KLM, Economy Class – B 737-900: Lisbon to Amsterdam

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INTRODUCTION

I arrived back in Lisbon on Friday evening from Ponta Delgada. Although technically speaking it was already early Saturday morning by the time we landed in Lisbon. And so now what? Well, to be honest I’d love to say I’m finally on my way home again. But I’m afraid that isn’t entirely true. I am in fact about to fly from Lisbon via Amsterdam back to Basel, where I live. But I’ll only be there for about thirteen hours. On Sunday morning I’m heading back for Amsterdam and then on to give another a course. Perhaps you’re wondering what important business calls me back to Basel so urgently that I decided not to fly straight form Lisbon to Warsaw?

Well, it’s quite simple really: I need to wash some clothes!

CHECK-IN

Hey guess what, KLM actually reads my blog! I know because they twittered me to let me know. While they were at it, they also reminded me to get in touch if ever I needed their help. As luck will have it, looks like that ever has arrived: I’m travelling with a colleague from work. We’re booked on different PNRs. At the time we booked the flights we were able to sit together. But since then there’s been an aircraft change and the flight is now being operated by a Boeing B 737-900. While I still have my original seat, my colleague does not. And I can’t change my seat any more.

But all of this is nothing to despair about. So I tweet KLM to ask them for help. And indeed, next thing I know I receive an email from them informing me that my colleague and I have been assigned seats together.

The down side is that we’re now sitting on row 32, which is I believe the penultimate row from the back. But that’s alright. After all it’s not every day you get to travel on a Boeing B 737-900.

Fortunately, I’m only travelling with hand luggage. The queue for the Air France/KLM check-in looks endless when we arrive at the airport. Having said that, the TAP Air Portugal queue is even worse. Much worse.

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So I decide to head straight for security and the lounge. The queue is quite long here too, but at least it’s moving quite fast. In my previous post I mentioned just how nice the guys at security in Lisbon are. Well, today while I’m standing behind security putting my stuff in my back in my bag, suddenly one of the security guys comes up to me and says ‘Hello, you again’! Seriously? I ask him how on earth he recognised me and he simply points to the ICAO sticker on my suitcase. He then wishes me a safe journey and goes back to his station.

I think I should perhaps take this as some divine sign. You’re probably already flying just a bit too much when the cabin crew start recognising you from previous flights. But when the guys at security even start to remember you’re face, you’re definitely pushing it.

THE LOUNGE

In Lisbon KLM uses the Lisbon lounge, which is operated by Lisbon airport, if I’m not mistaken. I rather like the lounge. It may not be quite as flashy and stylish as the TAP Portugal lounge, but it’s certainly quieter and a lot more spacious. Moreover, it’s the first airport lounge I’ve ever been to that has painted underpants hanging on the walls in the guise of what presumably should be art… Oh yes, and there’s free wifi as well.

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About half an hour before departure I leave the lounge and walk the short distance to gate 15, from there my flight will be leaving. And indeed, a little while after I arrive, boarding begins.

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THE CABIN

According to the Holland Herald, the KLM inflight magazine, maximum seating on the Boeing B 737-900 is only eight more than on the -800. Even so, this seems like an awfully long plane.

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Eventually the cabin fills up nearly completely, with only a few seats here and there left empty. Even this far back the seat pitch is perfectly adequate and even though I’m sitting in between two big guys, there’s still enough space for me.

Take-off is to the south-west. And I rather like it. It’s a powerful and noise affair.

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SERVICE

To be honest, I think I’ve been travelling a little too much lately. I say this because I don’t really notice anything much about the service on this particular flight. Except perhaps that there’s a young couple with a baby in the seat row in front of me and the cabin crew take very good care of them.

THE MEAL

I can’t really comment on the taste of the meal either because I didn’t have much. The meal consists of a rectangular piece of pizza. It looks very greasy, and from what I can tell from the passengers sitting around me, the cardboard box the pizza is served in has a nasty habit of going all soggy from the grease and merging with the food into one huge globule of goo. But my colleague confirms that apparently the taste is okay. It must be, because eventually he even ends up eating my slice as well.

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The cabin crew come to collect the rubbish before doing a second drinks round with coffee and dessert. The latter consists of a piece of square chocolate cake with a bit of crumble on it. It’s not a bad dessert actually.

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Shortly before landing the crew does another drinks run, and also offers a selection of sweets snacks to choose from.

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ARRIVAL

All in all the flight passes quickly and before long we’re already descending into Amsterdam.

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We land on runway 18C, which means rather a short taxi to our stand on the D gates. It’s now 19:30. In exactly 24 hours I shall be back in Amsterdam, boarding another flight. To be honest, right now this has stopped being fun…

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2 Responses to KLM, Economy Class – B 737-900: Lisbon to Amsterdam

  1. Xandrios says:

    Glad that, even though you only have a 24h break, you find the time to write all this up! 😉 By the way, we have great laundry facilities in Amsterdam too! 😉 Just kidding 🙂

    What I don’t understand is why KLM would change seating arrangements if the aircraft is exchanged for a longer one. More rows, so the additional pax can sit at the back. Right?

    I have a feeling that this has something to do with the Economy Comfort section at the front. Its size is different for a -900. However if KLM is changing seats for everybody just to be able to sell a few extra EC seats..that would be shameful.

    • Hi Xandrios

      Thanks for the information. Actually I am slowly starting to think of Amsterdam airport as my second home…

      I think the problem results from the fact that I have status with Flying Blue, while my colleague doesn’t yet. As a result, if there’s an aircraft change they don’t touch my reservation but changes his. And that’s a bit of a nuisance of you want to travel together although you’re not booked in the same PNR. But KLM were really very good when I contacted them in this matter via Twitter. They kept me updated and even checked us both in on the day of departure to make sure we sat together.

      Thanks in any case for taking the time to comment.

      Cheers,
      William

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