11’s no longer looked as immaculate as they did back in 2004.
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As the cabin started to fill up, two flight attendants were walking around and hanging up coats with a smile. A minute later a male flight attendant welcomed me onboard and held out the standard tray of water, orange juice and champagne.
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As boarding continued, the same flight attendant brought over an amenity kit, headphones and a menu.

As we were getting close to our departure time, the captain made an announcement welcoming us onboard and informed us that our flight would take over eight hours today. The chief purser made his own introductory speech once the main cabin door was closed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I would also like to inform you that our flight map does not recognize Hyderabad, therefore our destination will look like Delhi. However I assure you, our destination is Hyderabad today.”

We pushed back just about five minutes behind schedule with the KLM safety video being played on the main monitors. As we were not using Polderbaan today, the taxi time to the runway was rather quick.
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The MD-11 is one powerful beast and today was no exception, with a near full load; we rocketed down the runway and lifted off gracefully into a cold and clouded sky.

The Flight: Once the seatbelt sign was switched off, our purser appeared on our screens to welcome us onboard today’s flight. Much like the last video, it went on to show the features of today’s flights before he appeared again to wish us a pleasant flight.
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He then appeared in the cabin and went around introducing himself personally to each passenger in the business class cabin.
“Mr. Tamboowala?”
“Yes.”
“Was that right?”
“Perfect.”
“Oh good. Well, welcome on board today Mr. Tamboowala. I see you are Elite with us. If there is anything you need today, please do not hesitate to ask for me personally. I like to take special care of our elites as a thank you for your loyalty.”
“Oh thank you. I will definitely keep that in mind.”
“Thank you Mr. Tamboowala. I hope you have a very pleasant flight.”
I got to say, that was quite a welcome. Never in all my years have I been greeted with such enthusiasm, not even in First Class on other airlines.

I flipped through the IFE guide to see what I should pick as a movie and selected on Channel 6, “The Darjeeling Limited.”
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The male flight attendant came around to take everyone’s lunch order today.
“Mr. Tamboowala, have you made a choice on what you would like to eat today for lunch?”
“Yes, could I have the Western option please?”
“Certainly Mr. Tamboowala.”

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First hot towels were handed out and the drink cart came down the aisle a few minutes later manned by same friendly male flight attendant.
“What would you like to drink Mr. Tamboowala?”
“Could I have the South African white please.”
“Certainly.”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05590.jpg

The standard bowl of salted mixed nuts was placed on my armrest along with the wine. The purser appeared by once again a few minutes later to see how everything was going.
“Can I top off your glass Mr. Tamboowala?”

90 minutes into the flight the friendly male flight attendant appeared in the aisle with a cart. First table linens were laid out followed by the tray.
“More wine Mr. Tamboowala?”
“Actually could I have some Fanta instead please?”
“Sure Mr. Tamboowala, I will give you the entire can.”
A bread basket was offered once again with about three different kinds of bread. Again I noticed the same thing as the last flight, no bread plate! This is incredibly cheap on KLM’s part. I am not asking for much, even a paper doily would work just fine!
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05591.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05592.jpg
The shrimp were really fresh and was complimented by the saffron mayonnaise perfectly. The vinaigrette was also the ideal dressing for the light salad. Our empty plates were collected once everyone had finished and the cart made another appearance. My main course was placed on the plate with another offer from the bread basket.
“Mr. Tamboowala, here is your fish. Is there anything else I can get you, possibly more wine?”
“I am fine for the moment. Thank you.”
The American businessman sitting in the aisle had fallen asleep by this point so the flight attendant went ahead and put his main course on the tray in front of him with the cover on top. The reason I mentioned this is to give you a quick comparison to KLM’s parent company, Air France. Earlier this year, my seat neighbor had fallen asleep during the meal service on my CDG-BOM flight in July. On that flight, the F/A went ahead and cleared the tray table. Once the passenger woke up later in flight, he requested for something hot and was told that everything had been locked away and all that could be offered was the appetizer or dessert! It really are the small caring touches such as this that really make KLM such a friendly airline. The lead purser also came down the aisle shortly before I cut into my first bite to wish all of individually a “bon appetite.”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05593.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05594.jpg
I normally do not eat much fish; however this dish was quite nice. The fish was soft and cooked through without being overcooked or rubbery. The carrot confit was quite nice, something I have not had the chance to try before. I was quite pleased with the meal over all. Our trays were collected a few minutes later just as the movie had finished.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05596.jpg
“Mr. Tamboowala, would you like some dessert? We have an Indian milk dessert, some cheese and some fruits.”
“Can I have the fruits please.”
“Yes, anything to drink?”
“Could I get a cup of tea please.”
“Of course. More Fanta?”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05598.jpg
The fruits were fresh and chilled which is about all one could ask for these days. A box of after dinner chocolates was offered before the cart disappeared. Once I was done, everything was collected and a bottle of water was placed on my armrest.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05604.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05602.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05603.jpg
I reclined my seat and finished up watching the comedy channel before dozing off for an hour or two. I woke up to find a female flight attendant going around the aisles with a tray full of snacks.
“Would you like something to eat? I have some ice cream, fruits, hot Indian vegetarian snack, and some hot chicken satays.”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05605.jpg
I selected the ice cream which turned out to be Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie. She came around once again with a tray of drinks from which I picked Coke. The ice cream was excellent, but then again I am partial to anything with a brownie in it. Once everything was cleaned up, I went towards the galley to see what snacks were on offer.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05606.jpg
As we neared Ahmadabad, the cabin lights were turned on and hot towels were passed around. The male flight attendant emerged with a cart once again and table cloths were laid out onto our tray tables.
“Mr. Tambowala, have you made a choice as to which snack you would like?”
“Yes, can I have the Western option please?”
“Yes, what about a drink?”
“Can I have some more Fanta please?”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05615.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05616.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05618.jpg
A bread basket was placed in front of me once again and I picked a hot white roll.
However, the meal that appeared in front of me was vastly different from what shown in the menu. First off, I had the Indian vegetarian appetizer which I left untouched. There was no beef but rather noodles in the main course. However I have to say it tasted excellent, KLM really knows how to cook Indonesian food and the packet of krupuck (Indonesian chips) was an excellent touch. The fruits were just fine and the Indian mithai (sweets) was all right.

Barely before descent began the purser came around with a tray of Delft Blue Houses.
“Mr. Tamboowala, thank you for flying with us today. On behalf of my crew it was a pleasure having you onboard. Would you like to pick a house?”
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05679.jpg
Around 1:15 local time engines were idled back and the aircraft gradually began its descent into a cloudy Hyderabad.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05619.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05675.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05676.jpg
Arrival: Touchdown was neither smooth nor hard but we used up the majority of the runway. The airport was very quiet at this hour, with the exception of a handful of domestic carrier aircraft sitting idle. As usual, business class passengers were let out first. I thanked the crew for a great flight and walked leisurely to a rather deserted immigration area, thankfully all Lufthansa passengers had been cleared by this point in time. I waited a mere three minutes before I was helped and on my way down to baggage claim.

This is where the reality hit that I was finally in India. There were two large carousels, one was turning and had a large group of people standing around it. Thus naturally I determined that the second empty one would have to be ours. I waited around five minutes before some airport employee came by with and stuck up a hand written piece of paper with “KL 873.” I could not help but laugh at the modern marvels of Indian aviation. A lonely KLM agent was walking around and I took this opportunity to ask her a question that had been plaguing me for a while.
“Excuse me, but how do you get to Jet Airways check-in from here?”
“Yes sir, it is very simple. You just walk out of the green channel here and turn right. Walk down maybe a minute and you will see a sign for Jet Airways, it’s very easy.”

A couple of minutes later the carousel started turning and a couple of dark blue Samsonite bags with the stickers “KLM Crew” came out. Following this were a couple of Priority KLM tagged bags. The bags were coming out at a very slow pace due to the fact that they were going through an x-ray machine before coming through onto the carousel. There was also a single airport employee pulling these bags on the carousel so they did not get grid locked.

Initially about 50 bags came out and then that was it, the carousel stopped. A KLM employee started to yell from the side
“Excuse me. Sorry but all passengers on KLM 873, your bags are now coming out on the other belt with Lufthansa. This belt is not functioning properly!”

At this point in time I was hemmed in at the carousel, I had no room to move my foot let alone walk to the other carousel! I had to wait for the crowd to dissipate and carefully make my way through the sea of people that had now gathered around the other carousel. The good news was that bags were coming out at a much faster rate than before. The bad news was mine was no where in sight!

At 2:45 a full hour after landing, a couple of Northwest tagged bags started appearing and there was a big sigh of relief around the carousel. My lonely bag appeared around 2:55 which meant the “Priority” tag was utterly useless again. Air France and KLM really have a massive problem in India with these tags. My bag has always been the last to appear. Even so I walked out through the green channel in seconds.

As usual, things never work the way you want them to. I had imagined I would at least have the chance to relax in the Jet Airways lounge before my 6am flight to Mumbai. Turns out the Jet Airways check in counters did not open till 4am, it was currently 3am! However, I ended up being one of the first to check in and was sitting in the lounge enjoying a nice cup of “chai” by 4:15am.
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05622.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05620.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05623.jpg
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05626.jpg
Verdict: After flying so much Air France lately, it was nice to get back to my roots and fly KLM. The seats are still the same as they always were and while they may not have as much privacy as L’Espace, they are softer and far more comfortable to relax in. KLM also has a far superior IFE system with lots of choice and crystal clear quality. The noise reduction headphones that KLM provides are of far better quality to those useless Sennheiser headphones Air France offers its premium customers.

Comparing Amsterdam Schiphol to Paris Charles De Gaulle is like comparing a fresh ripe red apple to a rotting orange. I cannot begin to describe the advantages of going through Amsterdam vs. Paris. Amsterdam is a very well laid out airport that makes transiting a pleasure rather than an episode of Amazing Race.

The two sets of cabin crew I experienced on these two KLM flights reminded me why KLM is my airline of choice when it comes to European carriers. Flight attendants take pride in their work while trying to make the flight as comfortable for the customers as possible. I cannot say enough positive things about the KLM cabin crew I have encountered over the years. I am ecstatic to see that the merger with Air France has not deterred the airlines service standards.

Now I do not want to make KLM sound perfect. My biggest complaint with KLM lies in the catering area. While the food was fine, it was not up to par with Air France which provides some of the best catering around. Air France offers a dessert trolley with various kinds of sorbets, cookies, and cakes. Air France also offers two kinds of appetizers and does not “Indianize” their menu on flights to the Sub Continent. Also why the removal of the bread plate?

Overall I was more than pleased with KLM this time. While Air France and Northwest are convenient airlines for me as they fly directly into Mumbai, I am happy the way things turned out. KLM is in a different league when compared to most airlines out there. They are in my opinion one of the best airlines within the Skyteam alliance. I look forward to spending many more hours on their aircraft in the future. My loyalty does not come easily and KLM has undeniably earned it. Congratulations KLM, you certainly are the “Reliable Airline.”

Score:
KLM 622
Check In: 9 (Friendly and hassle free, point dropped for the long wait)
Lounge: 9 (Impressive for a US airline, however there is still a need for wi-fi)
Boarding: 10 (Perfectly fine, business class got priority)
Seat: 8 (Soft and comfortable but not in the lie flat position with no real privacy)
Aircraft: 10 (In amazing shape, inside and out)
Crew: 10 (Exactly what I have come to expect from KLM, excellent all round)
Meal: 8 (While perfectly decent, KLM may need to ask big brother Air France for some advice in this category)
Entertainment: 10 (Excellent AVOD system with lots of choice)

Amsterdam Crown Room: 8 (Needs to be expanded with some free wi-fi but still pretty decent)

KLM 873
Boarding: 8 (Slightly congested but business class boarded first which was needed)
Seat: 8 (The classic WBC seats are still very comfortable after all these years)
Aircraft: 8 (Showing some signs of wear and tear but still being looked after)
Crew: 10 (This set was excellent just like most KLM crew, excellent)
Meal: 7 (Not bad at all, a little too Indian centric for my liking though)
Entertainment: 6 (Having a PTV only gets you so far, but it worked which is what counts)
Arrival: 5 (Quite a mess, but this has to do with HYD’s infrastructure more than KLM)

Total: 135/160=.837
KLM scored an 84%

SR 103
 
DALCE
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:25 pm

Hi SR103,

What a great and massive report you have made! It was an amazing read! So much details, how on earth did you do that  Smile
I just loved it!
Good to see you are so possitive when it comes to KLM and Schiphol Airport!
Thanks for sharing your amazing trip and keep up the good work!

Brgds,
Joost ( D-ALCE )
flown: F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,77W,788,319,320,321,333,AB6.
 
nicholaschee
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:43 pm

Great TR. Always liked your TRs. Full of information right down to the smallest details. Thanks for taking the time to share.
 
SQ772
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:51 pm

Excellent pictures and another great trip report at that. KLM serves quite a substantial breakfast even if though it was the second meal of the flight. Are the new business class seats on the A330 lie flat seats, as they seem to eat into the space of the passenger behind if they were reclined to a flat position.

Those beanie 'mini bolsters' certainly look cool and I'm sure made for a more pleasant sleep.
There's always a better way to fly...
 
mjlhou
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:55 pm

GREAT report! Thanks for sharing your trip in thorough detail! I look forward to seeing another TR from you in the future!

MJLHOU
Don't worry about things you can't change or control
 
ag92
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pi

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:01 pm

Another amazing trip report

Didn't the flight attendant state that Hyderabad is not recognized by the map, and yet Hyderabad is being seen on the map

Regards
Ag92
 
B747forever
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:23 pm

Brilliant TR,

The pics are really good.

Think that many TR writer shall learn from you. They shall learn about how detailed TRs you write.

Looking forward for more TRs from you.




Thank you for sharing

B747forever
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
phlstudent
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:29 pm

Wow, amazing.

How did the two seats compare. The 330 seats looks a lot more comfortable. Is the Md-11 seat lie flat, or does it just go to like 160?
 
AT
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:42 pm

Great trip report, and great pics, as always. A true pleasure to read.

The KLM MD11s have an odd configuration in Business Class-- with just two rows of J Class then the galley and then another set of rows behind Door 2. Wouldn't it be more practical to have the entire J class in one piece between Doors 1L/R and 2 L/R ? Also the seats aft of Door 2 are 2 x 3 x 2 instead of 2 x 2 x 2...
 
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rogerbcn
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:58 pm

Hola SR 103!

Another of you great TRs I am used to. Thanks for sharing!

KLM and AMS have been for a long time my airline and airport of choice until last year when we moved business to LX and ZRH, another superb airport. Anyway, I enjoyed the pictures and comments on the crews, which I recall being always very attentive and helpful, always smiling and very much customer oriented. I think the food has bettered since I flew them.

BTW, I think it is a great coincidence, one of my last flights with KLM was on this very same MD-11 to YUL and I was seating at 2A  Wow!

Flying to BOM with LX next week for New Year's. I hope to write a detailed report, yours is a perfect model.

Salut!

Roger  santahat 
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
 
JetBlueGuy2006
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:27 pm

One of the best TR I have seen in a while.

I am still amazed at how much presence NW has outside the US, espcially at AMS as well as NRT
Home Airport: Capital Region International Airport (KLAN)
 
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airbuseric
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:43 pm

Mr SR103  Smile

This report is First Class! Well written, good information, and of course showing the perfect WBC on KL. Food on KL is always great in WBC (although that's my impression), and the crew is always very personal.
The pursers' video is quite new I think. Did not see this video yet on longhaul KL flights.

Cheers,
Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
burnsie28
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:32 pm

Flew through AMS for the first time on December 10th, what an amazing airport and what a beautiful country The Netherlands is, ive seen few places this far north so green in Winter. Also, KLM Cityhopper has some hotties, 3 of 3 of the girls that were on my FRA-AMS flight were pretty good, but one was just AMAZING.
 
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OA260
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:49 pm

Excellent TR , loved every word and every photo. Those Dutch houses are cool. I have a few and its such a good idea I hope they always keep !!!

The MD-11 looks brilliant and so much space even if the cabin is older. Id love to go on it sometime soon .

Totally agree about CDG and AMS!!! AMS wins everytime.

Thanks for a great report

OA260
 
SR 103
Topic Author
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 7:11 am



Quoting DALCE (Reply 2):
What a great and massive report you have made! It was an amazing read! So much details, how on earth did you do that

Thank you, I just have a good memory of things and note the important stuff down as I go along.

Quoting DALCE (Reply 2):
Good to see you are so possitive when it comes to KLM and Schiphol Airport!

I always have been, even after all these years I still think they are the best in Europe.

Quoting Nicholaschee (Reply 3):
Great TR. Always liked your TRs. Full of information right down to the smallest details. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
Excellent pictures and another great trip report at that.

Thank you.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
KLM serves quite a substantial breakfast even if though it was the second meal of the flight.

It is very substantial, I was actually not expecting that. My last KLM breakfast was in Dec 2004 out for JFK and it was a small fruit plate, nothing more. I was thinking it would be along the same lines but got quite a surprise with the quantity.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
Are the new business class seats on the A330 lie flat seats, as they seem to eat into the space of the passenger behind if they were reclined to a flat position.

They are angled lie flat, or almost anyway. The seat actually moves forward quite a bit, thus it does not eat so much into one legroom.

Quoting SQ772 (Reply 4):
Those beanie 'mini bolsters' certainly look cool and I'm sure made for a more pleasant sleep.

The actually were quite nice, though I do wish it had more "beans" in it as I found it a little on the softer side.

Quoting Mjlhou (Reply 5):
GREAT report! Thanks for sharing your trip in thorough detail! I look forward to seeing another TR from you in the future!

Thank you. I should be posting another one in January on my trip back to the US. I'll be flying Qatar.

Quoting Ag92 (Reply 6):
Another amazing trip report

Thanks.

Quoting Ag92 (Reply 6):
Didn't the flight attendant state that Hyderabad is not recognized by the map, and yet Hyderabad is being seen on the map

I think he meant it in the sense that it would not recognize HYD as our destination. The map placed the destination diamond on DEL rather than HYD.

Quoting B747forever (Reply 7):
Brilliant TR,
The pics are really good.
Think that many TR writer shall learn from you. They shall learn about how detailed TRs you write.

Thank you for the compliment.

Quoting PHLstudent (Reply 8):
How did the two seats compare. The 330 seats looks a lot more comfortable. Is the Md-11 seat lie flat, or does it just go to like 160?

The 330 seat is a slight bit harder than the classic WBC seat but does recline much more and has a number of different options. The classic WBC seat is much softer but only goes into a cradle position, say about 160.

Quoting AT (Reply 9):
Great trip report, and great pics, as always. A true pleasure to read.

Thank you.

Quoting AT (Reply 9):
Wouldn't it be more practical to have the entire J class in one piece between Doors 1L/R and 2 L/R ? Also the seats aft of Door 2 are 2 x 3 x 2 instead of 2 x 2 x 2...

They have this big galley set up behind the first WBC cabin. To be honest, I like it this way, provides a very nice private cabin feel up front. Anyways, as the aircraft are re-configured they are only keeping the front cabin, no more 2-3-2 cabin, so it does not matter anymore.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10):
Another of you great TRs I am used to. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for the compliment.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10):
KLM and AMS have been for a long time my airline and airport of choice until last year when we moved business to LX and ZRH, another superb airport.

I have yet to fly Swiss, last time I flew LX, it was still Crossair. I am slowly building my Star Alliance account up so maybe in the not too distance future I'll get to try Swiss.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10):
Anyway, I enjoyed the pictures and comments on the crews, which I recall being always very attentive and helpful, always smiling and very much customer oriented. I think the food has bettered since I flew them.

The crew are always wonderful on KL. The food does seem to have improved slightly, but still no where near AF catering standards.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10):
BTW, I think it is a great coincidence, one of my last flights with KLM was on this very same MD-11 to YUL and I was seating at 2A

I have flown KLM's MD-11's four times now and always sit in 2A!

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10):
Flying to BOM with LX next week for New Year's. I hope to write a detailed report, yours is a perfect model.

I look forward to reading it, I am sure it will be a great report.

Quoting JetBlueGuy2006 (Reply 11):
One of the best TR I have seen in a while.

Thank you for that.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 12):
This report is First Class! Well written, good information, and of course showing the perfect WBC on KL.

Thanks.

Quoting Burnsie28 (Reply 13):
Flew through AMS for the first time on December 10th, what an amazing airport and what a beautiful country

AMS is a great airport and the city is even better. too bad you did not fly KL long haul, would have been a nice change from NW.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 14):
Those Dutch houses are cool. I have a few and its such a good idea I hope they always keep !!!

I certainly hope so too.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 14):
The MD-11 looks brilliant and so much space even if the cabin is older. Id love to go on it sometime soon .

Well as far as I know, they are keeping the aircraft till 2012, so you have plenty of time to try it out.

SR 103
 
LHboyatDTW
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:15 am



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I swear, if it were not for the single KLM tail protruding among all the red tails, I would seriously question whether I was in Amsterdam or Detroit.

Well fortunately for us, KLM is returning to DTW this spring. By then we'd be having a whopping 6x daily flights to AMS and that is almost unheard of. It's with an A332 as well. I hope to try them again this summer to CPH, but I would love to try SK long-haul.

Oh yes, another clear and straight to the point TR from none other than Mr. Tamboowala.
The air in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious because it's the same the angels breathe.
 
richcandy
Posts: 623
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:34 am

Hi

Thanks for your trip report.

You make a comment re the lack of a bread plate.

I not sure if this is a world wide trend or just a European one but bread plates are disappearing. I know that I can't speak for all of Europe but smart London restaurants no longer offer them and its the same in Burgundy.

I think the idea is that you don't need a plate for bread and when you have eaten the bread there is more space on the table.

I hate it as I manage to get bits of bread everywhere.


Rich
 
davehammer
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:20 pm

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:55 pm

Great Report! A shame KLM don't fly to DEN as I've always wanted to try their World Business Class. Apparently NW's WBC isn't quite as good.
 
Ryanair!!!
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:40 pm

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f42/SR747300M/KLM%20to%20India/DSC05509.jpg
I almost feel sorry for that man sitting there. it seems as if he doesn't want to get on a plane!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
KLM no longer provides the standard rectangular pillow, but rather a cylindrical beanie bag style pillow.

I love the look of those beanies! I think it is an innovative alternative to a boring rectangular pillow.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
a few Indians came running past pushing and shoving their way to the counter screaming at the top of their lungs %u201CHELP, HELP!%u201D

Hmm... A tad dramatic for a delayed flight, no?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Again I noticed the same thing as the last flight, no bread plate!

That IS a little tacky to have your bread roll placed on the tray just like that. It lacks the style of a proper JCL presentation.

Wow... what a trip report! I felt like I was with you every single part of the journey...
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
ba319-131
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 4:40 pm

Another excellent report, though this is your benchmark we have come to expect over the years.

Of the 2 airports, CDG & AMS, I'd choose AMS anyday, CDG is just terrible!

Good to see KLM maintaining their independence from AF on the service front.

Happy holidays, I'm looking forward to the return.

Regards

Mark
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SR 103
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 6:28 pm



Quoting LHboyatDTW (Reply 16):
Well fortunately for us, KLM is returning to DTW this spring.

I heard about that. I actually flew KLM out of DTW back in 2003 while trying to avoid the plethora of NW D10's operating the AMS shuttle! Glad to see them return.

Quoting Richcandy (Reply 17):
I not sure if this is a world wide trend or just a European one but bread plates are disappearing.

Air France and Lufthansa among others certainly have them, so I think this may be a KLM only thing.

Quoting Richcandy (Reply 17):
I hate it as I manage to get bits of bread everywhere.

I am the same way, hence why I like a little plate to capture all the crumbs.

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 18):
Great Report! A shame KLM don't fly to DEN as I've always wanted to try their World Business Class. Apparently NW's WBC isn't quite as good.

Actually I enjoy NW's WBC very much! The service may not be as great as KLM, but they deliver a solid product to say the least. I actually rank WBC on NW as one of the best Intl. products of any US airline. I have nothing but praise for the product and so do many others that fly them!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
I almost feel sorry for that man sitting there. it seems as if he doesn't want to get on a plane!

He looks like me before I board my Delta CRJ flights! Of course he was probably about to board a NW flight and knew what he was in for. Thought I would throw that NW jab in there for you!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
Hmm... A tad dramatic for a delayed flight, no?

I agree, but my fellow country men at times can be... You live in Singapore, you can finish that sentence.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
Wow... what a trip report! I felt like I was with you every single part of the journey...

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 20):
Another excellent report, though this is your benchmark we have come to expect over the years.

I am very happy to hear that, thank you.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 20):
Good to see KLM maintaining their independence from AF on the service front.

I was really happy about this.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 20):
Happy holidays, I'm looking forward to the return.

Same to you. I shall do my best to write out a good return report. I got three segments to write about this time round, BOM-DOH-GVA-EWR.

SR 103
 
ForeverUnited
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:35 pm

Delightful trip report. KLM appears to offer a most civilized, gracious premium class experience.
 
davehammer
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pi

Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:08 am

Good to hear SR103 and from what I've seen I'll respect your opinion on this! I'm considering going LON-DTW/MSP-DEN in the summer and NW came up cheapest with WBC compared to BA and UA's extortionate prices. Reports I've read say that service is patchy but I'm willing to give it a go. What's NW's domestic 1st like?

[Edited 2007-12-23 16:15:06]
 
KLM685
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:53 am

i LOVED your trip report! I was glad to see my username there displayed on the Schiphol Airport flight status information screens!
You made me feel nostalgic with all the Atlanta pictures as I was just there 3 weeks ago in the Aeromexico flight you spotted  Wink

Also excellent pictures. I'm glad KLM still keeps it's name high in the air!

Cheers!
KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
 
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alaskaqantas
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:58 am

wow great report... very detailed, and amazing pictures

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
In my opinion, there was not even a choice, KLM it was!

I would have choosen AF, but after reading your report I might have to do some more research before I choose next time
~cheers-
~~Kyle H.

[Edited 2007-12-23 19:58:47]
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
 
phatfarmlines
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:44 am

Well......DL's lounge was rather impressive. Where is your anti-DL rant  Wink?
 
Milesdependent
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Mon Dec 24, 2007 1:47 pm

Seriously one of the best reports of the year. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I've taken a note of your username and will look for more reports from you  Wink

On another note, I was deciding between LH and KL on my next Europe trip in business class - you've convinced me to try KL.
 
SR 103
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:37 pm



Quoting ForeverUnited (Reply 22):
Delightful trip report. KLM appears to offer a most civilized, gracious premium class experience.

Thanks, KLM certainly does.

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 23):
Good to hear SR103 and from what I've seen I'll respect your opinion on this!

Thank you. I did write a trip report on NW's WBC back in 2003 when the A330's were just introduced, but this TR has no pictures. Hopefully it will provide some useful insight for you.
MCO-KWI : Are NW's A330s Worth The Fuss?

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 23):
I'm considering going LON-DTW/MSP-DEN in the summer and NW came up cheapest with WBC compared to BA and UA's extortionate prices.

I think NW is far better than UA and certainly worth the cheaper price when compared to BA.

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 23):
Reports I've read say that service is patchy but I'm willing to give it a go.

It may be patchy, but I don't expect Malaysian or even KLM service when flying NW. However their cabin crew have surprised me in the past, hopefully you will be too.

Quoting Davehammer (Reply 23):
What's NW's domestic 1st like?

Nothing spectacular sadly, no flight domestically is anything special. Here are a few pics I have collected of NW domestic First Class product.

Quoting KLM685 (Reply 24):
i LOVED your trip report! I was glad to see my username there displayed on the Schiphol Airport flight status information screens!

You know, I did not even notice that till you pointed it out.

Quoting KLM685 (Reply 24):
You made me feel nostalgic with all the Atlanta pictures as I was just there 3 weeks ago in the Aeromexico flight you spotted

I remember the trip report well, very well written.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 25):
wow great report... very detailed, and amazing pictures

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 25):
I would have choosen AF, but after reading your report I might have to do some more research before I choose next time

If you check out these two Air France trip reports of mine, you will pretty much see why I prefer to fly KLM over Air France when given a choice.
Air France: The Best Place On Earth? (pics)
Skyteam Challenge: Air France Business Class(pics)

Quoting Phatfarmlines (Reply 26):
Well......DL's lounge was rather impressive.

As I said, they earned some points on that one. Took them long enough though, this was my 4th visit to a BizE lounge this year and this was the first time I saw hot food!

Quoting Phatfarmlines (Reply 26):
Where is your anti-DL rant?

LOL, where is your anti AA rant? DL has slowly but surely been earning my business these days. I may still prefer to fly with NW and CO, but they are not a bad alternative when the other two are not available. Checking my flight log for 2007, that seems to happen quite a bit these days.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 27):
Seriously one of the best reports of the year. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I've taken a note of your username and will look for more reports from you

Thank you very much for that compliment. I have posted quite a few in the past, you can look through them if you wish.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 27):
On another note, I was deciding between LH and KL on my next Europe trip in business class - you've convinced me to try KL.

Having flown Lufthansa quite a bit, I lived in Germany, I think you made the right decision. Lufthansa is a very nice airline, but KLM certainly provides a number of extra touches.

SR 103
 
mk777
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Tue Dec 25, 2007 5:03 pm

Nice report as usual.

i have always liked KLM and Schipol, IMO, its the best airport in Europe for transit.

Your business class adventure is always a pleasure to read, the food looks tasty, how would you compare the food to AF or did you mention that?

also experience at indian airports is below par, hopefully with the new HYD airport, things will change.

can't wait to read your return TR  Smile
come fly with me
 
ronerone
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:49 pm

Anosh,

What can i say? Simply another outstanding report! One of the best as always.

Your report brought back memories of my KLM flying 'era' and reminded me why i religiously flew the hell out them between the end of their A310 flights and all the way through till the end of their 767 operation.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The food was a welcome addition and I won’t lie, Delta scored a few extra points with this little touch. Next I swung by the bar which had a few dessert cups laid out.

I must say, that this is the first time i see a substanital food offering in a US Airline lounge. Great to see DL leading the way in this area.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The two toned blue Airbus A330 was breathtaking, truly one of the best looking aircrafts anywhere in the world.

Definitely agree here. When i arrived from BKK two nights ago, i saw the fabulous blue A330 parked at AUH awaiting its departure back to AMS (via BAH). Definitely a nice ending to a great trip for me.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“The breakfast card is in the menu; please fill it out so we can collect it after dinner, thank you.”

I think that is a nice touch. Something i have yet to experience. I do not think even the likes of CX offer this touch (at least in my experience).

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Delft Blue houses

Out of curiosity, how many do you have?  Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Comparing Amsterdam Schiphol to Paris Charles De Gaulle is like comparing a fresh ripe red apple to a rotting orange. I cannot begin to describe the advantages of going through Amsterdam vs. Paris. Amsterdam is a very well laid out airport that makes transiting a pleasure rather than an episode of Amazing Race.

I agree!

AMS is my favorite European airport. Connecting through AMS has never been a hassle, and in fact, even when i had a delay, i seemed to always have something to do to keep me busy there.

Your report clearly shows that KLM's service can easily be compared with the likes of CX and MH. Perhaps there was no bread plate or such, but then again, all airlines have their flaws somewhere i suppose. Too bad KLM is not Oneworld, as i really feel like flying them now.

Thanks a lot for taking time to post this TR. I cannot wait for your upcoming TR. I think it will be a HUGE hit  Smile

Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
SR 103
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:42 am



Quoting Mk777 (Reply 29):
Nice report as usual.

Thank you.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 29):
Your business class adventure is always a pleasure to read, the food looks tasty, how would you compare the food to AF or did you mention that?

I did, but I will mention it again. KLM has decent food, but Air France certainly has better quality and quantity.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 29):
also experience at indian airports is below par, hopefully with the new HYD airport, things will change.

HYD certainly failed to impress me in the least, but I suppose with a new terminal opening up, there is no need to do any modifications to the current one.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
What can i say? Simply another outstanding report! One of the best as always.

Thank you very much, thats quite a compliment from one of the best TR writers I know!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
Your report brought back memories of my KLM flying 'era' and reminded me why i religiously flew the hell out them between the end of their A310 flights and all the way through till the end of their 767 operation.

I used to fly them all the time as well, but the last KLM flight I took was back in December 2004. Its been quite a while, but this was a nice reminder of the good old days.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
I must say, that this is the first time i see a substanital food offering in a US Airline lounge. Great to see DL leading the way in this area.

Yes, DL is slowly making its way off the bottom on my list. They are trying to improve and it is definately being noticed.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
I think that is a nice touch. Something i have yet to experience. I do not think even the likes of CX offer this touch (at least in my experience).

From my experience, no one but KLM seems to offer this little feature.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
Out of curiosity, how many do you have?

Not many by any means, maybe 20. I did my fair share of NW as well as KL back in the day so I missed out on quite a few houses.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
AMS is my favorite European airport. Connecting through AMS has never been a hassle, and in fact, even when i had a delay, i seemed to always have something to do to keep me busy there.

AMS is a wonderful airport, could not agree with you more.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
Your report clearly shows that KLM's service can easily be compared with the likes of CX and MH.

Yes, KL certainly is a great airline, definately better than any other European carrier I have flown.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
Too bad KLM is not Oneworld, as i really feel like flying them now.

Oh please, lets leave whatever quality we have in Skyteam put. Hopefully Malaysian and Kingfisher will join soon enough to double the number of quality carriers in the alliance...LOL

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 30):
I cannot wait for your upcoming TR. I think it will be a HUGE hit

Wow, such enthusiasm from now, thanks for the vote of confidence. I shall certainly try to make it as interesting as possible provided I don't get swamped with work in the begining of the semester.

SR 103
 
ronerone
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:00 am



Quoting SR 103 (Reply 31):
provided I don't get swamped with work in the begining of the semester.

All the best for the next semester. What classes will u b taking? ... Hope this past semester also went well.

Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
HB-IWC
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:48 am

Very nice trip report, as usual, yet my impression of KLM's WBC product is here and there different from yours. First of all, the positives: if one happens to fly on one of the aircraft that have the new WBC seats installed (A332, B772, selected B747 and one single MD11) then the IFE system is absolutely fabulous, and blowing anything that AF has on offer out of the water. AF, however, is planning to catch up, and is in the process of upgrading its IFE, which will in the end see a more extensive system than the current KLM one.

On the other hand, KLM's new WBC seats are just dreadful to sleep in, and I see that you opted for the cradle position on your A332 flight, which is definitely the better option, as the lie flat position is guaranteed to make you slide down incessantly. As it goes, I much prefer the old style WBC seats, as you had on your MD11 sector. The new B773ERs, which are due to arrive in two months from now, will have the Air France Espace seats, which should surely be an improvement. Sadly, KLM will continue to install the current WBC seats in the remaining non reconfigured 747s and MD11s, despite the bad customer reviews.

I overall agree with you that the KLM cabin crews are very good for Western standards, and are in a way outperforming their AF counterparts. Francophone passengers may feel much more at ease with the AF crews though, and this illustrates the big cultural gap that exist between KL and its AF parent company.

My biggest gripe is with the KLM meal service, which I find stingy and often inappropriate. KL can learn a lot from AF there, and I definitely also rate NW WBC meals higher than KLM's. On a recent SIN AMS WBC flight, meal options included overcooked steak in honey eucalyptus sauce, and most plates went back to the galley as good as untouched. KLM apparently has not yet realized that three star Michelin cooking does not necessarily pan out decently at 35 thousand feet. NW's hearty and more standard fare is the way to go, in my opinion. Let's keep the fancy stuff for where in belongs: on the ground, in more optimal conditions.

KLM's food offerings are also on the meager side. No choice of appetizer on any KLM WBC flight, and late night departures, no matter how long (SIN AMS can be well over 13 hours), will have a reduced and expedited dinner service because the airline has decided that passengers need to sleep! I'd like to decide that by myself, thank you very much! On a recent KUL MNL AMS trip, the 4-hour MH KUL MNL sector had more extensive meal options than the ensuing 14-hour MNL AMS flight. I don't understand how the French owners have not yet vetoed KLM's cheese OR dessert option. A decent European meal includes BOTH cheese and dessert, as AF offers it.

Last but not least, there are the ground services. Schiphol is a delight to transfer through and it is definitely one of KLM's strongest points. KLM's lounges tend to fill up around the 10am longhaul departure wave, and while I agree that the airline should do something about it, anyone who has recently visited one of LH's business class or Senator lounges at its FRA home base, will be able to testify that the situation there can be even worse.

I feel, nevertheless, that AMS is slowly but surely starting to overcrowd, particularly around KLM's hub times. Transfers between the Schengen and non Schengen areas eat up increasing amounts of time, and it won't be long before KLM's hub and spoke model will run into the limitations of the airline's home base.

KLM also seems to be suffering from an increasing number of operational irregularities, particularly in the longhaul sectors and with the Cityhopper fleet, and when things do go wrong, I feel that the AMS ground services are not adequately equipped to cope with problems. Large masses of miss-connected passengers can be seen crowding the KLM transfer desks at such times, and passengers are often left to fend for themselves.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about KLM. I feel they are becoming too much of a hub a spoke carrier intended on carrying large numbers of lower yielding passengers and with a diminished attention for the premium product. Sure enough, the airline gets the job done in a more or less reliable manner, yet there is very little grandeur to the premium product that is on offer.
 
SR 103
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:06 pm



Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
Very nice trip report, as usual, yet my impression of KLM's WBC product is here and there different from yours

Thank you for taking the time to read it and write such an extensive reply.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
AF, however, is planning to catch up, and is in the process of upgrading its IFE, which will in the end see a more extensive system than the current KLM one.

I look forward to the updated system on AF. Maybe I will cash in some miles and fly F for a change to see what AF really has up front.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
On the other hand, KLM's new WBC seats are just dreadful to sleep in, and I see that you opted for the cradle position on your A332 flight, which is definitely the better option, as the lie flat position is guaranteed to make you slide down incessantly.

The cradle position is the best for me on almost any airline, even Air France. The only airline where the flat position works for me in Business Class has been British Airways, but that’s a whole different story.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
As it goes, I much prefer the old style WBC seats, as you had on your MD11 sector.

I agree, the seat is definitely more comfortable, it is padded well and has a very nice feel when reclined.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
The new B773ERs, which are due to arrive in two months from now, will have the Air France Espace seats, which should surely be an improvement.

I had no idea the aircraft was going to feature the AF seats, not sure if I like this or not. I would have rather KLM re-done the seat completely and developed something along the lines of Etihad's or South African’s business class seat.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
Sadly, KLM will continue to install the current WBC seats in the remaining non reconfigured 747s and MD11s, despite the bad customer reviews.

So what about the 332's and 772's or is KLM only going to have the "NEV" seats on the 77W? That is a very inconsistent product if true.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
Francophone passengers may feel much more at ease with the AF crews though, and this illustrates the big cultural gap that exist between KL and its AF parent company.

I agree with you there. However I also question this at times as I see more non French passengers in the cabin than I do French. Has AF decided it is the French way and nothing else? Airlines cater to passengers from all across the globe and KLM cabin crew seem to more versed in how to deal with different types of customers than AF cabin crew. Why has AF (or even LH for that matter) decided not to address this issue?

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
My biggest gripe is with the KLM meal service, which I find stingy and often inappropriate.

The quantity is certainly on the smaller size, agree with you there.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
KL can learn a lot from AF there, and I definitely also rate NW WBC meals higher than KLM's.

I have not been on NW Intl. recently to make a fair comparison but I have never really found their meals to be much different than KL. However this could have changed dramatically recently as I am speaking from my experiences from 2002-2005.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
NW's hearty and more standard fare is the way to go, in my opinion.

I have always preferred simple to fancy. However Air France does quite well with a rather elaborate menu. I say if you are going to make it fancy, make sure you do it right like Air France.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
No choice of appetizer on any KLM WBC flight,

This is certainly not ideal and could be improves, but I have to make a quick observation here. Air France may offer two choices in appetizers, but one is always foie gras, and I am not a foie gras eater. Thus I have no choice when I fly AF, I always take the other option.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
On a recent KUL MNL AMS trip, the 4-hour MH KUL MNL sector had more extensive meal options than the ensuing 14-hour MNL AMS flight.

You are comparing MH to KL. While I think very highly of KL, they are not in the same playing field as any of their Asian counterparts and have a long way to go to catch up.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
I don't understand how the French owners have not yet vetoed KLM's cheese OR dessert option. A decent European meal includes BOTH cheese and dessert, as AF offers it.

This is one thing I do not understand about KLM. While I personally am very happy with just dessert, it seems stingy not to offer both to high fare paying passengers in WBC.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
agree that the airline should do something about it, anyone who has recently visited one of LH's business class or Senator lounges at its FRA home base, will be able to testify that the situation there can be even worse.

It happens at almost any airline, my parents say that about LH and FRA while my brother complains about the same thing with BA and LHR. Now the question is; what should airlines do about it?

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
Large masses of miss-connected passengers can be seen crowding the KLM transfer desks at such times, and passengers are often left to fend for themselves.

Having never had any problems connecting with KLM (touch wood), I can not comment on this. I did get stuck in DXB once in 2003 thanks to them but was very well looked after by the station manager. However if what you say is true, it reflects very badly on KLM. How an airline handles irregular operations is a way to differentiate a good airline from a great one.

Quoting HB-IWC (Reply 33):
Sure enough, the airline gets the job done in a more or less reliable manner, yet there is very little grandeur to the premium product that is on offer.

There is very little grandeur in KLM's WBC product, but like I said above "simple is better" and I think that is why I like KLM so much. You can be all bells and whistles like Virgin Atlantic or tout luxury like Emirates. What it comes down to is how you are treated as a passenger; does the airline genuinely treat you well? That is one of the reasons I would chose Northwest over Virgin Atlantic or Emirates any day. I don't need "fancy," I want to feel comfortable and experience genuine hospitality.

Again thanks for the great post, I have always respected your opinion.

SR 103
 
omoo
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:46 pm

amazing report, this is usually my route to Tanzania once a year (ATL-AMS-JRO-DAR), nice to see someone writing about the ATL-AMS part, Big grin
Fly Air Popobawa
 
xjramper
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:42 am

Once again, you have out done yourself. Many kudos for taking the time to write up a report of this caliber.

Just curious...how tall are you? Reason for me asking is because I am just curious of legroom up there. Me being 6'7" just makes for a cramped trip if stuck up there. Have you ever flown UA Business Class? I am actually cramped for space in that seat. Just curious if they are the same room wise?

XJR
Look ma' no hands!
 
karan69
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:00 am

Anoosh, Great report the sort we have come to expect from you, ofcourse in this case the pictures made it even more specail and add to that the experience at HYD was a typically Indian experience that you should get accustomed to by now  wink 

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 31):
but I suppose with a new terminal opening up, there is no need to do any modifications to the current one.

HYD gets a new Green field Airport slated to open up in March next year

looking forward to your next Installation of your return leg on another 5 start carrier

Thanks for sharing

Karan
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:55 am

Nicely done report, funny that i flew on that exact same aircraft and from that exact same gate for my Ams-Jro flight in September, albeit in coach. the MD-11 is one of my favorite airplanes, i'll be sorry when KLM finally starts retiring them in a few years.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
ChristianLee15
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pi

Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:37 am

Good old KLM. Glad you enjoyed the journey, I certainly have during the numerous times I've flown to the US!

Christian.
Next Flight: NQY-LGW-SZG-LGW-NQY
 
SR 103
Topic Author
Posts: 1618
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:15 am



Quoting Ronerone (Reply 32):
All the best for the next semester. What classes will u b taking?

Thanks for the good wishes.
Finance, Bus. Policy, and Ops Research.

Quoting Omoo (Reply 35):
amazing report, this is usually my route to Tanzania once a year (ATL-AMS-JRO-DAR), nice to see someone writing about the ATL-AMS part,

Thanks, glad I could be the one.

Quoting XJRamper (Reply 36):
Once again, you have out done yourself. Many kudos for taking the time to write up a report of this caliber.

Thank you.

Quoting XJRamper (Reply 36):
Just curious...how tall are you?

Not tall at all when compared to you, 5'8"

Quoting XJRamper (Reply 36):
Have you ever flown UA Business Class? I am actually cramped for space in that seat.

I have, but it has been a few years.

Quoting XJRamper (Reply 36):
Just curious if they are the same room wise?

According to seatguru:
KLM Business Class: 60 inches
United Business Class: 55 inches
While the five inches may not seem to so big, I definitely notice the difference. I flew a CO 764 not too long ago and their BusinessFirst product has 55 inches. You definitely feel like you have more room but it really depends on ones perspective, especially someone as tall as you.

Quoting Karan69 (Reply 37):
Anoosh, Great report the sort we have come to expect from you,

Thank you, I always appreciate your feedback and comments.

Quoting Karan69 (Reply 37):
HYD was a typically Indian experience that you should get accustomed to by now

You know, I keep hoping for more. I see minor improvements here and there at places like BOM but I guess I should not have had the same expectations for HYD. Either way, hopefully I'll get to try out the new airport in HYD soon.

Quoting Karan69 (Reply 37):
looking forward to your next Installation of your return leg on another 5 star carrier

Hopefully I'll be able to do the airline justice.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 38):
Nicely done report, funny that i flew on that exact same aircraft and from that exact same gate for my Ams-Jro flight in September, albeit in coach. the MD-11 is one of my favorite airplanes, i'll be sorry when KLM finally starts retiring them in a few years.

The MD-11 certainly is a great aircraft, I'll be sorry to see KLM get rid of them too.

Quoting ChristianLee15 (Reply 39):
Good old KLM. Glad you enjoyed the journey, I certainly have during the numerous times I've flown to the US!

Good to see there are others that have the same opinion of KLM as me.

SR 103
 
Door5Right
Posts: 691
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RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:34 am

Wonderful report and pictures. My taste buds are positively starving after looking at all that delicious food and drink!
My soul is in the sky...
 
SR 103
Topic Author
Posts: 1618
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:19 am

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:35 am



Quoting Door5Right (Reply 41):
Wonderful report and pictures. My taste buds are positively starving after looking at all that delicious food and drink!

Thanks, the food was definately simple and nice.

SR 103
 
keesje
Posts: 8864
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2001 2:08 am

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:27 am



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Hi SR 103 thnx for sharing. I must confess in the late nineties I was responsible for specification and implementation of the Rumbold seats and MAS IFE systems on these MD11s and the 747-400s (I no longer work for KLM  Wink ).

The specifications for the IFE was made in few minutes by my superior and me (12 video channels, 12 audio channels, high quality, high reliability). I still somewhere have a small hand written piece of paper somewhere saying 12/12. Surprisingly nobody objected and they still fly the skies (now being replaced) The noise reduction headset connections were sneaked into the budget last minute after I did an informal survey with help of a few pursers and a couple of sample headsets. My boss was "washed" after they found out but it proved a wise decision afterwards. No guts no ..

Your detailed photo's give me nice (& less nice) flash backs on that project. At KLM marketing we used to scan trip reports now and then for perceptions left out of the regular customer surveys. Thnx for supporting KLM all those yrs!
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
b707forever
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:14 am

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:23 pm

Excellent trip report, one of the best ever. I agree with you on AMS over CDG as a hub. AMS is fun, convenient and easy to get around whereas CDG is, the many times I've been through it, usually a nightmare. It's amazing how CDG can be so new and modern yet so unmanageable.

Thanks again, a truly excellent report.
 
SR 103
Topic Author
Posts: 1618
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:19 am

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:22 pm



Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
I must confess in the late nineties I was responsible for specification and implementation of the Rumbold seats and MAS IFE systems on these MD11s and the 747-400s

Thank you for making so many of my hours in the air on KLM so comfortable. Those seats really were some of the most comfortable ones out there at the time.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
(I no longer work for KLM )

Shame, I have a feeling you could have really helped WBC be so much better than it is today.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
The noise reduction headset connections were sneaked into the budget last minute after I did an informal survey with help of a few pursers and a couple of sample headsets.

In my opinion KLM has some of the best out there, far beating anything Air France or even Qatar can offer at the moment.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 43):
At KLM marketing we used to scan trip reports now and then for perceptions left out of the regular customer surveys. Thnx for supporting KLM all those yrs!

As I said, if I get treated right, I keep coming back. Hence my loyalty towards NW all these as well. Its not flashy bells and whistles that keep me, its simple comfort with great service that I look for.

Quoting B707forever (Reply 44):
It's amazing how CDG can be so new and modern yet so unmanageable.

I can not agree with you more, I certainly am confused!

Quoting B707forever (Reply 44):
Thanks again, a truly excellent report.

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

SR 103
 
User avatar
DanTaylor2006
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:15 am

RE: Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class (pics)

Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:55 pm

An excellent trip report  Smile

Very detailed and the photographs are excellent. I love Schiphol Airport, but after spending a day there I've become tired with the KLM scheme  Silly Not to say it's bad... as I rather like the KLM scheme. But it did get tiresome that day, haha. I'm glad to see the crews were great on the flights... beats getting crews who don't care, or are a little below par.

Once again... fantastic trip report. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

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