Review of KLM flight Amsterdam New Delhi in Economy

Airline KLM
Flight KL871
Class Economy
Seat 46K
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 07:45
Take-off 21 Dec 15, 12:45
Arrival at 22 Dec 15, 01:00
KL   #50 out of 130 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 618 reviews
jish.b
By SILVER 7111
Published on 15th August 2016

Rather than writing down the full word details of my flights, I'll just go full on avgeek and put forward the details.
One thing I would like to clarify, there were four different PNRs associated with this trip. FAR-MSP-ORD-MSP-FAR (DL) was one, ORD-AMS-DEL/BOM-BLR-CDG-ORD) (KL, AF, 9W, DL) was a multi city booking on Air France's website, while DEL-CCU-BOM (AI) was another multi city booking, and CCU-CMB-CCU (MJ) was another.


The flight details:
DL3849DL4695 FAR-MSP 19DEC15 1310hrs1319hrs 1421hrs1427hrs CRJ900CRJ200 N426SW
DL1717 MSP-ORD 19DEC15 1510hrs 1637hrs MD90 N912DN
KL612 ORD-AMS 20DEC15 1630hrs 0715+1hrs B74E PH-BFE
KL871 AMS-DEL 21DEC15 1245hrs 0100hrs+1 B744 PH-BFL (this one!)
AI401 DEL-CCU 22DEC15 0700hrs 0905hrs B788
MJ332 CCU-CMB 25DEC15 1050hrs 1350hrs A321
MJ331 CMB-CCU 28DEC15 0705hrs 1000hrs 0640hrs 0940hrs A320

AI676 CCU-BOM 07JAN16 0600hrs 0850hrs A319
9W7146495 08JAN16 2140hrs 2315hrs B73H
AF191 BLR-CDG 09JAN16 0245hrs 0845hrs B77E
AF3602 (DL123) CDG-ORD 09JAN16 1230hrs 1518hrs B76W
DL2223 ORD-MSP 10JAN16 1505hrs 1638hrs B752
DL1956 MSP-FAR 10JAN16 2027hrs 2133hrs A320

THE VIDEO REPORT


As always ladies and gentlemen, starting off with the video trip report for this flight, which can be found right here:


THE LAYOVER


PH-BFE resting it out at the gate, before being towed away for the rest of the day. She'd fly to Hong Kong in the evening as KL887.
photo img_6095

Despite the highs of the first flight, I was dreading my 5.5 hour transit at Schiphol, for some reason. I went through the website, and sure, there was a lot to do! I sat around for a bit, updating the social media. A bit of that later, I headed for breakfast… Ah long line. Never mind! I quietly sat amongst the passengers on KL441, the A330 flight to Doha and Muscat.

After that, I headed towards the main terminal itself. The sound of construction, the ripped open roof and the hoards of people that were around made for a very claustrophobic scene. I made my way back through the E concourse found someplace to lie down uncomfortably on. A sticky situation kicked when I found out that I probably won't be able to get connected in New Delhi (to inform my parents) at all. I did some spotting - while KLM's blue does look lovely, it got a bit too overwhelming for me and I nearly forgot what non-KLM planes looked like :P

Some spotting pictures from Amsterdam:


Highlights included a lowlight of PH-BFE being towed away when I could've gotten a decent shot of her in daylight. Xiamen Air 787, China Southern A330 (never got a photograph of both :roll:), Deltas here and there, a couple of United, China Airlines A340… I finally decided to have a sandwich. It was 1130.


PH-BFL, 'City of Lima', had been pulled into Gate E8 for my flight. A 24.1 year old birdie who was built in Everett, WA. She had flown in from Toronto (Canada) the same morning, around the time I landed from Chicago O'Hare. So much for City of Johannesburg and City of Hong Kong (although they both were combis anyway, so I was skeptical). A long line had already formed and boarding was not even called yet! Taking pictures of PH-BFL was tricky. The sun created a horrible backlight while the windows at Schiphol were no where close to clean. Finally, I get to see a 747 that will fly my flight up close and personal, and here I was with (unfortunately) the crappiest of views. My luck was rotten :( If there was anything that could cheer me up, it was perhaps the site of KLM's Beagle dog that assists in lost and found. Alas, it wasn't around :(


BOARDING


photo img_6109

Boarding was called for all the important SkyPriority people, but that was basically boarding for everyone.. The wifi was causing a lot of trouble and it was no better even just before boarding (considering the fact that Delhi gives wifi access for 45 minutes and my sim card didn't run beyond the USA). It as all a very messy situation all around. Easily over 400 passengers on the day's Boeing 747-400, I joined the line a little bit later on. A Dutch agent came around seeing passports and boarding, greeting everyone by saying 'Namaskar' (a greeting) and 'Shukriya' (thank you) in the end. Lovely touch!

The China Southern A330 was pushed back right in front of my eyes and all I could do was watch. :( Amsterdam's aerobridges look like the lower hull of a cruise ship with pothole windows. Boarding was slow, unsurprisingly. However, that didn't deter the senior purser from looking at my (Boeing) shirt and saying - that's a great shirt, I love it!

ON BOARD


The plane was jampacked, no surprises there. However, the number of Indian people (or people of Indian origin) surprised me! Pretty much everyone I saw onboard were Indians, and of course there was me. Finding space for my third extra bag took a while, but I found a spot with relative ease. Took my seat 40K, and just admired the size of the huge 747 wing, while also admiring the beauty of KLM's livery on an A330-200 parked close by (well, that was pushed back too, sadly :( ). The flight attendants were quite cheerful and answered to all passenger requests.



Time went by, the Captain came over the PA system to give some quick details of the flight (that the short flight would last 6hr45min) and that a fifteen minute delay would occur because of offloading a passenger. Just like on board PH-BFE, hearing the announcements were very very tricky. I just about heard whatever was said. An automated announcement was also made in Hindi - always a nice touch!

DEPARTURE


Pushback at 1301 hours, slowly all 4 GE CF6 engines were brought into life. We were pushed back basically on to a different bay, since there was also a Delta A330-200 that had to be pushed back (which, also, on to a different bay). The huge flaps were extended, of course, not to the full extent. Amazing, 24 year old plane and no sound in flaps, so I call bullsh*! on the A380's loud whiny flap sounds. ;)




Taxiing was at a decent pace as we taxied by many of the concourses. Lined up with runway 24 'Kaagbaan' which was followed by a gradual and graceful take off, 747 style (something that I am qualified to say now :P ). A few rather sweet banks later, a southeast course was set for New Delhi.


INFLIGHT/SERVICE


I took a nice quick twenty minute siesta while I pulled the window shade down since the rays came in straight through. I opened my eyes to see the lovely air hostesses start the drinks service. I started off proceedings with a white wine. The towel service followed with the nice and warm (From Holland with Love branded KLM merchandise) towels to refresh ourselves, which felt real good.
photo img_6116photo img_6119

The lunch service was next. The options shocked me a little: international veg pasta or Indian makhani. Seriously? That's all? :( Did they run out of non-veg or were two veg options the only stuff loaded? I suspect it was the former, since the service briefing about the flight on KLM's site suggested that lunch would consist of two choices. Either way, the choices did make me a bit sad.

(I do apologize for not taking a picture with the covers off, you can have a look at that in the video report! :)
photo img_6121

The food itself was pretty alright. I mean, the salad was pretty disappointing and I left it after a spoonful. The main course pasta was reasonable. Nice and warm with a decent amount of flavor. The bun was a bit cold, but still tasty. Dessert was a winner - a vanilla soufflé oliebollen and some chocolate sauce. To be honest, the Indian option looked way better in my opinion. An Indian salad with rice and dal makhani, and the same smelt amazing! Add to that, a rasmalai dessert. I didn’t make the right choice this time :(

The trays were collected and hot beverages offered. Some more tea and an Amarula is what I had. As I got my meal, it was turning into a tricky situation because a lovely sunset was occurring outside. I had to keep my camera in a very awkward position in order to get decent images of the sunset. Far from an ideal situation, but that’s how it was I guess! We started a climb from 33000 feet to 35000 feet.


Still some time to go!
photo img_6135

What followed was some sleep…or lack of it? It was pretty disturbed, not because of anything, perhaps just that sleeping on a plane is something that I can rarely do. Excitement? Or simply no comfort? Probably a bit of both. Calculated averages show that the sleep sessions were only 11-12 minutes. After a while, I gave up on sleeping :P The person in 40J was mostly asleep. The nice man in 40H pointed that he had placed my headset in my seat pocket (I found it just before the drinks), which was really nice of him! Anyway, Mr. 40H decided to get up and go to the loo, that’s when I decided to walk around and do some exploring (cue - photography :P ) of the lovely 747. I really liked the blue wallpapers on the bulkheads which had the KLM logo on it. It looked gorgeous. The plane itself, I realized, was one of the best looking ones in the sky. Being a 747 itself adds a lot of value, and then the lovely KLM blue. Even my non aviation friends agreed the plane had a pretty color! With the realization of being on a justifiably long Boeing 747 flight (since my first two flights on the B747 were short, TPE-HKG and HYD-BOM, I went back to my seat.

Some pictures from the quick walk around.

Lav:
photo img_6137photo img_6138

Cabin:


Stairway to heaven? :)
photo img_6161photo img_6163

I saw the time remaining countdown go down, which was a tad slow. But that’s okay, I was onboard Boeing 747! I spent most of my time on the flight information section. I did get a bit scared when it showed Altitude 0 feet many a times! But that was nothing to worry about as the lovely big Boeing gracefully flew smoothly in the night skies over Russia.
photo img_6164

An apple juice downed, it was time for some more sleep. I was drifting in and out of it when the second hot towel service began. The nice flight attendant saw me waking up and headed back down the aisle to give me a hot towel. Its these little things that change a flight from a good one to a great one!


Wait wait what is our altitude?!
photo img_6178

This only meant that meal service was up next and that the flight was in its final stages. Postcards and customs declaration forms were handed out, while the duty free sales commenced as well. The service started with the usual distribution of pre-ordered meals.

photo img_6180

We climed to 36000 feet. The meal itself was on a tray which was nice! A hot snack would be served to us. Of course, a common main course for all, that being a veggie roll (burrito?) for all. Three out of four vegetarian meals on board KLM, which was wonderful. Not. Anyway, the starter this time around was a much better fare as it was a nice potato salad in mayonnaise sauce. The roll was pretty average in my opinion, lacking a bit of flavor. It was nice and warm though. Fresh fruits were there with dessert. I had a gin and sprite to go with it. The combination was kinda nice, but it won't be done till I have a G&T! I sipped my way through that.
photo img_6181photo img_6182

The stint over Afghanistan and Pakistan felt a bit long as we also climbed up all the way to 39000 feet. Lights were dimmed but not all the way as we entered the final stages of the flight. The crew kept checking on the passengers by taking trays of juice and all to the passengers. The Captain came on the PA system to give us details of our arrival into New Delhi. We would reach twenty minutes before time and dock at Gate B15.



ARRIVAL


Slowly but surely the Flying Dutchman 'Lima' came closer to Earth. And seriously, this approach was more impressive than the A380 approaches I've experienced. The flaps extending all the way was awesome! Loud sounds of a ship mooring towards the docks were made as we made a smooth decent into New Delhi. Quite literally, the Flying Dutchman! The Boeing 747 is a true work of art.

A very very smooth landing was made onto Runway 28 on a slightly foggy night. 0039 hours, my 747 experiences were nearing its end.
Taxiing was long, however the senior purser wished us happy holidays, a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year, which is always a nice touch! We slowly taxied into our gate, there were other impressive Boeings, including Air India's 777-300ER and a 787-8 Dream)liner.


All four engines cut out, it naturally took quite some time for all passengers to get off the plane. I had to be one of the last because killing time was always on the agenda, not helped by the early arrival of the flight. I thanked the crew for a wonderful flight, as they looked forward to welcoming me on board future KLM flights, wishing me a happy new year and the like. Good stuff, KLM crew! I headed out via the long forward galley and also taking a peek at the Business Class.

PH-BFL would be turned around and flown back to base Amsterdam, where it would spend an entire day before flying over to Willemstad, Curaçao.


The walk to immigration itself was not too long (but not short either), I slowed myself down because I saw no point in clearing immigration so quickly. It was a good twenty minutes there, while the bags took some time to arrive as well. Of course, I was a bit anxious because the longer a suitcase takes to arrive, the more you feel it hasn't made it to you. When I finally saw my bag, I saw quite a few others come in from the USA, on various other flights from the USA to Amsterdam, and then on to New Delhi.


I headed out to the Plaza Premium lounge to get in and relax a bit. That never happened because it was all full :(
The Aalways lounge had a decent seating area with refreshments and wifi…but none of my cards worked. The nice man gave me his number for Docomo WiFi's one time password, and I had 45 minutes of reasonable Internet connectivity. And with that, the end of my experiences with KLM came to an end, while still in awe of the Boeing 747 in its entirety. I was counting down to a completely different generation of Boeing - the 787 Dream)liner was next!
See more

Verdict

KLM

7.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.5

Amsterdam - AMS

4.8/10
Efficiency3.5
Access5.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness7.5

New Delhi - DEL

7.8/10
Efficiency6.5
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

While this flight wasn't as good as the Chicago-Amsterdam flight, I would not take anything away from KLM because this was yet another fantastic flight. The ground staff in Amsterdam did a fine job in keeping a check on the difficult passengers (I cannot hide the fact that us Indians do not know much about zone wise boarding :( ), while being professional. Add to that, a decent set of flight crew who looked after the passenger's needs very well.
The one downer about this flight was the lack of a non-vegetarian meal service: is this a normal thing on EU-India flights? However, I was happy the second meal service was a full meal, and not just the wrap.
The seat was pretty alright, as was the IFE - exactly the same as on PH-BFE :D

I'm struggling to find positive feelings for Amsterdam. It was one of the most uncomfortable transit times in an airport. Being the peak season did not help matters, there was no place to sit. Add to that, the renovations and lack of services at Concourse E (where most of the intercontinental flights depart from). WiFi was pretty bad, too.

This was my first arrival into Delhi, the T3 is a fine gateway in to India.

Related

4 Comments

  • Comment 362973 by
    ID_Flyer 24 Comments

    Thanks for the FR!
    AMS was one of the better airports I've been through, but with construction work going on and being there during rush hour may not be the best place to be in.
    I believe that KLM catered the vegetarian meals due to the high number of Indian pax. I am not sure if a high number of pax are vegetarians or if KLM simply made this assumption, as they cater their meals to accomodate most passengers.

    • Comment 364643 by
      jish.b SILVER AUTHOR 227 Comments

      Thanks for your reply! Apologies for my delayed response - been flying again :D

      I have heard lots about AMS being a pretty decent airport. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, sadly. :( AMS has seen better days, and maybe some day I will get to see that, too.

      Its easy to feed a non vegetarian food when all of it vegetarian meals. However, most European airlines have an Indian veg option, and a western chicken option. That's usually the case, however KLM assumed everyone would be okay with vegetarian meals...I guess whatever works for them!

      Thanks so much for your response! :D

  • Comment 363091 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Nice spotting shots at AMS!

    You may have been unlucky with the sun but at least you got some nice shots of your bird, better to have a few shots of it than having none :).

    A very large amount of international airlines flying to/from India offer at least one veg alternative due to the large amount of vegetarian pax on this route. It is however interesting interesting that both options were veg, we had one veg and one non-veg option on my LH flights to/from DEL.

    Beautiful shots from your window, especially at sunset.

    Must've felt great to fly with a 747 on this flight!

    Catering looks impressive on this route, I'm surprised you got a second tray on this flight. LH only served a hot snack, not a hot snack plus other items on a tray.

    The IFE is obviously extremely outdated but I guess that wasn't your main concern for you.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 364645 by
      jish.b SILVER AUTHOR 227 Comments

      Hi RI 777! Apologies for my delayed response. Was flying to the USA after my summer at home (LH DEL-MUC...you have been on this haven't you?! :D )

      Thank you for kind words and comments, I always appreciate it :)

      The cover picture here does not look as bad as the image I had taken, so I guess its all not bad at all :D

      Yeah, I was thinking the same too...usually its one Veg and one Non Veg on these European legs, so kinda strange KLM only had vegetarian meals loaded....

      Always special to fly home on a big jet...more so when its a B747!

      I was quite satisfied with the second meal, and yeah, I too have flown LH on a similar route, and their second meal was just the hot snack. Good on KLM, I loved their flights.

      Again, thanks so much for your reply!

      Cheers.

Login to post a comment.