Review of KLM flight Houston Amsterdam in Business

Airline KLM
Flight KL662
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 21:05
Take-off 27 Nov 13, 03:35
Arrival at 27 Nov 13, 07:40
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
greg787
By 13527
Published on 13th December 2013
Hello everyone and welcome to my very first flight report [ever actually!]. Please bear with me, and I look forward to everyone’s comments, critiques and criticisms. Let me know if there’s any improvements I could make.
Some Background:
I was making a thanksgiving trip over to Scotland, as I rarely spend the Holiday in the states anymore. I did KLM on IAH-AMS-GLA then retuned via AF on EDI-CDG-IAH (I’ll post that report in a bit). I departed for my KLM flight the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. In the States, its considered the busiest travel day of the year. I arrived at Terminal D in IAH, attempted to enter the Sky Priority/WBC line to get my printed boarding pass and was redirected to a self-service kiosk…not sure why. Then I proceeded to security where there were 3 people in line! Never seen that small of a line, especially since I was expecting to fight the crowds that day, but guess I arrived early enough. My WBC ticket only allowed me to not have to go through the empty serpentine! After that I usually walk the length of Terminal D (the international Terminal at IAH) and see what international birds are in. It’s always a nice change from the copious amounts of narrowbody UA’s in Houston.

Loading cargo into my 747-400 combi
photo 6photo 7

Checked into the KLM Crown Lounge to kill some time as I had 4 hours before boarding.

Panorama of the Lounge.
http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx'cid=5a8a6f23-d4b4-4b0b-bb67-47068ad52060

photo 3
Its typical lounge. Rather nice decor, nice staff at the desk, and plenty of drinks. Food options included finger sandwiches, a daily soup that seemed to be a hit, some cheese, vegetable spread, and the usual nuts and chips.

Then it was time to board.
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Boarding was on at 2:35 and there was the usual initial rush as everyone tries to be the first to board. Made it to the jetbridge and stepped onboard. They board from the second door right by the stairs; just right after Economy Comfort. Wasn’t expecting this and I was a little bit disoriented initially where I was in the aircraft. Made it to the WBC cabin and found my seat 1A, right in the front!

Panorama
http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx'cid=1640a344-5806-4207-a5d7-852cb515f053

The F/A promptly took my coat and hung it in the closet. Then settled in my seat and started taking the obligatory pictures before the cabin started to fill up.
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The main deck World Business Class cabin would be entirely full for the flight. The upper deck would wind up having only one or two open seats. After a bit, the F/A came back with the tray of Champagne or Orange Juice. I always heard the OJ was fantastic (as I would find out that was indeed the case) but had the get the champagne (Billecart-Salmon).
photo 21

The pushback was on time. By sitting in the nose, apparently you're right over the tug so you really hear it. I thought that was interesting.
photo 27

Then a swift taxi to 33R for a north departure. That's a LH A380 behind the BA 747
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Leveled off around FL100 and the Flight Attendants got to work. The Purser came around and individually thanked each pax for flying and asked if there's anything that we needed or if she could assist. Very nice touch. Then the crew came around with the usual warmed nuts and a beverage. Opted for the Chardonnay (Salentein Chardonnay Barrel Selected 2012) while enjoying a pleasant conversation with my seat mate.
photo 31

Menus were then distributed. Please disregard the wrinkle on the left side of it. It got mangled in my suitcase. Sorry!


Second round of drinks were then offered. Not sure why I went nonalcoholic this time!
photo 37

Then I gave my dinner order. Opted for the Salmon. More drinks and went for a South African Red (Aaldering Lady M Pinotage 2013). The linen napkins came out and they delivered a tray with with the appetizer and all the accoutrement. Your dinner isn't set up in individual pieces; its all on one tray. Kind of disappointing.

The duck appetizer was fantastic. One of the best dishes I’ve had on a plane.
photo 41

The salmon was rather disappointing. The noodles were very, very over done.
photo 43

For dessert I had the Tiramisu and a glass of Moscato (Prunotto Moscato d’Asti 2010).
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Another member followed with a box of chocolates where you could select which one you wanted. The F/A’s cleared out trays and then closed all the windows shades. Then I reclined to a rather awkward angle and tried to sleep. The seats are the old angled lie-flat and I guess I didn't extend it enough. I must have had some light sleep as it seemed to go by quickly, but I don't recall getting any deep sleep. Then they turned on the lights as everyone awoke for breakfast.

You turn in your breakfast a la carte menu card before hand so they have breakfast ready for you when you a wake. I opted for a sweet option, pancakes with a mascarpone cheese sauce with a smoked salmon starter.
photo 50

I nibbled at it as I was still full and quite tired at that point. Took a look outside just as we here starting our decent over the UK. Then I cleaned up my area and got squared away for landing. They then handed out departure gifts.

My Delft house I recieved on the flight. Number 18.
http://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/prepare_for_travel/on_board/travel_classes/klmhouses.htm
photo 372


It was still pitch black by the time we were on final, so none of the pictures came out. After a taxi to the gate I was quickly off the plane. The use both jet bridges so its quite efficient.

We flew a rather northerly path over the Atlantic. The east coast was getting a snow storm at the time I recall.
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After deplaning you're put right into the terminal. Its rather efficient how AMS does it. You have free roam throughout the airport. Passport checks and additional security are done at the actual gate for your connection. .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement

I had a KLM Cityhopper flight to GLA to catch in 5 hours so I walked around for a bit. It was still pitch-black out so rather difficult to planespot. On the way to the lounge areas upstairs, there are several hallways filled with vintage KLM travel posters. Fantastic if, like me, you're into that.
photo 81photo 85photo 91

My Favorite poster
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Then spent the next 4 hours half-asleep in the KLM Crown lounge.
http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx'cid=cddd6abf-7a32-4833-9d6f-ce9cf96bd25a

photo 51photo 70

Then planespotted for a bit.


Made my way to gate D6 which is a collection of gates under the main pax terminal. There, you clear security (the security agents couldn't be nicer!) and board buses that take you out to where the planes are parked on the tarmac for boarding by stairs.
photo 110

China Southern 777F
photo 95

China Southern 777F
photo 99

Cathy Pacific Cargo 747-400
photo 100

Flying over the Scottish Highlands
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View of Glasgow from the Executive Lounge from the Mariott.
http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx'cid=cc9fcdee-855a-4528-85a4-d60ceab72cea

Something really old in Glasgow.
photo 113

In flight Amenities kit
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See more

Verdict

KLM

7.1/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering6.0

KLM Lounge

7.1/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services6.5

Houston - IAH

8.1/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.5
Services6.5
Cleanliness7.0

Amsterdam - AMS

9.1/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

I enjoyed the cabin, as the seats were comfortable enough to enjoy cocktails and a meal in. For sleeping they're a pain. Having plenty of legroom and 4 windows in the from of the plane helped too. The duck appetizer really made up for rather blasé meals.

Lounge is rated for the IAH lounge.

Always enjoy flying out of Texas airports as I feel they have more room and ability to have more/better amenities. The easy of no line in security helped (ok pretty much made) the score.

Schiphol is as good as it gets in Europe I feel.

NOTE:
KLM will be revamping their 744 cabins and their meals as well.
[url]http://wbc.klm.com/#en_US[/url]
So take these with a grain of salt I guess. Can’t wait to experience the new cabin when their retrofits are done.

Related

18 Comments

  • Comment 95250 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5307 Comments

    Great first report! Lots of details and great pics! My only criticism is I would add a little more explanations in the Summary section to justify the ratings. Yes, 7.5 is a bit high for comfort, but the seats are good for lounging...for sleeping they're absolutely terrible. I did an AMS-JNB in these seats recently and was overall satisfied with the flight, and certainly appy to be in J rather than Y, but the seat is very uncomfortable in sleep mode. I prefer DL's old recliners on 767s because at least the legrest raises up so that you don't slide in the seat. I like the Viktor & Rolf amenity kit--it is nicer than AF's kit, though not as nice as DL's TUMI kit IMO. I too am very much looking forward to the new J cabins as I like KLM for my TATL flights from the US when not going to France. Thanks for sharing your first ever trip report here with us--you did a really great job!

    Welcome to Flight-Report!

    Kevin
    Community Manager and Moderator

  • Comment 95253 by
    Papoumada SILVER 5897 Comments

    A very comprehensive first report.

    The J cabin is worn out and should be sold only if discounted.

    It is a pity the main dish is overcooked.

    The wine list is not that exciting as too many wines, especially the red ones, are too young to be properly enjoyed.

    Are you sure the welcome drink was Champagne and not sparkling wine? KL usually serves Cremant de Limoux as a welcome drink and opens Champagne for the apperitive service.

    Thanks for sharing and welcome on board.

  • Comment 95286 by
    Chibcha 432 Comments

    Thanks for sharing!

    a shame they messed up the main dish, the pancakes also looked a bit burnt.

  • Comment 95290 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12452 Comments

    Thanks for sharing your comprehensive first FR and welcome aboard

    Great pictures

    The cabin is worn and the catering not appealling at all

    It's time for KL to revamp hard and soft product

  • Comment 95292 by
    pititom GOLD 10708 Comments

    Welcome on board !

    Thank you for this firt report, it is very complete and the photos are nice. Too bad the KLM product in itself doesn't match the quality of the report ;)

    Thanksgiving may be busy, it's also the season of discounted fares. I'm always jealous when I see the Thanksgiving fares ex-USA, coming back every year at this period and usually matched by all companies.

  • Comment 95298 by
    KL651 TEAM 4492 Comments

    Welcome and thanks for this first FR.
    Was KL the cheapest option to get to Glasgow or do you just have a soft spot for Skyteam?
    I agree with you with the usual niceness of KLM FA which helps make up for some flaws onboard.
    However with the cabin update they'll certainly offer a very good flight experience.
    Looking forward to your return FR, it will be interesting to see which of the two airlines you prefered ;-)

    • Comment 285501 by
      greg787 AUTHOR 31 Comments

      I'm actually a Star Alliance guy originally, being in Houston now. Although the new changes to the rewards that they announced this Fall pretty much has me looking for a new alliance ;). I did IAH-CDG-DXB on AF last year and booked this trip after AF was having their autumn J class sale. I used this trip to gain even more FB miles.

  • Comment 95301 by
    flyingjapans 1355 Comments

    Welcome to Flight-Report and thanks for sharing.

    KLM is really far away from the avarage level of comfort in business class amongst european airlines, let's hope it gets better with their new J seats.

    Catering looks good, but its presentation can also be improved.

    Anyway, looking forward to see the journey back to Texas on AF ;)

  • Comment 95306 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Watching the loading of the cargo through the unusual side door is a minor plus of KLM's Combi 747, a relatively rare version of this aircraft.
    I ususally do not like the front row because of the limited visual space, but the view on the tug is indeed unsual.
    I do not remember having warm nuts on KLM, but I always thought this was strange idea, and wished they did not damage the taste this way and save a cold pack for me.
    KLM's old J seat is a plain disaster; I wonder if it was meant for sleeping in it in the first place. I find the amenity kit bag's reusability marginally above average.
    This report perfectly matches my own recollections of flying long haul KLM in J. Thanks for sharing yours, and welcome among the contributors !

  • Comment 95326 by
    anthonytahiti 1571 Comments

    Welcome aboard, it's a pleasure to see new contributors providing us great flight report.
    I've never flown with KL, and I think I will wait they improve both hard and soft products for long haul.
    I look forward to see what you thought of the return flight with AF.

  • Comment 95599 by
    East African 1524 Comments

    Impressive report for your first attempt! well done!
    For the rest it's without suprise, KLM being KLM...
    Nice picture of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and hope to see more in your inbound journey :)

    Many thanks and welcome

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