Hello folks, I am glad you are here
Welcome to this report in which I give a detailed view of the first KLM 787 Dreamliner Welcome Flight.
When KLM's first 787-9 delivery came closer, they dicided they'd offer three Welcome Flights - for 'only' 149,- EUR, you would be on board of their first 787, fly for an hour, touring the country, and get to meet the aircraft (for example, if you would not be able/willing to get on their inaugural flight to AUH
). I decided quickly and booked the (probably only for a while) opportunity for me to get on not only my first ever 787, but als KLM's first ever 'commercial' flight. For me, that was quite a bargain.
I had paid and my booking was swiftly confirmed and I had something to look forward to AT THE AIRPORT
I got a mail stating I was to be welcomed at 7 AM
on November 22, 2015, in Departure hall 1 at AMS
. There would be designated check-in desks, where I'd receive my boarding pass. Living about 1,5 to 2 hours away from AMS
, I would be getting in the car at 5 AM
, traffic would probably be very light, thus arriving at approximately 6:45, leaving me with enough time to park the car and get to the check-in desk.
When we arrived at the airport, I at first checked the FIDS, to see if the special flight would be appearing.
(Strange sight, seeing a flight to AMS
, but nothing was less true)
Finding the check-in zone also meant finding a huge line of enthusiasts (and some of them bringing children), people interested and some people who were invited by KLM.
The line at AMS
Special check-in desks.
After a 15-20 minute wait, the queue started moving, and I was soon checked in, had received my red-labeled boarding card (I will explain the stickers in a bit), and was off to security (got to try that out as well).
I had mailed a few days after booking to ask if it were possible to choose seats due to my preference of a window seat for photography. The next day I got a reply that they would not offer seat choice, but they would note my preference and try to work that out for me, without guarantees. I was happy to hear that I had been given a 'very nice seat! One at the window': 19K. I thanked the check-in lady and was happy with my seat (thanks for giving me one, KL
Boarding pass with a sticker.
After a swift security check (to which I must say, AMS
has really improved with the new central security, instead of security checks at the gate, causing huge lines), I was let off and to 'rush' to gate C21, a bus gate.
Passing a lot of shops and restaurants (it was breakfast time for me and the smell of freshly baked bread doesn't work out very well if you are requested to go directly to the gate), I found the stairs to the C21-24 holding pen - finding a lot of others who were going to fly Sunflower, KL
's brand new beauty.
I must confess, I find this a strange (but true) sight.
We were then explained the procedure: the stickers actually meant something. People with no sticker (I think these were the invited people) were requested to board first, thereafter the red and green stickers. Goodie bags were to be handed out before being transported by bus to the cargo bay where the plane would be. After getting off, people with a red sticker were to board at the front stairs, people with a green sticker were to board at the rear.
At 8 AM
sharp, people with blank cards were called to board. I was through in no less than 15 minutes and boarded a (crowded) bus that would take me to the plane.
The times were a bit off, but that doesn't matter (also, my bad for the quality, I did not bother to take a large camera with me - I took my photos with an iPhone, which is fine in my opinion)
View from the bus, I can't wait
At check-in, we were given some rules and instructions - they parked a DC-3 next to the 787, but we were requested to 'board immediately', and may take photo's after arrival, of both planes (you can now guess which one of the two was the most interesting).
Boarding a widebody via stairs is always a pleasure in my eyes. Especially in the Netherlands when it's dry. After shooting some pictures, I found myself climbing the stairs and on the aircraft.
So shiny, 'Zonnebloem' or 'Sunflower'
Huge engine did not want to fit entirely on my photo (which is fine :P)
On board I was greeted by a male cabin attendant and escorted 'down the galley and to your right'. Boarding was via 2L and to my left I spotted the neatly-looking World Business Class (which was entirely for invited passengers). I quickly found my seat and my seat mates, a child and his father. I asked if I could pass them, put my coat in the overhead bin and took my seat. First impressions: a firm, but comfortable seat, with (for me, a tall male) enough legroom.
KLM 787 Welcome Flight 1
Flight nr KL9895 (departure 9 AM, arrival 10 AM planned)
Economy Class seat 19K (Window)
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner PH-BHC (named Zonnebloem / Sunflower)
First flight on type 787, first flight on PH
-BHC, fifth flight on KLM.
First impressions of the cabin was a fresh looking cabin with neat seats in a 9-abreast configuration (3-3-3). I heard a lot of complaints about the 9-abreast config, but I found no issue with them (She's a keeper
). The window (as normal on 787's from what I've heard) is gigantic and the dimming function was useful as well.
My seat, taken during deboarding
Other view of the cabin, taken during deboarding
Cabin view (don't mind the minions as I do, please)
The mandatory legroom shot (enough for me, I am 6'4", there is no IFE box)
After some quick snaps I quickly found the new entertainment system, entirely controlled by touchscreen (remote in WBC) which is also being installed during KL
's 777 refurbishment. I found the touchscreen to be responsive, although their choice is a bit limited. I mostly view the moving map anyway, so I can entertain myself with the contents they offer.
'Cockpit view', taken during approach, I'll elaborate the height in a few
Facts and stuff, I'm sorry for leaving it in Dutch
I then explored the goodie bag and the seat pocket. The goodie bag had some neat stuff in it: KLM's ear buds (which I hate and did not end up using them), a cap (which we 'needed'), some sandwiches, a bottle of water, a fact sheet, some gummy planes in a jar, and the last parts which I found quite cool: a Holland Herald Magazine, a barf bag and a safety card. This was done because of the inaugural flight the day after - they probably did not want to restack everything, so everyone got their own seat pocket contents so people wouldn't nick the safety cards. Very, very clever, and a lot of happy faces. Good job KL
Goodie bag contents (taken at home)
After that, the captain introduced himself and explained what we were going to do: take off from the infamous 'Polderbaan' runway 36L, turn southbound towards Rotterdam, then turn eastbound, then northbound towards Utrecht, doing a quiz in the mean time while others can explore the plane (which I both did not do), to turn back to AMS
again and land on the Aalsmeerbaan, runway 36R or the Kaagbaan, runway 06. This all while receiving something to drink, and a 'surprise' by KL
's new Business class chef, mr. Jacob-Jan Boerma (who I think was on board as well).
After waiting about 30 minutes for press to interview some people, we pushed back 30 minutes behind schedule. The safety video was played (the new one, designed with Delft Blue pottery and stop-motion techniques, found here
(kudos to KLM for uploading it) and we started our journey to the distant Polderbaan, where we stopped and then took off firmly. I was amazed by the amount of sound it made, more than an A380, but definitely not that much to actually notice. We rotated quite early (there was no cargo), and quickly turned to the left.
The captain then announced a change of plans due to the bad weather: we would go southbound and tour the southern province of Zeeland, turn back over sea and land on runway 06 - which was fine in my eyes, I was on board for the aircraft and not for the view (well okay, a bit for the view, but mostly the aircraft
We leveled off at a height of 2000 feet (600 meters) - incredibly low. This was done so people could look out of the window (a real sightseeing tour; lovely!). Crew was released and immediately started service; we got a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (of course only the people who were allowed to drink it
, a pack of orange juice (which I drank on the way home) and the 'surprise'; a biscuit with some lemon-curd-like stuff and a chocolate on top. It was very tasty!
After take-off, the window was now dry, before, I could not make any decent picture unfortunately due to focussing issues (again sorry for making iPhone pictures :P)
The 'surprise' and the drinks - very nice
Flying over Zeeland
We were then starting a quiz 'Petje op, petje af' (translation: cap on, cap off) - anyone who wanted to win a 787-9 scale model was requested to stand up and answer a series of questions, 2 answers were given, one answer meant cap on, other answer cap off. If you are right, you keep standing, if you are wrong, you sit down. Last man (or woman) standing wins a pretty nice scale model.
After the quiz, we were quite soon already 'descending' towards AMS
again, flaps were lowered, landing gear was lowered, and touched down gently on runway 06, thereafter returning to the stand.
After landing (yes, the weather had turned)
After arrival, everyone was invited to visit the flight deck, passing through the business class cabin, but when I got there, the line was long and not moving at all, so after 5 minutes of waiting I turned to the exit, receiving my Certificate of Participation and deboarded. I then made some pictures of the plane on the stand and the DC-3 next door, before boarding the bus back to the terminal.
I was there!
Thanks for the ride, Sunflower!
Such a beauty in typical Dutch weather
-PBA next door, probably flown from the Aviodrome in Lelystad
I had a very pleasant experience. To be one of the first aboard such a new plane is very nice and even without going too far, getting to meet an aircraft which you'd probably not fly in years, is exciting. For 149 euro's, I was glad to be part of it, and I wish to congratulate KLM with their new plane. She has my approval for sure!
The seat was comfortable, the entertainment was OK
, the general picture was amazing and fun. The 787 is definitely the 'new flight mode' as KL
describes it. I will definitely look forward to the day I will fly them or a 787 again.
Thanks for reading my report and feel free to ask questions if you want!
Flown on: A300, A319, A320, A321, A330(-200,300), A380, B717, B737(-400,700,800,900), B747, B777(-200,300,-300ER), B787-9, Embraer 170, Fokker 70