KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines - Cheerios Anyone?

Nov 6, 2002
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:business class, luggage

Cons:return trip, overnight service

The Bottom Line: While impressing me in business class, I wasn't impressed in coach.

We always like going to Cyprus to visit family and friends. On one of our vacations to Cyprus, we decided to try KLM for the first time. We heard some positive words about it, and some weren’t as positive.

Booking -

We called up our travel agency for Cyprus: Cyprus Tours. I have a friend there, and he is a bargain hunter. He found an excellent price for me at $900 round trip per passenger. This included airport fees and all taxes.

Itinerary -

The only way to make it to Cyprus through KLM would be with a connection through Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport in Holland.

We would take KLM on both legs to and from JFK International Airport in New York City. From Amsterdam to Cyprus and back, we took Cyprus Airways. Cyprus Airways is a code-share partner with KLM, so we didn’t have to check in for each leg. We were aloud to check-in for our flight from Amsterdam to Cyprus at the KLM counter.

Departing Times (to Schiphol) -

Leaving JFK - 10:00 pm - Arriving Schiphol - 9:00 am

Arriving Times (to JFK) -

Leaving Schiphol - 1:00 pm - Arriving JFK - 2:00 pm

Check-In JFK -

We arrived at Terminal Four at JFK International Airport one hour and 50 minutes before departure. Only passengers where aloud to enter to the ticketing counter area, but our family was aloud to meet us at the gate to wait with us after going through security.

There was a very short line, so for the two or three minutes that we were waiting, we watched security officers tape up suitcases.

When we made it to the ticketing counter, a friendly agent checked us in. She asked us how many carry-on’s we would bring, and how many luggage we would check-in. She also asked for any type of picture I.D for passengers over 18. She told us that all coach class seats were already reserved, so she upgraded us to business class! This was free of charge, and we didn’t even have to ask!

Next, we went up an escalator, made a few turns and ended up at a closed off boarding area. This area was reserved for passengers flying on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (that’s the full name).

Near the boarding area were travel shops stocked with pillows, blankets, magazines, books, and other travel amenities. There was also a snack bar right next to the area but it was closed due to the time of our flight.

My overall impression of the boarding area was crowded and hot. There were only about 150 seats for all 450 of us traveling on that plane.

Boarding -

We went through the door after our row was called. Row call on KLM starts with first class boarding, then pre-boarding. Pre-boarding includes all business class passengers, children traveling alone, and passengers traveling with small children. This is also the time for passengers who may need to take some extra time to get themselves situated, to board.

We boarded at the pre-boarding call.

When going through the gate, we showed our tickets to one of the two KLM agents standing at the entrance. Then, we entered a madhouse. There were many security machines, security personnel, and on top of all, many, many, many people.

When finally passing the madhouse, we went down a long gateway. Then we came to a split. Passengers in rows 1-35 went down the left wing, and passengers in rows 36 continued going straight. Since we were in row eight (the last row in business class), we took a left and walked for a short time.

We then entered the aircraft when greeted by smiles from the flight attendants. From there, we could either turn right and go into coach, or turn left and go into business class.

Departure -

We settled down in our seats near the nose of the 747, otherwise known as the Jumbo Jet or Double Decker.

We taxied around for about 20 minutes, always thinking that we would be next to depart. It was finally our turn.

Right before departure, the KLM flight attendants came on the speakers and said:

“Welcome aboard KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ladies and gentlemen.............” and then the closing words, “On behalf of the airline and the crew, we welcome you on board.” The flight attendants said this in Dutch, then English.

The pilot and co-pilots did not come on to say “hi.”

We departed without a problem into the dark evening sky at about 10:30 pm. This was only 30 minutes later then scheduled.

Seats -

Our seats in business class were in 2x2x2 order. Each seat was made of leather, and reclined into a bed. There was also a leather leg-rest. There was a tremendous amount of legroom so your knees couldn’t even get near the seat in front of you.

In the back-seat-pocket in front, there were magazines.

When we arrived to our seats before departure, there was a blanket, pillow, and slippers.

Entertainment -

There were also KLM headphones on our seats when we arrived to them. These headphones were for the personal tv’s. These tv’s came out of the arm rest and were as big as a laptop screen. There were movies ranging from the ratings: G - R. There were also channels with KLM and flight information including height, speed, temperature, and a map of a tiny airplane flying over the ocean.

The headphones and in-flight tv came without charge.

Nighty-Night -

At approximately 11:00 pm, the flight attendants shut off most of the lights to create a more comfortable atmosphere for passengers willing to sleep. If you were reading, you could always adjust the personal light located beneath the overhead bins.

We went into the clean bathrooms, washed up, brushed our teeth, and went to sleep on our comfortable, roomy seats.

Beverages And Food -

One thing that only Lufthansa Airlines is good about is evening service. On Lufthansa, I heard that the flight attendants come around repeatedly with snacks and beverages for passengers who did not go to sleep. KLM could not perform such magical tricks.

Before we went to bed, we were offered a drink. There were sodas, juices, tea and coffee. In business class, we were offered free wine, beer, and vodka! Each person is limited to two alcoholic beverages per flight so nobody becomes drunk. This shows that KLM cares for its customers.

At about 8:00 am, I was awakened by a kind flight attendant. She offered me breakfast which was waffles with syrup. There was also flavored yogurt. If you wanted, you could also have Cheerios.

Arrival Into Amsterdam -

Our arrival was done smoothly and on time. People applauded as we arrived. This is done for the crew because they helped us through the flight across the Atlantic. Applauding is usually done for international flights.

Since an airplane was using our gate, we had to taxi around the airport until the airplane pulled out. This is what the pilot said to inform us:

“Thank you for flying KLM ladies and gentlemen. An airplane is currently using our gate so we are going to taxi around this evil airport once....wahahaha!” Then he repeated this in Dutch, but that’s not the point! The point is that our pilot was crazy!

Luggage -

Our baggage arrived in Cyprus along with us. It looked like it was well handled.

We had a nice flight to Amsterdam on KLM business class. The returning flight is a different story completely!

When we exited our Cyprus Airways airliner, we ran all the way to the other side of the airport to our KLM gate. This was after a gate change that didn’t show up on the monitors.

Boarding, Amsterdam -

We didn’t get to sit down at the boarding area in Amsterdam because we arrived just as the agent was closing the door. Her remark: “You’re late.” She took a slight glance at our boarding passes and tilted her head toward the door indicating that we were to go in.

This gate was a bit different than the one at JFK. There weren’t different signs showing the rows of seats. Instead, everyone entered at the beginning of the airplane, in front of the coach section, behind the business class section. This is the section where flight attendants get the food and drinks.

Departure -

We settled into our coach seats this time. We then made an on time departure out of Amsterdam after the flight attendants came on to say “hi” and everything else they say.

The pilot didn’t come on to say “hi”. This must be a tradition on KLM: rudeness from the pilot to passengers. A respectful pilot would come on to welcome the passengers on board.

Seats -

Our seats were made of cloth, and were cramped. We were right in front of the emergency exit doors. This means that we were right next to the bathrooms too.

The seats were in 3x4x3 order.

Our seats reclined about six inches. Legroom was very cramped. My knees were in the seat in front of me.

There was an in-flight magazine in the back pocket of the seat in front of me.

Entertainment -

We didn’t have personal tv’s on this 747 airplane. Instead, there were “pop-down” tv’s which came down from the overhead bins.

Headphone rentals were $5. This is what some may call tacky. On other airlines such as JetBlue, you don’t have to pay for headphone rentals.

On the tv’s, there were movies and shows all played in English. There were Dutch subtitles on the bottom of the screen.

Beverages And Food -

We were only offered two drinks throughout the flight. There were the same selections of drinks as in business class, however. This time, wines cost $4 and beer was $3.

For our “food”, we were offered packets of pretzels. They said that the flight wasn’t scheduled around a meal time. Hmmm.....a six hour flight surviving on pretzels and a tiny cup of water or coke? I don’t think so!

Arrival -

Thank God, we arrived. I hurried off the plane and ran to a food stand to grab a hot dog. Keep the change; I’m hungry!

Luggage -

Surprisingly, our luggage arrived. It was handled well and carefully.

Staff -

On our trip going to Amsterdam, every crew member that I met spoke English well and was very friendly and very helpful.

On our return trip, the crew members were obnoxious and wouldn’t even give you a smile.

Conclusion -

KLM was very generous in giving me an upgrade to business class. I am glad that they did so. However, suffering through coach was not worth the upgrade. If you have the choice, fly KLM in business class. If you want to fly KLM in coach, good luck surviving!



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