I took this trip last March. It was my first trip to South Africa and I was very excited. Although I am a frequent flyer, this was going to be my first time crossing the Equator. Having status with Delta, I try to fly exclusively on SkyTeam. Here is the Routing that will include KLM and Air France.
Three of us are travelling to South Africa, a friend from PA and another friend who is also from DC. Since we weren't sure when our friend from PA was going to get to DC, we didn't reserve a SuperShuttle like we normally would to get to Dulles. Instead, we opted for Uber, which is way more classy anyway :-)
The towncar arrived at 3:30PM
The traffic in the DC area is normally horrendous, but luckily we did not have any back ups since it was still pretty early. It only took us 35 minutes to get to the airport–in normal DC traffic, it can take over an hour.
We were dropped off in front of the AF/KL ticket counters
Not very many people in line, and the SkyPriority line is completely empty.
Check in is quick and all bags tagged to JNB. We then head to the Premium lanes at the security checkpoint.
There is no wait at security, which is kind of rare at Dulles. A few minutes after getting to the security checkpoint we are airside and headed to the train.
This SV 777 in SkyTeam colors greets us as we arrive in the Concourse.
I can see just a portion of our plane. Because it is on the end of the concourse, it is mostly hidden from view.
A VS A330 next door
We then head to the Air France lounge across from gates A20/22 (The AF A380 gate).
It's pretty empty this early and my favorite section, on the far side of the lounge in the corner by the window, is free.
Pleasantly empty lounge.
The new Pope had just been elected several minutes earlier and it was all over the news.
The SV SkyTeam 777 heading back to Jeddah
My favorite corner
A United RJ…such an uncommon site :-P
The AF lounge has a pretty decent selection of food with baguette and croissant sandwiches, cheeses, salads, fruits, deserts, etc.
AF lounges always have Champagne…but the glass is soooo small… It's like drinking out of a thimble, lol
Aaw, look at that cute little thing.
A South African tail seen from the lounge…we're going to the same place!
And a northern African…an Afriqiyah A330, a rare site at IAD indeed. It was a Lybian government charter I believe.
Stars and stripes #America
An AF vehicle parked right below our window.
The SAA A343 SAA heading back to Johannesburg (via Dakar)
Boarding is called in the lounge at 6:30PM. There is no line in front of us in the SkyPriority lane so we are among the first to board the aircraft.
Good pitch in Economy Comfort.
The cabin starting to fill up. Here you can see the screens they use to separate Y from Y+ I think they used to have a problem with pax sneaking up to those seats so now they try to make a distinction with the little separators.
UA 772 neighbor
Pushback is 5 minutes early.
Taxi time is very short so we are on our way to AMS well ahead of schedule.
The IFE comes to life shortly after takeoff.
Once we get above the clouds it's almost night out.
Tonight's menu on the screen.
A before dinner drink service is done about 30 minutes after takeoff. I always pay attention to airline service protocol and doing a seperate drink service first is always a good sign. Sadly, AF has recently done away with this on shorter transatlantic flights, but KL continues to do it.
Gin & Tonic for me with nuts
There's a pretty good selection of new movies.
The meal is served as we fly over Boston. It was rather good overall, especially the mashed potatoes. The wine, however, is not very good. It's still waaaaay better than the box-wine you get in the back on DL….yuck.
After-dinner drinks are offered along with coffee and tea. An Amarula for me.
After dinner I finished watching Life of Pi, then I went to sleep for practically the entire ocean crossing.
I wake up as we're flying over Ireland.
The mood lighting is turned on for breakfast
Breakfast is served in a little box…everything is delicious with KL
Underwhelming on the inside..it's the same thing AF serves on short TATL flights.
The sun is starting to rise as we fly over England.
Seeing this beautiful morning light is always my favorite part of a transatlantic flight.
We leave the English coast behind.
We're getting closer to Schipol.
Short connections are displayed on the screen. Since we have more than two hours in AMS, our flight is not shown.
An announcement is made that due to volume at AMS this morning, we will be put in a holding pattern before being cleared to land. What is this, LHR? LOL
And we circle back over the North Sea.
Then we are cleared for arrival and we head towards the Dutch coast. Looks like it snowed here as well.
Despite the wait, we are still a few minutes early.
The moving map shows our holding pattern
Some planespotting during the taxi.
KLM Asia 744.
Cathay Pacific A340-300
Corendon Airlines 737-800
Business class as we disembark
We head straight for the KLM Crown Lounge to get a shower and wait our flight to JNB.
Thanks for reading! I'll try to post the next leg soon.
Air France Lounge
Washington - IAD
Amsterdam - AMS
Overall a very good flight with KLM.
Comfortable seat with good legroom and decent recline. Cabin crew was pleasant and attentive. The meal was pretty good. I would say it's not as good as AF, but better than DL (to compare to the TATL JV partners) IFE was good with a good amount of movies, etc Perfect on-time performance
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