This Trip Report is the continuation of my previous blog post, Almost Stranded in Amsterdam. Before this trip to Amsterdam, I have flown into Amsterdam 7 times without flying KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. After my scheduled Icelandair flight was "cancelled", I was unexpectedly rebooked on KLM. My first KLM flight would be aboard an iconic Boeing 747-400.
After running through Amsterdam Schiphol to catch my flight to Toronto, I boarded KLM 691. Stepping onto the Boeing 747 was overwhelming, as aviation enthusiast. The size of the aircraft and the history of the KLM Boeing 747 made the boarding the aircraft really special. As one of the last boarding passengers, I was relieved to find space for my carry on backpack in the overhead compartment above seat 24H. I settled into the aisle seat next to the middle seat and the renowned window seat. 5 minutes later, the purser of the flight asked if I would like to move up a couple rows to 22H, which was an aisle seat with a vacant middle seat and a man sitting in the window seat. The extra space was a bonus and a completely unnecessary gesture by the flight crew but I was very appreciative of the action. Flight 691 roared down the runway to the sound of the 4 jet engines. With the departure from Amsterdam, my trip to the Netherlands had ended.
Shortly after takeoff, the gentleman sitting in the window seat upgraded to premium economy. The entire row was now empty, I gathered my things and enthusiastically moved to the window seat. For the second consecutive flight, I had secured an entire row of 3 seats to myself. The view from 22K window seat was extraordinary.
Ready for Retirement
A flight on a Boeing 747-400 is about being nostalgic and enjoying the 747 for what it is. The experience is not glamorous as it once was. This 747-400 (PH-BFC) is the oldest Boeing 747 in the KLM 747 fleet. PH-BFC ( "Calgary") first flight was on June 30th 1989. The 28 year old jumbo jet's age was apparent. The cabin is dated with old seats with many fabric defects. The aircraft was equipped with seat back in-flight entertainment (IFE) with a vast catalog of movies, tv shows music and more. I personally enjoyed the Dutch DJ's music selection on the IFE. The seatback screen was not a touch screen and had a standard definition resolution. The IFE was controlled with a remote control located on the inside of the right armrest. As a right handed individual, the location was easy to access. The KLM flight crew distributed a small adapter compatible with the IFE. The audio jack was a two pin jack instead of the 3mm headphone jack that is in most devices. The adapter ensured the sound was travelling to the left and right ear of my headphones. The problem with the adapter was if it was nudged or moved the sound would become distorted. The 747 is beloved but very tired. KLM will be retiring PH-BFC and the Boeing 747 fleet gradually over the next few years.
Royal Dutch Dining
The KLM On-Board Service is attentive and personable. The first service began shortly after takeoff with a soft drink and smoked almonds. Before dinner service, flight attendants handed out hot towels to freshen up before the dinner entree. For dinner in economy class, I was served Chicken Biryani. The Chicken Biryani is chicken thigh pieces with a biryani source over yellow and white rice, garnished with fried onions and cashews. The meal was tasty and did not require any additional seasoning. The entree was accompanied with a coleslaw, stroopwafel mousse and a dinner roll. Once dinner was completed, the crew performed a coffee and tea service. A couple hours later into flight, a snack service featuring the iconic Dutch stroopwafel were distributed. Around two hours before landing in Toronto, I smelled a delicious aroma throughout the cabin.
The smell was reminiscent of a Cinnabon bakery located in North American shopping malls. My speculation was confirmed as a final meal service prior to landing was completed. The crew offered two warm options of either a quiche or a cinnamon roll. After smelling the cinnamon rolls baking in the galley directly in front of me, I choose the warm and gooey cinnamon roll. The treat was a wonderful conclusion to an excellent KLM flight. All KLM meals were served and branded with Delft Blue packaging. A nice and simple way to immerse the passenger in the Dutch culture.
My first flight with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was very memorable. Flying on a Boeing 747-400 is becoming a rarity in 2017 and the 747 will be missed. The only negative experience was the cabin of the 747 but I can overlook that because it is an iconic 747. Flying on a Boeing 747-400 is like flying on a piece of history. The meal service in economy exceeded expectations and I will fly KLM in the future. I would like to experience the KLM in-flight product on a Boeing 787 for my next KLM flight. This flight also reminded of the value of a full service airline and all of the amenities that are included. The entire KLM flight crew were pleasant and were happy to assist with anything in spoken Dutch or English.
Airline: KLM Airplane: Boeing 747-400 Seat: 22K From: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol To: Toronto Pearson Date: February 23rd, 2017
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