Review of KLM flight Denpasar Singapore in Economy

Airline KLM
Flight KL836
Class Economy
Seat 19K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 29 Nov 15, 21:30
Arrival at 30 Nov 15, 00:00
KL   #54 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 715 reviews
BombieFlyer
By 4428
Published on 29th January 2016
Hello folks!

This flight report is the third installment of the trips I made last year in November and December 2015

Here is the schedule:
1. Nov 26, 2015 KA857 PVG-HKG in J class http://flight-report.com/en/report-12989.html
2. Nov 26, 2015 KA360 HKG-DPS in J class http://flight-report.com/en/report-13036.html
3. Nov 29, 2015 KL836 DPS-SIN in Y class [You are here]
4. Dec 07, 2015 AF254 SIN-CGK in J class
5. Dec 24, 2015 GA204 CGK-JOG in Y class
6. Dec 27, 2015 GA245 SRG-CGK in Y class
7. Dec 30, 2015 CX752 CGK-HKG in J class
8. Dec 30, 2015 CX360 HKG-PVG in J class

Background
After a short but wonderful weekend holiday in Bali, it's time to go back to reality and earn another dollar to be put in my piggy bank. This flight report will see me taking KLM's 5th freedom right between SIN and DPS. This flight is very attractive to me because the price is a lot cheaper compared to GA and SQ. Compared to LCCs like Jetstar, Air Asia, etc it is also more reasonable because I have 2 suitcases so if you add all the extra costs associated, the price is equal between taking KLM and taking LCCs. I'd rather fly with KLM and get my qualifying flight toward Silver tier however abysmal Silver benefits are.

I booked DPS-SIN-CGK via KLM website to experience 5th freedom rights that KLM and AF have between Singapore and Indonesia. It's nice to see how AF/KL group makes KUL and SIN a mini hub (or is it scissor hub?) Their business class ticket is also quite affordable but alas budget is tight so I book economy class. The only drawback of this flight is it leaves Denpasar in the evening so it arrives in Singapore around midnight. I do not take too many pictures as I feel quite tired after a whole day of last minute activities in Bali.

The Flight
Route: DPS-SIN
Date: November 29, 2015
Flight: KL836
Equipment: B777-300ER Sian Ka'an National Park
Registration: PH-BVC
Load: C35/ Y390
Seat: 19K
Scheduled Time Departure: 9.30PM
Actual Time Departure: 9.35PM
Estimated Time Arrival: 12.00AM
Actual Time Arrival: 12.02AM

Tonight's chariot is PH-BVC, Nationaal Park Sian Ka'an. She is delivered new to KLM on May 28, 2009. When I booked the flight, the seat map showed the refurbished seat configuration with the new business class and new economy class. However, when I checked-in online, it shows the old configuration again suggesting last minute swap. Good thing I cancelled my intention to buy J class ticket.

I was also debating whether to pay a bit more for Economy Comfort but I decided against the idea as I think it's ridiculous what KLM and Air France are doing with this penny-pincher-i-will-try-to-sell-everything-even-if-it-is-ridiculous-offering-for-your-money kind of attitude. 19K it is then!
photo KLM screenshot

Anyway, I arrive at DPS around 7PM. I go inside the terminal area and I see a huge line around KLM check-in desk, must be a full flight with all the tourists going back to Europe or to Singapore to resume work the next day. The check-in agent is incredibly kind and polite making sure he addresses me with "Mr. Bombieflyer" whenever he starts a sentence. "Mr. Bombieflyer, thank you for flying KLM" or "Mr. Bombieflyer, I confirm that your seat is 19K and your luggage is checked only to Singapore". He is nice!

With check-in completed and still more than 2 hours to go, I go landside again and have a quick dinner at a nearby bistro. I also change my outfit and footwear before going back airside.

Time to go airside and perform security check and immigration. Can you guys spot what's wrong with this picture?
photo 20151129_193853

The terminal building is full to the brim with many late departures to Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Tokyo, Seoul, etc. The good thing is the terminal is now well-equipped to cater with this huge influx of passengers. Before te airport was renovated, it was a big nightmare for everyone.

Alas, no lounge access for me tonight and I spent my last rupiah during dinner so I just go straight to the gate area and take some pictures of my trusty chariot.
photo IMG_5139photo IMG_5142


The gate area is definitely not big enough to sit all 425 passengers. This is evident when boarding is announced. Even though the staff announces boarding sequence with priority passengers being asked to board first, in reality they find it very difficult to control the mob of passengers very eager to board. This mob then blocks the foyer so passengers going to other gates nearby are blocked from passing by. Classic!
photo IMG_5143photo IMG_5144photo IMG_5145

I board via second door. Two Dutch flight attendants are standing by the door and greet everyone cheerfully. I always find KLM's flight attendants to be cheerful, even when they are grumpy, they are professional at the very least. One is a cabin attendant 2/senior cabin attendant (two white stripes) and the other one (who is older) is the purser with 4 stripes around her cuff. I greet them 'goede avond' to their surprise. The Dutch almost always find it fascinating that a non-Dutch would bother to learn their language as according to them, it is not the easiest and prettiest language to learn.

I immediately find my seat on the starboard side. No one is there yet so I immediately put my backpack and my carry-on in the overhead compartment and settle down. I am very familiar with this configuration as I flew with KLM a couple of times between the Netherlands and Indonesia during my university year.

Leg room is adequate for my 5'10" (around 177 cm). With no PTV box underneath the seat, I can sort of stretch my legs under the seat in front of me. The padding is a bit on the firm side and recline is really not much. I still wonder how those tall Dutch passengers could fit and feel comfortable? Still boggles me! The cabin does feel cramped for long-haul flight to Amsterdam but for this slightly more than 2 hours flight to Singapore, it's okay. I can definitely feel the difference between CX's 9-abreast and KL's 10 abreast 77W configuration.
photo IMG_5146

That flimsy divider divides Economy Comfort with regular economy class. You get more leg room and greater recline! A tip for you, don't sit behind the first row of regular economy class seat, the row right behind the last row of Economy comfort as this row has 31-32 inches of leg room (so standard pitch) but the seats in front of this row have deeper recline. I like the configuration onboard B747-400 better because you have a mini cabin for Economy Comfort passengers so no one is marginalized.
photo IMG_5149

Cabin Attendant 2 Magriet comes by and distribute earphones that can be taken home. Though the packaging is nice, the quality is beyond poor it hurts my hearing just after 5 minutes of usage.
photo IMG_5156photo IMG_5157

While not as chirpy and smiley as Magriet, Cabin Attendant 2 Henk greets us and then gives us warmed and scented towelette. It's a nice touch!
photo IMG_5158

Captain Kees makes a welcome announcement and he has the thickest Dunglish (Dutch English) accent ever. It's sort of in the cute way because he's very fluent and it feels that he's comfortable in communicating in English, it's just his accent is quite thick. He also makes a remark "We will be departing shortly after 2 more bags are loaded. Approximately, we will be pushed back shortly at around five over half ten". Now, in Dutch, what he says makes perfect sense and is grammatically correct but in English, it is not really the literal translation of 9.35PM. So 9.30 is half way to 10, in Dutch we say 'half tien' (hence Captain Kees says half ten) and if you are a few minutes over or before this half way mark, you say xxx over half xxx or you say xxx voor half xxx. Sometimes, catching up on these small things make me miss the Netherlands very much!

While waiting for boarding to complete, let's take a look at the famous Holland Herald. I find Holland Herald to always be excellent in quality ;-)
photo IMG_5151

One thing I like about the seat is the PTV control attached on the seat in front of you instead of in the arm rest. It's easier to grab! PTV resolution and responsiveness is not industry leading quality but still a lot better compared to B744's first generation AVOD PTV.
photo IMG_5147

Next to us is Singapore Airlines A330-300. We will race each other!
photo IMG_5148

I do not take a lot of pictures because it is very dark outside and the cabin crew do not dim the lights so it's almost impossible to get a good pictures without reflections. Can someone please teach me some nifty tips and tricks on how to take a good picture during the night?

We taxi to runway 09 and take off towards the east and then we make a 180 degrees left bank turn. During taxi, I notice that double parking method is applied in the domestic terminal apron whereby one narrow body parks in front of the terminal and another parks right behind it. Fascinating!

Anyway, after the seat belt is switched off, flight attendants spring into action. They start with bar service. I ask for "Ik wil graag witte wijn" in which Magriet replies "Ja zeker meneer! Alstublief!". She gives me a mini bottle and a plastic cup. I like airlines that give the whole can or the whole mini bottle to passengers ;)
photo IMG_5160

Henk follows Magriet behind with his meal cart. I feel quite tired at this point so I forget to take a picture of the meal offering. I remember there are two choices. The one that I choose is Indonesian style chicken with rice and vegetables. The taste is so-so, it's edible. Dessert is sublime though! It's typical Dutch dessert called 'vla'. Vla is traditionally made from fresh milk, egg, and sugar. The texture and consistency is sort of in between yoghurt and full cream milk. Like custard! The portion is also enough as I guess most passengers already eat something in the terminal and they just want to catch a nap. What I believe to be KLM's turf is their branding. It is everywhere and they use it to the fullest, even for tiny details like meal tray. Great job KLM!
photo IMG_5159

Not long after all passengers are fed, our trays are cleared promptly. Tea, coffee, and liquor are offered. Then Captain Kees makes an announcement again saying that descent has commenced and we will be slightly zig-zaging our way to runway as the airport is quite busy that night. During descent, the flight attendants are multitasking between preparing cabin for landing and offering duty free ^__^

True to his words, we kiss the terra firma again at 12.02AM and we make a rather long taxi to Terminal 2 from runway 02L. We exit runway 02L via taxiway W5 and then proceed via NC3. We enter Terminal 2 D gates apron via taxiway A2.
photo IMG_5161

After we park at the gate, I make a mad dash to the immigration counter. The terminal is buzzing with red eye departures to Europe, North Asia, Indian sub-continent, etc. Immigration is always fast and efficient. My luggage arrives pretty fast too! I queue for taxi and in a matter of 10 minutes, I am on my way to my friend's apartment in Novena area where I will be staying for 1 week.

So that's the end of my 5th freedom flight with KLM. I hope you enjoy it and sorry for the lack of pictures! I will make it up in the next installment, AF254 SIN-CGK!





See more

Verdict

KLM

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering7.5

Denpasar - DPS

7.0/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness6.0

Singapore - SIN

9.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

I know before that flying with KLM is not like partaking in a luxurious cruise. Its fare is relatively affordable, its airplanes are very well-maintained, F&B is okay, seats are okay, and PTV, while not most advanced, is also okay. It safely flies you from point A to point B which chirpy and professional flight attendants.

KLM's service and offering really mimics its egalitarian culture. It is basic but it is nice and comforting. It's not fancy yet it serves the purpose.

If I can provide feedback, I think boarding process could have been handled better by KLM's contracted ground agents. I believe it is also time to really speed up the cabin refurbishment for economy class. Seat cushion is not as good as it used to be, clearly worn. PTV is also quite lagging and resolution is grainy at best. I think on B777-200ER the process is done? Can some KLM fanatics fill me in here?

I would not hesitate to fly KLM again when the price is right because I believe they deliver the brand promises.

Information on the route Denpasar (DPS) Singapore (SIN)

8 Comments

  • Comment 156566 by
    SKYTEAMCHC GOLD 8194 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report with us. I agree on your impression of KLM : nothing really fancy but a correct product so if fares are ok it's worth flying with them.
    The catering on this flight really looks good and the tray is full. Like you i hope they will refurbish all airplanes as soon as possible as the acbin is showing it's age.
    Lokking forward to you next reports

    • Comment 333913 by
      BombieFlyer AUTHOR 93 Comments

      Hello SKYTEAMCHC!

      Thanks for reading my flight report and your comments

      The catering is indeed not bad. I have always found KLM's catering to be pretty decent. On longer flights, they do this in-between meal snacks and they serve pizzas, waffles, stroopwaffels, etc. Love it!

      Stay tuned for SIN-CGK flight report with Air France!

  • Comment 156572 by
    KL651 TEAM 4479 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.

    KL indeed offers great prices on DPS-SIN, no reason to take a LCC !

    Again their crew proves to be their strong point.

    • Comment 333914 by
      BombieFlyer AUTHOR 93 Comments

      Hello KL651!

      Thank you for your comment and the time to read my flight report!

      I agree with you regarding KL's crews. I find them to be professional the very least as most of the time, they are smiley and engaging especially when you engage with them in Dutch. It always brings a smile and sometimes extra cookies and beer for me ;)

      Stay tune for the next report !

  • Comment 156685 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR.

    I like the paintings over the gate areas.

    KL always has had a reputation of friendly crews. Generous pitch on KL (they may squeeze in 10-abreast, but at least give you some legroom). We had some reports on TATLs on KL and the newer cabin did look a lot better.

    Decent catering on this flight, probably not as good as SQ’s offering, but for the price it’s definitely hard to complain since SQ would probably be significantly more expensive.

    What percentage of passengers were continuing onto AMS?

    • Comment 334077 by
      BombieFlyer AUTHOR 93 Comments

      Hello NGO85!

      Indeed SQ was a lot more expensive. The price I paid for this DPS-SIN with KL and SIN-CGK with AF in Y was USD 250 all-in and had I splurged myself a bit, business class seats can be enjoyed at USD 450 :-) I think it's not bad

      A good chunk of the passengers continue to Amsterdam actually as I saw a lot of passengers had double boarding passes and most of them spoke Dutch. Many Asian passengers or caucasians who spoke english terminated in Singapore. In fact, the routes AMS-SIN and AMS-KUL-CGK are moneymakers for KL despite heavy competitions from ME3. You can get a return ticket as low as 500-600 euro in Y

  • Comment 156708 by
    loukas SILVER 341 Comments

    Thanks for this report!

    Something suspecion :)))))

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