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Tesla
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TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:18 pm

TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD
also including a domestic hop in US Airways economy from ORD-PHL onboard a 757


This Trip Report is the third of a series of six, beginning with the Final MD11 flight. Check out all the Trip Reports of this series!


Note: This Thread contains reports on my three World Business Class flights on KLM's Boeing 747-400s. Even though they are not in the proper sequential order of my trip, they are all flights on the same airline, on the same plane, with the same type of seat, so I've written about all three flights here. Post 1 will focus on my first KLM B747 flight, AMS-BKK, an overnight flight. Post 2 will focus on my second KLM B747 flight, HKG-AMS, and my overnight layover prior to my third KLM B747 flight from AMS-ORD, which is covered in Post 3. Finally, Post 4 will focus on the last flight of my trip, a domestic hop from ORD-PHL in economy on US Airways' B757.
  • TR'14 1/6: KLM Last MD11 in J, US CRJ PHL-YUL-AMS

  • TR'14 2/6: Garuda Indonesia B77W AMS-LGW in F

  • TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

  • TR'14 4/6: Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, 3rd-class train

  • TR'14 5/6: Emirates A380 BKK-HKG (F Suites)

  • TR'14 6/6: To Macau on TurboJET & Cotai Water Jet


TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD



AMS-BKK

KLM KL875

Friday, October 31, 2014

Departure: 17:35

Arrival: 10:05 on November 1, 2014

Seat: 1A World Business Class

Boeing 747-400


Today I was flying on my first flight in KLM's new flat bed seat in World Business Class. KLM introduced their new seat and retrofitted the 747 fleet first. All 747s were retrofitted prior to my flight today. I was very excited about this flight for a number of reasons. It was to be my first flight on a long-haul international flat bed seat, and it was to be my first flight on a 747 since I flew Air China from JFK-PEK back in August of 2005. The Air China flight had been in coach, but at the time, I had never been on such a large plane before. I was amazed at how many rows I had to walk back, cabin to cabin, to find my seat. Air China doesn't even fly 747s to the US anymore, having moved on to 777-300ERs. Ever since that flight, though, I had wanted to get on another 747 flight, as it had become my favorite plane. This trip was going to give me three 747 flights, a fact made even better due to the brand-new cabin on KLM.


I left downtown Amsterdam on the 14:43 train to Schiphol, which arrived at about 15:00. After the train, I located the designated check-in zone for the Bangkok flight, and found the Sky Priority lane guarded by a team of employees. I told them I was for Bangkok business class, and they let me in to the self-service kiosks. I completed check-in, and exit immigration, and headed to the lounge. The check-in zone for this flight was on the complete opposite end of the airport from the KLM Crown Lounge. I followed the signs to the second level, and then faced a very long walk down bare hallways put in place due to airport construction. Finally I made it to the lounge and relaxed there before my flight was set to board.


Temporary sign directing you to the lounge, a far way away from this sign:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-3cSXaQueSqk/VIePBO8Mt2I/AAAAAAAAAyU/_PO5-UuWIHs/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528276%2529.jpg


In the lounge, I checked my boarding pass and was faced with a similar dilemma as when I had flown out of AMS on Garuda Indonesia a few days earlier. I am used to a boarding pass displaying the boarding time followed by the departure time, but these AMS boarding passes list only the boarding time. Additionally, the boarding time on the pass seems to be excessively early, in this case 16:00 for a flight due to depart at 17:35. Over an hour and a half for boarding? Just like my GA flight, it seemed weird, but I went to the gate shortly after 16:00 all the same. My gate was E24, and it ended up being at the very end of the E concourse. This location reduced the opportunity for good photos of the aircraft, but after security, I did get one. I found a huge line extending from the gate at the end of the concourse all the way significantly down the concourse. I walked past the whole line to find no one at all going through the Sky Priority lane. I had never seen such a long line for boarding; I guess it's because the 747 fits so many passengers. And with Schiphol's security-at-each-gate, that line was going to be pretty slow-moving, as all the passengers had to go through security screening in one of only two stations. I was immediately admitted to the security area, and security screening was quick and painless. I entered the gate area to find, just like for my GA flight, boarding was nowhere near ready to begin, and so I was stuck waiting. It was about this time that I finally learned that the excessively early boarding time listed on the boarding pass is intended to allow 412 people of a fully-loaded 747 to clear security at the gate before the plane leaves. Having just seen the length of the line of people waiting to clear security, the 95-minute-early boarding time sort-of made sense. It might very well take that long for all those people to clear security. At the same time, if you don't have to wait in that long line, or if the line should happen to be shorter, a 95-minute-early boarding time is a waste of time, since once you enter the gate area, you cannot leave again, as you'd have to re-clear security. Schiphol is the only airport I've experienced with security at each individual gate, and I don't think I like it. For one, the airport has to invest in entirely too many security machines. Second, it is not efficient to have over 400 people trying to go through two security lanes all at the same time. All that aside, it is what it is, so I learned my lesson: Don't bother going to the gate at the stated boarding time. Instead, take an educated guess at the time the plane is actually going to board, and get to the gate shortly before that time. I would use this method on my next departure from Schiphol with good results.


Anyway I was forced to wait in the crowded gate area for over an hour. During my wait, I saw a lot of passengers taking pictures of the plane. This is not something I normally see. Typical passengers don't take pictures of planes. It must be the universal appeal of the original jumbo jet, the Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747. It's my favorite plane, so I could hardly blame those people for wanting pictures of it! Boarding finally began at 17:10. I personally thought 17:10, only 25 minutes before our 17:35 departure, was a little late to start boarding. To get up to 412 people onboard a 747 in less time than a domestic-US airline takes to board a narrowbody didn't seem like it was going to work!


At the gate in AMS:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3ITU_T-C5z0/VIePC4E4ieI/AAAAAAAAAyc/b1mCb8TUce8/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528278%2529.jpg


Today's 747-400 was PH-BFH, nicknamed Hongkong. Her first flight was March 30, 1990, and she was delivered to KLM on April 26, 1990. She has been with the airline ever since. I entered the aircraft through door L2, turned left, and walked through the Economy Comfort section up to the brand new World Business Class cabin. The cabin looked great! I headed all the way up to the front of the plane to my seat, solo seat 1A. Only 1A, 4A, and 4E don't have a seat beside them. With no overhead compartments above Row 1, I placed my carry-on in the closet at the front of the cabin. I then settled into my seat, KLM's new flat bed World Business Class seat.


Seat 1A, KLM 747:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-5ECSKesk1S4/VIePESzn9rI/AAAAAAAAAyk/qkZuPo-NRQc/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528280%2529.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oNDlDEAtFAY/VIePFOrfptI/AAAAAAAAAys/aB3IjUZl1do/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528281%2529.jpg


The seat was absolutely great. Keep in mind that I'm pretty new to international business class, so perhaps I'm easily impressed. (Though I would say I'm not easily impressed.) But I was really impressed! I liked the color selection, and the cabin was clean, and just looked professional. There was a ton of legroom, and the seat was wide. The aisle-side armrest was huge, and there were several storage places: a shelf under the large IFE screen, and two more areas on either side of the seat back, both of which had cupholders too. For my pre-departure beverage, I chose water. We were pushed back at 17:43, almost ten minutes late, but not bad considering the late boarding. The captain announced a 30 -minute late arrival into Bangkok...No problem! I'll take another 30 minutes in 1A! We headed to the runway, and I enjoyed the almost-forward-facing view out my three windows. Sitting in the nose of the 747 gives you a view almost striaght out the front of the plane! The new seat's IFE screen blocked the forwardmost window, so I guess the view could have been a little bit better, but it was a nice view all the same. I had a huge field of view, noticeably better than a usual view out of your window. We got to the runway and began a great takeoff. The pilot seemed to apply a decent amount of thrust, but then, he seemed to apply full takeoff thrust. The take off was really fast and powerful! Then, we climbed really steep! The 747 really has great takeoff and climb performance. It was really a great takeoff.


After takeoff, I adjusted my seat to a comfortable lounge position. The seat has no adjustable headrest, so I used the pillow instead. I checked out the options on the IFE system, and found several short videos about travel destinations. I watched the video on Hong Kong, since I was going there in a week and a half, followed by the video on Havana, Cuba, a "forbidden" destination for US citizens, and finally the video on Saint Martin, home of airline approach over the beach, and where KLM flies the 747! That's gotta be the best way to arrive to Saint Martin. A choice of nuts or cheese were served, and I got nuts and a Sprite Zero. It started smelling really good in the plane, as our fresh dinners were being prepared.


Nuts and Sprite Zero:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yfYLL5ZooQw/VIePGiIWaPI/AAAAAAAAAy0/FkZZYGH7ZQo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528282%2529.jpg


Meal orders were taken, and I ordered Shrimp with grapes and mint oil, served with 'Ajo Blanco' - garlic and almond soup and croutons as my appetizer, Rice salad with beetroot as my salad course, and Chicken medallions in a Thai coconut sauce with bok choy, mushrooms, and egg noodles as my entree. Service began with the appetizer and salad, which were only okay.


Shrimp Appetizer:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-f_G7H4iTMc8/VIePIezsx4I/AAAAAAAAAy8/nWBCDDyBlUo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528284%2529.jpg


Next entrees were served. Unfortunately I found it to be very bland. To go with my entree I ordered Genever & Tonic (Genever is a Dutch gin); I like my gin to go with tonic, but I don't think genever typically goes with tonic, because the flight attendant had a hard time understanding the concept of genever & tonic. The cocktail was good though.


Dinner:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-YuGDXXMxhc0/VIePJ5KLhHI/AAAAAAAAAzE/mwelOkZb6Ls/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528286%2529.jpg


Genever & Tonic:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AExGoF-xGG0/VIePKzInk3I/AAAAAAAAA1Y/URSvuHUJ5XA/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528285%2529.jpg


I wanted to try to sleep as much as possible on this flight. It was a nice long flight, so I should be able to get a good night's sleep, thereby avoiding jetlag on arrival into Bangkok. But right after dinner I wasn't ready to sleep just yet, so I decided to watch an episode of "Dragon's Den" on the IFE. I like this show, and it used to air in the US on BBC America, but it doesn't anymore.


Stretched out watching Dragon's Den:




Dessert was offered, and I chose a small chocolate cake and some fresh fruit. Delicious!


Dessert:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-vZPbUa71tFg/VIePN2HS_VI/AAAAAAAAAzY/rCpuzVMqrww/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528287%2529.jpg


After dessert and "Dragon's Den," I decided to try to go to sleep. Historically I cannot sleep on planes, but this was my first attempt on a flat bed seat. Let's just say that I slept great, probably more than seven hours. Insane! I've never slept anywhere near that long, or that well, on a plane before. I could totally get used to flat bed seats. Actually, I'm already used to them! I skipped breakfast (I'm not a breakfast person), but did get some orange juice. Delft Houses were offered, and I selected the newest one, #95, the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. Well, technically it's now only the Heineken Experience building, not a brewery anymore, but it was originally the brewery.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-8v_5-eUUJpw/VIePQa7otPI/AAAAAAAAAzg/kRGhr6EiVf0/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528288%2529.jpg


My first view of Thailand:




Nearing BKK:




We arrived on time and parked at the gate. A single jetway was connected to Door L2, so we exited through the galley. After we entered BKK, we were immediately directed to international arrivals, and the path offered no aircraft views. As we left the plane, we were given priority lane passes for immigration, and a welcome kit which contained a Thai SIM card. It was a pretty long walk to the immigration area, which had a pretty long line. Fortunately the priority lane had only a short line, and immigration was quick and easy.


Priority Pass and SIM card welcome kit:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Ty2Rgj5tDE8/VIePVM1ND0I/AAAAAAAAAz4/p7veLceBr6c/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528293%2529.jpg


After immigration, I waited for my bag for quite a while, just like on my KLM arrival into AMS on the MD11. I guess KLM aren't known for their bag delivery speed. I cleared customs and headed for the train to the city. I saw lots of currency exchange counters and SIM card/cell phone shops. I decided to stop and have my complimentary SIM card activated. Even though the counter wasn't that crowded, it took forever for each customer to be helped. Finally I got my SIM card activated, so I could finally move on to the train. I found the train area, and was disappointed to find the express train out of service, leaving only the local train. The express takes you nonstop from the airport to downtown, whereas the local train makes a handful of stops along the way. The local train was cheaper, but I always enjoy a speedy nonstop journey. I would later learn that the express has permanently ceased operation.


I purchased a fare and was given a token. You touch the token to a reader to activate it before boarding. The train arrived shortly, and everyone got off, but no one got on. I later learned you aren't supposed to get on until you're told. The extra time is used for them to clean the train. They seem to take a good deal of pride in keeping the trains clean. I got a seat in the train, but as we got closer and closer to downtown, stopping at more and more stations, the train ended up completely packed full. That would be another benefit of an express train - less people onboard. I had a seat, though, and was going to the end of the line, so the crowd wasn't too terrible. Finally we arrived to the end of the line, where I was going to transfer to the BTS skytrain. As you leave you must deposit your token into the fare gate to exit.


Bangkok airport trains:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-BWQiXhiN8QI/VIePV0iL_9I/AAAAAAAAA0A/EcISfrCbUOg/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%2528294%2529.jpg


Overall, this was a great flight. I am a huge fan of KLM's new World Business Class, at least in the solo seats. Service was good, not as great or special as KLM's final MD11, but still very good. And the fact that I slept more than seven hours during the night speaks for itself. My second flight with KLM, and I still highly recommend them.


To continue with my trip in chronological order, please leave this thread and go to Trip Report 4 of the series, "TR'14 4/6: Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, 3rd-class train".
 
User avatar
Tesla
Topic Author
Posts: 226
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:19 pm

HKG-AMS

KLM KL888

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Departure: 13:35

Arrival: 19:05

Seat: 1A World Business Class

Boeing 747-400 Combi


I arrived to HKG on the Cotai Water Jet from Macau. The ferry docked at the HKG Sky Pier, where I completed check-in formalitites and cleared security. When I checked in, I had been given a form to redeem for a refund of the HKD120 departure tax, a perk available to those arriving on the ferry from Macau. The refund desk was after security, and I received the refund in cash. I then took the HKG train to the departure terminal.


I entered the terminal and found a huge, modern airport. There were multiple levels of shopping and dining, and lots of gates. I went immediately to my gate, just to familiarize myself with its location. The KLM 747-400 Combi was already sitting at the gate. I looked out the windows and discovered that HKG is a planespotter's paradise. From my gate I could see a Korean Air 747, and across the way in another concourse, a United 747. Add to those a ton of aircraft from Asian airlines unbeknownst to me. I checked the time, and decided I had plenty of time to walk around the airport checking out the planes. I am most interested in the Queen of the Skies, the 747. It will be a sad day when she's retired for good, a process already underway with most airlines. I also look for A340s, a somewhat rare type. Below are some photos I took while planespotting in the HKG terminal.


First up: Korean Air B747. I had to go to the second level of the terminal, which consists of additional shops and restaurants, to get a good view of her:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-PKT55aX7Ms4/VIePdIAYDOI/AAAAAAAAA0I/2vBgndFv2AI/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281182%2529.JPG


China Airlines B747:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MVyAKKu7kSQ/VIePeg2mt9I/AAAAAAAAA0Q/y2aAU9sqgr0/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281183%2529.JPG


United Airlines B747:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ZtL4GoJD85o/VIePfy-pNhI/AAAAAAAAA0Y/u6BHte_WWaw/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281185%2529.JPG


Cathay Pacific A340:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hRoPebqTI60/VIePh-dwZqI/AAAAAAAAA0g/jk4xr-nhRjM/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281186%2529.JPG


THAI B747:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-C03C-P8J4Kg/VIePilRfYzI/AAAAAAAAA0o/fQmgn4dU9OM/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281187%2529.JPG


I had now walked throughout two entire concourses, and had seen a lot of different CX aircraft, but still no CX B747. Finally I saw one approaching its gate.


Cathay Pacific B747 arrives at its gate:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-eG61Ne9UrSA/VIePkp4KFlI/AAAAAAAAA0w/WT-JET7bOTs/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281188%2529.JPG


While checking out Cathay Pacific's B747, I saw South African's A340-600 arriving. That's not an airline I see every day!


South African A340 arrives to HKG:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-sHv0noZ95vA/VIePodQgVqI/AAAAAAAAA1A/21JNnOuIRwI/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281190%2529.JPG

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-lnR-F-rEGvc/VIePpM_Aj2I/AAAAAAAAA1M/JsMCNPAa0uc/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281191%2529.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-DqOCi_OEm5E/VIePpuR3D7I/AAAAAAAAA1Q/6QR0zumQkEw/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281192%2529.JPG


China Airlines pushes back:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-tcU0XN-sXno/VIePriSEdfI/AAAAAAAAA1c/VLegoJNVIVY/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281193%2529.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-AsAwSLU_KYw/VIePsfAI-vI/AAAAAAAAA1k/ouf2SVfTb7Q/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281195%2529.JPG


American Airlines' new 777-300ER service, nonstop DFW-HKG:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-zMw-fox-Ts4/VIePth0-FQI/AAAAAAAAA1s/4I-iX4X_g9E/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281196%2529.JPG


Finally I was done walking what seemed to be several miles throughout the terminal. This had to be the greatest number of 747s on display at any airport in the world. I hadn't seen EVA's B747, but come to think of it, I hadn't seen any EVA aircraft. They are all in the other terminal. I had become a bit tired from high speed walking everywhere, so I headed back to my gate to go to the lounge. I noticed a new aircraft had arrived: Asiana's B747, right next to my gate.


Asiana Airlines B747:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-skTIlHOXHPw/VIePvl6GkjI/AAAAAAAAA10/zJwbscVVfis/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281197%2529.JPG


At check-in I had been told that KLM uses the Qantas Lounge in HKG, and I had been provided with a rather poor quality map to get me there. I found an elevator entrance near my gate, which was closed, with no sign directing me to a different entrance. The lounges are on a different level from the departures level, so it isn't immediately obvious where the correct lounge is, or how to get to it. I looked for a little while, but by then it was getting close to boarding time, so I gave up. It was disappointing, because I would have like to relax in the lounge after walking all over the Hong Kong Airport!


My KLM B747-400 Combi:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-vR4zRVkuRxM/VIePxjjzogI/AAAAAAAAA18/y9tHWq83Np8/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281199%2529.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-PU03C0n-oBo/VIePyyr66uI/AAAAAAAAA2E/wTTq4MXn6dU/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281203%2529.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yA4v9KWYuv4/VIePz9e8FUI/AAAAAAAAA2M/nSV-Mk1BYEE/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281204%2529.jpg


Today's 747-400 was PH-BFK, a 747 Combi nicknamed City of Karachi. Her first flight was May 3, 1991, and she was delivered to KLM on May 21, 1991. She has been with the airline ever since. The stated boarding time was 12:55, and departure was 13:35. Even before 12:55, there was a very long line of people waiting to board. Well, boarding did not begin until 13:04. An announcement promised an on-time departure of 13:25, instead of 13:35, and no mention was made about the late boarding. Boarding began and we entered the gate and were able to walk down the jetway only to the point where it splits into a dual jetway. At that point the jetway wasn't yet open. We were forced to continue to wait, again with no explanation, until 13:11. I thought to myself that the announced on-time departure of 13:25 was not going to happen. Finally we were let onboard our 747 Combi. I was the first one to the forward World Business Class cabin:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-dNeiW9iy1bw/VIeP18wCsfI/AAAAAAAAA2U/atApd1SsVxc/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281205%2529.jpg


I again proceeded to the front of the plane to 1A, the same seat I had had on my last KLM flight from AMS to BKK.


Seat 1A:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-vShYCBLZGWg/VIeP2st_b9I/AAAAAAAAA2c/chcCvP1cRpo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281206%2529.jpg


Boarding continued until the forward World Business Class cabin was full, including a small child in 3B. I settled into my seat, and was immediately happy to have such a great seat for this 12h30 flight. Pre-departure beverages were offered from back to front this time. The tray contained water, orange juice, champagne, and Heineken. I selected a water and a champagne.


Pre-departure beverages:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-PFp9ZASoFG4/VIeP5EmxQvI/AAAAAAAAA2o/CqlDpaaa3Yo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281208%2529.jpg


I checked the IFE system for movie choices for today's long flight. On my previous two flights, I had skipped watching "22 Jump Street" so that I could save it for today's flight, so to my dismay, it was no longer available. On my previous two flights, I had seen ads for Philip Seymour Hoffman's film "A Most Wanted Man," but it hadn't been available on those flights. Happily it was available this time. We were given menus, and then the captain announced that there was a small technical fault that was being fixed, but we will be departing late. This caused concern among other passengers. The purser greeted everyone in the cabin individually, except for me, and told everyone else that the flight time was to be 11h45. At 13:44 the captain announced that the problem was solved. At 13:55 we still hadn't left, so lunch orders were taken, this time from front to back. At 13:58 we were pushed back, but then we sat there until 14:05, when we started our taxi. It was a pretty long taxi, but it was one which allowed for additional planespotting.


Korean Air B747:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-KoF-Iu_bZFs/VIeP53xGAJI/AAAAAAAAA2s/vnhfM8QKM7k/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281200%2529.JPG


I know what this is...the type of plane which brought me to HKG from BKK...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LSEHI90yUcQ/VIeP8DX7g4I/AAAAAAAAA20/IV_z5mfsJ2M/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281213%2529.JPG


...the Emirates A380:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Ulc0MwTYm40/VIeP-2Xp3rI/AAAAAAAAA28/774e3Z_WkEA/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281214%2529.JPG


An Emirates B747 Cargo. Too bad they no longer operate passenger 747s:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YVpXQXWur3Q/VIeQAqI_iqI/AAAAAAAAA3E/PqGAmY_ok0M/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281217%2529.JPG


Kalitta Air Cargo B747:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hy0hcnuuNMA/VIeQBZaSWeI/AAAAAAAAA3M/Uv42p6y93uw/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281219%2529.JPG


And finally, two Cathay Pacific jets:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-330Vv8y-sOg/VIeQC3SXjaI/AAAAAAAAA3U/JdQz8KdOf9w/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281220%2529.JPG


It was finally time to take off at 14:17. Right after takeoff, I wanted to watch something before service began, so I switched on a KLM show about a flight from Amsterdam to Stockholm, filmed in the cockpit of a B737. The show was only in Dutch, but was interesting nonetherless. Then I watched an episode of "Mr. Bean". Hot towels were distributed, and nuts, water and champagne were served. It was 15:00. The child in 3B started doing the typical child-talking-in-a-very-loud-kid-voice. It was then 15:30. It was starting to smell really good inside the plane! I watched an episode of "The Office". My meal order today was Lobster tail with avocado salad as my appetizer, Quinoa with mixed salad as the salad course, and Braised beef stew accompanied by couscous, roaster tomato, turnips and broccoli as my entree. Service began with nuts, and I had a glass of champagne and a water.


Nuts:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Ryf1SNDu9c0/VIeQFOPuMzI/AAAAAAAAA3c/igCGVeb_I2I/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281212%2529.jpg


The meal was served, and I enjoyed the appetizer and salad first.


Lobster appetizer & Quinoa salad:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-p4SITS7GAos/VIeQTfMW-AI/AAAAAAAAA3k/jausYpv2U6k/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281224%2529.jpg


I loaded up on warm rolls with olive oil. I've said before how much I like KLM's warm rolls and olive oil, but after 2.5 weeks in Asia, a region not known for bread, I was all the more happy to get them. Next the entree was served, and I made sure to take some more rolls!


Beef stew entree:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-36ehitXhusw/VIeQUF1HGNI/AAAAAAAAA3s/zX7bnt9LN1E/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281225%2529.jpg


The entree had very good flavor. Later, dessert was offered, but I had eaten enough to be pretty full, so I only took a couple pieces of fruit.


Fruit for dessert:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-XaXYbvR3Z5E/VIeQVsqvZFI/AAAAAAAAA30/5Ekj-7_og40/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281226%2529.jpg


Meal service complete, water bottles were handed out. I turned the IFE back on, and watched the movie "Let's Be Cops". I hadn't expected it to be that good, but I found it to be all right. I liked the concept, but it could have easily been better. After the movie, the flight still had 7h50 to go. We were somewhere over Mongolia or Russia when I saw the sunset. Hong Kong time 18:07, Amsterdam time 11:07, expected arrival 18:57.


Sunset:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UWW1ukSp6sQ/VIeQXfDtfAI/AAAAAAAAA38/Xvme7GnJg5o/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281229%2529.jpg


The child in 3B was still talking at full volume. My next movie was "A Most Wanted Man". I selected the movie, but it wouldn't start until after I watched a commercial for duty free shopping! A flight attendant offered drinks, but I declined, choosing to stick with my bottle of water. During the movie, at 6h of flight time remaining, a snack service began. I chose chocolate ice cream and a second bottle of water.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-4MiPLLhDq7E/VIeQY11uBZI/AAAAAAAAA4E/qjeBoxeM-To/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281231%2529.jpg


I finished "A Most Wanted Man" and according to the flight-tracking map, we still had more than half the trip to go! I liked the movie a lot. I was a big fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and this was his final film. It was really good.


Watching "A Most Wanted Man":

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-b3Z6Mv4gGaE/VIeQaceTR5I/AAAAAAAAA4M/HtZk6hbrAhQ/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281227%2529.jpg


We now had 5h40 estimated remaining flight time. It was 20:19 Hong Kong time (13:19 Amsterdam time). We were on a northerly route which would eventually take us north of Moscow. The child in 3B was still being loud, but somewhat less often. But now the French couple in 1J & 1K started having a loud conversation in French. A couple of people were trying to sleep, but the cabin lights were still on (although they were dimmed). Also, it was not an overnight flight, so it was much noiser onboard than it would be on an overnight flight. And the child was seriously loud, so I don't think I would have been able to sleep. The child's voice was so loud and high-pitched that it cut through anything. And the French couple was having such a loud discussion, it must have been about something good. I was not intending to sleep on the flight. Our arrival time was supposed to be 19:00, so why would you sleep all day, only to arrive at night and go to sleep again? I guess it's a way to pass the time, but I wouldn't be able to sleep in Amsterdam if I had slept the whole flight. My next movie was "Goodfellas". While I was watching it, at 21:00 Hong Kong time (14:00 Amsterdam time) the cabin lights were shut off. I finished the movie and it was 23:15 Hong Kong time (16:15 Amsterdam time). And we were only then approaching Moscow! 50% of the people were sleeping. We had about 2h45 to go, with an expected arrival of 19:03 local time (the arrival time had steadily crept up from an initial 18:53). I didn't want to watch any more TV, so I reclined my seat into a bed to listen to my iPod. For some reason, I wasn't sleepy, so it was easy to stay awake even in a bed. It was 23:50 Hong Kong time, so I was surprised I wasn't tired.


Relaxing:




At 24:00 Hong Kong time, the cabin lights were turned back on. They had only been off for about three hours. Soon it started smelling good in the cabin again. We had under 2h to go. It was time for our "light meal". I chose the warm option, Chicken jalfrezi with basmati yellow rice. The entree was much spicier than I expected! The mixed fruit was good as well.


Light meal:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Fn7BnXdnaRo/VIeQeO6uCNI/AAAAAAAAA4c/TY8N-dcJ-FM/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281232%2529.jpg


I requested a Genever & Tonic (genever is Dutch gin, and I like a gin & tonic, so why not a genever & tonic?) Last time I had ordered this, on my KLM flight from AMS to BKK, the flight attendant had had a hard time understanding the concept of a genever & tonic. I suppose genever isn't commonly mixed with tonic. Well this time was no different, the flight attendant had no idea what I was talking about. Eventually she suggested a Gin & Tonic, so I accepted. Next, dessert was offered: hot apple pie. The dessert was served quickly, and it was delicious.


Hot apple pie:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-O0r468paI1I/VIeQfQRUoZI/AAAAAAAAA4k/TGNNf8UxNxE/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281233%2529.jpg


The table was cleared quickly after I finished dessert. This was my fastest KLM meal service, but I guess it was technically a snack, not a meal. After the snack it was 00:33 Hong Kong time (17:33 Amsterdam time) with 1h30 to go. At 0h55 to go, Delft Houses were given out. We had just passed Malmo, Sweden.


I started thinking about the new KLM World Business Class seat. I really like this seat! It's so comfortable. The bed is long enough even for me at 6'4". The armrest lowers to increase sleeping space. The seat is comfortable when lounging, too. There is convenient storage with the cupholders/shelves on both sides of the seat back. The screen is a great size, and the remote is easy to use. There is an electrical outlet, and the noise-cancelling headphones are great. I really like this seat.


Seat controls:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-vWNm-0BdQmY/VIeQgoWw9wI/AAAAAAAAA4s/LEqcQVDR0Js/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281234%2529.jpg


We landed at 19:03 and we arrived at our gate at 19:08, making it the shortest taxi of the whole trip so far. We parked beside another KLM 747. Our gate was equipped with a dual jetway, but only one of them was connected to Door L2. World Business Class was sent back through the galley while they held back the economy passengers.


Cabin shot while deplaning:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-zGf7PP0pbKs/VIeQil1y72I/AAAAAAAAA40/cU8dpXidxeo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281236%2529.jpg


My home for the past 12+ hours, KLM BH-PFK, at the gate in AMS:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-nAa899TMvA8/VIeQkdlvZRI/AAAAAAAAA48/8H-EpKGWccs/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281237%2529.JPG


Flight over, I had one more thing to accomplish: a pour-it-yourself Heineken in the KLM Crown Lounge. Arriving passengers also have access to the lounge, and despite my other lounge visits, I hadn't poured my own Heineken yet. I headed to the lounge and enjoyed my beer.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-9vryR6R2DRM/VIeQlitAyQI/AAAAAAAAA5E/iIKORT8LD0E/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281240%2529.jpg


My checked bag was being transferred directly to my flight to ORD tomorrow, so I had no baggage to pick up at baggage claim. I cleared immigration and customs, and headed to the Schiphol train station. I took a train to Amsterdam Centraal, and enjoyed being in Europe again after 2.5 weeks in Asia.


Amsterdam Centraal:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-yupA1Sns4yQ/VIeQm46GI1I/AAAAAAAAA5M/bpXd4Uwcwqw/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281241%2529.jpg


This was a great flight...and it was a long flight! Even though my 2005 flight from JFK to PEK was longer, I couldn't remember it, and I hadn't been on such a long flight at any time in my memory. Almost 12 hours in the air! We had had a full meal, dessert, ice cream, and a full hot "snack" and dessert before arrival. I had watched three shows and three full movies, and had more time to spare. It was crazy how much time it actually is when it's a 12-hour flight. That being said, if it's a long flight like this, the new KLM World Business Class is a pretty good place to spend the time. I would not hesitate to take a longhaul flight with KLM again in the future. With three KLM flights so far, I had become a big fan of the airline and service. I really enjoyed all my KLM flights, and even though this one was quite long, it was great as well. And I had another 8h flight with KLM tomorrow, too!


Please go on to Post 3 of this thread for my next flight, another KLM 747-400 Combi from AMS to ORD, which took place the next day after my overnight layover in Amsterdam.
 
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Tesla
Topic Author
Posts: 226
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:20 pm

AMS-ORD

KLM KL611

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Departure: 12:35

Arrival: 14:25

Seat: 4A World Business Class

Boeing 747-400 Combi


My overnight layover between my KLM flights from HKG-AMS and AMS-ORD complete, it was time to head back to Schiphol. I am not one to take a taxi to the airport when there is reasonable public transportation available. Schiphol is regularly served by NS Netherlands Rail with quick service to Amsterdam Centraal. The train is only EUR 5, and the ride is only 15 minutes or so, making it the perfect option for airport transportation in Amsterdam. Well, today I was not going to be taking the train to the airport. Amsterdam has a fleet of Tesla Model S electric cars in use as taxis, and I simply had to take one of them to the airport. I had booked a Tesla taxi in advance with Taxi Electric, and my ride pulled up right on time.


I asked to sit up front, and the driver adjusted the seat for me. I spent the entire ride to Schiphol talking to the driver about the Tesla and about driving in the Netherlands. Simply put, it was the best taxi ride I've ever taken, and I would absolutely recommend a ride in a Tesla to get to the airport. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that the taxi fare was EUR 55, eleven times as much as the train fare, and the ride was no quicker than the train. But I love the Tesla, and you only live once. I was thrilled to get a Tesla taxi ride in Amsterdam!


Taxi Electric's Tesla Model S taxi:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-syiC1V3NR_4/VITRhb5Bv0I/AAAAAAAAAwM/baJtDIfjgyU/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281256%2529.jpg


Inside the Tesla taxi:



I entered the KLM check-in area, and the Chicago flight check-in zone was right where I walked in. I already had my boarding pass from my last flight. In HKG, I had been given a boarding pass for both KL888 from HKG-AMS and KL611 from AMS-ORD. I bypassed the kiosk, and checked my bag. I cleared exit immigration and headed to the KLM Crown Lounge for breakfast. Having been in Asia for 2.5 weeks, I was happy to eat several varieties of bread, rolls and croissants. I relaxed in the lounge, my lesson about Schiphol boarding times finally learned. Every other time I'd departed AMS, I had gone to the gate at the boarding time stated on my boarding pass, only to clear security and be faced with a long wait for the plane to actually begin boarding. I wasn't making the same mistake again. In fact, checking my boarding pass listing both flights, the KLM flight leaving HKG boarded 40 minutes prior to departure, while the KLM flight leaving AMS was supposedly boarding 1h20 prior to departure! I figured the flight would actually start boarding about 40 to 45 minutes in advance of departure, not 1h20. I decided to get to the gate about 45 minutes early.


My gate today was G03, the same gate I had departed from on my Garuda Indonesia flight 3.5 weeks earlier. I walked to the gate and, first things first, got a picture of today's 747. I then used the Sky Priority lane to bypass the very-long line of people waiting to "board" through security, and was immediately admitted to the security check. After I left the United States 3.5 weeks ago, I had been on seven different flights, and I had not been told to remove my shoes on any of them. Today I was told to remove my shoes, which I found odd. I went through the full-body scanner, and then despite the full-body scan, everyone was also receiving a full-body pat-down. And then, when my carry-on bag came out of the x-ray, an officer went into the bag and removed my phone and camera. He asked me to turn them on for him, which I did. I was initially very confused about this level of security, given that for my last seven flights, I had left my shoes on and my electronics off, and had received no pat-downs. That included two other flights out of AMS where I hadn't been asked to remove shoes, turn on devices, or get a pat-down. Finally I realized it was because I was flying into the USA. And that's all I'm going to say about that.


Security check cleared, my plan to arrive at the gate 45 minutes early instead of the stated 1h20 early worked perfectly. In only a matter of minutes, boarding began on time, and with Sky Priority, I was one of the first to enter my 747.


At the gate in AMS:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-64EJTn4GhUk/VITRjdPJ5vI/AAAAAAAAAwc/74ReiHWglLU/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281263%2529.JPG


Today's 747-400 was PH-BFW, a 747 Combi nicknamed City of Shanghai. Her first flight was October 11, 2000, and she was delivered to KLM on October 24, 2000. She has been with the airline ever since. This was to be my third (and last) KLM 747 flight of the trip. KLM's new World Business Class is generally made up of seats in pairs, meaning the window seat passenger would have to climb across the aisle seat to get to the aisle. KLM included three solo seats, though: 1A, 4A, and 4E. Since 1A is my favorite seat, I had sat there on my first two KLM 747 flights, and I had liked the seat very much. But this time I thought I should give another seat a try. Out of the other two solo seats, 4A and 4E, I chose 4A, the window seat in the last row of the forward World Business Class cabin. 4E is a solo seat in the back of the cabin with an aisle on both sides of the seat.


For boarding today, there was a dual jetway unlike what I've seen before. One jetway was connected to Door L2, and the other jetway went up and over the wing to go to a door somewhere in the back of the plane. I entered through L2, turned left, and walked through Economy Comfort up to World Business Class. I found my seat 4A. Unlike Row 1, the other rows have an overhead compartment above them, so I placed my carry-on there. I then settled into my seat, noticing the differences from 1A. The first thing I noticed is that there is a lot more room between the seat and the side of the plane in 4A than 1A. Seat 1A is situated all the way against the wall. Seat 4A has the most room to the side out of any seat in Row 1, 2, 3, or 4. Additionally, the foot area is not totally enclosed like it was in 1A. In 4A, the foot area is open on the outboard side. With the large gap between the seat and the wall, my initial thought was that I would prefer the enclosed foot area like 1A, so that your feet won't unexpectedly fall out of the foot area while asleep. I would come to prefer the open foot area of 4A, however. The next thing I noticed about 4A was how big and open the cabin feels from there. In 1A, you have the bulkhead immediately in front, and you're right up against the wall on your side. You can't see anyone else in the cabin, which is great for privacy, but I liked the open feeling of 4A. 4A is still very private, with no one beside you, and with 4E situated slightly behind, but unable to see you because of the shell of the seat. But from 4A you can see the whole cabin, and it's a nice open feeling. The other nice thing about 4A (and 1A) is that you have cupholders/storage on either side of your seatback. In the pairs of seats, each seat has only one such area. I also checked out 4E, and found it has a huge foot area, probably twice the size of 1A or 4A. It's enclosed, but huge. The downside of 4E is lack of privacy. You're right in the center of the back of the cabin. Any time anyone from Rows 1, 2, or 3 gets up, they're looking right at you.


Seat 4A (Notice that the foot area is open on the left):

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-yEwCXLGjehA/VITRmnn3BdI/AAAAAAAAAwk/HEVPzgVB0Wk/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281264%2529.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-cvik1k0v7og/VITRnpSSRjI/AAAAAAAAAws/DFBIqnBjO_Y/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281265%2529.jpg


A view up the side of the plane, showing the large gap between 4A's foot area and the wall, and showing that gap being reduced with each row as you go forward, up to Row 1 which has no gap at all:




Cabin overview from 4A: you can see the whole cabin, with an open airy feeling, but no one else can see you:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5k3zE_UYQr4/VITRq7mr9GI/AAAAAAAAAw8/9Fnu-itM77Q/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281268%2529.jpg


Safety information card for the 747-400 Combi:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-sN9_SvPR9es/VITRsLrrmqI/AAAAAAAAAxE/srNA6adc8w4/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281267%2529.jpg


A flight attendant came around with a tray of pre-departure beverages. Orange juice and water were on offer, so I chose an orange juice. Later I saw other passengers drinking champagne, so I asked for one as well, and then I mixed it with my orange juice to make a mimosa. The jetway was pulled back at 12:28, and we pushed back at 12:32, a few minutes early. We tookoff at 12:45 with a rolling start, and very nice power. I really do love flying on the Queen of the Skies, a great looking plane with a great takeoff. During our takeoff roll, I saw one of KLM's passenger MD11s parked over near the cargo terminal. I wish I had gotten a photo of it, but with my old camera it probably wouldn't have come out anyway. Once we were airborne, a flying time of 8h05 was announced, and we were told that since it was a flight to the United States, it is not allowed to congregate in the aisles or near the restrooms...another announcement unheard on every single one of my flights during this whole trip. Again, that's all I'm going to say about that.


Pre-departure custom-made mimosa:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-e9EISpoNAdI/VITRt4IW5JI/AAAAAAAAAxM/ApoKB0GYzLQ/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281266%2529.jpg


Menus were distributed and I found the same menu as I had had on my AMS-BKK flight. I suppose KLM can offer only a finite choice of menus, so come to think of it, I was surprised that I hadn't received a repeat on my three previous KLM flights. Unfortunately the repeat menu happened to be my least favorite of the three. I decided to order everything different than last time I had this menu. Appetizer: Forest Mushroom Soup. Salad: Rice salad with beetroot. Main Course: Dutch fillet of sole with sauce of mussel, puree of smoked potato, and seasonal vegetables. Service began with nuts, and I ordered a water.


Nuts and water:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-E8PsisLMRGE/VITRvsNTfaI/AAAAAAAAAxU/Qa9jLwuy-Z4/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281270%2529.jpg


Meal service began at the front and moved its way back. That would be another difference of 4A vs. 1A, meal service is quicker in 1A. Actually, later in the flight I found no rhyme or reason on if the service would be front-to-back or back-to-front. Some elements of service would be served either way, so actually 1A and 4A are pretty similar for service. My appetizer arrived:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-XMSqLYSTOxk/VITRxTnGAiI/AAAAAAAAAxc/atWJlgftB24/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281271%2529.jpg


Wow, the Forest Mushroom Soup was incredibly good! I was very glad to have ordered it this time. Actually, I regretted not ordering it last time I had this menu! As I ate more and more of it, I realized it was my favorite dish of all the dishes I'd eaten on all the KLM flights so far! Wow it was good. And then the warm rolls and olive oil, still as good as I thought on my first KLM flight with the MD11 back on October 25th. I really like KLM's rolls and olive oil!


Meal service progressed somewhat slowly, but I attribute that to being seated in Row 4 instead of Row 1, so I didn't mind. Eventually my entree was served:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-rrI6LDNd1dA/VITRzp_6IbI/AAAAAAAAAxk/BV_SoWvVLK4/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281272%2529.jpg


The fish was very good, much better than the chicken I'd ordered last time I had this menu. If only I had known and ordered this combination of dishes last time! Then again, had I done that last time, I would have probably not ordered them this time, which would have been very disappointing. Overall, I was very satisfied with this delicious meal.


Lunch service complete, KLM's signature water bottles were handed out. I examined the IFE selection, and found very few things I wanted to watch, considering the sheer quantity of things I'd watched on the 12.5-hour flight out of HKG. I watched a movie, I apologize but my notes don't include what it was. Then I decided to have a nap. I reclined my seat into a bed, and immediately appreciated the space next to the seat found in 4A but not 1A. I fell right asleep, and had a great nap. 4A felt much more spacious, in particular, the unenclosed foot area was great. After this nap I decided 4A beats 1A for comfort. You don't get quite as good a view out the front of the plane from 4A, but 1A's screen blocks the front-most window as well, so it's not a big deal. I woke up 2 hours later to the sound of food being served. We were just crossing from Quebec into Ontario, and had 1h40 (800 miles) to go. For the arrival snack I chose beef pie, which was served with Waldorf salad and hot apple pie, all together. The beef pie was quite delicious, as was the applie pie. I really enjoyed all the food served on this flight! To conclude my four flights on KLM, I decided to have one last Heineken. It was a great way to end the trip...except the trip wasn't over yet, I still had to fly home from ORD to PHL.


Arrival snack:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-B9l7MXBV45A/VITR1q2bkkI/AAAAAAAAAxs/414AEgX_dHE/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281273%2529.jpg


One last Heineken:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GwEcp0WtYLM/VITR2M__PwI/AAAAAAAAAx0/PDnDLShNAoU/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281274%2529.jpg


Coffee and tea were offered, followed by KLM's Delft Houses. I saw a number of people decline a Delft House! I like the Delft Houses, hardly any airline has something unique and special like them! I didn't understand why so many people didn't want them.


Nearing ORD:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oyipfxwdvrM/VITR2wy8GvI/AAAAAAAAAx8/wr5PGrzCD1w/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281275%2529.JPG


We entered the cloud layer for ten minutes, and when we emerged, we were already past downtown Chicago. It was a very gray day in Chicago due to that thick cloud layer. Shortly it was gear down, and we landed at 13:54, right on the stripes at the end of the runway. Then we had very strong reverse thrust. During taxi I noticed it was snowing lightly! What a change from the hot weather of Asia only a couple days before. I saw departing planes with their wings green with deicing fluid.


ORD Plane spotting from seat 4A: An American Airlines MD80. I need to get on one of these before they're all retired:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-trJV1XlD3m0/VITR3rQIvpI/AAAAAAAAAyE/LSks51egMzo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281276%2529.JPG


We parked at the gate at 14:02, and a single jetway was connected to Door L2. I exited through the forward galley. As the first people off the plane, we entered immigration to find literally zero passengers in any lines. Hmm it appears Global Entry isn't going to pay for itself this time! It was my first Global Entry experience, and it was extremely quick and easy to use the kiosk. I made it to baggage claim way before any bags were delivered. Eventually my bag showed up, I cleared customs, and took ORD's train to the US Airways domestic terminal for my flight home.


Overall, I preferred 4A to 1A. Almost as private, but with more space around your seat, and a more open, airy feeling, 4A is the seat I'd recommend, and the seat I'll choose from now on. KLM's food was great on this flight. If you have the Forest Mushroom Soup as an option, to me it was the best dish I had on KLM in four flights. Really, though, I was very impressed with KLM, and would recommend them to anyone. I'm sure no matter which seat you choose, you'll have a great flight in KLM's new World Business Class.


Please go on to Post 4 of this thread for my flight in economy aboard a US Airways B757, the final flight of my trip, from ORD to PHL.
 
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Tesla
Topic Author
Posts: 226
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:20 pm

ORD-PHL

US Airways US783

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Departure: 16:00

Arrival: 18:57

Seat: 22A Economy

Boeing 757-200


I have plenty of US Airways Dividend Miles, and I tried to use them to upgrade this flight to First Class so I could sample their angle-flat 757 Envoy seats for the first time. There were upgrades available, but they wouldn't allow me to upgrade because the ticket was on 006 Delta ticket stock. Disappointed, I looked for a good seat in economy. US Airways blocks all good seats for elite members, and additionally sells normal seats towards the front of the cabin for a fee, calling them "Choice Seats" - even though they're identical to any other economy seat. I decided not to pre-select a seat since there were none available that were particularly good. I hoped that as the departure date drew closer, the elites would be upgraded, thereby vacating the good seats or exit rows for me to request at the airport. Earlier in the day, I had arrived into ORD with KLM. Due to the multi-airline itinerary, US would not allow me to check-in online. Instead, once I had collected my KLM-checked bag and cleared US customs, I had to go to US Airways check-in. Similar to the first flight of this trip, economy on US Airways from PHL-YUL, I was able to use First Class check-in since I'm a US Airways credit card holder. The self-service kiosk showed only three center seats available! For some reason I was given the one towards the back, 30B. I checked my bag, and like on my YUL flight, the fee was waived due to my credit card. Also like on my YUL flight, even though I have Global Entry and a 100% success rate getting TSA Precheck, I did not receive Precheck. When I had went to YUL, I had wondered why, and I continued to wonder why this time. I walked to security to find a huge crowd and a very long line. I decided not to go through that security, and instead walked down the check-in area to the next security area. This one had no line at all, so I went through non-Precheck security pretty quickly.


Once inside the secure area of the airport, I headed to my gate, H13, at the end of the H concourse, to try to ask for a better seat. I found my plane, a Boeing 757-200 in the new American Airlines livery, but no gate agent. Initially confused, and wondering if an AA bird was subbed in for my US Airways flight today, I eventually found that it's "American Airlines operated by US Airways," so it is a US Airways plane, freshly repainted, flown with a US Airways crew, with a US Airways interior, and US Airways service. My 757-200 today was N203UW. This 757 has had a long life with several airlines. She was built in 2000 and delivered to American Trans Air in June of that year, registered as N525AT. She stayed with the airline as it changed its name to ATA Airlines. Her next stop was with Air Horizons, a French charter airline. She was delivered to Air Horizons in May of 2005, and registered F-GRNG. Air Horizons ceased operations in November of 2005, and by February of 2006, she was registered with US Airways as N203UW. And now she has been repainted in the new livery of American Airlines, but retains her US Airways interior, with 12 angle-flat Envoy seats and 158 economy seats (Seatguru US Airways 757-200 V3).


At the gate in ORD:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-dFhL6uL4gfA/VIS6HhFWODI/AAAAAAAAAvU/Lmuvn5ja0Fo/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281281%2529.JPG


I decided not to stand around the gate area, waiting for a gate agent, and instead went to the AA Admirals Club for a little while. Closer to boarding time, I returned to the gate to find that while they had not yet started boarding, there was a huge mob of people surrounding the boarding area waiting to board. I also found a very long line of people who wanted to see the lone gate agent. I feared that all the people had the same idea as me: to see the gate agent for a better seat, in which case there would probably not be any good seats left by the time I got to the agent. Fortunately a second agent arrived, so the line started moving more quickly. Most people in the line simply wanted to see if their upgrades were going to clear. The First Class cabin had checked in full, and all the seats had been assigned several days in advance, meaning these individuals stood no chance of a gate upgrade. I got to the agent and asked if there was a better seat available. She had 22A, a window seat, which she assigned to me. I joined the huge mob since boarding was about to begin. As a credit card holder, I had Zone 2 for boarding. Boarding began with individuals needing extra time, followed by First Class, and several various elite groups from AA, US, and OneWorld. 10 minutes later and passengers from those boarding groups were still boarding. It seemed like half the plane had already boarded, and Zone 1 had not yet even been called. Next came Zone 1, and another crazy amount of people boarded. Finally it was my turn with Zone 2. I was surprised how many people had boarded already, and how long it had taken for them to board, but when I got on the plane, it didn't seem all that crowded yet. There was even ample space left in the overhead compartments.


I found my seat, 22A, a window seat on the left-hand side. Row 22 of the left-hand side is immediately in front of the restroom. Seatguru' US Airways 757-200 V3 isn't quite correct, as it shows a space of no seats between Row 22 and the restroom, but in reality Row 22 is immediately in front of the restroom. Additionally, this row has no recline due to the wall behind, another aspect not noted on Seatguru. I took my seat, and later my two seatmates arrived. I found legroom to be a little bit tight, especially considering this aircraft is typically used for long flights. My flight today was only 1h57, but if I'm honest, at 6'4" I would have preferred a little more room even for a short flight like this.


Legroom shot:




The plane boarded and was 100% full. When I had arrived into ORD a couple of hours earlier, aircraft were all being deiced at their gates before they departed. I guess that the weather had sufficiently improved in the meantime, because we did not receive deicing. As is normal practice on US, cabin lights were shut off after the boarding door was closed. We pushed back a couple of minutes late, and joined the queue to takeoff. I saw my KLM 747 departing its gate. We didn't take off until 16:27. It was a pretty underwhelming takeoff.


My view on the ground in ORD:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-B1e49RD8JjU/VIS6Nsm9gmI/AAAAAAAAAvk/7o01rA1LXng/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281283%2529.jpg


Cabin overview before departure:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-u2tZc61OmhY/VIS6Pj9OcWI/AAAAAAAAAvs/n1ObcyvFPIs/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281284%2529.jpg


Overhead panel:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-suFS7GBLmzc/VIS6Qay9_II/AAAAAAAAAv0/slkWh3Ru1VQ/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281285%2529.jpg


After takeoff I developed a pretty bad stomach ache. I was stuck in the window seat with minimal legroom, it wasn't very comfortable, and now I had a stomach ache. I tried to focus on the positives, such as the fact that it was my first US B752 flight, and that I haven't sat behind the wing in a long time, so it was a cool view different from what I'm used to.


This US 757 was equipped with overhead video screens, and IFE began. You could use your own headsets, or purchase one for $5. US features programming from NBC, and the IFE began with very lengthy commercials for various NBC TV shows. I started smelling hot food being prepared for First Class. Just a year ago, I had flown US Airways First Class on this same route, ORD-PHL. The equipment had been an A321, but they did not serve hot food on the flight. I guess their meal policy has changed, and food is now served on this route? After the NBC commercials, an episode of "Chicago Fire" began. I started watching it (using my own headphones). I had never watched that particular show before, and I didn't really get into it. I decided I'd rather listen to music on my iPod. Cabin lights remained off the duration of the flight, and the seatbelt sign remained on. Did you ever notice that when the seatbelt sign is on for an entire flight, it doesn't stop people from getting up, moving about the cabin, and using the restroom? At 16:48, in-flight service began. It took awhile for the service to make it back to my row. I had been planning on ordering a Sam Adams Boston Lager and taking advantage of the new discount offered to US Airways credit card holders, but with my awful stomach ache, I revised my choice to water. A single plastic cup of water was served. No complimentary snacks on US Airways!

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--VC8HFVgO4Y/VIS7GPnOX0I/AAAAAAAAAv8/1mAjNcxPwTk/s800/Trip%25202014%2520%25281287%2529.jpg


Later, trash was collected, and then it was 18:28 and an announcement said we had twenty minutes to go. Due to my stomach ache, I wasn't enjoying the flight very much, so I was happy when we started our descent for a straight-in arrival to PHL. Most of my recent PHL arrivals have taken us out of the way over New Jersey, and into PHL from the northeast. I guess the winds were different today because we went straight in from the southwest. At 18:36, the captain requested the flight attendants prepare for arrival. At 18:54 it was gear down, and I watched the flaps extend really far. I do admit I enjoyed watching the different components of the wing in action. Sitting in the front of the plane, you don't get that view. We landed at 18:57, as scheduled, and I watched the speed brakes come up from the top of the wing. Flight attendants announced that cell phones must remain off until the gate. I thought they used to announce you could immediately use cell phones. I had one of the shortest taxis ever in PHL, and we were already parked at our gate at the end of C-terminal at 19:00.


This was an OK flight. I have been a loyal US Airways passenger since I was a little kid. PHL being US' hub makes it easy to be loyal to them, but now that I've experienced AA, AS, DL, UA, KL, FD/AirAsia, and DD/Nok Air, I have to say I'm not impressed with US Airways. Most of their flights have no IFE or power ports, leaving you with nothing to do for the duration of the flight. This flight had IFE, but with an outdated overhead screen, you're forced to watch whatever happens to be on, and in this case, I wasn't interested in it. What's really annoying, though, is the lack of a complimentary snack to go with your drink. I don't think it would be too hard to include a snack, and it would make me feel a lot more valued as a passenger.


This concludes my series of trip reports documenting my worldwide trip. Thanks for reading!
 
omidp
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:39 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:54 pm

Awesome trip reports, thanks so much for sharing  
 
N415XJ
Posts: 891
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:04 pm

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:47 pm

Great trip report! KLM is a wonderful airline. I've only had a chnace to fly them in Y, but hopefully someday I'll be able to expereince their Business class. Also, I don't care what anyone says, the 757 looks downright snazzy in the new AA livery!

Quoting Tesla (Thread starter):
An Emirates B747 Cargo. Too bad they no longer operate passenger 747s:

Emirates has never operated any passenger variant of the 747, to my knowledge at least.
 
User avatar
WROORD
Posts: 747
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:36 pm

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:07 pm

Quoting Tesla (Reply 2):
An Emirates B747 Cargo. Too bad they no longer operate passenger 747s:

I wish they had picked 747-8i instead A380

Quoting Tesla (Reply 2):
Taxi Electric's Tesla Model S taxi

That is a one cool taxi. I hope the rate is still the same. I saw a guy with Maserati Taxi in front of Wroclaw Terminal last summer.
 
777way
Posts: 6457
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:38 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:49 am

Very nice the new J cabin and meals, beats Lufthansa.
 
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groobster
Posts: 258
Joined: Tue May 15, 2001 12:37 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Sat Dec 20, 2014 2:53 am

Superb stuff Tesla, I really enjoyed your trip reports, many thanks.
Next flights: MAN-PHL-DTW, ORD-MAN
 
EddieDude
Posts: 7048
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 10:19 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:22 pm

Tesla, thank you so much for taking the time to write this report and for sharing your pics and insights. I really enjoyed the report and I am very happy that you enjoyed your flights with KL.

I was actually searching for a report like this because I am due to fly on KL's 747-400Combi in J in August of this year AMS-MEX (upper deck), and wanted to see what to expect. It will be my first flight on KL, and I have heard great things about KL's catering and crew service on J in long-haul. Your report was very insightful because I believe it is the first one that features the KL new World Business Class product. I will make sure to write a trip report as well.

Happy Easter!!!
Upcoming flights:
April/May: AM MEX-SCL 788 (J), AM EZE-MEX 789 (J).
 
kl838
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:22 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:33 pm

Great report! Looking to finally fly the new business in 1A very soon, have only flown it in the old configuration. KLM's product is really competitive and should be on par with all the airlines when the new Cirrus seat is introduced on the 787 aircraft. I share your views about US airways, flew them once last year in first and wasn't impressed at all.
 
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Tesla
Topic Author
Posts: 226
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:46 pm

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 9):
Tesla, thank you so much for taking the time to write this report and for sharing your pics and insights. I really enjoyed the report and I am very happy that you enjoyed your flights with KL.

I was actually searching for a report like this because I am due to fly on KL's 747-400Combi in J in August of this year AMS-MEX (upper deck), and wanted to see what to expect. It will be my first flight on KL, and I have heard great things about KL's catering and crew service on J in long-haul. Your report was very insightful because I believe it is the first one that features the KL new World Business Class product. I will make sure to write a trip report as well.

Thanks for the comment; I'm glad you found the report useful. I really enjoyed KLM's new business class. Hopefully I will get to fly with them again in the future.

Quoting kl838 (Reply 10):
Great report! Looking to finally fly the new business in 1A very soon, have only flown it in the old configuration.

I think you'll enjoy 1A very much! I flew KLM's old business class on the MD11, and while it was nice, it doesn't even compare to the new configuration. And the three solo seats make it even better. Enjoy your flight!
 
luv2fly
Posts: 11056
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 2:57 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:00 am

What an absolutely great report, thanks for sharing.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
Vos
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:37 am

RE: TR'14 3/6: KLM 747s New J:AMS-BKK,HKG-AMS,AMS-ORD

Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:17 am

Very detailed, nice read! Thanks.

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