Flight-Report

Review of KLM flight Toronto Amsterdam in Business

Airline KLM
Flight KL692
Class Business
Seat 2D
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 06:40
Take-off 21 Jan 19, 18:25
Arrival at 22 Jan 19, 07:05
KL   #48 out of 127 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 593 reviews
hometoyyz
By SILVER 1113
Published on 22nd January 2019

Introduction


Every year’s journeys have to begin somewhere, and for me, 2019 starts with a quick “comfy mileage run” from Toronto to Johannesburg and back with KLM.

The comfy mileage run, by my definition, is any mileage run taken pretty much exclusively for the purpose of the journey. If normally, getting there is half the fun, here we’re talking probably more like 80 percent. Beyond that, the comfy mileage run aims to earn as many elite-qualifying and redeemable miles as possible, while flying in a premium cabin, all for as few dollars as possible.

This trip was booked on a cheap Delta “V” economy fare, and upgraded at booking with Global Upgrade Certificates. How? We’ll get that into that in-depth momentarily. 


Routing

  • KL692 - Business - Toronto → Amsterdam - Boeing 777-200ER You are here
  • KL591 - Business - Amsterdam → Johannesburg - Boeing 777-200ER Coming soon
  • KL592 - Business - Johannesburg → Amsterdam - Boeing 777-200ER Coming soon
  • KL691 - Business - Amsterdam → Toronto - Boeing 747-400 Coming soon

photo map

Booking


Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated quite a mountain of SkyMiles, and most of my leisure travel this year will be devoted to trying new experiences by driving down that stack of SkyPesos before they can be devalued anymore.

But not this trip.

I’m starting 2019 much the same way I started 2017 — with a quick SkyTeam run to Johannesburg and back, just this time with KLM instead of Air France. This one was also a lot more affordable.

While Delta can be a frustrating airline in many ways for frequent fliers, once you get to know the ins and outs, you can extract a decent amount of value. For example, with Global Upgrades, you can upgrade any Delta fare other than Basic Economy to business class, assuming there’s availability, on either Delta or KLM flights.

Sometimes.

You see, KLM flights booked under their KLM flight numbers require you to book only the top few most-expensive economy fares to upgrade. The sweet spot is when you buy a Delta-marketed, but KLM-operated flight (IE: a KLM flight purchased under its Delta codeshare number.) Then, one can upgrade from the cheapest available economy fare directly to business class, assuming one can find KLM Z fare availability, its most affordable business class.

Fortunately, finding KLM Z availability is really easy with ExpertFlyer, and Z on YYZ-AMS and reverse can be like falling out of a boat and hitting water much of the time. AMS-JNB and return are a little tighter, but I found the dates I wanted pretty quickly.

Equally fortunately, Delta and KLM codeshare on AMS-JNB flights (but doesn’t on most AMS-Asia options), and Delta files a very reasonable lowest main cabin fare on YYZ-JNB, available on a variety of dates.

Having found availability of both Z fares and a cheap Delta economy fare, I prepared myself for combat and called the Delta Diamond Medallion line. I asked about GUC availability on the dates and route I wanted, and the very helpful agent confirmed it was available. But, she quickly added, I’d have to book a full Y fare to be eligible to upgrade. I replied that no, for a Delta-marketed flight, I could purchase any economy fare other than basic. She replied that she’d been sent back from the KLM partner desk many times in the past and told that a full-fare economy is available to secure the upgrade.

Having expected at worst a battle, and at best to have to teach the agent, I read to her directly from the terms and conditions on the Delta GUC in my online “wallet.” “For travel on KLM-operated, Delta-marketed flights this certificate may be used to upgrade on published fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class and all fare classes upgrade into Z class.”

She replied she’d never heard of that before, and spend a few minutes looking things up on her side, but couldn’t find anything. Nor could she access the Ts and Cs on the GUC, since they’re apparently only visible to passengers who have them.

She ultimately put me on hold and went off to talk to her supervisor, and the KLM desk. About 15 minutes later, she came back and thanked me for teaching her something, confirming that the upgrade was available.

With that done, I booked a V fare for the dates I wanted and applied an existing Delta credit to it. She then processed the upgrade, which involved “converting” the flights from DL flight number to their KL equivalents and then rebooking them in Z.

The whole process was pretty seamless, and about 15 minutes later, the ticket had been reissued in Z under KLM flight numbers, and I had my KLM PNR for the flight.

So, for a little bit of knowledge, and some polite persistence, I had a roundtrip ticket from Toronto to Johannesburg in business class for less than $600 Canadian.

To be fair to my agent, as far as I know, when KLM upgrades were introduced, they always required the top couple of economy buckets to be applied, regardless of on whose stock the flight was booked. It was only after introduction — and after whatever training agents may have received — that the fare requirement was relaxed for DL-marketed but KL-operated flights.

The whole thing is bizarre to me, but I don’t make the rules. I just try to make them work for me as best I can.

Making it even better, because the ticket is rebooked into Z, it ends up crediting as such — earning 150 percent qualifying miles, and redeemable miles based on distance and fare class (with elite bonuses), instead of the DL-standard revenue-based earnings. That works out very much in my favour.

So… happy new year to me! 


Online Check-In


While I was initially planning on checking in at the airport, I ultimately decided to see what KLM has to offer regarding online check-in experience, and I’m glad I did!

The check-in experience itself was painless enough. I quickly confirmed that unfortunately, there were no free window pairs, so I stuck with my originally-selected aisle seat in the second row. But it’s the next part that was the pleasant surprise.

Having checked in, below my flight information, I found a picture of the nose of the 777, with an invitation to find out more about my flight. 


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That link took me to this microsite, wherein I found all kinds of information about the plane on which I would be flying, the meal services and timing, the available IFE, and more. Really, really good stuff, KLM! I’m very impressed by this aspect of the online experience. It’s not something I’ve seen before.


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After downloading the KLM app on my phone, I was also able to simply get my e-boarding pass, the app-based version of which even thoughtfully shares not just boarding time, but other details on the critical path to getting my flight off the ground. 


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Altogether, a very well thought-out online and app experience from KLM — probably one of the best I’ve seen regarding these kinds of flight details.


HometoYYZ getting to YYZ


We’ll pick up the story in the early afternoon, as your humble blogger took the train into Toronto’s central Union Station, and then onwards to Pearson.

Throughout the morning, I was having a good chuckle to myself, as the radio kept referring to the day as “Blue Monday” as apparently the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year. Yes….it would be a very blue Monday for me too. Just a different shade of blue.

It was a typically balmy Canadian January… nawww, just kidding. It was the coldest day of the season so far in the Toronto area. 


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My psychopathic AI-powered weather app informs me that it’s all revenge, but to be fair, it was feeling like -39 just a few short hours ago, and with the sun out, it’s the kind of super-cold that’s actually kind of nice out. As long as you don’t have any exposed skin.

There were a lot of weather-related delays with rail service in the morning, but by early afternoon, my train was right on time and took me into the core of Toronto.


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Once we arrived, it’s a short walk through Union Station, which is perpetually getting a facelift, to make it to the imaginatively-titled UP Express — or Union Pearson Express in full, It lacks in creativity, but at least it gives Toronto an honest-to-goodness option for public transit between the city’s core and our primary airport.

From the GO Train, it’s a short walk through the perpetually-under-construction Union Station to hop the UP Express. 


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It’s a full ride, but still quite comfortable. There’s free WiFi and power outlets in each row— all in all, not a bad deal for a 25-minute train ride.

Soon enough, it’s clear we’re getting close to the airport, and not just because I recognize the terrain A WestJet Encore Q400 and then an Air Canada 787 on final approach are dead giveaways.


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Making the turn as we approach Terminal 3. One of the downsides of this setup for T3 fliers is that the UP Express pulls into T1, and then you have to take a separate train over to T3.


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 The few heavies afternoon heavies Of T3 — China Eastern, British Airways, and Hainan.


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Arriving into Terminal 1, complete with my avatar inukshuk in front.


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And then it’s a short ride over to T3. It’s cold, but a beautiful day.


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Down the escalator and into the departures level of Terminal 3. Since I already have my boarding pass, and I’m flying with carry-on, away I go. 


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Security and a bit of spotting


I actually pull into the portion of security more devoted to domestic flights but also offering access to international gates. The main benefit of this is that I don’t get spit out into the duty-free shop.

There are only three people in front of me waiting for security, but it still takes me about 15 minutes to get through. I’m through the X-ray in just a minute, but then my bag gets sent for a second look, in a queue behind about eight other bags. With two agents clearing these bags that need a closer look, it takes a few minutes, but finally, my bag is through. And it turns out that the only problem is that they didn’t get a proper image of the suitcase. So back through it goes, and away I go.


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There’s not a lot of exciting spotting to be done at T3 at this hour, but Hainan in Kung Fu Panda colours is pretty.


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And then a trifecta of 777s. British Airways in the foreground, China Eastern in the alley behind it, and then Air Canada on the domestic gates of Terminal 1 across the way.


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And finally, up close and personal with the Jet Airways 777 that will be doing the same route I’m doing, just a few minutes later tonight.


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Air France KLM Lounge YYZ


With that not-very-exciting spotting session done, it’s time to head upstairs and check out the lounge. The Air France KLM Lounge is one of two lounges available in the international section of T3. There’s also a Plaza Premium offering.


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Since they’re partners, the AF/KL Lounge is also the chosen lounge for Jet Airways pax so it could be quite full in a little while.

Inside, there are a couple of people in front of me — one of whom is a Priority Pass user. I’m a little surprised they aren’t limiting Priority Pass customers for what surely must be this lounge’s rush hour, with KLM and Jet Airways leaving at around the same time, and the early arrivers for the later AF flight to Paris likely showing up around the same time. Nevertheless, I’m scanned in, and while there are quite a few people here, it’s not yet packed.

I catch a glimpse of the 777 that will take me to Amsterdam as I enter the lounge, as it taxis over to Gate 33.

The lounge is rather small but looks new, fresh and clean, with a variety of seating options ranging from lounge chairs and work desks by the windows to many cubby cutout seating areas, all centred around the buffet area. 



I set up by the windows, and it’s a very nice seat, but facing the setting sun, it gets quite hot by the window by about 4:30, by which time the lounge is filling up as well.

Food options including a few hot choices, soups, pasta, snacks and sweets. There’s also some juices and a self-serve bar. There are wines, but not sparkling options.



I grab a snack and some water. It’s nothing exciting, but it’s all pretty tasty.


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As I eat, Aer Lingus makes its way towards the terminal.


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By the time I go back for dessert, which is also not very exciting, there are a couple of bubbles on offer — a Henkell Rosé, and a Ruffino prosecco. I start with the rosé, but ultimately sample both as I enjoy the action on the ramp in the slowly setting sun.


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The lounge WiFi is reasonable and easy to access. Time for a corporate shot? Oh yeah. Hmmmm… it’s been less than 12 hours since I was “all caught up” and there’s a bunch of new stuff posted. Good job, flight-reporters!


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With boarding slated for 5:25, I decide to leave the lounge to stretch my legs before the flight, and to see if there are any additional spotting opportunities.


Boarding Time


Down at the gate, ol’ Pont Du Gard is getting ready to head back home, and take me with her. 


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And what’s that I spy over her shoulder? I apologize for the garbage image quality as I had to use maximum digital zoom to get in close on Westjet’s first 787, on just her second day in Toronto. Lookin’ good, newcomer!


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As I arrive at the gate, they’re calling passengers for passport verification. I don’t hear my name, but having checked in online, I can be sure I’m on the list, so I join the lineup. And after about five minutes, my credentials are checked, and I’m good to go.

At the gate next door, China Southern has just arrived and is getting prepared for her late-night return to Guangzhou. Hmmmmm… CZ isn’t SkyTeam anymore, but I can’t help but think I’ll be seeing this bird sometime in the future.


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I make the short walk back to 33, and to my surprise, they’re already calling boarding for Zone 1, which includes business class passengers. I hand my phone over to the gate agent who just verified my documents only five minutes ago, and I’m on my way.

But first, a closer look at my ride from the foot of the jetway. The old livery isn’t quite as nice as the new one. What can I say, I’m a sucker for swooshes. But still, the iconic KLM blue is striking.


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The Flight Report


Flight: KL692
From: Toronto Pearson (YYZ)
To: Amsterdam Schipol (AMS)
Date: 1/21/2019
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
Registration: PH-BQP
Seat: 2D
ATD (STD): 18:25 (18:05)
ATA ( STA): 06:55+1 (07:05+1)

At the door, a male flight attendant motions for me to go down the port-side aisle, where I’m in the centre section for this flight. KLM’s done a lovely job of adorning these seats, in my opinion, and they’re still decently comfortable seats, but the lack of aisle access makes them a tad uncompetitive for a world-class airline in 2019. KLM seems to have acknowledged this, going the reverse herringbone route on the newest members of their fleet, the 787s.


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A look at the forward J cabin — five rows of six abreast. There’s also a single row of J behind door two, for the smallest mini-cabin you’ll find most anywhere.


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My seat is equipped with a pillow and blanket. Pretty standard fare. The pillow fine for a lower backrest, but a bigger one would be appreciated for sleeping.


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The privacy divider between seats. I’m not entirely sure why KLM went with the bullet-riddled look.


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There’s a small storage cubby behind my right shoulder, with headphone port, power port, and USB. The noise cancelling headphones are also located there.


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Seat controls and a modern wired touchscreen remote for the IFE. 


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The IFE screen itself is a decent size, and the resolution is excellent. The cubby over my shoulder and the little shelf under the IFE, specially designed to send anything in it during takeoff flying back at you, are the only storage spaces available on these seats, which is a weak point for sure.


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The footwell is pretty small. We’ll have to put this to the sleep test a little later.


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Legroom isn’t a problem.


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The provided headphones look like Bose QC25s but don’t offer nearly as good noise cancellation as my Bose QC35s. I’d go to swap them out later, only to discover I’d left the cable for connecting my headset into the IFE system at home. So I’d have to use the KLM-supplied set for watching IFE but would switch to my own pair for sleeping.


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Service begins with a tray of drinks. Choices on offer were Heineken, water, orange juice, or champagne. I go with the latter, of course.


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After that, the senior purser comes by, offering each passenger a welcome aboard and a handshake.

Next up, amenity kits. Blue denim for men, red velvet for women. It’s an attractive case, if not necessarily the most functional in terms of reusability. But I’ll see if I can’t come up with something. We’ll take at the content a little later.


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Following them, menus are offered. Note that they appear to be personalized down to the actual date of the flight. The contents of the meals are also markedly different from what the KLM website said would be on offer when I checked in last night.



Since I’m in an aisle seat and nowhere near a window, I might as well fire up the IFE. My first selection. It’s entertaining.


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Orders for the first meal are taken on the ground. One minor point of frustration with KLM’s meal style is that there’s a choice required between soup or appetizer. It would not seem inappropriate, in my humble opinion, to be offered both before dinner, as it the case on some other airlines.

We push back right about on time, and the KLM’s very distinctive safety video, featuring lots and lots of Delft Blue, rolls.


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It’s a pretty short taxi, and we’re off into the night sky above Toronto. As we cross through 10,000, the captain comes on to inform everyone on the left side of the plane that there’s an excellent view of the downtown core of the city. Nuts.

Once we’re freed from our seats, I grab what I’ll need for the flight from the overhead bin, then take a look at the contents of the amenity kit. Pretty basic, pretty standard.


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Service begins with hot towels. 


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And that’s quickly followed by drink cart service. When in Holland, go with the signature drink, as they always say, so I decide to try The Flying Dutchman. It’s light and refreshing, but I probably wouldn’t want to drink more than one.


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Meal service is a bit slow, and it’s about 45 minutes after the initial drink service that the appetizer tray is served. Soup is poured from a thermos tableside, and bread and olive oil or butter are offered. Another round of drinks and I take sparkling water and a glass of champagne. I quite like the Feuillate.



The soup is delicious, as soup on a plan almost always is, and the salad, while small, is okay, with fresh greens, crisp peppers, and a nice balsamic vinaigrette. Note also, of course, the signature red Dutch clog salt and pepper shakers. Very cute.

Dinner continues to be quite a slow service, so the movie wraps up. I decide to start something else, as dessert has not yet made its appearance. This is not nearly as good a choice. Hey, does anyone remember when airlines censored movies with plane crashed in them? Yeah. Not KLM. I much preferred the old video game to its namesake movie.


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The main arrives just over half an hour after the appetizers, and with it, a refill on both drinks, and on bread and olive oil. The flight attendant serving my aisle has this endearing little patter with herself in Dutch, a constantly-running monologue that I obviously don’t understand, but seems like she’s reminding herself of what she needs to be doing.


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The main is pretty satisfying. The cod is not overdone at all, and is quite tasty, although I think it could use a little bit more sauce. I’m reasonably satisfied with the meal, aside from the speed of service.

 That pace continues for dessert, with the flight attendant coming through with the cart. Options include a cheese plate and a lemon mousse. In the words of the little girl from the hard tacos vs. soft tacos commercial, “Why not both?” And I request a bit of the Aberfeldy on the rocks as an after-dinner drink. The whisky is presented along with a bottle of water for the night.



Both desserts are excellent. The cheese course is simple, but quite a delight and the lemon mousse is a pleasant surprise. Much better than I expected. Aberfeldy isn’t my favourite single malt, but it’s pretty enjoyable too.

Dinner service ends with the traditional KLM chocolate house, and then it’s lights out for the night. As I put the movie on pause, there’s only about 3:50 to Amsterdam. Even with a few drinks in my system, I’m less than sure I’m going to get any sleep on this flight. The speed of meal delivery is my only complaint with this meal service, and it's made all the more impactful by the relatively short flight time.


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Before bed, it’s time for a quick trip to the lav, because who doesn’t love lav pics? I quite like the lav, with its Dutch tulip and wallpaper of little Delft houses.



Back at my seat, I trade my KLM headphones for my own QC35s, put on my favourite go-to-sleep podcast (The Insomnia Project, you should check it out sometime if you want something mundane to listen to while trying to drift off to sleep), and see if I can get some rest on this all-too-short overnight. We’re just 3:38 from arrival as I put my seat down into bed mode.


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The bed is decent, and I am asleep before the hosts of the podcast can finish their 26-minute debate over who was the most boring Canadian prime minister. But I’m in and out over the next two hours. I’m a side sleeper and have to wake up frequently to change positions because whichever arm is on the bottom has fallen asleep. Also, it’s just way too early to be trying to get to sleep for me.

I’m awake when the lights come on as we’re about 1:15 out of Amsterdam, just about to cross west coast of Ireland.


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I swap out my own headphones for KLM’s and resume the movie. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment, and there isn’t enough time left to start a new film before arrival.

Service begins promptly with a hot towel, though a thinner version this time.


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 That’s quickly followed by a tray of orange juice to start breakfast. Both are promptly collected afterwards.


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Breakfast is served as a single-tray affair from the cart, and I choose the crepes, and a croissant to accompany it, along with a black cup of coffee. Everything’s pretty good, and it’s more than enough for breakfast coming as it is just three hours after dinner came to an end. I do so love these long Transatlantic nights.



As the dishes are collected, I’m offered a refill on my coffee, but I instead request a glass of water, which is cheerfully delivered.


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My movie comes to an end as we cross the eastern side of England, about 35 minutes from arrival. The captain comes on to give us an update on our arrival into Schipol. It’s a balmy -2 C in Amsterdam. And for once, I’m not being sarcastic, considering where we were coming from. We’re expected to be on the gate, the captain says, about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. And that’s just fine by me.

We’re not yet locked down, so I see this as good a time as any to pack up my stuff and get ready for arrival.

It’s just then, of course, that the flight attendants make their rounds with a tray of KLM’s blue Delft Houses. I welcome #83 into my collection, which now stands at a whopping two members.


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Almost there! 


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It’s still dark as we touch down, with the flight deck crew ever-so-gently settling us onto the runway about three minutes before seven am, Amsterdam time. We proceed to taxi for about fifteen minutes before coming to rest at Gate E18 — just a few gates down from where I’ll depart for Johannesburg. It’s early, but like the megahub it is, Schipol is already in full swing.


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That’s where we’ll leave it for this flight-report — we’ll pick it up next time as I head out in search of the KLM Crown Lounge.

Thanks for joining me for this first flight of 2019, and I hope you’ll join me for subsequent segments. Happy flying!

See more

Verdict

KLM

7.5/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew8.0
In-flight Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering7.5

Toronto - YYZ

7.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.5

Amsterdam - AMS

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

A pretty good, albeit short, Transatlantic experience with KLM to start out this series.

The service was solid, about what one expects from KLM in business class

The catering was good, but given the short flight time, it would be nice if courses were delivered more promptly.

And the seat, for what it was, was adequate, although I can’t give them full marks for that because the 2-2-2 business class on long-haul aircraft seems a bit behind the time.

Information on the route Toronto (YYZ) Amsterdam (AMS)

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


Useful

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

The average flight time is 6 hours and 51 minutes.

  More information

24 Comments

  • Comment 484887 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 195 Comments

    Hey,
    Another nice journey ahead of yours, but good luck with that lounge of KLM. It is usually way too overcrowded and I am not entirely sure whether the lounge is yet finished with some construction. Indeed the speed of meal service isn't KLMs strong point, but their flight crew from what I noticed is quite involved with their passengers by having a chat et cetera. Looking forward for your next journey!

    • Comment 484992 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Thomas.

      It's amazing how prescient your comments on this flight are for my next flight. Yes, the Crown Lounge is ridiculously overcrowded. And my flight attendant was very chatty, getting pretty into asking me about flight-reporting.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  • Comment 484892 by
    atco 89 Comments

    What a treat to wake up this morning and find a new flight report from Hometoyyz!
    Already looking forward to the future segments and the new KLM lounge.

    I'm glad you've managed to escape the brutal cold this week, my envy level is off the charts. It's still horrible out today but due to hit the tropical heights of 6C tomorrow!
    Hope you managed to avoid the worst of the weekend snow, I was working unfortunately and the drive home Saturday afternoon and in to work Sunday morning were adventurous affairs!
    Love the phone weather app, like an extra kick to the man parts just when you think it can't get any worse! Very masochistic! :D

    Interesting to compare my short haul experience to your slightly longer flight.

    That meal service pacing looks awful for a short trans-atlantic. If I were ever flying for business and had a day's work ahead of me after landing I'd be pretty unhappy with that. I know we tend to complain at airlines who have these "Supper Services" which consist of having your entire meal thrown at you on a single tray 10 minutes after take off but almost 3 hours for a single dinner service is insane!

    While I liked the cabin as I was traveling with my wife it is certainly not up to the current expected norms of Business Class, however fortunately YYZ will be one of the launch destinations for KLM's 787-10 later this year with brand new 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats which look really nice.

    I love the T3 lounges with those great views over the centre of the airport and 33R however that lounge doesn't look a whole lot more inspiring than the Plaza Premium next door. Food looks a little better perhaps.

    I had wondered if that footwell would be restrictive on a longer flight and it seems that is the case.

    That Westjet Dreamliner is indeed a beauty, I managed to persuade my co-workers to let me out for long enough to get some shots of her when she arrived on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately I can't post the images in the comments!

    Thanks for another superb and comprehensive flight report, looking forward to the rest!

    • Comment 484993 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Atco,

      Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts!

      “Hope you managed to avoid the worst of the weekend snow, I was working unfortunately and the drive home Saturday afternoon and in to work Sunday morning were adventurous affairs!”
      - I did. I managed to pretty much huddle down at home for the weekend, other than the unfortunate need to shovel on Sunday morning.

      “I know we tend to complain at airlines who have these "Supper Services" which consist of having your entire meal thrown at you on a single tray 10 minutes after take off but almost 3 hours for a single dinner service is insane!”
      - It is. Even odder — no express service was mentioned on the menu, although there was one offered on the longer, and daytime, AMS-JNB flight. Although, that was part of their new service regimen, which I would imagine is rolling out on other routes over the near future?

      “fortunately YYZ will be one of the launch destinations for KLM's 787-10 later this year with brand new 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats which look really nice.”
      - I flew them last year on the 787-9 on YYZ-AMS. (Yeah, no flight-report. It was a very busy business trip.) Combined with KLM service, it’s a very nice package. And of course they’re sending the 787-10 to Toronto. They send everything to Toronto. I wonder if they mix up their equipment on other routes as much as they do on Toronto?

      Thanks again for stopping by, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Stay warm. It’s currently a sunny 31 C in Johannesburg. But I’m not gloating. Honest.

      • Comment 485097 by
        atco 89 Comments

        "I wonder if they mix up their equipment on other routes as much as they do on Toronto?"
        - Yes pretty much for long haul destinations. One quick look at Airline Route and they are always chopping and changing types, even operating different types to the same city on different days of the week. Its all over the place!

        "Stay warm. It’s currently a sunny 31 C in Johannesburg. But I’m not gloating. Honest."
        - You're going to have to imagine my response as me pointing my hand in your direction with one of my fingers raised. I'll leave you imagine which one that might be :D
        You ba*t*rd !! Don't get burned in all that Sun :) :D

        • Comment 485332 by
          hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

          “Yes pretty much for long haul destinations. One quick look at Airline Route and they are always chopping and changing types, even operating different types to the same city on different days of the week. Its all over the place!”

          I can’t figure out if they’re optimizing their routes based on lesser or greater demands depending on historical day-of-week data, or throwing a dart at a board when it comes time to schedule widebodies.

          The flew The Queen to YYZ the day before and the day after the first flight of this series. Sigh.

  • Comment 484904 by
    ISTFlyer GOLD 132 Comments

    Hi hometoyyz and thanks for sharing this report.

    -In the past, I've tried to post a report just upon arrival but I couldn't; it's a really nice gesture to share your report just after arriving from your flight. And I would also thank you for this.
    -It's great that you have argued with the CC agent and got the upgrade at it's stated on delta.com. I had similar issues with Lufthansa while I was collecting miles on my Miles&More account.
    "Food options including a few hot choices, soups, pasta, snacks and sweets. There’s also some juices and a self-serve bar. There are wines, but not sparkling options." "I grab a snack and some water. It’s nothing exciting, but it’s all pretty tasty."
    - It's nice to have real full course meals in a North American lounge. Especially, I didn't expected it from AF-KL.
    "in my opinion, and they’re still decently comfortable seats, but the lack of aisle access makes them a tad uncompetitive for a world-class airline in 2019."
    - I agree that the new KL business seats look comfortable but even though world-class airlines such as Emirates, Qatar, Singapore has J class seats that doesn't have direct aisle access on some of their long haul aircraft.
    "The contents of the meals are also markedly different from what the KLM website said would be on offer when I checked in last night."
    - That seems interesting, however, it's also nice to have three options for breakfast while most airlines doesn't offer choices on transatlantic breakfast service.
    "One minor point of frustration with KLM’s meal style is that there’s a choice required between soup or appetizer."
    - Same in BA Club World, but when I ask the cabin crew, I am not rejected for being served an appetizer and the soup separately.
    "The cheese course is simple, but quite a delight and the lemon mousse is a pleasant surprise."
    - Was going to say the same thing, the cheese plate seems like a Premium Economy offering.
    "Dinner service ends with the traditional KLM chocolate house, and then it’s lights out for the night. As I put the movie on pause, there’s only about 3:50 to Amsterdam."
    - Wasn't there any express dining options or you have preferred the regular service?
    "Breakfast is served as a single-tray affair from the cart, and I choose the crepes, and a croissant to accompany it, along with a black cup of coffee."
    - The breakfast seems extremely delicious and certainly better than the product that BA or LH offers on short TA flights.

    Thanks again for sharing and I would like to mention that I am looking future to read the next segments of your trip.

    • Comment 484994 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hello ISTFlyer! Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts. And congrats on the new screenname!

      “In the past, I've tried to post a report just upon arrival but I couldn't; it's a really nice gesture to share your report just after arriving from your flight. And I would also thank you for this.”
      - I’m trying a new flow with the new editor, and so far I’m liking it. I’m also trying to be as timely as possible with writing and posting — it’s the only way I get a flight-report I’m happy with. I’m sure I’ll fall behind eventually. But today is not that day!

      “I agree that the new KL business seats look comfortable but even though world-class airlines such as Emirates, Qatar, Singapore has J class seats that doesn't have direct aisle access on some of their long haul aircraft.”
      - A fair point, although does SQ send the 333 (that’s the only non all-aisle access plane at this point, isn’t it?) on anything longer than say SIN-ICN?

      “That seems interesting, however, it's also nice to have three options for breakfast while most airlines doesn't offer choices on transatlantic breakfast service.”
      - It’s nice to have options, yes, and this approach should let more people find an option that works for them. I was a bit disappointed, though, that the menu online suggested we’d have the KLM apple blossom as the sweet breakfast option. In the end, the crepes were just as good.

      “Same in BA Club World, but when I ask the cabin crew, I am not rejected for being served an appetizer and the soup separately.”
      - Perhaps I should have asked. They had no problem with presenting both dessert and cheese.

      “Wasn't there any express dining options or you have preferred the regular service?”
      - I went back and checked, and no, there was no express dining option that I could see. Granted, it was a 6:00 pm departure. But still, it would have been nice to offer it. Express service was available on AMS-JNB — a much longer flight, that departs mid-morning. So maybe KLM will introduce the express dinner when they bring the new service to the Toronto route. It seems like it’s just rolling out now on some routes.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Comment 484927 by
    Rewardflying SILVER 442 Comments

    Hi Hometoyyz: Pretty impressive is all I can say.

    Making it even better, because the ticket is rebooked into Z, it ends up crediting as such — earning 150 percent qualifying miles, and redeemable miles based on distance and fare class (with elite bonuses), instead of the DL-standard revenue-based earnings. That works out very much in my favour.

    -So if my math is correct you earned about 28,000 points for a cost of about $450 USD which means you bought points at roughly .016 US sent and got a trip to JNB and back. Wow.

    KLM seems to have acknowledged this, going the reverse herringbone route on the newest members of their fleet, the 787s.

    -Have my KLM 787-10 seat booked for October!!!

    There’s also a single row of J behind door two, for the smallest mini-cabin you’ll find most anywhere.

    -Flew in this mini-cabin, galley noise but otherwise quaint cabin.

    There’s a small storage cubby behind my right shoulder, with headphone port, power port, and USB. The noise cancelling headphones are also located there.

    -Downside of the Diamond seats. Easy to pull out the headset connection. And you are about to find out the 747 didn't have USB port. At least mine didn't.

    The privacy divider between seats. I’m not entirely sure why KLM went with the bullet-riddled look.

    -Cause it's what you want to do to the person snoring next to you?

    Nice report, agree with you on the food, for BC its pretty good at least in my experience. Look forward to the rest of your journey.

    -

    • Comment 484995 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      HI RF! Thanks for stopping by!

      “So if my math is correct you earned about 28,000 points for a cost of about $450 USD which means you bought points at roughly .016 US sent and got a trip to JNB and back. Wow.”

      We’ll have to see what posts at the end of the day, but I think I’ll pull in more mileage than that. If it posts the way my upgraded KLM flight last year posted, it should be just shy of 50k SkyPesos — about 18k miles flown, multiplied by 2.75 (1.5 for class of service, plus 1.25 for status bonus.) Also, the “list price” for this fare is something between $900 and $950 Canadian — the lower price applies to this particular trip because of the existing credit. I’ll try to post the actual mileage earned at the finale of this series.

      “Have my KLM 787-10 seat booked for October!!!”
      - Fantastic! What route? Or are you saving that for a big reveal later?

      “Flew in this mini-cabin, galley noise but otherwise quaint cabin.”
      - Hmmmm… seems like I should check this out, although probably not on this flight.

      “Downside of the Diamond seats. Easy to pull out the headset connection. And you are about to find out the 747 didn't have USB port. At least mine didn’t.”
      - I didn’t pull the headphones out, but I did get them caught up in the armrest in 2G a number of times. And I do hope I’ve got a USB port… although I can live without it. I had to on AMS-JNB.

      “Cause it's what you want to do to the person snoring next to you?”
      - Haha! In that case, I’m more likely to be the shootee than the shooter, unfortunately. (for my seatmate.)

      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Happy flying!

  • Comment 484931 by
    vinzbg GOLD 333 Comments

    Thanks for this absolutely fascinating report. I didn’t know about the Global Upgrade Certificates but will have a look on them as I have myself a bunch of skypesos remaining on my Skymiles account I have decided to empty as well and not use further ;)

    • Comment 484996 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Vin -- thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts. Yeah, i'm pretty happy with this use of the GUC. I don't travel a lot for business beyond the U.S., so this is a good way for me to use them. Unfortunately, though, GUCs are only available by earning status, not by purchasing with SkyMiles. Now, they do offer upgrades for SkyMiles, but I'm not sure about fare bucket requirements for doing so.

  • Comment 485088 by
    socalnow GOLD 839 Comments

    Thanks for sharing another excellent journey with us Hometoyyz.

    “Having found availability of both Z fares and a cheap Delta economy fare, I prepared myself for combat and called the Delta Diamond Medallion line.”
    In which order do you search? Line up your Z fares and then map them to economy fares that interest you or other way around?

    ” The whole thing is bizarre to me, but I don’t make the rules. I just try to make them work for me as best I can.”
    -You do an exemplary job. Is a KLM/Flying Blue member at a disadvantage here or can they book in the same manner and apply whatever upgrade instrument AF/KLM offer?

    “Altogether, a very well thought-out online and app experience from KLM — probably one of the best I’ve seen regarding these kinds of flight details.”
    -No kidding, the ship name is quite granular detail for the average traveler but right in the sweet spot for us geeks.

    “The lounge WiFi is reasonable and easy to access. Time for a corporate shot? Oh yeah. Hmmmm… it’s been less than 12 hours since I was “all caught up” and there’s a bunch of new stuff posted. Good job, flight-reporters!”
    -No kidding. It’s been a veritable feast this year of great content. I’m way behind!

    “The privacy divider between seats. I’m not entirely sure why KLM went with the bullet-riddled look.”
    -It does look like that! The gram theory of reducing weight perhaps? Every gram adds up after a while. It takes a lot of bullets to reduce a kilo on the 777.

    The slow pace of the meal is a bummer on the short red eye. The salad and cheese courses look like a joke. Is it some kind of Dutch humor to which I am not oriented? Why bother?

    “It’s just then, of course, that the flight attendants make their rounds with a tray of KLM’s blue Delft Houses.”
    -This and the clog salt and pepper shakers make me want to fly KLM. I’m a savvy consumer if nothing else and have very strict guidelines as to what defines value.

    “That’s where we’ll leave it for this flight-report — we’ll pick it up next time as I head out in search of the KLM Crown Lounge.”
    -Ah yes, the new one! Looking forward to your visit.

    “And the seat, for what it was, was adequate, although I can’t give them full marks for that because the 2-2-2 business class on long-haul aircraft seems a bit behind the time.”
    -Yeah, as we were discussing in terms of QR, we’ve come a long way with our expectations in a short time. It was barely one product cycle before a non-all-direct-aisle-access product was obsolete. I noted your 6.5 in the cabin rating.

    Thanks again for posting another beautiful story. Happy flying.

    • Comment 485307 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi SCN, thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts.

      “In which order do you search? Line up your Z fares and then map them to economy fares that interest you or other way around?”
      - I think in this case I looked up availability on Delta with a flexible date search, and saw the V fare was broadly available beyond the second week of January, and then hunted down Z on ExpertFlyer.

      “You do an exemplary job. Is a KLM/Flying Blue member at a disadvantage here or can they book in the same manner and apply whatever upgrade instrument AF/KLM offer?”
      - I’m not sure what instruments AF/KL offer, but even with Delta, this Delta-marketed, KLM-operated thing is peculiar. It does not exist with other partner airlines that allow GUC use. VS, AF, and KE all require a top economy fare to process an upgrade using a GUC.

      “The slow pace of the meal is a bummer on the short red eye. The salad and cheese courses look like a joke. Is it some kind of Dutch humor to which I am not oriented? Why bother?”
      - Small salads seem to be their thing. The menu doesn’t even bother to make reference to it.

      “Yeah, as we were discussing in terms of QR, we’ve come a long way with our expectations in a short time. It was barely one product cycle before a non-all-direct-aisle-access product was obsolete. I noted your 6.5 in the cabin rating.”
      - The lack of storage also factored into a slightly lower cabin rating. And, I suppose, the lackluster pillow. I’m about to Waldorf and Statler myself into hating this product, aren’t I?

      Thanks again for the feedback… see you around.

  • Comment 487305 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4600 Comments

    Hey HometoYYZ, thanks for sharing this new series! Been trying to catch up on reports as I've been super busy with the birth of my son (on the day of this flight actually).

    It seems that the SkyMiles program has gotten a bit better since the days I left DL to AA (about 5 years ago). At the time, the rule still was that upgrades for AF and KL flights (regardless of being booked under DL code or not) had to be booked in high Y, M, or B Economy fares. It's nice to see things have changed, though I'm not surprised the agent wasn't familiar with the newer rule of upgrading from any fare bucket since it had been Y,M,B forever (except for same-day miles+copay upgrades on KLM).

    "Making it even better, because the ticket is rebooked into Z, it ends up crediting as such — earning 150 percent qualifying miles"
    - Nice! Same thing happened to me when I paid for an upgrade on AMS-JNB in the lounge at AMS years ago. Cheap Y ticket credited at 150%

    I love all the AvGeeky details KLM provide at OLCI!

    "I’m a little surprised they aren’t limiting Priority Pass customers for what surely must be this lounge’s rush hour"
    - That is surprising because they sure do limit PP pax everywhere else. After 3-4 attempts, I've yet to ever be allowed into an AF-KL lounge with PP during the advertised hours.

    "Oh yeah. Hmmmm… it’s been less than 12 hours since I was “all caught up” and there’s a bunch of new stuff posted. Good job, flight-reporters!"
    - It's great to see so many new posts! But it's making it hard to catch up on the reading haha

    "After that, the senior purser comes by, offering each passenger a welcome aboard and a handshake."
    - Wow, I've never seen that before. Nice touch. KLM crews are always so friendly

    It's a shame KLM makes you choose between soup or appetizer, unlike DL which offers both. AA doesn't even offer soup in J...that's reserved for F...I know, fancy right? The breakfast looks really decent for a short TATL Eastbound. In the past KL and AF didn't offer hot options on the shorter redeyes from the East Coast so this seems to be an improvement.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 487337 by
      atco 89 Comments

      Congratulations Kevin!

    • Comment 488261 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 498 Comments

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for stopping by, and felicitations on the new arrival. Your first, or adding to the team? Either way, I remember those days, and they are crazy. All the best to you and the family.

      “It's nice to see things have changed, though I'm not surprised the agent wasn't familiar with the newer rule of upgrading from any fare bucket since it had been Y,M,B forever (except for same-day miles+copay upgrades on KLM).”
      - Yes, from what I’ve gathered, it was sometime in the last couple of years. I happened to catch mention of it in an FT thread on upgrades, and stored in my mind in case it should come in handy. And it has, both this year and last year. Although I would have loved to see the face of the travel agent for the client who booked me for YYZ-BCN last year when I insisted it be booked on the DL codeshares.

      “Nice! Same thing happened to me when I paid for an upgrade on AMS-JNB in the lounge at AMS years ago. Cheap Y ticket credited at 150%”
      - It feels like a win, doesn’t it. One of the things that makes me want to do a trip like this again in the not-so-distant future.

      “I love all the AvGeeky details KLM provide at OLCI!”
      - I know! This is my first exposure to it, and it’s brilliant, even if the meal details aren’t always correct.

      “That is surprising because they sure do limit PP pax everywhere else. After 3-4 attempts, I've yet to ever be allowed into an AF-KL lounge with PP during the advertised hours.”
      - I got into the AF lounge at IAD last year — but I had to “come back” because I showed up two minutes before they opened it up to the PP scum.

      “It's great to see so many new posts! But it's making it hard to catch up on the reading haha”
      - As the phrase goes, it’s a high-class problem to have, but I know what you mean. I was once all caught up, and now I’d have 50 or more tabs open if I were trying to keep up on reading everything.

      “In the past KL and AF didn't offer hot options on the shorter redeyes from the East Coast so this seems to be an improvement.”
      - Interesting. My only other experience with KL is last year (and DL in 2017), where the menu looked a lot like this one. Except that we had the apple blossom available as the “sweet” main course. Mmmmmm. I still remember that.

      Thanks again for stopping by with your thoughts — and once again, hearty congratulations!

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