The airline with the best average grade is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 38 minutes.More informations
After my first experience of flying Business last November, I had got the taste for this whole Premium Cabin thing.
Strangely enough it was a chance comment from a friend that was the opening to the rabbit hole. He mentioned about how he was taking his dad from London to LAX in BA First using Avios.
Now honestly I'd never really had a clue about miles, points etc and how the whole thing worked. Boy did I ever waste a lot of years! I'd always wondered how so many people could afford to pay the insane prices airlines charged for F and J. Little did I realise that many of those people were there for pennies on the dollar.
After diving into the whole scene full blooded I'd unlocked the key to do this on a big scale. So less than a year after starting I was able to put together a trip around Asia all in Business.
The YYZ-ICN-BKK flights cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles. The TPE-YYZ flight also cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles and for reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand I wasn't able to make my multi-city itinerary accept my return flight KUL-TPE-YYZ so I had to book KUL-TPE as a separate leg. This was highly annoying however the blow was softened by a 30% transfer bonus on my SPG points, so that effectively made the flight free in the end.
I used 15,000 BA Avios for the BKK-SIN leg on Cathay which is a crazy good value.
However my terrible luck bit me again on this flight which frankly I booked because it was on the A350-900 and I was yet to fly on one and with the rave reviews it was getting was to be a highlight of the trip for me.
Of course about 2 months before we left ExpertFlyer delivered the brutal news that there had been an aircraft change to an A330-300.
I was gutted especially when I checked EF and found that of the 30 days in September the A330 was operating on only 2 of them. The day after I traveled it was an A350-1000 which would have been even better. I thought long and hard about changing plans to fly a day later but it was just too much hassle. While my wife is nice and understanding even she has limits on how much she will accommodate my avgeekness!
The rest of the flights were cash bookings.
The most expensive flights was the SIN-KUL return on SQ. I originally booked in Y as the cost difference between Y and J was too much. However not flying in J was eating away at me and I started to wonder about how often I would get the chance to fly SQ J again and I buckled and upgraded the flights. It was crazy for a 50 minute flight, but our travel decisions are not always made with the head are they?
It ended up about $775 return.
KLM was about $390 for SIN-DPS, Garuda was about $260, Malaysian CGK-KUL-BKI was $330 and BKI-KUL was $190
*All prices per person in CAD
We arrived in Terminal 2 from our Silk Air flight from KUL and made our way over to T1.
We decided to walk as we had a lengthy layover thanks to our on-time arrival and the fact that the agent in KUL checked us all the way through. I'd left almost 4 hours as I thought we would have to get our bags and re-check.
When we got to T1 we milled around for a bit in the terminal before heading to an information desk to find out where the lounge would be. As we didn't check in with KLM at SIN I wasn't sure where to go.
We headed off to the dnata lounge on the upper level of T1.
This turned out to be a really excellent lounge, I was very surprised.
First the lounge was nice and quiet so the atmosphere was very calm and relaxed and there were plenty of seating areas. We headed to the seating area past the food station and had a small dining area almost to ourselves the whole time. The only spoiler was a wonderfully inconsiderate woman who insisted on making several very loud phone calls on her mobile all the while being very rude and demanding to the lounge staff……..She was most definitely "one of those people"
The lounge staff were incredibly attentive, perhaps overly so. Often when either me or my wife was about to finish a plate of food or got close to the end of a drink the staff would start to hover nearby our table ready to whisk our things away. It was a bit disconcerting but perhaps they were just bored and needed things to do!
The lounge was spotless and the facilities were excellent.
There was a large food area with multiple choices, enough to keep even the pickiest (ie me) eater well fed and happy. There was also a good selection of self serve alcohol and soft drinks.
We stayed put in the dining section as Cruella deVille didn't hang around for long and for the most part we were the only ones there. With outlets to charge our devices we were perfectly content.
I went for a walk around the lounge and it was a decent size and had what looked like a very comfy seating area on the other side of the food/drinks. There were plenty of FIDS but overall it was quite a dark lounge as its fully enclosed and has no windows.
Overall we left this lounge very happy, for a 3rd party lounge this one was excellent and we would happily return again.
I wish I had got pictures, unfortunately I didn't do so. Apologies.
Flight Number: KL835
Departure: Singapore Changi SIN
Departure Time: 1700
Arrival: Denpasar Ngurah Rai DPS
Arrival Time: 1918
Flight Time: 02:18
Travel Date: Sunday September 16th
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
We left the lounge and made our way to the gate to clear security. I'd obviously been looking at FR24 for our aircraft as it was arriving from AMS and I wanted to see it was on time, which it was. I was disappointed that the day before this flight had been operated by PH-BVA the Orange Pride livery but as a consolation prize our flight would be operated by PH-BVD which had the Skyteam livery.
Apart from flights many years ago on ancient Ryanair 737-20s0 in "The Sun/News of the World" livery and one on their "Hertz Car Rental" livery I have had zero luck with getting special liveries, so this was a nice bonus.
And here she was in all her Skyteam glory
There was a bit of a wait to board as the crew operating our flight were still in the departure gate area and as we approached boarding time they were still there. It didn't take a genius to work out we would be a bit late leaving.
Soon enough though the crew were let on and the wait began.
I always feel a great sense of anticipation prior to boarding. I'll never tire of flying and those moments just before setting foot on an aircraft still bring me great joy.
Boarding was announced first for guests who needed extra time or assistance and then quickly after for Business Class guests and we made our way to the desk to have our boarding passes scanned.
We were actually first to board via door L1 although it became clear why that would be after the door closed. Including myself and my wife there were just 9 of us in Business today. I was hoping for a memorable flight with very attentive service but it didn't quite work out that way!
At last! For once I finally took a good amount of pictures of our seats and the cabin!
I know that 1-2-1 are all the rage and of course direct aisle access is a huge feature but I have to say I really, really like both the seat and the cabin that KLM has. Of course it was only a short flight, but I found the seat extremely comfortable and spacious and it was nice to be able to enjoy it beside my wife. Of course being sat next to a stranger if traveling alone is the biggest negative of these type of seats and that is not something I would be too keen on for sure.
The seats have a slight stagger and a small screen so there is some privacy.
As you can see a pillow was waiting for us but apart from our headphones that was it. Of course it would be a bit much to expect bedding and an amenity kit for a 2 hour flight, so I was perfectly content.
The monitor was large and of good resolution. I'm not the tallest out there so the small footwell wasn't a big bother and of course we wouldn't be using the full bed for this short hop. I can see that for taller people and anyone looking to get a good sleep on a long haul this footwell could be very restrictive. Its definitely the smallest one I've experienced in my limited J Class travels so far.
The legroom was perfectly fine and the storage was good. The handy little shelf below the screen could fit a lot of things in there, although beware on a short flight like this with the power of those fabulous GE90's under the wing the acceleration was enough to throw all of my belongings onto the floor as we took off. Don't put anything breakable in there!
This was the final load. As I mentioned just 9 of us in J with nobody in the single row mini cabin behind door L2.
Headphones which were decent and had reasonable noise cancellation
An unfortunately blurry shot of the power port, headphone jack and USB slot. Pretty standard now for most business class seats
I've flown KLM before although only in Y and I've always loved their crews. They always seem unfailingly wonderful, with a relaxed and friendly way that is so very Dutch. The Dutch people are some of my favourite people, I've always loved every minute I've ever spent in the Netherlands and interacting with Dutch people.
I was hoping to experience more of that wonderful Dutch hospitality on this flight and while things started well I ended up leaving the flight a bit disappointed.
Anyway to begin with we were offered a hot towel and some drinks off a tray. After 2 short alcohol free segments my champagne withdrawal was reaching crisis point and naturally I eagerly accepted a glass of champagne.
And no they both were not for me, the other one is my wife's :D
We pushed back a little behind schedule although well within reasonable and with a slightly shorter flight time than blocked we would be right on time arriving into Denpasar.
Here's a wonderfully un-interesting shot of Gate D42 and what appears to be a very bored ramp worker. To this day I'm not entirely sure why I took this picture!
Airlines these days seem intent on making their safety videos into Hollywood style blockbusters and it seems sometimes the message gets a bit lost in the clamour to be "out of the box" for the sake of being out of the box. I'll admit I do get a few chuckles from the Turkish lego videos and the BA ones, although the BA one is risky as it appeals very much to a British sense of humour and we can be a bit "unique" in that regard. I'm not too sure how it plays out on a Worldwide audience.
KLM though in my opinion has a real winner. Its elegant and understated and I found it quite captivating.
The story is told as a series of animated Dutch delft tiles. It remains 1000% Dutch but without alienating anyone and is so well done. I loved it and would like to see KLM keep this one around for a while.
As the safety video was playing there was the sound of beautiful music in my ears as the GE90s roared into life.
I love hearing the sound of them starting up and then I'm not sure there is a more magnificent sound in aviation than a GE90 spooling up on takeoff. I could listen to that sound all day long!
We had a female captain today which was nice as despite all the female voices I hear on the radio on a daily basis I've only ever had one flight with a female captain and one with a female first officer. That's a terribly low number as I've taken now 147 flights in my life and only ever had 3 female pilots. I know the statistics show that thankfully more women are taking up careers in aviation and especially on the flightdeck we still have a ways to go.
We were parked next to this Finnair stunne
Lining up on 20C ready to go
Massive scale of construction on the East side of Changi
And the obligatory Singapore shot!
I love how KLM has individual menus for each flight as it has the flight number and date printed on them. The menu itself was extremely nice. Made of high quality card and paper and the front cover was beautifully designed.
There were 2 choices for dinner off a special menu that KLM has for this flight by Farah Quinn who I believe is an Asian celebrity chef. There was a good selection of drinks and wines……..
The wine even had its own menu………..
And the selections………………
The New Zealand Sauvignon was outstanding
Just prior to dinner my wife tried the signature KLM cocktail the Flying Dutchman, a Bols based drink
After reclining my chair into a half seat, half bed position which was extremely comfortable and putting a movie on it was time for dinner and this was where the service started to go awry.
Nice linens for the table
I had the meat stew…………………………
My wife had the chicken. We both really enjoyed our dishes
Now you'll notice that both of our bread dishes were empty.
I figured that our crew member would soon be around with the bread basket. I saw on the other aisle the crew serving that side was getting their bread. So I started my dinner, and then finished my dinner and our crew member was nowhere to be seen. And there was no bread for any of us on the left aisle side.
Nor were there any drinks top ups or any service at all until it was time to come by and take the empty trays.
And again the tray was taken and that was it.
What about our tea/coffee and chocolate house? Nope, not for us.
The crew left us alone and that was more or less it, as if they decided en masse to just give up.
I was eager to get my hands on one of the lovely Delft houses that KLM gives out in Business Class. Now I know for a fact that they hand them out on this flight, even though its a short one.
I waited and waited and waited. Eventually we started our descent into Denpasar and I'd kind of had enough by that point. When one of our crew came down the aisle heading towards the galley behind us I stopped her and asked "I know this is only a short flight but will you be handing out the delft houses tonight?". I thought I was surprisingly diplomatic!
She seemed almost shocked and was like oh yeah, I guess we forgot and she told me that should would be back with them shortly.
Fortunately she was good to her word and the crew came around with the houses. I imagine that if I hadn't spoken up they wouldn't have been handed out.
Now I'm honestly pretty easy to please on a plane. I don't ask much, I'm not demanding and I fully appreciate and understand the work that cabin crew do. I'm never rude to them and I give them the utmost respect.
By the end of the flight though I couln't help but feel we had been a bit short changed. The service started off great and then just faded away to nothing. I'm not sure how you can completely forget to serve bread to one half of the aircraft, forget the tea/coffee and chocolate and then the most KLM thing imaginable the Delft houses. Surely these are just routine service tasks on all Business Class flights, and frankly I found it even more annoying given there were only 9 of us split with around 4 on each side of the cabin so the workload was very, very light and frankly I felt these basic failures were inexcusable. It was a little as if the crew just checked out. Not like what I am used to from KLM in any way.
Anyway the Sun began to set
We did end up with our Delft houses eventually
The flight arrived slightly early, scheduled at 1925 and we arrived on Gate at 1918.
It was by then completely dark in Denpasar which was a shame as I was looking forward to seeing some of Bali from the air.
We were extremely excited to be in Bali for the first time and for all the places we were visiting on this trip this I think was the one we were both looking forward to the most.
We left the aircraft via door L2 and headed into Denpasar airport and into what was to become pure chaos.
To say DPS isn't the greatest airport experience in the World would be a bit of an understatement.
Immigration was a scene that can only be described as carnage. I'm not sure how many people were there but it was several hundred and the queues went on and on and on. About half the desks were open and they were moving very very slowly. Eventually a couple more opened and that moved things much faster but all in I would guess we spent 45 minutes to an hour in line. No such thing as Fast Track here!
Then when I got stamped into Indonesia on my 30 day tourist visa the officer had the wrong date set on his stamp which was for a week into the future which caused an issue when trying to leave Indonesia 2 days before my passport said I arrived! Sigh……….
It didn't get much better after we got our bags and went through customs which was quick. We would be staying at a hotel near the airport for one night before heading to our resort in Nusa Dua the next day. The hotel advised that a car would meet us and emailed me the day before for our flight details which of course I provided. I was told that the driver would be waiting at the exit with a board with our names.
Of course nobody was there. And of course we were swarmed by taxi touts. Over and over and over. People were trying to take our bags and I'm not sure if they were just trying to be helpful but it made me severely uncomfortable. We would be asked personal questions which I just didn't answer and did my best to ignore everyone. We had to go to a desk and get them to call the hotel who assured us the driver was there. The lady on the desk paged the driver as we batted away more taxi touts.
Nobody came. By this point I was getting pretty pissed off. We had landed almost 2 hours ago and we were in a situation both my wife and I were very uncomfortable with, we just wanted to get out by that point. After more waiting I got increasingly agitated and asked the lady to call the hotel again. They said the driver was there and so she paged him again.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity the driver appeared with the most cursory of apologies and some explanation about having to park somewhere and we were on the way to the hotel.
Probably the most awful arrival experience I've had. Now some of it may have just been me. I'm not really comfortable giving out personal information to strangers and am just extremely wary by nature. It may have been that people were just trying to be friendly and helpful and certainly given what I found after I could see that being the case as the Balinese people are phenomenal. Just at the time and in the circumstances it was somewhat intimidating and unpleasant.
After a night at the very below average H Sovereign Bali hotel our visit improved dramatically and in the next leg I'll add a big bonus of our time in Bali and some spotting from the H Sovereign roof terrace - about the only good thing I can say about the hotel to be blunt.
The dnata lounge in Changi T1 was a bit of an unheralded gem. I loved it and would rate it very highly on the scale of 3rd party lounges. Had everything including a good quality food and drinks selection.
The flight was a mixed bag. Loved the 77W of course and I really like the cabin and seat. I found the seat offered excellent room, good storage and functionality and just enough privacy. If traveling with someone its an excellent product although that tiny footwell could be a problem on longer flights. On this flight the KLM hard product was very good indeed.
I found the service to be hit and miss. It was good at the start but it seemed like once dinner was served that they just checked out and stopped working. There were some fairly big service misses which I found to be inexcusable for such a light load. In all I was disappointed with the service overall but I still think KLM offers a very attractive option on this route and is usually a very good price as well.
Denpasar airport was, to put it kindly, not the best. Far too long spent in immigration lines and then a real battle of wills with taxi touts as you exit the airport. That our hotel driver left us in limbo for so long after was less than appreciated.
Fortunately Bali is a wonderful place with wonderful people and we ended up having a fantastic time and forgot about the rough start.