FLIGHT KL1109
CLASS OF SERVICE Business
SEAT NUMBER 1A
AIRCRAFT Boeing 737-800
TAKEOFF 17-01-09 10:15 a.m.
VIEWS 649
LANDING AT 12:25 p.m.
marathon
The 10th January 2017

Photo review of KLM flight from Amsterdam to Stockholm in Business

This is the second leg of a trip to Stockholm, connecting in AMS because the direct flights were already full when I booked, and in Business because the Economy was full too in connecting flights.

CDG-AMS : AF1240 (A321, Business) here
AMS-ARN : KL1109 (B738, Business) You are here
ARN-CDG : AF11063 (A32x, Economy) there

The plane from CDG had landed half an hour late, due to the weather conditions: it was not worth going to the lounge, especially since I did not even know where it was, but on the other hand I had ample time left to reach the gate of the continuing flight. Where was it?
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There it was ; the FIDS recommended in Dutch and English to got the gate, which I did.
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There appeared to be as much fog in AMS as in CDG : this picture should convince you that plane spotting was not an option for killing time that day
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The gates there are devoted to KL European flights, which gave zero variety in planes at the gates : 737s only, from the little I could see.
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An exception : an AF A319, decorated with the logo of Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics (a bad logo for a bad idea, IMO).
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What else in this area of the terminal ? A transfer desk, with no soul to help computer-illiterate passengers. In the background, more computers, this time to kill time once you had managed your transfer.
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This other area was of the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) kind.
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There, and here at gate C18 (that of my flight), there was a flight of stairs down to the toilets (there was signage to elevators for handicapped passengers, but I did not see where they were). I went down there mostly because this I needed to drink some water and there was no water fountain (unlike in CDG where there are water fountains which do not work).
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I did find water, and also that two toilets were clogged. The cleaning staff was not up to the task.
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I tried in vain to connect to the internet on the airport’s free wifi network. Only once in ARN did I realize in retrospect that the problem was caused by Windows’ firewall – this problem occurs now and then in airports and hotels, not often enough to remember about it. It is a frustrating waste of time each time.
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The line for priority access lengthened
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There was no announcement, over the PA or on the screen, but starting the boarding of a flight which seemed full or nearly so at ETD-15’ did not bode well for punctuality.
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All I saw in AMS of PH-BCA, a 738 which entered revenue service on 24 November 2010. The aircraft in the background is another KL 737, in Skyteam livery.
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I did not have much choice when I checked in on line : there were two rows only in J on that flight, but KL had preassigned me Seat 1A, and the “Window seat not in the sun’s direction” addict in me was satisfied.
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The seat width between armrests was less than what you get on AF’s A32x planes (44 cm in the old layout, 45 cm in the new one).
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On the other hand, there was an extra-wide 51 cm space between the seat and the bulkhead.
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A nice and possibly little known feature is that there is a power port for each seat (including the one which is neutralized). I did not really need it, but yes, it did deliver power to my laptop.
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A quirk of Seat 1A is that you see through the window all the passengers boarding after you
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There were lots of school and pre-school age children on that flight, because (from what I overheard) it was the end of the Swedish Christmas break. The FAs has apparently an ample supply of games to give to each when they were boarding.
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Boarding completed !
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The advantage of bulkhead seats is that you get more space.
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The drawback is that there is no space for your hand luggage, and no, securing our hand luggage on the empty middle seat like we did was not OK :
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A FA took them for storage in a closet just ahead.
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I’ll be fair : he returned them to us as soon as he was able to move after take-off, likewise for landing, and was flawlessly polite and pleasant in doing so.
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The safety information card said nothing about this peculiarity of these seats for hand luggage storage
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There would not be much to see during taxiing and take-off
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This is all I saw of the freight area during taxiing
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This was the best I could get of that plane flying overhead, at maximum magnification.
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There was as usual a bright blue sky above the clouds and fog
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A Brocken specter followed us for quite a time. It was a lot more visible than this rendition.
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The same, with excessive image enhancing
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This was the landscape on the rest of the flight
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It was very quiet ahead of the curtain (and behind – I have doubts about its soundproofing qualities)
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The lunch, as served
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Opening a sandwich is a foolproof recipe (or a fool's recipe?) for disappointment. There was even less stuff in it than I had anticipated (and consequently less taste too). At least, I knew why.
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No, this was no caviar
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A coffee and a wafer to conclude the meal
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To know it, you first had to eat this meal, because like on the preceding flight, this sheet folded underneath everything in three was the menu
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The most illogical thing about it was that there was a choice of three sandwiches, that the FA had to announce to each passenger. You often only catch a few key words in such a situation, and I would probably have made a different choice, if they had distributed this menu first. What is the point of telling passengers what their choice really was, once it's too late?
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In a similar manner, you could also discover that in hindsight, there were more suitable drinks for your meal
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My readers may be interested to know what their choice for breakfast and dinner may be, if they board a KL flight outside the 10am - 3pm window (in Europe, and in J)
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In case the choice was so poor that it results in cardiac arrest…
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… there was a defibrillator overhead
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The overhead bins were marked for J passengers only.
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Some time after the meal, a FA made a sales pitch for duty free items. I wrote down the final words which amused me:

You can pay by credit card or cash; please provide the exact change
You may choose to donate your loose change to support KLM


Is KLM in such a bad financial shape that they need to ask for the charity of their passengers ? ^^

Since moving around was easy, I went to the tiny front toilet.
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KL acknowledges that its foreign passengers are not that likely to read Dutch
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I was puzzled by this sign overhead, though. A 738 is not designed for transatlantic flights, and this aircraft had flown for KL only, so why on earth (or in European airspace, rather) refer to a US federal law here?
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KL, like AF, does not envisage that a man could change his baby’s diapers, or that he does this without wearing a kilt.
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Beginning of descent. ARN is further north, and therefore darker in winter
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Flying low above Runway 08/26 and its taxiway, towards Runway 19L.
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The countryside was as grey as that
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A few planes which had not moved since the last snow fall.
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Typical lighting conditions in ARN at noon… in winter.
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The pilot hit the brakes harshly, together with full thrust inverter power, so he could use the least runway and take the first taxiway out of it
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Flightradar24 confirmed that it was a short landing, and also that this flight was landing 4’ ahead of schedule, despite taking off 25’ behind schedule at 10:40, demonstrating a 30 minute margin in the schedule to recover from late departures.
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This Caravelle is still a long way toward full restoration
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This 747-200 will never fly again (the engines are fake) : it has been transformed into a hotel. Sleeping there is marginally cheaper than owning a 747.
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This ET 787 is a usual sight in ARN’s freight area : she spends the day there before operating a fifth freedom flight to VIE, on the way to ADD.
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A DHL 757
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Amapola Flyg Fokker 50 (a cargo version, despite the windows)
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Waiting for the OK to move the jetbridge
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Danish Air Transport ATR-72, best seen from the terminal after deplaning.
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That was also when I had the best view of my plane
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In ARN’s diminutive Terminal 2, you are never very far from the luggage delivery room
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The luggage delivery was announced to start in 14 minutes
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In the mean time, I could buy a round trip ticket on the Arlanda Express. I wish there were likewise train ticket vending machines in CDG’s luggage delivery rooms.
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Luggage delivery started quickly
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They did not seem to respect the priorities, but who cared ? I recovered my suitcase 7 minutes before luggage delivery was announced to start !
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I had missed an Arlanda Express train by 4 minutes. It was not a near miss, so not a case of bad luck.
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But I chose to spend some of these minutes to go and have a look to the tarmac from the corridor leading to Terminal 3’s gates, a favorite landside plane spotting area. There were the usual SAS 737s at Terminal 4.
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And a QR 787 being towed away before her later return flight.
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What happened next was pure routine, from the Arlanda Express ride onward to my workplace in Stockholm.

Thanks for reading me !

Verdict

KLM 

Cabin 9.0
Cabin crew 10.0
Entertainment 5.5
meal/catering 8.0
TOTAL 8.1/10

Amsterdam - AMS 

Efficiency 7.0
Access 8.0
Services 6.5
Cleanliness 8.0
TOTAL 7.4/10

Stockholm - ARN 

Efficiency 10.0
Access 10.0
Services 10.0
Cleanliness 10.0
TOTAL 10.0/10

Conclusion

A J cabin with two rows only, a neutralized middle seat and extra space at Row 1 gave a cosy feeling. I usually dislike having to surrender my laptop for take-off and landing, but the FA handled it so graciously and efficiently that this was a non-issue.
For the same reasons, and sheer professionalism in general, the FAs on this flight deserved top grades.
Entertainment, what entertainment ? I was not impressed by the in-flight magazine, but I am not an avid reader of this "literature".
The meal was OK, but not outstanding, bearing in mind that this was business class.

My experience in AMS was disappointing. No flight delay warning, poorly maintained toilets, a wifi network that my laptop disliked, a generally noisy environment. The only plus was a limited walking distance between the gates in my case (but I know from experience that it can be a very long hike when connecting to a LH flight.

This was a stark contrast with ARN, which demonstrated its usual efficiency in all respects.

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