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
Checked into the KLM Crown Lounge to kill some time as I had 4 hours before boarding.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
Then a swift taxi to 33R for a north departure. That's a LH A380 behind the BA 747
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.
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!
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.
The salmon was rather disappointing. The noodles were very, very over done.
For dessert I had the Tiramisu and a glass of Moscato (Prunotto Moscato d’Asti 2010).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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