ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:51 pm

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/005_zps9527b9d6.jpg




I N T R O D U C T I O N
A gorgeous tri-holer that needs no introduction. With KLM, the MD11 served its purpose -and then some- since 1993, mostly covering flights across the pond to North America and the Caribbean.

Today as I type this, there are no more passenger services on this aircraft, which means its farewell not only marks the end of the MD11, but the closing of the 'tri-holer' chapter. As today's aviation becomes more and more mainstream, this farewell is perhaps my most sentimental to date.

For KLM, this also concluded a relationship with the 'Douglas' aircraft family that lasted almost a century. As one of the world's oldest airlines, KLM is the only airline to have operated Douglas / McDonnell Douglas's entire passenger product line ranging from anything from and in between DC 2's, 8's , 10's and the MD11; you name it, KLM had it!

For me, the KLM MD11 was a special aircraft that took me places back in the day. Apart from one Swissair flight, the rest of my MD11 flying was on KLM, and it was mainly between Amsterdam and Memphis/Atlanta. As enthusiasts, we looked up to the MD11 as her legacy sister -the DC10's- heir to the tri-holer throne, but she also was a uniquely beautiful aircraft to admire on its very own.

As with other three-engine widebody aircraft like the TriStar and the DC10, the MD11 was equally ahead of its time, and deserved a little more life to it. But sadly, when economies come to play, they dictate what remains on stage.

Join me on a quick trip I deemed necessary to commemorate the end of the tri-holder era. While it was not the official farewell (nor the upcoming pleasure flights on 11 November 2014), this was the beginning of the end for at least one more in the fleet; luckily for me it was my favorite lady, Audrey Hepburn!



http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/006_zpsf9442674.jpg




WELCOME TO MY 48th TRIP REPORT
This report covers my KLM MD11 flight -a few days before the final passenger service- between Amsterdam and Montreal, in Economy Class.



FLY RONI
This report will also be available on my website - www.flyroni.aero - along with the rest of my previous work. The main focusas always will be on trip reporting, but photos and videos are also available! All non-commercial, and purely for enthusiasm. No attitude, and no pretense; everyone is welcome!

Please take a look, and do follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you like, to keep current with all updates!



B A C K G R O U N D
This was a last-minute trip I put together after contemplating whether or not I should snag one more MD11 flight before it retired. My previous attempt at this was when KLM briefly operated the tri-holer into Dubai towards the end of last year. But boy was I glad those plans did not materialize as the outcome of this trip was of much greater value.

Tickets were easily purchased through KLMs website with no major issues. My seat on the MD11 was specifically selected in the Economy Comfort cabin, not because of the additional legroom, but because I wanted to sit close to the engine, and 11J was the closest one available.

While the Manage my Booking feature on the website was fairly straightforward and relatively typical, I faced some problems when checking in for my flight the night before. But while KLM had its temporary issues, I hopped over to Air France's website which checked me in just fine.



Online check in at Air France's website

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/007_zpscea7bc32.jpg


Air France branded boarding pass

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/008_zps0830a871.jpg


And finally, a KLM branded one after several attempts

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/009_zps0c118bc4.jpg




BRIEFLY FROM ABU DHABI
My trip originated from Abu Dhabi, and I will post a few pictures here to summarize the overall journey to Amsterdam on PH-AOA, an A330-200 that I am all too familiar with on the AMS-AUH-BAH rotation.



KLM check-in signage at AUH Terminal 1

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/010_zpsf6900499.jpg


Boarding passes issued all the way to Montreal

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/015_zps363a0a32.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/020_zpsf449a4ee.jpg


Travel document pouch

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/025_zpse5204896.jpg


The beautiful blue that lights up the AUH tarmac every night!

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/030_zps4c548eea.jpg




Service on board was typically KLM with smiling crew professionally attending to passenger needs. A quick drink/sandwich service was offered after takeoff, and the crew gladly offered me a second sandwich when I requested it.



Cheese sandwich after takeoff

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/035_zpse4a91e29.jpg


Breakfast service commenced shortly before arrival

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/040_zps7d94cbcb.jpg


My choice of omelet over the pancakes for breakfast

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/045_zpsa13fdf1d.jpg


And here is PH-AOA peeking its nose at Schiphol

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/050_zps69892afa.jpg




THE MD11 PRE-FAREWELL
I cannot remember how I spent my 8 hours at Schiphol, but it surely was not at any lounge. It was quite a rainy day and taking photos outside was too much effort. Instead, I spent it walking around the terminal and inhaling the slightly-sterile surroundings that I love about this airport. However, Schiphol was undergoing some terminal renovation works throughout the airport but it was set up in a fairly organized manner that at least did not affect me much.



FIDS

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/055_zps76dbf2af.jpg


Terminal view

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/060_zps0f18d1b0.jpg




After a quick shower at Mercure Hotel's shower facilities, I headed over to Gate E6 where a long queue was already formed ahead of a quick document check station.



At Gate E6

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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/065_zpsd8d363b0.jpg


It's general boarding for me today!

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/080_zps6a7ded67.jpg


And here is Audrey Hepburn getting ready for our journey

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/075_zps86c14fb7.jpg


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Approaching the security screening and document checkpoint before the holding area, one of the security staff that was attending to the passenger's baggage as they entered the screening machine yelled out for everyone's attention. Initially I thought it was for some typical security announcement like 'no liquids' blah blah blah, but instead, it was about the MD11!

"Everyone, if you understand English may I have your attention please?"
"You see this plane out there? This is the one you are flying on to Montreal today"
"And it is this plane's last flight, before it gets retired"
"If this interests you at all, I hope you will cherish the last few moments and enjoy your flight"



Apart from me where in two moments I switched from sleepy to wide-eyed, everyone disregarded this man's mini-speech as quite passé, which somewhat annoyed me. While it wasn't Audrey's very last rotation as he pointed out, it still was the beginning of the end.

Documents checked, and security screened, I was sterile enough to proceed. Through the aerobridge, the queue gradually moved towards Door 2L of the aircraft. What a nice sight it used to be seeing a 'door-less door' during boarding, thanks to the upwards sliding door mechanism that was prevalent on tri-jets (it then became a norm on 767's as well, but it wasn't as fun).

At the door, and with my KLM branded t-shirt, a big black camera bouncing off my belly, and the cheesiest smile ever, the crew's eyes all lit up with happiness at what just strolled into their MD11.

"Ah, finally. There is our fan!"
"Yes indeed. I flew from Abu Dhabi to be here"
"Are you joining us for the farewell on Sunday?"
"Unfortunately not as I have to fly back to Abu Dhabi tonight"
"Oh wow! Thank you for your commitment, it is an absolute pleasure to have you on board sir"

There were 6 crew members at the door during boarding, and each one of them warmly greeted me and shook my hand as a form of gratitude. It was at this moment when I thought my typical flight was going to be a tad more special because we were all on the same page of sentiment.



CONTINUED BELOW
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:53 pm

AMSTERDAM TO MONTREAL
AMS-YUL
Scheduled Departure: 15:25
Actual Departure: 15:30 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 16:50
Actual Arrival: 16:50 (Touchdown)

Registration: PH-KCE (Audrey Hepburn; 95 Years sticker)
Remarks: Just shy of 20 years old, delivered to KLM in November 1994



Welcome to KLM's MD11

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/105_zps686745fb.jpg




AUDREY'S PRE-FAREWELL
For a 20-year old aircraft, this MD11 was in pristine condition. Not a thread was out of place, and it was clear that KLM really smothered their MD11s.

As the cabin filled up with passengers, I made my way to my seat at 11J. After stowing my luggage in the extremely wide MD-style overheads, my soon-to-be seatmate asked if I could switch my window seat with her husband who was sat on some aisle seat, as they wanted to sit next to each other.

No offense to the very nice couple -who later understood why I was so weird- but I immediately declined as there was no way my window seat was not to be sat on by myself. Not on this flight, no!



The cabin

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/110_zpsc41e733a.jpg


The seat

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/100_zps4cd29498.jpg




Being in Economy Comfort, my seat offered ample legroom, and was comfortable enough for my journey. I now only had to plan how many times I needed to hop over my two seatmates in the least possible annoying way during the flight.



Leg space

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/115_zps6828ccc3.jpg


Such signage is the exact point where old meets new

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/120_zps0108d175.jpg


Overhead vents and signage

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/125_zpsa99688df.jpg




The remaining portion on the ground was relatively routine, with cabin crew ensuring everyone was settled in before takeoff. When the doors closed, announcements were made by the crew to welcome us on board, and the captain also advised us of our flight time which today was just over 7 hours to Montreal.

At 3:30pm, we pushed back and for probably my last time, I got to hear the engines crank up to a constant hum three consecutive times. And after a 15 minute taxi, we thundered down the runway after an ultra-slow and graceful turn towards it to line up.

What I forgot about was how much power this aircraft had to it. After a relatively quick takeoff, we shot up to the sky in very brief moments and it was very noticeable. And after liftoff, Audrey commenced today's journey to Montreal.



Climbing through the clouds towards sunlight

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/130_zps8f18df28.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/135_zps0e282122.jpg


Reaching cruise

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/145_zps17355a18.jpg




IN-FLIGHT
At cruising altitude, the seatbelt signs were pinged off and the crew was released to commence the service.



Cabin during climb

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/160_zps984d7136.jpg


Today's jounrey

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/150_zps1beee009.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/155_zps273a2571.jpg


I very much enjoyed looking out the window

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/165_zpsb02f4607.jpg


Service commenced with the handing out of headsets

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/140_zps3396e95e.jpg




I excused myself to get up and snap some photos of the cabin, and thought I would 'hang out' a little as I did not want to be strapped in my seat the entire time. During this time, the senior Economy Class steward -a die hard KLM MD11 legend- approached me to have a quick chat. Of course, like the rest of the crew today, he is an MD11 veteran that was specifically selected by the airline to operate the farewell flight. And today was his and his colleagues' positioning to Montreal in order to operate the final passenger service two days later.

"Please enjoy her last few moments. All of us here are so sad that she is leaving us"
"And please take as many photos as you like!"
"Thank you ever so much"
"I will come back to speak with you later after the service"



Cabin shots

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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/175_zps9acd32bf.jpg




The service had already commenced while I was away from my seat, so I decided to stick around until the trolleys disappeared from the aisles. I was standing by Door 3R -the midpoint between the two Economy Class cabins- and in between about eight beverage trolleys scattered across the cabins. As the crew passed me by on several occasions during the service, they seemed happily entertained by my presence as they all stopped by for a quick chat.



Beverage service trolleys in the cabin

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As the beverage trolley made its way towards me, I was asked if I wanted to have my drink at my seat.


"I don't want to keep disturbing my seatmates before they think I am weird or something"
"You are weird! But we absolutely love having you with us today!"
"Thanks!"
"Have your drink here! What can I get you sir?"
"I'll have a Diet Coke please"
"Certainly. Here, take the whole can too"



Diet Coke served with a small packet of almonds

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/195_zpsf22f8b8e.jpg


Hot towels then followed

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/200_zpsd38059ad.jpg




Since it was food time, it was absolutely mandatory to return to my seat. On offer today, was a choice between pasta or meatballs, of which I opted for the latter.

KLM's meal trays come in their 'Delicious Dutch Dining' theme which is meant to accentuate Dutch artwork, design, and traditions. Today, my meal tray was just that where the plate covers featured deep blue Dutch artwork; very KLM, very stylish!



Lunch is served

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/205_zpsbe550188.jpg


Tomato juice

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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/215_zpsd6982bf0.jpg


Salad

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/220_zps4fce5bdc.jpg


Condiments

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/230_zps4a245ffb.jpg


Cutlery pack

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/235_zps67d2ec3f.jpg


Beef meatballs, onion gravy, mash of potato and red cabbage

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/240_zpsdb730fc4.jpg


Dessert

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/225_zpsd5c39262.jpg




The meal was as KLM likes to say "Dutch and Delicious". Everything from the salad, to the main course, and down to even the cheese and the crackers was plentiful and very tasty.



A cup of coffee after lunch

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/245_zps6ad3e597.jpg




Even after the cup of coffee I had, I still managed to mysteriously dose off for a couple of hours. With all the excitement, the flight from Abu Dhabi, and long week at work prior to this, my body decided to shut down and escape everything for a little while. But I happily woke to the mid-flight ice cream service.



Ice cream service offered mid-flight

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/250_zpscf15a0a7.jpg


Not too long to go

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Inflight literature

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/265_zps4b6152ef.jpg




With just a few hours left for the flight, I was out of my seat again, and it remained this way until we reached top of descent. The rest of the time was spent roaming around the cabin and taking it all in one last time.



Lavatory

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/275_zpscbf1bd33.jpg


The second meal service commenced, and I skipped it!

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/270_zps3a6c3135.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/280_zps2d0d9d58.jpg




I was approached again by the purser whilst I was geekishly obsessing over the aircraft.

"Sir, please come with me to the Business Class cabin. I have someone that specifically want to talk to you"
"Oh? Did I cross my limit?"
"Noo not at all! We told him you are our fan, and he wants to speak with you"


It turns out it was the Chief captain of the MD11 (and A330) program at KLM. He was perhaps the most sentimental of the bunch today. He had this look of sadness to him as he was deadheading on today's flight. He wanted to man the plane back to Amsterdam on its farewell flight two days later.

We chatted briefly, and he thanked me (for the hundredth time) for supporting. And he also handed me a farewell certificate.

"I am not supposed to hand these out today, but because you cannot join us for the farewell, please accept this certificate from us today"
"You will see that it is dated for Sunday, but just ignore that for two more days"



And of course, a picture was in order!

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/290_zpsb20a3ae5.jpg


And a quick shot of World Business Class

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/285_zps26aa09f0.jpg




And following that, my time was spent chatting with the crew where each and every one of them had their own MD11 story as they flicked through their private photo collections on their respective iPads. Each one was seen in at least one sendoff of the previously-retired birds waving out of cockpit windows, or from different doors of the aircraft. It was this moment when it hit me; these people are hardcore KLM MD11 legends. Not only were they sharing their MD11 story with me because I was the fan, but because they want to relive their 20 years with this plane as it was going to leave them behind in just a matter of days.



So we celebrated with some photos

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/295_zps7f834231.jpg


MD "11"

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/300_zpsde48fc21.jpg




I was then taken around the aircraft by the crew to show me some of its unique frills. The first one being the remains of what was going to be the introduction of crew rest facilities on the MD11 to be located in a cargo panel on the lower deck. Only one aircraft in the fleet was equipped with this, but the others had leftovers of what was going to be. Only now, the designated entrance to the planned crew rest is now nothing but a storage area for the crew's luggage. And apparently this was the reason why KLM's MD11s were only confined to the Americas and the Caribbean.



The signage was already in place

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/305_zpsd02b98a4.jpg




The second was a fuse box that is located in the aft galley. When I asked if I could take a picture of it, the response was "Sure. What's going to happen now? It's going away anyways haha".



Fuse box

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/310_zps4072678a.jpg




And as we roamed around the cabin looking for little perks, it was evident that my 'tour guide' was really bidding farewell to his beauty bird. And so I watched and listened.



Water dispenser

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/315_zpsb4391b08.jpg


You can replenish the lav from an outside compartment

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/320_zps6e64341f.jpg


A previous MD11, stripped to its bares before flying to its resting place

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/325_zps9cf1e73e.jpg


A pull-out wash basin that was planned to compliment the crew rest facility

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/330_zps92b37f2b.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/335_zps228647bd.jpg


And the infamous aft galley

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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/345_zps10480256.jpg


CONTINUED BELOW
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:54 pm

DESCENT & ARRIVAL
At 4:20pm local time in Montreal, the time has come and the flight was ending as we commenced our descent towards Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. And at 4:50pm -bang on the scheduled arrival time- we touched down hence, closing my very own MD11 chapter.



Docking next to sister operator Air France

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/355_zps9e6db644.jpg


Passengers disembarking

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/350_zpsfa7e8e6d.jpg




I was invited to remain on board for a little while after everyone disembarked in order to take photos. And this is exactly what I did.



My final cabin shots

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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/395_zps875b1675.jpg




And I just had to visit the cockpit before disembarking the aircraft!



Cockpit photos

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/400_zps3f39d970.jpg


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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/410_zpsa77a35f2.jpg




And after bidding my farewell to the crew, one of them approached me for some final words.

"You're the guy that flew in from Abu Dhabi to be on this flight? And going back home tonight too?"
"Yes. That's me"
"RESPECT!"



And this ends my MD11 journey

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/425_zps666f4b57.jpg




C O N C L U S I O N
While this wasn't the official farewell, it was commemorative enough for me to appreciate being a part of. Not only was I waving my goodbyes to long-haul three-engined aircraft, but I witnessed true legends of an aircraft as they spent their final moments of sweet-sadness before parting ways.

KLM is one of a several few true legacy airlines that embrace some of the industry's richest culture and history. Aviation will not be what it is today without KLM being a part of the bigger picture, and today marks the end of a significant part that KLM had held onto for almost 100 years (where else in the world can you round a figure of achievement up to 100 years?).

I was happy to have experienced people around me who had ties to history that not even my elder relatives could have reached. These people weren't just here for the MD11, but they had relatives, mothers, and fathers that, at some point or another in time, had worked on various of the classic versions of the "Douglas" passenger product line, of which KLM had operated each version out there!



A few more pictures to conclude

dddhttp://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/430_zpsd6fcb05c.jpg


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http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/440_zps2639a8ac.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/445_zps6caf506b.jpg


http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/450_zps04dc64ee.jpg

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/ronerone/KLMD11/455_zps0a165128.jpg




This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!



Thank You,
Roni
www.flyroni.aero



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SaschaYHZ
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:27 pm

Nice report! I never did get to fly the MD-11. I did, however, get to fly its mother the DC-10 which was pretty old school. I flew on one in the late '90s with UA on a LAX-HNL segment.
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:18 pm

Nice report Roni! i sat in the same row, on the same flight on the same airctraft 24 hours before you. Shame we missed each other! Great that you had such enthusastic crew. I foudn the guys on my flight rather grumpy, especially the woman manning the back galley.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
KLM's meal trays come in their 'Delicious Dutch Dining' theme which is meant to accentuate Dutch artwork, design, and traditions. Today, my meal tray was just that where the plate covers featured deep blue Dutch artwork; very KLM, very stylish!

Interesting, we had a chicken and mustard dish rather than meatballs. Tasty though! And a great design
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777Jet
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:40 pm

Great trip report, mate!

Always good to see trip reports on these final MD-11 flights...
DC10-10/30,MD82/88/90, 717,727,732/3/4/5/7/8/9ER,742/4,752/3,763/ER,772/E/L/3/W,788/9, 306,320,321,332/3,346,359,388
 
caleb1
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:22 am

Another masterful report Roni! So glad that you were able to experience this wonderful aircraft on one of her final flights. Kudos to you, and all the best!
 
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dirktraveller
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:36 am

Hi Roni,

Great to see you were able to log 'Audrey Hepburn' before she is retired. The MD11 looks very well maintained inside-out, and she's still as beautiful even 20+ years after in service.

I believe you had a great time on board this piece of history and it was even more lovely to heard the enthusiasm all the crew members had in your flight. Certainly made a trip from AUH and back more than worth it!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I thought it was for some typical security announcement like 'no liquids' blah blah blah, but instead, it was about the MD11!

That was a nice touch! Not everyday you get to see security personnel being so caring about the aircraft parked at the gate.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Please enjoy her last few moments. All of us here are so sad that she is leaving us"
"And please take as many photos as you like!"

I can feel the sadness out of the crew on bidding this plane farewell. It was really touching to see all their enthusiasm and effort in showing you around the MD11.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
KLM's meal trays come in their 'Delicious Dutch Dining' theme w

Now the catering on your flight definitely live the 'Delicious Dutch Dining' theme. They look tasty and it seems to be very well presented for an economy class meal.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):

"Sir, please come with me to the Business Class cabin. I have someone that specifically want to talk to you"
"Oh? Did I cross my limit?"

Oops, that was kind of scary. But glad that it turned out very well instead!  .

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
"I am not supposed to hand these out today, but because you cannot join us for the farewell, please accept this certificate from us today"

That was a really nice touch. You certainly deserve the certificate, my friend.   .

Thanks for showing us your journey on this MD11, it's been a wonderful read.
Looking forward to your next report!

Best Regards,
Dirktraveller
 
beeweel15
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:58 am

Great report. MAD DOG 11 "BLUE SKIES AHEAD"
 
yapple
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:19 am

Hi Roni,

Once again, a superb report! Great photos and narration. I don't think I've encountered (not that i flew alot though) such an enthusiastic crew before! If only all the crew were as enthusiastic as them haha. Glad that you chose to fly on the MD-11 for one last time!

yapple
 
AA737-823
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:40 am

I just checked out your website for the first time.
You have over a quater million miles on Cathay ALONE!!!
But, there's a glaring omission in your route map, I see: you've never once flown to South America!

There aren't many of us who consider the flight to be a destination in and of itself; cheers, mate!
 
Knightsofmalta
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:32 pm

Hi Roni

Thanks for the interesting report. I think I got a lump in my throat while I was reading...! I think with your report you have given the MD-11 a very personable and suitable send off and it's cool to see the KLM crew were also so enthusiastic about the aircraft. I will miss her.

In any case, thanks for posting.

Cheers,
William
 
mark2fly1034
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:10 pm

Very great report! I was wondering what camera lense(s) did you use? Is that a fish eye you have?

Thanks
 
EL-AL
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:36 pm

Hey Roni,

Thank you for beautiful report. KLM clearly knows how to handle aviation fans, I noticed that too, but you got a greater tour then me.

You need to have a good airline with beating aviation soul for that. When El Al retired its last 757, they barely published a press release, and nothing beside that. I tried to work with then to take some photos on the last flight, but nothing came out of it, there was no cooperation, I had to use arcive photos:

http://www.mako.co.il/news-money/eco...omy/Article-53f07e5f22d3b31004.htm

Thx for shearing, great report. The MD11 will sure be missed! Jonathan.
every day is a good day to fly
 
ronerone
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:50 pm

Dear All,

Many thanks for your comments.

Quoting SaschaYHZ (Reply 3):
Nice report! I never did get to fly the MD-11. I did, however, get to fly its mother the DC-10 which was pretty old school. I flew on one in the late '90s with UA on a LAX-HNL segment.

Hi SachaYHZ,

The DC10 was definitely the queen of tri-holers. My personal favorite was the TriStar though, but the MD11 was special too and to me it was like a midpoint between old and new world.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 4):
Nice report Roni! i sat in the same row, on the same flight on the same airctraft 24 hours before you. Shame we missed each other! Great that you had such enthusastic crew. I foudn the guys on my flight rather grumpy, especially the woman manning the back galley.

Thanks Gabriel  

Too bad we missed each other on KLM and in Montreal! Apart from a huge bowl of Poutine and two pints of beer in the terminal, i was right back airside for my next flight to Doha! haha.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 4):
Interesting, we had a chicken and mustard dish rather than meatballs. Tasty though! And a great design

Nice to see that their meals aren't too repetitive.

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 5):
Great trip report, mate!

Always good to see trip reports on these final MD-11 flights...

Thanks 777Jet. Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting caleb1 (Reply 6):
Another masterful report Roni! So glad that you were able to experience this wonderful aircraft on one of her final flights. Kudos to you, and all the best!

Hi caleb1!

Thanks for stopping by.

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 7):
Great to see you were able to log 'Audrey Hepburn' before she is retired. The MD11 looks very well maintained inside-out, and she's still as beautiful even 20+ years after in service.

Hi DT!

Indeed it was quite amazing to see this plane in such good condition.

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 7):
That was a nice touch! Not everyday you get to see security personnel being so caring about the aircraft parked at the gate.

Very true!

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 7):
I can feel the sadness out of the crew on bidding this plane farewell. It was really touching to see all their enthusiasm and effort in showing you around the MD11.

Their sentiment was the most remarkable part of this experience!

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 7):
Thanks for showing us your journey on this MD11, it's been a wonderful read.

Thanks for stopping by!

Quoting beeweel15 (Reply 8):
Great report.

Thanks beeweel15 !

Quoting yapple (Reply 9):
Once again, a superb report! Great photos and narration. I don't think I've encountered (not that i flew alot though) such an enthusiastic crew before! If only all the crew were as enthusiastic as them haha. Glad that you chose to fly on the MD-11 for one last time!

Hi yapple! Thanks for stopping by.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 10):
You have over a quater million miles on Cathay ALONE!!!

Hi AA737-823,

Yes, i do love my CX   hehe

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 10):
you've never once flown to South America!

I am dying to go. Yet i cannot seem to find the right time!

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 11):
Hi Roni

Thanks for the interesting report. I think I got a lump in my throat while I was reading...! I think with your report you have given the MD-11 a very personable and suitable send off and it's cool to see the KLM crew were also so enthusiastic about the aircraft. I will miss her.

In any case, thanks for posting.

Cheers,
William

Thanks William!

The MD11 departure was definitely my saddest farewell yet. Don't even want to think of the day that the 747 will leave us too! hehe

Quoting mark2fly1034 (Reply 12):
Is that a fish eye you have?

Hi mark2fly1034,

Yes it is!

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 13):
Thank you for beautiful report. KLM clearly knows how to handle aviation fans, I noticed that too, but you got a greater tour then me.

Thank you Jonathan!
KLM really hit the right spot for me that day.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 13):
You need to have a good airline with beating aviation soul for that. When El Al retired its last 757, they barely published a press release, and nothing beside that. I tried to work with then to take some photos on the last flight, but nothing came out of it, there was no cooperation, I had to use arcive photos:

Sadly, i can say the same thing about Royal Jordanian. They simply cannot fathom any enthusiasm for aviation whatsoever. Quite sad really!


Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
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OA260
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:33 pm

Hey Roni  

Before I clicked into the report I knew exactly what to expect and I was not disappointed. Thanks for this extensive farewell TR its the best I have seen on the KLM MD-11 for a long time. Such detail is rare.

Really nice the KLM crew played ball and made it a special experience. The food looks decent too.

Thanks for the report and safe travels.

Regards

Philip  
 
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HELyes
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:23 am

Excellent TR, thanks a lot!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
What I forgot about was how much power this aircraft had to it.

That's what I remember best, after MD11 rocket ride A340 couldn't feel more different  

I have only experienced Finnair's MD11, on HEL-BKK-HKG and an odd charter HEL-STN.
 
lpdal
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:53 am

Hi Ronerone, thanks for a great report and read.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):

Approaching the security screening and document checkpoint before the holding area, one of the security staff that was attending to the passenger's baggage as they entered the screening machine yelled out for everyone's attention. Initially I thought it was for some typical security announcement like 'no liquids' blah blah blah, but instead, it was about the MD11!

"Everyone, if you understand English may I have your attention please?"
"You see this plane out there? This is the one you are flying on to Montreal today"
"And it is this plane's last flight, before it gets retired"
"If this interests you at all, I hope you will cherish the last few moments and enjoy your flight"



Apart from me where in two moments I switched from sleepy to wide-eyed, everyone disregarded this man's mini-speech as quite passé, which somewhat annoyed me. While it wasn't Audrey's very last rotation as he pointed out, it still was the beginning of the end.

And too bad the A/C to the left of Audrey, the 744, doesn't have much years left herself...   

-LPDAL
All of my views and posted content are mine alone, and should not be viewed as official communication from my employer, its subsidiaries thereof, or any other entities or airlines.
 
Ryanair!!!
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:02 am

Sob... I myself had my own fair share of MD11 experiences with SR, LX an AY. Truly an amazing aircraft with those large windows, not like those on the A380 which cheats you of your big-window-experience. Hahaha...

Once again, hats off to your dedication.

Cheers
R
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
invaders
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:54 am

Great and detailed report. Good job   I was scheudled to fly MD-11 some years ago but a last minute change saw me ended up on the 772 instead, bit of a bummer if you ask me. I still remember first time on Schipol some 10 years ago standing and watching the long line of three-engines aircrafts from KL and NW, how times changes.

Anyway, the report you provide gives MD-11 a good sendoff. Looking forward to another report from your side in the future.

O
 
IwantaBBJ
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:32 am

Always great to see a crew that understands our hobby... thanks a million for an entertaining and well written report... Even had a tear in the corner of my sentimental eye 
 
fjnovak1
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:28 pm

Is the reason that they (and other airlines that operated the M11) get rid of it because it has a lot of residual value as a freighter, or is there another reason? Too expensive to operate? Just seems weird that it was only ten years ago that Northwest was getting rid of the DC-10, and ten years later the last MD-11 is operating in passenger service. Looks like a nice plane, I never had the chance to get on one.

Heck, Northwest was still ACQUIRING used DC-10's when KLM took delivery of their new MD-11. And Delta shed their MD-11's really quickly, although you'd think there'd be plenty of great uses for them in their worldwide network. I guess I am wondering why does it have such a shorter life (at least in pax service) than its older cousin the DC-10?
Go Blue!!
 
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Ryan h
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:03 pm

Grey report and photos.

Not quite the last flight, but good enough.

Similar thing to me and the final Qantas 767 flight coming up in December. Wanted to get on the last one, but not possible but the last flight from Adelaide is good enough.
South Australian Spotter
 
ronerone
Topic Author
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:17 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 15):
Before I clicked into the report I knew exactly what to expect and I was not disappointed. Thanks for this extensive farewell TR its the best I have seen on the KLM MD-11 for a long time. Such detail is rare.

Really nice the KLM crew played ball and made it a special experience. The food looks decent too.

Thanks for the report and safe travels.

Regards

Hey Phil!  

Thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed it  
Quoting HELyes (Reply 16):
Excellent TR, thanks a lot!

Thanks HELyes!

Quoting HELyes (Reply 16):
That's what I remember best, after MD11 rocket ride A340 couldn't feel more different  

And i love the A340 for just that reason too. It is the laziest aircraft I have ever been on hahah.

Quoting HELyes (Reply 16):
I have only experienced Finnair's MD11, on HEL-BKK-HKG

Indeed. AY's MD11 were popular on that classoc 5th freedom run.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 17):
Hi Ronerone, thanks for a great report and read.

Thanks LPDAL.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 17):
And too bad the A/C to the left of Audrey, the 744, doesn't have much years left herself...  

So true. I know i will be there to say goodbye to KL's when that time comes!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 18):
Sob... I myself had my own fair share of MD11 experiences with SR, LX an AY. Truly an amazing aircraft with those large windows, not like those on the A380 which cheats you of your big-window-experience. Hahaha...

Hola Ryinair!!  

I hate the A380 windows! You are so right, they are big big cheats!

Quoting invaders (Reply 19):
I still remember first time on Schipol some 10 years ago standing and watching the long line of three-engines aircrafts from KL and NW, how times changes.

Hi O,

I remember those days when all you could see outside where NW and KL tails lining up one after the other. Then it was Delta and KLM. Lately, I see more of the blue (which is better!)  
Quoting invaders (Reply 19):
Anyway, the report you provide gives MD-11 a good sendoff. Looking forward to another report from your side in the future.

Thank You!

Quoting IwantaBBJ (Reply 20):
Always great to see a crew that understands our hobby... thanks a million for an entertaining and well written report... Even had a tear in the corner of my sentimental eye 

Hi IwantaBBJ,

Thanks for stopping by!

Quoting fjnovak1 (Reply 21):
I am wondering why does it have such a shorter life (at least in pax service) than its older cousin the DC-10?

The MD11 came about when fuel prices began their upwards trek, when LCCs started flourishing and chipping away at the mainlines, and it was really the economics post 9/11 that tipped things over the edge deeming the MD11 (and trijets) too expensive to operate. While different airlines have different operating models, i am glad KLM had enough padding to keep their MDs till 'now'!  
Quoting Ryan h (Reply 22):
Grey report and photos.

Not quite the last flight, but good enough.

Similar thing to me and the final Qantas 767 flight coming up in December. Wanted to get on the last one, but not possible but the last flight from Adelaide is good enough.

Thanks Ryan h.

Hope you will enjoy QFs 'last' 767 too!  


Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
User avatar
ATA L1011
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:04 pm

Great report along with nice pics!
Treat others as you expect to be treated!
 
thaiflyer
Posts: 345
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:05 pm

Thanks Roni for the excellent report.
it is said to see the MD11 go away.
I have good memories on my times that i flew almost bi-weekly from AMS to BKK via ZRH with the Thai Airways MD11.
While this a long time ago i still remember it as the day of yesterday.
 
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allrite
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:19 am

Thank you Roni. For those of us who have never flown on a MD11 and now never will you have given us a wonderful impression of the aircraft. Despite its age the interior looks so fresh. And the last of the western passenger trijets (if you can't afford a private jet!) - there is something special about their appearance, something from another era. Just have to enjoy the very noisy FedEx and UPS birds while they are still allowed in our skies.
I like artificial banana essence!
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:47 pm

Hi Roni,

It is very rarely that we come away from reports on this forum with a feeling of sadness, but this report evoked it to a measure.

KLM have kept the final years of the MD11 very dignified indeed, with her immaculate interior and sheepswool covers still in the cockpit. Amazing.... its a shame they are sending her to the airline equivalent of a dignitas clinic... but as you say, efficiency rules the day.

I thought your dedication to capturing the routine of this flight were excellent, and particularly liked your mid-cabin vantage point of the services... I might try that in future. And, knowing you have a large camera, it is amazing how many stares you seem to avoid... there is always some fox-in-the-headlights passengers in my photos..

Once again, thanks for an excellent report!

Luke
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
Airdolomiti
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:04 pm

Thank you for a heartfelt, beautifully illustrated report! I flew to YUL earlier this year specifically to log at least one flight on the glorious MD-11. Much as the one you encountered, the crew on my flights were incredibly enthusiastic, and I stepped off PH-KCA with a feeling of sadness and nostalgia.
 
Flightsimboy
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:14 pm

This is one report that goes beyond any words to describe, a crew that felt exactly your own sentiments, encouraged you to take photos, came and chatted with you, and personally escorted you around on a tour guide. The stuff dream are made off, and you got to experience it with Audrey!! What an honour in itself for KLM to name it's MD-11 fleet after the world's most prominent women. And this report is a tribute to both the great women and the aircraft itself.

I had the opportunity to be close to an MD-11 at the Toronto Airport Street Festival last September, where traditionally a KLM jet pulls up close to the event. There are other static jets on display like an AC single aisle aircraft, FedEx planes, but the KLM jet is the showstopper! I can only imagine how much of a showstopper the events on this particular flight was, but not to forget the actual last commercial flight would have been as sad as a bride at a traditional wedding leaving her father's home.

The KLM T-shirt did add to the mood  . And it was especially nice of the deadheading Captain to hand you that certificate, even though the actual event was two days later.

Thank you for sharing this epic journey. I want to kick myself that I never made an attempt to go spotting earlier in the day on the weekends to get this beauty where she came along with her clones in the summer.
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
EddieDude
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:07 pm

Wow Roni! Congratulations. It is a wonderful trip report. I am so happy for you that you got to take one of the very last MD-11 flights.
Upcoming flights:
April/May: AM MEX-SCL 788 (J), AM EZE-MEX 789 (J).
 
ronerone
Topic Author
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:53 pm

Quoting ATA L1011 (Reply 24):
Great report along with nice pics!

Thanks ATA L1011  
Quoting Thaiflyer (Reply 25):
Thanks Roni for the excellent report.

Thanks Thaiflyer!

Quoting Thaiflyer (Reply 25):
I have good memories on my times that i flew almost bi-weekly from AMS to BKK via ZRH with the Thai Airways MD11.
While this a long time ago i still remember it as the day of yesterday.

Indeed, Thai's MD11's were striking sexy! That livery blended in perfectly with every curve on that plane  
Quoting allrite (Reply 26):
Thank you Roni. For those of us who have never flown on a MD11 and now never will you have given us a wonderful impression of the aircraft. Despite its age the interior looks so fresh. And the last of the western passenger trijets (if you can't afford a private jet!) - there is something special about their appearance, something from another era. Just have to enjoy the very noisy FedEx and UPS birds while they are still allowed in our skies.

Hi allrite,

Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully those cargo MDs will stay with us for a while longer!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 27):
It is very rarely that we come away from reports on this forum with a feeling of sadness, but this report evoked it to a measure.

Hi luke!

I am glad it did in a way. Because the experience itself brought a tad of sadness towards the end!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 27):
KLM have kept the final years of the MD11 very dignified indeed, with her immaculate interior and sheepswool covers still in the cockpit.

Very well spotted! I had not taken note of the sheepwool cockpit seat covers!  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 27):
I thought your dedication to capturing the routine of this flight were excellent, and particularly liked your mid-cabin vantage point of the services... I might try that in future. And, knowing you have a large camera, it is amazing how many stares you seem to avoid... there is always some fox-in-the-headlights passengers in my photos..

Actually, one twat sat on 30B complained to the cabin crew and demanded that he is not in any of the pics. Of course, the crew very kindly relayed that request on to me but encouraged me to otherwise continue taking photos  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 27):
Once again, thanks for an excellent report!

Thanks for stopping by!

Quoting Airdolomiti (Reply 28):
Thank you for a heartfelt, beautifully illustrated report! I flew to YUL earlier this year specifically to log at least one flight on the glorious MD-11. Much as the one you encountered, the crew on my flights were incredibly enthusiastic, and I stepped off PH-KCA with a feeling of sadness and nostalgia.

Hi Airdolomiti,

With things like this, KLM is definitely one airline that knows how to please!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 29):
This is one report that goes beyond any words to describe, a crew that felt exactly your own sentiments, encouraged you to take photos, came and chatted with you, and personally escorted you around on a tour guide. The stuff dream are made off, and you got to experience it with Audrey!!

FlightSim! Hi!

Thanks for your comments and insight as always  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 29):
What an honour in itself for KLM to name it's MD-11 fleet after the world's most prominent women. And this report is a tribute to both the great women and the aircraft itself.

Yes. I love the creativity and the meaning behind all the naming conventions they apply on their different fleets (e.g. the 767s were named after famous bridges if i remember correctly).

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 29):
Thank you for sharing this epic journey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 30):
Wow Roni! Congratulations. It is a wonderful trip report. I am so happy for you that you got to take one of the very last MD-11 flights

Thanks EddieDude!


Thank you all for your comments!

Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
NDiesel
Posts: 146
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:02 pm

Fantastic report Roni. Sentimental indeed to witness the end of the tri-holer era.

The MD11 is why I truly fell in love with aviation. In 2000 at the age of 14 I flew DL JFK-CDG on this magnificent aircraft, and when I woke up from a night's sleep close to England I remember how the large windows this aircraft had offered a magical view of the blue fairytale-land behind us.

A memory I'll never forget!
Delta MD-11 JFK-CDG - Upon sunrise I fell in love with aviation
 
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RJAF
Posts: 217
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RE: Audrey Hepburn Waves Her Farewell: KLM MD11

Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:29 pm

Always such a pleasure to read your trip reports Roni. Fantastic job...love the attention to details!

L-1011 trip report next?
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