Welcome to a special Fligh Report on the amazing MD11.
Some of you already knew how much I was eager to fly on this beautiful plane before its retirement. As KLM is the last airline operating it for passenger flights, it was the only option, and the available destinations were also limited: YUL everyday or YYZ and SFO on select days. I kept on checking airfares, taking into account that I had trips planned until the end of the year, and therefore had to do a return flight in 48H, so when flying just flying I was waiting for promotional offer. As I had been to Montreal two times already, it wasn't too bad to only spend a night there. In June, it happened and I found a great flight combination for a good price.
I booked it right away, the (original) routing was to be:
Finally I was about to fly the MD11, as well as the A340 I had never taken on AF before (only on Ac and LA).
However, it turned out the routing would change, you'll see in the next part…
I won't report the CDG-AMS flight, as I already have published many, both on AF and KL. Just a word on the crew who was great: friendly, smiling, some female FAs were wearing their red gloves and the captain made a welcome speech in the aisle, facing the passenger (pititom would have been thrilled!)
No FR, but nevertheless, here are a couple of original pictures of this flight
TAM 77W vacating the runway as we took off
Our shadow on the clouds
Giant wind turbines close to Schiphol right as we came out of the clouds
And landing on the Polderbaan
So there I was in AMS, with about one hour before boarding.
I headed to the lounge, Schiphol was already Christmas themed.
I was welcome in the Crown Lounge by a friendly agent, to whom I asked she could print me a real boarding pass (as I had a home printed one). The following discussion was held:
Agent: But this is a boarding pass Sir. Me: I know but it's for my collection, and this flight is special it's operated by a MD11, so I want a souvenir. Agent: Yes it has become a rare airplane. So you collect boarding passes. Are you a spotter too? Me: Yes. Agent: Oh that's nice to hear! Of course I will print you a new boarding pass, but I'm sorry it won't be a KLM blue one, we changed system and now we only have white ones. Me: Oh don't worry! Agent: There is you boarding pass, welcome to the lounge and enjoy your flight on the MD11 sir!
Well, that's KLM at its best. Let's hope the cabin crew will be as friendly…
The Crown Lounge had been reported a couple of times already, so I will just add a few pictures. I've never seen so many people in it, so taking pictures was difficult.
Only the smoking section was empty here it is
The food offering was limited
Some cheese biscuits and a vegetable salad
Cold cuts of ham and cheese
My selection, with a glass of the infamous Cremant instead of Champagne, but hey a girl has to have some bubbles right? ;-)
The cheese biscuits as well as the cheese slices were good, however the salad was bad, I didn't finish it.
After a while I decided to head to the gate in order to have time to take pictures of the plane.
On the way I passed this DL A330 that was parked next to a waiting lounge
(And don't you see something special in the background?)
How often can you get this kind of winglet view? Schiphol is really unique for avgeeks!
Then I walked really fast to my gate as I was so excited.
And there she is!!! How I love this plane.
Today Audrey Hepburn (PH-KCE) would take me to YUL. As I love the actress it was all the more special!
Close up of the General Electric CF6-80
A view form the other side
To quote KevinDC: Three holes are way better than two ;-)
There was another security screening at the gate, SkyPriority was enforced so I jumped eveybody, which caused some angry looks…
I finally boarded, from the jetbridge, a view to the Schiphol terrace, where I often stood watching the MD11
The nose of our aircraft
Ooooooh give to mama!!!!
I was welcomed with a smile and proceeded to my seat
The view from
I was kinda disapointed to be so close to the wing, on every seat map I checked, 31J seemed further back.
The pitch was average
The flight was completely full, as often on KL.
Right on time we pushed back, the purser made all the announcement in Dutch, English and perfect French. She told us, there was a problem with IFE system, that they were reseting it, and asked us not to touch any button.
The engines were started, and some smoke came out
Again, I show the unique jetbridges of Schiphol, passing over the aircraft's wings (though not used on this EY A330)
Flaps were extended and spoilers were tested
After a very quick taxi, we reached the Aalsmeerbaan
And we took off, here's the video, I usually don't take any, but I wanted to remember that flight!
Never before I had experienced such a powerful take off! Also, notice how steep the aircraft was right after rotation.
Entering the clouds
Exiting the clouds with a strong bank on the right.
I was amazed by the speed of the aircraft, it's not often you can realize it on an aircraft, but really you could see how quick we left the clouds behind
In no time we reached our cruising altitude and leveled off
In the mean time, my IFE went on, but only the moving map was available
The purser then made an announcement that the system seemed to work again, but that we would have to be patient and wait a little bit each time we pressed a button and to not press again if didn't work the first time. In the end, the systemn worked just fine for the rest of the flight.
A refreshment was served, with the really delicious bites ;-) They're actually smoked almonds. I ordered a Ginger Ale
They also handed a postcard picturing the Milkmaid was handed, I thought it was a paper menu (a novelty as KLM didn't use a provide paper ones)
It was almost that actually ;-)
A first word on the FA serving my row: she was cold. Efficient but not friendly, without being rude or anything, but she sure didn't make you feel welcome or anything. It was bad luck, as I saw many smiling and friendly FAs on this flight, but they were serving other rows…
The collected remains of the refreshment and then passed out hot towels.
The meal was then served. I don't know why I forgot to check the meal section of the IFE. I found out much later they were serving Dutch specialties of chicken sausages or beef meatballs.
As a result, when the FA announced a beef or chicken choice, I went for the chicken ang got this
On a side not, they changed the cutlery which are now thick plastic ones
So, my meal consisted in chicken sausage with mashed potatoes.
I'm not a difficult person when it comes to food, but this was not good! It was eatable, but really barely.
The starter (coleslaw with pineapple chunks and raisins) and dessert (profiteroles) were good though.
This meal was the first disapointing one I had on KL.
In the meantime, we had started to cross the Atlantic
Coffee, tea or digestive were offered by the same cold FA, I went for the Amarula (a bit like Baileys but better, East African will confirm…)
After everything was cleared by the FAs, I went to stretch my legs. In the galley, I asked a FA who looked more friendly if it was possible to visit the cockpit after landing. She said yes and that I just had to ask any FA as I deboarded.
I also took the opportunity to take a pic from a window of the 4L door (which was badly scratched and tinted)
You can see the smaller downward winglet typical of the MD11
Then I went back to my seat, and watched an episode of Modern Family and Criminal Minds as I didn't find any movie that I liked on the IFE. The selection was good, but it was mostly blockbusters that I wasn't interested in.
I also listened to some music, the CD jukebox is really good, they had the great Caro Emerald. I discovered a song perfectly suited for KevinDC (and many other here): Liquid Lunch ;-)
Both my seat neighbours were sleeping, so trapped in my seat I took pictures of details
The overhead bins
A close up on the winglet
Then en ice cream along with water was distributed by the crew. I wasn't hungry at all so I didn't take it, just the water.
This mid flight snack is nice, but 2 hours after lunch and 2 hours before the arrival snack, that's too much for me.
Shortly after that, we entered the american continent, with first sights of snow
One hour before landing, the arrival snack was offered, it was either a pizza or a hot pecan cake
That was really good, except the cake made a lot of crumbles! I asked a passing FA for a second one and she gave it to me with smile.
The sun was slowly setting, and it offered a very nice ligh effect on the forward window that was partially frozen
The captain made an announcement about 35 min prior to landing to announce that we were beginning our descent
As we made a nice turn, a vortex appeared, generated by the strakes one can see on the engine
As we neared the airport, flaps were deployed
And deployed a little more
Finally, we touched down very softly, and we slowed down nice and gently
We reached our parking stand very quickly 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and stopped next to this LX A330 that was close to depart to ZRH
As I about to exit the aricraft, the FA to whom I had asked to see the cockpit, asked me to follow her.
The copilot welcomed me and shook my hands, I told him I was impressed by the powerful take off, and he actually said, they used the minimum power today. I don't even imagine what full thrust take off must have been like!
He also said he'd miss the MD11 as it was a very nice aircraft to fly.
I asked if I could make some pictures, and he offered to turn back the screens on for the picture, though I said no
KLM Crown Lounge - Schengen
Amsterdam - AMS
Montreal - YUL
Well it was another pretty good flight with KL, although a more friendly FA would have been nice as it was a special flight for me. Cabin was pretty confortable except for the legroom. Well, the FA who served me deserved a 4/10 but the other friendly FAs and the pilot have to make me increase the grade. The meals were the true disapointement, though it's a bit my fault as I didn't read the menu. IFE was good with a lot of choices, even if I didn't find any movie to my liking, it's a matter of taste.
A special mention to the Crown Lounge agent.
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