To: Panama City, Panama (PTY)
From: Amsterdam (AMS)
Date: June 27, 2008
Flight: KL 757
Actual Departure: 2:30pm
This is the return portion of my trip I made last month traveling on KLM. The outbound trip report can be found here: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/129205/
On this particular day my final destination was PTY
, however I was really coming in from DUB
. The DUB
flight wasn’t very special and I didn’t take any pictures as I was very tired- it was a 6:00am flight and I didn’t get any sleep the night before.
-In Schipol Airport-
My Aer Lingus flight from DUB
had arrived to AMS
on time – 8:45am – and once I deplaned I decided to head over to the KLM business class lounge. Because my next flight was an international long haul I thought that the KLM lounge(s) would be really good, but I was sadly disappointed once I got there.
The Aer Lingus A321 that brought me in to AMS
. On a side note, Aer Lingus isn’t such a bad airline but I don’t think I could survive more than 2 hours on their cramped up planes.
The walk to the KLM lounge was very long and was actually kind of difficult to locate the lounges. I had to ask three KLM employees how to find the lounge.
I finally reached to lounge number 41 but when I got there the lounge was 100% packed to capacity and I had to go to lounge number 52 which was even further away. There was a huge line to enter lounge 41 and the whole club as crowded as a busy street in Tokyo!!!
As you can see, the lounge was still pretty full but not as packed as lounge 41. I sat next to the window and this provided for some good plane spotting!
Unfortunately no Financial Times or Wall Street Journal- Air France carries both.
At this point in time it was about 9:30 and I was very tired and decided to get some coffee and breakfast and pass some time. My layover time in AMS
was about 5 hours and this went by pretty slowly.
Decent selection of breakfast foods.
My breakfast. KLM has a good coffee machine, but it needs to make the Cappuccinos much stronger.
Lots of NW
aircraft at AMS
Good looking Malaysian 747 being towed to the gate for eventual departure to KUL
This nice KL
A330 being pushed back for departure. The next aircraft to take its spot would be the MH
747 as shown above.
After breakfast I decided to go to an aircraft “toy store” that I know of in the Schipol arrivals/departure duty free area. I have been to this store several times and it is truly an aircraft lovers dream come true. More airports should have these kinds of stores!
Arriving to the store.
I easily spent some 30 minutes in the store contemplating which aircraft to buy. I really felt like a small kid in a candy store. My first choice of aircraft was a Copa 737 or Continental 777 but unfortunately they did not carry any of those airlines.
I ended up purchasing a KLM MD
-11 (to honor the aircraft I was about to fly on) and a Falcon 7X
. I was happy with my purchases and decided to go back to the KLM lounge to enjoy my new toys.
After the long trek to the store and back I was pretty tired and struggled to kill some time. I still had a about 2 hours until scheduled boarding and decided to just browse magazines and stare out the window to look at all of the KLM and NW
jets go by.
At about 11:30 the lounge staff began removing the breakfast food and served Pasta salad and soup. I had nothing better to do so I went and served myself some food, took some pics and then went to my gate.
Pretty good salad. By this time I was stuffed from all of the eating I did throughout the whole time I was in the lounge.
Lots of departures.
I arrived to the gate and there was a MAJOR line of economy class passengers waiting to go through security. Thankfully there was no one in the WBC security line and I was among the first to pass through security.
About 2 passengers after me, they stopped letting people go through security because boarding would be delayed. Apparently, the aircraft that was using the same gate before our flight (KLM MD
-11 destined to Delhi, India) was having technical issues and could not pushback. This prevented our aircraft from pulling into the gate.
Eventually, the plane to Delhi left and they towed our plane to the gate. Security screening resumed but after a short while I noticed that today’s flight would be 100% full in Business and Economy, and consequently the departure area was packed tighter than a can of sardines. I literally could not walk as there were people sitting on the floor, and the whole area felt claustrophobic, hot, and sweaty. I was disappointed with this, and I wished that I didn’t go to the gate so early!!! Boarding eventually began at 1:30pm.
Our plane being towed into the gate.
This is the departure area. It was still not full as people were passing through security. It later got so full that I couldn’t see any windows or walls- just people!!
Boarding was a complete and utter chaos and mess. Even though they announced boarding for WBC and small children, everybody just swarmed and I was squished like a tiny mosquito!! I eventually made it onto the plane.
was my seat. I had the same seat on the inbound flight and I chose it on purpose as it is pretty good- no one in front of you or behind you.
My seat in full recline position. Not bad but also not good. KLM needs to improve its product to keep up with the competition!! Note the Financial Times newspaper, I had to purchase it as there were none in the lounge.
After settling in, I decided to walk around and take some pics of the cabin before it got full.
Forward section of the WBC. I was seated in the rear section. Note that there is 2x2x2 here, but 2x3x2 in the rear section.
Amenity kit, food menu, headsets and very comfy pillow.
View from my seat.
This truly is KLM territory. One of the things I really liked about the MD
-11 was the big windows. They really felt huge and I had a great viewing position.
After taking all of my required pictures, I was just sitting in my seat waiting for departure. As in my PTY
segment, the captain came and personally introduced himself to every WBC passenger- again I was impressed with this. He also apologized for the delay and half jokingly I said “no problem captain, you can make it up to me by letting me take a picture in the flight deck”. The captain smiled and said “no problem, please follow me”.
Once I was in the cockpit I felt like begging them and offering money to let me stay there the whole flight but unfortunately laws and regulations would not permit!
After thanking the cockpit crew for the photo opportunity I went back to my seat and got ready for the departure.
We departed almost 1 hour and 30 minutes late.
Bye Bye Schipol-- The next time I see you I will probably not be on KLM.
Take off was smooth and uneventful. I noticed that the MD
-11 has a very loud and amazing “whine” sound when full thrust is applied. Furthermore, it has a strong “pushed backed into your seat” thrust effect.
After take off I reclined my seat and turned on the PTV and began to relax and enjoy the flight back to PTY
Food service began and I had red wine with warm nuts to start off with.
Waiting to be served the food service.
All I can say is that the bread and salad was good- the salmon looked suspicious so I passed on it.
Next up was the lamb. It was not good to be honest. It was very chewy, plasticky, and without flavor. However, the couscous with the lamb sauce was pretty good.
After the meal service I decided to walk around the cabin and stretch my legs. On long haul flights I like to go back into Economy and to be with “the people” as the front of the aircraft is lonelier. I also get to appreciate my nice big comfy seat even more when observing the less comfortable passengers in economy.
Still a long way to go.
I decided to go back to my seat and get some sleep as I was still pretty tired and low on sleep hours. A couple hours later I was awaken by the F/As who were offering mid flight snacks. I decided to try them out.
Here you can see some kind of chicken meat on a stick with some kind of red sauce. Normally I would not eat this thing, but I decided to eat it so that I could report back on A.Net if it was good or not…. It was not good.
After the mid flight “snack” I spent a few hours watching movies and napping. Eventually we made our way past the Dominican Republic and were approaching PTY
. About 2 hours before arrival, the crew came out with the second food service.
Meal service was finished and I was just relaxing and counting the minutes until descent into PTY
We finally began descent and approach into PTY
. The cabin crew began collecting all remain service items, giving back the jackets, collecting the headsets, and ensuring that people had their seatbelts on and their seats in the up-right position.
We flew in a southwest direction and passed the airport in a parallel route and then turned right 180* to intercept the runway- 03R.
If you look carefully, you can see the airport/runway just to the left of the tip of the wing.
Turning right 180* back to the airport.
Touchdown was very smooth, however the pilot left the plane on its rear wheels for a few seconds then suddenly began pressing on the brakes—perhaps he realized that he was running out of runway and needed to slowdown immediately.
Welcome to PTY
. This is truly Copa territory and the KLM MD
-11 sticks out like a white elephant in a black room.
We had arrived about 1 hour late and because a majority of the passengers (I would say 80%) were in connection to other destinations, I would assume that many Copa flights departed late as they had to wait for the KLM passengers.
Based on today’s flight (Economy and Business were 100% full) I would say that KLM is doing very well on this route. In addition to having healthy loads, I would say that the yields are good, because the WBC fares are not cheap, and neither are the economy class fares. I bought my ticket in March and I paid a lot more than the fares out of UIO
--these flights are longer and use more fuel, so I am guessing that KLM’s profit margin on this flight must be pretty high.
Taken from the jet bridge.
I enjoyed taking KLM and I think that they have an average product. The only reason I took KLM this time was because I wanted to try out the new service from PTY
. To be honest, I think that I will be sticking to either Continental and/or Air France for my European destinations, as they offer a much better product (lounge, seats, service, and overall experience).
The KLM flight attendants were not as cold and rude as some I have experienced on Air France, but they were also not very friendly and cheerful as on Continental and Asian airlines.
I hope that KLM does well on this route and it is evident that this route is doing so well due to the fact that Copa feeds a lot of passengers. Once Continental and Copa leave SkyTeam for Star Alliance, I don’t know if Copa will continue to feed passengers, and if they don’t then I expect this route to fail.
However, I would welcome Lufthansa with open arms!!
I hope you enjoyed my trip report and please feel free to leave any questions and/or comments.