Flight-Report

Review of KLM flight Amsterdam Washington in Business

Airline KLM
Flight KL651
Class Business
Seat 6A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200
Flight time 08:20
Take-off 18 Jun 17, 13:25
Arrival at 18 Jun 17, 15:45
KL   #49 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 602 reviews
CounterSurprise
Published on 25th June 2017

Introduction


Welcome to my Flight Report, yet another of the route Amsterdam - Washington by KLM. There are probably already a ton of reports on KLM and this route, but I found some of the experience worthy of a new report. Besides, I haven't written anything in a long time and since this is pretty much the only route I fly nowadays, I figured: might as well do a FR on the KL651!
I won't write anything on my visit to the KLM Crown Lounge since, well, we all know what it looks like, how the food is, etc. Besides, they're remodeling the lounge so it won't be worth your while for several weeks to read anything on the Crown Lounge.

This trip was part of a short visit I made to the DC-area and the Yorktown/Norfolk-area in Virginia. Basically, my routing was:
AMS-IAD KL651 (June 18th)
IAD-Alexandria (VA) by car (June 18th)
Alexandria-Yorktown (VA) by car (June 20th)
Yorktown (VA)-Norfolk Intl Airport ORF by car (June 23rd)
ORF-ATL-AMS DL2206 KL622 (June 23rd, red-eye)

I didn't take enough pictures for the return route since it was uneventful and not that interesting, although the Delta Sky Lounge in Terminal F on Atlanta has turned out quite nice with the rooftop / sun terrace.

At Amsterdam


So, once I got my boarding pass and passport ready, I was ready to leave. I also got some flyer from KLM which I never read on lounge access. Apparently, introducing somebody into the lounge before 11am is discouraged/not allowed anymore when it's busy because of the remodeling. I wonder if you get a voucher or anything if they deny you access?
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Once arriving at the gate, I couldn't find our plane but it soon showed up, as it was being towed from another location. We flew PH-BVQ Machu Picchu registered to KLM Asia, a Boeing 777-200 which had been remodeled with the new World Business Class. Actually, the entire fleet has the new WBC now except for the A332/A333. Ofcourse I was very glad I didn't fly the Airbus with the old NEV3/Slippery Slope seats, as you can imagine.
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Inside the plane


I opted for seat 6A this time, of course a window seat but also a seat in the small mini-cabin behind the "main" business class. I wanted to try out if it really is this bad? Well, certainly during boarding you feel less private because of all the Y-traffic. This also means more trouble for the Flight Attendants (FA) to carry trays with drinks to all the passengers while Y is still boarding. Kudo's on how they manage to do that job!

The seat is well-known. Spacious, comfortable, but lacks individual aisle access. More on that later.
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Just an overview picture of the mini-cabin during boarding.
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The IFE system is also well-known but has some disadvantages I hadn't noticed before. More on that later as well.
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I kicked it off with a glass of champagne, which is always nice. As always, I'm especially fond of the KLM silverware.
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The new Jan Taminiau bag feels… cheap to be honest.
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The contents has gone down as well. Gone is the lip balsem, the pen (oh so useful when flying to the US although the blue customs form is no longer required for immigration) and the socks are even cheaper than they used to be. Actually, they're not socks at all, just a circular cloth with now noticeable front or backside. Well, I only use them once anyway, but still.
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Another 772 pulled up beside us.
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The seat controls also reveal that cleaning on this a/c wasn't very thorough.
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The little cubby in front of me (or Ottoman as I've seen it called) is far enough from me to sit relaxed. I did notice that my neighbor (seat 6C) had a larger space for his feet, I think that's because the seats are slightly angled.
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A7-BAT, a 773-ER Qatar Airways, pulled up between our 777s.
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Easyjet is taxiing by.
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Here are the power connections of the seat. I like the fact that it has both USB and a separate 110V/220V socket.
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The gate moved back, almost time to go!
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The flight-tracking system had no clue where we were yet :-)
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Push-back on 13:29 local (and yes, I know, I hadn't met my calorie target for the day). All in all we left quite on time (13:20 was scheduled).
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Push-back
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The flight safety instruction being played "while standing in this original Delft-blue pottery". I like the fact that KLM uses it's dutch heritage as a sales-item but sometimes I think they've gone too far. I'll get back to that later.
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Beautiful day to fly!

Take-off!

The Dutch coast showing up, you can see Noordwijk and Katwijk.
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Hello down below!
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So it became time to focus my attention to the inside of the plane again. We were given some warm nuts and an oshibori. I remember in the past you had the option of either cheese or nuts. Perhaps the cheese was "sold out" because we were the last row on the WBC? Anyway I always go for the nuts because the Dutch cheese they serve isn't the best. For excellent cheese you probably need to fly Iberia, Air France or Alitalia :-)
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The Dutch signature Bols cocktail goes quite well with the nuts.
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Time to watch some TV. The Big Bang theory always does it for me; I also watched 2 broke Girl$ which is a show I think I only watch onboard aircraft. The reason for this is because I'm a big fan of the nevernotflying youtube channel See the website here or visit the youtube channel here. The creator of NNF always watches 2 Broke Girl$, so that where the inspiration comes from.
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The English coastline
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The wallpaper is quite nice on this plane
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Here you can see the socks in action. I still wear them - wouldn't want to enter a toilet otherwise without shoes!
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Some more British coastline. Did I mention it was a beautiful day to fly?
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The inside of the aircraft and some more exterior shots
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The remote for the IFE has it's own screen that can run a separate program from the IFE. I fancy the moving map while watching a movie. This works quite well as you can see and the remote is quite responsive.
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Soon everybody blanked their windows in order to watch a movie and enjoy lunch and/or dinner.
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The armrest on the left side of the seat can be lowered which is especially useful when you go to sleep
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Time for dinner! I'll include the full wine list and menu at the end of the FR. I opted for the Thai-style beef salad as an appertiser and the Filet of cod as a main course.
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The patterns on the tablecloth are also very nicely done
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The Thai beef salad was excellent, really good, some great tastes.
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OK so this is where KLM has gone "too far" with the Dutch-stuff in my humble opinion. Plastic wooden shoes pepper and salt shaker. I mean, really? The entire thing felt cheap and it reaffirms a stereotype almost nowhere to be found in my country anymore. I liked the old pepper and salt shaker better. What do you think?
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I finished my plate, again to show the beautiful silverware. The meal was, as I said, excellent!
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I paired the meal with the recommended Corralillo Sauvignon Blanc 2016 from Matetic, Chile. It had a "kiss from Therese", I believe she is the Sommelier from the Librije restaurant, one of the two dutch three-star Michelin restaurants. I must admit: the wine was really, really good and worked quite well with the meal.
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Again, would love to hear your opinion on this.
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Here's the cod, again a fantastic meal. It was made with a madras curry, macadamia cream, rice, cauliflower, asparagus and raisins. That's not a combination I would have thought of but it worked excellent. KLM food is improving I believe.
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Button-hole in the napkin, very handy when flying. Tacky otherwise :-)
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So yeah, here's a belated picture of the nice IFE/remote combination somewhere over the Atlantic. I'm also quite impressed with the level of detail on the system. Remember, the IFE has no internet connection so all the maps are stored on a server somewhere in the plane. Apparently they downloaded large sections of the OpenStreetMap set (OSM), which works as you can see really nice. OSM is a free community map system with a very high fidelity.

Some more shots of the mini cabin. It does feel quite private to be honest and the close proximity to economy never bothered me. Then again, I used my Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-cx headphones all the time because they are so much better than the ones KLM hands out.
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Desert time! Some cheese, crackers and fruit. The cheese was average
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Tea to go with the desert. Dilmah tea is really good.
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This shot was taken of the large business class cabin with the 20 other seats. Quite spacious and light, I really like it. Our small mini cabin does feel more private though.
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The galley
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Zenology products in the clean restroom
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So I promised to come back to the IFE-screen. Hope I can explain it. This shot was taken when all window blinds were closed and I took it of a rather dark image on screen. Don't look at the image itself - it's not the reason I took the shot. Look at the sides of the screen: you can see the backlight emitting from the bottom, top, left and right of the screen. This effect is more visible than it should be especially when it's dark and tends to over-brighten the screen a bit. You can turn down the blacklight a bit, but I was actually surprised by this effect. Modern screens have their backlights from behind, not the sides.
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As we approached the US coastline, it was time for lunch. I asked for the hamburgers but again, they were gone. So when loading the plane with food, I can imagine you don't want to take 24 main courses in every variety and 24 lunches, but still, what do you think? Should the airline have packed more of each? Anyway, the sandwich was not bad although I resented a bit it was taken out of the plastic wrapper by the FA in front of me.
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Descent into Washington
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The Potomac river, we're getting close!
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Touch-down, on time and I can already see the dread buses which take you from your gate to the arrival area.
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Goodbye, Machu Picchu! We had a great time! We parked at gate A15 which is standard for KLM at IAD.
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Menu and wine selection




Bonus : Click here display

I went to Alexandria many times before so I skipped the usual places like King Street. If you ever go to the DC area, haven't been there before and are looking for a great place: Go find a hotel near King St. King is great, there are a lot of good bars etc and most hotels offer free shuttle service. Also, at the beginning of King St is a metro station allowing for quick access to all the great places DC has to offer.

This time however I went to a friends house in Alexandria who showed me the neighborhood a bit by night. These pictures are from the US Patent Office which manages all the US patents and has some great artwork in front of the building, especially by night. I forgot the name of the geomatric shape in front but apparently it has a patent as well!

View of the Potomac from my friends house
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Oxon Hill Harbour
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See more

Verdict

KLM

8.6/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering9.5

Klm Crown Lounge 5 - Non Schengen Terminal

7.4/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services8.0

Amsterdam - AMS

8.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Washington - IAD

8.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Overall, once again a great flight with KLM but some minor remarks. The amenity bag seems to be getting less and less "useful" while the menu keeps getting better. I like quality of the food but with the amenity bag as it is, you might as well skip it alltogether. As always, I can recommend KLM on this route especially now that they have the new WBC seats!
Big question of course: Would I recommend the mini-private section of the WBC row 6? Yes, I would. It is quite private and that helps if you want to sleep. Especially the private feeling makes this a great place to stay. Then again, so does the main section. But apart from the traffic during boarding, there really aren't any other disadvantages. Did you fly the mini-WBC section? Would love to hear your opinion!

Information on the route Amsterdam (AMS) Washington (IAD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Amsterdam (AMS) → Washington (IAD).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is KLM with 7.4/10.

The average flight time is 8 hours and 5 minutes.

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8 Comments

  • Comment 402107 by
    757Fan 501 Comments

    Looks like you had a good flight with KLM in Business. Sorry to hear they ran out of your food option for the second meal. Everything looks good in your photos, and I like the stylish looking dishes and trays KLM use.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Comment 402150 by
    KL651 TEAM 4374 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    The amenity kit does look better that the one with the buckle offered for many years, but the content is really poor...
    Otherwise really nice experience again on KL, having a plane with the new seats is such an improvement over the A330.
    The wooden shoes salt and pepper shakers used to be on the tray a few years ago but were removed, it's sad they came back, they're ugly and having shoes on a food tray isn't a nice association.

  • Comment 402336 by
    MRTY 42 Comments

    Thanks for the report.
    It does look like a decent long haul J class product from KLM. I flew them in J once from CGK-KUL vv and I could tell that they have this consistency in terms of hardware. I especially love the crews, they are energetic and friendly.

    I'm not a fan of those salt and pepper shaker, the previous sand-glass shape shakers are much more better than this one. Probably it would help if the color was not red, maybe wooden-color would look not so cheap?

    I wonder if they still distribute the Delft House?

    • Comment 402395 by
      CounterSurprise AUTHOR 72 Comments

      Hi MRTY, Thanks for your reply. I feel terrible for not mentioning the perfect service by the flight attendants because you are right. This is still one of the points where I think KLM outranks a lot of other airlines. You might be right the salt & pepper shakes probably would look better in traditional yellow.

  • Comment 402337 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4726 Comments

    Nice to see a new report from you. Welcome back :-)
    I had no idea KL were operating 772s to IAD now. I've only seen KL651/652 on A330s before. I guess they upgraded the equipment for the high season summer volume. Also nice to see that with the 772 the new WBC cabin is finally flying here to DC!

    "Plastic wooden shoes pepper and salt shaker. I mean, really?"
    - Would you prefer windmills ^^
    But in all seriousness, I agree, it's a little tacky. Though, my nerdy airline geek side likes the kitchiness for the novelty

    KLM do seem to be improving in the catering department. I'm still not a fan of the dark plastic tray though.

    "Should the airline have packed more of each? "
    - Airlines are getting cheaper and cheaper with loading extra choices for catering in J. More airlines should allow meals to be selected online ahead of time or at OLCI to avoid these constant issues with lack of meal choice.

    "I can already see the dread buses"
    - Hah! Dread Bus? Do you hate them that much? I like to call them moon buggies (the real name mobile lounge is boring). And yeah, they are annoying, but it is one of those special things about IAD.

    Overall a good flight with KL. The new 777/747 WBC is so much better than the awful old angled seats. Of course it's not as good as the 787 WBC. Have they started retrofitting the A330s yet? Will they be fitted with the same B/E Diamond seats?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 402397 by
      CounterSurprise AUTHOR 72 Comments

      Hey Kevin, it's good to be back :-) I hope to fly less-known routes in the future but as it currently is, I fly less and less and if I do, most of the time it's DC. As far as the busses at DC go, I don't really "hate" them of course, they are a funny curiosity but they kind of negate priority disembarking because you wind up at the rear end of the bus and as such, last in line at immigration.

      Overall, I agree the 777 is a much better product and I really enjoy flying that plane. The way it seems to be at the moment is that KLM is using the A332/A333 fleet for the more tourist destinations such as Miami and Curacao. This might be nothing more but a hunch though. They will eventually be retrofitted with the B/E Diamond seats, not the Zodiac seats used in the 787 which is, as you pointed out, probably even better (haven't tried it yet - need to do that sometime soon!)

      Chosing a meal at OLCI sounds like a good plan though. In the end, it didn't bother me that much. Overall, I had a great flight. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  • Comment 402344 by
    SKYTEAMCHC TEAM GOLD 7074 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report with us. KLM is an airline that I like and your report confirms my opinion. The cabin is nice and much better than the previous although it does not offer full access. The main meal looks good and tasty but it's too bad that you could not get your choice for the second meal. AS Kevin said in his above comment, I really think that airline should give the oppotunity to make your choices ahead of flying to be sure to have your choice. I never liked KLM amenity kits and this one is not going to make me chnage my mind. As usual FA's get a good rating , it's really one of KLM's strength.

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