Landed in Amsterdam and I couldn't wait to be back aboard the MD11 for the one before last flight with this beautiful bird. Unfortunately I have a transit time of 07H00.
A few words about that long layover. That was a flight that I could book against a promo miles fare for 62'500 in J from BSL. There is another flight leaving BSL at 11:30 arriving at 01:00P in AMS that would have been much better. But no availability in O class, the requested booking class for J awards.
A week before the flight, I see that the O class is open again with 6 seats on the 11:30 flight. I know that my ticket is a promo ticket means, non-refundable, non-changeable. But I try my luck with the Platinum hot line. The answer is according to my expectation: no. I try to explain that I just want to shorten my long layover and that it would make my life easier. But the rules are the rules, and the answer stays at no. I know rules are made to be followed, but for God's sake a bit of flexibility, especially with good customers does not cost a lot.
Anyway, I sent a mail to Flying Blue about my feelings, and the answer was the standard bla bla … impossible, bla bla bla … rules are rules …, bla bla bla, sorry and thanks for your loyalty, bla bla bla …
As I had plenty of time, I decided to look for my ride that I knew she was parked somewhere. Here she is, Audrey Hepburn (PH-KCE), with a 95 years logo. I was hoping to get on her, as I already flew on Florence Nightingale (PH-KCD) in April.
Here is the lady:
Back to the lounge with a bit of spotting and a special dedicated picture to my friend Marathon, with this 744 - KLM Asia:
I snacked a bit to help the time go by. I loved the celery salad in individual portions. You said premium lounge?
I don't know why I had the excellent idea to get a coffee with my passport on hands. Happened what should happened, I slipped on the floor and, to save my passport, I spilled my coffee on me. St Frequent Flyer saved my passport that day :)
An hour before departure, I head to the gate, and a last glimpse on Audrey before I board the MD11:
As I was almost the first in the cabin, I took lots of pictures of the J cabin, with the kind do as you please from the purser to whom I asked before doing so. He was a great fan of the MD11 and granted me to feel at home.
The passenger behind be, sawing me taking so many pictures, asked me if I was an AvGeek. As he was as well, we will chat during boarding, his wife telling me that on all vacations they had, he was looking for spotting places :)
Boarding was completed with a Nicolas Feuillate welcome drink:
Pitch, amenity kit, huge windows, PSU and a 764 bound to ATL:
More J cabin shoots and the opening mechanism of the forward doors:
Push back and safety demo:
Takeoff, hot towels are handed out, together with the menu:
It was the same menu as for my flight to ORD two weeks before that. I was expecting it to be honest, as I loved the starter. For the entree I took the vegetarian option as the other dishes had already been reported on Flight Report (and occasionally because I don't like fish as an entree on planes)
In the meantime, aperitif is served and I go with the sweet wine, as usual.
Afterwards it will take half an hour between the aperitif service and the starter. This is too long, given the short flying time. With only 06:50 airborne, I did not want to spend the whole flight in eating.
I use that time to pay a visit to the lavs:
They really show the age of the plane, and are not that clean. There is a pretty nice selection of products: face lotion, hand lotion, hair gel, soap.
Very poor quality headset:
Very small screen, but high quality of image:
Comes the starter, and the smoked salmon tartar, with the tofu mousse. I love this starter, it is absolutely one of the best I ever had. And the presentation is really nice:
On my last flight I found the papaya and noodle salad disgusting. However, after a bit of reading some FR's about this starter, I wondered why everyone seemed to love it. I then read again the menu and saw that the Thai vinaigrette was supposed to go with the salmon and not the salad. As I poured it over the salad last time, no wonder why it was not good. This time, I don't do it, and the salad was very good. What I don't understand is why they put a Thai dressing to go with the salmon and a Thai papaya noodle salad already seasoned.
A bit after the pasta dish arrives, the presentation lacks a bit of business touch, but the taste was good.
To end the meal, I took the raspberry mousse, and it was a good choice. Not as good as the chocolate cake I had two weeks ago, but good, and definitively a much lighter option.
I almost had two bottles of sweet wine, no wonder I felt a bit dizzy after the meal. To conclude this everything I had a coffee (very, very bad, there are no espresso available on any KL a/c) together with a good Amarula and a chocolate.
Now, an aircraft tour. The 2R door with its manual opening system:
The purser's office comes with a view:
I then chat with him, and after a good 10 minutes discussion, he picks up the intercom and calls the cockpit telling the guys up front that he has a MD11 passionate with him, and if they could, as an exception, accept me in the cockpit. I was bluffed by that. The pilot accepted and I spent a good 15 minutes in the cockpit chatting with the pilots. Here a few pictures, courtesy of the flight deck:
The sky was pretty cloudy no nice outside view on offer today. The side cockpit window is the biggest window ever installed in a cockpit.
The captain would eventually retire together with the MD11, he had flown on the F100, the A310, the DC10 and last, the MD11. The co-pilot will go to fly on the A330 for his last two years of service.
He told me that the 330's are called the scarebus, but without being able to tell me where the nickname came from. As well, he did 6 on the 7 ferry flights to Victorville where some of the KLM's MD11 are parked. All will finish as soda cans. So sad.
After this interesting chat, I go back to my seat to have a nap. The sliding effect is very bad, usually I don't have that problems to sleep on that kind of seat, but today, it was really hard.
After a while, I gave up to walk a bit:
Two hours before arrival, the snack is served, I took the club sandwich:
Two hours before landing is definitively too early. We are 12 passengers and the service is really fast. We'll still have 90 minutes to go after the snack.
Some external shoots:
YUL approach following the St Laurent River:
A bit of spotting on the ground:
As I was standing up, I noticed I haven't taken the seat controls in picture:
Very fast immigration with a very friendly immigration agent. Twenty minutes after landing I was already in my room at the Marriott Airport hotel, as I did not have any luggage. That airport hotel is a paradise for AvGeek, request a room with tarmac view!
A340-300 LH from push until takeoff to FRA:
A333 LX to ZRH:
Air Transat / 330-300 / 310-200 / 737-800:
Lufthansa ex-MUC and AC, both 333:
Audrey in distance + WestJet 737-700:
Airbus AC / retro-livery and classic:
Qatar / 773:
AC Express / CRJ 200:
Lovely sunset over an Air Transat A310:
KLM Crown Lounge 5 - Non Schengen
Amsterdam - AMS
Montreal - YUL
It is clear that this cabin is not really comfortable, the seats are old, but I did not choose the flight for the comfort but for the aircraft.
The crew was top, the food very good, nothing to really complain, apart for the bad timing of the service, the lunch that took three hours and the snack that is served ways to early.
IFE was good, and newspapers were offered.
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