Review of KLM flight Amsterdam Washington in Business

Airline KLM
Flight KL651
Class Business
Seat 1h
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 05:00
Take-off 19 Nov 19, 12:00
Arrival at 19 Nov 19, 12:00
KL   #63 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 724 reviews
CounterSurprise
Published on 6th September 2020

Flight Report Amsterdam - Washington 
Airline: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, part of Air France-KLM
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Registration PH-AKB "Piazza Navona-Roma"
Seat: 1H World Business Class
Lounge: 52 KLM Crown Lounge 


Introduction


Hello FR-community!
I hope that when you are reading this report, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. It is a strange time for us AVGeeks to be living in. The one thing that we enjoy most, traveling and meeting new people, turns out to be a risky business thanks to COVID-19. I look forward to the times that we can travel without risk again, but for now, my travel schedule has pretty much dried up.
But there is still a lot of archive material I can use and I decided it is time to publish some of my old trips. I hope you enjoy this flight report, and look forward to comments.

The trip 
My travel primary goes to Washington, D.C. from Amsterdam. Since my employer has a contract with our national carrier KLM (Part of Air France-KLM), I usually fly the blue metal. I enjoy flying KLM since their crew is always fantastic, even though their product could sometimes use improvement. It is also a joy that when you board after a long trip, you are greeted in your native language.

This trip took me to Washington, D.C. for a conference. The conference itself was in Crystal City (VA) so I decided on a hotel in Alexandria (VA), close to the metro station (I prefer the Metro in DC over a rental car whenever possible).  

Flight information
Airline: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, part of Air France-KLM
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 registration PH-AKB "Piazza Navona-Roma"
Seat: 1H World Business Class
Lounge: 52 KLM Crown Lounge
 


Departure from Amsterdam


This time, I drove to Amsterdam. I took the Landrover, which is always a bit of a gamble since I never know if the car actually makes it :) My wife has accepted this fact a long time ago, when I wrote on her Valentine's card "Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm fixing my Landy so no flowers for you".
(just kidding).
I always photograph my parking spot, after I forgot where I parked a few years ago and Schiphol Long Term parking is huge! I spend a good hour walking around, trying to remember where I parked my car, which luggage, while it was raining. Not a good day I can assure you. 


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After Security (I didn't take any pictures at security), I went on to visit the Schiphol Plaza, where Christmas had set in. I didn't stay there long, but headed for the KLM Crown Lounge, so I could get some work done.


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The entrance to the lounge is magnificent. You go up the escalator and are greeted by hundreds of KLM Delft Blue houses. They are glued to their little pedestals though, you can't take them off. 


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Reconstruction was taking place at the lounge, but the area had increased massively from the last time I was here. The lounge now has a proper size, giving room for the large amount of people that visit.


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Here's an overview of the "Dutch Mountain" area of the lounge. 


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Even though the lounge now is considerably bigger, it's still crowded


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The view is disappointing to be honest. Not a great place for spotting


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There areas were new to me. Sleep and rest areas. KLM transports a lot of long-haul passengers that change flights at Schiphol, so I guess this makes sense.


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These are virtual reality relaxation booths. I didn't try them out.


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It was crowded and busy, not unusual for a Sunday morning


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I can't remember the exact names of the different regions within the lounge, but each one has its own name and theme. This is an area where you can relax and enjoy some silence.


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I found myself a nice, quiet place and got to work. I already had breakfast at home, so I went for a cappuccino and an apple. Between my mouse and the apple, you can see my TP Mifi WiFi router, which I had to use since the Crown Lounge WiFi was not good enough to work on. For me, that's quite negative, since all I need in a lounge is coffee, some snacks and good WiFi so I can work. I don't care about the drink selection, menu differentiation or themes: I need coffee & WiFi since I usually travel for work. Oh well. I solved it with my 4G modem.


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boarding & take-off


As always, the gate as crowded and the line for Sky Priority was quite long. I noticed that the ground staff actually checked whether people in the Sky Priority line had 'SKY PRIORITY' printed on their boarding pass. If not, they were asked to leave the line. This was new for me, I have never experienced that before in Amsterdam.


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After boarding, we had to wait a little before we could actually board the plane.


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I quickly found my seat and was happy to see that it was a new WBC-class seat. KLM at that time was in the process of introducing new World Business Class seats on their A330-fleet. Another bonus was: no neighbor! After I installed myself, I got out three toy cars. This requires some explanation: My son, being sad that I had to leave, asked me to take his three favorite cars and photograph them everywhere. So, that's what I did! You'll see these three cars popping up throughout this trip report.


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That's a lot of in-flight amenity kits! The FAs started their service and put the amenity kits in front of me! you can probably guess what happened next…


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…I took a picture of a toy car in front of all the amenity kits!


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In-flight service started. I requested some Champagne and was happy to enjoy it.


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I was handed my Amenity bag, which contained the usual items.


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The Flight Safety presentation started, which is made in a authentic Delft pottery factory. KLM really tries to 'sell' their Dutch roots, but it is things like this that are a bit too much for me, personally.


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Still no-one in the other seat, that's fantastic! I moved over to enjoy the scenery on take-off


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The new seat gave me a great overview of the movements around Schiphol.


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Take-off at 13.27 Local time.


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It really was a beautiful day to fly and enjoy the Dutch scenery from above.


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in-flight


Here's my menu. I forgot to take pictures of the various dishes on offer, but I can showcase what I chose. I will get back to that later, but first, it was time to explore the seat a little bit. 


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The seat is similar to the seat in the Boeing 77W and 747. The layout is 2-2-2, ideal if you are traveling with your family, less so if you are alone. There is no herringbone layout in the cabin. The seat itself is rather comfortable and folds into a 2m long bed if you so desire. There are various connections, storage locations and charging options. The IFE features a large, high-resolution display which works quite well even in full sunlight.


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The IFE selection is really good, offering a lot of different shows, programs and movies from various parts of the world. 


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This included Star Trek: The Next Generation S01E01: Encounter at Farpoint! I approve of this! This picture was taken during the meal service.


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There's an adjustable reading light in every seat, allowing for individual light that doesn't bother other passengers as much.


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I rested my shoes in the cubby under the little Ottoman.


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is it me, or does the other Ottoman look bigger?


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The headrest is large and comfortable


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The seat controls are intuitive and easy. 


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Meal service started with the entree. I chose a Salmon salad with Mango and Cucumber. it was quite good but, then again, most KLM entrees usually are in my opinion.


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I paired it with a nice Chardonnay


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The main course was less enjoyable. Cabbage, potatoes and beef, but the plate wasn't very enjoyable. Maybe it's me, but with KLM, I often enjoy the entree but no the main course.


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So earlier, when I said that KLM tries to oversell its Dutch heritage, this is what I mean…


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Desert was great! Vanilla cake with chocolate and white chocolate mousse!


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and some Tea to enjoy after that.


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The second meal course was just before landing and also was really good. Quiche and a salad of nuts and goat cheese - it all worked really well together.


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Landing & arrival


The IFE remote can display the flight information while the big screen can be used to watch a movie. That's a really neat feature and I enjoyed watching how our flight progressed. Here we are just before landing.


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A novel feature on the A330, not found on the 777, is the nose wheel camera that can be seen from the IFE. That's a lot of fun to watch during landing!


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And touchdown!


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Overview of the seat next to me, in the middle row.


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Deplaning can commence.


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We docked at gate A15, as usual


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Verdict

KLM

8.2/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

KLM Crown Lounge 5 - Non Schengen

8.1/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Services9.0

Amsterdam - AMS

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Washington - IAD

8.9/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

The flight from Amsterdam to Washington is one I know very well. KLM delivers a solid and good product on this route, with good performance on board and in the lounge. Points that could use improvement from my perspective are the overcrowding in the lounge, the WiFi quality in the lounge and the main course onboard.

Information on the route Amsterdam (AMS) Washington (IAD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Amsterdam (AMS) → Washington (IAD).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 7 hours and 38 minutes.

  More information

2 Comments

  • Comment 562843 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5307 Comments

    Hi CounterSurprise, very nice to see one of your reports again! And on your flagship route, especially ?

    The A330-300s were the last of the widebodies to receive the new WBC since they had the somewhat newer AF-style angled-lie flat seat in J, but it's nice to see the whole fleet is now outfitted with full-flat WBC seats. One of the only incoveniences (for some) is that the A330s (like the 777s) don't offer aisle access for every seat, but in your case that wasn't an issue with no neighbour!

    The new seats are definitely an improvement over the previous seats. Having flown the Diamond seat on several carriers, I find it to be a perfectly comfortable seat with reasonable spaciousness that fits in basically the same footprint as the old angled-flat seat, so a win for both the airline and the passenger.

    Points that could use improvement from my perspective are the overcrowding in the lounge, the WiFi quality in the lounge and the main course onboard.

    Good points that seem to come up often with KLM's otherwise great service. It's funny how the lounge was expanded so much and still remained crowded--granted, that's probably not an issue these days.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 562906 by
      CounterSurprise AUTHOR 77 Comments

      Hi Kevin,
      Many thanks for your kind words. Indeed, this is my 'favorite' route. I was actually hoping to add something new to my trip history, as I had planned to do the following trip this March: AMS-AUH-Sydney-LAX-DEN-ATL-AMS, but alas, this trip around the world was cancelled due to COVID-19.

      One of the only incoveniences (for some) is that the A330s (like the 777s) don't offer aisle access for every seat, but in your case that wasn't an issue with no neighbour!

      True, personally, I prefer the herringbone set-up when traveling alone, but this configuration is great if you are traveling with your family.
      Thanks for sharing!

      You're welcome, I plan to share more old trips soon!

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