Review of KLM flight Willemstad Amsterdam in Economy

Airline KLM
Flight KL736
Class Economy
Seat 25C
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 09:10
Take-off 03 Jun 19, 14:35
Arrival at 04 Jun 19, 05:45
KL   #50 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 625 reviews
ThomasDutch
By SILVER 1353
Published on 6th June 2019

Intro


While my original plan was to travel to Aruba to attach myself to my friend's group to head over to Venezuela as my best friend was going to marry his Venezuelan girlfriend, this plan was soon changed when all borders to Venezuela were closed due to the on-going coup in Venezuela and he had to postpone his marriage. Instead it simply became an enjoyable holiday for all of us at my friend's house in Aruba.

As Aruba is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, it is therefore easily reachable by both KLM and Tuifly Netherlands or via the USA, however it is usually not worth the time to do that. I decided to book a multi city initiary with KLM to fly to Aruba from Amsterdam and to return to Amsterdam via Curaçao as it was significantly cheaper and would result in the same points for my status. To travel from Aruba to Curaçao, I simply booked a flight with a local carrier named EZ Air for about 120 USD, which pendles between Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire with a fleet of two Beechcraft 1900D, an aircraft I've never flown on.

The full initiary for my short trip you could find below.



Departure segment


As I just finished my flight with EZ Air from Aruba to Curaçao, I left the arrival hall to the left where you have to cross the plaza to reach your departure hall. 


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Prior to reaching your departure hall, you will find some food stores like Subway and Wendy's and that is basically all the food you can have when you are at the non-secured zone of the airport.


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Upon entering the departure hall, it is very clean and open with barely anyone to check in for a flight as I was very early. There's a few seats available, but it would be nowhere close to enough when a few jets are coming in. There is also a small souvenir shop available here that sells some bottles of water and snacks too. I used to be in Hato Airport like 15 years ago and I can tell you that everything is pretty much changed to what I've seen on my previous visit. It used to be a very hot and open airport.


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About 3.5 hours prior to departure, all check-in counters went open and some people were already piling up. I joined them to be one of the first as I wanted to be ahead of all chaos at security and immigration. A good thing is that staff forces passengers to use those self-service machines to speed up the entire process at the counters. Upgrades were available, but I didn't bother asking for it.


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Immigration was up next and it took a while for me to clear as a large group of Spanish speaking persons were blocking all kiosks as the boarding cards did not match any of their names. Took about five minutes for them to sort it out and a few minutes later I was through. Security was the same problem with this group as one belt was open and many did not fully empty their pockets. It took another ten minutes to clear. After security you are forced to walk through a few tax free shops and like I previously said, I absolutely hate this type of set up.


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When you finally crossed the shop, you will enter a large open space with plenty of seats available and perfect windows for aircraft spotting. A small section of restaurants are to the ;eft where you can buy food and drinks (not shown on photo) and a bar in the far aft. Some charging stations are available too in case you run out of battery like I did for a five hour wait. 


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While sitting down charging my phone, I spotted this beautiful bird (HI1034) of Air Century who's about to depart to  Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). I actually enjoyed their livery quite a lot!


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And here is our bird who landed on time from Amsterdam. PH-BFG is a 29.2 year old Boeing 747-400 named Guayaguil. It has solely been in service to KLM and it is one of the few 747 of KLM that are in full pax configurations…. and let me tell you that those flights to and from Curaçao are almost always fully booked.


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A Boeing 737-800 (HP-1535CMP) of Copa Airlines was taxiing to the runway for it's departure to Panama


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Ten minutes prior to boarding, an announcement was made that boarding would start in ten minutes and whether any handicapped person or families with small children could come forward already….. Of course other people were already lining up too. Eventually boarding was called on-time, but we were stuck halfway through the jetbridge as the plane was not fully ready yet….. Oh KLM….. are you starting this trend now too?


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Upon entering the aircraft, I headed to seat 24A which was my original seat for today's flight. Although I noticed that a mother and her kid were split up and the son was a bit disappointed that he did not have a window. I offered the mom to swap places as she was sitting at 25C. Unfortunately not a window for my flight today, but I didn't really mind it as it was going to be a night flight anyway. The legroom was ok, although this seat is directly located next to an galley, which was a bit annoying of having people bump into you during the flight when they want to receive a drink.


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And yess… it's the same shitty entertainment system I've had on the flight to Nairobi a few months ago.  A small improvement was made though as KLM now offered wifi on their B747-400 which only allows you to use their IFE system via your phone. You were not able to use it for internet though.


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The literature was current too, however I did not enjoy June's edition that much. I usually enjoy reading the part where locals suggest parts you definitely should visit, however this month's edition did not really have interesting destinations in my point of view and some of the locals suggested to visit certain places that you were able to find anywhere else.


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Flight segment


We departed about ten minutes late with an early left turn towards the east and shortly after take off, flight attendants started to hand out a bottle of water, a cold refreshing towel and a discount voucher for when you want to use the tax free shopping option, though the voucher is only active when you spend more than 99 dollar or euro (can't recall it anymore). Earplugs were given too, but I declined as I have my own ones. Our cabin crew did surprise me to be honest as they didn't really bother telling people to use their seat belts (as lots of them didn't have them on) and didn't bother about the window shades being lowered prior and during departure.


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Despite having a galley right now, the flight attendant started to serve food to the row behind us as she told us that it was decided to do it like that. I didn't really mind, but the two passengers next to me were pissed as they paid money for the seat in front to have a choice of meal. It went on for a solid 15 minutes….. It took a solid 45 minute for our flight attendant who was suppose to serve us and premium economy to finish her premium economy. Upon serving the first two rows of our group, she was called away for what they thought was a epileptic seizure from someone (The person in question was ok afterwards). Food service was halted for another 15 minutes before she returned to continue her last six rows including us (last row). The flight attendants in our compartment were very very unorganized and kept running around like chickens without head.

So after a solid 90 minutes, I was finally able to choose my meal. It was either pasta and chicken. Luckily enough our flight attendant was the only one that still had two chicken dishes left, which I opted for. The chicken meal was  chicken in black pepper sauce, jasmin rice and green beans which came with a feta cheese olive salad as starter and that absolutely delicious mousse of coconut and lime. A warm bun was provided too and a box of crackers, cheese and butter was in the carton box. The main meal this time was very enjoyable and much better than the chicken in bbq sauce I had on my flight to Aruba.  

My neighbour chose for pasta, which was already cold before it reaches his plate…. and without any asking another flight attendant started to clear my table too after having my plate for a sole minute on my table before being corrected by another flight attendant who told her that we just received it….. Again a very sloppy service right here.  


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Thirty minutes after, the flight attendant came around again to clear our tables and another thirty minutes for a round of coffee, tea or liquor. KLM usually offers baileys, cognac and a few other alcoholic beverages, but today our flight attendant was only able to serve us cognac as she ran out of everything she told. I was curious as to why as we barely left ground. She told us that KLM only gives them one bottle of liquor per galley for two flights (to and from) and that they probably ran out already on the way to Curaçao…. Another decision I could not understand from KLM to do on such a busy flight, but it probably has to do with cutting costs…. Therefore I asked for a cognac with my coffee, but it was a very cheap and not so enjoyable cognac.


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A small cabin shot from my section.


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The person that went to the lavatory ahead of me forgot to flush the toilet, but despite that the toilet was still in a ok condition in terms of cleanliness. There were no amenities available once again and the toilet itself showed a lot of signs of wear, but what can you expect of an aircraft that is almost 30 years old? 


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While lights were turned off when I returned to my seat, I quickly grabbed my jacket as it was rather cold on board this flight and had a solid sleep with my jacket over me as the lights of the galley and people asking for drinks were bothering me. I still managed to get a solid 4 hours of sleep and woke up about 90 minutes to landing. 

We were now flying over England and food service was initiated by now. It went much faster right now, but that was partly as there was no choice given in your meal, though my neighbours were pissed again as the flight attendant repeated the same thing she did previously by starting to serve the row behind us.

The main meal served to us as breakfast was scrambled eggs, tomato sauce and a quiche of egg/potatoes. It was decent, but could have been better. I, however am not really fan of eggs on board flights. It was served with some slices of melon and grapes. A yoghurt with some sort of honey in it and a warm bun with butter. 


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Tables were cleaned about 30 minutes to landing and flight attendants started to prepare to lock everything in place for landing. The pilots checked in with us again to inform us about our arrival to runway 18R…… damnnnnn we had the furtherst runway once again and told us that we would be landing within ten minutes and thanked us for flying with KLM. The actual landing itself was smooth.


Arrival Segment


After a long taxi of about 15 minutes to our gate, deplaning of our plane went quickly after business class and we were directly halted by customs as Curaçao is well known in Holland for having a lot of drug traffickers trying to bring drugs to Holland. The line itself did not take long, however the agent was questioning me a lot as to what I've done in Curaçao and why I went there. I could understand them targetting me as it is usually very suspicious for travelling alone to such an island, but eventually let me go as he was sure that I did not smuggle anything, which of course I didn't! 

Passport control was done in no time too as it was no rush hour yet of arriving traffic, however I was really pissed with Amsterdam that I had to wait for a solid hour from the moment I reached my belt for my luggage to arrive. And then to realize to what others may have thought as at least 75% of our flight was still waiting for their bags. While Amsterdam Airport contineously and happily promotes their advanced technology, the system in reality is outdated and very slow. 


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While rushing to the bus plaza of Amsterdam in hope that a bus was already present to bring me to Amsterdam's parking garage to pick up my car, there was no need for it at all. After a minute of five, the bus showed up and it took about ten minutes to reach my car.


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Verdict

KLM

5.4/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew4.0
Entertainment/wifi4.5
Meal/catering7.0

Willemstad - CUR

7.1/10
Efficiency6.5
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Amsterdam - AMS

5.2/10
Efficiency3.5
Access6.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness4.0

Conclusion

While I usually have a very enjoyable experience with KLM, I found this flight to be a complete disaster. Airlines should not start boarding when the aircraft is not ready. Food was in terms of quality decent to good, but the service provided by their flight attendants was very chaotic and unorganized. Also a lot of products were missing in terms of drinks, food and tax free goods (I did not opt for it, but I heard them declining certain passengers too frequently for not having it anymore. The seat itself 25C I would not recommend either due to it's location to the galley, while row 24 and 26 for example are much better despite being close to it as well and the poor IFE system was not helping either. Yes they provide wifi to use their system via your mobile, but they also do not offer any way to charge your devices. So in case you want to watch their IFE via mobile and you do not have a powerbank, expect to run out of your battery very soon.

Information on the route Willemstad (CUR) Amsterdam (AMS)

4 Comments

  • Comment 505805 by
    sotto_Deactivated 83 Comments

    Finally a short and informative flight report. Especially without the boring, repetitive photos of airplane wings. Given and service were described comprehensible. Congratulations. Thank you.Apart from that: KL is a recommendable airline.

  • Comment 505882 by
    Zadas88 12 Comments

    Hi ThomasDutch,
    Thanks again for a great report. I was also puzzled on my KLM flight last week GRU-AMS where no Baileys was left. Now you explained this to me :)
    On this particular flight, I was seated at row 22A and the FA started their service as well the row after us, so our row was the last and we had no choice on the meal.
    I guess somebody has to be last anyways...
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 505889 by
      ThomasDutch SILVER AUTHOR 336 Comments

      It didn't really bother me to be honest, but I do think those who paid a bit extra to sit to the front (it was free for me) should at least deserve to have something of a choice, cause what's the purpose then to charge more for it?

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