Review of KLM flight Denpasar Singapore in Economy

Airline KLM
Flight KL836
Class Economy
Seat 43K
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 02:25
Take-off 09 Jun 18, 20:40
Arrival at 09 Jun 18, 23:05
KL   #49 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 544 reviews
Eric V P
By GOLD 1256
Published on 29th July 2018
Report #41: KL836 - KL-issued chaos

This will be my report on flying on KLM economy class from Denpasar DPS to Singapore SIN, a short-haul international flight within SE Asia, on board their Boeing 777-300ER.

Here are the 12 parts of the trip:
KUL - CGK on KLM 777-300ER business class: Read here
CGK - SUB on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 economy class: Read here
SUB - SRG on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here
SRG - SUB on Garuda Indonesia CRJ-1000ER economy class: Read here
SUB - KJT on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here (first commercial flight to KJT)
KJT - SUB on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here (first commercial flight from KJT)
SUB - DPS on Garuda Indonesia 737-800 economy class: Read here
DPS - SIN on KLM 777-300ER economy class: You are here
SIN - DPS on Jetstar Airways A320 economy class: Read here
DPS - CGK on Lion Air 747-400 economy/business class: Read here
SUB - CGK on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 business class: Read here
CGK - SIN on Lion Air 737-900ER economy class: Read here

Background


On my 4th report here reviewing the same flight (flown on December 2016) I mentioned that upgrade to business class would cost only €80 (US$85) from the usual price of €100 (US$110) yet at the same time the one-way paid business class fare was exorbitant to the tune of around S$400 (~US$300) so I decided that I may as well fly on the way back and try to get the airport upgrade.

The ticket, booked 4 days before the original departure date, costed me Rp1.235.000 (US$88), which wasn't entirely unjustified due to the free luggage allowance and meal.
photo kl836 06082018 receipt

Before I departed to SUB for the flight to KJT I received a notification of the flight cancellation due to technical reasons. However, it was only later in the morning (Indonesia time) after my return flight from KJT I was alerted that I was about to get moved to a 3K flight.
photo kl836 06082018 new flight 1

I was rather sour about the new flight provided so I decided to pull GA's availability (with both being within SkyTeam chances would be excellent that my request be honoured) and gave their Jakarta office a call who afterwards agreed to move me to the early morning GA flight without any additional charge. Also note the M subclass, which would otherwise mean that the ticket was eligible for airport upgrade.
photo kl836 06082018 new flight 2

Unfortunately for me, as I was unable to wake up early enough for the morning flight I woke up in panic and afterwards tried to call KL's Netherlands customer care to rebook me on another flight. As I called during an ungodly hour there, I needed to call a few times before they reluctantly confirmed my flight on KL again later that evening and told me that it would be their last free change.
photo kl836 06082018 new flight 3

Trip to DPS and check-in


After my exceptionally late lunch I decided to go to the airport using motorcycle taxi.
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The massive international terminal was the first thing seen as I entered the airport.
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Motorcycle users can only get dropped off away from the terminal so first it was a walk along the sheltered area.
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Afterwards I walked through the multistorey car park.
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I then walked past the gate to reach the terminal.
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The international departure drop-off area seen from below.
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I then reached the arrival floor, which was crowded.
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I needed to take a couple of escalator rides to get to the departure public area.
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The departure area was slightly less crowded.
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I first went through a precursor ticket check and security, which took me ~3 minutes.
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By the time I arrived, though, which was still almost 3 1/2 hours to STD, there were already quite a bit of queue forming. Also note that the passengers were mostly Europeans.
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A staff provided a cabin baggage tag for passengers nearing the check-in counters.
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The queue lasted for ~25 - 30 minutes, which was exceptionally long, and even that was when all counters were opened.
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As before, the upgrade promotion was posted on the desk.
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It took a painfully long 7 minutes to process my check-in alone. During check-in I asked:
- The load for both cabins (low in business class yet completely full in economy),
- Whether it was possible to upgrade to business class and how much (yes, it would cost €120 (US$140); this was the one that took exceptionally long as the check-in staff needed to call somebody else to ask for the rate), and
- How much would it cost to get one of those extra legroom seats (didn't exactly recall, but it was on par with buying it beforehand online; the staff also needed to make another call to ask).
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While I forgot to take a photo of the boarding pass, it was still the standard all black text and logo on plain white boarding pass stock paper.

A view of the check-in hall.
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SQ's counters for flights to SIN wasn't crowded.
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FIDS of the evening,
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To enter the screening area my ticket was first checked and scanned.
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Security was acceptable and I was through in a couple of minutes.
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I proceeded through the immigration using the automated gate on the far left, which was queue-free as usual.
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DPS transit area and departure


One of the things I hated the most about DPS international terminal was that I needed to get through the duty-free store to reach the gates.
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It was then some walk along the maze.
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A food court was available below the Premier Lounge, though it was on the pricey side.
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I first tried finding a decent coffee shop chain all the way to the first few gates, but to no avail.
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As I had works to do I opted to go to a cafe, which coffee was outrageously expensive compared with Starbucks (but I needed the plugs anyway, so I couldn't complain either).
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I made my way to the gate ~35 minutes to STD.
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Boarding for the flight used multiple lines for each group.
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I ran out of battery while waiting for boarding and therefore was unable to take photos until after I reached my seat.

On board


Flight: KL836
Plane: PH-BVG "Wolong National Nature Reserve"
STD/ATD: 20.40/20.37
STA/ATA: 23.15/23.13
Load factor: 32%J (11/34), 100%Y (374/374)
Seat type: Standard economy class (window seat)
Details: https://flightaware.com/live/flight/PHBVG/history/20180609/1250Z/WADD/WSSS

KL's 77W economy class is configured in a tight 3-4-3 configuration, yet at the same time have quite a large economy class cabin compared with Asian carriers.
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Let's get to the seat tour: KL's seatbelt featured a bigger hole than usual.
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A normal seatback pocket was present, containing the safety card and airsickness bag.
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A foldable table and literature pocket, containing their in-flight magazine, could be found above.
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The foldable table turned out to be quite small.
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In fact, it was so small it couldn't fit the inflight magazine alone.
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A safety card was also present, though unfortunately I didn't manage to get a clear photo of it.
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Last but not least, their plain blue airsickness bag.
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The IFE screen was as usual quite sizable and sharp.
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Legroom was a bit tight even for the hop, so I would prefer to shell out for their extra legroom seats had I continued all the way to AMS.
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Me on the seat. Note the seat being quite narrow.
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Dutch are especially renowned to be tall, so it was only normal that the headrest can be adjusted really high.
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Due to the 10-abreast seating as well, the armrest was made quite narrow.
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Power plugs were available between the seats, so I used that for my phone.
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We were initially parked beside PK-GIF, GA's 773.
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The flight attendants were distributing earphones, which I ended up not using (more on that later).
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The earphone happened to be a rather quality one, but on the plus side it only has one 3.5mm plug.
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During pushback the safety video was shown.
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I then checked the classical music selection, which was again quite extensive. Also note the IFE screen having one 3.5mm plug, which was the reason why I opted to use my own earphone.


Some views during taxi.


The flight attendants were preparing for takeoff.
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Takeoff was uneventful and we were soon away from Bali island.
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Towel service soon commenced.
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In economy class KL served hot towelette.
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~15 minutes later the dinner service started.
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It was around 10 minutes before the trolley reached my seat row.
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The drink offerings on the trolley, which was quite extensive compared with Asian carriers.
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The dinner was served on plastic containers.
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KL's serving gears were decorated with a couple of Dutch-themed icons.
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The dinner with all containers opened. I was also asked for my drink choice, to which I opted for sparkling water.
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The dinner consisted of:
Appetizer: Salad
Main course: Rice served with chicken in black pepper sauce and long beans with shredded coconut
Dessert: Pineapple cake
Drink (default): Mineral water
Drink: Water / coffee / tea / milk / fruit juice / wine

To start, the salad was pretty ordinary. In terms of the main course I was initially surprised as being a SIN-bound flight I was initially expecting a Hainanese chicken rice when the flight attendant offered rice with chicken for dinner (that was the sole choice offered for the flight), but it still turned out to be acceptable with the chicken being quite flavourful and the portion size reasonable for the distance. The dessert was pretty good with the generous amount of pineapple chunks. On overall, it was an acceptable meal for the short distance.

As the meal was collected another round of drink service commenced.
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I opted for Baileys, which was served in KL's plastic glass.
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I then visited the lavatory, which was pretty spacious and clean.
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Unlike at the front, the lavatory wall didn't feature KL's signature Delft Blue collection.
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Both the closet and sink were clean, though the amenities were basic.
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I then walked around the plane. This was the first economy class cabin, which feature a separator for the extra legroom product.
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The second economy class cabin from the front. Note my seat with extended headrest at the last row, second from left.
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I walked further behind to the third economy class cabin.
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I then did a galley visit, and asked whether there was any chance to get to the Delft Blue, to which the purser said that it was not possible as she needed to make sure there was enough of it for the next segment - she went as far as saying (in a lighthearted way) that the flight was so popular KL was making profit out of the route.

Laptop test: my laptop could barely fit on to the table, so I couldn't get much work done on it during cruise.
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Some views during the final approach.
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We soon landed at SIN runway 20R.
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We first proceeded past terminal 3 before reaching terminal 1, which contributed to the long taxi.
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TG's 77W from BKK.
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We then reached at our gate, beside BA's 388.
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The video loop was as usual displayed.
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As everybody would need to deplane there was quite a bit of queue building up.
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A view of the economy class seats from the middle.
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Seat comparison: the economy class seat as usual feature a slightly tight pitch.
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KL also offered an extra legroom seat, which apart from the possibly more recline and different seat and headrest colour was the same as normal economy class.
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Lastly, the business class seat (wide foot cubby only available on the bulkhead seats). Also note that it was the exact same seat as the one I sat on for the first flight in this series.
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After I bid farewell to the crew I then left the plane.
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I walked through the aerobridge and the corridor before reaching the transit area.
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Arrival in SIN and post-arrival trip


There were ground staffs redirecting AMS-bound passengers back to the security.
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I made my way down the terminal to reach the arrival area.
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One of the transfer desks at SIN.
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TG's flight attendants arriving from BKK.
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I then proceeded down to the immigration hall, which was crowded and therefore took me 3 minutes to clear.
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The luggage claim hall was packed with passengers from BKK.
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By the time I arrived the luggage had already started reaching the carousel. Also note the different carousel layout due to space constraints.
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My bag arrived 19 minutes after I deplaned.
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After I cleared customs I proceeded towards the public area, which seemed to have been extended.
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The crews from my flight.
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However, instead of going up for their pick-up I made my way down
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It was a moving walkway ride down to the basement floor.
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I proceeded to the bus stop, though it was still not refreshed like the terminal itself.
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I then took the bus service 36 before continuing on a midnight bus service from the city to nearby my campus and then a very short ride on a carpooling service back to my campus, thus ending the first part of the Indonesia aviation tour.
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Bonus: forced layover by KL


As KL shifted their schedule way too late, I had no chance but to partake in the forced layover instead of connecting straight from my GA flight from SUB. This would be more on what I ate and where I stayed as I didn't do much during the layover apart from calling KL, dining, and sleeping.

Bonus : Click here to display
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Verdict

KLM

6.4/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment8.5
Meal/catering6.0

Denpasar - DPS

4.6/10
Efficiency3.0
Access5.5
Services3.0
Cleanliness7.0

Singapore - SIN

7.1/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

While not the most luxurious way to fly between DPS and SIN in economy class and despite the horrendous return flight timing, KL still offered a rather competitive product on the route like other full-service carriers. My views on the dining and seat was rather mixed, but it was more than made up by the reasonable fare and decent IFE selection. In terms of the airport, DPS was a mess with lack of reasonably priced dining options and long walk while SIN was as usual quite efficient despite the crowd.

Given the opportunity, I would be more than happy to fly with KL again on the route.

Some thing done well for the trip (airports):
+ Fast security at DPS
+ Fast immigration at DPS
+ Fast immigration at SIN (despite the crowd)
+ Fast luggage collection at SIN
+ Refreshed arrival area at SIN

Some thing done well for the trip (on board):
+ Reasonable price (Rp1.235.000 (US$88)
+ Acceptable legroom
+ Extensive entertainment options
+ Spacious lavatory

Things that can be improved (airports):
- Long check-in queue at DPS
- Unknowledgeable check-in staff at DPS
- Crowd at DPS
- Lack of reasonably priced dining options at DPS
- Long walks at DPS
- Crowd at SIN

Things that can be improved (on board):
- Expensive upgrade fee
- High load factor
- Narrow seat width
- No hot meal option
- No Delft Blue available on request

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 25 reviews of 7 airlines on the route Denpasar (DPS) → Singapore (SIN).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 2.0 hours and 34.0 minutes.

  More informations

3 Comments

  • Comment 457054 by
    bgboiflyer 30 Comments

    Thanks for this report! KLM does a really good job, especially with the 3-4-3 which is nearly industry standard. I'm very thin and really sea width makes really little difference for me, as long as the pitch is good I'm fine. The food even though in plastic looks good, and DL I believe uses similar cutlery without the insignia. It's unfortunate you didn't really get compensation, and I'm soon gonna be asking UA for compensation as well on a prior trip as I arrived home 20 hours late due to a broken APU and long taxi which under my circumstance could not control. Anyway at least they gave you something and you to try some good food down in Singapore!

    • Comment 459120 by
      Eric V P GOLD AUTHOR 101 Comments

      Hi!

      KLM does a really good job, especially with the 3-4-3 which is nearly industry standard.
      - As far as GA and SQ are concerned, not really - in SE Asia we're quite spoiled for choices so in that regard KL is doing just a fine job in economy class (their business class is a different story, though).

      The food even though in plastic looks good
      - Either it was due to the lighting or something else, but the main course didn't look especially interesting.

      Anyway at least they gave you something and you to try some good food down in Singapore!
      - That was while in Bali, not Singapore - though both apparently have good foods as well.

      Thank you for reading!

  • Comment 457259 by
    eminere™ 267 Comments

    LOL

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