Hello and welcome to this FR! This is the photo report of my flight to Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia) from Amsterdam. Here's the background of my / our trip: In November 2015, my wife and I made the call to do an Asian vacation in the summer of 2016, but only if we could find affordable fares in J. Flying 12+ hours with a 7 and a 5 year old in Y is possible but didn't have our preference. So I set out to search and found Bali to be affordable and an excellent destination. The two fares that attracted my attention were AMS-HKG-DPS with CX for €1450 each and AMS-SIN-DPS with KL for €1550 each. At the time, I didn't know flying KL could be cheaper when flying out of Dusseldorf or Brussels which would have worked too because at that time I lived near Brussels Airport (Evere) in the week and in the Netherlands, close to Dusseldorf in the weekend. But I didn't check it.
I wanted to chose the CX flight because, well, their product is superior to KL in J. However, it did include a 4 hr layover in HKG and KL said that they fly the 772 to DPS which was scheduled to be modernized by the time we flew - so full lie-flat seats. Although I preferred CX we decided the best decision for the family in the end was KL so we booked our flight. A few weeks after booking however equipment was changed to 77W and the 77W-fleet had NOT been modernized yet. Bummer. NEV3 on the way out and back it would be. Luckily a few weeks later the return flight changed to the new cabin layout which in the end turned out the be the PH-BVR: newly delivered from the factory June 2016.
We arrived at Amsterdam around 17.15. Being early meant the kids could slowly adjust to something that would no doubt be very strange to them and we basically wanted to get some drinks before falling asleep on the flight. Even though it was in the middle of school holidays in the Netherlands, Schiphol was quiet. Very quiet. Or maybe we just flew on a slow day. I also wanted to do some spotting but that turned out to be difficult with the family. Maybe it was me who needed adjusting because flying with your family is very different from flying solo or with colleagues!
Here's the SP checkin area (you can see my son running. Good. loose energy now :D so you can sleep later)
The view from Lounge 52 is not great. I found one 772 but couldn't get a great picture. All you can see basically is this jetway:
So we settled in a quiet corner of the lounge, which has been covered many times here. Old seats basic foot, but quiet, good wifi, and nice drinks:
I told the kids to go explore and take whatever they like. They finished a tray of 'stroopwafels' (syrup waffles) all by themselves. I also emphasized to be quiet and leave other people alone. I think they behaved great. After all, if I travel by myself and spend time in the lounge, I'd like to work so respecting each other's privacy works best.
My daughter with her selection, also complains about the lack of view….
…while my son is busy building his new lego lava truck, with his selection on the floor…
…and I made a G&T with Bombay Safire. Not the best gin, but it'll do the trick.
At the time we left, the news reported about the financial problems with AF/KLM. I found it funny to see that message on a newspaper in the lounge.
My dinner selection. Yes I know presentation in the lounge is terrible but this dinner was good. I still like KLM's lounge, most of my business travel is to the USA and we all know that Delta's lounges are sometimes nothing more but a glorified café where you have to pay for everything except for water, beer (well, budweiser) and pretzels. Speaking on beer: I really enjoy a nice beer so I left the Heineken tap to itself.
Around boarding time, we headed for the gate (E33). Our bird tonight would be the PH-BVD in Skyteam livery, which was a nice touch. Boarding didn't commence on-time and soon the captain came on the PA, informing us there's a problem with the number one engine. They had to replace a part ,test-fire it and then we could go. So we boarded around 21.00, take-off around 21.20. The Captain got us on time to SIN anyway, so I didn't mind that much except that at this time, the kids were very very very tired.
Engine test run:
At boarding time, you could see that a lot of non-frequent flyers were traveling. The Sky Priority line was as long as the economy line and the person in front of me certainly didn't have SKY PRIORITY on his boarding pass. Dutch assertiveness perhaps? The gate agents didn't seem to mind that much and I wasn't prepared to get angry over it. When I fly Y I want to be onboard quickly because of overhead bin space, but when flying J, that's not as much of an issue. Since I was asked by KLM to rate this flight, I did leave a remark on not respecting priorities when boarding. The jetway split in two halfway for J and Y.
Amsterdam - Singapore
We found our seats (2JG 3JG) and sat down. I know this cabin well and still enjoy it. I looked around to see a lot of families in J. The FA quickly came over with the new amenity kit and the champagne. I didn't take pictures - sorry but I did found that the Amenity Kit contents is decreasing rapidly. Gone are the lip balsem and the free pen. It is now limited to socks, eye mask, a comb, ear plugs and a toothbrush. The bag is better than the old V&R though.
The kids amenity kid was quite nice:
Overview of the cabin. I still like this cabin. Don't know why. Maybe because it reminds me of the first time I ever flew J (KLM 747 slippery slopes back in 2011).
The new delft-blue flight safety video is great.
Taxiing to the RWY. I forgot which one - sorry. When flying with kids, you simply don't have the avgeek time you normally have :)
A HV B738 behind us:
And the second KLM Skyteam color 737:
AND the Air France Skyteam A320! Definitely a "sky team" lineup :)
Let's take a look at the menu. It's nice to see that KLM did away with the old-style folded A4 laserprinter menus but now have a proper menu:
Sorry for the bad photo's:
There were some excellent wines here. The Vila Wolf Pinot Noir 2014 was very very good. A light wine with a strong taste:
Drink cart arrives. You could see that the FAs were very busy since the flight was completely full: 100% Y and J. Dinner service took a long time. When I went to visit Y, I could see they were already sleeping while we still waited for desert. That was definitely a minus for people wanting to go to sleep quickly. Lights didn't go out until 00:30 AMS-time.
Warm nuts for me. Cheese for my son:
I tried the 'Flying Dutchman' cocktail. Very sweet, but not bad. I prefer a nice wine though:
Table was set. I like this linen with KLM branding on it:
I chose the tartare of sea brass which was absolutely amazing. Very nice tastes, very good. For some reason I find the startes with KLM are always fantastic, it's the main course that's sometimes not that good. Not this time though.
The button-hole, nice details with the blue thread:
Beef stew came next, again a great dish, although presentation is not that great. They always use this 'bowl' for the main dish and it just doesn't do the trick for presentation.
Our FA was very nice and took good care of us. She asked my daughter to assist here, which was a great experience for her - she still wants to become a FA (why not pilot I ask her? Better pay and you basically do nothing for 11+ hours). One thing I noticed though is that she didn't come over to introduce herself, which is something that the FA normally does for FB Gold/Platinum.
Desert, why not have two? Good blood orange ice-cream and fresh strawberries:
Let's add some desert wine to help flush down the taste.
Again some close-ups of the silverware, which I find great to be honest:
Because we were already hauling so much crap around (especially for the kids), I didn't bring my own Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones. I regretted that decision immediately. The KLM headphones are not on par. The Etihad Y-headphones are better than this! It says "Noise cancellation" but I think that's notional only.
Luckily my son quickly fell asleep:
I tried to sleep a bit as well. The cabin was blistering hot so I didn't need the blanket that much but it is good quality and very warm. I was able to sleep for quite some time, I find that you can sleep pretty well on the NEV3 if you put them down completely and than up just a bit. This prevents you from sliding off because it creates a small 'dent' for your behind, preventing the sliding. There are much better products out there, but this worked for me in the past and still does.
Some Tea before sleeping. KLM serves Dilmah tea.
During the night a quick bathroom visit. Clean bathroom with Zenology products. Including a deodorant. Good thinking KLM! If you turn the cabin into a furnace, this is not a bad idea ;-)
I forgot the take pictures of the lunch service. Again, when flying with your family, your attention is not always where you want it to be! At that time I was actually playing a game on the IFE with my son, which was great. Here's our route shortly before arriving at SIN.
Time to gather our stuff before leaving the plane for 50 minutes at SIN.
My son had "stolen" the window-seat, so some limited approach pictures into SIN:
Houses were handed out which I found strange, why not give them to us at DPS? I had to seal them because they scan your luggage again at SIN before you can board.
Singapore Airlines and Vietnam airlines:
Our bird being destuffed & stocked
When you arrive, you leave the aircraft and are pointed to the boarding area immediately. You're told to be back in 25 minutes so no lounge visits. So all I saw of Changi is this small area but I was still impressed: Good free WiFi, friendly personnel and the waiting area before boarding was split between Sky Priority and not and priorities where very strictly adhered to, including an agent between the two areas preventing people from 'accidental' crossing.
Singapore - Denpasar
KLM brings a new crew onboard that flies SIN-DPS-SIN. The crew was friendly but snappy too. It was clear that they resented this short flight in which they had to work hard, very hard. I get that but as a passenger I found it annoying I could notice THEIR annoyance with this flight. The flight is only 2,5 hrs long which is not much with a full cabin for a complete service. All the extras suffered: No introduction to the passengers by the purser, no response when you press your attendant call button, etc.
Close up of the seat controls, showing the wear & tear of this seat:
More cabin shots:
The legroom situation:
Sorry nothing else on this short trip. The kids were done with flying so I spend more time with them and less with taking pictures. I'm sure people can understand :-)
Arrival in Denpasar
So, no more pictures, sorry for that. We arrived in Denpasar and quickly found our way to our baggage. Since you don't have to pay anymore to get into the country when staying for less than 30 days, it goes a lot quicker than in the past where you apparently had to wait for over an hour to buy your entrance visa. As soon as you leave the airport everybody asks you wether you need a cab. I ignored them all trying to find a bluebird, which was the cab friends recommended. I looked for one with a tired family for 15 minutes, couldn't find one so in the end accepted an offer of a fare to Sanur for USD$25. I just wanted to get to the hotel. Little did I know that it would take us 2 hrs for those 10 kilometers: 45 minutes to leave the airport premises and another 1hr15m to get to Sanur. Welcome to Bali where traffic is crazy!! If you ever travel there, keep this in mind. The kids did great though and all in all, this was just a minor setback in a great journey!
I'll report the return flight as well and will include some pictures to this fantastic island where we had a fantastic holiday!!
KLM Crown Lounge 5 - Non Schengen
Amsterdam - AMS
Denpasar - DPS
Overall, the KLM flight is quite good although I resented the SIN-DPS cabin crew's attitude. I get it, you work hard, but why should I notice? Hence the low score on the cabin crew, the AMS-SIN crew easily earned a 9. The product is outdated. Yes. Glad the 77W will be rebuild to the new WBC as well. For the price I paid, this was an excellent flight. We met another couple on Bali who paid Eur 1000 per person on Garuda in Y. I think you can go cheaper than that, but all in all: KLM offers a nice price for this flight.
Hope to see you again on the return journey!
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