Review of KLM flight Taipei Amsterdam in Business

Airline KLM
Flight KL808
Class Business
Seat 2A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 13:05
Take-off 26 Jun 13, 23:20
Arrival at 27 Jun 13, 06:25
KL   #65 out of 119 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 725 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 13428
Published on 26th November 2013
(A word of warning: this FR is LOOOONG, arguably as long as the flight that it describes. It is even longer than the original French version, because of the added tourist bonus. I suggest a mug of coffee and a healthy bandwidth)

The selection of the flights for this business trip reached a simple conclusion: it would be KL or nothing. I know: it is an outdated cabin, a sliding seat, food which is Delicious in Y only, European style service, FAs who will never be in your dreams, priority attentions to airline staff, a language that I do not understand, no upgrade from Business because there is no First class, wifi access with a 56k modem throughput in the connecting airport's lounge, and a final communication blackout if a luggage has been delayed and damaged.

But for reasons which will appear clearly if you read the FR to the end, my only criterion was the checked luggage allowance. Since I had no Elite Status with any airline in the world, the 2x32 Kg that I could check for free if flying KL in J as a proud Flying Blue Ivory card holder were a strong argument.

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If Air Krapistan had made a better offer with a first segment in a Tupolev on Europe's blacklist and a nine hour layover at night in Krapistabad where the only lounge is under repair, I would have considered the deal. Assuming that the travel agency used by my company had referenced Air Krapistan, that is.

On the other hand, I was attracted by Flight KL808 which was the only direct flight between Taiwan and the EU operated by a European airline, which had started only two years before. European airlines are too afraid of Chinese reprisals if they serve Taiwan directly.

Would KL808 be on time? Or rather, would Aéroport de Paris International (ADPI) meet its deadlines? ADPI has been awarded a contract for the renewal of TPE's runways, and I sent this e-mail to my colleagues:

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End of this renovation phase on 25 June, and take-off late on the 26th: I should be make it in a tight window, because the flight on Friday 28th was 2,000 EUR more expensive, this being the beginning of the summer holiday. And this being a peak traffic period, CDG's trade unions announced a possible strike on 28th and 29th June.

My constraints were not worth 2,000 EUR for two days, and the conclusion was obvious: I would fly on Wednesday.

Then came D Day. I usually ride bus #1819 from the main station, but my favorite sport is running marathons, not weight lifting. This time, I asked our receptionist to book me a chauffeured car: it was cheaper than a taxi (1,000 TWD vs. 1,200 to 1,300 TWD), marginally more comfortable, and more crucially, the assurance of having a car with a large trunk without a bulky LPG tank. She had taken an enormous safety margin, and at 5pm, no fewer than three Taiwanese colleagues helped me bring my luggage down to the waiting car. How did you bring all this alone to the office?. It had taken me two trips by taxi the day before and the same day, and lots of effort.

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A three quarters of an hour eventless ride, ending with two turns around Terminal 2 because when you reach TPE from the north using the coastal road to avoid the traffic jams, there is no other way to reach the Departures level. When they start building Terminal 3 (space is reserved for that between Terminals 1 and 2), I would be happy to provide them some engineering services to improve that, but no date has been announced for that expansion, so far.

Anyway, this is where he dropped me (that will be the only inconveniently vertical picture in this FR).

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There are zero passengers waiting inside at the check-in counters of Flight KL808

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There was unfortunately an equally zero number of staff at the check in counters. The fascinating queuing theory teaches that the waiting time of the first passenger is then infinite.

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Mathematical models always simplify the reality, but after refining the model, I reached a prediction of 2 ½ hour waiting time.

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TPE's check in rating was going to be poor, because that meant 2 ½ hours waiting landside, instead of being in Skyteam's airside lounge. What could I do in between? Obtain my BP from one of these machines. Heaven forbid, I hate thermal paper which gradually fades away.

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Tour the terminal? Check in counters are not very exciting, especially when you push a fully loaded luggage cart (with excellent wheel bearings, though).

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Exchange my TWD into JPY that I would need for my next trip? That was a good idea, because the markups of TPE's exchange booths are as reasonable as those in the city center banks, but the amount of time needed for the transaction ten times less.

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Sit in these chairs and start my FR? I did not have much of a choice. If you disparage AF's ultra-thin seats on domestic flights, try waiting the opening of KL's flight in TPE. It is better though than waiting for the opening of AF's flight in PEK on raw steel seats, though. You can always find worse in the world.

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A corporate screenshot is a standard ingredient of a FR, which requires internet access (it was supposed originally to prove that there was internet access in the location). Good news: wifi coverage is free in TPE, including landside, and it is not limited to 15 minutes like in CDG.

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Bad news, Internet Explorer could not display this web page

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I did not need the help of Windows to diagnose the connection problem: an ultra weak throughput, which appeared to be hitting the wall (if you never ran a marathon, you cannot understand this). I could not imagine what it would have been like if the signal strength had been rated weak; I guess it would have been like the 300 baud modems of my youth.

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It was fortunately not the only network. I felt valued as a VIP by Eva Air, which spontaneously provided me an excellent throughput.

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That made it possible to have the corporate screen shot of the day, with the spectacular take off of a Volotea B717 to boot.

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Time passes, with some e-mail exchanges. The terminal is not very noisy, but there is an annoying piped music. A staff comes at regular intervals to enquire about the flights of the passengers sitting there – he had a good memory, for he only asked once to each. I overheard that another passenger was on my flight too.

I left my seat at 8:15pm; there was a moderate queue for economy and four passengers on the Sky Priority side (the access was not very well indicated, because it gave the impression of being for checked luggage dropping only, but it would have taken a lot of bad faith to claim not finding it).

Four passengers before me, including one or two without checked luggage, for three counters: it was quickly my turn. The first suitcase just made it below the 32kg mark.

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The second one hits 33.7 kg on the scale! The check-in agent has both suitcases move back on the conveyor belt: am I going to have to perform some last minute luggage optimization? No, she only adds an orange HEAVY tag on both of them. I discreetly weighted my hand luggage while she wasn't looking: 16.2 kg. Together with an 8kg laptop case which contained a lot more stuff than a laptop, and a near empty daypack, I had a total of 90kg of freight without a single TWD for excess luggage charge, much more than my own weight.

Air Krapistan would have had a tough time topping that.

Security check: my hand luggage was no problem, even though I had forgotten that it too contained a laptop, and also a 55cm wide screen (the maximum length of a hand luggage - this was no coincidence). On the other hand, my daypack contained my shaving cream, and I had forgotten that this one contained 250 ml (I usually have a 100 ml one for traveling). The security check staff was flawlessly polite, asked for my passport to record that this item has been confiscated to Mr. Marathon and apologized to have to do this.

沒關係, 我忘記了它太大 (It does not matter; I had forgotten that it was too big).

I think the point was less to list me as a would be shaving cream terrorist, and more to justify the origin of this item in their stores.

It was not over because they had also detected a fork and a spoon in the laptop case (these computer accessories are essential for a breakfast). Wouldn't there be also a knife, which is often associated with the above? I would have hated losing my excellent Taiwanese handmade knife, but I had been careful to put it in my checked-in luggage.

On the other hand, I did not regret a hundred leftover grams of shaving cream in exchange for testing a Taiwanese security check. The last time I made this test, equally involuntarily so, was in CDG five years ago, and I remember the security staff revealing triumphantly the piece of cheese that I had planned to offer to a colleague, and his obvious joy of seizing a hapless passenger's belonging.

I was not going to explore TPE's terminals which I described in countless FRs ex-TPE, some translated in English. Plane spotting with an amateur's camera gives poor results, so I headed to the China Airlines (therefore Skyteam) lounge.

A smiling welcome by the cutout cardboard FAs outside, and by the marginally thicker staff at the counter.

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Just after the welcome counter, there is a left luggage facility here in the background. I did not hesitate to give them my small 16kg kg hand luggage that I did not really want to take downstairs, and take it upstairs when leaving.

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Handicapped accessibility rules in Taiwan are such that I was certain that there was a lift somewhere, probably in the end of the corridor, but I did not go all the way to there.

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The lounge was quite empty when I arrived, and filled gradually, but not excessively, until my departure. It is long and narrow, completely windowless, arranged in a succession of four rooms separated by automatic sliding doors.

A self serve computer area, with a magazine stand in front

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The wifi network password was posted everywhere and had not changed in the past two years. The good news about it was that was short.

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Then this lounge area where I ate my food selection

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A similar view with the opened sliding door in the background

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Then a buffet area that I'll describe later

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And last a toilets and showers area. You needed to ask at the welcome counter to have the key to a shower; I saw one of them when a passenger was leaving it: the design is simple but refined. The toilets are equipped with Japanese multifunction toilet seats, whose control panel is in Japanese only, but there is a card in Chinese on the left for the passengers who forgot their minimum two years of classes of Japanese in high school.

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China Airlines thought about the fact that a man could need to change a baby's diapers, unless the point is to bind it somewhere while going to the toilets.

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Let's go back to the buffet. From the entrance, there are these sweet potatoes cooked in aluminum foil.

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Four dim sum varieties and two stuffed breads, including a vegetarian one.

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A commonplace coffee machine,

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Wine specialist will comment for me the reduced choice in alcoholic drinks.

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I also rely on them for commenting on this brand of champagne

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There were also beer cans and soft drinks; I did not take pictures, because they were on shelves nearly out of reach of children and Taiwan size passengers.

And last, a stand of soup made to request, with six different choices.

That was all, and that was really disappointing in terms of variety. Taiwan received a million Japanese visitors per year, probably as many Western visitors if all countries are cumulated, and I expected to have Japanese and/or Western dishes. Even if you reduce the choice to purely Taiwanese dishes, the Taiwanese gastronomy has much more to offer than this minimalist offering.

This was my choice: a disappointing soup, acceptable dim sums, and an ordinary coffee since it came from an ordinary machine.

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Second service for me, with a wink to the Air Tahiti ATR72 frequent flyers. This pineapple juice was disappointing, compared with the countless pineapples grown in Taiwan that I ate there.

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There were few power plugs on the wall (Taiwanese type, i.e. A + polarized B); a passenger managed to pry open the cover of a floor plug but I failed. Wifi throughput was OK. Bland music was piped in the lounge; I found it as annoying as that piped landside.

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Fixing my camera had been akin to futile medical care for quite a while, and that is where it fell into persistent vegetative state, which is next to brain death. I fortunately had a spare camera which I had selected for its light weight to enter the race up the Taipei 101 tower. It only has a 4x zoom (a telelens is of little use in a staircase) and limited sensitivity, but it was nevertheless welcome.

Flight 808 is announced (like others before, but that did not make many calls altogether) in Mandarin and English. A number of self serve free internet access computers seen on the way to Gate D7; there are others here airside in TPE.

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KL made sure to put two digits 8 in the number of its flight to TPS (8 is a lucky number in the Chinese-Taiwanese culture), but it is just a sharecode flight like many others for CI.

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Gate D7 is the one decorated with an exhibit of the Pili puppets, which revisit the ancestral art of puppetry with heroic fantasy aesthetics and themes.

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This is KL's 772

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Boarding had already started a while before – there was a Sky Priority on the left, but the waiting line was hardly longer on the right. A FA told me later that few passengers board in TPE: most passengers came from MNL, making TPE little more than a technical stopover.

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A left turn to the business class section

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And arrival to the front left door.

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Remember my introduction. Even though I had prepared myself psychologically, I had a shock when I discovered the FA who welcomed me when I entered the aircraft. A solid 1.80m tall, with a silhouette worthy of a cruiserweight boxer or an All Blacks prop, Greta van Hulk was probably assigned to the J cabin because she could neither make it in the Y aisle frontally or sideways. Her face was also the kind which would be toned down in a caricature.

One should never stop at the looks, because Greta performed her duties during the entire flight with a natural smile on her face and in her language. With the help of the PIL, she pronounced very honorably my name, which is usually massacred by the vast majority of foreigners. It was obviously a different style from that of the SQ-girls, also different from that of the US airlines grannies, but a welcome surprise.

The chief purser was the same age, with more standard looks. On the contrary, the male FAs (one was assigned to the right aisle in J, I had a brief with two others assigned in Y) were all very handsome and had an elegant way of moving around.

KL seat in J… you know what to expect, and it was even much worse than that. Too hard for a long haul flight, too deep and too high for a passenger with Taiwanese sized legs. I jury rigged supports with the pillow and the blanket, but it is really far from being satisfactory.

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No place for storing any hand luggage: everything has to be placed in the overhead bins for take-off and landing, and I'll have a hard time finding where a FA placed my laptop, because these bins are slightly too high for me.

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What happened with the passenger of seat 1A, in his sixties, with white hair? I do not know, but when I took my seat, I heard distinctly hear the chief purser tell him this:

No sir, this is very disturbing. Either you leave this plane now, or you do not drink any alcohol during the entire flight.

She repeated the same sentence with minor variations, with a firm tone; the passenger did not insist and slept during most of the flight.

A view of the non-HSBC jet bridge

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The welcome drink: orange juice of for me and champagne for my neighbor, a very discreet Taiwanese lady.

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Both sides of the security card, with very little text.

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Much like AF's amenity kit, that of KL has a very different look when you use your camera's flash.

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This is the natural color:

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The contents are really minimal. On the other hand, this soft case can easily find other uses, as opposed to the one I received two years earlier (a too deep bag, so that you had trouble finding things inside).

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Safety demonstration on the overhead IFEs in English; I doubt that a passenger in row 2 could read the subtitles in Chinese. There was a brief announcement in Chinese at the end, without any illustration.

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Distribution of water bottles. No matter if they were brought by the plane on the way in, or by a freighter, I find it stupid to provide in TPE European water bottles, given that there is no lack of water in the Far East.

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A PA announcement (in English, possibly in Dutch, but not in Mandarin) requested to lower all window shades to avoid being awakened by the bright light at sunrise, and the FAs lower them all. I found it quite claustrophobic as long as I did not try to sleep, and I asked Greta van Hulk if I could keep one up as long as I was awake. Of course, I would lower it when I would set myself to sleep, but at that time, with total darkness outside, it could not disturb anybody. A short dialogue, Greta understood and Okayed it. Five minutes later, the FA of the other aisle passed around and asked me to lower it. Same explanation, and same OK, with the same smile. KL score a point (half a point for each FA) against KE whose FAs had demanded in a non negotiable way that all window shades be down during a long haul ICN-CDG day flight.

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Lights were turned off in the cabin at 01:45 Taiwan time, which meant 7:45pm at destination.

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Distribution of drinks – it will be a disappointing apple juice for me, and then a plate of dried fruit – I like them unheated, and they weren't.

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This sequence illustrates one of the design errors of the seat: not only does it take space in the next row when being lowered, but the magazine holder becomes so inclined that an object placed in it is quite likely to fall down, like a magazine, or my neighbor's amenity kit.

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In fact, dinner started, using a trolley and trays which are much decried here in J. But here, in a full J cabin in an aircraft departing at 11:20 pm, it is better to serve quickly, and I approve this method, given the flight's schedule.

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This is the menu:

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And the wines and drinks:



There was in the menu none of the outrageously grand words splashed in AF's menus, but that did not make the food any better. I chose fish:

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Tilapia is a farmed fish which is the second cheapest per kilo in Taipei. I ate lots of it for that reason, but it really does not have much taste. The selection of cheese is up to the Netherlands standards in this record, i.e. modest.

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The FAs came back to propose the dessert. I purposefully write THE dessert, because I had the choice between this and nothing. With regards to coffee, I often had much worse when flying out of Taipei, with the notable exception of an Eva Air flight, but that was no reason to call it good.

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This dinner was slightly above the one that I had had flying China Eastern on CDG-PVG (in French here ), thanks to the presence of cheese however ordinary and metal silverware. The dessert was also marginally better. Only that I had flown economy with MU. KL provides a very decent Economy meal by Chinese standards to its Business class customers: that gives an idea of the gaping gap between the two when it comes to catering.

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It was about time to think about sleeping in the destination's time zone time: I lowered my window shade as promised, and I managed to sleep… during an hour and a half in this slide of a seat, before I was awaken by the lack of comfort and a dry throat because of the lounge's air conditioning. I went to the toilet for starters:

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The layout is like anywhere else; I let specialist comment upon the amenities:


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On the other hand, the pictograms are amusing. According to KLM, changing a baby's diapers is a feminine task, changing your own clothes is a masculine task.

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Also note that in case of emergency, a male FA will come, not a female one. I am unsure what a female passenger is supposed to do with her rubbish.

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Next comes a tour of the galley. I am not going to detail the self serve food offering, but it is low standing stuff. It reminded me of the cheap food you buy in your local department store to keep your kids quiet on a long trip on a freeway. Flying economy with China Eastern was much better in this regard.

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A view of the galley – nothing very exciting for the non specialist. There was nobody there and I went to the central galley where there were two FAs assigned the Y cabin.

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- Tea? Sure, I'll serve it at your seat.
I was not interested in being in a somewhat uncomfortable seat and I stayed in the front galley. The Economy FA did not know how to make that tea (it is a very difficult procedure which involves hot water and a tea bag), and tried the Phone-a-Friend lifeline. The friend was his colleague on the other aisle in J, who mercifully had the answer.

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I seldom chat with FAs, male or female, but this one turned out to have an interesting conversation which lasted quite a while. Just for the sake of illustration, this is the FA jumpseat next to the front door.

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And the same one after sunrise

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Back to my seat, I continue the FR that I had started in the lounge. Good news: the 110V, Type A/B/E/F power plug agrees to deliver power to my laptop.

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I was going to forget about the IFE. It is small, since it is in the armrest. The welcome screen is enticing, but that is all. The quality of the geovision image is very poor, just as outdated as the seat itself.

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It was too late to pay interest to the audio and video offering, and I only used the geovision which loops in a fixed program without a single option for the passenger. I should have looked at it earlier, because the plane flew south and west around China. China's airspace is closed to planes serving Taiwan to/from an airport located outside Mainland China. In other words, China does not allow first freedom flights to serve Taiwan.

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The breakfast starts with a drink. I chose cranberry juice, which was quite tasteless.

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The smoked salmon looks tiny (I placed the cap of my bottle of water to give the scale), but there is more than I expected at first glance.

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The aluminum cover of the hot meal has the same decoration as the silverware,

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…and also as that of the side of the cart: had you noticed it

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Signature shot with (decent) orange juice

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And with (bad) coffee

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Was it because I had not eaten any for the past four years? I found this omelet was delicious, and the seasoning of the potatoes was good too.

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No comment on the fruit yoghurt, on the other hand, the portion of granola is quite generous, which was welcome, because I was getting hungry.

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The FAs pass around to propose the traditional small china house containing jenever (juniper flavored alcohol), then a self sealing bag for use by connecting travelers like me. Note that since the TPE-AMS flight is now direct, I received a single house only, vs. two when the flight stopped in BKK.

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Display on the connecting flights on the IFE: I noted flight KL1227 to CDG.

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It had been cloudy all the way, and only during the descent did the weather clear up partially.

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The small Vauban-style fortress of Naarden, close to AMS

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AMS from above, that the plane will overshoot flying west and then turn around above the sea and land eastward.

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The terminals

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It is still time to think about the picture of the wing

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And of the wingflex

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Sunrise effect

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Air to air picture of an aircraft which is much too far to be identifiable on the right

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Soft touchdown

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A view of the aircraft parked next to the terminal on that Thursday morning. The lighting was too limited for my spare camera. Lots of KL, but also BA:

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Cityjet, and a newcomer for me

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I didn't know Corendon, a Turkish airline which set up a Dutch subsidiary.

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DL, behind a KL 744

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Another one from closer up

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Arrival at the gate over a quarter of an hour ahead of schedule. The jetbridge is not sponsored by a bank.

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Leaving the aircraft is quick, a last look at this 荷蘭航空公司 (Helan Yazhou Hangkong Gongsi = KLM Asia) plane.

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I had the impression that Machu Picchu lies in South America, not Asia.

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The connecting flight was nothing special, and I may never translate the French FR, but I can now explain why I chose to fly KL, and add a tourist bonus of a sort. I was moving back to Paris, and it did not make any economical sense to use the services of a professional moving company for the little amount of stuff that I had.

This was my flight home after four and half years of memorable professional and private adventures in Mainland China and Taiwan, and I can't help being emotional about it. Like many former expatriates, I have lots of blue-white-red flags in a corner of my heart, only that they are not the same.

Wulai's bridge decorated for the 2013 New Year
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For Taipei is a city that I loved passionately.

Taipei is a city where you take the subway to reach your favorite hiking trails.

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Taipei is a city where all schools and universities are open to the general public outside class hours, so that anybody can use the sports facilities, including on a full moon night.

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Taipei is a city where high school students advertise their week-end party at the subway exits.

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Taipei is a city where the wheelchair handicapped are everywhere, because they can go anywhere, including to a primary school.

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Taipei is a city where you leave you seat to a young child, and where that seat remains unoccupied when she prefers to stand, even though it is the rush hour, because the passenger who rose made it a priority seat.

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Taipei is a city where the annual street dance competition is sponsored by the subway authority, and this is serious business.

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Taipei is a city where the CEO of one of the largest companies of the country is a member of the largest charity of the country.

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The headquarters of Da'ai TV, the channel of the Tzu Chi, left, and the headquarters of ASUS, right.

… whose members look like nuns, which they are not, even though they are just as dedicated to help others.

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Taipei is a city where some car owners advocate relaxed driving.

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Cheng Yen, often called the Taiwanese Mother Theresa, is the founder of Tzu Chi

Taipei is a city protected by giants: the Military Generals

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Taipei is a city where trolls can take the pedestrian lanes too.

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Taipei is a city where the only Western embassy is that of the Holy See, because the Vatican is the only country which does not need to sell stuff to China,

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… and is in front of the Mormon Temple.

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Taipei is a city where you remove your glasses when bowing in front of your gods.

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Taipei is a city where an Easter parade passes by one of the oldest and largest Dao temples.

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On the car: Jesus loves you

Taipei is a city where mass demonstrations against the government's nuclear program are peaceful and orderly.

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Taipei is a city which takes on a festive look during electoral campaigns.

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Taipei is a city where you can see the river, the sea and and the mountains.

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Taipei is a city where you can see an MD-11 on final descent to an airport against the setting sun,

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… and turn around to see a Dash 8 on final descent to another airport (the trace in the sky on the right)

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Taipei is a city where the setting sun illuminates the tower of Chin Pao San cemetery, where Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), the greatest Chinese language singer of all times, rests in peace.

Chin Pao San is on the center left on the horizon. Alongside the river, Danshui is on the left, Guandu on the right.
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The mouth of Danshui River
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Taipei is a city so big that you can never see all of it, and so small that you can see it all.

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Taipei is a city in front of which anonymous lovers embrace, oblivious of the world around them.

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Taipei is a city on the seaside, in the countryside and in the mountains which will always feel home to me.

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But Taipei is also the capital of a country to which the whole world forbids to use its own name and wave its own flag in the international sports events at home.

(A race volunteer during the Taipei Marathon: Chinese Taipei is the nonsensical compromise to avoid China's veto to the use of Taiwan in international events. The name of the association is different in Chinese : Republic of China Road Running Association, and snubs the Chinese.)

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Taipei is the capital of a free and democratic country barred from nearly all international bodies.

Taipei is the capital of a country which has been struggling for over sixty years to keep its independence, militarily then, economically now.

From its northern tip on Nangan Island, with its giant statue of Matsu facing the Mainland, where Chinese commandos slit the throats of a whole garrison one night,

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… and beyond Hengchun (HCN), to the southern tip of Taiwan Island, at Cape Eluanbi, in the Southern Chinese Sea that China would like to annex all the way to Malaysia,

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and in the west, on Kinmen Island (KNH), where the Taiwanese crushed in Guningtou the only Chinese attempt of a naval invasion of its history.

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Fifty years ago to the day of this flight, on June 26, 1963, John F. Kennedy delivered the most famous speech of his career, ending with these words:

(…)Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was Civis romanus sum . Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is Ich bin ein Berliner!… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner!

Like him, I take pride in the words : Wǒ shì Táiwānrén ! 我是台灣人!
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Verdict

KLM

6.3/10
Cabin4.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering4.5

China Airlines Lounge - 2

6.4/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services6.0

Taipei - TPE

8.9/10
Efficiency6.5
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Amsterdam - AMS

9.4/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services7.5
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Rating this flight experience results in a high contrast picture. The simplest was punctuality : the flight departed and landed on time.

Immigration and security checks were as efficient and friendly as usual, and fully deserved my usual top rating. But I degrade TPE's rating for the 2 ½ hours of waiting for check in to open, sitting in an uncomfortable seat. On the other hand, I enjoyed having a free wifi access (that it actually was that of BR did not matter).

The ground staff was OK, and they did not wince at my slightly overweight suitcase.

Comfort on board was a disaster. Off a standard rating of 8/10, I withdraw 0.5 for the seat being too narrow (and when you know me, that means that it was NARROW!), 0.5 for the seat being too high (I hate having my legs dangling because they do not reach the floor), 2 for the slide in which I slept too little time, 0.5 because it initially would not recline and I had to call a FA for help, 0.5 because items fall out of the magazine pocket when the passenger ahead of you reclines his seat. I initially thought the aircraft was noisy, but later did not pay attention to that. It was like any airline's 777, after all.

The IFE was OK, although some airlines provide better ones… if that was in economy. The image quality is actually only compatible with geovision, and you cannot choose the settings. In J, it is a joke.

The FAs deserve top marks, for the way the CP handled the incident with a passenger (whatever actually happened), the quality of service by Greta van Hulk, the conversation with the handsome male FA: no matter how I subdivide the bonuses, I reach a 10.

Catering is another matter. The lounge was below expectations. The food on board was way below expectations, and did not deserve reaching the average, being served in J.

It was a LONG walk from the gate where I left the aircraft in AMS, to the one where my connecting plane to CDG.

If once you gave all your 110V appliances and your IKEA tableware to a charity, you still have 90kg of stuff to move back from TPE, KL is the logical choice. In all other circumstances, there are plenty of airlines providing better services and comfort, and the small number of passengers boarding in TPE proves it.

(AMS : 10/10/7.5/10)

Information on the route Taipei (TPE) Amsterdam (AMS)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 6 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Taipei (TPE) → Amsterdam (AMS).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is China Airlines with 8.3/10.

The average flight time is 14 hours and 11 minutes.

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12 Comments

  • Comment 93763 by
    Travip 108 Comments

    Thanks for the FR. Very detail. I've never chat with an FA during a flight. I will try next time. :D I have some FA friends and talking to them on the ground may be enough. And yeah, the coffee on the plane is always bad. Next time, if you have a chance, please try Vietnamese coffee.

  • Comment 93764 by
    AirCanada881 1622 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR Marathon, I enjoyed reading it and seeing the tourist bonus from Taiwan which I've yet to visit.

    Not too much to say about KLM, was the extra luggage allowance really worth it to choose them? The seat really didnt look too comfortable.

    • Comment 284547 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9566 Comments

      My company paid a one way ticket in J and gave me a lump sum for the luggage. The numbers involved could mean a lot of money spent or saved for me.
      - The allowance in J was 2x20 kg with AF (because of the connecting TPE-HKG flight on CX), and 30kg on most other airlines. That meant 50-60 kg excess luggage fare - not small change
      - International moving companies were even more expensive : the minimum charge was such that they only made sense for at least ten cubic meters of stuff.
      - Sending things by surface mail was the only cheap option, but it meant a lot of packing in small parcels, plus potential customs issues when receiving them.
      All in all, KL was the cheapest and easiest option.
      Sure, the seat was uncomfortable, but that was tolerable when you are as young as I am ^^

    • Comment 284554 by
      AirCanada881 1622 Comments

      Aha you were moving it makes more sense now :-D

  • Comment 93792 by
    East African 1524 Comments

    How did i manage to miss this incredible FR!
    Surely the bonus worths more than the flight itself because - as you stated - KLM is not a glamourous airline, full stop!
    The tilapia thing does not look to bad.
    I definitely prefer Air Krap...something than its french translation!
    Thank you very much for sharing

  • Comment 93814 by
    Caribel 113 Comments

    I appreciated the chance to experience this trip through your pictorial. Your constructive criticism should be taken as a teachable moment. Customer service can only be improved with detailed accounts on how each area of performance affects the paying client. As far as Miss Van Hulk goes, no one knows the life difficulties she has endured that explain her current physical attributes. Your tribute to Taiwan was a most moving one.

  • Comment 94194 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    I enjoyed reading your bonus of TPE and your interesting report on KL. Personally I find that when you establish a connection with a FA and you have a good conversation, it makes for a truly memorable flight.

    KL's seats in J are disgraceful. I found them uncomfortable and not really up to par with a J product. Having said that, KL is very special in the sense that they still give away gifts for passengers in J, which many airlines do not. The Delft house is a unique detail that sets them apart.

    One of these days I will make it to TPE. I've heard it has the best of Chinese and Japanese cultures.

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