Hi and welcome to this Photo Flight Report of my recent trip from Washington Dulles Intl airport back home to Amsterdam Schiphol. I was a bit hesitant to write this FR because it's pretty much the only route I fly and it's been reported many times on this site. However, it's always good to re-evaluate the product and, I've included a (hopefully) nice bonus at the end, my visit to the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Museum near Dulles with some highlights from my perspective. So, fasten your seatbelts, put your tray table in the upright position and let's get started!
After spending a few days in the DC area (I stayed in Alexandria) it was time to go home again. No pictures of checkin but as I approached the checkin counter, the nice lady showed a piece of paper asking passengers if they would voluntarily rebook their flight to AMS over CDG with AF because the KL flight was overbooked. I guess some people did exactly that because there were some empty seats in Y and one empty seat in C. After a quick check-in, security, train ride to terminal A, I found myself in the well known and really nice Air France lounge, although the problem is that around 15.00, it gets very crowded there because of mainly AF55 and KL652 heading towards Europe. Besides, I saw that Icelandair also uses the lounge. Many people, small area. Oh well, I managed to find a seat with a view!
Wifi in the lounge is good until there are too many people, than the speed drops noticeably.
As we all know, Air France serves real champagne in the lounge, much appreciated!
Clear & beautifull day in DC.
A quick refill because we can. I also tried the Gin Tonic, but the woman behind the bar had no idea of proportions; she filled my glass with 50% gin and 50% tonic. Wow. That's a strong drink! I'll keep it at one.
Travel documents for today
Hello, Queen of the sky!
Corporate shot, a big salute to all other FR-writers!
Three flights leaving at the same time. As said before, this makes for a crowded lounge.
The food section. The food is really nice; nothing fancy but perfect finger food.
Look at this amazing sunset over DC!
Our bird for today, a Boeing 777-200 named Albert Plesman, PH-BQA, the first B777-200ER delivered to KLM in October 2003, and named after the first President of KLM.
Boarding through the back of the lounge was not possible, unknown why, so we left the lounge on time and headed for gate A-15. There was boarding by zone, which was a first for me for a KLM flight, you normally only see this on Delta.
The flight itself
Boarding was smooth and went quite well. I found my aisle seat (3H) and was welcomed by a extremely friendly senior purser. Champagne followed together with an orange juice as welcome drink and amenity bags were handed out. The crew informed us that we picked an excellent night to fly - only 6hr45m to Amsterdam! What a great surprise!
Welcome back, this seat is pretty well known. Nice large IFE with some backlight issues other than that, great seat, lots of space. Storage is a bit limited. Oh well.
As said, J was almost full.
Here are the new KLM noise-reduction headphones. I had told myself I wouldn't use them but use my own, mainly because they are superior. However, I forgot the adapter with my own set (stupid!) so I used them anyway. The headphones are not bad, but not good either. They don't fit nicely over your ears and noise reduction is of limited quality.
I had planned to use the remote for the airshow and the main screen to watch some movies.
Quick bathroom visit, still being nice. I like the layout of this bathroom, even it is a bit small. Did you know there are only two bathrooms for J? Some queues did form during flight.
Fake wood floor. They also installed this in Y. I guess it's easier to clean?
Welcome drink, part 2
I wound up not using these. Stupid me!
Time to get comfy
KL's Jan Taminiau amenity bag is still quite limited.
Some great wines though. I was especially fond of the Stellenbosch
Some more interior shots.
Take-off at 18.59
Time to explore the IFE. KLM filled it with a great movie selection. I saw Indian, Chinese and French movies as well. Tailored to world travellers!
Unfortunately, my handheld controller stopped working – all it did was show me this waiting screen. When they reset my chair, I did start working again but soon after would hang on this screen again. I'd had to do without an airshow tonight, unfortunately
Time to watch a movie and try out the Stellenbosch! The wine was served with nuts and when the purser found out I had finished mine, he quickly refilled the bowl and poured me some more wine. Very attentive!
Seat controls which turn this seat into a full flat bed. Even though it is quite long (2m4 - I'm 1m83) the cubby where you have to put your feat is narrow, so I always move up as far as I can. If you do this, you can sleep quite well on this seat I believe.
Time for dinner! Choices were:
Appetiser: Salmon tartare with chunky tomato salsa or a Butternut squash soup Main: Rigatoni Pasta with roasted pepper sauce and artichoke hearts; Chicken in Thai red curry sauce or Beefstew provencale. Desert: Cantal and Camembert Cheese; White chocolate Mouse or Seasonal Fruit
I opted for the Salmon tartare, Rigatoni Pasta and Chocolate mouse AND fruit! All dishes were really good, I was very happy with my choice:
I still think this is tacky.
The pasta was really well made and had a lot of flavour. Really enjoyed it.
When I finished eating, I asked for a tea with a chocolate (they now serve KLM houses in chocolate cookie form - forgot to take a picture - sorry) and went to sleep. I got a solid 3 hrs of sleep (note - ignore the heart rate; I didn't wear my watch when sleeping so I wonder how it got that information).
Breakfast was OK, I didn't like the fluffy egg-cake but was full anyway so I skipped it.
Delft Blue houses time. #62 this time. Collecting these things is nice but after a while, you run out of space at home to put them.
Yeah, still not working.
Arrival at Amsterdam
We were told we were going to park the plane on the tarmac and would deplane by bus. First for me on a TATL-flight. So we stepped of the Boeing in a cold but nice Amsterdam Schiphol. And we were granted a free tour of the airport ;-) What did surprise me though is that when the bus drops you off, you have to go through an odd rotating door, I can't really explain it but it's a strange thing. An elderly couple ws walking behind me and was almost hit by the rotating door. They looked like they could easily fall over because they were moving really handicapped. As the door was about to hit them, I stopped it by pushing back. A schiphol stewart was very angry at me for doing that because it could mess up the system. Strange priority: I'd prefer a messed up system over a fallen 80yr old….
Luggage came quite quickly. KLM now sends you a message when you deplane to inform you what belt to use. Great feature!
Time to catch the train to Leiden
Bonus : Click here displayhide
Bonus: Udvar Hazy Not far from Dulles, there is a nice museum (free entrance, $15 parking fee) where you can see a great collection of history air and space vehicles. I'd been there before but wanted to see it again so spend a morning there. Here are some of my personal favourites and highlights.
Enola Gay, The B-17 that dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima. Very humbling to stand beside this aircraft that ended WW2 effectively but at the same time caused so much pain and suffering.
The Space Shuttle Discovery, flew the most shuttle missions. I can't explain just how HUGE this thing is. Imagine strapping yourself in it, being shot to space and then having to land it like a glider. Wow!
Apollo Command Module; don't know if this one actually went to space but again the size impressed me: This thing is small, yet it had to house 3 astronauts for 2 weeks going to the moon. And this sat on top of a huge Saturn V rocket. Again: wow!
One of the Nazi's wonder weapons: A rocket powered fighter. Legend has, it flew too fast to effectively intercept allied bombers.
MiG-15 and F-84. These two birds fought over the Korean sky; the first air war between Soviet made fighter a/c and american made fighter a/c
I feel the need…. the need for speed! F-14A Tomcat; famous for its role in Top Gun. Retired now
Air France Lounge
Washington - IAD
Amsterdam - AMS
So to sum this flight up: Washington DC: Great airport, nice looking, effective process Air France lounge near gate A20: Great lounge; good food, great drinks, not build for this many customers KLM Flight: Excellent as always, impressed by the food and the level of service. Seats are good. Amsterdam: Except for the deplaning by bus, overall good experience.
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